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The Golden Swan

by Madison Warnke

The sun was setting over the calm clear lake. No boats in sight or sounds to be heard. It was a magnificent sight to see. The last week of summer vacation was almost to an end. I wish it could last forever. As my eyes grow heavier I wandered off to bed.

Art Show Inspires ‘WritePrize’ Student Writing Contest  

by Charles Honey

It worked big-time for art, so why not writing?

That was the thought of Eldon Palmer, a parent at Valley View Elementary School. Inspired by the huge success of ArtPrize, Palmer last fall proposed a contest called WritePrize at the K-5 school. He worked with teachers and Principal Bob Siegel to organize a writing contest among third- through fifth-graders. The kickoff was held during the release of Siegel’s book “Learn to Lead with Love.”

Nearly 100 students – almost one-third of Valley View’s upper-elementary enrollment – submitted their works. They were judged by the high school students of Jackie Decker’s Advanced Placement language arts class. Throughout the year, the winning papers are being published in the weekly school newsletter.

Five winners were chosen from each grade. Following are the winning entries from fifth-graders Kate Zang, Makayla Jarrett, Luke Johnson, Macey Palmer and Madison Warnke. Happy reading!

Read More Submissions

I see a figure dancing in my sleep. A graceful figure not of human, but of bird. A golden bird, beckoning me forth, with its beautiful dance. I step forward and it all seems to change. The bird disappears and has left me on the lake side.

As I look across the lake I notice the bird dancing the same magnificent dance. I walk forward, not realizing what I’m walking into. I look down to see water under my feet as far down as I can see. I suddenly wake from my dream and feel urged to go to the lake side.

What I saw there astonished me. Just across the lake I saw it: the golden bird. I walk forward hoping not to get wet. I did just as I did in the dream: I walked on water. At this point I started running to the bird of magic!
As I came closer I noticed that the bird wasn’t just any bird, it was a swan, a golden swan. In fear of it flying away, I slowed my approach. I got to the point of it within ten feet of me and stopped, as the swan came to me! I thought, “Am I still dreaming?” I probably was.

The swan came closer, flapped its wings once, dropped a single feather and flew off. I carefully picked it up, held it tight, and ran home.

I woke the next morning to see I still had the gift and I gasped with disbelief as it sparkled like a star. I ran outside in hope to see the swan and I found nothing.

That evening, when the sun began to set again, I rushed to get to bed and hoped for another magic dream. This time I saw a beautiful princes dressed in all gold. Well, except for her crown, which looked like silver. I stepped forward again to not see a change.

Suddenly the princess stepped toward me, placed her crown on my head and turned into the golden swan.

Again I awoke, and ran to the lake; I saw the swan, as if she was waiting for me. I notice the crown on my head and feel as if I should give it to the swan. As I do, she returned back to human form and says, “The world is full of dreams. More than anyone can ever count. All dreams fade away to nothing. Don’t let this fade away.”

Once more, she took off the silver crown and placed it on my head. I felt warm and fuzzy on the inside. I look down to see that I dressed in all gold. She spoke one last thing, “You have the dream that will lead you through the darkness and into the light. You are now the protector of all good dreams. And disappeared one last time.

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Learning from a place full of living things

Rebecca Perry and her class of eager kindergartners spent their morning exploring the newly redone Living Lab at Zinser Elementary...

Mapping the road to learning

Elementary teachers Billie Freeland and Nicole Andreas are at the forefront of using a curriculum designed to further educational goals, regardless of whether students are in person or online...

‘Even though it is extra work, I don’t mind the changes’

Teachers of specialty subjects — art, music and physical education — share their experiences after the pandemic prompts changes to class procedures...

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