BACK TO SCHOOL
FROM HERE TO THERE
AND OTHER POINTS IN-BETWEEN
“…They have music and PE and math and you can bring stuffies too. But not real animals,” wrote Jayson Salceiro in Jen Liddington’s second-grade class at Aspen Elementary School. Meanwhile, Rio Smith of Chris Mullally’s eighth-grade class at the Waldorf School on the Roaring Fork contemplated a hypothetical planet. He wrote about multiple moons, wondering how their lunar gravity might affect the planet’s imaginary outer-stellar tides. And Sopris Elementary School second-grader Jack Ring wrote simply and poetically. “I will never forget this year because my friends never forgot me.”
Our Annual Student Essay Contest gave us a chance to contemplate 142 opinions. On dogs v. cats. Soccer v. football. Highlands Bowl, sleepovers, peer pressure, and of course, the global pandemic. We selected winners blindly, with essayist’s names, schools, and teachers hidden.
MP’s 2021 STUDENT ESSAY WINNERS
FIRST PLACE: Tessa Figueroa, Riverview School, grade 8
SECOND PLACE: Sara Corwin, Glenwood Springs Middle School, grade 8
THIRD PLACE: Olivia Miernicki, Riverview School, grade 8
FIRST PLACE: Daisy Kelly, Colorado Rocky Mountain School, grade 9
SECOND PLACE: Ari Chacos, Roaring Fork High School, grade 10
Quinn Waaler, Riverview School, grade 8
Vivienne Shapiro, homeschool, grade 3
TOP ESSAYS FROM EACH PARTICIPATING SCHOOL
ACS – ASPEN COMMUNITY SCHOOL – Bija Vardy, grade 4
ACDS – ASPEN COUNTRY DAY SCHOOL – Luke Leonard, grade 8
AES – ASPEN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL – Cora Chimerakis, grade 2
BES – BASALT ELEMENTARY SCHOOL – Hunter Raymond, grade 4
CCS – CARBONDALE COMMUNITY SCHOOL – Hazel Kuhn, grade 3
CRES – CRYSTAL RIVER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL – Avery Lee Klumb, grade 1
GSES – GLENWOOD SPRINGS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL – Catherine Heiser, grade 3
GSMS – GLENWOOD SPRINGS MIDDLE SCHOOL – Addie Cox, grade 8
LCS – LIBERTY CLASSICAL SCHOOL – Lexi Jenson, grade 4
MCS – MARBLE CHARTER SCHOOL – Zeb Piffer, grade 1
RS – RIVERVIEW SCHOOL – Cesar Chavira, grade 4
SES – SOPRIS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL – Anna Passenti, grade 4
WSRF – WALDORF SCHOOL ON THE ROARING FORK – Rio Smith, grade 8
The grade levels and schools listed above correspond with the student’s enrollment during the Spring semester of 2021. In other words, the eighth-grade winners very likely matriculated to high school, so as of our publication date, the school listed may no longer reflect a student’s current enrollment.
MP’S ANNUAL STUDENT ESSAY CONTEST CRITERIA
First and foremost, every school in the Roaring Fork Valley is invited to participate. We accept online as well as paper submissions from March 1-May 1. We invited teachers and administrators from every participating school can join our staff in selecting winners. Blind judging = hidden names and schools. We look for original ideas, beautiful language, clarity of communication, reflections of current world events, and authenticity. In other words, we don’t grade spelling or grammar.
We publish excerpts of winning essays in our AUTUMN edition.
WHO INSPIRES US?
We at MP live in continual gratitude and awe of our community’s teachers. To begin with, they arrive at school an hour before the bell rings. And, they often grade papers after their own children’s bedtimes. It is clear when sampling the work of Roaring Fork Valley students that our local teachers are not only champions of proper grammar, rich vocabulary, and the Oxford comma. They also inspire original thinking and an ability to name, precisely, why an experience matters. Through the reflections of their students, they teach us the power of words.
WHAT INSPIRES US?
Frosty, cold confections, of course.
We feel quite certain that the 142 students who participated in our annual student essay contest did so, at least in part, because we bribed them. Whether the kids did it for a love of words or a love of milkshakes, we feel we could not offer this collection of youthful opinions and reflections without the generosity of Ryan Vinciguerra and his team at Honeybutter, Carbondale’s new culinary hot spot in the retro diner on Highway 133.
“Old fashioned milkshakes for every essayist?” we asked.
“You bet,” Ryan Vincurra wrote back. “We feel strongly about supporting our local schools and especially the students!