Writing Samples

Writing Samples

Every year, Project Read holds a writing competition for our students. This competition gives them an avenue for both practicing and presenting their writing, and grants the rest of us the privilege of seeing their progress. We sincerely thank our participating tutors and students for their efforts to produce polished and significant pieces of writing.

Click on a year to see a selection of the student submissions.

First Place

Our Adventures in Iceland
Carolina Martinean

If I can go anywhere on Earth for a one-month vacation, I will choose to go to a place where I can see the Northern Lights, such as Iceland. The Northern Lights is an unique light show created by nature with a variety of lights and patterns, that can only be seen in certain places of the world. I heard the Northern Lights in Iceland are beautiful, because it is cold and close to the Arctic. I will go with my youngest daughter, because she likes nature, like me.

We can go and visit places with historical significance like the capital, Reykjavik, where the Reykjavik Summit was held. The Reykjavik Summit was a truce between the United States and the Soviet Union to end nuclear weapons.  My daughter will love that because she loves history like me.

We want to see the Viking Settlement in the east of the Island and
learn how they came to Iceland and how they lived. We also want to how about Norse Mythology and their gods. I would like to learn more about the differences between Norse and Greek Mythology.

We want to go and explore the natural and unique environment they have. They use hydropower and geothermal to power their country. They use renewable energy because they have a lot of waterfalls and volcanos.

They have a lot of beautiful waterfalls in different areas of the country.
We want to visit the Gullfoss, Seljalandsfoss, Skogafoss, and Godafoss
Waterfall. We also want to go to the Blue Lagoon. Their water is warm with a lot of  minerals and good for the health. We will go on a tour to watch the whales in their environment, because there are many different species and some stay throughout the year.

At the end, we want to see how the local people live, because they are very different from us. The climate is very cold and they have to stay inside for a very long time of the year. I want to know what kind of food they eat and how they make it. I’m also interested in what they do for work. I heard the animal agriculture is very profitable there. They have sheep, whose wool is used to make clothes with unique patterns and quality. I heard that Iceland has more sheep than people and they have a unique breed of horses.

We will use this opportunity to discover a new culture and natural scenery in a place which is very different from our style of life. I want to show my daughter how to appreciate the natural environment and how some countries preserve and conserve their natural landmarks. I hope we learned about the culture and history of the society of Iceland.


Second Place

What I Learned From COVID
Nereyda Valdovinos

COVID taught me to see how to value life more than I did before. Now when I go to church and take the sacrament, it’s not the same. We don’t share the same cup. Everything is not the same. We cannot hug like we did before, because the virus is so dangerous.

Now you have to wash your hands much more and keep everything clean so COVID can’t spread. When Covid first started, my mother said, “It’s nothing. People will die, but it’s like the flu”. But she did get COVID, and was in the hospital unconscious for two months! That was a scary time for our family.  We were afraid she might not come out alive. After that, her health has been damaged for a long time. It is still damaged, almost a year later.

I had a good friend, Reid. I used to work caring for his family when his wife was sick. Both he and his wife got COVID, but he had to stay in the hospital. He kept getting worse and worse until he died. It was not fair. He left his family with four children still living at home. His wife is struggling. At his funeral, I could not stop crying. He opened the door of his home for me and trusted me to care for his children. They said I was like their sister, and they still treat me that way.

Now I find I appreciate relationships more with my family and friends.
No one knows how long any one of us will be here on earth. It’s not a time to be mad at anyone. We need to show people that we care. Before COVID, things were normal. Now I feel scared, and I want to show support to everybody. We are all together in this.


Third Place

Adventure From My Childhood

Dechan Nith

In every human history of life, there must be a grate memorable history from their adventure. My greatest adventure from my childhood was the traveling back to home country Cambodia from refugee camps at Thailand border. It was one of the best adventure in my life’s history. Cambodia had civil war between 1975 to 1985. The war was completely end at 1993 when the peace agreement was made.The government of Cambodia was called out for all the refugees who went to Thailand to come back home.

I was around eight years old at that time. My mother told me that “ We can go back to our home country”. Everyone in my family were so exited.  The traveling arrangement had made for the refugees. They had divided into groups for the traveling plan. I was not in the group with my mother and sibling, but I was in the different group with my grandmother who was seventy years old. Our departure day was seven day different from my mother. She left a week before us.  Every week, group by group of refugees were left Thailand by bus due to their traveling schedule. My group was the last group in the camp for the traveling. My grandma packed everything needed including food to be ready for the traveling day.

On the day of departure, My grandma and I assisted from the United Nation Teams to go to the bus. Before we departure, they checked our identity card and offered us food and water. It took seven to eight hours to arrived. After we arrived in Cambodia, My grandma and I were assited by the UN teams to take us to a temporary camp at Sevy Sisophon Province Located in Cambodia.We were stayed there about ten days with other refugees in our groups. My mom found us at the camp.Finally, we were united a family. We were wait for the new arrangement for another departure to travel from Sisophon Province to our home at Phnom Penh City.

To sum up, It was a grate adventure for me to travel back to home country Cambodia.  During that time, I felt grate when I arrived in Cambodia for first time. I started to learn about the culture of my country when I start to go to school. As a young age at that time, I could not remember much from what were happened about the war or why refugees go to Thai Camp during the war, but I felt peace and grateful for the chance to come home after war.


Honorable Mention

My Background about Project Read

Ariane Araujo

I have a friend, Lupita, who talked to me about Project Read and how it is good.

I am so glad that I came and started. I am so impressed and grateful for the people who spend time teaching people who need to learn.

So, I came because I really want to learn. I want to express myself in English.

Something that I noticed is I am learning more than English; I am learning about some topics in English like high school and taxes. In conversation class I learn more vocabulary about education, mental health and how to write better and learned about newsfoyouonline.com, a web site that is really good to read and understand.

After learning and speaking more English I want to do a course for dental assistants, I want to help the community in some way with volunteer work.

Learning is the best way to grow.


Honorable Mention

Nursing is My Dream Job

Keysi Avila

My dream job would be to be a nurse. I would like to care for people who are sick. Many nurses are needed during this pandemic. Many hospitals  are short staffed. Many nurses have gotten sick

To be a nurse, I first need to pass my GED. I need to study English and learn to speak more fluently so I can communicate clearly with the hospital, staff and the patients. After I pass the GED, I need to go to college to earn a nursing degree. I need to study hard and complete my homework and then pass the test to receive the license.

After I receive my license, I need to prepare a resume and apply to different hospitals. Then I will have interviews and hope to get a job. I will feel proud of myself because I have reached my goal. I will be happy that I can finally help sick people in the hospital.


Honorable Mention

Why I Am at the Library
Honsook Choi

I have been living here for a pretty long time, but I wasn’t good at
When I faced problems , it wasn’t easy to solve problems with my English
level. Even though I tried to study English when I had time. Maybe I did it in less time than I thought.

Sometimes I needed to call some place, I couldn’t understand what
they said , I requested them to repeat to make sure or I repeated what they told me to confirm that is to get me motivated to learn English.

Also when people talked in English, I couldn’t understand at all. These
situations encouraged me to come to the library.
And I am working here speaking in Korean, but I wish to get a better job one day.

In order to develop myself , the most important thing is English to get
a better job, but I know it is hard to study it myself, so I need something to
lead me. It is the Project Read program at the library.

I hope this program will lead me keep studying English.


Honorable Mention

Blood of Spirit
Enrique Martinez

Scene 1
As the morning sun breaks above the skyscrapers of New York City,
Achar, overlooks his domain. A strong jawed man of stature smiles at seeing the world bustle below him. His greed for power is only strengthened by looking upon the streets to the penthouse, seeing those around him suffering.  He has robbed from the people and created multiple bankruptcies for those less fortunate than him. These financial gains have made him proud and cause him to think he is untouchable. He profits by the ~inute through increases in his stock market investments. He makes money just by being alive. He has power over the human trafficking market, drug cartels, oil refinery, the gold industry, and multiple stock investments.

He turns away from the window, grinning, turning to his patiently
waiting board members. His grin disappears as he informs them about his master plan.

“What would you want us to do?” Lt. Lou C. Fore asks. “We have New
York at our fingertips, I have more plans to dominate other markets. We have worked hard to make this company strong. We also have many holding in many other cities and countries around the world. We have our own large army of well trained personnel to safeguard our assets. We have many countries that owe us their loyalty. We have our hands in oils, lands, weaponries, money exchange, drugs, human trafficking, just to name a few.”

“We need more power than we have”, Archer grumbled as he let out a
laugh of horror.  “Nobody can stop us, not even God himself. We are the Clover Society!”; The board members chant along.

Scene 2
The ATX Arena, home of Miami Heat basketball team, is packed with
people awaiting the President’s arrival. While awaiting president Kim Smith, vice president, Richard Kendall walks across the stage, “Hello Miami, I am glad to be here today. I am a big fan of the NBA, especially the Miami Heat, my favorite place!” he chuckles, as the crowd laughs along.  “As you know it is both President Smith’s and my hope to one day eliminate the tax on food in the country. We want to take back control over the oil industry and make gas more affordable to all the people in the United States. Now President Smith will come up to talk more about our plan of action against human trafficking and putting a stop to drug cartels.” The crowd cheers and fades into a silence as the
President does not show up. Chatter begins and people begin to look around.  Vice President Kendall announces, “I will be back, I am going to find the President. Please remain calm, everything will be okay.”

Scene 3
They film a video making demands. The Clover Society demands
money and launch codes for nukes in exchange for the president. But, their real goal is to execute a terrorist attack at the ATX Arena by blowing them both up with remote controlled explosions. Their entire goal is to cause chaos in the United States and to take control of the entire country.

At the same time, the leader of the SFL (Stand for Liberty) military
named Captain Moroni discovers where they are keeping the President of the U.S through revelation. The SFL is a military group that protects the citizens of the world. He sends in the (Cherabin?) which are an elite special ops force that goes in before any other military group. This force includes four separate teams: Mosiah 5, Ephesian 6, 2 Nephi, and Alma 62. All teams are being sent in to rescue the president. The first group to get there is Alma 62. Lieutenant Lou C. Fore is the commander of this group. He was given a command order to guide Alma 62 to rescue President Kim at the warehouse. Alma 62 got there in
time before the Clover Society could escape. The Clover Society wanted to
escape on the freeway near the Miami International airport. However, L.T. Lou C. Fore sabotages the team Alma 62 by betraying them and killing them all before the president could be rescued. It turns out L.T. Fore is a secret member of the Clover Society. L.T. Fore then leaves by himself while the rest of the Clover society members attempt to escape on the Dolphin expressway with the President U.S.

The Clover Society tries to escape in a semi-truck and get on the
freeway. Before they wit the freeway. Captain Moroni receives revelation that L.T. Lou C. Fore killed the entire Alma 62 team. Then, he gives instructions to the leader of the Mosiah 5 L.T. Enrique as well as L.T. Chongo Quezada, the leader of Ephesians 6. Additionally, the team called 2 Nephi lead by L.T. Jones is sent in to help. The plan is for team Mosiah 5 to be waiting in mini coopers cars inside in a helicopter called the CH-47 Chinook helicopter. The helicopter will escort them to the Dolphin Expressway and drop them off so they can stop the truck carrying the president. This is a tactical operation called (insert name here).

Scene 4 {Chase Scene)
The entire Mosiah 5 team comes out of a Vertol CH-47 Chinook. They
are driving the 2011 model mini cooper as they exit the helicopter. Each mini cooper has a 7.62mm machine gun mounted on its roof.

A car chase ensues as the Mini coopers follow behind the British army
DROPS truck carrying the president. The truck is based on the Scammell 8×6 which has self-loading equipment. Using their mini coopers, Mosiah 5 hit this truck into the median of the highway. The truck is pushed off the highway onto NW 36th St., rolling over 2 or 3 times before coming to a stop. The Mosiah 5:5 open up the truck bed and see the Beast still intact. Using their tools, the team opens up the Beast and frees the president. The president shows signs of a broken arm and ribs after the collision. The Mosiah 5 start to escort the president to safety, but the Clover Society sets up a blockade on both sides of the highway, preventing their escape; The enemy has four Steyr SK: a 105 Light
Tank and a NORINCO Type 80MBT, OMC Casspir MK3rd APC on the East side of Dolphin EXPY while at the same time on the West side of EXPY there are NORINCO Type 59MBT a Saurer 4K 4FA-G2 with 20mm cannon, and a MOWAG Eagle Armoured Recon Vehicle. It seems like there is no escape for the Mosiah 5 and the president.

Additionally, the Clover society plans on using Antonov An-225 aircraft
packed with explosives to crash into and blow up the Orange Bowl Stadium. It looks like the Clover Society will succeed in their plan to create chaos in the United States and bring down the current government. However, unknown to the Clover Society, the Ephesians 6 special ops team have already hijacked the planes and secretly put their own men among the Clover Society troops at the blockade. On Captain Moroni’s signal, the hidden agents attack the Clover Society troops while more members of Ephesian 6 troops parachute down join the fight.

The 2 Nephi team comes from the east side, with a Aircraft called
Grumman E-2 hawkeye that transform to a Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion, providing support to the other two teams. Working together, these three teams defeat all of the Clover Society troops from the blockade.

Scene 5:
All three special ops teams help escort the President back safely to her
family. The President tells Captain Moroni about her experience with the
Clover Society. She mentions that the Clover Society is everywhere and they probably already know that she has returned home safely. She then shares with Captain Moroni how she already knows a lot of information about this group called the clover society and their plans. Captain Maroni asks the president questions about what she knows and what’s the plan. The president is very open and happy finally be able to share this information and to take the burden off of her shoulders. After meeting with the president, Captain Moroni pulls the entire Cherubim special ops aside. Captain Moroni tells them that even though they completed the mission, their battle with the Clover Society has just begun.

Scene 6: (for another story)
Captain Maroni speak with Enrique and Enrique is part of Mesiah 5,
the special ops Cheribums.

Enrique goes back to battle with Ephesians 6 and 2nd Nephi and his
team, Mosiah 5.

They went to miami beach where there is a battle on the beach, worse
than D-Day.

Some ships have been sunk, others emerge under water. There is a
formula 1 racing that day during the battle, possible around 10 drivers are of Air Force Seraph.

Their formula 1 vehicle transforms into a fire jet and engages in the

They conform with a san, AA guns, tanks, tranporters, artillery tank,
and Humvees.

Clover Society has a nuke. Plan on putting the nuke on the stolen
challanger and letting it glide into the stadium. blowing up and killing the President.

Stopped when trying to steal the nuke.

Protagonist: Hero (Enrique Martinez),
President of United States-Kim Smith
Vice President of the United States-Richard Kendall
-Enrique Martinez-he is a engineer of mechanic vehicles, aviation, and naval of all types. He is also a computer scientist and a rifleman.His body type is athletic. He wears glasses. His height is 6’1″. Tall, is kind with everyone around with him. He has a strong spirit. He has a testimony of Christ, his gospel and the Plan of Salvation. He is a strong and brave soldier from the Cherubim Special Ops team called Mosiah 5:5.
-Jones Jones-he is a paramedic and bombs expert, his body type is short, 5’2″.  He jokes around a lot. He is muscular with an ample layer of fat covering his whole body. He is reliable in everything he does.

-Mixs Scott-communications and computer expert. He is a hacker and code breaker. He is high-tech professional. His body type is skinny. He is 5’10”. His personality is very positive all the time.
-Fonuah Lopez Garcia-he is a marksman/sniper. His body type is athletic. He is a mechanic so he can fix vehicles. He also is a vehicle expert including aviation and ships. He is 6’11”.
-Chongo Quezada-he knows lot of languages, he is in charge of all types of special weaponry. He deals with explosions, bomb expert and deals with heavy weapons like armory.
Cherubims special Ops, divided in 5 groups, they are called:
1-Mosiah 5
2-Aima 62
3-2 Nephi 1
4-Ephesians 6
• They are special forces from the army of God soldiers.
• Protection the innocent a round the world.
• Obey Gods all kind of command.
Clover Society-Who are they? What do they do? Who knows about them?
What is their mission?
• They do a lot of human trafficking and laundering.
• They are a satanic group.
• Known by HF and JC
• Mission is to destroy the power of free agency.
• Members of the group are people who have money and power.
• Symbol is a white skull with a black 4 leaf clover on the forehead.
Conflict: Clover Society kidnaps the President of U.S.,
Plot: Quest to save the President of U.S. The story is about rescuing the
President of U.S. and her family too. It turns out that the President of the
United States is a chosen one who is supposed to protect the country.
Antagonist/villain: Secret combination called Clover Society ..
1# The five names from the group Cherubims Messiah 5:5 are: Enrique, Jones,
Mixs, Fonuah, Chongo.
2# Air Force of Seraph
3# Navy of Noah
4# Army of Helaman
5# Special Ops Cherubims
6# Enrique is part of a team called Mosiah 5, part of a Special Ops group called
the Cherubims/Angelic Legion
7# The Army of Helaman come to help team Messiah 5:5 Cherubims.


Honorable Mention

Why I Came to Project Read

Moroni Oteo

I came to Project Read to learn, and to succeed, and to respect others.
I have a hard time reading when there are lots of noises. I wanted to teach my kids in the future, help them with their math, and be a good parent.

I heard about Project Read from a friend at the library. I saw a lot of
people here. It’s difficult to come when I have work or I’m helping my family, but I try to come often. I have been coming for about four years.

I like meeting people here and I like playing games like Pit and
answering questions. I have learned to respect others. I love reading history. I like all the teachers here. I like all the people who work here. And I hope this company is always successful.

Thank you for all the work, teachers staff and all the help at Project


Honorable Mention

How I Spent My Summer Time When I Was a Child

Mariana Bereche-Sanchez

When I was a child, I lived with my dad, mom and siblings in Lima,

During my summer vacation, every year, my parents sent me for about
2 weeks/at least 2 weeks to my grandmother’s house. I always had a great time there.

My grandmother lived with her two single adult daughters and her
single adult son.

The house of my grandmother was very big. It has a patio, a gym, a
salon room, a library. There were also animals.

There were ducks, duck chicks, chickens, hens, one white rabbit and
one rooster. The rooster was aggressive, so we never pet him.

The house had many rooms, there was a library room where there was
an electric typing machine, and a pedal sewing machine. My aunt Ana Maria knows how to sew and used to sew clothes for my dolls. She taught me to sew by hand tiny and simple clothes for my barbies like skirts and shirts.

She sewed clothes and baked cakes for my birthday and my siblings’

She was a hairdresser too, and she used to cut my hair. I used to have
a short cut like a boy, or the Bob cut hairstyle. This short hair style made it easy for me to wash my hair and helped keep out lice.

She was also a gym trainer. Her gym was in her house, so when she
worked out with her female clients, she let me join in the group and exercise too. I had fun doing that with adults when I was the only child in the group.

I was, and felt very loved by my grandma and aunts.

My aunt Bertha kept my clothes clean and made me feel comfortable
when I spent time there.  I would always go with her to the market and by
groceries. I used to watch movies and soap operas with my aunts and grandma.

My grandma cooked a delicious meal every day.

when I was in school, I couldn’t wait to visit my grandma during the

I used to read only animated books with three dimensional effects and
drawings for children. One day, my aunt, Ana Maria, recommended reading one of the books from the house library. “White Fang”, was the book she chose for me. The book didn’t have drawings, it was only words. When I started reading it, I didn’t understand it very well, so she explained the story to me.

I realized that there were different types of books, and without
drawings the story was more difficult for me to understand.

I still had to keep reading those books because those were the type of
books that I had to read at school.

At home, my father helped me with my homework everyday.

I feel like a blessed and lucky woman, who had and still has good
people around me, who are good influences.

I have very pleasant memories from my childhood, especially the ones
at my grandma’s house.


Honorable Mention

I Quit My Job and Went to the Hills

Bruce Vrondos

I quit my job and went to the hills, and built a cabin. I talked to people,
and they told me there’s gold in those hills. I decided to scavenge about to look for gold. I realized I didn’t have the tools so I went to town to buy them. I bought a shovel, pick and pan. Now I am ready to look for gold.

So I went the next day and found a cave, and roaled around and found
little, shiny stones. They were rubies! I was very surprised. I put a claim on the land, so they are mine.

Now I am a millonaier, so I bought a mansion.

I lived happily ever after.

The end.


Honorable Mention

When My Daughter Get Taken to Sea

Kelly Zhao

When my daughter was one year old, She and I lived in Dalian of china.
That is a seaside city. One day in the summer, my daughter and I went to the beach and played at the beach and in the water. Suddenly, a huge wind came and very large waves came. I saw my daughter going into the deep water. I couldn’t find her. When the waves came back, I found my daughter. There were a lot of cuts on her arm and face. Then, I took my daughter to the hospital. She was okay except for her face and arm.

This was a scary day!

The beach looks peaceful sometimes. It’s dangerous. I think if we go to
the beach we need to know if the weather is good or bad.


Poetry First Place

Her Hands
Camila Rodrigues

I owe a lot to these hands…
Those hands that rocked me for so many nights and protected me.
Those hands that not only changed my diapers, but washed them.
Those hands that soothed me when I didn’t know how to express myself andspeak.
Those hands that did everything for me while I didn’t know and could.
Those hands that washed and combed my hair.
Those hands that peeled mango, pineapple, tangerine and fed me.
Those hands that I held to learn to walk, held me when I stumbled, and lifted me up when I fell.
Those hands that baked many cakes, wrapped brigadeiros*, and prepared
every detail of my birthdays.
Those hands that drove to take me safely anywhere.
Those hands that showed me how to pray and taught me about the gospel.
Those hands that have gone out of their way to make our home happy, and most importantly, a Christ-centered home.
Those hands that wrote little notes (and now type messages) so as not to make me forget my worth, my potential, that I am a child of God and that He loves me.
Those hands that took care of me while I was sick and wiped my tears in
difficult times.
Those hands that I trusted my most precious possession and supported me so I could fly.
Those hands that restore, that heal.
Those hands that create, that love.
Because the real “I love you” doesn’t come from the mouth. True love comes from the hands!

Thanks for so much, Mom! I love you!

*Brigadeiro: a traditional Brazilian dessert.


Poetry Second Place

When I Think, Then …
Shema Ahmed

When I am choking with stress,
Then, my pen breathes for me.

When I am feeling alone,
Then, my thoughts become my best friend.

When I feel I have nothing, I am poor
Then, I have my diaries and I feel rich.

When I want to leave it all behind,
Then, my poem brings back flavor to life.

When my heart feels only failure,
Then, failure inspires.


Poetry Third Place

Alma Arciga

S Sunshine makes me happy.
U Unbelievable good luck and underwater fun.
M Magical moments in the sun and memories made in nature.
M Marvelous times with family and friends.
E Exciting trips and party times!
R Radiant smiles on children around the world!

First Place

An Immigrant’s Challenges

Delmy Roquel

The book Refugee talks about Josef, Isabel and Mahmoud. Their experiences are related to mine. They leave a country they love to find a better life for themselves and their families. It was a hard process to get into the US and for them to survive in a foreign country. I had similar experiences when I came from El Salvador to Utah.

Their experiences are like mine, because they had to leave their families no matter how hard it was to get to the USA and to survive in this beautiful country with a different language, culture, food, religion, and weather. Language was the hardest for me, but I still am learning English as a second language, thanks to Project Read.

I am used to the food now, but at the beginning I got sick most of the time. When I first came to US I lived with an American family. The flavors and textures of American food were different and made my stomach nauseous.  One of the hardest things for me was to eat peanut butter sandwiches every day. Eventually I moved to an apartment and I cooked food for myself.

Religion was another thing to deal with, but I respected everyone beliefs. In El Salvador most of the people are Catholic, and I did not know any other religion. I was living in Orem and the only Catholic church was in Provo and Sunday there were no busses. It makes me feel sad that I could not go to church.

Weather is still hard for me, because in my country we have 2 seasons: winter, but no snow, and summer. It was hard for me to get adjusted to all the changes, but I came here because I can have a better job, good education, safety, opportunities for me and my family, and I can help my parents until they died.

The US gave me the opportunity to have a job to support my family and parents. My children can go to college and have a good education so they will have a better future for their families.

When I was in elementary school in my country, I had to walk 2 hours to get to school and 2 hours to come back home. I had 15 cents in my pocket to buy a piece of bread and candy, because the school did not provide food or transportation for the students.

I do not want my children to suffer like me. I hope my children appreciate and take advantage of all the good opportunities and technology that this country offers.

Another reason I left El Salvador was because I did not feel safe, and it is still dangerous in some places. People can get stolen from or killed if they are not careful. In Refugee, it says, “What would I do or what would I have done to make a better life.” I have been working hard to provide for me and my family. Usually, I worked at night and on weekends to earn money to take care of my children and save money to buy a house and visit my parents and family in my country.

I was not able to come back to EL Salvador for 17 years; it was very hard for me and my children to have a chance to meet, hug, kiss, and spend time with my family.

The first time I went to my country was when my dad was sick, and he died 2 months after I saw him. I was not able to go back to El Salvador when he died.   Only the people that leave their countries know the price that we need to pay to have a better life. I was lucky to go back to El Salvador, but I do not know if Isabel, Joseph, and Mahmoud were able to see their families again. No matter how hard and how many obstacles we need to get through to make our dream come true, we make it.

This beautiful country is made of immigrants from everywhere in the world. No matter where you come from, we are all American and everyone deserves to have a better life. This beautiful country is a mix of cultures, people, religions, foods, languages and it makes a unique place to live. I am proud of this country for giving me the opportunity to have a better life. My heart is divided between this country and El Salvador.  In the book, they say, “This was the story home country in search of a better life.” I was taking a lot of pauses when I was writing this essay because all the memories made me cry. I am proud to be an immigrant and be part of this beautiful country and share with you my everyday immigrant challenge.


Second Place

A Star Gate

Wonsook Lee

Many years ago, I was walking around my neighborhood in Rexburg, Idaho. Two ladies stopped me and asked, “Do you know where a subway is around here?” My English wasn’t good enough to understand what they said. I could only hear the word “subway.” I thought they were looking for a subway station so I laughed in my head. I know subways because I am from Seoul, Korea which has a very complex subway system. It looks like a spider web, and people can go almost anywhere by it. I could never imagine a subway in such a small town. So, I said, “No subways here!” They seemed to be puzzled by my blunt answer.

My family moved to Provo, Utah a year later. My next door neighbor was a pretty young lady. Whenever we saw each other she said hello first. One day she asked me, “What does your husband do for a living?” I heard two words that time, “husband” and “living.” I thought to myself, “Why did she ask me such a silly question?” She already knew that I was living next door, and she knew that my husband was living with me at the same house. So, I answered with confidence pointing at my house. “I’m living here.” After that incident, when we saw each other again, she just smiled at me.

Later, when I realized that I misunderstood both questions, I wanted to go back to Korea right away. Speaking English was an unbearable burden to me. I really didn’t want to come to America because I couldn’t speak English and I knew nobody here. However, my husband wanted to study here so I had to come with family. While he was in school I was left home alone with my two-year-old son. I was always lonely and wanted to go back to my home country. When I had to meet someone, I was so scared to speak English and tried to avoid meeting anyone. That’s why I don’t have many friends around me. I tried to study English at home, but all I did was look for a dictionary because there were too many words I didn’t know. Learning a language by myself was too hard.

I could see, I could hear, but I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t understand what I heard. I got frustrated and intimidated. I felt like I was shrinking. I preferred to stay home rather than to go out just like Helen Keller did. One day, after I had read her biography, I pondered upon her life and all the difficulties she eventually had overcome. In a way, I really understood her hardships. Helen Keller suffered a severe illness at nineteen months of age. Due to the illness, she was not able to see, hear, or speak. Then Helen met Annie Sullivan.

Sullivan was Helen’s private teacher. Helen became a famous person in the United States because she overcame her disabilities. This was possible because of persistent efforts by Sullivan and Helen.

Then I thought about me. Did I do my best to put every effort into getting over language barriers as much as Helen did her best to survive the dark and silent world? How could Sullivan figure out how to each Helen by writing on her palm? How did Sullivan pull out Helen’s ability and potential? My circumstances were much better than hers, but I wished I had a teacher like Sullivan. I was pondering over and over. I couldn’t’ change the past, but I could change the future. I decided to learn English again and borrowed books from the library.

One day a friend of mine visited me. While we talked about difficult things about living in America as nonnative speakers, she told me about Project Read. As soon as I heard this, I was very interested. It sounded like Sullivan was waiting for me there. I immediately contacted Project Read. Since then, I have built a strong tie with Project Read. As I study with this program, I feel it is just like a star gate that opens a new world to those who enter it. Now I have friends and neighbors. I talk too long with my next-door neighbor. Now I can answer to whoever asks me questions. If I don’t understand their questions, I don’t give them irrelevant answers. Instead, I ask back what their questions were. It wouldn’t be possible for me to study English properly without Project Read. It will remain in my life as a star gate as long as I don’t give up a new challenge.


Third Place

Searching for Family and Being a Refugee

Jade Dalton

In China the  government had a policy that limited each family to one child, because they were afraid that they wouldn’t be able to feed a big population. The families have a tradition that the son takes care of the parents and keeps the family name while the daughter goes off to marry and have a family of her own. If a family couldn’t have a son they were forced to abandon one of their babies and hopefully a person would find them and take the baby to the orphanage. Families wanted to keep their babies but the officials forced them to leave their child and if they chose to keep the child then the officials would take the baby away and make the family pay a big fine or tear down their house. These babies were adopted to families all over the world and are like refugees because they were forced out of their homes. In the book Refugee by Alan Gratz a character named Mahmoud has to leave his country.

Mahmoud and I are the same because he was in a small boat going to Germany the storm run the boat to the rocks everyone fell in the water. Mahmoud took his sister found another boat and gave it to a lady so the sister could live and not drown. Once they were in Germany Mahmoud wanted to find his sister.

A lot of adoptees have struggles in life because they don’t know who they are and don’t know their identity. Some adoptees are confused because they look different from the rest of their siblings. They ask their parents questions like, “who am I?”. For me, when I think about my birth mom, I feel a strong mix of confusion and sadness, and my mind is filled with a frenzy of questions. I write to her in my journal telling her I’m ok and that she doesn’t need to worry anymore. Sometimes I ask her, did you love me and why did you leave me behind?

Adoptees want to find their family so they do DNA testing to see if siblings are around. Sometimes they get lucky and find a sister in a different state. A lot of adoptees talk to their sibling in person and find that they do have things in common and become best friends.

On 23andMe my mom discovered that my sister, who is also adopted, has a sister. My mom was crying and happy while I was excited to hear the good news. My sister was out of state at the time so my mom immediately emailed her about this discovery. My sister thought it was a joke and blew it off for a while. On Sunday night my mom and I got to talk to my sister on skype and she told us that she talked to her biological sister for the first time. She said it went well. Since then they have gotten closer to each other and have talked a lot about their life. They dreamed about one day meeting in person.

Last month that dream finally became a reality when my family and I flew to Houston Texas to meet her sister for the first time. In Texas we did a lot of fun things. Her sister took us to a place called Buc ee’s. Inside there was a lot of food that you can buy that is cooked fresh and other stuff too. We went to an island called Galveston and rented a house. My mom and I sat on two kayaks and paddled in a small bay by the house. My sister and her sister did paddle boarding and initially my sister was scared to stand up but she got the courage to stand up and paddled a little bit. It was an amazing trip and I am excited to get to know my sister’s sister more in the future.

When I read the book Refugee I was inspired about Mahmoud’s story because he went through a tough time. People in China went through a similar thing making hard decisions that will change the future.


Honorable Mention

Fighting for What I Want

Araceli Juarez

In the book Chains by Lauries Halse Anderson, the two sisters are fighting for their freedom. They want their liberty because they are slaves. Slavery was legal and common in the colonies during the American Revolution War.

For about fifteen years, I supported my  husband with everything he decided to do. It did not matter how crazy his ideas sounded. I was always there to support him. For about fifteen years I did just what my husband wanted me to do.

A few years ago, I decided to go back to school. Since then, I have been fighting for what I want. I want to get my high school diploma and learn English. It has been a very difficult journey because I don’t have my husband’s support. For instance, if he sees me doing my homework he makes a face of disagreement. One time, I told him that I have to go to my classes at least two days a week because it is an obligation, he says the obligation is to be with my family at home. He prefers to see me on social media than reading a book. I do my homework when he is not at home. What has disappointed me the most is that he says there are things more important than my studies.

He says that I’ve changed since I went back to school. Maybe I am changing, but it is because I see that I don’t have his support. I even asked him for the divorce, but he said he is going to change his attitude. I don’t want to end with 20 years of marriage, but if he doesn’t understand me I don’t have another option. I want a person by my side who enjoys my triumphs and my joys. I can’t understand why he does not support me. He more than anyone knows everything I have gone through for not having studied as a child. I went through some humiliating experiences for not having finished my schooling. For instance, one time one of my friends told me that it was better not to help my children with their homework if I didn’t know how to write correctly. Another person told me that I was not going to  learn English because I hadn’t studied in my own language.

If I had my husband’s support everything would be easier. I could do my homework, attend my classes more often, and I would have more concentration in what I’m doing.

I told him that I won’t stop studying. Even when I get my high school diploma I’m going to continue studying English here at Project Read. I’m going to search for more classes to keep learning differects subjects. I already decided what I want to do and I don’t mind fighting him until he understands that studying is good for all of us. As the book Chains, the two sisters are fighting for their freedom because they are slaves. I’m not a slave, but I’m fighting to have the freedom to do, say, and think whatever I want. And I know that I’m doing the right thing. Studying is a good thing that will help the whole family.


Honorable Mention

Flor de Liz Sibaja Martinez

I have watched movies where catastrophes destroy the Earth. When I was a child I remember being scared about the ending of the world. What comes to my mind is 1999. That year was supposed to be the last year of our lives. However, it is 2021 and here we are. We  are going through a pandemic. It brought us fear to be sick and die, many people lost their jobs, and schools closed their doors.

I have been through two huracans (Wilma and Emily ) and now through a pandemic. One day I was shopping at Winco when I saw people with their carts full non perishable food and packages of toilet paper. I immediately was transported to Quintana Roo. I called my husband and said “what is happening?” he told me that people were dying in China. I don’t watch the news often. I didn’t know how serious the situation was. At that moment I was not worried then when I found out that a Pandemic was declared I was worried and afraid of becoming sick. I was not afraid of dying, I was afraid of living my child without a mother. He is not old enough; I thought. I was also afraid about my parents. It has been ten years since  I hugged them. I’m sure that many people were facing even worse situations. Seeing your loved ones to get sick and not to get better. No being able to say goodbye. Doctors and nurses stay away from their families to help those who are sick.

the hu COVID-19 has affected many people in different ways. When you live with your grandparents or an older member it is scary to buy groceries and come back home thinking that you might have the virus with you. Of course you take all the necessary precautions but can be completely sure that you are not carrying the virus. If you have symptoms, it is easy to tell. If you are asymptomatic, it is difficult.

Because schools closed their doors, children spent more time at home. Parents who needed to go to work had trouble finding a place for their children. Additionally, restaurants closed, and many people lost their jobs. In order to stop the spread of the virus, people had to stay indoors. Whenever people go outside to buy food or other basic needs, people need to keep their distance and avoid gathering.

All those safety measurements

Thanks Jehovah, my husband is still working. We have been able to pay rent on time and put food on our table. During the lock down I spent more time with my son. We were not in a hurry to be on  time to school. We slept more and sometimes we wore our pajamas all day. I  usually check out a lot o picture books from the libraries (Provo and Orem), so we had plenty of them to keep us busy at home. What was difficult for my son was not going to playgrounds and having friends to play with.


Honorable Mention


Randy Karr

I have a lot of memories in my life. When I was in grade school, it seemed I was always segregated from other kids. We were in different reading groups. In those days no one knew about dyslexia and did not know how to help boys like me. But I kept passing from grade to grade. My mom tried to help me. She took me to the testing center to find some help.

In 7th grade in 1970, I remember I was out fishing on a lake when Mt. St Helens blew. It was something I will never forget. I will also not forget I played 7th grade football. I played the position of nose guard.

Moving on to high school, I was placed in Special Ed programs and classes. It was a struggle. I asked myself, “What’s the sense of going to school when you can’t read or write?” I also did not continue with football because I couldn’t keep my grades up. I did not participate in most of the activities because they did not interest me.

My parents let me decide to drop out of school and go to work. I decided to drop out and work when I was in 9th grade. I am proud of the work ethic I learned from this. I did not graduate from high school, but I had many jobs: logging, planting, building trails, creek draining, forklift driver, and home remodeling. Sadly, everything changed in 2011 when I became disabled. I got bone disease in both feet. Now I am limited in the work I can do physically (like standing). I still carry my struggle with reading.

So now I am here at Project Read. I am trying to get better at reading. I heard about the program a while ago through vocational rehabilitation. During the Covid virus I decided to spend my extra time focusing on Project Read. I hope to get better at reading. So far I have a good tutor. I also passed my drivers’ license test and got my drivers’ license.

I just finished reading My Side of the Mountain and I enjoyed it. This is the first book I have ever enjoyed. I am progressing at Project Read. I am even learning to type and use the computer. I am now planning to read Where the Red Fern Grows.


Honorable Mention

Hansook Choi

Recently, there is issue about Pandemic Covid-19 since last year, when I saw this book, I was curious to read it. First, I want to explain the story of this book. There is a girl who lives with mother and grandfather without a father. Her mother is the owner of a coffee house, and her father was a construction worker. He was building a coffee house, but he fell down from the ladder and he died. The coffee house that made their family to live affordable by giving them the money to buy the foods and supplies they need. Suddenly she hears the bad news that her friend Polly died of a fever. She wants to attend Polly’s funeral, but her mother didn’t allow her to go there, because people were dying of a fever in a row. People who get fear of the fever leave this city, in the meantime her mother was missing and grandfather died of an accident. She overcomes this situation and she comes back here.

The background of story in this book is 1793, and there is a difference between present but I realized that even if civilization develops, if a virus suddenly appears, many people will die before and now.

Though in my life during Pandemic Covid 19, I experienced some negative things around me, the government make the small business was limited working time to not spread the Covid and then some of people lost their job and they order us not to gather over 5 people, it make people feel frustrated and get stress. And my friend got covid, so her parents were infected from her, and her father was hospitalized.

I also experienced some good things, I had to work in an office but I could accept working at home when Pandemic Covid 19 started. I am with my children while I work at night. I wash my hands many times and I wear a mask when I go out to avoid getting Covid, so I never get cough during Covid.

I learned some people react well, and some people react poorly to their circumstances in this issue. I have had good experience with this issue, but the most important thing is that people would die from a virus. Recently we overcame it all together, we have begun to start going to the place that we want and we can meet people we want.


Honorable Mention

Karen Stark

2020 was a different year where everyone had to be very careful not to get the Covid 19 virus because it could kill you if you were not safe. I would hate to get the Covid 19 virus. I would hate to have a hard time breathing and a decreased taste of food that would not taste good at all. I could not work if I got the Covid 19 virus for 2 weeks. I would have to stay home until I would be all better to go back to work.

I was so lucky my husband and I stayed healthy the whole time. Both of my jobs were shut down for some months. 1) Alpine School District I was a bus aide working with the special needs kids 2) Deseret Industries I was working in the women’s clothing area.

I was at work at D.I. when I was finished with work I went home. Before the store closed that day I got a phone call from my supervisor Pat telling me that all D.I’s were going to be shut down for a while because of the Covid 19 pandemic. The school job had to close down for some time also. I do not remember when the schools shut down. I think it was about the same time as D.I. All of the schools and D.I’s were closed for a while because of the Covid 19 pandemic virus.

I was going crazy because I could not go to work. I was trying to clean up our home. It was hard. I did not like being home all the time. I had to do something, so I went to JoAnn’s to buy bags of different colors of beads so I could make key chains, bracelets and necklaces. I had to buy key rings. I was having so much fun doing key chains and making necklaces and bracelets for gifts. I also went to Michael’s and bought some yarn and made a blanket for a good friend for the 2020 Xmas year. For 2020 Christmas I made keychains, necklaces, and bracelets for gifts.

I called Pat up at D.I and asked her if I could come back to work. She said not right now. That was about the second week in April 2020. The D.I. was still closed down on 5-16-20, and I called Pat again and asked if I could come back to work. Pat told me I could come back to work.

I was happy to go back to work to do my work the way I was told to do. I enjoy not wearing masks anymore as I hated wearing the mask all the time. I was happy to see people’s faces without wearing a mask. Life gradually came back to normal.


Honorable Mention

From Chains to Charisma

Mariana Bereche Sanchez

The story is about an African-American slave fighting for her and her younger sister, Ruth’s freedom. Like Isabel, many people have to fight in life for different things, to get a better life or get success, such as studying or working abroad, learning a new language, understanding a new culture, or changing jobs.

Isabel’s first owner, Mrs. Finch, gave freedom to her; before her owner died, she wrote in a paper with her handwriting that Isabel was free.

Isabel was treated differently by her next owners. Her mother was enslaved too by the same owner, and Isabel and Ruth were born there, so they had a special situation, and everyone was kind to them. Also, the owner was very kind teaching Isabel how to read and write. Isabel was a kind person and the two most important things in her life, after her parents passed away, were Ruth and getting their freedom again.

After her first owner died, the nephew of Mrs. Finch sold them for a low price; he just wanted to get rid of them. The new owners, a mean and cold couple, the Locktons, treated them like the other slaves that they had, without mercy and punishing them when it was required.

Isabel didn’t behave as a proper slave; she was not taught to behave as a slave. The new owners taught Isabel how to behave, like not looking at the eyes of or speaking to the owners or guests. Isabel worked very hard for the Locktons. She had a really tough life with them.

Isabel was obedient with their owners until the wife, Anne, sold Isabel’s sister, Ruth. She didn’t need her, she was scare of her and saw her as a burden for her because of her seizures. Isabel was upset with her owner and confronted her because of the sale of her sister. Isabel insulted her and spoke in a loud tone to her. The owner, Anne, broke a picture on her head and in court she demanded that Isabel must be punished by 20 lashes and a burning mark on her cheek with the letter “I” meaning “Insolence.” Because of her bad behavior, the judge agreed the brutal punishment.

All the things Isabel did to escape still brought bad consequences to her. Isabel tried to escape again after the horrible event involving the burning of her face which left a scar, but without success, she was forced to use a metal collar around her neck that made it so she could barely walk. She had to wear the collar all day even while sleeping. Because Anna didn’t trust Isabel, while she attended the queen’s birthday party, she locked Isabel in a wooden box meant for potatoes for the whole day. Once Anne had left for the party, Isabel kicked the wooden box many times until she broke some pieces and she could release herself. It was lucky that she did because Anne had planned another punishment for Isabel upon her return. Isabel then helped her friend, Curzon, escape and the two of them went in the search of her younger sister.

Though she had a tough life with the Locktons, the mean owners, all that Isabel had done and faced was all worth it because it helped her to develop a strong personality and become more resilient to the uncertain and dangerous future for her. As a young black woman, she was still a slave and had the huge risk that anyone could catch her and take her over and make her their slave.

The most challenging thing in my life was to live alone abroad. At the beginning, while in Germany many people did not understand my German and I would have to switch into English which still is not my first language and not all Germans speak English. I was also working as a daycare teacher trying to learn and understand the new language and environment. Even though this was a hard journey, the experience of living abroad in Germany, Spain and the USA made me become more open-minded and more tolerant to understanding and learning about new cultures. This is because, during my time abroad, I met people from Russia, South Korea, Poland, Japan, Great Britain, Spain, France, Switzerland, Austria, Italy and Greece who all became my friends. This was necessary for me at the beginning to help me not feel so alone and to teach me life skills like cooking. A short while later, I got married and was no longer alone. Just like Isabel, my hardships lead me to become more mature and independent. Even though it was hard, if I could go back and do it all over again, I would.


Honorable Mention

Rosemarie Aldrich

Helen Keller was born on June 27th, 1880 IN Tuscumbia, Alabama.  Helen Keller was a healthy baby when she was born; sometime in March she came down with a fever that left her blind and deaf for life.  The parents of Helen Keller, and Helen Keller and other people were in the dark about what was possible for her life.  I have had a similar experience people were in the dark about what was possible for my life too!  Like Helen Keller, I was treated all my life as if I were not intelligent and would not amount to anything at all.  I was taking a motivational program in 1995, the program leader asked my partner in front of me if he would have chosen me for a partner.  He said no, because I was a slow learner and had a head injury too.  I felt so embarrassed, that I felt like becoming an ostrich and putting my head in the sand.  Like Helen Keller and I, Susan Boyle had a similar experience when she went on stage at the Exfactor.  Because the way, she appeared and dressed and the way she came across to people and the judges.  People literally thought, she was not intelligent and couldn’t sing and amount to anything ever with her life at the age of 47.  But lo and behold, when she started to sing Susan Boyle sang so well that she ended up getting a standing ovation.  The judges determined she was so good at singing that she was on to the next round of competition of singing.  When I was a child of three and half year old to four years old, I fell down a flight of stairs because I was so hyperactive since a baby.  Everyone in the past up to now, never thought I would ever amount to much at all, because I had such a massive head injury in the past till now.  But with a lot of hard work and determination, such as speech therapy, working on my coordination, taking herbs, biofeedback, sacral facial techniques, and counseling I am pretty completely over my head injury.  I have come out of the darkness and into the light like Helen Keller and Susan Boyle with Courage from God.


Honorable Mention

The Epidemic that Changed the World

Jade Dalton

In the book Fever an epidemic hit Philadelphia and killed some people. People weren’t worried at first then more people were getting sick. They got scared and started to leave Philadelphia. Mattie left with her grandfather then they returned to the coffeehouse. Mattie found a little girl and helped to take care of her, and she lived with Eliza for a little bit. Then the kids got sick and they took them to the coffeehouse to cool them. The frost came and cured the people. The mom reunited with Mattie.

During the Covid-19 pandemic I read the book Fever. It is a good book. I noticed that there are similar things this year, like people are scared, they’re saying rude things to each other, businesses are losing money and some people don’t believe that covid-19 is real. In my experience I lost my job and I stayed at home most of the time. My mom was in in tuned with the news because she wanted to know about the virus and the update of deaths and survival. In Fever a lot of business lost their jobs and people stayed home.

The doctors who risked their lives to help the sick care about people.

At the beginning of the pandemic I saw that people thought that the virus won’t come to America from China. But it did come and people weren’t prepared for it and the virus spiked way high.

In America the virus is unpredictable. It can kill people or not, it depends on the reaction of the body. For example, in my neighborhood there is a couple that is elderly and the husband had the virus. He was sent to the hospital in serious condition, but he survived. Another example, my neighbor’s friend was a dad in his 40s. He got the virus and died from it. My neighbor was really sad that he lost a friend.

In the present the doctors can figure out how a virus or sickness can start by trying to find the source and they can make medicine for people who need it.

In addition people who make the vaccine understand how the virus works and make a protein to protect the body from the disease.

Over time people are getting more information about how the body works and fighting off disease. They experiment on animals to see if their experiment works or not.

Unfortunately if a person does not know they’re carrying the virus they will travel to different places and spread it without knowing it and other people will get sick.

In conclusion  In book Fever 1793 people didn’t used to understand how to treat patients from disease. When time went by and people got more and more information they understood how the body works. Now they’re getting better to treat patients properly.


Honorable Mention

Yellow Fever 1793 VS Covid-19 2020

Delmy Roquel

The book “Fever” was written in 2020, but it happened in 1793. The book is about a girl who lives with her mom and grandfather. The family owns a coffee shop, where they all work. It’s about their experiences with yellow fever and how the girl and mom survive in Pennsylvania. I am writing this essay because I want to express my feeling and thoughts about yellow fever.

Both diseases yellow fever 1793 and covid-19 2020 are contagious and people need to be careful and stay away from sick people and only share and spend time together with immediate family. The families fear getting sick. In my opinion it has been hard because I have a son with preexisting conditions that make me feel more worried about him.  I am worried about him getting the virus at school or other places. For that reason, we need to be careful, wear masks everywhere we go, keep the house clean, use hand sanitizer any time we touch something, and keep social distance.

The good things about covid-19 are that we have a vaccine to help to control the spread of the virus, and we have more hospitals and doctors, but with yellow fever they did not have a good treatment and vaccine. A lot of people died without any treatment, because of hospital and doctor shortages.

Another difference is the yellow fever was transmitted through mosquito bites, and Covid-19 transmission is still under investigation. Race is another difference between covid-19 and yellow fever. Hispanic and black communities are the most likely to get the virus, but with yellow fever the black communities were the last ones to get the yellow fever. Yellow fever killed a lot of people in Pennsylvania, but covid-19 is still killing thousands more after 1 year and is a worldwide pandemic.

Both diseases have common and unique symptoms, and the most vulnerable are old people, and people with preexisting conditions.

Every generation had different challenges and ways to learn and improve treatments, but the most important is to survive, and be grateful every day for the opportunity to live and enjoy every second of our life.


Honorable Mention

Shema Ahmed

When COVID started in 2020, I was not able to work. My employer was closed for 3 months. Our manager let us know that we could not work but that our employer  would still pay us. When I received  my paycheck, it was  much less than what I was used to making. Even though I had been working as a full time employee for two years, my employer began paying me part time wages. The amount I was receiving did not even  cover my house payment. I was not able to buy food. Many nights I went to bed without eating anything. My friends called me every other day, but I never asked anyone for anything. I thought  about applying for unemployment, but I could not do it by myself because I did not know how to read the form. I needed someone to help me.  During that time of the pandemic, it was dangerous to go to someone’s house or to ask someone to come over to my  house. In May, one of my friends named Margo came over to my  house  multiple times and helped me apply, but my application was denied and it made me worried. At night I could not sleep  because I was thinking about work and feeling very scared. What should I do? How long can I survive? I was stagnating.I was locked in my house for almost 3 months and my roommate  left at the beginning of February. The whole situation at that time was scary. My day and night were lonely and hopeless.That was the worst time I have had in a long time. But I never stopped praying. I do believe in God. Every time I prayed I asked God when I could go to  work? “Please make it soon and help me out.” I have been blessed and helped.

When I was struggling, I didn’t tell anyone. However, God sent a lot of people  who helped me. My neighbor, Jeanie, helped me out and gave me cash. One morning, when I just woke up, I heard the doorbell. Soon I opened the door and another one of my neighbors, Karen, gave me a check. She told me “I was worried about you and what you are eating.” My friend  Sandy called me  and said “Shema,I put a Walmart gift card under a stone in front of your door.” She also gave  me a lot of  fresh vegetables. That was very nice of them. I really appreciated their help. They helped me when I needed it the most. Most people received help from the government, but I did not get my check until the third week of August $1200.00.

COVID-19 taught me a lot. It has motivated me to have a quality life. Minimum wage  is hard to live on, and a quality life? Impossible! I remember my dad always saying “Education is the only one tool that can make your life better and Education is the only asset no one can take away from you.” When I was young I could not read well.  If I tried to read from my books, letters moved around and looked like railroad tracks. No one understood my problems, my family or my teachers. They used to say to me “you are lazy and you don’t want to study.” Every year at the end of school I felt  sad, I tried to avoid knowing what my grades were. My sister had to get my  result, and they  got good marks in all subjects with good grades. But dad was proud of me “Shema got 100% marks in Math.” I still have problems reading. For a quality life I have to improve my English reading. I looked for a school that could  teach me English reading and writing but I could not find one. I have been trying to learn English, I went to many schools but I never got the help  I was needing or no one understood me. I was sad to let go of my hope for a quality life. I knew about Alpine Adult Education one time. For GED , They gave me some books to study at home. I was unable to do that, I never went back. In 2020 I went to Alpine Adult Education school  for GED again. All teachers are good;  they help students, but my needs are different, I explained what kind of help I wanted, Mr. Kip Bromley  understood me, but they did not have the program I was needing. Then he called me for project read, and explained to me how ‘project read’ can help me to improve my English. Mr. Kip Bromley is a very helpful person. He showed me the map on the computer and explained how to get the project read and write down the room number and phone number on paper. I am grateful for that. I’m glad I joined the project read to improve my English. It’s been helpful and my English is getting better. It has been the lift that I needed to help me grow. I wish I knew about Project read a long time ago.

I hope one day I will have a car to go to work, a home of my own, and a formal office job.

First Place

Life is a Battlefield

By Kelby Barnett

I can’t tell you why it felt like I did something bad, but it did. I would like to tell you my life story. When I went to school, I was someone who struggled with reading most of my life. Most people thought I was a special needs student. But, in fact I was more normal just someone with a learning curve. With reading, I was diagnosed with something called dyslexia. Now you’re wondering what is dyslexia. Dyslexia is where the brain can mix words around and make you think it’s something else. For example, when we look at a b or a d the brain sometimes flips them around.  Sometimes when I read I’ll pull words from other areas in the story or something I am reading in the news.  So as you can see, this can be frustrating. Like Pat Benatar’s song Love is a Battlefield my life is also a battlefield.

I’m going to explain how I learned growing up. When I was young, my mom could only assign me to one thing at a time. Two things would be hard for me. I would probably focus on the one and forget the other one, which was kind of frustrating to my mom when she tried to ask me to do more. However, over time when I grew up I could do more tasks that I was assigned to. When I was in kindergarten reading to me was more on the outskirts of my mind. I was more focused on dreaming. You could say building things with my imagination. But, of course reading is a part of school so I was held back the first year of Kindergarten.

As time passed I had teachers who took some interest in me and helped me learn with many things such as colors and numbers. But the very next day I would always forget what they were. I always got my colors wrong or my numbers wrong but they were patient, and we would learn them all over again. But on the other hand I had some other teachers who were very impatient and I felt like I did something bad. They almost made it feel like it was a punishment for doing everyday things at school. But as time went by I had some amazing teachers who saw something in me. When I was in junior high my history teacher noticed something remarkable about me. When he told stories in class they were filled with history and amazing legends ancient Roman soldiers to the American Revolution. Then one day I said to him “I don’t read very well. I get a lot of words mixed up”. But then he said something amazing. He said “tell me about the story I told you today”. And I took off like a rocket ship telling him every little detail within the story that we learned about. After I was done telling him the story he said “Kelby, you have an amazing photographic memory. You told the story down to the last detail. That is truly a remarkable talent”. He told me “I will test you on the stories I tell in class and I will grade you”. He was one of the neatest history teachers I’ve ever had.

Another teacher I had in junior high was an English teacher. He was in the army and told of many interesting things in the service. He was an incredible teacher to me. He took the time to help me with reading and writing. He helped me learn spelling and we watched some movies which were very good iconic movies such as The Scarlet Pimpernel and The Scarlet Letter. Great teacher his name was Mr. Rice. I always remember him because he suggested I should go to high school and skip my freshman year and go to be a sophomore in high school. He said “they have more hands-on one on one with students”. And that was to become a big game changer for me.

As I look at my past I had some not so good teachers, some incredible teachers who I hold most high, some amazing friends who stood by my side, and also those who were not so good friends who made fun of me all because I was different because I could not read. They helped me along life’s way. It’s truly amazing to call them my teachers who deserve the title to be called an educator who goes above and beyond the call of their duties to help the students they love so much.

In the song Love is a Battlefield, Pat Benatar sings “Tell us we were wrong, believe me we were young or am I the best thing you ever Seen”. I can’t tell you why it felt like I did something bad but School was hard for me. Life is a battlefield and so is School. Will the teachers turn me away or will they accept me for Who I am? We all have struggles in our lives. I know the hardships. The conclusion of my story I can say that I am truly thankful for the teachers who helped me along life‘s journey. I also thank God for sending truly amazing people into my life those who helped me on this Earthly Journey. I still may have dyslexia. But that does not determine my destiny. I will strive higher and dream bigger and know the desires of my heart. I have many talents that are my own in creating beautiful art that moves people within their soul. My creator gave me this challenge of dyslexia. I am not broken for God sees me as magnificent; he knows my struggles and knows my passions, of my heart. The End.


Second Place

Heroes in the United States

By Araceli Juarez

I wasn’t born in the USA, but I love the United States  as if it was my real home town. I was born in Mexico. Here in the United States my life is very good comparing it to Mexico. I was born in a little town, in a humble family. We are ten children. I fall in the middle of ten siblings. My father was a farmer and he provided our main source of food. We had a small garden in the backyard of our house with tomatoes, peppers, onions, carrots, potatoes, beans, and corn.

Corn is one of the most important ingredients in Mexican food. In the morning around six, my mother would go to the mill to ground corn up. She would go home and put some firewood in the fire pit, and light it on fire. She put a comal,(a big, round, flat, iron pan) and started making tortillas for breakfast. We usually ate beans with our meals, sometimes with potatoes, eggs, a piece of cheese, molcajete sauce, (molcajete is a big stone bowl with a stone hand), and corn beverage. We were never lacking handmade tortillas. This was simple, but delicious food. We always looked forward to the weekend. We save meat just on weekends. It wasn’t fancy, it was just chicken soup or beef stew.  For us, this was a great feast.

We didn’t have real toys. Our toys were soil, tree leaves, and water. I always wanted a Barbie, but I knew that it wasn’t probable. Sometimes we chased animals. One time we were chasing the chickens, and playing very close to my father’s horse when suddenly it kicked me on the head.

I was bleeding and was very scared, my mother wasn’t at home. She was washing the clothes in the stream, so I just went to bed to cry. One of my brothers went to tell my mother about my accident. When my mother arrived home, she put ointments on my head and a bandage. In a couple of days I was fine. My poor mother, with so many children if it wasn’t one who had an accident was another. We were very playful.

We didn’t only play, we also helped in the house too. Next to my house was a little bakery.  My brothers helped the owner clean the oven,sweep the floor,or feed the pigs. As a payment the bakery owner gave them some snacks. He didn’t pay them with money because they were too young to work. Therefore, he paid them with bread or a soda. My brothers always remembered that old man with love. They also sold popsicles on the streets, from the only ice cream shop in the village. They would knock on the neighbors’ door and ask if they wanted to buy some popsicles. Usually, they sold all of the popsicles because at that time almost nobody had refrigerators in their homes. Since my brothers were children, they have been very hard workers.

Since my oldest brother moved to the United States, our lives have changed. He dedicated himself to work and help my father with money, to support the rest of the siblings, and make our lives easier. I appreciate him because he didn’t forget us. Alternatively there are a lot of people who forget about their roots. One day one of my cousins left the village and we never heard from him again. His parents and siblings don’t know if he died or he simply forgot about them. After my  oldest brother moved a couple of years later another brother moved to the United States. Afterwards, another brother followed their footsteps. These three together built a better house for my family in Mexico. The old house that we had was made with mud bricks. The bricks were made of clay, soil,sand, and  straw. The  roof was made of tejas, small clay shingles. When it rained, the house would get wet. We would place buckets under the leaks in the roof to catch the water. My father was trying to fix it, but everything cost money.

My father always worked very hard, but the money that he earned wasn’t enough. He worked in fields, sowing, watering, harvesting, and other agriculture things. His boss had multiple plots of land. So he sometimes worked all day and all night in the field. It didn’t matter what the weather was like. He worked through the night, because he needed to water the land. The water was scarce and all of the land owners had to share it, and owners took turns watering their fields. On Monday was the turn of the land where my dad was working, he had to stay in the field to finish watering the land. Since he was thirteen or fourteen years old, he worked at the same place. He loved his job. He always did  whatever he could so that the land could be fertile and have a good harvest. Last year, my father’s boss got sick. He wasn’t able to make his own decisions. His children took control of his businesses. Suddenly one day, they  just told my father “thank you, we do not need you anymore,” even my father worked there for about sixty-two years. They just said thank you and that’s it. They didn’t give him a single penny in compensation for having worked there for so many years. These things happen when people don’t have a good education, they don’t know how to defend themselves. Sometimes the owners abuse the workers and pay them whatever they want. My father is now seventy-six years old, but he is strong, active, and he still has power to work. He is now working in our house.

The house that my brothers built is made of concrete. It doesn’t leak anymore. The rest of my brothers also have contributed to the house. They constructed a few corrals for some cattle. They feed the cattle and then sell them for meat. My father is helping with the cattle. That has helped him to not feel sad or get depressed about losing his job. Now seven of the siblings are living in the United States, including me. Fortunately for me, they are living close to me here in Utah. In November, my parents came to Utah for the first time. They were amazed about Utah’s mountains. They loved the snow and the beauty of Utah. They want to come back in summer because in the winter it is very cold.

I am very happy living here in Utah. It doesn’t matter to me if winter is very cold or summer is really hot. I have a lot to thank this country for. Here I have things that I couldn’t have had in my country. One of the most important is that my children are growing up here in the United States and they aren’t cold or hungry, and they have the opportunity to study. Studying is something that I couldn’t do in Mexico. I have had many capeless heroes like my father, brothers, teachers tutors, and those who I don’t know, but I know they are there. I’m speaking of the sponsors who support the Project Read Program. Thanks to their help, I’m able to write this letter. Not just because it is written in English. In Spanish it would have been difficult for me to write it, I didn’t know how to write well in Spanish either. I’m learning how to write correctly in both languages at the same time. Studying hard, I’m leaving my illiteracy behind. I’m going to have a better future for me and my family. I hope that one day I can be like a hero to some people and teach them what I’m learning. I would like to be a teacher. In conclusion, I feel so blessed to be part of the United States. I wasn’t born in the United States, but I love it.


Third Place

Journey – Don’t Stop Believin’

Published in 1981

By Enrique Martinez

Two teengers go on a train, and no matter where they go, they are finding their journey or destiny. The song has the following words,

“Strangers waiting

Up and down the boulevard

Their shadows searching in the night…

Paying’ anything to roll the dice just one more time”

My life was the same without knowing where to go, and what will happen when I came to Utah. When I was living in New Jersey, I wanted to have a new start on my life, a new beginning.

My good friend told me that Utah is better living than New Jersey, so like the people in the song, I took a train for a new adventure.

“Working hard to get my fill 

Everybody wants a thrill 

Payin’ anything to roll the dice just one more time”

Like the song, I am working hard for a chance to fulfill my dreams. My dreams are being a film writer in all categories and learning how to draw perfect 3D artwork. In order to fulfill all my dreams, I am studying hard to obtain my GED. I work a part-time job at a fast food restaurant to have money to pay all my bills, only buying what I need and saving the rest. I am also studying at Project Read in Provo, Utah to improve my English.

I won’t stop believin’ in all my dreams and goals. This music is giving hope for the future and having a positive attitude going forward.


Honorable Mention


By Delmy Roquel

Life is a challenge for every human in the world.  Therefore, it’s important to keep our dreams alive, work hard and believe in ourselves.  In my personal experience life has been such a roller coaster.  Sometimes I’m up and sometimes I’m down.  However, I always remember no one can stop me from doing what I want to do, and I will keep trying hard and not give up. I know I have a long way to go to finish my journey.  God sent me to the world for a purpose and has given me the assurance and ability to do anything.  I believe in myself.

For example, I got a scholarship to study at UVU, and I left my family in my country and worked hard to support my parents until they died.  I have injuries from a three-car accident, and then my son got sick with Leukemia.  I left my job to take care of him.   I have three sons and a husband. My family is an important piece of my life, and I believe it is important for me to support and help them.

Project Read gave me the opportunity to improve my knowledge of English and believe in a better future for me and my family.  I want to be a good example for my kids, so they know to believe that they can be whatever they want to be in life, and keep trying every day.

I believe the world can be changed, and we can love each other no matter where we come from.  In conclusion, if you do not believe in yourself, nobody will, and the sky is the limit.


Honorable Mention

By Jade Dalton

When people don’t believe they can work on goals or life. People can be depressed and they don’t think that life is precise. When people do have confidence they can do anything , being strong and happier with themselves. If nature strikes like an earthquake and lose their love ones ,they can have hope and believe that everything will be ok and help others who need help the most.


Honorable Mention

My Experience in the US

By Micheline Montfleury

I have lived in the United States since 2002, but I was born and raised in Haiti. I remember, when I was 10, I was watching television at my uncle’s house. There was a movie titled: Le Mississippi. Mississippi is a state in the United States. I didn’t pay attention to the content of the movie. But I was enjoying watching the happiness of those American people celebrating with joy, drinking, and dancing in some parts of the movie. Since I watched that movie, the idea came to my mind to visit this country someday, when I grew up. My dream came true; I came to visit in 1994. But because of some difficult situations, I came back and immigrated in 2002, and since then I have lived in the US with my immediate family. I love living in the US because most of the American people are hospitable, positive, and happy.

First, American people are hospitable. When I first came, everything was new. I didn’t speak English. Me and my husband have four children. The oldest was only 14 and the youngest was 9. We rented a basement apartment. It was enough for us. When we went to church on Sunday, my husband came to talk to me and told me, “We are going to move to a bigger house in the neighborhood.”  I told him, “We can’t afford that; we are okay for now.” And, he came back again, and told me, “The owners want to rent us the house at the price of our basement apartment.” It was amazing, because this house had a master bedroom for us and then 5 other bedrooms for the children. And then, someone at church let us drive her car until we could afford to buy one. It was very good for us, because we were just at the beginning of living in the US and didn’t know what to do at this time. That was very helpful for my family. I am very grateful for that.

Second, many American people are positive and don’t like to judge people. They like to encourage others and don’t criticize you to make you feel down. If you do something not very good or good enough, they have a way to compliment you. I love that because that makes me feel stronger and do better by improving my knowledge. They love to tell you, for example: “You can do it.” That is very important for me. When they tell me that, they make me feel good. That way, they make me feel unique, and they accept me the way I am. They want me to do better and be myself, not to compare to someone else. I really love that. I remember one time, my employers asked me to talk about my birth country Haiti, in a party organized by a group of employers. I know a lot about Haiti, but the speech was in English, not creole. I was nervous and not a good public speaker. But, because of their support, I did it and they told me it was very good.

Third, most American people are happy. They love to celebrate their holidays. Even, in some difficult situations, they still celebrate in different ways. They celebrate Veterans Day. It is not a happy moment, but they do Memorial Day celebrations.  They celebrate every holiday season with energy that shows love, respect, and remembrance. They love to spend time, money, energy to make everything go well. I remember, when I first came, someone asked me, “Are you ready for Christmas?” And I said, “Ready or not Christmas is coming.” Now living in the US for so many years, my answer is different. I try to get ready to celebrate. For example, I put up my Christmas tree, and do whatever is required to celebrate with my loved ones and my community. I feel like I am not just an American citizen now but a true American.

I love living in the US. Living in the US with my family was a good choice.  I think, we have experienced some challenges, some difficult situations with some bad people. Bad people are in every country. Even in my birth country I experienced some difficult situations. Nobody is perfect, but I have so many good examples to say American people are very good people. They are hospitable, helpful, and happy.


Honorable Mention

Reconciled at Last

By Wonsook Lee

Some strange feeling lingered with me for a few days. That’s why I’m not stable and uneasy.

I felt like something lost or someone chased me so, I couldn’t eat, sleep and work well. Even I doubted “are these depression symptoms?” But it wasn’t. I felt a strong urgency in my brain to call my brother right away. It was an odd feeling since my brother and I were currently estranged.

I lost the hearing in one of my ears. Since then, I’ve spent my life inconvenient sometimes disadvantaged by that.

When I was 14, my brother hit my cheek with heavy force because I intruded my mom and brother while they were in a quarrel.

After that, I had suffered from my ear. Mom and I went to see the doctors and possible surgery but it worked in vain. They said it wasn’t possible to recover my hearing like before because of my burst eardrum. Finally, mom and I had given up so I have been living as it was until now.

Anyway, after that happened, I hated my brother. I didn’t want to see his face also. I tried to avoid him little by little. It was not easy as we were living together at the same house.

Anyhow, I wasn’t able to understand my brother’s behavior. How could he destroy my eardrum with only one hit? Worse, he acted just like nothing happened. I thought he wasn’t my real brother. Then we had lived at odds with each other until he married. When he married, I didn’t see him anymore because we were not living together in the same house.

After some years, I married too. And more years passed, my family came here. At that point we were unrelated to each other automatically for more than 40 years. Completely he had vanished from my memory.

However, odd feelings kept in my mind and pushed me to call him. Why him? Among all the people, why him. Why!

Finally, I decided to call him. I barely got his number, I had to ask around. I hesitated day again and again. At last, I pushed the phone to dial and waited for a signal. At that moment I had feelings of regret but before I could hang up I heard a “Hello”. I said “Here is America” abruptly with a silent moment. “Yes, that’s me” he said but I knew something was wrong by the tone of his voice.

The voice sounded like someone whose days are numbered. Long ago his voice was powerful and low. But not now. Nevertheless, a long time had passed. He recognized my voice but he didn’t sound perplexed. I was surprised he knew it was me after all of these years.

Then his question spurted, “how have you been? How’s your baby? How about your husband’s work? How do you like it there? Was it hard to get used to?” And so on. I just answered yes. Yes. Simply. I thought, “did I suffer for days for this one simple conversation?”

I wanted to hang up but I heard a weak voice with intent and forgiveness “Sorry, I should have apologized but I didn’t have the courage. I’m sorry.”

The voice came to me through the telephone wire over the Pacific Ocean from Korea! He should have said this 40 years ago. Unexpected! I would’ve never anticipated an apology! But somewhere in my mind, the apology melted my heart warmly.

I didn’t want to reveal my emotion, so I calmly said, “I didn’t do well also, I was young, but I think you are in pain. Take care of yourself” and hung up. I finished as if a student had done their homework. But I was concerned about his weak voice.

After this, I’m back in a routine again. I didn’t know how much time had passed since my previous conversation with my brother. Suddenly, I got a phone call from my sister-in-law that lives in South Korea. “Thank you. You called your brother. He passed away peacefully the next day when he had a phone call from you. He was very delighted with your call.”

Was it the last time to reconcile between my brother and myself while he was staring at death’s door?

If it weren’t for his apology my heart would still be full of hate towards my brother. It was confusing for me. I had to ask myself “Is this a dream?”

Instantly a feeling of warmth overcame me when I replay my brother’s apology. It made me realize we need to be more apologetic to one another. More time to converse and to spend time together and less time of feeling resentment.

If I opened up my mind earlier, it made me wonder how different it would’ve been. We would’ve spent time normally like other people instead of misunderstandings and hatred.

I blamed myself deeply. I regret that I had given him the cold shoulder for so many years.

I felt sorry for my brother with all my heart. To this day, I still plead for his forgiveness with full sorrow.

First Place

It’s Never Too Late To Follow Your Dreams

The more that you read,
The more things you will know.
The more that you learn,
The more places you’ll go.
Dr. Suess. (I Can Read With My Eyes Shut! 1978)

This is my life. I’ve always had a dream. My dream is to have a career, but I used to think that my dream would be impossible. When I was a child, I was very sick. I was sick at least one time a week and my illness lasted at least three or four days and I couldn’t go to school those days. I had asthma but it was a rare asthma. When I had asthma attacks, I had coughs, vomiting, phlegm, and chills. The asthma attacks were so strong that I couldn’t walk, speak, eat or sleep.

Although we were very poor, my patients always tried to find a way to cure me, sometimes with homemade remedies and sometimes taking me to the doctor. My town was very small. There were not many doctors. Sometimes doctors came from the city, but I don’t know if they were real doctors or thieves. I remember one time that my mom took me to the doctor, the doctor said that I had holes in my lungs and that I was going to die in two or three months. Every time I got sick, my mother got sad maybe she thought that I was going to die that day. I’ll never forget that.

In that time was when I left school. I also remember that in that time the teachers were not good teachers. They took advantage of their powers and abused the children. They punished the children when children did things that they didn’t like. For example, when kids didn’t do their homework, teachers put them outside in the middle of the basketball court under the hot sun. other times, when kids did not know the answer to the question they asked them, they put donkey ears on them. When for some reason, children did not pay attention or did not listen to the teachers, they threw an eraser at them. Meanwhile, when kids were late to school, the teachers were pulling their hair, ears and pinching them. I went through all of this. My parents thought that maybe I was sick with nerves and stress, because of the teachers and I did not go to school anymore. It may be true because when I stopped going to school, I started getting better.

We don’t know how my illness ended. At the age of eighteen, I was already cured. In about one year later I got married. I have three wonderful children. A long time I’ve dedicated myself to them and I didn’t work or study. Now they are getting older and all of them are going to school. About two years ago, I decided to start studying.

I was very nervous about studying. I thought that I didn’t know anything. First, I started studying Enghish, then I found an excellent program. This program has excellent teachers, wonderful tutors, and the staff is so nice and helpful. This program is Project Read. I want to thank Aleah Spencer because I remember when I came the first time to the office, I was very nervous and afraid. I told her that I was scared about the test and she motivated me and said, “Don’t worry, don’t be afraid. We are here to help you.” This is Project Read a program which supports people. Project Read helped me to improve my reading and writing skills and now I can see my goals closest. I’m already taking classes to get my high school diploma. I hope that in a year, I will already have it and be able to go to university and make my dreams come true.


Second Place

A Legacy of Persistence

Dr. Seuss’s  characters exhibit persistence, hard work,  and follow through. The Lorax says, “unless someone like you cares  a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” I believe the Lorax.  It is my experience in life. It’s what I want my kids to remember about me and learn these ideas for themselves.

I’m persistent in what I want, and I work hard to get it.  For example I went to college without knowing any English, and I earned an associate’s degree in two years.   I had been studying nursing in El Salvador when UVU offered me a scholarship to study environmental technology and water treatment.  Coming to the USA gave me more opportunities to have a better life for me and my family.

Another thing that I like to do is share love with my family and friends.  I like spending time with my kids and helping them to do homework. I like to cook for them and support them in their activities.  I do this because I want them to have better opportunities than I had. I want them to go to college and be good fathers.

Helping others is my favorite thing to do.  I like to listen to others and share my experiences.  For example at Christmas time we had a hard time with money, and my niece sent me some extra money.  I knew a family that needed food for Christmas dinner, and I shared the money my niece gave me with them.   Sharing is a blessing for life. When I die I hope my kids keep the legacy of persistence, sharing love and helping others.  It will be a good way to remember me as a hard working Mom.

As Dr. Seuss says, “Today I shall behave as if this is the day I will be remembered.”


Third Place

The Man Who Inspired Me

When I first met Scott at work, he just smiled at me all the time. He thought I didn’t speak English. All the other workers only knew Spanish. Scott only spoke English. Scott asked my supervisor a question in English. My supervisor only spoke Spanish, so I translated for him. Scott was so surprised!

He started giving me work orders. One day I messed up on an order because I couldn’t read it. Scott asked why. I told him, “I can’t read.” Scott said I should go to school to learn to read. He said, “I’m old, and I’m still learning. You can learn, too.” After that, I decided to quit work and go to school. I went to school for six months, but I needed more help. My teacher called Project Read, and I got signed up.

Scott was the man who inspired me to learn to read. When he died of cancer, I cried and cried at his funeral. He was such a good friend. He never gave up, not even with cancer. He helped me want to keep growing. And that’s what I’m still trying to do.


Honorable Mention

Being Nice to Others

A couple of years ago, my mom was going to work. I could tell she was feeling sad in the morning. Then I went to my boss asking for twenty dollars, then I went to Smith’s and bought roses. My mom’s rose was red. My mom had a better day.

When my mom saw the flower, she saw something beautiful and it made her happy. I am trying to create beautiful things to make people happy.

Sometimes in life you need help making something beautiful. The unicorn drawing I worked on was my pride, and drawing makes me feel healing. The unicorn was beautiful and magical. I was working on the unicorn for years, but I couldn’t get the legs right. So my mom had to fix the legs to make it look like the picture. My experience was like the story of the Lorax. He felt sad and he gave the kid seeds to rebuild a new forest. Both people saw there was a problem and helped someone fix it.

Not just art can make you feel beautiful but people can make you feel beautiful too. When I talk to the preacher’s wife, she gives me a good feeling that I don’t need cigarettes. She makes me feel clean and makes me feel beautiful too. When I smoke cigarettes, it makes me smell, but when I stop smoking cigarettes, it makes me feel better about myself.

We can also learn from ugly people through beautiful people. My brother was often ugly toward me because at the time he wasn’t happy with himself. But when I gave him something of mine to my brother he was more happy and he was nicer to me. I learned I didn’t want to be an ugly person toward people and ugly people can change for the better. My brother was a better artist but he was not acting nicely toward me. Doctor Seuss’s story of the Sneetches is similar because the Sneetches had stars on the stomach they would be rude to each other just like my brother, he and the Sneetches need to learn to be nice one another even if they are different from one another.

Be nice to other people so you can feel more beautiful and other people can feel more beautiful. One time I made cookies with my daddy’s neighbors for my brother and he enjoyed the cookies. You don’t have to make cookies or give flowers away, you can also do dishes and mop the floor for someone. Being nice to people will always get a thank you.


Honorable Mention

My Life Stories

The happiest day of my life so far was when I got divorced.

The birth of my first child and her first birthday was also a very happy day. We were married 7 years. We have three children two girls and one boy.

So the cause of my divorce way finding my best friend in bed with her. Rather than throw him out I threw a twendy dollar bill at him and told him to go find something better.

I packed my suitcase and left Cleveland Ohio for Utah. I had a nervous break down. After the divorce, she married him but it lasted less than a year.

She asked if she could visit the kids and kidnapped them back to Ohio. A warrant was put out for her arrest. I never saw my kids again.

I believe that being a good parent includes the following:

Under standing why your kids have life when they are also hungry and wet and cranky. Understanding why they are failing in School. exploring how to succeed rother than fall.

Patience is a virtue. Something that you learn through time and learn to experience and practice. Patience when my daughter bit me and told her that behavior was naughty and unnecessary.

Knowledge is based on experience. Such as what my parents taught me. My parents were very patient with me. This taught me how to be patient with my children. I try not to be short tempered and angry with them.

The above qualities describe a good parent.

I have read about ten eighth grade level book including. Tom sawyer and Survois which was incredibly difficult. Surviors had completely new words in almost every single paragraph. I can honestly say my reading has gratly improved because of is phenominal mom.


Honorable Mention

You do not like them, so you say. Try them! Try them! And you may …

Sometimes it’s difficult to open myself up to new ideas and experiences. I want to retire in Utah so I left the country life and now I live in the city.

When I got to Utah, I signed up for Project Read so I can get my GED and make a difference with me. My teachers are helpful. I had plans to go to Colorado. I needed to get to the airport on time, so me and my teacher got on the computer to make a map to get there on time.

There are things that are new to me. For example, like riding the bus. When I got lost, I would ask the bus driver how to get there. He would help me a lot.

Coming here has been a new adventure for me. The people are nice, easy to get along with and easy to talk to. The mountains are beautiful and the fishing is great. I love the snow in the winter. That’s what keeps me going. Sometimes it gets rough but I’m trying and I am a survivor. Like Dr. Suess says, “You do not like them so you say. Try them! Try them! And you may.”


Honorable Mention

Gaining New Skills by Trying New Things

“You do not like them so you say. Try them! Try them! And you may.” Dr. Seuss said this in Green Eggs and Ham. He meant that you shouldn’t be afraid to try something new. With this saying, I remember a long time ago, when I started something new–my job as an independent business owner for Amway. It was kind of a marketing business. I was so afraid of that job, because I never had experience. I was afraid of people and speaking with them about products and business. Moreover, my personality was quiet, not outgoing, and I didn’t like to talk to strangers even if I could earn a lot of money–a “whole awful lot.”

With the idea of trying something new, I remember a book I borrowed from the library and read to my son when he was young. The book title was Carrots. The story was about a young boy who planted a carrot seed. He planted a tiny carrot seed one day and he believed it would grow in the future. However, all of his family members, including his parents, said it wouldn’t grow. His siblings said, “It won’t grow,” but he believed anyway that the seed would sprout someday. He watered and cared for it every day. Finally one day, the plant came up and he got big carrots.

Like the carrot story, many people didn’t believe in me or the business. “You can’t do that because sales are not easy” or “Your character is not good for that job,” they said. However, when I found out about this job, I had nothing to lose. So I started the job despite what people said. Of course I knew myself more than they did.

With time, I earned some money from the job, improved my people skills, and gained business knowledge. It was a valuable experience in my life. So, I learned that trying new things might change your life. You won’t regret it.


Honorable Mention

Today I will behave, as if this is the day I will be remembered.

“Today I shall behave, as if this the day I will be remembered.” Dr. Seuss. Our everyday actions and behaviors say a lot about who we are and will influence the memories of those around us. If today is your last, how will you be remembered? What can you do today that will reflect how you want others to remember you? 

Dr. Seuss says: “Today I shall behave, as if this is the day I will be remembered.” If today is my last day, I will do everything in a positive way. I am not the strongest person in the world, but I try to be positive in any circumstance. I also want people to remember me as a hard worker and a nice person who makes people feel good. 

I think there are many ways that people can think about me while I am living or when I am gone. For instance, when I face tough situations in my life, I stay positive and keep going. A positive attitude means a lot for me. When my son had an immigration issue and was detained, I didn’t get discouraged. I stayed positive. I knew I would get him out. I have a friend at UVU who told me, “I am your friend. I don’t want you to spend your money for nothing. I don’t think he will get out.” I didn’t think about what she said. I didn’t want her to make me down. I kept working with the lawyer and staying positive. Now, my son is out and in a good situation. 

I also want people to remember that when I do something, I do it with all my strength. By continuing to keep my positive attitude, I am in college now. I just finished two semesters at Utah Valley University. I plan to keep going next year. For my age, it is not easy, but if I can make it, I think it is something that people around me, my children, my grandchildren will never forget. I am working hard to make my children proud of me. 

In the same way, I try to help people when they are in difficult situations and give good advice to support them, so they don’t get down. If someone needs something, I am the first one to say, “Do you need help?” At work or in my house, I can try to see how many people tell me, “Thank you, Micheline.” If I have a lot of people tell me “thank you” for the day, that means it is a good day for me. The other day, a co-worker was lifting a heavy tray of ice, and I helped him do it. He was very happy, so he gave me a reward card. I didn’t think about the reward, though. I just helped him. 

In addition to my examples, everyone remembers Anne Frank, a little Jewish girl hiding with her parents during World War II. She was very strong and kept her mind busy in her tough situation. She was a good example. Even though she was young, she was a leader for her family. She didn’t know people would remember her. Since reading The Diary of Anne Frank last year, I feel like I must act in a way people can remember me. I don’t know who watches me and who is going to choose me as an example, so I need to act like Anne Frank and do my best. 

I think if today was my last, I would want others to remember me as a good person. I need to stay positive, work hard, and be nice. In other words, I need to think about others before I act. I always must remember that my actions and my reactions reflect how others remember me. 

First Place

I Have a Dream

Since my earliest years, I have always desired to help others. I was often sensitive to the suffering of people around me, especially children. Unfortunately, suffering among children and youth was common in Colombia, where I was born, due to the social and economic problems of the time. While in high school, one of the graduation requirements was to teach literacy to illiterate women working in the city. I remember teaching these women for three months. They were all employed in domestic service. They had not had any opportunity for academic instruction in their early lives. Without exception, they came from rural areas and worked long hours every day.

Because they were uneducated, they went every night to the classes to learn to read and write. As I began teaching these women, I was surprised to find that they did not even know the alphabet. This was an exceptional experience for me. I was very happy to help them and they were so grateful. My desire became to study a profession where I could help, support and serve other people. For this reason I began to study social work with a lot of enthusiasm and motivation. I thought that it was a good way to contribute to society. I enrolled in Bogota at a university where I studied social work for about five years. I graduated from this program with an honor’s thesis and in time found a good job in my profession.

In my job as a social worker in Colombia, I had over seven years of experience fulfilling the role of protecting children from abandonment, abuse and neglect in the community. I provided a public service orientation for families and also I supervised community home programs in which children were placed in families for regular foster care or for routine day care. This was a remarkable experience in my professional life, but at the same time this brought me closer to knowing the suffering of children in a country where the economic and social situation is very complex.

I never thought that I would come to this country, but the circumstances of life brought me to live in the US in 2001. Upon arrival, I started to study English because I wanted to be integrated into the new country and also because one of my goals was to find another job in social work. Beginning to understand, speak, and write English was never an easy process for me. Learning English presented many difficulties: first, because I did not have knowledge of the language; second, because I did not have the necessary skills for learning a new language; third, because when I arrived in this country I was not very young and finally, because all my friends around me spoke Spanish. In spite of the challenges, step by step, I have been able to reach some of my goals. For example, I decided to apply for admission to UVU. This involved two different processes: first, my course work from the university in Colombia needed to be transferred into American college credit and second, I was required to pass the English proficiency exam. After a lot of effort, study, support and help, I was able to finish my bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Science with an emphasis in family studies. This happened in May 2015. Achieving this goal made me feel very proud, but I still have a lot to learn about English.

My desire in the future is to do a master’s degree in social work, always with the hope of supporting the most disadvantaged population and of course to help immigrants who come to this country looking for better living conditions. Several obstacles to achieving this dream remain. Two of the challenges that I have experienced and continue to struggle with are a shortage of time to dedicate to English (job, families, Spanish-speaking friends) and perhaps not enough self-discipline. In spite of this, I found some opportunities that allow me to improve my English skills. Project Read is one of these; weekly I have the support of a tutor who generously donates his time so that I can practice my English with him. Also, I have a job where I have to speak English every day. Besides these things, I love to read biographies of prominent people; all of this reading is in English. Of course the essay that you are reading is another example of work that I am doing to improve my English language ability with the help of my tutor.  It has been an excellent exercise in reflection and practice. In all of these ways I am overcoming the challenges of too little time and weak self -discipline in my quest to learn English.

I know that I have to learn more and more and I am here struggling day by day to improve my knowledge of the language. I do not know how and when I am going to reach my goal, but I have the conviction that one day I will achieve it.  Today I just want to give thanks from the bottom of my heart to God for his infinite blessings in my life and all the wonderful people who are always here, available to help me to achieve my dream.



Second Place

My Dream is the Love Me for Me

When I look back on my life, I don’t recall ever saying when I grow up, I want to get married have kids and be happy. I never said I wanted to teach school, be a movie star, own a business, or travel the world. How dare I dream, I am not loveable.  Most of my life I felt invisible, I felt like I was on the outside looking in. Why did I allow the negative to impact my life, not the positive? No more! I don’t want to stand on the outside looking in. I want to love me for me. I want to dream. My dream is to feel worthy of me. It does not matter what you think of me, only what I of think of me. This is my story-the path of feeling worthless to the road of feeling worthy.

Growing up I would hear “she’s one of Donna’s girls” not, ”LeEarl and Donna’s, just Donna’s.” I was three years old when my mom Donna married my step-dad LeEarl, who were they to say I wasn’t his daughter? He has never wavered when asked, how many kids do you have? Eight he will say, six girls and two boys. I was thirteen when I asked Mike, my birth father, if LeEarl could adopt me. He said no! The man that never remembered a birthday or a Christmas, and he probably doesn’t even know my full name; It was his choice to not love me. I was worthless.

I remember hearing a teacher say something to the effect of “Oh, no not another one.” What did she mean by that? I am not my sister the troublemaker. I am the quiet one, you won’t see me, or hear me. I am worthless.

.‘86, The perpetrator is going to court soon, they want our statements, it will help. It’s judgment day, of course, they read my sister JC’s, she’s the main reason we are here, next comes my sister Nannette’s, but where is mine? He touched me. My voice was not heard. It was ignored. I was worthless.

Aug. 22, ‘92 my divorce was final and the last thing David, my ex, said to me as he left the house was, “I would like to see you succeed like the garbage man.”  Another dig just like when he would say, “Pull your head out, are you that stupid?” You see in David’s eyes anyone can be a garbage man, not everyone can be a self- taught computer programmer working at Wordperfect. I should have said, you must really want to see me succeed, can you imagine the world without sanitation workers? The filth and destruction. Disease would be rampant. Sanitation workers are vital, computer programmers are not.   No, I took it as he meant, I was worthless.

Spring of ‘93 I remember my first night at Turning Point (a program supporting and empowering women in transition,) just like it was yesterday. I was comfortable and engaged in the conversation. During a break, the instructor changed her casual outfit into business attire, and I literally picked up the desk and moved it back. Subconsciously not aware of what I did until the instructor called me out and said, “what just happened there?”  In my mind, she became smarter and richer than I, and now I was worthless. Why did I give her the power just because she changed her clothes?

Jeanne was on a roll again, she was yelling as she slammed the filing cabinet drawer shut and stormed out. Everyone heard, but no one said a thing, just silence. I couldn’t do anything right. I tried to explain to Jeanne, just because I don’t do it the same way, why should it matter if I get the same result?  Oh, but it did, it was her way or the highway! I was off to HR again, just to hear them say, “That’s just Jeanne.” When I should have said, what about Marleen?  No, I let it go, I was worthless.  

I was anxious, I didn’t want to go to work, I was so tired of getting emails from the Securitas Site Supervisor, Lynette stating something like “great job, but.” I had won the Security Incident Report (SIR) contest, I received several emails from the IM Flash Manager Jeff telling me “Great job on your reports!.” So, what had changed?  Not the way I wrote my (SIR’s.) My gut was right, I received an email “’Great Job, but,” this time it was because I had changed my Daily Activity Report (DAR). Instead of writing Bill Smith with GCA badge #, so on and so forth, all returned TSP badge, I put 15 TSP badges returned.  Lynette sent me a reminder “Great job on your (DAR) but, you forgot to fill out all the information. If this does not change, I will have to take disciplinary action.” News to me, I was the only security guard that put all the information and the one time I didn’t, I could be written -up?  I was mad, why did the rule only apply to me? I thought about it all night, I was tired of her nitpicking. So, when Lynette asked me the next day, “How was your night?” I said, “do you want the truth or a lie?” Lynette stated, “I always want the truth.” I was not insubordinate, belligerent, I was just honest, and for that, I got written up.  I was not going to let this go, I emailed Amber with HR explaining the situation. HR replied, “Lynette has every right in telling you how to do something, even if the rules don’t apply to all the other guards.” I let it go, I was worthless.

These experiences caused my doubt, anxiety, and my self-judgement. They caused me not to love me. The past will always be a part of me, but I cannot let it consume me. I am learning to embrace the open road and allow myself to dream. In the present I have opened my heart to positive experiences. I am trying to push the negative self-talk of “I can’t, I won’t and I am not worthy” out and to listen to “You can, you will, and you are worthy”. The following stories have helped me move into positive thinking. I believe in myself, I can stand up for myself, and I can love me for me.

’98 I was standing in line at Café Rio with my friend Mary, when I hear “Hey Marleen”. turning around to see who spoke, and not seeing anyone I knew, I turned back and started talking to Mary again, to hear “You don’t even recognize your own brother?”  I was so embarrassed, all I could say was, “you’ve changed, when did you start to lose your hair?” Daryl laughed, how sad that it had been that long, I lived 3 miles away from him. Were our lives really that busy? We were so out of touch. This had to change, I needed to know my family and the only way to do that was to plan a party. Going out of my comfort zone, I rented a conference room at a motel. I called my mom, dad, and siblings’ “I am going to have a Christmas Party on Dec. 19 at the Super 8 in Lehi. It will start at 1:00 and end at 9:00, I will provide pizza and drinks. Please bring your favorite treat, a Christmas story or a game to play, and we can use the pool, so bring your swimsuit. I hope to see you there!”  As I was setting up the tables when I felt a hand on my shoulder, and Daryl said, “Merry Christmas Marleen, how can I help?” All I could do was cry. The one person I didn’t think would show, was the first one there. Hard to believe that me taking that one step forward has lasted 20 years and ” I” did that!

April 2016, Nannette has been in ICU for 65 days, with Swine Flu, Ards, Pneumonia, and H1N15. She is on life support. There is talk, we may have to pull the plug, Dad is realizing if it comes down to that he really doesn’t have any legal right to help with that decision. A miracle, Nannette pulled through, she is a little bit slower, and may not remember those days, but what a small price to pay. We are so ever grateful.

During that time Dad started the process of adoption for Nannette, JC, and I. This was not going to happen again. He has been our Father and Dad most of our lives. It was time to make it legal. In June 2016 at the age of 52 I was no longer Donna Marleen Conder. I became the proud daughter of LeEarl and Donna Healey. My name is Donna Marleen Healey and no one can deny me that. I finally belong.

February 2017, I was at Workforce Services for the third time, I was going to get that resume done even if it killed me. I am not sure how long I sat there before my anxiety kicked in and I started to panic. How can I sell myself if I don’t believe in myself?  As I was getting ready to bolt an employee asked me if he could help. I explained to him my situation and he talked about Vocational Rehabilitation (VR), he said: “maybe they can help you?” (VR is a company that helps eligible Utah citizens with disabilities to maintain, regain, or enter competitive employment.) I took the number and made the call as soon as I got home. My appointment was the following Thursday at 8:00 AM, with Consuelo.

One of the first things Consuelo asked me was “what brought you here today?”  I told her about what happened at Workforce Services when I was trying to apply for a job. Consuelo asked me what made me panic? My answer, I felt I was too illiterate to apply for another job and then I explained why I felt that way, my grammar and math skills are limited. The computer and I are not friends. I have very limited computer skills.  We talked about my fears and how my emotions get in the way when I get nervous. Consuelo asked, “what does it mean to be valued?” My answer, “I am not sure.”

After my assessment with Consuelo, I was sent to have a psychological evaluation. I was diagnosed with several mental disabilities that have kept me from living.  My fear of believing in myself and trying new things were real and I could change that with therapy, medication and time. Consuelo also suggested I contact Project Read “a literacy center for adults 16 and over, that offers literacy labs and one-on-one tutoring for people that struggle with reading and writing.’”  I made an appointment the next day.

I would like to thank Consuelo with Vocational Rehab, Peggy Munch my therapist, Cameron Burr my one-on-one tutor and the many other tutors with Project Read. I may not have completed my goals but I have learned that I can dream and strive for a better life. I have learned that I have to value myself before I feel valued by others. The past will always be a part of me, I can not let it consume me. I am learning to embrace the open road and allow myself to dream. I am worthy of me.


Third Place

I Have a Dream:
Helping Children with Disabilities

I would like to go to the Hospital and ask to be a volunteer helping Disabled Children.

The disabled Children parents go to the Hospital to feel peace, happiness when they see them, that their children are not alone, there is someone helping them to eat, to take a shower, they are wearing comfortable pajama, watching a children program,  playing with toys.

I could feed them, teach them songs, ask them about their friends and tell them a story.

This decision is because I have healthy grandchildren and I am thankful for this blessing that my family and I have,   at my free time I can do this for another person who needs help.

I have a little experience with my children and my grandchildren.  I know children who are sick.  They have special food and maybe they need to rest on a bed at a Hospital.

I thought about helping children at a Hospital because many times their parents are too tired to do this after coming from work, If they see the children are happy looking through the windows at the snowy mountains or a rainy afternoon or a sunny day listening birds singing, it is comfortable for the parents to know there is a volunteer who helps the children in the Hospital.

This is my dream, I hope someday will come true.


Honorable Mention

I Have a Dream

My name is Felicitas Araujo. I came to the United States by airplane 15 years ago. First, I arrived in New York where I lived for around 10 years .I worked taking care a woman .She was 93 years old. She lived alone . Her niece visited her, one time every two weeks. I lived with her. When she got sick I took her to the hospital. Regrettably she died of pneumonia. I had to look for another job; I found work in a pharmacy, there I helped to costumers with the medicine they could use over the counter. I studied English in the mornings two times a week in the Queens Library ,because I wanted to learn to speak English to communicate with the people. After 10 years ,I decided to move to Utah, my children lived there. When I arrived to Utah, I lived with my oldest son, his wife and children, one was 6 years old and the other was one week. I lived with my son only two months, after that I looked for a small house for me, I found it in Orem .My children helped me to move to my new house. My husband came to Utah after I was here for one year. My dream is to study English, then I looked for an English School. I studied in Suncrest  School for one semester level 3 ,was the high level, then I studied at Dixon School level 6 ending in December 2017.I wanted to continue studying then I found The Project Red in the Provo Library .I gave the test and I passed it. I am currently study here, the teachers teach us with patience and the volunteers dedicate hours of their rest to us .I am very grateful for them.  My goal is to speak English correctly and I hope to do it.


Honorable Mention

My Story

I have a special connection to China because, when I was a baby my parents abandoned me. I was left alone until someone found me and took me to the police station. The police took me to the orphanage where I lived a year until adoption day, February 19, 1998. I like being adopted because, I have family who loves me and I have an opportunity to grow and learn things in America.

It’s always been my dream to go back to China. In June my family and I are going to China to see the spot where I was found. I might feel nervous and be very emotional. I will think about my parents and imagine how hard it was for them to leave me behind. I am happy to go back to China and have a very exciting adventure.


Honorable Mention

My Dream Is? 

My name is Araceli. I would like to get my GED because I want to have a good job like a secretary or cashier, and I would like to read and write better than now. I know that I need to study a lot to get my dream to come true, but I’m going to study so hard. If I get a good job I’ll be able to buy many things for my family and me like a big house, an expensive car, and a lot of shoes. I could buy clothing and make up for my daughter, a good medical insurance, help my husband with our house bills, and we’ll be able to travel around the word. Also I could send money to my family in Mexico.

My dream is to get a good job. That’s why I came here because I think that the Project Read will help me to get my dream possible.

I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to be here. This is my big dream.




Honorable Mention

A Dream Can Be a Challenge

As a matter of fact, all people around the world dream. They dream about their concerns, their ambitions, and their objectives in life. The Merriam-Webster dictionary tells us that a dream is “a strongly desired goal or purpose.”

Dreams can bring joy and motivation to do good and accomplish an objective. Nobody can avoid dreaming; it’s emotional.  As everyone, I dream. I dream about myself. I dream about my family, my children. I want my children to be successful in life: married, college graduates with good opportunities. I can dream for my children, but I cannot force them, because they have their own dreams. I can just help them and put them in a good way while they are young.

Actually, I have a lot of dreams. Some of them can be accomplished now, but some can wait. I need to make a choice. Which one should be first? Which one is more possible? Or, do I have the opportunities to make them come true? This year, I want to register in the Pathway Program.

Pathway is a program offered by the LDS Church through BYU-Idaho for people who are interested in earning a degree online. It is cheaper than regular college, and then you have the possibility to do it at home.

I know this will be a challenge. I need to be more objective and determined. I will do my best. I am going to rearrange my schedule and be as responsible as possible. I want to use all my energy, my talents, and my power to make my dream come true. This is a very good opportunity for people like me. I really want to do it.

I already registered for Pathway Program once, and I passed all of the required tests except for the English listening test. I am working on it. After practicing for a few months on that, I am going to try again. My aspiration is to earn a degree in the United States, so I can get a better job and feel more optimistic about my life.

First Place

Is Hawaii in Korea?

Palm trees are on the street; not only that but foreign plants are everywhere.  There are curious rock cliffs, a living natural rock and a wall painting in cave art that are from a time immemorial.  With four seasons it is always like spring. Sparkling sunshine, soft wind touching every visitor’s cheeks, and blossoming flowers make this island beautiful. This view is totally different from that of mainland Korea. To say the least, you can imagine this as Hawaii.
Have you heard about this kind of island in Korea?  It is hard to understand but there are more than 3,300 island that belong to a very small country such as Korea. Cheju is one of those islands.
Let me talk about this island and why lots of people visit this place. First of all, Cheju island is a female dominated society. Mothers, instead of fathers, are responsible for taking care of their families. Since it is an island, it doesn’t have enough farm land. Most of men had to be fishermen. This job was so dangerous and many of them were swallowed by the sea when they were fishing These accidents made many widows.  They had to be strong to survive with their families. The women became more active in social life. As time passed, this tradition settled in Cheju as a culture. People speak a very unique dialect, and other Koreans could hardly  understand. It sounds like a different language. People in Cheju island don’t try to change but want to keep their own traditions.
There is more interesting things about Cheju. Wall paintings in caves from ancient times, rocks of strange formations, and a great variety of unique foreign plants are like well-preserved natural museum. This island has abundant marine products, and tourists enjoy its seafood. Lots of enjoyable sights are enough to make this area a paradise. Many foreign tourists and newly married couples visit this attractive place. Even scientists find a lot of resources here to study. This island is a time-honored tradition and its unique cultural heritage will hold many kinds of tourists spellbound.
Natural mysteries are wrapped in Cheju island. People in the island try to preserve it as it is. Thus, it is not allowed that even a piece of pebble stone to leave the island. Like people in Cheju island, we have the same responsibility to preserve this kind of valuable environment for our descendants of many generations to come.

Hometown of My Heart

I vividly remember that I had played at the beach with my friends. Digging sand and picking up small clams were so fun we played until late every time. From there I often saw the sea and fishing boats. It was just like a picture. This was my favorite place when I was a kid.
My next favorite place was ‘The MacArthur Park’. This area was well-known to many people. It was a huge park and a good place to play hide and seek for children. People enjoy this park doing exercise, playing, and walking together. We loved and felt proud of this park.
I was born in a harbor city named Incheon. It is close to Seoul, the capital of Korea. At the time my country was just freed from Japan’s rule. We did not celebrate our freedom instead we worked hard to take away the Japanese style and bring back our own. Suddenly, North Korea invaded the south without warning at 4 AM, June 25, 1950. No one knew what to do. They struggled to survive. On September 15, 1950 general MacArthur came to Korea with his soldiers of over 70,000 and 261 ships. They landed at Incheon to repel the communists from the north. He made the war situation turn in our favor, and the truce ws made on July 27, 1953. He became, of course, a hero to Korean and is always remembered on Koreans’ mind. That is why people made his stature and monument in the park and named it “The MacArthur Park’ to commemorate his historical achievement.
Incheon became a big city very quickly. It is filled with huge and shining skyscrapers. The historic park is turned into a golf course. Familiarity and comfort of the old city has disappeared to the back streets of time and remain only in my memory.
Endless pedestrians, cars, and crowded stores look so busy. Most people seem to be tied up with something not only physically but mentally. We divide people ourselves by income, houses, and where people. That makes invisible lines in people’s minds. I sometimes pause and wonder what benefit it is to people to live a busy city life.
We all know that our lives are better than those old days. That temporal satisfaction cannot fill our empty mind from losing old precious things. I think people living in a bit city lose some valuable things like an open heart with neighbors, helping each other, sympathy and kind heart.
Modernization has swallowed old times even my memorable places. I would hope people can find relaxation, composure, and an open heart with others instead of competition and strained daily life. I miss so much the old places which I will never erase from my heart. It is just like a mother’s warm bosom. I am sure the word ‘hometown’ makes everyone feel peace in their hearts.

Second Place

My mother used to be my school principal until I went to middle school. I was really happy that my mother always was in her office and when I missed her and was bored, I would go and talk to her.  Everybody liked me in school because, unlike other principals, my mom was so kind and friendly with them. Our school had very poor families, and they were so poor that sometimes they could not afford money for their children’s books. My mother always made a list of poor students in order to figure out their problems. She convinced those parents who wanted their children to drop out of school to let them stay by providing uniforms and stationery. She also would sometimes help them buy food. Sometimes my Mom and a group of neighborhood parents were willing to donate to poor students. They had a meeting monthly to discuss them. As a matter of fact, these processes were not my mom’s job, and she was not supposed to do that. But she did what she thought was right toward humanity.
I was not jealous of those students who she helped, except one of the students, Spideh,  who always came to hug my mom. I really did not want her to do that. I was thinking that she wanted to steal my mom since I was not able to think wisely. I was only 8. The problem was that Spideh did not have her own mom, and she used to live with her grandma . Her grandma did not care about her so much. Indeed, my mother cared about Spideh like her own child. That’s why Spideh really liked her, which made me jealous.
Actually, my mom was not just a boss of school. She was psychologist if I put it in that way. She gave advice to Spideh about school, about her life and, about what was the best thing she can do to deal with her situation. Sometimes my mom spent so much time talking with her. Honestly I always complained about it and said, “Why is it so necessary to take so much time with her?” My mom would say that “She needs someone to talk with and help her.” Spideh had many mental challenges because she had been through so much hardship in her life. But at that time, I could not understand this fact.
After couple years, Spideh was grown up and, she became a different person.
She passed all of her challenges because of my mom’s help. My mom was like a light in the darkness for her.
Now I realize what a kindness my mother did! She should be admired for all things she had done. For sure, if my mom was asked about it, she would say, “What I did was for god’s sake and to make sure I don’t feel guilty.” As a Muslim and according to Quran, people should not tell about charity that they do, because it will be showing off. But I think these kinds of actions should be declared so that others learn from it. Anyway, personally I really praise my mom for those acts of kindness she did for her students. Now I really understand her concerns. She was a mother as well. I see this as the kindest action because everybody in my mom’s situation says that, “I won’t take someone else’s responsibility that may lead to trouble.” Most people would not care about a little girl that does not have a mom and who needs a mother’s hug like everybody else.

This event impacted me in a positive way. Every time, I imagine my mom’s work that saved others I try to take her footsteps. I try to be nice with people and help them as much as I can. In fact, helping people is not just giving them money, shelter or food. Sometimes you can make them happy. In my real life, I have tried to make my siblings happy, even though, I am not with them. For instance, I surprised my little brother by giving him birthday cake. I ordered a cute cake online and gave the delivery part to my mom. Honestly, I wish I could be with him. But I tried to cheer him up indirectly. He got so happy, which was what I wanted. Seeing his smile and laugh was what I wanted in this world. This is an small example of kindness. I will try to help and cheer people up in bigger community. Exactly like my mom did.

Third Place


Certainly I’ve seen many things in my life, but to choose one of them to talk about wasn’t easy. I decided to talk about my first experience with seasons. I came from a tropical country, in which we only have two seasons: dry season (hot and humid), and rainy season (very humid).
In of December 2016, I had my first contact with snow. I went to the park with my kids to try some snow sports. While I was watching and pondering about the beautiful scene before my eyes, something dawned on me. In my country we have green trees almost all year long. Maybe some brown leaves fell off the trees, but never to the point so the trees had only sticks. When I was a young woman, I learned that the Christmas tree represents the hope of humanity in the son of God, because it is the only tree that remains green all year long. You can imagine some things but it is never the same as if you actually see them in front of you. That day, seeing some trees that were only sticks like dead trees, in contrast with the green pines, it felt a beautiful, deep and new meaning of Christmas. These are details that probably a native of Utah or another person that lives in a place with a real winter season wouldn’t notice.
I think that every season allows us to wait anxiously for the next. When you are tired of the snow you know that there will be a warm season very soon. If you want to enjoy cold weather you know that there will be a fresh and cold season few months away.
In spring, nature is reborn. The flowers bloom, brightening the picture. Another discover I had occurred when I was sitting in a children´s class at church. I heard a song called “Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree”. I had heard this song in my country many times, but I thought it was a nonsense song. That day, I realized that the trees in Utah with big, white, puffy blossoms, really did look like popcorn! What a surprise!
In fall the brown, orange and red colors take over. In winter, snow dominates the scenery, so completely white, so pure, and so beautiful.
Each season the landscape and the scene overall changes, like an actress changing her clothes during a presentation. I think the seasons and the changes in nature are the most wonderful thing that I’ve seen in Utah.

Honorable Mentions

My mother’s legacy

My mother was an admirable, virtuous and hardworking woman. Her legacy to us is the willingness to help anybody in need. I really admired that no matter how much money we had she never said no to anybody who needed help.
I have a lot of memories of her kindness. I remember one day when my father arrived home and told my mother that he found a woman with her 2 -3 year old daughter on a bus station. The lady told my dad that she was running away from her abusive husband and they needed a place to stay for a while. My mother didn’t even think if they were in a position to be able to help. She just answered “we can’t leave them on the streets”. They were living with us until the lady was able to return with her family.
Another example of her kindness was with a nephew whose parents had abandoned him. He was 11 years old and was sleeping in an old car when she found him. She took care of him until he got married and moved out. At our house there was always somebody that she was helping.
What my mother taught me is to serve without expecting anything in return and give what you have from your heart.

Burnt Beans

One day in the winter, in the city of Provo, Utah, a man was standing inside of his home near Dixon elementary school. This man is me, Dolan, master Bolivian chef.
I decided to perform an audit on my existing food inventory in preparation for the great challenge of cooking like a Utah native. My entrée of choice: beans.
Beans. Black beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, green beans, kidney beans. What is the essence of the bean? Why do the Utahns love their beans? What mystery is found within this culinary staple of Utah? My insatiable curiosity about Utahns and their dietary habits drew me to cook an ordinary dish with the hopes of transforming it into a gourmet masterpiece. Finally, I chose the most ordinary of all beans: the kidney bean.
Later that day, I drove around to do some errands with a friend because he had no car. (Because as you know, trying to get anywhere in Utah without a car is like trying to walk on sharp rocks without shoes. It’s impossible.) Just as we arrived at the mall, I saw an incredibly large advertisement from Taco Bell bragging about their $1.19 bean burrito. Just then, I SLAMMED on the brakes, remembering I had been cooking kidney beans! Immediately, I exclaimed: “I FORGOT TO TURN OFF THE STOVE!”
Within seconds, I got out my smartphone to call one of my roommates. (As all of you know, Provo is full of students, which makes even a humble abode outrageously expensive for a dignified man such as myself. Left with no choice, I settled with roommates. Roommates who always want my delicious cooking, of course.) I asked my roommate to turn off the stove at home since she was usually the first one home.
I said to her “Sister, are you home yet?!” trying to hide the rising panic in my voice. She responded “Brother, I just reached over to turn off the stove and get the pan out of the house because of all the smoke it was making. Even the neighbors could smell it and almost called the fire department!!” (Because as you know, the fire department doesn’t have much to do in the safe, sleepy little town of Provo, Utah. Putting out a fire of overcooked beans would have been the highlight of their week and made the Sunday newspaper…it might have even gone viral on YouTube and social media with the title “Bolivian ‘Chef de Cuisine’ sets off atomic bean bomb, endangering innocent neighbors.”)
Naturally, I didn’t know what to do. How would this damage my flawless image as the leading Sous-Chef of Le Cuisine Bolivian in Provo, Utah? I thought and thought and thought …. And then *ding!* the lightbulb turned on. I could spin this catastrophe to my advantage, launching my career to new heights like never before.
I arrived at home with bottles and sprayers. I frantically attempted to catch the essence of the new creation that was recently born in my small apartment (As you know, start-ups are all the rage right now in Utah, so I was merely trying to fit in with the local culture). I captured hundreds of bottles of this new elixir and took thousands of photos to use as marketing materials on my new, exclusive, online-only sales platform. I decided to brand it as “Le Perfum ‘Kidney Beans Utahns’” made by Monsieur Dolan, Bolivian Master Chef. On the label, it specified: “Duration: 6 weeks of making everything in you and your neighbors’ lives smell like this divine aroma.”
This may have been the best decision of my life. Because of my unimaginable success, I took my career as a chef to a whole new level and start an international breakthrough in the world of gourmet cuisine: transcending simply eating food to truly becoming “one” with your food.


I was serving a mission in Osormo Chile when my companion and I were looking for some people to serve.  Serving others is a way to follow Jesus’ example and because we were missionaries we were trying to do all we could do to be good disciples.  We had tried many times to ask people if they needed some help, buy we hadn’t been successful; because this was a small community we had talked to almost everyone.  We prayed, asking Heavenly Father to show us the way to find someone to help.  It came to my mind that the hospital was the right place, but I questioned this answer because I was afraid of needles, blood, even the smell of hospitals.  But I knew that these people needed the help we could give.
The first time we came to the hospital we were told the assignments, and I realized that it wouldn’t be easy. There weren’t enough professional people to take care of all the ill,  and we noticed that we could do many things to help.
Actually we did many things in this building, even things that still make me smile when they come to my mind.  One day we saw a couple of straitjackets in the closet so we looked askance at each other and we knew what each of us wanted to do.  We put the straitjackets on and visited some of the patients in their rooms, trying to make them laugh.  When no one was around we ran through the halls pushing each other in a wheel chair.  What a way to laugh!  But it wasn’t always fun and games.

Their weren’t enough health providers to take care of the patients.  It made me feel really bad for these people, so my attitude toward serving in a hospital changed because I felt empathy for them.  We built a good relationship with many of the patients.  I remember one of them that was a hopeless case.  We shared the gospel with her;  she showed so much interest.  Everything about the next life seemed significant for her because of her condition.  It was a great experience for us to witness the Holy Ghost’s power and how that changed people’s lives
I recall another young woman who was so nice and kind, and because of her illness she had stayed in the hospital longer than anyone supposed.   She worried about her children at home.  I felt love for her and I suffered very much when we learned that she would never recuperate because she had contracted a weird virus while she was in the hospital.  One day we came to the hospital and she wasn’t there.  She had passed away.  I never thought that her death would impact me like it did.  Even though we were sharing the gospel and the plan of salvation with her, it was a shock for me to see her empty bed, seeing the fragility of all our lives.
After our experience of serving in the hospital I realized that wherever we serve there are people willing to be loved and willing to be helped.  In the beginning I thought that it would be difficult for me, but the necessity of love and care made me overcome my fears and inadequacies.  We can find happiness in the most unexpected places; it all depends on our attitude and disposition to be happy and give happiness to others


Everyday we have the opportunity to see acts of kindness. There are several ways to express kindness to people and animals. I see kindness in the family, with a friend or stranger, and animals. I will illustrate some kinds of kindness below.
First, I think that everybody should be kind. Everything would be better with kind people in the world. I see kindness every time I see my mom. She is a true example of kindness to me. She is always helping others. For example, she had a friend that could not afford to buy food for her family. My mom would buy something in the grocery store for her while she was shopping for us. My reactions have not always been good, but seeing my mom being like this with everyone that needs help, makes me a better person and become just like her. Now we both help everybody that needs help.
Second, it seems that people show more kindness to strangers than family. I had an experience that made my day. One time I was walking on a sunny day with my flip flops. Suddenly the weather turned bad and started to rain. I waited until the rain passed, but after the rain, the sidewalk was wet and I got my feet dirty. It made me uncomfortable to continue walking. I passed by a house and saw a hose, and I asked the owner if I could use it, but the hose was connected to the sprinklers. I told him never mind and continued walking. He asked me what I wanted. I told him I just wanted a glass of water to wash my feet. He told me to wait a minute, then he came back with a glass of warm water so I was able to wash my feet. I was really impressed by him. I was not expecting him to go in his house and get me a glass of water. That gave me hope that there is good in this world. There are still people that care and give without expecting anything back.
Third, relationships with human beings can be difficult. People sometimes choose a relationship with animals above human beings. I see people sharing pictures on social media about animals being mistreated and we also have the same thing happen with people. However, they seem to give more importance to the animals. That attitude makes me wonder if we are forgetting about people and putting animals above human beings.
There are acts of kindness that we do not always see it. We just need to look and pay more attention to what is happening around us and we will be able to see more acts of kindness. There are no limits to kindness. You can help your mom prepare the dinner, take out the trash for your neighbor and walk with your dog in the mornings. Kindness is the fuel for us to make this earth a better place to live.

Effects of Kindness

I have received some unbelievable kindness in my life. This act of kindness seems simple, but it means a lot to me. When I was 22, I had a job interview for a university as a typing secretary. I didn’t have money to pay for a taxi or anything, so I had to walk to the job interview. It took me about two hours to walk, and when I got there, I was hungry and thirsty. One of the workers offered me a seat and gave me a glass of water. His name was Sammuel, and he was a janitor for the university. Fortunately, they hired me, and Sammuel and I became friends.
A few years after we met, Sammuel tragically died from AIDS and left his wife and six children behind. It was hard for the family because Sammuel was the only person who worked. After he died, I became friends with his family. I was always there for advice and help.
One day, the oldest, Tony, told me they offered him his father’s job. He was only sixteen. He said, “I need a job to support my family, but I don’t want to do a job like that.” I told him to take it, and he repeated, “I don’t really want to do this kind of job. I am a smart person, and I want an office job.”
I advised him, “You can do that someday, but not now. You need to study more. You are lucky to have this offer. You can switch to working in the morning and going to school in the afternoon. I am pretty sure if you keep studying, they will give you more opportunities.” It was hard for him, but he accepted my suggestions. He worked and gave all of his paychecks to his mom every month, who used the money to buy food and care for the family. After graduating high school and college, he became assistant director of this university. With the money he earned, all of the other children graduated high school and college.
I think Sammuel forgot he gave me a glass of water before he died, but it’s still fresh in my memory. I became close to this family, and there were reciprocal acts of kindness between us. I never told them about the glass of water, but now I cannot count how many acts of kindness I received from them and they received from me. Sometimes kindness means nothing to the giver, but it means everything to the receiver.

Reading the small Print

Reading the small print on signs to mountain lakes can help to preserve your health and make your life a little easier. This is a true story of such an experience I had in my life 46 years ago. It was the summer of 1971. When we planned our hike to some lakes in the High Uintas  in North Eastern Utah and parts of Wyoming. Before we started our trip we planned on not carring very much food with us, because we were going to live off the land or from the fish in the lakes.
Our group consisted of my Dad, twin brother Russ, our friends Monte, Bruce, Glen, David our cousin and me and of course our faithful dog cloudy.  Our transportation was a sight to behold.   It was a beat up chevy station wagon with some rear bald tires.  I don’t know how we made it to the Uintas and back.
On our way to the Uintas we visited Fort Bridger in Wyoming. We also visited a small town in Utah or Wyoming. It was called Lone Tree population eight. All it had for a town was a combination store and Post Office and of course a Parking meter out in front of the store. That parking meter must have been a joke of the town.
We finally arrived at Mirror Lake, the first lake we spotted on our way to Fish Lake. Which was to be our first destination on our trip. We parked our car at Mirror Lake and hiked towards Fish lake.
It wasn’t too hard of a hike. We fished there for a few hours and only caught one fish. After such a poor fishing experience we decided to hike to Dagget Lake. Which was only a few miles away.
When we came to the trail head of Dagget Lake we read the sign, but we didn’t read the small print on the paper that was stapled to it. We started our hike which was only about two miles to the lake over a well worn trail.
As we hiked we noticed that no one else was on trail or when we arrived at the lake. We were the only campers on this beautiful mountain lake. As we approached the lake we found a bed made of pine branches. It didn’t bother us to be the only ones in the area. We quite enjoyed it and had a pleasant time fishing and riding on the raft we built out of logs. But we were wondering why there wasn’t any fish in the lake.

My first night of camping was miserable to say the least. I didn’t sleep on the pine branches like the rest of them did. I used an old World War II tent for my protection from the elements. Which didn’t have an net in it. I was eaten alive that night by the masquitoes.

We stayed at this camp site for a few days or more, it slips my memory how long we really stayed. Our poor dog had to find food for him self because we didn’t bring much for him.  Hi did however eat one of our magerin cubes that we gave to him. We were starting to run out of food our second or third day. The eggs I packed in were cooled in the lake before we cooked them.  I think back now on what could have happened if the eggs had been poisoned by the lake.  I cringe at the thought of what this could have done to me or what it did to  me?. None of us got sick while we were at the lake.

We weren’t alone at night as we thought, we could hear wolves or coyotes howling in the distance.  It was kind of scary to hear sounds at night.  We were never attacked or even seen the wolves or coyotes.

We had a very good time at Dagget Lake despite their being no fish. I’m kind of glad that there wasn’t any fish because we had the lake all to ourselves. When we were hiking back our stomachs were a little empty because we had almost run out of food. When we arrived at the trail sign we could see

a little piece of paper stapled on it. Which read, as I recall that the lake  was poisoned to get rid of the trash fish. After reading the small sign a lot of questions were answered about Lake Dagget. That’s why we couldn’t catch any fish? And why we were all my ourselves at the lake? When we arrived at  the parking lot we unloaded the last of our food and had some dinner rolls hot out of the oven from the lodge at Mirror Lake That roll and canned meat taste so good because we so hungry.  Moral ot the story is always read the small print on anything and everything in your line of sight.

We unfortunately lost the record of who won this year, so these entries are just in alphabetical order.

Dandy Walker Syndrome

When I was a baby, doctors told me I would never walk, talk, read or write. People tell me that I have a handicap and I will never be able to do those things. There are many things that are hard for me to do. It is hard for me to understand what I read. It is hard for me to understand what people are saying in Spanish. It is hard for me not to be able to cook or sew. I cannot go out on dates or get married. It is hard for me to understand scriptures. It is hard for me to be social and find new friends to hang out with. It is hard for me to listen to my parents. It is hard for me to move out on my own. It is hard for me to do cross fit. It is hard for me to order things on Amazon. It is hard for me to play the guitar. It is hard for me to run. It is hard for me to do ballroom dancing. I cannot water ski on one ski. It is hard for me to pay my doctor bills.
There are many good things that I can do. I like to swim freestyle. I participate in the Special Olympics. I can read and I have become a good writer. I love to play with Carlos, my dog. He is my best friend. I love to take him on walk, take care of him, feed him and play with him. Sometimes I take care of my nieces and nephews. I love to visit them and play with them. I love to go snow skiing and zip lining. I like to do puzzles. I like to go bowling, ice-skating and water skiing with two skis. I love to watch movies. I like hanging out with my friends and family. I love to color or draw. I like to serve at the temple. I like to play the piano especially Disney music but all kinds of music. I like working at Wal-Mart for thirteen years in the grocery side doing returns.
There are so many things I can’t do but there are many things I can do. I feel good about life, happy and content. I feel blessed that I have a good family that helps me.

Life is Irony

Life is irony. You already have been experiencing  good things and bad things in your life. However  I’m sure  that those could be good or bad in the  future.  Because with those things could change your life toward a different way.
In 2008 spring, I was a contract worker who was really hoping to be a regular worker in Korea. Economy was bad. Because of that, many people who want to get a job were having difficulty.  Since 1997, South Korea had gotten in trouble about labor market. Korea had economic crisis in 1997. So my country asked for help to IMF. Most businesses  went bankrupt. In 2008 spring , it had been almost 2 years since I started working in the hospital. Most colleagues told me “ you don’t  need to worry about my promotion.  You must be going to be a regular worker. Your boss has just  3 years left til his retirement. And you’re doing good now.” Those things made me relieved and that’s why I didn’t have any interview to  get a new job in other hospitals.  That was my fault. I just believed my seniors , co- workers and my professor . However I heard that I dismissed from the promotion. At the moment,  my body and mind were frozen. I can’t forget the moment. After I lost my  job, I didn’t like to go out, eat and meet my friends. I didn’t even like to look at sunrise, sunny morning, I was afraid about doing anything. I was jealous some friends to have a good job in good environment.
I had been a contract worker  til I got married. When I met my husband, he suggested to go to the U.S to study together. When  I was young, I hoped to live abroad and I wanted to study English and my major in other countries. I was really pleased meeting the one and could have a good chance to go abroad. In fact, I really enjoy my life in the U.S now. If I had a good job, it might not have been easy to quit the job.
It was almost 10 years ago. Sometimes , when I look back on those times,  It was just a valuable experience. Through that, I could live a challenging life and be stronger.
Difficulty could be a good chance to develop you and your mind. Do you know the butterfly effect? Even very tiny things could change your life totally in a good way. Even though something is very bad and nothing  for you now, it could give a good and big  influence sooner or later. Don’t give up in some difficult situation . In the future,  many adventures reflected your all valuable experiences will wait for you.
Thank you.

! My Best Advice!

when i went to high school i had class that taught us how to know what are were going to do in our life career  One of  my math teacher, and reading teacher. told us to accomplish something  you’re  good   He wanted us to think what we want to do in our  life career. Where do u want to work at, In the future and what do you want to be?
What is the best thing you want to do.   Something that you love to do,  So I had friend in high school she didn’t know what she wanted to do she was in 10 grade but she didn’t have a clue what she wanted to do  for her a career so I told her that what is something that  you like to do you want to be a doctor, or nurse, or a teacher,  cooker,  etc.  the only thing I told her is that to think what she wants to do something you like to do?
Maybe something she like to do .  So she final made that decision she want to be a  technology of computers  she started to take class in high school to accomplish her goal  that she wanted to study. My teacher wanted us to encourage  something in life. At first I didn’t even have a clue what I wanted to do . but the end when I realize that I want to do  I took the advice that my teachers  that they told me. When I was in high school.
How did i  made that decision by taking that advice From  my teachers.
Our teacher in reading class he chose a topic about what we’re going to read about a topic and talk about it in class.  How to accomplish a goal? And it started from there  when we were in class i wanted to study child care i like both radiology, and child care, so i had made a decision to take the career radiology ultrasound tech but i knew that i had to take classes health care, math etc and by be done with  high school i would go to college
When was the day that i Took that advice
We were in Class  talking about careers our teacher was telling us what do.?  What to do in life a better future?  then he let us to think and write  in class. we wrote a summary in class  He was encouraging us what  to do he give us advice  i took that advice that from that teacher. When school was over and i came home with my books. starting to plan  i wanted to do. I want to become a radiology ultrasound tech when i was in the high school i took to take health science class
math class to started when i was finished with high school i know that i had to started to work have a part time job and  i was researching how can i reach that goal so when i was in high school that our teacher give us that advice to encouraging


In my kitchen on the fridge I created a ‘’Inspiration board’ ’I write down quotes by interesting people and stick them to the panel. When I feel insecure, or sad, or powerless I read them. It helps me to be strong and go back on track. I began this tradition because my first years living .in the US were dramatic. There was a culture shock, a betrayal by a person I trusted for more than 30-years, and problem at work. I asked myself why these things happened and haw I can go through them. One day I found this quote in a magazine:
‘’To change your life, you have to change yourself,
To change yourself, you have to change your mindset.”
I do not remember who said that, but it was good advice for me and a great idea for my inspiration board.
Besides interesting quotes also I get inspiration from real people I know. I call them my “role models”. One of them is my mother. She was 37-years old when my dad passed away. You cannot imagine how hard it is to be a widow with two kids in the Soviet Union! She had two jobs to give us everything we need. “quitters never win; winners never quit”. This is about my mother. She learned how to use a computer at age 80.It is unbelievable for Russian babushka (grandma)! Now we can talk and see each other for hours. Thank you God for internet. My mom is remarkable woman who showed me that it is never too late to learn something new.
The next “role model is my neighbor. She is a 92 years old widow who lives by herself. When I see this nice lady driving a car in the snow I promised myself to do this if I will reach her age.
You might ask me why women who have reached a “respectable age”are my role models?Because I came in to the USA in midage. I did not speak English at all.I never drove a car.To be honest I never had my own car.I needed to learn so many things and I continue to learn.I understand that only working hard Ican prepare for retirement.Ladies like my mom and neighbor help me to see my future “in a bright colors”.My advice for people who come to US like me is to believe in yourself; don’t be afraid of asking a help(I came to Project Read for help,which change my life the better).Don’t give up,even if you think it’s not possible.
Recently during a lab session we talked about William E. Henry poetry.He was badly injured in a car accident. He lost his legs but didn’t give up.The last lines of one of his poems  were:
”I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.”
I wrote these down and stuck them on my inspiration board.

Untitled 1

I want to read.
I can’t read signs but I want to read signs.
I read a half of a book.
I  love  to go outside.
I like to ride my bike and go 4-wheeling in the mountains.
I would enjoy  to read “Hatchet”.

I want a driver’s license and to get a job.
I want to get a job.
I am interested in construction.
I want a job in construction.

I feel like I am not smart.
Don’t give up.
I haven’t giving up.
I am going to lab
I will read more books.

To get a driver’s license.
I need to read better to get a driver’s license.
I need to be 16 to get a license.
And I will need to pass a written test
And a driver’s test

I will like to go Alaska to go fishing.
Now I go fishing in Spring Lake near Payson.

Untitled 2

In cross country you run a 5k race and get your time. I remember one hard race was called Soldier Hollow. Most of the race was uphill and it was hard but it’s fun too. In my freshmen year I ran the hill and my time was 24:25. At the beginning of the race was hard, because running up hills and also trying to save energy at the end of the race. Running up and down the hill was hard because going up the hill will use more energy. And going down the hill, you will go down faster and you might get hurt. A lot of uphill was hard for all runners but we keep pushing to the end.
I remember how it feels before the start of the race. I was little unease with the hills, because I never ran this hill before, but I know I will be ok, because I got my friends with me in this race, who ran this hill before me. We are done warm up and we are ready to run the hill. We line up at the start line and the guy said “On your mark, get set, go.” He fire the gun and move out of the way for the runners. I run the flat track and I meet the first hill so I push hard to ran up the hill, and I got to the top and running down the hill. I remember what my cough said to the team. “When you make it to the top of the hill use the down hill moment to push up the next hill.” So I did what my coach said and run down the hill and use the speed of the downhill to push up the hill with great speed. I was tired but that hill was the first of many other hills to come. I ran the hill and my friend past me and said ”Keep it up Jake, we are almost at the mile point.” I said “ok  James I will.” And we push the hill together. We past the one mile point and the time we got is “7:38” I said “one mile down two more to go.” We keep go but James run ahead of me. I was running the uphill and when I make it to the top I can see the long hill after this hill. So I run down the hill to get more speed for the next hill. With the great speed I ran up the hill, but I was losing speed but I keep on going. I ran and I see the 2 mile point and my time was 18:54. 1 more mile and I am done with this race. I am at the last uphill so I ran it hard. I ran the long downhill and I can see the finish line. The last 600 meter was flat track. So I using the down hill to get more speed for the flat tracks. I sprint to the finish line and I cross the finish line, and I am done with this hills. I was tired but happy because I ran this race hard. My time was 24:25.
So the advice I give to the young runners, well just run your best in all races and feel good about it too. But also save energy so you can kick it at the end, and went the coach give advice to you, take the advice so you don’t waste a lot of energy.
So overall it was trying to save your energy for the end of the race so you can kick it in. Also get your best time at the race. And also having fun running the hill with other runners too.

Untitled 3

I am from a Haitian family with nine children. I speak French and Creole. I learned French in school, even though Creole is my native language. My parents didn’t speak French because they were farmers, and they didn’t go far in school. They wanted their children to go to school. My parents didn’t like the schools close to our farm. They preferred the school in town that was a day’s drive away from my house. They rented a little house in town to make it easy for us to go to school. It was a big sacrifice, but I didn’t like this change because it made life different and difficult for us.
My dad always said, “It is up to you to decide to stop going to school when you grow up, but now you don’t have a choice. I will never stop paying for you.” Even though they didn’t have the opportunity to go far in school, they wanted us to go to school. They always said they wanted a better life for us. They wanted us to keep learning. I am glad to follow my parents’ advice to keep learning.
After I graduated high school in Haiti, I went to college to become a secretary. This school taught me a lot of skills like how to write a business letter, typing, stenography, and communication. In 1982, I started my first job. I was able to work as a secretary at a university in Haiti. I met my husband there. He was a student at this university and he came to ask me to type something for him. Because of my education, I had a good job and the opportunity to have my own money and not depend on my parents.
A few years later, there were political problems in Haiti. We had to leave with the children and come to the United States. I had to keep following my parents’ advice as I learned English. I started to go to community English class at the Provo Library. It was hard at the beginning. The English language was difficult, hard to learn and understand. I did my best, and I am still working on it.
I learned about Project Read from a friend in my English class. I love Project Read, because it has given me the opportunity to learn more. It has been useful for my English improvement. I feel more confident and my pronunciation and my writing are better.
When I first started learning English, it wasn’t easy for me to communicate. I was frustrated. I never thought I was going to be able to learn because I am old. Now, my communication has improved. I have been able to become a citizen and get my driver’s license. I hope to go to college to have more opportunities for work. I am doing better and better every day because I follow my parents’ advice to keep learning.

Untitled 4

All of life is full of challenges, each of them has something which we need to learn. Most people are reminded by challenges from which they learn and they can find their way, therefore, they have really good growth. Some other people are reminded, but they don’t learn the lesson. All of the lessons are useful for humans, and are good for people’s lives. When people use the lessons they can determine how to live best. I have been challenged by other people, and I tried to be instructed. I want to explain that in the following:
Normally, everybody makes mistakes and I made a mistake as well. Sometimes, I got to know new people and while I became friends with them, I judged my friend good or bad . My ideas were always wrong. For example, if you assess people and you say, “ok, this guy is bad person, because of these features,” and just you make a decision by the first meeting. But especially for me always, little by little, when I got to know their real character I knew that I was wrong and I felt ashamed, so I learned that I should not judge anyone without information. Even God says to us, “don’t judge anyone even though you see people while they are doing bad actions because perhaps immediately they requested forgiving from me.” Then you will be responsible of your accusation.This is the best lesson which I have learned ever. Another aspect of this lesson is, if you judge wrong, you define the bad character of someone and if you blame someone and in fact is not true, therefore, people think that she/he has that character .
This accusation happened just because of your judging. The most important thing here which will happen is, their honor is going to be in danger. That’s why God says to avoid from judging people . I have an example about this subject which is, when I was in high school, one day I brought more money than usual which my father had paid me. Then, when I was going to the yard and I came back I saw my bag without money which was lost. I couldn’t find my money and immediately accused my friends because I did not think about other options that perhaps happend to my money, and I judged them which, in fact, I was wrong. Finally, I found my money in my uniform’s pocket. After that I was so sad because of my friends, and I felt ashamed. In that moment I could have looked for my money  meticulously or I could have told my principal before, but I just judged my best friends wrong. After that I decided no judging blind.
As a result, I want to say that we need to be careful in life. We should learn a good lesson from  our challenges which happen through life. And each challenge has useful tips for learning, like my story.

This year, students have reflected on the challenges and successes they have experienced on their quests for educational, professional, and personal fulfillment. Writing skills are critically important for many of the goals our students are working towards—employment, further education, and full participation as citizens.

Please enjoy this year’s entries. We are both proud of and inspired by our students; they so clearly embody the gumption, passion, and willpower of lifelong learners as well as the confidence that is achieved through burgeoning literacy.


First Place

Better Late Than Never


I would like to describe one of my weaknesses and what I am doing to overcome this problem. I have entitled it, “Better Late Than Never,” because I have had this problem all my life and it has only been three years since I discovered I could overcome it.

All my life I have struggled with reading. Growing up I knew I was intelligent and I could do many things as well as other people. I didn’t want this weakness to stop me. I came from a family of fifteen children, me being the fourteenth child, and my mother had four of us in five years. My mother was a hard worker, but she was very tired at the end of the day and so there was no reading to us as children at night. There was no kindergarten the year I started school and so I was put in first grade. It wasn’t until fourth grade that I knew I had a problem with reading. My fourth grade teacher would have me go to the front of the room and read to the class. Because I read so poorly, she would put a dunce cap on my head and send me to the back of the room to the corner facing the wall. I couldn’t help but cry. It was then that I gave up on learning how to read. I could do other things adequately; I just couldn’t read very well. I excelled in art, drama, and PE, and I was nominated to be a cheerleader, but I withdrew my name, because my grades were low. Thought I graduated from high school, I slipped through the cracks of the school system.

After high school I worked in Salt Lake City as a draftsman for many years. I went on a mission. After my mission, I worked for an engineering company that sent me to Washington D.C. to drat for them for a year. After that, I married and had a family. It was very important to me that my children had a good education. We had always wanted our kids to go to BYU, so we moved from Salt Lake to Utah valley. It helped to have a husband with a college degree. My three sons have wonderful degrees: one is a designer for General Motors, another is a CPA and works as comptroller for SUU and one is a pediatric dentist.

Throughout the years I had taken classes and was tutored many times. I tried to improve my reading, but nothing seemed to help. About fifteen years ago I was watching a PBS show about the brain. One of the comments they made about the brain was, “If you had dyslexia you can rewire the brain.” At that time I thought that to be an interesting idea. I had tried to improve my reading, but nothing seemed to help. Years went by and I concealed my problem form most people because when people found out about my reading difficulties they would treat me with less respect.

One day my daughter told me that her son was having problems with reading in school. I told her I would pay for tutoring classes for him. I didn’t want him to go through what I had been through all my life. I thought if they could help him while he was young he could overcome the problem. A few weeks later I was talking to my daughter about her son’s tutoring classes and she said that they had diagnosed him as having dyslexia and the teacher that tutored him is rewiring his brain. This rang a bell and I remember the PBS program I had heard years earlier and the brain and dyslexia. After my grandson finished two years of being tutored, I also took two years of instruction from his same teacher. I started from zero and worked my way up. Now I’m in Project Read with a wonderful tutor, Ashley McWhorter, who is not only helping me improve my reading but is helping me with grammar as well.

Discovering that I have dyslexia and learning that I could rewire my brain was a turning point in my life. I am grateful to my husband, Doug, who has tried to help me through these many years. It will be wonderful to take collage classes for credit some day. There have been many things I haven’t been able to do because of my reading problem, but it is exciting to know that I can improve.


Second Place

My Treasure

Lorena Corona

Education is a treasure. With this treasure I have the opportunity to find a good job. Education can help my kids get their own education. I can also help others outside of my family.

I will have the opportunity to find a good job. And I will have the money that I need for me and my family. And I will have a better work environment and benifits like health insurance. I will have the time and energy to be with my family. My kids are only young once and I don’t want to miss good time with them. Right now they need more than the things I can buy for them, they need my time and attention.

Education can help me to help my kids to get their own education. It will be asier for me to help my kids with their homework. My parents didn’t have the book knowledge to help me when I was in school. My mom only went to the third grade. My father had to leave school and work on his family farm. I can be an example for my kids and they are more willing to try. I remember that my dad told me to value education. It was the most important inheritance a parent can leave to their children.

I can also help others outside my family. Doctors save lives, lawyers resolve problems in courts. They get paid but they’re helping people. I think that the main goal to get an education is to help one another.

I remember when I came to the USA and stared in 8th grade. I didn’t speak any English. I needed help. There was a teacher who spoke Spanish, Mrs. Peter. She could of helped me, but she didn’t. She told me that I had to figure out things by myself. Thats the way I would learn. She told me that I needed to go to the library to check out a book. I didn’t know how to check out books. I asked Mrs. Peter to help me check out a book, she said no. Because she said no I wanted to quit school, I felt hopeless. Felt like a stranger in the school.

I will never do that to people when they need my help. I will use the things that I learn and know to help others. Today I’m working to read, and to write fluently in English. When I complete level four Compas ESL tests I will take regular classes in Utah Valley University. Sometimes I felt that I couldn’t do it because I think I am too old, and its too hard for me. But I told myself it’s not impossible. If I can do it I will have the treasure of education.


Third Place

Prompt #2


In 2003, I came to the United States and my sister helped me apply for a job as a bagger at Harmon’s. Now, eleven years later, I am still a loyal employee, but I want to do something else. In five years, I see myself with a driver’s license, an education, and a new career.

Six years ago, I decided to get my driver’s license. Over the years, I have passed the writing test seven times, but I have never had the time to practice enough to take the road test. Now, I want to be done with it and have my driver’s license. That will help me go to work and study at a community college, because I don’t want to rely on other people to help me. I am close to reaching this goal, and I should finish in the next month.

An education is important, because it gives more opportunities to get better jobs. I’m very self-conscious when my little one asks me questions in English that I do not understand. If I were in school, I would learn a lot of different subjects in English, so my English would be better. In five years, I want to study to be a CNA online or at a community college. I want to be a CNA so I can work at the hospital or at a care center. I think it is important for me to get an education and do something different.

In Haiti, I was a typing secretary, but I have forgotten everything. I used to be a fast typist, but now I type twenty words per minute. It’s been so long that I need new skills for a career. At my age, it is not easy to start a new career, but I think I can be a good CNA, because I can help people. I want new skills, and I want to make more money. I will be successful as a CNA, because I’m a good helper and I like people.

In the future, I want to have more opportunities. I know getting a new career, an education, and a driver’s license will help me improve my situation. I will work hard to make my dream come true.


Prompt #2

Laura Corpus

I grew up in a family where my parents didn’t go to college. While they didn’t get a professional certificate, I could tell they valued education even though they didn’t go to school. My dad worked since he was 12, and at the age of 15 his grandmother paid for a course where he got experience with electricity. He was so smart, successful, and talented that he got very good jobs. On the other hand, my mom was a “business woman”; she could sell anything she wanted. Most importantly, my parents taught me that education was valuable and my three siblings and I all went to college and graduated!

For the time being I don’t practice my profession outside the home. I received my Bachelor’s degree in Communications in Sonora, Mexico, and worked at a company processing housing forms and contracts for federal employees. Now with my kids I teach and work in my home helping them to be organized and responsible at school and making sure they turn in their homework and projects on time. We also are working on a project about “saving money for their summer activities.” I want to teach my kids the value of earning money to pay for the things they want and to show them that things of value deserve and take hard work. Similarly, that’s why I think education is valuable. When you obtain education your mind is open and you are capable of making better decisions and visualizing your future.

I have promised myself to keep learning. Right now my goal is to learn English, my second language, and to eventually get a Masters in Psychology. I also want to motivate my kids to visualize and prepare their future, I’m always telling them that they will go to college no matter what because education is the only thing we are going to keep forever.


Prompt #2


 We all want to prosper in life and education is the key to a better life. I hope to graduate with a master’s degree in physical therapy, and when I do I will automatically open doors to a better future. Education will give me the opportunity for a higher salary. It will also help me reduce stress in my life and most importantly I enjoy and love what I do for a living. Education is important because I will earn more money, reduce stress, and is the foundation for my future.

With completing an education comes the opportunity to earn more money. When I earn more money I will be more independent. I know that working in any company without a diploma makes me independent but I have to work hard in production areas and long shifts in order to provide for me and my family. And in some ways I’ve become a slave to my job, therefore I’m not completely independent. But when I receive my diploma for completing my education I will have the opportunity to prove that I can hold a higher position and work in what I like. And most certainly I will not be working long and agitated hours. Another good thing about making more money is that opportunities for buying a house increases. Additionally, a better salary gives piece of mind since the possibilities of falling into debt are lower. Earning a higher salary also impacts stress levels; if I’m constantly worrying about how I’m going to cover this months’ rent or what bill to pay this time, life becomes stressful. But when I know I can cover those expenses my stress lessons.

Since I did not graduate from high school life has become very stressful. Helping my kids with their homework is always a challenge because they are already at a higher level of education than I am. At the moment I feel useless and I get frustrated not being able to help them with their assignments. I know I will gain more confidence when I complete my education because I will better prepared in my life. Then I will be able to help my kids with their assignments. Stress also negatively impacts my health. I get headaches, heartburn, sometimes it gets impossible to rest during my sleep. I know how much it takes away from our lives to not graduate. And I look forward to what I want to accomplish to live better. That is why I do not give up. I want my kids to complete their education so that in their future they may have a better life than I do.

Growing up I believed that education was completely out of my reach. Both of my parents hardly completed elementary school, surviving in their time was more of priority than education. Both of my parents come from poor and large families and none of them have ever completed their education. I never had an education role model to follow. I knew I had to graduate at least from high school because I wanted a better life. But it seemed so impossible, I was so afraid that I gave up before trying. Now I’m a mother of three wonderful children and I do not want them to live under the stress and insecure environment that I grew up in. That is why I have returned to school. And I plan to graduate and earn my physical therapist certificate. For me education is the foundation to my future. Enjoying what I do for a living and becoming a good role model to my kids will be the most satisfying accomplishment. I want to have the time and the energy to be with my family. I want my children to feel proud of being part of our family. I want to model success for them because that is what I wish for their future. And the only way to get success is by education.

I know I’m at the bottom of the pyramid, it is not going to be easy but neither is it impossible. I want to get to the top and for me receiving my diploma for completing my education is the top. I want to feel that I have accomplished something in my life. I know I will encounter detours but I don’t want to lose my focus. My goal is completing my education for all the reasons I mentioned earlier and much more. That is my treasure and it awaits for me on the top of the pyramid.


By Little Things You Become Great


When I was a little girl I spent a lot of time watching musical shows, dancing performances and Disney movies. I loved the idea of being a superstar or a gorgeous princess. I remember how I sang and danced all day long just thinking how I could be a successful person.

Years went by and I became a teenager and I realized that I was capable to do so many things. Perhaps I didn’t show up on a T.V. screen, but at least my friends always were asking me for help with their math problems or asking for advice with their personal lives.

When I was a young adult I decided to be a graphic designer. It wasn’t easy at all, but once I got done with my classes I got a job in a really good agency. Creating brands, I discovered that I was unhappy. I was spending my whole life in front of a computer creating things for pampered clients, so I felt that I needed a change, something that would bring me back the feelings of being useful. As days passed, I was just pondering about the things I had to change. Suddenly, I got a strong impression that going on a mission would be the best thing to do at that moment and that was totally right.

My mission in Rancagua, Chile was the best place to discover who I really was; I understood that my superstar side was in helping people. One of my favorite experiences was one that happened right after a big earthquake shook Chilean lands. I remember how the people were so devastated and they were begging God for help. I was so sad and wondered about the things I should say to these people after all the destruction was around us. The only thing I could think was how Jesus Christ’s teachings will give hope and happiness back to these people. So my companion and I talked with them and immediately I could see a change in their countenances, it was like all the pain and sorrow were gone forever.  That gave me the best feeling on earth, I was a superhero and it wasn’t necessary to be on a Rolling Stone magazine cover. Everything I did was because I was doing the right thing at the right moment.

After my mission I knew that the best mission ever would be in the walls of my own home. I guess I got married really fast but I was happy to do it.

I remember one morning I woke up and I felt really disappointed. I thought to myself, “Well my routine life has changed, now it’s pretty much: changing diapers, making food, barely taking a shower, cleaning house and again barely sleeping. What a dramatic change! What kind of living I was living? Is this what I really wanted to do?” Then, “Am I a successful person?” I asked myself, and as a conclusion, “I am not a superhero anymore.” These kinds of thoughts started to come up and when I was to the point of giving up, my dear husband answered me the best answer ever to my questions. He said, “Margarita do you really want to know what is a successful person to me?” He continued, “Well , you can be a successful person everyday, but everything is up to you, all depends on your decisions and in the way you see life, for example when you are setting  your goals per day, you are saying, ‘Well , I will wake up at 7:00, I will learn a new recipe or I will smile more frequently,’ and so, those are things if you are able and willing to do them I am pretty sure that you are going to feel like a successful person again.” He finished, “It is by little things that you become great.”

Right now, I am learning how to drive a stick shift car, and I have to say it was amazing the first time I was able to start the car and I could see that everything was moving around me. That was amazing and worth it. I say worth it because I spent like a whole week just trying to make it start, and some of the results were, noisy sounds coming from the engine and wheels. Pretty much it sounded like a pig at the moment of his sacrifice. I will never forget my husband’s face, so pale and scared. There was a moment when I was to the point of giving up, but I knew that I was the only one who was capable to put obstacles in  my way with learning something new , so I decided to keep trying again and again, until one day all my efforts were enough to have better results.

Today I feel so blessed for the conviction I have of the power of doing the things you want to get done, it is something amazing! Everything starts by little things; I mean without persistence we cannot achieve our goals, even if our goals are simple like mine. Driving a car perhaps is something so simple but for me was huge and it took many hours of dedication until I got my first result.

As I said in the beginning, I spent a lot of time in my childhood watching T V shows. It wasn’t  bad , but today I know if I really want to do something  I must stop dreaming of or wishing for about something that maybe someday and  somehow will appear next to me, like it was done by my fairy godmother.

The reality is that you are your own “Fairy Godmother”, you are the only one who can change your destiny. We cannot see our strengths until we are willing to recognize our own weaknesses. In other words if one of your weaknesses is being lazy, how can you know the abilities you are good at? There is no other way to become successful but with persistence and by little things. I would never have discovered who I really was, what I really like , if instead I would have preferred to be a couch potato  sitting down and  wasting my time watching  TV shows about dreams  that maybe someday I will have.

As Ros-Lethinen the first female Hispanic in Congress in the United States once said, “Set goals, work hard, keep high standards. Believe in yourself. And above all, show persistence.


Prompt #1

Fran Chamberlain

I have decided to write about two of my accomplishments that are related to each other. They both describe, or illustrate how we tried to keep Christ in Christmas. As a background, when our children were very young we would bundle them up and take goodies around the neighborhood, singing Christmas carols, as we stopped at each door. Some of the songs were about Christ, although many were not. At Christmas we would read the story of Christ’s birth from Luke, and the children dressed up and played the parts of the manger scene. This was sufficient when they were young, but as they grew we needed to try a new approach to maintain their interest in Christ. Based on that, I had an idea that resulted in my first achievement.

My first achievement occurred when I was the Activities Chairman for our Ward. I decided to try something new for our Ward Christmas Party. I asked the Activities Committee if they would be willing to put on “An Evening in Bethlehem”, and they agreed. We worked together to transform the Cultural Hall in tot the town of Bethlehem. We made the stage into a synagogue where the Rabbi could read from the Old Testament about the coming birth of Christ. We turned one corner of the hall into a Hebrew school for children where they could learn to write a few words in Hebrew. There was a carpenter’s shop for folks to make something out of wood. We had a potter’s shop where they could watch a potter throw a pot and could make a pot out of Play Dough. We created an inn where they could have some food and even draw out a drink from the well. Many people came in costumes—bathrobes with turbans or scarf’s. Each person was given a little bag with wood-cut coins, which were cut from thin slices of a tree branch. If they ran out of money to spend, they could come back for more. There was a drop box at each station for the wooden coins. After everyone had spent time going to each station around the hall, an angel dressed in white blew his trumpet and announced the birth of Christ. A choir dressed in white started to sing as we opened the overflow area. Everyone gazed on the Nativity scene as the Bishop read from Luke about the birth of Christ. We all sang Christmas carols and ended the evening with “Silent Night”. No Santa, no Christmas candy, no Christmas tree, it was all about Christ and just something different for a change. Everyone on the committee mentioned how wonderful it felt to have Christ in Christmas. The next Bethlehem Christmas party was even better.

As our children grew older we needed a new idea to help them want to share Christmas Even with the family. One Christmas Eve, as I was driving home from my brother’s house, someone on the radio was explaining bout a Bethlehem dinner for Christmas Eve. This explanation clicked with me and helped me create my second achievement for keeping Christ in Christmas. It was the very idea for which I was looking. So that night, we took a fold-up table and left the legs in, put it on two boxes so it was low, set pillows around the table to sit on and dressed up for our first Bethlehem dinner. The next year was even better with candles and more variety of foods that Jesus would have eaten. The children wanted to be there and would even bring their friends. We had figs, dates, olives, pita bread stuffed with tuna salad, grapes, cheeses to eat and fresh homemade bread to break. We ate by candlelight and listened to “the Messiah” playing in the background. As we ate we talked about Christ and the events of His ministry. This was the beginning of our special Bethlehem Christmas Eve dinners. We are much older now and our children are all married with children of their own. And some of them still have Bethlehem dinner on Christmas Eve for one of their enjoyable traditions. As we go through life and experience all the materialistic parts of Christmas, it helps to remind ourselves to keep Christ in Christmas. This has been a wonderful achievement for me and my family.


Prompt #1


 I came to the United States in July 200 when my children were on school vacation. I planned to come to the US because I had to have surgery. The specialists in Haiti said they didn’t’ have the equipment to do it and it would be too difficult. I came and I was lucky to find a doctor named Dr. Emory (name has been changed). He was very nice to help me and do the surgery. I went back to Haiti and, unfortunately, the doctors said I had to have the surgery again. In 2001, I came back and had a second surgery with Dr. Emory and then went back to Haiti. Again, the doctors told me that I had to have another surgery. So, I planned to come back to the U.S. with my whole family. It was not just because of the surgery but also because of the political situation in Haiti.

My husband came to my sister’s house in Utah first, so he could get settled. After a few months, I sent my two daughters and then after that, I came in December 2003 with the boys. We got an apartment and put the children in school. Then, my first preoccupation was the surgery. I needed to find a way to do it.

We started to go to the LDS church and prayed. WE met a doctor at the church, and he tried to help me. He referred me to a specialist. Finally, I had the third surgery. Since then, I have felt good. Getting through the surgeries was a very big accomplishment for me. If I had stayed in Haiti, I would not be here today. I am lucky I got a visa to come to the U.S.

I always pray for Dr. Emory who helped me first in 2000 to 2001, for Dr. Brown (name has been changed) at church who helped me and referred me, and for Dr. Smithson (name has been changed) at Memorial Hospital (name has been changed). I don’t think I can find the words to say thank you to these people. I am very grateful to be the in the U.S. Now, I can think about my future, because I am alive.

During this whole time, my husband and I worked to get jobs. After we got our green cards, we applied for citizenship. The test wasn’t easy, but I passed it and got my citizenship. I had to learn English to take the test and study hard. I am still learning and love English class. Someday I will be able to speak English better.

Getting through the surgeries and becoming a United States citizen are two great accomplishments in my life. I am so happy to be in the U.S. with my family and be alive today.


Prompt #1

Frumencio Chavarria-Lemus

I want to mention a little more than two accomplishment just to mention and do not to forget them, as follow:

I.I. My marriage (with my wife) and being established our lovely family

I have to recognize one of my (our) great and happy successful when I got married with my wife on October 9, 1973 and for different reasons, our marriage was so difficult to formalized.

But my girlfriend Raquel showed me since the beginning at that time that she was in love and be able to support me at all.  I am very happy and proud of us to live together since I meet her.

Raquel my wife has been so sweet and lovely woman who has helped all of us (our kids and grandkids and sons in law) to rejoyce our lifes and share the best of our feelings  in our homes with experiences and challenges that we have faced.

Since our happiness and balancing life in our marriage, toward with our kids, it helped to me in having the support and inspiration to build planning in my own business and professional career in elevators industry and construction services in Mexico and planning to travel and move to USA, to the best placed thanks to the wonderful people, members of The LDS-Church.

Making all the efforts and trying to look for a better life, I can feel that we got the very best challenge to left our own country, but living a better life toward with generous and sincerely people from Utah.

I.2. To have moved from my original country (Mexico) to my new country (USA).

It is a very special gift to be living in Utah and share our time with good and very generous people who are really interested in our material and spiritual needs.  It make me feel safe and inspirited to work for a better life for us and for our neighbors as well as our family.

1.3. Be baptized in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Days and to get a good testimony of JC

1.4. My professional career and successful in business.

1.5. To enjoy reading, studying English and listening music.

1.6. In sports, having participated in the Mexican league and national selection of American football.


Prompt #2

Part of my interest in the life has been reading, studying and hard working.  Today I feel that in USA is the land of the opportunities for people to want to grow and being successful through the items that I have mentioned.  I am looking for opportunities to get my way and attend a University but first studying English as my second language in order to try to get a University Master, no matter how long it can take.

I consider that education is very valuable for developing better skills to understand our own lifes but to for love and know people as our neighbors.  Education is part of our integral spiritual part as part of Mankind and good examples of ourselves.  Educational is important to increase our understanding and human resources and habits.

I would like to study History and Social Sciences, as Economy and Politics to try to complete my intellectual, professional and spiritual knowledge.  I understand that English could do it for me since my understanding today is limited and part of my weakness to express my thought completely.

I know that my future will be better when I understand better English with all their tools as vocabulary, pronunciation an listening radio and talks from English speaking people.  My next plans are read, write and study Real Estate Principles to get my licensed in that matter.


Prompt #3

One of my weakness is not to understand listening English.  Long talks are so difficult to me to follow and understand because vocabulary and a little hard listening and shy to ask to repeat and phone calls and radio news.  Reading I feel better but not listening as I would like.

I believe that to overcome these weaknesses will be necessary to listen more time radio and audio in English.


Prompt #4

I like technology, History, Social Sciences, Politics, Real Estate and Trading (Financial hability) and Music.  But again, I am very interested in learning and understand better English in order to be a professional in these disciplines.


Prompt #5

For mu future life, I am thinking and planning continuing studies and get financial resources through my professional working that could help me to develop my skills in English to get a better jobs.  In five years I would like to have more University grades as Master and live in my own home as in the past in Mexico trying to recover part of my patrimonial resources that I left abandon in Mexico.

I would like too, learn to play guitar and piano if it is possible and sing better in my personal life and in my ward as people that I have met and herad.

In health, I want the best for my family and for myself doing exercises and swimming.


My Accomplishments and goals

Raquel Flores

I had in my life some important accomplishments. It has not been easy but I feel proud for that. I worked 30 years in Education in Mexico and I would like to use my experience in U.S.A. It will be interest. Although in this country, the teaching is different, even so, I can do that. I worked ten years in preschool where I learned to love to the children after that, I worked in High School. This level educative level taught me to know the characteristic of the adolescents. My best experience was in Education School. I taught different courses of the school curriculum and I gave support the future teachers.

I would like to get my license for to teach and to work in public or private Middle school teaching Spanish in the Dual Language Immersion program. So, I need to improve my skills to speak English and to pass my OPI test because it is important requirement to get my license.

Finally, I want to say that the life is no easy, but I know that I can accomplish my goal with perseverance and with the support from my teacher. My goal is to teach Spanish in Utah and to give support to the students whom want to learn a second language. Thus, I could to do that I like. Teaching is my passion.


Prompt #4

Scarlett Guerrero

I feel passionately about a law career. When I was little I felt and knew that everything is possible if you work on it everyday, but even thought it is possible it won’t be easy. Everyday I used to watch movies and TV shows about law and lawyers and judicial systems.
So my passion for justice continues to grow.

I was born in Mexico and in junior high school and high school I decided to do my best, to become a lawyer. I moved to Utah one and a half years ago.  In High school I learned about the career of law and that it has many options.

In my senior year I had an accident where somebody ran over me and lied about his insurance and everything. I was kind of scared and surprised at the same time, but someone asked me to go to his lawyer and that he will help me. After he helped me with my case, we started talking about my interests about law and the judicial system. He also told me that as I begin college he will help me learn about being a lawyer and set goals with him. As I learn more and work on it, he will give me a job.

I think I really want to study law but not to become a lawyer because I don’t want to protect or defend somebody who did badly. I want to do the research and be part of it behind the lawyer and the best way to do this is to become in a paralegal. The judicial System and its branches are so extensive, my mind changed but not too much. I determined that it is better to study paralegal than to become a lawyer, so I will help people in different way.


Prompt #1

Wilma Medina

My name is Wilma Medina de Molina. I am from Caracas, Venezuela; a beautiful country but it has a terrible political and economic situation. I am at eacher in Special Educaiton, specifically working with children who have difficulties learning to read and write. I am married and I have two sons.

My best accomplishment is my family. I have been married for 25 years; my elder son is 25 years old and he studies at UVU, his major is Political Science (he will graduate this spring). He is the President of the International Student Council. Also, he has represented UVU in several activities such as the UN conference in New York, Model UN, West Conference and Mountain Projects in NY and Washington DC. My younger son is 20 years old and he studies at UVU; he is a member of the International Student Council and the Latino Leadership Student Council. My sons are successful because of the effort, attention and love that we give them as parents.

My other accomplishment is my profession. I have helped a lot of student with problems, and now they are professionals. For example, one of them had problems in class: low grades, and problems interacting with other students. He also had a poor relationship with his teachers and the principal. After an evaluations and 8 months of therapy he had better grades and I advised his parents to change to another school to have a better environment. Today, he is a professional engineer. Another student I taught was in first grade. He had a high IQ, but he did not want to do the work in class. His performance was low and he had difficulties interacting with adults. A big problem was his age; he was only 5 years old. My advice was to keep him in the same grade develop a connection with me. He repeated the grade with me and in the next year he had a good performance. All my experience as a teacher have been gratifying because I have left good experience in my students such as self-confidence, friendship, security, good habits and love.


Prompt #2

 I think education is very important because you can have a better future, quality of life and grow as a person. With education you can come out of the shadow of ignorance and open your mind to new horizons and develop your own opinions about the world. Also, you can avoid being persuaded by others into believing something that is wrong. As a woman, I have tried to share my times as a mother, as a wife and as professional. I think that all women should study and prepare for a future and to be an example to their families.

Right now I am studying Hospitality and Management at UVU because I was thinking of having my own catering business. Enjoy making cakes for special occasions. However, that project would take a long time to start because I need some money to start my business. I am an international student and I must work as part-time student on Campus. Now, I am thinking of returning to my first profession as a teacher. I will take some classes for Elementary Education and take a test so I can get a license. I like to teach and I know that I will be happy teaching here in an immersion class in an elementary school. Maybe with time, I can do both: be a teacher and a pastry chef.


Prompt #3

I know as a person I have some weaknesses but the biggest right now is my ability to speak English. I need to improve because it would permit me to work in my profession, to communicate better with other people and start a conversation. Actually, I am taking English classes through Project Read to improve my conversation, reading and writing. I hope that in a short time, I can speak and write very well in English. The most important thing is that I have awareness about my weakness and I am doing everything I can to overcome this situation and improve my English skills.


Prompt #4

I want to study Culinary Art because I like to make cakes for special occasion such as weddings, baptisms, graduations, birthdays, etc. Additionally, I like to decorate the cake’s table with accessories, lights, flower or candies, to create the best place for a picture, creating a beautiful memory for a great day. Also, as a teacher, I like to teach and I feel concern if some child has difficulties learning. I am always researching, looking for the best method to teach some knowledge that is hard to learn adapting the activities according the child’s needs. The most important accomplishment a teacher can have is that the child achieves learning.


Prompt #5

I plan on living here in Utah because for me and my family it is dangerous back in Venezuela. I hope to live here working as a teacher and making a lot f cakes and desserts. The best way to stay here is an international student or with an H1 work visa. I would like to have my theater’s license because then I could obtain a Visa.

Also I plan on continuing studying at UVU and going to the churches and schools to inform about UVU. I will continue my activity in the Latino Drama Club. This is a theater in Spanish and the objective is to go to schools performing works as Latino writers. I think that it is important because it is culture and a lot of Latinos (especially the adults) do not have the opportunity to go to the theater because it is in English.

I think it’s the best way to compensate and show my gratitude to the community that has helped me get a place where I can live in peace and security with my family.


My Future Plans

Yurdiana Ortega Hernandez

Have people thought about their future lives? Well in my opinion, it is really important that people take a minute to make a plan about their future life to be able to establish goals and work on them. I would like to take a minute and write about my future plans for five years from now. My plans are to get married, have babies, and finish my career.

Something really important in my life is to get married. One of the purposes about being in the world is to have our own family, because of that we need to get married first. I want to feel the feeling about having a husband in my life. I want to have a partner that can help me to reach my goals and can be with me in difficult times. I want to have a husband that can make me laugh. I want to progress with him. Also, I would like to have company, so that we can take care of each other. In my life plans I have it in mind to get married.

Having babies is another important thing for me because babies light up people’s lives. I saw the birth of my niece and nephew, and it was really special. They grew up in my house, and I could see how wonderful it is to see how babies learn things day by day like how to walk, how to eat by themselves, how to go to the bathroom, etc. They always do funny things and make people have fun and laugh a lot. Babies know how to make people’s lives wonderful; it is why one of my plans is to have babies.

Everything in life is awesome, but having a career is important too. When a person is prepared, that person has better job opportunities. Albert Einstein said, “if you think education is expensive, try ignorance”. I know that when we invest in our education, we can generate job opportunities and greater financial security. It is why having a career is important to me, and I will do that part of my plans.

Everyone needs to have plans in his/her life to be able to achieve goals. We need to have the most important plans sought after. To me, the most important plans in my life are to get married because it is the way to have a family, to have babies because they help people to have a wonderful life, and to have a career because it is essential in people’s lives if they want to have a good economic situation.


It Came From Outer Space

Rick Ferrin

I was looking out the window while I was sitting on a chair, when I saw a big flash of light in the night sky! Then I felt the ground shake beneath my feet. After I saw the light, I sw an object in my neighbors back yard. When all of a sudden I saw something crawl out of a cone shaped object. Then, as soon as I saw this, I froze in my chair. All I could see was a funny looking creature crawling up the kitchen window. After the initial shock wore off, I was starting to shake in my chair that was near the window. I decided to get down off the chair and look through the window.

As I looked through the window, I saw some tenticles starting to climb up the window. It was in the shape of a human hand only it had suction cups on its fingers . The color of the hand was red wrinkled up like an old man. As it moved higher on the window, you could see its arms and part of its body which were hideous to behold. By this time, the head started to appear. It was shaped like a human head only it had a short horn in the middle of its forehead.

Its face had two eyes like a humans only they were red. The mouth had lips and white teeth. Just as I was about to open up the window when my little sister Angie walked into the room and started screaming at the Alien creature on our window. As soon as the creature heard her screams, It jumped off the window and started to run with its short stubby legs along the path to the spaceship. As it approached the spaceship it started to open up the door which seemed to appear from nowhere.

While all of this was happening, Angie was trying to get a better view of the creature from the window. She was on her tip toes trying to see out the window, but she could only see as far as the garbage cans in our backyard. Then she struggled to get up on the chair that was next to the window. While Angie was trying to get up on the chair, I was about to run after the alien, but my brain started to think about the consequences of such a hasty decision. A dozen different things came to my mind as I pondered what might happen to me if I carelessly ran up to the alien. Since I couldn’t see the creature from the kitchen window anymore, I decided to get some help from someone else besides myself.

I tried calling the Police, but the phone was dead because the alien space ship had severed the phone lines when it crashed. (There were not any cell phones in the 1950’s). My only mode of transportation was my bicycle which was lying on the back lawn near the creatures landing site. I was so scared of the alien that I hesitated to pick up my bike and ride to town three miles away. My bike didn’t have a light on it so it,would be difficult to see the road in the dark. Now I realized that I had better do something to help my little sister to safety.

Angie ran to John who was in the Kitchen. Angie climbed up on his lap and started to cry. Trying to sooth her, he carried her to the living room couch. When she finally calmed down, John tried to get Angie to help him to find a way out of their dire situation. They couldn’t find a way to communicate to the outside world with their phone out of order, so they devise a plan to get help from town. At first they thought about using the bike to pull to wagon with Angie in it. Then to make the wagon ride more comfortable, they lined the bottom of the wagon with soft pillows from the living room couch, finally everything was ready to embark on their trip to town. It was still dark so they devised a way to have light to guide them on the road. B taping a flashlight to the handle bars on the bike they had plenty of light to guide them the three miles to Cannonville. Angie complained about the bumpy ride in the noisy, rusty, old wagon. When we arrived the towns people were all gathered together talking about the flashes of light on the out –skirts of the town.

They were successful, in getting John and Angie to tell them what was happening in their neighborhood. After being informed about the alien and their ship, the crowd started to get into their cars, and go find out for themselves, what was really going on in Johns’ neighborhood. At about this time Johns and Angies parents had arrived from Dallas Airport from vacation in the Bahamas. Now it was time for them to solve the mystery of the alien spaceship. Their young adult son John, and five year old Angie, arrived in a friends’ car just minutes before their parents. While Johns parents were traveling home on the airplane, they saw a flash of light through the window. This was at about the same time that John noticed the flash of light from the kitchen window.

Maybe this was the same flash of light that Johns parents saw on the airplane. John and Angie started walking toward the spacecraft. Their parents George and Samantha, stopped then before they could step out of the living room. An argument started between George and John over what they should do next. After a few choice words , they started to settle down and think about what the next smart move should be. Just after they calmed down, they heard some sirens blarring outside their window.

The Police from Cannonville started to ring the door bell. It was Officer Jackson of the Sherrifs Department. He asked John and Angie what they saw in the neighbors backyard? They informed him what they had seen earlier that evening. As they viewed the neighbors back yard , they could see a pole shaped object starting to accend out of the spaceship. It was red in color and was about ten feet long when it stopped moving. Suddenly a light started flashing form the top of pole. It was bright like the sun, only it flashed off and on. Everyone could see the whole backyard enveloped in light. It was amazing that such a small light could be so bright. It was weird to see what this light could do to the people who viewed it. People who were within twenty feet of this light started to fall asleep. This startled all those who were further away from the light. Evereyone started to flee to their cars as fast as they could run. No one dared to walk up to the spaceship.

After everyone had left in their cars, the streets became deserted. Those who fell asleep were carried away in their cars to the hospital in town. While at the hospital,  the people started to wake up, but their memory of falling asleep was erased from their minds. They had no clue why they fell asleep,but it didn’t seem to harm them in any way. This mystery would have to be solved at another time, because there was no other flashed of light on the Earth around Cannonville.

This scared the towns people who witnessed the flashes of light. It was so hard for them to cope with so much action occurring all at once. The towns people were in panic mode after seeing lights in the skies. They were running to their cars to get out of town. But there wasn’t anywhere to go to get out of the range of those lights. The people started to calm down when the sherriff showed up in the town square. He told them to go home and wait for more information to be given over the radio or tv.

About an hour later,the T.V. announcer reported that there had been several sitings ofspace ships landing near town. This news really got the attention of the people of Canonville. The radio station reported that they were going to have a town meeting immediately. The meeting was in Canonville Court House. It was overflowing with town residents. Everyone was concerned about all the space ships landing in their small town. No one was prepared for such an invasion from outerspace. The Army and Airforce had been contacted by the sheriffs office.

During all the confusion hardly anyone noticed that the spacecraft that had crashed in  the neighbors back yard, was starting to move. It hovered about a foot off the ground.  Then it settled down on the ground again in a cloud of dust. Only John saw the spacecraft hover and then settle down abruptly.

The other space ships started to make funny noises as they were being investigated by the reporters. They showed some more spaceships on T V that night. But they were warned not to get within twenty feet of the ships, or they would start falling asleep if they got closer than that distance. Someone figured out a way to get closer to the space ships. By putting on sunglasses to block the bright light. This idea worked out with great success to those who could hear it. This problem had to be solved or no one would get any sleep that night.

They decided to call a noise expert to figure out how to muffle or mask the sound coming from those ships. This problem had to be solved as soon as possible or all the people would all go crazy. They needed to do something but what should they do? They couldn’t move the spacecraft because of the size of them. Nor could they put soundproof material over them because of the size of the ships. But they could apply foam over the speakers to silence them.

This would be the answer to this problem. Everyone was trying to plug their ears so they wouldn’t hear the high pitched sounds. The sounds started to subside because of the foam that was sprayed on the speakers. Now they had to figure a way to communicate with the aliens.

Up until now no one has even tried to have an encounter with the outerspace visitors. I don’t think they had any desire to contact the earthlings at that time. They didn’t seem too excited about any communication from anyone. John didn’t seem to get a good response from them in his first encounter. Ever since the alien ran away no one had ever tried to talk to them.

They decided to have the military try their ways of communicating with the aliens. First thing they did was to set up huge speakers in front of the spacecraft to get a response from them. The police investigated the flying saucers, but didn’t communicate with them yet. Now the military will take their turn at it.

They planned on playing classical music to try and get a response from them. The neighborhood wanted to get some sleep that night , so they didn’t want tot turn it up too loud. At about this time the sun was starting to come up. When all the sudden the ground started to shake very violently when they tried to move the spacecraft from its landing place. During the night they tried to dig around the first spacecraft. The ground stopped shaking when they stopped digging around the spaceship.

They tried to figure out why the spacecraft didn’t fly away after it crashed landed. Was it a normal landing or an accident that occurred. They had to figure out this before they could do anything with the spaceship. The other ships that landed didn’t seem like they had any problems in landing safely. It seemed that the other space ships landed to give the first spaceship assistance. All this started to make sense if you thought about it for a while.

It wasn’t an invasion, but actually a rescue mission instead! Not that they determined that there was no danger they decided to knock on the spaceship hull. Not only did the door open quickly, but the alien started to crawl out of the spaceship. It moved very slowly and then it started to walk toward the policeman. It startled the officer by its appearance. The creature wasn’t so scary looking as we thought it looked in the dark.

When we looked at him It started to mouth some human words. Then it began to speak in broken english to the officer. The alien tried to tell us why they had landed on earth. The other ships came to help repair the ship. It was just other ships tring to help a fellow space traveler. The reason they didn’t communacate was because they were trying to learn English. This new information calmed everyone who had gathered around the spacecraft.

No longer was anyone frightened of the aliens spaceships.  Instead they offered them what ever assistance they could think of. Aftera few days the spaceship was repaired and ready to take off. Once this was accomplished the aliens shared some of their new technology with the people who helped them. After they showed us a lot of their advanced technology I watched as they disappeared into the night sky over Cannonville.


Grand Prize: Micheline Montfleury

Tutor: Jessica Ransom

The Life of Mariane

Mariane came from a good Haitian family. She lived with her parents who loved her and cared for her. She got everything she needed. She loved her parents, and her parents loved her very much.

When Mariane was nine years old, there was a tragic car accident. Mariane’s dad died immediately, and her mother was badly injured. She was transported to the hospital and died in surgery. Mariane became an orphan.

Mariane went to live at her mother’s sister’s house. She helped her aunt in the evenings and went to school in the mornings. Mariane became a beautiful young woman.

After she graduated high school, she started working at a grocery store. A man who always shopped there fell in love with her. After a few weeks, they started dating.

Mariane loved to talk to her best friend, Taly, about her boyfriend. On their free day, they went to the movies and went shopping together. They exchanged ideas and gave each other advice about their boyfriends.

Mariane and George went to dinner one night. They talked about everything that happened in their lives before they met. They talked about their parents. Marianne was happy that she met George. She loved him, and they planned to spend more time together

When George got home after the date, he was thinking about getting married to Mariane. Suddenly, he received a phone call from Taly, who told him Mariane had been kidnapped.

After the date, Mariane went home. She was watching TV when a man came to her house through the window. He put his hand over her mouth and pushed her into his car.

While they were driving, Mariane recognized the man. He had tried to tell her he loved her before. She didn’t like him. He tried to force her to like him, but Mariane did not want to give up on George. She said, “I will never give up on George. I would rather die than love you!” He started beating Mariane and tried to kill her.

George was looking for Mariane. He found out where Mariane was. He came to the building and started fighting with the man who took her. The man tried to kill him, so Mariane took the man’s gun and killed him.

George held Mariane and told her, “It’s okay.” He tried to calm her down. He took Mariane to his house to keep her safe. They spent the whole night together and he promised to get married soon.

A few months later, Mariane and George got married. They bought a beautiful house in Haiti. They had lots of children and had a very happy life.


Second Place: Myriam Gonzalez

Tutor: Yvette Clark

The Strange Story of Provo’s Poisonous Spider

What a dangerous spider there was in provo Utah!
It started to bite people!
A man was bitten, and ended up in the Utah Valley Regional Medical Center. The hospital reported the incident to the Discovery Channel for an investigation.
Discovery sent a detective to start an investigation of the poisonous spider in provo. but he wasn’t doing a good job, so He got fired.
In the meantime, the spider bit this poor old man, causing him to jump and slam his hands down on the table!
Discovery started to recive many calls, complaining that the spider was still biting and poisoning people.
Discover sent out, new and better detectives
One of the new detectives went to the hospital to interview the victims one by one, to be able to catch the spider.
In the mean time the poor old man was almost completely out of his mind from the effects of the spider bite.
The highly intelligent spider was waiting for the detective in his office, and when the detective walked in the door, the spider shot his web, blinding him!
The detectives frends heard his screams for help, and they kicked the door in to rescue him.
The detectives prepared a plan of how to finish off the poisonous spider.
They blew the spider to snithereens. and provo utha was once again the same beatiful safe city.

Third Place: Sylvia Reyes

Tutor: Kim Hintze

The Rescue

Once upon a time in Idaho there lived a father named George with his two sons Jason & John,
Jason was always more obedient unto his father than John,
One day George told Jason that he misses the old John. George told Jason that he wants to go find his Brother John.
Jason finally found John, he told John father wants to see you when does he want to see me?
John got mad at his brother and his father he wanted to shoot him, Jason said it not good to fight we’re brothers.
John run away to the house. He wanted to kill his father so he lit the house on fire he thought his father as inside.
his nexts plan of revenge was to kidnap Letty, Jason girlfriend and John tied her hands and mouth and he left her in a little house out of the town.
Jason started looking for her, he went to the stores around the town. When he went to the last store, the men at the store told Jason that the last time he saw letty it was with John.
He rode his horses to his brother’s house.
On his way he found John. Jason asked “where’s Letty? John said I don’t know where she is. John laughter sarcastedly.
Jason went to the house to find Letty and his dad Jorge. The house was burning, he was really worry about Letty and his dad so he just jumped through the window Letty and his dad were in unconscious.
His adrenaline helped him save Letty and his dad. Letty got better faster than Jorge so she took care of Jorge. They all live happy.  END

This is a compilation of entries from the 2013 writing contest. The entries are typed exactly as they were submitted; therefore, several grammatical and/or spelling errors may exist due to the various reading levels at which some of the students function.

Writing contest instructions:


Student Writing – Holiday Memory

on Nov 27, 2013

Writing a letter for The Three Wise Men

Not all the children ask for gifts from Santa Claus.

In Mexico a big part of the population ask for gifts from the Three Wise Men, in remembrance of the presents they brought to Christ in the manger.

I can remember my siblings and me writing our letters many times the very day in which we received the gifts.

January 6th is an important celebration for children in Mexico. Of course, when they are writing their letters, they are the best children ever.

That day we eat the traditional “Rosca de Reyes”

It’s a special bread for that celebration. It symbolizes that we are welcoming them after their long journey to visit Christ.

Mexico has lots of celebrations at the end and the begining of every year.

This is just one of those.


Written by Nicolas Mandujano

Student Writing May 2013

on May 30, 2013

From Today On

From today on, I shall cut my waist size.
From today on.
Today I shall cut my midnight snack.
And everyday, no matter how hungry I am at midnight.
I shall say:
From today on, I shall do some exercise.
And after tomorrow, I shall repeat many times.

Writing Sample March 2013

on May 14, 2013

Even thought I know she is a well teacher. I most letter go to help another student, because I found a job that takes me all the noon and evening. But I hope she will be my friend forever. Even when we never see each other you will be my friend. You can count on me if sometime you have a problem. Thank you Jan for taking your personal time to help others. I hope sometime I can do the same to help other too.

P.S. I still have to study more English and a new career. I haven’t forget.

Bunnary Ang Writing Sample February 2013

on Feb 14, 2013

My Feelings about Little Princess

I like the Little Princess story. It’s both a happy and sad story.

It was sad when Sara’s dad died and she became poor. Mis Minchine didn’t allow Sara to study any more. So she became a servant. She worked hard all day and all night. Someties there was no food for her to eat. She slept in the attic and it was very cold. Her clothes and shoes were very old, but she still was a good girl.

It was also a happy story. Before her dad died she was very rich, but she was a clever and a friendly girl. She was always nice and helped all her friends, even though she was poor. She was still strong and happy. By the end of the story she became rich again and she still helped all her friends.

Student Writing

on Apr 3, 2012

By Cassandra Hood

I want my grandson to live with me because. I am worried about him. First reason I think it will be alot of fun to take care of a kid again because I miss raising kids of my own.Second reason I think it will be fun on raising a kid is you get to play with the kid to keep you active. Third reason that I want my grandson to live with me because my son isn’t taking care of my grandson the right way. Fourth reason I think my grandson should live with me is that I will raise him better than his father did. Next reason it will remind me how much I miss raising my own kids and I would like to raise a kid again. This is all the reasons that I would raise my grandson for his parents.

This is a compilation of entries from the 2012 writing contest. The entries are typed exactly as they were submitted; therefore, several grammatical and/or spelling errors may exist due to the various reading levels at which some of the students function.

Juan Acosta Writing Sample November 2012

on Nov 9, 2012

A Broken Arm

When I was six years old, I was climbing a tree. I was trying to grab a branch and hold on as my uncle was doing. I missed the branch and fell six ft, falling on my arm.

My arm was fractured. At the hospital they put on a cast. I had it for a month.

Later I fell out of another tree and broke my arm in the same place.

Juan Acosta Writing Sample October 2012

on Oct 31, 2012


If you want a good price on tires don’t go to a tire store.
I bought $500-worth of truck tires at a used car parts dealer, and spent only $200.
I also bought four for my car at different places for $120.
You can find bargains if you look for them.

Writing Sample October 2012

on Oct 31, 2012

Dear Len Wiske,

Did you remember me when I had a job interview with you at your office. I just want to thank you for that interview. Also, I would like to say that I am looking forward to work at your company because I realy feel that your company is one of  the best companies in town.

I think I would be a good fit for your company.

Sincerely, Oralia Moreno

Writing Sample August 2012

on Oct 5, 2012

In Guatemala City on the play ground of the school something happened that day that I never forgot. When I was in school in 3rd grade there was a girl that didn’t like me. She was a bully.

We had fight, and she pushed me over a big root of a tree. I tripped and twisted my knee. My dad put splint on my leg that wore 8 weeks, and then after a few weeks I got better from that fall.

After a few weeks, I got revenge and I pushed her over the side walk. I grabbed her hair and smashed her in the ground untill her face was all bloody. She was taken to hospital. I ended up at the offices, got suspended, and we learned our lesson.

Writing Sample September 2012

on Oct 1, 2012

Autumn in Provo

If you are living in Provo and you have never seen the autumn, you should go to the Bridal Veil Falls located near Provo Canyon. Because it is nearby Provo, it is easy to hike and the view of the waterfall from there is unique.

Bridal Veil Falls is a waterfall and its name is due because it has the shape of a bridal veil. It is located in the south of Provo Canyon and you just need thirty minutes or less by car to reach it from Provo.

From the very beginning of the trip you can see the colorful characteristic of the autumn in Provo Canyon and if you open the window of your car you can feel the breezy air. When you arrive at the bottom of the waterfall you can see its majesty. From there you can see the middle of the waterfall is not so far. Then you can’t wait to hike because it is very close and safe. While you are hiking you can see different kinds of leaves and their beautiful colors. Another thing that you would love about the fall is the crisp of the leaves that you find on the path. You couldn’t resist the temptation of crisping leaves as you find them

When you reach the middle of the waterfall you can feel the strength of the cold and transparent water. You would want to swim in it but when you feel the chill of the sparkling water you realize that it wouldn’t be a good idea if you aren’t used to resisting low temperatures. You can enjoy the amazing view of the canyon with the different kinds of colorful trees.

I recommend visiting Bridal Veil Falls in Provo Canyon because it has all the necessary things to feel comfortable and enjoy this amazing season. Bridal Veil Falls is visited by many people because it is close to the town, they views are beautiful and it is not a difficult hike.

-Henry Ochoa

Writing Sample September 2012

on Sep 28, 2012

A Long Walk to Water

Based on a true Story

A little boy 11 years old, his life was perfect until the war of Southern Sudan, 1985.

His name was Salva, his journey across Africa to Ethiopia and then to Kenya, took many years. Salva was very lucky because he was able to go to school, he could not attend the all year, due his family during the dry season moved away from their Village. Salva father was a successful business man; Salva had three brothers and two sisters. One day Salva was in the school, the teacher stopped talk in the class, they heard a gunfire from the windows, everybody down the teacher shouted the gunfire stop, but when they looked for the windows people were shouting and running. The teacher said “go quickly, all of you” but not go home, go in to the bush.

The war had started two years early, but Salva not understand mush about it. But he knew that the rebels from the Southern part of the Sudan were fighting against the Government, most people who lived in the North were Muslim and the Government wanted all of Sudan to become a Muslin Country. But the people in the South were different religions and did not want to be forced to practice Islan. When the teacher said everyone go Salva go to the door. Everyone was running and them he running too as hard as he could. Later in the day he ask many questions himself, Where we are going?, where is my family? When will see them again? . At the night the group found a barn which spend can spend the night. In the next morning when Salva open his eyes, no one eslse was in the barn, they had left him, hi was alone again because he was only child.

Salva thinking what will I do now, the sky was hazy from the smoke of hte bombs, he still walking and a few days he found another group and he ask them can I go with you, I’m alone: son of them said no he is child, he willl slow us down, and another mouth to feed. One women in the group finally said take him with us. Walking every day to unknown place, no food no water.

The group go a bigger with each passing day, Salva walking every night around the group try to find someone from his family, one day hi fond one boy the same ages 11 years old Marial they walking together for several days and Salva ask Marial, if he knows where we going and he said Ethiopia, and Salva said noooo if I go to another Country my family never find me, they still walking together for a months, another day in the morning Salva found his uncle the youngest brother of Salva father. They talk each other for long periods and enjoy walking Marial Salva and ancle, but one night everyone was so tired and everybody slept where they sat down.. In the next morning Marial was gone, his desapperance could mean only a lion had been hungry enough to take Marial. Salva suffer so much for his friend, and them continue walking with uncle for three more months.

Another morning other group appear and they took uncle, killed and buied him. Salva didn’t know how survive Marial gone his uncle gone probabl=ble his family gone, how can I go without them?. Finally the group arrive to Ethiopia we fond camp and work there for around 6 years. Days later they closed the camp and them they had to leave Ethiopia., the soldiers chasing us toward the river, they force us to cross the river, the river has to many Crocodiles. We loosed a lot of people in the river. After that they walking to Kenya, Salva was the lieder of the group now and the group was most young boys 16 and 17 years old. Salva encourage the group one step a time… one day a time more thantuelve hundred boys arrive safely to Kenya. It took a year and half.

Finally through the internet Salva find out his father was in the Hospital, in Sudan in stomach surgery, he travel there and meet his father, and his father said her mother en 2 sisters alive.

-Esther Pena

Holiday Memories 2012

on Sep 5, 2012

Everyone has their own special remembrances of the holidays: family gatherings and traditions, special gifts given or received, favorite holiday stories, songs, or TV specials, and more. In the spirit of the holiday season, we’d like to hear about some of your most treasured holiday memories (these memories can be about any holiday or favorite winter memory—building a first snowman, first snowfall, sledding, etc.). Feel free to answer some or all of the holiday questions below:

Question 1:      What is your favorite holiday memory?

Question 2:      What holiday tradition do you like the most?

Question 3:      What is your favorite holiday story, movie, and/or book?

Question 4:      Which holiday song do you like best?

Question 5:      What is your favorite holiday recipe? Are there any special family recipes that have been handed down through the years?

Question 6:      How do you usually spend the holidays? What would be your ideal way to spend the holidays?

Question 7:      When do you usually start shopping for the holidays? Do you do it early or wait until the last minute?

Question 8:      What is the best toy or present you ever received during the holidays?

Question 9:      What is on your wish list this year?

Question 10:    What do you feel is the true meaning of the holiday season?

You may relate your feelings through poetry or prose. Each student and tutor is welcome to submit a memory. Please include your name on your submission. The booklet of “Holiday Memories” will be distributed at the Project Read Holiday Party on Thursday, 6 December 2012. Please submit your writing to the Project Read office by Thursday, 29 November 2012 to be included in the booklet.

Writing Sample August 2012

on Aug 27, 2012

Last Tuesday, Celeste and Alicia were going to California for skating camp, so I needed to drop them off at Salt Lake Airport by at least 5:30 a.m. for their 6:30 flight.

I had been worried about Celeste for the whole week because it was going to be her first trip without me. As time passed, I was getting nervous so I couldn’t sleep well Monday night.

I woke up at 3:00 and was ready to go to Alicia’s home to pick her up. I had to hurry but I tried to delay so that Celeste could have more sleep. Finally I woke her up and she got dressed quickly. Even though she was still half asleep, she was excited about going to California.

While I was driving on the freeway, there were a lot more cars than I thought there would be so I couldn’t drive quickly. By this time I was getting nervous about being late. When I got to the parking lot, I put my credit card in the machine so the parking lot gate would open but I failed on the first try. When I pulled my credit card, the parking lot arm was still down. I had to try again and it worked. I was getting more and more nervous because it was 5:45. I decided to drop them off in front of the door so Alicia and Celeste could  rush to check in while I was parking.

I stopped the car in front of the door to the airport and turned on the left signal. I tried to get out so I could help unload their suitcases from the back of my car. After Alicia got out, I got out too. However, Celeste was still in the car and I was distraught to realize that the car was still moving forward. In a split second, I realized that I hadn’t put the gear in park. I tried to stop it but I couldn’t think well. I kept accidentally pulling the signal stick instead of the gear shift stick. After a few tries, I found the gear so I put it in park. Celeste stood up simultaneously and turned the key off. The car stopped. She didn’t look nervous but my heart was pounding.

I unloaded the suitcases and Alicia and Celeste dashed to the door. After parking, I ran to them. I saw a lot of people but the Southwest counter where Alicia and Celeste were was okay. Alicia tried to print the tickets out but the computer was frozen. We realized that it was the wrong place. We needed Jet Blue, not Southwest.

By the time we finished checking in, it was about 6:00. The airplane would leave in 30 minutes. We dashed to security but there was a super-long line which was four times longer than what I have usually seen. I believed that it would be impossible to get on the plane in time so I suggested that Alicia should ask someone to butt in. She did it. She looked around and found a big group of missionaries. They reluctantly said yes.

After Alicia and Celeste were close to the security gate, I came back to my car and checked to make sure I hadn’t hit anything earlier. There was no problme. It was a big relief.

Alicia and Celeste made it and I got home safely. It was a long, long morning.

-Yangsoon Park

A Flood in Our Condominium

on Aug 29, 2012

Juan Acosta Writing Sample August 2012

A couple of weeks ago we had a flood in our apartment.  A water line to the toilet tank broke.  For about an hour, water went to the rooms and also on to a neighbor’s storage area below us.  My wife frantically tried to turn off the water and finally succeeded.

My wife called me at work, and I came home as fast as I could.  I vacuumed up as much water as I could so the water wouldn’t damage floor, walls, or the ceiling below.

We called the insurance company and a disaster company.  We spent a couple of days with the in-laws and a week in a hotel while the disaster company worked on our condominium.  Finally we moved back in and put everything back in order.

Eddie Ferris Writing Sample July 2012

on Aug 1, 2012

My thougts on into the wood

My les favert person in this story was the wolf becues how creepy he was like how he was fowoling he a was wanting to ete her

My faverit person this story was the baker he indord so much yet he did not Los his humanity and how he saved littil red and her gradmom from the creepy wolf and how he slod the beens to Jake for the cow and how him and his wife rguod sometimes and woud make up

Juan Acosta Writing Sample July 2012

on Aug 1, 2012

Trip to Idaho

The Saturday and Sunday before 4th of July we went to visit my sister in Idaho. Her family lives on a farm far away from towns. They were happy to have visitors. We talked and ate meals we especially enjoyed her tortillas.

The weather was hot so we went to a park in Dietrich for the kids to play while we enjoyed the shade. We tried to get ice cream for about 45 minutes. We finally got some at WalMart in Jerome.

It was nice to see them but time went by fast and we had to come home.

Juan Acosta Writing Sample June 2012

on Jun 28, 2012

Several weeks ago my two nephews were hit by a car while riding a bicycle. One was nearly killed. To avoid such accidents, both drivers and cyclists should do several things.

First of all drivers should be aware of pedestrians and people on bikes, especially kids on bikes. Drivers might allow extra space for kids. Watch the speed limit, and be extra careful at night.

Kids on bikes should wear their helmets, and bright clothing. Watch for traffic. Ride only in designated areas to avoid accidents.

Both drivers and bikers have a right to be on the road but both need to be aware of each other and work together to avoid accidents.

Oralia Moreno Writing Sample June 2012

on Jun 25, 2012

Dear Mr. David Smith

I would like to introduce my self I am Oralia Moreno and I would like to talk about my jobs experience I have throughout my life

My first one was sales.

When I was a kid I used to sell fish. My dad was a fisherman for a living.

My second business was catering fast food. My husband and I used to owned a catering truck, and I was the cook. We used to go to the factories and sell lunches to the people.

My last business was a mobile shop. There were men, womens, and kids cloths, etc.

Overall, after having all those little businesses, I strongly believe that I can manage a big store, becouse I have alot experience with the small business

Nicolas Mandujano Writing Samples–April 2012

on May 17, 2012

Sample 1

When I was about 13 years old, I started to go to the water park two or three times a week, because I was a fat boy and my P.E. teacher gave me some suggestions to loss weight and get some muscles.

One of those days, went early in Sunday, after three or four hours, (about noon) the pool was full. Then three guys came to the diving pool where I was. They were extremelly drunk.

I always liked to be in the deepest area, close to the diving board and 18 feet platform.

Then, one of them went to the platform because their friends challenged him to dive, but he fell horizontally on his belly.

I laughted automatically, and his friends came to me screaming to me;

-Go up immediatelly! If not, we kill you!

I was a kid and felt so scared, but did my best to show calm and security. Went directly to the platform and saw them smiling.

Put my hands together in front of me and closed my eyes. (Forgot to say that it was my first time on a platform)

Then jumped strongly still closed eyes, to fell over my belly worst than the other guy.

I felt my belly hottest than ever and swam to the opposite side under the water.

Since that time, I trained to dive correctly.

Sample 2

Ixtaccihuatl y Popocatepetl: A love story at the pre-Hispanic Mexico

At the Valley of Mexico a few centuries before the arrival of the Spaniards, the Aztecs was the dominant tribe in central Mexico.

Obvious! All the neighbor tribes was obliged to pay tribute to the most powerful tribe.

Finally, the chief of Tlaxcaltecas, called together all his generals and command them to fight the Aztecs.

The most brave warrior was Popocatepetl, who was in love of Ixtaccihuatl.

Ixtaccihuatl was the princess and was in love of Popocatepetl also.

The Caciqe accepted Popocatepetl to marry Ixtaccihuatl if he came back victorious from war.

They went to wage war and the brave Popocatepetl, in love of the princess and full of hope won all the battles.

Among the other generals, there was Citlaltepetl, a wicked man who sent a messenger to Ixtaccihuatl notifying that Popocatepetl was dead in battle.

Ixtaccihuatl wept intensively at the edge of madness.

The princess finaly fall sick and passed away pronouncing the name of Popocatepetl at last.

Popocatepetl returned triumphant, but when the chief told him about the tragedy, fell in deep insanity.

Suddenly Popocatepetl sent 20,000 of his soldiers to pile up the rocks and soil of ten mountains to build a palace to preserve the beloved cadaver.

When the mausoleum was ready, Popocatepetl  carried Ixtaccihuatl to the summit to cry for her by oneself.

Finally Popocatepetl decided to dead to find her in the world of dead.

Therefore; the noble warrior died close to her with a torch in his hand.

Across the time the dust and snow covered the lovers, creating the mountains that adorn the Valley of Mexico in the present days.

Popocatepetl still have fire in his heart because of the love of Ixtaccihuatl. That;’s why sometimes the volcano roars and throws smoke.

The untruthful who caused that tragedy, fled far frome the lovers, and afterward, when he died, the snow covered the body too and became “The Citlaltepetl” and from the distance contemplates the eternal lovers whom never will be separated.

Ixtaccihuatl = white woman

Popocatepetl = smoky mountain

Citlaltepetl = mountain of the star

Juan Acosta Writing Samples–April 2012

on Apr 18, 2012

Sample 1:

Owning your own home is a good idea for three reasons.

Money pay out in rent is last. However, monthly house payments add up in equity, or how much of a house you own. This affects selling the house.

If you’re renting a house you can’t paint it or decorate it anyway you want. If own your own home, you can.

A landlord will be too slow to fix things, but you can repair your things or hire somebody.

So owning your own home has many advantages.

Sample 2:

I am doing many good things for my health. I don’t drink much soda. I try to eat fruits and vegetables, and others things that are good for me. I get exercise through physical labor at work.

There are things I need to improve. I need to drink more water each day. I need to get to bed earlier to get more sleep.

Even thought I’m doin several things to keep healthy, there are a few things I still need to work on.

Sample 3:

When I was in 6th grade, a kid hit me in the back of my head with a popsicle.

I hit the boy that I thought was guilty, but he said he didn’t do it. Hitting him broke some bones in my hand.

And then everybody thought my hand was ok, but I couldn’t use it. So it healed wrong.

Today however my hand works ok.

Oralia Moreno Writing Samples–April

on Apr 18, 2012

These samples were written in response to articles she read in her tutoring manuals.

Sample 1:

Today I worked on an assembly line doing the dash board. I don’t like it because it is boring. I’d rather be driving the car. What I don’t like. Is building the cars.

Sample 2:

It’s a big problem nowdays for society. If you don’t have enough sleep your physically, mentally tired all the time and you can’t function. It could also lead to death so it is very important to take it very seriously because that could kill you and your family will suffer without you

Last Days

on Apr 9, 2012

By Cristina Luna

Tomorrow is the last class at the Provo Library; I can´t believe how the time has passed, and I feel that I´m closing stages. The classes at the ELC had finished some weeks ago, the General Conference is over and the classes at the Library are going to finish tomorrow. So these things show me that is time to go back to Chile, and that makes me feel happy but sad at the same time.

I remember my first time at the Library, I was so excited to be part of the Read Project and after passing some tests the people in charge of the program began looking for someone, who would be my tutor. I never imagine how important it would be this person during my time in the U.S.

One day Sue, the director of Read Project, sent me an email, telling me that she had found a perfect tutor for me, and I had to go to meet her the next Monday.

I went that day, and I met Linda, my tutor. My first impression was she must love teaching, because she uses her leisure time helping other people.

We talk about what I wanted to learn, and then we decided to read a book. The first book was “The Giver, then we continue with “A long walk to water”, “Holes”, and finally “Three cups of tea”.

At the same time she began to help me to prepare the Toefl, so every session, we reviewed the exercises, we read the book together, and we talked about our impressions of the book; of course we also talked a lot about our experiences and daily activities, and when the class ended, she always gave me a ride till the ELC; she began to be a friend to me.

The time began to pass by. The books were finished, the exercises too, and now the classes are almost over.

I will never forget this nice person, Linda, who was a big bless for me, every class I could learn a lot, and also enjoyed the time with her.

Linda thanks for your time, disposition, and patience, thank you for your love!

Reducing Fat

on Mar 7, 2012

Writing Sample by Cassandra Hood

there is many ways to reduce fat in your diet. when you prepare for dinner and you want to eat healthier you have to reduce the fat in your meal. when you have excess fat in your meal it can make you gain weight. some people use margarine instead of butter in their meals and others use butter instead of margarine.

Las Vegas Trip

on Feb 6, 2012

By Hyun Jin

This was the first time I traveled with my children around America. I especially chose Las Vegas because it is not far away from Utah. Before our travelling, the weather was very terrible but I couldn’t give up. When I was driving to Vegas, the weather changed again and again. There was a lot of rain and strong wind but finally it became sunny. Bright weather gave us good feelings so I enjoyed driving with happiness. Las Vegas has two different faces. During the daytime, it is very normal like Salt Lake but when night comes Las Vegas changes a lot. There are some reasons why the nighttime is amazing. Each hotel becomes bright as the lights turn on and the Las Vegas buildings are bright with different decorations such as stars in the sky. Also, there are many interesting shows and most of them are free in front of the hotels. We looked up much information before the trip so we could watch wonderful shows without money. When my children laughed loudly, I felt very happy. After that, we wanted to go to a Korean restaurant but I lost my way. My children wanted to go to another restaurant but I never gave up because it is a very delicious restaurant in Vegas. Finally we found the Korean place and we enjoyed dinner. Las Vegas is the best gambling city but I didn’t want to gamble because it is not a good education for my children. After travelling, we have a closer relationship now.

Tips for Doing Well in an Interview

on Apr 9, 2012

By Ellie Wong

Prepare an application form and a resume with you. Make a good impression by dressing nicely and properly. Arrive early. That will have time to take a deep breath, to check your hair and to straighten your clothes. Show the interviewer that you’re confident and excited about the job. Answer politely and completely. Tell about the jobs you have had in positive terms. Tell what you liked and how what you learned will help you in this new job. Never say bad about a previous employer.

This is a compilation of entries from the 2012 writing contest. The entries are typed exactly as they were submitted; therefore, several grammatical and/or spelling errors may exist due to the various reading levels at which some of the students function.

Grand Prize—Life Changes: Jenuely Pedron
Tutor: Jodi Nicholas

The Superpowers of a Bad English Student

How would you feel if after a hard and long time trying to learn a new language, you find a pill that solves all your problems? That happened to me.

When I was a child I lived in South America, and I had a dream. I would like to live in Provo, Utah to learn English and study a master program at BYU, so I wrote my dream in my journal and put it away. Seven years after, I began high school. I was excited because I was going to learn English for first time. I met my new teacher who was fat, short, and seemed a little lazy man. He began the class teaching the famous verb “To Be.” It was a little confusing for me, but I was eager to see the other classes. Four years after I was frustrated because he had taught the verb “To Be” every year, over and over again. In addition, I began to hate English because it was so annoying and hard. Then a cold morning the teacher disappeared, and a new teacher came. The new teacher was the opposite the first one, both physically and intellectually. He was very strict in class. Because I was in my last year high school, he began to teach advanced English. This was crazy because no one in my class could understand. We knew just one thing about English: the verb “To Be.” Only one guy in the class was able to understand and get good grades. All my life, I thought this guy had some kind of special power because he could understand everything in an amazing way. In the end, I could pass English with a “C” and graduated from high school. But my dream began to disappear.

When I started college, I swore to myself that I would not take another English class. But two years after, I was in love, and my boyfriend asked me to learn. I took the class, but that experience was crazy again. I could not understand anything. I was a good student in all my other courses, but English class was harder than the rest. I was able to get just a “C” on that class again. As a result, I was not able to receive an honor award when I finished my major. I was very close, but the “C” affected my GPA, so this was another reason to hate English again.

I married to my boyfriend, and we decided to come to Utah (My dream was becoming real). Before moving, I took more English classes, but again I could not understand. I cried many times because I felt brainless. I arrived to Provo five month ago and, I began to take classes of English as a second language. My biggest challenge was the speaking part. One guy in my class always laughed at me because I could not pronounce the words very well. He made me feel sad and stupid, so I decided to go to the Provo Library to find help. I was in one of the hallways trying to find a book (or a miracle). Suddenly, a mysterious door started to open very quietly in a corner. Nobody else saw the door, but I saw it. I was very curious, so I went to check it out. I walked silently towards the door and pushed it slowly. Behind the door was a dark room, it was empty except for an old table sitting in the back. On top of the table was a jar with a pill inside and a label on the top that said “take me.” I felt that I was in Alice’s Wonderland. I was very frustrated about my English, so I just took it.

I did not feel anything, so I went to my house. The next morning, I thought the room and the pill was just a dream, although it felt very real. But it was time to return to my sad reality. When I arrived to class, I began to feel a little dizzy. I asked for permission to step out and get some water. Suddenly, I felt something strange in all my body and more particularly on my mind. I waited a few minutes until to feel calm again. Finally, I came back to class. But now my mind burst with intelligence! I began to see all the verbs, grammar structures, phonics, and sounds in my mind. I could not believe it. I thought “I must be dreaming again?” Then the teacher asked a question; I raised my hand and answered brilliantly. Did I just do that? I asked myself. Everyone in my class was surprised. They could not believe it. Then on the next class, the same thing happened again. When my classes ended I thought, “it must have been the pill! It wasn’t a dream.” I felt like I had a Superpower now. It was a miracle.

A few days before I took the pill, I discovered that some of my partners had superpowers as well (How did I discover it? That’s another story). I wanted to be like them. However that wish quickly vanished, I just had to accept I didn’t have any super power. But then, everything changed when I took the pill. My power was not only related to knowing English; I could also absorb my partners’ abilities and skills just by touching them. It was wonderful, my wish came true. Then I began to take their powers very carefully: one guy had a strong memory, another good hearing like a dog, another guy could read faster than anyone else and remember everything after he read, and one partner had abilities to speak better than any politician in the world, etc. When I finished taking each power, I began to be smarter than everyone else, but at the same time I didn’t want to make my companions feel bad.  I began to help people who had troubles like I did. Every time I helped someone with problems learning English, I felt stronger. Helping was the most important thing that I learned. Thanks to this superpower I could accomplish my dream, but the most meaningful thing for me was that I was able to help other students fulfill their dreams as well.

I want to be honest with you. My bad stories at the beginning were true. Superpower is only a wish that I have. I am studying English one more time. My experience learning English has been so difficult in anytime especially when I was learning in my country. I needed to study harder than everyone else, and I still do if I want to have good grades. Therefore, I had to come to the Library to find some extra help because my intensive regular classes are not enough. When I came to the Library, I found “Project Read.” It was funny because it represented a pill for me! I have been in the program for only two months.  I am grateful for “Project Read.” It has been useful in my English improvement. Now I am dedicating 25 to 30 hours a week to studying English. It is a hard work, but I am not going to rest until I accomplish my goal of speaking English perfectly.

Second Place—Life Changes: Esther Rocio Pena
Tutor: Jacob Newman

Project Read Changed My Life

Project Read absolutely has changed my life. I feel more confident and my pronunciation has improved a lot. I do my homework at home and it helps me too. Also I write more correctly now than before I began the program. I’m so happy to have this opportunity to be part of this program. I’m very grateful for the nice people here and my wonderful tutor. He is fantastic. He has a positive attitude to encourage me to learn better every day.


Third Place—Life Changes: Liliana Hartman
Tutor: Kristen Hutchings

Lili’s Story: The Beginning

When I first came to USA I did not speak English, but with the time I found a reading program at Provo City Library and I meet Kristen my tutor which is a blessing to me. She help me two times a week one and a half hours Tuesdays and Thursdays. She is wonderful.
We have tutoring for 7 months now, and Kristen helps me to do one of my dreams. We started writing a book about my life. When I lived in Mexico I was a victim of domestic violence. So I move to USA with my two kids and I struggle a lot especially with the language and to be in another country. But I would like to thank first heavenly father and to this country and the wonderful people  who help me  a lot and every opportunity they give me.

Honorable Mention—Life Changes: Oralia Moreno
Tutor: Shanesha Legardy

How Project Read Changed My Life

Bring in the reading project is really changing my life. I am learning how to read properly. I am feeling more secure in my person and not feeling uncomfortable. Being in the project reading will help me finish my Ged and continue my education to reach my goals in life. Overall I think this is a good project, and I feel very proud of myself.

Grand Prize—Other: Nicolás Mandujano
Tutor: Kallie Astle

The Quest

Once upon a time, in a country far away that no one remembers …

There lived a man who was obsessed with finding God. He spent all the imaginable resources trying to find his purpose.

He went to the farthest desert, so no one interrupted his meditation, and after some days, he returned, disappointed, to unload his frustration on his wife and children.

Then it occurred to him that he could find Him in the woods, and went into the woods for a few days, getting the same result.

Time after, he was sure to find Him near the sea, so he went to sit on a rock by the sea. And he concentrated as much as he could, but this time he could not find Him.

Then he made another attempt, climbing the highest mountain in his country, thinking that the closer he was to the clouds, he was certain to find God, but the result was the same.

Disappointed, he spent some yeas of his life pouring his bitterness against his family. Until one day, he had the brilliant idea of building a temple, for God to come and live in it, and this way he could talk to Him.

He started to work immediately, and as he had in mind a magnificent building, he ordered his wife and children to work from sun-up to sun-down, requiring them to do more than they could, as if they were slaves.

Finally, after a few years, the temple was completed. He used the best materials, no matter that he had spent most of his fortune, as he was very rich. But nothing happened … God did not come.

However, every morning he was in the temple to see if God had finally come. And he forced his wife and children to come with him, to see how God himself thanked him for the magnificent work.

And so it was many days, which were made years, and finally told to his family: “Bring axes and hammers! If God does not come, we all tear down the temple.”

Then they arrived, and after some hours of waiting, when he lifted the ax to strike the altar, he heard a voice in his heart saying: “Do not look for me in the desert, or in the woods, neither in the sea, nor on the mountains. It is true that I am everywhere, but in your case, you are going to find me here: Turn and look! I am there! In this family that I have given you.”

Then he dropped the ax and walked to his family. And he realized that indeed, God was there, in this beautiful gift He had given.

From that day, he became the most respectful and loving family man. And every day, he felt the voice and the presence of God saying: “I’ll be with you ‘til the end of the days.”

Second Place—Other: Wilmer Sandoval
Tutor: Peter Mortenson

Machu Pichu a Beautiful Place to Visit

In the world there are a lot of beautiful places to visit on your vacations, but Machu Pichu is one of the best sites to experience different sensations and you will feel as happy as a child in the middle of a big candy store, because those ancient ruins are magic, and it is a beautiful place to relax and forget for a small time all your problems and leave the stress of the city life. Machu Pichu is considered one of the ancient wonders of the world for its ancient ruins, but if you want to have a whole experience, you need to arrive there  by train to enjoy of the spectacular views of the Sacred Valley and test the Peruvian food during the trip.

One month before arriving to the U.S., I took a trip to Peru to visit different interesting places, because some friends recommended me to visit Machu Pichu; one of  their pieces of advice was that I would really enjoy the trip if  I arrived there by train, because I would experience a lot of different  sensations and they were right. When I arrived at Cuzco and took the train, I was very excited because I had never been in a train before . But this train was very special because its ceiling had a glass dome. In other words you have yourself a window to see the whole world. That sensation is very special because you feel like a hawk; you have a whole view of the sky and the mountains and you will enjoy the magic trip across the  Incas’ Sacred Valley. All that adding to the soft and beautiful music creates a relaxing and peaceful atmosphere.

Perhaps the most exciting sensation will be when you see the ancient Incas’ ruins. It’s a beautiful and peaceful place; you can walk for hours and lose track of time. But the best experience is when you are standing on top of the mountain because you will feel as if you are on top of the world. The view is amazing; you can see the river in the middle of the mountains and it like a snake moving to Machu Pichu. The wind is soft and its sound is like an ancient people talking to you so close to your ear, and the temperature is perfect neither hot nor cold. The weather there is so strange, because it changes all the time and it is part of the magic of that mystical place. There you can feel the soft grass in your feet and you can smell the pure and fresh air. You can also forget all your problems because the atmosphere there is perfect for relaxing and forgetting the city stress, and the quantity of sensations that that natural site provides is almost indescribable.

Finally, another thing that you can enjoy during your trip to Machu Pichu is the food, because the Peruvian food is considered one of the best around the world. After finishing your visit to the Incas’ Ruins, you can try different and delicious desserts, meals, fishes and vegetables. I’m sure that when you arrive to Aguas Calientes your nose will be crazy because of the quantity of different and delicious food smells. The desserts are so soft, the drinks are so fresh and different than you have tried before, and the meal and the fish are fresh, soft, healthy, and delicious.

Summarizing, the nature and perfect atmosphere of Machu Pichu give you a sensation of freedom that you won’t forget, because you will experience different kinds of feelings. In addition, the trip by train is peaceful and confortable, the ancient Incas’ ruins are amazing and the food is delicious. For all those reasons, if you are planning to take a trip on your next vacation, maybe Machu Pichu is one of the best places to visit.

Third Place—Other: Larry Robinson
Tutor: Bryan Bennett

I Want to be an Auto Tech

I am working on getting my G.E.D. I am learning to read better and I am learning to spell better. Soon I will be learning to do G.E.D math. After I get my G.E.D, I will go to a trade school to learn about automobiles, after which I will work in a garage. I hope to work nights so I can learn all about auto bodies. After I learn to repair auto bodies, I can bring the garage more business. Fixing automobiles will be my job.

Then I want to go back to school to learn all about computers so I can be a computer tech. After that I want to go back to school to become an electronic technician so I can save money on fixing computers. I do not want computer repair or electronics to be my job. I only want to learn them to save money for my family & friends by way of replacing a $5 part instead of replacing a $200 mother board.  Learning  computers and electronics will also save my auto customers money on some auto repairs like fixing the computers in automobiles instead of replacing the computer.

Some day I want to own my own garage. Then I can earn some good money. I will repair any and all problems with any and all  automobiles, yes even diesel automobiles.

This is a compilation of entries from the 2011 writing contest. The entries are typed exactly as they were submitted; therefore, several grammatical and/or spelling errors may exist due to the various reading levels at which some of the students function.

Book Review: Mandy (by Julie Andrews)

on Aug 25, 2011

By Ana Pineda


In summer, orphanage children on a day trip to the sea, but Mandy didn’t go. She prefered to borrow the Jack’s shears and to cut the lawn, she sliced at the branch even harder. But the shears wouldn’t cut. She tryed again and she had an accident the shears was broken. Matron spoke that she will buy another pair of shears for Jake.


Matron punishmented her to a week, she can’t go out of the orphanage, rained on, the rain would help her flowers.

The weather remained cold, twas November. She was an important surprise one day she visited the cottagge and found a note signed an admirer, she would meet him! but her cold was worse. Dr. Mattews examineded her and said stay in bed, rest. It was imposible, Mandy had a think to go the cottagge and meet her admirer. Mandy desobei and went to the cottagge. It was blowing hard outside, the cold air penetrated her clothing, she climbed the wall, the rain obscured everything. Mandy was wet, to get dry with a courtain and then prendio la chimnera, she felt sick. In the orphanage Matron was worry, Mandy was frowning. Sue told all around the cottagge. Dr. Matthews called Mr. Fitzgerald. He had buy the cottage and needed his helped. Bill found her and took carefully in his arms. They came back home.


Mandy stayed with the Cranton family, she was sick but it was the first time she was happy. Bill, Ann and Jonathan loved her. Matron said she collected Mandy the day after Christmas. For Christmas grown ups drank wine and hot chocolate for the children.

Mandy remembered her other Christmas at the orphanage. The Cranton gave her a red dress, a pair of red shoes and also a tiny gold ring. Jonathan gave her a brown bear.

After dinner Ann played cards and all they sung. In the day, she would not show her sadness to anyone. Matron picked her up and came back orphanage. Days run on. The Cranton missed Mandy. Finally Mandy was adopted by they.

My Wonderful Family

on Aug 25, 2011

By Saul Villalobos Perez

When I got married, twenty five years before, I did not have idea how hard should be raising a wonderful family. Of course, I found a beautiful and marvelous woman who is my friend and wife. By the time, I knew her when I was a missionary, and I had the chance to bautism her and her family too. Anyway, after twenty five years, two beautiful girls and two handsome boy have grown in our family. Even thought our first daughter passed away when she was only five months, we have always considered her as a part of our family. That is the reason because we always say that we have four children. So three years before my wife and I made the decision and assumed all the risks to come to study at BYU, I got a F1 visa and all my family were under my visa as a F2.

Since 2010 our second daughter is serving her mission at McAllan Texas and nowadays I have had to gather all her document, application school and all her stuff to submit all these information into the Immigration Department of US to chance her status from R1 to F1 one more time. Also, our oldest boy is very close to go into his mission on August 31st. Hence, my wife and I have kept so busy buyin all his clothes, personal articles and everything that he will need at his mission. Finally you know what? The last week we received a bad news about our youngest boy who have pretended to enroll at the ELC. They did not bring the whole and correct information about changing his status and now he is in trouble gettin a school for the next fall semester. My wife and I have called up a friend looking for some help but we didn’t. We used to recive many help from our friend but at this time we don’t anymore. We know that we must do better effort over the next day to get a change of status of our son from F2 to F1.

Keeping a wonderful family into a legal status in this great country has been a huge challange. I have tried meticulously to follow all their policies, rules and everything that I can to help my family raising, studing and growing the best that they can. Affortunately, I belive in God, and feel very comfortable at the end everything will work great for me and my wonderful family.

How Project Read Changed My Life

on Jul 27, 2011

By Humera Jamshed

My name is Humera. I am from Pakistan. I have been married for 26 years before and I have three children, one daughter and two sons. I live in Provo with my older son for his Education, but my other family is in Pakistan. I spent all my life as a house wife. My husband never allowed me to have jobs but when I came to U.S. . It was all of a sudden chang of my life. The most important challenge was, “How to learn English without spending mony?” All ESL programs were out of my reach at that time. Project Read helped me to solve my problems. It was wonderful for me. I learned English without any problem. Qualified teachers helped me to read and write. Now I feel more confident and progressive in English. I also joined other Project Read programs that not only helped me but for all other people. I learned how to made a resume and prepare a good interview for jobs. I am greatful for Project Read because only this project change my life. Now I can see life in a refreshing way and I also improved the woman inside me.

This is a compilation of entries from the 2011 writing contest. The entries are typed exactly as they were submitted; therefore, several grammatical and/or spelling errors may exist due to the various reading levels at which some of the students function.

Grand Prize—Fiction: Candace Hood
Tutor: Lynn Dean

The Baby Giraffe and the Mother

Once upon a time, a baby giraffe was born. The baby giraffe was born in Africa, and the mother giraffe gave birth to a baby girl named Glendy; the Mother was good to her baby.

The two giraffes were both tall but Glendy was a little shorter. One giraffe, Glendy, was brown and white, and the other, her Mother, was brown and beige with a little white also. The spots were big and multi-square shaped.

One day the Mother and her daughter named Glendy were eating leaves off the tree. Then Glendy decided she wanted to play and explore. But she went too far away from her Mother and that got Glendy worried because she couldn’t see her Mother anywhere in sight! She was scared! She thought she would never see her Mother again. She started looking everywhere.

When Glendy started hunting for her Mom and yet couldn’t find her, she thought about what she could do next. She began to use a crying call to see if her Mother could find her instead.

Finally Glendy’s Mom actually heard Glendy’s cry, and she went looking for her daughter. Later Glendy was found by her Mother after thirty minutes of the cry.

After Glendy and her Mother were reunited they went back to where they were in the beginning.

So when you are a baby and you are in a new place and want to explore, make sure that you are not far from people that you know.

A few years later Glendy got a little older and had girafflings of her own. She made sure that her babies stayed with her at all times. So they ended up to be a one big cheerful family. And they live happily ever after.


Second Place—Fiction: Zita Hernandez
Tutor: Rachel Smith

Magdalena Visits Mom at Work

Magdalena, a 6 year old, lived in a village where all the neighbors knew each other, and almost everything was near: the bakery, a grocery store, a bank, a small theater, and, of course, the one most visited by Magdalena, the place where her mother cut hair, “Hair Stylist Jenny”. Her mother,

Lauren, worked there in the evenings and, in the morning, she took care of three of her children, the twins, 1 and half years old, and little Sofia, 3 years old, while Magdalena, Ruben, 12, and Karina, 15, were at school.

Lauren had graduated from a beauty school 3 years ago and, because her husband’s addiction to alcohol, she decided to work and support the family by herself.

Magdalena, after coming home from school with a pony tail fixed on the left side of her head, worked as hard as she could to help her older siblings take care of the younger siblings while their mom was absent, but she struggled to concentrate, she missed her mom.

This was a time when the older siblings learned to be responsible, because their father spent several hours out of the home. The neighbors had seen him with friends, drinking beer, while the older children took care of the family.

Magdalena’s visits to her mother’s work were not welcomed by the boss, Ms. Jenny, a serious woman who had taken care of her family in the early days. Now she was all alone, because all of her kids had gotten married, left home, and moved to different states or even countries. This was probably some of the reason why she was not really happy. Because she was not welcome in the shop, Magdalena eyes peered through the big large glass door standing in the doorway.

“Is that your daughter again? She should be at home. It doesn’t look good to the customers that she keeps coming. It looks like she is begging for food ,” said Ms. Jenny, with a hairy finger pointing out at Magdalena.

“My daughter just wants to see me. She misses me so much Ms. Jenny,” replied Lauren.”

The girl spent several minutes looking at her mom every day. Lauren had talked to her repeatedly, that, for the sake of Ms Jenny, she should not to visit her, but Magdalena insisted on seeing her mom because it helped her focus on taking care of her family with her older siblings.

Lauren finally thought of an idea, and made an arrangement with Ms. Jenny. She would let Magdalena see her 3 times a week, but only be for 10 minutes, and Lauren would give Ms. Jenny a free haircut each month. Ms. Jenny agreed and on Mondays through Wednesdays Magdalena was allowed to watch her mom work through the large glass door.

Magdalena visited her mother for the next 10 years, three times a week, only looking for a little while, but that time served Magdalena. It strengthened the bond of love, friendship, and respect for her mother. The years passed and Magdalena became an excellent student and graduated from school of nursing. Remembering the time she watched her mom working as a child served as a model of how to work hard through the rest of her life.


Third Place—Fiction: Princess Ismael
Tutor: Jessie Hale

Our Old Barn

We live in this old barn in a town called Woodland. Long ago, we inherited the barn from Uncle Rick, on my husband’s side of the family. We are a family of four.

We love our new home. We are trying to work on it everyday a little bit at a time. You should see our view!

The woods, green leaves, mountaintop, and the tall trees are just perfect for our monkey family to dwell in. The kids play for hours out there. If I don’t call them in for dinner, they will never come in!

“Time for dinner, Oosi and Iris,” I say. As they come in, we eat our dinner on our table that Daddy Monkey made of our wood.

The little monkeys were raised in the woods. They know every tree, rock, branch, and flower. The kids are growing faster than our bananas in the backyard.

They have lots of friends the little deer named Chuck and three rabbits named Massey, Sassey, and Lassey. They spend lots of time together. Because we have such a big house, all the kids’ friends want to stay with us all the time.

They have so many sleepovers. Their friends always say, “We can get lost in the old house.” Some kids think it is scary and creepy.

Every year for Halloween we get to decorate our barn and win the prize as the scariest family in Woodland. It’s not that bad living in an old barn, it’s the best thing that every happened to the Monkey family.

Miss Ducky is getting married and she wants to know if she can have her wedding at our barn. I’m so surprised! “Well, let me talk to my husband,” I say to her.

When my husband arrives home from working on tables all day in the woods, I tell him, “Miss Ducky want to get married in our barn.”

He does not say anything for a minute. Then a tear comes down his little monkey eye from being so happy that she wants to get married in his uncle’s barn. Then he shouted, “Of course! Of course!”

So the next morning, I go to Miss Ducky’s house and tell her the good news. She is so happy that she gives me a huge hug.

We started decorating the old barn. We have the most beautiful banana trees in our backyard that you can see through the windows. The bananas are hanging together so that they look like they are dancing together.

It is a happy day for everyone, especially Miss Ducky. Everything is falling into place today.

We love our home so very much. We will not change a thing about our barn.

That’s our story about our barn.

Our home.

This is a compilation of entries from the 2011 writing contest. The entries are typed exactly as they were submitted; therefore, several grammatical and/or spelling errors may exist due to the various reading levels at which some of the students function.

Grand Prize—Poetry: Princess Ismael
Tutor: Jessie Hale

Old Barn

I went searching for peace.
I found it here.
All by myself.
It’s nice; It’s quiet.
I can clear my mind.
About life,
With my hands stretched out,
I felt the darkness
until I reached the window
I tried to avoid
With my hands stretched out
I felt the darkness
until I reached the window
I tried to avoid
the little sound of
They kept interrupting me.
Oh, no.
Where should I go now?
Maybe inside?
Deeper and deeper
It’s dark!
I could see the stars
And I could smell my freedom.
It’s the most peaceful place
Ever and Ever
Who knew I could
Have peace here
In this
Old Barn?

Grand Prize—Other: Princess Ismael
Tutor: Jessie Hale

Utah Teacher Visits an Old House in Ukraine

This is a story of a local Utah teacher who visited an old house in Ukraine.

It was two years ago when Jessie Hale went on a trip with a small group of teachers to Ukraine. She did not know what to expect as she was on the train. The town she visited had no train station at the time, so they walked to the village. “Well, that’s a good start to a trip,” I say. Finally they saw a little boy with a horse. They stopped him, and asked to take them to the house.

Well, they paid him first, of course. They arrived to where they were going to stay, an old house in the middle of nowhere! It was so old she could hear the creaking of the floorboards every time she walked around. There were no bathroom, no power, and no beds. They slept on the floor.

There was a cave next to the old house that they explored. Jessie said, “I’ll never forget the time we spent sitting on the porch looking at the stars at night.” And she will never forget how nice the people were. There is one last thing she will never forget: the spirit of that old house.

Second Place—Other: Larry Robinson
Tutor: Bryan C. Bennett

I am a Car

Hi, my name is Larry. I am a car. I have four doors a hood and a trunk. In my trunk is a spare tire. It is a full-size tire not a donut tire. There is enough room in my trunk for groceries. Under my hood is a four cylinder engine and a three speed transmission. I am from 1962. My master has to shift me. I take him to work and home five days a week. We go shopping on weekends and we go shopping on Saturday. I have fun when my master takes me on the interstate sixty-five miles per hour. Weee! I get around 30 mpg. My master changes my oil and oil filter every 6,000 miles. He also gives me a tuneup every 6,000 miles which consists of spark plugs, spark plug wires, a rotor button, a distributor cap, a capacitor, and a fuel filter. I like high-test gasoline. I can hold 4 people in me. My master puts mystery oil in my fuel tank and engine. Mystery oil cleans and lubricates. If you want to start me, you must choke me for a little while. I have a 550 CCA lead acid battery. It is 12 volts. You can hand crank my door windows up and down. The starting key goes in my dash not like the newer cars where you put the start key in the column. I have two round headlights and two taillights and a ceiling light that turns on by opening the door. I am a little rusty. I am 49 years old. I am a Chevy. My horn button is in the center of my steering wheel. I have a pull-push light switch and a turn windshield wiper switch. I have bucket seats in the front and bench seats in the rear. My engine valves are adjustable. Nowadays I need lead substitute added to my fuel.  Well, bye for now. Wait I forgot to tell you three things. My shifter is on my steering column. I have non-power steering and non-power brakes. Bye for now.

This is a compilation of entries from the 2011 writing contest. The entries are typed exactly as they were submitted; therefore, several grammatical and/or spelling errors may exist due to the various reading levels at which some of the students function.


Grand Prize—Nonfiction: Luis Gutierrez
Tutor: Gail Russell

Haunted House

Hello my name is Luis and I live in south Springville, Utah, near the mountains. In the back yard we have a great field, and an old house, we call it the haunted house.
I will read what I wrote in my dairy 21 March 2011.
Today is a beautiful day, the sky is blue, a soft wind blows, the sun is shining, the humidity gives life to plants and the birds are singing, spring finally arrives after a long winter.
I can hear a noise in the haunted house, a board that is moved by the wind it makes a noise like a harmonious melody.
Children play and run in the back yard, I look out the window and admire the beauty of nature and fresh fragrance.
I reacted to a cry of my children, and ran to them to help.
“What happened?” – I ask them.
They are very scared and tell me
“We heard a ghost in the haunted house”
“There are no ghosts, the ghosts do not exist.” I answered
“-But We hear them!”
“How do you know it’s a ghost?” – I ask them
“We heard them say boboboboboooo”
“- Ok let’s see …. I hear nothing,” I say.
“- Be quiet.”< -The kids say
-Suddenly I heard a strange noise that I had never heard before something like booo Boooo. Maybe a ghost? We walk to the haunted house, I walk slowly with all my senses alert, entered the abandoned house and again I heard the same noise.
From the doorway I discover the problem, a family of raccoons, We all laugh at the same time.
When the raccoons saw us they ran out of the haunted house.
The raccoons come out scared.
I wonder who is more scared, the raccoons or us?
My children they learned a lesson, that ghosts do not exist, or do they?

Second Place—Nonfiction: Yangsoon Park
Tutor: Katie Poole

Memory’s Beach

I grew up by an ocean in Korea. I miss the ocean so much. I feel like it is my hometown. While I was watching the endless ocean, it made my mind refreshed or relieved. The world has been changing but the ocean is always right there. The ocean is like my mom’s arm. It is calm and peaceful. The seagulls’ swooping and screeching for food and the waves were lapping to the shore still ring in my ears.

The ocean provided many things for my family and me. For example, my mom used to pick up oysters as our food. My father who already passed away would catch fish with a net. I would pick up seaweed, crams, and crabs in the mud which was right next to the beach as my mom asked me for food.

Another example of the provision from the ocean, it was my sibling’s and my playground. It provided for my big brothers to dare to dive without any equipment. Also, on the mud, I would find a hole some bubbles in it and dig the hole by hand and catch the hole’s host. The mud made my clothes dirty, but it was so much fun. I also used to wade or swim in the ocean.

Later on, when I had my own family, we used to go a beach which was different from I went to in my childhood almost every weekend. My husband is a sucker for fishing. Also, my daughter liked holding her dad’s fishing pole while she was pretending to be a fisher. However, because of her age, she couldn’t stand motionless for such a long time. To catch fish, the fishing pole should be still.  She used to ruin her dad’s fishing.

While he was waiting for fish, my daughter and I played on the beach with sand. We would build sand castles or draw something with a stick on the sand. We also would pick up something cool and collecting such as fabulous seashells. Especially, my daughter would build buildings with the sand and seashells, so she would ask us to pick up better shaped seashells. Besides, we would chase for waves back and forth. In the summer, we used to go swimming too. When the big wave came over us, we tried to get out of the water, but sometimes it was too late, so we had to drink the super-salty water through our noses. We had so much fun on the ocean.

My daughter and I still talk about the beach. She has wonderful memories of the ocean like me.


Third Place—Nonfiction: Nicolas Mandujano
Tutor: Rose of Sharon Gribble

Watching Show Windows

The girl watching through the window pane, reminds me when I was a kid.
My siblings and I was so excited every time we were in front of the show windows.
Being in front of a show window, everyone had dreams or expectations about the items in the stores.
For instance, my older brother, always dreamt about electrical toys.
My sisters, about makeup, shoes and clothes.
The rest of my brothers (5) different one another, hoping for toys and candies.
About me, I always enjoyed watching musical instruments, particularly guitars and pianos, reading songbooks also.
My secret is that, I liked watching mannequins. Trying to be elegant and well dressed, and falling in love of the mannequin girls.
The most beautiful at that part of my childhood is that I lived unforgettable moments with my family.
I’d like to back in time to live these moments again.
Moreover; every time I see a kid in front of a show window, I see myself as a child.