By Erin Beck
Three Harrison County students placed third in their category in the 2022 West Virginia Young Writers Contest.
Those students included Brynn Sickles, a fourth-grade student at Norwood Elementary School, who wrote “The Shapeshifter;” Caroline Ashcom, a fifth-grade student at Simpson Elementary School who wrote “Lucid,” and Mary Calvert, an eighth-grade student at Washington Irving Middle School, who wrote “A Star Filled Story.”
The competition, which began in 1984 and aims to celebrate student writing, divided students into six categories. Third and fourth-grade students competed against each other, as did fifth and sixth graders, as well as seventh and eighth graders.
The names of those students who placed, along with their stories, were provided by Jenna Williams, curriculum coordinator at Harrison County schools and county coordinator for the contest.
The Shinnston News & Harrison County Journal plans to feature Harrison County’s winning stories over the next several weeks, beginning with Brynn’s story.
Hi, I’m Max – just a normal 11-year-old before this happened and changed my life forever.
Last Sunday began as a regular Sunday. I woke up, ate breakfast, and got ready for the day. Then, I heard a loud bang from my dad’s lab, so I grabbed my water bottle and went into the basement. I set my bottle on the table next to a beaker that contained a purple, watery substance. “Hey, Dad. What are you doing?” “Hey,” he responded. “Oh, just research on shapeshifting.” “Cool!” I said and grabbed my water for a drink. “Stop!” Dad shouted, “That’s my shapeshifting solution! I haven’t tested it yet!” I realized my water was still on the table, and I was drinking the purple ick. I spat out what was left, and we both cried, “oh no.” “What’s gonna happen to me?!” I asked. “I don’t know. I haven’t tried it on anything! We’ll just have to wait and see,” Dad replied. “Okay, I’m going outside to ride my skateboard.” “Alright but be careful. Anything could happen,” he said as I walked away.
I got my skateboard from the garage and headed outside. I found my friends skating at Jonah’s house already. “Hey guys! How’s it going?” “Awesome! What’s up?” We each did a few tricks when suddenly …
“Oh no,” I thought, as I turned into a one-eyed, green monster! “Eww!” Jonah shouted. “What’s happening?!” shrieked Paige. The others just looked at me like I was a mutant (which I was). I turned back into myself and said, “we need to talk guys.” “Yeah, we do!” said Jonah. I told them the whole story. “Oh, so you can’t control it?” Paige asked. “I guess not, but this was the first time. Maybe I’ll be able to learn to control it,” I answered. We kept playing until curfew. “Don’t tell your parents about this,” I said before heading home. Everyone agreed.
I woke up on Monday, a school day, and went to the dining room for breakfast. My dad was there. “I can’t go to school and let people see me! They’ll think I’m a freak!” I panicked. “It’ll be fine,” he tried to calm me down. “It doesn’t matter what other people think.” “Ok,” I sighed.
I walked to school, and before I knew it, it was lunchtime. I hadn’t shapeshifted! I sat down with my friends and started eating and talking. That’s when “it” happened. I had turned into a bologna sandwich! (School lunch was bologna sandwiches). I panicked again, and when Tim was looking away, I accidentally fell onto his tray and knocked his real sandwich onto the floor. He picked me up for a bite, but I couldn’t say anything because, well, I was a sandwich! As he opened his mouth, I changed back. All eyes were on me now.
The lunchroom went quiet except for a few people. “Wow!” “Cool!” They thought it was cool! Everyone became friends with me, so I had over 100 friends! In the past few days, I sort of learned how to control it. I was able to trick people by turning into different kids and acting like I was them. I’m not normal anymore, but I love it!