The winning submissions

Staff report
Fourth graders from L to R are Abby Welgos, Camille Glasgow, Cole Ryan, Jett Clarence. Front row is Kya Bennett and Egan Hinderberger. The adults are Ada Friedman, Jill Sheeley and Mayor Torre.
Jill Sheeley/Courtesy photo

Copy editor’s note: These stories have been preserved in their original, submitted form.

Third Grade Winner: A Tale of Four Alebrijes, by Noah Kessler

One thousand years ago there was a small village called X-Tun. The village had crystal clear  water caves and it was surrounded by palm trees with green leaves. The villagers were Alebrijes. The Alebrije creatures are spiritual animals with special powers from natural elements, water, fire, air and earth, their names were Watery, Fiery, Airy and Earthy. They brought happiness and protected the village.

One day, Airy got into a fight with Fiery about who was more powerful. I have wind!said Airy. I have fire!” said Fiery, and from that day on, they were no longer friends. Watery was not happy watching his best friends fighting and he said, “guys, stop it!” but they didn’t hear him because they were too busy arguing. 

There were supersonic winds and gigantic fires around the village causing a lot of destruction and sadness while Watery kept trying to stop this madness. After a few years had gone by, there were no more natural resources left and the village was no longer a safe place to live.

After a period of silence, the Alebrijes didn’t know what they were arguing about, they felt bad about the situation but they didn’t know how to fix it, so they asked Watery for help. 

Watery was a wise Alebrije and felt the saddest of all. He knew that his power was the most important because all living creatures need water to survive, but he wanted to help his friends understand that no one can do anything alone and how they need each other. Watery said, we need air to breathe, earth to live on, fire for warmth so you’re not cold and water to drink. 

The Alebrijes finally understood that each power alone was not enough, but how much they could accomplish if they joined forces. 

Little by little, they were able to clean up the mess they had created. Each Alebrije used their power to fix what had been broken. Airy planted new palm trees with green leaves and fruit trees and lots of colorful flowers. Fiery helped to clear the soil for new growth, provided light and fire for the villagers to cook their food. Earthy provided raw materials for the villagers to rebuild their village. Finally, Watery filled the caves with crystal clear water and restored the beauty of the nature around them.

Fourth Grade Winner: Abby Welgos

Once upon a time, there was a small town named Suntopia. Suntopia was very sunny and warm until one day something terrible happened.

On March 22, 2018, a little girl was born named Violet and she had a disease that no scientist or doctor could figure out. Every time she got excited or cried, snow started to come spraying out of her hands and she couldn’t control it. When she turned 10 she got so excited about her tenth birthday that her hands started to turn blue and then her hands went crazy spraying a snow hill over the town! When her hands calmed down the whole town was covered in snow.

The town was so mad at Violet they sent her away on a train. She didn’t know where she was going and she knew her travel wasn’t going to be fun. One week later she was still on the train when a big snowstorm hit and the tracks were so slippery that the train crashed and everyone died except Violet.

Violet was all alone. She heard a cracking noise in the forest that was next to the train tracks. Violet started to walk toward the forest and then a big cat-like thing jumped out of the forest. Violet examined the cat and noticed that it was made of snow! Violet reached out to pet the cat and it jumped right on her! It seemed like the cat liked her and she wanted to keep it as a pet because it would be nice to have some company.

Violet found out that the cat was a girl. She named the cat Lily and started talking to her about what had happened at Suntopia. All of the sudden Lily started to talk. Violet thought she was hallucinating but she wasn’t. Lily told Violet to follow her into the forest and when they walked into the trees Violet saw a giant portal right in front of her. Lily told her to follow her inside and when Violet walked inside the portal on the other side was a whole land made of snow! Lily told her that she should stay here with her and Violet got so excited that her hands started to get blue and then her hands went crazy and started to spray snow everywhere again!

After her hands calmed down everybody did not get upset and Violet was very confused. Lily told her that there was a boy that lived here that had the same disease! Violet saw a boy about the same age as her walking up to her. He explained that every time he got excited or cried, his hands would start spraying snow everywhere and Violet said that she had the same thing. She introduced herself as Violet and he told her that his name was Kyle.

Kyle gave a tour to Violet around their town that was called Snowtopia. Violet thought their town was very pretty with all the white snow glistening in the sun and all the snow was also very sparkly. It was like fairies flew over the snow and sprinkled fairy dust all over it. Kyle showed Violet his house and told her that she can stay there for a while until the workers there built her a house.

Violet was enjoying some ice cream from the ice cream shop they had there. All of a sudden three big snow leopards came by and snatched Violets ice cream right from her hand! She was about to cry when Kyle showed up and bought her a new ice cream. Kyle told her that the three big snow leopards were the town bullies and that they do really mean stuff to other people. Violet wanted to take a stand and stop them from bullying.

The next day Violet, Kyle and Lily all made posters that said stop bullying and being mean to others. Other people joined and finally the snow leopards came over and said sorry for bullying and they wouldn’t do it again. Kyle, Violet and Lily became friends with the snow leopards and they found out that their names are Sam, Max and Ryan.

The next day everybody looked out their windows and saw that all the snow had melted into water! Violet walked outside and saw Lily had started to melt and she turned into water! She started to hug her as hard as she could but when she pulled away she was gone and all that was left was water! Violet started to cry but her hands did not turn blue and she did not start spraying snow everywhere. Kyle started crying but his hands also did not start turning blue and he also did not start spraying snow everywhere.

Was this a miracle? Did their disease go away? If so they could both go back to Suntopia and Violet could see her parents again! They got on the next train that took them to Suntopia and on the train all of the sudden there was a glow and it was so bright Kyle and Violet had to look away and when they looked back around Lily was sitting right in front of them! She was a real cat instead of snow!

Two hours later they were back in Suntopia and everybody was confused. When Violet got out of the train everybody looked mad until Violet told everybody about how her disease went away and how she won’t spray snow all over the town ever again.  Everybody started to cheer and hug her. Violet was back in Suntopia where she belonged with her family and so many new friends.