2013 Written Winners

Grand Prize | Visual Arts | Written | Jurors Awards 
Honorable Mentions
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First | Second | Third | Fourth

2013 First Prize Written Winner
Africa, Land of Peace
Victor Sichangala, 16 yrs
Kabwe, Zambia
 
Oh mother Africa
You are so rich in peace
I yearn for you, mother Africa
Open up your rivers, full of peace
Peace of water spirits, peace of gnashing crocodiles
Open up your lakes full of peace,
Peace of the weird monsters, peace of Zambia.
 
Oh mother Africa,
You are so rich in peace
I cry for you mother Africa
Open up your towering mountains full of peace
Peace of the night shaka, peace of masked warriors.
Open up your valleys full of peace, 
Peace of the glowing fires, peace of the white smoke
 
Oh mother Africa
You are so rich in peace
I long for your warmth, mother Africa
Open up your forest full of peace
Peace of the king lion, peace of the clever kalulu
Open up your jungles full of peace
Peace of leaping, leaping leopards, peace of wide-eyed owls.
 
Oh mother Africa
You are so rich in peace.
I sigh for your clustered warm huts.
Welcome me to your vigorous villages full of peace
Peace of black giants, peace of frightening wizards
Welcome me to your happy homesteads full of peace
Peace of wise chiefs, peace of beautiful maidens.
 
Oh mother Africa
You are so rich in peace,
I cry for my country, Zambia
Open up your secret full of peace
Peace of shimmering copper, peace of the thunder
Your Mosi-oa-Tunya (Victoria Falls)
Open up your towns full of peace
Peace of towering buildings, peace of glittering lights.
What about peace.
 
2013 Second Prize Written Winner
It’s You
Emma Nice, 18 yr 
Omaha, Nebraska
 
Waiting patiently, or not so patiently, in the endless rows of what seemed to be stationary cars, she knew this ride home would be agonizing. Her eyes grew wide and her mouth uttered a curse word after she realized she had once again forgotten something all the way at work, an hour in the opposite direction. Her watch read 3:38 pm, she calculated in her head how much more time it would be until she reached her daughter’s school. She let out a sigh as she took in that she would be late to pick her daughter up, again. She let her head fall onto the steering wheel, not remembering that there was the place that activated her horn. Right away she snapped up and looked around her at all the eyes coming from surrounding cars. The traffic started to move a tiny bit. It relieved her knowing she would be around those people who saw her make a complete fool of herself. Still slowly inching forward, she came upon a large billboard. Unlike every other huge poster stuck on the side of the highway this one grabbed her attention. It had one big word in all capital letters, PEACE.  As she approached it, she saw a question underneath it, where is it?  “Well, it’s certainly not here.” she thought nastily.
 
     After another 45 minutes of sitting and sitting some more, she had finally come upon her daughter’s elementary school. She was disappointed with herself, “How can I keep dong this to her?” Her 7 year old daughter walks up to the car with a content smile on her face. The door opens. “Honey, I’m so, so – “ “Mom, it’s okay, I still love you”.
 
     The car ride home was nearly silent, until her daughter muttered a familiar question that she had heard earlier that day. “Mom?” “Yes, Sophia.” “What is peace?” Her mom glanced at her daughter, confused as to why she was asking her this question. “Why, sweetheart?” “Well today this boy in my class was talking about how he wished there was some peace in his house and I wanted to see if I could bring him some peace because he was real upset.”  Astonished, she looked at her daughter and thought back to the billboard she saw today. She thought about the peace in her life, where it was. She was looking right at it, right now. It was her daughter. 
 
2013 Third Prize Written Winner
A Jump From the Cycle
Callie Lopshire-Bratt, 18 yrs
Walnut Creek, California
 
     It has been going on since anyone could remember, even grandparents had once patrolled their territory, tied bikes to fence poles, and sometimes even daringly let air out of bike tires.
     But today, the children awake knowing things are changing. They check out their windows: the Westies look for shells placed on their windowsills, and the Nor’easters look for a small blue rock on their porches. They squirm at breakfast, answering only in monosyllables, until hearing an anxiously awaited fake bird-call. They jump on their bicycles and hastily pedal after their friends to the long abandoned playground.
     At the park’s west end, the leader of the Westies, Carl, holds up his hand, halting the rest of the children on their bicycles. “Now remember, the playground is ours.  No matter what they offer us!”
From the east end, the leader of the Nor’easters, Dana, holds up her hand, stopping the row of children behind her. “Don’t worry; the playground will be ours only. I won’t take anything for it!”
Both the Nor’easters and Westies slip onto the playground as the sun rises to its fullest height startling one another. An awkward silence falls.
     “So—“ Carl and Dana both begin at the same time, then stop, then saying again in unison, “Okay, what should we--”
     Dana takes control “Ok, so if we’re going to agree to thes ‘peace treaty--“
     “Armistice,” Carl interrupts.
     Rolling her eyes, Dana continues, “ Whatever.  But we want the candy store, and the skatepark.” Some Nor’easters nod their heads forcefully and cross their arms.
     Not to be outdone, Carl counters. “We get the toy store. And the library.” Several of the Westies back him with nods and jutted-out chins.
“The playground is ours,“ both begin to say. They glare, the unexpected peace of the moment shattered.
Dana breaks the tense silence. “We get the playground. We already have the park. Why don’t we give you the craft store, if you want it that bad?”
“No, it’s not yours, it’s always been neutral ground. And we don’t even want the craft store. Why don’t we give you the community center for the playground? That’s more than a fair trade,” states Carl angrily.
“Yeah, says you,” scoffs Dana.
     “Can we share?” suggests a Westie, to mutters from the rest of the children.
     “What would be the point of that? We’d be fighting all the time over who gets to use what,” retorts a Nor’easter. The children nod.
     Some of the Westies notice they and Nor’easters have the same bicycles.
     “Guys, this is ridiculous. We agreed to make a treaty, not another problem. What if we try to share the park for week, then continue this later if it doesn’t work? Carl suggests heatedly.
     Considering, Dana silently spits in her palm and holds out her hand.
     Carl hesitates, spits, and shakes.
 
2013 Fourth Prize Written Winner
So, Yeah, Peace
Adriane Martinez, 17 yrs
Omaha, Nebraska
 
What are you doing after school today?
Nothing, want to hang out?
Sure I got the new “Call of Duty.”
Alright see ya there.
 
Hello, how are you doing?
Well my family and I survived the bombings.
One hit just on the other side of our neighbor’s house.
Only the daughter is left
 
I don’t get it why don’t we just bomb them?
They’ve got nukes pointed at us, let’s strike first!
They don’t like us, why should I like them.
They’re all horrible
 
I’m hungry
Dad, Mom, when will we have food?
-A Blank Stare-
Drink some water it will fill your stomach so you can sleep.
 
Well they’re here; the government hasn’t done their job
A wall is that so much to ask for.
Why can’t they just come in legally?
They don’t deserve to be here.
 
Mom why did we cross through the river?
We don’t have the money to cross any other way son.
Lo siento hijo
 
A teenager, who doesn’t understand what he has
A family, in a region that is never silent
An ignorant, who doesn’t understand
A hungry child, whose parents can’t feed them
Someone, who has forgotten the dream
The family, in search of the dream.
 
What About Peace?
The abstract concept.
The unspoken dream.
The abused right.
The hungry hope.
The lost idea
But still, here
 
 
Jury: Pam Rosenthal, Michael Rosenthal (Modern Times Bookstore), Pam Totah, and Victoria Cormak
 

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