Ashley Rachels has a decorating quandary - where to hang her major award, the one with Georgia's gold seal.
The Westmont Elementary School fifth-grader picked up her certificate in Atlanta last Thursday after winning first place in the Young Georgia Authors' Writing Competition.
Winners in the competition received a certificate of merit and were recognized in a special ceremony at the state Board of Education meeting Sept. 13. Michelle Cohen of John S. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School in Richmond County won first place in the ninth grade division.
The Young Georgia Authors' Writing Competition is designed to encourage pupils to develop writing that represents their best efforts and to recognize pupil achievement in writing throughout Georgia. All pupils currently enrolled in Georgia public schools - kindergarten through 12th grade - may submit entries. Each school system may submit one entry per grade level, and first place winners on the state level are selected for each grade.
Ashley Rachels, 20, a Westmont Elementary School pupil, won first place in the Young Georgia Authors' Writing Competition. Teacher John Wolff (background) said he was impressed by Ashley's story the moment he read it.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Ashley, now 10, wrote her essay, The Creation of Pleasure Island, when she was a fourth-grader in John Wolff's class at Westmont.
''It has to be something they have written on their own - nothing that has been edited by a teacher,'' Wolff said. ''This is something entirely her creation. It started as a science project, but when I read it, I was very impressed and set it aside.''
The story, Ashley said, is about a princess who is banished to an island because she marries a commoner.
''She has to create her own beautiful piece of land with her own powers, and she uses the forces of nature to do it - erosion, glaciers and such,'' Ashley said.
She said winning the award for her essay has been inspiring.
''Now I know that I can write whatever I want and I'll be good at it. My imagination pays off,'' said Ashley, the daughter of Mary and David Rachels of Martinez.
What does she want to be when she grows up?
''A writer of books, I think,'' she said.
The Creation of Pleasure Island
by Ashley Marie Rachels
Hi, my name is Kip. I am a princess. A few years ago, I married a peasant. This brought disgrace to my family. As punishment, I was banished from my home and sent to an unknown island.
When I saw this island, my mouth just hung open! The island was very flat and deserted. I decided to fix her up.
I used my magic powers (Never knew I had magic powers, did you?). I created erosion by smashing giant boulders together and causing the wind to move the rock material. Over time, weathering added to the erosion. This was done by rain and the surf pounding the rocks near the shore.
This was a good start, but I wanted peaks, valleys and rivers to help remind me of home. I used my magic powers to create snow, which piled up and turned to ice. The huge masses of ice moved across the island. These glaciers shaped the island by creating pointed peaks, valleys and, best of all, rivers and waterfalls. The rivers will be a good source of food and water and I can shower under the waterfall.
As the glaciers moved they carried more rain and as they began to melt, they left a lot of sediment. I was happy with my island and very tired, so I ate lunch and took a nap.
After my nap, I awoke to find the flowing river had carved a deep valley. As the river flowed to the ocean, I noticed it had deposited its sediment, forming a delta. This was very pretty and the river had created all of this without the help of my magic.
As I stood by the bay looking at the ocean, I decided it would be nice if I could walk out a little further. I used my magic powers to create a headland, which is a piece of land that goes out into the water. After a while, sand that reached the headland found its way to the mouth of the bay and began to build up. This build up of sands formed a barrier island. This island is a good place to sit and think.
While sitting on the barrier island, I noticed the wind had created sand dunes by moving sand along the ground. These dunes were not very big. They were only about three or four feet high. I liked the sand dunes, but to prevent the wind erosion, I used my magic and caused a tree to fall, creating a windbreak.
As I stand on a mountain and look out over my island, I like what I see. It looks a lot like my home. My favorite place on the island is the tall, pyramid-shaped peaks formed by the glaciers. I have named this peak the Mary Horn. As I stand here, I can hear the ocean waves hitting the shore, the wind blowing, the river rushing, and oh no! ... what's that? ... a volcano. Time for more magic.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.