2015 Children’s Essay Contest winners:
Age 12, Grade 6
I skid to a stop as I reach the cemetery. I jump off my bike and pull it down the small gravel path, stopping as I reach Violet Betty Gudren’s gravestone. It is a small one, only about a foot in each direction, and made of shiny granite. I kneel next to my grandmother’s grave, and silently read the words.
Violet Betty Gudren
Born March 1933
Died May 2014
Beloved wife, mother, and grandmother
May she rest in peace
As I finger the detailed engraved rose, I smile sadly, and remember my favorite moment I had with my grandma. We stood near the garden together, laughing and smelling flowers. I was only nine then, but I remember it as though it happened yesterday. I wrapped my finger around a rose stem and pulled it out, pricking my finger, although not enough to draw blood. “Ow, gramma! That hurt me!” I had said, rubbing my fingers to my leg.
She smiled wisely, and took the prickly flower from me. “Let me tell you something about roses, dear. A rose is exactly like life. The thorns on the stem present challenges in your life.” I nodded, listening intently.
“But, if you care for the rose properly, and handle the problems in your life well, you will be happy. Like the flower. The rose is a beautiful flower, although many do not realize this, just because of the thorns. Do you see how that is like life?” I nodded again, and from that day, we had a special bond.
When grandma died, devastation had overcome me. She was my companion, we could love and understand each other like magic.
Now I realize that grandma dying was like a prickle on a rose, and if I deal with it, life will go on; I will be happy.
I place a freshly cut rose next to the stone, feeling the velvety red petals. Many people cry when they visit a deceased loved one, but not I. I smile and bid grandma a loving farewell.
Age 11, Grade 5
“Why I love Roses”
I adore roses because they are beautiful, simple and serene all at the same time. Their limpid appearance isn’t the only thing about them that makes them one of the best flowers. They are a symbol of love, friendship and peace. Let me explain why.
Fist, let’s start with their appearance. No matter what color- angelic white to romantic red- they have an irresistible simplicity. The way that their petals curl around the center, like a baby in swaddling clothes makes me smile. Also, the way that their petals are shaped, with sharp but soft edges remind me of the intriguing physique of a fine gem.
Another great thing about roses is what they symbolize. Love, friendship, peace, and serenity to name a few are all the common messages that roses give out: Love. When I look at a rose I want to smile and I feel glad at the sight. I am not the only one that things so highly of this flower. In Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, referring to Romeo, Juliet said, “A rose by any other name would sound as sweet.” This shows that even as early as Shakespeare’s time roses were regarded as a truly magnificent flower that represents the deepest of passions.
Roses are a simple flower that stands up to its multicolored rivals, showing that one color is enough to make you feel serene. When I see roses I feel peace because they are not overwhelming like other flowers, but almost modest.
Moreover, roses are a brilliant gift to give to a loved one. They are a flower that can be given to anyone that is dear to your heart yet still send the same message to whomever you give them to: I care about you. And that is one of the best messages that you could possibly give.
Overall I think that roses are the perfect symbol of love, friendship and peace at heart because of the age old message that makes you feel warm inside out, not to mention that they are pleasing to the eye. To conclude, if I were to pick a flower for a bouquet or to plant in my yard, it would be a rose.
Age 9, Grade 4
“Dreams Do Come True”
In a small garden in Virginia, a yellow rose named Stella sprouted. Growing up, Stella always heard stories about the most beautiful roses being selected for the Rose Parade. She often blew in the wind and daydreamed about being on a beautiful float, swaying to the music played by the marching banks, and blossoming brightly at the thousands of people along the sidewalk. It became her dream to be chosen for the grand parade that took place each New Year’s Day.
Early one cold morning, while Stella was sleeping, she was uprooted and put into fresh soil in a box and was placed in a trunk with some of her friends from the garden. She felt the box moving and realized they were leaving the garden she grew up in. Several of the flowers whispered about the possibility of going to a local florist, but Stella hoped the truck was taking them much further away. When the truck finally came to a stop, the flowers and their gardener got on an airplane and continued their trip. By now, all of the roses were confused and scared. Everyone except for Stella, who grew more and more excited as they got further away from home.
After the airplane landed and their second trunk reached its destination, the gardener took the box out and Stella instantly knew where she was. She was at the Rose Parade! Stella was so excited that she almost wilted. She could hear the people bragging about their award winning roses and she could also hear saw and drills as people worked to finish their floats. Stella smelled a sweetness so strong that knew she was with the best of the best. She saw many roses of many colors but there was no prettier yellow than hers. Later that day, after being clipped and cleaned, Stella’s dream came true as she was added to a fabulous float at the front of the parade. And just as she daydreamed in her little garden, the weather was beautiful, the music was full of energy, and the people cheered loudly. Stella’s dream was finally fulfilled.
Age 12, Grade 7
Mountain View, CA
“Why I Love Roses”
Most twelve-year-old boys do not particularly treasure roses, but I do. Before I was eleven, they had no special meaning to me. I treated them just like tulips, daisies, lilies, or any other flowers. I was just like other boys; I enjoyed sports, talked to friends, and liked to read. However, twice a week, my father drove me to rehearsals with the San Francisco Boys Chorus. This was one of my favorite activities. We became friends with other Chorus families. They came from all over the Bay Area, and even from places I had never heard of.
Then, when I was eleven, my father, still in his forties, suddenly became seriously ill. I was shocked. My life turned upside down. He ended up having an emergency surgery. I remember he took me to the bus stop the morning of the surgery. I looked back at him from the front steps, hoping that the surgery would be successful, and I would see him again. I thought about him constantly, and had an uneasy feeling. To my great relief, the surgery was fine.
My mother and I visited my father every day, at the hospital. He was surrounded by many cards from caring Chorus families. There was also a bouquet of flowers from the Chorus, dominated by bright pink roses. “The donations just kept pouring in,” explained the Chorus manager. The group of flowers reminded my father of the final piece of every end-of-year Chorus concert, featuring all two hundred choristers. The little boys in the Preparatory Chorus were represented by the small, white flowers at the bottom, waiting to bloom. The red orchids reminded him of the sparkling red bow ties of the Junior Apprentices. The radiating yellow chrysanthemums symbolized the Intermediates, who had grown into distinguished singers. Finally, the bright pink roses were the Concert Choristers, the last group I had performed with. They were mature shining stars that had received years of training, similar to the blossomed roses with complex and intricate designs. They embraced the spotlight.
To me, roses represent the kindness of faraway friends, who, although I do not see anymore, still care about us. They also represent my father’s struggles, perseverance, and triumph over his illness. The roses are a symbol of his victory. Now, I love roses.