2015 – 6th Grade National 4th Place Winner
Adele Fraser, Minnesota.
I sit on a rickety bench at the edge of Hartburrow Middle School’s baseball field. My homework and textbooks scattered around me, I sign and lean back, bored.
Suddenly, at the edge of the field, coming out the back school door, I see a group, maybe nine or ten kids, approaching. As they near me I see that it is a group of bullies. I recognize them as the kids who tease the smallest kids, me included, in the hallways between class. This time I see that they have a new victim.
As I strain my eyes to peer through the mass of bullies I see a small, red haired boy with glasses being pushed along by their leader, Leron. I instantly feel sorry for the boy, having once been in his position myself. I had wished someone would try to help me but nobody did. That was probably what the boy was wishing right now. Maybe I could fulfill that wish.
I push my homework papers off my lap and stand up. I stride towards the group, hoping I look more confident than I feel. In less time than I had expected I am directly at the edge of the violent group.
I peer inside the circle and see that the kids around the boy are throwing spit balls and worse at him. I wince at the terrible things they are yelling. The victims head is bowed and he is not giving any reaction. Nobody has noticed me yet.
After a minute or so of watching the gang beat up on the poor boy I gathered all my courage and shoved to the middle of the circle. I face Leron. The throwing and yelling has not stopped. I look Leron in the eye. I would never have done this if I hadn’t been myself. I have a deep feeling of empathy for the red haired boy.
I swallowed, “Stop it.” I say loudly over the jeers of the gang. Leron grabs me by the shoulders and easily, too easily, shoves me out of the circle.
The gap I made swiftly closes and the gang has won again.
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