Westlake Observer Staff

Thank you to all participants!  We are so sorry for the delay in publishing our results and thank you for your patience.  

We had nearly twenty people enter our three different contests: winter short story, cactus paragraph, and winter poem.  Some people even entered more than one contest, which added an interesting twist, as the judges did not know who wrote what entry when they were judging.

Our judges were Sophia Bell, Abigail Mcdowell, Carter Watt, Olivia Hornsby, and Nicholas Jezierski.   All entries were judged based on the same criteria: Creativity and Originality, Theme, Themed Phrase, and Overall Style.   

We are sharing the first and second place winners for each category below, plus a quick SHOUT OUT to our third place winners.

CONTEST #1: Winter Short Story

We asked people to write a short story about fall or winter, with no more than 500 words. They had to include one of the following phrases: hot cocoa, crisp air, falling leaves, or snowflakes on eyelashes.  And here are the winners!

First Place Winner:

Queen of the Hill

By Heidi Davis, 7th Grade

I sit down with a book right beneath my favorite tree. It was on top of a lonely hill and someone had placed a swing on it many years ago. It was my favorite because it was peaceful and there nothing else was happening. 

The leaves were falling and there was a cool breeze that blew my curls into my face. But I knew better so I picked up my leaf crown that I had made last time I was up here.I placed it on my head like I was a queen. I sometimes thought of myself as the queen of this hill. 

I came here when I was little. I could see the memory of the little me running around and just being a goof. Then even more memories flooded in. I could see me sticking out my tongue catching snowflakes and them falling on my eyelashes. And me talking to a lumber who wanted to cut down the tree but I said no. And I didn’t leave until he said he wouldn’t. 

I had realized that I was the queen of this hill. I have saved this tree from death. And it saved me. One day I had decided to sit on the swing and read. The wind was pushing me and the rope could not hold my weight so it broke but something caught me. It was not humanely caught. It was like a force or a spirit but when I stood up no one was there, just the tree. 

I had wondered about that for years. I hadn’t realised what had caught me until now. The spirit of the tree had caught me. A life for a life. I had saved it so it had saved me. 

“Hello Hazel.” A wise voice had said.

“Are you-”

“Yes Hazel, I am the Spirit of the Tree on the Hill. And you are the Queen of this Hill.” It said.

“I am?”

“Yes, you have proven yourself worthy of the title. You come here everyday beneath me. You have saved me and I have saved you. You are worthy of being the Queen of the Hill.” 

I was thinking of that day as I sat on a balcony overlooking the tree and the hill. The air was crisp and cold but the Hot Cocoa that I had was warming me up. I am the Queen of this Hill still. And the Tree still stood, and the swing was rocking back and forth in the breeze. Now all the memories of younger me, where standing staring up at me and bowing to the Queen of the Hill.



Feel the Heat

By Lauren Chen, 6th Grade

Ghost white pine trees, Sway through the air. A gentle breeze blows the pale snow aweing the comfy cat ripped couch. The snow wants to come in, to feel the heat of the logs and branches rubbing against each other. It wants to drink hot coco. Next to the bed of comfy stuffed with cotton and springs. The snow also wants to eat the tiny gingerbread man, with two black beaded eyes like rocks.

Feel the heat! Outside children scream and holler. Meanwhile, snowballs and snowmen are made, forts and snow angles are constructed with great merry. Decorations are put up, a holly jolly merry christmas is coming. The snow wants to feel the jollyness of holiday and those sweet striped candy canes full of pleasant smells. The feel of being loved by everyone, and given a wonderful gift of love. Stuck outside in the cold winter struck forest. Snowing down on delicate eye lashes of children and adults have been given a present of love. Feel the heat of the love you’re given! 



Winter vs. Fall by Amanda Marietta, 7th grade


CONTEST #2: Cactus Perspective Paragraph

We asked people to write a paragraph from the perspective of a cactus, with no more than 300 words. People had to include one of the following phrases: dust ball, spikes, or rain water. 


The Cactus Seed

By Baa Dahaniih Morgan, 7th grade

When he was born, he didn’t know light. His surroundings were fleshy, juicy to one side, and hard and many to the other like hundreds of tiny balls. Of course, he was too young to fully contemplate these feelings, thus he waited until a great shaking came. It almost came too soon, breaking the beautiful, quiet peace, although he couldn’t help feeling like he was relieved it had come. After the shaking came a jerk, then sharp, hard objects consecutively pressing down, then squeezing, then stillness. Or at least somewhat. The floor never stayed completely still and liquid splashed against his shell, and even though he knew less of it remained still no light came. So he waited. 

Eventually he began falling, and now his cocoon was of a different, stranger material. Finally, he thought the peace would now return, but then the world suddenly began to whirl, and he realized he was rolling. Still no light came, so he decided to wait again, although it’s hard to wait when you’re being thrown down a hill. Finally, his speed started to decrease, reaching a gentle roll in contrast to the violent one from moments before, which changed his position in the cocoon. 

With another soft revolution he gently fell out, and saw the grey sky, the green and tan surrounding him, and the brown ball that he was once inside of. A second later, rain water came, tiny pellets crashing into him, and with it the wind that blew dirt over him. The darkness returned, but this time, after more waiting, he began to change. Underneath him a web of strings spread out, and his shape became a sort of oval while he slowly grew towards the surface until he breached it with his new barrel cactus form.



Glasses Through a Cactus

By Lauren Chen, 6th grade

Dust balls roll through the vacant desert yellow road.  Such an empty site.  Though blurry tanish  things  in whatever color giant toys do pass here to take photos, it’s pretty boring. Staring always in one direction I’m lucky to have been born to see such a view and be strong.  Hardly any animals will bear to stay but a Jack rabbit. His name is The Jack Rabbit. He’s someone who just pretends to have many voices. 

When it rains it’s the best miracle ever! The precipitation can reach my prickly thorns . I’m as happy as a “thing” on a so-called “Birthday” celebration, I throw my own party at this time as the “things” do with a pinkish, tannish “cake”. 

I learned all of this from my small “Ant” cactus. She told me everything about this “thing”, They have many “feelings” as she would say. They would crumple up and cry as my “ant” would say.  I still don’t get why she can move around and I’m stuck here. I wish I could go on an adventure but my roots have planted themselves into the hard brownish ground. Staring at a blank,dusty road covered in black lines.  

Now you see the life of a cactus in a desert with a lonely “pet,” Jack Rabbit.

THIRD PLACE SHOUT OUT: Cactus Story by David Roszel

HONORABLE MENTION: Danny Austin, 7th Grade Counselor – Jose Cactus : A Very Prickly Guy – ( A children’s story book) 

My name is Jose Cactus.  I am a very prickly guy.  But you don’t have to worry, I won’t poke you in the eye.  I hang out in the desert where it’s really hot and dry, but don’t worry, my skin will never fry!  There is always sand in my shoes (but I have gotten used to it), it doesn’t give me the blues. I wear a big sombrero on the top of my head so that during the day, the heat I never dread. I don’t see much rain water and the sun is always blazin!  Good thing I’m not a grape, or I’d turn into a raisin!  One thing I’ve learned from livin in the desert, stepping on a cactus causes pain and makes your foot hurt.


CONTEST #3: Winter Poem

We asked people to write a poem no more than 15 lines long that included one or more of these phrases: darkness overtakes, broken ice, or slowly fades. 


The Bad Turns

By Tessa Weimer, 6th Grade

 The dark grows stronger than the moon

The light falls to the ground

The trees slowly fade to a pitch black

It is as quiet as the galaxy

Life is blacker than black as darkness overtakes

The sun is now not even a speck

The animals in a trance

For the lord of dark has taken over like a sickness

The water sadder than the clouds

All animals overtaken

The animals hearts look like broken ice

All for one creature is defeated

For the phoenix of hope has been reborn from the ashes of flame

It is so bright it helps the animals up from a deep, deep darkness

It is like an angel from the heavens

It flies right into the center of darkness

And a burst of light erupts

The land is restored and life flickers

And that is the joy of light.



A Winter is Coming

By Heidi Davis, 7th Grade

A winter is coming.


In my thick layers

Now light fades

To the darkness.

Even the birds know a winter is coming.

Rivers freeze over.


Ice breaks.

Some more leaves are gone.


Coming it is,

On a night soon.

Maybe now,

I don’t know.

Now I live in fall. 

Gone it will be soon, for a winter is coming.


Third Place SHOUT OUT:  Fun Poem By Finn McGee


Stay tuned for future contests! We had fun reading all of your entries!