2021 Grades K-2
No entries this year.
2021 Grades 3-5 Winner
Eliana Purvis, 3rd Grade, Dudley Elementary
I don’t miss Zoom!
My name is Eliana and I am a level 3 gymnast at Rochester Gymnastics Academy. I chose the “Did you miss me?” subject because even though we were doing Zoom, I missed seeing my teammates and coaches faces in person. I missed just being in the gym. Learning a new routine over Zoom was tough, but we did learn the beam routine and the beginning of the floor routine. Sometimes Zoom would freeze in the middle of trying to learn a new part of the routine. We did not have all the things we would have in the gym at home to practice the new skills. Normally the coaches are able to spot us and help us with new skills, but through Zoom they can’t do that! Now we are back in the gym and I just got my roundoff back handspring for the first time on Tuesday. Even though we have to wear masks I love being back in the gym!
2021 Grades 6-8 Winner
Cailey Huang, 8th grade, Barker Road Middle School
The Heart of Swimming
Swimmers plunge into the water. Hands hit the touchpad with a splash. The crowd goes wild! These are some of my most thrilling memories from competitive swimming. Missing these experiences during the pandemic, I realized that sports is more than just the competition; it’s about the supportive community that challenges me to continually improve and always strive for excellence.
When COVID shut down sports all across the country, I was crestfallen as swim meets and practices were canceled. But training independently allowed me to reflect on how swimming has helped me grow as an athlete and person. Walking into the pool every day, I constantly found new ways to get better while working with my coaches and teammates. Whether it’s perfecting freestyle technique or trying to qualify for a championship meet, swimming pushed me to build mental and physical strength. Though I continued to stay active at set goals while at home, I missed the energy and extra motivation that swimming and its challenges inspired within me.
Being away from coaches and teammates gave me a newfound appreciation for our relationships and the sport that brings us together. Every grueling practice and long meet, they put the “team” in teamwork while offering advice and cheering for each other. This community is the reason why I long to get back in the pool and chase after those championship victories, because succeeding together is what makes swimming so meaningful.
As we start to go back to practice, I can’t wait to see my friends, talk with coaches, and even jump into the frigid pool for tough sets. But in this unexpected absence from swimming, I discovered the true heart of sports — to be a part of a supportive community that grows stronger and breaks limits, together.
2021 Grades 9-12 Winner
Ivy Aman, 11th grade, Our Lady of Mercy School for Young Women
An America for ALL
Professional athletes have a platform in which they are able to talk about and educate their supporters about important issues going on all around the world. It is extremely important for professional athletes to take advantage of this platform, as it could greatly affect the issues in today’s climate. For a normal high school student athlete like me, I still find it extremely vital to express my opinions and share ways to change the injustices in the world today including inequality among various races and religious groups, as well as the inequality between women and men. However, being a highschool student athlete, I do not have the large platform or funds to be a major part in movements such as the Black Lives Matter movement and the fight for equality amongst all races, religions, sexulaities and genders. If I were a professional athlete, I would not only be devoted to my sport, I would also be as equally devoted to the good of the common people and be an active participant in bettering our society. There are so many injustices in today’s world which are brought up whether it be through the media or through other communication, that there is no excuse to not be spreading awareness about these inequities and further educating ourselves. If I had the platform to share any message, I would not just limit myself to only one or two different foundations/ matters, I would learn about everything that is negatively affecting people’s lives today, causing them some sort of hurt and oppression. I would spread information about the Black Lives Matter movement and help people not only how to better educate themselves, but also ways in which we can actively fight against racism in America and change the systems that only benefit the white population. I would meet with political leaders to understand how they are using their position to better the society and tell them how I think they could better society using the input of those suffering from the oppression they are put under. I would make a stand for women’s rights and work towards the equality between women of every race and men. I would make a stand for the Natives who were wrongfully displaced and forced to assimilate and continue to undergo the effects of white privilege in America and the inequalities they suffer from such as inadequate healthcare and unequal job opportunities. I would stand for the LGBTQIA+ community who continue to deal with mocking, hate crimes, inequality and the rejection of not only friends and family but also the government simply because of the way that God made them. I would learn and spread awareness about as many injustices as I possibly could. Although any issue is easier brought to light and properly dealt with when people in powerful positions spread word about them, it is important to remember that even if we aren’t professional athletes or people in power, we can still make a change and better the lives of others.