Each quarter, YES! Magazine’s National Student Writing Competition gives young people a chance to be published in YES! by responding to a selected YES! article.
In Winter 2013, students responded to the piece, What Can Change When We Learn to See Each Other, by Rockwood’s President, Akaya Windwood.
The students’ writing prompt was:
“Imagine you accept Akaya Windwood’s invitation to intentionally notice people you would normally ignore. Who would you notice? What would change for you and for that person?”
A big congratulations to the four winners! Please take a moment to click through and read each of their beautiful pieces:
Middle School: Sumaiyah Mustaphalli for The Smile That Brought Hope
“I found myself in the grocery line at Publix a few days later, but I wasn’t concerned about the candy anymore. I was focused on the grocery bagger this time. How could I have missed the big bright smiles and cheerful hellos that he always gives to everyone?”
High School: Nizhone Hickman for, Taking That Extra Step
“After taking that extra step to acknowledge people, I think I would feel happier for having made someone else happier. When people are noticed, they feel valued—and that makes me happy.”
College: Chris Harrell for, The Humbled Lawyer
“Did this just happen? If I did not notice this man earlier, would I still be alive? I fall to my knees knowing I may never see that man again.”
Powerful Voice: Reyna Flores for, Finally Seen
“The old woman
is glad of finally having someone
to talk to and laugh with.
To share stories
and memories with.
Who will listen to what she has to say.
Who will respect her opinion.
Not because she is rich.
But because, underneath, she is kind.
And the girl feels as though she has
finally met someone
who respects her opinion
and most of all, does not care what color her skin