Golden Pen

Each year, students in some California schools are given the opportunity to enter a special creative writing contest. The winner receives the Golden Pen Award. This year’s assignment was presented to the contestants in the form of this question:

‘Raise your hand if you’ve seen the movie “Pay It Forward.”
For those of you who have not seen the movie, a teacher asks his class “What did you ever do to change the world?” One young boy takes this question to heart and sets out to make a difference in the world by doing three good deeds for three different and unsuspecting people. Once the good deed is done, the young boy asks the recipient to do the same thing and do three good deeds for three other people, thus paying it forward.


For your writing assignment I want you to tell what you’ve done to change the world or what you plan to do.’

I was given the honor of being the judge for this year’s contest, and I had the opportunity to read several wonderful stories written by equally wonderful kids. After wading through the entries, one particular tale quickly rose to the top. The winner was clear, so please join me in congratulating Eleanor Cummings for winning the 2008 Golden Pen Award. Her compelling true story about people in need of housing and what she’s already doing to help out was heartwarming. But Eleanor didn’t stop there. She’s already set a plan in motion to help cancer patients.

Eleanor is an amazing young woman. She gives me hope that the future of our world is in good hands.

* Due to the age of the contest winner we’ve elected not to post the name and location of her school. For the same reason, I’ve also decided not to post her award winning entry. Take my word for it, it was good!