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2012 Creative Writing Contest Honorable Mention

Working Toward a Dream

By: Aedra Li

San Francisco, CA

I remember being confused, so many why’s and not enough because’s. Why did we leave Saulita? Where were we going? My parents didn’t say a word to me or my brother. All they said was, “We are going to a better place. You will understand later.” Was a twelve year old girl too young to know the truth? If I got a penny for every question I had, I’d be a millionaire. Then I’d have enough money to go back to Saulita and see my bestfriend, Pablo.


During one part of the trip, my brother and I had to hide under a blanket. We heard a gringo speaking, but we couldn’t understand him through the blanket. He asked a lot of questions. After three days, we finally stopped driving. We got out, stretched our aching legs, and looked cautiously around. We saw many other immigrants working in the fields, picking strawberries. In front of us was a house that you could tell used to be white, but was now an ugly cream. It used to be a single-family house, but now it housed for families of five. Everyone that lived in that house had to work in the fields to live there and put food in their families’ mouths. We worked 15 hours a day under the hot California sun. All of our backs ached, all of our hands turned ugly with calluses. As the seasons changed, we moved from farm to farm, but the work was the same. We worked for six hard, intense years harvesting crops that would feed the lucky people who didn’t have to work like us.


When I was eighteen, my family moved to San Francisco hoping for a better life and a chance to become part of America as legal citizens. With the help of kind social workers, community activists and lawyers, we finally got our chance. I give a thousand ‘thank you’s’ to all the people who made it possible for us to become citizens. They don’t know how much a change they have made in my life. Since then, life has been getting better. I am now going to culinary school and hope to open a successful restaurant. My brother is now in college and wants to return to Saulita and help people there have a better life.


I finally understand why my parents brought me and my brother to America. I can’t thank them enough for taking so many risks for a better life for us. Despite what some people may think, me and my family and other immigrants have been contributing to America and will continue to do so. All we want is to be treated fairly and be given the chance to become a part of this wonderful nation of immigrants.


America, My Nation

By: Samantha Nelson

Richmond Heights, MO


A once golden goddess,

Now just green,

Holds up her torch,

“Come to me”

Says she.

“All rejects,

With no home there,

Come to me,

Climb my golden stair.

My torch shall be life,

My book shall be power,

I will protect you,

You no longer need cower.

I will care for you,

With my nation of heroes,

With people brave and strong,

That would risk their lives for you.

All because,

Every person matters in America.

Then when you see me,