Building Bridges / 3
Local students show off their literary stuff in the 2016 McEntyre Writing Competition
Introduction by Wayne Larsen
In what has become an annual tradition in Westmount schools, the McEntyre Writing Competition always attracts a wide variety of thoughtful and creative entries, and the 2016 edition was no exception.
Endowed by the late Peter McEntyre, mayor of Westmount from 1969 to 1971, the competition encourages young writers to express themselves on a designated topic, each designed to get the creative juices flowing. It is coordinated each year by the Westmount Public Library.
In 2016, “Building Bridges” was the topic assigned to students in grades 1 through 11.
Westmount Magazine presents the full texts of the first-place entries in each grade category, as supplied by the Westmount Public Library.
Here we present Grade 6.
SIXTH GRADE | FIRST PRIZE | MISS EDGAR’S AND MISS CRAMP’S SCHOOL
Circle of Life
“Did you hear the news Vicki?” Mercier asked as he was stretching his back early in the foggy morning. He looked up at the grey sky and then down at the stormy dark water.
“What?” Victoria shouted back.
“I said, did you hear the news?”
“I can’t hear you, could you repeat that dear?” she answered apologizingly.
“Did you hear the news?!” This time Mercier was shouting at the top of his lungs.
“Oh the news darling, no I didn’t. What d’they say? You know I’m not into gossip, but the occasional news do come in handy” She asked intrigued.
“The stupid government is planning to destroy Champlain Bridge! They don’t think it’s safe enough.”
“What?” she shouted.
“The Champlain Bridge will be destroyed!!!” Mercier yelled as loud as he could.
“Shhhhh, you’re too loud dear! Champlain might hear you! Then he will have a panic attack like poor old Billy”, old Victoria whispered nervously.
“Not before 12 o’clock in the morning!” Mercier laughed “Good old Champlain, he was always the kind one, we are all going to miss him…”
Charles de Gaulle, who had the hearing of a cat, and the temperament of a lion shouted “Are you just going to let this happen? Are we going to be the bystanders that don’t stand up to bullies? No! We will fight for our friend! He has done so much for us! He has guided us, comforted us and taught us since the day he was built! We can’t let this happen. If they kill him, they will destroy their connection to the outside world. We will not let them communicate through us, we will do whatever is necessary to prevent them! Can a man do whatever he wishes to us? Is that our purpose in life; to serve and when our service is done to be destroyed? Is there nothing greater in store for us? What about our ambitions and dreams in life?”
“Well, I suppose we could try…” Mercier answered reluctantly after a long pause.
“It never works darlings.., never” Victoria tried to argue.
“Well, Charles de Gaulle has never been in charge of it before! Under my lead, we can do it and I need you, all of you!” Charles retaliated.
The bridges held a council, where they voted for fighting against the humans.
When Champlain woke up, he was told everything by gentle Victoria. She talked to him very soothingly, trying to hold back her tears. Then, her tone grew more joyful, almost triumphant when she told him about their plan to fight for him.
Champlain showed no emotion, he simply laughed when she finished. Then, he didn’t make another sound for hours and hours upon end. The other bridges were very worried and thought that Champlain has gone mad from the news. Charles decided to try to talk to him.
“Friend! Please don’t worry, we will not let anything happen to you. I promise!”
Champlain laughed in reply.
“Why? Why do you laugh?”
“How can you promise such a thing? How can you go against humans? There is nothing you can do!”
“I can block the entrances to the bridges by having wild animals run in from the forests and form a barricade!”
The other bridges applauded this idea and muttered about the genius of young Charles, but Champlain burst out into laughter.
“What do humans do to animals that don’t cooperate? They kill. You are sentencing all your friends to death by bringing them here”.
“Losses are necessary for victory!”
“What victory? I am a hazard, I am a danger to the humans. They will build another bridge, a better, stronger bridge. I am just in their way”.
“Don’t you have ambitions? Don’t you want to be something more? Don’t you want to be remembered?”
“Silly, silly boy… What can be greater than helping people communicate? Because of us, families can see each other after long separations. Children are driving back from colleges to see their parents as we speak and without us they would not make it! We bring humans joy by bringing them together! Without us, humans would not be where they are! Isn’t that enough for you? Now imagine, if I collapse, as a young striving artist is driving across me to see her family! Imagine the consequences for all her loved ones. That will happen if I am not replaced, so don’t fight it, I am happy to finally reunite with the river. It’s the circle of life”.
A long silence ensued, all that was heard was the peaceful rolling of the waves. A ray of sunshine broke through the grey sky and shone on the dark waters, making them lighter, bluer… A white dove flew over the river with an olive branch in its beak. The silence reigned.
McEntyre Writing Competition 2017
The 2017 edition of the McEntyre Writing Competition is currently underway and the theme is “Secret Places, Hidden Treasures”.
You may compete if you go to school in Westmount (elementary or secondary, grades 1–11), live in Westmount, or are a member of a library in Westmount.
Submit your entry to the Children’s Desk, Westmount Public Library, no later than 9 pm on Friday, April 7, 2017.
To find out how to participate, please visit the Library’s website.
Concours littéraire McEntyre 2017
L’édition 2017 du Concours littéraire McEntyre est en cours et le thème est « Des endroits secrets et des trésors cachés ».
Tous les élèves du primaire (1–6) et du secondaire (1–5) qui fréquentent une école de Westmount, qui habitent à Westmount ou qui sont abonnés à une bibliothèque de Westmount peuvent participer au concours.
Tous les textes doivent parvenir à la Bibliothèque publique de Westmount avant 21h le vendredi 7 avril 2017.
Pour savoir comment participer, veuillez visiter le site web de la Bibliothèque.