Westmount Kids
Building Bridges / 7

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 10.


Liam Sullivan-Nelson


Grows up without a father,
Doesn’t have many friends.
Raised by a single mother,
With just enough money to depend on.
Is taught proper manners,
But never proper morals.
At least he knows to apologize
When he’s caught stealing food to feed himself.
Goes to a bad school
In a bad part of the city.
Sleeps through most of his classes,
It shows on his report card.
Can’t understand
How his mom got a new boyfriend.
It’s too hard for him to grasp the concept
When he doesn’t have a present father figure to begin with.
Can’t sleep at night
With all the yelling and the violence in the background.
Feels bad that he can’t defend his mom
Against the man she brought in.
Grows older.
His mom forgets his birthday again.
She has bigger problems to deal with,
Too big for him to comprehend.
Loses her job,
The only source of money there was disappears.
Can no longer support herself
Or her only child.
Are in trouble.

Has to make excuses
For why he isn’t handing in his school fees.
Knows he can’t pull it off for long,
The other students know what’s going on.
Is pulled out of class
For an unexpected meeting with the guidance counselor.
He’s asked how he’s feeling,
If there are any problems at home.
Knows what the guidance counselor is getting at,
But doesn’t want any trouble.
Between his mom, money and grades,
He has enough problems as it is.
Comes back home to flashing lights and police officers,
Doesn’t know what’s happening.
Goes into his house to find his mom crying,
Her boyfriend isn’t there anymore.
Goes to sleep early,
Flat on the couch,
Prescription pills in her hand,
And a name on the bottle that isn’t even hers.
Were in debt.
Takes the rest of the medication from his mother’s hand,
Puts it in his own pocket.
Goes around the neighborhood,
Selling every last pill.
Uses the money he acquires to pay off school fees
And the rest of the rent debt they owe.
Knowing what he’s doing is illegal,
He does it anyway.
Now knows what his mom is spending their money on
And doesn’t appreciate her anymore.
Doesn’t want anything to do with her,
Wants to build a bridge to a better future for himself.
Starts to try harder in school,
Meets his deadlines,
Passes his test,
Gets a higher average.
Stays after school for tutoring,
Takes notes,
Stays attentive,
Concentrates as hard and as long as he can.
Writes a questionable story for his English class
Which he bases on his life,
But doesn’t tell the teacher that
And passes it off as his own imagination.
Spends the least amount of time he can at home,
Avoids his mom as much as possible,
Makes his own suppers,
Cleans his own clothes.
Continues to take the pills
That aren’t prescribed to her.
Noticing that her son wants nothing to do with her,
She tries to quit and recover.
See less and less of each other.
Applies to a CEGEP
To study commerce,
Gets accepted
And continues to study and work hard.
Gets on the honour roll list
On his last year and term of high school.
Studying all the time,
It’s hard for him to find time for friends.
Turns 18 years old
And moves out,
Away from a mother who never properly took care of him
And away from a neighbourhood only filled with bad memories.

Is grown up,
Has a job,
A wife
And a baby boy.
Is there for them
And takes care of them,
Because he knows what it’s like
For a single mother and a young child to live alone together.
Never saw him again,
Had nothing to live for when he left,
Got evicted for avoiding rent
Regrets not spending more time with her only child.
Were in two very different places in their lives.
Made the right decision.
Lives happy.
Worked to get where he is now.
Built a bridge to a happier ending
Than the one he was originally intended to have.

Building Bridges / 1
Building Bridges / 2
Building Bridges / 3
Building Bridges / 4
Building Bridges / 5
Building Bridges / 6

Image: SarahElizabethC. via StockPholio.net

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 sont domiciliés 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.

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