Maya Angelou. ‘She was special, she was rare.’

Westmount kids
chase their dreams / 8

Local students show off their literary stuff
in Westmount schools 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 2015 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.

This year, “Chasing a Dream” was the topic assigned to students in grades 1 through 11.

While local newspapers have printed the names of the winners each year, space restrictions made it impossible to publish all of the winning essays. Now, for the first time, Westmount Magazine presents the full texts of the first-place entries in each grade category, as supplied by the Westmount Public Library.

Grade 11
Jaylin Paris of Westmount High School

The Three

Maya Angelou,
Someone who
Has always inspired me.

Someone who
Is bold and brave,
A woman that I’ve always aspired to be.

Someone whose journey
On this Earth may have expired way too quickly,

But someone whose victories
Will forever reign on in what they’ve created;
Their legacy.

Maya Angelou,
Someone who
Has been put through
So many tests.

A woman, phenomenally,
That can rise above the rest.

Maya Angelou,
An activist and an actress.
Two of her talents
I love her for the best.

A woman with a heart so big
It would burst right through her ebony chest.

Maya Angelou,
A playwright and a poet.

Did you know that that’s not even the half,
And some of ya’ll didn’t even know it?

Did you know the reason that Maya Angelou
Is my reason why,
Since the age of nine,
I’ve always loved to write
In rhyme
And speak in time?

And speak my mind?

Did you know that
She’s helped me learn not to be afraid
To educate
Ignorant people back into place
When they’ve crossed the line?

Did you know that
She’s shown me the importance
Of growing a backbone
And aligning my spine,
So that I can stand alone
And walk with my head held high?

I know
How hard those before me
Have had to fight.
Secretively travelling the railroads
All through the day
Until all hours of the night.

Overworking themselves for what’s rightly ours
Liberty and respect…
Our basic human rights.

I forbid the past to repeat itself
In honour of my ancestors
Who lived their lives in a fiery hell.

My ancestors
Who fetched water from the non-wish-granting wishing well,
And who picked cotton underneath the blazing sun.

Maya Angelou taught me well
I will never give up the battle
Until the war is won.

Maya Angelou,
A dancer, who moves “ever so rhythmically.”
An author, who writes “oh! so metaphorically.”

She knows why the caged bird sings.

And like that caged bird,
She too utters
The most beautiful of words.

The most beautiful of melodies.

But those beautiful melodies
Could never compete
With my mom’s true beauty.

Ah! My beautiful mother, Melody.
Nobody will ever be as lovely as she.
Nobody will ever love me as much as she loves me.

My mom is
Independent and Intelligent.
A gift that heaven sent

Her life is full of Love and Laughter.
Her life is full of Accomplishments and Amusement.
And as her admiring daughter,
I am full of amazement.

Ah! My mother.

Man, she’s such a hard worker.

A single mom
Who raised me
And my brother.

My mother
Was always there
Every time we needed her.

She is our number 1 fan.
Our biggest supporter.

Could there ever be another woman like her?
The answer is never.
Everything my brother and I are,
We are because of her.

The two women, that I’ve written about,
Are two extraordinary ladies
That I’ll always love,
No doubt.

They may not be pop stars
Or runway models,
But they shine brighter than all stars
And are my role models.

So, now that I’ve introduced
Two out of the Three,
I’d like to take a little time
To talk a bit about me.

I aspire to inspire before I expire.
I don’t care when it happens
I just don’t want to cut it too close to the wire.

One day, I will be successful.
I don’t exactly know when
Or exactly know how.
But I do know that I’m serious about my success,
And that my success story begins now.

My voice will be heard.
People will be inspired by my actions
And by my words.

I will rise
And will soar
More free than the singing caged bird.

This is a goal
That I feel I can achieve,
With determination and motivation
And if I just believe.

I didn’t enter this game
For the money or for the fame.
I’ve always looked up to these ladies
And I wish to be for others
What they have been for me.

Image: Get Everwise via


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