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In May, our Youth Committee organized a short story writing contest to encourage high school students to write creatively with the theme of “Making a Change.”
Thank you again to our participants and congratulations to our winners!
Thank you to our guest author judges, Maria Oprea, Ariyike Akinbobola and Josephine Vaccaro-Chang.

Below are our Short Story Winners’ stories. 

Our 1st Place Winner

The Future of Tomorrow

by Oladosu Toluwalase Christiana

 

In a town called Ikorodu, there was a woman who lost her only child during childbirth. Her husband left her claiming she was a witch and that she killed the child. Feranmi was left alone with no one, the only thing she had left was the house her husband left her in. The death of her child made her despise children so much. She didn’t even want to set her eyes on them.

Living was hard for Feranmi as she had to strive really hard to survive, she would go out every day in search of a job just to earn a living. One sunny afternoon after she had eaten, she decided to go out to look for a job once again and said to herself sadly ‘I hope I would be favored enough to find one today’. As usual, it was a busy day and everyone set out minding their businesses, but as Feranmi got to the junction not too far away from her house she saw two children sitting on the tarmac by the road, and as they saw her they started begging her for food. Feranmi couldn’t put a finger on what she was feeling for them but she didn’t despise them this time, she felt a different way towards them.

She felt love and pity towards them, so she decided to take them to her house. From that day on she started taking care of them, feeding them and teaching them the necessary morals they needed to have as children, she also bought books for them from the little she earned,
because she couldn’t afford to take them to school.

Day by day as Feranmi went out, she saw children in need, left alone on the road begging with no helper nor guardian. She was always moved and she would take them to her house, clean them, feed them and take care of them. As she did all of these, she never knew the people in her neighborhood had started suspecting her, thinking she was using the children for trafficking purposes or for child labor and they decided to report her to the Police.

One morning, some group of men stormed into her house claiming to be from the Nigerian Police ‘Madam, we have to take you to our station right away for suspicion of human trafficking and child labor’. She looked bewildered trying to explain to them how that was false. At this time, some of the children had started crying while some tried explaining that she was not hurting them but the Police were not having it. ‘If you utter one more word, it would be used against you in the court of law, now move!’

Feranmi was shamefully dragged to the Police station. While writing her statement, she noticed one of the officers to be a friend to her ex-husband and immediately beckoned to him. He was surprised to see her and asked “What are you doing here Feranmi? I heard your husband left you what really happened?” She sighed deeply before replying “after I lost my child, my husband left me claiming that I killed the child through witchcraft” the man exclaimed “what!! That can’t be possible, why would Kunle be so ignorant! So what did you do?” Feranmi shook her head briefly “because of that a lot happened to me and I ended up resenting children. But one day I saw two children on the roadside begging with no helper, so I decided to take them to my house, clothed and fed them and just like that, the numbers of children started increasing because daily I kept seeing children in need and could not resist helping them. Every day, people walk pass these children ignoring the fact that they have a bright future but I decided to make a change despite my resentment for children” Immediately the Police officer heard this, he was moved and assured her he would take care of her case.

The police officer took up her case and she was released the next day. Few days after, he took her to the agency for displaced children and they happily received her, surprised that people like Feranmi still exist, they decided to give her a new house and as she demanded, the children were given free education and a place to stay. She continued her good deed by helping every displaced children she saw. The story of Feranmi was however told everywhere to teach people the need to make a change.

Our 2nd Place Winner

The Broadsword

by Nabneel Sarma

I was a loner. I didn’t hang out with any friends that stuck to me, nor had the means to fit in. 

But I did have one thing. 

Something illegal. 

“We’re so gonna get caught,” I moaned. 

“Well, you needed help to solve your problem, right?” 

“But I didn’t mean for you to come with me in my backpack!” 

“Why not? You decided to grab me while I was laying down there in the park.” “I thought you were a LARPer’s prop or something. You looked vintage!” “Vintage? Wow. On the bright side, at least you’re a better owner.” 

“Could we just talk about how we’re gonna do this?” 

“Okaaaay,” the voice said, muffled. “Could you get me some air, though? Feels stuffy here.” 

As we reached the doors of the school entrance, I knelt down and unzipped my backpack. Amid my binder and textbook nestled a bright broadsword with a crystal-blue sheen. It was practically gleaming when I picked it up on the grass that day. The sword inhaled deeply. “Ahhhh, that’s better.” 

“So? How are you gonna solve my problem? How am I gonna make a friend?” I desperately asked. 

“A friend? You kept the suspense on something that easy?” The sword laughed. “Couldn’t you just go on your ‘social media’ thing and ask a person you know to be your friend?” 

“B-but, that’s like asking a stranger if they wanna go date with me!” I stuttered. “And yet so many people do it,” the sword drawled. 

“No, they don’t. You can’t just blurt out, ‘Can I be your friend?’ to a rando on the street.” I hissed. “Life doesn’t work like that. Life doesn’t care if you’re not on TikTok. Life now is only about the posts and likes and the pretty images and shorts. That’s how you become an actual person these days. If I can’t even do what all my classmates do on Instagram, how do you expect me to walk up to them and say, ‘Hey, I need a friend’?” 

“But have you ever tried doing that, though?” the sword stated calmly. “What?” I cried. 

“Making friends?” 

I blinked. “WellII just” I struggled to come up with words. “II can’t.” “Why not?” 

“BecauseI’m a nerd.” 

“Seriously?” 

“No, it’s” I sighed. “I’m afraid. I already lost a buddy doing the very same thing. I just couldn’t keep them with me for so long. Since then, I can’t get anybody to be on my side because they only leave for others so much better than me. What could I do? How could I be

so jealous when I’m nothing to them? How could I be so angry when I’m the one who’s worthless?” 

The sword’s voice grew quiet. “So you’ve accepted your fate, then?” 

I stared sadly at the concrete. “Yeah.” 

We listened to the wind howl nearby. 

Finally, the sword said, “I think I know how to solve your problem. Get in the school and follow my lead.” 

“What?” 

“Do you wanna fix this or not, kid?” 

“I guess I wanna,” I mumbled. 

The rest of the day, the sword forced me to do a lot of tiring stuff: hold the door for others, raise my hand in class, help the science teacher with a big box, you name it. The thank yous I got filled me with warmth. 

“Why in the world did you make me go through that?” I asked as we strolled past some lockers at dismissal. 

“Because you need to make a change,” the sword answered. “You need to learn how to try so you could feel good about it when you actually do. You need to see how the results you create improve your life for the better, not for the worse. Some people these days simply don’t bother because they either think they can’t or don’t think they can. But it’s never too late to do what needs to be done until it’s actually too late. Which is why you need to act. Some years later, I’m not gonna be here to boss you around, so it’s your choice on whether you stay put or get moving. I don’t care if it’s right or wrong.” 

As we walked, I saw someone familiar chatting with her friends near a locker. “Hey, it’s her” I whispered. 

“What are you gonna do?” the sword asked. “Stay put or get moving?” I held my breath. Slowly, I stepped up to them and said, 

“Hey guys, how are you doing?”

Our 3rd Place Winner

To Become Different… My Metamorphosis

by Emma Ingalla Brewster

 

“Big time supermodel Adrienne Rosa. Wow. How does she do it all? She makes it seem SO easy! Join us live next week on Tik Tok and we will have have a conversation with her and her rise to stardom.““What-”I said sitting down on my couch inside my mansion.“Come on mom it’s fine,” Said my fifteen year old son who’s admiring his grey Nike Tech Fleece.“You’re gonna get more followers on Instagram! Who cares if they say your life is easy, it is!”I was going to tear up. My own son thinks I had an “easy” life.“Come, sit.”I said.I took out my laptop and signed in on my Twitter account. 

My son sits down looking at me.I tagged TikTok because they’re the ones running this live about me.“I’m so confused.” My son said,“I’m going to write my life story,”I said proudly.“Uhm,I already know your life story. People told you were pretty and then you became a model.”I wanted to laugh.“I should’ve told you everything.I only wanted you to believe my life was “easy” so you would think you wouldn’t have to struggle.”I began to type. 

When I was eight,I put lemon scents on my underarms so it’ll smell good but it darkened my skin.I had eczema too.I felt uncomfortable with my body and being made fun of didn’t help.I was skinny.I was called sick.It hurts.It’s a simple word.I had to change.I was fourteen when my heart said enough.I worked out every weekend and ate healthy.I was skinny but toned. Everyone was surprised. When you have a body, people are attentive.I made an Instagram account and I posted pictures of myself.I wanted to show myself I was beautiful.I was happy about my body, not my face. So,I continued posting and soon I got likes and comments from people all over the world. Months later,I got signed to Teen Vogue. Teen Vogue correspondents were looking at my posts and hired me.I started being on covers mainly all over the States. Until I got pregnant. 

It’s been a year at Teen Vogue and I loved it. My assistants were sweet and no one forced me to do anything.I went to school and some people I didn’t know tried to be friends with me.I knew I was on the verge of being used.I got compliments.I liked them, but some people never did those before. This one boy I liked told me he’s been eyeing me for a while.I told him my feelings about him and his were mutual. We began dating and it took the internet by storm. People loved

us as a couple. Some people said we would have cute kids. He asked if we could “do something” one night.I was at his house. He said I would feel better.I said no, but he put himself upon me and I couldn’t do anything.I was crying and he told me to shut up.I was being used for pleasure. When I got out I ran home and acted like nothing happened.“That’s why he’s never around” My son exclaimed.I was pregnant after a week. He left and moved somewhere else.I got bad publicity, that I’m a horrible influence for young girls and Teen Vogue removed me. No one believed I got raped.I was ashamed of believing in love. 

My baby came nine months named Everette meaning bravery.I’ll never be as strong as him.I raised him to be nothing like his father. No agency wanted me.I made my own.It’s for anyone but especially for people who were raped, have eating disorders, any kind of mental health problem, disability(ies) etc. People who’ve been rejected after their faults.I built that agency at seventeen and now it’s one of the most famous ones. Everyone wants in.I’m inclusive.I hit send. 

“I could’ve asked about you.I always made everything about…” My son whimpered.“It’s okay,”I said,“Having you was the best days of my life. You made me believe I could do anything “”I’m the son of a rapist, how did I change you?”“Just seeing your face,I knew real love is real. And look at us.I changed our lives for the better.”