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LCIS student wins

Lyford Cay International School’s Aaron Dean is a Collins Big Cat Writing Competition champion.

The fifth grade student won the ages eight to 11 category in the writing competition, for which the theme was “Bravery and Courage”.

In his story, “Hero”, Aaron writes about a rescue pup that he saved who went on to become his best buddy and loyal companion. He named him Hero. The boy and his pup became inseparable over the years.

Aaron wrote about the day his dad took him on a fishing trip on which Hero also came, even though the dog was terrified of the water. They encountered a storm, and the boy was tossed out of the boat, but Hero jumped in to save him, ignoring his own fear of the water. Shortly after his heroic save, Aaron wrote about Hero’s health declining, and how it broke his heart to see Hero suffer. He cried often and begged God to make his companion better, but Hero just grew worse until he had to be put to sleep.

Aaron wrote about having to come to terms with the tough decision and his dad encouraging him to be brave and courageous, which he said sometimes means doing the thing that hurts or scares a person the most.

Aaron wrote that the decision broke his heart, but he understood it. He wiped his tears and cuddled his companion, speaking to him about how he had once saved the boy from drowning, and that he would now be his hero and save him from suffering.

Aaron concluded his 494-word story with the words “Rest in peace, my Hero and friend”.

Aaron’s story won at the regional Caribbean level, before going on to win the overall award.

“I am happy and proud to have won the prize for myself and for The Bahamas,” said Aaron, a member of LCIS’ writing club which includes students from grades three through 12.

Aaron is the first member of the club to win an international writing competition.

Award-winning authors Chris Bradford and Joanna Nadin judged the entries.

In his assessment of Aaron’s winning story, Bradford said the story was so effective and powerful that he wished he had written it.

Joshua Matthews, Harper Collins senior sales representative, Caribbean, visited New Providence to present the top prize to Aaron at Lyford Cay.

At the presentation Matthews congratulated The Bahamas and the Caribbean region for its strong performance and reported that the overall winners had bested almost 1,000 students from around the world. As a grand final winner, Aaron also received a trophy for LCIS. His winning story will be transformed into video and read aloud by a Collins Big Cat author.

Regional finalists’ stories were published on the Collins website; they also received a goodie bag filled with books on the theme of bravery and courage, 200 pounds (approximately $265 worth) of Collins books and an engraved shield.

Rhejoyce Williams, from Sharon Primary School, Barbados, was the winner of the ages five to seven category with her story “Princess Dew and the Ice-cream Roller-Skate Derby”.

The Collins Big Cat Writing Competition ran September, May 10 through December 21, 2018. Schools were encouraged to challenge their pupils to write a 300 to 500-word children’s story in English on the theme of bravery and courage. The competition was open to and free for all schools to take part in from different regions across the globe – the United Kingdom and Ireland, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, the Americas, the Caribbean, Africa and Australia.

One finalist for each age category was chosen from each region and placed on a shortlist of eight students from around the world who advanced to the final level of judging and vied for the top prize.

Aaron, the son of Lamar and Kahon Dean, when asked whether he was surprised to win, said he was amazed and delighted and that while he worked hard on the story, he had no expectation of a young boy from a small island winning over such a large field of student writers.

Stories from LCIS were contributed by elementary students from the school’s co-curricular writing club, led by Katina Seymour, former fifth grade teacher and PYP coordinator.

Schools can submit up to two entries each, one per category.

Harper Collins is one of the largest and oldest publishing houses in the world and has been publishing authors since 1817. According to the company’s website, the caliber of entries for the most recent competition was fantastic, and HarperCollins representatives enjoyed reading the wide range of innovative and original stories they received.

“I can’t do it, No! It’s too hard, after all these years together…”

I’ll never forget the rainy Saturday afternoon when I first saw my best buddy and loyal companion. Beautiful, intelligent and strong, but he wasn’t always a beautiful sight.

After three endless hours the rain had finally stopped. I was glad to be outdoors again, looking for new species of bugs. I heard a small whimper. I stopped and looked around, but saw nothing more than a few croaking frogs. I heard the sound again. Curious, I stealthily made my way over to the gigantic Silk Cotton tree in my backyard.

To my surprise, a scrawny little puppy laid shivering between the roots of the tree. I tried to walk away but the puppy whimpered loudly. Was he begging me not to abandon him? My body froze the moment I looked into his dark, helpless eyes. I gave in, picked him up, and dried his shivering body with my coat. I named him Hero and we became inseparable!

Hero lived up to his name. The day my father took me out on a fishing trip, Hero came along even though he was terrified of the water. He sat beside me enjoying the brisk salty air and barking at every fish we caught. Suddenly, the sky darkened and the boat rocked and swayed ferociously. We were caught in a thunderstorm. I was tossed out of the boat, but Hero fearlessly jumped in to save me, ignoring his own fear of the water. Shortly after, Hero’s health declined. His dive into the water had infected him with parasites. He developed a terrible cold, his shiny coat became dull and his stomach looked like a watermelon. He tired easily now and could no longer endure a game of doggie soccer. It broke my heart to see Hero suffer this way. I cried often and begged God to make my Hero better, but he grew worse.

A week later, my dad said, “buddie, we must put Hero to sleep”.

With warm tears rolling down my face, I threw myself onto the sofa and screamed, “I can’t do it, No! It’s too hard, after all these years together”

My dad gripped me into a bear hug and promised me that this was the best decision for Hero. “No dad”, I replied, “it’s too hard!”

Dad whispered in my ears, “Son, being brave and courageous means doing the thing that sometimes hurt or scares you the most.”

It broke my heart, but I got it. With my lips clenched, I wiped my tears and went outside to Hero.

“Come, Hero” I called. Hero got up and slowly limped over to me.

“Atta boy,” I said.

I bent down and wrapped my arms around him gently. He looked up at me and I whispered softly, “Hero, you once saved me from drowning. Now I’ll be your hero and save you from suffering.”

“Rest in peace, my Hero and friend”.

Aaron’s Winning Story

“Hero”

“I can’t do it, No! It’s too hard, after all these years together…”

I’ll never forget the rainy Saturday afternoon when I first saw my best buddy and loyal companion. Beautiful, intelligent and strong, but he wasn’t always a beautiful sight.

After three endless hours the rain had finally stopped. I was glad to be outdoors again, looking for new species of bugs. I heard a small whimper. I stopped and looked around, but saw nothing more than a few croaking frogs. I heard the sound again. Curious, I stealthily made my way over to the gigantic silk cotton tree in my backyard.

To my surprise, a scrawny little puppy laid shivering between the roots of the tree. I tried to walk away but the puppy whimpered loudly. Was he begging me not to abandon him? My body froze the moment I looked into his dark, helpless eyes. I gave in, picked him up, and dried his shivering body with my coat. I named him Hero and we became inseparable!

Hero lived up to his name. The day my father took me out on a fishing trip, Hero came along even though he was terrified of the water. He sat beside me enjoying the brisk salty air and barking at every fish we caught. Suddenly, the sky darkened and the boat rocked and swayed ferociously. We were caught in a thunderstorm. I was tossed out of the boat, but Hero fearlessly jumped in to save me, ignoring his own fear of the water. Shortly after, Hero’s health declined. His dive into the water had infected him with parasites. He developed a terrible cold, his shiny coat became dull and his stomach looked like a watermelon. He tired easily now and could no longer endure a game of doggie soccer. It broke my heart to see Hero suffer this way. I cried often and begged God to make my Hero better, but he grew worse.

A week later, my dad said, “Buddie, we must put Hero to sleep”.

With warm tears rolling down my face, I threw myself onto the sofa and screamed, “I can’t do it, No! It’s too hard, after all these years together”

My dad gripped me into a bear hug and promised me that this was the best decision for Hero. “No dad”, I replied, “it’s too hard!”

Dad whispered in my ears, “Son, being brave and courageous means doing the thing that sometimes hurt or scares you the most.”

It broke my heart, but I got it. With my lips clenched, I wiped my tears and went outside to Hero.

“Come, Hero” I called. Hero got up and slowly limped over to me.

“Atta boy,” I said.

I bent down and wrapped my arms around him gently. He looked up at me and I whispered softly, “Hero, you once saved me from drowning. Now I’ll be your hero and save you from suffering.

“Rest in peace, my Hero and friend.”

Shavaughn Moss

Lifestyles Editor at The Nassau Guardian
Shavaughn Mossjoined The Nassau Guardianas a sports reporter in 1989. She was later promoted to sports editor.Shavaughn covered every major athletic championship from the CARIFTA to Central American and Caribbean Championships through to World Championships and Olympics.
Shavaughn was appointed as the Lifestyles Editor a few years later.

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