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Duniway student wins regional writing competition

Duniway student wins regional writing competition
Posted on 04/02/2015

Duniway Middle School sixth grader Abby Meador has won an Excellence in American History award from the Daughters of the American Revolution. Her submission, A Child's Journey Through Ellis Island, was selected for a Bronze medal and $50 cash award by the Yamhill County chapter and has since been selected for the top honors at the state and regional levels.

Abby will be honored at a state DAR conference in Wilsonville in May. As a regional winner representing six states in the Northwest, she will compete against other regional winners around the state. If selected at the national level, she will travel to the DAR Continental Congress in Washington, D.C., in June. 

Abby said she loves to write and shares an interest in writing and language arts with her family. Her story about a family's immigration experience from England to America in the 1800s was based on research. Her ancestors also immmigrated from England around that time. 


A Child’s Journey Through Ellis Island

Abigail Meador

Duniway Middle School

Sixth Grade

990 Words

My lovely cousin Alisa,

We finally made it to the New World and I’m so grateful. I can’t wait to tell you all about it. Here’s how it all happened:

“Careful, Arabelle. It’s raining. I don’t want you to slip,” Mother warned me, as we stepped off the ship. I nodded in reply and took a slow, careful step onto the soggy ground.

The air was freezing. If I took a breath, you could see it in the air. Storm clouds hung low, looking threatening and dark. Trees grew around the large building. I looked over at the ships that circled the island. Gracie, my closest friend, was disembarking from a different ship. She saw me and waved slightly. I smiled nervously and waved back. “Let’s go, Ara.” Father took my hand and walked inside with me slowly, while Mother and my brother followed close behind.

The building was enormous. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It almost seemed as if this was a dream. It was a little bit warmer inside, and I was grateful for that.

“What is this place?” I asked in a whispered voice to my older brother, Gregor. “I don’t know...” he replied quietly, looking around. “Come along, you two. It’s time to get tested. Then, we can go get processed,” Mother smiled soothingly at Gregor and me, leading us to the long lines.

As I said, the lines were very long. Many people were there. Some getting tested, some getting processed, and some people just waiting for their families to finish. I shall not lie; it was a little intimidating. The building was even bigger inside, and it had many more people than I expected. The room was lit a little, but it wasn’t extremely bright. Chatters and laughs from people and children all over the building could be heard. How can people laugh and talk at a time like this? I thought to myself, appalled because I was overwhelmed. Everything was so big and important. I felt as if I was a speck of dust on the floor, fearful of being stepped on.

I held onto Father’s hand tightly, afraid of getting lost. He could tell I was frightened, so he looked at me sympathetically, trying to calm me down. “Don’t worry, Ara. This place won’t hurt you,” he said softly. I nodded my head slowly and unsurely. Don’t be alarmed, Arabelle. Father’s right. This place is going to aid us, not impair us, I thought, taking a deep breath and closing my eyes for a few seconds.

Once I had opened them again, my parents took me and Gregor over to the lines. We waited for what seemed like forever and a day. I hate to admit it, but I’m quite impatient. I don’t really enjoy standing in line. Can you blame me, though?

A tall, plump man motioned for me to come to him, once it was my turn to get tested. I looked around to see if he was really pointing at me. Then, I looked back at him and pointed at myself with a puzzled face. “Yes, you, Miss James. Let’s go. It’s time for your test,” he replied in an annoyed tone. I nodded, frightened a little. My dainty feet carried me quickly over to the man.

Mister King was his name. Callum King, actually. I read it off his nametag. Mister King tested my eyes, ears, and temperature. And only in a matter a seconds! “Let’s go, Ara,” Mother said softly and carried me into the next room.

This room was even bigger than before. It had a curved ceiling, probably around sixty feet. The room was long and wide. I was tempted to run around and look for Gracie. We could run around together, shouting with pure joy that we were here. Although, Mother and Father would be quite upset with me. “Come along, twit,” Gregor pulled me to the line, teasing me with an uncalled-for name. I rolled my eyes and stood in line.

The workers asked each of us twenty-nine questions (I counted, since I was bored). The questions consisted of things such as our names, occupations (I wasn’t able to answer that one), and the amount of money we each had with us. I was very bored, and quite parched, as well. So, Mother had Gregor take me to dining hall to get a refreshment. He took my small hand and got me a water, which I sipped up quickly.

Gregor took me over to a small table, and helped me sit down. A worried silence filled the air between us. “Greg, are you happy that we’re here?” I asked quietly. He shrugged, “I’m not sure. I miss Grandfather and Grandmother, but Father’s right. This is where we’re supposed to be,” I nodded slightly, his words repeating in my head. This is where we’re supposed to be…

We walked back to the lines, and Mother and Father were almost done. It had already been three hours, nearing four. I stood in line with my family and thought about why we were here anyway. This is where we’re supposed to be, we’re getting a fresh start… My mind wandered. Everything’s going to be perfect…

Eventually, Mother and Father had finished getting processed. And luckily, they passed. “Are you two ready?” Mother asked with a smile. We nodded and smiled back. Gregor picked me up carefully and we walked to the exit together. Two officials checked the landing cards that were pinned to our clothing, then led us to the Baggage Room. We all got our trunks, and after a long and interesting journey, we were released into the New World. Gregor set me down gently, and I clutched his hand tightly. He smiled down at me and whispered ever so quietly, “This is where we’re supposed to be…”

I hope you’re doing well. Write back soon!


Arabelle Anna James


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