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Winning Essays: Literacy and Arts Festival: The SCV

Posted: March 15, 2010 10:48 p.m.
Updated: March 16, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Short Stories Division
First Place
“My New Family in Santa Clarita”

My name is Carl and I am a beagle. When I was six months old, I was taken from my home on the farm and adopted by a family who lived in the Santa Clarita Valley, in a city called Castaic. When I was taken from my home, at first I felt nervous. I didn’t know what was going to happen to me. But when I found out what was going to happen, I was relieved.

I saw a family right in front of me with happy faces holding out their arms. I was very excited to see what was in store for me. When they took me home, they showed me around their house and where I was going to sleep. I slept near the fireplace. They cuddled with me until I fell asleep.

When I woke up the next morning, they took me to the dog park in Santa Clarita. The family brought a ball along with them and we played fetch together. When they got tired, I started playing with other dogs. I made a new friend while I was there. He was a brown German Shepherd named Bear. We had a wonderful time at the dog park. I hope my new owners take me there again sometime.

On Monday my family walked me to their school to drop the kids off for the day. They have great schools in Santa Clarita and I think they are excited to go to the schools. When we got back home, I relaxed in my bed near the fireplace where there was a fire going. After several hours, we went to the school and brought the kids back home and I was so excited to see them that I licked their faces until they were all covered with drool. I am really starting to like my new family a lot better now.

On Saturday, the kids had soccer games at Hasley Canyon Park and I got to go with them. It is one of the many soccer fields in Santa Clarita. It was my first time seeing a soccer game and I found out that you have to kick a soccer ball into a goal. When it was halftime, I tried making a goal but I couldn’t because I have too many legs and it was too hard for me. But I had a great time anyway at my owner’s soccer games. I love my family more than I ever thought I would.

The next week, we went to the Sports Complex in Castaic to play in the park. While my owners were playing on the swings, my leash was not tied on tightly enough to the pole to keep me from running away. When a rabbit came by, I started chasing after it and I got off my leash. When the rabbit jumped into the bushes and I couldn’t find him, something very bad happened to me ... I couldn’t find my family!

All of a sudden, a man with a net came and snatched me and took me away with his net and I couldn’t get out. They put me in a cage and locked it up. I was bouncing everywhere when the truck hit bumps and I hit my head on the top of the cage. When we got to a big building, called the Castaic Animal Shelter, they took me out of the truck and locked me in a different cage. I looked all over the place and saw other dogs and cats in other cages. I was scratching at the lock and was trying to get out. When I was in the cage, they fed me food and water but I was still very lonely for my family.

Two days later, I saw my family walk through the entrance and run to me. I was so excited I started racing around in circles in my cage. The worker unlocked the cage, picked me up and gave me to my owners. I was so thrilled to see my family that I started jumping all over them. They took me home and fed me my favorite food and I fell asleep faster than I ever had before in front of a warm fire.

I love living in the Santa Clarita Valley with my loving family. There is so much to do here and I never get bored. I want to live here for the rest of my life.

Nathan Tobin
Grades K-3
Castaic Elementary School

Second Place
“The Big Move”

There is a boy named Zach. He has blonde hair and green eyes. He is 8 years old and is in the third grade. He is an only child who lives with his dad, named John. His mom died in a car accident when he was only 5 years old. He lives in a small town called Auburn in the state of New Jersey. He has lots of friends. He likes to ride his bike, play street football, and play X-Box 360. After school he goes to the YMCA until his dad gets off of work. He is happy because a lot of his friends also go to the YMCA. His best friend is Nathan. They hang out all the time. At home his best friend is Max, his German Shepherd. Max is Zach’s guard dog. He always protects him and keeps him safe.

One day Zach’s dad got a phone call from work. It was a Saturday and John didn’t work on the weekends. Zach and his dad were outside throwing the football. When John answered the phone call, Zach could tell something was wrong by the look on his dad’s face. When he hung up the phone, Zach asked right away what was wrong. He told Zach that he just got a promotion from work and they were moving to California. John was happy about the promotion, however he was worried about taking Zach away from his friends. It was June in New Jersey and the weather was still chilly. They had six weeks to pack and find a new place to live. John’s company, A.D.S., was going to relocate them to the Santa Clarita Valley. John told his son that at least it was summer time so he would have a chance to make some new friends before school started. They would also be moved in time so Zach could sign up for tackle football, something New Jersey didn’t have. Zach was very excited.

The day of the move, Zach was very sad when he woke up. He did not want to leave his friends. He was also scared because he had never been on an airplane. It was a big day for Zach. When the plane landed at the Burbank Airport, Zach and his dad walked off the plane and felt the hot air hit their faces. The weather was a lot warmer in California compared to New Jersey. Zach complained that his skin felt like it was burning. It was so hot outside.

They waited for their ride and soon they were on the road to Santa Clarita. It was about a 30-minute drive. Once into the Santa Clarita Valley, they could see how beautiful it really was. Zach could see mountains, lots of green trees and blue skies. Then all of a sudden he got so excited because he saw roller coasters. Lots of big roller coasters. That’s Magic Mountain, the driver says. It’s a really fun theme park which also has a water park. It is open during the summer months.

They pulled into the driveway of a beautiful house. Zach is so tired from the long trip, but as soon as he opens the car door he sees lots of kids playing and running around in the cul-de-sac. Zach stares and stares, watching all the kids closely. Two little boys come running over to Zach asking him to play. Soon he forgets how tired he was.

Soon it was back to work for dad and the new YMCA for Zach. He was very nervous. When Zach opened the door to the YMCA the first person he saw was the neighbor boy he just met, Mikey. He smiles from ear to ear. The day wasn’t going to be so bad after all.

Soon it’s time to go outside and play. Mikey grabs the football. The day went by quickly at the YMCA and dad was already there to pick up Zach. They get home, have dinner and talk about Cougar Football sign-ups on Saturday.

The week flies by and Saturday morning is here. Zach is so excited to sign up for football. After sign-ups, John and Zach were going to explore Santa Clarita. They were hungry and decided to try Saugus Cafe. They were told it had been there many years and the food was great. After breakfast they were off to try some fishing at Castaic Lake. The lake was so peaceful and beautiful. They had such a great day of fishing and caught eight trout.

It was shower time and off to bed. As Zach lay in his bed he had a huge smile on his face. He thought to himself, “Wow, I think I’m going to like Santa Clarita.”

So far the friends he’s met have been so nice. The weather is perfect. He gets to play outside all day, riding his bike and playing football.

In the end, Zach learned that he needed to trust his father and have an open mind about change and new experiences. Moving wasn’t so bad after all! My new home is in Santa Clarita Valley and I like it!

Dylan Yates
Grades K-3
Castaic Elementary School

Third Place
“Jim’s Stressful Day”

There once was a boy named Jim who lived in Santa Clarita, California. More specifically, in a town called Castaic. He had cousins that lived in the same valley, but their town was called Canyon Country. Jim loved living in Santa Clarita because there is so much to do here. For example, on his birthday he would go to Magic Mountain or Mountasia with his friends and family. On hot summer days, he would go to either Hurricane Harbor or Castaic Lake. His friends had a boat and would take him tubing or water skiing. It was great fun! Sometimes they would even go fishing at night.

One day, Jim’s dad came home with some bad news. His company would be closing and the only way for him to find a job would be to move out of state. Hearing this, Jim ran upstairs to his room, slammed the door and started to cry. He laid down on his bed and began to think about how much he loved where he lived. He thought about all the things he would miss, like his friends, his school and living so close to the ocean! “Leave all this? No way!” he thought to himself. Where else could you live that had such great schools, weather and so many things to do? Jim decided to go downstairs and help his dad find a job in the newspaper. They sat down and looked through the want ads. Jim and his father were so excited that there was one job that Jim’s dad was qualified for.

So they called right away to set up an interview. It was scheduled for the next day.

Jim was so excited and nervous that he could hardly sleep that night. The next day at school, Jim could barely concentrate. All he could think about was his dad’s interview. Finally, what seemed like the longest day ended. When Jim’s father came home, he was so excited! He told Jim the great news, that he got the job and that they wouldn’t have to leave the great Santa Clarita Valley!

Evan Dean
Grades K-3
Castaic Elementary School


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