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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Baby Ewok Story: A Jedi is Born

It was a long time ago in an elementary school not to far away. The summer of 1983 had come to an end and school was back in session. The final chapter in the Star Wars trilogy was the hottest film in theaters. It was entitled Return of the Jedi and with the film came the merchandise. My merchandise of choice was the baby Ewok. Max W. Clark was my father's best friend and he had silver grey hair like the Ewok I so adored in the film. I named my matching stuffed animal '"Maxy" in his honor. I was only twelve years old "Maxy" served as my security blanket, long lost pal, and imginary friend as well. I carried him with me everywhere and took very good care of him. I combed and brushed him daily and even had a special place for him to sleep in my room. The other kids in the neighborhood teased and for made fun of me for having “a doll”. I did not care; no one loved or cared little "Maxy” like I did. Needless to say I was lost on the first day of school when he disappeared from my cubbyhole in Mrs. Blickle's Art class. I searched and scoured for month, using my Jedi senses to find my lost little friend. Finally, I gave up and focused on my schoolwork. I had an amazing teacher that year named Mrs. Zulick. It was she who inspired me to read and write. She brought me books that were far past my reading level and graded my daily journal log with diligence. My story is about how one caring teacher, one extraordinary individual could can take a lost and tortured soul and turn him in to a warrior worthy of traveling great distances and blasting into new worlds of imagination. The class I was in, and the school program I was part of, was for students with mental disabilities. I was one of the students who was not accepted with the "In" crowd. I was "not allowed" to play with others. So "Maxy" had a special place in my heart. That being said what Mrs. Zulick helped me to accomplish and taught me to overcome was not just great but extraordinary. She was a woman of special merit to me. She is a woman I will always admire and rember fondly. It is thanks to her that I learned to be a great wtiter. Mrs. Zulick quickly became a mentor to me and as a result more than a teacher, she was my Jedi Master. I became a more avid reader and along with daily reading my strength as a writer increased as well. I looked forward to her class the most and therefore came in each day with questions and inquires. I requested her again in fourth grade and she of course said yes. Then on the very last day of school a surprise turned up in the lost t and found. It was "Maxy"! You think I’d be elated to find him but alas I was bereft of love. Maxy was not the same; he was bruised and beaten, tattered and torn. Other than the tail mark cigarette burn my Aunt Gail had scarred him with he was not the same. He was dead to me so I threw him in the trash can outside my school. It was there that he belonged thrown away with the rest of the garbage ready to be picked up by a sanitation truck and compacted like used stormtrooper armor. Much to my surprise however when I got home he was sitting on my front door step. There was a brown ribbon wrapped around him. (Mrs. Zulick’s favorite color). The note attached read "Please don't give up on me so easily." I recognized the handwriting in an instant. The summer between third and fourth grade passed quickly. I looked forward to the school year because I knew I would have Mrs. Zulick. On the first day of school she had a surprise waiting for me on my desk. She had an entry form to a contest called The Young Authors Contest. It was for middle school students. (5th grade and up) I questioned the integrity of the entry format first. Mrs. Zulick informed me that she managed to pulls some strings and that was allowed to entry it this year in the fourth grade. I wrote about my "Maxy" I described the scars on his body and the torn away fur from his skin. With each description came a story of torment and torture. Tales of agony and pain accompanied each scar. I added in how I nurtured him back to health but the emotional trauma would never heal. The paper was noticed for the descriptive details and the imagination both mixed into the story. I was honored for my narration of the actual details as well as amalgamating both truth and fiction into every paragraph. I combined details of the real scars that were both descriptive and creative along with creative descriptions on how those scars came to be. Each description gave the reader site into the ewok's damage, and also gave a expressive story on how that very scar or tear came to be developed overtime. I was recognized for combining both fact and fiction into the same paragraph. I was honored for using both illusion along with vivid description. With each paragraph came more thought and imagination. Each actual occurrence was mixed in with tale of color and reflection. The voters or judges who rewarded me the honor surely knew of my age and lack of experience. I am sure as an adult the judges had some inside knowledge. Perhaps that is why I won first prize. I much like the stuffed animal in question needed to be loved, cared for and woven into the charts. Nevertheless I won the Young Author's award that year. I was the youngest person to ever win the award and the first student to win the award on his first entry. As far as I know both of those honor still stand today over twenty years later.

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A note from an editor!

Hi Matthew,

Thank you for the time and effort you put into this piece, especially on a Saturday morning. I can tell you definitely took good notes of everything that was going on during the event!

We still have some work to do before this piece is ready to print. Your piece has a lot of information, but it doesn’t sound like a news article. What was the point of his speech/presentation? Why was he addressing this audience? What is Vanguard? What does the company do – who does it serve? You spend a lot of time narrating (for example, how he was injured), but did not report on the purpose of the event. You can maybe mention his appearance/joking about it in a sentence or two, but do not take several paragraphs to do so. Also, I like how you mentioned where the name “Vanguard” comes from.

There are a lot of spelling errors in this piece – make sure you proof read each sentence carefully.

I know I am getting back to you a little later I hoped, and I’m sorry about that! But if you have time tonight, please go through my suggestions and try to rework your piece. You can send me what you have tonight/tomorrow morning. Please bring a copy of it to the meeting tomorrow and we will discuss it further from there.

Once again, thanks for your hard work and promptness! Remember this is a learning process, and we are all part of the Waltonian team!

Talk to you soon!

Ten Most pathetic movie stars that still have careers.

(In A - B -C Order)

1. Hayden Christensen

2. Tom Crusie

3. Kevin Costner

4. Keeanu Reeves

5. Denise Richards

6. Adam Sandler

7. Arnold Schwarzenegger

8. William Shatner

9. Sylvester Stalloan

10. John Claude Van dahm