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And that's a wrap! On June 26th we announced the winners of the 2021 NOOK YOUNG WRITERS AWARDS.  Congratulations to our first place winners Eva Carey and Deonte Vanterpool!  Well done to all the entrants!

We had a brilliant collection of stories so the judges had very tough job narrowing it down to a shortlist selection of just six entries per age group.   Alex Dick-Read commented ‘it was a lot of fun and a real lift reading the work of young, positive minds!’ and Sir Richard Branson felt all the entries were 'excellent... a very high standard all round'.  

Thank you to our amazing judges and sponsors, who make this competition possible.  

Scroll down for our top six stories for each age group below.  Happy reading!


Ages 6-12

Prompt: ‘If you have just one superhero power, what would it be and what would you use it for?’


If I had to choose one superpower it would be telekinesis. Telekinesis would be an amazing power because I could do infinite things with my mind and imagination alone. Since telekinesis If I needed a first aid kit, I could make it fly out the cupboard. If a starving person appeared on my doorstep I could fly the food from the basement at the speed of light. If a homeless kid lost his mother I could fly all over and find her. If I had superpowers I would do my best to help people.

I could possibly stop tsunamis and other natural disasters with telekinesis. If telekinesis can mean moving things with your mind I could likely stop the weather. If there are clouds above my head and they are about to rain I could concentrate on the clouds and move them to specific places. For example, in Brazil, it floods very often. I could move all that water to California since they sorely need the water because of a drought. All those people in America where the snow locks them in their houses could be dug out with telekinesis. Then, everyone could have a peaceful day in a white wonderland.

I have always daydreamed about flying. With telekinesis, I could fling myself hundreds of feet in the air and move through the air at a terrifying speed. I could get anywhere in the blink of an eye and I could fly people to a hospital whenever the ambulance can’t reach in time. According to, 345 people have died annually in the last five years in plane crashes. That adds up to 1725 people dying over the last five years due to plane crashes. With telekinesis, I could save all those people. I could deliver food to the homeless, water to the thirsty, and protect people’s peace.

If I had telekinesis I would do my best to help people. I would stop mud in a mudslide and turn an avalanche into a light snowfall. Most importantly I would try to stop pollution. There are hundreds of tons of garbage. In fact, there is an island the size of Texas made of garbage in oceans. It would take years and years of hard work by regular people to remove the all that trash. However, if I had the power of telekinesis then I would take several months of hard work, and then I would place all the trash in the biggest recycling plant I could find. Hopefully, by then, people will learn to stop polluting the oceans and damaging the ecosystem.

Telekinesis is an amazing thing. It could be helpful in finding infinite solutions for hundreds of problems. The only downside to telekinesis is that if it were real it might be used for bad things. If I ever had telekinesis I would see to it that life is good for humanity. 



If I were to have a superhero power I would love to talk to animals. You see, about one year ago, there was an incident at Cooper island. I had gone on a field trip to learn about the sustainable energy they used to power the resort and restaurant. We were also allowed to have a swim at the beach before heading back to school. After about five minutes in the refreshing sea, I swam over to my friend, and I said “Was it just me, or did I see a jellyfish?” “No, I don’t think you did, probably just a plastic bag from all the construction?” She reassured me. Then one of the boys in my class yelled, “Last one to the dock is a rotten egg!” I dived into the sea, and started quickly paddling to the dock. Then I felt it... A long string of burning pain. I pulled something off my face. The pain was worse than I had ever felt before, like thousands of needles stabbing my face. Turns out I swam into a jellyfish and I’m allergic to jellyfish. I was given oxygen, transported to Tortola by VISAR, and went in an ambulance to the hospital. I spent the next week with a huge swollen face, and a scar from the tentacles that was super sore. So, if I were to have a superpower, then I could tell that jellyfish to buzz off and mind its own business. But then I thought again. I wanted to have a superpower that would be more fun, and something I could mess around with. Like being invisible. Then I could lick other peoples ice creams and drink their milkshakes without them knowing. I could sneak into the Apple store and take a MacBook, which I need for high school. But, that’s not very honest, and I want to use my superpower for good. I considered the idea more, and then I thought the best superpower would be to have every single superpower! So I could be invisible, I could talk to animals and I could fly, or be the fastest in my class for once! It would be amazing to finally win a running competition in P.E. If you ask me though, that is kind of cheating so I don’t think that should not be an option. One night, I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts, Good Night Stories For Rebel Girls, which is about amazing women and girls who inspire us today. Then I had a light bulb moment. Being a girl could be my superpower! When I was listening to my podcast, I heard about the girls who have fought to find their place, and women that have gone against negativity and hate. This is the power I want. For example Greta Thumberg. She is a teenage activist that fights for climate change awareness, and speaks to adults worldwide to convince them to care more about our earth. Or, Yusra Mardini, who was a Syrian refugee who had also loved to swim. She helped pull a boat that was full of other refugees to shore when they were trying to escape to Greece. There were about twenty people on board a boat that only fit only 6. And when her boat started sinking, she just knew she had to do something. She was swimming for hours and hours in frigid cold water as she pulled the boat to shore.

Yusra then went on to compete in the refugee team in the Olympics. Another ‘supergirl’ I learned about was Ashol-Pan, a young Mongolian girl, who became the first female eagle hunter in 12 generations. She climbed dangerous cliffs to pick her own eagle and trained to carry the seven pound bird on her arm whilst riding. She and her eagle helped feed her family. Margaret Hamilton’s story also inspired me. She was a NASA code writer who helped save the Apollo 11 astronauts by fixing a system error she had discovered years earlier, even though no one else took it seriously at the time. She was determined to learn how to fix it anyway, and when it happened for the Apollo crew, her knowledge was able to save them. These women, like many others I have read or heard about, have changed the world. They were persistent, courageous, brave, determined and strong. They stood up in situations when nobody was believing in them, but they still believed in themselves. Their superpower is being a girl. This is the superpower I choose and I would use it to make the world a better place, just like these other amazing hero women. Luckily for me I am already a girl. And I can't wait to use my superpower everyday.



If I had one superpower it would be to communicate with animaIs. The reason for the superpower is so I can interview millions of animals that lose their habitat each and every day. For example, the amount of trees that have been cut down in the Amazon is the size of Italy. Precious animals will no longer exist if the human race keeps going like this. In 100 years the Rainforest will be completely wiped out. More than 200,000 acres of rainforest are being destroyed each and every day. That's 150 acres being cut down every minute, and 78 million acres a year! Already 20% of the rainforest is gone. Animals in the rainforest are disappearing faster than ever; they no longer have shelter from the rain or storms. So I would interview the Jaguar, Macaw, Amazon River Dolphin, Black Spider Monkey, and the Poison Dart Frog. These animals in the rainforest are disappearing. That is why we need to take action now to save these magnificent animals.

I would interview giant tortoises in the Galapagos with their great wisdom of the world and see what changes they have seen in the past 100 or so years. What would they tell me? What have they seen? No one knows only the tortoise themselves. The Galapagos penguins are sadly endangered because of humans, they are the only species of penguin in the north equator. Pollution, bycatch and climate change are some of the top threats of the Galapagos penguins. So we must protect all the animals.

The arctic ice caps are melting twice as fast as we thought. This is bad because polar bears and seals need it to raise their young and a place to rest after hunting in the water. I would interview them and see what it feels like to raise their young on icebergs that no longer exist. Polar bears are now endangered.

How much more can this world take?
The answer is not much. This is why I want to talk to animals, to get their perspective, to prove what they are going through and show the world not to pollute or hunt animals but to respect them. But one thing for sure, if I can talk with animals I will become a vegan.



If I had just one Superhero Power!

Hello, If I could have one superhero power it would be the ability to break down plastic. I know it is not a normal superpower, but I believe it could help stop climate change, but I will get into that later. Plastic can take an estimated 20 to 500 years to break down, which is 6 and a half lifetimes. Plastic kills 100,000,000 animals a year which I think is so sad. Thousands of plankton are killed from plastic and plankton produces about 50% to 85% of the oxygen in the earth's atmosphere. The lack of oxygen is causing climate change. Greenhouse gas is another cause of climate change.

Plastic pollution causes harm to humans, animals, and plants through pollutants and the toxins that the plastic spreads when it gets left in the sun. It takes so long for plastic to break down so the environmental damage is long-lasting. It aects all organisms in the food chain from tiny species like plankton through to humongous animals like whales. This often results in injury or death but with my superpower, none of these sea creatures would be harmed. Sea creatures are particularly at risk, and turtles are known to choke on plastic bags which they mistake for jellyfish. Little fish eat microplastic then the fish end up in seabirds' and larger fish stomachs and on the plates of us humans, and we all ingest the harmful toxins.

My super power would come out of my hands like spider man's superpower. When I do the peace sign with both hands and a whirlwind motion with my arms round and round, it sends a wavelength with a 20 mile radius and would collect and break down any plastic waste around me at high speed. The plastic then gets broken down and would become a tree if it was found on land or a piece of healthy coral if it was found in the ocean or on the shore.

My superpower wouldn’t just collect the waste plastic it will also punish those that didn’t dispose of it properly! By placing a bracelet on the humans that wrongfully disposed the waste plastic! The bracelet will be impossible to remove but will naturally disappear if they are good and recycle properly within the next two months, otherwise all the plastic that they wrongfully disposed of will go into their house. The bracelets would be blue for ocean waste and green for land waste, it would shame the person into respecting the planet.

I would use my superpower to get rid of plastic on beaches, parks, the ocean, and the street. I would continuously travel the world until the population is educated and the environmental damage is corrected. My superpower would encourage people not to use plastic bags, plastic water bottles, styrofoam food boxes and more wasteful, unnecessary plastic items. My superpower would save vulnerable wildlife stopping them from entanglement, starvation, and choking. Nearly 700 species, including endangered ones, are known to have been aected by plastics. Nearly every species of seabird eats plastics. Most of the deaths to animals are caused by entanglement or starvation.

With all the Millions of animals that are killed by plastics every year, from birds to fish to other marine organisms. The plastic in the air and ocean is named microplastic , 22,000 tons of microplastics are being deposited across the US each year. Did you know, the most common use of plastic in the US is HBPE, food containers, and plastic straws. All plastic is bad for the environment but the plastic that I stated above are some plastics that you can easily avoid using.

My Superhero costume is blue and green to symbolize the earth, it is of course made of recycled plastics! My hair is blue, well aqua to be precise! However when I am not saving the planet, I look like any other kid, so be careful next time you think about dropping that bottle I might be right behind you or within 20 miles and I will know it was you, so DON’T DO IT, PLEASE!


If you could have one superpower what would it be?

Hello or as some people might say good day. My name is Charli, I’m 11 years old. My nickname for my superpower would be Plant Girl. If I had a superpower it would be plant control. When I do this plant I would not want to be paid to do these things helping the world is enough for me. Plant control is when you have the ability to scatter different types of seeds that fall from the sky when you think in your mind. When you think of where you want to plant your plants then you say “planto” and the seeds from the sky fall and get planted in the dirt. (even if I'm in a different country it would still happen). I would also have the ability to grow plants, and move plants by using my mind and saying “growto” and “moveto”.

 The reason I would want this superpower is because after all the wildfires, bad weather, and humans destroying the beautiful trees and nature, mother nature has been left fields with no vegetation. Instead of worrying about when the trees will grow back, and how bad this impact could be on our lives, I could just grow and plant trees by using my mind.

 I know that that wouldn’t fix the fact that wildfires would still destroy trees but it would make us much happier knowing that we have someone to rely on when we need someone to grow or plant trees so we don’t lose most of our oxygen.

I would even help reduce world hunger by growing vegetables and fruits in the backyards of families' homes and farms. After Covid everyone seems sad and maybe even scared but I could make all of the world just a slight bit happier by planting more and more trees so we could have more oxygen and cleaner air.

I could also try to plant rare trees in their right habitats so that then they could repopulate and grow faster.

In the BVI I would plant mangroves, so they then can protect us from some coastal storm damage and they create an ecosystem for fish nurseries. I would also plant some vegetation, so If food couldn’t ship to us we could just pick some fruits or vegetables off of a tree, vine, or from the ground.

 After thinking about where and what plant I want to grow it only takes about 5 minutes for me to grow one tree by using my mind. But if I wanted to grow a whole field of trees, flowers, and vegetation then that would take about 2 hours for me to grow 6 yards of trees.

 If I had this super power I would do these things and more, because I would do whatever I can to save our Earth. With me the world will be safe with the air that we will breathe, I could also keep us mostly healthy, and safe for the time being. All of this is how I would use my super power.




If I had a superpower
Oh what would it be
To climb the highest tree top Or dive to darkest sea

But no I choose an option many could consider
As i look up to the skies and see the great big dipper
I chose the power of sorcery
thought how I could win
Swish of a wand on an island of palm fronds
I knew would be in
Ultimate power opened like a flower
I thought about the ways
How i could cast a spell upon to destroy the rainy days
Could make myself a crown of gold be ultimately rich
And how this would be good for me a fortune at one swish
Sorcery I could grant wishes so so true
nothing never ever would ever be so blue
Make myself invisible oh i would be so cool
Then all the time in hide and seek i would always win
All the other hiding places throw them in the bin
Grant myself all the wishes make myself immortal
Even make a new dimension through a secret portal
Make myself a country a good ruler to be so
And since i am immortal I never take a blow
Grant myself everything
Donate to the poor
Help those who are in need
When they are down and sore
Give them healing give them love
I have every superpower
Cause sorcery and now you know is the greatest of the hour
I can conquer every corner or be nice at every end
But now you know that sorcery can control superpowers every bend. Now that's why you see i chose
Exactly this and now
Now since I can disappear
There I go

Ages 13-18

Prompt: 'If you could travel back in time 3 years, what advice would you give your younger self and why?’


Three years ago,
nature put on a good show.  
From hurricane Irma to coronavirus, 
My mum was considering moving to Cyprus.  
Although there are ups and downs, 
I love this place, that’s why I’m still around.  
The things I could have changed,
Were probably my grades,
Those hit my family just like grenades.  
Over the long period of quarantine,
I changed from a child to a teen.  
Online school,
Definitely wasn’t cool.             
A lot has happened in this day and age,
Mission impossible- disengage!   
Some things I wish I could change,
These strange things I could rearrange.  
Something small like Santa’s list,
I want no more guns, not even a fist,
Something on sale I wish I could resist!  
The world makes bad decisions,
Our ideas brought us in a sad collision,
We could have been in a good position,
But now we’ve got one big mission,
Mission impossible now engage!  
Regardless of age, gender or race,
Let’s make the world a better place.  
The past years have been a show 
But now it’s just for me to applaud and go  
I want to be able to write a poem
About how much this world has grown 
But for right now this is what I would have done,
Three years ago.




3 Years Later

If I could turn back the hands of time
To my younger self I would say
Gather around, it’s story time 
This is serious, no time to play
Sit still and stop fidgeting
I want your undivided attention
I do not know if ever again
This opportunity I will get to mention
You’re at a difficult place in your life right now
Afraid and away from your family
Pushed into a new environment
With devastation fresh in your memory
Although everyone is walking on eggshells around you                                       They really do mean you well
Remember this is new
They don’t know what to do
And you’ve crawled right into your shell
This is a life changing period for you
So chin up, it’s time to strive
You’re an ASPS Strider
Be grateful to be alive
I know you’re still in shock
So I will take a moment to sympathise
You had no time to dwell on the wreckage and trauma
Irma and Maria so kindly left behind
However, I want you to grab life by its horns
Take advantage of the opportunity
Your family is working hard
Soon reunited you will be
For now, there are many things for you to learn
Places to explore
Friends for you to meet
Adventure is knocking on your door
Your family is worried about you
So have fun, it will ease their mind
Go be an eleven-year-old kid
There are treasures, waiting for you to find


It’s the new world now. After the wiping of humanity in 2020, the people that survived were to adapt to a whole new world, where technology was to a whole new level. Everyone that survived the ‘Wipe” memories of the world before were erased. Flying cars are now a thing and time travel is looking like a new possibility. I now go to a tech school where we focus on making the impossible possible. My lab partner and I were working on an assignment in Quantum Physics. We were currently trying to reverse time on a spoiled orange. Essentially fixing the problem of produce going bad. We currently in a lab at his house. His father is a Quantum physics scientist and now that the government is investing all their time in the possibilities of time travel scientist salaries have increased greatly. In short Jackson’s rich.

His dad allowed us to use his old machine for our assignment if we don’t blow up his lab, which has happened before. The machine was quite large, human-size if you will. Way too big for orange if you ask me. “We should stop looking at the machine and start the assignment. Don’t you think?” Jackson asked. “I don’t know I think staring at it a lot longer will get my brain to start working.” I cheekily replied. “Tsk... this is why you always stay up last-minute doing assignments.” “Hey! Procrastinating isn’t the best, but I still do it cause in the end I know I’ll finish just in time.” “Whatever, just come help me find out what’s wrong with the machine so we can fix it.” I silently agreed and walked to the machine. I opened the door of the machine and quickly found many wires out of place. “Jack, this machine has been through a lot and I can tell by the out-of-place wires.” Jackson looks at me and sighs. “This assignment just got a lot harder. I’m going to order us some food and unplug most of the wires, so you don’t shock yourself.” “Get some pizza, with fries and wings.” “Yeah, I know.”

I got to work on the machine, gathering all the necessary tools and equipment for this large task at hand. My specialty was engineering while Jackson usually worked on the mathematical aspects. I had only just scratched the surface of problems for this machine, not to offend Jackson’s dad but I can tell that this machine was rushed. It’s no wonder it didn’t work, it was like he was making the machine. Jackson came back in with drinks and sat down at a desk and began working on possible equations that would work. I was getting tired and needed a small break. So far all I did was rip apart the machine because to fix it I needed to tear it apart to build it back up. I set down my tools, propped myself on the bean bag chair, and grabbed the drink from off the table. “How’s the machine going?” Jackson asked. “Well, it’s going to take a couple of hours I can get it running to some degree, but if you want it completely fixed we’re going to have to pull an all-nighter.” That’s when the doorbell rang, signaling that the food has arrived. They both look at each other knowing what was going to happen next.

“You know I didn’t know that me fixing the machine eating pizza and you just eating and jamming out is going to help us go any faster.” “No, but, I’m having fun and I’m feeling very tipsy.” “Your drinking sprite, that’s all you’ve been drinking. You know what give that to me because you might spill it and mess up something.” It was as if she jinxed herself right then and there because while trying to pass her the cup of sprite he fell. Spilling all the contents on the machine, activating it while I was still inside. The machine has turned on and the door has shut closed. As I was stuck in the machine it starts glitching, making loud noises all while shaking. I tried multiple times to open the door, but it was jammed. After minutes of trying with a hard kick and shove the door was opened. There was only one thing wrong when I opened the door, the lab was empty. This was somewhat alarming, but I tried to compose myself. I got back into the machine closed the door and tried to turn it back on, that was a failure. After multiple failed attempts at getting the machine to start back up and decide to go get help.


There was no sign of Jackson or anyone for a matter of fact so I made my way to the exit to see if anyone outside could be of help.

The second strangest thing to happen was it looked nothing like how it was supposed to. The cars didn’t fly the phones were so old-fashioned. It looked like a completely different world. I made my way through the street in hopes I would find someone who would help me get back to where I’m from. But to find out where that is I need to find out where here is first. I blended in with the crowd, nothing of mine stood out to them and it should stay that way. I passed a movie theatre and completely stopped in my tracks. I retraced my steps and looked to the movie that was premiering in theatres. Avengers: Infinity War coming to theatres on May 9th, 2018. I thought I was going insane, there is no possible way I could have gone back in time, three years back for that matter. I quickly looked for the nearest person to see if they could tell me the date, well the date I wanted to hear. There was an old woman nearby and asked for the date. It was May 2nd, 2018 I time traveled, on accident! I needed to find a way to get back to my time and there was only one person who can get me back there and that was me. It was hard to find out where I would be at this exact moment. There was also the fact that I had no recollection of what happened before the Wipe. I don’t think I would look much different than I did now, it had only been three years not much changed.

I was made my way to a place that I consider my favorite place on earth, the bookstore. There was always something for somebody there and it was a nice quiet place. I asked for directions for the library where hopefully I would be. I found my way to the library and quickly looked for a thirteen-year- old me. There she was in all her glory reading Harry Potter. I snuck up behind her and asked. “What’s the best way to fix a broken time machine?” She turned around alarmed. “Do I know you?” “No, but I need your help, and this is going to sound insane but I’m from the future and I need help getting back.” “You are correct you do sound insane.” “I know you won’t believe me but, you got lost on a cruise when you were six and that is something only family and friends know, and dude we look alike.” “Okay let’s say I believe you how would I be of help.” “Because I am a genius and I need your genius, well our genius brain to figure this out.” “Okay, on one condition, you have to tell me about the future.”

“Deal, let’s go.” I dragged her to the machine which wasn’t far. “Okay so my friend and I were doing a project but there was food involved so he tripped and spilled it on the machine while I was working turning it on and bringing me here.” “Why don’t you just jump-start it?” “Because I didn’t think of it.” “Some genius you are.” “Just help me!” “You still have our part of the deal to own up to.” “I forgot how stubborn I am, fine. Advice from your older self would be to be way more intuitive and speak what’s on your mind you’ll miss a lot of opportunities if you don’t, oh and be brave we’re a bit of an anti-social buzz kill.” “I’ll keep that in mind now let’s jump start this thing.” It only took a matter of minutes and the machine was working. “It was an honor working with you young me.” “Pleasure is all mine.” Just like that, I was back in the lab with Jackson. “What the heck happened the door was stuck for a couple of minutes and I heard nothing are you okay?” Jackson asked. “Dude I’m completely fine so let’s finish this project and put away the food I don’t want another mishap. Got it.” “Yeah.” 




Now thirteen, I've gotten my fair share of struggles and experiences. I’ve grown, changed and learned a lot over the past few years. I learned most things the hard way. There was a time where I let fear stop me from doing what I loved to do. If I could go back in time 3 years, I would tell my younger self to not compare myself to others, don’t allow fear to control you and get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Don’t allow fear to control you. Once you accept your fears, they become nothing but limitations that you can overcome. One of my biggest fears was the fear of failing. I didn’t want to fail because I didn’t want to be seen as a failure. I didn’t want the people that believed in me to stop. I know to set high expectations for yourself always, regardless of whether you reach your goals or not. Like Norman Vincent Peale once said, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land amongst the stars.” You learn from your mistakes more than you learn from your successes. Learning helps you grow and growth leads to success and happiness.

Another one of my biggest fears was fear of judgement. I’m still working on this to this day. Three years ago I was in 5th grade. I was at that age where I started to care more about what other people thought of me. Slowly my confidence started to decrease until 7th to early 8th grade when my confidence had reached an all time low.

In March 2020, we started school online. About one month into online school I started experiencing anxiety. I will never forget the first time it happened. I was on my desk completing my math homework when all of a sudden my hands started shaking. It seemingly came out of nowhere and I couldn’t get it to stop. About two minutes later, the experience ended and I decided to tell my parents, but made sure that they didn’t think it was a big deal. After a while I learned that my hands shook every time I was put into social situations that made me uneasy. Knowing this did not help, because my anxiety started getting progressively worse. When I would present in class I was so scared that people would judge me that my entire body would shake, my breathing became abnormal and my heart would start beating rapidly. Now that I’ve built my confidence, I don’t get that nervous feeling. But, I can’t help but feel that if I knew not to let fear take control of me, all this may have been avoided. Even now, I’m afraid of a lot of things, but I do it anyway. I’ve noticed that the scariest and hardest things have the biggest reward.

Don’t compare yourself to others. If someone had told me this three years ago, I would’ve grown so much faster. Every time I received grades, I would ask my friends what they got. Initially, I would feel proud of the grade I got, but if someone got a grade higher than mine, I would beat myself up. If I hadn’t compared my grade to theirs and focused on myself, I would’ve been happier with myself and been motivated to try harder next time. At dance class, I used to try and dance better than the person next to me. This didn’t get me very far. Sometimes, I would dance better than them, but if I didn’t, I would end up feeling bad, regardless of how well I danced. Now, I compete with one person, the person in the mirror. I try to outshine myself every time I step into the studio. I try to learn the choreography faster or better than I did last class. I started focusing on myself and no one else. Ever since I started doing that, my skills grew rapidly and I started to shine. I started to enjoy dancing more and that lit up my passion. If I was told this at a younger age, I could have broken this horrible habit faster.

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. I hated being put in uncomfortable situations. I started to get so used to comfortability that anything out of my comfort zone would cause me anxiety. At first, I didn’t want to take contemporary dance because I didn’t know the people that would be in my class. I overthought, but took the class anyway. Now, it’s my favourite style of dance. Taking this class encouraged me to try to become a professional dancer in my future. If I hadn't taken the class I would not have the love for dance that I have now or figure that it’s my gift. At the time, I hated trying new things and I didn’t know how much that could harm me. I felt no need for uncomfortability, but you can’t grow without it.

If you try to plant a seed on concrete, it won’t grow. You need to dig a whole and throw dirt on it. Dirt is uncomfortable, but dirt helps you grow. It builds discipline and character. Dirt makes you push through so that you can become the beautiful plant you aspire to be. Above ground you see the beautiful flowers, plants, trees and crops, but those things that you think are beautiful were underground at some point in time. You don’t see all the time spent in uncomfortability. But, it needed to be placed in the dirt to become what it is now.

If I had known this I wouldn’t have had such low confidence. I wouldn’t have taken so long to learn to put myself out there and create routines that allow me to develop my character and my skills. I would have been able to break through the walls placed above me to get to the next level. I would be more open to trying new things. That would aid to figuring out what I like to do faster so I could do it at a higher level.

Eleven year old me would have aided in knowing that comparing yourself to others does nothing but steal your joy. If I understood the importance of taking control of fearful thoughts and being uncomfortable, I would've saved myself a lot of pain and be an immensely better person than I am now.




Mastering your Emotions: The Key to Success

Tranquility is undoubtedly the most important skill in life. Despite being near impossible to achieve all the time, tranquility is a gateway to revolutionizing the way you learn, protects your emotions, and also helps you to work like coal under pressure. Hence, if I could travel back in time 3 years, irrefutably, I would tell myself to stay calm.

What is calm? defines calm as “peaceful, quiet, and without worry.” On the other hand, Oxford contains a similar definition, “not showing or feeling nervousness, anger, or other strong emotions.” Both definitions are similar, however, for clarity, I will reference the most suitable definition in the appropriate situations.

Between now and three years ago, I had read a book titled, “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking.” This book was controversial and dispelled common misbeliefs about introverts. Most people believe that extroverts have a large advantage in life, however, they completely disregard the advantages of not speaking. The less you speak, the more you can focus on listening, and this is what the author of “Quiet” was trying to teach me. I believe that listening is by far more important than speaking, and perhaps the most important skill to be valued in life. Listening teaches you to be aware of your surroundings and your current situation, instead of impulsively reacting to it with little awareness. By listening, you are able to gather new information from your surroundings.

Listening is learning.

Something as concise as the idea of listening can be extremely profound when viewed beyond a superficial standpoint.

It is imperative to listen in a world where everybody wants to be heard.  This palpably relates to the Cambridge definition of calm, “peaceful, quiet, and without worry.”

Tranquility also is powerful in dealing with people who try to evoke negativity onto you. Oxford defines calmness as “not showing or feeling nervousness, anger, or other strong emotions.” When these types of people realize that what they are doing isnʼt affecting you, they quickly turn away. For instance, I recently read an article from an African American writer entitled “This Is the Way the N-Word Dies.” This is by far my favourite article of all time because of the simplistic yet concise writing style, the deep message, and the interesting stories. Instead of condoning violent reactions against people who use slurs against humans, the author says to do the complete opposite --donʼt react. He talks about a boy who had called him the n-word. He then talks about how he had just chuckled. The boy continued to say that he “didnʼt like black people,” and aer this, the author asked why not, while continuing to chuckle as the befuddled and perplexed kid le, wondering why the author didnʼt get consumed with anger.

He left because he didnʼt get the reaction he wanted.

If I had learned to master my emotions before, this would have saved me from so many detestable situations. I recall during primary school when a classmate of mine had cut in front of me in the line to leave the playground. No, this wasnʼt an important line like a lunch line, a line to get a new phone, or the coronavirus vaccine. This was a line to get to class. Instead of just letting him get the spot in line, I naively decided to push and shove him away, and a fight broke out between me and him. I could have avoided the entire situation by doing nothing. I didnʼt even have to do anything, and I would have avoided all the repercussions involved, but I decided to let my anger influence how I behaved. This is adverse to being calm, and clearly, this didnʼt work better than calmness.

My chest was aching from how hard my heart was pounding. I moved reluctantly with my tennis bag slung across my back, and a bottle of Gatorade in my hand. I paced onto the tennis court, pulled out my tennis racquet, and started warming up with my opponent who had the bulk of a bodybuilder, with the height of a basketball player. We flipped a coin, and before we knew it, I was on the receiving end of his first serve. The game was first to 10. I could feel the earthquake beneath my legs, tangible only to me. My breath shortened, my body felt still and tense, and my legs had bricks tied to them.

I was nervous.

The ball blazed past me, as I yelled, “out,” preparing for his second serve, but not fully prepared. I shied my sweaty palm down the drenched grip of my racquet. Thump-thump. I could hear my heart knocking against my bones, rattling my mind as I missed the other ball. I hadnʼt even swung. I just stood with a blank face    

watching the ball dri away with emotion. It was my serve next. I readied myself to serve the ball. The preparation wasnʼt even necessary, as I hit both my serves into the bottom of the net. I was avoiding looking back at the crowd behind me, as I didnʼt want to see their disappointment. 0-2... 0-3... 0-5... 0-6... 0-7... It was time for us to switch sides of the tennis court. My tennis coach walked onto the court and asked me if I was feeling okay. I didnʼt reply verbally, but I raised my hand and stared at my palm. My coach could see it shaking, and could tell that I was nervous. He told me that whenever I am nervous, “start bouncing the ball, and think of something else. Then, focus on the match again. Play every point as if it is the first point. No pressure.”

“How will I call the score if I pretend like itʼs the first point?” I questioned.
I went back onto the court and thought about what my coach said. I looked behind me, to see he had a scoreboard behind him. I exhaled relieved. My heavy heart beating subsided, and my vision narrowed onto the opponentʼs side of the court. I started the next point confidently with an ace. 1-7... 2-7... 3-7... 4-7... 5-7... 6-7... 7-7... This was when I had started getting shaky again. I lost another point. The score was close. I was playing extremely well and was ready to win the next three points, however. I pulled out three hey serves to win the game. I marched confidently towards the net and shook my opponentʼs hand with a grin that stretched across my entire face. I noticed my opponentʼs hand quaking. Feeling massively accomplished, I walked off the court to hug my family.

Calm and composure won me the match

By this time, I had learned that in order to do well, you have to control your fear. You canʼt be nervous, and you must be calm and composed in order to work well under pressure.

To conclude if I could travel back in time 3 years, I would most certainly tell myself to keep calm due to the versatility of this word. This would help me to become much smarter, avoid negative emotions, and work like coal under pressure.



Three Years Before

Had it been possible for human beings to travel back in time, this world would not be as advanced as it is today. Humans would care less about what they are doing because they would take advantage of the fact that they could get another chance to do it again. Some humans would not  even take the time to learn from their mistakes which would equate to less growth. On the other hand, if human beings could travel back in time, I believe some responsible human beings would actually go back and change a moment that haunts them the most. The question was “ If you could travel back in time 3 years, what advice would you give your younger self and why?”. Three years ago I would have been 12 years old.  A young girl unassured of her next move.  A very uncertain girl just trying to find her place in this world.  I would have been starting out in Form 2 and  realizing, “girl you need to get up and do something with your life before you get left behind.”  If I could travel back in time 3 years, I would give my younger self a little advice. This advice would be to quit playing with my own potential,  you are stronger than you think and  never give up. 

I would tell myself to quit playing on your potential because you can accomplish a lot of things. Dr. Suess puts it best “You have brains in your head.  You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”  I would tell my younger self to participate more  in and out of school.  This will help you to gain more knowledge on various situations. I downplayed myself so much into believing that I was not as bright as other kids, which was not correct. How I looked at myself three years ago was so low that I could not accept criticism, assistance or even helpful advice. Everything was like a trigger to me, but in this case the words were the bullets. Knowing what I am today and have accomplished in so little time I know I could have done way better academically and at  life in general. Therefore, I would tell my younger self, “Girl you have a bright future. Wake up and get to it.” However, I have learned that difficult roads lead to beautiful destinations. Maybe that was God’s wake up call in my life because I was really asleep. 

I would also tell my younger self that you are stronger than you know. You are going to encounter some tough situations, but you got this.  Make sure to stand straight, brace yourself and say to  yourself “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”   I have survived Irma and currently I am now  living through a pandemic that alone shows my strength. I had to adapt a lot during this pandemic from having school online, to the wearing of masks and so much more. Attending school during a pandemic and making sure my mental health was good was a battle in itself. I most definitely agree that I am stronger than I know.  After utilizing my strength in the most critical time, I have had a very positive approach to life especially during the stressful times. Being a black young lady in this society and waking up every morning to seeing a person of such pure melanin being targeted. To think that three years ago I was complaining about simple things like the current being off instead of being grateful and enjoying life. Three years ago I wish I knew how much strength I had. Maybe I could have been a voice in the silence, a brighter light in the darkness.When people laughed and mocked I needed that strength the most. However I hid my strength and stored it away and that is an unanswered question. 

I would have  told my younger self to never give up and keep pushing forward. Self  motivation is the best motivation which I have found out through the course of these years. I would tell younger Lisi to keep this famous saying in her brain, “If at first you don’t succeed try and try again.” I was always looking for validation from others three years ago, which is one thing I regret.

This also played a big part in my procrastination and laziness. I always looked for applause. Whenever I didn't receive it; I would become very mad. However, now I have realized that you do not need validation from anyone but yourself. You should push and motivate yourself.  I would tell myself to never give up even when my fuel is running low. To never give up even when i just don't feel like doing it. Life would throw many curves at you but you should not give up, you should get up and try again. Truly, I never understand that concept and to be honest I am still trying to understand it. Three years ago when I failed a test I became unmotivated and never tried harder on the next test but that has all changed. For instance a few days ago I was given a test and crammed all night long and I would think you would know my results. I did not fail but got less than I wanted to. However instead of getting upset I will review that quiz and become better equipped for the mid term test. 

My final advice to myself would be to make every moment count.  Whatever you do, make sure that you treasure every moment because they never return.  As I think back to the years that past, I would sometimes wonder what would have happened if I had only.  Dr. Suess,my favourite author, states; “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”  I have learned to “value every moment.”  The times with my family, friends and even myself are counted as precious moments.  I would tell myself to live today as if it was your last day.  Value the time with your family and friends.  Make lasting memories.  Have fun by yourself and with others. Life is very short.  I have learned that it is alright to live outside the box.

In conclusion, if I could travel back in time 3 years, I would tell my younger self to quit playing with your own potential, that you are stronger than you think,  never give up and make every moment count. However, even though we know it is not possible to go three years back, you can change your future. Your past doesn’t describe you. Sometimes you have to go through the struggle to appreciate your pain. Even though I had a lot that I would like to change if I could have gone back in time, if i was granted that opportunity I wouldn't go back. Why you may ask? Because with the strength that I have now, I don't think I would've handled some of the situations that affected me three years ago in the best way. When I looked in the mirror three year ago I saw a lost girl, but today as I write this essay I am a confident young lady. Writing this essay has made me realize that I have grown a lot from three years ago, but also have more growing to do. I have realized that growing is a very good achievement which is why I celebrate my achievements so far.