I currently write a column each Tuesday for the DeKalb
Daily Chronicle. The column will also appear on this website
each week and be added to the archives.
The Articles started December 2007.
If you've missed any please follow the links on the dates
to catch up.
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Essayists look toward adulthood
By Barry Schrader Senior Columnist...................March 27, 2012
Each year, young people of middle school age in DeKalb
County are invited to write an essay on a theme selected by Oak
Crest DeKalb Area Retirement Center. This years topic was
The adult I would like to be: How my growing years are
I listened while the three top winners read their essays the
other night and came away impressed with this upcoming generation.
They expressed themselves well and each had their own vision
for the life they want to lead.
Third-place winner Rachel Frances, an eighth-grader from
Indian Creek Middle School, readily admitted she may face a few
bumps in the road. I might not get into the college I want,
be hired for the first job I get interviewed for.
Each year, middle school students in DeKalb County write
an essay on a theme selected by Oak Crest DeKalb Area Retirement
Center. The winners of this year's contest are (from left) first-place
winner Anna McComb, second-place finisher Nicolas Inocencio and
third-place finisher Rachel Frances. (Barry Schrader photo)
But, she added, This is life. In order to get far, you
have to fight for what you want.
She explained this means studying hard, choosing high school
courses carefully and looking toward what it takes to get into
the college you want to attend.
Rachel also wrote that some people say high school decides your
life, but she felt that is not true, for it is you who
decides your own life. And she adds there will be many
choices to make, temptations to overcome but my job is
to make the right decisions. I think she is on the right
Second-place winner Nicolas Inocencio from St. Marys School
in Sycamore wrote about moving here from another state and his
little bubble called childhood popped. But he soon
saw that there were billions of those bubbles all around
the world and each town matters to its inhabitants.
He pointed to an epiphany that occurred in seventh grade when
a teacher disciplined him, which he thought was unfair because
the other student involved was not punished. Later, she explained
that the world isnt fair and get used to it.
This took him aback, but then he realized she was right and he
had to concentrate on getting on with his life.
Life may be short, but its the only life weve
got, he wrote. We need to make it count.
I had interviewed the first-place winner about a year ago when
she won the same essay contest with a different theme. She is
Anna McComb from Indian Creek, and this time she wrote about
becoming a good citizen and the ways she can help her town, the
nation and the planet in general. She specified always being
honest, following the law, getting involved in government by
voting and serving on a jury, volunteering for fundraisers and
planning something great.
Her choice of the Anne Frank quote, The final forming of
a persons character lies in their own hands, was
particularly insightful. Annas talent for writing should
bring her back next year as an eighth-grader with another strong
These kids are well on their way to a successful adulthood.
The columnist can be reached via email at :
or by snailmail at:
PO Box 851
DeKalb, Ill 60115