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Walnut student earns national accolades for essay
walnut essay kid
Julianna Cole, 8, recently finished in the top 20 in a nation-wide essay contest. - photo by JONATHAN MCCORKELL / The Journal

Walnut Elementary third grader Julianna Cole, 8, received national recognition recently for an essay she wrote about when her grandmother and grandfather first met and fell in love.

The essay was part of the Legacy Project’s 2010-11 Listen to a Life essay contest. Thousands of entries were submitted from across the country and Cole’s was among the top 20. The Legacy Project is a nation-wide education project that draws on learning experiences through people in a child’s life, such as parents, grandparents, teachers and program leaders.

Julianna’s essay reflected on the beginnings of her entire immediate family’s life.

“I thought it was cool to think of how my grandpa and grandma met,” she said.

Irene Hales, Julianna’s teacher, was not surprised she would fare so well in the contest.

“She has become a really great writer and when we have competitions like this she just goes for it. She didn’t have any help with this and she even typed it herself,” said Hales.

The following is Julianna’s essay:

A Grandmother’s Love Story

My grandmother's memory isn't as good as it used to be. She has an illness called Dementia. It makes me feel bad for her because she seems confused sometimes and she repeats herself a lot. There is one story though that she never forgets even if she has memory loss. It's a special story about how she met and fell in love with my grandpa.

When my grandmother tells the story to my family she acts like it's the first time, and for me it was. I think it was cute how they met. It all started when my grandmother was 18. Her mother sent her to the market to buy tomatoes and my grandpa, who worked there, would get the best ones for her. He would always try to give her free fruit such as shiny, red apples.

My grandmother thought that he was handsome, but there was another boy who had asked her out. She had a really big problem on her hands. She liked my grandpa, but she had already accepted a date with the other boy named Bart.

The reason why my grandmother didn't want to go out alone with Bart was because he always liked to put his arms around her and that made her feel uncomfortable. My grandpa was different. He was a gentleman.

To help her out with her problem, my grandpa agreed to take his sister and they all went out on a double-date to the movies.

After that, they spent every day together and my grandpa even taught my grandma to drive.

What ever happened to Bart? This is when my grandmother's memory fades. After two months my grandfather asked my grandmother to marry him, and she said "Yes." That's how our family began.

To contact Jonathan McCorkell, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.