Editor's note: These are some of the winning essays from this year's Summit Prevention Alliance Inspired by Assets Writing Contest. This year's topic question was: "I had the courage to try something new when I ..."Gold-place finishers won a $50 savings bond from Alpine Bank. Silver-place prize was a $20 gift certificate to The Next Page book- store in Frisco, and the bronze- place prize was two movie tickets to Trans-Lux theatres compliments of Krystal 93 radio station.
Gold Place finisher- Cathy ContrerasUpper Blue ElementaryI was a risk taker when I made a book. I was proud. I felt that I had butterflies in my tummy when I read the book to the whole class.Silver Place finisher- Collin DoranUpper Blue ElementaryI showed courage when I first played soccer. I was a little scared. The next week I felt better. By the end of the session I was happy.Bronze Place finisher- Ella Jane ElandBreckenridge ElementaryThe first time I went on the Palma lift it was scary at first, but then it felt good.
Gold Place finisher- PK VinczeBreckenridge ElementaryI have never entered a contest like this before. I read about it in the paper.I wanted to do it but I was really nervous, I even cried. Mommy and Daddy helped me find the courage, they explained that it's only kids in my grade (1st).For the subject of my essay I had lots of ideas, but I had to pick one. In the end I settled on this recent experience of the contest. I worked on it a little bit each day for almost a week. I'm almost done with my essay and I'm looking forward to handing in my entry by the deadline. I gained confidence and hope to win a prize because the judges like my story. Silver Place finisher- Stirling CookDillon Valley ElementaryI had the courage to try something new when I tried to ice skate for the first time. I felt scared because I didn't want to fall down. But, I really wanted to try. First, when I was on the ice I started off slow then I went faster and faster and I could stand and not fall. I know that you have to practice courage when you try to do new things. I feel happy and good inside that I worked hard to learn how to ice skate. Now I am working on a spin and even though I keep falling I know that one day I will know how to do it. The End.Bronze Place finisher- Maia FishmanDillon Valley ElementaryOn Wednesday I go to gymnastics. I just started this class. I go with Briell and her mom every time it is lots of fun. I ward a red and black suite. But then my group went to the valt! I was anxious because last time Ms. Deb said that I could do a trick by myself. So I said yes! But inside my head I said no! So I gave it a try.So then next Wednesday my group went to the valt. I was very excited Ms. Deb said all right I'm ready to help you with your back drop. No! I want to do a back drop by myself! And that is the time that I had courage.Gold Place Spanish finisher- Karen BarriosDillon Valley ElementaryYo tuve el valor de intentar algo Nuevo cuando fui a deslisarme en un brinco de hielo. Y ahora ya no voy a tener miedo y la persona que me ayudo era mi mama. Mi mama me anima para ensenarme cosas nuevas.
Gold Place finisher- Ella BowerDillon Valley ElementaryI had the courage to try something when I went to gymnastics. I hardly knew anything about gymnastics. I've been wanting to do it for a long time. When I finally got to go to gymnastics I was so excited. Gymnastics is really hard. I tried lots of new things like the bars, the balance beam and runway. The hardest thing I tried was the bars because there are lots of flips. I am not very good at flips but I am getting better. The thing that I liked the best was the balance beam and runway because I love all of the different kinds of steps on the balance beam and jumps on the runway. I knew one friend there and I have made some new friends. When I finished my first class I felt very proud knowing that I was a risk taker. I love gymnastics!Gold Place Spanish finisher- Bin NorrdinDillon Valley ElementaryCuando mi papa dijo yo tengo que patina en el hielo yo tena miedo porque yo no puede patina. Por fin fue buensimo. Yo me ca 5 veces. Despus me sent feliz porque yo puede patinar. Luego yo dije yo no quera ir a casa porque me encanta patinar.
Gold Place finisher- Sydney VargoDillon Valley ElementaryI had the courage to try something new when I did a speech. At first, I was nervous and I had butterflies in my stomach and my face was red. The reason I did the speech was because my mom and dad said it would be a good thing to do. The day of the speech, I was the last one to go. Finally, I was standing in front of everyone ready to say my speech almost scared to death! I took a deep breath, then I started to speak. After I finished, everyone left the room, and I was still nervous because I wanted to make it to the finals so bad! Everyone who did the speech sat on the stairs and waited. A woman called out names. If your name was called, it meant you made it to the finals, and my name was called! I was so happy but my face was even redder than ever when I stood up. Before I left I thanked the person who helped me and encouraged me to do it. That person was my mom's friend. That was when I had courage to try something new! Gold Place Spanish finisher- Alejandra Gutierrez SotoDillon Valley ElementaryEl valor para mi es ser valiente y no rendirse. Tambin el valor para mi es intentar algo Nuevo para todos o para ti. Yo intente algo Nuevo cuando yo fui a la escuela por primera vez. Tambin intente a no tener miedo en el primer da de clases. Yo intente no tener miedo de los maestros de Segundo grado. Intente hacer todo el trabajo que me daban en la clase. Yo intente hacer amigos y si hice amigos. Todos intentamos algo Nuevo en la vida. Si alguien no ensena valor, no ensena que es valiente porque no trata algo Nuevo. Por ejemplos si alguien no quiere hacer algo nuevo, no tiene valor de intentar algo Nuevo. Yo me sent bien porque despus me divert con los maestros. Yo hice una actividad nueva cuando yo aprend a decir "tiempo" y fue muy divertido. Yo me sent muy feliz porque yo supe hacer muchas actividades divertidas en la escuela. Mi mama me animo y mi papa tambin y todo mi familia me animo pero la que ms me animo fui yo misma. As demostr que tengo valor.
Gold Place finisher- Emily BellBreckenridge ElementaryI once had courage to try something I never, ever did before.I don't know anyone that did what I did. The thing that I did was that I sang in the school talent show. Everyone in the whole school was there and even the parents of every student in the school. That's about five hundred people in all. That is if I added everyone up.I was in the third grade at that time. Before the tryout I thought that if I messed up my performance, everyone would laugh at me. If that did happen I would cry. I didn't get laughed at, but I did make it to the show!The day of the talent show was once of the scariest things that I ever did. It was the scariest thing of my life! Actually I only thought that! When the person in front of me walked on to the state to do her performance, I felt so nervous, but I knew that there was no turning back. I had to do it! I had courage in myself! I walked onto the stage and saw everyone!I was out on the stage all by myself and a second later my music started. I couldn't even tell I was singing, that's how nervous I was. My song finished and I walked off the stage happy. I thought it was so fun that I wanted to do it again!I lost my fear of being in front of many people and doing what I love doing. I now have the courage to try to do something new. That feeling that you have when you finish is so great that you'll have to do it again!
Gold Place finisher- Emily WallaceUpper Blue ElementaryWhen I was 8 years old, I had the courage to try something new and I am continuing to follow my dreams. It all started three years ago in a 4H Sewing Club. With my mom's devotion, my sister's encouragement, as she stood by my side, some inspiration, and my bravery, I conquered my fear and accomplished many great things.Since I was a little girl I've always had a love for fashion design. Our family would watch the TV show Project Runway and I dreamed of being one of them. For my birthday I got a fashion design kit and from that day on I use it to take the challenges they have on the show. This was only the beginning.My mom always loved to sew and the same with my grandmother. So, when my sister found out about a 4H Club that taught sewing, we were all pretty stoked. I was so excited, I could hardly speak. We were going to learn to sew. This was my chance! Unfortunately for me, there was a bump in the road. On the sewing club information guide it said, in bold print, for ages 9 and up. I was only 8. What was I going to do?A few days passed, and I was still in tears, when my dad came home with a new sewing machine for my sister Kaitlin. She was 10. Could it get any worse? Yes, yes it could. After school the next day, I had to tag along with my sister to the club. How could I manage?As I walked into the club it was all so surreal with the machines, fabrics, threads, and irons. What a professional looking place I thought. Everyone got right down to work discussing the achievements they would make in 4H. I was starting to think that I was a part of it all. My mom must have read my mind because after class, she talked to the leader, Miss Earlaine. Turns out, she thought I was already in the class. She said it would be ok if I stayed to learn, but wasn't sure I was old enough yet. Now I was starting to feel like the underdog.The weeks flew by as if I threw a clock out the window. I was learning so much I could hardly contain myself! I'd like to say it was easy, but I wanted to quit every step of the way. It seemed like the odds were stacked against me as I struggled with every new thing. After awhile, I was amazed at what I could do. Here I was sewing seams, making small gift bags, pillow cases, tote bags and event pants! And when I messed up, and wanted to give up, I got help from Miss Earlaine. She gave me some pointers like how to use a seam ripper if I got a bobbin jammed or something like that. In the beginning, I didn't even know how to sew a seam, or what all the sewing gadgets were, except that scissors, thread, pins, measuring tape and stuff like that. After lots of hard work and dedication, everything was falling into place.I soon realized the real challenge lay ahead. It was no big deal, just a record book to fill out. I thought this was going to be a piece of cake. Well, I was wrong. I got so caught up and frustrated trying to think of my goals and everything worked on in the past instead of the future. Looking back on that, I must have been scared at the time and didn't know why. There was a point where I wanted to quit again from all the stress. Thank goodness my mom was there to encourage me to continue. I started to feel confident again. My very first 4H Exhibit Day was coming up, and I was so excited. I entered all my projects to be judged. Along with my small gift bags, pillow cases, tote bags and pants, I made other nifty things in my spare time. My record book looked amazing, pictures and all. I was excited. There was just one problem, I was also very scared. It was normal, I guess. There were so many "what ifs" going through my head.Oh Exhibit Day, we went to see how we did. What was the feedback from the judges? Could we have won a ribbon? Amazingly, both Kaitlin and I won Champion Ribbons for our age level. I couldn't believe we got champion when we were just beginners! It was incredible. All my hard work paid off. Next year would be my second year, and I thought I would be ready to take on whatever they threw at me. Last year I was a beginner, but not anymore! My confidence level shot up like never before.We were doing great, my sister and me. It was our second year and we were ready to take on new challenges. Kaitlin became Junior Leader. It was so interesting to see what else I could do. I made a jumper dress with gathers and button holes. BUTTON HOLES! I couldn't believe I could do button holes; they were very tricky. Would I ever quit again? Never! Next, I moved onto a denim skirt and jacket. It was made up of gathers, button holes, set in ruffled sleeves, and a gathered yoke. If that wasn't hard enough, I also made a nice cozy fleece hoodie with a separating zipper. ZIPPER! I never imagined I could do a zipper. There were a few mistakes along the way, but I was happy with the overall results.At the next Exhibit Days the judges must have been happy too. I came home with another Champion Ribbon. It was a big bummer though, because my sister didn't get a ribbon, and she was the best seamstress I knew. Looking back, I was the one who was worried about the whole thing and she wasn't. It was tough, holding back all of my excitement of getting Champion Ribbon for my second year in a row. I had to show empathy and try to understand what she was going through. We both had done the most projects, and had the most creative stuff. We did get some 4H tote bags and camping chairs for our hard work. I think she felt a little better.The best news was yet to come. My denim skirt and jacket qualified for the 4H Colorado State Fair, and in spite of the bad results, my sister's apron also qualified. It was incredible, and we were on top of the world. We knew that competing against everyone in the state would be hard, and that we probably wouldn't win a ribbon, but we thought it would still be a good experience. Turns out we were happily wrong. I took Reserved Champion (2nd place) and my sister took 7th place overall.Our leader, Miss Earlaine, was so proud of us. She also won an award, Leader of the Year. Kaitlin and I wrote a speech and presented the award to her wearing the garments we made. We also showed all the other projects that we had made. Miss Earlaine helped us every step of the way. She was the one who kept me going when I wanted to quit. She is such an amazing teacher, I think she should have won an award of Leader of a Lifetime.Now we are starting our 3rd year. I am astonished by the progress I've made. This year, because of her courage, my sister was rewarded with another surprise, Youth of the Year! I am so proud of her. She inspired me to never give up.We are now just finishing our latest projects, beautiful skirts with a stunning lace overlay and set in a zipper. ZIPPER! LACE! It is a challenge, but I will make it, because now I have the courage to continue on with a heart full of hope! So it shall be a happily ever after...I think.Silver Place finisher- Bryan JassoSilverthorne ElementaryI had the courage to try something new when I was trying to speak English for my first time. I was 8 when I was here. I felt bad because I could not speak English in the United States. It was embarrassing because I could not say back what they were telling me. In school all subjects were different because in Mexico we only learned one subject per day. In our school they always went to lunch and had recess, but we did not have a playground to play on. I learned English because my Spanish speaking friends helped me. I felt like I was learning a lot, but it took me a year to understand and know what they were telling me. Clearly, it took a lot of courage to learn English in the United States. Now that I know English a little better, I have the courage to try new things. I'm willing to talk with other people that don't know Spanish.Bronze Place finisher- Raine WalkerBreckenridge ElementaryNew kid. New coach. New everything. That's how it felt to me on my first day of swim team. At first, I liked the coach and everything, but then she announced that there would be a different coach teaching the "beginners". I felt an ice-cold splash on my back. First stunned, then relieved. It was just the dive team. I was very scared when I was about to get in the water. The first thing we were going to work on was diving, and I wasn't all that good at it yet, so I thought that I would do a belly flop. He started to teach us what to do."Chin down against your chest" he would say."Uh-huh" the team would say.I was first up. I slowly and steadily stepped to the edge. WHOOSH! I glided through the cold air into the smooth water. It wasn't perfect, but I was fine with it.I'd been on the swim team for about a year now, and I had just been offered to go to my first swim meet. THUMP-THUMP. THUMP-THUMP. My heart was pounding. BOOP! I was in my ready position, about to do backstroke, so I sprung myself off the wall and swam as fast as I could. Splish-Splash, Splish-Splash. Water was finding its way up to my ears. Flip turn, on my way back. I got back and looked at the board to see my time and...nothing. I was disqualified. I thought I was hallucinating, so I looked again...still nothing.I ended up quitting swim team later that year. Coach was expecting a bit too much of me, that meet I just told you about was the only one I ever got, and even a seven year old went to more meets than me. It was pretty hard at first, but after that, I was very glad I quit. Swim team was way too time consuming. People tried to keep me going, but I had to tell them that I had the courage in me to stay in; I just had to find the courage in me to quit.