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Writing Contests

Where your students’ writing gets rewarded.

Congratulations to the winners of our You Write It Contest in the October 10, 2011, issue. We couldn’t have written them better ourselves!
(Click here to read the You Write It interview that inspired these articles.)

Check out the winning entries below.

What It Really Means to Be Beautiful

Charlie K.
University Heights, OH


Liz Hogan is a beautiful girl. Her face may never be on the cover of Teen Vogue and she may never be one of People Magazine’s “Most Beautiful People,” but this doesn’t bother Liz. Her reaction to Hollywood’s ideal of beauty: Oh, whatever.”

You see, Liz Hogan is a 13-year-old girl who shaved her head bald for a fundraiser to support childhood cancer research. During a time when most teen girls are increasingly concerned about their physical appearance, Liz Hogan chose to think more about the children that the St. Baldrick’s organization was trying to help. There is no question that she made the right decision to shave her head. She was able to raise over $21,000 for the cause. Her selfless act showed strength and inner beauty. However, Liz was not alone; her friends were very supportive, and they thought that Liz’s bald head was beautiful. Liz’s friends are also beautiful for being able to see the inner beauty in someone and to value the cause that Liz was supporting. Once her beautiful” shoulder-length wavy hair was gone, Liz started to look at herself and others differently. “Some people worry about the kind of clothes someone is wearing or what their hair is like. I realized that doesn’t matter. Now I look at a person’s face and see the beauty, and I look for beauty inside,” Liz explained.

True beauty cant be measured with a camera or in a beauty pageant. Liz and her friends look for qualities like kindness, helpfulness, or dedication to a worthy cause. These qualities help them to be better people-and better friends. Just like the Hollywood magazines show beautiful people who are idolized by fans, Liz Hogan is also beautiful and should be used as an example for others to follow. This is what it truly means to be beautiful.

Christina C.
Rochester Hills, MI

Westport, Connecticut native Liz Hogan did something not just any 13-year-old girl would do. She shaved her head for a fundraiser for child cancer research. Scope Magazine sat down for a little Q and A session. Scope asked her how she got involved; she said, “My mom took me to one of their events. (My mom is a doctor who treats kids with cancer.) It was amazing to see people willing to shave off their hair to raise money for childhood cancer research. Really, it was breathtaking. So I decided to do it too. I ended up raising more than $21,000. It was so much fun to see all that money coming in for such a great cause.” She said she was a little nervous to shave her head and her parents didnt want her to. She said that she didn’t even look while they were shaving her head but after she looked in the mirror and thought, Wow, thats not me-that cant be me!” Then she thought, “OK, this is my new look and the new way my face looks.” She also said, “Some people worry about the kinds of clothes someone is wearing or what their hair is like. I realized that that doesnt matter. Now I look at a persons face and see the beauty, and I look for beauty inside, like if they’re friendly or helpful. Now I look through my friends’ fashion magazines and say, ‘Oh, whatever.

Liz’s story is so inspiring. I hope it will inspire you to go out and do something kind for someone else or help other kids.


Jacob P.
Midland, MI

B-e-a-u-t-y. What is it? Beauty is never seen like it is. Beauty is always seen as how much hair one has, or what clothes and fashionable things one has, when really beauty is actually what is within. It’s what’s within the eyes-like kindness, gracefulness, leadership, knowledge, love; the way you feel when you look at someone and you can just see the care in their eyes, shining like the early morning newborn sun glimmering in the reflection of water. It’s what isnt seen; its what you do. Beauty is not what people are and not what people portray. It’s what is in your eyes. You look at whats beyond. Beauty is what people think about when they look you in the eyes and see the care in them.

What’s in Liz Hogan is what beauty is. Liz Hogan shaved her head and raised over $21,000 for kids with cancer. She went bald for a while to bring happiness to many children for a very long time. Liz gave up her hair as a teenage girl; that is special and that is beauty. “Now I look at a persons face and see the beauty...” Liz said when asked if she looked at beauty differently. “Now I look at my friends fashion magazines and say, ‘Oh, whatever.’” Beauty is something that is tough, like a pack of nails. It is very tough to be truly beautiful because the world has it all messed up. She displayed true beauty by giving up something to help others in kindness. It’s your character. That’s beauty. The want to help others in need, like Liz Hogan did, is beauty. Thats what matters. Thats what true beauty is. The want-to-help-others-no-matter-what-it-takes look in a person’s eyes describes what beauty is.

The compassion Liz Hogan showed was a perfect example. The desire to help others enough so that you don’t care what people think about your appearance is what truly beauty is, not what you look like or what you wear. When looking at people in general, what makes them be set apart? People generally look the same; it is a person’s personality that sets them apart from others. What is on the inside counts, not whats on the outside. This is what true beauty is all about. This what is Liz Hogan displayed. B-e-a-u-t-y.

Luz M.
Wichita, KS

People usually say “Oh, I like her clothes! They are cute!” or “She is so fat!” There are not a lot of differences in these two remarks. Yes, one is a nice remark, and the other is rude. However, did you notice that these comments are both on a persons appearance? As Liz Hogan says, “Now I look for beauty inside,” meaning that she now looks at the personality of the person, not their appearance. When people judge you for your looks, then they do not care about you. They should see if you are smart, funny, or kind, not if you have the latest accessories or clothes or if you have a gigantic house with lots of money. Beauty is a word defined in many possibilities. Nevertheless, people always sum it up by one thing: looks. If the person is short, tall, fat, or skinny, pretty, ugly, etc. This is so wrong! People need to focus on how a person is. As my mother has always taught me, true beauty is a golden heart, not always a golden face.

True, someone may be drop dead gorgeous, but what if they are selfish, cruel, hasty, and disrespectful? That is definitely NOT beauty. Liz, she is truly beautiful. She shaved her hair off, with no one telling her to, to raise money for St. Baldricks Foundation in order to help kids who have cancer. Liz was being non-selfish, kind, and very generous. Yes, she was scared and nervous. Who wouldn’t be? However, as she said, she is a very determined person. From what I read in the article, I learned that beauty comes from the inside, not the outside. This article about Liz Hogan will speak to you. In addition, what it says is: beauty is on the inside. So what have we learned? True beauty is a golden heart, not a golden face!

Meridith M.
Duncan, OK

What does it mean to be beautiful? Liz Hogan has got it figured out. Liz, a 13 year old from Westport, Connecticut, is truly beautiful. Why is Liz beautiful? Liz is beautiful for many reasons, but one big one in particular. Liz shaved all her hair off for a cancer research organization called St. Baldricks Foundation. She made this life-changing decision when her mom, a doctor who treats kids with cancer, took her to a cancer event. “Really, it was breathtaking,” commented Liz about the event. Even though Liz’s parents told her about other ways to contribute to the organization, Liz was determined to donate her hair. “If theres something I want to do, I do it,” says Liz about wanting to shave her head. Though Liz was nervous about how she might look, she knew how much it would help the cancer patients. Liz raised more than $21,000. After shaving her hair, Liz looked very different, but she realized what real beauty was. Real beauty isnt how good you look on the outside, but how good of a heart you have on the inside.

Now, we dont all have to shave off our hair like Liz to have real beauty, but we need to take action like Liz did. We all need to realize real beauty comes from the inside. That doesnt mean we can’t dress nicely or wear make-up. It simply means not to get so self-absorbed in those beauty things. If you like to look good on the outside, that’s OK; just make sure you look good on the inside too.

Real beauty is something everyone can have, but getting it seems to be the hard thing for most people. By opening up our hearts, showing kindness to others, and many other things, we can obtain real beauty. Do you have real beauty?

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