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Micah Williams, a 15-year-old eighth-grader at Corinth Classical Academy, recently won first place in the North Central Texas College Jerry Simpson Memorial Short Story Contest.

Born in Chongqing, China, Williams became a U.S. Citizen through adoption at the age of four. He enjoys studying history and literature, especially learning about individuals and historical events that have impacted the world.

“Micah Williams is a model scholar. He is virtuous and has a kind-heart. He has overcome a number of challenging circumstances, including hearing loss, and is succeeding in making a difference both on and off campus,” says Corinth Classical Academy Dean of Students Allison Leonard.

Leonard goes on to describe Micah as a reserved, but creative student who enjoys writing, biological sciences and has recently embraced speech and debate class. The eighth-grader aspires to be a brain surgeon when he grows up and return to China someday as a medical missionary.

Please read his award-winning essay below:

Williams earned a certificate and a $75 check for his creative writing.

Standing Tall

By Micah Williams

In the time of honor and chivalry, in a small village called Laough, young Mark Harmler stomped the mud from his boots as he prepared to enter his dwelling. Mark, tall and tan, had his father’s dark hair and eyes. He lifted his head when he heard a voice from inside the thatched roofed cottage.  Mother called out her request and Mark emphatically responded, “No! I refuse to do the babysitting again.”

“Well, you don’t have a choice Marcus Harmler!” returned the stern voice of his mother.

Mark knew that when his mother used his full name, he was in deep trouble, and pressing the matter further would be bad for his health, but he answered back anyway.

“Drake is always bugging me and whining, even though he’s eight years old! He’s such a baby!”

Mother turned red with anger when she heard the words of her elder son, for she didn’t like it when Mark criticized his younger brother so harshly, or when he balked at responsibility.

“Father, I need your help in here!” Mother called out to her husband.

Father rushed in with a garden hoe in hand and was looking fierce.  He was not at all happy with being interrupted because he was being paid for every raldua he could find, which was pretty difficult considering how small the things were.

“What is it Dear?” asked Father.

“Mark’s at it again,” replied Mother.

Father then faced his now nervous son and with his usual feigned roughness, grunted and then entered the house completely. Next to Mark, he was a tall man indeed. With short brown hair and arms that looked like they could lift boulders, he towered over Mark. He seemed to be a giant to his fourteen-year-old son. He knelt down on one knee, so Mark could see his solemn brown eyes looking as if they were reading Mark’s thoughts and very soul. Father then spoke in a quiet but stern manner. “Mark, you know that you are old enough to know that babysitting is not an obstacle. It’s just us putting more trust in you and believing that you are ready for more responsibility.  Growing up means understanding that life doesn’t revolve around what you want. We all have to work together and be willing to do our part, however small, to bring prosperity. Now, if you’re afraid of this life being your life forever, then remember that the future has not yet been written; the future is not yet set in stone, and one day you will not be babysitting or feeding the horses and the pigs, but instead will be having adventures of your own.”

Mark nodded while looking at his muddy boots. Ashamed of his babyish actions, he quietly prayed to be a more mature person. Mark, with a sudden rush of courage looked up at his father expecting to see the anger and disappointment etched on his face, but was met instead with a kind and thoughtful smile. Father gazed at him with the eyes of a man who believed that his son would be a great man later in life. This made Mark have a fuzzy feeling and let him dream and hope to be the “man” he saw in his father’s eyes. Then Father said, “Mark, I need you to watch your brother while I take the raldua to the village to sell and while Mother does the shopping. Why don’t you take a walk around the farm and give yourself a chance to calm down while I talk to your brother.”

At that point, Drake hollered from the upstairs loft, “Papa, Papa, Mark has been bossing me around again and he dumped my stuff on the ground.”

Mark was about to defend himself against the accusations of his verbal attacker when Father put up his hand to stop another feud from erupting. Father then called out to Drake, “I need you to come outside to talk to me, son.”

At that point, Mark turned abruptly, and went to take the “cool down” walk. Mark was fields away when young Drake, his auburn hair flopping into his brown eyes, came bouncing downstairs to answer his father’s call.

Father motioned for Drake to follow him out to where the men were picking the raldua. Drake hated raldua, although it was considered a delicacy. As he came out of the house, he saw the flowers blooming in the fields and the grain growing thick and strong. The farmers were pulling up the raldua, lettuce, and carrots.  Drake smelled the smoke of the nearby town and knew the village would be alive with the activity of the blacksmiths, bakers, cobblers, and grocers. Drake noticed that his brother clenched his fists, as he walked off.

“Drake, why were you calling your brother out like that?” asked Father, bringing Drake’s attention back to the matter at hand.

“He was bossing me around and telling me to go feed the chickens and water the plants,” complained Drake.

“Son, all of those things are important and necessary to the life we live. Don’t start a fight that you cannot win. You must listen to your brother while Mother and I are away.” Drake dropped his eyes pouting, but then nodded before trudging sulkily back into the house.

Father then went back into the raldua patch and resumed his picking. Mark was still walking in the fields when he stumbled upon a toy that he had buried in anger a few weeks ago. The toy had been a favorite of Drake’s. He kicked the sturdy wooden toy defiantly and then remembered his father’s words and his promise of the future. With a new feeling of responsibility and resolve and a desire to preserve the peace, he stooped to retrieve the toy and dusted it off. Standing tall and with shoulders square, he marched back to the house.


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