ST. ANTHONY, NL. – A Grade 7 St. Anthony student’s reflections on a life-changing experience has earned him recognition from a provincial essay contest.
Brock White, 12, recently finished second place in the Turning Points essay contest’s NL western region for his essay, “No One Lives Forever”.
This competition requires Grade 7 students throughout the province to write about experiences that changed their lives.
Teachers then submit the top essays for consideration.
The White Hills Academy student’s essay, about the impact his grandfather’s dementia had upon him, was chosen for one of the top prizes.
On May 31, Brock was invited, along with family members and his English teacher, to attend an awards gala for the contest in Corner Brook.
He met with other winners and honourable mentions, while receiving a plaque and a monetary prize.
He also read his essay to the audience.
Brock’s grandfather was diagnosed with dementia when Brock was four-years-old. He passed away in October 2017.
Brock chose to write about this experience as it altered his perspective on his family and taught him the need to keep his loved ones close to him.
“It made me appreciate how lucky I am to even know the people in my life and my family,” he told The Northern Pen.
He adds that it showed him how strong his family is.
The experience also changed his own career goals.
It had long been Brock’s ambition to become a pediatrician, but now he wants to study the brain and the causes of dementia.
“I didn’t really know much about what he had before I was old enough to understand it,” he said. “I’m interested in learning about it now.”
The Grade 7 class started writing their essays in January. They gradually worked away – writing, editing, revising – at the essays until they were due for submission in March.
When Brock wrote the essay, he never expected any accolades.
“When I wrote it, I wanted to put some thought into the essay, but I wasn’t aiming as high as it got,” he said.
Brock’s mother, Amanda Taylor, credits his English teacher, Michelle Nippard, as a positive influence on his writing.
“Miss Nippard has been a big influence on him,” she said.
Brock wanted to thank Nippard, his primary and elementary school teachers, his parents and his grandmother “for staying strong”.
His essay will now be published in a national anthology of Turning Points’ award winning essays.
Correction: In the print edition, The Northern Pen misprinted Brock’s mother’s name as Amanda Tucker. Her surname is Taylor. This has been corrected above.