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    Pack Football Picks Essay Contest Winners

    There will be some very special journalists covering Saturday’s football game against Clemson in the Vaughn Towers press box. Three students from Kingswood Elementary School in Cary will serve as guest writers, after winning an essay contest coordinated by the State athletics department and the Academic Support Program for Student Athletes (ASPSA).

    In September, football players Audie Cole, Wayne Crawford and Curtis Underwood visited the school and spoke to the entire fourth and fifth grades at an assembly in the gymnasium. The players told the students about the importance of teamwork, sportsmanship and communication. The students took what they learned and wrote essays about those topics.



    Three graduate students from the NC State English Department judged the essays based on four criteria: content, writing style, organization and creativity. The prize for the winning writers? The opportunity to have their essays published on and to attend the Clemson game and ‘cover’ the game with the other media in attendance.

    Crawford, Underwood and Markus Kuhn went back to the school in October to announce the winners. A very excited Michael Hernandez was the winning writer for the fourth grade, while Matthew Shorb was the fifth-grade winner. Another student, Hassein Walton, put so much work into his essay and showed so much improvement, that he was given a “Most Improved” Award and invited to cover the game as well. Those three will watch the game and be able to interview players afterwards to write a follow-up story.

    Tyler Harwick (fifth grade) and Michael Shorb (fourth grade), brother of fifth-grade winner Matthew, won second-place honors and received tickets to attend Saturday’s game.

    “This was a great opportunity for NC State student-athletes to reach out to the youth in our community and make an impact on them in regards to college, sportsmanship and teamwork,” said Christi Turner, coordinator of ASPSA’s Academic Skills Enhancement Program. “Three departments on our campus worked together to make this contest a success ... Athletics, Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes and the English Department.”

    Following are the winning essays from the contest (essays are printed as written by the students):

    Michael Hernandez
    4th Grade Winner

    Teamwork requires a lot of work when you work when you have different people working as a group. If we didn’t have teamwork on my soccer team then we might not be able to shoot or make goals. If we didn’t communicate with each other then the person we are trying to kick the ball to won’t know when the ball or the other kids are coming to them. Communication is important on a team so the players know where to go or what to do and when to do it. Also if you are in a bakery and you are making a pie, all of the workers have to work together to bake the pie. All of the ingredients have to work together to make a pie that stay together, and is super yummy! In school my teachers have to work with each other and have meetings so they know how to help us learn. The government needs to work together and communicate because they have the responsibility to keep us safe. Communication is important for Fireman because if they don’t do it and one day you have a fire your house might burn down.

    Teamwork is also about responsibility. When you are in school working with a group of students they have the responsibility to help you with the project. In fact, today in writing we had to make a poster about “What is an author” with my group/team. If we did not do our part the poster would not be completed. When my sister was sick the doctors had to work as a team to try and save my sister Juliana but they failed and she passed away. Just because everyone does their part and you work together as a team does not mean you will win every time. If you are on a football team and you are the person that guards the quarterback then you have to do your part and protect the quarterback when he tries to complete a touchdown. All of us work together as a big team to help keep our neighborhood and city safe and healthy, like the garbage men. The garbage men will communicate on their walkie-talkies to let each other if they are done with their route, to keep our world clean and safe. Remember if you are ever working with a team, do your part and communicate.

    Having good sportsmanship is also important. When I end my soccer game’s my team and the other team lines up and we all slap hands and said “Good game,” “nice work,” or “nice game”. If you are playing a game in school, at home, or at your friends house, if any of you lose than you should try to have a positive attitude and congratulate the other players for working together as a team. Teamwork requires everyone to communicate and to do his or her part and have a positive attitude even when you do not win.

    Matthew Shorb
    5th Grade Winner

    Sportsmanship and teamwork are important everywhere. You may know it’s important in sports, but it may surprise that they are also important in everybody’s daily life. After listening to the NC State football players talk about sportsmanship and teamwork, they said three words and those three words were respect, communication and trust. All of those words are very important.

    Respect is important because you can’t be the boss of everybody and you have to respect their decisions. In sports, if you are disrespectful, you may get penalized. If you don’t respect people in real life, you may not get what you want. Even if someone is not respecting you, you don’t have to be their friend but you still have to respect them. Say you really wanted a toy and they said no. If you start crying or pouting or you get mad, their definitely not getting that toy for you. But say you just dealt with it and respected their answer; they might change their mind because you respected their decision.

    Communication is important because it helps you to get things done quickly and correctly. You might get mad at a friend because you didn’t communicate clearly. If you want to do something, you have to communicate right so everybody knows what you’re trying to do. If you’re playing baseball for example, and you thought the coach said to steal so you stealed but he never said to steal, you might get out.

    Finally we get to trust. Trust is very important. Have you ever played that game where you close your eyes and fall back and someone behind you catches you? You have to really trust the person who is supposed to catch you. Would you fall back if you didn’t trust the person who is supposed to catch you? Of course not. You want to be trustworthy, because if you are, people will give you privileges. If I wasn’t trustworthy, my mom and dad may not let me use their phones or do stuff with the TV. If you’re not trustworthy, you will not earn those types of privileges. Also, you have to trust people sometimes. Sometimes you can’t do something alone and you need to trust people to help you, like Curtis said that he trusts Big Wayne will make sure he will not get tackled, or how the defensive people trust Audie to tackle the running back. Or maybe how a dad might trust his son to do right instead of wrong. That is why trust is important.

    There is a show I watch on TV called Survivor. On the show there are two tribes and the tribes work together to try to beat the other tribe. If one tribe doesn’t use teamwork and they argue, they usually don’t win the challenge. It’s like in a story I once heard. Three sons were arguing and the dad didn’t like it so he bundles up some sticks and asks each son to try to break it. Each son try’s to break it but they can’t. Then the dad gives each son one stick and asks them to try to break their stick. Each son does it easily. Then the dad say’s “Alone, you three will break easily like the stick, but together you are strong like the bundle.” And that is what happens in Survivor and real life without teamwork. Once when I was playing baseball the team we were playing was down one player, so I went over to their team and played for their team. We could’ve said we weren’t going to let them borrow a player and they would forfeit, but because our team had good sportsmanship, we were all able to play. An example of teamwork in my life is when we built a Lego pirate ship that I got for my birthday. Michael (my brother) and I had to have teamwork so we could build it faster and if we had not worked together it would’ve taken us forever.

    You see, sportsmanship and teamwork are everywhere. Without them, the world wouldn’t be a good place. Don’t you want a world with sportsmanship and teamwork?

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