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Just Luck?
Jenny, Age 10, Coquitlam, BC

It was Jenna’s turn to present her speech after the blonde girl in-front of her. Jenna breathed deeply, she was very nervous. She was picked as a speech finalist in her community contest, the provincial contest and now, she was in U.S with her mom, in the worldwide challenge. It was a tough journey to get on this stage, especially for a shy girl like her. It took her months to write her speech and she had to recite it over and over again.

Jenna did not notice the girl in-front of her finish. She was still worried and she had big butterflies in her stomach. “Crawford, Jenna,” said one of the judges. She stood up from her seat, with her flash cards. Behind her, she could hear the boy whispering, “Fail.” Those words tugged on her shoulder. She thought to herself, “I’ve been waiting for this moment, and now it’s my chance to prove to everyone I can do it.” Jenna went over to the mike and inhaled deeply three times. Then she started:

“I love so many places in the world, but if I had to choose one, it would be the beach. The first time I went to a beach was when I was still five years old. I went with my aunts, uncles, and my cousins. We went to Phuket, Thailand. Some of us went to ride a small boat to the middle of the coral reef. It was brilliant down there. There were clown fishes laughing at me, with my black goggles on. Then I swam in to the cave, where I imagined a giant shark was lurking behind a rock.

I loved the life going on in the sea, even behind every little rock, there was an adventure happening…” Jenna felted as if she was swept into the story, and as if she was smelling the salty air by the beach… “I love this place because it is so magnificent, and it is a place that most people don’t consider very important. But I think it is. So we should protect it, and leave this place for everyone to see even in the next century.”

It was quiet after Jenna had finished. The audience was waiting for a final answer from the judge. Jenna’s heart was thumping faster and faster each second. Then she remembered the word ‘fail’ again. The same feeling had come back to her.

“Excuse me, yes, me please….That was brilliant, my child. I could not mark because I wanted to hear every single detail in your story without missing a single bit of it. I can truly understand why you love this place so much. Now, about the mark, hmmmmmm, let’s see. Ella, what do you think?” said the judge.

“It’s definitely an A. How about you George?” asked Ella.

“Oh it’s so obvious, and A+ dear,” said George with delight.

“In that case, she is in the next month’s semi-finals for this challenge!” boomed the first judge into the mike.

"Thank, you?” said Jenna confused. Then she ran off the stage like a scared puppy and went outside where her mom was waiting. Jenna was in tears, not sad tears, but happy tears.

“How did you do?” was the first question from her mom.

“I don’t know, I just…I got in!!” she yelled boldly.

“Wow, congratulations. I can’t believe it, this is fantastic! C’mon let’s drive to Ice-Cream Creamery.”

Even when they reached the creamery, Jenna still had tears in her eyes. She just couldn’t believe how she had got in. Was it magic, or just good luck? She had started off with a sick feeling, but ended up even going in the semi-finals. Maybe it was always like that; people start off being worried about messing up, but when they do it they are just swept into what they are saying. Confidence is all it is, if you are proud of your work, than be proud of it. Jenna also thought it was because she practiced a lot before she was on the stage.

* * *

(2 YEARS LATER)

Jenna is now in grade 7. She has changed a lot since the day she had her speech contest. She is still an excellent speaker, and she had won many awards for her speeches. Now, she has confidence in herself and she tries her best through everything. Here is one thing she would like to say to everyone, “Always try your best, regardless of what others say.”

 
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