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FTHS Juniors Win December APP Essay Contest

Jennifer Rose (left) and Ally Knighton (right) both earned recognition  from the APP.

Jennifer Rose (left) and Ally Knighton (right) both earned recognition from the APP.


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Two FTHS juniors earned awards from the Asbury Park Press for their December submissions to the APP Student Voices essay contest. Students were assigned to respond to the question, “What was the best gift you ever received?”  Ally Knighton, who has earned awards for her entries multiple times, placed first for her essay titled “Learning the Truth about Santa Claus.”  Jennifer Davenport earned an honorable mention for her essay, “The Gift of Truth.”  Both entries can be read below.

 

“Learning the Truth about Santa Claus” by Ally Knighton

In my seven year old body, there was a lot of skepticism. Every tooth lost and quarter under the pillow, every Bigfoot movie watched, every easter Bunny basket was inspected. That is, until I devised a plan of my own to see the truth about the man of the hour, the king of fairy tales, the grand chalupa; Santa Claus. The most grandiose and devious plan was hatched and the primary thing on my Christmas list was this; a bell from Santa’s sleigh or straight from Rudolph’s halter for good measure. After mailing out my list, I waited for the results.

On Christmas morning, I remembered opening the smallest box last and being…surprised. There was a golden bell with a red velvet string nestled into tissue paper. My hands inspected every centimeter of the bell and it was weathered, scratched, scraped-just as anything facing the elements should have been. It was, strangely, all the proof I needed. I kept it in my dresser and sometimes would sleep with it in my hand on particularly harsh days of the second grade. Looking back I suppose it symbolized my youth and innocence, a tiny hand clutching on to the only truth of a short life so far, or maybe my sense of gullibility.

The next year, my dad let it slip that the big guy up there (Santa) wasn’t exactly the source of all my gifts. I was hurt, beaten, battered, and my mind just jumped right back to the bell. Right from Rudolph’s red halter.

I don’t believe in the tooth fairy anymore and my teeth have stayed firm inside of my mouth, every Bigfoot sighting simply makes me laugh, and my mom just started asking what I wanted on Easter morning. I still don’t know where the bell came from or how it looked so used and real. It distorted my belief and kept me clutching onto Santa for so long until I lost hope.  But in actuality, I lost the bell. It disappeared along with my childhood over the years in a loose pair of stockings, a lone sock, an old sweater. Just like I’ve lost a lot of other things.

 

“The Gift of Truth” by Jennifer Davenport

A child’s world is so much larger than anyone else’s, because most of what children see is not actually seen, but believed. Imagination is encouraged from the beginning of life through stories of locks on castles with dragons and crowns to movies in the clouds, swaying in the wind with a red S on your cape. However, the living imaginations of children have turned into money-making concepts more than cherished memories. Coloring books, shows, movies, and more show the iconic white-bearded, jolly man every December. Children love getting opening their presents Christmas morning, videotaped as they scream and cry with joy over their new toys. I was never one of these children. The best holiday present ever given to me was the truth.

The scene in mention occurred many years ago. I was sitting at our old dining room table and Christmas was in season. My mother, older brother, and I were sitting together. “Do you know about Santa?” my mother had asked me. I didn’t need time to shake my head before my brother slipped the words. “He’s not real.” The secret was given, not because my mother wanted me to stop believing in Santa, but because she couldn’t afford presents that year, and didn’t want me to feel bad if Santa didn’t give me anything.

Most people may consider it a depressing time when they learned the truth about Santa. I, however, am not like most people, and have never been. Over the years, my world has narrowed as my imagination was grown out of like shoes, but I have the knowledge no other child had at my age. It is not worth it to believe lies just to be like everyone else. It was not Christmas day that the secret was given, and it was not necessarily a present, but from that day on, when kids were coloring in Santa’s red suit in coloring books, I colored his suit orange, or purple, and maybe his beard was green. A child’s imagination is precious. I would rather expand my creativity myself, than to imagine something that everyone else believes in, and the gift of truth helped me learn that.

 

 

 

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FTHS Juniors Win December APP Essay Contest