Pictured left to right are Lauren Hoerstkamp and Kendal Frick.
Photo Courtesy of Kathy Oetterer
Each year Southeast Missouri State (SMSU) holds a writing contest for students across the State of Missouri for students in grades 4-12, which are divided into three separate grade divisions.
Two Franklin County R-2 students, Kendall Frick and Lauren Hoerstkamp both received Southeast Missouri State’s Writing Achievement Award by placing in the top three in their age divisions.
Hoerstkamp was awarded third place in the 4th – 6th grade division for her nonfiction piece titled, “The Four H’s”.
In her piece she talks about how much she has already learned from being a 4-H member as well as the meaning of the four H’s, Head, Heart, Hands, and Health. You can read her entire article below.
Frick placed second for her fictional story titled, “S.G.E. Company” in the 7th – 9th grade division, which you can read below.
Congratulations to Lauren and Kendall on your extraordinary achievement.
The Four H’s
by Lauren Hoerstkamp - Mrs. Oetterer, teacher
Everyone should join 4-H, because it is a great organization, and there are a lot of things to learn and do. 4-H taught me a lot of great things and it can teach you the same. Some people like showing animals, and some people just like doing crafts, but no matter what, 4-H has something for you.
4-H is an organization that helps kids to develop their leadership skills. The 4-H’s stand for Head (knowledge), Heart (friendship), Hands (hard work), and Health (living). There are over 100 projects you can do in 4-H, like archery, tie-dye, textiles, cooking, cake decorating, and more. I par- ticipated in the Swine Project last year, and I had a great experience.
The Swine Project began in January. First I chose my pig from a farm up north. Next we brought the pigs home and we gave them medicine. They needed to be fed and watered twice a day, and we worked as a group taking turns to make sure this got done. The pigs started out weighing about three pounds, but by summertime, they weighed over one hundred pounds.
Soon it was close to fair time. We had to separate the pigs by weight. We thought my pig might be too big, so we had to separate it into a differ- ent pen so that it would not eat as much as the other ones. Then, we loaded up all the pigs onto a trailer. It took us awhile because some of the pigs got out and tried to run away. We drove them down to the Washington fair- grounds. The next day we weighed them. Just 4 more pounds and my pig would have been over weight. I was so relieved!
Then after we all went around the fairgrounds and rode rides it was then time for bed. I went home; I knew I had a big day ahead of me be- cause I was showing the next day. Finally it was here — showing day. I was so nervous I had to wait forever because I was the second to the last class. Finally, it was my time to show. I went out there and the judge looked very serious. After I was done, he said that I won First in Class. I could not believe it!
My friends and I went and rode rides. My two cousins and I went on the Fireball that goes in a complete upside-down circle. I was scared to death.
The next day it was selling day! All I could hear was the auctioneer yelling numbers, and Dave Schatz, our State Representative, bought my pig. I thanked him.
The fair was finally over, and I learned a lot about hard work, respon- sibility, and friendship. Everyone should try 4-H, because learning and experiencing the four H’s (Head, Hands, Heart and Health) are great ways to learn about life. I love 4-H, and that is why I am doing it again this year.
by Kendall Frick —Kathy Oetterer, teacher
I woke up drenched in sweat trying to remember what had and hadn’t happened. I turn to a small yellow glow, saying 6:30 a.m. I look around and see a purple and zebra print room. Is this my room? Have I made it out of the S.G.E. Company?
What has happened? Where am I? How did I get to this place? These words kept running through my mind. I try and take in my surrounding, but can’t exactly wrap my mind around it. Woods. . . Surrounding me in every direction. . . there’s a bed almost like a cot but more durable. . . a supply of canned food and Gatorades. . . firewood? Hoping this is all a bad dream, I lie down on the soft but lumpy cot trying hard to ignore all the spooky and creepy sounds of the woods. Tossing and turning the whole time, I finally went to sleep in what I thought was a dream, but it turned out I had another dream all together. I was falling, falling fast, flying by me were blurs of cliffs and buildings.
I tried to wake up but just couldn’t. Finally it was like I was able to fly; I just started to float slowly down, until I felt like I hit a body of water, sputtering trying to catch my breath above the surface. With a jolt I woke up from my dream in the woods. And again I look around hoping to see any thing, any place, anywhere, but woods. Why me? Why me? Why am I still in these woods! Wait, who am I? I look up to see the sun or is it? I don’t remember the sun looking bluish green. Oh well, what could I do about it anyway? I can’t even remember who I am or much about anything anymore.
I guess I might as well start looking around, maybe I can find some- one to talk to, maybe they’ll know who I am or how I got here. It feels like I’ve been walking for miles and every tree looks identical to the next. Wait a second, I heard animal and bug noises last night, but I don’t see a single bird or even a tiny ant! Wait! I see a small log cabin; I start run- ning toward the cabin. I’m almost there. Splat!
I bounce back and hit the ground cushioned by fallen leaves. These leaves are made of plastic . . .is this some kind of joke . . .plastic leaves . . .glass with a realistic log cabin on it . . .does someone think they can do this to me?! What is happening? I start to jog along the glass, only to find out that I’m trapped in a square box with log cabins every once in a while. Those look as real as real can get, but there is no way to get in the log cabins. I just don’t know what to even do. I’m trying hard to remember, but my memory is fuzzy like when you can’t see correctly or something is far, far away.
I start to walk back to where my cot was but have no idea where it is. So I just start walking; it seems like hours, and I still haven’t found my cot. I reach into my jean pocket and pull out a tightly folded piece of pa- per. I unfold it and start to read:
We have chosen you to join our experiment for two weeks. We hope you are comfortable on your cot and have enough food. We will be sending you a visitor soon. Be on the look out. We
will explain all of this A.S.A.P.
Well, at least I know my name, Aurora, and I am a part of an experi- ment, so is this a dream, or isn’t it? This letter is freaking me out! Who is S.G.E. Company? Are they really a company or is this part of the “experi- ment”? After walking some more I finally reach my campsite.
I grab a Gatorade and gulp it down. I try and make sense of what has all happened to me, but still can’t put the pieces together. Suddenly it has gotten dark; I guess I should go to bed. I start to fall and hit the ground with a thud! I rub the sleep out of my eyes and look around. It is still dark, but almost light. I get back up and try to go back to sleep but I can’t go until it starts to get light.
I mark in the dirt two lines to mark the two days I’ve been here, and count to see that I have twelve more days here! What am I going to do for twelve more days?! I am going to go crazy! There is absolutely nothing, I mean nothing, to do! I wonder who or when my visitor will come? I grab a granola bar from my stash of food and decided to go wandering to see what I can find in this square glass box. At first I thought I saw an ant but it was just a spec of dirt on the ground.
Then I come to a small pool of crystal clear blue water. I start running toward it and jump so I would land in a refreshing pool, but I can’t because like everything else in this square box it is plastic! I looked down through the water and see a light almost like from a projector, and hear for the first time a low, and quiet hum- ming noise coming from below. Wait, now I think that I have been walking on glass this whole time but the one thing I think is real is the grass. It’s definitely not made of plastic. I continue randomly walking around, but nothing unusual happens.
I start running to the edge of my “closed-in-box experiment,” trying to see if anything has changed. I glance back and see a door swing out into this area. I start to run backward toward the door because it was like a force was stopping me from going forward. Then just like magic—the force was gone. I go to the spot and push and pushed on the spot hoping it would open up, but no such luck. Feeling worse than ever about this whole experiment, I slowly start to try and find my cot and food.
After what seems like only two minutes I am back to my cot. Some- one must have been here. When I left, my food was on one milk crate and my Gatorade was on another milk crate. Now they are switched. But who could have been here? I haven’t heard or seen anyone since I saw the door open. After another restless night of trying to sleep, I decide I couldn’t lie down any longer. I made another mark in the dirt. I’m up to three marks now. I look around to see if anything has changed, but sadly it hasn’t. I must have slept longer than normal. The sun is straight above me now. I decide to explore again.
Maybe I will see my “friend” who still hasn’t come. So I grab a Gatorade and another granola bar and head out. I start slowly, dragging my feet, wishing I had some more clothes to change into. My clothes are getting grosser by the day. Suddenly I hear a high pitched, squeaky voice; I look around and turn in circles until I see an intercom lower down from the top of the glass square. It said: Tomorrow Lacey will come and join you in the experiment. She will come at dawn but you will have to find her or a life may be lost. Lacey will be inside of the glassed-in area. I repeat you must find her or a life may be lost. Then the intercom rises back up and the piece of glass goes back into place, with a soft clink. Unbelievable! This friend I don’t even know and I have to find her (not that I don’t mind being nice), but someone’s life may be lost, in this huge area, how am I suppose to do this? I guess I need to go back to my cot and go to sleep so I will get up before dawn. When I finally reach my cot there is now a magenta tent over my area; a pretty big one too! And again my food and drink crates have been moved. This time they are moved to the inside of the tent. I tiredly go into my tent and fall fast asleep.
The next morning, while it was still dark outside my new tent, I fished around in each crate for something to drink and eat. I made another mark on the ground. I’m up to 4 days now (only 10 more days). After eating something I get up and started to walk around slowly, carefully listen- ing for anything I could see or hear. I walk up to a boulder, actually not made of plastic, and sit down.
I sit there until dawn slowly approaches, and decide I might as well start walking until I find this Lacey person, which could be a long, long day for me. Yippee! After miles and miles of walking, I see a bag and cot were being put up; quick as lightning I dart behind a tree and silently watch the cot and bag being put out and emp- tied into a crate. But who is putting this up? I don’t see anybody.
Wait! There are huge blocks missing from the glass top of the square; the S.G.E. Company must have put the tent together on top of the glass and then lowered it down through the glass ceiling. But, the glass isn’ t see through; it is almost foggy. Now I just don’t know what to think about this whole experiment, but I guess I must find this Lacey person still.
So I continue this long, long, tiring trip through most of the square glass without see- ing anyone, anything, or any kind of life at all. I decide to go back to my tent and see if I see anything new or exciting has arrived. Plus, I’m kind of hungry from all this walking and searching. Getting back to my cot is easier now because I have marked my surroundings. I found a girl lying on the ground. I rush over to her and say.
“Hey, are you okay?” She slowly opens her eyes and starts screaming. It takes me awhile to calm her down. I start by saying my name. “Hi, I am Aurora. Are you Lacey?” I ask. “Who are you? How do you know me? Where am I am?” she answered me. “Well, sadly, I can’t answer all those questions. I am Aurora, that’s about all I know about myself right now.
My memory is very fuzzy right now. Where are you? As you can see you are trapped in a square glass, where the top can be opened in sections. Who you are? I don’t exactly know, but my guess is that you’re Lacey. An intercom came down through the top of the glass and told me that someone would come. It said her name was Lacey and then it told me that someone is going to die.”
“So let me get this straight, you’re Aurora. And you don’t really have a memory. You knew I was coming, you also know my name is Lacey. I’m in a square box. Also someone is going to die today sometime. And you heard this from an intercom from the top of the box?” she recited back to me.
“Pretty much, oh and check you pockets for a piece of paper.” “Why?” said Lacey. “Just do it!” I exclaimed. “Okay, wait I found something!” screamed Lacey.
“Open it!” I screamed. The letter said:
Dear Lacey, We have chosen you to join our experiment for nine days. We hope you are comfortable on your cot and have enough food.
You will be found by a girl, Aurora, she has also been chosen for this experiment. We will explain all of this A.S.A.P.
“Whoa! That’s almost the exact same letter I got!” I told her.
We decided to go back to try and find her cot and bring it into my tent. I told her I saw a cot being put up for her. After a couple hours we spot the cot and rush over to it seeing something glittering in the sunlight. It ended up being a cell phone. Lacey recognized it was hers and turned it on, only to find out that there was no signal. We were so devastated we sat down on the cot and chowed down on some beef jerky and Gatorade. After we fin- ished we carried the crate of food and drinks to my tent. On the way back to get Lacey’s cot we spotted someone up in a tree.
“Hey, are you okay?” I yelled up.
There never was a response so we walked around so we could see their face. On the boy’s shirt was S.G.E. Company in bold white letters. Finally he gave us a response.
“Hi, I am Caleb.” “What are you doing?” Lacey shouted. “Just give me a second and I will be right down,” replied Caleb.
After a lot of struggle, Caleb came down to join Lacey and I. And right away he did a lot of explaining this whole mess I’m in.
“Okay, so first off, do you know who or what the S.G.E. Company is?” “No.” replied Lacey and I at the same time. “Well, it’s an experiment inside a square glass, and S.G.E. stands for
Square Glass Experiment Company. You’ve both been randomly chosen. I am not in charge of this experiment. I just help with it. I can help you guys escape without anyone knowing it, but it will be one day before I can do that. This experiment is just to see how long humans can live without anyone else to talk to or see. But Aurora is so smart she figured out how big this square glass is and, Lacey, you found Aurora’s campsite. So are you interested in leaving?” explained Caleb.
“Yes!” screamed Aurora just a bit too loud.
“No,” replied Lacey “This is just a dream for me and I will return back to my life soon enough.”
“Well then, Lacey, goodbye; you have passed the test. Aurora come with me. I will help you, but you will have to pay me back in return.” said Caleb.
And just like that Lacey disappeared into thin air. What? Lacey gets to leave this miserable place, I have to stay here? This is my 4th day here and she was here for like a day. This is so not fair!!!!
“Wait, this is a dream. I don’t want to leave,” I cried.
“Well, like I told you I can help you get out of this,” Caleb told me. “But first you must wait one day.”
So Caleb climbs back up the tree and leaves me. Now I’m back to the start with no one. I slowly walk back to my tent feeling worse than ever, so this is a dream, how come it doesn’t seem like one or how come I haven’t woken up yet? What am I going to do?
Wait a second! How come I haven’t honestly felt hungry at normal meal times I just grab something and go? What am I going to do? I don’t even know if I trust this Caleb person because he is working for whoever is in charge of this experiment. And how can he get me out of a dream if I am in a dream?!?! Suddenly it went super dark like someone had turned off the lights.
Then in a minute’s time, it was daylight again. Spooked I went into my tent to sit down and think about what I am going to do. Wait a second! The days don’t seem that long. For all I know it could be 20 to 30 minutes, that would start to explain how this is a dream. A tapping noise on my tent pulls me out of my thoughts. I get up and open the tent to face Caleb.
“What do you want?” I said. “Just wondering if you would like my help,” replied Caleb. “Well, I know now why this is a dream,” I stated. “Very good. You have gotten somewhere. So now you can just simply enjoy it here for a little while and you will return to your actual life. This is all I can help you with—just walk around and you will return. It’s up to you. Good-Bye and Good Luck!” With that being said, Caleb left.
So taking Caleb’s advice I started to walk around, and I pretended that I was having the time of my life walking outside through a village of log cabins. I start to have a weird tingling feeling come over my body. Then before I know it I start to rise and float up and out of the square glass.
I woke up drenched in sweat trying to remember what had and hadn’t happened. I turn to a small yellow glow, saying 6:30 a.m. I look around and see a purple and zebra print room. Is this my room? Have I made it out of the S.G.E. Company?! I think so!
What a nightmare that was. I thought I was never going to get out of that terrible place. I get up and put on a dif- ferent pair of clothes. Never am I going to wear jeans and a t-shirt to bed. I will now wear pajamas. I walk out of my room and go downstairs to find my parents at the kitchen table, eating breakfast. I take the empty spot and start on my bowl of Cheerios.
When I am done I go outside to wait for the bus. It finally comes and I climb the stairs onto the bus. I head back to my normal seat next to my best friend Lacey. I must have given her a puzzled look because she looked very confused. I tell her about my dream of the S.G.E. She told me that it wasn’t a dream; we had really been in an experiment for five days, but we were let out at the end of the five days. So I really was in an experi- ment, but part of my “dream” was partly dream and partly reality.