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West Springfield Junior Wins Essay Contest

ennifer Levy, the McLean Community Players chair, presenting the $200 award check to Sofia Padilla, winner of McLean Community Players’ “Last Summer” essay-writing contest.

ennifer Levy, the McLean Community Players chair, presenting the $200 award check to Sofia Padilla, winner of McLean Community Players’ “Last Summer” essay-writing contest. Photo Contributed

The McLean Community Players (MCP) opened the 2012-2013 theatrical season with A. R. Gurney’s play “What I Did Last Summer.”

In connection with this production, MCP sponsored an essay-writing contest for high school students ranging from 15 to 18 years old. Entrants were to submit a short essay of no more than 300 words on the topic “Last Summer.” Entrants were tasked with describing a true experience that occurred during this past summer. The contest was promoted through MCP’s website, e-mail, social media and local outlets.

Essays received were evaluated by an impartial panel of three judges with the winning entry awarded a prize of $200.

The McLean Community Players have announced that the contest winner is Sofia Padilla, a 17-year-old junior from West Springfield High School.

"The Most Memorable Moment of My Summer"

The photographer motioned to me. The idea of getting my picture taken right now was preposterous. I felt like yelling at him, “Don’t you understand I’m about to have a nervous breakdown?” but somehow my lips curved into a smile as the camera flashed. Toast time. My heart beat huge, rapid beats, as if Usain Bolt was sprinting back and forth inside me. My stomach flipped and whirled like a 7-year-old on a trampoline. I commanded myself: breath. The DJ handed me a microphone and glass of wine. “I don’t drink...oh cider, right,” but I already had a speech and microphone to hold; I can’t hold three things at once. Nice seeing my brain still computed simple addition. “I don’t want it,” I repeated seventy times silently, but I didn’t stop the DJ from thrusting it to me. The condensation threatened to blur the words I worked so hard to perfect. Anxiety washed over me until I had the sense to just set it down. This was only the agony leading up to the moment. Now, here I was voice shaking, knees trembling, speaking about my sister, the most beautiful girl in the world who just married the coolest, most generous guy whom I could finally call my brother. As I told the 200 faces smiling at me how perfect the bride and groom are and how lucky I am to call them family, I saw my sister shed a tear. At that point, finishing seemed impossible. My voice quivered. My eyes filled with tears. Finally, I ended, wishing them happily ever after, then ran to the bathroom sobbing. The overwhelming happiness I felt for the marriage provoked me to ugly-cry with my other sister for 15 minutes, yet it became the most memorable moment of my summer.

By Sofia Padilla, age 17, junior at West Springfield High School