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Pair pens prose that could cut their college costs

January 26, 2004 Glenwood Springs Elementary School, Glenwood Springs Colorado
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GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Fourth graders Madison “Maddie” Goodstein and Sierra Weast are really excited ” and a little nervous, too.

That’s because Maddie and Sierra are on their way to Denver on Saturday, Jan. 31, to compete in the third annual CollegeInvest “Who Wants to Be a College Student?” contest, at Invesco Field at Mile High. There, they can win up to $500 to put in their savings accounts for college.

The two Glenwood Springs Elementary School students were selected as top 20 finalists for a state-wide writing contest sponsored by CollegeInvest, a college savings plan. A panel of three metro Denver teachers read entries from 2,300 fourth-grade students throughout the state to choose the finalists.



The top 50 students are set up with $50 CollegeInvest college savings plans.

Glenwood Springs Elementary School fourth graders Hunter Brown and Josj Pearson also were finalists in the contest. Hunter was in the top 50 and Josj was in the top 100.



Maddie’s winning essay, “My Family,” described her mom Cheryl, dad Matthew, little brother Garrett, big sister Taylor, grandma Pat, and the family dog, a Labradoodle named Bailey.

“I picked that topic because I have a really good family, and because we just got a new puppy and I really wanted to write about him. He’s a cross between a Lab and a poodle.”

Sierra wrote about her community. She wrote about what she likes about Glenwood Springs and what she wishes she could change.

“My community is beautiful and great, but when I see homeless people it makes me sad,” Sierra said. “They don’t have food, and they don’t have food or anything for their children.”

Love those books

Both girls said they were surprised and happy to learn they’d been selected for “Who Wants to Be a College Student?”

“I felt really good,” said Maddie, when CollegeInvest staffers called her house to tell her the good news. “My sister picked up the phone, and then she gave it to my mom, and then my mom started crying.”

“I was really excited,” said Sierra. “I called my teacher, Miss Dwyer, but she was on the Internet so her line was busy. So I called my other teacher, Mrs. Geller, and told her.”

Sierra said she is looking forward to going to college ” even if it’s a ways off.

“It’ll be fun because you can stay up as late as you want,” she said.

For Maddie, college means something else.

“I think it’s going to be hard,” she said. “I think I’m going to have a lot of homework. Plus it stinks because I’ll have to move away from my family.”

Both girls said in the meantime, they love to learn, and they both have favorite subjects.

“My favorites are reading and math,” said Maddie.

“And my favorite author is Lloyd Alexander,” she added without skipping a beat. “I’ve read ‘The Black Cauldron,’ ‘High King,’ and ‘The Book of Three.'”

Sierra said her favorite subjects are reading and writing.

“I don’t really have a favorite author but who wrote ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’?” she asked. “Oh, C.S. Lewis. And I like J.K. Rowling. I’ve read all the Harry Potter books, but I saw the first Harry Potter movie before I read the book because back then, I was too young and I didn’t really know how to read.”

Strong support systems

Maddie’s teacher, Sher Kerschen, said Barb Brown, who heads up the talented and gifted program at Glenwood Elementary, introduced the school’s teachers and students to the college savings contest.

“We decided to go through the entire contest process at school instead of just sending the paperwork home so that all the fourth graders would be sure to enter,” Kerschen said.

Kerschen said Glenwood Elementary’s strong showing in the contest has a lot to do with the school’s emphasis on reading and writing.

“We really emphasize those subjects here,” she said. “And we’re very supportive of the students in those areas.”

Both girls said they get lots of support for their studies at school ” and at home.

“My mom and dad know what I’m doing at school,” said Maddie. “We talk about it.”

“We’re not spoiled, but our parents really help us,” said Sierra. “They’ll take the time to help us with our homework. Even when they have bills to write, they’ll stop and help us instead.

“Plus, our teachers cheer us on,” Sierra added.

Contact Carrie Click: 945-8515, ext. 518

cclick@postindependent.com


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