FIFTH GRADE ESSAY CONTEST WINNER:
Katie Sproles, Lipsey Middle School, Brookhaven, Mississippi
In the fifth grade, there are many unknowns. There are some days when just surviving middle school seems like a big achievement. When thinking about comparing my life surviving school to those who survived wars, my life’s problems really do not compare. But, some of the feelings that I have and the feelings that soldiers have are probably very similar.
I think feeling scared and unsure of the future, even if that future is just to get to the end of the current day, is the same for everyone. The difference is made for everyone when we plan for the uncertainties and work toward success.
Entering into 5th grade this year, for me, meant many changes. Change itself is difficult for everyone because along with it comes uncertainty. In our small Mississippi town, the middle school is across town on a different campus from the elementary. The building is new, the principal and all of the teachers have new faces. As we get older, it seems like our friends begin to behave differently toward each other. At one time, we all seemed to enjoy spending time together in one large group. But, this year, it seems like we are beginning to break apart into a couple of different groups. My parents have talked to me about how to handle the situation. I have tried to remain friends with both groups. Some days are better than others and I try to continue to see the best in everyone, even when some of them seem to be showing their worst.
When comparing my 5th grade life to soldiers in battle, I do feel a little silly. But, for the purpose of this essay, I can see how there are some similarities. I get up in the morning hopeful but not sure of how my day will turn out. I follow the directions of my leaders (parents and teachers) not knowing if they will be pleased with me. I spend time alongside my peers, but I am not sure how they will respond to me or each other. I try to survive my day by doing the best I can while feeling uncertain about my situation.
In order to have success in the face of the unknown, you have to have more than one plan since you never know what the unknowns will bring. The important lesson to remember, whether you are fighting in a battle or surviving fifth grade, is that the unknown is always coming and you just have to handle it. You will not know what is out there and thinking through situations helps you feel more confident during your day. The certains in a world of uncertains are to stay calm, stay positive, be yourself, and do what you think is right all of the time.
Student Travel – WWII Educational Tours
High school and college students, learn the leadership principles that helped win WWII on a trip to France or during a weeklong residential program in New Orleans. College credit is available, and space is limited.
See You Next Year! HS Yearbooks from WWII
Collected from across the United States, the words and pictures of these yearbooks present a new opportunity to experience the many challenges, setbacks and triumphs of the war through the eyes of America’s youth.
The Victory Gardens of WWII
Visit the Classroom Victory Garden Project website to learn about food production during WWII, find lesson plans and activities for elementary students, get tips for starting your own garden and try out simple Victory Garden recipes!
The Science and Technology of WWII
Visit our new interactive website to learn about wartime technical and scientific advances that forever changed our world. Incorporates STEM principles to use in the classroom.
Kids Corner: Fun and Games!
Make your own propaganda posters, test your memory, solve puzzles and more! Learn about World War II and have fun at the same time.