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Little Bear's Arrow
By Lydia MacRavey

Today I wake up and the morning air is crisp and cool. Despite the deer canvas tepee, the brisk morning air still makes its way inside. My owner, Little Bear, wakes up as soon as my four brothers do. Little Bear shivers, his blankets are warm, and the air is cool. At first he does not want to get out of his covers, then he remembers how important today is for the rest of his life. Today is the first time he hunts alone to prove he is a warrior, a real man. He has already sworn loyalty to the tribe and he even stayed up for his first watch alone. He slowly gets out of his blankets, shivering but proud of what midday will bring. Little Bear carefully checks the points of our arrowheads and places us into a long, thin bag. He doesn't want to damage us; he made the long, hard journey to Riverstones just to find the straightest wood, the sleekest feathers, and to file the sharpest points he could make for us. His father walks with him to the elders' tent, but is not allowed to go inside. The elders are pleased to see him, the food is low, and the other warriors are sick from sour meat. He is allowed to eat a little bit of food but then he is to begin his hunt. He grabs a small slice of smoked meat and then ventures into the forest of towering pine trees.

He is careful to make his footsteps inaudible, but it is difficult to silence the snapping and crunching of dry pine needles. After two hours, he has only seen four small squirrels and seven skinny chipmunks. He doesn't want to give up or come back with an inedible rodent, but it seems hopeless. The recent arrival of the strange white man, his creaky old carriages, and his use of the long black stick that shoots fiery, ill-shaped rocks on their journeys might have scared the good game away. Little Bear knows he could never catch a bison, but he wants to bring something decent to the elders, not some scrawny chipmunk. He crunches along a small path until he spies a moving shape feasting on some grass. Little Bear wants to run toward the animal, but that will scare it away. We slowly creep towards the animal. He realizes it is a deer as he grasps me from the bag and places me to his bow. Little Bear draws his bow and the deer sees us. Before it can run, Little Bear releases the string. At that moment I had never felt so much alive. I hit the deer, and it released a small cry before my brothers hit it as well, ending its journey. Little Bear looks ecstatic as he pulls us out of the deer. I think the deer is too large for him to carry, but with him being so dizzy with excitement anything is possible. With much difficulty he finally gets the deer back to camp.

The elders are extremely pleased. Not only did he bring back a deer, he showed perseverance and courage. Both are things a good warrior has. There will be a ceremony to honor him with much feasting and the bestowing of his new name, Running Bear. The celebration begins, and with more excitement than I have ever seen in camp before. There is feasting, activities for the children, and of course, the renaming of Little Bear to Running Bear. Running Bear tells us that there will be many more feasts for new warriors and that he plans to take us to every one. After the feast, he tells us that he will wash us and save us forever.

I watched Running Bear grow up to his full potential. He was a great warrior, always being quick to share his enthusiasm on a hunt or a kind word to a fellow warrior. He had a wife and two children that seemingly were always excited. Then one day I heard shouts and loud sounds that had no comparison. The white man had come again to take the land of our ancestors. Running Bear quickly put us into a thin sack, jumped on his horse, and fled to a nearby hollow. He placed us under a rock in the small cave in the boulders and we never saw him again.


Many years later a man in strange clothing found us. He had a top cloth that didn't extend to his elbows and lower cloth that passed his ankles. He wore boots as the white man, but a bulky head covering like we'd never seen before. He shouted in the white man's language as if he were excited. He took me to another man and they both were exceedingly joyous. So here I am now, in a glass casing called an exhibit and a huge building called a museum. At night, when the museum closes, all the exhibits talk to one another. We talk all night, though it is sometimes hard to hear each other except George, the Tyrannosaurus Rex. People get excited when they see us, especially children. The children make me think of Running Bear. It sometimes makes me sad, but I know he would be pleased at where I am now.

"Little Bear's Arrow" By Lydia MacRavey | StoryMakers 2012 | Rocky Mountain PBS
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2013 StoryMakers competition a great success!

This year we received more than 730 entries across 88 cities in Colorado.
We were blown away by the talent! This state is home to some truly gifted authors.

Congratulations to our winners and finalists of the 2013 StoryMakers writing contest!



6th grade finalists

Olivia Janicek, Denver – 1st place
Maxwell Wilderson, Fort Morgan – 2nd place
Grace Patrick, Greeley – 3rd place
Ezequiel Meraz, Fort Lupton
Aileen Le, Arvada
Rebecca Chapman, Denver
Joseph Quintana, Highlands Ranch
Caitlin Kincaid, Colorado Springs

7th grade finalists

Rachel Foote, Longmont – 1st place
Edie Tavel, Denver – 2nd place
Colin Cannici, Lakewood – 3rd place
Andrew Swanback, Arvada
Ella Beringer, Castle Rock
Melody Lipke, Alamosa
Benny Khouri, Fort Collins
Emma Risdon, Longmont

8th grade finalists

Mia Nelson, Denver – 1st place
Roger Nakagawa, Denver – 2nd place
Kendal McMaster, Denver – 3rd place
Nadia Stoker, Broomfield
Elliott Wyatt, Denver
Molly Worford, Denver
Gabriella Tuell, Broomfield
Aileen Ma, Longmont

These 3 winners and 5 runners-up per grade received:

  • Digital storytelling workshop and tour of our television studios
  • Stories published on our website
  • Awesome prizes, like Kindle Fires
  • Awards luncheon for students and families featuring keynote speaker, local author and radio personality Dom TestaCentury Link.png

StoryMakers At a Glance:

  • Each year, Rocky Mountain PBS offers this unique writing contest to middle school students statewide. We are in our seventh year!
  • The contest is sponsored by CenturyLink, a longtime supporter of the program who helped conceive of the idea back in 2007 with the education department at Rocky Mountain PBS and has helped to make it possible ever since
  • Open to students in 6th, 7th and 8th grades in Colorado. Entries are judged on originality, creative expression and storytelling
  • Our three winners – one in each grade – were selected out of more than 700 applicants across the state
  • Winners and finalists met in December for a digital storytelling workshop and seminar with Rocky Mountain PBS’ executive director of I-News, Laura Frank, on the value of investigative journalism, and were celebrated at a luncheon on January 4th featuring keynote speaker and bestselling author, Dom Testa.
  • Stories were creative and powerful -- so extraordinary that the 45 volunteer judges often stopped to marvel “Wait, how old is this writer?”
  • Contest picks up again in the summer 2014 with an October submission deadline.

2013 StoryMakers Winners Featured on TV

Watch a segment of Colorado's Best Kids featuring our 2013 StoryMakers winners (video below):

2012 StoryMakers Winners and Finalists

StoryMakers Writing Contest

The 2012 Winners and Finalists are:

6th Grade
1st - Christian Olsen, "Without A Home" - Littleton, Goddard Middle School
2nd - Lydia MacRavey, "Little Bear's Arrow" - Centennial, Home Schooled
3rd - Elizabeth Blackmun, "Lady of the Lake" - Denver, Denver School of the Arts

Finalists
Chloe Applegate, "Rainin's River" - Denver, Denver School of the Arts
Ella Beringer, "The Chase" - Castle Rock, Soaring Hawk
Ashlyn Kofford, "The Life Necklace" - Longmont, Westview Middle School
Drew Sims, "A Little Help" - La Junta, La Junta Intermediate School
William Underhill, "Bernard" - Denver, Denver School of the Arts


7th Grade
1st - Annie Lell, "Blue Moon" - Arvada, Oberon Middle School
2nd - Mia Nelson, "Deaf Prayers"
 - Denver, Denver School of the Arts
3rd - Jake Daniel, "Through the Eyes of a Golf Ball"
 - Grand Junction, Holy Family Catholic School

Finalists

Nash Marez, "Adventure to Milkdud" - Grand Junction, Holy Family Catholic School 
Gillian Palazzini, 
"Through the Eyes of the Insane" - Merino, Home Schooled 
Clarice Reiner, 
"The Song of a Second" - Arvada, Oberon Middle School 
Britney Sarazen, "
Bullied to Bully" - Fort Lupton, Quest Academy 
Sydney Taylor,
 "Xanthe Soto, Girl Genius: Wind Power" - Denver, Homeschooled


8th Grade
1st - Erin Mallory, "Tricking the Sheep" - Windsor, Saint Joseph's Catholic School
2nd - McKinley Mueller, "Seven Days 'Til Heaven" - Ridgway, Ridgway Secondary School
3rd - Sydney Lewark, "Flying" - Denver, Denver Waldorf School

Finalists
Kinsey Brashears, "Elena Smith" - Fort Morgan, Fort Morgan Middle School
Torryn Elliot
, "The Adventures of Cedric" - Granby, East Grand Middle School
Abigail Weeks
, "Simplicity" - Centennial, West Middle School
Claire Wineman
, "The Conversion" - Denver, Denver School of the Arts
Margaux Woellner
, "The Maligned Hedgehog" - Englewood, West Middle School


Parent Testimonial

"I wanted to thank you for the Rocky Mountain PBS StoryMakers program. My daughter took part in the competition and was a runner up for the 8th grade group. The whole process was so thrilling for her to be part of. When we were at the studio for the celebration in January, she told us she felt like a movie star. She loved learning to record her story and download illustrations, but most of all I think she loved the fact that so many people were involved in the whole process, and that most were involved through volunteering. 

She was so inspired... Our children need to feel important in order to succeed, and every small step counts. This support needs to be more than just parents and teachers. When our children see other adults and important people involved in their futures, it paints a bigger picture for them. Thank you for painting part of this bigger picture." 


-The Bretts, Eaton, Co.


Rocky Mountain PBS and CenturyLink encourage teenagers to keep reading and writing.  

Thanks to everyone submitting a story and special thanks to our major sponsor, CenturyLink.

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