The student: Rachel Soobitsky, 8
School: Ilchester Elementary School
Special achievement: One of four second-graders chosen to represent Ilchester Elementary in a short-story competition in December as part of the State of Maryland International Reading Association Young Authors' Writing Contest. Rachel entered the contest with her story "Cats." "I like cats. I play with them every day," she writes. "They like to cuddle. They like to play."
What was her inspiration?: "I thought of my cat Jerry," Rachel says. "Every day when I come home from school, he always puts his back up and wants me to pet him and he wants me to brush him every day. ... It makes me happy if I had a bad day."
What's her favorite subject in school?: "Reading. A lot of the books have adventures, and I like adventures [because] people go to places or animals go to places where they've never been, and sometimes it makes them happy," she says. "It makes me want to write when I grow up and make stories."