As a writer, Tess, 11, accents the positive

STUDENT ACHIEVER

November 28, 2001

The student: Toireasa "Tess" O'Brien, 11

School: Ilchester Elementary

Special achievement: Chosen to represent her school in the State of Maryland International Reading Association Young Authors' Writing Contest in December of last year. Tess wrote an analogy between the journey of a water droplet and life's journey.

An excerpt: "What do you see in that drop of water?" she wrote. "Sadly enough many people see a waste of water. They see the odds are the one drop will land on the ground and just become dry." But she wrote of an alternative view: "I would see the one drop of water falling into the stream. Traveling down into the stream, traveling down to the lake and leading from the river into the big vast ocean."

How did she choose her subject? She wanted to encourage people to accomplish goals by thinking positively. "I was at my first swim meet, and I couldn't even get in the water," Tess said. "I was scared. ... And then I went out and won it. My coach always tells us to visualize what we're going to do and winning, and I just was visualizing finishing it because I didn't think I could win it. But in the end, I visualized winning it, and I did."

What does she like about writing? "You sit quietly when you write," Tess said. "And when I sit quietly, I can circle the world out and calm down."

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