Molly M.

Second Place Winner

I will continue to work to afford my education, but it is entirely worthwhile. Elnora showed me that education is worth hard work when I was ten years old, and now I know it is true myself.

My favorite book is "A Girl of the Limberlost," by Gene Stratton-Porter. I first read it when I was ten years old. The main character, Elnora Comstock, became an instant role model for me. Elnora is sixteen, and her father died before she was born. Her mother, Mrs. Comstock, does not treat Elnora kindly, because Mrs. Comstock is unaware of how to express her mixed emotions toward her daughter. Elnora wants to go to high school and someday to college. She works to pay for tuition and books she needs to attend school in the city, and she walks six miles every day to go there. The story concerns about five years of her life. Elnora, whose grace and kindness allow her to overcome her financial hardship, graduate from high school, and make many friends, finally falls in love with a young man visiting the country. When she finds out he is already engaged, she treats his fiancee as her sister, even though the girl is rather mean to Elnora. Eventually, after he leaves his fiancee, Elnora and the young man are married, and Elnora goes to college.

Since the first time I read this novel, I have hoped to be as much a graceful and beautiful person as Elnora. Elnora's mother finds out at one point in the novel that Mr. Comstock cheated on her the night that he died, and she mourned him for nothing. She realizes she has treated her daughter unfairly, and Elnora accepts her mother back into her life. With my own experience as an emancipated minor, I had to leave my family at sixteen. After my mother left her abusive husband, I was able to regain my relationship with her, and I hope I showed as much love as Elnora did to her mom.

In addition to her commitment to her family, Elnora Comstock is dedicated to her education. She works selling butterflies to pay for tuition and books. This influenced how I understand my responsibility to my education. When I was given the opportunity to attend the Maine School of Science and Mathematics, I worked in a strawberry field for two years to earn the money necessary to attend. I am dedicated to my education, and I am excited about the opportunity to attend college in Oregon next fall. I will continue to work to afford my education, but it is entirely worthwhile. Elnora showed me that education is worth hard work when I was ten years old, and now I know it is true myself.

Elnora Comstock is a bright girl with grace and love towards her family and friends and dedication to her education. Her presence as a character in my childhood through "A Girl of the Limberlost" inspired my commitment to working for successful relationships and a chance to learn.