MWRA 2009-2010 Writing Contest Winners

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Jarod Torres
Grade 6, Andrews Middle School, Medford


From Daily Chore to New Passion

The sun is shining and the birds are chirping. Two signs the summer vacation is almost here. I'm really exited and can't wait to hang out with my friends! I'm going to pack this vacation with what I love to do, sleep. Oh yeah and I'll be sure to save some time for basketball, baseball, football and soccer. In between video games that is.

Well, my perfect dream came to a screeching halt when on the last day of school my parents told me I needed to get a job. Seeing that I loath all kinds of work, I could tell that this wasn't going to go well.

My parents laid low for a few days but directed me to the classified section in the Sunday paper. A smile spread across my face and I circled all of the jobs that I thought I would be a perfect fit, CEO, chief surgeon, private investigator. Dad didn't think my jokes were that funny and told me that he saw an ad for student environmentalist. It actually sounded kind of cool until. .. I went down to the department of public works and found out that for the entire summer of 2010, I, Herring Baxter Frasduckle, would be officially picking up trash all along the Mystic River. GREAT! (and I am saying that sarcastically, if you didn't notice).

Day after day after day, in my tan shorts, moss green shirt topped off with a dirt brown hat, you could find me with bags in tow of gross burger wrappers, soda cans, and other crazy stuff, I mean CRAZY STUFF! The only thing I looked forward to was seeing this duck family that passed at the same time every day for me to feed them. At the end of each day I started to feel really grossed out. I thought about the fact that not only would it be great that this job wouldn't exist if everyone properly threw out their trash, but it also bothered me that so much of it was recyclable. Today for example, I collected 47 plastic bottles, 86 cans, 181 cigarette butts and countless scraps of paper. Other than the cigarette butts, everything else is recyclable (counting makes the workday go by quicker).

On July 20, 2010, my life changed, my job turned from being a daily chore into a new passion. This is how it all started…I was picking up trash like any other day, so far I had collected 30 soda cans and 69 plastic wrappers. It went on like this for a little while. Then I saw it! The mother of the duck family I have been feeding for the past six weeks, had a plastic loop, for a six pack of coke, around its neck! I started to freak out! I had no idea what to do, so my instincts kicked in and I dialed 911 on my cell phone and they connected me to Animal Control. When the lady from Animal Control came she successfully took off the plastic loop. She told me that this was one of twenty-five other birds to be in this fatal situation this year that she had treated.

That's when my life changed, I realized that people, and not just any people, people that I knew, including me, were killing or scarring animals for life. That sight from July 20th has been in my head every day since then.

I'm now in the 7th grade. Every day on my way to the bus stop I make it a point to not only pick up "trash" but to tell my friends about the story.

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