Writing Contest Winners 2016-2017

Honorable Mention, Grades 6-8

Kaeleen Chen
Grade 6, Belmont Day School
Mr. Dean Spencer, Teacher

Who is the Most Powerful One of All?

I sighed. Looking down on my paper, I could see a bunch of scribbles. Not a good start. I crumpled up the paper and tossed it aside. It landed amongst the pile of other crumpled sheets. All of them were my failed attempts at writing an essay about how the MWRA deals with severe weather. I had been trying for the past three hours.

Then suddenly, I found myself in a storm. The air whistled past my ears. The temperature was alternating hot and cold. My desk had vanished.

Wait a second, I thought, the air can't be hot and cold at the same time. What is going on?

As if on cue, three figures formed around me. They were arguing loudly with each other.

I could see right through the first figure. Her hair whipped around her hazy figure. Vortexes swirled through her dress, sucking objects that flew by her, such as dust and leaves. They all got sucked into her dress and disappeared into the vortex.

The next figure had a transparent suit and pants made of raindrops and a black pork pie hat on. Water gushed off of his pork pie hat and splashed into the ground below. His eyes were swirling storms of green, blue, and gray.

The last one was dressed in a pair of shorts and a T-shirt. His skin was made up of burning heat waves. The remains of a water bottle were in his hands. The plastic was melting and dripping down his hands while the water that used to be inside had vanished.

"I am the most powerful weather force!" roared the first one.

"No, I am! Not you, WIND," thundered the second.

"Yeah right, RAIN," fired the third sarcastically. "I, HEAT am the most powerful."

"We should have a debate about who is more powerful," reasoned WIND. "Whoever wins is the most powerful weather force. HEAT, you go first."

"I cause droughts. I am the force of nature that destroys all. Lakes, rivers and ponds shrivel and dry up. Everything perishes with my touch. The Earth itself becomes cracked. I suck all the moisture out of the world! I, HEAT, am more powerful than either of you!" steamed HEAT.

"But the MWRA builds reservoirs such as the Quabbin and the Wachusett to deal with you. In fact, the Quabbin and the Wachusett systems are so large that they can last through short droughts without any problems," retorted WIND. "The MWRA has also been fixing leaks in their pipes, and they changed the state plumbing code so new toilets only flush at 1.6 gallons per flush to conserve water."

"Well, I am the most powerful." RAIN stormed. "I can cause flash floods everywhere. Also, Combined Sewer Outflow (CSO) and Sanitary Sewer Outflow (SSO) happen because of me: during heavy rainstorms that I create, excess water flows into the storm drains and combines with the houses' and buildings' sewage outflow. This overloads the sewer lines, causing contaminated water to be discharged into rivers and ponds. People are afraid of me!"

"But the MWRA deals with floods all the time. They make sure storm drains are installed and remain clear so that no water floods the streets. They have also been fixing the CSO problems since 1987. As of 2015, 34 CSOs have been closed, discharges from another 5 have been virtually eliminated, and 93% of the remaining CSO flows receive treatment such as screening, disinfection and dechlorination. Annual CSO volume has been reduced by 2.8 billion gallons a year. The MWRA is also working to increase capacity of the sewer lines to handle heavy storms," HEAT countered.

"Ha Ha, neither one of you is powerful enough! I, on the other hand, can bring down power lines and cause power outages. When that happens, the MWRA can't function properly because their machines will not work. Oh, did I mention that I cause storm surges?" bellowed WIND. "I am the most powerful of us all!"

"Yes, you do cause storm surges, but the MWRA is one step ahead of you! They made sure you could not affect Deer Island's Wastewater Treatment Plant by raising important parts of the island by 1.9 feet. You do cause power outages, but the MWRA found a way to tame you. They harness your power! The MWRA installed wind turbines that use your power to help them generate electricity," said HEAT. "The MWRA also has back up power generators in case the power goes out."

"Darn it," muttered the three figures in defeat. "Whatever we do, the MWRA has a plan to deal with us."

Ring, ring, ring. The sudden telephone ring startled me. Rubbing my eyes, I realized that I was still at my desk, but the three figures were nowhere to be found. Oh, it was all just a vivid dream! But, hang on a minute, now I have a great idea for my essay!

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