Writing Contest Winners 2019-2020
Honorable Mention, Grades 6-8
Grade 7, Atlantic Middle School, Arlington
Ms. Holly Rendle, Teacher
"Splash!" Water spilled all over the floor causing a puddle to form underneath Ben. On top of the fact that Ben had to do a whole project in one night, he also had to clean up this mess. The water seeped into his socks making them colder than ice cubes. He ripped his socks off and gathered some paper towels. This was not a rare occurrence for Ben. In fact he was quite ungainly so this sort of thing happened quite frequently. He cleaned up the mess with the paper towels, but just as he was going to dispose of them in the toilet he heard a small yell.
"Stop!" Ben looked around, aghast that the saturated paper towels seemed to be talking to him. He assumed he was imagining things, since he was home alone, until he heard the voice again, "Stop!" This time the voice was louder and more defined. Ben looked down at the glob of paper towels he was holding and jumped back, almost dropping it into the toilet. "Please, wait!"
"But why? I always flush my paper towels down the toilet. Why is this time any different?" Ben questioned. The small pile of paper towels started to get mushy in his hands, so he set them down on the side of his sink as they continued talking.
"When you flush things like paper towels, dental floss, wet wipes, medication and gum, it damages the pipe systems." Even though they were telling Ben what shouldn't be flushed, he still didn't understand why.
"What happened to the things that get flushed?" Ben thought, pondering the idea. Suddenly another quiet voice from the other side of the bathroom appeared. Only this time it seemed to be coming from a small box of dental floss, only now with small eyes and a mouth.
"Now, I know you must be wondering, what happens to these things when they do get flushed," the small dental floss added with its timid voice. "Dental floss doesn't break down, and because of that it can seriously clog the pipes and cause environmental damage." This made it a little more clear for Ben, but he still didn't fully understand the consequences of flushing these things.
"Flushing wet wipes can be even worse!" This new voice startled Ben. He swung his body around, eager to see where the deep voice was coming from. ·When you flush wet wipes it creates the Fatburg Effect." The wet wipes proclaimed. Although they seemed confident in their statement, Ben was still confused.
"What's that?!" Ben asked. The package of "f1ushable" wipes looked flabbergasted.
"You've never heard of the Fatburg Effect!?" The wet wipes seemed hurt he didn't understand. "This happens when wet wipes and other things like dirt and grease (which also should never be flushed or put down the drain) form together creating something like an iceberg within the sewer system. This causes severe clogging of the pipes, which is expensive!" Ben was amazed that serious problems like that could happen just from the stuff he was flushing.
"I guess I’ve never really thought about what happens to the things I flush." Ben said ashamed. "This really helped me open my eyes to what really happens when I flush.”
Ben grinned realizing he didn't have to be ashamed because he learned something new.
"Now that you understand what happens, please share your knowledge with your friends, family, and classmates!" The paper towels replied, now starting to dry out.
"Well I do have a project due tomorrow. Maybe I could do it on what not to flush!" And with that, Ben ran out of the room eager to begin his project. He had never really been inspired to do a school project before, but he knew that whatever he made it had to be good ... because this message is important! Ben worked hard on his poster, making sure everything was perfect.
Although he was very confident in his poster he was still nervous. His stomach twisting and turning. He didn't know if his classmates would be as intrigued by this subject as he was. When it was his turn to present he took his poster and placed it in front of the class. His palms were sweaty, and all eyes were on him. He really wanted his classmates to understand what he was saying. He took slow deep breaths and presented to his class. With every word he said he got more and more confident. By the end of his presentation the whole class was interested in how to be a responsible citizen and take care of our sewer systems by flushing ONLY toilet paper and human waste. After his presentation the class applauded. He felt satisfied knowing that everyone would now think about what they were flushing.
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