As part of the celebrations swirling around Christmas including the Night Light Parade and the Kids Carnival sponsored by the Kuna Chamber of Commerce, the winners of the Youth Essay Contest were announced.
Reprinted here for your holiday reading pleasure are the first place winners.
This year’s theme celebrating Kuna’s 150th anniversary was for the essay writers to imagine an old time Christmas. Winners in each grade received $25 for first place, $15 for second and $10 for third. The overall grand prize winner in grades 9-12 received a laptop donated by Idaho Tech Repair.
A Beautiful Wake-Up Call
Samantha Sumpter from Falcon Ridge Elementary
It is Christmas Eve night and all of the kids cannot wait for the morning! My name is Rose and I am eleven years old. I have two siblings. Jake is nine and Grace is six. They’re bouncing off the walls in excitement! I am excited too, but exhausted.
We have been living at the 15-Mile House Stage Station for a year now. It is very cramped. There are seven families living here and more are on the way.
It is time to get ready for bed. We make a bed on the floor in front of the fire. It is freezing cold, so we all have to huddle up to keep warm. When Jake and Grace get warm, they finally fall asleep.
As I wake up on Christmas morning, I get the surprise of my life! All of the travelers are singing Christmas songs like a beautiful wake-up call. When I look around for Grace and Jake, I see them jumping up and down and singing “Joy to the World.” They are the most beautiful words I have heard in a long time.
I feel mentally refreshed, as well as physically. “Joy to the world. The Lord has come. Let Earth receive her King.” I am singing as I go and comb my hair. When I come back into the room, I get another surprise. There is a stocking hanging on the mantle just for me! When I open it, I find a peppermint stick and a shiny new penny!
Soon we eat a delicious dinner of rabbit, dried berries, salty strips of meat, and one potato each. It is the best meal we’ve had for more than a year! Then I think to myself, “I am the most blessed person in the world.”
Second place awarded to Kya Hoard from Teed Elementary
Third place awarded to Yazmine Stephens Geissler from Ross Elementary
Gage Wilson from Kuna Middle School
If I would have been here in 1864 and was living at the Fifteen-Mile House at Stage Station, this is how I would have celebrated Christmas…
It would be a cold, snowy day. You could hear the horses pulling the covered wagons through the wet snow. Seeing all the people passing by with red, rosy cheeks and noses from the cold, brisk winter day, but still smiling with hope that they will make it through another cold winter season. It would warm my heart to see that they were so strong and had so much faith and hope to keep going on.
I would enjoy helping get the horses ready and making sure there was enough supplies to be bought or to trade so they could make it to the next stop.
I would welcome the cold, tired, hungry, weak and sick to rest up, eat, get well, warm up and stock up on what they needed.
I would cut down my own Christmas tree and hand make all the decorations. I would enjoy the smell of fresh baked cookies and breads, while trying to forget the hardships of running a store and keeping my horses fed. It would take a lot of hard work to keep things running smoothly. Most of all I would enjoy helping everyone who passed through during these rough times and cold season.
The thought of Christmas and the spirit of the holiday season would always help me get through another winter season. Having enough faith and hope that I could do it. I would have to be there to help them all through it. I couldn’t let anyone down. This was the only stop between towns. This is what it would be all about. Helping others get on to the next town and giving a hand to those who were down. I would be so proud to help out in this little in between town.
Second place winner was Megan Audrey Patterson at Kuna Middle School.
Austin Olacsi, home school
December 25, 1864
A lot of things have changed for me and my family in the last few months. The civil was has just come to a close, and my family has moved to the 15 Mile Stage Station in Kuna, Idaho in search of gold in the Owyhee Mountains.
Christmas was very different for my family this year. My family normally spends Christmas alone, but since we live at the 15 Mile Stage Station, we had travelers spend Christmas with us. I am glad that I got to meet new people, but I would have preferred to spend Christmas only with my family.
Although Christmas was a lot different this year, I got what I wanted. I got a slingshot and an orange in my stocking this year. My dad also let me go hunting for Christmas dinner with him.
Christmas dinner this year was delicious. We ate duck, elk, mashed potatoes with duck gravy, sweet potatoes, stuffing, and the best pumpkin pie that I have ever had. The travelers seemed to enjoy our Christmas decorations. We decorated our tree with popcorn balls, and sugared fruit. Later when my sister and I went to bed, my mother told us a story.
Second Place Winner Jessica Erickson from Kuna Middle School
Third Place Winner Jamie Sugai from Kuna Middle School
Grade 9-12 and Grand Prize
An Unexpected Visitor
Corbin Winward from
Thump thump… Thump thump. I pressed my ear to the dying man’s heart as it struggled to function. Glimpsing at his blood-stained coat and deep wounds, I knew his chances. Despite the violent blizzards at this time of year, many men plunged into the heart of the Owyhee Mountains in hope of discovering its treasures. Few returned.
I thought back to this stranger’s story. He was new to the area and had braved the Owyhees with only his dogsled and team. After only a couple days, he began his long return to the 15 Mile Stage Station. It had been a long hunt, so he tied himself to the sled to rest. All had gone well until one of the head dogs began to suffer from a sprain. This short delay collided him in to the dog behind him, and so on. Eventually, this chaos caused the sled to flip over with its unfortunate passenger still attached. In short time, the injured dog pushed through his pain and the expert team rearranged itself. The next 5 miles found the man dragging on the jagged, unforgiving ice, until he arrived here.
My mind slowly reverted to the present. Suddenly, the man stirred. He opened his bloodshot eyes and clutched my arm with his one functioning hand. “Son, thank you for helping me. I will reward you greatly,” he coughed through trembling, frostbitten lips. By morning, he recovered slightly and I allowed him to stay at my inn until he improved further. When he departed, he generously left with me half of his discovered gold and silver. He smiled warmly and shouted, “I will be back this very day next year!” I left him with a firm handshake and checked my calendar. I anxiously circled December 25th.
Second place winner Lindsay German from Kuna High School
Third Place winner Bobbi Brain from Initial Point High School