Literacy Essay Contest

Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy Essay Contest


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In a unique partnership, Dallas Children’s Theater and the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy (BBFFL) invited students from J. Erik Jonsson Community School to participate in an essay writing contest inspired by DCT’s stage adaptation of the popular book Pinkalicious.

J. Erik Jonsson Community School students in 3rd, 4th and 5th grades spent time in class learning about Barbara Bush and her passion for literacy. After reading the book Pinkalicious, students were challenged with a question from Mrs. Bush: “Before Pinkalicious turned pink from eating too many pink cupcakes, she never thought there would be consequences for too much of a good thing. Think about a time when you did not make mindful choices. What did you do? What consequences did you face? Write a short story about the experience.” The students worked on their essays in class and submitted them to the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. Mrs. Bush selected three winners, one from each of the three grades.


Winning Entries from the 2012 Barbara Bush Foundation
for Family Literacy Essay Contest

Winners were announced after watching a performance of Pinkalicious The Musical at Dallas Children’s Theater in October 2012. We invite you to take a minute of your day to read these smart and delightfully funny winning entries:

Listen to Your Mom
Leo Ontiveros, 3rd Grade
Winner Winner

On a rainy day it was cold and the rain was pit-pat-pounding on the street. I had finished my homework for the night. Then my mom came in with her raincoat all wet. “Leo, could you put the raincoat in my room?” “Yes mom.” I said. Mom asked, “Leo, are you feeling bored?” “Yes!” She said, “Let’s make gingerbread cookies tonight!” I smiled. We made them into dinosaur shapes: Raptors, T-rexes, Brontosaurs’, Pterodactyls and many more. It was super exciting because I love dinosaurs!

“Let’s eat them mom!” I yelled. “Let’s wait until after supper Leo. Let me wash my hands in the bathroom and then we will eat,” said mom. The moment she was gone, I started gobbling them up.
Then my mom caught me, red handed! “Leo, didn’t I tell you to wait until supper?” she said. “You are grounded!” My lesson was listen to your mom and don’t ignore her. You will get consequences.


My Goofy Hair Do
Thomas Orta, 4th Grade
Winner Winner

“Can I have a different hairdo, please”, I asked my mom. “No!” she said sternly. I sighed and walked away. I guess my cousin heard us because she whispered to me, “I can give you a hairdo”. I thought for a bit and said okay. She got a comb and some scissors and took me into the bathroom. My cousin wet my hair and started to cut. I saw chunks of hair flying everywhere.

After she cut my hair, she started to do all kinds of things with my hair. She sprayed it with some sort of gel in a can. Then finally she was done. I walked out of the rest room proudly until I say my mom’s face. I felt really bad because she was really disappointed. The next day my hair was really crazy and I had to go to school with it looking like that. Now I know that if you don’t want goofy hair you should always listen to your parents.


The Time I Fainted
Priscilla Cabrera, 5th grade
Winner Winner

One bright early morning we drove to my cousin Richard’s college for his graduation. When it was over we went to the place that we were having his party. Me and my three cousins were helping decorate. Alisa let us have balloons so we could suck the helium out of them, but maybe an entire balloon of helium was too much! When I got mine I was inhaling like there was no tomorrow.

“Not an entire balloon, Priscilla!” said my cousin Alex. But, I didn’t listen. I finished and there was no more helium…about 30 seconds later, I FAINTED! I woke up on the floor hearing my name. “Priscilla, Priscilla.”

When I woke up, my cousins tried cheering me up because I was crying. I was crying because one minute I was standing and then the next thing I knew, I was on the floor! Not knowing what happened was kind of scary.

When my mom got there I ran to her. “Why are you crying?” she asked me. I told her and they asked if we could go home. She said not right now.

The rest of the night I was fine, but I had a headache. Now I know never to inhale an entire balloon of helium.





For more information, contact Sandra Session-Robertson, Senior Director of Communications and Philanthropy, at 214-978-0110 or

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