PennySaverUSA readers never cease to amaze us. The caliber of the 579 total entries into our Share a Memory, Make a Buck contest was truly outstanding. It was extremely difficult to pick a winner, but the judges have reached a decision.
Congratulations go to Toni L. for her incredibly touching story, the quality of the writing and the fact she kept it to exactly the 250-word limit! Read it below:
I thought I had seen it all through my 30 years of teaching special education students: from the joy of the small accomplishments to the sad fact of being invisible. But not until our downtown Christmas caroling event could I say I hadn’t seen this coming. This year, my students chose 3 places to sing: the Senior Center, City Hall, and the Police Station. So, with guitar, bells and a few musical Santa hats, we boarded a city bus to the Senior Center. The hallway and lobby were noisy and crowded, so we sang our 4 songs and quickly moved on. We walked to City Hall and were told we could sing in the big, round, empty Rotunda where a few people thanked us from the upstairs balcony. One of my students asked, “Where is everybody?” My heart sank. I was now afraid of what we might find at the Police Station. We entered the empty lobby. I asked an officer at the front counter if we could sing a few Christmas carols. The officer stood for a minute, finally said yes, but added, “wait a minute and let me call around.” What happened next took my breath away. Within minutes, at least 40 staff filled the lobby and balcony: the Chief of Police, lieutenants, administrative personnel, detectives, crime prevention, street and gang officers. Joyful singing by all filled the lobby. The officers shook everyone’s hand and pinned police stars on all. They were still singing as we waved goodbye.
Toni L. was very excited about her victory, telling PennySaverUSA, “Thank you so much for your surprise e-mail telling me I won the contest! What an honor to receive this prize.”
It was really us who were honored, Toni L., to read your heartfelt essay.