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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "A Man is Known by the Company He Keeps" (without using the actual phrase). (01/31/08)

TITLE: Welcome to the 'Literacy for New Americans' Organization'
By Julie Ruspoli
02/07/08


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“Mom. The letter is here.” Tom yells excitedly as he runs into his parent’s house from the mailbox.

“Great. What does it say?”

“I’m so nervous I can hardly open it. Can you read it Mom?”

“Now I’m nervous. Let me see Hun. ‘Dear Mr. Calhorn, after careful selection and consideration, we are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted into the Literacy for New Americans’ Organization. Please call our Human Resource Office to receive further information and instructions to begin training.’ Tom, this is wonderful, congratulations, I am so proud of you.”

“I knew Mr. Flint would accept me.” Tom pumps his fist in the air and paces across the kitchen floor. “Do you realize how many people I can help now? Like that family we saw at the grocery store last week. And the family with the three pretty girls who have been attending church. There are so many folks here since the storm that don’t speak English. Dad and Cory are here.” Thomas, and Cory enter the kitchen. “Dad, they accepted me. We just opened the letter.”

“Son, that is terrific. Congratulations.” Thomas hugs his son and slaps his back. “I knew you could do it. You’ll do a great job.”

Young Cory jumps in. “Tom, does that mean you got the job for to help the people who talk Spanish?”

“Yes it does Cory. I’ll even be able to help the little boy that just joined your class.”

“I’m going to call them now.” Tom hugs his Mom as he takes the letter from her.

A week later Tom meets Jeff at a local mall kiosk for information about a hunting club.

“Hey Jeff. You’re right where you said you would be, great. I don’t have much time. My training starts tomorrow and I have a meeting early in the morning. I haven’t hunted recently, but I am looking forward to getting back into it.”

“Sure thing Tom. Here is a list of the events coming up.”

Mr. Flint walks up to Tom and Jeff with a small bag in his hand and shakes Tom’s hand. “Tom, nice to see you. I’m looking forward to our meeting tomorrow. Are you a member of this club?”

“How good to see you. No, I’m not a member yet, I’m here for information. This is Jeff Randolph, Jeff, Robert Flint.”

“Jeff, nice to meet you.” Mr. Flint shakes Jeff’s hand. “Tom is the newest employee of the Literacy for New Americans’ Organization. We train new Americans’ to speak English, therefore enriching their lives. You must not speak Spanish, do you young man?”

Jeff becomes very nervous and stammers as he speaks. “Uh, Mr. Flint, no I don’t. Didn’t learn in high school. Didn’t see any point in it.”

“Well Jeff, I’ve been watching your rude behavior toward the Hispanics that have approached your table. You made some hateful comments to them. What nationality are your ancestors Jeff?”

“Uh, well, my Mom’s family is German and my Dad’s is Irish and Russian.”

“Such a wonderful mixture of past immigrants to the United States. You might be interested to know, that your ancestors probably came to the United States because their own countries forced them to leave for many different reasons. Some due to religious beliefs.” Mr. Flint turns to Tom. “Tom, I’m surprised you are associating with Jeff since his beliefs are obviously not the beliefs of our organization. We have clauses in our contracts to dismiss employees who are caught going against our beliefs. I’ll have to have a meeting with the board to discuss your acceptance if this is truly how you believe.”

“Mr. Flint, I had no idea Jeff felt this way. We only meet a couple weeks ago and have never discussed our beliefs. I assure you, I knew nothing about him treating people badly. I only walked up a minute or two before you did.” Tom explains.

“Hey man, uh, Mr. Flint, Tom is telling the truth. I never thought about my ancestors like that.”

“Tom, I believe Jeff is telling the truth. I’ll think about my decision overnight and we will discuss this issue tomorrow. Jeff, the organization offers a free evening training class that teaches Americans’, like yourself, about the United States and why it is called ‘The Melting Pot’. Good day gentlemen.” Mr. Flint leaves.

“Jeff, I need to go. Call me after you take that class and we’ll talk.”

“Okay Tom, I’ll do that. Later man.”


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This article has been read 590 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Laury Hubrich 02/07/08
You kept my interest up in this story! Good job! Make sure you get someone to proofread your work, it's so hard for us to find our own mistakes. Keep on writing! Laury
Hanne Moon 02/10/08
Good job! Very on-topic! It's just a suggestion, but you might want to write in past tense when you're writing from 3rd person POV - it seems to make the reading easier. There were some grammar and punctuation mistakes, but getting a buddy to help you proof would help that. Keep writing!
Julie Arduini02/11/08
You show great potential here. Good dialog that kept the story flowing. Keep at it!
Marlene Austin02/11/08
Different slant to this topic. Nice job. :)
Jan Ackerson 02/13/08
Really creative idea for this topic--I don't believe I've read anything like it this week.

Some of your dialog sounded not quite realistic--a bit more stilted and formal than the way people actually speak. And I agree with Hanne--for a story like this, past tense would probably work better.

I love the compassionate attitude of your main character, and his enthusiasm for helping out.
Debbie Wistrom02/13/08
Great job tying your idea to the topic, I think Tom will go far.
Betty Castleberry02/13/08
Creative, out of the box entry. Well told and nicely done.
Sara Harricharan 02/13/08
A few typos here and there, but otherwise a pretty engaging story! I'm glad that Mr. Flint was able to 'straighten out' things, this was an interesting storyline and I was glad to follow it along and see what happened next! Great job! ^_^
Shelley Ledfors 02/13/08
As others have mentioned a buddy would help you to find those pesky little errors so hard to see in our own work. This was a nice take on this subject. I look forward to reading more of your stories.
Kristen Hester02/13/08
Nice story! Good job being on topic. I agree that past tense would work better for this story. Keep up the good work.
Rita Garcia02/13/08
Creative and right on topic!
Verna Cole Mitchell 02/13/08
You had a very creative idea for this week's topic. I agree with other comments. The story line is excellent, and fixing a few problem areas would make it shine. You know, getting the idea and carrying it through is the hardest part. You did this excellently.