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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Father (as in paternal parent, not God) (04/10/08)

TITLE: Shoes to Fill
By c clemons


Jada watched as he strutted across the stage to the podium. Jason was tall and handsome with an air of self-confidence that belied his years. The white and yellow tassels dangling around his neck did a bebop to the beat of his gait. As always he flashed that megawatt smile at her and his dad. The young man at the microphone, said, “As Class President, it is my honor to present our class valedictorian Jason Lee Webb.”

“Good Morning Class of 2004, faculty, honored quests, family and friends” Jason said as he acknowledged those sitting on the stage and in the audience. “Today we are about to embark on the first day of our new lives. There are those of us who have chosen to continue our education at some of the best higher learning institutions in this country. A few have chosen the military and some others I am confident will be conquerors in whatever field they choose. There are many people that we owe much too. The faculty and guidance counselors here at Hudson High have been top notch. In fact, I would like to acknowledge those teachers who throughout the years instilled a spark for learning in me. I also want to give special honor to our parents, who let’s face it without them we wouldn’t be here.”

Jason paused for the laughter and then continued, “But seriously, I don’t know of a better time than to thank the man that I call Dad. You see when I was three; my mother and I were alone in this world. My real father died in a car crash so I barely remember him. A couple of years later my Mom was fortunate enough to meet and marry Victor Webb. He not only adopted me, but also treated me like his own son. One day I was goofing around in his closet and I had on his shoes that were at least eight sizes too big for me. He came in and laughed at how I was trying to fill his shoes too soon. When I think back, he was the one who showed me how to color within the lines and let me know it was okay when I didn’t. He was my example of what being a man is. I remember his advice about always doing my best in everything that I did, so that even if I failed I would have the knowledge that I did by best. He said life is sometimes like a horserace; it’s not always who finishes first, but it is important that you finish. Those words have never left me. Nor the fact that Victor Webb was at every game, supported my every endeavor, and still is my personal life coach. I think I’ll color him ‘father’. He doesn’t know it but I am proudly wearing his shoes today.”

“I know it is customary on this day, for it to be our day. But I would like the class of 2004 Hudson High, to please stand and give our parents a standing “O”, for they are deserving of our gratitude.”

During the cheers and applause, Jada turned to Vic and the big man was shedding tears as he looked at their son. “That’s our boy,” she said smiling through her own tears.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 04/17/08
What an interesting approach--to frame the tribute in a valedictory speech! Clever!

In your opening phrase: Jada watched as he strutted... the pronoun "he" seems to refer to Jada, which is obviously not the case. An easy solution would be to use the proper name in place of "he" and use the pronoun once we know his name.

A minor thing that probably would only bother a picky-picky like me. Very sweet story.
Tim Pickl04/17/08
Very well done!
terri tiffany04/19/08
I liked the title. I thought the story flowed nicely and good dialogue. Maybe the last line you could break into two sentences where you wrote and to give it more of an impact. good writing!
Patty Wysong04/22/08
I loved how you frame this, but my favorite: the shoes. I like how you wove that throughout and then capped it with wearing his dad's shoes. Very touching.
Sheri Gordon04/24/08
Congratulations on your 2nd place. I really like the format of this--very creative. Nice job with the topic.