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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Africa (03/05/09)

TITLE: Seriously, Mrs. Kensington?
By Jan Ackerson


Ninth Grade Speech Class

Impromptu Speech Assignment: Draw a topic from the basket. You have one minute to decide how you’ll approach your topic. Your speech should be approximately 3-5 minutes long.


Okay, so my topic is Africa. No wait, we’re not supposed to start like that, are we? Mrs. Kensington, do we have to do a real introduction? Oh, crud, hang on then.

Ummmm, have you ever seen “The Lion King”? It’s about all these African animals, right, but my Lit. teacher says it’s totally ripped off from Shakespeare. That really mean lion? Scar? He’s just like Hamlet’s uncle who killed his father, and the cute little lion is Hamlet, only he doesn’t die in the end. Well, Hamlet does, not Simba.

But what gets me about “The Lion King”—and I’ve seen it like a billion times, because I babysit for this really cute kid, his name is Seth and he likes to watch it, only he calls it the wy-on king because he can’t even say his Ls yet. And he calls me Wiwwy because he can’t say Lilly. I know, cute, right?

Oh crud, I’m off-topic. Sorry, Mrs. Kensington, this is hard.

So anyway, all these animals are singing about the circle of life and it always cracks me up because seriously? If those animals knew what they were really singing about, I do not think that zebra would be so happy to be singing right next to a lion. Because guess what, zebra? When all the singing is done, that lion is totally going to eat you. So I’m thinking that once the last chorus starts, you’d better scoot your striped booty back into the jungle.

Oh wait, except Africa’s not all jungle like I used to think. Oh! I know what I can say now, and it’s real facts, Mrs. Kensington. Not Disney stuff.

My dad? He likes to watch these nature shows, like on Animal Planet? I know, it’s totally dorky. Anyway, when I was a kid, I used to watch them with him. And I remember how I used to cry when a baby antelope would get grabbed by a crocodile because it wandered away and got too close to the river. Or when the hyenas were ripping into a dead baby elephant.

I know, it’s so gross, right? But here’s the deal—crocodiles and hyenas gotta eat, and they have to feed their babies, too. I mean, I know crocodiles don’t nurse their babies, because they’re not mammals. Ooh! I remember something from Mr. Price’s Bio class. I’m pretty sure they’re amphibians. And if they didn’t eat, they’d all get extinct. And hyenas have to feed the hyena babies, which are kinda cute even if the grown up ones are ugly and they don’t even really laugh so why do they call them laughing hyenas?

How much more time, Mrs. Kensington? Really? Are you kidding me?


So, those nature shows…you know how I said I used to cry? Well, I don’t cry any more, because mostly I don’t watch them because I watch American Idol and Top Model, but a few months ago I was grounded for something that was totally not my fault, you can ask Jessica. I couldn’t use my cell or my computer or anything, I was practically Amish. But my dad let me watch TV with him. And we were watching one of those Africa shows—again—and I started thinking how we always root for the cuter animals. No one ever cares if a warthog dies, but the giraffes and the gazelles all make you go awwww.

Ooh! Mrs. Kensington, can I make up a conclusion that’s not really about Africa? Because I just thought of a good one.

Okay, here goes. So in conclusion. Africa is a place that is really far away and most of us will never go there. But next time you see a bunch of cheerleaders or preps going down the hall, think about how they’re like a herd of gazelles, all skinny and pretty. And the jocks are like the lions, because they totally think they’re the kings of this place. And um, the goths are kinda like the animals no one roots for. Oh rats, Mrs. Kensington, this isn’t working, it sounds like I’m saying the goths should eat the cheerleaders. Just…ummmmm….okay, I’ve got it now.

In conclusion, be careful who you root for. Even hyenas need love. The End.

How many minutes was that, Mrs. Kensington?

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This article has been read 1094 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 03/12/09
This is priceless—really good stuff!
Gregory Kane03/12/09
Ummm, I'm not too sure about all the biology stuff or the food chains (is that the right word, Mrs Kensington? I'm not talking about supermarkets here. Although there is a good deal on Pepsi this week ... oh, yeah, sorry) but I think that this was a lot of laughs and I really liked the bit about the cheerleaders and the jocks 'cos that was like a really cool application and hope that everyone leaves the goths alone because they've got enough problems of their own.
Sheri Gordon03/13/09
This voice is so perfect...I love it. I laughed and laughed reading this. Excellent writing.
Catrina Bradley 03/13/09
I totally got a kick out of this! I could hear this girl's voice so clearly. Wonderful job!
Mona Purvis03/13/09
This could just as easily been my 15 yr old grandson talking. Sounds just like one of his stories. very well done. Held my interest.

Chely Roach03/13/09
You are KILLING me! This was so hilarious. I loved the rambling, ADD, frilly teenage voice. Perfection. Just ask Jessica. Lol.
Corinne Smelker 03/14/09
Ok, now that like need to totally win! Classic piece of writing and I think you'll definitely place very very high with it!
Rachel Rudd 03/14/09
This is great! Really made me chuckle...I wonder if it stays on topic though. Hehe...I'm sure this will score high. Thanks for the chuckles!
Joanne Sher 03/14/09
So clever and FUN! This must have been a complete blast to write. Such an authentic voice!
Verna Cole Mitchell 03/14/09
Has to be a teacher who's able to imitate a teen voice so perfectly...and humorously. I like how you sneaked some facts about animals of Africa into this delightful piece.
Norma-Anne Hough03/15/09
Fun read. Well done. Have yet to see a zebra alongside a lion! Only the movies.
Karlene Jacobsen03/16/09
This whole thing cracked me up. Seriously, Mrs. kensington, it did. I agree, the nerds? The ones with the coke bottle glasses and trousers to their chest like Erkle? Even they need some love. Just 'cause they're the smartest kid, doesn't mean they should be targeted as lower life forms.

Pamela Kliewer03/16/09
Oooh, what a great read. You had me laughing the whole way through, especially at the end.
Connie Dixon03/16/09
This was so typical....a little blond.....and much like most teens I've ever known, unfortunately. Very clever and cute entry.
Gerald Shuler 03/17/09
Seriously, Mrs. Kensington, why didn't you make her remove that gum from her mouth? I know she HAD to be chewing gum.

Great entry.
Ruth Ann Moore03/17/09
This was too funny and incredibly clever. I absolutely loved it.
Bryan Ridenour03/17/09
As a youth pastor I hear teens talk like this all the time! Super authetic and entertaining!
Suzanne R03/18/09
I was there in the classroom - I could hear Lily (Wiwwy), I could smell the kids (especially the boys - must have been after their lunch break) and I could see you quietly sitting in the corner taking notes for your FW challenge entry, Mrs Kensington.
Benjamin Graber03/18/09
Jan, this is really, really good!
Your voice is excellent, and your story is hilarious...
But one of the best things I got from this story is the reason your MC didn't know anything about Africa, is because she really didn't care.
And that is something to meditate on...
Christina Banks 03/18/09
You had to have sat through my high school speach class! This is perfect! I can still hear my friends doing an impromptu just like that (though her name wasn't Lilly). This was great. I am still laughing.
Laury Hubrich 03/18/09
I LOVED this! LOVED it! Great writing. It was like you took notes from an actual teenager's speech. Cuz I know - I've heard them personally:) Awesome job!
Loren T. Lowery03/18/09
Okay, so I didn't learn a lot about Africa, but I did learn a few life lessons and that was "way" worth the read : )
I also didn't know "Lion King" was borrowed from Shakespeare. Goodness, the things you pick up by hanging around here.
Henry Clemmons03/18/09
The things you learn around here. And here I thought the Lion King was the Lyin' King. You're good at this writing thing. I think you should teach it or something.
Lyn Churchyard03/18/09
I sit here shaking my head in wonder. I sense a winner coming up here Mrs. Kensington.

You must have laughed yourself silly while writing this, Jan. I could so hear your MC's voice, like you know?

Joanney Uthe03/18/09
What a fun story. You did the teen voice so well. I really liked the ending where you brought it all together into a nice neat conclusion. Lilly may not be very good at impromptu speeches, but you gave her wisdom.
Corinne Smelker 03/19/09
I am like so surprised that you totally didn't make it into the top 10. It was like so well written and everything!

Jan - as usual you provided humor and knowledge in this piece.
Dorothy Adamek03/20/09
Jan, this was my favourite in the Africa topic. Did you kidnap my 16 year old daughter and morph her into this piece? I so recognized her!
Yesterday she shared this article with her friends at school (in Australia!) and they were thoroughly entertained!
Thank you for a great job - you made all of us smile and laugh aloud. Best line.. "I was practically Amish".
Joshua Janoski04/20/09
Haha! Loved this! Sooo funny! The part about the zebra getting his striped hiney back into the jungle and the part about being practically Amish cracked me up! So glad I read this one. Hilarious. :)