Thousands of students across the country wrote essays as part of the National Sandy Hook “Start with Hello” contest.
Students were asked to write about why it’s important to say hello to people who are sad or don’t appear to be communicating very much.
Raimon Malone, a 7th grade student from McLane Middle School in Brandon, wrote from the heart.
He wrote about how his brother’s death changed him and changed his perspective. He now knows why it’s so important to say hello to someone who may be quiet and not communicating. He writes, “I start with hello because no one can read minds. You never know what the next person has going on.”
Raimon’s essay stole the hearts of his teachers at McLane… And also the judges of the contest.
He received $100, a certificate and a trip to Cleveland to be recognized for his work.
Raimon says he never expected to win. In fact, he never really thought about it. All he wanted was to write how he feels.
He plans to save the $100.
You can read Raimon’s entire essay below.
Theme: How Start With Hello Breaks Barriers and Builds Community
I start with hello because no one can read minds. You never know what the next person has going on. People tend to judge before they help, which is one of the many reasons there’s so much hate in the world. Sometimes kids pretend to be happy because they don’t want to be discriminated against. I’ve always been a very observant person, watching everything that happens, but sight can be easily blurred. Life goes on and as things happen you never know when it could be the end. I think as a person no one is perfect but anyone could be the superhero that breaks ice and barriers. As a person I’ve always felt alone, not talking or even making eye contact. But there’s always that one person you put all of your heart into. Find the person that makes you happy and spread as much love as you can.
Once there was a boy born into a cold sick world. The boy always felt alone, he always played by himself. Laughed by himself and even cried by himself. There was one person who encouraged him to do whatever he wanted to do, his brother, His brother always was there. Whether it was trouble or good, it didn’t matter. The boy never understood his family and his family never understood him. But one day, on his way back home he noticed his brother wasn’t there. Turns out his brother was a victim of gang violence and lost his life to murder. The morning before it happened, his brother said be safe, not being mindful, the boy didn’t care. After his brother died he didn’t understand anything else. That boy is me. Life goes on, never forget what you love and what you have.