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Blue Moon
By Annie Lell

I lay on my cot, snuggled under a quilt. Winter's silence crept into the cabin and beckoned me out into the snowy night. I pushed away the blanket then snuck out of bed. I found my deerskin moccasins and pulled them on.

Surrounding me in the cabin were Mama, Poppa, and my little brother curled up on their cots resting peacefully. I tiptoed out the wooden door that separated our one room cabin from the fierce, chilling weather lurking outside. I knew exactly how far to open the door before its rusty hinges would let out a terrible squeal. I wiggled like a whisper through the opening, out into the night.

The moon cast a silvery glow onto the snow as I began the familiar trek down the unmarked trail I knew like the back of my hand. The snow should have seeped through the thin lining of my shoes but I was warmed by an enchanted glow that seemed to surround me and everything in my presence. The mighty trees took on the forms of delicate dancers swaying with a steady rhythm. The winter winds quit howling and seemed to whistle a melody for the trees ballet. Snow drifted lazily like confetti falling to the ground. The whole forest turned its sounds into a symphony. The night seemed perfect until I felt the stab of realization. Tonight was my last meeting with The Great One.

As odd as it may seem, one spring night years ago the spirit of the forest called me out into the night when I was barely old enough to push the heavy door of the cabin open. It showed me the winding path and led me to Great One's den. I didn't stop and question the strange events. Everything felt natural. For the first time the spirit filled me and lifted my soul. The sensation of flying coursed through my body though my feet were planted firmly on the ground. Spirit didn't leave me until I was standing in the entrance of Great One's cave.

"Come frward." a powerful, silky smooth voice beckoned. My tiny fingers shook but I commanded my feet to move forward. I scanned the nook. A small bonfire blazed in the center of the cave. My mind gaped in wonder as I found where the voice had come from. A jet-black wolf sat tall beside the fire trying to warm himself. His icy blue eyes pierced me like daggers. They sent electric shockwaves rippling through me.

"Hello my child," it spoke slinking toward me. I began to back away. "Do not fear. I am Great One." I suddenly felt calm hearing the peace and serenity in his voice.

"I mean you no harm. You are a dreamer. You are able to see the magic on Earth others cannot. I wish to show you the Cherokee ways if you choose. Meet me here each full moon to learn how to live with nature as one. It must be our little secret." I willingly accepted the proposal. I imagined the wonder and mystery exploring the forest would bring.

I staed true to my word. I visited the den every moon until now. Each meeting Great One took the shape of a new animal representing a trait of the forest. Great One taught me the forest's secrets, how to help it and get its help in return. Over time he began to call me Blue Moon. He chose those words because he'd never known a dreamer quite like me before. We grew closer than the rich purple columbine in the woods. That was the past and I now had the present to face.

I reached the cave at last. Something peculiar caught my eye. Great One had taken the form of the jet-black wolf again.

"Welcome Blue Moon!" he greeted me.

"Is there another way? Can I meet you another time?" I asked fighting back the tears threatening to spill down my cheeks.

"I'm afraid not. Stay true to the Cherokee ways and I will never truly be gone. This is our last night together but the most important. I have taught you well and you must never forget what you've learned or the memories we've shared. Now if you are ready we shall proceed to your final lesson."

I nodded solemnly.

Great One let out a noticeable sigh exposing his pink tongue "Blue Moon, some things must not be held onto forever. They need to be let go after you're through with them but there will always be pieces left behind and with those pieces you form a new puzzle." Great One gently whispered.

His words filled me, a new sense of hope washed away the metallic tastes of longing and loss.

"Yes Great One." I replied a smile faintly crossing my lips and leaking into my voice.

"Very well", he nodded "I hope you have learned through the changing of the leaves. Spring is a time for new beginnings. Summer is for leisure and letting yourself shine in full bloom. Autumn displays your true colors, letting you use them to paint any picture you choose. Lastly, winter is a time to shed old dead leaves and leave yesterday's magic using it to form something new today."

Enchantment tingled inside of me, lingering in my soul. I could feel spring's freshness, summer's warmth, fall's crispness, and winter's wonder.

"I bid you farewell, Blue Moon. "Each lesson you have learned is a raindrop filling your pond." Great One moved close to me. He reached out his ebony paw and held it in the air. I gently pressed my fingers to his paw feeling his padded feet press against my hand.

"Thank you Great One." I whispered turning to leave.

"I will send the wind for you once more in time!" he called into the night. The forest performed an encore of its ballet and the moon hung low casting a glow over the trees but this time with a hint of blue.

"Blue Moon" By Annie Lell | StoryMakers 2012 | Rocky Mountain PBS
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2013 StoryMakers competition a great success!

This year we received more than 730 entries across 88 cities in Colorado.
We were blown away by the talent! This state is home to some truly gifted authors.

Congratulations to our winners and finalists of the 2013 StoryMakers writing contest!



6th grade finalists

Olivia Janicek, Denver – 1st place
Maxwell Wilderson, Fort Morgan – 2nd place
Grace Patrick, Greeley – 3rd place
Ezequiel Meraz, Fort Lupton
Aileen Le, Arvada
Rebecca Chapman, Denver
Joseph Quintana, Highlands Ranch
Caitlin Kincaid, Colorado Springs

7th grade finalists

Rachel Foote, Longmont – 1st place
Edie Tavel, Denver – 2nd place
Colin Cannici, Lakewood – 3rd place
Andrew Swanback, Arvada
Ella Beringer, Castle Rock
Melody Lipke, Alamosa
Benny Khouri, Fort Collins
Emma Risdon, Longmont

8th grade finalists

Mia Nelson, Denver – 1st place
Roger Nakagawa, Denver – 2nd place
Kendal McMaster, Denver – 3rd place
Nadia Stoker, Broomfield
Elliott Wyatt, Denver
Molly Worford, Denver
Gabriella Tuell, Broomfield
Aileen Ma, Longmont

These 3 winners and 5 runners-up per grade received:

  • Digital storytelling workshop and tour of our television studios
  • Stories published on our website
  • Awesome prizes, like Kindle Fires
  • Awards luncheon for students and families featuring keynote speaker, local author and radio personality Dom TestaCentury Link.png

StoryMakers At a Glance:

  • Each year, Rocky Mountain PBS offers this unique writing contest to middle school students statewide. We are in our seventh year!
  • The contest is sponsored by CenturyLink, a longtime supporter of the program who helped conceive of the idea back in 2007 with the education department at Rocky Mountain PBS and has helped to make it possible ever since
  • Open to students in 6th, 7th and 8th grades in Colorado. Entries are judged on originality, creative expression and storytelling
  • Our three winners – one in each grade – were selected out of more than 700 applicants across the state
  • Winners and finalists met in December for a digital storytelling workshop and seminar with Rocky Mountain PBS’ executive director of I-News, Laura Frank, on the value of investigative journalism, and were celebrated at a luncheon on January 4th featuring keynote speaker and bestselling author, Dom Testa.
  • Stories were creative and powerful -- so extraordinary that the 45 volunteer judges often stopped to marvel “Wait, how old is this writer?”
  • Contest picks up again in the summer 2014 with an October submission deadline.

2013 StoryMakers Winners Featured on TV

Watch a segment of Colorado's Best Kids featuring our 2013 StoryMakers winners (video below):

2012 StoryMakers Winners and Finalists

StoryMakers Writing Contest

The 2012 Winners and Finalists are:

6th Grade
1st - Christian Olsen, "Without A Home" - Littleton, Goddard Middle School
2nd - Lydia MacRavey, "Little Bear's Arrow" - Centennial, Home Schooled
3rd - Elizabeth Blackmun, "Lady of the Lake" - Denver, Denver School of the Arts

Finalists
Chloe Applegate, "Rainin's River" - Denver, Denver School of the Arts
Ella Beringer, "The Chase" - Castle Rock, Soaring Hawk
Ashlyn Kofford, "The Life Necklace" - Longmont, Westview Middle School
Drew Sims, "A Little Help" - La Junta, La Junta Intermediate School
William Underhill, "Bernard" - Denver, Denver School of the Arts


7th Grade
1st - Annie Lell, "Blue Moon" - Arvada, Oberon Middle School
2nd - Mia Nelson, "Deaf Prayers"
 - Denver, Denver School of the Arts
3rd - Jake Daniel, "Through the Eyes of a Golf Ball"
 - Grand Junction, Holy Family Catholic School

Finalists

Nash Marez, "Adventure to Milkdud" - Grand Junction, Holy Family Catholic School 
Gillian Palazzini, 
"Through the Eyes of the Insane" - Merino, Home Schooled 
Clarice Reiner, 
"The Song of a Second" - Arvada, Oberon Middle School 
Britney Sarazen, "
Bullied to Bully" - Fort Lupton, Quest Academy 
Sydney Taylor,
 "Xanthe Soto, Girl Genius: Wind Power" - Denver, Homeschooled


8th Grade
1st - Erin Mallory, "Tricking the Sheep" - Windsor, Saint Joseph's Catholic School
2nd - McKinley Mueller, "Seven Days 'Til Heaven" - Ridgway, Ridgway Secondary School
3rd - Sydney Lewark, "Flying" - Denver, Denver Waldorf School

Finalists
Kinsey Brashears, "Elena Smith" - Fort Morgan, Fort Morgan Middle School
Torryn Elliot
, "The Adventures of Cedric" - Granby, East Grand Middle School
Abigail Weeks
, "Simplicity" - Centennial, West Middle School
Claire Wineman
, "The Conversion" - Denver, Denver School of the Arts
Margaux Woellner
, "The Maligned Hedgehog" - Englewood, West Middle School


Parent Testimonial

"I wanted to thank you for the Rocky Mountain PBS StoryMakers program. My daughter took part in the competition and was a runner up for the 8th grade group. The whole process was so thrilling for her to be part of. When we were at the studio for the celebration in January, she told us she felt like a movie star. She loved learning to record her story and download illustrations, but most of all I think she loved the fact that so many people were involved in the whole process, and that most were involved through volunteering. 

She was so inspired... Our children need to feel important in order to succeed, and every small step counts. This support needs to be more than just parents and teachers. When our children see other adults and important people involved in their futures, it paints a bigger picture for them. Thank you for painting part of this bigger picture." 


-The Bretts, Eaton, Co.


Rocky Mountain PBS and CenturyLink encourage teenagers to keep reading and writing.  

Thanks to everyone submitting a story and special thanks to our major sponsor, CenturyLink.

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