By Krystle Smith

To close out the year, the sixth-grade students at KIPP Academy Chicago participated in their very first writing competition: the On the Corner Contest. We asked students to write about a significant memory they experienced in the city of Chicago. They were prompted with questions such as: What is your favorite part about where you live? What would you want someone to know about your Chicago? Why is Chicago important to you? Out of 100 entries, we selected the top 6 stories to publish, sharing the voices of some of the youngest authors of Chicago’s history. We’re excited to announce Krystle Smith as a competition finalist!

Every Wednesday, they have a non-violence event at the Hubbard Playlot Park by my house. At the time I was almost 11 years old. I was at the park with my sister and my friends, Diamond and Nigel. There was a blue and yellow bouncy house with a slide and stairs. People always came to the park to hang out with their friends and have fun.

The kids in the bouncy house were playing tag, and we didn’t notice that we were all leaning on the side of the house. Even though the bouncy house was nailed down, there were too many kids.

All I heard was screaming. We accidentally started leaning on the bouncy house, and it fell to the side. At first, I was in shock, then I felt that everything was okay after calling out to my friends. A lot of grown-ups rushed over to help us and make sure we were safe. After we all got out of shock, we laughed it off, and continued to play tag in the park.

People should know, for a fact, that Chicago is not only filled with violence. My community comes together to stop violence. Bullets have no name. My community wants their children to grow up and be successful, not to have their grandchildren worry about getting shot every day.

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