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 Destiny Burrows as the first place winner of the competition!
Leclaire & Bloomingdale
One hot summer day, when I was about five years old I was at my aunt’s house, and my mom called.
“Hey, do you want to go see your dad?” She asked. Her voice was a little shaky.
Of course, I loved going over to his house, so I quickly answered with yes. I threw on some leggings, and a random shirt I had in my pink, purple, and peach drawers. Since it was hot, I put on sandals. I forgot to tell my aunt that I was leaving, and I rushed out of her room.
I thought we were just going to his house, so I wondered why he didn’t come and get me himself. After getting dressed, I heard my mom honk her horn in my grandad’s driveway. I rushed outside and into her small, silver Chevy. When I got in, she wasn’t as talkative. She just pulled into the alley next to our garage. I didn’t say anything either.
We drove longer than normal. Usually, when I went to his house, it was a shorter route. Then we pulled into a hospital parking lot. I was confused, but I thought maybe we’re just visiting somebody first. I went into the hospital with my mom, and she signed us in. We got on the cold elevator, and she pressed a button to go up. There was a cold, hard silence in the elevator. When we finally got off, we still hadn’t said a word. The room we were going to wasn’t far, though.
“He can hear you,” a doctor told my mom as we entered the room, “but he can’t respond, nor see you.”
Then I saw him. I saw my dad. I walked up to the bed and looked at him. My mom was crying. I didn’t know what was going on. We walked out of the room and into the waiting room. There, I saw my cousin, Tia.
“Why are you crying?” I asked her.
“Just sad, that’s all,” she replied.
I didn’t understand it then, but now I know. My father had died.
As much as I still miss him today, I know he is proud of who I am, and what I have accomplished. I know he is watching down on me, and always will be. Chicago isn’t always great, but we can make it better so other kids won’t have to grow up without a father, like me.