Ohio’s Original Interscholastic Creative Writing Program for Middle Schools

Promising Young Talent Award

The Promising Young Talent Award is presented annually at the state tournament by a guest author who has read the work of writers from the previous season and has chosen the writer who, in the author's judgment, demonstrates promise as a young novelist. Author Margaret Peterson Haddix has selected Paige Galperin to receive this year's award.

About Paige


Paige is currently a freshman at Stow-Munroe Falls High School. She qualified for the power round at the 2019 Power of the Pen state tournament during her eighth grade year.

Paige continues to pursue her love of writing through her contributions to her school newspaper, the Stohion. She is also involved in Academic Challenge, band, and the Stow diving team.

She plans to attend college in order to pursue a career in journalism.

History Repeats Itself
by Paige Galperin, Kimpton Middle School, Munroe Falls

Bzzz! My phone vibrates in the pocket of my jeans. I reach for it, then stop myself. Mr. Mekeal’s words echo in my brain. “Get out your phone, get a zero.”

I need to pass this test.

I go back to question six: “How did the Constitution implement checks and balances into American government?” Okay, I think I know this. It was something with Congress, the President and super majorities? Right, it –

BZZZ! My phone buzzes again, breaking my train of thought. For a moment, I think of my mom, the picture my dad sent this morning of her lying in the hospital bed, ready for surgery –

No. I will not jeopardize my American history grade. My mom is fine. She will be fine. Question number eight. Focus, Celeste!

“What impact did Benjamin Franklin have on the workings of today’s press?” Okay, Ben Franklin. He was the guy with the kite, right? And he wrote that book? Poor Rich something? Oh, wait, maybe it was –

BZZZ! My jean pocket feels like a shaken-up can of soda. My hand moves toward my pocket slowly, creeping in a sloth-like fashion.

“Ten minutes!” Mr. Mekeal yells.

Ten! Minutes! I think. Focus! “But…Mom!” a tiny voice in the back of my brain says.

“No,” I tell it. “Social studies!”

“But what if something’s wrong?” it asks.

“Then I’ll deal with it in ten minutes,” I tell it. My eyes dart up to the clock, which ticks with the ferocity of a power-crazed snare drum player. “I mean, eight minutes.”

EIGHT MINUTES! I think, scrambling back to my test. Question eleven: “Describe three weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation.” The Articles of Confederation. The Articles of Confederation. The Articles of Confederation!

THINK, CELESTE!

But all I can think of is my mom, lying in that hospital bed, giving a weak thumbs up…

No, I will not think about her. Articles of Confederation. Articles of Confederation. Did that have to do with a bill?

My mom speaking in hushed tones to my father, “I don’t know how we’re going to pay these medical bills.”

Not medical bills. Bill of Rights. Or wait, was that in the Constitution?

“TWO MINUTES!” Mr. Mekeal makes sure the entire three-story middle school knows how much time we have left.

Okay, I’ve got this. Articles of Confederation. They had no president, and different laws in each state, and –  

BZZZ! BZZ! BZZ! BZ-BZ-BZ! My phone turns into a bee on Redbull, my pocket a hive for the swarm.

I glance back at question eleven in desperation, take a deep breath, and stand up.

I know what I have to do.

I turn to my confused American history teacher, his eyes raised to “What-the-heck?” heights. “Mr. Mekeal, I will take the zero. But I need to answer these texts.”

His jaw drops in shock as I walk out of the room, forming a perfect “O.”This is going to kill my American history grade, but I don’t care.

All I care about is my mom.

I pull out my phone, its screen illuminating immediately. I have six messages.

Dad: Good luck on your history test!

Mom: We’ll be rooting for you!

Dad: I did the math, and as long as you don’t get a zero, you’ll pass history.

Mom: Just don’t forget about the Articles of Confederation.Dad: Go get ’em, Tiger!

Mom: I love you!

And then I remember Mom’s surgery doesn’t start for another hour.

As I sink to the ground, the final flaw of the Articles of Confederation enters my mind: The drafters panicked about irrational things and forgot the important details.

And now, centuries later, I have made the exact same mistake.

All because of my stupid, buzzing bee of a phone.


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