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Short Story Competition 2022 School Years 4 to 5 Winner Gianella Pitto ‘Growing’

The last day of the best time of the year is always the saddest. The saddest because tomorrow a new school year begins and so will the bullying. I love summer with my friends, but now it is over and tomorrow my classmates will start calling me names like they always do: shorty, stumpy, dwarf and other horrible things.

As I opened my eyes that morning, I felt a sense of dread all over me and I just wished that I could stay in bed. I slowly got dressed and I felt uncomfortable in my uniform. I went to the kitchen for my breakfast and as I ate my toast every bite took an effort to swallow.

‘Hurry up sleepy head,’ said my dad. Then Mum took one look at me and said, ‘after school we are going to buy you a new uniform. That one is looking a bit tight on you.’ Was I becoming fat too?

I walked to school and I felt sweat run down my forehead as I saw the familiar school gates with so many children passing through. I took a deep breath and entered.

I immediately spotted Bill, one of the worst bullies, although somehow, he did not look as big as before. As he walked up to me, I braced myself, but he cheerfully said, ‘Hi Lilly, isn’t it nice to be back? I hope you had a good summer.’ I was completely shocked that he had called me by my real name. I thought he did not even know it.

That break time Marie, another bully came up to me and asked if I wanted to play with her and the others. I was thrilled and casually answered ‘Okay,’ trying not to surround desperate. By the end of the day nobody had called me any names.

After school, my mum took me to buy a new uniform. As I tried on a bigger size my mum exclaimed, ‘My, you have grown a lot over the summer!’ That was when I realised, and I thought to myself, maybe this year is not going to be so bad after all.

JUDGES COMMENTS
Years 4/5
Winner: Gianella Pitto with Growing. Bullying in all its multifarious forms has become the subject of endless studies, psychological profiling and campaigns to put an end to it. Unfortunately, it is still endemic at all levels, from schools to the higher echelons of so-called professionals.
Our story reflects this form of ugly behaviour, this time in school. Poor Lilly dreads returning to school and becoming again the target of bullying. However, during the summer holidays, he has grown and, apparently, acquired a more imposing physique. The bullies now approach him with respect and a show of friendliness. The new uniform mother is buying for him signals the new phase in his life-he is now more self-confident, mature and happy.
This story, though simple, should be required reading for all those who have the makings of a bully. Well done!

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