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Holy Batman! This year's writing contest drew more than 100 entries from students with ties to Wauwatosa, Brookfield and Elm Grove.

This year's theme was superheroes. If you hand one super power, what would it be? Popular themes were shapeshifting, superspeed and telekinesis. We looked for originality and clean writing.

The winning essays are published here. First-place winners receive $50; second placers receive $30; and third-placers receive $20. Congratulations to the winners!

Grades 3-5

First place

Kayla Hartman

Age 10

Fifth Grade

St. Marcus Lutheran School

The Power of One!

If I was the superhero, the power I would want is the ability to make people happy. No superhero I've heard of can do that. Making people happy is a unique ability, and it could change the world. It could stop violence, drugs, and suicide. What I mean by that is this: If people were happy, they would not even want to kill people. Also, people usually take drugs to feel better. If everyone was already happy, why would we need drugs? And now suicide. People kill themselves because they are depressed or scared. If I made everyone happy, they wouldn't want to die.

See what I mean? This ability can change the world for the better. It just shows the power of one. We can allmake a difference. I hope this letter has inspired you to do something great for the world, because we all have a superower to do something amazing.

Second place

Pooja D. Manohar

Age 10

Fifth grade

Brookfield Academy

My Super Power

If I could have any superpower I would like the ability to understand every language in the world. This is because I would like to start an organization called IMLAK (International Multilanguage Answers for Kids). This organization's purpose is to help kids to get answers to any burning questions they may have .

This site will have a search box where kids can ask questions in any language. Here is an example of a question a kid might ask. 'How come Santa can go to everyone's house in one night, does he have the power to teleport?' Then the question will be sent to me. I will translate the question into every language. I will send the questions to my stations. Each 'station' will have people who can understand one language very well. These people will find a solution within their community. If they find a solution they will send the answers to me. I will combine all the answers into one full answer and translate back into the original language used by the sender. Lastly, I will send the combined answer to the kid who asked me the question. By the way, the answer to the question is the magic of Christmas!

I want a power that won't hurt anyone but benefit them. I want to still have a normal life with a perk. My power can work well because of technology like Skype, email, and phones that allow us to communicate long distances.

The only barrier that we face now is not being able to understand and communicate in other languages. This power can't bring harm to anyone because it's just talking and not physical. My only responsibility is to translate and help find solutions for questions. I won't have too many responsibilities either because the only one I will have is to translate a paper for my friend and do my job at IMLAK. This power doesn't require me to have a secret identity. That way I can still live like a normal person. After all, I wouldn't want a power that keeps me away from my friends and family. Overall the power is helpful to others, but not overwhelming to me.

Third place

Maddison Arndt

Age 10

Fifth grade

Jefferson Elementary School

The Power of Traffic

If I got to choose to have one superpower in the world it would be to control traffic. With this power I could make sure no one would speed. I could also prevent accidents from happening. A good thing about being able to control accidents would be a lot less people dying. A lot more people would stay alive. Nearly one point three million people die in an accidents each year. About three-thousand two-hundred eighty seven people die each day.

A quote is 'Be thankful for another day. You're blessed to be alive.' A quote by Paul Walker is 'If one day speed kills me don't cry I was smiling.'

This power would save a lot of lives and then family members wouldn't be so sad because there family members wouldn't die. With this power I would help people get places faster because there would be no accidents. A bad thing about this is a lot of police officers would lose their jobs. Police officers would only be there to stop crimes. This power would be a great power to have because I could save others people's lives. I would be happy because other people would be proud of me because I saved someone's life. Then when people are on their phones they won't crash into another person.

Grades 6-8

First place

Jack Dodd

Age 14

Eighth grade

Longfellow Middle School

The Deafening Silence

Theros lived a life that drove many green with envy. This is because unlike everyone else on Earth, he had a superpower. His superpower was very odd, though. It allowed him to control the loudness of silence. Now, I know it sounds weird, but once I heard what it did, I desperately wanted it. He can make a silence so loud that it deafens people, even though they hear absolutely nothing. He can make a silence so soft that you could hear a pin drop from a mile away, even if there was a band of gunshots right behind your back.

However, his ability to control silence came at the price of his own sound, leaving him unable to speak. Unable to make any sound, as a matter of fact. He can't laugh, cry, clap, stomp ... anything. All of his actions that should make noise appear as if they're underwater; shadows of the real thing, stripped of their ability to be heard.

This was all a price that was worth it, though, as one day his power saved the lives of millions. He had been watching the news, when a blaring siren went off and a ribbon of words snaked across the top of the screen: 'WARNING: METEOR THREATENS SOUTHERN NEW YORK.' Since he lived in southern New York, Theros did not like the idea of a meteor striking the area.

Nonchalantly, he approached the window. 'Wow,' he mouthed, though no sound came out. The reporters had been a bit late, considering that the meteor was only about a mile away. Snapping back into his calm state, Theros focused on the meteor. Almost instantly a lighting bolt of cracks ran down the rock, followed by a thunderous explosion (which was as silent as grass is green), followed again by a rain of small pebbles: remnants of the meteor.

You see, a high pitched sound will effortlessly shatter glass. This is no different with silence and rock. After the storm of gravel had ended, Theros felt odd. More tired than he ever had before. This resulted in a yawn. This is nothing important, except for the fact that Theros heard it. He made a sound. To check this wasn't some cruel trick, he clapped, then shouted, then laughed — all of the acts producing a sound that Theros had always been desperate to hear. I guess Karma isn't that bad after all.

Second place

Ingrid Hildebrand

Age 14

Eighth grade

Longfellow Middle School

Super

One day, in a time far in the future, in the city of Sol Selegna, Lavidia was about to finally go to the SuperStore, where she was about to get her new super power. She had begged and begged and begged her mom to let her get one for months, using arguments saying 'Mom, if I don't get one, I'll be as old as a dinosaur!' After saying no for months and months, her mother decided Lavidia was old enough to get one. Her mother said Lavidia always wanted the newest, shiniest thing on the market, but always said no, but Lavidia had won her over by making Photo Slides, Communication Project Boards, and working hard on her Net Studies. So, finally, her mother said yes.

Lavidia and her mom cycled to the SuperStore on one of her old autoboards, parked on the parking pad and walked in. A sales associate, standing by the revolving door asked the pair if they needed any help. Lavida asked the clerk if she had any superpowers in stock. 'We have invisibility, superspeed, mind reading, teleki….'

'Ooh, ooh, superspeed! Superspeed!' Lavida responded enthusiastically.

'All right, let me go get that and install it for you.'

'Okay!' Lavidia couldn't wait.

Fast-forward eight minutes and they were checking out Lavidia's new superspeed in the super-fast lane.

'That will be 249 americos,' the checkout lady said. Lavidia's mother shook her head, and held out her wrist to pay for it.

As they went back to the parking pad, Lavidia said, 'Thanks mom, you're the best! Can I go speed home please?'

'How about you get used to it first, so you don't fall on your face.' Lavidia's mother responded.

'Okay, I think I have gotten used to it,' Lavidia said approximately 30 seconds later. 'See you at home!'

So Lavidia sped home with the superspeed chips on each knee and a smile on her face.

When her mother arrived home a half hour later, she found Lavidia on the couch watching TV. Her mother asked her why she wasn't outside trying out her new superspeed.

Lavidia replied, ' I'm tired, didn't you see how fast I was going?'

Third place

Emily Otten

Age 14

Eighth grade

Wisconsin Hills Middle School

(untitled)

Sitting on a bench in a park in the small town of Libertyville, Illinois, constricted by a vibrantly colored superhero costume, and dripping with sweat, Theo decided his life wasn't so great at the moment. It wasn't necessarily his fault either. Theo preferred to blame Vylad for most of his problems. Correction, all of his problems. It really was all Vylad's fault this time though — it was him who had decided to jump into a contaminated purple pond when he couldn't swim, making his friends (Lita, Theo, and Zane) jump in to save him.

The water had changed them: Zane manipulated water, Lita mastered the air, Vylad could use telekinesis, and Theo could control emotions. In humor of their odd situation, Zane suggested to bring them to Barry's Costume Shop, a run-of-the-mill party store that carried Halloween costumes all year, to get supersuits and matching masks. They had all chosen various colors: Zane naturally adorned a blue suit, Vylad took green, Theo wore orange and Lita dressed in purple.

'We should fight crime, and save Libertyville from dastardly dangers!' Zane amplified.

Theo rolled his eyes. 'What 'dastardly dangers'?'

'Crimes! They happen all the time! You just only hear about the big ones.' Vylad quipped, invoking a glare from Lita.

As they began to head for the checkout, the four saw something quite suspicious. A man stood with a huge bag, shoving multiple items inside, a switchblade in hand.

'We can help!' Vylad whispered, just as the man was approaching the cashier.

'Stop right there you crimin-AH!' Zane cried, stepping into the open before flying across the room.

'Sorry!' Lita shouted.

Theo tried to paralyze the criminal with fear, but was washed down by water from Zane. Vylad, flailing in the air, tried to use his telekinesis, but ended up simultaneously popping all the balloons behind the checkout counter with a deafening explosion, which left all the heros on the ground clutching their ears.

The criminal turned around, a bewildered look on his face, that was when Theo noticed something they had severely overlooked. The man's bag was a reusable grocery bag, he was beginning to take his money out, and the switchblade had a price tag on it. This man was just a normal shopper. So sitting on a park bench, wearing a soaked orange superhero costume, Theo's life wasn't going too well.

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