Morgan Crawford

MONTAGUE – Eighth grader Morgan Crawford’s hero is her uncle, Matt.

Without him. she said she might have lost her mother Sarah Crawford, who is a Type 1 diabetic.

For a class project, NBC Middle School teacher Kelli Ritter asked her students to write an essay about their personal heroes. Crawford chose her uncle Matt.

“My mom has always had health problems. When she was 11, she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and her kidneys were failing. When my mom said she was scared, it made me anxious because she was the strongest person I knew,” Crawford wrote in her essay.

She goes on to write that her mother eventually needed a kidney transplant, something that terrified the young essayist. However, when it came time to step up, Matt was willing to donate one of his own so that his sister might live.

Although Crawford was writing this essay as part of a class assignment, her teacher decided to submit it to Farm Bureau Insurance’s America and Me Essay Contest, a statewide writing competition. Crawford’s moving essay managed to get fourth place out of the 3,500 submissions that were submitted.

“It means that people can see what my uncle did for my mom. It was definitely a big thing that he did. I wanted to show people about the stuff that he does [sic]. Because he is my hero, and I want other people to learn about the amazing things that he did,” said Crawford in a phone interview.

Working very hard on the assignment, Crawford said she wasn’t expecting to get fourth place in the competition. She said Ritter picked 10 essays from her class to submit to the assignment, and Crawford was the only person to place in the top 10.

“I wasn’t expecting much of it. I worked hard on the writing, but I didn’t think I’d get fourth place.”

The writing process took about a week. Starting with a rough draft, Crawford said she tweaked her essay until it was perfect.

Even though her essay was for a class assignment, she said it didn’t feel like work to her, since it was about something very personal to her.

For her efforts, Crawford is receiving a $1,000 check, a plaque with her name on it, and the popular backyard game Cornhole. Her school, NBC Middle School, will be receiving a $1,500 check.

In past years, an award ceremony was held by Farm Bureau for the finalists. This year, because of the current stay-at-home order, the group won’t be able to meet.

But Crawford’s sponsor, Farm Bureau agent Rachel Levine, hopes to meet with her at a later date to take pictures and celebrate.

Since school isn’t meeting in person, classmates have been reaching out to Crawford in other ways to congratulate her on her achievement.

“I wasn’t able to see them at the time because of the coronavirus, but I got some texts from classmates saying they are happy for me and proud of me.”

Currently, Crawford doesn’t have any plans to participate in future essay contests. But she will be attending Montague High School next fall as a freshman, and said if her teachers let her know of any opportunities then she would like to participate.

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