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AaKhirah Reid Wins 50th America & Me Essay Contest

America and Me, is an essay contest held every year by Farm Bureau Insurance Company. The contest is meant to celebrate eighth grade students across the state of Michigan. 2018's subject was "Heroes come in many faces". This year's first place winner was AaKhirah Reid.

AaKhirah and her family are natives of River Rouge. Many of her family members have been to school in the district, and she is no different. AaKhirah is currently an 8th grader at Sabbath Middle school.

AaKhirah's essay was on her Grandmother, Pearly Mae Reid. Pearly Mae passed away when her granddaughter was ten years old. Leaving a scar across AaKhirah's heart that was almost too much to handle. Mrs. Reid showered her with love, affection, advice, and great cooking. Being famous across the family for her homemade chicken and rice. At times, AaKhirah assumed it was exclusively for her.

With her passing, AaKhirah's life changed. A critical resource was taken away. Grandma taught her handfuls of valuable life skills in their short time together. Pearly Mae brought lessons of building faith and having a relationship with God; also how to be a reserved, and polite young lady that follows her own path. AaKhirah started to internalize her feelings in a way her family could notice. Her mother was starting to get worried.

The idea to start the essay was brought up by her english teacher, Mrs. Simmons.

"I received the information in the mail regarding the essay, and gave it to a few students. I turned everything in the day it was due." Says the expert English teacher. At first AaKhirah was shy about completing the essay. But with the coaching of Mrs. Simmons and her Mother, Tamu Runnels, AaKhirah was able to produce.

She completed it without expectations. Only to be surprised about capturing first place. Ms. Runnels noticed the healthy changes within AaKhirah after writing the essay. She encourages her to keep writing, making her Grandmother proud, and expressing herself in the healthiest ways possible.

AaKhirah says she wants to be an author and cartoonist when she grows up. She used to draw her Grandmother pictures for the holidays. Marking the start AaKhirah's illustration career. Pearly Mae cherished them, and always pushed AaKhirah past her limits.

Entering her final stretch as an eighth grader, Ms. Reid plans to run track, draw, and enter more essay contest. She's going to enter River Rouge High School proudly with her Grandmother's words in her heart; and her spirit watching over her.

You've made the city of River Rouge proud! Congratulations AaKhirah to a successful life and future!

Xavier Jones - How did this assignment make you feel?

AaKhirah Reid - The assignment made me feel Very Happy! I got an opportunity to talk about my Grandmother and how much she meant to me! She helped me emotionally, and showed me how to get close with God.

Xavier Jones - How did writing the essay help you express your feelings towards your grandmother?

AaKhirah Reid - I finally got the chance to open up, to tell my experiences with her and all the ways she helped me.

Xavier Jones - How was your Grandmother a hero to you?

AaKhirah Reid - She was a hero because of the things she taught me, her positivity, the messages she left me with. How not to follow other people, and how to be your own person.

Xavier Jones - What made her so special to you?

AaKhirah Reid - Her cooking! Her stories! She was a very hard worker, she taught me how to be a hard worker!

Xavier Jones - What advice would you give to young ladies missing a loved one they can't get back?

AaKhirah Reid - Your loved one is looking down on you, happy that you're alive and living your life. If you're feeling any kind of way let it out! Don't bottle your emotions in. It can become too much and cause you to struggle in other parts of life.


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