The American Immigration Council is proud to announce the winner of the 22nd Annual Celebrate America Fifth Grade Creative Writing Contest.

The contest encourages educators to incorporate lessons on U.S. immigration into their classrooms and gives fifth graders the opportunity to explain, in their own words, why they are proud America is a nation of immigrants.

This year’s winner is Kate from Carmel, Indiana. She is a graduating 5th grader from Towne Meadow Elementary School. Kate’s poem has been recognized throughout the state of Indiana, where she was recently invited to read her poem at a naturalization ceremony in Indianapolis. In addition to her love of writing, Kate enjoys acting and show choir.

Read Kate’s winning entry below:

Tell Me A Story

The rain splashes down
It covers the world
Like a blanket of water
That’s been gently unfurled
Drops land on the window
Knocking to come in
I open my book
I’m ready to begin

But the book has no words,
Not a single at all
I drop the book
And watch it fall
I grab my coat
And head for the door
I’m searching for stories
I’m searching for more

Up the avenue
Across the street
Lies an old house
With people to meet
Wind in my hair
Hope in my eyes
My Abuela steps onto the porch
Where a story lies

“Tell me a story.”
That’s what I say
To my grandmother
On that rainy day
She responds with a smile
And points to a chair
Abuela begins
As rain splashes her hair

She tells of festivals,
Dances and lights,
Fiestas and siestas
On warm summer nights
“This is my story.”
Abuela starts to explain
“I was a little girl
Living in Spain.”

“Why did you leave?”
I wonder aloud
Her shoulders square
Tall and proud
“There was a war
That broke out
Our family fled
And traveled about
Looking for a home,
Safe and sound

Was the land we finally found
I met new people
From all different places
Everyone was unique
All different races.”

Her smile twinkles
And a tear slips by
“America is beautiful”
Is all I reply

“America is beautiful.”
Abuela says loud and bold
“Every immigrant has a story
and every story must get told.”
I listen as her words fill my heart
Every culture is beautiful
Like a piece of art
I smile to myself
Knowing that it’s true
“America is beautiful
Because of immigrants like you.”
I look at Abuela
As I utter these words
She simply points to the sky
She points at the birds

The eagles glide
And soar through the air
A rustle of wind
Blows through my hair
I step off the porch
To get a better view
Abuela smiles
And steps down, too
Our eyes meet
As Abuela starts to speak
She grabs my hand
And the eagles reach their peak
“You have to stay strong
Like an eagle with might
When things get tough
You have to fight.”

“Thank you!”
I call as I start to leave
I know what to do
I have a story to weave

Down the avenue
Across the street
Lies my house
With people to greet
Hope in my eyes
Wind in my hair
I rush inside

I dash to my bedroom
Pick the book off the floor
And write Abuela’s story
Until my hand is sore
I think about Abuela,
America’s glory,
And immigrants’ impact
On our country’s story

I’m busy working
When I hear a knock
“Come in!” I call
The only response is a quiet walk
I set down my pen
My sister walks in
She asks for a story
And so, I begin