Gwen Kirschke, 12, is an American Girl in every way, and now she has the story to prove it.
Kirschke enjoys writing fiction, so when she read about the Finding Friendship Story Contest being sponsored by American Girl Magazine, the home-schooler knew she wanted to enter. Her parents, Tonya Van Hook and David Kirschke, encouraged her to do just that.
“I enjoy the American Girl magazine and thought that submitting a story would be a fun way to challenge my writing skills,” she said while surrounded by her prize winnings at her home in the Tree Streets.
The story had to start with the prompt: “You wouldn’t think two girls who were so different could become good friends, but ...” and had to be less than 1,000 words. Earlier this month, Kirschke’s story “Don’t Count Your Chickens” was chosen as the grand prize winner among more than 4,000 entries, and included the two newest dolls and all the merchandise that goes with those dolls; a prize package worth more than $1,200.
“I based this story on a real event happening in Johnson City — the COOP (Chickens On Our Property) group and their efforts to legalize chickens within the city limits,” Kirschke said.
“My story was about friendship, but with regard to the COOP issue, it was about how property lines tend to divide us and undermine the cooperation that is needed for community solutions.
“The girls in my story also show that being willing to work with people that have different values and perspectives is important to solve local issues.”
Her story’s message of friendship became a reality with that sharing of her prize. “Since I have three dolls already, I decided to give away one of the dolls and some of the accessories,” she said.
Kirschke is hopeful that her story’s theme of cooperation might contribute to COOP’s success and that Johnson City will create a future based on common ground; ground she hopes will include a few chickens here and there.
You can read the story at www.americangirl.com/play/ historical-character/cecilemariegrace/winners.php?group=2.