and the Wellesley Free Library. This year, two students tied for first place — Meg Crowley of Sprague and Emily Ryan of Fiske.

Thirty-five young writers entered the fifth annual Fifth Grade Story Contest, co-sponsored by Wellesley Booksmith, the Wellesley Townsman and the Wellesley Free Library. This year, two students tied for first place — Meg Crowley of Sprague and Emily Ryan of Fiske.

Everyone who entered the contest received professional feedback from the judges, all of whom are children’s book editors and writers in the Boston area, and were invited to participate in a Read-In at the Wakelin Room at Wellesley Free Library on Tuesday, May 15.

The entries came from Wellesley residents or students at 10 public and private elementary schools in the Western suburbs: Bates, Fiske, Hardy, Hunnewell, St. John's, St. Paul's, Schofield, Sprague, Southfield/Dexter, and Upham.

The story by Meg Crowley appeared in last week’s Townsman.   25 feet up by Emily Ryan   Chapter 1: “Hurry up!”

            Helen Rondy waited impatiently by the side of the Pat’s Peak lodge, boots in one hand, skis in the other. Her blond hair rustled in the December wind. Where was Claire? Claire was her pen pal, but they had met plenty of times because Claire lived in Maine which isn’t too far from Massachusetts, where Helen lived. They had taken separate buses to Pat’s Peak and were meeting up there. Their parents, who both worked would come up the following day.

            A brown curly head bobbed in the crowd. “Claire!” 

            “Sorry I’m late” Claire apologized. “Our bus got stuck in traffic.” 

            “It’s okay” Helen said. “Get your skis on! Let’s go skiing!”


Chapter 2: Stuck 25 Feet Up

            “I’m exhausted” Claire complained. “And my feet feel like they’re going to fall off!”

            “Oh come on Claire, one more run.”

            “No thanks.”

            “Okay, fine” Helen said. “You can check into our hotel room while I ski one more run.”

            “It’s a deal” Claire answered. Helen skied over to a nearby chair lift. 

            “Sorry, I just let the last person up” the chair lift operator said.

            “Please” Helen pleaded.

            “Oh, okay, okay. But you’re the absolute last one.” Helen hopped on the chair lift, thinking about which slope she would make her last.

            Halfway up the mountain the chair lift came to a stop.

  Chapter 3: “Help!”

            “Help” Helen yelled for what seemed like the 150th time. It didn’t do any good. The wind howled and she drew her jacket tighter and tighter. Where was everybody? Most of all where was Claire? “Help! Somebody get me off this chair lift!” Should she jump? No, she told herself to stop being ridiculous. “Crreak.” Helen shivered, and it was not just because of the cold. She drew in her breath, listening. “Rrrrip.” She spun her head around. Again she heard it---“rrrip.” The sound was coming from above her head. Helen looked up and screamed!

  Chapter 4: An Idea

            The cable that kept all the chairs in the air was tearing! A wave of panic struck through her. What should she do? Helen tried to calm herself, but her mind raced over what to do. She remembered the time when she was five and just learning to ski and her dad had taken her to Pat’s Peak. She remembered that one of the chair lifts hadn’t been working so a guy had to climb up a pole so he could fix the lift. All of a sudden it seemed like a light bulb popped into her head. 

  Chapter 5: Found

            There are lots of poles along a chair lift, and she happened to be about two feet from the #6 pole. She stretched her leg out as far as it could go. The tip of her ski scraped up against the pole. If only she was just a bit closer. Helen looked up anxiously; the tear in the cable was getting bigger and bigger. She flung the bar on the chair lift up, and before she could think twice about what she was going to do, she clipped her skis off so they landed in the snow and began their long descent down the mountain. She stood up, legs trembling, holding onto the chair lift bar. Her heart was pounding. Still holding on to the bar she reached her right hand out, so the very tips of her fingers touched the pole. Then, still grasping the bar tightly with one hand, she stuck her left leg out so it rested on one of the pole’s metal climbing pegs. Taking a deep breath, she took her trembling left hand off the bar and grasped onto the pole. Then holding the pole with both hands she took her right leg and half stepped, half jumped to the pole. “Ssnnaap!” Helen spun her head around, almost falling off the pole. The cable had snapped! The chair swung wildly, before crashing into the snow!


“Claire!” She had never been so glad to see her friend! Claire had somebody else with her. It was a ski patrol man. “Helen, I’m so sorry,” he said. I heard something snap and looked up the mountain to see what had happened when I saw you. I’m relieved you’re not hurt!” Helen was too happy to say anything. She got to go down the mountain on a snowmobile. Her skis had made it down the mountain, and were only a little scratched up. After a warm cup of hot chocolate at the lodge she fell asleep, knowing she had a full day of skiing tomorrow.

About the author:

Emily Ryan, Fiske 5th grader

Story Title: 25 Feet Up (about a girl who gets stranded on a chair lift while skiing)

Emily’s interests: Tumbling Tennis Piano Girl Scouts (her mom’s a troop leader)   This summer:

Will be part of a track team. Her favorite event is the 50-meter sprint.


Of note: Emily learned of the contest last year, and has been looking forward to participating as a fifth-grader this year. She writes stories all the time,but really wanted to write a new one for this contest rather than edit one she’d already written.