May 18, 2004
When Hannah Johnson of Mesa sat down in December to write an essay on what’s important to her, the 10-year-old immediately thought of a cave.
Not an ordinary cave. This one housed pearls, gold coins and jewels of many colors — all the bounty of pirate raids. On top of the treasure sat a dragon to protect the cave’s most precious possession, a chest that kept Hannah’s imagination.
Hannah’s imaginative essay recently captured first place in the National Rural Education Association Essay Contest for the Elementary School Division. The fifth-grader at Eagle’s Aerie School, a charter school in Gilbert, received $250 and will be recognized this summer at the association’s national convention in Indianapolis.
"I value my imagination because it takes me to worlds unknown to man," she wrote. "It takes me on adventures no one would experience. It helps me make my world what I want it to be."
Although Hannah likes to write fantasy, it’s her future she likes to visit most often with her imagination, she said.
"I want to be a rocket scientist and invent flying cars that use magnetic fields," she said.
Before then, she plans to travel to Washington, D.C., in the fall as a delegate for the national Young Congressmen. And she hopes to spend her prize money during a trip to Disneyland.
Hannah said her family was "really impressed" by her winning essay. Her mother, LaRee Johnson, said she wasn’t surprised, though.
"She’s supertalented," mom said.