A big congratulations to 11-year old Kelsey Amerson of Springfield, Illinois for winning the 2021 National Fifth Grade Essay Contest! Kelsey will also receive a $500 Golden Rule Grant at the 86th National Convention of American Mothers to gift a non-profit of her choice.
A special thank you to Gerre Schwert, the chair of our National Fifth Grade Essay Contest!
Here’s a short conversation we had with Kelsey and her mother, Megan Amerson.
What do you want to be when you grew up?
Kelsey: I want to be a baker.
Megan: She is way beyond my realm of expertise there—with her own pie crusts and homemade everything, and turning her nose up at a boxed cupcake.
Do you usually bake together?
Megan: I’m her cleaner and personal dishwasher. She gets her baking from her grandma, for sure. That’s who taught her everything. But I love to be her taste-tester!
What was your favorite part about writing this essay about your mom?
Kelsey: I liked that when she I read the essay, and I saw her face because I didn’t let her come in my room when I was writing it. I wanted it to be a surprise.
What does your mom do that always makes me smile?
Kelsey: When we’re out or something, if someone needs help, she always helps them. Or if someone’s feeling down, she’ll lift them up.
How did you decide what to write in the essay?
Kelsey: It’s all the things I think of all the time and I just wrote them down.
As her mom, what was your reaction when you saw Kelsey’s essay about you?
Megan: It really kind of blew me away really literally—it took my breath away that she wrote that and felt that because I think we have a really good relationship. But of course, we have those mother-daughter times where you know, she wants to do things herself, and I might want her to do things differently or whatever. But the fact that she wrote that, and that’s the way she feels, it really is just a blessing. She’s always been her own person and done things her own way. And it’s just always been really special. So just kind of made me feel good. Like we’re doing something right.
“Even if you ran around the world twice, you still wouldn’t be close to what she does for us every day.”
What are some things that are important to you, as you raise Kelsey? What are some takeaways from your experiences that you’d like to pass down to her.
Megan: I love that she sees that it’s important to make people feel good, or to try and do what you can to make people happy and help when you can; and try not to take things too seriously and get too worked up about little things. Especially this past year, I think we’ve learned that you really can’t predict how things are going to go. And you got to kind of roll with it and try not to get too upset by things that you can’t control.
She a perfectionist and I am not. We kind of balance each other, and I hope that I learn from her to realize that it’s important how things are. But I hope she learns too that sometimes you just got to let things go and that it’ll be okay.
How did you to decide which non-profit you were going to give your grant to?
Megan: Kelsey had a list of several that she wanted to give to. She’s done a lot, honestly, with like birthdays and stuff in the past where instead of presents she had people bring things to donate. She’s had bake sales before and donated the money to Ronald McDonald House. So we were just trying to find something different that was still meaningful to her that she hadn’t already donated to.
What surprises you most about being a mom?
Megan: How hard and how rewarding it is at the same time. How hard it is when you think that you’re doing it all wrong. But then, when you see things like this or you hear some of the things that they’ve done or that they choose, or how they act with their friends and that kind of thing, then it just makes me really proud.