By Katie Terou

SYV Star Intern

Makenna Smith, an eighth-grader at Los Olivos Elementary School, has won a regional award for a short story she wrote as part of the Agriculture in the Classroom program.

She was honored at a school assembly and at her eighth-grade graduation. Her story, along with those of other winners, will be illustrated and published in an annual storybook called “Imagine This … Stories Inspired by Agriculture.”

Makenna, 14, was assigned to write an essay about a plant or fruit along with the rest of her class. She chose to write about her favorite fruit for her essay, “The Story of Timmy the Kiwi.”

“Kiwis are my favorite fruit and I know the most about them, so I thought it was a good fit,” she said.

Her story follows Timmy, a kiwi who faced bullying for being smaller than the others on his vine but was inspired to keep growing by a larger kiwi across the field. Eventually, he reaches his goals and becomes a full-sized, nutritious kiwi to be enjoyed by humans. 

“I just thought about how bullying is a big thing nowadays in school, and maybe it would raise awareness for bullying as well as saying how … things aren’t always what they seem,” Makenna said.

Curtis Smith and Alesha Gulserain, her parents, said she has been passionate about writing for many years and won awards for her poetry in fourth grade. Makenna credits her parents for inspiring her to pursue writing and to be creative. 

“I’m really proud of Makenna. I feel that it’s well-deserved because she’s a beautiful writer,” her mother said.

Makenna’s award was presented by the nonprofit California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom, which aims to educate students throughout the state about “the importance of agriculture in their daily lives.”

To learn more about the annual competition or to enter, visit

Here is Makenna’s winning story.


The Story of Timmy the Kiwi

By Makenna Smith

On a fine Sunday morning with not a cloud in sight, little Timmy looked over the river, beyond the woods, and through the mystic forest with who knows what creeping under bushes and dark figures darting behind trees, to see what his friend, Mr. Biggles, was doing across the way. Mr. Biggles was almost a fully-grown kiwi. A fine fruit actually. With proper growth and prosperity, Little Timmy hoped to be just like Mr. Biggles one day. Although Little Timmy was the weakest of his group he was convinced that he was a star in the making. However, he did not share this information with his peers surrounding him on the vine because he thought they would take it the wrong way and make fun of him more, but Timmy knew that what he was saying was the right thing to say. Sometimes, Timmy would doubt his hopes and dreams of becoming like Mr. Biggles. After all, Mr. Biggles was a celebrity and being a weakling like himself he just wasn’t so sure he could accomplish his dreams. EVER! He often daydreamed about what life would be like as a normal fully-grown kiwi. He wasn’t so sure. Being the smallest on his vine, he was often teased by the other kiwis. Timmy wasn’t like the others.

All of the other kiwis were in their second stage of growth. During the second stage of growth, kiwis grow to be just a bit smaller than a lemon. Since they start out very green, smooth, and short, during the second stage of growth, the kiwis tend to turn to a lighter shade of green. They also start to grow little fuzzy brown hairs surrounding their lightish green outsides. But, poor Little Timmy was still on the first stage of growth. He wasn’t near as big as the other kiwis on his vine. He was still really small, soft, and very green!  The other kiwis snickered at Timmy. They thought he was stupid to believe that one day he would be as big and as plentiful as the rest of them would soon be. And for this, they mocked him each and every day never forgetting to remind him how unrealistic he was. As much as little Timmy tried to block out all of their hurtful words and phrases, he couldn’t help but believe some of the things they would call him. However, he refused to throw away his dreams because the others didn’t think he was good enough. Timmy was much stronger than that and he wasn’t about to give up!

As time progressed and the months flew by like the breeze on a hot summer’s day, the kiwis on Timmy’s vine were almost as big as Mr. Biggles had been. A year had passed and within one of those days, Mr. Biggles had been picked off of the vine and placed in a basket ready to be sent to the big kitchen. Mr. Biggles was off to go help someone and save them from high blood pressure while preventing them from getting cancer. Although Timmy was sad after Mr. Biggles had left, it still did not keep him from giving up on his hopes and dreams of becoming just as important and helpful to people as Mr. Biggles was bound to be. As the days went by Timmy was surprised to see that a change had seemed to happen not only inside of him but outside on his skin as well.

Not only did he have tons of self confidence, he was feeling good vibrations more than usual and he wasn’t getting teased as much. Timmy wondered why the other kiwis weren’t being their usual arrogant and self centered selves. He realized that as all of the other kiwis were on their last stage of growth (The stage where the kiwis had no more green color on the outside of their skin and you could only see light brown with light brown fuzz) somehow he went from being the smallest, weakest, most pathetic little kiwi, to the vine’s largest, plentiful, kiwi full of things inside of him to help people. He had a high level of Vitamin C,  the power to help treat asthma, boost people’s immune system, reduce risk of other health issues, help manage blood pressure, reduce blood clotting, strengthen sight, prevent cancer, remove excess sodium, protect cardiovascular system, protect respiratory system, support pregnancy, and help fight heart disease.