Boy’s $50-K win something to write home about

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RYAN Mota is a poet and now he knows it.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 13/04/2018 (1696 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

RYAN Mota is a poet and now he knows it.

The Grade 4 student at St. Alphonsus School in East Kildonan is the winner of the Meaning of Home national writing contest.

While the talented 10-year-old received an iPad and a classroom pizza party for the effort, along with $1,000 for his school, the big winner is Habitat for Humanity Manitoba, which gets $50,000.

SUPPLIED Ryan Mota, 10, won the ‘Meaning of Home’ national writing contest.

The contest, sponsored by mortgage insurance firm Genworth Canada, is in its 11th year and is open to Canadian students in grades 4, 5 and 6.

More than 7,000 children — including about 1,100 in Manitoba — submitted stories, poems and videos that express what “home” means to them.

St. Alphonsus held an assembly Friday to commemorate Ryan’s accomplishment, present the prizes and listen to Ryan read his poem, titled Home.

Genworth’s Laura Gallaher awarded the oversized cheque to loud applause and chants of “Ry-an! Ry-an.”

“This is all on Ryan; Ryan is the one who had the initiative to do this particular project,” said proud school principal Christine McInnis.

“Our school is really lucky to partner with families like Ryan’s, where… whatever is rooted in the family can be allowed to flourish at the school.”

Ryan’s parents and two of his grandparents were on hand for the celebration. Ryan said his mother, Tara Mota, a student-teacher at Sun Valley Elementary School, inspired him to enter the contest. She was helping students in her class with projects for the Meaning of Home contest and encouraged Ryan to enter because “he has always been good with writing.”

Mota said she helped her son, who was nine when he entered and turned 10 in February, spell “Ojibwe,” and he asked his brother for a rhyming word, but the rest was all Ryan.

For his part, Ryan said it was exciting to be recognized.

“When the whole school was saying, ‘Ry-an, Ry-an,’ it’s really cool,” he said.

Ryan said he was about to head home from school with his mother several weeks ago when she told him he’d won the contest and showed him the e-mail.

“Then I went back to my class and told my teacher. Then I went back and read some more of the e-mail. Then I went back and told my teacher,” he said, laughing.

Ryan, who aspires to be a geologist, said he doesn’t do much writing outside of language-arts class, but noted poetry is his favourite style of writing.

“I just want (people) to know about the contest, so that maybe they can do it and raise more money for Habitat,” he said. “(Having a home) means so much. I’m so fortunate to have a home here in Winnipeg, when there’s a lot of families around Canada and Winnipeg that don’t. So I want to do what I can to help them.”

Michelle Pereira, a spokeswoman for Habitat For Humanity Manitoba, said it costs about $175,000 to build a Habitat house.

She told the crowd at the assembly that Ryan donated his money to be used for the construction of a house on Enfield Crescent in St. Boniface.

The contest has received more than 50,000 entries in its 11 years and has helped direct more than $1 million to Habitat for Humanity organizations across the country.

Winnipeg student Ayomipo Olutoto was one of 11 runners-up who received $5,000 to donate to their local Habitat organization. All 11 got to host a pizza party for their classmates.

nicholas.frew@freepress.mb.ca

History

Updated on Saturday, April 14, 2018 7:42 AM CDT: Final

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