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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Expo 50 essay and art contest first-place winners: Ideal Holland’s ‘A Reformed City’ and Paige Perkin’s painting

Shadle Park High Schools’ Paige Perkins, sophomore, is the first-place winner of the Expo 50 art contest.
By Ideal Holland Rogers High School English Honors 10

To mark Expo ’74’s anniversary, The Spokesman-Review, in partnership with Spokane Public Schools and Expo 50, held a writing and art contest for high school students.

The contest was open to anyone in grades 9-12 from the newspaper circulation area in Eastern Washington and North Idaho.

The winning story was written by Ideal Holland, a sophomore at Rogers High School.

‘A Reformed City’

Man, there isn’t nothing to do in the city. I walk around downtown, trying to find something to do, but there’s nothing, not one thing that is exciting in this ugly, boring city. My dad said he is helping with the construction at the new Expo that he is overly excited about, but I have no idea what an “expo” is.

I hear someone calling my name. I turn to face the sound, and it is my mom holding my little sister’s hand.

“Haoyu, it’s time to go home. Dad is about to get out of work and your sister is tired.”

My mom has always spoken to me in our native tongue (Mandarin), and I do the same since our English is not perfected yet, especially mine. I look at my sister, her whole-body language screams, “I’m tired I want to go home,” and the way she rubs her eyes just adds to it.

“All right, there’s nothing to really do here anyways,” I respond to her in our native tongue. She turns around and walks toward the direction of our house as I follow.

We remain silent for a while until my mom finally speaks: “How are you liking Spokane?”

I respond, “It’s OK, nothing to really do here, and it’s pretty ugly here.”

“Yes, I know, but there’s a fair coming up here soon and your dad may get us some tickets for it since he is working really hard on it,” she says with excitement.

“What’s the fair even about?” I ask my mom with a curious tone.

“You never heard of it? It’s the Expo. Every year, around the world, they choose a city to host. It brings change upon the city and new inventions to help the world, and they chose Spokane. Now the whole world gets to see this city,” she says with enthusiasm. I grow excited – and hopeful Dad will get us tickets.

We enter the building to our apartment and head up the stairs, up to the third floor, Room 314. We enter our apartment. It’s not the best home I have been in, but it’s better than the last one. It’s a small apartment with only two bedrooms, a bathroom, a living room and small kitchen.

“Haoyu, could you help clean up the living room while I put Mei to sleep?” she says while she picks up Mei and walks over to our bedroom.

“Yeah, I got it,” I respond while she walks away. I walk into the living room to see Mei’s and my toys. I look at the clock that sits on the wall to check the time: 8:40 – Dad should be home soon. I continue my task to clean up the living room, going back and forth from my room to the living room, picking up all the toys.

Just after finishing, I hear the door open. I look to see my dad who just got off.

“Hi, Dad,” I say with excitement as I walk over to give him a hug.

“Ah, my son, I missed you so much.”

We let go; I look down to see I’m covered in dirt from my dad.

My mom walks out of my room to find her husband by the door. My dad smiles at my mom. “Hey, Xiu.” He walks over to try to give my mom a hug and kiss, but my mom refuses.

“Don’t. You’re all dirty. Go take a shower,” she says jokingly with a smile.

“I thought you liked it when I’m like this,” he replies.

My mom laughs.

“Fine, I will, but where is my baby girl?” He asks my mom.

“She’s sleeping right now.”

“Oh, well, I’m hungry. Let’s eat.”

My sister joins us for dinner, and we eat like a big family and have many different conversations, but then my dad stands up.

“I have an announcement.” Everyone looked toward my dad. “I have been working really hard with the new Expo and they decided to give me …,” he reaches behind his back and pulls out some tickets, “… tickets to the new fair tomorrow!” Me and my sister’s eyes go wide with excitement and amazement.

“This is going to be the coolest fair ever!” I say with enthusiasm.

“All right, how about you guys help us clean up the table, and we should go to bed early tonight, so we got some energy tomorrow,” my mom says. “OK!” I yell with excitement.

We clean up the table and head straight to bed excited for what’s to come tomorrow. I shut my eyes and wait for the best day ever.

• • •

I open my eyes to see the brightest day I have seen beaming through my window. I turn to my sister sleeping in her own bed. I get up and do my normal routine: shower, breakfast, brush my teeth, get dressed – you know how it goes.

After an hour of being awake, my whole family wakes up, gets dressed and gets ready for the fair. We all rush to the car and start heading off to the world’s fair. We arrive at the fair, and I never knew there was so many people in Spokane. Actually, I have never seen this many people in my life.

We stand in the middle of the crowd, getting pushed and shoved, but I have never seen this city so beautiful before: the sky nice and clear, the river nice and clear, the sun beaming down on us; it was perfect. The river intrigues me the most, though I have never seen such clear water in my life, and moving in calm waves.

It just makes you want to jump in and embrace the water.

I look back up at the podium and see a man walking to it: the president of the United States. Everyone cheers for him, as my family did the same. After a few minutes, it all goes silent as we hear the president speak. I look to my dad and see his face filled with pride that he helped build this fair for the people of Spokane. I turn back to the president listening to his speech. After the speech, he declares Expo ’74 open; balloons float into the air, confetti is thrown everywhere, cheering, music being played.

I never knew the people of Spokane were so passionate about this place. I will never forget this moment: the moment that I was wrong about Spokane.