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Anna Freeman wins Infinity Ring grand prize
0122 Anna Freeman
Anna Freeman

Blandford Elementary School fifth-grade student Anna Freeman has been named the grand prize winner of Scholastic Book Club’s Infinity Ring Rewrite History Contest. Freeman’s essay was selected from the nearly 3,000 entries from across the country. As a result, James Dashner, author of "Infinity Ring," will be visiting Blandford Elementary and speaking with the fifth-grade classes.

Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company, launched a massive worldwide campaign Aug. 28 to promote "Infinity Ring," a new multi-platform time travel adventure series for children ages 8-12, simultaneously in the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand with “Book 1: A Mutiny in Time” by Dashner, a New York Times-bestselling author.

The global promotional campaign kicked off in the U.S. with comprehensive television, online and print advertising throughout the fall season, as well as a national “Infinity Ring Rewrite History” classroom writing contest sponsored by Scholastic Book Clubs.

Freeman is the daughter of Drs. Kerry and Sally Freeman of Effingham Eyecare in Rincon. She has one sister, Kate, who attends Ebenezer Middle School. In her spare time, Anna loves to read and write her own stories and also play basketball at the YMCA. 

Freeman’s teachers believe that her writing abilities extend well beyond that of an average fifth-grade student. Her stories are like books written by well-known authors, they said. 

Freeman will attend the 2013 Duke Young Writers’ Summer Camp. This camp is designed for students in grades sixth through eighth. She was invited to participate in the camp as a fifth-grader based on her writing abilities.

Below is Anna Freeman's winning essay:

A Love Letter to Alouis

So there I was, frozen in place, like a statue in the middle of the bustling streets of Waldviertle, Austria. I couldn’t believe that only five minutes ago I was sitting in a musty seamstress shop getting my socks embroidered (a new school uniform requirement.)  he next morning, when I slipped them on, I felt my stomach drop, the next thing I knew I fell into a coma like state. When I woke up, I was in Austria, but that wasn’t the worst. It was 1859. 

When I finally regained the ability to move, I slowly walked down the streets. I peered through shop windows and people watched. I had never been out of the state of Georgia, much less into another country. I stopped at a shoe shop. Inside, a man in his late twenties was fashioning a pair of clogs. His face seemed so familiar. Suddenly, it hit me. That big puffy mustache had been constantly laughed at by Ms. Mincey’s fifth grade class.  Those sad blue eyes had been in my social studies book.  Curiosity brought me into the shop. “Guten tag” the man said.  “Uh…” I replied with a confused stare on my face. “You don’t speak German do you? How about English?” With relief, I said “Now that, I can do! Hi, I’m Scout.” I saw the puzzled look on his face and explained “My mom is a huge fan of To Kill a Mockingbird.”  “That sounds cruel,” he said. “She doesn’t actually kill mocking…never mind,” I laughed. Sitting beside him was a pretty woman, who was so quiet that I barely noticed her. “I’m Alouis Hitler, and this is Klara, soon to be Hitler.” I looked down and saw an engagement ring on her finger. My heart skipped a beat.

I had a mission. I had to get that ring off Klara’s finger, but it wasn’t going to be easy. You could tell that they were both love struck, simply by the look in their eyes. That afternoon, I met a friend named Ingrid. I told her everything, from the socks to what would happen if Klara and Alouis’ son, Adolf, was ever born, and lastly, I told her of my plan. Surprisingly, she believed every word and agreed to help. Late that night, Ingrid and I prepared. I was so exhausted, I fell asleep with my back rested against the shop’s hard brick wall but woke just in time to see Klara coming up the path. I eagerly asked if she could use some assistance today, and she gladly accepted. My first task was to retrieve the mail. I got butterflies in my stomach as she opened envelope after envelope. Finally, she got to my letter, and her expression changed as she read the following:

My dearest Alouis,

I miss you so very much. The people here in France are so rude. I can’t wait to return home. Do get your ring off that silly girl. You know your heart belongs to me. My lonely hand deserves that ring more than she does.

Your Love,


I did feel a twinge of guilt when I saw Klara furiously scribble down this:


Fine! Have the ring. Only a fool would marry a cheater like Alouis, so I guess you’re fit.


With that, she shoved the beautiful rock into the envelope and stormed away.

I walked with my head down to Ingrid’s house. Hadn’t I succeeded? Why did I feel so bad? I had saved millions of souls, yet I was distraught about interfering with one. The question of if what I did was right or wrong would have to come later. Now, I had to figure out how to get back. I was starting to miss that small town that I used to always complain about. I brainstormed for what seemed like hours. I tried taking the enchanted socks off and then putting them back on. At one point, I got so frustrated that I tore them up. The second the dull red letters were pulled from the thread, I once again slipped into that coma like state. I woke up in my room, and everything was back to that nice thing called normal. Two dull red patches lay at my feet. I raced to my social studies book but stopped before I could start my search of the torn yellow pages. Something made me hesitate. What if I had imagined all this? I had never had a dream so realistic, though they say there is a first for everything. I finally collected enough courage to slowly turn to page 256 (the beginning of the World War ll chapter).

As my eyes scanned the page, I was overwhelmed with emotion. First, I felt the fright that what had happened was as real as my own hand. Then, the pride of victory, and lastly, the relief of not being delusional. Instead of that dreaded picture of the Hitler clan, the page held a dull, wordy biography of General Robert E. Lee. My first instinct was to run and tell of my success, though a few seconds later I was hesitant. It’s possible this was too great a journey for the mouth to tell. Maybe, someday, I’ll write about it instead.