The Greatest Prize

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“The Greatest Prize,” Friend, Mar. 2010, 4–5

The Greatest Prize

A special gift is kindness. Such happiness it brings (Children’s Songbook, 145).

Dawn raced up the stairs and into the kitchen.

“You’re an early bird,” Mom said. “No one else has come upstairs yet, but here you are, fully dressed with your hair combed. What’s up?”

“It’s store day at school,” Dawn said. “I’ve been waiting for this day all year!”

During the year at Dawn’s school, the students could earn tickets by getting good grades and being good citizens. At the end of the school year they could turn in the tickets for prizes.

The principal had shown the students some of the prizes—candy bars, books, movies, sports equipment, and a doll that had been made by a student’s mother. Dawn wanted the doll the moment she saw it. She talked about it every day.

Dawn’s brother Clinton walked into the kitchen, still in his pajamas.

“Please hurry and get ready to go so we can leave early,” Dawn said.

“The bus comes at the same time every day, and I’m never late,” Clinton said.

“But it’s store day! Aren’t you excited?”

Clinton shrugged. “I can’t see why you’re so worked up over a silly doll. You should spend your tickets on something useful, like the basketball. Besides, I bet I have more tickets than you do!”

“I have 375,” Dawn said proudly.

“Well, I’ve got 525,” Clinton bragged.

“I don’t care as long as I have enough for my doll.”

When Dawn and Clinton got to school, Dawn ran to the gym before class to see the prizes on display. She saw the basketball Clinton wanted, and then she spotted her beloved doll.

A moment later, she was almost in tears. The doll cost 500 tickets, which was more than she had earned. Heartbroken, Dawn went to class.

When the lunch bell rang, Dawn returned to the gym, hoping she could persuade the teachers to lower the doll’s price or give her more time to earn tickets. But her heart sank when she walked through the door. The doll was gone. Someone else had bought it. Dawn’s eyes filled with tears, and she sat alone in her classroom until lunch was over.

After school, Dawn got on the bus and gazed out the window, expecting to see Clinton bouncing his new basketball. But when he appeared he was not carrying a ball. Clinton was holding a doll—her doll.

“Hey, Clinton, I didn’t know you liked dolls!” yelled a boy. Other students near him laughed.

Clinton ignored them and boarded the bus. When he reached Dawn, he handed her the doll.

“Why didn’t you get the basketball?” Dawn stammered.

“I can always buy a basketball, but this doll is one of a kind,” Clinton said. “I knew you didn’t have enough tickets, so I bought it.”

“Thank you,” Dawn said. “I think you’re one of a kind too.”

Illustrations by Matt Smith