BOWLING GREEN - Andrew Sergent's dog Oscar Oliver is more than just this boy's best friend. He's an inspiration.
Andrew, a fifth-grade student at Crim Elementary School, wrote a poem about his 8-month-old boxer's silly antics that earned accolades on a Columbus stage. His work was one of 20 chosen from more than 1,000 entries and performed last weekend by the Columbus Children's Theatre adult troupe.
On performance day, Andrew said he was a little nervous "because there were a lot of people there and they were saying my poem."
After the show, the students were called on stage to receive a certificate and award, his mom Kari Sergent said. That was nerve-wracking, too, Andrew said, "because I had to go up there and get a certificate."
Nerves aside, Andrew, his parents, and his teacher are quite proud of his accomplishment. "He's an excellent writer. He's a very creative writer. He has a great sense of humor," said his teacher Brenda Haynes.
This is the 27th year the theater has invited northwest Ohio elementary students to submit short stories based on a theme to compete for a chance to have their material performed, said a spokesperson from the theater. This year's theme was "A Funny Thing Happened "
The stories are woven together with jokes and bridge-material. In
March, the students were invited to a rehearsal to see the performance material and give their input, Ms. Haynes said. It was fun to watch the actors and hear them perform his poem, Andrew said.
Typically, only short stories are chosen to be part of the production, said director Mark Mann. "We usually don't use poems."
Once Andrew's poem was read, it was a hands-down winner, he said:
Oscar Oliver loves to play
Each and every single day
He chews the garbage and your shoes
And he even toots while watching the news
He runs, he rolls, he jumps, he sits and he even does backward flips
Read my poem and you will find that Oscar Oliver is one of a kind
When his teacher asked the class to enter the contest, Andrew didn't have to look far to find his subject matter. " I got a new dog, because my other one got hit [by a car], and I wanted to write about him," he said.
When he got the news he'd won, he went home and thanked Oscar. "I gave him peanut butter," one of his culinary favorites, Andrew said.
Although Andrew was surprised when his literary lines were chosen, "because I don't usually get picked for stuff like this," his teacher wasn't. "I keep telling him he needs to write children's books when he grows up," Ms. Haynes said.
Andrew has another career aspiration. "I want to be a pro skateboarder. I don't know if that will happen," he said.
For now, he'll keep writing, playing basketball with his friends, practicing those skateboard stunts, and playing video games.
And, of course, laughing at his buddy Oscar Oliver.