Evergreen Middle School student wins essay contest

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By Dan Johnson

Casey Nicholls knew he had a good story to tell.

While most middle-schoolers dread the thought of having to put pen to paper, Nichols loves the written word.

So, the Evergreen MIddle School eighth-grader began to craft an essay that would be submitted for the "CU Winning Attitude" state-wide contest (presented by Qwest, Fox Sports Rocky Mountain and the University of Colorado) that would award $1,000 to the winner, who could use the money to donate to his school in any way he saw fit.

Nicholls' essay was about how his Predators Mountain Area Midget Football team persevered through the 2008 season with only 11 players and managed to make the playoffs.

"I thought I had a good chance to win when I started the essay," Nicholls said.

Nicholls's premonition came true as he, in fact, did win the essay contest. On Oct. 17, Nichols and 100 of his closest friends attended the University of Colorado's home game against Kansas. During the game, Nicholls was presented his winning check.

"It was great," Nicholls said of being on the field at CU. "I had a lot of friends, family and teachers there to support me. To get that much recognition for an academic achievement is a great thing."

Nicholls is a young man that clearly has his priorities in order. While he's unsure of where exactly the money is going to go to, he does know how important the money will be to the school.

"I want to help the school get a better jump on academics," he said.

As for the football season that inspired the winning essay, Nicholls said quitting was never an option. At least for him.

"No way," he said. "It was our last year together as a team and to go out quitting because we didn't have enough players wasn't an option. We were all there for each other and it was all about staying together as a family and finishing strong as a team."