Fort Wayne student’s seagull inspired essay wins Chipotle contest

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO): It’s not everyday you get a $20,000 scholarship for writing an essay about food. A Fort Wayne high school student recently earned the big pay check after being inspired by a group of hungry seagulls.

Carroll High School senior August Hagemann is one of 10 students who won Chipotle’s “Cultivating Thought” essay contest, according to Cultivating Thought’s website.

In addition to the scholarship money, his essay will be featured on Chipotle’s packaging.
His essay, “Two Minutes on the Pier,” was judged by best-selling author Jonathan Safran Foer and was chosen based on the essay’s originality, creativity and quality of composition.

The contestants were told to write a 1,700-character essay about a time when food created a lasting memory. Hagemann’s inspiration came from the hungry, fearless seagulls of Chicago’s Navy Pier.

Here is his essay:

I was a brave knight, with a powerful sword of fried dough and cinnamon held in front of me, and the unbreakable armor of Mom and Dad’s presence that even the most ferocious beast couldn’t claw through. My gallant adventures across the land,in the back of the trusty family SUV, had finally come to a crucial junction.

Out on Chicago’s Navy Pier, the steely-gray waters of Lake Michigan stretching to the horizon in three directions, I was trapped by my most dire foes yet. Dozens of glassy black eyes glared out at me from phantasmal white faces, past orange beaks that seemed to get sharper with every sweet, flaky bite of churro I took. As long as I kept walking they wouldn’t bother me, but unfortunately walking on water is something most kids my age would’ve had trouble with. I could either eat the last of my delicious dessert and accept the wrath of the seagulls, or consider sharing a bite. The longer I waited, the more seagulls there were, and my parents didn’t exactly want to wait all day for me to make a decision. I knew this flock of seagulls would catch me no matter how far I ran, so I pulled the last bite of fluffy tube out from the wrapper, and walked out into the coming maelstrom.

The sound of the last cinnamon powder hitting the ground was enough to stir some of the flock into a frenzy, and as my arm arched back and tossed my only weapon into the air, I saw nature’s power. Every last feathered bundle of fear and uncontrolled sweet tooth zoomed towards my churro, and in no time my dessert was gone. As I walked away, savoring the last sweet taste, I knew I had reached my peak as a knight. I was churro-less, but I had become the Great Friend of the Seagulls.


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