KIPU — A dog chained to his house for three years, an empty water bowl and a curious cat.
Those were the elements fourth-grade students worked with to create an ending to a story involving Hayley, a scruffy gray cat, and Noah, a big brown dog chained to his doghouse, in the “Breaking the Chain” contest.
These characters were developed by children’s author Debra White and the task facing the fourth-grade writers was to develop an ending for the saga that started when Hayley discovered Noah chained to his house after hearing a lot of barking and commotion.
“It was not about the spelling or the grammar, but what the judges felt were appropriate actions to solve Noah’s dilemma,” said Carol Everett, the Kaua‘i Humane Society’s education director.
In announcing the winners, Everett explained that four schools chose to participate in the first essay contest hosted by the Kaua‘i Humane Society and sponsored by King Auto Center.
But when all the entries were reviewed, Eastside students came out on top as four of the six winners, including the first place essay, came from St. Catherine’s School and two from Kapa‘a Elementary School.
Lilinoe Workman, the winner of a new bicycle as the first place writer, had a simple solution to Noah’s problem. Hayley attracted her owner, Susen, who approaches Noah’s owner and ends up adopting the dog, leading to a lasting friendship between the feline and canine.
Mikela Matayoshi, the winner of an MP3 player, had a similar solution. “The Great Hayley” attracted the attention of its owner by darting out the door and leading her to Noah, scratching at the dog’s collar to bring attention to Noah’s plight of being thirsty and not being able to quench that thirst due to his being chained to the doghouse.
That commotion attracted the attention of Noah’s owners who, upon unhooking the dog’s chain, discovered how happy he was to be free and decided not to keep him chained up.
“Another job done by the Great Hayley,” wrote Matayoshi, of Kapa‘a Elementary School.
Tiffany Struhar, third place winner of a Borders Books & Music gift card, had a more personal solution in having Noah not slobber so much if Hayley agreed to help him get free of the chain. Her solution had Noah being adopted by Hayley’s owner where he became “happy, healthy and has the best friends in the world.”
Steven Dinnan, one of three honorable mention winners of a McDonald’s gift card, had Hayley’s owner seeking out the cat and discovering the chained Noah. The St. Catherine School fourth grader had Hayley’s owner setting the dog free and setting out water for the thirsty canine.
Cullen Kitamura, another honorable mention winner and a student at St. Catherine’s, was more adventuresome as he had Hayley suggesting that Noah push down the doghouse, an act that freed him from the chain and digging under the fence to seek refuge in Hayley’s home. Eventually, Noah was adopted by Hayley’s owner.
Bartering was the key to Jerana Perez-Jacinto’s piece as the Kapa‘a Elementary School honorable mention winner had Hayley’s owner and Noah’s owner negotiating a price for Noah to be adopted into Hayley’s home.
Not to be left out, Lana, Everett’s sidekick at school outings, darted between tiny legs and got in a lick or two as the prize winners assembled for the traditional winners’ photo