Tritt Elementary School fifth-grader Baylei Budreski, 11, is one of three Cobb County school students who won a quarter-carat diamond by entering an essay writing contest sponsored by a local jeweler.
Baylei Budreski wrote, "My mom is a very loving, thoughtful woman. She helped me when I got Type 1 diabetes. She had to learn to give me shots until I was on the pump and check my blood sugar every day until I was old enough to do it myself. She would reassure me when I got to school that whatever happened my friends would still be my friends no matter what. And I love her so much, almost as much as she loves me. She didn’t have to, but she proved she loved me so much, she gave up her every-day life just to take care of me and learned so many things about Type 1 so she could teach me some day."
“I was a little tearful because what she wrote is something she’s never said to me, never communicated to me,” said Baylei’s mother, 47-year-old Apryle Budreski. “You could hear how appreciative she was for what we’ve been through together, but that’s bigger than any diamond you could ever receive. The diamond is great, but this paper is what makes my Mother’s Day.”
Baylei was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in first grade when she was 6 years old. Since then, Apryle has not only been at her child’s every beck and call, but she has studied everything there is to know about the disease, from how it was discovered to how it affects the body and the prospects for a cure.
“To me the pancreas doesn’t get a lot of credit, but when you don’t have a functioning pancreas, you figure it out … growing, getting sick, allergies, and stress from a test,” she said. “It’s a constant battle with blood sugars, and I think that’s one of the reasons why there’s not a cure yet.”
Apryle runs an east Cobb support group for parents of children with Type 1 diabetes.
“I like to tell my husband that I save him tons of money and support by doing this support group,” she said, laughing.
The essay contest is sponsored by David Douglas Diamond and Jewelry in Marietta.
Baylei’s essay was one of 11,000 that the jeweler received this year for its 10th annual “Dazzling Diamonds for Mom.”
Allison Watkins, a spokesperson for the jewelry store off Sandy Plains Road, said the contest was started by Doug Meadows in 2003 as a way to pay tribute to his mother, whom he lost to cancer in 1990.
“He decided to start doing this to honor other moms,” Watkins said. “He decided to do it through a writing contest because this shows students the value of their writing.”
Students in first through sixth grade are asked to write 50 words or less about their moms and why they deserve to win a diamond.
“A group of volunteers read every essay, and we don’t check them for grammar or sentence structure, but feelings that they have towards their moms,” Watkins said.
The three top winners receive a loose diamond, which is valued at about $650, for their moms.
The other winners are a fourth grader from Blackwell Elementary School, Cody H., and a second grader at Mount Bethel Elementary School, Turner M.
A winner from each class that participates in the competition wins a loose gemstone worth up to $75, too. Watkins said they have around 750 of these winners this year.
There is also a Title I school picked each year whose classroom winners receive a finished pendant and gemstone piece.
“We will be sending nine necklaces with gemstones to Fair Oaks Elementary, and Doug Meadows will be delivering that to each of the classes Friday,” Watkins said.