EDUCATION

Pet escapade is one for the books for Greencastle teen

PAT FRIDGEN, Echo Pilot
Aeriel Crook holds on tightly to Cooper, an excitable pet that was fodder for a good story.

A lively pup and a dad's practical joke turned into a successful writing assignment for Aeriel Crook. Her story became a chapter in "Chicken Soup for the Soul - I Can't Believe My Dog Did That". The book, one in a long and popular series on various subjects, will be released Sept. 18. For her way with words, Aeriel won $200 and 10 copies of the book.

Aeriel, 16, and fellow students at Greencastle-Antrim High School, were charged with putting into print a true story for the Creative Writing class of Martina Fegan. They had three Chicken Soup topics to consider.

The daughter of Tammy and Max Crook, and sister of Makenzie, 12, Aeriel chose to tell about the family dog, who was living the good life on West Weaver Road. He came from Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter, having been abandoned by his first owners and then returned after his first adoption.

"He's a good dog, just hyper," said Aeriel.

Cooper, a 4-year-old beagle, was on a walk down the long driveway with Tammy holding the leash. Max turned into the lane in his police car, and thought it would be funny to call out to Cooper over the radio speaker system. Cooper was not amused, but rather terrified. With adrenaline in full gear, his 30 pounds turned around at full speed, and Tammy flew along.

"Cooper flipped out," Aeriel said in his defense. "He pulled my mom back home. She lost her bedroom slippers. He ended up under my parents' bed and wouldn't come out. Then later, he acted like nothing was wrong."

Aeriel, who will be a junior this fall, doesn't remember what grade she got on the assignment because the publisher contacted her fairly quickly that her submission had been accepted. She earned an 'A' for the semester and would take more writing classes if they were offered at G-AHS.

She is giving Fegan a copy of the book.

"Without her, I wouldn't have gotten published. Her class got me out of my comfort zone."

Aeriel also enjoys drawing and music. She plays clarinet in Concert Band and keyboard for Indoor Percussion. She also takes karate. She would like to become an elementary school teacher.