Charlotte Winter is an 11-year-old in grade six at McMurrich Jr. Public School, and she has been enrolled in our STARS after school program for the last two years. At such a young age, Miss Winter has managed to write a number of short stories, spoken word poems and she aspires to be a pediatrician someday “in a clinic so [she] doesn’t have to work crazy hours”!
We sat down with Charlotte to learn more about her experience as a tween, big sister, and young writer.
What is the most interesting thing you’ve done recently?
I used to live really close to school. But I just moved in with my step dad, and he lives in Forest Hill. I have the whole 3rd floor to myself. And there’s this giant dresser in my room that we can’t get out, because there used to be an elevator but now there isn’t one!
Can you tell us what your coolest accomplishments have been?
I’ve learned to play two instruments. The violin, which I play at school, and the piano that I play at home. I like the piano better. Also, I’ve written a number of short stories. One about an insane asylum, another about a girl named Doll. Her mom dies from alcoholism, and she goes home for the funeral but everything is different. It’s called “Home Again”. Usually you write the beginnings of a lot of stories but never finish them.
How did you start writing?
It came naturally. My dad writes poetry. My siblings are into DJing and one is into photography.
What do you enjoy most about your writing?
It’s an escape from reality. You are no longer in reality, you are in your own reality. And everyone can write but not everyone can write well.
Have you gotten any recognition or awards for your writing?
No, but my writer friends say I’m good!
What is your 15 year plan?
I want to go to U of T medical school to become a pediatrician… and continue writing on the side as my main hobby. My step dad is a doctor and he says you’ll always come out of med school with a different specialty so who knows!
Do you know where you want to live? Will you stay here?
I love Toronto it’s my favorite place in the world. I want to work for a while, retire and then move somewhere warm! After I retire I want to be peaceful with the world. Live in a hut and have a pet zebra. And name it Stripes because I’m very original.
What do you find most challenging with being 11?
I’m between being a child and being a teenager. Being a teenager comes with responsibilities but being a child has privileges and no responsibilities. Which also means I can go one of two ways – where my younger siblings look up to me, and I’m babied by my older siblings – and – I feel most comfortable being a child.
What do you find rewarding at your age?
I don’t know… life, life is rewarding.
Do you like being a big sister?
Yes. My brother is my favorite person in the whole world! But we love each other in very different ways. I’m aware of the different roles we play in our relationship.
What are your thoughts on social media?
I have Snapchat and Instagram. I mostly use Instagram for my photography.
Charlotte’s self-awareness and maturity led us to write this piece on her, but her spirit and will to remain young is what captivated us the most. She described herself as goofy! Which is such an admirable quality to have, because most 11-year-olds are too concerned with acting like mini adults to express their childlike ways. If Charlotte could have one wish it would be that she could eat ice cream and not get fat, because it tastes good but has no nutritional value and she’d prefer to stay healthy! We’re on the same page, Charlotte, we’d love that magical ice cream too!
When we asked Charlotte for any advice she’d like to give anyone, she said
“Adulthood is a trap. Stay a kid for as long as possible. Stay a kid for as long as possible. Make it last.”
Charlotte graciously shared one of her spoken word/poetry pieces about her younger brother.