Motif 2020-2021 Sun Valley High School's Magazine of Art and Literature

This year has been a year like no other. We have all felt the impact on our lives. Our students are no different. Their experiences have shaped them in ways we have yet to know. One way we can see how it has affected them is through their art. 144 of our students, over 13%, of our student body, have shared their art and their year with us. In Motif, we see how the year has changed them - from the subjects, topics, and themes of their essays, short stories, and poetry, to the materials, medium, and themes used in their art projects.

Grace Lobb

Katherine Fallon

She was art.



Not always following rules.

She wasn’t always pretty,

But art isn’t meant to be pretty.

Art is meant to make you feel something.

Hannah McGroary

Abby Chambers

Women have faced many challenges

Many setbacks

Challenges that limit their work’

Setbacks that limit their families

Challenges that deteriorate their mental health

Women have been trying to survive for more than 100 years

Trying to gain the power they deserve

Gain the power they are entitled to

As Elizabeth Cady Stanton says

“These laws gives him to deprive her of life and liberty”

Teaching men that they have the right

To control women

And the women should obey

What they are told

But why do they?

Why do men feel entitled to do this harm?

It is mentally draining for women

Making them feel hopeless and powerless

What is the motive for women to obey?

Is it fear?

Are they intimidated by their “ruler”?

They avoid these troubling situations

To please these men

Their commanders

Trapped in a lonely routine

These women suffer in silence

But these brave and beautiful women

Are gaining the strength to protest

And fight for what’s right

And to escape the grasps of men

The grasps that had been controlling them

These women deserve these rights

We are all created equal

Squad - Angela Jones

Nicole Buscaglia

Take a photo

Take two or four

A few minutes later

Take a few more

The day will fade

But the image will stay

An artifact of life

When you fade away

Do not lose yourself

Sitting behind a screen

But capture memories

From joyous to serene

One day you will forget

And hope to look back

The photos will be there

In a neat little stack

So take a photo

Take two or four

Those photos will live on

Displaying life forevermore

Alyssa Milano
Two Wheels

Daniel Kinard

Two wheels roll across the concrete

Taking me to distant places

Hop off the curb

Ride down the hill

Soar off the ramp

Grind on the rail

The cold wind in my face

Making me not able to see

Two wheels roll across the concrete

Taking me to distant places

Snaeha George

Kayden Maiorine

He saw her from across the room, and impulsively stood up. His legs brought him face to face with her. Her mud brown eyes met his, and that signature smell of cheap perfume instantly triggered him into speaking. As her mouth began to open, a piercing noise rhythmically took over her commanding voice. The noise became more prominent, and sped up. It was five forty-five, time to get up. Eliza, his girlfriend of one year, three months, two weeks and three days, was still sleeping, drool seeping from the corner of her mouth. Very attractive. Daniel leaned over, softly kissed her forehead, and rolled back, the image of her gently sloping blue eyes replacing the piercing image of the brown from the girl. As he stared at the vibrant colors of the alarm clock on his bedside table, he tried to convince himself to get out of bed. The lack of motivation made it nearly impossible, however the thought of breakfast was good enough to do it. He stared in the clouded bathroom mirror, with a lifeless expression on his face. His eyes half open, feeling the forces of gravity upon them. The corners of his mouth drooped down; saliva slipped out. Without changing facial expression, Daniel made his way to his bedroom. He became increasingly angrier as the tight T-shirt he was attempting to put on would not go on. He turned on his cellphone. Hoping to see something more, but not surprised by the “Battery sufficiently charged” notification, Daniel threw the piece of junk across his room. Did he really mean anything to anyone?

Once classes had started for the day, Daniel had begun to feel at ease. Finally, something to take himself away from his own mind. Daniel succeeded in his academics, and preferred the classroom over his own home; it was just easier; all the answers were there. Daniel started his day with British Literature. Although not his favorite subject, it still had appealing characteristics. Sitting in the dusty corner filled with cobwebs, Daniel listened to Professor Huckleberry starting her lecture on persuasive writing techniques. The colors in the room began to appear more monotone; the sound of Huckleberry faded in and out, until she was merely gone. Daniel tried to resist the urge to travel to this induced state, however, this urge was too powerful.

Daniel was transferred into a dark room; he saw himself standing there. The girl had appeared again. Daniel could have recognized her penetrating eyes among a crowd of one million. However, with the butterflies in his stomach, he felt immense pain. A short dagger had slit his throat, and blood pooled out onto the floor. Daniel winced with pain, and the girl flashed his sight quickly. She was laughing, wearing nothing. Bruises scattered her body. She continued to smile, and flaunted her figure proudly. Her face was caked in overbearing, sickeningly vibrant makeup. The girl vanished. Daniel saw himself become restrained and on his knees. He was spit on, beaten, and the wound on his neck was attacked once more. As Daniel attempted to scream, he woke up in a cold sweat during the middle of Professor Huckleberry’s lesson.

Obviously, Huckleberry had questions for Daniel after the incident. Although he knew exactly who the girl in his dream was and why she was after him, he invalidated his professor’s concerned mannerisms by giving vague responses. Daniel hastily grabbed his satchel and hurried out of the classroom. He threw on his earphones, The Illusionist by Scar Symmetry blasting, and proceeded to walk home. The world seemed more dangerous than usual, though. The cars were driving closer to the sidewalk than usual; people walking on the opposing side of the street gave Daniel a bad feeling. Further upping his speed to a jog, Daniel raced to get home. He jammed the keys into the door and yanked it open, sighing with relief to see his overweight dog, Dorito, on the couch. However, Daniel did not feel satisfied with letting go of this incident. He acted on impulse and created a plan to end the hallucinations once and for all.

Knowing Eliza would not be home for another few hours, Daniel paced through his neatly arranged apartment until he was interrupted by an obnoxious knocking at the door. Without bothering to check who was behind it, he swung the door open. Standing there was the girl appearing in his dreams, or as he knew her, Victoria. Daniel’s limbs froze, and his mind could not control itself, especially as her piercing eyes, mimicking two black holes, a vacuum for stolen souls, bore into his own. His jaw dropped, leaving his mouth wide open, saliva, once again, dripping out of the corners of his mouth. At a heaping 5’9, she stood towering over him. She made penetrating eye contact with him, of which he could not sustain. He was taken aback by her makeup; the obnoxious red tint slathered across her lips seemed as if blood were permanently dried on. Her eyelashes were so cumbersome that he was surprised her eyes were even open. What he thought at first was her premature wrinkles turned out to really be the crustiness of her foundation, which was caked sky-high onto her cheekbones and forehead. There was tension between the two regarding the past. It was awkward; was anyone going to say something? Although Daniel had invited her over—as Eliza was busy working her world-class job, as per usual—he was still shocked by her presence. Victoria took a step towards Daniel, and asked flirtatiously, “Well, you do look different Dan. What is it that you needed me for?” Her right hand grazed his shoulder as her left pointer finger twirled a few strands of bright red auburn hair. The images of her from his visions flashed once more in front of him. He clenched his fists and replied, “Um. I—I think that we should sort out… well, everything, you know, once and for all.” She looked confused and angry. Without much delay, Victoria countered, “That’s sweet, but what is there to sort out? You have your life, and I have mine. We are over, Dan.” He snapped back, “I am done pretending like nothing happened, like everything is okay, because it’s not.” She laughed mockingly. His blood boiled. Would he continue to be the person who let her shove toxic sludge down his throat, or was he going to push it back?

Daniel aggressively threw his hands into the refrigerator and retrieved a beer. He busted it open on the stained countertop. “Would you like one, darling?” Victoria was stunned. With every empty bottle on the table, his words began to slur, and his feet started to trip over themselves, “Now, I am tired of this nonsense.” Although he had little idea of what would come out of his mouth next, he decided to keep talking, “I am tired of being treated like a decomposing body! I am done trying to ignore my feelings about this.” Victoria sat on his couch calmly. She started to pick at her poorly done acrylic nails. Daniel rose his voice, “Are you even listening to me?! Do you care? Huh? Talk to me!” She finally looked up from her lap. With a deep sigh, she said as if it were the hundredth time, “Yes, I care. There are times when I think about you, Danny. We are different people now, and I am just over it. I am sorry.” Daniel tried to accept it. He had been trying to accept it for years. He had met another girl, his beautiful Eliza; he had a life. He could not let his first love ruin his life forever. “No!” Daniel started to weep, and slowly collapsed to the floor. His despair turned to rage in an instant, as he sprung up with his head tilted down and said, “No.” Daniel turned to face her. He made sure to get a good look at everything from her heavenly physique to her hypnotizing eyes. Before he fell into her spell, he took a step away from it all. He reached into his pocket. Victoria, terrorized, started to sweat profusely. She started to fidget, and tears appeared in her eyes, the Wet n Wild “waterproof” mascara failing her. “Please don’t hurt me, Daniel.” Almost immediately he replied, “Don’t worry, baby. I would never hurt you.” Without hesitating, he looked into her soulless eyes one last time, and quivered out, “I will always love you.”

Victoria Barr
Rainbows at the End

Sarah Behrle

Thunderstorms have alway scared me

They remind me of all the demons

Fighting in my head. The loud noise

Keep me up all night, but at the end of the

Day the rainbow always shines and the demons

Don't always win.

Sofia Testa - Bokeh Glasses
Nighthawks - Edward Hopper

"Edward Hopper said that Nighthawks was inspired by “a restaurant on New York’s Greenwich Avenue where two streets meet,” but the image—with its carefully constructed composition and lack of narrative—has a timeless, universal quality that transcends its particular locale. One of the best-known images of twentieth-century art, the painting depicts an all-night diner in which three customers, all lost in their own thoughts, have congregated. Hopper’s understanding of the expressive possibilities of light playing on simplified shapes gives the painting its beauty. Fluorescent lights had just come into use in the early 1940s, and the all-night diner emits an eerie glow, like a beacon on the dark street corner. Hopper eliminated any reference to an entrance, and the viewer, drawn to the light, is shut out from the scene by a seamless wedge of glass. The four anonymous and uncommunicative night owls seem as separate and remote from the viewer as they are from one another. (The red-haired woman was actually modeled by the artist’s wife, Jo.) Hopper denied that he purposefully infused this or any other of his paintings with symbols of human isolation and urban emptiness, but he acknowledged that in Nighthawks “unconsciously, probably, I was painting the loneliness of a large city.”" - The Art Institute of Chicago

Through a study of Existentialism, our writers first read A Clean, Well-Lighted Place, by Ernest Hemingway. They then examined the painting, Nighthawks, by Edward Hopper. They were tasked with writing an original narrative, based on the painting and its subjects, with a nod to the philosophy of Transcendentalism. Throughout this publication, you will see their interpretations.

The Waiting

AN imagining of Nighthawks - Le'nyiah Flamer

It was August 28th, 1939, the best night of my life, we were in downright love and It was amazing. My true love. Tessy, and I have known each other all our lives. I had been Tessy's best friend since we were in diapers. Our moms were the best of friends. I was the shy quiet type and she was the outgoing, brave type. We fitted together perfectly. I asked my love, Tessy, on a date hoping she would say yes and that night she did. We both met at a cafe, I knew she wasn't going to be happy for long because I had something to tell her. When we met she looked beautiful and very happy. She had bright orange hair that flowed like a cool breeze, a dress that looked like a perfect red rose, eyes filled with wonder, and a lovely bright smile that could light up any room that she walked into.

There was only one old guy beside us there and he looked unbothered, so we both sat at the bar next to each other with him. After we said our greetings and ordered our drinks, I decided to rip the bandaid off early and tell her the bad news.¨Tessy I have something important to tell you.¨ I said in misery. She looked so worried and sad, but I still had to dig up the courage to say it. ¨The war will be coming soon and I have served for it.¨” I blurted out. In confusion she cries out, ”But why wouldn't you have told me sooner?, how could you just leave me ?, Why do you have to go?¨ As I tried to calm her down, The old man listening to what's happening shouted, ¨That's just the way life is, men have to go to war whether you like it or not and it's up to you to wait around or leave. ¨We both were left speechless because it looked like he's been through this before, Instantly he seemed like he regretted everything he said but still wanted to tell a story. He continued calmly ¨ We were just how you are, Completely in love and inseparable. She was just as miserable as you were when she found out I had to go to war, but I thought she was going to wait around for me, But she didn't and to this day I haven't seen or heard from her. ¨

I didn't expect Tessy to wait for me, well at least that's what I thought. Why would she not wait for me?. ¨I will wait for him.¨ muttered Tessy as she looked at me. ¨That's exactly what she promised me.¨ The old man muttered back. As the entire cafe went silent all you could hear is Tessy slowly starting to cry,¨I'll come back, I promise.¨ I said as I tried to calm her down. After a moment she stopped crying and said, ¨No, I can't do this. I´m sorry.¨ Then she rushed out and I ran quickly after her but when I caught up to her she turned to me and….. ¨

Look out they're shooting at us! Move Swiftly! Yelled my commander. I climbed quickly out of my trench ducking and dodging the bullets that were moving like lightning towards my base. It seemed like I had been running for hours before we were cleared to stop. When we finally could stop I looked for my partner who had been helping me through the beginning of the war and who I told a lot to, but I couldn't find him. As I continued to look, I thought to myself, did he not make it this time? The attack was so random it seemed like not many of the men made it out of the trench. We had to keep moving, so I had to stop looking for him. I had no clue when this war would be over with and it felt like I've been in it for decades. I wanted to give up but I just couldn't because I had to make it back.

My commander waited for more to come to our safe spot and then went on to tell us that our enemies were gaining on us and that it would be a long time before the war had ended. At this moment I knew that my love would have to move on and not wait for me. I decided to write her a letter, “ Dear my love Tessy, I do not know when the war would be over, It could go on for years. I'm sorry I could not return as promised. I don't want you to wait for me anymore. I want you to keep me in mind but go on and live your life, Try to get away from everything. We can let faith determine what happens later on in life. Maybe we'll make it back to each other in the future. Love, Anthony.

A week goes by and she still has not written a letter back to me. I started to get anxious as time passed. I dreaded every day worrying about her. As I worried about her I started to think of different scenarios of her moving on already. The winter had hit and more and more people were dying and we hadn't gained any advantage. We had to come up with newer plans and strategies to get a step ahead of our enemies. After months went past we finally came up with a plan. We came up with a plan to find different routes to get our enemies while they were unprepared. This was a way we could get them to surrender to us. Even though we were low on manpower, this plan would be perfect. Catching them off guard was the only working option at this point. We created and studied our mystery routes and within weeks the plan was ready, I was ready.

Our commander gave us the sign to go and we destroyed almost everything right when they didn't expect a thing. It was hard but we managed to move through the rest of The enemies like a knife through soft butter. Slowly but shortly our enemies didn't have enough capability to fight back. Just like they surrendered and we won. A couple of weeks later war ended and I couldn't believe that I made it out. I returned to my hometown with hopes of it not being destroyed, but When I got there it looked like a tornado had hit. There were a few people there looking for their loved ones. All I could see was everyone's faces saddened as they realized that the person that they were looking for did not make it out. An empty town filled with empty grieving hearts. Some store structures were still holding up, while others were utterly demolished.

“So that's the last time I saw my love Tessy before I went through that treacherous world war ,” I told the Cafe waiter as he looked at me with fascination. “ When you came back did you ever think about looking for her?” he asked. “ No, I told myself I wouldn't because I figured she had already got the letter I sent and decided to move on.” “ I saw her come back to this cafe many times with eyes filled with wonder, but she would always leave very sad.” She came back looking for me, I thought to myself as I sank in my chair with grief. “ I should've come back, I should've tried,” I said with regret. Maybe she'll go back again. She looked like she did love you.” He said before leaving my table.

For the next few days, I wondered what would've happened if I just tried to find her, What my life would be like with her, and how long she had been looking for me. I hated myself for sending her that letter. I gave up so easily when things got rough, so I had to come to my senses. I decided that I will search for her like she searched for me and maybe I would find my love. I will go to the cafe and sit there all day long if that's what it takes. I made a promise to myself that I would not give up. I may find her one day and until that day I will continue to search.

Tranquility - Kayden Maiorine

Teagan Williams

the soil wasn’t far from the tips of her fingers;

it was even closer to his reach than hers.

she took a blade between her teeth

if only for the texture and a grin of his

and its color was mocking all four sides of her view.

somewhere was a storm on the foyer floor

dreading the goodbye that took off with those countless days.

it wept for reminiscent days;

she knew she had no sway anymore.

that was not here where the beams swept their faces.

she leapt from her back and wandered while he followed suit

collecting petals and breeze and losing fret all at once.

because she can see everything that awaits.

Aaron Hanavin

"A traditional Japanese haiku is a three-line poem with seventeen syllables, written in a 5/7/5 syllable count. Often focusing on images from nature, haiku emphasizes simplicity, intensity, and directness of expression. Haiku began in thirteenth-century Japan as the opening phrase of renga, an oral poem, generally a hundred stanzas long, which was also composed syllabically. The much shorter haiku broke away from renga in the sixteenth century and was mastered a century later by Matsuo Basho, who wrote this classic haiku:

An old pond!

A frog jumps in—

the sound of water.

As the form has evolved, many of its regular traits—including its famous syllabic pattern—have been routinely broken. However, the philosophy of haiku has been preserved: the focus on a brief moment in time; a use of provocative, colorful images; an ability to be read in one breath; and a sense of sudden enlightenment." - Poets.org The Academy of American Poets

Throughout this publication, you will see collections of haiku from our writers. They were charged with the task of writing 2 haiku for each season, honoring the traditional subject matter and form, paying particular attention to word choice and imagery. They will take you from the chill of winter, to the rebirth of spring, to he blazing heat of summer, and finish in the golden colors of fall.

A Haiku Collection by Christine DeGuzman

Winter 1

Down raining slowly

The soft touched of crystalline

While soft skin turns ice

Winter 2

Harsh rains turn soft flakes

Form to layers of solid

Thaws eventually

Spring 1

Pink, brown, green, yellow

Plants grow far from city blue

From afar, still they bloom

Spring 2

What’s hidden beauty

Start to bloom in its season

Unseen till the end

Summer 1

Blaze over the wind

A lot of heat to take in

The sun powers all

Summer 2

About five feet down

Swim in warmth under the sun

Watching the flare

Fall 1

Green turns into warms

Transition from heat to breeze

Cloudless skies are gone

Fall 2

Trees fade to look aged

Piled light leaves gain heavy

Crispy orange rake

Alexandra Jordan

With the cooperation of Mrs. Bednar, our students have submitted poems, in Spanish, Throughout this publication, you will see their poems, with visual representations.

Alena Testa
A Haiku Collection by Sebastian Lane

Winter 1

Frostbitten fingers

Footsteps in soft snow

Snow falls like gentle rain

Winter 2

Frozen thins look like statues

Angels in the ground cold

White animals run through snow

Spring 1

New birth brings long days

Life renews and begans all again

Longer days more time

Spring 2

Life wakes up once more

Trees awaken flowers bloom

Birds wake to sing songs

Summer 1

Hot flowers bloom bright

Nights are long and beautiful

Feels like a desert

Summer 2

Scorching like pleasant days

Long nights stunning horizons

Sharp sand between toes

Fall 1

Enlightened red leaves

Warm glowing short cool nights of change

Bare trees go to sleep

Fall 2

Orange red vibrant leaves

Trical of cool air steals days

Beautiful things coming

Casually Eats the Sun - Angela Jones
The Pit

Julia DiNicola

Of all the places

I have traveled

Of all the people

I have seen

Of all the objects one can think one-

Each tells the same story

Yet all is different

Everyone has a purpose- but is that it

Is that what we are living for?

To find the purpose of one self?

You have been told

“Everyone is different so be you”

But in a society of today’s world

No one wants to be different

The intimidating presence

Of a human being

Can only take one so far in life

Whether you want it or not

Reality hits you

And it stops for no one

It will drive you up a 50 foot wall

Then you are falling

Falling into the deepest pit

One’s mind will take them

But as you are falling

You reach out

Feel something against your fingertips

So you grab

You hold onto a stable mindset for a little while

Then back again to the same cycle

Falling back down

The deep pit you have been before




Cause the world will keep spinning

But no one stops

No one stops to look at you

No one can see you

You are just another

Silhouette in life chasing the dream-

The dream of being accepted

The dream of pleasing others

The dream of being you and being loved

And as you are accepted

The deep pit is slowly collapse

In on itself

Slowly filling with small pebbles

Then a rock

Then a boulder

Until your pit is no longer a pit

It is a mountain

You built-

With your mind

Cause your mind is the only one out there

No copies

No shortcuts

No duplicates

So use it

And use it to power

Tyler Koenig
Sophia Possenti

Feeling Lost


The alarm clock ticks loudly on the side table. My head pounds in rhythm with the blaring car horns. I have an itch on my ankle where there is a fold in the comforter. I turn my head to see the alarm clock read 3:21am. The insomnia hovers over me like a dark cloud as a storm is rolling in. I have tried anything and everything but nothing works; herbal teas, melatonin, sound canceling headphones, etc. Thoughts swarm my head constantly, tugging at my attention and not caring what time it is. I sit up and glance out the window, peering out at the lit buildings. Once I am out of bed, my feet start taking me down the stairs until, suddenly, I am wrapping a jacket over my shoulders and hustling out the door. I walk for what feels like hours until I get the sudden craving for caffeine. I decide I am not sleeping anytime soon and redirect my step towards Phillip’s, my go-to spot for a bite to eat or a coffee to drink. I turn the corner, coming into view of the large glass windows that enclose the coffee shop, and am surprised to see two customers perched on the stools along the counter. The door creaks open and pulls the bell to alert the others of my presence. No one turns; I am not surprised. Pete, the barista, nods in my direction, the corners of his mouth upturned. He is always working, even taking the late shifts to support him and his daughter after his wife left them. You can see the sleep deprivation and his broken heart in his eyes. “Ryan, just in time. I made a fresh pot, would you like a cup?” Pete inquires.

“Sure. Thanks.” I give my best half-smile, as much as I can muster at this point in life, and pull out the stool across from the couple. I eavesdrop, listening to the two arguing. “I don’t understand why you can’t just divorce her already. Don’t you want to be happy? With me?” the girl in red exclaims.

“You don’t understand, it’s not that easy,” the man next to her says with a sharp tongue.

“Please, explain it to me then,” she whimpers, “or else I’m going to leave you. I’m tired of sneaking around.”

“No,” the man grabs her arm aggressively, and just as quickly drops it. “I’ll figure it out.” I stop listening because I honestly do not want to hear about how this man is stuck choosing between two women. I can barely keep one in my life for more than a few weeks. Pete sets down the scalding hot coffee and I peer through the dark void to find my own reflection staring back. I brush my messy, brown locks out of my face to find my forehead is creased in years of anxiety; to top the insomniac look off, dark circles rest under my eyes. My young complexion is already starting to dwindle away and only at 25 years old.

I slowly sip the coffee and am taken back to my childhood when I would wake up to a fresh pot every morning. It was left by my parents who were always already gone for work by the time I woke. I never saw much of them and took comfort in drinking the leftover caffeine to feel as if I was with them on their way across the city. After not getting much attention at home, I would go to school and find myself as the outlier. The only person who was ever truly my friend was Steven Turner and was the one person who kept me sane. I kept to myself mostly but Steven helped me break out of my shell a little more. In high school, the insomnia started and was often the turn off to all the girls I went on dates with. No one understood the insomnia or the anxiety I had which forced me to become distant and focus on my studies. I went to the University of Fordham to get a degree in accounting and acquired a job right in the city. I have not been in contact with my parents in years and Steven currently lives a few towns over, happily engaged and doing well for himself. I am glad he is happy, but I avoid reaching out to him because it only reminds me of how lonely I am.

I reach the bottom of the cup in disappointment and glance up at the clock that reads 4:17am. Realizing I have to leave for work in an hour, I ask for the check and give one more good look at the man who is clearly in distress about choosing between the woman he vowed to spend the rest of his life with or his woman of the night. I shake my head, leave a tip under my cup, and swing open the door to the frigid night. I walk the empty streets and ponder on the last time I had someone to comfort me in times like these. The memories of rejections and women who did not understand me flood back and I am hit with a wave of loneliness. It feels as if a dam has just opened the gates right in front of me and I am taken aback. Shaking from the cold air and the intense feeling of sadness, I blink the tears from my eyes and rush around the corner.

After I get home to freshen up, I catch a taxi to work. The ride is quiet and the backseat is empty, no traces of other people. The driver says nothing and keeps the radio off. The silence is deafening and leaves me stuck listening to the swirling void of thoughts in my head.

I feel like I am in a constant cycle. Lay awake all night. Get coffee. Go to work. Go home. Repeat. The lack of motivation to do anything sets in. There is nothing to look forward to during my day, especially going to work. The accounting firm is full of quiet people like me who barely know my name after four years of sitting in the cubicle next to mine.

“Sir?” the taxi driver repeats in an annoyed tone. “We’re here.”

“Oh sorry, my bad.” I hand him some cash and slip out of the car. After going up the elevator to the seventh story, I enter the office. Something seems off immediately when I notice a few people look my way. One of my coworkers even says, “Ryan Hall, right?” to which I respond with a nod. He gives a nervous half-smile and quickly redirects his step in the other direction. I feel my eyebrows wrinkle in confusion. I walk slowly to my cubicle, everyone’s shifty eyes on me, and sit down apprehensively. Perspiration ran down my forehead and sunk low in my seat. I suddenly was sweating and was gasping for air.

“You okay, Ryan?” a nameless but familiar voice calls behind me.

“Uhh- yeah, I-I’m f-f-fine.” The words come out of my mouth in a slur and the lights above my head sway in a daze. Someone grabs my hand and puts a bottle of water in it, insisting I take a sip. They prop me up straight in my chair and hold my head as I regain my ability to stabilize. I end up freshening up in the bathroom, and when I come out, my boss pulls me aside.

“I would like to see you in my office,” he says in his monotone voice with an uninterested expression.

“Yes, sir.” I nod and follow his footsteps.

Did I mess something up? Did I lose all my clients? Am I getting fired? The worst things imaginable tug at my brain and I become lightheaded once again. I sit in the chair across from him and he looks at me with the same uninterested expression.

“I know that you have been working here for many years and have worked hard but,” he pauses and clears his throat. Why is he firing me? What did I do wrong?

“Excuse me. As I was saying, you’re a hard worker but I believe it’s time for a change.” Sweat beads on my forehead and my throat tightens. “How would you like to become head accountant?”

I start to cough and choke in complete shock as I am flooded with relief. My coughing fit lasts a few minutes until I can finally manage to put together, “I would love to” and “Thank you, sir.” I shake his hand and make my way back to my cubicle. I look around to see smiles and some thumbs up in my direction, followed by a few people congratulating me. I smile, leaning back in my chair admiring the pure sense of joy I feel. I personally am unfamiliar with the feeling, so I indulge in it, not taking it for granted.

The week goes by quickly and I have begun to learn the names of my colleagues as well as more about their personal lives. A few invited me out for drinks a few nights ago and I decided to say yes. I had a great time and we plan to do it again in the coming days. I even found myself going on a date with my coworker, Alice Anderson, who actually shares many common interests with me. We went to get cheesesteaks and plan on going on a run next week after work. She also understands my insomnia, even opening up about her brother and her having it when they were younger. I even took her to Philip’s and introduced her to Pete who was just as excited about the new relationship as I was.

I had my first night’s rest for the first time in years and feel rejuvenated as if I am a new person. I am finally excited to go into work and have gained back motivation to take on new hobbies. I recently was at a really low point in my life and did not think it would get any better, but it did, and I am happy to report that good things will come even when all hope feels lost.

Kelsey Celestino - Diamondhead
A Haiku Collection by Sarah Behrle

Winter 1

Frigid wintertime

Santa is coming tonight

Baking fresh cookies

Winter 2

White snowflakes falling

Sit by a crackling fire

Cold fingers and toes

Spring 1

Chirping from the birds

Blooming of new life begins

Rainbows after rain

Spring 2

Breathe in crisp clean air

Take a and smell flowers

Open the house up

Summer 1

Cheerful summertime

Suddenly bright best friend walks

Walking in the rain

Summer 2

Chill break of the day

Barefoot walks along the sand

Fog in the distance

Fall 1

The smell of fresh air

Rusted-colored leaves falling

Breezy chilly days

Fall 2

Raked red leaves from trees

Flannels on back to school days

Ripe orange pumpkin

Avari Hahn

Ceramics and Sculpture

"Due to the circumstances of Covid 19, our traditional Ceramics and Sculpture classes look a bit different. Previously, students typically worked with clay. Clay is a shared material. One student comes in the room uses the material and then returns it back to the same container that the next student is getting it from. We can easily see how working with clay can become complicated with this set of procedures of shared tools and consumable materials. With that said, we looked at sculpture with a much broader lens. This is a good thing because it creates a more well rounded and versed student who has a taste of many different mediums within the realm of sculpture. Below you will see images of student work ranging from plaster, wire, everyday objects, cardboard, metal, plastalina, fiber, etc. Nevertheless, students have risen to the occasion, and continue to impress me with their work while navigating our changing times." - Mr. Hartman

Erin McGugan - Cardboard and Sharpie
Old Enough to Understand

Abby Chambers

As I grow older,

Things are getting rougher,

Daily things are mentally draining,

And nothing is ever good enough.

As I grow older, I am supposed to handle everything,

All this pressure on my shoulders,

Pressure to do good,

To impress,

To be the best,

I am old enough to understand,

That if it is not the best,

It is not good enough.

As I grow older,

People are watching me,

Judging my body and the way I look,

If I do not look perfect,

If I do not have a slim figure,

If I do not have a pretty face,

I am not good enough.

As I grow older I wake up to my own alarm,

It is a chore to get out of bed,

To get dressed,

To shower,

Wishing I was excited to live life everyday,

But it’s useless complaining,

Everyday is the same cycle,

It will never be good enough.

As I grow older,

My responsibilities grow bigger,

I am expected to achieve more,

My parents are no longer proud with my best work,

I'll never be good enough.

As I grow older,

My negative thoughts cloud my head,

Telling me there is no escape,

And to give up on all I've dreamed of.

I should be old enough to understand,

I'll never be perfect,

But the guilt stays,

No matter my age.

Olivia Carr
Stories from Backville, Maine

Riley Purfield

My grandma sits in the same chair every day, goes to bed at the same time, and eats exactly the same. I haven’t seen my grandma move from her schedule ever. The only thing I ever observe her indulging in is storytelling. She is a master storyteller, from which I have firsthand experience. She has told many stories, but one has stuck with me the most. The story of the library on Evergreen Lane. Evergreen Lane is wound into the woods of Backville Maine, where I live. Backville is a sort of anomaly in these parts. My town has not grown or modernized since the colonizers of Roanoke mysteriously disappeared. I live on Cherry Lane, in a beautiful little cottage nestled into the edge of town. My boyfriend Timmy lives on Peach Lane in an old Victorian mansion, beautifully preserved and hidden by enormous trees. The only populated part of town is City Lane, a collection of quaint old shops and restaurants divided by a cobblestone street. I love my town, but my most favorite part of town is Timmy.

I met Timmy two years ago at my favorite shop in town, Dr. Cee’s Crystal store. Timmy is beautiful. He has dark, thick eyebrows that match his curly brown hair. He is the tallest person I know, as well as the palest. Me and him both have great style, which is why he stuck out to me. I have a style unbefitting of my name. Lizzie is a light and airy name, whereas my style is just about the complete opposite. Me and Timmy are both smart, but not as social as could be. Timmy is much easier to talk to, though. At school, I don’t have many friends except for him. For this, my siblings like to make fun. My siblings and I don't have a great connection, my one real connection is with my grandma. My siblings always make me feel like such an unfun loser. I like to pretend I am a very interesting person, but in reality, I’m very boring. I wish I was fun like my siblings, or friendly like Timmy. During grandma’s stories, I can imagine myself as the brave main character, unapologetically themselves. The world in my mind and the world around me are two different things, though. I aspire to make these worlds one in the same. The only way to make it identical is to do the things I amgine, such as going to the library on Evergreen lane.

Timmy and I walked to school along the road when I realized I really should not have worn my mary janes. I have never skipped school before because I am a bit of a rule-follower. The thought of breaking the rules only heightens my excitement. Timmy, as usual, agreed to go with me to the library despite the utter stupidity of my idea. It is said that an old man lives above the library on Evergreen Lane, and sells books by day. No one that has ever gone in has come out. The old man never pays rent, gets food, or turns on a light. No one will dare enter the library for fear of what might happen. Timmy and I got closer and closer to the library and my hands were trembling. My hands shook up until the moment we stepped up to the library and looked into its face. The library is a beautiful old building, not coy like my house or foreboding like Timmy’s, but beautiful. “You don’t have to do this if you don’t want to.”

“I know, Timmy.”

“I will go in there with you, Lizzie.”

“Thank you.”

My face was beginning to get swollen, I just knew it. I took off my jacket and stuffed it into my bookbag, feeling less constricted but nowhere near less scared. “How should we do this?”

“I don’t know, Lizzie, maybe we just walk in. I mean after all it is a bookstore. We’re allowed to come in?”

“Okay, don't you leave me.” The nape of my neck began to perspire, but I ignored it and walked on. The 10 steps from the street to the door weighed on my knees greatly, I felt like passing out. But, Timmy failed to push the door open to the library, the heavy door had become crusted shut with rain and dirt. Timmy and I whittled away at the door frame until a small sliver of space opened up. I decided to be brave and go first as Timmy kept the doorway open. I squeezed my eyes shut until I felt him beside me. And at that moment, I opened my eyes.

It took my eyes many moments to focus on the scene ahead of me. And boy, was it a scene. It was a scene that I would never watch, because it is so boring. There were no books, no man, no lights. It was simply an abandoned old building, with nothing to offer me. I felt disappointed in myself and mad at the world. I broke then into angry tears. This adventure was meant to prove to myself and to others that I am interesting and unique and fun. Now I had nothing to defend myself with. I felt utterly and completely worthless at that moment.

When me and Timmy parted ways, I realized something big. I have been telling myself all along that I am worth nothing, and I needed to do something to prove it. But, I realize why my grandma told me that story. She told me about the library on evergreen lane so I could imagine myself as the main character in my head. But, in truth I don't need to be heroic or funny or brave to be the main character. I am the main character in my story, and I realize I can place my worth on opinions of others that have led me to believe I am not worth anything. Because I am.

Kacie Czyszczon - Nail Art

Blackout Poetry

According to E Ce Miller, Blackout Poetry is when, “…a poet takes a found document, traditionally a print newspaper, and crosses out a majority of the existing text, leaving visible only the words that comprise his or her poem; thereby revealing an entirely new work of literature birthed from an existing one” (Miller, 2017). Our writers were charged with creating Blackout Poetry that was both poetic and visually appealing. Throughout this publication, you will find examples of their work.

Katherine Fallon

Silence is Deadly


It was quiet on Jefferson Street. Too quiet for a Saturday night. It was 11:00 and in the neighborhood diner sat 3 customers, as a waiter on his fourth coffee continues to serve them their drinks. You can feel the tension in the air. The kind of tension you could cut with a knife. Alone sat a mysterious man, whose face you couldn’t see under the brim of his hat. Then, on the other side of the counter, sat Rosalina Spade, better known as Rose, and her husband Henry Cambridge. Everyone sat quietly and sipped coffee.

In her thoughts was Rosalina Spade. Her auburn hair lay perfectly on her shoulders, and her makeup was perfect as always. She kept up her appearance due to Henry being quite well known for his illegal casino, which in turn made Rose a public figure in their little town in Vermont. Women wanted to be her and men wanted her. They saw her as the perfect woman in a perfect marriage. Unlike her parents, Rose was not in a happy marriage with kids. She always wanted the life that her parents lived. When she met Henry in high school, and they became friends, she developed feelings for him quickly, but never acted upon them until after they graduated. They went to college and during their sophomore year, Henry proposed. She agreed, being head over heels, and dropped out of college to focus on the wedding, as per Henry’s request. They were soon married and moved into their first home. After the honeymoon phase was over, Rose and Henry became not-so-high school sweethearts. Fights began to break out and they argued almost every night and day. It got quite ugly one particular night. Rose went into the living room where Henry was sitting, drinking a whiskey made by one of his regulars at the casino. Rose hated whiskey and refused to drink with him, though, it's not like he’d offer anyway.

“I want to start a family, Henry.” she spoke clearly.

“I don’t. End of discussion.” He replied

“But Henry I-”

More sternly, Henry yelled, “End. Of. Discussion.”

It was after that snapback, Rose lost it. She always wanted a family like hers growing up. She had siblings and happy parents and she wanted the same for her and her future children. But after she married Henry, her family stopped speaking to her. It was becoming more clear why. The next day, Rose came back to Henry with an offer.

“Fine. You don’t want children. Then give me something to have control over or something to keep me occupied. I am not fit to be a stay at home wife. I want 50% of your casino profit and shares.” Rose told Henry

He laughed in her face as if she had just told the funniest joke he had ever heard.

“You’re out of your mind, woman. I’ll get you a goldfish. Maybe that can keep you occupied.” He slurred. He was drunk, as he normally is on weekends.

“Fine. 40%.” She replied

“You’d be lucky if I gave you a penny.”

“Final offer, 20%.” Rose was done playing games.

“Final offer. 0%. Like I said, get lost.” He stumbled over his words like he did his own feet as he stood up from the chair.

Rose walked away, not saying another word. She went to bed and prayed for a better life. Then, an idea struck.

In the diner, the clock ticked loudly, only drowning out the sound of breathing and coffee pots brewing. Rose refused to look anyone in the eye. Especially her husband. She knew what she had to do, and she was going through with it.

The waiter came by again to fill cups once more and check in on the customers. As he walked away, Rose silently stood up, placed her napkin on the table and walked towards the restrooms. On her way there, she walked behind the mysterious man sitting all by his lonesome on the other side of the diner. As she passed, he looked up slightly, trying to not raise suspicion among Henry and the waiter. A moment passes and Rose returns. Again, as she passes, the man lifts his head slightly. This time, Rose leans down and whispers to the man.

“Five minutes.” she says quietly

The man nods slightly and she moves along back to where her and her husband are seated.

Rose was not as quiet as she presumed. The waiter walked over to the man with a panicked look on his face. He knew Rose and Henry and had heard rumors of terrible things they have been associated with. He didn’t want any trouble.

“What were you talking about with Ms. Spade-Cambridge?” he asked hurriedly.

“I wouldn’t worry about it if I was you. You don't want nothing to do with him.” the man responded.

The waiter wouldn’t back down. As he walked away from the man, he headed over towards Rose. She knew what was coming, so as a distraction, she dropped a spoon to make Henry pick it up.

“Tell me what you’re planning right now!” the waiter said frantically.

Rose smirked and said to the waiter, “Don’t get involved or we’ll have to deal with you too.”

Again, that didn’t stop the waiter. As Henry sat back from grabbing the spoon, the waiter rushed over and tried to warn him about his wife and the suspicious man. But, before he could get 4 words out, the man stands up from his chair, and suddenly the waiter is down. There was a loud bang and a cry, and the waiter was on the floor. Blood was gushing from the fresh gunshot wound in his leg. Everyone stands. As Henry’s jaw drops in shock, Rose calmly walks over to the man holding the gun.

“Rose, what are you doing?” yelled Henry.

“What I should have done a long time ago. Dear, I know you’re very confused on what is going on here. See, when we first met and fell in love, I thought we would have the perfect life, similar to my childhood. Happy parents, happy siblings, happy family. Everything would be perfect. But, you didn’t want that did you? You told me I was unfit to be a mother, and you simply did not want any rascals running around and making our lives miserable. It was at that moment I knew I had fallen out of love with you. But, for the sake of our appearance and sanity, I never said anything, also hoping that maybe, by some miracle, we could fall in love again like we did in high school. Again, my dream was crushed, similar to that of having children. Then, only a few years ago, you opened up your grand casino. How daring of you. Especially when you and I both know very well that it is very much illegal for you to own the casino without the proper licenses, and casinos and gambling are illegal in Vermont. At any time I could have reported you to the police and you would have gotten life in prison, but I wanted something a little better. I wanted a cut. If I was going to stay married to you, I might as well get something out of it. Because we all know I never got any love, or attention, or anything but ungrateful remarks on my cooking and cleaning and rude looks. I wanted something to give my life purpose. So I asked you for a cut. 50/50. You said no. Then I asked for an even more reasonable 60/40 cut. Again, you said no. Finally, I asked for 80/20. Another no. You told me to get out of your face. So I did. I went to your lawyers office and had him help me get the deed to your casino and signed it over to my name. I’ve learned how to forge your signature quite well. And now, you are of no use for me. Maybe now I can find someone better and have the family I want, and run the greatest casino Vermont has ever seen. It’s over for you, Henry. Thanks for nothing.”

Henry stared at Rose in disbelief. He had no words. A tear rolled down his cheek and dropped to the floor. Rose nodded to the man, and another loud bang could be heard in the diner. Rose threw some money at the waiter for his medical bills and walked out with the man. She never looked back.

Courtney Woolery - The Pier
A Haiku Collection by Curtis Windley

Winter 1

Crunch beneath my boot

Does the fragile white snow

That will soon be gone

Winter 2

The empty outdoors

Soon to be filled up with snow

And bring life to Earth

Spring 1

The Birds are singing

The peaceful echo of chirps

Such beautiful songs

Spring 2

Flowers take morning

Bringing color to the world

While rain takes the night

Summer 1

The sun beaming down

With heat so overwhelming

The parks are lively

Summer 2

It is bright outside

With the joy of kids at play

And the sun smiles back

Fall 1

Around come autumn

The most colorful of seasons

The leaves paint the ground

Fall 2

The trees are turning

The animals hibernate

And the chill begins

Brenna Hazlett
Miracle Man

Tommy Hegarty

There were thousands of atomic bombs detonated in Arizona in the 50’s. Thousands of them blew up, some of them were detonated near major cities, and you can find all the bombs on records, at least, not the ones that the U.S. Government wiped. There remains one un-scrubbed report that shall never be revealed, or leaked, or anything of the sort. The incident is known by the government as beta-9220, “Miracles”.

In the 50’s, we did not know of the true power of the atomic bombs yet. We knew that they could level a city, but we were still naive in the field of nukes. One company, liquidated shortly after the conclusion of “Miracles”, thought they could make a suit that was impervious to the damage of nuclear weapons: a suit that could shield the wearer from the heat, the impact, the light, and, of course, the fallout of a nuclear bomb. The poured millions and millions of dollars into the suit, dubbing it “The Miracle Device”. They sent sales reps to offer it to the government, and they offered to give the company a contract if they simply could prove that it could withstand the force of the weapon. The Company and the Army set up a place to test the bomb, deep in the heart of Arizona.

The day of the test came one summer morning, when The Tester arrived. Noone knew much about the tester. No one knew if he was a lab assistant, a private, or a prisoner. All they knew was that he had red hair, and was willing to give his life for America. The Company’s reps at the test helped The Tester into “The Miracle Device”.

“The Miracle Device” was a suit of Armor made from several different layers of material, ranging from Lead, Titanium, Steel, etc, with The Company’s logo on the front, two crossed Olive Branches. It was Ironic, considering what business The Company was in. The gloves to the suit were bright green, the boots brown.

At Noon, the test began.

The Bomb was placed 500 yards away from “The Miracle Device”, as to take into account how Atomic Bombs blew up in the air, rather than earth. The Tester gave an “All-Clear” to the Army men, and the test began.

The atom bomb blew up, sending shockwaves around a mile radius. The head of the Army Reps,a short man with a Napoleon complex who shall be referred henceforth as “The Commander”, thought that he died, as did everyone else. However, when the smoke cleared, they saw the device still standing, despite how there was a crater a kilometer in diameter around the bomb. The Commander, perplexed by this, sent a team of three men, a private, a rep from “The Company”, and Sergeant Lenard Scott - a scrawny guy with a handlebar mustache.

When they reached the Miracle device, it was 200 meters from the initial point, as The Tester had walked over back to the safety point. In his wake bore life, as every single desert he passed sprouted into the air, adorned with fruit and flowers.

When the team finally reached The Tester, The Tester greeted them with no pain in his voice, the opposite of what the trio expected.

“The Device Works!” The tester exclaimed as the trio walked closer to him, “Can I take the device off now? It’s rather stuffy.”

“Sure” The rep said. The Rep was not well versed in the effects of fallout.

“Thank you!” The Tester exclaimed, as he threw off his helmet, before unlocking the mechanism holding his gloves and torso together.

“That suit was rather- Why are you staring at me?”

“Your hair…” Lenard began, “You poor thing.”

“What? Did it fall out?”

“It’s green!”

“Really? That’s strange”

“That’s an understatement” The rep muttered.

“Well-” The Tester took a step forward, only to fall face-first into the sand. He looked up to the private, the closest man there.

“Could you help me up?” The Tester said, extending a hand out to the private

“Sure.” The private said. He grabbed The Tester's hand, and pulled him up.

“Thank y- What the?” The Tester screamed. The private spontaneously combusted into a mass of green flames. The remainder of the trio backed away from The Tester, as Tester looked on at the sight in horror. The duo backed up.

“Stay here,” Lenard said, “I think that we may have to… Do things to you” Lenard said. The duo stopped in their tracks for a moment, before breaking into a sprint for the safety zone.

A day later, a nearby medical school, also in the desert, famed for its many bulletproof-glass chambers once used to store people with certain conditions. The Army believed that this would be the best place to store The Tester, who they now called “Miracle Man”, on account of how he was the one who wore the miracle device, in addition to how it was a miracle that he survived. Lenard, being the only surviving soldier to have any knowledge of how “Miracle Man” Worked, was assigned to guard Miracle Man’s cell, in addition to providing him with food, water, and any other necessities.

Over the next several months, The army conducted many tests on him.

One of these tests was wheeling in a plant known by the native american people of the area to produce great fruit, but only one fruit per year. The wheeled it into his cell, and he touched it with his ungloved hand. The tree immediately started sprouting fruit the size of watermelons. It sprouted them so fast that the Lenard had to wheel the tree out of the cell before it suffocated him

Another test was when they threw a monkey into his cell. Miracle Man was then instructed to touch the monkey. When Miracle Man touched the simian, the monkey screeched, and dissolved into a puddle. Upon examination, it was revealed that the enzymes in the Monkey’s cells were forced to turn anything they contacted into acid. Miracle Man cried after the experiment, with the only person who helped him out was Lenard, as per usual.

The final test was simply wheeling in a radio into his cell. He was instructed to touch the radio, which he did. Upon examination of the radio, and its frequencies, it was revealed that there was no discernible change from normal. From those tests, the army and The Company concluded that:

Any Plant life that Miracle Man contacted rapidly mutated into a far superior version of itself.

Any Animal life that Miracle Man contacted rapidly mutated usually producing a harmful or lethal affect, and:

The Miracle Man had no discernable impact on Technology.

They subjected Miracle man to hundreds of more tests: Seeing what would happen if he touched water, if the water would mutate plants or animals, as well as making him touch samples of diseases, as well as other plants and Animals. After a while, they started sending Miracle Man more and more people to touch. Some were criminals, some were people wrongfully accused as communist, some were just regular people.

“Why do they make me do this?” Miracle Man moaned one night, “I never wanted to kill anyone. I never wanted to hurt anything. But here I am: no one cares about what I feel”

“I care about what you feel” Lenard responded,

“Then why don’t you let me out?”

“I don’t want to be shot”

“Well, at least you care enough about me. It seems like you’re the closest thing I’d call a friend.”

That was the last time Miracle Man would call him that. The day after, The Commander ordered Lenard to kill Miracle Man.

“Why do you want me to kill him?”

“Both the President of the USA and the CEO of The Company want Miracle Man dead - The President because his escape would be dangerous to the safety of Americans, and the CEO because if the existence of Miracle Man is leaked, They’d probably lose market value.”

“But why me?” Lenard asked

“You know the most about him - You are his guard, after all”

“I won’t do it!” The general grabbed his revolver on the side of the table and pointed it right at Lenard’s face.

“Fine” He grumbled.

Lenard walked over to the clothes room near Miracle Man’s cell, where the hazmat suits were located. As he put the suit on, he wondered what Miracle Man would think of this. As he put his mask on, he wondered how he could possibly sleep after this.

As he walked out of the room to grab the rifle he was assigned before “Miracles” even began, Miracle Man said something to him.

“Why do you have a Hazmat suit on? I have food and water alre-” He stopped talking when he saw the rifle in Lenard’s hands.

“I thought you were my friend.”

“I’m sorry,” Lenard said, as he opened the door to Miracle Man’s cell.

“How could you do this?”

“I don’t want to be shot,” Lenard said, as he looked at Miracle Man. He pressed the gun to his shoulder.

Miracle Man lept at Lenard right as the shot went off, hitting the Miracle suit. Miracle Man raised his fist in the air.

“How-” Punch, “Could-” Punch, “You-” Punch, “Do-” Punch “This?” The last punch went right through Lenard’s eyepiece, right onto his face. Miracle Man rolled off Lenard, right as the mutation bega to take place. Lenard braced for the worst, but all he felt was his mustache detaching itself from him.

Miracle Man snatched Lenard’s rifle right as The Commander entered into the cell block.

“What’s this-” The Commander had no time to talk, as Miracle man shot him right in the leg. Miracle man rushed over to The Commander, and punched him right in the face. The Impact of both these blows sent The Commander spiraling to the earth, right as mushrooms began growing all across his body. Other soldiers raised their guns at Miracle Man, who raised his gun at them. Miracle Man glanced to the door, and slowly walked towards it, not firing a shot. Miracle Man turned to open the door, and a single shot bounced off “The Miracle Device”. Miracle Man turned and shot straight at the man who shot him, before walking through the door.

“After him!” One of the soldiers cried.

“No,” Lenard commanded. He had only just gotten off the floor, “We forced him to kill when he never wanted to take a life. All he wanted to do was test a suit for us, and we exploited the mutation he got from it so he could be our executioner. Now look at him, a rage-filled force of nature who’s only friend betrayed him because he- I - was a coward. Let him walk.”

And they did.

A few days later, the Army sectioned off a 400-mile square foot radius around the desert area, forcefully relocating whoever lived in the radius. All members of “The Company” who worked on the device were thrown in jail for creating something that ended up giving people that ability, and “The Company'' was shut down a few months later. All the Army members who survived were shipped off to other countries, and Lenard eventually received a purple heart. Some say that Lenard still can’t sleep, even though what happened has been over for a long time.

As for Miracle Man, He still walks the sectioned-off zone, rifle in hand, still angry and willing to shoot someone. Some people who walk over there report massive, flowering cactuses to this day, in addition to things like scaleless Gila Monsters. So, if you come across a prickly-pear bush that has flowers blooming faster than reasonable, or you see a still-bubbling pile of acid, run, as Miracle Man might be near.

Erin McGugan - Plaster, Rope, and Wood
20 Feet to The Left

Brenna Hazlett

A warm breeze swept through the town of Maybell as the scent of summer swept in. School had just let out and kids were swarming the public pool, ice cream shop, and movie theatre. Though the hustle and bustle of the town meant summer was finally here and the fun could begin, it meant nothing to Ginger without her best friend Adam. Ginger and Adam have been inseparable their whole lives. They were born the same day, live next door to each other and have parents that are best friends. They just celebrated their 17th birthdays in May and were so excited to become seniors and have the best summer ever. However, on the last day of school, Adam left for a two week vacation with his family. Ginger had been sitting waiting for Adam for those two weeks, trying to avoid getting the summer started without him. But today was the day Adam came home. Ginger couldn’t be more excited.

“Ginger snap! Come eat before you go to the park!” yelled Ginger’s dad from downstairs.

“Coming!” Ginger replied. She hopped up from her office chair at her desk and started downstairs, beautiful red hair flowing and freckled face glowing. Before she made it to the stairs, she heard a noise coming from the bathroom. She hesitated for a moment.

“Boo!” hollered a familiar male voice.

“Adam! You need to stop scaring me.” Ginger screamed. Her blue eyes bulged as Adam pulled Ginger in for a hug and asked how she was. His long, messy black hair swayed and his brown eyes sparkled as he smiled with his bright white teeth.

“Forget me, how was the trip?” She exclaimed. He proceeded to tell her all about the trip and life in the Caribbeans. They talk more as they head downstairs.

At the kitchen table, Adam’s parents and brother sat with Ginger’s brother as her parents cook pancakes and bacon on the stove.

“Hey Ginger!” Adam’s parents said as they stood up for hugs.

“Hey Margaret, hey Rodger.”

Ginger and Adam grabbed plates full of food and joined their brothers at the table. Everyone sat and ate a big breakfast and talked about the trip. After Adam and Ginger finished their food, they threw their plates into the sink and headed out. As they walked down the sidewalk towards the park, they talked about life and plans for the summer. All of a sudden, Adam stopped in his tracks and put his arm out to stop Ginger.

“Look. It’s the trail to the treehouse.”

“Oh my gosh I thought it got ruined when the hurricane came through.” Ginger gasped.

“Me too. Lets go look for it.” They walked down the path and worked their way through the woods. They walked about a quarter mile until they reached a big oak tree with a carving of “A+G=BFF’s”

“Sharp right and it should be about 20 feet from there.” Adam confirmed. They finished the walk and made it to an old treehouse made from mossy plywood that held moisture that almost made the wood feel gummy.

“Grab the ladder.” Ginger said to Adam. Under a pile of leaves and sticks Adam pulled out an old kiddy pool padder and propped it up to reach the entrance of the tree house. They climbed inside and turned on the flashlights. Though it was daytime, another big tree covered the window, making it dark inside.

“I cannot believe it’s still here. I’ve missed this place.” Ginger explained.

“Me too. You’d think the harsh winters and the hurricane would’ve knocked this place out when we left it 5 years ago. But I’m really glad it’s still standing. I’ve missed it a lot.” Adam said genuinely. Ginger and Adam sat quietly for a moment, taking in the sounds of nature and breathing the fresh, yet slightly muggy air. There was a feeling of tension between the two. Both of them had secretly missed the other a whole lot more than they admitted. Ginger looked over to Adam with a smile and he looked back with the same. They looked in each other's eyes for a second.

“I missed you a lot while I was gone.” Adam spat out. “I’ve been thinking about you nonstop.”

“Me too, Adam.” Ginger whispered. They sat for another second in silence.

“You wanna know a secret?” Adam asked.


“I’ve liked you for a long time. In fact I’ve had a crush on you since you pushed me into the sandbox in preschool.” Adam explained. Ginger laughed and blushed.

“Can I tell you something too? Ditto.” Ginger said. Adam laughed a little and put his arm around Ginger’s shoulders. Ginger looked up at Adam and kissed him gently on the cheek. They shared a hug and sat in the treehouse until sundown. They walked back to Ginger’s house where their parents and brothers were seated in the living room. Brothers on the floor playing video games and parents drinking coffee and talking. Adam and Ginger snuck past them and into the kitchen. They fix themselves some coffee and get ready to join the rest of the family.

“I’m really glad we ended up together.” Adam said to Ginger quietly as he smiled.

“Me too.” Ginger whispered. They shared a kiss for the first time and headed into the living room hand in hand.

Tali Carotenuto
The Word

Madelyn Trout

There is a word I love.

I don’t know the word but I felt the word.

To me, words can only express so much.

Feelings and emotions are meant to be felt.

So when I feel this word that I love, it brings me a mild sense of security.

Like I can fly.

And the one thing I want in the world is to fly.

I´ve only ever felt this word once.

I was riding the winds, I was sailing the sky, I was infinite with the moon.

I was daring, free, simple.

Only in my dreams can I see and hear and feel this word.

This word is the colors of the sunset.

This word is the wind burning your eyes on a cold night.

This word is the happiest tears streaming down your face as you run through the night.

This word means everything to me and nothing at the same time.

This word reminds me of you.

And no it's not a specific you, just you.

This word doesn't define you or degrade you, this word burns into my mind when I see what we could do.

This word is elegant and ecstatic.

This word can only ever be described in pictures of nights that weren't captured properly.

This word lives in my mind forever.

This word is the only thing I will think when I die.

This word is you. Fully, completely, and forever, you.

Sofia Testa

To get away with murder


How did I ever get here? I’m running as fast as my feet can let me. I feel free, but I won’t be in a few minutes. I hear the shouting behind me. I’m going to get caught! It’s crazy to think how this is the consequence of something that could’ve been avoided.

6 hours earlier…

I seen movies about murder. Believe me, I’ve seen a crazy amount of them. But what is a guy supposed to do when he’s actually in that situation? Well that’s me right now. My name is Justin Phillips, I’m a young adult, and I have a dead body right in front of me laying on my own bed. I pace back and forth. I’m going to be sick. I throw up, right on the floor. Disgusting. I go to the kitchen and I get a trash bag and come back. I’m not going to describe the process of getting my dead boyfriend into a trash bag, but it was horrifying. Even for me, and I was the one who murdered him! I take him out to the nearby dumpster that the whole community uses. Then I go back to my own house. I lay down and slowly fall asleep.

I wake up around 3:45 A.M. Almost 4 hours later. I might as well go to the diner like I do most nights. I walk out of the house, the winter breeze hit my cheeks right away. They slowly start to burn more and more. Good thing the diner is only a few blocks away. The longer I walk for, the more I start to think about killing Austin. His voice starts to come back to my head. “I feel dizzy. I need to lay down” his last words were. He laid down, had a seizure in his sleep, and never woke up. I poisoned him. I killed my boyfriend over an argument. I start to jog as if that will solve my problems. Soon, I'm at the diner. It’s the same people every night. The red head, redhead’s boyfriend, and bill. Bill is the person who serves us every night. I walk through the door to get to the diner, the diner is a corner store with no door. To get to the diner, you have to go through the store next to it. It’s a clinic for medication, you go through the back door and it leads you to the diner. The only 24/7 diner in this town.

“Hello Justin,” Bill greets, as soon as I walk through the back door.

Bill doesn’t even have to see me to know it’s me. He memorized my footsteps months back.

“Bill, nice day, ain’t it?” I say back. He chuckles.

“It’s 4AM, hard to tell what the day will be like.” he responds.

I go and sit in my usual spot that’s away from the couple, they’re annoying. It’s obvious their relationship is toxic, I shouldn’t even be saying that because… well, I killed my boyfriend.

“Do you want anything to eat or drink?” Bill asks me.

“Yes actually, can I just have my usual?”

My usual is sausage and pancakes. Bill always knows to make them fresh, because they’re obviously best that way.

Bill nods. “Come behind the counter just in case if anyone comes in” he tells me, and I follow his orders.

It’s always cold in the diner, but it’s oddly warm in here tonight. What makes it even odder is that it’s the middle of winter. I place my hands on the counter to fidget, the counter is cold. I don’t really have nails because I bite them, but I tap them against the counter anyway. I hear a ring, that’s when my heart drops all the way to my stomach. Nobody ever comes in here at this time, besides the couple and I. An officer takes a seat in front of me. I thought my heart couldn’t drop any further, but it dropped all the way to my feet.

“Hey sir, want anything?” I ask, playing it cool. What if he’s here for me?

“I’m good, thank you.” he says in response. And then it’s silent for a moment.

“There was a murder up the street estimated a few hours ago”

“Really? Did y’all find who did it?” I ask, acting as surprised as I can. They know it’s me.

“Not yet, we hope we catch him.” he tells me. I nod.

All I have to do is convince myself that I didn’t do it. I wasn’t the one who killed him. I wasn’t the one who killed him. He was the one that triggered my anger. He wanted to die. He was practically asking for it.

“Oh hello sir, can I get you anything?” I hear Bill ask the officer. He must’ve come back with my food, I was just too deep in thought to notice.

“Actually, you can. I’m here for a few questions of this young man right here.” the officer tells bill. I must be the young man he was talking about.

“Me?” I ask the officer. I try my best to act confused, innocent at the least.

“Yes you. What have you done in the past 24-hours?” the officer asks me.

“Well last night he came here as usual. He’s a very nice young man I tell you, he’s great.” bill answers for me.

“Just because he’s a nice young man doesn’t mean he can’t be guilty with 1st degree murder” officer says in response to bill. I get the chills, good thing I’m wearing a long sleeve shirt or they would see.

“Well Bill is right, sir, yesterday around the same time I came here, as usual, and then I went to work after and came home, got sleep, ate, slept more, and came here again. My usual daily routine. I’m a detective, I have to get sleep, and of course Bill’s food from the only good diner in town.” I explain to him. That’s my daily routine. I didn’t lie there at least.

The officer looks me up and down. “Okay, we’re going to have to take you in for questioning. Can you go out to my car and wait for me?” he asks me. I nod.

As I’m walking out the door, I hear Bill telling the officer about how I’m one of the nicest people he has ever met. That’s how Bill is. He sees the good in people. Oh how he’s wrong.

I get out the door and as soon as I do, my body goes cold immediately. I find the cop car and sit on it. I know it’s disrespectful, but if I stand, I am dizzy. I wonder who snitched about me going out to dispose of the body. Maybe one of my neighbors was out, god I’m an idiot. I should’ve checked first instead of acting quick. And then something clicks in my head and it tells me to just run. Run from everything.

And that’s what I do. I run, I don’t look back, my feet burn right away from stomping them against the road. In the middle of the road, right on the yellow line, I run. At this point I can’t stop. My brain told me to do something so I did it. I have no control over it. I get farther and farther. I’m running as fast as my feet can let me. I feel free, but I won’t in a few minutes. I hear the shouting behind me. I’m going to get caught! What should I do!? There’s a nearby bridge, I can somehow jump off and swim to shore and decide what to do then. So I keep running until I reach the bridge. I hop up onto the ledge. I look down to the peaceful water flowing gently, I’ll be down there soon. All I have to do is jump. I look behind me, I can hear the sirens of the police. Oh eff it. And I jump. I feel the wind slowly take off my jacket, and my one shoe falls off. I hear the wind in my ears as I fall and fall and… I feel the icy water wash over my body. The calm water that I saw from a distance is now dragging me. I am being pulled under and I know what I need to do. As soon as I stop being dragged, I slowly make my way over to the shore. I crawl onto the sand gasping for air. My chest feels as if someone physically set it on fire. It burns. All I hear is ringing. The whole world is spinning. That’s when I hear it. Just give up. Stop trying. I keep breathing. It’s slowing down. I swear I see a figure.

“Take my hand” it calls out.

So I do. I stop worrying, all the thoughts go away. Weight is lifted off my shoulders… that’s when everything goes black.

Reilly O'Donnell
It’s Still Summer

Daniel Kinard

The august breeze blows gently over the beach. Children run and play in the sand. Seagulls sing overhead. The smell of the salty air hits your nose. The sound of the waves crashing. The smell of fresh funnel cake on the boardwalk. The hot sun beating down on the streets. The air is so thick that you can touch it. A few more weeks and it will be getting cold. But right now it’s still summer.

Sophia Testa - Brass, Copper, Aluminum
The Dark Side of Love

Andrew Kmett

Love is torture

Two realms pulling you separate ways

One of passion and dark desire and

One of the life you had before

Nothing’s ever the same though

Not after “the one”

You inevitably are forced one way

Leaving your old world a distant memory

This realm is beautiful but disquieting

The sun shines bright

And the world teeming with life

But this beach isn’t from your childhood..

You’re suctioned to the sand

Unable to move

The surrounding area dampens

The waves get bigger

Suddenly, without warning

Surely there must’ve been a warning??

The waves come crashing on your helpless body..

You’re drowning

This love is asphyxiating

That’s not what you were told

You thought love would be serene, rejuvenating

You’re growing tired of fighting

Prioritizing her before family*crash*

Her before your passions*crash*

Her before God*crash*

The vitality is drained from your eyes..

It should’ve never come to this

You’ve no connection to your previous life

That world is long gone

Your eyes roll back, revealing bulging, scarlet veins

It’s okay though


Scarlet’s her favorite color


Sofia Testa - Trance Love
Haiku Collection by Gabriel Greene

Winter 1

Sitting by the flames

Crackling and smoking for us

The embers heal all.

Winter 2

Stomping on the ice

Cracking under my warm boots

Falling under it.

Spring 1

Relaxing outside

Sleeping, gust surrounding me

While resting in grass.

Spring 2

Fishing in the pond

Suddenly, dark stormy clouds

Had to run back home.

Summer 1

Sitting in the pool

Avoiding the scorching sun

It feels oh so nice.

Summer 2

Grilling in the yard

Slurping down some great hot dogs

God bless America

Fall 1

Leaves fluttering down

Crackling under my firm shoes

Red orange Yellow Green Brown

Fall 2

Big and pearly moon

Sitting in the black wide sky

Stop enticing me

Maggie Linn
Kaylee Martin



WHAP! “ I want these papers inspected and in my office by 5!”, Said the tall man.

“Yes Sir…”, said the other man grudgingly.

“See everyone?!, this is why Richard makes more than all of you! Never complains about work even if it’s below his pay grade!” Said the Captain

The Captain was a tall man around 6 feet 4 inches tall with a shaved head. He talked a little funny sometimes since he had some gold teeth put in. Funny Richard has seen his fair share of Criminal punch the Captain in the face but that thing never came out.

Truthfully Richard wanted nothing more than to punch the Captain in the face and quit, but if he and Leonard wanted to make it through the winter he needed to get all the work he could. Richard hated his job, every day was the same. Come in, punch in, sit down, inspect papers, turn them in, go home. All he wanted was to go home and relax with Leonard. Everything has been rough lately since Leonard got too close to exposing the Captain for his corruption. Now all Leonard does is secretly put together the case with the little evidence he has left since most of it got raided and taken, it’s already most likely destroyed, but that’s not stopping him from doing his best.

Once Richard gets home he walks into Leonard sleeping with his head down on the table with the case scattered out. Richard closes the door slowly and as quietly as someone his size can.

Leonard lets out a slight groan, “How was work?”,

“Sorry I didn’t mean to wake you,” Richard says,

Leonard cracks his neck and stretches “No it’s okay, man my neck is stiff. I made some dinner about an hour ago so it should still be warm. I’m gonna go take a shower I’ll clean up the table after that”,

Richard hangs up his coat and hat “Alright thanks when you finished cleaning come see me in the study I’ve got some news.”,

“Can’t wait,” Leonard says with a smile as he walks up the stairs.

A bit of time passes and Leonard walks downstairs in his Pajamas while holding a towel to his hair, still drying it. Leonard is of average height only a few inches shorter than Richard is, he has black hair that is kept short since Leonard has never cared for presentation, and he has brown eyes. He walks down the stairs and into Richard’s study. It’s a medium-sized room with two tall dark oak bookshelves that have boxes full of files or general reading material for the two to go through, there is a handmade cherry desk opposite to the bookshelves for functionality, then on the other side of the room is a twin-sized bed barely big enough to fit Richards full body that has rarely ever been used, the desk’s drawers have been made out of red cedar that hasn’t been stained or finished to make the room smell nice.

“What’d you want to show me?” Leonard said leaning over Richard's shoulder.

Richard then proceeds to hand a file over his shoulder to Leonard.

Leonard opens the file “Oh damn” he says with a quiet tone and a blank face.

“You can say that again, the department hasn’t found any clues at all,” Richard said, turning around on his chair to face Leonard.

“This is a slaughter”, Leonard says with a worried look on his face still with the same quiet tone

“The department has given me the case since all the other detectives have refused to take it. The only reason I did take it was because they offered me a big bonus at the end of the fiscal period.” Richard said in a happier voice with a growing simile

Leonard also started smiling as well “ How much?”

“$200,000,” Richard said with a big smile now standing

The two embraced in a large hug Richard now looking down at Leonard. Richard kisses him softly and they go upstairs to bed.

Richard and Leonard were partners from the day they both got to the station. About a year into their partnership Leonard started acting more comfortable around Richard and once Richard understood what was happening he became more comfortable they eventually became an item. There was no official date they just moved into an apartment together one day. The only person that knows is Richards’s mom since she had a similar thing after his dad died. Anytime they have family or friends over Richard simply sleeps in his study as to not arise suspicion.

About a month went by and Richard had made strides in the case. The first murder was found on Sycamore Street under a car, the second in an ally way that connects Funston Avenue to Elanie Avenue that is between Walnut road and Sycamore Street in a trashcan, the third was found inside Luke Wilson Bar underneath the floorboards. This was thought to be the end of the case but there was no evidence to tie the place to the murder of the person. None of the bodies can even be identified, the corpses are burnt and all the teeth are pulled. All he can go off of is missing report cases and use the height and gender of the corpse to figure it out.

Another month went by and Richard came home early due to Leonard calling him for an emergency. Richard opened the door and saw Leonard staring at a box put on the table. The odd thing was that Leonard was standing across the room from it with his nose held. He looked at Richard with a confused look on his face

“I’m not sure what to do with it, it’s stinking up the whole place and I didn’t want to throw it out since it seemed important. There was a note saying it’s for you.” Leonard said with his voice slightly altered from holding his nose

“ You didn’t touch the note right?” Richard said concerned

“No I used a pair of gloves,” Said Leonard Reassuringly

Richard opened one of the kitchen drawers and put on a pair of latex gloves and put them on. He walks up to the box on the table and examines the box.

“To Richard Brite,” he says to himself quietly.

He opens the note on top of the box and reads the note in his head

Richard sets the note on the table. He opens the box to a burnt head missing all of its teeth. The only difference was this time, the rest of the body didn’t come with it. Richard put sheets over everything in his study and brought the box into there. Leonard started fanning and lighted candles to get the smell out. Richard started to fill out a report for the head hoping the body would turn up soon, well the rest of it anyway. He looked in the mouth to see something shiny in the back right molar. It was

“A gold tooth!” Richard yelled

Leonard walked into the room “Everything okay?” He said holding his nose

“I know who it is!” Richard said turning his head to Leonard

Richard was sitting in the passenger seat next to a new deputy with two other cop cars behind them

“Are you sure about this?” The cop said to Richard

“It the only lead we’ve had in months,” Richard said excitingly

“You sound a little too happy,” Said the cop

“Sue me,” Richard said

They pulled up in front of the nice house and broke down the door. The TV was at full volume. The smell of dead flesh overwhelmed everyone’s nose. There laid the rest of the Captain

A few months went by with no leads at all. No cases turned up all the bodies still had no identifiable traits, the only one that had a name was the Captain’s case. Leonard and Richard were barely making it by this point. They’ve been fighting a lot so Richard has been looking over the case at the local dinner. Nothing made sense to Richard anymore. He felt like he was losing his mind. He hasn’t slept much and started drinking heavily.

“Anything to make the days go by,” he thought to himself.

Another month had passed and another body had turned up. Still not a trait to look for other than gender and height. The killer left 3 teeth in there, they were either getting sloppy or felt pity for Richard. Later that night he went back to the dinner to study the case more. He didn’t want to drink in case he missed a new detail.

“Oh my god!” Richard yelled

The few remaining patrons in the dinner gave Richard a weird look

“Sorry…” Richard said apologetically

He was looking at the case and all the murders made a circle around the area, meaning the killer was somewhere nearby. After all this time he finally understood what he needed to do.

Richard spent the next few weeks staying at the dinner nightly, it's not like he really had a choice though. This Dinner was his best lead by far. Richard didn’t really have any evidence for it but he suspected the barkeep was his most likely suspect. Richard spent a few days gathering info on what he could about the barkeep. He only worked night shifts between the hours of 9 P.M. and 4 A.M. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. So the nights that he wasn’t there he would take around making sure that the owner was okay with it. After further inspection of the property, nothing was found in the suspect’s locker.

“How close to here does David live?’ asked Richard to the owner

“Who my graveyard shift barkeep? May I ask why?” Asks the owner suspiciously

“No,” Richard said with a monotone

“Well if you must know he lives right next door in the apartment complex.” Says the owner confused

“Thank you for your corporation,” Richard says walking out

Richards looks up at his house “Well. I guess this is it.”

He puts the key in the door twists and turns the door nob and opens it up. Leonard is sleeping on the couch with the radio on. The only sound playing out of it is static.

“Oh, Leonard,” Richard says softly

He puts a blanket over Leonard and turns off the radio. He walks over to the fireplace and takes a couple of minutes to start a fire. Richard shivers from the cold.

“He’s probably been asleep for a while now,” Richard thinks to himself.

He sits down on the loveseat next to the couch and dozes off.

“Hey, Hey, Hey!” Leonard yells

“Huh? What?” Richard says waking up

“What are you doing here?” Leonard asks

“ Oh, I um…” Richards says rubbing his eyes then stretching

“ I might be close to the end of the case,” Richard says looking up at Leonard.

Leonard sits down next to Richard. “Woah.”

“Yeah, I only have one suspect and I got the address down and I’m going there tomorrow,” Richard says

“So it’s almost over,” Leonard says

“That it is,” Richard says, feeling great relief. Now, I’m not telling you to give up on anything, just the things that aren’t logical to do anymore.

Sydney Parkinson
Alyssa Campbell
Elevator Story

Jordan Kolb

I lived on the 20th floor of an outdated apartment. My legs would grow tired walking the staircase, so I decided to take the metal box at the end of the hallway.

Friday mornings always brought a smile to my face. The long, dreadful week was almost over. I changed into my work clothes and scampered out the door. Walking down the hallway was a gentleman heading towards the elevator. I have never caught sight of him before, so I assumed he had recently moved in. In the elevator, I felt terribly awkward. He was elderly and taking up more than half the elevator with his luggage.

Later in the afternoon, I walked into the elevator, and there he was again. His bags were gone and he was only holding a hat. Watching the numbers go up in the elevator, I could feel the negative energy spurring off the male. He was glancing constantly at his watch with his foot repeatedly tapping against the metal floor.

Monday morning approached along with dreary and cold weather. I grabbed my cup of coffee and slugged toward the elevator. The doors crept open for me to see the mysterious guy again. I could feel my heart jumping out of my chest. The trip to the first floor took an eternity.

This became a routine for my mornings and afternoons. The more I was in the metal bow with this man, the more the space enclosed. Without a second thought, I took the flight of stairs down. I glanced at every possible direction, and the shading individual was nowhere in sight. Everyday, the staircase was vacant.

After work, I went out to dinner with some friends. Returning late at night, the building was silent. I trudged my way up the stairs to my floor. I opened the door to see a towering, lanky figure. Hiding behind the light, I could only make out a silhouette. I stepped out from the doorway, and the figure once hardly visible, turned into the unwelcoming man. I threw the door open and I booked it down the stairs. The more steps I took, the more there seemed to be in front of me. My heart was ripping from my body and my lungs were reaching for air. I raced to my car and slammed the door shut. After I caught my breath, I dialed 9-1-1. Flashing blue and red lights reflected off of walls as two men stepped out. They went to investigate and returned stating that there was nobody there.

I felt as if my brain was a ticking time bomb. I was stuck in puzzlement as I had just seen the man. The police said that everything was fine and that I had nothing to worry about.

The stairwell was closed one day due to a leakage, so I was forced to take the elevator. More people were in the elevator now, so I wasn’t alone. I felt a sensation as if there was a miracle blessing me.

One afternoon, I arrived back from work and the elevator welcomed me in the lobby. Going up, the elevator stopped at a floor before mine. The door cried open. It stopped halfway from opening fully. I could make out a profile on the other side. Within seconds, the elevator door closed. The elevator clicked, and I became weightless. A slight ring rang in my ears as everything went dark.

Damien Mozzoni - Wire and Wood

Camille Milnes


Same to men

But you wouldn't be able to tell at a glance

Women stayed at home

Did the cooking and cleaning

Single-handedly raised the kids

Men went to work

At factories and farms and business corporations

Men did not see what the women were doing for them

Men only noticed when the women changed

Women started to work in factories

The house got dirtier and dinner got later

Men complained

Why wasn't their house that they left a mess clean?

Why wasn't there fresh dinner on the table when they got home?

Women rejoiced

Their hard work was finally being acknowledged

They were able to help support their families

They were able to have a stable schedule

Women worked just as hard as men

In both factories and homes

But weren't appreciated for their work at home

So they got a new job

Where they were appreciated.

Men made $10

Women made $8.20

For the same job

Women could accomplish what men could

But were dismissed

Simply because they were women

Women would work just as hard as men

But would have their hard work be claimed by men


Same to men genetically

But not socially.

Ariana Fayehun
Haiku Collection by Tobin Stebbings

Winter 1

Flurries fall onto branch

Branch swings back, all flurries fall

Gently lands on ice.

Winter 2

Bright snow-covered field

Movement; snowshoe hare turns over

Goes down and burrows

Spring 1

Birds start their own songs

Sun rises before alarm

Bee lands on flower

Spring 2

Storm clouds rolling in

Distant thunder rumbling

Water droplet falls

Summer 1

Air sizzling in afternoon heat

Sitting on chair, book in hand

Wet stain on coaster

Summer 2

Swimming against waves

Dragonfly wizzes on by

Sun-kissed umbrella

Fall 1

Quiet, leaf-strewn meadow

Chipmunks scurrying around

Gust of wind, leaves fall.

Fall 2

Crisp night, gears clicking

Stars out, full moon watching above

Panting, dragon breath.

Sophia Pantuliano
Justine Star
To Be Perfect

rachel bingeman

We are taught that to stand out

We must strive for perfection

The highest standards

Unattainable goals

We must reach by 18

Straight A student

Star athlete

Different paths

Yet forced to fit into the same mold

Society worships greatness

And accepts nothing less

Than what is expected

We are shown through celebrities

That only the prettiest

Most hard-working

And athletic people

Make it in the world

If you are considered average

You are told to find a talent

And get good at it

Or else you will not be successful

Scared into chasing a life

We never wanted

Countless days

Restless nights

But still we are never good enough

Wanting to live our dreams

Craving the motivation we need

But we fall back into the same cycle

Told to be unrealistically perfect

Teagan Williams
Anna Schwartz - Cardboard
$50 Unwasted

Christine De Guzman

Are you or do you know anyone who is or was homeless? I didn’t, but it never hurts to even feel the slightest bit of sorrow for someone, who you don’t know, and their wealth. In my 15 years, I’ve only rarely seen homeless people on the streets. When I do, I usually never got the money to donate, because I was too young and never had money. As dumb as it sounds, my first time donating to a homeless family was towards the end of my freshman year. It was on my way leaving Walmart in my dad’s minivan, with my dad and my siblings. We spotted a homeless mother and daughter and although I never experienced being homeless, I still can’t help but feel bad for those who are.

Tires roll as we exit Walmart and my eyes shift to a mother and her daughter. The mother seemed to be baking under the sun as her daughter was in the shadows of the trees next to at least 5 bags. One was a reusable purple bag, with a print that I couldn’t recognize. As soon as my eyes were fixated on the purple bag, I felt nostalgia. I envisioned the purple tinkerbell bag I always had when I was a child. My mind resumed as my dad drove past the struggling mother of one.

As soon as the mother and daughter passed by me with a sign, asking for money. The feeling of guilt striked right through my heart. There were numerous cars before us who used the chance to donate, but from what I saw, no one else wanted to give to the mother. I was one of them. Thoughts sped through my head. Am I an ignorant person? Will she remember my face the next time I drive by? Maybe she’ll hate me for not giving. Those thoughts and feelings of guilt rushed over my body. I felt bad for simply looking at the mother and daughter in sorrow. I had my $5 that I kept in my bag waiting to be spent. All would’ve helped at least a little bit of the mother who has been struggling to find a home and care for a daughter. Or maybe they weren’t homeless and were putting up a show for cash. Perhaps I shouldn't have fallen for it. Except that I still felt bad for them financially. If I simply assumed that they were putting up an act, only to find out that they weren’t, then I’d just feel guilty. I had to do something; I asked my dad.

“You want me to go back?”, my dad questioned my possible actions, “Do you have money for it?”

“Of course I do!”, I assured him as I reached into my bag to prove him I have $5, “Uhhmm…” My hands scrambled through my bag, trying to feel that creased paper. Then the realization struck me, I had already spent the money to pay back my sister beforehand.

“Yeah, nevermind.” I nervously ate my words. My dad looked at me, almost as if he’s sadden by my disappointed,

“Alright, I’ll give you $1 and drive back.” Satisfied by his response, I calmly thanked him as he curved his way back to the mother. I understood that $1 isn’t really enough to give, but the feelings of guilt left my head. My brother wanted to contribute by giving his $1 instead. My dad questioned him if he was sure, only for my brother to respond with a definite yes. We drove closer and closer back to the mother and her daughter.

We drove to the mother, the cars weren’t in line before us so we got less of a chance to prepare ourselves. I was in the passenger seat, along with that the mother was on the sidewalk, the same side as the passenger seat. I was the one who had to hand the money to the mother. My brother hands me what I assumed to be $1, right before I handed the lady the money from my seat. I saw a glimpse of what he had handed me but I didn’t comprehend the fact that the $1 might’ve been $50. With guilt rushing back, I asked my brother,

“Uhhh, can you make sure you only gave $1?” My brother rushed through his wallet, only to find $1 there. Judging by his worried face, I understood how he was feeling. I could imagine him feeling a bit lightheaded and appalled. Perhaps my dad understood the feeling as well.

My dad and I reassured him that the money given was for a good cause. He slowly calmed down as my dad changed his destination. Instead of going straight home, my dad took a turn to our bank. He withdrew $40 from his bank account and gave it to my brother. My brother’s face was relieved as my dad gave him $40. That was my highlight from Walmart; since then, we didn’t go to Walmart until weeks later

Weeks later, we drove by the same sidewalk. As generous as my dad is, he was hoping to not see the mother and her daughter on the streets again. We didn’t. We only saw a soda cup laying on the grass. Not a single bag left, not even the purple bag. My dad sparked a conversation on our way out of the parking lot.

“I guess they aren’t here.” I replied to him,

“I mean at least we gave them money.”

“Yeah, it’s for a good cause.” We continued the conversation till we got home.

I think sympathizing for others is a good personality trait. It’s what gave me hope for my humanity in general. Giving money to a homeless mother was one of the times I contributed to helping someone in need of help. It really did feel great helping others in need. And all though it’s not the first time I’ve given to others, it is one of the memorable ones.

Reilly O'Donnell

Shipped off


In World War Two,most men were shipped off ready to fight in the war. This left many mothers and children desperate and in despair. Along with Rosie and her mother, these two never really got along but her father was like the glue of the family. The father used to always dispute the fight and calm them down and now he was shipped off to Sea. This left Rosie with her mother that she really didn't understand or understood her methods. But her mother thought she was best for Rosie. She was trying to give a better life to Rosie than she could ever have as a child whose father went off to war. But with this technique all the stuff was Rosie questioning ,why her, why did this happen to her. Why did her dad have to leave? Her dad was the only thing she ever cared about, her mother of course always took second in that category. Her mother always seemed to be the one with the stern hand and her father always was the one who was always lenient and accepting. and of course the one that she actually liked had to go off to sea.

It seemed as if the only person who ever cared for her was her father. “Mother, why did Father have to leave?” “Didn't he love us, if he loved us he wouldn't have left .”Rosie chirped. “You and I both know that your father loves to give us a better life. So there's no point of being mad at the fact that your father left to do something good for us.” Rosie's mother stated. “If he truly loved me he wouldn't have left me here with you.” Rosesaid angrily. “I do not care what you have to say, you need to know that your father left to better your future.” Rosie's mother said grimsley. “Enough of this tongue, are you hungry? It is a little bit past dinner but you haven't eaten lunch.” stated Rose's mother. “I know the wound of your father leaving for the war has hurt you so deeply but you have to eat something.” Expressed Rosie's mother. “I'm not hungry, I just want my father back.”Rose said sadly. “Well if you aren't going to tell me, I will be taking you to the diner to eat some food.” Exclaimed Rosie's mother. “If I must eat then I shall mother.” Rosie said sadly.

“Fine, as long as we go to Father's favorite diner.” Rose stated. ‘Honey we cannot go to your father's favorite diner because that is over across the town.” Mother stated. “If we can't go to my favorite Diner then what's the point of going at all?” Rosie stated sarcastically. “We can't go there at this time of the night, there are certain people there that don't get along with little girls.” stated mother. “What kind of people mother, what kind of people don't like little girls?” Rose questioned. “I'm not sending don't like you honey, I'm just saying they're there for business purposes.” “ What kind of business purposes mother, are you referring to ladies of the night?” “ Rose, I am so shocked you know this wording, who on Earth taught you how to say those things?” “ Sorry mother, father and I used to read the newspaper, there's all different types of words in that newspaper.” “ Well it's quite alright, as long as we go to your favorite diner and eat. As long as you eat I will be happy.”

As Rose and her mother were walking downtown to Rose's favorite diner. They came across this weird diner, This diner had no doors. “ Mom, how did the people get in there if there's no doors to that Diner? Rose questioned. “To be totally honest with you sweetie, I have no idea how they got in there without any doors.” Azrou scanned to see the people in the diner she came across a familiar man. This man's back was facing Rose but she could still tell the statue looked just like our father. Rose was in such disbelief she didn't realize that her mother had stopped walking. As Rose walked to the glass, she began to bang yelling “Father let me in, please let me in.” As soon as her mother looked up from her pocketbook she found Rose crying banging on the window saying “Father ,father .please let us in. “ “Honey that could not be your father, your father is off at Sea fighting for us.” “ Then why does it look like him, why does it look like him?” Rose said with tears streaming down her cheeks. No matter how hard Rose banged on the window it's like people inside couldn't hear her. But Rose was determined, determined to find a way into that restaurant to see if her father was truly there.

After a while, Rose was sitting there on the curb trying to figure out how to get in this doorless Diner. Until it struck Rose with an idea,``Mom, we can go up the ladder. The ladder has an entrance from the top of the roof.” Rose said excitedly. “That isn't safe darling, you could fall and hurt yourself.” Mother said worrying. But it was too late Rose ran across to the letter entrance. She was going to get in that diner if it was the last thing she did. Her mother couldn't stop her, so instead of fighting with Rose like she did all the time she decided to let Rose have a little bit of Freedom. This Freedom would allow us to climb that ladder as her mother and get to this little door on the top of the roof that leads down into the diner.

“Mother, mother we did it we finally got in this doorless Diner.” Rose said excitingly. “Yes we did but also please be careful you could slip and fall, just please be careful.” Mother said worrying. “Yes mother, I will be careful.” Rose said in a pleasant voice. As he went down the steps of the old door on top of the roof, Rose couldn't wait anymore as she got to the last step and opened the door leading into the diner she booked it. She booked it so far away that her mother was running so fast her heels left a black skid mark on the tile. “Father, father where are you?” Shouted Rose. “ Honey, your father is not in this diner.” Sympathetically her mother said. “I will not rest until I find my Father, Mother. Please understand this.” Stated Rose.

As Rose ran around the whole restaurant, she didn't find anyone except for the four people in the front of the diner where the windows were. As she ran around to everyone who is in the building with her turn her mother came to the last man. When the last man turned around she figured it wasn't her father, in fact it was a stranger. This was the same exact man she was staring out the window before entering the diner. She was so fixated on this being her father that her father lied about going to the seas but in fact it was just a stranger. Rose was devastated she thought her father was there the whole time, I just started to weep and cry. Her mother got a table and started to order her food before she went to bed that night. After they eat at the diner they were actually came home about 9:30 at night. She wouldn't stop crying all the nights until her father came home so she could express her grief of his leaving her.

Chase Thompson - Cardboard
Who are You?

Ryan Herbus and Julain Diehl

I’m Nobody! Who are you?

Are you – Nobody – too?

People are born

Others die

What is


People have lived for centuries

Why is someone different?



Abandoning tradition?

Unique friends?


Being loved?



All go to the same ground

But some are different

Each singing what belongs to her, and to none else

Different bodies







Her and him

All souls, all living bodies though they be ever so different,

The soul selects her own society,

People choose their own path

What about you?

What will you be?






Or are you – Nobody – too?

From the poems and biographies of Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson

Gabriel Lloyd
Haiku Collection by Daniel Kinard

Winter 1

Snow is falling down

Santa Claus is on the way

Elves are making toys.

Winter 2

Snow is everywhere

Rivers are frozen over

It is very cold.

Spring 1

Trees are blossoming

Fish returning to the streams

Easter is here now.

Spring 2

Flowers in the dirt

Muddy grounds from all the rain

Allergy season.

Summer 1

Sun high in the sky

Waves crashing over the sand

Independence day.

Summer 2

Sand beneath your feet

Get ice cream on the boardwalk

Listen to seagulls.

Fall 1

Leaves are on the ground,

Apple cider in a cup,

Snow will soon be here.

Fall 2

Fall is all around,

Apples on all of the trees,

School is back in class.

Genevieve Closs
The Sprout

Lily Egbert

He sat on the pedestal above me

The unwavering power he possessed was cruel

Yet, he remained filled with glee

He tried to play tricks, but I was no fool

I was only a sprout in a field of grass

Too young to understand, too young to grasp

Took my joy, broke it like glass

Frozen in fear, I silently let out a gasp

A decade ago I saw the world’s true colors

That day gives me difficult times with lovers

Those who love us might be the ones who will hurt us

Moments are open wounds too raw to discuss

With his actions, I could not understand

Doing this to a child, I could not comprehend

As I began to bloom out of the field of grass

I understood what happened and the sickness would not pass

I live with what happened everyday

I used to pray the pain would go away

Now I know, he did this in other towns

Making little sprouts feel like clowns

His hold on me has shifted

The pain has divided but not lifted

One day I will find the peace I need

To understand why you did what you did to me

Carli Komorowski
A Soft-Spoken Girl

Katie Fallon

When middle school rolls around in a child’s life, they are placed in a new setting with new people. The best friends you had in fifth grade no longer are in your classes and are meeting other people, leaving you completely alone and scrambling to find someone to tag along with throughout what would be the worst years of your life. In elementary school, I usually stuck around the same handful of people but never really had a “best friend”. Being thrown in Middle School, I found myself in honors classes, apart from most of the people I knew. A four-foot-ten girl getting pushed around in the halls by unfamiliar people in an unfamiliar place. It was my own living nightmare. Although middle school was a hard time, going through the struggles of fitting in and finding my true friends helped shape me into being more independent as well as more confident in being myself and not trying to be anybody else.

Sitting in band class, I saw other students mingling as I sat in the trumpet section next to a few girls and two boys who I never saw before. I pulled out my trumpet from its case and put my sheet music on the stand. A pencil fell from my folder and bounced on the floor. Before I got the chance, a girl reached down to pick it up. “Here. I’m Nadia by the way,” the girl said with a contagious smile.

I would come to find that Nadia was extremely nice and we became friends instantly. As one would do, I found myself asking if I could sit with her at lunch. With slight hesitation, she said that there was probably a spare seat so I could if I wanted to. Since I had no one else to sit with, I followed her to lunch and kept close. I soon realized the other six girls already knew each other extremely well and had all gone to the same school. I recognized their names and found myself sitting with the “popular” girls. Well, as popular as sixth graders can be on the first day of school. “Hey guys, this is Katie,” Nadia gestured to me. I glanced around at their faces and gave a shy smile. I could already tell that I didn’t really fit in with these girls based on their appearances. A few side eyes and half-smiles later, I sat down and pulled out my lunchbag. Then, they all stood and went up to go buy their lunch and I found myself alone at the table. Despite the obvious differences between me and this group of girls, I brushed it off, just happy that I wasn’t completely alone.

As the days went by, our differences became more prominent. They wore clothing from Victoria Secret, which in turn made me insecure about what I wore. I adapted to the group and started wearing clothes they did because I wasn’t confident enough to wear anything, do anything, or say anything that might put me out of place more than I already was. I was the shortest in the group as well as being the only one who clearly hadn’t reached puberty yet. But I was even more out of place when you looked at our personalities. I was a bubbly and friendly person who was kind to everyone. On the other end of the spectrum, they were snotty, for lack of a better word. They judged other people, including their own friends, but I couldn’t speak up because I would be the next target. I recall one of the girls looking our friend up and down and saying, “Oh my God, what is she wearing?” in a disgusted voice. I glanced over and found nothing wrong with her outfit. When they looked at me for agreement, I shrugged my shoulders and mimicked their expression. I hadn’t gained the confidence to stand up for my friends or myself so I stayed silent and continued to be a follower to girls who weren’t even true friends.

This continued throughout sixth grade until I finally was replaced by another girl who actually fit in pretty well with them. I found myself at another table full of “popular” girls. This time it was different because we were now in seventh grade and they were nicer to me than the other ones. Just like before though, I would adapt to them, laugh at their jokes, and dress and act a certain way. One day at lunch, I walked up to the table and everyone went silent. Hesitantly, I sat down giving all of them my best half-smile, while on the inside, I was freaking out. I thought I fit in well and I realized I had been gullible the entire time. Turns out, they had made plans all together to hangout, but I was not invited. I cried a lot and didn’t understand. Maybe the mask didn’t fit as well as I thought and they could see right through it. The girls in this group headed down certain paths that I didn’t want to take part in, so as the year moved on, I became more and more distant from the group. I lacked confidence to make new friends, so I stuck around, mostly just hanging out with them at school. I continued to be this person that was liked enough by them to keep me around and continued to trudge on. Deep down, I was just a soft-spoken girl just trying to make her way through middle school which was full of mean girls, fitting in, and immaturity.

Eighth grade was a new year and I reconnected with an old friend who moved back to town. I ended up also being replaced in the second group of girls and sat with my childhood friend alone at a lunch table. We kept to ourselves and I was okay with no longer being a part of the previous toxic friend groups. We were best friends and did everything together until suddenly, summer before high school rolled around and she ghosted me. Left on my own, I felt betrayed and overall extremely lonely. It was a low point in my life and I became even more insecure looking back at the past few years. Being kicked out of friend group after friend group, I finally had felt hopeless.

The summer before high school, I recouped and grew to be comfortable being alone. I became a lot more independent, which is actually a really great development in the grand scheme of things, despite having to go through the struggles of being replaced multiple times. Reaching high school, I was placed into many advanced courses and immediately clicked with new people who are still my best friends to this day. I never had to pretend to be anything but my nerdy, bubbly self. I gained more confidence looking back on the past friendships realizing that I wasn’t the problem, I was just placed in friendships with toxic people that didn’t share my interests or values. I felt relieved to find real friends that truly cared for me and I am incredibly lucky to have them by my side.

Although middle school was some of the worst years I have gone through, I have found independence and confidence, no longer wearing a mask and no longer trying to fit in. These past experiences affect me everyday because it teaches me that you don’t have to be liked by everyone and you don’t have to “fit in”. It greatly shaped my life and personality by forcing me to be myself and not rely so much on others who may not even be true friends. I matured and realized I did not have to force myself to change so people would like me and that I could be true to who I am. Middle school was full of toxic friendships, forcing me to find myself and give up all the personas I had created. By doing so, new people entered my life for the better and showed me what sincere friendship was.

Alexa Sbaraglia

The Edge of the Roof


The low hum of the engine was abruptly cut as the keys slid out of the ignition, the high beams slowly faded away, exposing the darkness of the night. The only other light source was a dimly lit street lamp farther down the road. I could only hear the soft pitter patter of the rain hitting the roof of my car. I popped open the glovebox to retrieve my documents and my walkman. I took my hat from the center console and put it on before emerging from my car, shutting the door behind me. “Coffee Corner” the sign above the door said, there was an advert in the window written in chalk “Today's special: French vanilla cappuccino, only $2!” The sign read. The handwriting was eerily neat and had a certain flair to it, surrounding the text was various pictures of late art. I walked up to the door, my boots dividing any puddles that were in my path. The bell above the door rang as I walked into the diner. The smell of fresh coffee hit my nose like a freight train, it's good to be back.

“Hey Jordan, it's good to see you!” She was as bubbly as ever “It's good to see you too claire” “How many are with you today” “Ah it's just me” I replied “Great right this way” she said with a smile as she led me to a table, I sat down at a booth on the side of the cafe, with a window to my left my favorite spot. “A waiter will be right with you” “Thanks” I said. I began spreading my documents out on the table, I've always liked working here instead of the office, no coworkers to bother you, no getting called in to the bosses office every 10 minutes, Just good coffee, service, and the luminescent lamps that hang off the ceiling. “What can I get you to start?” said an unfamiliar voice, I lifted my head from my work to greet the waiter, a tall lanky young man stood before me “Sebastian Garcia” His name tag read “I've never seen you around Sebastian, are you new here?” “Um yeah, it's my third day actually” he said quickly. “Ah well I'm a regular here, names Jordan, it's good to meet you” there was a brief pause, he scanned me up and down before he responded “It's good to meet you too, what can I get for you?” “Just today's special please.” “You got it!” The waiter then rushed away into the back. I'd rather be home with jr right now but it's time to get to work, I have a few handwritten notes that have been retrieved from each scene.

The notes had a precise and graceful vibe to them, they go into detail about who the victims were and what they did to deserve what happened to them. There's a trend between all the victims, their all bad people, other criminals. Whoever did this clearly has a motive. My thoughts were interrupted by the clank of the coffee being placed on my table, there was steam emitting from the top, I could feel the heat radiating from the cup just by putting my hand near it. Not to mention the cute latte art of a rose on the top, the white cream contrasted well with the brown coffee. “That's pretty good for someone on their third day!” “I take pride in what I do” he said while nervously laughing. He shifted his view to his notepad “What can I get for you to eat” “I'll just stick with the coffee, thank you”

“Alright, I'll be right back with your check sir”. I thought nothing of him and my focus was adjusted back to my work, I didn't have many leads to go off of aside from the notes. There's a motive here but I just can't figure out what. My thinking was interrupted by Sebastian placing a handwritten check on my table, something looked familiar about the handwriting, I looked at it, I placed one of the notes I’d gotten from the crime scene against the check, while I was comparing them I felt his gaze looking at me “if you need me feel free to call me over”. I heard the bell above the door start ringing, cutting through the soft murmur of the cafe. It was Sebastian who walked out, I emerged from my seat and chased after him, I barged out the front door and heard stomping on metal towards the side of the building. I sprinted around to the side of the cafe, my pants getting soaked with every stomp. I saw him slinking up the staircase, I pursued after him, the emergency stairs shaking with every stomp. I found him on the roof at the edge, he had his back turned to me, the wind blowing my trenchcoat to the side, the light drizzle slightly dampening my hair. “Please just talk to me sebastian, I only want to ask some questions”

“I don't really have another choice, so what do you wanna know?” He asked while peering over the edge.

“What was your motive?”

“Family, or lack thereof,” he said.

“What do you mean? What happened?” I asked.

“If you value family enough you'll do anything for them, even throw away your chance of having a normal life.”

He then perched himself atop the edge of the roof.

“Sebastian don't!”

Then, before my words could reach him, he lept off. I called officers onto the scene and let them take care of it while I went home to clear my head. Days later while looking into the Garcia family to find out more about what Sebastian was saying, I found an article tied to the garcia family “Local homicide case leaves mother and daughter dead.”

Angela Jones
Haiku Collection by Brianna Lawson

Winter 1

Everyone waits for

This time of year with

All the holidays and jollyness

Winter 2

The snow begins to fall

There are presents from

Santa, and so many smiles

Spring 1

It is beginning to blossom

It is starting to show color

The flowers that is

Spring 2

The clouds are leaving

It is starting to get sunny

It is spring time

Summer 1

Everyone waits for it

The sunflowers, heat and flowers

The best and hottest time

Summer 2

No work, no school, nothing

Just endless fun and memories

With your family and friends.

Fall 1

The trees are blowing

It is windy with leaves changing

It is fall time here

Fall 2

You see the colors changing

The temperature is dropping

And fires burning

Nate Brooks - Plaster, Rope, and Wood
A Haiku Collection by Morgan Cook

Winter 1

Cold slumbering trees

Covered with new fallen snow

Warm winter blanket

Winter 2

High up in the hills

Right beneath the silver coluds

First dusting of snow

Spring 1

Rain hits my wingow

Angels tap-dancing softly

A heavenly sound

Spring 2

Winter fights to stay

Sweet spring always wins her way

Flowers bloomed today

Summer 1

Very sunny day

So hot, I'm melting

So hot, like lava

Summer 2

Sea so blue and hot

Birds chirping beautifully

Lie in the hot sun

Fall 1

Coolness fills the air

Scarves and sweaters everywhere

Fall weather is here

Fall 2

Golden butterflies

Float down to the soft, moist ground

And rest til fall ends

Tali Carotenuto
Alexis Haughey

Landon Bitting

A mistake is a valuable teacher

With a lesson you can use for life.

When you make a error , ask yourself,

What can I learn from this?

Write this new knowledge down.

Apply it to make your life better.

A better life from a valuable mistake.

Alexandra Jordan
The Role

Reilly O’Donnell

Everyone is afraid of something. Some people are afraid of spiders, some people are afraid of heights, and some people are afraid of the monster under their bed. Fear is one of the things that make us our own person. They make us a unique individual. What am I afraid of? Well let’s rephrase that. What was I afraid of? When I was in elementary school I was afraid to go on stage and dance. I was born with a disability called Amyoplasia which is where someone is born with little muscle, joint contractures, and deformity in your arms. I always looked different than other people and I was afraid that other people would think I looked weird. I would sometimes even cry because I just didn’t want to go on stage and dance.

Ever since I was born I've been afraid that people would judge me for my differences. When I was born the doctor told my mom I had a disability called Amyoplasia, a condition in which someone is born with little muscle, joint contractures, and deformity in your arms. I've always felt self-conscious about how I do things and especially when I dance. At first, I didn't notice I looked different than other people when I danced, but when I saw a video of myself dancing I decided I'd never dance in front of people ever again. I remember sometimes I’d even cry because I didn’t want to go on stage and dance. However that changed when I got to 7th grade and became my own person. I realized I should love myself and not care what others think.

It all started in choir class during second period. Class was almost over and my teacher, Mrs. Hazelet, ended class early to talk about the school musical. She told us that Northley would be putting on the Lion King Junior that year and that if we were interested in doing the musical we should attend a meeting after school for it. I had always wanted to be in a musical, but I wasn't sure if I felt comfortable dancing on stage. I thought for a moment and then decided to go since it was just a meeting. I could just see what it was like and if I wasn't interested in it then I just wouldn't do it. So I texted my mom and told her I was going to attend a meeting after school for the musical and I'd be home a little late. The bell then rang and I attended the rest of my classes.

At the end of the day, I had to stop by my locker, which caused me to be around 5 to 10 minutes late to the meeting. Walking into the room I saw a look of disappointment in the theater Director's eyes that I was late. Trying to avoid her gaze, I looked for a place to sit. I saw one of my friends, Kiley, in the back of the room and decided to sit with her. The theater director, whose name I learned was Mrs. Thorpe, was talking about what the musical would be like and her expectations. For a little bit, I spaced out but then something she said brought me back into reality. “You only need to be here if you plan to audition for a lead role. If you don’t plan to audition then you may leave,” she said. My eyes widened. I wasn’t prepared at all to audition. I just thought it was a meeting. I looked around to see if anyone else was going to stand up and go, but nobody did. At that moment I had two choices: get up and leave, which meant I embarrass myself again, or I could stay and audition. Either way, I could end up embarrassing myself. Thinking over both my choices, I decided to stay and audition. What was the worst that could happen?

Mrs. Thorpe gave everyone a piece of paper with the song and monologue to practice and sent us out into the hall while she auditioned everyone at a time. My chest was pounding the entire time I was waiting and pounded faster the shorter the line got. I practiced the song and monologue a million times. Over time the line of people slowly got shorter and after about a half-hour it was my time to audition. I steadily walked into the choir room. Instead of being greeted with a look of disappointment, Mrs. Thorpe smiled at me. I walked up to the piano and said hello. “Okay so we are going to start with singing the song and then I want you to read the monologue. Does that sound okay?” she looked at me and I nodded. Since I was nervous she sang with me. She was nothing short of kind saying how pretty I sounded when I sang. After the song, I read my monologue. I saw her write some notes and then told me I could leave. Exiting the room, I called my mom to come pick me and she took me home.

For the next couple of days, I waited for callbacks. At first, I wasn’t sure I wanted a role, but after auditioning I really wanted a role. I waited and waited until finally, she put up the list for callbacks. Scanning the list, I desperately looked for my name. I saw my friends' names, so that made me even more determined to get a callback. At last, I saw it, in the middle of the page. I was so happy. I knew however despite getting a callback, the battle wasn’t over. I didn’t have a role yet. I practiced the songs she gave us to sing over and over again. I was determined to get a role, whether it was big or small.

The next day at callbacks I was really nervous. A lot of the people who got callbacks were way better at singing and they were definitely better at dancing than I was. I was really hoping Mrs. Thorpe wouldn’t give me a role because of my disability. I decided to push all my nerves away and just focus on doing my best. Mrs. Thorpe had us sing one song, called “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” and then speak a monologue. I loved the song “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” so I had no problem doing that. The monologue wasn’t that hard either. During callbacks, she asked certain people to leave earlier than others and she asked me to leave in the second group. I didn’t know if that was good or bad, so I just pretended it was good. I just assumed it meant she knew what role I’d be best suited for. Going home I was once again filled with dread.

All night I couldn’t stop thinking about the musical. If I didn’t get a role I could just see my self confidence go down the drain and I wouldn’t do the play. In the morning I immediately went to check the cast list. I remember taking a deep breath before I looked at the list. I remember crossing my fingers as I scanned for my name. At first I didn’t see my friend's name, and this made me lose hope. I mean she was way better than I was. Still looking down the list I stopped when I saw it, my name, under the word hyena. I was overjoyed. I had got a role. It may not have been a big role, but it was still a role which is all I had asked for.

When Mrs. Thorpe gave me a role despite knowing I had a disability, I gained two things. The first thing I gained was self-confidence. I realized that I shouldn’t care what other people think of me because I am good enough to be on stage. Nobody really said anything about my arms either. I realized all the worrying I had was just in my head. Then the second thing I gained was a love for theater. I ended up loving the musical so much that I decided to audition for it every year. I may not have gotten a role every year, but I still had lots of fun. I found myself and became a self confident person who actually really loves to go on stage and dance.

Alyssa Shockley

The best diner in the world

An imagining of nighthawks - gabriel greene

Richard Epcar woke up in an unfamiliar place. It looked like a well-lit diner with clean, polished floors. He was sitting at a mahogany counter wearing his best clothes. A baby blue suit, black tie, and a fedora; he only wore these clothes at fancy dinner parties. He didn’t remember putting these on. In front of him, there was a tall glass filled with cold water. A tall glass of water; something that he was not. Richard was starting to feel a bit anxious. Epcar was not a very brave man and he always felt nervous when he was put in confusing situations. The overwhelming anxiety was probably why he didn’t notice the other people that were with him.

Across the counter, there was a muscular badly shaven man, next to Epcar was a woman with blonde hair, and in front of him, a cashier that was wearing clean, white clothes. Now, this guy actually unnerved Richard a bit, because this waiter had the strangest smile. The mans' smile was comparable to a skeleton’s; it was stretching ear to ear.

“Good evening sir, what will you be having today?”, the cashier asked.

There was an uncomfortable moment of silence then Richard finally got the nerve to ask, in a trembling voice, "Where am I?!.”

The cashier grinned even wider and exclaimed, with his hands out wide, “Why, you’re in the best diner in the world!” He then said, with great enthusiasm, “The Limbo!”

Richard looked constipated for about 5 minutes before getting up from his seat, walking over to the door, and finally saying “I’m going home.”

The badly shaven man replied, with a big goofy grin, “Why would you get away from here?” “All of the stuff you’ll ever need is here!”

“Yeah, stay awhile, eat a bit!” the cashier exclaimed. “Here, I’ll get you started,” he said while slamming a plate with a huge juicy burger steaming on it down onto the counter. . “Eat, eat!” The blonde woman insisted.

Richard slammed his hands on the counter and yelled “Now wait just a minute! I don’t know why you’re all incessant on getting me to stay here, but I'm leaving!”

Richard went back for the door and the big, badly shaven man said “Oh, I wouldn’t want to do that.”

Richard replied, “Oh? Why not?”

“Because it’s locked”, the cashier answered.

Richard Epcar shook the door handle and found out, indeed, the door was locked. Epcar stamped his foot on the ground in anger. “What’s goin’ on here?!”, he yelled.

“Just stay here a while, we won’t bite,” the woman said, with a wide grin. The cashier pulled out another juicy, warm hamburger. “Have a hamburger and just relax” the cashier added.

“I’d rather starve!” Richard exclaimed. “I have a job to go to, y’know?!” “Richard continued ranting. “I can’t just stay a while at this best diner in the world when I have things to go to! Richard stomped his foot again. “Now unlock this door for me, right this instant!”

The badly shaven man’s expression faltered a bit.

“Oh, no no no, we can’t have that..”, the woman mused. “How could you enjoy this diner, this hospitality if you’re doing all that dreadful stuff?”

The unshaven man tackled Richard against the shiny floor. Richard tried to fight back against the large attacker but the effort was wasted; he was the human equivalent of a pencil. Now that Richard was incacipated, the woman rushed over to this sordid and violent scene and forced open Epcar’s pathetic mouth. And then, finally, the waiter casually walked over to him and shoved the hamburger down his held open maw.

“Just calm down, it’ll be all good in a short bit” the waiter laughed while making Epcar chew and swallow the, admittedly pretty good, hamburger.

“AkedfgdxdlshrbfRbfpltmbn”, replied Epcar; his mouth full of a cheeseburger with lettuce and tomato. He managed to swallow the meal down. Suddenly, Richard felt feelings he had not felt before! Many different colors surrounded him! He felt joyful, happy, somewhat delirious but who cares?! He, just now, figured out he was at peace in this diner! He wants to stay here forever and ever, to never leave! He wanted to stay in this diner for the rest of his now joyous life. Who the heck would want to leave this place? Screw society, let’s continue to dine and eat at the best diner in the world.

Ariana Fayehun
Fake Sandwiches

Evan Burns

Tom was at Chick-fil-a and ordered a number 8 with fries and lemonade. He sat in his car alone and ate by himself in the parking lot crying to Juice Wrld after his girlfriend broke up with him. But his mood completely changed when he ate his meal. He was convinced after the first bite that it was the best sandwich he ever ate.

He drove home afterwards and went to bed because it was getting late. He woke up the next morning craving the sandwich he had just eaten the night before. So he went to get another one for breakfast on his way to work.

Tom was good friends with his boss and his boss offered to take them out for lunch. Tom’s boss asked Tom if he wanted to go anywhere in particular. Tom being the indecisive person he is, he let his boss choose and they ended up going to this pizza place. They talked about work and what they were doing for the weekend and enjoyed their pizza.

When Tom was done with work he called his friends to make plans for the next day because it would be friday and they usually hang out every weekend. When Tom arrived at his friend Tims house. After a few hours they both got hungry so Tom offered to drive them up to chick fil a and Tim agreed. When they got there Tom ordered the same thing he got the last two times he went and Tim got something else. Tom was hyping up his meal to Tim trying to get him to try it but Tim didn't want any because he knew he only liked what he ordered.

But, Tom didn't give up and he debated with Tim nearly the entire time they were eating that it was a good sandwich but Tim constantly tried telling him it's not a sandwich and it's not that good. Tim offered Tom a bite of his sandwich and Tom took a bite, he couldn't believe it. Tims sandwich was so much better than his sandwich and when Tom realizes what he was missing out on he realizes what he has been eating this whole time.

It was never a sandwich but only a grilled chicken wrap. Tom apologizes to Tim for trying to force him to try his disgusting wrap. Tom threw out his wrap and from that day one whenever he went to chick fil a he ordered something else.

Alyssa Campbell
Mother Earth and her Song

Emma Kuzinski

When time stands still

And my soul stands quivering, alone

Mother Earth’s song shall assure me







All forms of Earth dance,

They dance protecting me from society’s opinions

The Universe shall recuperate me

Her bright eyes will interlock with mine

Her eyes sway my soul





Her soul, adamant in inanimate forms and places





When days grow shorter

When centuries span to none

When young equals old

When there is no intermission

When it is time to come clean

And when death vasts near

Her eyes will interlock with mine again

From the poems and biographies of Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson

Austin Raker

Katherine Fallon

With her own luggage in her hands

The girl notices the boy falling back further.

She offers to hold some of it,

Because she thinks she can help.

But his bags were filled of stones

and now she’s crashing into the floor.

Ariana Fayehun
A Haiku Collection by Katherine Fallon

Winter 1

Cold, black ice and sleet,

It's frigid and I’m slipping.

The bare trees hover.

Winter 2


I become frozen in place.

Blue lips and red cheeks.

Spring 1

Bushes are budding.

Insects basking in the sun.

Renewed and refreshed.

Spring 2

The freshly mowed lawn,

Fragrant, glowing in the sun.

A rain cloud rolls in.

Summer 1

Scorching sand, chilled drink.

Lazy days and starry nights.

Green trees, buzzing bees.

Summer 2

Lovely pink flowers,

Traveling and relaxing.

Fireflies by the tent.

Fall 1

Foggy woods around,

Laughing by the cozy fire,

Burning marshmallows.

Fall 2

Walking home from school,

Rustling and crunching the leaves,

Much like my papers.

Forgotten - Kayden Maiorine
A Myth Untold

Le'nyiah Flamer

It was a normal day in the jungle, me and my brother, Angle, were observing wildlife. It was a balmy day and we were exhausted from walking all day.We had been there for days. ¨ Wait, why are you in the jungle again?¨ Ryan asked curiously when he raised his hand. ¨ We adventured to this island to see if the myth of the green dragons were true, our Grandmother used to tell us this story all the time. Her and Grandfather were explorers..¨ I answered. ¨My mom told me there were no such things as dragons, Mrs.Hill!¨ Peter shouted. ¨She may be right, but I'm a strong believer in my imagination.¨ I said. To continue on with my story before we went to Green island, because we had heard a bunch of stories about it before. The myth was that there were green, dragon giants in one specific part of the island. They told us that they breathed burning flames that could make someone go to ashes. They were the scariest animals in the entire world. Why would we still go, someone may ask? Keep listening and your questions will be answered.

I saw all the kids in my daycare start to lay down and begin to get sucked into the story. My grandmother didn't tell the story that way. She told us that the green dragons were massive, but they were nice. They didn't harm anyone who didn't threaten them.We wanted to see them for ourselves. People came up with those crazy stories because they were trying to construct and destroy their habitats to build an empire . The dragons felt threatened and that's when they became dangerous. They tried their best to fight the humans.Many of them died , After a while of battling the Green dragons were successful and safe. It's been many decades since anyone has gone back.¨Why would someone want to take land that's not theirs.¨ Ryan asked.¨How do you know that the dragons are still on the island.¨ Ashley hollered .¨These people sound terrible.¨ Anna muttered. Okay, okay we have to talk one at a time please . These people were very unpleasant.Rumor has it there was a terrible forest fire and the dragons went extinct, but we didn't choose to believe it.

The more we were walking, we started to see possible clues. I noticed Angel step down in a mini ditch. ¨ Look at that¨ I said, stepping back mezmorized. ¨Wow, they might actually be here.¨ He responded in excitement. It was a gigantic dragon footprint and on it was red fur. It took up a lot of space.We were a little confused about the color, however we began to have hope. It started to get very windy and the tree branch leaves whirled in circles.¨ Do you smell that?¨ he questioned. ¨ Yea it smells like fire.¨ i answered. The smell started to pick up more and more as we got closer. We were anxious. It felt like we had finally made progress. So many questions went through my mind. I couldn't contain the happiness that ran through me. It looked like we were coming to a dead end, when whoosh a green dragon flew past us swiftly. We were in complete shock. The dragon was fluffy and when it came back near us it sat down calmly . I could see the green patches going down its neck and it was breathing really impenetrable, It kinda looked like it was smiling at us . I laughed a little because the dragon barely had teeth.

The dragon was not harmful, he didn't seem like he wanted to hurt us. Then, he stuck out his large claw to let us climb up to his back. We were frightened, but we decided the adventure was worth it. My brother climbed on first, then helped me up. I could feel the dragon's bones moving as i got on.”Hold on tight!´ Angel screamed as the dragon took off. As we dropped down, I could feel the air hit my face. When we came back up , all different colored dragons joined us. That explains the red fur on the giant footprint I thought. It was a beautiful sight, they were coming from everywhere. All of sudden I heard loud noises coming from behind and BOOM! The daycare bell rings. Alright kids it's time to go home,See you all tomorrow. ¨ Noooo!¨ they all howled out at me. ¨ I'm sorry guys, that's where we have to leave off. Have a nice day!¨ I said watching them trudge out of the class .

Alisha Maden

A Change of Heart

An imagining of nighthawks - Ariana Fayehun

The Nighthawk’s diner was quiet, empty. All except for one individual. A man in his late thirties. He wore a white shirt, black pants, black shoes, and a black bowtie.

The city was usually a loud, bustling place, but at the Nighthawks diner, it was silent. The diner was a small and quaint building that consisted mostly of a large semi-circle counter with stools lined up against it. The waiter stood in the middle, washing the counter using large, circular sweeps of his hand. He was partially staring into space, lost in thought.

After a moment more of silence, the loud chime of the doorbell cut through the air, and the waiter looked towards the door. A man walked in. He was a tall man, wearing an all-black suit and fedora. He walked up to the counter briskly and sat down. The waiter smiled warmly at the man, still wiping the counter.

“Good evening. Can I get you anything?” He asked

“Water,” the man answered simply.

“Just water, sir?”

“Just water.” The waiter nodded before leaving to get what the man asked. The man pulled out a notepad and pen and started writing. Not a moment later, the waiter came back out and set the water down in front of the man.

“So, what brings you here at 3:45 in the morning?” The man glanced up at the waiter, studying him as if determining whether he should tell the waiter why he was there.

“I’m a detective. Detective August Sander.” The waiter stopped smiling.

“Was a crime committed here?”

“No,” Detective Sander stated. Not yet. He thought. “I just came to get away from home.” No use scaring him. Especially if I can stop the crime before it happens.

“Oh, okay then.” Detective Sander nodded before going back to his notepad. About five minutes later, the bell chimed again. Detective Sander raised his head to look. A man and a woman walked in. He narrowed his eyes as the couple walked, arm in arm, to the counter. They sat down a few seats away from him. The man was in a suit, while the woman was wearing a red dress and holding a purse. They didn’t speak.

Detective Sander turned back to his notebook, scribbling furiously. Suspects found. 3:47 AM. Suspect one: Male. Looks to be in his late 30s. About 5’4’’. Black hair. Brown eyes. Suspect two: Female. Looks to be in her early 20s. About 5’1’’. Red hair. Hazel eyes.

Detective Sander lowered his pen and looked at the two suspects through the corner of his eye in disgust. One of the two suspects was going to attempt to murder the other in about 13 minutes. He was disgusted but not surprised.

All humanity was evil. No matter how good they seemed. That’s what Detective Sander believed. When he was younger, Detective Sander vividly remembered an experience he had. His best friend had been thrown in jail for committing a crime he did not commit. He was framed, and Detective Sander knew it. He tried to convince the cops, but they didn’t believe him.

The world was so evil that even the justice system was flawed. That’s why he became a detective. He wouldn’t let himself, or the precinct’s decisions, be affected by how much money someone had. As he solved more and more cases, he began to realize how evil humanity could be. All the shameful reasons why they committed the crime. It made complete sense to them, but to everyone else, it was completely insane and neurotic. Detective Sander’s eyes darted back to the waiter as he approached the couple.

“Can I get you two anything?” He asked.

“I’ll have a-” the woman started.

“We’ll both have a latte,” the man interrupted. The woman cast a glare towards her partner, and the waiter left to go get their drinks.

“I wanted an espresso,” the woman muttered.

“You don’t get a choice,” the man growled back. Relationship between two suspects seems uneasy and hostile. No concrete evidence as to who the culprit will be. Detective Sander wrote. A few minutes later, the waiter came back with their drinks before going to the back of the diner. The man checked his watch, and the woman glanced around before lifting her purse. She shuffled through it as if searching for something.

Detective Sander studied her purse. It was big enough to fit a small weapon. 8 minutes until the murder. The woman got up.

“Where are you going?” The man questioned, his eyes daring up towards her.

“The bathroom,” the woman stated before walking towards a hallway that led to the bathroom. After about 6 minutes, the man got up, mumbling something unintelligible under his breath. He stomped towards the bathroom, and Detective Sander slowly got up to follow him. The man was waiting outside the bathroom, knocking impatiently.

“What’s taking so long?” The man growled, checking his watch again. He turned his head to the left towards an emergency exit. He groaned before shoving open the doors, shouting out a name.

Detective Sander waited a couple of moments before following. As he peeked out of the doors, he saw the man and woman to the left of him. Detective Sander quickly glanced around. They were in a secluded area; no one else was around. It was a long alleyway that turned to the left into the road. He looked back towards the man and woman.

They were facing off against each other. The woman’s hands were clamped shut and her eyes portrayed pure outrage. The man had his arms folded over his chest, clearly annoyed.

“Why the heck are you out here? It’s time to come inside,” the man demanded.

“No,” the woman exclaimed, stubbornly. The man’s eyes widened in fury as if she had never refused him before.

“No?” The man challenged.

“No! I don’t want to do this anymore. I don’t want to listen to you anymore. This. Ends. Now.” The woman reached into her purse and pulled out a knife. She pointed with it at the man with two hands, shaking as if she was afraid to use it. She slowly made her way towards him and the man’s eyes were shocked.

He stumbled away from her, trying to run, but the woman cut him off. She backed him into a corner before raising her weapon, ready to strike.

“Stop, ma’am you are under arrest for attempted murder!” Detective Sander shouted. revealing himself. The woman lowered her weapon and whipped her head around to stare at Detective Sander, her eyes now crazed.

Detective Sander walked slowly up to her his hand extended towards her. “Put down the weapon, and nobody will get hurt.”

“No! You can’t stop me! I am sick and tired of the way he treats me,” the woman practically shouted pointing, her knife at the man. “And it’s going to end here!” The woman turned back to the man, raising her weapon before swinging it back down towards the man.

Detective Sander lunged, grabbing the woman’s wrist and stopping her. “Let go of me!” She wailed, struggling to break free. Detective Sander wrestled the weapon out of the woman’s hand before letting go of her. The man was covering his head with his hands, cowering.

“Please, please don’t let her hurt me.”

“Don’t worry, sir. She’ll rot in jail.” The woman’s eyes went from crazed to sorrowful. She fell to her knees.

“Please, no. I just...I just wanted to be free. He just wouldn’t listen to reason!” The woman cried. Detective Sander rolled his eyes. He didn’t buy it and quickly arrested her. The next day, he waited outside of the questioning room in the hallway. One of his colleagues exited the room and went up to him.

“So what excuse did she have?” Detective Sander scoffed.

“Turns out her parents forced her to marry a man she didn’t love. He didn’t treat her well at all. In fact, he treated her like some kind of animal. Abusing her, screaming at her, exploiting her, etcetera. It got so bad, it practically drove her insane and made her mentally unstable,” Detective Sander’s colleague reported.

“She still shouldn’t have attempted murder.”

“Yeah, but put yourself in her shoes, August. Imagine someone kept you from being a detective. Imagine that person telling you what you can and can’t do. Imagine having no say in your life. What she was about to do may have been drastic, but if I were in that situation, I would’ve done almost anything to be free,” Detective Sander’s colleague noted before walking away.

Detective Sander thought for a moment. Could his colleague be right? Could it be true that criminals may not always commit a crime because they’re plain evil? That there might be some sort of reason or logic behind some of their decisions? Detective Sander looked through the one-way window at the woman. She was bent over, tears streaming down her face. If I were in that woman’s situation, what would I do? Detective Sander groaned.

“Maybe she’s not entirely evil. Maybe, she thought that there were no other options.” Detective Sander murmured. Next time I’m on a case, I won’t be so quick to judge. Detective Sander decided. Maybe everyone isn’t completely evil after all.

The Bane of My Existence - Angela Jones
A Haiku Collection by James Chuchman

Winter 1

The trees are barren

They have shed their many leaves

Left with white on grey

Winter 2

The snow piles high

People shovel their driveway

Only for more snow

Spring 1

The trees regain leaves

Shading us from the sunlight

Fending those below

Spring 2

The fields sway away

The grass follows the fresh wind

Like a blanket sheet.

Summer 1

The trees follow wind

The branches hold the leaves back

From following flow

Summer 2

The people are out

Enjoying the perfect heat

The sun creates fun

Fall 1

The leaves are flying

They broke from their tall captor

Free to color yards

Fall 2

The leaves are spread out

Like a large rug of color

Sheltering the earth

Hailey Hoffman
Lucid Dream

Mike Farnsworth

It was a white room. The blinds were white but he never closed them, because he liked to be woken by daylight. He stood up, and a gust of wind hit him coming from the balcony. He tunnel visioned on the light coming from the balcony and started walking forward to the light. As he made it to the balcony he looked around himself seeing that the balcony was fading away and turning into a plank, as he turned around there was a pirate and he started to panic and fear crawls threw his body and made his body spas out of control, making him fall off into the ocean.

As soon as he fell everything started moving in slow motion and as soon as his head touched the water the half of the world turned right side up and he fell into the pirates boat but there was no one there. He had to learn how to drive a boat and drive it away from the giant tsunami that was behind him because half of the world turned right side up.

As he started moving the boat away the tsunami was behind him eating his boat alive until he was submerged within the water and got pulled so deep down that there was no possible chance of survival. As he started drowning he passed out.

He woke up, breathing heavily and covered in sweat. He thought that he was awake and had a bad dream but unluckily it wasn't over. He walked down his stairs and while he was walking down the stairs he realised that the stairs were not ending.

He turned around and both ways up the stairs were never ending so he turned around and ran up the stairs as fast as he could. After an hour of running up stairs he realised he was in the clouds and then out of nowhere Jesus came up and said what's poppin and dabbed the man up. Then the stairs disappeared and he started falling all the way down to the core of earth and he went into a wormhole and started getting stretched into reality and started to time travel back in time and he appeared on the floor where his house and bed were and woke up in 1600, and Native Americans on horses with bows surrounding him and then they threw a spear threw his head.

And he woke up in his bed sweating and then he woke up and walked down the stairs again and the process started repeating itself over and over again.

Kristine Guenther - Plastalina

Mr. McThyer

An imagining of nighthawks - James Chuchman

Walter strolled down the side of the street, on the sidewalk. The puddles from Saturday’s storm were almost dry. Their progress of evaporation had halted since the sun had hid itself behind the buildings that stood high above Walter. Walter was looking almost directly up when he tripped off the sidewalk and landed in the street. Walter picked himself up while inspecting his clothing for any damages. He sighed when he got to his feet. Walter felt his jacket was a slight bit looser and grabbed the lowest button of his jacket. Walter forced a smile and began searching the street for the button which had popped off.

On his hands and knees, the hiss of tires sliding on pathment made Walter Jump to his feet. Walter held his hands out like they would be able to stop the car if it came any closer. Walter thought like he was a tamer of a ferocious animal. Walter finally got out of the car’s way and searched for his lost button from the sidewalk. Walter scanned the road for the tiny thing but gave up easily since he now had a use for his spare button which he had stored in his drawer at home.

Walter started down the sidewalk with his hands in his pockets but then realized he was already at his destination, The Cafe. Walter marveled at the fact that he was so mesmerized when he was looking up at the building that watched from up high, he hadn’t realized he was where he needed to be. Walter scurried across the street so as to not cause another accident. On the other side of the road, Walter pulled at the glass door which led inside but it didn’t move. “Oh yeah,” Walter laughed to himself. He dug in his pocket for the key to the Cafe. Walter grabbed the key and tried to slide it into the keyhole but the key didn’t fit. Walter held the key closer to his face to inspect it. The key read, “Apartment 204” and Walter slid it back into his pant pocket. Walter then fumbled with his left pocket and retrieved the actual cafe key which he slid into the glass door.

Walter turned the key in the lock and reached for the door handle to pull the door open but his hand stayed suspended. Someone’s hand had already situated itself around the handle. Walter looked at the owner of the hand. It was Mr. McThyer! “Hello Walter,” Mr. McThyer said while he pulled open the door. The bell over the door welcomed the two as they both stepped into the cafe. Walter hurried behind the long counter that separates the room.Walter started to make what Mr. McThyer usually wanted when he came to the cafe. Mr. Mcthyer hobbled on his prosthetic leg. Mr. McThyer sat waiting for his coffee and said, “Walter, do you notice anything about this counter?” Walter scanned the top of the counter that Mr. McThyer was tapping. Walter made sure he hadn’t missed any specks while he was cleaning last night. “Uhm, no sir” Walter answered, “What’s wrong with it?”. Mr. McThyer leaned over to look at Walter’s side of the counter and then looked back towards the side of the counter that he was seated on. “This counter is just like our lives'' Mr.Mcthyer said, “The way it separates the ‘hard workers’ from the ‘leisurely enjoyers’,”. Walter placed the cup of coffee he had just made in front of Mr. McThyer. “No matter what someone does for money, there is someone above that person leaching off their work.”. Walter nodded since he knew what Mr. McThyer was talking about all too well.

Walter and Mr. McThyer kept talking about different topics and things that were going on. The two sat in the cafe until the lights on the street flicked on. Walter wiped down the counter despite its lack of use. Mr. McThyer waited outside for Walter to lock up the cafe. Walter and Mr McThyer walked across the street and turned back around to look at the cafe. The cafe’s lights lit up the front of the cafe but the inside stayed dark and tame. “This is all we got Walter,” Mr.McThyer said, “The cafe is all we have to defend.” Walter turned to him confused and questioned, “Defend from what?”. Mr. McThyer faced Walter now and said, “Why We defend this here business from the stuck-up business men that tower above us; we defend this cafe from the Imperial Japanese government along with those damned Nazis!” “Calm down Walter!” Walter cautioned Mr. McThyer. Mr. McThyer kept mumbling about the problems in the world. Walter looked at the old man wearily. Walter had never seen this amount of anger from Mr. McThyer before. A car drove by when Mr.McThyer collapsed to the ground. Walter tried to catch him as he fell but failed. Walter was afraid, a emotion he never felt before. Walter picked up his old friend and threw him over his own shoulders. Walter rushed home to his apartment. Walter arrived at his apartment door and placed Mr. McThyer gently by the door. Walter reached into his pocket for his key but felt nothing but a loose cloth string which he found earlier that day. Walter placed his hand on his forehead and worried more and more until a metal clang against wood snapped him out of his trance of worry. Walter looked at the direction in which he heard the metal clanged on the wooden floor. It was a key which fell out of the pocket of his mumbling friend. Walter received the key and read the numbers embedded onto it. “Apartment 204” the key read. Walter slightly recoiled at the sight but quickly tried to put the key into the keyhole of his apartment, Apartment 204. This key worked and the door swung open as if his own apartment was ushering him inside. Walter drug Mr. McThyer into the room and placed him against his own leather chair. The leather of the chair was different then it always has been however, instead of a nice light brown color, the chair was a much darker mahogany. Mr. McThyre fell out of his mumbling trance and looked at Walter, then the room. Mr. McThyer abruptly said, “I have something to tell you, boy.”. Walter nodded and listened to Mr. Mc Thyer’s story. Mr. McThyer said gladly, “Walter, we are the same yes?” Walter nodded again. Walter knew he and his friend were very similar. Walter began to say all of the things the two had in common like coffee preference and favorite songs. “No, No, I mean we are the same person, you and I”. Walter was confused but Mr.McThyer insisted they were the same exact person. Mr. McThyer explained how much sense it makes. “Walter, we have the same exact name, and the same exact apartment!” Mr. McThyer exclaimed, “We both have three missing toes, and we were both rejected from the military for Christ’s sake!” Walter fell backwards and his apartment began to spin around him. Walter began to claw at his hair. It didn’t make any sense to him but Walter knew it was true.

Walter sat straight up in his cot aboard the USS Lexington. He looked around the small room. The bunkmate below him poked his head out to say, “Another bad dream McThyer?” Walter’s shoulders dropped because of his realization. “Yeah, Jack” Walter responded.

Walter couldn’t fall back asleep. He couldn’t stop thinking about his father back home and how the cafe is going. Walter wished his father could serve with him but his fathers foot was too much money to fix. Walter then looked down his cot at his toes, well the five of them on his right foot. Walter pulled the cloth sheet past his legs to admire his prosthetic leg. Walter was very grateful for his father. His father was the one who paid for his prosthesis.

Autumn Brown

Hannah Murray

I waste my time

Betting on losing dogs

I give and give

Until there’s no point

No more

No more

Spent my money

And tried to fill the space

That you took

With your face

I accepted my problems as yours

I can’t solve them

No more

No more

Sparked a fire

To keep your cold soul warm

And I would’ve sang you to sleep

Take those fears as mine

I didn’t care

Despite the danger

I took it out on myself anyway

You want me

Only when you’re not fine

And I wasted my money on you

Just so you could see

But you’re not mine

No more

No more

Never were

Autumn Wolfe
A Haiku Collection by Le'nyiah Flamer

Winter 1

Crisp Blankets of snow

Glistening Gentle Snowflakes Billow,

Warm by the Fireside

Winter 2

Steaming Hot Cocoa

Delicious Christmas cookies

Chills while Ice Skating

Spring 1

Vibrant Flowers grow

Flourished trees come to life

Fine weather to play

Spring 2

Chirping Birds emerge

Gentel blue skies come alive

Sun-Filled Memories

Summer 1

Sun Beaming on skin

Children running through the grass fields

Splash! The creek cools them

Summer 2

Moist Long days outside

Endless Extreme heat Playing

Sunkissed lukewarm nights

Fall 1

Colorful leaves fall

Breezy wind sweeping the sky

Iffy sun, peaking

Fall 2

Scary black crows settle

Spooky Sweater weather season

Brisk nights snuggled up

Brenna Hazlett
Free Will

Gabriel Greene

The most important belief that anyone can ever believe in is the concept of free will. Having free will gives you the power over your body! Without the power of free will you’d be a very boring individual; you couldn’t go anywhere, say anything, do anything. It’s so important that I'm actually going to try to convince you that it’s something you should believe in. In the following paragraphs, I'm going to show you evidence on why you should believe in the act of free will.

First things first, let’s talk about the freedom of going anywhere you want. This part of free will is very important because it allows you to travel to any cool place you want. It’s one of the parts of free will that caused actual history to happen. For example, Rosa Parks. She used her free will to control her body to sit in that segregated seat on the bus and break the rules that were set at the time. The ability to go anywhere ties very closely to the freedom of doing anything.

Doing anything is another very important action that you have control over. This, just like the action of going anywhere, is also closely linked to free will. Free will gives you complete control over your body's actions; you can do anything you want with your body. Do you want to punch some random guy on the street in the face? That’s illegal but you could technically do it. If you didn’t have freedom over your actions, you’d essentially be a vegetable. And not just any vegetable, you’d be a carrot! There’s actually an historical example of the act of going places being important. The suffragist protests in 1913. They used their freedom of going anywhere to protest for their rights, despite the fact that there was heavy backlash from the media and the government. But the freedom of going anywhere isn’t the only thing they used. They also used their freedom of speech.

The final reason why you should believe in your free will is that it gives you the freedom to say whatever the heck you want. This is the most important part of free will because it gives you a way to express your thoughts and feelings. This aspect of having free will is so important that it’s actually a guaranteed freedom in most of the world. Most notably, America, who made it a guarantee right before it was cool. Most of the world made this freedom available at birth because they realize how important it is for people to speak their thoughts.

In conclusion, why should you believe in free will? Because it can change history as we know it. Because it can bring information to the masses. I hope after reading this essay, you too will believe in the concept of free will.

Cate Diamond - Spoons, Adhesive, and Wood


An imagining of nighthawks - brianna lawson

It was a cold miserable night, the couple George Lynn and Ashley Jello decided it was time to talk about some things going on in their relationship. George is a guy who does not like to talk things out and fix problems, he would rather just leave it in the past. On the other hand, Ashley wants to fix the problem right away, but because of how harsh George is, it usually doesn't end up in Ashleys favor. This time. they did not want to keep the neighbors up again with all their screaming and yelling. They decided to go to the nearby cafe so they could be able to control their voices. Usually, when they are working out a problem, it turns into a huge screaming match. George is the type of guy to want to talk it out immediately and Ashley wants to just wait it out until she is ready to talk about it. In the past, they have even gotten the cops called on them because their next door neighbors thought something really bad was happening.

It was 2:00am and the couple, George and Ashley, were heading into town to settle their differences. On the way there they see a strange looking man. He kept glancing up and down at them. The couple was second guessing themselves if they should even go in because of how weirded out they were. As they kept walking they realized the man was headed toward the same destination. The cafe. The couple walked inside. The man was standing behind them and waited outside, after they entered. Ashley tells George that she is freaked out about the whole situation and wants to go home. George blows her off and is still mad about all their fights and just wants to settle it. ¨I just don't understand why you have not changed the things you said you would do Ash.¨ George says. Right as Ashley is about to answer, the man walks in. He walked in staring at Ashley and then glancing at George. They brush it off and the waiter asks how he can take their order. They both order two coffees. George has settled down by now, exhausted. Ash wants to go home badly now and George finally gives in. As they are heading out the door they see a flash. Something like a camera flash. They both turn around immediately wondering and all they can see is the man running away. They decided to get home pretty fast because they were worried about what was happening. They were not even phased about their fighting at this point, just worried about their safety. ¨Should we go to the

Police?¨ asked Ashley worriedly. That is when George started to snap again. ¨No, Ash. I am tired of you over thinking constantly.¨ Ashley starts to cry.

The couple walked home together, in silence. George decided to sleep on the couch while Ashley got the bed. Laying in bed for a little, Ashley decided that she had had enough of George's attitude and she had to take charge about what happened outside of the cafe. She decided to go to the police station. She snuck out of the house quietly hoping not to awake George. As she heads out of the house successfully heading for the car, she hears someone calling her name. She hears it again. She tells herself it is all in her head and heads to the station.

Ashley is regretting leaving the house after hearing her name called. She thinks something or someone must be spying on her. She is right. There is a car following her at this point. Now that she realizes, the mysterious car has been following her for 5 minutes. She knows something is wrong now because what car is following someone at 4:00am. She makes a left turn and then a right turn to be sure he is following her. She is really praying it isn't the strange man she saw at the diner earlier. She then thinks to herself who else could it be?

Ashley then pulls into the police station. Once the car realizes where she was going he kept heading straight. She saw his face as she drove by and realized who it was. She runs into the police station freaking out. She screams at them to go and follow the car immediately. ¨That man has been stalking my husband and I just know it!! Go catch him!!¨ The police grant her orders and have a team go out and see what is happening. The police first had her describe the type of car best she could and what the man had looked like. As Ashley is filling out a police report she hears the station radio say that there has been a broken down Honda, the same that she has described to them just a mile ahead. ¨What the heck is going on??¨ asked Ashley frantically. The cop tells her to calm down and they are handling it.

Three hours pass by and it is now 7:30am. Right about the time when George wakes up. When George gets up to actually go and apologize to Ashley, he notices she is gone. He starts to freak out immediately remembering the creepy man from last night. He decides to go to the police station, not even thinking to call first since he is so worried. He barges in the front door and sees his wife, Ashley, there. ¨They're out there looking right now, honey.¨ Ashley stutters in fear with her legs crossed up on the seat, shivering. ¨Who is? The man?¨ George questions her. ¨Yes, I was too scared about last night so I came here to file a report and he was following me the entire ride here.¨ George starts to freak out slamming his hands on the police´s desktop to get him to do something. Ashley tries to calm him down. ¨It's okay they have been looking for him for about four hours now. He broke down on the side of the road, who knows where he could be now.¨ George is now scared wondering why it had to be them. He feels guilty that something could have happened to Ashley when he wasn't there to help her last night because he was selfish with their fights. ¨I am so sorry Ash, I should have been there for you.¨ says George. ¨Its okay, but right now we need to focus and figure out if I am being stalked or not.¨

The radio went off. ¨We found him! He was outside of his house in the woods the K9s sniff him out. We are heading in now.¨ George and Ash jump in excitement to find out what has been really happening.

The team shows back up at the police station. They had a thick yellow file of papers stacked up that read ¨EVIDENCE.¨ ¨Um what is in there¨ asked Ash. George grabbed in from him and the cop let him. When he opened it up there were a bunch of pictures of Ashley and George out when they were together in the past 5 years. His name was Stephen Larson according to the file. There was even a picture of Ashley when she was 6 years old. ¨We searched his house and he had a whole room of pictures filled with you guys. I am glad we caught him now because it seemed he was planning something big for years now. Their mouths dropped. ¨He's going to prison right?!¨ Ashley exclaimed. ¨Oh for a long time, you do not have to worry.¨ the cop reassured Ashley. As the police were going out to take him to jail, the man looked out the window and winked at her and she read through his lips saying ¨I will be back.¨

Cierra Fornwalt
A Haiku Collection by Jaden Emery

Winter 1

The wind blows

Colder than ice

The atmosphere is grey

Winter 2

Fire blazing loudly

The mild wind from outside

Hits like a whip

Spring 1

he sunlight beams like gold

Trees shake in the wind

The grass almost yellow

Spring 2

Silent sounds, that speak so loud

Whistling wind in the distance

Sweat dries across my shirt

Summer 1

If only sunlight could talk

It would speak a thousand words a second

Sunlight beams like a flashlight, in the sky

Summer 2

Tricks of light, speckle off the flowers

Too many colors to count

Unspeakable measures of beauty

Fall 1

Walking through the leaves

Stomping and crunching a path

The dim light skinning through the trees

Fall 2

The streets are lonely

Filled with color, but color doesn't bring the darkness

The clouds do, but are nonexistent

Eleanor Bell
Spelling Bee Troubles

Ariana Fayehun

I take several deep breaths in an attempt to calm myself down, but it doesn’t work. My third year of doing this, and I still show up a nervous wreck. Instead, I take out my paper with all the words on it. I quickly scan it for the terms I had marked that were tougher than the others. I hastily run the letters through my mind. Hangar. H-A-N-G-A-R. Hyacinth. H-Y-A-C-I-N-T-H. Crochet. C-R-O-C-H-E-T.

“Okay, contestants. We’re going to bring you up on stage and have you seated in number order,” the assistant principal calls, and my head snaps up. Already? My head starts spinning as I get up with the other contestants and make my way towards the stage. The stage is at the very front of the auditorium with at least 3 rows of foldable chairs split in the middle. This is the last year I can participate in the spelling bee. I have to win. Although I’m panicking on the inside, I make sure to project a confident look on the outside. I focus on walking confidently and keeping a determined look on my face to keep my mind from running through all the different ways I could mess up. As I sit down near the back, I take the liberty to study my competitors. Around me are 8th-graders, 7th-graders, and 6th-graders. Some I know, some I don’t. Some I expect to be here, and some I am surprised to see here. Everyone else is in the crowd. Hundreds of parents and other students staring back at me and all the contenders. But getting in front of everyone isn’t what bothers me. Failing in front of all these people is the least of my worries. Not even failing in front of my parents makes me scared. It is failing myself that frightens me the most, feeling my own disappointment.

A few minutes go by before the assistant principal comes on stage, facing the spellers. “We are about to start the Spelling Bee,” she begins, “I know you might all be nervous, but that’s okay. If you get out, that’s okay as well. You should be proud that you got here in the first place. Remember, every single one of you is going to get out, except for 1. So don’t worry if you get out first or last.” The assistant principal turns to face the audience before addressing the audience. The spelling bee has begun. One moment, the first person is going up the next, it is my turn. As I walk up to the mic, flashbacks of my first spelling bee pop into my head. I remember that I had only made it to the final 10 before I was eliminated. I had gotten a word that I had recently studied, became overconfident, and then messed up the word. I was so shocked when I heard the bell signifying that I had gotten it wrong. That experience only proved how I shouldn’t let overconfidence get the best of me. I shake my head, remembering where I am, and stop at the mic. I look down at the judges. One of them, a woman, nods to me before looking down at her list.

“Your word is ‘heard’, ‘heard’” the judge declares, repeating the word twice slowly. My mind instantly goes to ‘herd’ as in a group of animals, but I know better than to assume.

“Can I have that in a sentence?” I ask.

“Sure. The boy could not see the horse, but he was sure he heard the clatter of its hooves. Heard.” I hastily spell out the word in my head before speaking clearly.

“Heard. H-E-A-R-D. Heard.” I say, carefully. I frantically search the judge’s eyes and expressions. I had made sure to memorize how the judges reacted when a contender got a word right or wrong. The judge checks off a word, and I exhale, relaxing.

“That is correct.” I grin and go back to my seat.

I take a few breaths, successfully calming myself down this time. The first word is always the hardest to get through. But I don’t let myself dilly dally for too much longer and listen intently for the words given to the next people that go up. I spell them out in my mind, smiling when they get it right, and wincing when they get it wrong.

“That is the end of round 1,” A judge says, as the last contestants sit down. The crowd claps. Barely anyone has gotten out. But the words would soon get harder. A couple of rounds later, I go back up and recall my second year doing the spelling bee. I was in 7th grade. I had made it to the final four with 3 8th-graders before I got out. As I had gone up to the mic, I got a word that I hadn’t studied. With a shaky voice, I had spelled out the word the best I could. Of course, I got it wrong. That experience only proved the importance of studying. Back to the present, I adjust the mic so that it is high enough before nodding at the judges.

“Your word is ‘reservoir’ ‘reservoir’”

“Can I have it in a sentence?” I ask again, even though I’m pretty sure I’m not confusing it for something else. You can never be too sure.

“Of course. The pen has a large ink reservoir. Reservoir.” the judge says. I start to think. Reservoir. I know it has to begin with ‘reserve’. I also know that it ends with something that sounds like ‘vwar’, but I know it’s spelled with an O-I.

“Can you repeat the word?” I ask.

“The word is ‘reservoir’.” I nod.

“Reservoir. R-E-S-E-R-V,” I pause, running through the letters I just said through my head before continuing, “O-I-R. Reservoir.” The judges discuss with each other before nodding to me.

“That is correct.” I smile before going back to my seat.

As I sit back down, I start to think about all the preparation that I did to get ready for this spelling bee. Usually, I would just go over 1 or 2 pages of the list with my brothers a day. But I soon realized that that was tedious and that there were too many words. So, to prepare, I researched Greek, and Latin roots, spelling rules, and confusing word parts along with studying the word list. In a spelling bee, the speller can ask several questions. By studying all those things, I could ask those questions and have a better way of guessing how a word is spelled. So, if I ended up with a word I didn’t study, I still had a fair chance at spelling it right.

After a few more successful rounds, with a lot more people going out, I approach the mic.

“Your word is ‘susceptible’ ‘susceptible’” I draw in a surprised breath. I know this one! I take a moment to calm myself down. I won’t allow myself to become overconfident.

“Susceptible. S-U-S... C-E-P...T-I-B...L-E. Susceptible.” The judge frowns, and my stomach drops. That isn’t good. The judge rings the bell.

“I’m sorry, but that was incorrect. Please return to your seat and leave the stage only when the round ends.” I frantically run the spelling through my head a couple of times. I’m sure I got it right. I stumble away from the mic before turning to go back to my seat. I can hear the judges murmuring behind me.

“Wait,” one of the judges calls out. I turn back around in shock before returning to the mic, holding my breath. The judges murmur a little more before the original judge looks me in the eye.

“I’m sorry, I heard you wrong. You spelled it correctly.”

I exhale and swiftly walk back to my seat, smiling. I sit down and put my hand on my chest. My heart is beating so fast. I almost just lost the whole thing. But thankfully, the judges had just made a mistake. I watch as more and more rounds go by, and more and more people go out. Soon, there are only 10 people left, and the assistant principal declares that it is time to take a break. Most of the spellers get up to move around or go to the bathroom, but I stay put. I’m nervous once again. This is my last chance to win the spelling bee. What if I got a word I didn’t know and got out before the final 4? What if I said V instead of B? After 5 minutes, everyone returns to their seats, and the rounds go on. Soon, there are 4 people left, including myself. Everyone moves their seats so that we’re sitting at the very front.

3 people other than me left. I think. In a couple more rounds, 2 students will be able to move on to the state spelling bee as the winner and the runner-up. I can do this. I can do this. The next 2 rounds go swiftly, with 1 person getting out each round. Soon, it is just me and 1 other person. The other speller goes up to the mic.

“Your word is ‘absorption’ ‘absorption’.”

“Absorption. A-B-S-O-R-B-T-I-O-N. Absorption.” I wince, and the judge rings the bell.

“I’m sorry, that is incorrect.” The speller sits down, and I get up. If I get this wrong, we would both still be in. But if I get it right, I would be the winner. “Your word is ‘incessant’ ‘incessant’” My heart skips a beat. I can actually win this! I gulp before speaking, my voice shaky.

“C-can I have the word in a sentence?”

“Sure. With an incessant hum of voices, the crowd advanced to the table.” I take a deep breath before speaking.

“Incessant. I-N-C-E-S-S-A-N-T. Incessant” The judge smiles.

“That is correct.”

The judges start clapping, and so does the audience. Did I really win? I stare out at the crowd in shock as they clap and cheer my name. I feel a slow smile form as pride washes over me. After 3 attempts, I finally won the spelling bee! I was able to grow and learn from my mistakes to finally achieve the goal that I had wanted for so long. Hard work really does pay off! I was able to use my intellect and courage to figure out a way to win and apply everything I’ve learned. I guess failure isn’t a failure if you learn from it.

James Chuchman

As I Fall

An imagining of nighthawks - Reilly O’Donnell

As Abby stood on the edge, she looked one last time at the world around her. Her vision was blurry from all her tears, but all she saw was an empty and lonely world. She just couldn't bear to live without him. Her heart ached to see him again and she only saw one way to do so. So without hesitation she closed her eyes and let herself fall. As she fell she felt wind blowing in face and gravity pulling her down. Time moved slowly as she fell. Almost as if god was giving her a little bit more time to say goodbye to the world. With her extra time, she recalled the moment of how they met.

It was almost midnight at her fathers cafe. Her father always kept the cafe open late for anyone who may need it. Abby had just gotten herself a cup of coffee and sat down next to her brother Peter, when a man walked into the cafe and caught her eye. He had black hair and was wearing a suit and hat as though he had just gotten off of work. He went over to the counter, ordered a cup of coffee, and pulled out a cigarette. Intrigued by his looks, Abby got up from her seat and sat next to him.

“Long night?” she asked him

“I'll say.” He responded back, “It's not fun being a Sales Agent.”

“Yeah working in a cafe isn’t that fun either.”

“I’d take working in a cafe then being a Sales agent anyday.”

“Wanna switch Jobs?” Abby held out her hand as though they were making a pact

“You've got yourself a deal.” he shook her hand and they both smiled.

The two of them exchanged names, and he found out his name was Zach. The two of them started talking, switching topics every now and then. As their conversation went on Zach had realized it was really late. He said goodbye and gave Abby his number. As he left her brother walked past her muttering something to her father.

“Look Dad, Abby found herself a man.”

“You know I heard you, right?” she yelled at him.

“Yeah I know,” he said laughing as he walked up the stairs going to bed.

Abby too decided to go to bed. Hugging her father goodnight she went to her room. She put on her pajamas and smiled as she thought of the man she had just met. She couldn’t wait to see him again.

Abby was still falling, but the memory made her yearn to see Zach more. He and her had met up many times after that and after a while he asked her out. They spent every second they could together, Zach loved Abby and Abby loved Zach. Abby thought that Zach would never leave her. Then again she never thought he'd get in a car accident either. When Zach died she felt like she had died too. She didn’t smile, she didn’t laugh, all she did was cry. Her father and brother tried for days and weeks to get her to come out of her room, but it didn’t work. They just couldn’t get her to come downstairs to the cafe.

Suddenly she remembered the cafe. Abby knew there were downsides to seeing Zach again and one of the many would be saying goodbye to her father and brother. She would miss all the times she spent with the two of them. They would be devastated when she was gone. SHe hadn’t thought about how they would live without her.

With that final thought Abby decided she no longer wanted to die. She still had people who cared about her and she didn’t want them to feel the same emptiness she felt. Instantly Abby no longer felt the wind hitting against her body or the feeling of gravity pulling her down. She opened her eyes and realized her feet were still at the edge. She had never jumped. She now realized god wasn’t giving her more time to say goodbye to the world, he was letting her think through her decision. Still on the edge she looked again at the world all around her. Before it felt empty and lonesome, but now it looked different. Abby saw a world with the people she loved that was full of color and beauty.

Abby turned and took a stepback off the edge, and dashed towards the Cafe. When she was in view of the cafe she saw her brother and father through the window. Happy to see their faces, she ran quickly inside. Before they could even say a word, Abby embraced the two in a big hug. Peter was about to say something but stopped when Abby went to speak.

“I love you.” Abby cried into their shoulders.

The two just gave each other confused looks, but then smiled seeing Abby finally out of her room. The two didn’t say anything back, they just hugged Abby back. They were just happy to see her again.

Abigail Otsyina
I Come From

Sierra Cooney

I come from a big family

With cousins that feel like siblings

With lots of memories made

I come from a sunny beach

That feels like a second home

I come from a busy lifestyle

With school by day and dance by night

I come from a place I call home

And a place that I used to call home

Sophia Pantuliano
A Haiku Collection by Ariana Fayehun

Winter 1

Frigid arctic breeze.

Gentle snowflakes drop downward.

Someday it will melt.

Winter 2

Full moon radiates

Snow reflects and seems to glow

White wolf howls alone

Spring 1

Fragrant, cloudless day.

It’s a great day to garden.

Plants blossom today.

Spring 2

Bunnies everywhere.

Frequent rain brings new flowers.

The world is anew.

Summer 1

Hot and humid day.

Ideal day to go to the beach.

Sun rays shine on me.

Summer 2

Midsummer fireflies,

Wink in the moonlit meadow.

I watch quietly.

Fall 1

Vivid falling leaves.

Jack-O’-Lanterns everywhere.

Halloween is near.

Fall 2

Brisk, amber morning.

Time for warm apple cider.

Can’t wait for winter.

Alyssa Shockley - Heart In The Sky


an imagining of nighthawks - Christine DeGuzman

A tall, dirty looking young man in his fedora, a bit cuffed up, walked into the bar. He walked up to the bartender with a black and white photo showing a young woman with light skin and curly, yet short, dark hair and spoke,

“Have you seen this witch walk into your bar?”

“No, I haven’t,” said the soft bartender, “Would you like to sit and have a drink? You look awfully tired.”

“I’m also awfully busy,” replied the tall man, “I may come back some other day however.” And with a smirk on his face, the tall man walked through the door. After no longer seeing the tall man through the window, I looked over at the bartender who was looking up at me in the ceiling nodding his head. There was no one else in the bar. After the bartender gave his signal, I flew down and hid under the cabinet so no one could see me through the window.

“You dropped something little birdie,” the bartender said as he crouched down holding a feather dropped by my tail, “Gotta be careful next time or Mr. Fedora over there will think something’s up”.

“My bad Boss,” I responded as I transformed back into my human form. Young woman with light skin and curly, yet short, dark hair, “Also may I use that feather? It may just be useful for my potion.” I snatched the feather off of Boss's hand.

“Did you not just hear what I said kid?”

“Yep. heard you loud and clear”

“Luna Rose, You are such a hassle...” sighed Boss. Shocked by what I heard, I struck back,

“Then why did you take me in if I’m such a hassle?”

“That’s classified. Another question like that and I can simply turn you in” Boss silenced me, “I’m sorry kid. Let’s just lock up and head home.”

Y’know, my life wasn’t always like this until I turned 17. Ever since my mother's death back in Vermont, due to suspicions of witchcraft, I flew away and eventually landed in a small town in New York. In my nighthawk form, I flew all over New York until Boss found me lingering on the window sill. Since then, Boss allowed me to help around his bar. That was when I was still in my human form. That until I had dropped a few herbs on the streets. I was interrogated, in which I had to make an excuse that I was illegally making medicine. I was released, but the authorities kept a close eye on me. It didn’t take them long before they added me to the wanted list after catching me making potions in the woods. I’ve been hiding in my nighthawk form after that.

The next night came quick. As usual, I hid in the ceiling of the bar, enough for me to see the bar. A familiar face entered the bar.

“Hello young man,” welcomed Boss, “need anything?” The tall man hesitantly responded,

“Actually, can I longue here? I just need somewhere to loiter in rather than the streets.”

“Of course. Is there anything troubling you?”

“N-no. Just waiting for a friend,” I could tell he was lying. I almost felt bad for him, until I saw the Wanted poster with my face written all over it.

“Would you like something to drink though?” Boss offered, “This one is on the house.”

“No thank you sir. I’m not legally allowed to drink anyways.” A pompous man and a woman in red make an entrance to the bar with their faces snickering. As he and the woman sat down to order, I could tell I hated him. After a while of chitchat, the pompous man stood up showing his badge,

“Sir, I’m Detective Ray Richards, I have come to investigate your bar as there have been suspicions of witchcraft here.” A detective? But he was so unprofessional! Coming in with a prostitute for booze, knowing there was bigger danger?! Hearing that, Boss grows rage,

“That’s preposterous! There’s no ‘witchcraft’ nor ‘witches’ here!”

“I knew you’d say that, however, we’ve noticed countless feathers laying on your floor. In case you didn’t know, witches shapeshift themselves as nighthawks to fit in. I find it abnormal that this one has been hiding here everyday.” With a smirk, detective Richards pulled a gun directly towards me. He found me. Before he makes the first shot, I soar my way out of the bar with the detective after me. In situations in these, I normally reflect on things I wish I would’ve done or said. This time, I wished I thanked Boss for taking me in no matter how troublesome I was.

Boss and the tall man stand inside watching the incident. To break the silence between the two, the tall man questioned Boss,

“What made you decide to take her in?”

“Hmm? What makes you say that?”

“Most people would’ve turned her in for money. I know I would’ve” Boss sighs and confesses,

“I guess I sympathize with her; I know what it’s like to have no place to stay.” The two paused awkwardly. The tall man interrupted the stillness between them,

“She’s lucky enough to have someone to take care of her.”

“Hmm? What do you mean by that boy?”

“Nothing, I might’ve spilled too much.”

“If it’s a guardian you're looking for, I can let you live with me.”

“Huh? Are you sure? I don’t wanna burden you-”

“Burden? Have you not seen how much of a nuisance the girl was?” Boss joked and giggled, “Besides, It’d be nice to have another kid to accompany me. This time, he could maybe help me around with the bar-” The tall man leaped onto Boss with his arms wrapped around him. Boss smiled, ready to live his dreams with a son.

Carmen Morrone

Sarah Behrle

Catching the scary mice

Acting crazy

Taking treats when they aren't supposed to

Sitting in sinks

Chiara Robinson

James Chuchman

The flame jumps up and down

Burning white and orange and then red

The fire leaps from tree to tree

Leaving a ashen fog

Below the forest’s roof

Waves of the color orange flurry

The fire crawls around the wooded lands

Tearing down years of progress

Leaving piles of grey, black, and white


Covid v. Humanity - Joseph Billie
The Healing Powers of the Ocean

Brenna Hazlett

The ocean can heal people in different ways, whether it be mentally, physically or regarding well-being or health. The ocean is a general healer and provides relief in many forms. It is one of the most calming and serene places to be.

The ocean has been known to be centering and calming, which is good for your mental state. In the article “How the Beach Benefits Your Brain, According to Science” on Inc.com, author Anne Gherini says “These slow, whooshing noises are the sounds of non-threats, which is why they work to calm people," says Orfeu Buxton, an associate professor of biobehavioral health at Pennsylvania State University.” Science has looked into the calming effects of the ocean and how it affects your emotions, mental state etc. Not only does the ocean benefit you mentally and spiritually, it can affect you positively in other stances.

The ocean has also been known to help with your skin and your health. In the article “Health Check: Why Swimming in the Sea is Good for You.” on theconversation.com, Sergio Diez Alvarez says “In 1769, a popular British doctor Richard Russell published a dissertation arguing for using seawater in “diseases of the glands”, in which he included scurvy, jaundice, leprosy and glandular consumption, which was the name for glandular fever at the time. He advocated drinking seawater as well as swimming in it.” And following that, he says “Frequent exposure to cold water has also been shown to increase the body’s immunity.

Overall, you would be wise to make ocean swimming a healthy habit.” Throughout the article, Alvarez makes these claims and provides the evidence supporting them. He uses many examples as to how ocean water can be beneficial. The previous quotes are examples of the benefits of seawater, which are quite impressive. Not only can seawater be beneficial to your health, it is beneficial to your physical well-being.

Swimming in the ocean has benefits all along the scale. Another way the ocean is good for you is the exercise it can give you. Swimming in the sea has been shown to be a good source of exercise. In the article “Why the Ocean Is a Place of Healing-Both Physical and Mental”, author Kells McPhillips quotes “[Swimming] improves blood circulation in our bodies,” says Dr. Malkin. A quick dip might also help with joint pain, improve muscular strength and endurance, and promote longevity. That’s really just scratching the surface, though.” This quote proves that seawater has been found to be beneficial to your physical health and wellbeing.

Ocean water has been found to be very healing in different ways. The ocean can be healing for your mind and soul, along with your body. Going to the ocean and swimming in the ocean can be very healthy for you, and the powers of the ocean are remarkable. The healing powers of the ocean can be very beneficial and is something everyone should believe in.

Felicia Christaldi
Late Night Poetry

Snaeha George


The stars

don’t shine anymore.

The moon is full.


so very,

far away.


all the light in my life

has gone.

So even when I can see it.

The Light.

The Stardust.

The inspiration


Can I find it?

Did I ever have it?

Maybe luna can answer

my small question

In this




Dripping soft.

A weight in my stomach

pulling me all the way down.

A universe behind my eyes.

The buzz of the world turning.

The thrill.

Maybe only I can see,

can feel.

Can experience.

this world full of little things.


Ghost hands

sweep across my own.

It’s almost like

the air is


I am only a


of something

that is not there


I’m in a spaceship,

flying far,

far away.

And in below,

on the earth,

it’s a beautiful day.

Then, eventually

I accept that this place

Is better,

much better

when I am in space.


I am not asking you to

be perfect.

I never expected

an angel.

Mistakes are part of

our humanity.

I am asking you

not to slash me,

and blame your claws.

I ask you to be


not a monster.

Maybe for you

there is no difference.


My love

has no name.

She haunts my dreams.

Every waking hour

I crave her presence

who even is she?

What is she like?

I have fallen-

for a stranger.

I know them better

than i know myself.

The assurance




Why does poetry

feel so empty when

you play it over and

and over and

and over again

and again

in your head

it feels like it loses all its meaning


they’re just words

they were always words

Gabriel Greene
Hailey Twardowski - Cardboard and Sharpie
A Haiku Collection by Brenna Hazlett

Winter 1

Sharp chill in the air

Snowflakes fall swift from above

Glistening snow mounds

Winter 2

Bright and white landscape

Snow you can see for miles

Lovely time of year

Spring 1

Bright, blooming flowers

The sweet fragrance of the spring

With rain and rebirth

Spring 2

The rain pours down quick

The damp earth thrives this season

When it rains it pours

Summer 1

Sun shining brightly

Sand. Grains warm under my feet

Breathe in salty air

Summer 2

At amusement parks,

Hear rides rush and people scream!

Have fun in the sun

Fall 1

Leaves are falling down

There’s a brisk chill in the air

Now, autumn is here

Fall 2

Pumpkins in the patch

The bright colors. Everywhere

Fall is nature’s art

A Cousin's Cattle - Jacklyn Bradley
What Day?

Christine DeGuzman

We watched the sun

Till it fell down

Coming back again

Days came gone

No one seems to know

What day we’re on

Gianna Ellis


An imagining of nighthawks - tobin stebbings

Ben didn’t want to be cooped up in that humantank any longer. That’s why when he left, he made sure he was well-fed in case the journey was going to be a long one. So when he flew towards the street, he didn’t expect to run into himself. As he fell, he tilted his body so his wings would catch the air, hovering to recover from the shock. He tried again, and the same thing happened; he ran into himself.

This time, he attempted to approach it slower, and was surprised to see himself staring back at him, all three eyes in disbelief. He tried to get closer, and held out his hand as his copy did the same. They made contact, and Ben reeled back from how cold his double was. He went back to where he was and his hand stuck to his copy, as Ben attempted something reckless. He stuck all of his limbs onto the surface of his copy, and noticed that they weren’t falling when the both of them stopped their wings.

It was then that Ben realized it wasn’t another version of himself; it was his reflection! He stuck to the glass and looked around for another exit because he couldn’t break through the glass; even if he flew at full speed as he did the first time. He decided to make his way higher to the top of the glass to see if he could get over it. He flew up faster and faster while remaining eye contact with his reflection, until right before he thought he would hit the ceiling. He covered his head and curled into a ball, then attempted to make his wings go the opposite way; until he realized that he was stuck!

Ben opened his eyes and looked at his wings, which were covered in the stickiest silk he had ever felt. Looking at the individual strands that wrapped around each other, he attempted to run his hands through the silk to get a feel for it. As soon as one of his hands made contact with the silk, it was stuck!

He tugged at it softly a bit, as he didn’t want to break the silk. That was, until he noticed something in his peripheral vision; a brown, hairy ball that’s crawling what seems to be towards him. As he directed his eyes to the ball, he noticed a bunch more eyes staring back at him with glee- eight hungry eyes.

Ben gasped and started to tug violently at the silk, now realizing too late that he was stuck in the spider’s silk. His eyes directed his attention to a small bundle of silk to the left of him where he noticed something that seemed to have a point sticking out of the bundle. He lunged towards it with his free hand, grabbed it with his free hand, and allowed the silk to pull him back to his original position. After failing to pull it from its sheath, he pulled forward and tugged harder- the bone beginning to split at its root.

He swung forward one more time and tore off the bone from a fallen insect, and quickly began to cut the silk away from his wings. He tried not to cut his wings, but it was difficult; as the web was wrapped and stuck onto the wing. He decided to cut the individual strands of the web that connected himself to the silk, careful enough to try not to injure himself but quick enough to free his wings before the spider got to him; with only one small tear in the fabric of his wing.

He then turned around and tried to use his wings to pull him away from the web, his hand still entangled. He slashed through the surrounding web, occasionally looking up to see the spider, now less than two feet away. He stabbed his hand which caused him to bleed, and he got his arm free.

Ben began to shout as the webs held onto him while he pulled away with as much force as his wings could. The spider, reaching that one foot mark, began to quicken, trying to catch its prey before he got himself loose.

He tore off the silk with the bone from his fingers, two fingers, now three are loose. He swung towards the silk, not close enough to get stuck again, but enough force to get some leverage, and yanked himself from the web.

When that didn't do it, he tried it again and again until there were only two strands holding onto him. The spider, reaching out with two limbs while climbing towards him with six, are only a few inches are before Ben cut off the two strands of silk from his hand, breaking him free, and chucks the bone at the spider while flying backwards, throwing it with enough force to push himself away using it, but also with enough force to get is stuck back into the corpse for the next escaping insect to hopefully see and use to their advantage.

The spider, noticing Ben is close enough to the glass to be grabbed, jumps onto the glass and begins to run towards Ben hovering close, lunging at him.

Ben, who noticed soon enough, swerved away from the spider’s oncoming arms, and the spider, who kept one arm on the glass, fell down until its other legs could grab onto the glass, which allowed it to skid to a stop. Ben, deciding that was enough action for one day, heads back to his home inside the walls of the café to heal up for the night. Maybe he’ll decide to leave tomorrow. Maybe.

Dj Cronin - Brass, Nickel, Aluminum

Gia Tumolo

Money can buy clothes

Money can buy shoes

Money can buy food

Money can buy cars

Money can buy houses

Money can buy things you want

Money can't buy love

Money can't buy friends

Money can't buy family

Money can't buy confidence

Money can't buy things you need

Dior Sy
How Stubbornness Got Me Stitches

Brenna Hazlett

As a 3 year old, the last thing you want to do is end up screaming and crying in the emergency room while getting stitches. Going to the doctors office for a regular check up is scary enough, let alone going to the hospital while bleeding heavily out of your chin. Take my advice, and always listen to your parents.

I was the ripe age of three years old. I was living in Media on a calm road called Winter Street with my mom, dad and older brother. I was at home with my mom and brother, who was only five or so at the time. Dad was at work, so that meant it was just mom, Cameron and I. My brother and I were energetic little kids and loved to play, run and have fun. On this particular day, we decided to play inside. We were running around the house, and our mom told us to stop. But, being annoying kids, we didn’t listen. Looking back now, we really should have listened.

We ran around for a few minutes, and every time we passed mom, she told us not to run in the house because one of us will get hurt. Of course we didn’t listen. We ran around some more, and once we hit the dining room, it went downhill. Between the kitchen and dining room on the floor was a little slab of what looked like marble, which acted as the separator for the two rooms. The floor of the dining room was slippery hardwood. As we ran through the dining room and headed towards the kitchen, I slipped and fell face first. When I landed, my chin hit right on the marble slab. I immediately started crying. I got up and walked over to mom, tears streaming down my face. Little did I know, tears were not the only thing streaming down. On my chin and spewing out onto the ground and myself, was my blood.

My mom grabbed a towel and handed it to me. In a panic, she called my pop pop and we drove over there to drop off my brother. We then headed to the doctors office. I was in so much pain. My chin had split open and I was bleeding everywhere. On the way to the doctors, mom had called dad, and he was on his way to meet us. We got to the doctors office and headed up to see my pediatrician. We got to his office and went back to a room. We sat down, as I’m still bleeding and crying, my doctor comes in and takes a look at me. He came to the conclusion that I needed stitches.

We left the doctors office and headed over to the hospital. We walked into the hospital, and the smell was so gross. We entered through the ER and got admission papers. As mom filled them out, I sat in next to her, still bleeding and crying. I was terrified. I had no idea what I was getting into. While we waited, my dad came in. I sat with my parents, still as scared as I could be, and waited to be put into a room. Eventually, I got called back and got set up in a room.

I sat and waited to be seen by someone for a while. I was glad to have both of my parents there with me, because I don’t think mom could take it anymore being there by herself. Her nerves were shot. I also was glad to have another person there to comfort me. Sooner or later somebody came around and looked at my chin. They got all the stuff ready to do stitches, and as they prepped, I got even more scared. I never understood what getting stitches meant, as I’ve never really witnessed an injury before, at least nothing as bad as mine. I started to panic when I saw a needle. I was, and still am, afraid of needles. Then, someone came in and picked up the needle. They were ready to do the stitches.

They walked towards me with the needle and I started to freak out. Even with my parents there for support, I was petrified. I cried and screamed the whole time. Eventually they got stitches done and my chin was closed up. It took five stitches to close the gash up. I took a few minutes to calm down and recover, then we got discharged from the hospital. Getting the stitches done was worse than hurting myself in the first place.

After this traumatic experience, I realized how stubborn I am. I learned since then to listen and be more open minded, which can avoid more issues than an injury. This experience really exposed my stubborn side and showed how certain I can be. Now because of this, I have a scar on my chin to remind me to not be stubborn and listen for the rest of my life.

Emily Penzone

Ariana Fayehun

Silent as the calm before the storm

Quicker than the fastest hare

With its ears perked, it prowls through the forest

It outruns its prey

And hunts in packs

It’s fierce and wild

Yet calm and loving

It is a wolf

Erin Kelly
4 Minute Slumber

Christine DeGuzman

My back cracked like a slap bracelet as my vision blurred my eyes shut. After some time, on top of the soft-touch sponge, my psychedelic vision was interrupted by nothing but my mind. Rotating my head, my right hand was glued to my phone. With my scissored-like fingers hogging the pop socket, I used my low amount of energy, which brightened my phone on. My eyes fixated on the lime green square labelled, “Messages”. A singular red dot stuck to the top of the corner of that green square.

“Who could be texting me at this hour?” I mumbled annoyed, “At 2AM too.” I glided my thumb to the app only to read a message from “Blake”. With my blur-heavy eyelids, my eyes expanded. Never viewed Blake as the type to be awake at this hour. In fact, I used to tease her about how she would sleep like a grandma. Never went to bed as late as 9:30PM. I opened the message to read with a band squeezing my head. What was once the feeling of a heavy bag, slowly went away in me. A single red dot pulled all of my anxiety into my head.

“Vee I need help please.” Blake followed with plenty of “Vee”. My eyes hover over the message above to read “Sent 2:26AM”. It was 2:30AM by the time I read it.

“Huh? Are you alright Vee?” My fingers vigorously tapped the keyboards on my screen, “What’s wrong?” My screen shifted back to black as all the electricity in my body slowly zapped away. Few minutes have gone by, and I get nothing from her. My inner thoughts then spoke to me. Was I too late? I can’t be; I was only four minutes late to reply...right? It can’t be anything that serious. Wait, what if she’s in danger and needs me to help her immediately. Why couldn’t I’ve been four minutes early? All the thinking turned my brain into a rotting orange. The outline of my eyes turned into magnets for each other. My head was released from the tightness. I somewhat felt like I was moving along with part of the wind coming through my AC.

Enliven, I pulled my eyes back open to a somewhat obscure view. Rain was lashing down onto A forest directing me to the edge of a cliff, there she was. She was facing away from me, so all I saw was her alluring velvet hair; although her hair was short, it beautifully waved and danced along with the wind. My arm yanked towards her as I took my first step. The ground that would surround Blake would decrease. In trepidation, I start dashing towards her despite the consequences of her falling. I catapult myself at Blake, shortly before she turns to acknowledge me. Tackling her, our collision with the floor vanished as we fell into a void. The sky gradually turned psychedelic as I held onto Blake tightly.

“Let go,” demanded Blake, “I can handle myself.” Protectively, I rebuttal,

“No! You’d fall and die”

“I mean, we’ve already fallen off a cliff.” Blake warmingly responded. “I’ll be fine. I’m not going to die. You shouldn’t have to worry about me too much.” Hesitantly, I let go of all the weight in me, including Blake. As I glanced down, Blake dusted away from sight. My voice trained through my throat, shocking my awakening.

My eyes stretched wide as I hopped up. It was only a dream. Snatching my phone, I checked to see if Blake responded to me. Only to be greeted by a disappointing, yet relieving message,

“Sorry, I just wanted to see if you could help me finish the ELA essay due today.” A fresh feeling breezed into my ears and out of my nose. I guess all that panic was for nothing.

Copeland Madison

Gabriel Greene

Strong, unstoppable.

Not even god can stop this

Very Determined

Keeps ticking downwards

Speedier than a cheetah

Faster than the wind

Can heal all your wounds

But can also create new ones

Fickle, like a cat.

Haylee Karpo
A Girl and Her Cat

Katie Fallon

I lay awake in the cool sand as the sun rises to my right. Mittens floats over me.

“Kira, it’s time to rise for the day,” he remarks. God, sometimes I wish he just meowed like a normal cat. I sit up and stretch, brushing the sand from my cargo pants.

“How rude!” he gasps. Of all the weird mutants in the world and I get a pretentious cat. Just my luck. “Mutate, Kira. How many times do I have to tell you? I am called a Mutate. The changes happened after my birth…”

“Shut up! And get out of my head!” I cut him off. The fire pit from the night before was still smoldering at my feet. Sun to my right, and it’s the morning. That should be...south. That’s south.

“I could have told you that,” Mittens responds.

“STOP DOING THAT! GET OUT OF MY HEAD!” I shout. “It just—it totally freaks me out, okay?” I say, trying to collect myself. I take a deep breath and let out a sigh. My anger fades into excitement. Today’s the day! The day me and Mittens exact our revenge on the Shinigami corporation for doing to Mittens what they did. Mittens was born a normal cat, but through a series of genetic tests and being in and out of labs, they turned him into the floating, snobby cat I have today. I was ready for it all. I had a few explosives in my bag, including a Breaching Charge, to enter the building and catch the Shinigami by surprise. Mittens was planning to threaten the Head of Genetic Engineering with his psychic abilities, and force them to stop all experiments that involved the genetic mutation of animals. Mittens didn’t want any other organism to go through the cruel poking and prodding he had to endure.

“Are you scared?” Mittens inquires, his tail swaying back and forth above me.

“What? No. Why do you ask?” I retort, brushing the dark hair from my eyes. I squint, glancing towards the North where the large, brooding Shinigami building hovers on the horizon.

“I mean, we are storming the headquarters of the largest company on Earth, Mars, and Europa, with nothing but a few small bombs and my powers,” Mittens answers.

“Yeah, but what are we going to do? Trek back across the wasteland just to get more explosives? It would take a hundred days there, plus the amount of days it takes to find anything useful, and then a hundred days back. We don’t have that kind of time or supplies to waste.”

“You know just as well as I do that there are plenty of pit stops along the way with an abundance of supplies. Plus, I’m sure there will be fun adventures on the way!” Mittens gives a toothy, yet wavering, smile, trying to persuade me with an excited tone. “Like the time you and I found that colony of cannibals.”

“Don’t—don’t even bring that up,” I shudder at the thought. “Those guys gave me the creeps. You’re only saying that because, unlike some of us, you don’t have to worry about a tribe that eats humans.” I exclaim with a tinge of bitterness, trying to get Mittens on task. The mutant cat only sighed.

“What about the Kappa creatures of the Great Lakes? We could go visit them. You love turtle soup!” Mittens rambles on with the same excited and persuasive tone.

“Come on, what’s really going on? Are you chickening out? With your powers, you should be totally capable of taking the Shinigami down for what they did to you.” I remind him, frustrated that he wants to give up so soon.

“I just don’t think I’m ready to use my psychic powers at that magnitude yet,” Mittens finally spits out.

“Fine,” I reply, defeated. “Then, let’s go get more supplies and you can practice using your powers along the way.” I glare at Mittens, only to find him with his tail tucked between his legs and his ears twitching rapidly—signs of utter embarrassment. “Hey, maybe you could even use those psychic abilities of yours on those cannibals so they take the hint and leave me alone,” I say with a softer tone, as I giggle for the first time in weeks, trying to lighten the mood. Instead of walking North, towards the Shinigami, I turn South, towards the closest town. This is the eleventh time making this 200-day trek across the desert. I’m sick of it, but losing Mittens is the last thing I want to happen. I hope he doesn’t want to lose me either, considering I am a lot less useful than him around here. He may be snobby sometimes, on top of being a genetic mystery, but he’s all I got. Mittens floats by my side and purrs as we continue our routine of—almost—storming the Shinigami.

Katherine Fallon
Jordan Thompson - Brass, Copper, Aluminum, Silver

Ariana Fayehun

Nova knew two things for sure. She was in a forest, and she was lost. She didn’t know how she got there, or why she was there in the first place. But, for some reason, she wasn’t panicking. Just walking. Searching for a way out.

The woods were creepy and the trees seemed to go up forever. There was fog everywhere and it made it practically impossible to see and the fact that it was nighttime didn’t help either. She had to go slowly and use her hands to feel around. Also, she knew that it was probably in her head, but she could almost swear voices were whispering to her from the trees. She could even make out what they were saying.

“Watch out for the pit...” The voices echoed and swirled around her, but Nova tried to ignore them. After a couple of moments, Nova tripped and fell with a shriek. She looked back to see that her foot had somehow got caught in a rabbit hole. Or maybe a pit...Confused, Nova yanked her foot out and staggered to her feet. She glanced up at the trees. Maybe it wasn’t in my head after all.

“Hello?” She called out and the trees went silent. Her own echo answered her. “Can you help me? I’m lost,” she asked hopefully. Her statement reverberated a couple of times before fading into silence. Nova sighed before she continued walking, making sure to test the ground with her feet before moving forward. The trees started whispering again and Nova attempted to discern what they were saying.

“Help him.” Nova paused.


“He will die if you don’t help him...” Nova’s eyes widened. She didn’t want anyone to die!

“Where is he?”

“Ahead. Go quickly.” Completely forgetting about being careful, Nova dashed forward. All the roots and leaves seemed to have disappeared from the path she was taking. Finally, she burst into a clearing with a single tree in the middle. At its base were several bushes and a single beam of moonlight that shone on one particular bush.

Nova stopped to catch her breath before taking a few steps towards the tree. Was this where the boy was in trouble? Her eyes followed the direction of the moonbeam. The bush trembled. Someone was hiding in there. She slowly approached the bush.

“Hello? I-I’m here to help you,” she called tentatively. There was no response. She kneeled in front of the bush, pushing the leaves aside. Two large, brown eyes stared back at her and Nova jumped back in shock at the same time as he yelped. He wasn’t a little kid like she had expected. He was some sort of creature. Slowly, she crept back towards the bush and peeked through the leaves. The creature stared at her, eyes wide, just as scared as she was. She wasn’t sure what kind of creature he was.

His fur was a beautiful snow-white color that seemed to glow in the moonlight and he walked on four paws. He had long, floppy ears and a large tail that he could wrap around his body. He was almost like a mix between a small dog and a fawn.

Nova studied the creature further and noticed something strange. There was a deep gash across one of its haunches surrounded by strange black gunk. The creature stretched its head out to sniff Nova curiously before relaxing. “Hi, there! I’m Nova! What are you?” Nova cooed, reaching her hand out.

The creature pressed its head against Nova’s hand before he leaped back as a loud growl shot out from the nearby undergrowth. Without thinking, Nova grabbed the creature and darted in the direction opposite to where the sound was coming from.

She hid behind a tree as the creature buried its head in her arms. Slowly, Nova peeked around the tree and held in her scream as a much larger creature prowled out of the woods. It was at least 4 times her height and was completely black. Its fur stuck out in all directions and muscles rippled under its pelt. Its eyes were red, wild, and wide with insanity.

It sent shivers down Nova’s spine. It prowled towards the spot where Nova had found the creature and shoved its wolf-like snout towards it. It sniffed furiously, its knife-sharp teeth peeking out from its jaws. Finally, it stopped and Nova held her breath. Slowly, the creature looked up towards the spot where Nova was hiding and Nova jolted away. She could hear its paw steps coming closer and closer, and Nova was sure it could hear her pounding heart.

The paw steps paused. There was silence, and then a bloodcurdling roar rang out from the creature. Nova couldn’t stay still any longer and she ran with the creature still in her arms. The monster leaped after her, easily catching up. It pounced and Nova swiftly changed directions.

The monster grunted as it crashed into a tree. It wasn’t long before it was back to chasing her, its jaws inches from her legs. The trees rushed by her before coming to an abrupt halt, and the floor disappeared from below her.

The creature and Nova cried out simultaneously as they free-fell off of the cliff. She twisted midair so that she was facing upwards. Her body crashed through the leaves of the trees below her, and she landed with a thump in a couple of bushes with thorns. The force of the fall knocked the breath out of her.

Nova looked up towards the cliff. The monster was glaring down at her. It lifted its paw before leaping back in pain when the moonlight touched it. It paced back and forth on the edge before giving up and disappearing.

Nova relaxed and lay there for a moment longer, catching her breath and taking in what just happened. There was a quiet whimper, and Nova glanced over at the creature. He was trembling. Nova reached out and stroked him until he stopped shaking.

Then she got up with the creature still in her arms. She glanced around until she spotted a large opening at the cliff base a few feet away from her. She limped towards it and looked inside. It was small, but at least it was shelter. Nova walked inside and sat down, leaning against the stone wall and placing the creature on her lap. He was asleep in seconds.

Nova watched as the creature’s flank rose and fell. “What am I going to call you, little one?” She wondered. She thought for a moment but her mind drew a blank. The trees were whispering again, and Nova focused on them.

“Nyx...” They echoed.

“Nyx?” Nova looked back down at the creature, “That’s your name?” Nyx drew in a deep breath before letting out a contented sigh. “That’s a unique name. I don’t think I’ve ever heard it before,” Nova said softly.

She looked around. “I guess I’ll have to sleep here since I can’t find my way home...” She watched Nyx, letting herself fall asleep.

Nova woke up to the sound of furious scratching. Tired, she looked around and held in a scream. A large, black paw was blocking the entrance of the cave. It would dig at the ground for a few seconds before reaching in as if to grab something. And Nova knew that that something was her.

Scooping Nyx into her arms, she shot to her feet and went as far into the cave as she could, refusing to make a sound. Nyx was still asleep. After a few minutes, the monster stopped and moved on.

Maybe it’s just searching for me but doesn’t know where I am. Nova thought. She needed to get out of the cave. She needed to get out of the forest. But how could she with that thing hunting her and Nyx? “What am I going to do?” Nova whined.

Nyx stirred. He slowly looked up at her, blinking and cocking his head. Nova smiled. “Oh...Good morning Nyx. I’m sorry, did I wake you?” Nyx’s ears seemed to prick up and he closed his eyes and let out a sound similar to a cat’s meow.

Nova crept to the entrance of the cave, glancing around. The monster was nowhere in sight. “What are we going to do? How will I get home like this? That thing will kill me before I even get close.” Nova looked up towards the trees. The leaves were so thick that it blocked out most of the sunlight. “Will you help me? I just want to go home.”

“Yes...Follow the path...”

“The path?” Suddenly leaves and sticks in front of her cleared out of the way to reveal a dirt path. Once again, Nova glanced around before stepping out of the cave and scurrying along the path.

Would this lead her home? But before she could dwell on it any longer, Nova paused. Something was growling. She whipped her head around, searching frantically for the source. Her eyes met with the monster from earlier as it showed itself.

Without a second thought, Nova turned back to the path and ran along it. Slowly, the path started to become more and more invisible. It wasn’t long until the path completely disappeared. Not knowing what else to do, Nova kept running, her breath coming in rapid gasps.

Suddenly, there was a giant weight shoving her away. She screamed as the monster’s claws tore into her flesh. She glanced back at it in fear, scooting away. The monster had stopped running. Instead, it crouched down and stalked towards her, its eyes gleeful.

It knew she couldn’t run much longer. It knew it had won. All of a sudden the leaves opened up in a large circle as the monster pounced. It screeched in pain and fell backward. Nova blinked at it in shock. Did that just happen? The monster seemed to hiss at her in frustration as it tried several times to cross the barrier.

Finally, it collapsed onto the ground, defeated. It almost looked sad. Nyx jumped onto the grass, the gunk on his leg disappearing and the scar healing before her eyes. Delighted, Nyx pushed his head against Nova’s leg as if to say thank you. Was that monster somehow connected to Nyx?

Nyx had bounded a couple of feet away from Nova before turning and calling to her. “You want me to follow?” Nyx yipped before bounding away. Nova rushed to keep up. After a couple of minutes, the trees began to thin out and she could see a town in the near distance. Nova lit up. Civilization! I can find a phone and call my mom to pick me up!

She turned to Nyx, knelt down, and held her hand out. “Thank you for helping me.” Nyx stretched out his neck and licked her hand. Then, he ran into the forest ang glanced back. Nova waved. “Bye! I hope we’ll meet again” Nyx yipped in farewell before disappearing into the woods.

Leanna Hunt
An Old Friend

Sarah Behrle

Remembering all the good we had all the laughs We shared All the inside jokes no one else could bear to understand. The stupid fights We got into that I can't even remember what They were about. Or us holding hands in the dark because We were afraid of monsters, we are grown monster aren't real but the warmth in between arm hands made it ok. All the family vacations We went on together all the ice coffees We drank during the summer all the boys we talked about All the memories We made will last forever. Even though We don't talk much anymore, I could never hate you Because you’re an old friend

Left to Right, Paige O'Dowd, Julia Bucalov, Tyler Lord, Ethan Parkhill - Coiling Core and String
A Haiku Collection by Taylor Haughey

Winter 1

The snow from the sky

The beautiful blanket of white lay down

The moon lights the frost

Winter 2

The icy wind blows by

The coffee shops warm smell of lattes

Away from the bitter air

Spring 1

The warming of the year

The cool days last through the nights

Light lasts longer than before

Spring 2

The sun shines every surface

Sitting under a tree smelling the flowers

Thankful for the warm air

Summer 1

Happy to be without school

The smell of bonfire through the air

The troubles put on hold

Summer 2

Packing for week long vacations

Windows down on a nighttime summer drive

Cool night air filling everything

Fall 1

Cool nights with warm days

The sun starting to fade even earlier

Everything seems brighter than before

Fall 2

Night air cools day sweat

The nighttime breeze chills through the sweater

In the night, its peaceful

Alena Testa

Katie Fallon

I’m under the surface,

The distorted sunlight shining upon my twisted face.

I’m screaming,

Water filling my lungs.

I push myself upwards,

But I can feel myself sinking.

Merely an anchor in the water

With no one to pull me back up.

Covid 19 Response - Sofia Testa
Ethan Parkhill - Cardboard
The Island

Daniel Kinard

John Jay left his home in London seven years ago to be a merchant in Hong Kong. He had made hundreds of voyages with minimal problems. However this one would be different. As he loaded the supplies on and checked the sails and made sure everything was in order he looked back at hong kong. He was confident that he would return to this land but for some reason he felt a sense of nervousness that he had not felt since his first few voyages.

He set sail for the newly founded penal colony of Australia. He was to bring supplies for the prisoners and guards there. The weather was unusually good while he traversed through the water around the islands of Indonesia. His first mate Charles noticed something weird about one of the islands however. “Captain Jay. There appears to be smoke coming from the woods on that island over there.” He said. “That's odd. These islands should not be inhabited by anyone.” Said Jay. They didn’t think much of it however. That night however, a big storm blew in. Waves crashed over the sides of the ship and rocked it all over the place. A piece of wood blew off the side of the ship and was sent through the sails, tearing them up so they weren’t able to be used. The crew scrambled to try and fix the holes but it was to no avail. The ship was going down. The last thing Captain Jay remembered seeing was a piece of wood coming towards his face and knocking him unconscious.

He came to, the next morning on an island beach with nobody else around. He was dizzy and his head hurt but he was alive. He got up and staggered around trying to collect his wits. There were a few pieces of the shipwreck around but no people. He walked into the jungle but passed out after a few steps. He woke up again to the sound of people talking near him and the smell of a fire. He couldn’t understand what language they were talking in but it sounded like they were looking for someone or something. He sat up and hid behind a bush and watched them. They looked as though they had never seen the outside world before. Suddenly one of them looked towards him and shouted to the others. Captain Jay took off running in the opposite direction. The tribesmen gave chase after him. They ran through the jungle for what felt like miles until they came across a big ravine. Captain Jay stopped at the top and looked for a way to cross but couldn’t find anywhere to go. He could hear them gaining on him quickly. He heard the running stop and was relieved until a rock came flying out of the jungle and hit him in the side of the head, knocking him out. He woke up tied to a post in the middle of a village of strange looking people.

The strange people were dancing around him chanting and whooping carrying spears and torches. He was terrified. He looked around him and noticed that there were two other people tied to posts. His first mate Charles and a young crewmate named Steven. A man that seemed to be the village elder walked up to Steven and stabbed him in the chest with his spear. After that he left Stevens' body on the post and all the villagers dispersed. The next night they did the same thing to Charles. It became clear to Captain Jay that they were killing one of them every night and he would be next. That night while the villagers were asleep, Captain Jay thought up a plan to escape. He bashed the ropes against the post until he broke free. He grabbed a spear that was left outside of a hut for protection and took off into the jungle.

The island was a big mountain sticking out of the ocean that had a very good view point from the top. Captain Jay started to climb this mountain to see around for any signs of life anywhere around. He could see many other islands around but none had any sign of human activity on them, however he could see what appeared to be a ship in the distance on the water. If he could make it to the beach and make a fire to signal the ship and maybe he could be saved. He went through the jungle and finally made it to the beach and could see that the ship was not that far away. He made a large fire with lots of smoke to signal the ship as the sun was beginning to come up. The ship started to come towards him. As the ship made its way towards him he could hear yelling coming from the jungle. They had found him. He picked up the spear he stole and prepared to fight. Two came running out of the jungle and Captain Jay hit one with the staff of the spear knocking him out and stabbed the other one in the stomach. More came running out but were cut down by musket and cannon fire from the ship. Captain Jay leaped into the ocean and swam towards the ship and climbed on.

The ship brought him back to Hong Kong where he was given aid. He learned that he was the only survivor from the wreck. He vowed that he would return to London and never go back to the sea again.

Isabella Rowley

Haley Heller

If this puddle could

Talk, I think it would tell me

To splash my brother

Justin Hassel - Toy Photography Collage
Encouraging Those That Are Close

Tobin Stebbings

The ability to motivate others allows everyone to strive towards becoming their better self; whether that’s through physical change like working out, mental change such as realigning how to think about certain situations, and emotional change by getting over past experiences that yourself or themselves may not have gotten over yet. A great way to improve on the mental and emotional challenges, however, is by becoming more physically active.

If someone is interested in becoming more physically active but never got around to putting in the effort, motivating them to push towards that goal will not only encourage them to do so, but also make a new friend to exercise with if you had needed one. In any past experiences you might have gone through, “If you’ve ever met a motivated person, [their] vibe can be alluring and inspiring. You want to align with their energy so you can draw from their expertise. In turn, this helps build your motivation to succeed.” Meeting a motivated person is a great way to become motivated as well; due to their ability to encourage people to motivate themselves, in other words motivating them to build motivation. This quote is important because spending time with that person’s energy, or vibe, allows the unmotivated person to build themselves up until they are stable enough to generate that motivation on their own.

Getting out of one’s head to obtain a new point of view can be difficult. But if you notice that your current point of view is unhealthy, or that you don’t agree with it anymore, being motivated can really help you in looking within yourself at your thoughts and beliefs, and change that to find a view that suits you better. “Motivation is a starting point for all our choices such as partners, careers, or hobbies. It’s the reason for people’s actions, desires and needs, it makes people ready to act. It’s the force that pushes us on to develop, to change, improve and to achieve.” Having the motivation to realign yourself with newer ideas can’t always be easy. That’s why it’s important to remember that in order to do even the most difficult things, it all stems from the motivation of succeeding; whether it’s from finding a new way to do a task that could be more efficient, starting a new career you're more passionate about, or even leading a movement. All require motivation, whether individual or shared, in order to put in the effort towards succeeding. That’s why when someone is trying to find a new perspective on controversial topics, religion, or even on life itself; having the motive to work towards those goals with solid support to hold you firm and in-place to continue on working towards said goals. With that in mind, you’ll definitely succeed in whatever challenge you're trying to pass. And even if you aren’t a very motivational person for yourself, and you're worried that leeching off someone else who’s motivated wouldn’t be right. Well, a motivated person helps motivate others probably because they enjoy it, so when somebody takes that energy from them and uses it for themselves, they’re not exactly leeching off of them because the motivated person is allowing them to do so and are actually enjoying helping others in such a matter. At that point, it’s not parasitism, but rather mutualism. Getting out of one’s head due to past experiences of leeching that lead to trauma, however, is a whole other issue that should be taken with caution.

When something drastic has happened in your life due to a kind of traumatic experience you have gone through, whether it was an assault, disease, accident, or natural disaster, pushing past it to continue living your life can be more than difficult. Having the motivation to do so can be even more difficult to muster up as well. Taking the first step to move on can be the hardest. “When you become aware that your Motivation Factor could use a boost, start asking yourself how you can more often orient yourself to the present instead of the past. Naturally, your trauma brain will tend to look back. However, you can balance it out by tuning into the present moment, allowing yourself to notice the tiniest sliver of what feels good, and then giving your brain repeated similar experiences as a way to activate motivation. Then, hold on for the ride. Once your brain’s motivating pathways engage you’ll find yourself more and more capable of doing what you need to do in order to be free.” Instead of dwelling on the past on what could’ve happened if you had acted differently, try to accept that what had happened had happened the way that it did and there’s nothing that can be done to change it. That’s one of the first steps. Giving yourself time to process this, though, is also recommended. Just try not to stay in that processing area too long, otherwise it could lead to depression with an unwillingness to get anything done. Having the motivation to stay on the path to recovery can be difficult, but will really assist you in making that time beneficial in the process of moving on, whether it’s through a lot of self-thought, the 5 stages of grief, or a similar process. Developing that motivation, however, can be a separate battle to fight. And fighting two battles at the same time, one due to grief and the other for motivation, it can really drain you out. So as the article said, it’s important to focus on what feels good and gives you serotonin, and repeating processes like that to reactivate your motivation. From there, motivation will begin to build up on its own, allowing you to be more capable in completing things that need to get done not only in daily life, but also completing processes that will help you move on from that traumatic experience. This, along with the other reasons listed above, is why it’s important to not only have motivation for yourself, but also for the people close to you.

In conclusion, motivating yourself and others around you is an important and very useful trait to have because it pushes them past doubt and fear of achieving a certain goal, and just sets them on the path of achieving it; whatever it might be. Whether it’s not putting in the effort toward physical goals, lacking the motivation to change your aspects through mental goals, or being too afraid to face the trauma that may have been haunting you for a large portion of your life, reassurance of achieving those goals through the use of motivating others around you, and in turn yourself, would allow you to work towards these goals to change your life for the better. You only have one life. Why not spend it helping others make their lives better, and in turn yours?

Hope Rice
Grace Greenway
Red Rose Shirt

Christine DeGuzman

I love my red rose shirt, but I think it’s broken

It looks like a beauty and hurts like one too

Stares like red is goddess, only mistaken

And to be overtaken and overwhelmed by the attention

The responsibility of the whole appearance, under one shirt

One mistake turns the one life into an end

The more admiration, the more usage

The more usage, the more torn

So I think the red rose shirt is no longer broken

It thorns work well, but nobody looks

Still I love the shirt for those thorns

Haley Kulp - Plastalina
A Haiku Collection by Reilly O'Donnell

Winter 1

The snow falls on down

From the clouds high up above

And cover the town

Winter 2

I slip and I slide

Walking on the icy ground

Getting up and down

Spring 1

They get up and bloom

Flourishing in the green grass

Enjoying fresh air

Spring 2

They may fly a kite

They may also take a walk

all bask in the blue

Summer 1

When the sun scorches

People they put on sunblock

And lay down to tan

Summer 2

Long sleeves put away

And Swimsuits are taken out

To swim in the pool

Fall 1

Leaves they fall from trees

And land around the tree trunk

All red, yellow, green

Fall 2

Leaves raked in a pile

All the kids take a big leap

And land in the leaves

Grace Wright- Grey Covers Gold

Gabriel Greene

Red is my favorite color by far.

Red is the color of fury and liveliness, of rebellion.

It’s the scarlet of creation; smithing weapons in the boiling hot embers of hell.

Red envelops me in it’s passion, it’s love, it’s almighty chaotic energy.

Try to be like Red in your everyday life.

Genevieve Closs
A Dog’s Love

Morgan Cook

I believe in a dog's love. This story is about my dog. Slate. His love is like no other. I don't know what I would do without him. He makes me happy when I'm sad. He makes me feel better when I'm upset. Slate gives everyone such good vibes.

When my brother passed away I was in such a deep hole. I never thought I would get out of it. My uncle gave me slate because he knew I needed comfort and I needed slate more than he did. I started to try more. I wanted to actually go out and go to school and hang with friends. Slate has changed me for the better. If it wasn't for him I wouldn't be here and everyone knows it.

I believe in a dog's love because dogs make you happy. Sometimes they can make you mad but that's not very often. Slate will cuddle up right next to me when he knows I'm upset and it'll take all my pain away. He will sit here and watch tv with me. He sleeps by my side every night and sometimes throughout the day and it makes me feel safe. He is such a good guard dog, as soon as he hears the littlest noise he barks to alert us that he heard something.

Overall, I believe in a dog's love because of what slate has done for me. He makes me happy. He makes me feel better. He showed me what real love is. He cares so much for people. He's so hyper and it makes me laugh all the time. So I hope the people who don't believe in real dog love read this so they can see that a dog's love is real and one of a kind.

Eleanor Bell
The Creek

Brianna Lawson

Hearing the water rush through

The stick falling in

Getting stuck

Having nowhere to go

Leaves crashing in floating about

Fish swimming through

The Creek

Karon Fortune - Cardboard
Justin Hassel
To Be Free

Brenna Hazlett

The open road, the crisp air

Liv Nagy
Dora Sy

Reilly O’Donnell

Siblings are some of the longest relationships we have in our life. They know you at the beginning of your life and all the way till the end. It sometimes even lasts longer than your relationship with your parents. Having a sibling means you will always have a constant friend, you´ll have someone to help you in life after your parents are gone, and having a bad relationship with them can negatively hurt you. So when it's all said and done, you should always stay close with them and appreciate them, no matter how annoying they get.

First of all, being close with your siblings means that you will always have a constant friend. Having a constant friend is beneficial in many ways because they are someone you can hang, they make the most boring events fun, and they are someone you can talk to about your problems. According to Dr Shaun Sidhu, “This piece is critical, because we know that one of the biggest risk factors for developing youth is suffering in isolation.“ Growing up in isolation can give you long lasting negative effects. It can lead to many things like poor social skills. So all in all siblings don't just give you someone to hang out with, but they also give you someone who can support you when you need them.

Second of all, being close with your sibling means that you´ll have someone to help you in life after your parents are gone. It's sad to think about, but your parents aren't going to be around forever. This means that once they are gone, having someone that you know will always be there for you can be very comforting. They will be there for you when your life is going down hill, when you lose your job or home, and they are especially great to have when coping with the death of your parents. “When a parent dies, having siblings to seek solace from has been shown to help immensely in the healing process.“ Nobody likes to think about their mom or dad dying, but it's a lot easier to deal with when you have a sibling you're close with and who you know will give you their support.

Last but not least, if you don't stay close with your siblings then it can lead to a negative relationship. Siblings who have a negative relationship will fight and argue over everything. According to Dr Shaun Sidhu, “Siblings sometimes say things to one another that parents would never say to their child (termed "sibling bullying"), and thus siblings can be even more emotionally abusive to one another than adults typically are to children.“ When a kid feels bullied or stressed at home it won't just cause problems at home, but also at school. It is important to keep a good relationship with your siblings, because if not then it can lead to a negative relationship.

In conclusion, you should always stay close with your siblings and appreciate them. Siblings are your closest friends who will be there for you whenever you need them and pushing them away can negatively hurt you. Most of the time you might think of them as annoying, but imagine what life would be like without them. Sure there might be some positives like you might not have to share your stuff or have to deal with their bothersome antics, but there would also be a lot of negative things too.

Julia Bucalov - Cardboard
Kaylee Martin
Your Warm Embrace

Brenna Hazlett

The beautiful gleam in your eye

The kindness of your smile

Your warm embrace, how you hold me tight

Is all that I long for

For now, until then

Here I stand alone

Joe Billie - Nickel, Brass, Aluminum
Brenna Hazlett
Standing for The Pledge of Allegiance

Taylor Haughey

Everyone should stand for the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem. The reason we stand is to support those who have given their freedoms for our country. Many have even given their lives to keep our freedoms. When we stand during the National Anthem, we are not standing for the government or the politicians, we are standing for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

We stand for those who have given their lives for this country. In WWI there were 117,000 American soldiers killed. In WWII there were 291,557 American soldiers killed. These men and women fought to keep us from losing our freedoms. Millions of soldiers have lost their lives and we stand to say thank you. Death is not the only war-related injury. We also stand for the men and women who are away from home for months, the ones who miss watching their children grow.

We stand for the freedoms this country has given us. We are allowed to choose who leads us. We are allowed to dislike our leadership. We are allowed to be vocal about disagreeing with the government. Many other countries would not allow this, and speaking out could result in imprisonment or even death. Many people do not realize how much freedom we have compared to other countries.

We stand for the families who have loved ones in the military. Aproximately 44% of the military service members are parents. The mothers and fathers who miss out on their child's sports games and band concerts. We stand for the parents who cannot teach their child to ride a bike because they are defending our country. We also stand for the parents who have lost a child due to war. And the parents who don’t get the chance to see their children during Christmas and Easter. And we stand for the families who have suffered loss for our country

Standing for the National Anthem will not only say thank you to those who have made sacrifices in their lives for people they don’t even know, but it will also teach respect and understanding. Once you understand that there are people willing to lay down their lives for a cause, you will understand humanity. We respect those who have made the sacrifices because they allow the rest of us to go about our lives and not go through the horrors that they have. Everyone should stand for the National Anthem.

Damien Mozzoni - Cardboard
School (seven,crappy,hours,of,our,lives)

Haley Heller

School school school.

Do your work to please your parents.

Don’t eat until your work is done, or your parents die.

Do your work or you’ll fail in life.

School school school.

Why do we need it again?

Why do I need to know PEMDAS?

Will I need school if I’m a firefighter?

School school school.

I had always been smart, my grades speak different.

My grades define who I am.

My teachers look at me for my grades, and not for who I am.

School school school.

Another assignment posted!

Reminder to do your overdue assignments!

Everyday is the same because of school.

Ella Peterson
Kiki Barnett - Coiling Core and String
Cattle in a Battleground

Tobin Stebings

I wasn’t able to get out from my position; in between the quarrel of the two forces. Neither opened fire, but they didn’t come across as peaceful, either. If I swayed too much one way, the other would see me as protecting them, and as a foe.

I didn’t want to take any sides without figuring out what had happened between my two best friends, who had known each other for a few years. So when I heard that their friendship had ended over the course of a weekend, I was a bit more than shocked. I had questions, like “what was so devastating that one of them did to end their friendship? Why am I only hearing about this now?”

During an argument between two of my close friends who were closer friends to each other, I had to act as a mediator to figure out who was in the wrong; if anyone. While this was happening, I learned to stay in the middle and not jump to any conclusions upon hearing what one of them had done to the other that brought them to the conclusion that ending their friendship was the best case scenario. I was shocked after hearing their friendship was over, but tried to stay calm and support both sides equally instead of choosing favorites.

This had taken place over the phone in my room on a Monday night, between my close friends Sam and Danni. This was early January of 2021, so I was still in 10th/Sophomore year of high school. That night I was at my Father’s house in Brookhaven, Pennsylvania.

It was at Danni’s birthday party where some issues were brought up that I didn’t notice that started it all; it wasn’t until I heard about it from another person that I was made aware. I had sat down in my first period study hall Monday morning and started to work, until an old friend sat beside me. I took out my earbuds and looked over, expecting him to have something he wanted to tell me…and that he did.

Liam told me in 1st period that morning. On the way to lunch, Sam made eye contact in the hallway but not saying anything as I was on my way to lunch. Questioning what was going on, I texted Sam to ask if we could talk later. She agreed.

Later that night, I was informed of the argument that happened the night before, where their friendship disconnected. I tried asking for more details, but none were given. I told Sam I was going to go ask Danni for her point of view, and that I’d call her back.

Called Danni for her point of view. She brought her partner Dan with her, but they were off-task 99% of the time. Didn’t answer/ignored questions, talked about unrelated topics. Said I was going to go, which they didn’t say anything about and let me go.

Realized I had jumped to conclusions. Due to Danni not helping with finding out what had happened, so I reel it back in to be a mediator and stay neutral, believing she’s going through a lot and needs time to cool down and process on her own.

Called Sam back to let her know about Danni’s response. Didn’t know her reasonings, but assumed she’s going through stuff. Due to her unhelpfulness. Asked Sam “what now,” and she said that she would talk to Danni about it. We told each other goodnight.

Next day, they talked and apologized, becoming friends once more. I wasn’t explained the details. I’m just happy that things went back to how they were, now with this important lesson.

During this argument between two important people to me, it was difficult not to be upset when one side was unwilling to help while the other was in pain.

This event continues to have an effect on me by remembering what had occurred and why it’s important to stay neutral until learning all aspects of what had happened.

It was an important experience because it reminded me that just because I had listened to one side’s POV first, doesn’t mean that’s automatically what happened. I learned that people have different POV’s and opinions on things that influence how they react to certain outcomes.

This has helped me grow and mature by listening and valuing each side before coming to a conclusion on who I think is right.

During this argument between my two friends who were much better friends with each other, I learned how to act as a mediator to figure out who was right; if that was even a possibility. While this was going on, I tried to stay as a neutral party, there to help, and not intervene until it was necessary; just trying to get all POV’s and reasonings first before I take a side. I’m glad that it wasn’t the end of their friendship, and now they’re even better friends because of it.

It taught me the life skill of learning all aspects before making a decision; or being sensible.

Kylie Huber- Bokeh lights
Joe Billie - Plaster

Gabriel Greene

Tall and miserable

Dark symbol of rich men’s gains

Watches down on all

Erin Egan
Erik Strifler - Wire and Wood

Katie Fallon

Patience is the most important virtue a person can have. It leads to better decision-making, better relationships, and paves a path to a more successful life. Being able to stay calm in frustrating situations is essential to daily life, which can be full of stress. Easing tension with this virtue will only help one live a happier and better life.

Patience is a virtue that allows one to ask themselves important questions regarding a decision. Without it, a person may jump into something that they did not truly think through; thus, leading to regret and frustration. This frustration can be prevented before it happens by making sure there is understanding of the situations that may come after making the decision. “...moments of fuzziness, when dealt with patiently, become opportunities to turn our boundaries into edges of exploration. When we think we know, we expect to find a solution in the direction in which we are looking; when we don't know where to look, we remain open to all directions” (Mehta, 2011). It is patience that opens that “inner space” and allows us to consciously choose our actions in a thorough manner. It often leads to a more complex understanding that reality is always changing and helps us allow for the right action to come to light on its own so our decision making is clearer.

This virtue also helps strengthen bonds with others by showing that we value and care about our loved one’s feelings. Relationships of all kinds often test one’s patience levels because two people will often be presented with an obstacle that can only be avoided with communication and patience. Without it, the stress levels rise and put a divide between the two people. Impatience may lead to taking loved ones for granted, which only in turn hurts one, if not both, within the relationship. “More often than not, such a relationship loses its joy and meaning. A valuable and essential connection is lost. And without help, it is a very difficult bond to regain” (Palmiotto, 2020). This virtue is clearly crucial for platonic and romantic relationships because patience is key to any form of bond in order to keep it strong. Without these relationships we form and keep, life can lose its meaning and joy because the happiest moments of your life are generally spent with the ones you love. Thus, having this patience can keep these relationships healthy and intact.

Along with being important for a happy life, patience can also help lead the way to a successful one. Patience can be very helpful when working towards goals, as well as within our jobs. “Coach Wooden’s upbringing on a farm in Indiana gave him a foundation for patience. He learned that there was a season to plant, a season to water and a season to harvest. The planting and watering required hard work, but without that work and patience through the growing season, there would be no harvest” (Impelman, 2017). Although this is a specific instance, the concept of applying patience to our duties in everyday life can be extremely helpful to success in more ways than one. Patience allows someone to continue doing something even if it is not working yet because they know that you can not succeed without failing first. Patience is key to ensure that one stays enthusiastic about their goals because it is this virtue that is the reminder that hard work pays off. If one is impatient and gives up on their goals, they will never accomplish anything in life. We learn from failure, not success, and the only way to do this is by being patient when failure arises.

Patience is the key to better decision-making, stronger relationships, and success. It is necessary for a person to have in order for them to live a happier and better life. Impatience can cost judgement, friendships and money; thus, developing virtue is something that everyone should practice until it becomes a habit.

Ethan Seasock - Wood
Erin Kelly
The Lights Flash On - It’s Time

Le'nyiah Flamer

Nothing else matters when your feet hit the mat

Heart beating with a bright smile, looking for encouragement

Scared of what might happen, but can never show it

Count , Count , please don't forget your counts. I pressure myself.

Wondering why i still do this runs through my head

By time the music comes they go up in a thread

Praying for the best, while i cheer my teammates on

Half through the two minutes trying to catch all my breath

Hooray we're almost done, now lets get past the rest.

The danger we face is unmatched

One tiny move off and that's a rap

Cheer on the people that almost fail

We win and lose together to prevail

Tossing girls and doing flips is not a sport they say

If they were in our shoes they wouldn't even make it past a day.

Giving a hundred and ten percent every time is not an option,

Every single time we go , it absolutely has to be perfection

Haley Kulp - Nickel and Aluminum
Erin McGugan - Coiling Core, Rope
Kindness Can Be Hard

Christine De Guzman

Picture this: If you were in line and someone cut in front of you, how would you react? Would you act like it was nothing, or would you be upset? Most would choose the second option, even when their mind tells them to pick the first option. People are meaner rather than being nice to others to satisfy their own feelings. Most people’s first instinct is mainly how something affects them, rather than how it affects others.

A reason as to why people are rude at first is because they want to make themself feel better. It’s a first thought when a situation occurs. According to C.G. Jung, when it comes to facing a situation that may be troubling, “People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious” (C.G. Jung). Meaning that people would imagine light (positive thought) by making darkness (rudeness towards others). It’s really easier to be rude to others when you’re thinking about yourself. That’s the reason why being a spoiled brat is a negative trait. Because those kinds of people are viewed very negatively. This is because of their feelings and emotions getting in the way of being kind. Sometimes negative emotions get in the way of kindness.

People have less control when they are feeling a negative emotion. These negative emotions are anger, sadness, fear, etc. When feeling these negative emotions, you are more likely to give a cold response to something they don’t like. Sometimes that response is not what they meant to say because, “When someone is angry, they won’t have much control of what they do and might get violent to get what they want, which is most likely revenge. Sometimes we even take it on the people we love” (Molecules of Emotion: The Science Behind Mind-Body Medicine). As quoted, these negative emotions cause us to not have control over our thoughts and actions. Because of this, we will say things that will make us feel better at first, but then eventually we'll eat our words. One cause of our lack of control of emotions may be the fact that most of us hate being wrong.

Someone may be rude and intolerant towards you because they hate being wrong. Whether it’s an argument or just an opinion, many people like to stay right, even when there is evidence towards their claims. For many victims, “Most bullies pick on others who morally disagree with them. The reason they attack them is a way of them telling themselves that they’re right”(The British journal of developmental psychology). Many bullies don’t like being wrong. And when confronted with an opinion other than theirs, they will act disgusted towards that opinion. Which is why they make themselves feel better about their opinion if the other person is hurt by them. That’s the main goal of bullies. They will hurt other people to make themself feel better and superior because of how ‘they’re right’. Personal feelings often get in the way of others feelings.

Especially when you’re in a negative mood, you often are more likely to be rude than be nice. Most people would rather use rudeness to create a better image for their mind. Negative emotions and needless revenge are a huge obstacle when it comes to being nice or mean. Most people don’t like being wrong and they want to show that to others who don’t think they’re right. As hard as it is, it’s better to calm yourself and think of others before saying anything. And if anyone is hard on you, try your best to keep being positive.

Hailey Twardowski - Spoons, Adhesive
Justin Minch - Cardboard

Brianna Lawson

Sunkissed and tan with a hint of sunburn

On the waves all day

The salty sweet ocean air

Not a care in the world

living stress free

Loving the people you are with

Sun so bright you cannot even see

Sand in your hair

The beach

Jaime Miles
Leanna Hunt
Mind Over Matter

Ariana Fayehun

“Good morning Cierra, how are you?” I ask eagerly as I sit in front of my best friend. A second ago, before she saw me, she looked depressed and she was playing with her food. But when I sit she grins at me and gives me a thumbs up. Then she makes a motion with her hands. “I’m good, I didn’t expect to get a pop quiz in math. I definitely got everything wrong,” I say in response.

Cierra is mute. This means that she can’t speak. Instead, she talks in sign language. Cierra is back to playing with her food, her face is blank. Almost as if she forgot I was there. “Cierra?” I ask softly. She looks back up at me. “Something wrong?” She blinks at me, shocked that I noticed that she is out of it.

“It’s nothing,” she signs back to me. I don’t know how, but I also seem to know when she lies. Cierra’s never like this, though. She’s never sad about anything. She’s always optimistic, even when somethings going wrong with her life. Usually, it’s me who’s sullen and refuses to talk.

“Well, I have to go get my lunch. I’ll be right back, okay?” I say slowly. She nods. I gradually get up, walk a few paces, and then look back. She still looks discouraged.

I approach the lunch line, thinking about what exactly is making Cierra so depressed. I go through the line, unconsciously getting the things I want before making my way towards the lunch table. Maybe someone made fun of her when I was absent yesterday. Or maybe a teacher yelled at her yesterday. Maybe her mom is sick…

I don’t want to tell her. She’ll just get worried. I’m sure everything will be fine. I completely freeze, dropping my tray of food. I heard something. But it isn’t like someone spoke it out loud. It is like a whisper in my head. And it definitely isn’t my own voice. I don’t even recognize the voice.

“Hello? Are you ignoring me, young lady?” I snap back to the present. A teacher I don’t know is glaring down at me with her hands on her hips. Cierra is standing a few feet behind her, staring at me worriedly.

“Huh?” I say stupidly.

“Are you going to clean this up or not?” I look down at the food I dropped.

“Oh! I’m so sorry, I’ll clean it up right away, ma’am,” I promise, rushing to grab some napkins.

I go back to the spill to see that Cierra is already kneeling down and helping to clean up. I crouch on the other side and start cleaning the mess as well. Cierra glances up at me, giving me a raised eyebrow look. “I dunno, I guess I just got distracted or something.” She doesn’t push it.

We finish and sit back down. Cierra hands me an apple from her tray. “Thanks.” She nods. You’re welcome.

There’s that voice again! Who are you? I wait, but there’s no answer. Maybe I’m finally going crazy.

I wonder what happened to Amy. Maybe she figured out what’s wrong with me.

What? Who? “Uh, Cierra?” Cierra lifts her head. “I’m going to head to the nurse.” She gives me a concerned look.

“What’s wrong?” She signs.

“I-I think I have a headache or something. Probably just still a little sick from yesterday.”

“Oh...Hope you get better soon.”

“Thanks,” I acknowledge, getting up.

Back at home, I lay face down on my couch. To my dismay, the nurse didn’t send me home. So, I kept hearing those strange thoughts throughout the day.

“Hey, move over or I’ll sit on your legs,” comes a familiar voice. I groan, sit up, and move aside so my older sister can sit next to me. She puts her legs up and turns on the tv. I let out an exaggerated sigh. She glances over at me. “What’s up with you?”

“I think I’m going crazy,” I mutter

“How so?”

“I keep hearing these voices in my head.”

“The whole day?”

“No, since lunch. And not since I got home.” She shrugs.

“Maybe you’re crazy. Or maybe you’ve turned into a mind reader!” She exclaims. I roll my eyes. What kind of insane comment is that? But maybe she is right. The voice definitely isn’t mine and I only seem to hear it when I’m near Cierra. I gasp.

“Maybe I am!” My sister gives me a look. “No, no, listen!” I state, turning to face her. “I started hearing the voice after I saw Cierra looking really sad! And I only hear it when I’m around her. Maybe this is a way for me to figure out what’s wrong with her. And then I can help her.” My sister glares at me.

“Are you serious? I was being sarcastic! You really are crazy.” She gets up and leaves but I don’t care. I sit there thinking for a while before jumping to my feet and rushing to my room. I sit at my desk coming up with a plan that would help me find out what’s wrong with Cierra.

Then I rush through my homework, eat dinner, and go to bed. The next morning, I get ready for school and head out to wait for Cierra and the bus. After a couple of minutes, Cierra’s little brother, Liam, approaches me.

“Hey Liam, where’s Cierra?” I ask.

“She’s at a doctor’s appointment,” he answers.

“Doctor’s appointment? Is she okay?” He looks up at me suspiciously.

“Yeah, she’s fine...It’s just a checkup. She should be back in school around lunch.”

“Oh, okay.” The bus approaches and we get on.

When I enter the lunchroom later, I can see that Cierra is already there. I skip up to her and sit across from her.

“Hi Cierra, long time no see,” I greet. She waves at me. “So, your brother told me you went to a doctor’s appointment. Is everything okay?” Cierra’s eyes flash with panic.

Does she know about my kidney?!

What’s wrong with her kidney?

“Yes, I was just getting my flu shot,” she lies.

“Really?” I question. “You didn’t look too well yesterday, and you don’t look good today either.” Cierra stares at me sadly.

“I’m fine.”

I want to tell her about my kidney failure...But I can’t. I’ll find a donor by the end of the week and everything will be back to normal. There has to be someone I know who has the same blood type. I blink at her in shock. Kidney failure?

“U-uh...I have to go to the bathroom...Be right back,” I stutter. I jump out of my seat and rush away, not stopping until I get into the bathroom. I whip out my phone and dial Cierra’s mom’s number.


“Mrs. Strickland? It's Amy. I wanted to ask about Cierra’s kidney failure...”

“Oh...she told you, huh? Then she probably told you not to worry either.”

“Did you find a donor?”

“That’s the thing...Cierra’s blood type is B+, which is a pretty rare blood type.”

“B+?” I echo.

“Yeah, and we can’t find any donors that have the same blood type. We only have ‘till the end of the week until its too late...”

“Wait, Mrs. Strickland! Did you say...B+?”

“Yeah...Do you know someone who has that blood type?”

“Yes! Me! At least...I’m pretty sure I do.”

“Oh, that would be amazing. Message me once you find out and I’ll let the doctor know right away.” I agree and end the call before calling my mom. She confirms that my blood type is in fact B+ and I am able to give one of my kidneys to Cierra. Afterward, I seem to lose my ability, but I don’t care. All I care about is that my best friend is alive and well.

Kristine Guenther - Nickel, Silver, Aluminum
Liv Nagy
Until the Rain Comes

Curtis Windley

The clouds lay above

Peaceful, calm, and white as snow

Until the rain comes

Left: Ishmeal Glasgow - Cardboard and Marker; Right: Jimmy Ferriola - Cardboard
Dora Sy
A Haiku Collection by Abigail Wasilewski

Winter 1

First snowfall snow,

How it sits perfectly on the ground,

White spots kept falling down.

Winter 2

Parents watching for what the kids may see,

Under the bright colored paper beneath the tree,

Joyful children sat around.

Spring 1

Bright red strawberries sat outback,

Sounds of birds chirping sang in the distance,

April showers fed the garden,

Spring 2

Warm weather,

Summer on the way,

Nose stuffy and runny.

Summer 1

Outside fireworks,

Hotdogs steaming on the grill,

4th of july was finally here

Summer 2

Hot summer day outback,

4 o’clock heat brings sweat,

Fresh kool-aid to refresh me

Fall 1

Colorful and wonderful,

Crunchy and cozy,

Fall is on its way

Fall 2

Brisk wind gave a chill,

Bags filling up at each house,

Halloween night isn't done yet.

Jess Phillips
Kim Pace - Plastalina
Drip Drop

Alexander Michaels

A wave of hot hair

The Swing of a curtain

Drip drop drip drop

James Churchman
Justin Hassel
Believe in Yourself

Ariana Fayehun

Believing in yourself is the first step to doing anything. If you don’t believe in yourself, then you’ll be too afraid to try. There are many successful people in this world, but they are, or were, only successful because they believed in their own abilities. They believed, and then they used their abilities and refused to give up. There are plenty of people who have the potential to do something amazing or change the world, but they don’t because they don’t believe in themself.

To succeed, you must believe in your abilities, even when no one else will. Taraji P. Henson is a perfect example of someone who believed in herself when no one else would. The article, Believe in Yourself: Five People Who Believed in Themselves and Overcame Challenges, states, “At 26 years old, with many telling her she was ‘too old’[...]She had $700 to her name at the time. Her sanity was questioned, and she was told she’d never make it. In 2016 she was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine.” Henson is a popular actress, but it wasn’t easy for her to get where she is. Many people told her that she was too old and that she would never make it. She was also rejected several times. But she didn’t let them stop her from achieving her dream of acting. Sometimes, believing in yourself when no one else will may seem like an uphill battle. But, once you reach the top and show everyone that you believe in yourself, they will too.

If you believe, then you can achieve anything. Walt Disney is very popular due to his Mickey Mouse and Silly Symphonies cartoons. He didn’t have as rough a start as Henson, but he didn’t let self-doubt keep him from advancing. Instead, he pushed on. Disney once said, “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” Walt Disney Biography states, “One of Disney Studio’s most popular cartoons, Flowers and Trees (1932), was the first to be produced in color and to win an Oscar. In 1933, The Three Little Pigs and its title song "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?" became a theme for the country in the midst of the Great Depression.” Walt Disney was extremely successful. He could’ve stopped at small, soundless animations, but he started to create animation with sound and color until he created Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. He was only able to do that because he believed and took risks. Believing is half the battle because if you truly believe, no one can stop you from achieving your goal.

Believing in yourself is the first step to success. Almost everyone has read the Harry Potter books or have seen the Harry Potter movies. But the author, J.K. Rowling didn't have success at first. J.K. Rowling Biography states, “After a number of rejections, Rowling finally sold her first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, for the equivalent of about $4,000; it hit shelves in June 1997.” When J.K. Rowling was writing her first book, she struggled with being a poor, single mother. After writing her book, she was rejected several times before it was bought. If she stopped believing in herself, she would’ve never created the Harry Potter series. Every journey begins with a step. It may seem long and hopeless. It may have bumps, ditches, easy parts, hard parts, and detours, but each step will get you closer and closer to your goal. All you have to do is refuse to turn back and press forward no matter what.

To conclude, believing in oneself is important, and all these examples prove this. Imagine who you want to be. Will you ever get there by sitting around telling yourself you're not good enough and never will be? Imagine you enjoy drawing. Imagine you want to create art that will make someone feel something when they look at it. Imagine how many people you could inspire or make happy. Then, imagine giving it all up because you look at your art and say, “I’ll never be good enough. I’m not good at drawing, and I never will be.” If you don’t believe in yourself, you’ll never know what you could be. You could be the next Picasso, or write the most popular book in the world, or create an invention that changes how the whole world functions. But, you’ll never know if you don’t believe in yourself.

Megan Montella
Monika Volz
As the Sun Falls

Taylor Haughey

The evening light

The soft gleam of gold that falls

The world getting ready for night

As the sun falls so does silence

Kiki Barnett Cardboard

Le'nyiah Flamer

Equality is the most important thing to work in society. It educates people to be self- loving, Understanding, and to be more sociable . All of these things make up an amazing personality and a great world.Human rights guarantee people the means necessary to satisfy their basic needs such as food, housing, and education, so they can take full advantage of all opportunities. Accepting people and yourself is the big piece that people are missing today.

One reason that Equality is important is because it educates people to be self loving. Knowing your worth will help and encourage others to know their worth, which spreads kindness. In the blog Can you love yourself , it states “Some say that the opposite of love is hate. I believe that the opposite of love is judgement. When we don’t love ourselves we seek external validation of our worth in the world. We do that by judging - others, our lives, ourselves - as better than or worse than us. If you want to stop judging, start loving yourself.” Having self love builds a great person with a warm heart, that doesn't judge people for who they are or what their skin color is.

Another reason that Equality is important is Understanding people.Being understanding of others teaches people to be accepting and caring.In the article Understanding Equality, it states “Equality is about ensuring that every individual has an equal opportunity to make the most of their lives and talents. It is also the beliefs that no one should have poorer life chances because of the way they were born, where they come from , what they believe, or whether they have a disability. Equality recognises that historically certain groups of people with protected characterics such as race, disability, sex and sexual oriention.”Understanding gives the world less hatred. It allows people to be who they want to without any remorse or judgement.

The last reason Equality is important is because it educates people to be sociable. Being sociable makes people informed and thoughtful. In the Journal Social Equality, It states “Social equality is a state of affairs in which all people within a specific society or isolated group have the same status in certain respects, often including civil rights, freedom of speech, property rights, and equal access to social goods and services.” Sociability allows everyone to be respected and treated equally.

To conclude, Equality is important because It makes everyone feel and be equal. Hate crimes doubled in the US more than ever this year for people not accepting others for just being themselves. Supporting Equality will reduce the hostility in this world. People would not die for just being who they are. They would not have to fear death because of their skin color or preference. This change will make a superior future for everyone.

Madison Oerski

Beatrice Seddon

I saw the the scenic shore of my generation destroyed,

How I mourned the lakeshore.

Does the lakeshore make you shiver?

Does it?

How happy is the northern lagoon!

Down, down, down into the darkness of the lagoon,

Gently it goes - the blue, the north, the southern.

When I think of the mudhole, I see an old point.

Are you upset by how yellow-bellied it is?

Does it tear you apart to see the mudhole so cowardly?

Shoreline is, in its way, the scenic slopes of the bounds.

Never forget the silly and unreasonable shoreline.

The flowage is not general!

The flowage is exceptionally express.

Are you upset by how native it is?

Does it tear you apart to see the flowage so express?

How happy is the coastal estuary!

An estuary is coastwise. An estuary is maritime,

an estuary is inland, however.

Mirjäm-Alaina Cummings
A Haiku Collection by Giovanna Tumolo

Winter 1

A lot of gray days

December starts the winter

Watching the snow fall

Winter 2

Drinking hot cocoa

Walking along the sleet roads

Soon is Christmas time

Spring 1

It is so breezy

I just saw a ladybug

The birds are chirping

Spring 2

March starts the season

Time passes and the clouds move

Flowers are growing

Summer 1

The sun is shining

I’m laying out by the pool

Planning on a tan

Summer 2

Vacation is soon

A stress free time down the beach

It is blazing out

Fall 1

I love the fall time

November is my birthday

And football season

Fall 2

Colored leaves falling

Red is a color they change

Crunching as I step

Nicole Ferraccio
Eyewitness at the Triangle

Tobin Stebbings

Let us go then, you and I.

Falling to the ground in the blink of an eye.

Pushing our hopes of labor rights up towards the sky

As we plummeted from the factory’s window that was up so high.

I always wondered what it would be like

To walk on air, being able to fly.

So when that flame refused to go out,

I knew the situation was about to go awry.

Before I could even think of what to do,

Two girls ran over to the fire escape, and tried to break through.

While the doors refused to budge, not even move,

The manager attempted to extinguish the fire using the fire tube

Due to the conditions not being safe

With little to no precautions in case,

There were very little ways to escape

The dear situation that was now in place.

Some ran to the air shaft in an attempt to run away

Others looked to the windows to see if help was on the way

Nobody down below though had noticed what was going on

Seven floors above them, a disaster being the pawn.

My love grabs my wrist, pulling me towards the windows.

One girl jumps and falls below, making me feel vertigo.

I’ve always wanted to fly, but not like this

Not when it’s at such high risk.

My love crawls out of the window, helping others fall through the smoke to their untimely demise.

I am glad to not see it with my own very eyes.

I am aware of what’s happening, and I feel very ill.

But I swallow the feeling, for it’s either the fire or the cement that’ll kill.

I walk up to my love as he helps me out.

I give him a kiss and not think about my route.

He smiles and joins me, our love interlocked in our hands.

As we fall through the smoke, starting our path to the holy lands.

Let us go then, you and I.

Going to meet our own demise.

Hoping in the future they’ll take better care

Of the hard workers, making it more fair.

I must go with my love into the world beyond.

Just know that I hope that this event will become as noticeable as neon.

Changes are made to make it safer

For the workers that are barely able to make ends meet; mostly all wayfarers.

Based on the article Eyewitness at the Triangle, by William Shepherd.

Mackenzie Lorenski
Pain of Progress

James Chuchman

I had to be quick but patient. The window of time was slowly closing and I had to finish. I kept fumbling with the tiny wooden pieces. I am going to finish this plane before the science competition.

I’m going to start earlier in the story. “Why am I building a plane?” you are probably asking. I'll tell you. I just started in the seventh grade and my parents wanted me to join this club that was in last year. I didn’t fuss since I liked the club. In this club were a group of kids from the school I go to. We would all pick a few events to participate in at a science competition.

I chose one event where I had to build a small plane that is powered by rubber bands. I chose this event since it was more of a “get your hands dirty” event. I was in charge of the kit that has all of the parts to build the plane. Sheets of balsa wood, strands of carbon fiber, and some light saran wrap kind of material.

The next couple of months, after I brought home the kit, I spent playing video games with my friends or doing something else that isn’t very productive. I hadn’t laid a finger on the kit. I had completely forgotten about it.

A few months pass of me doing nothing with this plane kit until my dad yells, “you better get a start on that plane!” while beckoning his fist at me like he was in some sort of cartoon. I started on the project quickly since, one: my parents took my Xbox, and two: there was only a few weeks until the big competition.

I worked on this project every weekend and then eventually had to work on weekdays to have more time. I had to always work on top of a cardboard sheet since glue would get everywhere. Glue would stick the glue bottle down, my tools down, and even stick my fingers together. Trying to carefully pry my sticky fingers from the wood made me impatient. My dad handed me some nail polish and said, “Use this.” I scrubbed my hands in the liquid but it didn’t work in the slightest.

Now, I had to work fast to finish on time while having to deal with my fingers sticking to the delicate wood. I really wished the nail polish remover trick would have worked. I would be constantly chewing on my fingers to get the layers of glue off of my fingers only to have them covered back up in glue again. I now even have a habit of chewing on my fingers when there isn’t glue on them.

You’re probably wanting to tell me to use gloves, right? Well.. I tried that too. I hated it since the glue stuck to the gloves too so it made no difference. The gloves also made it hard to work with the tiny pieces. I would have to be perfect in all of my measurements and placements to have the plane work. Having gloves on rather than bare hands proved to be less productive and insanely antagonizing to fumble with such tiny pieces of wood.

The fumes of the glue also played into the torture of building this plane. The fumes stung and strained my eyes. Even the spray that made the glue cure quicker had a negative effect on my eyes. It even had an odd smell. Goggles would have been a good idea to have but I didn’t have any to use at home. I couldn’t even find some swimming goggles to use since it wasn’t summer.

After a few days, I began to get in a motion or routine while building. I would have tools to my left and the actual plane on the sheet of cardboard. I would have everything where it needed to be and I knew when a tool was missing. I’d ask everyone where said tool was. The tools that I needed to use were mostly common tools so I knew my sister or someone would possibly need to use them for something. I didn’t understand why they couldn’t put the tools back though. I would end up having multiples of the same tool since I would get replacements of the tools I needed and me or my family members would later find the old tools and put them back into my work space.

I would constantly screw things up by either breaking a piece of wood or measuring wrong. That required me to use even more glue since I had to put the piece back together. Even when I accidentally cut my thumb with a hobby knife, I kept on moving forward.

I finally secured and fastened the wings to the body of the plane and balanced the weight of the plane with some clay that came along with the kit. I was done. I had finished the plane 5 days before the competition. Testing the plane should have been scary to me since I wanted the plane to do well but I was too happy at the fact that I finished the project.

Despite being finished with that project, I wasn’t finished with planes at all. I now want to be an Engineer that specifically works with planes. I know that I can get this dream job too since I am a capable person as proven by my project. I keep striving to get things finished even if I’m knocked down. Many of my family members will tell you that I am very lazy though. I can’t blame them. Playing video games instead of doing something that is productive is a little stupid of me to do. Despite my laziness however, My determination to finish things makes up for it.

Joe Billie - Plastalina
I Am At Peace

Gabriel Shaw

A sea of thoughts, drowned out by the low rumble of smooth wheels against rough concrete, the rejuvenating air floating into my nose. A slight gust of wind whistling through the trees above, making all the leaves dance in harmony. I feel my shoulders drop, my body becomes more loose with every passing street lamp, as I slink side to side I realize - I am at peace.

Nate Brooks - Plaster, Rope, and Wood
Giving Up

Alexander Michaels

Giving up can be a good thing for someone’s mental health, it relieves stress and helps with maturity. Knowing when to give up when you know it's not gonna work out is okay. Giving up on something that you’ve spent money and time on but you feel like this isn’t what you were meant to do is okay. And giving up on a person you know that they don’t feel about you in the same way is okay.

Being able to know when you have lost and being able to cut their losses is great, it means you’re mature enough to realize that you don’t always win. “ We’re taught to persevere, no matter what, but sometimes that perseverance — that unwillingness or inability to let go — keeps us from moving forward,” If we try to keep moving forward when it is impossible for us to do so then while everyone around us is moving forward and around obstacles while we keep running into the same brick wall over and over again then we won’t ever get out of this point in our life.

If you’re trying to get into a relationship with someone and you put your whole heart into it and it seems like they’re not going to come around, don't waste your time. “It all sounds good on paper, but when you think about doing it, do you get that gut-wrenching feeling that leaves you nauseated and with your heart pounding? If the answer is even remotely yes, observe closely where the feelings come from and you’ll sadly find that it’s fear. Not love,” If you end up being scared of the person you’re spending time with then it’s time to give up and move on.

Giving up on something that you have sunk money and time into is okay when you feel like your heart isn’t in it anymore. Doing something that has a negative effect on your feelings isn’t something you should keep doing, for example if you joined a sport and you sunk money and time into it but after a certain amount of time you didn’t like it anymore then you should quit. “They made me finish out that season because they didn’t believe in giving up. Now as an adult, I completely understand that they had an investment in it, such as all the money they put into lessons and outfits and all the time they had spent watching me learn the proper form of a pirouette, so I wouldn’t let my child ever quit midseason, but I have also learned that sometimes giving up is actually the only good answer.” Understanding that the only reason that you are even doing something like this anymore because you sunk all this money into should tell you the only reason you are doing it is because you feel like you have a financial obligation to this.

In conclusion, giving up can be really good for your mental health. Being able to let something go can give you that feeling of great relief. Now, I’m not telling you to give up on anything, just the things that aren’t logical to do anymore.

Maggie Linn
The Sky is Dark Like Ink

Jaden Emery

The sky is dark like ink,

The ground is darker than black,

The mind is full of emptiness,

Emotions flow like a river,

Life goes by like a stream,

Until one day it turns dry.

Monika Volz -Ocean Blues
A Haiku Collection by Damian Steward

Winter 1

The frozen tundra

Snow days and Christmas cookies

Frostbitten blizzards

Winter 2

Sledding down a hill

Hot chocolate by the fire

Snowy white pillow

Spring 1

Spring green lush nature

The smell of blooming flowers

Open the windows

Spring 2


The allergies from pollen

Sprouting buds on trees

Summer 1

Swimming cheerfully

Decompressing vacation

Barbecue picnics

Summer 2

The tropical breeze

The refreshing late night drives

Scorching sun-filled sky

Fall 1

Vibrant pumpkin patch

Watched over by a scarecrow

Waiting to be carved

Fall 2

Halloween is near

Fun hayrides and owls hooting

The spooky costumes

Reilly O'Donnell
Morgan Butler
Fuzzy Little Legs

Daniel Kinard

Fuzzy little legs scurry across the carpet

Trying to climb the couch but he is too small

Eating strawberries in the cage

Running on the wheel

Climbing up the cage wall

Super soft fur

Running around in the ball

From the living room to the kitchen and the hall

Scaring the cats as he runs into them

Fuzzy little legs scurry across the carpet.

Ariana Fayehun

Brenna Hazlett

The cold, bitter, winter air had frozen the land. There were icicles hanging from rooftops and fences, and the pong had frozen into a skating rink. It was the dead of winter. Many kids did not like the cold. Except for Ethan. He loved to be outside, even during the frigid months of winter. The sparkling snow, the low low temperatures, he loved it all. He would take walks frequently to enjoy the scenery and to absorb all of nature.

School had gone on winter break and Ethan was free to do what he wanted. It was a bright Saturday morning, with temperatures below freezing and Ethan was waking up. His fluffy brown hair was mangled and messy as he turned to his side in his bed. His plaid blue pajama pants that covered his long legs were bunched up towards his calves due to sleep kicking and tossing and turning. Ethan wiped his face with his hand and sniffed the air.

“Pancakes,” he thought. He climbed down the cold, silver ladder to his loft bed and made his way downstairs to the kitchen. Sitting at the table was his mom, drinking coffee and doing a crossword puzzle while his dad stood at the stove flipping pancakes.

“Good morning sweetie!” his mom chimed. “How did you sleep?”

“Well, Martha, from the looks of it he either slept like a baby or an insomniac.” Ethan’s dad added.

“I slept well.” Ethan confirmed. “I’m really hungry, though.”

Ethan took a seat at the kitchen table next to his mom and started to eat a plateful of pancakes.

“Oh look who rolled out of bed.” Ethan’s mom exclaimed.

Into the kitchen walks a short teen girl, with a solid black hoodie, dark brown, and very messy hair, with smudged mascara under her eyes. She blew a raspberry at Martha.

“Mark, our daughter is so dramatic. I wonder where she gets it from.” She smiles and looks at Ethan.

“Hardy har har.” Mark mocks

The family sat down to eat breakfast together in almost silence, until Ethan spoke up.

“I’m going on another walk today. We got some more snow last night and I bet the trail through the woods looks really pretty.” He explained.

“Honey, it’s freezing out! You’ll get hypothermia.” Martha whines.

“I’ll be fine, mom. I’ll bundle up. Speaking of, I’m headed out. I’ll be back in a bit.” Ethan puts his plate in the sink, heads upstairs, and comes back down a minute later, bundled in sweaters, scarves and hats, and walks out the front door.

As Ethan is walking through the woods, he’s keeping a keen eye on the scenery. As he walks, he notices little details, like the layers of snow on tree branches, the placement of birds nests in trees and even how the snow sparkles on the ground. Ethan walks for about half an hour, when he comes across a manhole cover that hadn’t been there before. Ethan stops to look at it. He had never seen this cover before, especially not in this part of the woods. He had been on this trail a thousand times and could not remember a single time when he’d seen the cover. He taps the edge with his foot. To his surprise, it budges a bit. He knelt down to take a closer look. He puts his face close to the cover to read the writing on top. The words were faded and looked as if they were a different language. Ethan gets really close to the cover now, almost as if he was ready to dive in, when suddenly, the cover opens. In a flash, Ethan is falling down the manhole.

“HELP!” he screams as he falls down, down, down the manhole. Suddenly, he smacks the bottom. He bounced right up. It felt as if he had landed on Jell-O. It made no sense, but Ethan was grateful he hadn’t gotten hurt.

“Hello?” he calls. He hears an echo, but no response.

For a second, Ethan is scared. He feels alone. And he started losing hope quickly. Out of nowhere, a bright flash of light and color smacked him in the face. The dark manhole had turned into a sort of wonderland. Bright colors were flashing, carnival music was playing, and there were plants everywhere. Ethan had looked down and noticed an arrow by his feet.

“TO THE KING” read the arrow. Ethan looked in the direction the arrow pointed and began walking.

“What is all this? I’m so confused!” he hollered. The carnival music got louder as Ethan approached the shadow in front of him. A light turned on and shown on the shadow.

“Greetings traveller! I am the king of Fatesville, the only village where there is only fate.”

“What? What’s going on?” Ethan asks, panicked.

“You are going to let your fate decide what’s happening.” the king says as he pulls a satin sheet to reveal a gold lever.

“You pull the lever, you gamble with fate. Who knows what will happen.” The king explained.

“Do I have to?” Asked Ethan.

“Only if you want to get out of here.” the king replied. Ethan rushed towards the lever and took a deep breath. He was still so confused, but more nervous. He was afraid of what could happen when he pulled the lever. Could he start dating his crush? Will his sister take over his room and kick him to the basement? Will he have great success? Who knows. But there was only one way to find out. He pulled the lever.

The sound of a spinning wheel overwhelmed Ethan as he played with fate. He was petrified of what was happening. Suddenly, he felt as if he were falling again.

“Uh-oh. Looks like fate chose death.” echoed the king's voice.

The only sound left was the faint scream of Ethan, crying, “NOOOOO!!!”

Ethan jolted awake. He looked around trying to figure out what just happened. He noticed he was in his bed, with the same messy hair and the same pajama pants in the same loft bed as what he just saw. And he smelled a familiar scent.


Rory Tiedman - Post it Notes, Wood
Milk and Cereal, Cereal and Milk

Gabriel Greene

Soggy, very wet

Nutritious liquids, fruity loops

Flavour delights me.

Personal Collage - Sydney Young
A Haiku Collection by Gabriel Shaw

Winter 1

The desolate moon

Reflecting off of the snow

A loud crunch pierce’s through

Winter 2

Naked tree branches

Ready to blossom once more

They will in due time

Spring 1

Two birds on a branch

Below them, a flower field

They peacefully fly

Spring 2

In a flower field

Surrounded by nature's beauty

A bee enjoys its meal

Summer 1

The humid beach air

The sun beats onto the ocean

A wave washes ashore

Summer 2

An elk calmly rests

Basking in the hot humid air

They gallop away

Fall 1

A forest of leaves

Vibrant colors all around

The sun finds a way

Fall 2

A dense pile of leaves

Lays upon the ground, colors aplenty

An excited dog jumps in

Sam Park - Wire and Wood

Brenna Hazlett

2020 we all will remember

How it left the world in shambles

Even going for necessities

Was always a risky gamble

Pandemic, election

And so much more

We were ready to kick 2020

Right out the door

The scary world

Just got scarier

You never know

Who could be a carrier

Our family and friends

But only over Zoom

If we keep going like this

We will be plunged into certain doom

But somehow, someway

I know we’ll find the light

Because now, in 2021

We’ll put up a bigger fight

A fight for love, peace

And health for all

To pick up our neighbors

Whenever they fall

We’re in this together

Though a nation divided

it seems like an argument

Only two sided

Hope for the new year

Paige Bartholf
Purple Blood

Katie Fallon

A chill runs down my spine as a cold gust of wind circulates into the cave. I toss another log onto the dwindling fire and curl up next to Okami. “How much longer?” he inquires.

“It looks like the sun should be rising in a few hours and then we’ll have to pack up everything and start moving.” I respond, glancing out the entrance of the cave. “We should get some rest. It’s gonna be a long day tomorrow.” Okami nods and nuzzles his snout under my neck to keep me warm.

I raised Okami since he was just a pup, with the preconceived notion he was a baby wolf. Now, he’s over fifteen feet tall with serrated teeth, razor-sharp claws, and holds the ability to expectorate ice. His piercing red eyes and sleek black fur intimidate even the most terrifying entities before he traps them and slashes them to blood and bones.

I lean over and double check my bag. Blazing katanas, check. Daggers, check. Throwing stars, check. Bow and arrows, check. They glint in the firelight as I close my eyes and drift into sleep.

“Mizuki, wake up...Mizuki!” Okami gently licks my face, knowing how much I hate his radioactive slobber. I sit up and laugh, frantically shaking to dry off.

“You’re lucky I have healing abilities or one of these days I would be dead from that disgusting saliva of yours.” I shove him off of me, trying to suppress the giggles. He moves away, revealing the sun starting to peek over the horizon. I sigh as reality hits and I solemnly collect my things.

Today we are going back to Arata, the city I once resided in. We haven’t been there since the attack by the Oni that led me and Okami on our own for these last few years. The Oni, a faction of menacing shape-shifting demons, raided the city and enslaved my people. After watching my mother killed before my eyes, Okami and I fled and managed to escape thanks to his speed and crystalline spit, as well as my healing abilities to heal the wounds from the demons.

“Are you ready?” Okami interrupts my thoughts with an encouraging smirk. I nod, picturing the Oni slitting my poor mother’s throat, my father behind her being handcuffed, and the terrified look plastered on his face as he screamed a wretched scream. My eyebrows furrow and my teeth clench as I grab onto Okami and swing myself onto his back.

The sun hovers in the center of the sky as we come in sight of the wall surrounding the city. “Guards, three o’clock,” I warn, gesturing to the right. Luckily, the Oni demons don’t spot us as Okami crouches lower to the ashy snow to which he blends in with. I snicker. My monochrome black outfit is finally coming in handy. Living at the South Pole where snow and ice cover every inch of ground usually gives Okami and I away to enemies right away. However, in this case, the ash coming from the burning buildings and industry plants is finally coming to use.

“Mizuki, look. They’ve shape-shifted to look like the Arata police.” he points out. I glance up to find three demons that appear as normal officers.

“I’ve still never seen one in its natural state,” I remark. Okami flinches.

“It’s for the better. It would give you nightmares for months,” he comments. “I meanーit did for me at least.”

“I’m sorry Okami. But hey, after today, once we slaughter the Oni leader, they’ll all fall with him. Just like the legend says.” I note, scratching him behind the ears.

“You’re lucky I can’t reach up there and lick your face without surrendering our position. Remind me when this is all over,” he jokes. “On a more serious note, let’s make a plan.” I nod.

“I’m gonna throw one of my stars to hit that metal door and distract them. Then, you’re gonna freeze them, not giving them time to alert anyoneーor anything I should say,” I correct myself. I count down from three and flick one of the throwing stars just above their heads. It makes a ping! sound when it hits the metal and all the guards whip their heads around to the noise in direction opposite of us. Okami sprints toward them with me still on his back and expectorates ice, covering every inch of them.

“Nice,” I smirk and jump down to get the star I threw. “Now it’s time for the real show. We can climb over the wall over here and enter the Oni leader’s building through the back. There’s going to be more guards and we have to be prepared for them to shape-shift, so give it all you got and don’t worry about getting hurt,” I hold up my glowing hands and give my best smile.

We climb the wall and jump to the ground; no guards in sight. There are two large black metal doors, the first one locked, but the second one is an unlocked maintenance door that we go through. I pull my katanas out, slicing the air and making them catch ablaze. The throwing stars are tucked in the pockets of my gloves and my daggers are strapped to my ankles. My bow is fastened on my back, along with the bag of flaming arrows. Okami protracts his claws and reveals his serrated teeth, gleaming in the glow of the flames. His mouth salivates, ready to freeze anything in our path.

He claws the door down and it clatters to the floor, alerting every demon in the building. They start running towards us holding spears and swords. Okami grabs the first few in his mouth, instantly paralyzing the demons while in human form. While he traps other ones in ice, three guards appear to the right. I dodge their swords, slice their ankles, and kick them to the floor. Then, they start shape-shifting. I reach the first two in time, stabbing them with my burning katanas in their chests, and sending them sputtering on the floor in death’s grip. The third one has already shape-shifted, but I’m too scared to look at its face. I blur my eyes and slice towards the dark figure in front of me. A shriek leaves its throat and I twist deeper until the demon vaporizes into thin air. I spin on my heels and find bodies bleeding out purple all across the floor, as well as a wall of ice with about ten or fifteen Oni guards. Okami is shredding them to pieces but we aren’t done. Not yet. I see the dark figures hiding in the shadows of the second floor, getting ready to pounce on Okami from above. They’re fast but I’m faster. I pull my bow off my back and send a single blazing arrow through the stomach of three entities, sending them sprawling on the floor and away from Okami. Four arrows later and I have the blood of 13 demons on my hands. Okami has frozen the rest of them, leaving only two more left as well as the leader, who is especially infuriated and pulling at Okami. I peek around his leg and somersault out of sight. I just have to get behind the leader…

I sheath both of the katanas and take the throwing star from my mouth. I angle myself so the two guards are in alignment and flick the star, slitting both of their throats. And that’s for my mother. I spit on their dead bodies and look up to find Okami having the soul sucked out of him, his body standing straight. I gasp when I see his eyes glow a soft white, entranced by the devilish Oni. I finally process the horrific face that hovers only a few feet in front of me: hollow eyes and a hair-raising grimace that shoots goosebumps up my arms as he is devouring the soul of my best friend. I jump up behind it, pulling a katana out and slicing from behind. It swiftly dodges and grabs me from the throat. My katana crashes to the ground, which is now more than six feet below me. My eyes bulge and I can feel my windpipe bruising in the elongated fingers of the demonic entity. I avoid eye contact with the vile thing, knowing that would lead to the ravage of my soul.

I grasp and scratch at the fingers but the demon lets out a blood-curdling sneer and I know I’m screwed. The world sways, a result of the blood being cut off from entering my brain. Think. Think! Throwing stars? No. No they won’t help. Too close. Daggers? My daggers! Yes, of course. I use all my energy and kick up my leg, grabbing at the dagger and twisting it into the demon's chest. He lets out an ear-splitting shrill and lets go of me. I gasp and cough and feel my lungs fill back up with oxygen. It’s not over yet. I reach for the katana from my back, slicing it in the air to catch it aflame, and I decapitate the disgusting thing as it lays on the ground, clawing at the dagger. Purple blood splatters onto my face and I spit in disgust. I drop the katana from my hand and run towards Okami.

“Please, please, have a pulse, please. I can’t lose you Okami.” I cry and search for a pulse. I’m hyperventilating as my eyes well up with tears. I close my eyes and breathe. The faint glow from my hands illuminates the dark corridor as I press them to Okami’s side. Please work, please work…

Okami violently twitches and sputters awake, gasping for air. I immediately find myself bursting into tears and sending a prayer to thank God.

“What happened?” Okami asks urgently, swinging his head back and forth.

“Okami, we did it. We really did it. It’s all over,” I exclaim and wrap my arms around his head. Sighing with relief, he licks my face, and we both fall to the purple-smeared floor with triumphant laughter.

Patrick Gill

Ariana Fayehun

Can you hear it?

I can.

Can you see it?

I cannot.

Can you feel it?

I can.

Can you describe it?

I will not.

Why won’t you?

I don’t want to.

Why not?

I do not want to.

Why won’t you tell me?

You cannot help me.

But I can.

But you can’t.

Is it in the room with you?

It is.

Does it scare you?

It does.

Can it sense you?

It can’t.

Will it find you?

It will.

Is there a way out?

I don’t know.

Can you look?

I cannot.

Why can’t you?

I won’t

Why won’t you?

I won’t leave it.

Doesn’t it scare you?

It does.

Why won’t you leave it?

Because I won’t.

Is it keeping you there?


Then why do you stay?

It is my friend

A friend that scares you is no friend at all.

Shh, it’ll hear you.

You don’t want it to get angry.

If I leave, it’ll get angry.

So you’re going to stay with it?


Skylar Anderson - Wire and Wood
A Haiku Collection by Beatrice Seddon

Winter 1

Arctic wintertime

A little, cold fox bounces

enjoying the snow.

Winter 2

Wintry wintertime

A pleasurable wolf hunts

betrayed by the season.

Spring 1

Sunshiny leaping

why a single, calm bee stings

before the sky.

Spring 2

Enjoyable bounce

A common, charming duck chirps

in spite of the others.

Summer 1

Magical summer

A common, gentle duck stares

whilst watching the frog.

Summer 2

Sweating summertime

A little, friendly boy chat

enjoying the girl

Fall 1

Inclement autumn

A tiny rabbit cuddles

in spite of the weather.

Fall 2

Moist declivity

A little, heavy cat prowls

betrayed by the fog.

Reaksa Hun
Snowflakes - Sabrina Smith
Fear’s Captive

Alexander Michaels

It won't let me go.

It has me behind its bars.

I am afraid,

I am scared.

I try to forget,

I try to ignore,

but I am stuck.

One day I will be free,

Free from this worrier's prison.

Sofia Testa
A Haiku Collection by Alexander Michaels

Winter 1

Dead trees, blow in the

Wind - While a cold breeze

hits my nose

Winter 2

Spring becomes Summer

It shall then leave for Autumn

And Loop at winter.

Spring 1

A chilly breeze, a clear sky

Just like winter but,

Not left behind

Spring 2

As the leaves sprout

The Ground will warm

Birds come back, for the harsh winter is gone

Summer 1

The Sun is warm on this day

A small summer breeze saves the day

People are thankful and want it to stay

Summer 2

Bitter and sweet cream

The color of grass and spring

Soft serve gone quickly

Fall 1

The breeze from summer gets colder

You slightly fear what comes next

Fall is the warning for winter’s unrest

Fall 2

The leaves turn orange and fall

You wonder why this must happen

And then a cold breeze blows and you know why

Sarah Powers - Cardboard
Cleaning Fun

James Chuchman

When I was a kid

There is something my mom did

She would water plants with a hose

While I watched out the windows

My mom would spray the door

Which made me laugh more and more

Now there is no laughter

Now that I’m far older

But now my mom babysits kids

And can continue what she did

For me when I was a kid

Tali Carotenuto
The Warning

Le'nyiah Flamer

¨Hurry was almost safe!¨, I said as we were running fiercely through the lab. ¨Why couldn't they just listen to us?¨Myiah questioned while running out of breath.”I don't know Myiah, but we will figure it out.” I could hear loud banging on the doors as I tried to figure out what all the commotion was about. When I turned around I realized that no one had locked the door and …… It was a gloomy day outside and I was waiting for my bus while holding my science fair project in my hand. Just like every other day of twelfth grade the bus was late. When I got on I sat in the first seat and placed my project next to me. As we arrived at the next stop my best friend Myiah got on, picked up my project, and took the seat next to me carefully. I caught myself staring at her. “Hey, david what place do you think you’ll get for the fair?” she asked, trying to break the silence.”I-I hope I get second place at least.” I stuttered while snapping back to reality and she giggled a little. I wonder if she knows that I have a huge crush on her, I really hope she doesn't.

We arrived at school and headed to the science room. I heard my teachers talking about a new experiment being done by the government. I couldn't hear much because I was running late and the judges were already looking at the project.I ended up winning second place in the science fair. The top three winners got further chances to make their project more than a mini experiment. Oh I forgot to tell you what my project was. My project was an experiment to see if mixing certain chemicals would make wild life evolve faster. It sounds crazy , but it could maybe help one day. I returned back home to work a little more on my project and to do some more research. While I was working, I heard a knock on the door. ¨Come in!¨I yelled over my music. In walked Myiah. ¨What are you doing to your project now?¨ she asked, rolling her eyes sarcastically . ¨ I'm just modifying it a little.¨ I responded back laughing. My phone started vibrating and someone was calling me. I looked at my phone then back at myiah. ¨Aren't you gonna pick it up?¨ She questioned me. ¨I don't know this number and I don't really pick up the numbers I don't know.¨ I answered. It stopped vibrating for a moment, then it started again. ¨ Just pick it up, it might be important.¨ she said.

The moment I answered a familiar voice started talking. ¨Put it on speaker .¨Myiah whispered. ¨Okay hold on.¨Hi, is this David thomas?¨ The lady asked.¨Yes.¨ I replied. ¨This is your principle Mrs. Flamer, and I want you to listen to what I'm about to say carefully.¨ she said I knew that voice sounded like I'd heard it before. Me and Myiah were pretty intrigued at this point.¨ After studying your experiment really carefully some Archeologists contacted the school to do further testing with it, but instead of testing animals they want to test humans and they think it can be very beneficial”, she expressed roughly. ¨That sounds extremely dangerous.¨ I said worried. ¨ Just come in tomorrow and they will explain it more, Okay?.¨ she said before she hung up. We talked for a while, until Myiah went home.

The next morning, I couldn't help but to get up early. My head was filled with scared wonders. As soon as I got in the first period they called me down to the office. The Archeologists explained that my experiment could help them with some tests that the government was working on. To cure and evolve the human population . They couldn't tell me all the details because it was confidential. I told them that I didn't feel comfortable with testing my experiment on humans. They said that they started testing my experiment a little , I can come to the Lab and see certain parts, and that I could bring a friend with me. Of course the friend that I was bringing with me would be my best friend Myiah. We had to come up with a plan to stop this nonsense.

After school They immediately took us to the lab. During the duration of the ride I muttered the plan to Myiah and told her why I was so afraid of what they might do with my experiment. ¨ Are you sure you want to steal your samples.¨ she looked at me frightened. ¨Yes, that's all I can think of. We can't get caught and let's hope it's destroyed if we do.¨I said, trying to calm her down. ¨Okay just give me the signal.¨ We finally got to the lab and they showed us the animals they tested and they all looked sick. That's when Myiah didn't seem afraid of the plan anymore. When the Archaeologist went to talk to the other scientist, me and Myiah snuck off. When I turned around I realized that no one had locked the door and people were coming towards it. I grabbed all my samples and poured them into the lab sink. The scientists came in, but they were too late. Myiah screamed in fear, “David, run the sink is smoking!¨ I turned around and the sink went up in flames. The lab called an instant fire evacuation drill.

The following day after the fire , they called my mom and told her that everyone one got out safe and that they will no longer be using my experiment. They also told us that they were suspending the project, because it caused too much damage. Just like that we were off the hook and I felt like I just saved the world. I hope they never start that experiment again. Next time I'll do a more simple project like an exploding Volcano. This for sure will always be a year to remember!

Sophia Testa - Plastalina
A Haiku Collection by Haley Heller

Winter 1

Frosty winter’s day

Bare white limbs on creaking trees

Imperfection, grace

Winter 2

Snow is falling now

I am snug in my warm bed

Snow days are the best

Spring 1

Spring is in the air

Flowers are blooming sky high

Children are laughing

Spring 2

Flowers like to grow

Bumblebees like to fly high

Ladybugs are luck

Summer 1

In the eastern sky

The day’s heat slowly fades away

Another summer sunset

Summer 2

Hot sand in summer

Waves splish and splash against rocks

Crabs skitter along

Fall 1

Leaves have fallen down

Cover the ground with difference

Colors on the forest floor

Fall 2

The leaves are falling

The wind tickling my face

Birds start flying south

Sarah Gartland

Did you ever want to live forever?

Did you think that you could be free?

Did you think that you could do all that you want?

Did you think that immortality was the key?

Would you do all the things you always wanted?

Would you live in the moment? The now and the then?

Would you laugh, and run, and dance, and play?

Would you wake up and do it again?

Could you go through the year knowing you haven’t aged a day

While your loved ones’ days were numbered?

Could you wake up each morning with plenty of things to do

Knowing one day all things would seem duller?

If you did, and you would, and you could, than you should

I applaud you because I would never

Because when the fun is done and loved ones are gone

All that’s left is forever

Motif is

Skylar Anderson

Kiki Barnett

Victoria Barr

Paige Bartholf

Sarah Behrle

Eleanor Bell

Joseph Billie

Rachel Bingeman

Landon Bitting

Jackie Bradley

Nate Brooks

Autumn Brown

Julia Bucalov

Evan Burns

Nicole Buscaglia

Morgan Butler

Alyssa Campbell

Layla Capps

Tali Carotenuto

Olivia Carr

Kelsey Celestino

Abby Chambers

Felicia Christali

James‌ ‌Chuchman‌

Genevieve Closs

Morgan Cook

Sierra Cooney

DJ Cronin

Mirjäm-Alaina Cummings

Kacie Czyszczon

Christine DeGuzman

Cate Diamond

Julian Diehl

Julia DiNicola

Erin Egan

Lily Egbert

Gianna Ellis

Katherine Fallon

Mike Farnsworth

Ariana Fayehun

Nicole Ferraccio

Jimmy Ferriola

Le'nyiah Flamer

Cierra Fornwalt

Karon Fortune

Sarah Gartland

Patrick Gill

Ishmeal Glasgow

Snaeha George

Gabriel Greene

Grace Greenway

Kristine Guenther

Aaron Hanavin

Justin Hassel

Brenna Hazlett

Avari Hahn

Alexis Haughey

Taylor Haughey

Ryan Herbus

Tommy Hegarty

Haley Heller

Hailey Hoffman

Kylie Huber

Reaksa Hun

Leanna Hunt

Angela Jones

Alexandra Jordan

Haylee Karpo

Erin Kelly

Lana Kelly

Daniel Kinard

Andrew Kmett

Carli Komorowski

Tyler Koenig

Jordan Kolb

Haley Kulp

Emma Kuzinski

Sebastian Lane

Brianna Lawson

Maggie Linn

Gabriel Lloyd

Grace Lobb

Tyler Lord

Mackenzie Lorenski

Alisha Maden

Copeland Madison

Kayden Maiorine

Hannah Mcgroary

Erin McGugan

Alexander Michaels

Alyssa Milano

Jaime Miles

Camille Milnes

Justin Minch

Megan Montella

Damien Mozzoni

Hannah Murray

Liv Nagy

Reilly O’Donnell

Paige O'Dowd

Madison Oerski

Abigail Otsynia

Kim Pace

Sophia Pantuliano

Sam Park

Ethan Parkhill

Sydney Parkinson

Emily Penzone

Ella Peterson

Jessica Phillips

Sophia Possenti

Sarah Powers

Riley Purfield

Austin Raker

Hope Rice

Chiara Robinson

Isabella Rowley

Alexa Sbaraglia

Anna Schwartz

Alex Sears

Ethan Seasock

Beatrice Seddon

Gabriel Shaw

Sabrina Smith

Damian Steward

Justine Star

Erik Strifler

Dior Sy

Alena Testa

Sofia Testa

Chase Thompson

Jordan Thompson

Rory Tiedman

Madelyn Trout

Giovanna Tumolo

Hailey Twardowski

Monika Volz

Abigail Wasilewski

Teagan Williams

Curtis Windley

Autumn Wolfe

Courtney Woolery

Grace Wright

Sydney Young

Moderator: Mr. Hill

Motif would like to thank the following teachers for their support:

Mrs. Bednar

Mr. Hartman

Ms. Lansberry

Mrs. McCarthy

Mr. Mertens

Mr. Morris

Mrs. Schneider

Mr Simpkins

Ms. Soring

Ms. Willow

Created By
Dan Hill


Created with images by Sarah_Loetscher - "books mess chaos" • KELLEPICS - "fantasy surreal mask" • ThomasWolter - "women running race" • dzako83 - "lens camera photography" • Pexels - "motion blur cycling bike" • JJ-Jordan - "girl mirror portrait" • fietzfotos - "rainbow cloud evening sun" • NickyPe - "tulip raindrop wet" • JordyMeow - "tori japanese shrine" • Couleur - "wintry snow firs" • Couleur - "autumn autumn forest trees" • kimura2 - "mountain volcano peak" • Bessi - "flower lily lilium candidum" • Counselling - "child education fear" • PublicDomainPictures - "winding road forest path" • FelixMittermeier - "wheat field sunset" • WikiImages - "explosion mushroom cloud nuclear explosion" • langll - "summer hat nature" • geralt - "alzheimer's dementia words" • sarahbernier3140 - "father daughter beach" • Ganossi - "heart love broken heart" • jplenio - "autumn avenue away" • nakataza02 - "elevator a beautiful view building" • helpsg - "working business women female" • kristamonique - "snowfall winter snow" • Alexas_Fotos - "nobody is perfect motivation overhead projector" • kevinmullett - "money currency 50" • geralt - "questions question mark write" • Schwoaze - "ladybug insect beetle" • Nennieinszweidrei - "fern sprout plant" • fengfei1990 - "suyan young vitality" • Yeskay1211 - "beach sun evening" • blickpixel - "dandelion sky flower" • DariuszSankowski - "notebook camera map" • onkelglocke - "cinema curtain theater" • nahandro - "sandwich fast food hamburger" • WikiImages - "earth planet space" • Victoria_Borodinova - "station train the ussr" • RoonZ-nl - "poppies nature plant" • KELLEPICS - "fantasy dragons mountain" • jpeter2 - "plains fields sky" • Pexels - "stairs architecture indoors" • Foto-Rabe - "dollar burn finance" • Couleur - "fall leaves water nature" • JillWellington - "woman girl freedom" • Oldiefan - "animal bird sparrow" • 41330 - "food alphabet biscuit" • rudyanderson - "water fight children water" • Sonyuser - "snow winter forest" • Pexels - "kitten white cat" • Alexas_Fotos - "fire flame carbon" • PublicDomainPictures - "nature sea waves" • lumina_obscura - "galaxy star infinity" • blende12 - "tulips daffodils flowers" • GuillaumePreat - "space planet earth" • NikolayFrolochkin - "dollar money cash money" • Hans - "first aid kit kits medical patch" • Pexels - "wolf animal dog" • Claudio_Scott - "woman asleep girl" • Pavlofox - "macro cogwheel gear" • cocoparisienne - "cat cat's eyes blue eyes" • LNLNLN - "forest light forrest" • Pexels - "girls bench laugh" • asundermeier - "ranunkeln flowers spring flowers" • geralt - "hand sea water" • intographics - "mystery island dinosaur" • Holeysocksart - "boots splash rain" • Tumisu - "motivation frame decoration" • Peggychoucair - "rose blossom bloom" • JillWellington - "flower nature flora" • RonaldPlett - "fire flames red" • Vizslafotozas - "dog animal portrait" • geraldfriedrich2 - "autumn waterfall resin" • artparta - "utah road cars" • ottawagraphics - "kids family lake" • Pexels - "couple fashion hugging" • oohhsnapp - "flag america usa" • Wokandapix - "classroom school education" • Peggy_Marco - "cows curious cattle" • cegoh - "skyscraper singapore sky" • JESHOOTS-com - "waiting wristwatch man" • KeithJJ - "cheerleader somersault acrobatic" • jclk8888 - "hands compassion help" • adamkontor - "young woman beach dress" • AhmadArdity - "blood donation donate" • ChristopherPluta - "surface rain drops" • Goumbik - "winter cold surface" • PublicDomainPictures - "bath bathroom bright" • HaseebPhotography - "believe in yourself sand stone" • PublicCo - "ocean sunset person" • viarami - "cooperation equality human" • jameswheeler - "alberta canada lake" • prunkova - "grasses sea sunset" • Olga1205 - "city fire smoke" • Bluesnap - "aeroplane plane aircraft" • RyanMcGuire - "skateboarder skateboard street" • PublicDomainPictures - "unsure formals sign" • MDARIFLIMAT - "man fog silhouette" • Couleur - "wintry snow firs" • Pezibear - "guinea pig smooth hair agouti" • Tabeajaichhalt - "pancake crepes eat" • WikimediaImages - "food eat diet" • Gennaro_Leonardi - "trees tree canopy forest" • akashskyprince - "year 2020 grass graphic" • avanzu - "katana sword blade" • TanteTati - "forever word heart" • realworkhard - "field cereals summer" • Ichigo121212 - "prison prison cell jail" • Valiphotos - "fall forest colorful" • rgaudet17 - "hose water garden" • jdn2001cn0 - "lab chemical science" • Sorbyphoto - "tree snow winter" • geralt - "promise forever scrable"