May 2014 Number 4
Short Stories College Essays Students Speak Personal Narratives
Veteransâ€™ Reflections Art, Poetry and Prose
Contributors: Class of 2014: Elizabeth Burnett (6,10), Yi‐Ting “Nancy” Lin (8,11), Anthony Perdue (8,33), Nicole Pupillo (10), Abigail Rose‐Craver (14,28,29,30,31,37), Karl Schmidt (15), Taehoon “Andy” Yang (18,38), Ziren “Frank” Lin (27,28,31), Dagny Barone (27,29,30,31,37,40), Sung Woo Byun (27,28,30), Zi Yuan “Leo” Li (27,28), Zijie “Ben” Wang (27,29,31), Nicole Scott (27,30,31), Jasmine Cora (29,30,40), Samira Uddin (34), Jimin “Michelle” Suh (35), Yunru “Alanis” Yu (36), Madison Faraco (41)
Class of 2015:
Pauline Reck (3,24), Carly Johnson (3,29,30), Madison Glinski (5,6,8), Junyan “Kevin” Li (5,29,30,31), Ying “Amy” Li (8,11,12), Adelaida Glinski (12), Colin Corcoran (21), Destinee Astheimer (27,28,30,31), Daniel Lankry (29), Madison Glinski (27,28,30), Isabella San Miguel (28,29,30,31), Patrick Vetter (28,29,30), Connor Bade (28,29,30), Junyou “Jason” Chen (31)
Class of 2016:
Gabrielle Molnar (6,11), Hunter Lomire (12), Daniel Che (27,29), Carri Yeager (28,31)
Class of 2017:
Jingqiong “Miranda” Yang (9), Joseph Heffernan (27,29), Mary Dent (27,28,29,31), Duncan MacIntyre (27), Drew Adamczak (27,28,29,31), Colin von Meheren (28,29), Erika Rodenberger (28,30,31), Vincent Ferdock (30)
Class of 2018:
Sidney Palmer (7)
Class of 2020:
Sierra Hausman (9)
Class of 2014: Dagny Barone (Editor‐In‐Chief), Abigail Rose‐Craver, Yi‐Ting “Nancy” Lin Class of 2015: Junyan “Kevin” Li, Ying “Amy” Li, Patrick Vetter
Faculty Advisor: Lauren Lambert
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Art, Poetry, and Prose…………………..……………………………3
Adelaida Glinski ‘15
Beauty Beneath By Pauline Reck â€˜15
The sweet notes of its birds Reverberate in my mind Leading each enigmatic verse,
A mystifying kingdom in
Creating a shrouded song to find.
A seemingly perpetual desolation Clouds my sleepless dreams with
Faith, hope, and love
The view of a beautiful nation.
Linger in its skyline Dancing in the wind and
The breath of its mountains
Mixing with the twilight.
Fills my lungs As I dance to the melody
These musings which may only fit a dream
Of the rains and the suns. Depict my conflicted land A small island filled with people Countless stars fill my head And embellish my sight
Embraced by the sea and the sand.
As I stare languidly Into its moonless night.
The shadows of its canopies Caress my pace As it hides many secrets Beneath its muddled jungle maze.
Carly Johnson â€˜15
Water’s Breath By Madison Glinksi ‘15
Cold as ice the water flows
Our muscles scream as we make them work fast
It surrounds me as I go
They don’t resist instead they try their best
Breathe in, breathe out
Breathe in breathe out
It surrounds me as I go
They try their best
Arm over arm, into the water I swim
Only twenty yards to go
I try to be fast enough to win
Trying to be faster than your foes
Breathe in, breathe out
Breathe in breathe out
Fast enough to win
Faster than your foes
Thunder fills the air and sea
I slam the wall with my hand
We try not to listen as they cheer
Looking around at my last stand
Breathe in, breathe out
Breathe in breathe out
Listen as they cheer
I won my last stand
Junyan (Kevin) Li ‘15
Elizabeth Burnett ‘14
Unknown Song By Madison Glinksi ‘15 Love is a song that no one knows. You hear it again and again but don’t know how it goes. It is wordless, it is tuneless, it is has powerful tones And it breaks new barriers for us two foes.
Gabrielle Molnar ‘16 PERK
I Am Empty By Sidney Palmer â€˜18 He is here to fix me Ribs crack open as he pokes at my heart But I don't shed a tear, for I don't feel pain He is searching, prodding, picking Hope He mumbles, frowns and goes back to his notes Scribbling furiously Frustration I sigh, without feeling "I told you, I haven't anything of worth to you. There's no point in searching for something that isn't there." He moans, pressing his forefinger into the bridge of his nose Agony I look into his gray eyes, full of emotion and pain Heavy, purple bags, physical evidence of his hurt "I know." He whispers, "but I still believe in you." "I don't." He chuckles softly, more to himself than me Sorrow "She'll hurt you. Like she did all of the others." I say it, hoping to feel sadness, but nothing comes "I know. But it will be worth it. Knowing you. You're unique. No one like you. Both of you." I try to force a smile, but she escapes my lips Her black limbs, slithering towards him But he isn't alarmed, for he knew what his fate would be I close my eyes Not that seeing it would hurt I would wish for it to hurt, if I could wish Or want Or feel emotion "It was nice knowing you." Maybe he heard, maybe he didn't I say it through gritted teeth, eyes squeezed shut When I open them, he is gone I knew he would be She hisses, satisfied with her meal Full I open my mouth, reluctantly, as she crawls back in Enveloping me with cold I shed a single tear for the man A tear with no real feeling behind it, but a tear nonetheless Here I am again Alone Emotionless Empty A knock at the door "Hello" A man enters, briefcase full of tools in hand The single, flickering light bulb projecting his fragile silhouette onto the blank walls "I am here to fix you."
Hours: A Haiku By Madison Glinski ‘15 Darkness steals the light As soft day turns to steep night It is all alright.
Ying (Amy) Li ‘15
Death By Madison Glinski ‘15 It blooms in the night, Dark, black, and daring. It kills the beautiful, The strong the sparing. It takes the sick into its arms, It makes the old anew. Death seems caring in a different point of view.
Yi-Ting (Nancy) Lin ‘14
Guidelines By Madison Glinski ‘15 Guidelines are what they say they are, You must follow them precisely, But if life has no regulations, Then are guidelines suggestions?
Anthony Perdue ‘14
Here We Go By Sierra Hausman â€˜20
Run! Here we go... Clubs in hands... To make our last stand! What will we do now? Quickly; to Mom-mom's House! The video games and shows seemed like innocent fun, But the zombie apocalypse has begun! Load the guns- start the fires. Check the gas - kick the tires. Never get bitten or you will be just another casualty in World War Z!
Jingqiong (Miranda) Yang â€˜17
This Isn’t My Dream By Nicole Pupillo ‘14 This isn't my dream I don’t move this way I’m just trying to build my esteem I’m trying to gleam But I just become their prey This isn't my dream I'm trying to flow upstream But I'm just swimming astray I’m just trying to build my esteem I am on a balance beam As if my life has fallen away This isn't my dream It’s time to let go of everyone's dream It’s all just locked away, it’s a new day I’m just trying to build my esteem It's time to redeem Tear away, turn away that old time of day This isn't my dream I was just trying to build my esteem
Elizabeth Burnett ‘14
Ying (Amy) Li ‘15
Yi-Ting (Nancy) Li ‘14
Gabrielle Molnar ‘16
Yi-Ting (Nancy) Li ‘14
Sick Day Sonnet By Hunter Lomire ‘16
On the day before the first day of class I woke with a very scratchy sore throat. I ate a pancake that went down like glass watching fox news attentive as a goat. At noon I could feel my head start turning it was like the tilt-a-whirl at the park and I felt my stomach begin churning a painful start, leaving me in the dark. I took some pills, alas, to no avail. I felt a bomb explode in every cough. Then when all the systems began to fail, the roaring cough and heave into a trough.
Adelaida Glinski ‘15
It was over, and I was finally well. Just another sick day locked in a cell.
Ying (Amy) Li ‘15 PERK
ON BEING ASIAN AMERICAN It’s strange being Asian in a place where everyone seems white or at least not Asian. Since preschool, I’ve always been the kid to stick out in class pictures as the girl with the stereotypical long, dark hair and the squinty eyes. It’s always been hard finding where I fit in with the mix. I’ve attended two boarding schools, both of which have a student population majority of mostly Asian international students. At first, all the domestic students think I don’t speak English and ignore me until I say something to them at lunch or during sports practices. The international Asians see me and think that I am one of them. They welcome me with open arms until they realize that I don’t speak Mandarin, and from that point on, I am no longer one of them; I am an outsider. These experiences used to make me resent being an Asian who identifies more with people and a culture far from what is expected. My entire life, I’ve had to prove myself to people and break their stereotypes of what they think of Asians to be. Their comments are typically: “Well, you’re Asian, so you must be super smart. Do you have a ‘tiger mother?’ Are you Chinese or Asian? Can you understand what’s written on that sign?” My answers have always been: “I’m bad at math, and I get good grades because I study. No, my parents are American. China is in Asia, so yes to both. No, I can’t understand that because I only speak English, and plus, that sign is in Korean.” A few weeks ago, I attended my first student diversity conference. At these conferences, kids from all different schools, races, religions, and socioeconomic backgrounds come together to discuss issues surrounding these social differences. At one point in the conference, we were split into affinity groups according to our ethnicity. Of course, I went to the Asian one, but at first, I was hesitant to go, fearing that I’d be the only American. But to my delight, I found some Asian American girls who were just like me. They had American last names and dressed in American styles. For the first time in my life, I felt like I wasn’t the only one of my type wandering around, trying to act normal. During the 45-minute discussion period, we talked and laughed about each other’s strange experiences of being Asian in a Caucasian world. Before that, I hated being the odd one out, the one that when someone asked where my family was from, I had to answer, “I don’t know. Some place in China, I guess,” only for the person to sympathetically answer, “Oh.” To the five of us girls, suddenly, we became “normal.” We didn’t have to worry about looking too Asian or too American for our surroundings. To us, we were just us. And to me, I was just me. In that moment, I embraced my past and realized how proud I was to be part of a rare species.
Keep Your Head Down As the smoke cleared I peeked out over the cover of the plywood fence that me and my squad were hiding behind, I felt like I was in the Middle of Saving Private Ryan. In front of me were scattered trees, piles of rubble, and the frames of destroyed vehicles, behind all of them members of my unit that were desperately trying not to get hit. Beyond the tree line lay an open field full of boulders and pieces of cover and beyond that, there it laid: our objective, Tippmann Castle. A huge square wooden structure with four towers on each corner, each lined with tall skinny windows with just enough room to stick the barrel of a gun through. Within the walls of the Castle lay another building, a two story “Keep” with a deck on the second floor that had a machine gun emplacement focused on the main entrance of the fort. I looked back down and turned to Carrigan Miller, my best friend and squad mate. “Hm. So how are we gonna manage to make it out of this.” I said nonchalantly. “We need to communicate with your brother’s squad, over there” he pointed behind me to a two story tower facing the castle, and I could see my brother and about 5 of my teammates huddled behind the wall, blindly firing. “If we can coordinate a joint attack with them and those stragglers over by the down helicopter, maybe we’ll work something out.” I had been thinking the same exact thing. Although historically a frontal attack with overwhelming numbers had worked (D-Day, Thermopylae, The Somme) that tactic would not work for us, simply because once we reached the walls of the Castle, our numbers would have been so depleted we wouldn’t stand a chance when breached the perimeter. As I was explaining this dilemma with Carrigan, another member of my unit, Kal scrambled over. “Karl! What’s the plan?! I just came around from the left side and the guys over there said they’re waiting on your move!” He was trying to yell over the sound of the sound of bullets flying by, now getting more accurate. “Let me see what it looks like from over here” He peeks over the cover, “I think I can pick them o—“ before he finishes his sentence Splat a paintball bullet hits in right in the face, his head snaps back as he becomes unbalanced and falls onto the ground. “Ahh sh*t.” he said, frustrated. “Sorry man, head back to the spawn point” I replied. “You guys got this, put ‘em down” He said before walking away in defeat. From where I was, this seemed like a tall order. While I knew my unit, my brother’s unit to my right, and my friend Wilson’s squad, on the far left, would follow the orders reasonably well, I wasn’t familiar with the other 20 something members of our team, and was worried that they wouldn’t follow our tactics. This would be a problem because we need every man available if we were gonna breach this castle and raise our flag, signaling our victory.
think it makes sense to explain just what exactly is going on. Over the summer my friend’s and I had gotten pretty bored of doing the same old thing. Hang out, go hiking, play music, play videogames, go swimming. Yeah they are all great activities that I would kill to do right now, but by early august we wanted to try something new. So after a few days of group facebook chats and getting equipment, we settled on taking a bunch of guys to Skirmish, a massive Paintball facility in PA. The venue consisted of over a thousand acres of playable maps, including mock towns, dense forests, open fields, and of course, Tippmann castle. No teenage dude would turn down an offer to play paintball at a friggin’ castle, so we rounded up about 18 guys, some friends of mine, some friends of my brother, and set off. At the arena our group was split into three squads, each squad voting a leader, and I was honored to be elected along with Wilson and JP. Back to the action. I knew I had to think of a plan soon, because our numbers were already starting to fall. I requested my squad to provide cover fire while I ran from cover to cover until I reached my brother. “Fancy seeing you here” he said as I was collecting my breath “Got a plan?” I replied “Not a f***ing clue.” Lucky for him I had conjured up a plan while hiding behind the plywood, and told him what we would do.
“I don’t know if it’ll work, but I got nothing coming up and the longer we wait here the harder this is gonna get.” The plan was simple, well, relatively. We would rally the random guys on our team along with my squad and Johns, and Wilsons unit, which was already on the left flank, would stay behind. Combining the 12 men between me and my brother, along with about 20 other guys, we would all open up on the castle from right flank, while moving closer and closer to the exterior of the structure. The teams were divided up so that there would me more men attacking, and the ratio was about 4:1. This meant that if they had any chance of stopping out assault, they would need as many guns pointed at us as possible. Also, the opposing team was not nearly as organized as us and pretty much every person on their side wanted all the action. While they would be distracted by our maneuver, Wilson’s squad (along with about 5 other team members) would wait about 2 minutes before advancing. They would hold their fire and try to move as quickly to the Left wall as possible, breach through a side door next to one of the four towers, and then raise the flag while mowing down the other team who would be engaged on us to the right. Our group moved to the edge of the tree line. In front of us lay about 50 yards of open field with scattered cover, not enough for the estimated 25 troops who would be rushing through it. The only safe bet to not get hit was to make it all the way to the wall. We held our fire, preparing ourselves. I was surprised at the constitution of the men on our side, even the guys I didn’t know were following the orders, I think they enjoyed playing the part as much as I did.
took a deep breath, looked at my brother kneeling next to me, and said it. “LETS DO THIS, LEEERROOOYY JEEENNNKIIIINNNNSSS” Simultaneously, everyone popped up from their cover, began firing rapidly, and sprinted towards the fort. If the scene resembled Saving Private Ryan before, the similarities now were uncanny. All around me there were splashes of paint, guys were getting hit left and right, the sound of paintballs whizzing by along with the yelling of guys on both sides became deafening. However, it would only get worse. As members of the other team who were on the opposite side of the fort heard the commotion, they rushed over to get a piece of the action. The amount of bullets flying by doubled, and all around me guys were cursing from getting hit. I was running and gunning but I knew it was only a matter of time before I would get nailed, but I knew we had to keep going. As I was one of the last guys to go I saw the remainder of my squad in front of me. However at this point we had already lost 3 guys, Tim, Dennis, and Ram. All three had been taken out on the sprint. We still had about 20 yards to go, and I was questioning if enough were going to reach the wall to help out Wilson once he had breached the back door. As I was moving I saw Carrigan shooting from behind cover, I grabbed him pulled him up to get him moving again, but right as he took a step thwack thwack thwack he was nailed three times in the gut. I had to keep moving. Eventually I reached the wall, but there only seemed to be about 8 or 9 guys who had done the same, only Tim was from my squad. We were less than a foot from the enemy but we had no way to engage each other. I yelled at Emil, one of the guys in my brother’s squad.
“Yoooo that was intense! Where’s John?” “He got hit right in the bean basket” Emil replied, gasping for breath. Luckily, some of the random guys we didn’t know decided to pay an extra 10 dollars to get paint grenades, and for that they’ll be in my heart forever. We tossed the paint filled balloons through windows, and soon eough we heard people complaining that their shirts had been ruined from the other side. I motioned the remaining men on the wall to move around to the front of the fort, and move in through the gate, but right as I turned the corner I got busted on my right shoulder. Paint exploded and got under my mask. I cursed, but as a looked up I saw our flag had been raised. A moment later the whistle blew and Wilson and one other squadmate, Derrick, the only other remaining guy from their left sided assault, exited the Keep, while the biggest grins I’ve ever seen. It was a good day.
Ssibal "Ssibal" was dropped in the middle of the campus. Shock wave numbed our ears and the ground was shacking. The first greeting to newly arrived soldiers was cold and dreading. It seemed like it was foreboding the future of them, especially me. My uncle and I quickly rushed to the refugee named Shumo Hall away from hail of Koreans launching their S-bomb. However the refugee wasn't in a good shape either. Almost like a ruin, untouched for decades, the pail white wall reminded me of a concentration camp than a home. My uncle's face crumbled with mix of disappointment and disbelief. "It haven't change a bit since I left the school". He finally commented. Which means at least for a two decades, the Schumo hall was left with boys who only know how to mess up. Carpet was molded, the painting were dusted and faded like it survived through WWII. I felt unsafe to sit in the couch in the lounge. Whole placed seemed dilapidated. Only one word came out from my mouth. "Wow". I felt ineffable disappointment to what I was seeing. I thought prep school was full of joy and luxury. Only exposure of boarding school was Hogwarts in harry potter. So like every boy in my age, my imagination spurred, creating a fantasized school. School that did not have a flying stairs (since this is technically impossible) but have a antique desk, embellished window, and two bunker bad that will fuel fun to mischievous boys. But there was a left over cup-and-noodle. Instead of antique desk, there was a desk full of the doodling and crack. Instead of decorated window, there was a broken mosquito net. "So this is what my parents fooled me in to". I thought to myself. Maybe the pain would be less sever if my mother told me that I should not expect that much from boarding school. Maybe it would have been better if my grandmother did not told me there would be steak every day. (By the way, the steak was sliced roast beef). But they did not, they did every little thing to make me love the idea of boarding school. Just left my uncle and me with these. These cup and noodle package that filled the closet, and hot room without air conditioner. I think I digressed too much with the refugee condition, because the Korean soldiers were still coming with their semi-automatic shooting Korean hierarchy. Well, I did not have that gun. Naive boy than a trained solider did not even know the existence of such gun. Being oblivious from previous bomb drop, I innocently approached to them. "Hi! I'm new student. Nice to meet you" The boy greeted. "Hello, sir! nice too meet you! How old are you?" Solider replied "Oh, I'm thirteen." I quickly answered. Bang! the bullet pierced through my skull. I see his face slowly changing out of confusion. I had a wrong answer. Wrong code or wrong number. Well, it did not take so long for the soldier to load his gun and aim right through my head. Still I had no idea what I did wrong.
But the result only shouted to me that I did something wrong. Oh, yes I did something wrong. Something I forgot for a long long time. Something that I do only to my parents not to my "peers". The respect, the Korean hierarchy. The convoluted rule slowly stifled me. I knew exactly where I was, and I did not want to be here. There was a second of awkward silence and my quick apology followed. "I'm so sorry. I did not ask your age." Luckily, according to Geneva convention, no hostage can be killed. And my uncle was just that, Geneva Convention protecting me. At least just for now. As soon as my uncle came to check what is going on, solider knew exactly what was going on. He held back his gun and blew away the smoke from the gun shot, so quickly situation was resolved. "Nice to meet you, what is your name? I'm taehoon's uncle" My uncle introduced himself. "Nice to meet you too. My name is ______. Can I help you with anything?" Solider replied. "Yes, It would be nice if you can help us cleaning up the room. As you know, there are bunch of thresh in the closet." "Well, this will get awkward" I thought to myself. So, there it was, Tom helping a little chubby Jerry, throwing out Korean food packages. Very little words came across. We were all silent vacuuming the floor and whipping down dust. I piled my clothes from huge luggage bag which my
family often called "immigration bag". And as the cleaning came to an end, solider rushed out from the awkwardness, as he knew I was untouchable as long as my Geneva Convention protected me. My uncle soon followed out to get a refrigerator and some food from Wal-Mart. So there I was giving my room a final touch to make it mine, completely neglecting the owner of those thresh in my closet. My roommate.
The Parable of Multiple Choice By Colin Corcoran I was perfectly aware that the English exam was going to be difficult before I entered the room, cast a shade of yellow from the overhead lights. It was about 8:25 (I had done a fairly good job of keeping track of time) when I became utterly stuck on a very tough question. What I truly regret was that I chose to ignore the wise words of my teacher, and her request not to become too hung up on a single question faded into nothing. The question, which concerned the second passage of four on the multiple choice section of the exam was as follows: “The description of the dandelion as ‘a horrible, beautiful yellow,’ serves…”
The passage in question was a brief excerpt from a melancholy memoir about the
effects of weeding on a young boy in a country that I’m fairly sure was Ireland. Throughout the passage was an amplified use of parallel constructions and lovingly crafted imagery, which served to highlight the repeated oppressions of the child. Scanning the passage, I detected the quote on line 37, preceded by, “After I witnessed the sun dip down another miserable inch, I bent down upon my knees and grasped the flower, a horrible, beautiful yellow.” My sore hands gripped the paper, whose words spelled such awful things, but wrote such stunning images, and I began to read the five possible responses.
The first answer, marked as A, was well known to me as the ‘attractor,’ used as a
devilish agent to appear as the answer. It calls out to all susceptible students with its simple language and seemingly obvious logic, declaring, “Pick me! Forget the others! Don’t even bother to read them! Just pick me!” This time, A chose to say, “to emphasize the irony of the experience.” Irony (the discrepancy between what is said and what is meant), the key attracting term, whose definitions were so varied that the choice seemed obvious, jumped out to me as if highlighted in yellow. While the flower being described as “horrible” does almost transmit an example of verbal irony, it is too vague to qualify as an answer. I silenced the attractor’s calls with a mark from my pencil.
“to refer to the motif of yellow throughout the passage,” was what B decided to say. I
had not realized until then that yellow was even a motif (a repeated word, phrase, or idea) and
looking, back, I noticed a few examples of it interspersed within the paragraphs. Yellow was the color used to describe the sun, the stripes of yellowjackets, and the aforementioned dandelion. While it was certainly used in the passage, other colors were used to a similar degree without qualifying as a motif, and I made an aim to cross it out as an option. It was as the tip of my pencil approached the exam that I observed my tool even closer, a yellow Ticonderoga number 3 pencil. Suddenly, yellow began to flood in everywhere I looked. Yellow was the color of the light bulbs overhead, the sun outside, and the sticky notes littering the teacher’s desk. The color itself I never held in high regard, but its emphatic use as an unpleasant, but beautiful color could be defined as a motif. I left the answer uncrossed.
C decided to use, “to highlight the contrast of the dandelion’s beauty and the difficult
work.” Wait, isn’t this exactly was A was all about? Choice A was the painfully and intentionally vague “to emphasize the irony of the experience,” which brought up the idea of verbal and contextual contrast within the sentence. Choice C was, in fact, only a more specific version of choice A. This forced me to reconsider what was meant by choice A, for, if C had enough truth inside of itself to qualify as a correct answer, but then what could have been so wrong with A to make it incorrect? On the other hand, having both of them wrong would make much more sense. As I thought, I turned my aforementioned Ticonderoga number 3 pencil over and over in my hand, feeling its grooves, bumps, and disparities. Its tip had become a finely adapted surface, and its frays on the conic wood jumped out in such mesmerizing patterns. The pencil itself was indeed beautiful, a surprising trinket to find in the middle of this difficult work. Looking back at choice C, I reconsidered for a bit. I left it uncrossed.
D chose a relatively new direction, going with “to allude to the author’s description of
his aunt.” Once again, I was forced to flip back through the packet in order to find the object of desire, which became slightly easier the more I did it. I scanned the paragraph in which she was described in detail, and I did in fact find an oxymoron in the second line, in which the author recognized her as an “awful, kind relative.” Once again, I was ultimately cheated by the question’s vagueness; the description of his aunt did contain an oxymoron, similar to the dandelion’s description, but simply using an oxymoron was just on the teetering point of actually becoming an allusion. This question must have been conceived with the utmost care
and appreciation, a horrible, beautiful question. With much regret and much caution, I left it uncrossed.
E was the final choice in this harrowing journey, reminding me sadly of the time when I
was first introduced to an E as a possible answer on a multiple choice test, and all of the horror and doubt that followed. The only horror that matched that discovery in an academic setting was my eventual reading of the answer: “all of the above.” You have got to be kidding me. My mind had suddenly unspooled into a series of questions and questions that stemmed off of those previous questions: B, C, and D are all mostly right at least, but what about A? Making A a correct answer would subsequently make E correct, but it would not save it from the questions surrounding its similarity to C. Furthermore, any of the answers have about the same chance of being correct, but an equal chance of being incorrect, prompting further analysis and discourse within my head. I thought of the dandelion, and the irony of the experience, and the aunt, and the sun, and the soft beauty of my Ticonderoga number 3. My horribly, beautifully yellow Ticonderoga number 3. My mind and my eyes lingered on that pencil for several seconds, and ideas rose and fell like a field of yellow dandelions efflorescing and wilting over the windy spring months. And then, every answer became clear as my mind flew back into exam‐level action. Choice A is incorrect because its position is too vague and does not reference a specific account of irony, in the process making choice E incorrect. Next: Choice B is incorrect, because yellow is only used in moderation and ultimately balanced with other colors. Next: Choice D is incorrect, because his aunt is not given a sufficiently oxymoronic description to make the dandelion an allusion. Therefore: choice C is the correct… “Time’s up.” My Ticonderoga number 3 pencil rolled out of my hand and collided with the desk, the eraser landing first. I couldn’t remember how many blank spaces followed the half‐scribbled C, nor could I recall the proctor’s instructions as I blindly stared ahead. I did, however, remember my epiphany, and the thoughts and emotions that rung and rolled throughout my head as I blazed through each choice. My time with the exam was indeed a horrible, beautiful experience.
My Dear Charlotte By Pauline Reck Dear Charlotte, Please forgive me for accepting such horrid accusations. I must emphasize the distrust I feel towards Mr. Hamilton: this trial will not end without my eradication. The town has no vote, but that would not change the outcome. There is not a single soul who would vouch for me. My time on this land is limited and I must revive my tale before it is forever lost on the sea of the collective conscience. I do not practice the Devil's magic. Neither do I dabble in the Dark Arts. I do not own a cauldron for brewing spells, nor a wand to cast my wishes. The town will not search for evidence, for they believe that I can hide it from plain sight. Please, my dear Charlotte, you must believe this to be true so I may continue with my tale. This scandal takes root with the arrival of Sir Lewis Turner. He traveled far, across the world to find land in which he could plow for its agricultural riches. For this purpose, the land in front of our street caught his attention. He appeared at your house in search of the owner. You, my dear Charlotte, answered the door, a mistake too late to amend. With your beauty that challenges Aphrodite and your personality that enlightens even the darkest of souls, you captivated his heart and hooked it around yours. The look in your eyes served as a premonition that enraged the farthest corners of my mind. Not even the four elements could stop me from tearing Sir Lewis limb from limb; yet, I restrained, for how will that appeal to you, my sweetest Charlotte. I, suffering from the outermost jealousy, could simply watch how he deceived your heart and mind until you were completely and hopelessly enthralled. If anyone were to be convicted of witchcraft, he is the one to turn too. How he subjugated you is completely unnatural, for I have tried unsuccessfully during the great majority of my life. When he proposed to you, my heart could not bare your content. That was supposed to be me: caressing your marbled visage, invading your dreams, and providing you with eternal happiness. That was supposed to be me, my dear Charlotte. The Stars simply decided to play with my heart and my sanity. The Firmament ridiculed me with every smile, every laugh, and
every single kiss you and Sir Lewis shared. I could not bare it. My heart languished and my mind was in the brink of insanity. That is when Alexandra Berkley approached me, feeble and spiritless, with a solution: a potion that would annihilate Sir Lewis. Naturally, being a faithful man, I rejected the temptation of watching Sir Lewis suffer in the pits of hell. I walked away questioning my own morals. If I were to use the potion I would splash in the Devil's waters but I would have murdered Sir Lewis without a trace of foul play; yet if I did not use it and followed the moral standards of society, I would have condemned myself to a life of misery of being kept in your shadows. I am sorry my dear Charlotte, but I do not regret my decision: I returned to Alexandra's house in search of the potion. The night of your engagement, Sir Lewis celebrated with his friends at Samuel's. Surprisingly, I was invited to the event. I must have seemed harmless to him; another neighbor who, out of courtesy, was invited. How wrong his judgment was, my dear Charlotte; how terribly wrong he was. That was my chance; I decided to treat him to a drink. I cautiously tipped the contents of the crystal bottle Alexandra handed to me into the beverage. I could barely keep my excitement as every drop of the colorless, odorless liquid dripped. Sir Lewis did not suspect me of treachery and drank merrily, grateful for the free drink. I cannot describe in words the disappointment that washed over me when his heart did not give out. I watched carefully for any sign of an approaching death as my prey boisterously danced and celebrated with his friends. Nothing occurred; therefore, frustrated, I followed him in the dark. The fog threatened my sense of direction, but my determination for death and curiosity on the reliability of magic navigated me through. Sir Lewis, inebriated and confused, got lost easily in the thick darkness that a moonless night produces. The potion did not seem to have an effect, but at last I had him helpless in a situation that favored me. I surprised him from behind with an iron bar to the back. He tumbled forward under the dim lights of the silent houses. I had him, I finally had him. My revenge, although not according to plan, was at hand. The joy I was experiencing is inexpressible in words, my dear Charlotte. I took the iron bar and bashed it into his skull over, and over, and over; until his face was indiscernible. The warm blood splashed my arms and face and stained my clothes. My then gradual hatred reached its peak and lashed out in that life changing
moment. My heart was pounding, my stomach was turning, and my body was sweating. What a thrill! Oh dear Charlotte how I wish this would have happened sooner, for I had not lived until that day. I threw the carcass into the river and washed my body in its banks. The water around me became dark and I rejoiced at the idea of Sir Lewis' death. My dearest Charlotte, you must understand that I did this for you. I saved you from the covetous Stars who fame themselves of playing with the destinies of human beings. Our fate was to be together, there was supposed to be no Sir Lewis and, therefore, no murder. The town accuses me of witchcraft and conspiracy with Alexandra Berkley to murder Sir Lewis, yet no witchcraft was done by my part. In fact, no dark magic took place at all, for the potion had no effect whatsoever. I simply confessed because the punishment for murder is the same as witchcraft: death by hanging. What does it matter if I am charged for Dark Magic or for murder, I will still be condemned to eternal misery for my deeds. It was worth it: I have saved you, my dear Charlotte; you will not suffer from a fate not belonging to you. Sadly, you will not live out your true fate... our fate. I write to you for the last time, for my time awake on this land will be cut short, but I hope you will not forget me, my sweetest Charlotte. I hope you will eventually commit something as foul as I have so we shall meet again in the gates of hell. Until then, I shall be waiting for you. From your dearest, Charles Ezequiel Willard
What was the happiest moment of your life? Hiking in the Adirondacks with my dad. On top of the mountains, planning the next hike, everything.
The first time I boarded an airplane and went to Disneyland.
-Madison Glinski Going home to China
When I learned that I got a full scholarship for college
No specific time, but when I’m with my friends or playing with animals or kids. I’m happiest when I feel like I’m making others happy.
What was the saddest moment of your life? When I realized you are supposed to “grow up” Leaving my family to study at Perk -Mary Dent
When I got denied by my dream school -Ben Wang
-Daniel Che When my dog died
My grandfather’s death -Frank Lin
When my guinea pig died -Anonymous
-Duncan MacIntyre Once my true friend became someone that I only used to know. -Sung Woo Byun
When I was having trouble with jerks -Leo Li
What are you most afraid of? Losing faith in people that I love Lizards. Or drowning (even though I can swim). Dying by drowning sounds scary.
-Sung Woo Byung
Spiders and snakes
-Isabella San Miguel
-Colin von Mehren
Failure and not fulfilling my purpose in life
Heights… No, falling
Dogs (especially German Shepherds) -Drew Adamczak
Being alone -Frank Lin
Hurting someone or not being able to help them -Madison Glinski
What is something weird about you? I have a favorite color of the day. Everything. -Drew Adamczak
I really like learning and my church- I don’t think that’s very weird, but many people would beg to differ.
-Mary Dent My laugh is really weird. -Carri Yeager
I laugh at things that shouldn’t be funny to normal people. -Destinee Astheimer
I enjoy doing laundry. I also won’t buy anything unless I have a coupon for it. -Abi Rose-Craver
I like eating straight-up mayo and drinking pickle juice -Patrick Vetter
I play the bagpipes -Connor Bade
What is your greatest life struggle right now? Diabetes. Itâ€™s not really a struggle cause I know how to take care of it, but it sucks, and I hate having to do it.
Trying not to drive myself crazy while finding a summer job
-Isabella San Miguel
Finishing Ride to Hell Retribution
Writing an English Paper
Learning English -Daniel Che
Staying focused on what matters
Trying not to worry about minor things
What do you want to be when you grow up? Navy SEAL A teacher, but my parents want me to be a lawyer
-Mary Dent Actuarial Scientist
Owner of a large hotel chain -Ben Wang
Athletic Trainer -Jasmine Cora
Biomechanical engineer, mechanical engineer, aeronautical engineer -JJ Heffernan
Biomechanical engineer, prosthesis therapist, or a combat medic for the Army. Biology teacher as my civilian job.
Architect -Kevin Li
-Madison Glinski Ambassador Diplomat -Colin von Mehren
If you could give advice to a large group of people, what would you say? Love yourself. Make yourself happy before others, and don’t dwell on the little things in life. If you don’t like something, change it, and if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.
Always keep a spare phone charger with you. -Vinny Ferdock Don’t be a pushover! Stand up for what you think is right. And appreciate your family.
-Isabella San Miguel Live with no regrets
Your eyes, brain, and heart are all different things. Don’t confuse them.
If you work less, the results will be less. If you work hard, the results will be more. No such thing is free.
Be nice to the weird kids. They’re some of the coolest people once you get to know them.
-Sung Woo Byun
There’s no point in being grown up if you can’t be childish sometimes.
Be yourself and be happy. -Erika Rodenberger
Read more books!
Don’t let the most popular opinions sway your ideas or beliefs.
Everyone’s a jerk.
-Patrick Vetter Have fun. -Connor Bade
If you know you are going to fail, don’t be afraid to fail epically. -Madison Glinski
The only impossible things are the ones you’ve never thought about. -Kevin Li
What is your favorite thing about your best friend? She can keep it real with me and not sugar-coat things.
She’s crazy, but we understand each other perfectly. -Mary Dent
He agrees with me, but will also argue with me when appropriate -Drew Adamczak
She knows not to disturb me when I’m reading
She makes me laugh until my sides hurt
I can never truly be sad because she will do whatever it takes to see me smile again.
Our common interests which are what helped us meet each other
-Isabella San Miguel
What was the funniest moment you’ve spent with your best friend? Playing Flappy Bird Trying to jump over the outfield fence going to our last softball game before championships. I stood up and blatantly said, “I think I broke my arm,” as it was sticking out. It hurt so badly, yet now I can look back, and all I can do is laugh!
When she put a fitted sheet on her entire body and started yelling, “I AM A MATTRESS!” -Carri Yeager
We danced together.
Playing video games all night
Chewonki!!! -Dagny Barone
One time we spent a 6 hour bus ride together, and that was just all kinds of crazy fun. -Mary Dent
FaceTiming to the point where neither of us can speak since we’re laughing so hard -Erika Rodenberger
To Want It
“Abi is not good... But she wants it.” A pretty harsh line for a twelve‐year‐old to hear, but this moment helped in my development of how I deal with life’s persistent challenges. Some people see sports as an outlet, a tactic to release energy that has been bundled up for too long, a way to blow off steam after a trying day, a fun activity. For me, sports activities have always felt like a form of torture with the running and the sweating and the dreaded wall squats. My dislike for sports started long before this incident, but scoring in the opponents’ goal was the tipping point in this grand adventure. To this day, I can still hear Coach Jun, my sixth grade field hockey coach’s voice, giving the team a pre‐game pep talk in her Chinese accent. Since my teammates and I were crammed like sardines on that overheated yellow school bus, unfocused and on the brink of heat strokes, I don’t remember all that she said. “Be focused. Be aggressive out there. Stay on your marked girl.”‐ the usual chalk‐talk. And finally, she focused on me and exhaled that line, “Abi is not good... But she wants it.” The next year, I signed up for the field hockey team again, only to score the winning goal for the other team. Many later events in my life would follow a similar pattern. In seventh grade: basketball, the summer before eighth grade: Tang Soo Do martial arts, ninth grade: volleyball. Every time I got knocked down, I quit. But the fall of my sophomore year, things started to turn in a different direction. To fulfill my school’s physical activity requirement, I joined the tennis team, hoping that a less physically rigorous sport would be my calling. Unfortunately, it was not. After a grueling three‐day preseason, I had earned a spot on the junior varsity team. For the rest of the season, I ran the sprints and always crossed the line in last place. I played in scrimmages and lost the matches about 95% of the time. Despite my failures, I remembered that traumatic‐at‐the‐time moment in sixth grade and how much I wanted it. I figured if that scrawny eleven‐year‐old kid with the braces and oversized cleats could do it, I could. So, I decided to stick around and found myself quickly falling in love with the game. By the middle of the season in my junior year, the coaches had been watching me for the past two years. I still crossed the end line last and lost only 75% of my scrimmages, but they still saw how much I wanted to improve. To my luck, some of the opposing teams had extra varsity players, and my coaches chose me to play in exhibition matches. They chose me not because of my skill level, but because I had showed them all season how much I wanted to play. From that point on, I was in the game, and that was enough for me. I don’t need the greatest grades, to win the most prizes, or to be the fastest one out on the courts. I don’t want to be the firecracker blazing down the field scoring all the goals and racking up all the points, but rather the slow burning ember with a deep‐seeded passion burning inside of me. If I can want it like I did on that hockey field back in middle school, I can achieve anything.
Through a Window Dagny Barone It’s a crisp, clear, Saturday morning. The faint smell of an underground subway permeates the air. You hear the honking of cars and trucks far off in the distance. Yet, looking in through the enormous glass windows in front you, you see a group of over one hundred high school students sitting perfectly still in rows of perfectly placed chairs. The only movement is the lifting up and down of their fingers on steel, wood, or brass and the sweeping motions of bows. The distant of sound of a Mahler symphony can be heard if you press your ear against the glass. And, yet nobody turns to look. Each person’s focus on both their music and the conductor is so intense it almost feels like a weight pressing down on your shoulders. The music drifts through the air, each instrument creating a new emotion to stir within you. The low, solemn, undertones of the basses give a sense of quietly concealed melancholy. Suddenly, the violins and cellos sweep up the melody in a flourish of scales, tremolos and vibrato; the carry the music to new heights filled with joy and exuberance. The timpani resounds throughout the echoing hall, punctuating each beat, and adding a sense of majesty and control to the swirling energy you can feel even from outside. With a final crescendo of the trumpets, the music ends and only silence remains. Yet, in your mind you can still hear those echoing chords and feel your emotions lift even at the memory of them. For this small moment in time, you feel at perfect peace with your surroundings, completely calm and disconnected from the hectic world that normally surrounds you. This seemingly simple experience, this environment, is where you can let everything go and just breathe.
Microtia Man Andy Yang I was born deaf in one ear. Actually, I did not have an ear at all. Instead, I had a tiny piece of crumpled flesh that reminded me every day that I was different. My birth defect is called “Microtia,” which oddly sounds like a comic‐book superpower. As a child, I kept my hair long to hide my Microtia. No one really teased me until the third grade, when I transferred to a new elementary school. It is tough for any kid at a new school, let alone a kid with no ear. As I endured the daily teasing, I kept hoping reconstructive surgery would end the bullying. It took several painful procedures to create a new ear out of the cartilage from my ribs. After months of surgeries and recovery, I had a right ear for the first time in my life. Although I would never be able to hear with my new ear, life was peaceful for the rest of my grade school years in Seoul, Korea. When I moved to Virginia for middle school, I was once again “different,” but in a good, exciting way. I loved learning a new language and culture, and making new friends. A year after, however, I enrolled as a 7th grader at the Perkiomen School. It was a quick transition and I had hard time adjusting to unprecedented change. For me, Perkiomen wasn’t only about learning a new culture but was more about understanding many different cultures around the world and assimilating to both America and Korea. As hard as it was, the process was interesting and informative. It thought a lot about myself: about my personality and what I was lacking. I threw myself into sports, particularly football and powerlifting, sports that require both physical and mental strength. I pushed myself every day, forcing myself to grow stronger and stronger. By junior year, I became a totally different person, a respected member in football and ranked fourth in Pennsylvania in my weight class for power lifting. In my last powerlifting competition for the year, I managed to dead lift 450 pounds but failed twice to lift 465 pounds. That would have been a respectable end to a fine season. But something inside me told me to attempt the coveted 500 pound lift – a personal goal since my freshman year. It was the last lift of the entire competition, and all eyes were on me. I walked across the stage with the confidence that came from two years of intense training. I bent my knees and grabbed the metal bar, and simply stood up, effortlessly lifting all 500 pounds. Only when I heard the crowd cheer with my good ear did I realize what I had done. With this achievement, I gained a new sense of confidence. Others noticed, too. Coach Cal made it clear that he expected me to be one of the senior leaders on the football team My sports accomplishments have made me seem different now, but I will never forget what it felt like to be picked on for being different, either because I had Microtia or because I refused to follow rules set by bullies. I have promised to myself to be a friend who embraces everyone, especially those who may be “different.” That is what my superpower – Microtia – has taught me.
True Love Samira Uddin I see you standing in the cleaning products aisle with your voluptuous figure outlined with dust. Your vibrant color glistens in the light. Your curves perfectly fit in between my grasp. I twist you open as the cap‐grip lines imprint themselves on my fingers. You infuse the air with your crisp refreshing fumes. My lungs take in your relaxing scent; my mind is at peace and my soul is relieved. Lysol, you are my lifeline. You’re there for me when I need to disinfect my crumb‐cluttered keyboard and when I need to wipe my study table covered in eraser shavings and coffee spills. You keep me protected from the flu‐ infested, germ‐invaded, odor‐infiltrated air. You have helped me get through the smelliest and grimiest moments in my life. With you, all I need is one wipe and I instantly get a new start. Every spray, every drop – 99.9% of my mistakes are gone. Lysol, you have qualities not every human being has; I can count on you to always have my back, even if I leave you in the cabinet alone in the dark for months. You forgive me when I leave you for another disinfectant unknowingly, and still continue to help me keep my OCD secretive. Keeping myself sane with the compulsion to wipe every surface clean hasn’t been easy. I’ve searched high and low for a product to be able to tend to my needs and wipe away my paranoia ever since I learned the ugly truth about multi/mono celled organisms. Other brands either leave a slippery residue or don’t come with a calming aroma. But you, Lysol – I cannot even begin to try and comprehend how you are perfect in every way. Just like other brilliant pieces of work, I shall not question your beauty or talent. I’ll leave your magnificence as is. However, my love for you has to be kept secret. Hiding my covert affair with Lysol hasn’t always been easy. “You’re insane!” my father says to me every so often. My mother asks, “What do you do with your bottle of Lysol, child? Sniff it? Drink it? My friends jokingly ask every year, “What would you like for your birthday? A family of Lysol?” Must it be this complicated for other to understand and respect my way of living? I am brave enough to sleepin in the dark (with a desk lamp on). I am brave enough to kill insects (the size of my pinky, with my sanals and bug spray). I am courageous enough to unclog the shower drain (wearing industrial gloves). But when it comes to germs, I am a weakling. So go on Society. Go on and tease me about my mysophobia – but do not expect me to conform. As Emerson said, “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” Therefore, it’s me and Lysol; friends to the end.
Dancing Rhapsody Alanis Yu I am a phoenix on the branch. Every time I dance the classical Chinese sleeve dance, the colorful silk ripples like waves with breeze. I am a blazing fire, burning fervidly. Every time I dance the samba, I spin, writhe and celebrate like a dancer in a carnival. I am a light wind, a rose in bloom, a Spanish matador. I am everything when I dance and my identity shifts with the music and style. But one thing never changes: my dancing soul. When I was three years old, my mother took me to my first Chinese traditional dance class. She wanted to be the hands that nudged her daughter toward the endless ocean of Chinese dance, and then let her little girl decide whether she would dive in or shy away. I dove in. Along with the music, my body rotated, twisted, stretched without control of the brain. Every minute of melodic music, the variety of swift steps, the tough practice, the free‐flowing emotions in my heart enraptured me in pure joy. Chinese traditional dance is as much a part of my day as my three meals—a source of nourishment, a powerful way to train my stamina, to enlighten my cultural respect, and to invoke my passion for life. Yet, after ten years of immersing myself and progressing in Chinese dance, I began to realize that I was only in a river leading into an ocean. There was, and still is, a lot more outside my direct understanding of dance. It is time for me to explore the ocean rather than limit myself to one area. I began by learning Latin Dance. At first, I was a total mess. It was entirely against what I had spent years perfecting, which was more smooth, and graceful. Teetering in my unfitted, uncomfortable high‐heeled shoes, I could hardly control my body, let alone follow the complex steps and fast rhythm. However, after several weeks of digging into Latin dance, it dawned on me that there is a similarity between the two types of dance: the representation of culture. Each dance represents its unique culture along with its values and portrayals of life. The Peacock Dance, for example, represents culture of Yunnan minorities in China by mimicking the movements of their mascot, the Peacock. When I dance it, I always imagine myself as a peacock, eating foods light‐heartedly and flaunting tails with pride. Similarly, the Rumba, a type of Latin Dance, is more filled with swaying and lingering to show the passion between two lovers. Soft glances and longing for love are both the quintessential elements of the Rumba. I excelled in Chinese traditional dance because— while growing up in China—I had learned to embrace its profound culture, living patterns, nature and aesthetics. Now, I would have to do the same for Latin dance. I searched the origins of the Rumba, Cha‐Cha, and Samba and listened carefully to my teacher’s stories about the history of Latin dance. I followed the road to enter the sumptuous palace of Latin culture—its liberation, zeal, ebullience, romance, and complexity. By comparing and contrasting the movements of Latin and Chinese Traditional Dance, I deepened my comprehension of each culture and better understood how to move my body. Chinese dance is symbolic and mimics nature, representing the culture’s emphasis on traditional practices and values. Latin Dance, however, is more like free verse, showing the Latin culture’s emphasis on human relationships and feelings. The steps, jumps, and whirls reveal inner emotions. Only when one delves into the profound culture ingrained into each type of dance can one swim freely in the ocean of dance. With years of exploring dance and culture, I have shaped my character by embracing distinct worldviews, while persisting in my own meaning and value of life. I dream to dance my way to as many other countries in the world as I can.
I Want to Save the World Anthony Perdue Being a lower class, multi‐racial, bisexual guy from Newark, New Jersey, all of my experiences molded me into a motivated leader with a powerful drive for social justice. In middle school, I learned what it meant to earn things in life and what hard work gets you. As the years went on, being a multi‐ racial guy in a predominantly black area brought obstacles to my life that are very particular to being multi‐racial. My most recent experience has been coming out about being bisexual my junior year in high school, which also brought its share of issues. All of my struggles have made me want to make the world a better place for everyone else and future generations. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” I will be that change as a biracial, bisexual, lower class guy. At TEAM Academy, they made us earn everything. The first few days of school we had to sit on the floor in the gym and earn a chair by working hard and being nice. We also had to earn desks, classrooms, and uniforms. At the time, I thought this was cruel and unusual punishment, but as I got older, I realized TEAM taught me that, as a lower class kid, if I ever wanted to get out of poverty, I had to work as hard as I can and earn my way out. I learned that I had to be resilient and persevere in order to reach my goals in life. When I was younger I got jumped solely because I had lighter skin than most of my peers. In sixth grade I began to notice race more often as it became apparent that I had lighter skin than everyone else. It was so weird because I always identified with the African‐American side of my ethnicity more because that is what I was raised around. I was coming home from cross country practice, and as I waited for the bus, five older kids surrounded me and began to jump me. After the first punch, everything went white until I noticed I was on the bus and the bus driver had taken care of me. In my school, there were two other boys with my skin color and they had been jumped as well before me. Being multi‐racial is already hard because there’s a constant identity search, but to have others discriminate against me made everything harder. Being multi‐racial has inspired me to want to be an agent of racial equality. After an inspirational conference called the Student Diversity Leadership Conference, I came out about being bisexual. After being out, on my spring break, I was coming back home from the mall and while waiting for the bus, there were older guys behind me calling me a “faggot” and a “devil” because they just assumed I was gay. That night left me feeling like garbage, but with time and thought, I knew I couldn’t give up and let things like that affect me. I now have a burning passion toward equal rights for LGBTQ citizens. I went to the Gay pride festival of Newark and signed up to be a part of an organization called Garden State Equality, a group that has been fighting for marriage equality in New Jersey. I cannot sit around and wait for someone to pass my civil rights; being bisexual gives me a passion for gaining LGBTQ rights. The experiences of being a lower class, biracial, and bisexual guy from Newark, New Jersey have motivated me to want to fight for social justice all around the world. If I am going to help improve our world, I need to be educated, I need to be driven, and I need to be stronger. Using everything I have learned and experienced in my life, I will become an effective leader and be a part of the change I wish to see in the world.
Dagny Barone I’ve officially been at Perk for seven years, but really I feel like Perk has been in my life forever. When I was little, I used to attend classes with my mom on my days off from school, doing math alongside the fifth and sixth graders in the basement of Kriebel. Her classroom is still remembered fondly by her past students as “The Closet” because that’s really what it was before an extra classroom had been needed. I’ll always remember my first day at Perk, when I had to come in for a pre‐start of school spelling placement test and met Mindi, Maddy, Katherine, Jasmine, Brad, Sarah, Miles, and Eric for the first time. Dorita I had met occasionally because of my time going to math classes, and Emma had been my best friend since the day she was born (I’m a week older). Together we became the last group to go to Chewonki, Maine, some of the last to experience having exams all three terms, we played with the middle school dog Pal in the hallways, saw the Middle School library grow and evolve from only a few books to hundreds, and now, as a group of seven, are graduating together. I know I will miss everyone from the senior class next year, but this small group of seven who experienced all that Perkiomen had to offer together I will miss the most. I know each and every one of us is off to do great things, and I can’t wait to learn about the amazing things we will each do in the future.
Jasmine Cora Coming to Perk 7 years ago, I never imagined being a senior about to graduate in a few weeks. Everyone says time flies, which no one takes seriously, but it really does. Years ago, time seemed to go so slow, but looking back, I can’t believe how long it’s been. If you feel tortured by school, feeling like it’s never‐ending, take it from someone who’s been at Perk for so long, it’s going to go by faster than you can believe so have fun while it lasts. When I first came to Perk, there was probably not even 15 students in the 5th and 6th grade combined. We were all in one class and one group of friends. We’ve had so many memories, more than I can remember. Mrs. Scherrer was the teacher of the 5th and 6th grade class and she had a dog, Pal that she brought to school with her every day. Pal was definitely one of the highlights of our Middle School years, as was getting a skittle every time we answered a grammar question right. Not so pleasant, we will all also remember the corrections we had to do every day for math. We had to get every question on our homework right and if there was even one mistake, we’d stay until it was all correct. Being able to put a check next to our name on the board was always so relieving. We thought we were so cool running to and from lunch every day. We’d run back from lunch to get one of the computers in The Nallo Center, which was The Media Center then, to play games, especially Off The Rails.
Maddy Faraco A lot has changed at Perk since Middle School. Monday dress used to be Wednesdays, and when I was in 6th grade, we had to, or were supposed to, wear kilts on Wednesdays. The kilts were on backorder for so long that they just got rid of the kilt requirement. We were all very reluctant because most of us were not at all fond of skirts. We wore a different polo than the Upper Schoolers and we couldn’t wear any sweatshirt, only navy sweaters. Middle Schoolers back then rarely, if ever, had classes in any building other than the Middle School, and now it’s normal for them to. Not only have things changed, but we changed as well. As the years went on, our little group of friends made new friends and we weren’t as close‐knit anymore. With that said, now as a senior, I still talk to everyone from my 5th and 6th grade class that still attends Perk. We may have went our separate ways and joined different friend groups, but we’re definitely not strangers with each other and I’m even still really close with multiple people. After all this time, I’m really proud to say I’ve been at Perk for 7 years. New people come to Perk every year. Some have been here for 4 years and for some this is their first year. A lot happens every year so I’m happy I came so early, because along with everyone else that has been here for 7 or 8 years, we have a lot of memories to remember our experience.