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Collectors’ Items


Far Hills Country Day School

COVER PHOTO: Robbie Maffucci ‘18 Back Cover: Past issues of Collectors’ Items as arranged by 2018 Editors

This publication is a representation of the young writers, photographers, and artists of Far Hills Country Day School. Editors and Copy Editors: Johnny Dai, Keith Delaney, Benjamin Hartmann, Rohini Kandasamy, Cooper Kellogg, Brian Li, Elena Lu, Jack Osmond, and Matthew Westlake. Authors: 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students as credited throughout the magazine Artists: 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students as credited throughout the magazine Photographers: 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students as credited throughout the magazine Faculty Advisor: Hope Svendsen Printer: John Westlake

Upper School students of Far Hills Country Day School submit writing, art, and photography throughout the school year. The magazine is under the leadership of eighth grade editors and a faculty advisor (as listed above for 2018). The magazine is published in a digital/online format with limited hard copies printed.

© 2018 by Far Hills Country Day School, 697 US-202, Far Hills, NJ 07931 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be copied in any manner without permission. All images are © the artists, reproduced with the permission of the artists. Efforts have been made to contact copyright holders and to ensure that that all work presented is correct.

Collectors’ Items 2018 Dear Reader, The 2018 Collectors’ Items Team would like to thank Mrs. Zaiser, Mr. Woelper, and everyone who supported this year’s issue. Thank you Ms. Svendsen, for taking time out of her own schedule and putting so much effort into this magazine. Thank you to the English and Art Departments for supporting students in their creativity and various endeavors. We would also like to thank everyone who submitted to Collectors’ Items, because without them, this magazine wouldn’t exist. And finally, we thank you, our reader, for continuing to value writing and art. Enjoy Collectors’ Items 2018!

From the 2018 Collectors’ Items Team, Sonia Marran, Cooper Kellogg, Johnny Dai, Jack Osmond, Matthew Westlake, Brian Li, Elena Lu, Rohini Kandasamy, Benjamin Hartmann, and Keith Delaney (left to right)

TABLE OF CONTENTS Collectors’ Items by Johnny Dai and Brian Li……………………...…...…….….…….….……..…..1 Light by Maddie Rygh………………….………..……………………..…………....1 The Adventure Trip by Grace Martin………………………….….........….….…….….…...............2-3 The Hike by Kristin Bednarski………………………………………….………......2 The View by Charlie Grippo………………………………….………………..……3 Dia de los Muertos by Kayden Thomas…………....…………………..........….….…….….…..........4 Saludos by Kayden Thomas; Day of the Dead by Grace Martin……………..4 If I were in charge of the world by Christina Agathis………………….….…….….…….….…….…5 Snowglobe by Elena Lu…………………………….....….…………………...5 Snow by Jack Osmond……………………………………….…….……...….….…….….…….…....6 Snow by Jack Brucker….…………..................................................……...…..6 Anything is possible by Abby Werbel……………………....………..………….….…….….…….....7 Survival by Emily Mrotchek………..…………....…………………..….….…….….…................8-10 The Wild by Sawyer Dillon………………………………………...………….......8 Wolf by Andrew Vilarin….………………………….....………………….......9 The Ghost by Johnny Dai…………....…………....…………………...........….….…….….….........11 Sunset on the Golf Course by Charlie Grippo……...………….………...........11 Change by Elena Lu………………….……………………….……….….…….….…...…….….…12 Shine by Matthew Kolakowski; Happy by Robbie Maffucci; Joy by Maddie Rygh…..………...………………………………........……...12 I Can Still Feel by Brian Li……………..…………....………………….........….….…….…......13-14 Space Anime by Sonia Marran………………………….…………………….....13 What if I told you... by Emily Pardilla………………….…………….….…….….…….…….....15-16 Lab by Natalie Lebovitz.………………...….….…….….…….....….…........15 Didi by Natalie Lebovitz.………………...….….…….….…….....….……...16 Hope stayed alive by Christina Agathis……………………………….….…….….…….……..…...17 Fairy Tales in a Blender by Ishaan Dhankhar…………....…………….….…….….……….…...18-22 Night Fox by Sonia Marran………………………………………..….…..….…..23 The Mixed Poem of Me by Emily Mrotchek……....……………….….…….….……..……............24 Wildlife by Andrew Vilarin………………………………………………......24 Max by Isabelle Baird……………………………....………………….….…….….…….……....…25 Grinning cat and Sonia Marran………….....…………..……………..........25 Destiny by Johnny Dai/Forgive My by Alyssa Roberts/Pointe Shoes by Sam Wagar……...............26 En pointe by Megan Shi; Worlds by Sam Wagar…………………….………...26 Power by Rohini Kandasamy……………………………...………….….……….….…….….….....27 Power by Jack Brucker…………………………….....…………...…….......27 A Superpower within us by Megan Shi…………....….................................….….…….….…....28-30 School by Emma O’Hare …………………………….….…….….….……..….28 December by Simran Shah………………………………….….………….……..29 Hope by Jack Brucker…………………………………….….……….………....30 Fantasy by Johnny Dai……..…………....….................................….….…….….………….............31 Vine by Elena Lu…………………………………………………………..….......31 Oliver by Abigail Baird………………….……………...............................…….….…….…...........32 Pug by Sonia Marran……………………………............……………..…....32 A Jolt, a blast, and a new perspective by Keith Delaney...................................….….….….…....33-34 Blue van by Emma O’Hare……..………………………..……...…….…….33 Perspective by Mia Gorczynski ‘18………….………………….……..…....34

Light - Maddie Rygh ‘19

Collectors’ Items By Johnny Dai ‘18 and Brian Li ‘18 A place where you can write your heart, A place where you can be yourself, A place where you can light the dark, A place where you can fill the shelf. Somewhere unknown; until it’s shown, Where books are live and well, A story written not alone, With many thrilling tales to tell. An assortment of stories here, Exploring untold worlds that see The endless arts that shall appear, They only grow like you and me. It still remains hidden to us, Something only a few would know, However, I will get there, thus When light comes, It is the story; The story of Collectors’ Items.


The Adventure Trip By Grace Martin ‘18 Even though we had heard Mr. Sansone say “rocks, roots, and mud,” what seemed like 1,000 times, we had taken this lightly. He was exaggerating wasn’t he? We dragged our feet through the thick, sticky mud as we tripped over the giant rocks and roots that scattered the path. We were panting and had muddy hands and faces from scaling the boulders and sometimes falling. The word “Break!” had probably been shouted one hundred times. Our hearts leaped when we heard Molly scream, “We made it! We’re at the top!” Little did we know this was called a false peak. It looked like the top but it wasn’t. We would see many of these throughout the hike, however, we assumed we were almost there. We saw an older woman and her dog trotting down from above us. “Are we close?” She gave us a pitiful look. “Well uh, it’s about another hour or so.” We groaned in unison, a skill we had mastered on the trip. “Alright gang, let’s go,” said Mr Sansone. We continued on our sore muddy legs and feet. There’s no way we can make it all the way to the top, I thought.

The Hike - Kristin Bednarski ‘18

We continued hiking up the mountain, moaning and groaning all the way. It would feel like the biggest relief when the steepness of the trail decreased ever so slightly. As we felt the pathway begin to flatten, we thought maybe just maybe we had reached the summit. Wrong again. We had reached another boulder. I scanned the colossal rock for foot and handholds and made my way up. At that point in time it didn’t matter that my hands were caked in mud, all I wanted to do was get to the top. After the boulder, there were many large logs that we had to balance on to get across. I slipped on the wet bark and got a small piece of wood lodged in the flesh of my hand. Great, because this hike is going so well already, I thought. As we kept on walking there were many more incidents of blisters and slipping and falling and cuts.



As you may have already been able to tell, aside from the conditions, the hike was pretty difficult on its own. Pretty difficult is an understatement, actually. There was much mumbling of wanting to go back to base camp. “I CAN’T DO THIS!” somebody yelled out. That’s when we heard Mr. Sansone call for a break. “Look guys I know this isn’t easy but having a bad attitude, well that’ll just make it harder. I know this might sound crazy or maybe even impossible but if you guys would try to have a better attitude that’ll make it a lot easier. I promise.” I didn’t think I could do it. I really didn’t. But maybe just maybe with a little shift in attitude, this could actually work. We took what Mr Sansone said to heart. We told ourselves we could do it, although we weren’t so sure. Even though the hiking didn’t get any easier, it seemed that way when we weren’t complaining. As we saw the sun peeking out over the trees, we didn’t hear a scream or a “We did it!” Instead, it was just a chorus of gasps as we arrived, shaking and tired, to the top of the mountain. We stood and marveled at the view for a few moments. The rocks were bathed in the warm sunlight. The sun was more brilliant there than any other place I’d ever been before. The rocks were a deep red brown color, scattered with small plants pushing up through the cracks. As beautiful as the view was, the boys didn’t let us forget the real reason we hiked this far; lunch. We chomped on our painfully dry jelly pita bread sandwiches and just looked out over the sky, taking in the view as we ate and talked. The climb to the top was rough, that was for sure. It was not only physically draining but emotionally difficult too. There was much complaining and moaning and groaning throughout the hike, but once we got to the top, we forgot about all the difficulties. Our teamwork and change in attitude got us to the top, and it seemed like we could see forever from there. We realized in that moment then that the labor intensive six miles didn’t matter, because the beautiful view and the sense of accomplishment we had, was all worth it, every step.

The View - Charlie Grippo ‘20 The View - Charlie Grippo ‘20



Dia de los Muertos By Kayden Thomas ¡Hola! Estoy en México ahora celebrando el Dia de los Muertos.



cosas para celebrar. Voy a muchas fiestas con muchas decoraciones bonitas con

Saludos - Kayden Thomas ‘18

colores. Veo calaveras, flores, y fotos de los muertos. Escucho mucha música mariachi. Huelo las velas y el incienso, y la comida que se cocina por las calles. La comida, como pan de muertos, es deliciosa. También hay muchas personas bailando y celebrando. Me gusta mucho celebrar con todas las personas.

Todo es muy bonito y estoy muy contenta. Espero que el año que viene puedes venir a celebrar el Dia de los Muertos aquí conmigo.

Day of the Dead Grace Martin ‘18

¡Hasta pronto!



If I were in charge of the world By Christina Agathis ‘21 If I were in charge of the world, I’d cancel oatmeal, Thursdays, And blood tests. If I were in charge of the world, There’d be healthier animals, More Fridays, And fewer lies. If I were in charge of the world, You wouldn’t have lonely, You wouldn’t have drama, You wouldn’t have bullying, or…..Fortnite. If I were in charge of the world, There would be ice-cream every morning, And we could go to the movies for free! If I were in charge of the world.

Snowglobe - Elena Lu ‘18



Snow - Jack Brucker ‘18

Snow By Jack Osmond ‘18 It drops from skies; I can’t imagine why, Glorious flurries laying me to rest, The sights I see as time and tears go by Are nothing when I stop and try my best. It pierces skin, it sears me with its cold, I bundle up to try and just escape, Yet though it is such a sight to behold, I would prefer to leave it be, escape. I wish that it was just a bit warmer, But then it would not be the snow, but rain, It closes the world, a cold deformer, The bits of cold, better than the same. Oh, how I loathe to hear the forecaster, But actually….please just snow a bit faster. COLLECTORS’ ITEMS 2018


Anything is possible By Abby Werbel ‘21 (Poetry using a page from George by Alex Gino)


Survival By Emily Mrotchek ‘20 Prologue The pack cast a shadow on the slick and chunky snow. “Bark, we can’t travel forever, we must camp somewhere,” a wolf whined, his thin body incapable of traveling much longer. He smelled something and informed his leader. “Bark, I smell dogs. I guess we could walk a little longer, and make camp somewhere other than here.” Bark also sensed the dog stench. He thought carefully then answered his companion. “No,” his pack looked at him curiously, unsure of what ‘no’ meant, “this would make a perfect camp, wherever dogs are, food is, wherever food is, wolves are.” Bark’s subjects grinned, already tasting the meal the dogs and their feed would make. Bark howled and his comrades joined him, excitement building at the thought of the dogs quivering in fear. Bark’s adversary, Forest Pack, would never expect them to set up camp so close to the dogs. Keeping their lead would be necessary to become the strongest fighting force throughout the mountains. Bark was thinking about territorial boundaries, but his second in command interrupted him, “Forest Pack patrol, caught our scent, trailing us, what should we do?” At first instinct Bark ran, already hearing his foe’s voices. He led his team into a cavern, hoping its dusty damp stench would mask their own. It worked as he hoped, and the Forest Pack wolves sprinted right past the entrance into the beyond. Bark smirked, anxious to start his mischief, but settled down into a sleep, dreaming of the destruction of Forest Pack.

The Wild - Sawyer Dillon ‘20



Chapter 1 - Blizzard’s perspective Our team returned to the barn from a midnight run. I love the feeling when cold winds ruffle through my fur and my paws sink into snow. I walked further inside the cozy barn, dreaming about chasing the bunny I saw through the snowy landscapes. My thoughts were interrupted by Sasha, our intelligent alpha, who had called this meeting. Everyone shifted closer to him to hear his words. “As some of you know, there has been many wolf scent around our territory. We must keep our eyes open and noses up. I am not sure if it is a pack of wolves or a couple of lone wanderers. I will return when more information is discovered.” A howl erupted outside of the barn walls as I trembled at the signal.

Wolf - Andrew Vilarin ‘20

We nodded in unison. Someone muttered, “I wonder if it’s the pack that killed Timber.” Ares responded to the comment, “I hope so. I would love to shred them to bits!” Sasha’s head whipped around and we all muttered uneasy apologies, for Timber was his mate. Sasha backed into the hay bales that served as his den, signaling that the meeting was over. Wolves were no yapping matter; they were feared throughout every forest and valley. Some were even said to have killed teams of dogs. “Although I have never seen a wolf, I’ve heard legends that they are 10 feet tall and have jaws so strong they can tear anything to shreds,” someone had whispered. Their description was enough to give nightmares. I curled up into some hay bales hoping for sleep, but it didn’t come quickly.

When first light hit, our team lazily began to wake up. I looked around the room filled with dependable, Siberian huskies taking in the activity. I saw Thunder and Boulder, males with light gray pelts and white muzzles chatting among themselves. I turned and noticed Ares and Badger, grooming each other. Ares, a young male, has a light orange pelt and dark brown eyes. Badger, my sister, has a pelt swallowed in darkness with surprisingly bright blue eyes. I spotted Luna digging a hole. She was a beautiful she-dog, with a light gray pelt that shines a silvery blue in the moonlight, and with green eyes that could pull me into sleep for a lifetime. Then I saw Sasha, our very intelligent alpha, with his dark brown hide and muscular thighs. It felt like a typical morning in our den.



Fleshy guy, “Dan,” according to how other fleshy guys called him, had already filled our food-pockets. I ungraciously slurped food into my mouth. Luna ambled beside me and munched through her slop. I glanced at her, then ended up staring at her. “Blizzard, what are you doing?” she snapped rudely but playfully, referring to my action. As if on cue, Ares sprinted to her side leading her away from me. My tail drooped. There was no chance that she would ever like me, and I trudged away. Boulder caught up with me. “I’m guessing with Luna didn’t turn out so well.” “Yeah, isn't it obvious,” I responded. “Bliz, it will get better between you and Luna, after she realizes this isn’t a world filled with treats and bacon.” I grinned. *** At mid-sun, Fleshy Guy called us to get harnessed. I knew sled-pulling was the only time I could be near Luna. She was my pulling partner and this was when we bonded most. Suddenly Luna whined, “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have acted so impolite. Or let Ares pull me away from our conversation, you know how he gets.” I accepted her apology and asked, “Were you nervous about last night's meeting?” She stared at me, “Why? Wolves always cross our territory then leave after a few days.” “But you heard how serious Sasha’s tone was!” I responded, accidently raising my voice. She gazed at me thoughtfully, then replied in a softer temper, “Why did you ask me in the first place, you know there's nothing I can do about it?” She was right, I created a whole scene even when I knew she couldn’t help. I looked away from her and let out a slight wimper. Finally, we were signaled, “hike”, and took off like bears to fish. We went on our usual trail, up the mountain, through the valley and into the forest, our owner signaling us once in awhile. Weaving our way through the trees to get back to our barn, we came to an abrupt stop. There was growling in the bushes, and realizing what it was, a squeal of terror left me as I prepared for attack. (This was a sneak peek of this story. To read more of Survival, contact Emily Mrotchek).



Sunset on the Golf Course - Charlie Grippo ‘20

The Ghost By Johnny Dai ‘18 You left me lying silent still, You left me dying in the wake Of tragedies that lose their will, As light had left a cold, hard ache. As you left a searing scar, I watched as you ran away, The light, the dark...of every star, Had only shown at night; not day. You once had meant so much to me… Yet waved a goodbye to my face, And I had known and I have seen You disappear without a trace.



The shadow of your ghost is gone; The curses of the past devoured. My laughs, my tears, from dusk to dawn, Have never lit my darkest hour. Yet now you’ve left me staring blue, I’ve gazed out windows loving you, What’s done is done; what’s left to share? What’s left when you were never there?

Change By Elena Lu ‘18

Shine - Matthew Kolakowski ‘19

Happy - Robbie Maffucci ‘18

Playful butterfly, Brisk whiffs of autumn carried Your soft yet fragile wings. When the first of many leaves fell, You left Your scales reflecting the piercing light. Sky’s energetic eyes blazed And trees, swaying trees. Bowed before their monarch, you. Lovely tree, Wild winds of winter combed Your dark and twining hair. When dawn blinked, You emerged Star-kissed with diamonds. Wind's sharp breath caught in his throat And sun, stricken sun, Can't turn his eye from you. Enchanting rose, Delicate breeze of spring played With each and every petal. When life returned, You rejoiced Guarded by an army of thorns. Sun’s rays beamed at you, charmed, And grass, mesmerized grass, Welcomed your return.

Joy - Maddie Rygh ‘19


I Can Still Feel By Brian Li ‘18 The roads curve as the car rattles and growls. Trees pass by, their branches whipping against the windows, leaving marks of rainwater and leaves. I sit in the driver’s seat, barely tall enough to see the road in front of me. The steering wheel creaks as I turn it, creating an endless streak of sounds. Suddenly, a pillar strikes through the roof of the car, cutting a gaping hole and plunging into the passenger seat next to me. I slam the brakes to a halt, leaving tire marks on the road. I unbuckle my seatbelt and examine this more than strange pillar. Liquid was seeping out of the object where it had impaled into the seat. It’s black with streaks of red, randomly assorted throughout. Could this be the work of aliens? Astronomers had just discovered extraterrestrial life in other solar systems and all around us, possibly sending us messages every so often that no one can decipher? Shaking off these disorderly thoughts, I turn back to the pillar. It is seemingly constructed out of many different timbres of metal, all overlapping on each other, leaving few narrow gaps into the center. A faint glow protrudes from the middle, covering the source of the light. From what I can see, the pillar is about one meter tall and 15 centimeters wide without the part stuck in the car seat, an amount that I can’t figure out. I still have no shred of an idea of what this is, or where it came from. It could have just fallen from the trees above me, but why would such an advanced object just be hanging on some branches? I decide to examine this “thing” a bit more. Careful not to touch or provoke it, I open the car door on the passenger side to allow more room for me. As wind surges in from the outside, the pillar hissed and shook, each metal plate moving up and down, opening up, as they react to the abrupt change. However, once the pillar became still again, something was off. From what I can tell, each section of the pillar is organized in a much different way than from when I first saw it; the panels had switched to an organization where each plate covered one another, creating even more gaps leading to the center. Out of every newly-birthed Space Anime - Sonia Marran ‘18 hole, liquid spews out. Silver-gray streams jettison out and land everywhere, splattering all over the place. 13 COLLECTORS’ ITEMS 2018

The liquid swirls and ripples on my hands, creating intricate designs and fractals only disturbed by the constant bubbling. I scream. I hear nothing in return. The liquid no longer forms abstract designs. Bubbles form then explode, like miniature volcanic eruptions. They feel like miniature volcanoes too. As each bubble dies, a feeling of fire and acid chemicals burns my arms, overloading my senses and brain. Soon, nothing but seemingly boiling liquid metal plagues me, my brain blocking out everything else. My knees give out, dropping me to the ground. Before my eyes fade out, I see blood and the same liquid spilling out of the pillar, onto the rest of my body. I can still feel pain. It’s no longer a fire. It’s a car crash; stuck in an endless crash. I still can’t see. My eyes feel open, but I only see red. Dark red; maroon. There’s still liquid. It feels different though. Much thinner. I’m different. I...remember...the Spread. When the Vectors fell. They crashed into Earth, releasing their cargo and their creators’ goal. Everybody who was volcanified were spores. Their bodies failed and became living factories, human sized versions of a virus-overtaken cell. Everything was converted to churn out more and more transistors, the one thing that could destroy humanity. The damage they caused could not be measured; it changed depending on the victim, mutating continuously. Still, the first victims were different. The liquid wasn’t the disease but a bioweapon that volcanified people. All the boils and bubbles on their bodies, like a rumbling volcano about to erupt. They slowly spewed out the transistors, created from their altered bodies. And these pillars. The Vectors. The work behind Area 51, finally uncovered. Launched off Earth into orbit, they stayed there until the time was right, monitoring life on this planet. One might wonder why the government would create something that would kill everyone, but themselves. When aliens would arrive, they would not see the poverty and suffering people lived in, but only the elite would stay and represent Earth. I’m not dead yet, I’m conscious. But everyone is dying, and civilization is crumbling. I wonder what other evil thoughts will soon… Experiment 141 has failed. --Cancel simulation immediately. --Analyze patterns and destabilization factors. --Bring 141 (Only Earth; ignore other planets) into Experiment 152 (Gliese 581 d). --Determine outcome. --Continue other simulations. --Reminder: Goal is to successfully simulate 25 Type-II civilizations. --Combine all these experiments. --Add simulation of PSR B1620 b. --Determining outcome. ------PSR B1620-26 b; Sector 9, Kardaciv Syndicate



What if I told you… By Emily Pardilla ‘19 What if I told you I have powers and am a superhero? I know it sounds crazy, and utterly deranged, but I have proof. My tale begins at the Green Hills County Orphanage in a rather quiet part of England. I’ve been there since my parents dropped me off when I was 6 months old. Ms. Davis sadly could not tell me more about them, however, she gave me a crinkled note my parents wrote me before leaving. It reads: “Dear Bella, You are greatly loved by your father and I, but we can’t take care of you. We hope you understand, and you get the great life you deserve. We hope you will be greatly loved by your new family. We hope that you will remember that we love you each and every day and are constantly thinking about you. We just want you to know about this secret--” My heart falls like snow every time my blue eyes lay upon that last word. The rest was smudged and unreadable. It was a windy April dawn as I walked down the quiet road of Happy Hoof County. As I Lab - Natalie Lebovitz ‘20

turned a corner to go collect bread for breakfast, a puppy covered in mud ran down the streets and hid behind a box, whining and shaking. It gave me a questioning look when I walked carefully up to it. I quietly said, “Shhh it’s okay, it’s okay. I’m Bella, and I’m here to help you.” Suddenly, the yellow lab puppy said, “Oh good, I was thinking you were gonna-- whoops…” I screeched and jumped back. The puppy trotted to me with a worried look in her great brown eyes as she said, “No… I didn’t mean to scare you.. I shouldn’t have talked… ugh, darn my big mouth!” I exclaimed with my voice shaking, “Y-y-you can TALK?!” She frantically whispered, “SHHHH! If master finds out about this…”



I said with curiosity, “Wait… what master..?” She looked horrified, “No no no no no no no NO! I did not just tell you about my master… He’s SO going to kill me!” I said with worry, “No I promise I won't tell ANYONE! Maybe you can come back to green hills with me, nearly EVERYONE owns pets...” She looked offended as she said, “Pet? PET?! THAT'S WHAT YOU THINK OF ME?!” “No sorry I didn't -- what if I take you back, and pretend you are my pet. BUT NO TALKING OK?” I said pointing a stern finger at her. “Fine.” she said rolling her big eyes at me. “Good.” I said getting to my feet. “But first, what's your name?” She said, “Oh! Right. I’m Daisy.” “Hey Daisy! I’m Bella Wilson.” Her little jaw dropped. “Y-y-you’re Bella Wilson?!” She bowed as low as her tiny legs could allow her. “What? You know me?” I said incredulously. “Know you?! Everyone knows you!” she said disbelievingly. “WHAT? How?!” I questioned frantically. “Your parents are the most known superheroes on the planet!!” She said. Then, everything went black.

Didi - Natalie Lebovitz ‘20


Hope stayed alive By Christina Agathis ‘21 (Poetry using a page from Night by Elie Wiesel)



Fairy Tales in a Blender Written and Illustrated by Ishaan Dhankhar Once upon a time, it was a beautiful morning on a hot and sunny day; the sun glistened through a small window of a quaint cottage. Inside the cottage was three little pigs, so anxious and curious, and one mother pig, so sad and in dismay. “Goodbye mother, we are ready for the adventures of life.” “You have taught us well.” “And we love you mother,” said the three little pigs. “I will miss you but I will learn to cope without you three!” said the glum mother. As the pigs walked out the door the mother said, in a wistful tone, “Remember to call me!” The pigs ambled towards the bus stop and were greeted by a haunting wanted sign that said WANTED: The Big Bad Wolf. Has eyepatch and very furry. “Lets hope we don’t run into him!” said one the pigs. To pass time the pigs got on their phones playing “Fartnite: Kingdom Royale.” Once inside the bus, the three little pigs sat down in a row and opened their oversized special hardcover edition of the original three little pigs published in 1840. They read through it until they found out they had to build their own homes! “No way!,” the pigs said. At the same moment the bus arrived at Hansel and Gretel Realtors. Inside they met THE Hansel and THE Gretel. “We are pleased to offer you a great deal. Today we are featuring a gingerbread house, a gingerbread house with candy, and a gingerbread house with more candy than the gingerbread house with candy.” “I think we’re okay with normal houses!” “Yeah.” “Yup,” replied the pigs. “That’s okay I have the perfect homes for you three, I don’t know how but I think I read it in a book!” Hansel and Gretel drove them to the neighborhood and showed them the neighboring homes. The first was made out of bricks, the second was made out of metal, and the third one had a 100 foot tall barbed wire fence, motion detectors, deadly lasers, a lookout tower, an undestroyable forcefield, oh, and the building was made out a combination of concrete and steel. So each pig chose their home by their preference. The first pig liked nice and peaceful things so he took the brick house, the second pig liked to be safe, but not too safe, like the third house; so he chose the second house. Last but not least, the third pig wanted the third home because he liked being heavily guarded and he found the home to be impressive.


Meanwhile, in the big bad wolf’s secret lair, the big bad wolf was watching The Three Little Pigs movie from 1933, directed by Burt Gillett. While watching he got to the part where it showed his appearance. His face lit up with excitement until it became a angry expression. Upon finding that he had to huff and puff and blow the houses down, he said in annoyance, ”I HAVE TO BLOW THEIR HOUSES DOWN, DO YOU PEOPLE WANT ME TO HYPERVENTILATE!?!” “Take out the huff and puff and turn the down into up, and I think I’ll be good.” So the big bad wolf went into his barn house and started up his fighter jet. He loaded up his missiles and typed in “three little pigs’ homes” on the GPS. At the same moment the three little pigs had sat down for supper. “That big bad wolf is really scaring me!” “It’s okay just because you read a book that was literally telling us that a big bad wolf would eat us, you still haven’t finished the entire book, so who knows!” “Yeah, we’ll be fine,” the third pig said. Simultaneously, the pigs heard a loud BOOM! At that moment, the second pig darted to the window and noticed that the big bad wolf was racing to their homes in a terrifying fighter jet. The third pig squealed, “Gather your belongings and meet at my heavily-guarded home!” It was too late. Upon arriving at his home, the first pig was greeted by the big bad wolf’s haunting saying, “Little pig, little pig I’m not going to actually ask you if I can come in, because I’m not polite.” “Not by the hair on my chinny chin chin that is currently standing up on my skin,” replied the intimidated pig. “I won’t huff and puff but I’ll blow your house up,” the wolf said rudely. In a flash, the first pig ran through his home and headed towards the second pig’s home. Blown by the force of the explosion, the first pig hit the ground. As his ears rang, he screamed, “How do you people do that in movies? I can hardly hear myself scream!” Quickly he stammers into the second pig’s house, screaming a warning to evacuate. “Little pig, little pig… Oh, whatever. I’m not going to waste my time saying this.” “Not by the hair on our chinny chin chin that is currently standing up on our skin,” replied the intimidated pigs. Before the wolf could deliver his famous line, the pigs had already reached the third pig’s house and were safely inside. The wolf followed closely, but when he saw the house completely guarded, he knew his efforts would be a waste of time. Conveniently, he saw a little girl dressed in red heading into the wood with a basket containing one newly purchased pair of dentures from Walgreens Pharmacy, at the corner of happy and healthy. 19


A few minutes later… The wolf made his way into the woods and was secretly stalking the girl dressed in red. Little did the wolf know that this little girl was a child prodigy and she was much more clever than the Little Red Riding Hood her mother told her about as a toddler. She knew that a vicious animal would be stalking her and was prepared. She carefully took the dentures out of their package and slipped them into her mouth. As the wolf tapped her on the shoulder, she turned around, dentures gleaming, and yelled “RAWR!” And the wolf ran away as fast as he could. Meanwhile, Jack and Jill were racing each other up the hill to see who could fetch a pail of water first. They were very competitive siblings, and Jack was the fierce one. He pushed his sister Jill down a hill. As the wolf was running, he had the strong desire to quench his thirst. Perfectly placed, he saw a well. Unfortunately, Jill ripped her cardboard Burger King crown that she got earlier that day. Victory was in Jack’s reach, until out the corner of his eye, he saw the big bad wolf running towards him. He panicked and accidentally tripped, falling down the hill himself. A beanstalk cushioned his fall. He glanced backwards and saw the burly wolf bellowing towards him. In that moment, Jack made a game-time decision to climb up the beanstalk to evade the wolf. Arriving at the bottom of the beanstalk, the wolf was winded to see that Jack had already made it halfway up the giant beanstalk. The wolf thought to himself, “I’m too old for this,” and in defeat he sulked back to his lair. Jack breathed a sigh of relief when he saw that his sister and himself were safe. His hap-hazard plan worked! Jack felt remorseful and wanted to make up his poor choice to his sister, so he looked around. Instead of a goose with golden eggs, there was a girl with golden locks and a golden didgeridoo. Curious, Jack gave the didgeridoo a try and of course, summons a giant. The girl, Gold i. Locks said, “Come with me if you want to live!” “Ooh, The Terminator reference, that’s gotta be good.” Jack replied. So Gold took jack to a home far away from the giant. “Wow, this is a nice home, where did you buy this!?” “Oh I didn’t buy this I rented it on Airbnb! The reviews were pretty good, the only bad thing is if the three bears living in it come home early from vacation, you may get eaten with a side of porridge.” Gold replied.


Jack was very hungry and tired so he chose one out of the three porridges, one out of the three chairs, and one out of the three beds. He slept until his slumber was interrupted by a loud knock at the door. He knew what was going to happen next so he picked up a bat and walked to the door. Then all of a sudden the door flew open and Jack hit whatever stood there! When he opened his eyes he noticed that he had knocked out Gold i. Locks! So he had another game-time decision to make he decided to climb down the beanstalk and chop it down. As Jack was nearing the bottom of the beanstalk, he glances behind him to see the giant is approaching quickly. At the bottom, Jack reached into his pocket and grabs his worn copy of The Arthur Rackham Fairy Book, circa 1933. Speeding through the pages, he saw an image of Jack at the bottom of the beanstalk holding an axe. He casually sprinted to the local Home Depot traded in his didgeridoo for a limited edition Fiskars X27 Super Splitting Axe. Back at the beanstalk, Jack was mid-swing when suddenly… “CUT!” The stage lights come on and Jack confronted a well-dressed man looking important in a chair labelled “DIRECTOR.” “Do you think it is actually possible for a boy to run to Home Depot, purchase an axe and get back to the beanstalk before the giant reaches the bottom? That’s a wrap for today, writers meet me in my office in five. Everybody else, go home. Be back here tomorrow at 8 am to continue filming,” the angry director said. All the actors: the pig, Hansel, Gretel, the wolf, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack, Jill, Gold i. Locks and the giant headed back to their homes. It is the end of the work day so they relax with loved ones. The pigs arrive at their respective condos and place a call to their moms. Hansel and Gretel arrive at their home, greeted by their children who are very excited to see their mommy and daddy. Little Red Riding Hood goes to her childhood home, where she still lives with her parents and little brother, for dinner. Jill and Gold, college buddies, return to their apartment and play their all-time favorite game, scrabble. Instead of going home, Jack meets his visiting grandparents for dinner. So far this ending probably might not surprise you, but wait. The wolf ends his day on the couch with his wife and two children, watching a movie together. The giant strolls with his equally as large wife and super tiny chihuahua. Doesn’t it make you wonder about the people behind our fears? What do we have in common that might surprise us? And of course, everyone lived happily ever after.





Night Fox - Sonia Marran ‘18


The Mixed Poem of Me By Emily Mrotchek ‘20 I am a blooming bear growing rapidly in a world permeating emotion and adventure I am an elegant eagle soaring solo above the clouds in a bleak sky searching for meaning I am a wandering wolf howling at fear, chasing away weakness, and towering above as I am the alpha I am a fox prancing on the rose petals to spread peace on the prairie that is struck with war I am a calf in search of the comfort of mother’s milk, I searched helplessly in fear that she will become another spirit in a canyon of lost souls I am a penguin glissading across the ice that holds the positive feeling in the world I am a cloud where weary souls roam, eager to find hope in the dense fog I am an ocean that crashes and spits the spirits out into a free and jubilant universe I am a star, alone in the vast sky, shining with a piercing light, seeking for hope, even in the darkest hour.

Wildlife - Andrew Vilarin ‘20



Max By Isabelle Baird ‘20 It was a dark and stormy night and Olivia, an 11 year old girl, hated storms like the one raging outside her bedroom window. She had spent the day before watching the weather channel predict the category 3 hurricane that had now evolved into a category 5 hurricane. The house shook with winds that wailed outside and she shook with fear. Olivia loved to write and decided that writing might calm her fear. She pulled her new purple journal out of her backpack. The eraser shaped like a whale on the top of her blue pencil made her smile and remember her birthday when she had received it as a gift from her closest BFF. She wrote “August 23, 2017: Yesterday was my birthday and it was great. But I’m still waiting for a cat.” She kept writing about how she begged her mother for a cat, any type of cat, but her mom said no because cats shed everywhere and make a mess. Olivia had tried to tell her about a Sphinx cat that had no fur at all and wouldn’t shed. Her mother even called the picture of the cat “creepy” and still said no. So Olivia had not gotten her cat for her birthday and was feeling a bit disappointed. She decided to try to go to sleep and soon drifted off, even though the storm was still loud outside and the rain was pounding on her window. In the meantime, Olivia’s mother was Grinning cat - Sonia Marran ‘18 worried about potential flooding from the storm. She put on her coat, went down the garage stairs, and opened the door. A huge wave of water came rushing through, drenching half of her. She ran to the stairs but stopped when she heard a muffled mew. She turned around and saw that it was a kitten. “OH MY GOD!” She screamed, jumped into the water, grabbed the kitten’s scruff, and dragged it out of the water. She closed the garage door, shut the door to the kitchen, and locked it. As she continued to care for the kitten, it purred and meowed. Hearing a faint mew, Olivia awoke. She jumped out of bed and rushed quickly down the stairs, leaping over half of them in her excitement. She saw her mother holding something fluffy and immediately knew it was was a kitten. As Olivia approached her mom, the kitten yawned, showing off its pink tongue and white teeth. She sat down and they cuddled for the rest of the night. Olivia named the kitten Max, and they loved each other. Olivia didn’t know that Max would try to help or save for the little girl he loved. He would do anything….anything...



En pointe - Megan Shi ‘19

Pointe Shoes By Sam Wagar ‘21 When I go up on my tippie toes, from the studio floor I see the skyline of New York. When I spin, spin, spin, I see the lights twirl, twirl, twirl. I want to hear and see the cheering crowd on Broadway. I go back down on my flat feet, come back to the studio floor, and say bye bye to Broadway.

Forgive Me By Alyssa Roberts ‘20 I found the compass which you were looking for I don’t mean to upset you but I took it Forgive me for I have stolen the thing you seek.

Destiny By Johnny Dai ‘18 I may be Romeo, but you’re not Juliet, I may be a red rose, but you’re not a violet. I have loved, I have cried, yet though I still love you, Yet though it has not died, love I have is not true. I know well we are worlds away from each other, But the fact I love you has not changed, my lover. And though thou hath turned me, and though thou hath left scars, I see you every time I look up at the stars. You know this all too well for it writes my story, But still I say goodbye; I’m not your destiny.

Worlds - Sam Wagar ‘21



Power - Jack Brucker ‘18

Power By Rohini Kandasamy ‘19

I was wrong before; I know that now, having seen my grave error.

But that is the past, And this is the present.

With the new dawn I will rise, Taking only the worthy with me.

Empowered by the new day, I realize that all is new.

And the new is glorious.


A Superpower within us By Megan Shi ‘19 A year later, Kyle recalled that peculiar day when he had learned about the trait that had been passed down for generations beginning with George Washington. Everyone in his family could do something special, like shapeshift or fly, but when the owner used his power for the worse, he would be stripped of his abilities and disgraced from the family. He remembered feeling proud that he had finally done something right. Now he saw the great cluster of buildings that stood before him as he slowly approached his school. He saw the familiar dark gates that guarded the school and the stone plaque where Here lies Dominus Maske was written in pale gold across a deep blue background. It was a greeting both ominous and friendly. He glanced half-heartedly at the cream buildings, topped with the midnight blue roofs, the giant glass window panes, and the gold building at the very center. Kyle’s power had popped in and out of his life, and he had yet to learn what exactly it was. He remembered objects flying up by themselves, and his parents gasping in surprise as they were suddenly floating. He chuckled at the thought that he had ever considered himself ordinary and boring. But as he gazed at his old sanctuary, he remembered the war that had once occurred here. Years ago, on his first day of school, he was a nervous wreck. As a kid who had difficulties with learning, teachers had always tried to help him, giving him extra help and easier tests, but it had never been enough. He recalled the stressful days he spent studying, hoping the next exam would be different from all the rest. But it had always been the same discouraging, big, red F, resulting in deprecating looks from his teachers. He found himself waiting nervously for his turn in the room in which he would take the placement test. “Kyle Vescota,” the proctor called. Kyle forced himself into the room and found an ordinary classroom, but without desks. A stern-faced woman with deep blue eyes stood there, waiting. On the chalkboard, in neat cursive, someone had written, “Do what comes most natural to you.”

School - Emma O’Hare ‘19



“Well! Get on with it then!” she said, interrupting Kyle’s thoughts. Kyle, with no idea what to do, remembered what he had been able to do in his childhood, and channeled a power from somewhere within. He focused all his attention on a book in the corner of the room and saw it slowly rise up, then plop on the ground again. The woman looked slightly taken aback, then dismissed the boy and left quickly herself. Kyle found out that though not many had his power, telekinesis, it was the hardest to use and control, but was also the most useful. His first day of lessons ended horribly when Kyle brought down a stack of heavy books on a classmate, and there was a rush of movement as the student was rushed to the hospital chambers. Kyle was left there sitting guiltily as he continued to practice, now proceeding with more caution. “I’ve never seen someone with your powers,” a pretty brown haired girl commented from the door. “I’m Kaila, I’m new here and I can do this.” With that, the girl before him transformed into a puppy, then a horse, then back into a person with a disappointed look in her eyes. The following months consisted of long, tedious, work hours juxtaposed with days spent basking in the sun. Kyle spent days hanging out with Kaila, enjoying a friend who understood and appreciated him. All was well until a dark mass began forming over the school. He often saw teachers glancing wearily up at the sky, before hurrying their students back inside. He caught snippets of conversations about a being coming back and trouble that no one could imagine. The usually peaceful and joyful atmosphere became dark and foreboding. One day, Professor Halled stood before the school and announced that danger was lurking behind the dark mass. While walking to classes that day, Kyle branched off from the group to grab his cloak. He walked briskly but soon forgot about the being when he saw a spark of light flutter through the chamber. He chased after it, in hopes of finding out what it was, and found himself in the forbidden outdoors. Fear welled up inside him as dark figures began swimming around him. “At twelve on twelve, our forces shall attack, and the strongest will belong to the Dominus once again,” they chanted. Just as they started to advance on their prey, Kyle heard a click behind him as a professor pulled him back inside. Eyes wide with shock and fear, the boy sprinted up to the headmaster’s office, pushing his way through his fellow students and ignoring the professor that had rescued him. Kyle stuttered his way through what had just happened, and although the headmaster never interrupted, his eyes flashed with alarm as the boy recounted the chant.

December - Simran Shah ‘20


On December 12th, the twelve on twelve, the dark being arrived. Kyle told everyone, to fight, and that the strongest must be at the very center, the most well-protected of them all. Kyle tugged the strongest student into the room in which Kaila was in, and asked Kaila if she could change other people. A small smile flickered across her face, but quickly disappeared, almost unnoticed by Kyle. Kyle knew that she could do this. Although she had never done it before, she channeled all her energy into protecting a stranger, transforming the other into a small dragonfly. Tired from fighting, Kyle stumbled and grabbed onto a branch for support, but felt himself fall into a hole. There, inscribed into the smooth stone walls, contained how the dark being had been beaten last time. Eyes wide and alert, the boy headed back, and saw a fluttering dragonfly in a grimy jar and an evil grin on the largest of the circling figures. As the dragonfly dropped down and lay motionless, Kyle witnessed the change of one of the figures. It was Kaila. He had thought Kaila was his friend, but it turned out, Kaila was his enemy. Veins rushing with bitter hatred, Kyle advanced on the being, ignoring its minions. Slightly taken aback, Kaila did not order him captured, but instead laughed. “You think you can beat me?” she asked. Kyle, not answering the question, instead said, “So you were tricking me this whole time?”. She continued smiling, knowing her victim knew the answer. As Kyle took another step forward, lashing black ropes entwined their way around his body. With a widening smile the being circled its prey. Kyle still refused to believe that his friend was pure evil. He wanted to believe that anyone could change. “Why did you change? I thought I was your friend. You can change back!” he yelled. “I never liked you!” The being replied as it sent a jet of light at the boy. But Kyle continued to yell, “You can change! We can still be friends! Change back to the good person you want to be!” The dark cloud was suddenly penetrated by rays of light, leaving the boy alone, eyes fierce, and heart pure. The powerful hope that his friend could change stayed with the boy and bolstered his spirit. Sometimes hope is the most important superpower.

Hope - Jack Brucker ‘18



Fantasy By Johnny Dai ‘18 I can't awake myself in midst of morning, Knowing things have changed, The mist, the cloud, the blurred self-doubt was forming, And I've become deranged. I knew I could not have your love to take, The night would steal my heart, For light and dark, and yet for my own sake, Don't let us be apart. We cannot coexist in any realm, My love is just too much, I cannot sleep while you can overwhelm And steal my heart as such. I'm lost when space and time is in your eyes, The starlight; fading dim, Yet as I leave you can still magnetize My heart… and... fall for him. Where is there love when it's too far away? And is there love through agony? Cause if that's so the stars are bright as day; After all… You're just a fantasy.


Vine by Elena Lu ‘18

Photo by Lauren Freed ‘18 Oliver By Abigail Baird ‘20 In the Black Lake Animal Rescue Facility, or at least, that’s what the humans called it, Oliver, the 2-year-old pug was awake in his kennel, watching the TV that “Murray”, the man on the night shift, had left on before falling asleep. Oliver couldn’t make sense of the words, but he could see pictures of a storm, and it was getting worse. Before dozing off, Oliver could see people standing on rooftops waiting for help to escape the flood. He reflected how that was much worse than the steady “drip, drip, drip” of the rain here. They must be closer to the shore, Oliver decided. When he woke up, it wasn't the normal morning routine of waking up, getting fed, and waiting for someone to adopt him. Today there were people yelling and wading through knee-high water covering the floor below his crate. He heard Murray on the phone, talking about a “hurricane”, flooding, and begging for help to rescue all of the shelter animals. Oliver didn't have time to figure out what it all meant because at that moment, he felt a prick in his neck and realized he was being put into a helicopter. He tried to stay awake but Pug - Sonia Marran ‘18 whatever pricked him overwhelmed him and he passed out. When he awoke he heard people all talking at once, and that’s what it looked like too. He was in a large room filled with crates and people were moving the crates onto big trucks that then drove away. After a few hours of sitting and watching other dogs get moved, it was Oliver’s turn. A young boy, probably about 17-years-old lifted his crate and carried it to the truck, then shut the door. The ride was long with a few occasional stops where the driver got out to “fill the tank”. Oliver didn’t like it when they stopped because then the truck filled with the smell of smoke and oil, and it was hard to breathe. Hours and days passed and the truck reeked of urine, Oliver expected to smell of oil and smoke when it stopped again, but this time it was different, this time he saw sunlight, real sunlight! The light burned Oliver’s eyes after days in the dark truck, but he was glad to know it was still there and he hoped it meant he was finally safe. COLLECTORS’ ITEMS 2018 32

A Jolt, a Blast, and a new Perspective: A Memoir By Keith Delaney ‘18

There it was: the 15-year-old minivan. The light blue paint that was chipped, scraped, and permeating with memories. It was the definition of wear and tear, beyond that even. Its leather inside was scratchy and smelling of dog hair. But every time it was turned on, it chugged along. The big engine that could and would get you to where you wished to be, although it might not be pretty. As I did day in and day out, I climbed in, grabbed a blanket, and fell asleep, slumped across the seat in the back of the car. A short 29 minutes and 17 seconds later BOOM. A blast of cold air surged into the car. I sprung up, not even half asleep anymore, but feeling dazed, confused, and most of all, shocked. My brain attempted to grasp what just happened. As seconds flew by, I realized that we had just been rammed in the back by a cream-colored 2013 Subaru Legacy. An abundance of thoughts, ideas, and brief moments of back pain seized the next 45 minutes of my life. In the midst of madness I heard shouts from my mother and sisters that went along the lines of “Keith, are you ok?” or “I thought you were dead!” There was a hurried moment of silence that was broken by a rap on the front window. Banging on the window was a brown-haired woman and a short man with a rugged gray beard and a bit of a pot belly. The woman spoke to us in an alarmingly calm way as she simply explained we had to get out of the car right away. As we exited the car, I remembered my mom’s purse and my backpack, but the man was hurrying us out, signaling oncoming traffic to stop since we were exiting the van. The cars started to honk, and I felt my body grow hotter and hotter. We were smack dab in the middle of the road while I felt the power of the hundreds of angry New Jerseyans honking and yelling. It was a moment so stressful that I could feel my hair graying by the second.

Blue van - Emma O’Hare ‘19


I grabbed our bags with haste, but with some trouble; they were stuck. The lady told me to be quick in a voice that was more loud and stern than the ones she used previously when she spoke to me. I saw my sisters on the side of the highway, huddling next to each other with tears dripping down their cheeks. But the one image that remained in my mind was the indentation on the back of the van where the Subaru plowed into us. How close was the nose of that Subaru to where I was sleeping? Seven inches. 17.78 centimeters. That was the exact distance of how close I was to death. In a moment that lasted less than a second, I was seven inches away from death. The lady helped me to the side of the road where I joined my sister, sat down, and thought. After leading us to the side of the road, calling the police, and soothing us, the man and woman vanished: poof, gone with the wind, as if they were guardian angels sent from above to help us. At that time, and maybe even now, I believe they were. The traffic seemed to be moving fine now, although the tow truck was slow and made some people angry. My mother explained the situation to the police. We were stopped to make a left turn, and the Subaru rammed into us. The driver, a woman, gave the excuse that she did not even see us because of the sun glare. Perspective - Mia Gorczynski ‘18

After giving our report to the police and emergency workers, we said our goodbyes to our blue minivan, which we all dearly loved. I saw the view from the back; the rear glass pane was shattered and the back absolutely totaled and indented profusely. The what ifs stormed my mind. What if I were a second later or earlier getting out of the house? What if I didn’t come to school today? I was angry at myself then, almost ready to shout at myself, but now I am grateful; for I have since changed my perspective of life.


Far Hills Country Day School

697 US-202 Far Hills, NJ 07931

Collectors' Items 2018  

The Student Literary and Art Magazine of Far Hills Country Day School

Collectors' Items 2018  

The Student Literary and Art Magazine of Far Hills Country Day School