The Virtual Edge
Florida Virtual School Literary Magazine
Table of Contents Aaliyah Davy 22, 50, 56 Adachi Selas 12, 49 Adrian Salgado 60 Aleksandra Rajcevic 5, 32, 68 Alexandria Pelton 21, 34 Aleya Zenieris 30, 51 Brittney Waldrop 32, 41, 43 Bryce King 39, 64 Celinah Umaray 10 Cheyenne Cintron 9 Christian Riesgo 6, 35, 47 Claire Welton 25 Clara Marty 44 Courtney Hayford 8, 42 Courtney Swain 8, 54, 63 Cristi McKee 11, 40 Dana Swope 13 Daniella Welton 25 Drayton Sutherland 55 Emily Guzik 17, 36 Emma Palmer 66 Erica Nathan 9, 11, 19, 20, 22, 23, 26, 27, 33, 34 Grace Gale 35, 55 Gracie Pruitt 28, 62
Hannah Oliver 5 Isael Rosa 26, 42, 70 Jessica Youngblood 16, 61 Jirah Ligon 63 Jordan Bullock 14,17, 38 Jordan Hamilton 4 Juliette 16, 17, 67 Katie LaDue 14, 69 Katy 38 Kyle 10, 15, 57 Laura Poots 48, 59, 69 Lindzie Biron 7, 50, 55 Logan Brewer 62, 65 Madeline Erwich 46 Madi Clark 41, 52, 70 Marina Meola 43 Melissa Jamail 31 Michaela 31 Mikalia Flood 24, 27, 54 Moira Conley 23, 42, 51 Natalie Stubbs 36 Samantha Morris 15, 18, 28 Seth Touchton 30, 52, 68 Talia Fradkin 6, 7, 33 Veronica Torres 21, 58
Credits Cover Photo: “Crystal Blues.” Gracie Pruitt, Grade 8
VIRGE SPRING/SUMMER 2014 STUDENT STAFF EDITORS: Ariadna Calveira Gibby Free Amy Matton Samantha Morris Delany Peshek
LAYOUT AND GRAPHICS: Talia Fradkin Jordan Hamilton Samantha Morris Erica Nathan VIRGE ADVISOR: Mrs. Cindy Knoblauch
Erica Nathan, Grade 11
Graphics Credit: Public Domain images from Pixabay, publicdomainpictures.net, and wikimedia commons. Virge is a publication created by the literary magazine club members at Florida Virtual School. All poetry, prose, artwork, and photography are original works of FLVS students. The Virge staff reserves the right to deny publication to submissions that are deemed inappropriate or do not fit the theme of the magazine issue. The works presented in this magazine are the creative expression of FLVS students and do not necessarily reflect those of Florida Virtual School.
© 2014 FLORIDA VIRTUAL SCHOOL. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Celinah Umaray, Grade 12
Close your eyes… Envision our earth abounding with green, The air so pure and flowing water so clean. The ever-shining sun providing our power, As we treasure and care for every rock, bird, and flower. Can you see it? Envision a place where hope fills our hearts; A place where pain and suffering begin to depart And wherever you wander you will feel safe, No matter what size, belief, sex, or race. Do you feel it? Envision our world embracing one another, Treating each soul as a sister or brother. Acceptance and compassion behind each word, Not even the faintest of voices going unheard. It can happen… This vision I allude to is not so out of reach, But it is our future generations we must teach. There are dreamers and doers being born in each land; The fate of our world truly lies in our hands.
“Peaceful Scenes at the River.” Kyle, Grade 10
Learning From Your Mistakes By Dana Swope, Grade 10 Hannah was really mad about failing her math test. She was sitting on her bed as thousands of thoughts whirled around in her head. But only one stuck out the most: “I’m no good at math anymore.” Up until that day she had received all A’s and B’s in math, and that had made her feel confident. So, even after the two days of studying for the test, she was surprised that she had failed. So here she was, sitting on the bed and crying. When her sister Lori came into the room and saw Hannah crying, she decided to try to make her feel better. With that, she sat next to her and said, “You know you tried your best, right?” Hannah looked at Lori. “Yes, but my best isn’t good enough anymore.” “Don’t be so hard on yourself,” Lori said with a smile. “I’m sure you’ll do better next time.” “It’ll take the type of work that I can’t really do now,” Hannah sighed. “I’m no good anymore. It shows in my grades.” Lori put her left hand on Hannah’s right shoulder. “It’s just one little slip-up,” she said. “You might just ace your next test. And maybe you should study with a buddy—you know, someone who can help you out a bit.” Hannah was finally beginning to calm down. “That’s a good point.” Lori smiled again. “I’ve learned over the years that the only time you look at your problems is when you want to improve for the next time,” she said. “It can be tough when you make a mistake, but I think they’re like a ladder. As you learn from your mistakes, you climb higher by fixing your mistakes to eventually reach the success at the top.” Hannah smiled. “You know, now that I consider it, I think I know what I did wrong. I skipped over that one section where I thought I knew it well, but I should have studied it anyway to double-check my knowledge.” “That may be it,” Lori replied. “And one more thing,” Hannah said with a smile. “I rushed through the test, too. I always rush when it’s a timed test, and that may have been another blunder.” “See?” said Lori. “You’re on the right track. And the next step is—”
“My Eyes.” Adachi Selas, Grade 8
“To fix them,” Hannah finished. “And that’s what I’ll do. Next time, I’ll study everything, whether I think I know it or not, and I’ll take my time on the assignment.” “That’s a wonderful idea,” said Lori. “Do you feel better now?” “I do!” Hannah said with a happy grin. “Thanks, Lori. I’ll do everything I can to fix my mistakes and climb up the imaginary ladder until I reach the top.” She laughed and ran off to do her homework.
On the next test, Hannah scored a 92% and even got extra credit for showing her work, totaling to 98%. She decided that Lori had been correct—learning from your mistakes was an important part of reaching toward success.
“Ibizan Beauty.” Juliette, Grade 9
“Blooming Beauty.” Jessica Youngblood, Grade 9
“Running Raindrops.” Jessica Youngblood, Grade 9
“Sweet Nectar.” Jordan Bullock, Grade 9
“My Personal Favorite.” Juliette, Grade 9
“Orchid of the Valley.” Emily Guzik, Grade 11
Alexandria Pelton, Grade 11 “It’s impossible!” they said; the young child would never succeed. “Let her be: place her in ESE; Give her a place where she can breathe.” The parents said, “No! She will be mainstreamed and given every possible chance.” Bullied by teachers and students alike, never given a second glance. But they never accounted for parents that cared, a family that supported her every step of the way. A few teachers embraced their cause, cheering for the little girl who embraces each day. Today, she holds her head up high, taking every day in stride; Co-founder of an organization to make people aware, Students with disabilities shouldn't be pushed aside; They should be embraced and guided along life’s way. AP and Honors classes light her path, To a future that might have been lost. A future set on becoming a high school teacher; determined to mold the next generation no matter the cost. “Impossible!” they said, just let her be; “She doesn't stand a chance.” But I believe in possibilities, Because, you see, that little girl is Me!
“Beautiful Breezy Day.” Veronica Torres, Grade 8
The Sun and the Moon Aaliyah Davy, Grade 10
The earth is a very attractive woman. You see, the sun is this know-it-all that draws our Earth towards it— while the moon, a trustworthy fellow, has to go in circles to get to us. The sun won’t be here forever, but you don’t care. Yet you know that in the presence of the moon, you can be real: whether it is to sneak off into a party or grab a late night snack. Face it! The moon is the one you know inside-out; you read it like a book. Haven’t you figured out that it has no light, but it reflects off the Sun? The sun is a demanding, inconsiderate Shiner. And pretty soon, the sun’s rays are gonna die out and you’ll be locked in icecaps. But, come on —right? Aren’t all boys like that?
“Clouds.” Erica Nathan, Grade 11
O’ Brother of Mine Aleya Zenieris, Grade 11
O brother of mine, I’ve watched you think, I’ve watched you grow, But you’ve watched me grow more. I’ve listened to you speak and tried to speak like that. I’ve tried to walk in your shadow, but found it a challenge, A task that no one could bring justice to. Your laugh embodied my happiness and made me want to never part with you. I stayed awake for years, knowing that you were in the room next to mine; happy, fulfilled. But my brother is not one anymore. He has crumbled in my memory. When I watch the night sky, I think of his piece of mind; I think of his ties to this earth and to these people, and the bonds that he has now broken, And I believe in the pain that separation creates. I breathe it in everyday. But when something becomes a part of you, it’s lost its part in someone else. O brother of mine, how could you leave?
“Reflections.” Seth Touchton, Grade 11
“A Good Morning Wave.” Brittney Waldrop, Grade 9
“Majestic Sky.” Aleksandra Rajcevic, Grade 8
“River View.” Erica Nathan, Grade 11
“Aspire.” Talia Fradkin, Grade 10
The Most Important Day of My Life Natalie Stubbs, Grade 9
I awoke beyond anxious; who wouldn’t on the most important day of their life? It was the day that my life would change forever. The test I take today will decide who I spend the rest of my life with. I was so nervous I could barely eat my breakfast. My parents took the test and they are happy, but what if I am not? What if the test does not work for me and I live out the rest of my life alone? No... that won’t happen. My sister Ariel and I walk to sector-hall and she, to my surprise, is completely calm. “Ariel?” “Yes?” “How do you do that?” “Do what?” “Be completely worry-free on the most important day of your life?” “I trust the test. I mean, Jared designed it specifically to ensure our happiness. Are you nervous?” Jared is our sector leader, actually the youngest sector leader in history. Our nation is made up of 26 sectors, each with a sector leader. Our sector is the fourteenth. “YES!!! What if the test does not work on me?” “What? The test has never... malfunctioned!” “Not that we know of!” There could have been people that the test did not work on; there had to be, but Ariel and I did not have time to continue our conversation before Jamie walked up. “Hey, ladies.” “Hey, Jamie,” Ariel mimics in the same tone Jamie used. “How are you doing today, Lola?” My real name is Lololi, but everybody calls me Lola. “Nervous,” I reply. “Why?” Before I am able to answer we are in sector-hall, and Katie begins to address us. “Welcome, everybody. If you are here, it means that you are now 18 and ready to discover your new partner in life...” That sure is an interesting way to put it. “After your test today, we will compare your test results to those of your fellow classmates to find the best match for you. We administer the test by last names in alphabetical order, so first up is Ariel Anderson.” Ariel walked up on the stage with full confidence, knowing exactly what she is there for and what she is doing. One by one, we each took the test; it was like a game. We were each given a tablet when it was our turn. First, there were a couple personal questions, but then there were weird questions like, “Would you rather have no money or no food? War or peace?” After we finished our test, the tablet said that we were free to go home, and that the test results were going to be announced the next day in sector-hall. We were all gathered in sectorhall to hear the results of the test, and Jared was there. None of us had ever seen him before. You would think that you would see his face everywhere considering, at only ten years old, he invented the test that now decides everyone’s future. But no, he had stayed hidden until today. Why today? Some“White Renaissance.” Emily Guzik, Grade 11
thing must have gone wrong with the test. With my test. “Hi everyone,” Katie announces “As you can see, we have a very special guest with us today, our sector leader and test designer, Jared Knight.” Everyone in the crowd erupts into applause, except for me. “I am sure you are all wondering why I am here today...” I am surprised at the way he carries himself. He does not act like he is lord over us all; he is humble and caring. “I will discuss the reason for my presence later, but for now, let’s continue on with the test results. The first couple is Ariel Anderson and Jamie Crawford.” I look at Ariel, and she is the happiest I have ever seen her. If there is such a thing as love, Ariel and Jamie are in it. He continues to announce the couples until no one is left... except for me. Everybody was so caught up in the moment that as soon as they were coupled up they left, completely forgetting the reason for Jared’s visit. “Hey Lololi, Jared and I would like a moment to speak with you alone.” Katie says as she approaches me. “Okay...” I reply. I follow Katie into one of the offices toward the back of sector-hall. “Hello, Lololi, please, take a seat.” I do as Jared asks while cautiously looking into his deep blue eyes. If I was not so nervous right now, I would dare say that he is quite handsome. He has dirty blond hair, and is built tall and lean. “Call me Lola.” I say as soon as I am seated. “OK, Lola, do you have any idea why we called you in here today?” “Because there is not a person for me to be matched with?” “No, and yes.” “What do you mean?” I reply, my voice cracking. “Well, your test results are unlike any we have ever seen before; the fact that there are not enough boys for all of the girls was just a coincidence.” “What do you mean unlike any you have seen before?” “What I mean is that the test is designed to discover your personality, and then to match you with the person to whom your personality is best suited for. When your test results came back, they showed not only that you have a desirable personality, but also that you are capable of... love. And that is something that we have not seen... in, well, five years.” The test was created only thirteen years ago. But when the test was first created it was given to everybody, even the already married couples. Everybody was then matched up with their new partner and given a child out of the orphanage. “Who was the other person?” I ask, only because that is all I can say in the midst of this shock. “Well... um...” Jared says while scratching his head and looking as nervous as I have seen anyone in my life. I had completely forget Katie was in the room until she blurts out, “Jared was the last - heck, only - person who has shown a capability of love since the test was invented. You two are meant for each other.” “Though I am the sector leader, I am not going to force you to do anything; the test was made to help people find the person they are truly going to be happy with. I have waited for you, for what feels like forever, but I do not want to be in a relationship with a person who does not feel the same way about me. “ I remember one morning at the breakfast table seeing how my parents looked at each other. They were happy, but at the same time, not. That is the moment I realized I did not want that. I want to really be happy, not fake happy. And that is when I start to envision our lives together. Getting married, buying a house, having kids... Then I stop and think, that is not how our life would be. It would be much more than what I see in society. I would be happy. I would be loved. I said, “I expected my future to be decided for me, but you... this... now... is the only thing that has felt right in a long time.” “Is it too soon to say... I love you?” “No... I think I love you, too.” I guess I was wrong... this was the most important day of my life.
“Life’s Outlook.” Brittney Waldrop, Grade 9
“Waiting for His Puppy Love.” Cristi McKee, Grade 8
“A Thousand Mile Journey Begins with One Step.” Madi Clark, Grade 7
Courtney Hayford, Grade 11 One day my past will be just that, my past. Something that does not need to be dwelled upon, Continuously thought about, or the center of attention in my life. One day I will be able to let go and say, “what’s done is done.” One day I will be able to forgive and move on. One day the tension will be released and the healing will follow. That one day sounds like an amazing day, But that one day is not today.
Isael Rosa, Grade 11 “What is love?” she asked. I could no longer avoid the answer. “Love is us; it is the undeniable strength between us. The invisible push and pull that grows stronger with every day that lingers on. Till it is forever exhausted and light turns into darkness. Love...love is what brings our silence together.” With a smile and one last sigh, a glint in her eyes says goodbye, as she falls into her slumber forever.
“Magnified Kingdom.” Brittney Waldrop, Grade 9
Envision Your Future Marina Meola, Grade 6 When we envision our future, sometimes we can be a little…unrealistic. People might tell us to grow up, to know what we want to be when we grow up, to think about colleges, etc., etc. But, this is all to make our life better, right? So maybe the best thing to do is to be unrealistic! Maybe the reality we know should be changed to instant fireworks! It’s not time to make hard and fast decisions; what really matters is having fun. Go take a photography class, join a club! (Or, write a poem for Virge!) In this new year of 2014, let’s just not care! HAVE FUN! Let’s get our education, but let’s not do it boringly! Everything you do, make sure you like it!
Or if it is not to your liking, try to change it for the better of EVERYONE! “Arches of America.” Moira Conley, Grade 10
Make 2014 the year of a fantastic future, and a fantastic NOW!
finally stopped doing twirls long enough to notice.
Clara Marty, Grade 9 I hated going down the tunnel with her. In all those books, the tunnel usually led either to a) you fall into a booby trap, b) someone tries to kill you, c) you get trapped, or d) you find buried treasure.
Like… waterfalls. I shook myself. I think she did too. Then I felt tied down. She leaped in the air and hit ground fast. I jumped. Regular, 2 seconds of air. She started breathing rapidly.
“D isn’t all that bad,” Midge said, mostly eyeing the walls.
“Ja-aaa-mie,” she said, coming over two steps at a time.
“Yeah, but it’s only 20 percent of the time.”
I looked around. The crystals were starting to stop glowing.
“I hate math.”
“What happened in your dream?”
A few moments passed. “Let yourself dream. Maybe we will find it. I remember...blue walls...teeming with crystals and phosphorescent algae…The ground soft like pillows. I remember…shards sticking out of the ground, looking like grass, almost, on the stalagmites. They changed...”
“Well, I was in the cave….. and… we ate them.”
“We ate them!”
“Yeah...color.” That was why I realized I should go further down. The walls were softly shading into blue.
I gulped. She went over to the stalagmites and pluck! She ate them. Immediately the glow coursed bloodily through the walls, but I still felt tied.
The thin staircase grew wide as we neared the bottom. I started to count the steps. I was reaching the 1000 mark when we hit land. That’s when I saw it…color changing crystals. Midge leaped onto the land. I was shocked still, waiting for whatever horrid trap that was about to grab her and pull her into its grasp, but it was just like she wandered like a fawn into a meadow.
“No.” “Come on, or we’ll be unbalanced.” She spoke, her eyes serious; she was still munching one of the crystals.
She spun around, her hands making amethyst rings around her.
I stepped back. Her eyes were turning a lulling shade of violet, a dreamy shade. I felt being lightened from the ground. I shook myself again.
“Wake up!” I didn’t know what else to do.
She leaped like a ballerina, twirled and spun in the air like it was her new pair of legs. I, too, felt certain lightness, like I could hop on the ground like I was walking on the moon. She dived onto the ground and hitting it, she pushed off like an upside-down professional diver off the springboard. She twirled sideways in the air, and then yanked herself forward to land on her feet. I knew that she always had a certain affinity for gymnastics and dance and in general, gracefulness, but this was not right.
But she just kept coming towards me. Maybe I could outrun her? She could fly, leap off the ground. But, I did do track. I looked at the stairs. She pushed me back to the walls.
“Midge! What is this place?!” I had a dead feeling that this was the sort of place that you could spend weeks in, years in, but never become older than a day. She giggled and gripped my hand and swung me around in circles in the air like I was a toddler. Now, I might be of a shorter sort in my class, and one of the skinnier sort at that, but I weighed an even 90 pounds and she couldn’t have weighed more than 80. But she did so and then flung me off, suspecting I would do a flip in the air and land perfectly like she did. The amazing thing was I did! Well, not the whole flip thing, but I turned and landed on my feet. You know when you were a little kid, you’d jump, and you could see a few seconds of being in the air and then you’d leap and jump and leap, hoping to see more of what being in the air will feel like? Well, that’s how I felt. I could feel the air around me when I landed, having enough time to actually pull myself together. The air was like a pillow, squashing gravity and making time slow.
“Why are you staring?” She asked, tilting her head a little so her ringlets would fall over her face and over her head like waterfalls.
She was really graceful. Combined with the arsenal of gymnastics she already knew and the weird gravity, she could spin and dance in the air, all while she expelled those strange purple rings. I kind of felt nice, just watching her. She
“Stop it! Wake up Midge! Come on!” I yelled, looking at her face. Somehow she was becoming prettier than ever. Her honey hair turned shades lighter, into a whitish color. Streaks of silver ran through her hair and braided themselves magically. But I was still being pushed. “Let me go, Midge.” This time I didn’t yell. I just told her the truth. For a second, she wasn’t flying. She was just on the ground. But then the second was over. Her amethyst eyes had speckles of brown in it, mixed with silver. Beautiful, beautiful crystal-dappled eyes…but hollow. I gripped her shoulders, but she just brushed my arms away, even with my strongest grasp. I got pushed against the wall. She shoved a crystal into my mouth. Then everything changed. The room went from blue to white to black, trying to empty my brain of thoughts, leaving just confusion, so it could seal it in without anything rational in there—nothing to keep from controlling me. I could feel the gleam of the crystals roaring through me like ice. I looked at the stairwell; it was still there, through it all. I was now balanced with Midge. I gripped her hand--this time she couldn’t pry it off--and ran.
Twin Pine Lodge Madeline J. Erwich, Grade 11 Our silver 2005 Honda Odyssey bounces over a “driveway” of trampled grass and weeds, the roof rack threatening to free itself from its bungee cord constraints. In the distance, I can just make out a small, two-story house, mostly obscured by towering trees and overgrown shrubbery. The moment we pull up to the front of the house, I burst from the car and sprint down the rocky path to the lake, my two younger sisters trailing behind me. I skid to a stop just shy of the water’s edge and drink in the familiar but dazzling view of afternoon sun glinting on still water. This is the place where I can cast my cares and worries out of my mind with a baited hook and a flick of my fishing rod. This is Twin Pine Lodge, my tangible source of peace, serenity, and joy.
proudly present the captives to our mother who would sternly remind us of her “no amphibious or reptilian species in the house” rule. Most nights, my family and I would sit on the dock and watch the sun slip lower and lower behind the tree line of the far bank, an occasional bald eagle or great blue heron flying silently and steadily past. At the outset of every summer of my childhood, I looked forward to traveling to Twin Pine Lodge. Visiting that house gave me feelings of peace and joy that I was seemingly devoid of during the hectic routine of the school year. The stresses of life were cast aside and I welcomed the serenity that had once seemed so elusive. The audible silence that surrounded the house quieted my mind and spirit, allowing me to focus on matters of immediate importance, such as creating lasting memories with the people I loved most.
Twin Pine Lodge in Monmouth, Maine was built in the early 1900’s and its age can clearly been seen in the peeling white paint of the front façade and the numerous displaced bricks in the crooked chimney. There is no front yard to speak of: only a wide, open field filled with a forest of grass that many black flies and deer ticks call home. The grass is so tall that it makes the house almost invisible from the road. In the part of the yard that is closest to the house, the grass is kept much shorter so that visitors are able to easily access the front door. To the left of the main house are two tumbledown shacks that house the fishing and boating gear. When my grandfather took me fishing, he would always make me get the rods and lures from the shed because the door hinges had rusted so that the door only opened halfway. I was the only one small enough to fit through the door. The interior of the house showed just as much age as the exterior. Inside the spacious kitchen, an antique stove the size of small car occupied an entire corner, while the windows on the opposite wall were propped open by pieces of plywood, the afternoon sun creating patterns on the floor as it shone through the cracked glass. A cavernous stone fireplace in the living room was the centerpiece of many a night of s’mores and stories. Sometimes, my grandmother would bring out her guitar and play a song or two, usually resulting in my sisters and me falling asleep on the musty, brown couch or in the ancient rocking chair. Along the wall of the creaking stairway that led to the second floor, a collection of genuine turtle shells were displayed. The giant screened-in porch in the back, however, was my favorite part of the house. My sisters and I would sometimes spend hours on end out on the porch, playing game after game of checkers and chess. Just outside the squeaky back porch door grew the tree that was the namesake of the house. The famous “twin pines” were really just one giant pine tree that had grown into two separate trees about halfway up the trunk. Beyond the tree lay Lake Cobbosseecontee. Our corner of the lake was set off by a thin finger of land that jutted out of the bank just to the east of the house, creating a small inlet. It was in that inlet where I learned to fish, standing on the slightly off-kilter floating dock, trying not to step in any of the holes where the wood had rotted away.
Our tiny aluminum motor boat was moored to the left of the floating dock and my sisters and I found great pleasure in moving the boat slightly away from the bank, so as to disturb the numerous frogs that had been resting in the soft, warm mud. We would capture the frogs in old milk jugs and
“State of Mind.” Christian Riesgo, Grade 8
Imagination Adachi Selas, Grade 8
I saw a Myriad of colors and Animations skipping across a Golden cloud of Inspiration. No one could stop the pencil As my hand dashed along The pages of my sketchbook. I watched them materialize Out on the border of my dreams, Never ending.
â€œLatin Waters.â€? Laura Poots, Grade 10
“Buzz, buzz,” says the fly… What did you say? Flies don’t buzz? Bees do? Well, you’re dead wrong! Next time you’re near a fly, listen to it! A bee stings, a fly buzzes. Get your facts straight…
So “buzz, buzz,” says the fly as it tries to climb a glass window… What did you say? A fly doesn’t climb, it flies? Well mister know-it-all, if a fly flies all the time its wings will get tired. And then what? It uses its feet! Think before you interrupt me again…
Aaliyah Davy, Grade 10
And “buzz, buzz,” says the fly as it tries to climb a glass window, but it always falls back down… What? No interruptions this time? Are ya sure? ‘Cause just a minute ago you were buzzin’ my ear off about flies like you know everything about them… And so “buzz, buzz,” says the fly as it tries to climb a glass window, yet it always falls back down and it keeps on trying to climb... What now? Oh, you’re saying that you never knew that flies had determination? What did ya expect? That as soon as the rough-gets-tough flies are just gonna give up? Flies have places to go, ya know! Things to do! They’re not gonna sit around and read poems all day… Yes, “buzz, buzz,” says the fly when it tries to climb a glass window and it always falls back down, but it keeps on trying to climb and climb…and climb… So, are ya thinkin’ what I’m thinkin’ now? That flies are much more than annoying? ‘Cause that fly has been buzzin’ in my ear since yesterday, just like you were askin’ all ‘em questions. Well, look at that! I guess you can rename yourself, then: Mr./Ms. Fly…
“Pitbulls Are Precious.” Lindzie Biron, Grade 10
The House on the Hill Aleya Zenieris, Grade 11
There is a house on a hill That never seems to see the sun. When the wind blows the fire starts, And only the baseless vision can put it out. I watch the home meander into my own thoughts, But somehow, in my mind, it rots. There is a house on a hill that hurts my soul, ruins my talents, But I tell it to watch the weather, To imagine what it could have been, and then I am fine. But it sighs and deserts its own chances, Even when it dances. The heart of the house withers with the hill. It creaks and cracks with every touch, And crumbles with every blow. I tell it to be strong and not escape, But it doesn’t like what I say. And one day the hill fell, And so did the house, and the sun finally embraced the house with all its warmth. And at that moment, I realized that it was not a house: It was a home. I miss that home every day, But now I embrace the sun with every ray.
“Stairway to Goodbye.” Moira Conley, Grade 10
The Road as I Envisioned It
I looked ahead, and saw two roads that spread as far as the eye could see. The urge to travel came to me like a freight train through an intersection; Taking me both by surprise and by incomparable force. I stood stagnant. Unable to decide. Then I was forced to take action. I turned to take the road on my left, and felt uneasy about the decision. The road seemed well kept. It was wide and most obviously used often. The uneasiness began to subside with distance. I began to take in the view. The farther I walked, the weaker I got. I then searched for some type of food. Along the road were fruits of varying appearances. I reached out to take a bite, imagining the sweet juice on my lips. However, when my hand overtook the fruit, it disintegrated. I was left speechless. Standing in shock of the once beautiful fruit, now ashes. The satisfying thoughts were but a mist in the breeze. I searched for others. I ran, grasping for anything to satisfy the hunger. With each reach, my hope for fresh fruit was crushed. I was left hungry. I stumbled alone on the wide, beautiful road. I seemed to go for days, the hunger increasing, but death not coming. My joints became unwilling to move; they became brittle and weak. My heart grew weary from the weight of the predicament. I saw no end to the madness. I found no solution to the problem. The road that the majority chooses was also the road of utter loneliness. My ankles, they rolled and dragged. My knees, they were put out of joint. My hands, they grew feeble and weak, unable to support even a slow crawl. I laid on the once beautiful, now barren and lonely, road. I saw something on the side of the road. The first sight of something different. With no strength left in my weak joints or hands, I twisted and wiggled in pain, Just trying to see the object. It was a shard. A shard of a shattered mirror. A mirror that once showed a reflection of great pride. That was no more. The person I thought I was, the choice I made! It was all a lie. But somehow, it was reality. I looked intently at the reflective shard. What I saw... What I felt... Words could not describe. Disgusted, ashamed, Afraid... There in the mirror was a worn, torn, abused, and crying little boy. With the skin of my hand, I tested the sharpness of the shard. Blood was instantly drawn. Pouring with no restraints. I cringed at the feeling. However, the fear I felt, It felt like the only real feeling I have ever felt. I wanted more. The fear of losing blood was too much for me to bear. What if there was one quick one? I could muster up strength, And fall on the shard. I would feel the emotion, And then be relieved of this misery. I lifted my head and looked around me. No one has been with me on this so called “majority chosen road.” I’ve been alone throughout this journey. Why would anyone care if I was gone? No one was there to begin with. I lay there, sprawled against the all too familiar Road. My brain was at war. My body wanted an end, and the will to fight was Quickly fleeting. I push myself up. I ignored the pain shooting from my arms.
“You Are My Sunshine.” Madi Clark, Grade 7
Seth Touchton, Grade 11 But I fell. There I was again. Too weak to move. Crying was not an option, For my body had no liquid to produce for tears. I just laid there, weeping. Weeping in my heart. Weeping in my mind. Concealed like a vault. I allow nothing to come out, and allow nothing to come in. Silence. Guilt.. Shame... Silence.... The ground singed my skin. My clothes were torn from the many falls. My face... It was unrecognizable. Then I heard...My name. I was left speechless; not knowing how to react. It took a considerable amount of time to even realize that it was my name. Even after I made the mental connection, I was still too weak to look up. Then my name was called again, this time in a tender, intimate voice. Who was this? Who would care to speak to such an ugly excuse of a human? With all the energy in my body, I lifted up my head. It was just high enough to see the feet of the new stranger. It was clear that the feet of the approacher belonged to a male. They were scarred, worn, abused, but strong. In the center of each foot was a circle. Unmistakably scars. He said my name. The muscles within each foot flexed, and the man squatted. His entire body was in view now, except for the man’s face. A part of me was overcome with joy, but the other part of me? Irrational fear. Who was he? What did he want from me? How did he know me? Would he hurt me? Go ahead and let him. I wanted to die anyway. It would not take much to do it. Just an easy snap of the neck. Then it happened. He reached down, touched my chin, And lifted up slowly. My head, laying limp in the palm of his hand, Raised upwards so that my eyes met his. I looked deeply into his eyes. He opened his mouth, and told me that he loved me. I was shocked as I felt Tears running down my cheeks. Not so much the tears, as the words that Spun inside my head. He loves me? I was still surprised that anyone would Recognize me, let alone look past my ugliness and say they loved me. Would this be the way out of my misery? Would he help me? I just fell into his arms. I did not want this terrible life any longer. I knew now. I knew in my heart who He was. The Savior. The God of the universe, and He carried me like a groom would a bride. He swept me off the ground, making sure I need not use Any more of my energy. He looked intimately into my eyes. He then leaned over, kissed my forehead, and told me to rest. Before my eyes closed, and before my brain flew to the foreign land of Sleep, I glimpsed something. A bridge. It covered the distance between The road I was on, and another road. It was the road I saw at the beginning. The road I decided to run way from. And now, this Man, this God, Came to the deadly road I was on, and willingly carried me over. I had to reach my lowest point. I had to endure the painful consequences. After I realized my failure, and gave up all hope, hope found me. He came, He pursued, He loved, and He saved. He took me to the Road less traveled, and He took me in His arms.
Personified Aaliyah Davy, Grade 10
Outside this weathered-down window is a story. A brother reaches out for his sibling, but is only disappointed when his branches stem out to harsh civilization. An old and rusty, dark and discolored platform stands where Sister tree once planted her roots; every day, Brother tree reaches out with the wind and feels the hurt of concrete. But on some days, Brother tree would look out of the corner of his eyes and see the green shrubs that fancied the platform and would mistake it for Sister tree’s nice, soft, low branches. And when the moment of truth had approached and gone, he would look out to the streets and wonder what they’d done to his little sister. The sister he so often liked and took care of; the one he promised the bees he would see not as beneath him, but at his level. He did this even when she was a tiny seed yet to sprout. But the bees no longer come here; only wasps and drunken butterflies that do not pay rent. The good creatures all went away when the monsters with two arms, two opposable thumbs, two feet, 18 strange-looking things (or so would Brother tree call it), one hard hat each, and too many contraptions to count, came along. Of course, Brother tree has other trees to talk to, but they are either too far away, too small, or too tall. It took 15 years for Brother tree to finally realize that he was actually alone…and some 1000 miles apart, Sister tree had finished recuperating from separation anxiety and finally settled into her new home: the forest.
constructions. But this does not disguise the fact that every foot of land taken up by civilization and eliminated had once belonged to Mother Nature. So, in perspective, people who cut down trees and reserve an area for deforestation can be looked upon as similar to those who round up other human beings and “dispose of them.” Some people like to think of trees as underlings and argue that a tree’s life is much less than that of a human’s. Well, trees breathe, we breathe, and without trees, we would be dead; it’s as simple as that. And have you ever thought that viewing trees like the lower class is also like the Egyptians who viewed the Israelites as underclassmen, slaves? This story personifies and exposes the ill-treatment of trees: our newly-discovered underlings.
Humans have a way of rounding up all the supposedly bad things in life and eliminating them in order to make a more “proper” way to live. And those who would like to think otherwise are only lying to themselves… It always starts with the “smart guy” that makes up the “the big idea.” But in the end, everyone realizes that the “smart guy” wasn’t even smart at all. When Hitler came to power in the early 1900s, the Germans thought he was a genius. But of course, in Hitler’s point of view, Jews who were born in Germany were not Germans, so when the term “Germans” is used, it is actually referring only to Hitler-approved, German-born civilians. Hitler thought that Jews did not deserve the rights that “real Germans” did. Hitler tried to get rid of Jews by any means necessary. And for all those Americans that shake their heads at the very thought and think that the U.S. would never do such a thing, the United States has already done it: before Hitler. In the 1830s, President Andrew Jackson signed The Indian Removal Act of 1830, and it started the long passage called “The Trail of Tears.” The Cherokees were forced out of their homes and traveled a long journey north. Almost all of them died along the way.
Just like the Cherokees and the Jews, trees were and still are treated like the lower-class. From the start of civilization, Mother Nature was declining. This is a result of migration and population increase of humans. Every year, technology advances and once it does, the amount of factories, buildings, and homes increases. And little by little, humans “borrow” from Mother Nature and cut down 3 to 6 billion trees each year. Some small plants and a few trees stay in order to decorate the perimeter of these
“Out in the Open.” Kyle, Grade 10
“Chillin’ with the Music.” Veronica Torres, Grade 8
58 “Like Mother and Daughter.” Laura Poots, Grade 10
“Envision.” Erica Nathan, Grade 11
Adrian Salgado, Grade 12 Kingston is a small town snuggled in the northern midst of Washington, far away from the fast life and people with busy lives. There are only two seasons in Kingston, summer and winter. In the summertime, Kingston bursts with daffodils, sunflowers and lavender tulips. The landscape portrays the rainbow’s colors exquisitely. Winter is always introduced with the first snowflakes falling on Halloween night. This marks the arrival of the bitter cold throughout Kingston until April. Harold Bland is a junior at Sinston High. The sight of Harold is like his name--bland. Harold has one of the most unusual appearances, and by this I mean short, frail, and bony. He walks with no purpose, and for a sixteen-year-old, barely has any hair on his cone-shaped head. Daily, Harold wishes for confidence, self-esteem, and good looks. Everything about Harold is less than mediocre, including his GPA.
In a flash, Harold’s life will change as it changed that day in the bitter cold woods with the granting of Harold’s wishes by Ruby Dev. Hours passed and after minor complications, the birth of their son is finally here. There is a familiar scent in the air: death. Within seconds, Harold is blinded by a bright white light as he was on the day he met Ruby Dev. Ruby speaks, “Harold Bland, your son is mine. You will never see or hold your first and only born. You agreed, remember?” Harold awakens to his screams of agony and his wife’s eternal grief.
The date is December 21, 1984, the day before winter break begins. Harold begins his usual walk home, but comes across a horrific car accident. The scene is surrounded with ambulances and police cars with high-pitched sounds of sirens and the sight of flashing blood-red lights. Harold’s eyes burn and he runs to escape the smell of death. Harold has no other choice but to take another route through the woods. After miles of walking, Harold notices a bright white light. “Hello, my name is Ruby Dev.” Harold responds, “Do I know you?” Ruby says, “No, but I know you, and I am here to grant your wishes.” Harold was in a trance. Ruby Dev was a vision of an angel, with beauty beyond one’s imagination. Her hair was the color of ebony. Her lips were the color of crisp cherries, and her eyes mesmerized you into a spell. Ruby whispered, “Close your eyes. Trust me, and I will make you what you are not. In return, you must allow me to take something of yours. Do you agree, Harold Bland?” Harold anxiously agreed, thinking to himself, “What could she possibly take of mine? I have nothing.” It is 2012, and Harold’s life is picture perfect. He is married to a beautiful woman and they are expecting their first born. Many years have passed since Ruby Dev turned his life around; he is wealthy, he is healthy, and he is happy. The time has come for payment to Ruby Dev. Harold is unaware that tragedy is on its way to him. It is time. Harold’s wife has gone into labor and he can hardly stand the excitement of finally seeing the birth of his son. It has not been an easy path for Harold and his wife to conceive a child. It has taken a toll on him and his wife, but the day has finally come for the birth of their child and Ruby Dev’s taking.
“Sunset Silhouette.” Jessica Youngblood, Grade 9
Imagination Gracie Pruitt, Grade 8
I am not seen I am everywhere If you lose me, you have lost your meaning of life I am every child’s friend I am who you cling to for a vision of your dreams I am the master of your thoughts I rely on your ideas and emotions I am the one who sparks your fire of desire I am the one you are ashamed to share with others I am the one you blame for your thoughts and eventually your actions I am the one who turns a whispering wind into a monster clawing at your door I am the one who shows you the shadows in your room I am the one who gives you your happy place I am the one who if you abuse, you will regret I am your imagination!
“Time Standing Still.” Logan Brewer, Grade 7
A Hurt Filled Smile
Jirah Ligon, Grade 11
When I sit back and think about that morning when we were just talking; How perfectly fine and good you were walking; All the things that you had been through, I didn’t know it could get any worse. But when you were sitting in that hospital bed, I saw you were breathing so I knew you weren’t dead. I couldn’t help but think all day when the doctor said it was a “massive -stroke.” I started to pass out and I nearly choked. Then my thinking came back like a wave on a surfboard, I looked into heaven and said, “Why Lord? Is this all a dream? My mother is lying there and I feel …….I feel this is so unfair. She’s the nicest thing in the world, how could this be? I can’t believe this is happening to me!” Then I looked over at you, not able to say a word, So I listened to your mumble, and I knew what I heard. You were telling me to stop crying, that you would be okay, And always remember to just pray. Then I looked into your eyes with pain and tears, Still shivering, afraid, and trembling with fear. Then you said it again, this time more furiously, So that at this time I took it more seriously! We looked at each other and I envisioned something special-A life in which you could live that goes way beyond a mile. That’s when I cracked my hurt-filled smile...
“Those Special Ones Always Shine Through.” Courtney Swain, Grade 11
Bryce King, Grade 10 “They do this every ten years,” I said, embracing my hysterical mother. “You’ll be okay.” “Ten years ago your father died in the same awful maze!” my mother shrieked. “You were only six, Ethan! They threw your father into a maze for some science experiment! I can’t lose you the same way.” “I have to go.” My head hung so low I thought it might fall off my scrawny shoulders. More tears cascaded from my mother’s icy blue eyes that matched mine. “I love you, my son.” “I love you too,” I whispered as groping hands tore me away from her and into the Labyrinth. ******* Pain surged through my back as Axle slammed me onto the Labyrinth floor. He leaned over me and growled, “One person gets the key in the middle of the Labyrinth which means one person gets to escape. I will be that person.” Axle’s tall brawny figure ambled off into the sun leaving me helpless and beaten on the dirt floor. I would never get the key. Maybe that would have been better, for someone else could have retrieved it. Someone who had something more to live for should have it. Zoom! A fury of red, wild hair and booted feet dashed by me kicking dirt in my mouth. That was Janet. She was a cheetah amongst dandelions. Every man desired her, but all knew her heart sung Axle’s name. She would give the key to Axle so he could live if she found it. Of course, I would have never given the key to a selfish jock like Axle. He received everything he needed just by a flip of his shimmering, gold hair. His infectious smirk could have fooled angels into thinking he was one himself.
I peered up to see Janet locked in an iron cage like a canary kept from freedom. Her eyes pleaded to me. I rammed into the side of the cage tipping it over and Janet spilled out. With her gracefulness she landed squatting with her hands on the ground. Janet’s eyes said thank you for her and she dashed away before I could tell her she was heading towards the fire. She was already too far away for me to warn her. Janet screamed and then the flames swallowed her. I wandered aimlessly until my legs gave out from under me, and then I crawled aimlessly. Hunger abducted my body. I could barely move. Crawling into a clearing, I froze in shock. In the middle of the clearing was the key of the Labyrinth. I snatched the dormant key from its pedestal. It was mine. “Please!” A breaking voice begged. Axle stood behind me beaten, battered and shaking. “I look after three siblings. They are barely old enough to dress themselves. Please, Ethan, let me take care of them,” Tears spilled forth from Axles shining green eyes. “I’m sorry. Just please.” ******** Axle did not deserve the key, but I foresaw that his siblings would die without him. So Axle escaped and only one can escape the maze. I never did escape. I was set free. “We started this experiment 70 years ago in 2019,” the dreadfully old, wrinkled scientist began. “We sought someone who, in the midst of a life threatening situation, would still perform the selfless act.You, Ethan Lurker, have saved yourself and the other remaining Labyrinth Survivors.You have ended this experiment. Thank you, Ethan Lurker.” I survived the Labyrinth.
Dead, brown hedges formed the tortuous walls of the Labyrinth. They cast a gray shade over me. They dulled the bright, blue sky and confirmed that nothing could live in this Labyrinth. I am the hedges—dead, hopeless, lifeless, simply present and not living. There was not much sound in the Labyrinth except for the occasional high pitched scream or the screeching of a trap being set into motion. Suddenly, heat overwhelmed me and my vision became tinted red. I assumed Janet’s sprint was to her love, Axle, but she ran from a fire! Orange tongues tasted my fingertips. I sprang to my feet despite the agony coursing through my legs, shoulders and back. I limped away from the inferno turning left, striking right, advancing forward, darting right, then hobbling left. I knew this maze because I had seen my father perish in it. I paused while the fire was far behind and leaned against the hedge wall. Dew drops congregated on these hedges of bright green leaves; they lacked death and gray unlike the others. It would make someone believe life existed in this Labyrinth, and where there is life, there rests hope. No lie was as twisted, spurious, deceitful and as cruel as that.
“Help!” A girl’s voice echoed.
“Free.” Logan Brewer, Grade 7
Individuality in Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use” Emma Palmer, Grade 11
Since the beginning of the human race, people have struggled with individuality. Many works of literature explore the idea of the “human ego.” Many authors try to explain their opinions of what makes an individual unique. Alice Walker, for one, explores the role of the unique individual in her short story, “Everyday Use.” Alice Walker presents, explores, and exhibits the differences in her characters in order to show the diversity of human nature. As the reader follows the plot in “Everyday Use,” they come to realize that the three very different characters described are essential to the development of the future of both the family, literally, and, in a bigger sense, the African-American, post-slavery culture. The first character presented in detail in “Everyday Use” is the narrator, Mama. Alice Walker uses both implied and direct characterization to develop Mama as a character. Through Mama’s thoughts, we can infer from the beginning that she does not care what other people think of her actions. She seems bold as she sits in the yard and inwardly admits that most people do not do such a thing. “A yard like this is more comfortable than most people know,” she says. From this, we know that Mama values comfort more than the opinions of others. Further on in the short story, Mama directly describes her features using phrases such as “big-boned” and “rough, man-working hands.” Mama confides her lack of education to the reader and seems to wish her situation was different as she describes an imagined, public reunion affair between her and Dee. All of these fragments of Mama’s identity are essential to both the story as a literary work and the bigger picture of AfricanAmerican culture. Without Mama’s tough inner strength, there would have been no one to take care of her children or raise money to provide education to Dee. In this way, Mama represents many in her generation that strove to open doors for the next generation. Many African-American parents of this era wished only to provide a better future for their children than what they had had. Despite this wish to give Dee many opportunities in life, Mama still held tightly to the traditions of the people who had provided for her in earlier times. Mama was a proverbial anchor for Dee’s musings: gently and sometimes forcefully drawing attention back to childhood roots. Mama was one of many African-American mothers of this era who urged their children to be realistic about their inherited identity in relationship to their vision for the future. To some, it may seem that Maggie plays only a minor supporting role in “Everyday Use.” However, while examining Alice Walker’s development of her character, it is evident that Maggie symbolizes much more than just a sister left at home. Maggie is described by Mama as shy and timid in comparison to her sister, Dee. Her physical impairments, which resulted from a fire when she was small, make her weak and dependent. Maggie was not the one sent off to school and is portrayed as simple-minded. She immortalizes Dee and does not question her. However, Maggie’s experiences have caused her to have different values than Dee. While Dee has passion for the exotic and trendy, Maggie accepts what she already knows and that in which she finds comfort. She is never haughty and does not judge. Maggie, in receiving not only the quilts but also the knowledge of the process that went into making the quilts, is carrying on tradition. The younger siblings like Maggie of this age have been viewed as less fortunate. However, I have to question the accuracy of this assumption. Maybe those like Maggie were better able to appreciate and continue the growth of their cultural roots. Perhaps Maggie symbolizes the medium through which the African-American culture continued. While Mama and Maggie seem consistent in terms of culture, Dee in “Everyday Use” is a new
variable who has the potential to change everything. To illustrate this potential, Alice Walker tells of the drastic changes in Dee from childhood to her current state after seeing the world and receiving higher education. Dee has transformed herself from the young, dissatisfied girl in a content family to Wangero, an educated, curious, glowing, and determined young women who is fighting for civil rights for African-Americans. Dee is the trail blazer in her family. She is the first to get an education and the first to express a goal of equal rights. Dee represents those of that generation brave enough to explore new things and embraced them with wild enthusiasm. The African-Americans of this category could have been described as “radical” by their parents and others who weren’t as hopeful as they were. Sometimes those who shared Wangero’s ideals had to be reminded, as she did, that African culture was not more important than their family’s culture. Wangero comes home with a name and clothes of African origin that she puts into everyday use. However, she averts her mind from the idea of putting tools and other objects such as the quilts and the butter churn from her childhood home into everyday use. Instead, she would rather display them as exotic artifacts like those in a museum. Little does she know that in doing so, she is rejecting her family’s culture as foreign and diving into one of a civil rights revolution which promises to change the world. In conclusion, the characters in Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use” are from the same family, but they could not be any more different. While these differences seem contradictory, they are actually quite compatible. Despite these inconsistencies in their beliefs and values, they each play a different part in creating the future. Without differences like theirs, the future would lack the balance of respect for the past and drive for the future which makes a society effectively progressive. Without personalities like that of Mama, the envisioned future would never have been envisioned in the first place. Without ambition like that of Dee, the envisioned future would never have been accomplished. Finally, without people like Maggie, the envisioned future would have lost touch with the past and the present.
“Bright Blossoms.” Juliette, Grade 9
Her Isael Rosa, Grade 11
I watched as you walked away. You weren’t gone, yet I felt that nagging pain that soon you would walk out the door and never return. You walked to your car and I saw you look back. What were you thinking? Should you stay the night? No. Your sister would be wondering where you were. Should you stay a little longer? I don’t think so. Traffic would be heavier later tonight. Her beauty lingers in my mind. The way her lips would curve with every smile. The glint in her eyes as she truly felt safe with every touch. The way she would look at you, with longing to know you. To care for you. She was like the ocean, with all its majestic spectacles, with all its power. The way the sun rose up every morning, bringing us a new day. A new hope. She is hope.
thank you Thank you to the students who created this literary magazine: the artists, the photographers, the writers, the poets. Your vision made it a reality. Thank you to the student staff of Virge for your hard work, time, creativity, and dedication. You gave the vision clarity.
This edition of Virge is dedicated to two champions who
an education where the student is always at the center. Julie Young aspired to provide a quality curriculum taught by excellent teachers where each student has a unique story and path to learning. Her vision and dedication has literally touched more than a million lives, and her inspiration will have an impact on education forever. Pam Birtolo shared the vision and her brilliance resulted in out-of-the-box thinking and action. Always an advocate for students, she crusaded for innovation, and stirred both students and staff to reinvent education. Thank you for envisioning and pioneering a brighter future for all students.
“As Long As My Hand Is In Yours.” Madi Clark, Grade 7
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