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“New Document”: Poetic License Volume II

The 2017-18 Literary Journal Published by The RCDS 6th Grade

“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” Phillip Pullman Dear Readers, My name is Emma Devine and I among the student editors for RCDS’ s 2018 literary magazine, New Document: Poetic License, Volume 2. We have spent a year writing that has made this magazine possible. This past November, the sixth grade worked extremely hard on writing their very own novels through NaNoWriMo. We wrote a total of 152,756 words in all of the novels combined! Also, the sixth grade celebrated our own Poetry Madness Month and Tournament during April, where we would vote on poems that excelled and advanced to the next round. We read so much poetry even going into May! The winning poem this year was “Annabel Lee” by Edgar Allan Poe, which was personally my favorite poem. Through April and May the sixth grade really explored the intensity and strength of poetry. We all wrote diverse types of poetry, and some of my peers really discovered a love they have for the writing form. A great addition in this year’s literary magazine is that we took writing submissions from the seventh and eighth grades, too! I hope you enjoy reading the great pieces of writing from the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grades from The Rumson Country Day School! Emma Devine, Co-Editor

“New Document”: Poetic License Volume II Journal Editors: Emma Devine Grace Lamb Greta Senft Journal Student Creative Team: Sophia Memtsoudis Brody Page Greta Senft Hudson Skove Journal Faculty Advisors: Aurea Hernández-Webster Casey McChesney English Department Faculty: A. Murdock, Chair A. Clark, B. Horner, C. Horner, D. Macdonald, T. Malia, L. Staveley, L. McEvoy, & D. Woodham Art Department Faculty: M. Petersen, Chair S. McDermott The art featured throughout this journal, which was selected from the 2018 Arts Festival represents original work created by RCDS students in various grades.

Poetry noun po·et·ry \pō-trē, -i-trē also p-)i-trē\ 1 a : metrical writing : verse b : the productions of a poet : poems 2: writing that formulates a concentrated imaginative awareness of experience in language chosen and arranged to create a specific emotional response through meaning, sound, and rhythm 3 a : something likened to poetry especially in beauty of expression b : poetic quality or aspect the poetry of dance

Source: Students were inspired by the readings shared in the annual Poetry Madness Tournament which featured the works of Edgar Allan Poe, Bob Dylan, Joe Harjo, Naomi Shihab Nye, X.J. Kennedy, Robert Frost, Marge Piercy, Maya Angelou, Lillian Moore, Ofelia Zepeda, Emily Dickinson, Phillip Levine, James Weldon Johnson. Mark Strand, Tupac Shakur and Richard Blanco. The poets included in this volume explored a variety of poetic forms including free verse, ekphrasis, light verse and elegies.

12 Years Old by Hudson Skove An innocent child slaving away with books in hand thinking if the brutality is worth the reward. The burden of responsibility beginning its descent upon the child’s shoulders. Loads with work, busting at the brims, enjoy their inauguration as the pleasure swiftly fleets. The insecure boy looking into the future, Both hope and fear take the reins, joy is still palpable, but wounded. The transition from the adolescent stage beginning. The joy of of childhood approaching the final stage, But still, time remains. That is why you must savor these years, However, your savoring is mercilessly squeezed in between the mountains of paper, and the school forcing it upon you. The ending of this story, not so happy.

Enjoy The Adventure by Parker Gmelich The best moments live in the future. Where life is a crazy, happy, sad adventure, You don’t know what to expect except life itself. Where it could be bad or good, happy or sad But I know there will always be a story. There will be embarrassing stories and funny ones, too. That is what makes life a swirly roller coaster Through the turns and ups and downs you just get stronger. Every day you learn something new One day your roller coaster ride will be over, So you just have to love and appreciate it while you have it. Enjoy the adventures

High Explosives 2 by Daniel Cook I hop out the bus I’m playing with my friend Gus Winning is a must It’s a new mode so I need to adjust High explosives only is what I play Ready to take many dubs today! Life is hard It’s a big wild card Will I win? Will I lose? Does it matter? It does But Life is about your family And your wishes For you and your friends. But Life is still hard.

Untitled by Charlie Ryan On a bright sunny day, the birds are chirping, the conspicuous trees still as they will ever be, everyone having an enjoyable time, not even grasping the beauties of nature.

The dust of farms and deserts, cities and plains mingled by one wind—our breath. Breathe. by Hudson Skove The struggle of the humanity, delicately weighing their lives against those of the hearts and souls encasing them in an indecisive thought. The burden that is nudged away like a solemn discussion we are to have, but our breath, streaming out of our soul, merges us into a single species, and we coexist. Farms with rolling green hills, different from the cities with buildings that rise infinitely, yet the same. The dust of the farms and deserts, cities and plains mingled by one wind—our breath. Breathe. The breath, heart flows through us and vibrates our conscious into action, into an obligation of compassion and pure empathy, But first, permission is needed.

History by Braden Chavez History is what defines us. And when it’s brought to a painting, It changes perspective. The detail and image, Change how history is seen. To paint a most violent thing and make it graceful. To look at tragedy with pride, And say this is history. “The Death of Socrates” _____________________________

An ekphrasis poem inspired by a painting at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

A Wish

by Parker Gmelich I wish my happiness spread like rumors, I wish my smile spread across the land. To have peace, and to hold hands together as one In all the lands, through the world, sky and ocean. I want empathy, to be in someone’s shoes To live like them, to feel like them. I wish the light in the darkest times spread like wildfire. I wish to live in all peace Without wars, without hate, without sad times. But with color, with smiles, with wishes. To wish and wish: I hope my wish will come today. A wish

The Broken World by Brody Page A temple stood here, Along with markets, And rows of houses. Children hauled in goods from the shops to their homes every day. People were happy. Life was good before the siege. Everyone in the town stared in fear As their adversaries stood on the hill before them. Waiting, ready for a cue. The colossal army flocked to the small town, Townspeople hid As they waited for their ultimate demise The sinister looks on the warriors faces Was the last thing the town saw. They were easily conquered. Now, there is nothing to be detected in the ruins. This town wasn’t abandoned, it was taken.

What If Braden Chavez What if? you may ask. What if you didn’t complete the task? Would you have to wear a mask To hide the what if? So may I ask you what if?

Standing Tall by Braden Chavez

Standing tall it shines brightly. Faces arguing side by side. Letters riding the top. Empowered with gold, A small handle - not held by many, Beaming down; it is a masterpiece, Standing tall.

Giraffe By Dominik Goldberg I’m in the savannah, it’s a nice day. I see all the animals, out to play. But one stands out, it stands taller than the rest. It’s taller than a skyscraper! It’s the giraffe, it’s definitely the best. He has a long neck, that he uses to grab the leaves. He grabs them off the tallest trees. He grabs them off, with lots of ease.

My Old House by Greta Senft My old house My small bed that my tiny body used to sleep on, Scared of the howling wind, and crackle of branches, The small kitchen I would sneak into and grab one last cupcake, The doors that locked, but were always open to me. The halls I would crawl up The stairs I would slide down, My parents’ huge bed Which I sleep in more than my own, The TV I thought didn’t work. This place I used to call my home Seems close but is slipping farther away. But this is not all sad: I learn from moving that Home is not where your house is, It’s where your family is.

The Dancing Parrot by Anna Baghdassarian The record begins to spin, The music finally starts, You know his head will bob, Around the room he darts, You hear the joyous singing, His wings arise to flap, It almost looks as if He has started to clap. Following the rhythm And every single beat, Like a frog he’s hopping, He stomps his tiny feet. Chirping with excitement He bops his regal crest, Happier than ever, He never seems to rest! Shuffling and prancing, Quickly across the floor, Until the music stops, Then he dances no more!

A Battlefield by Greta Senft The fire is burning bright You try to ignore her But she fires words at you like missiles on battlefield They knock you down, They test your personality You snap and say something you regret, Long after you lost, you ask yourself Can you forgive her? Now that the smoke has cleared And you see each other. Just like the first time? You now don’t see differences But similarities. Friendships burn as easy as firewood You’ve done it now Years of building this The final card has been played, But watch yourself. Because you might start to miss her, And you might become friends again.

Soaring by Kelly Kostulias As you walk into the ride after hearing about how we need to buckle your little aviator I laughed and talked about how I am a little aviator I sat down and got all buckled up I was ready to take off As we fly up on the ride we see the waters of Fiji the elephants of South America right back to Disney You just went on a tour around the world you might not have the real memories of being all over the world but you have the memories of being with your family at Disney

The Unwelcome Surprise by Greta Senft Welcome to my apple tree It’s filled with birds, bugs, and bees I must warn you the apples are sour, But they will sweeten by the hour When you bite into the apple side, There is a slimy surprise inside.

Broken Thoughts by Grayson Turkaly

Mix matching memories, dubbing old dreams, Thinking inside of the box. Black and white pictures drained of brilliant color. Stale interpretations of art. Rainstorms with thunder and lightning, boisterous booms and claps. White strikes in a navy sky. Weaving ideas back together. Bounded by narrow thread. Completing the final thought.

Meadows’ Beauty By Quinn Padovano It was one sunny day Let’s say Until a storm washed it away It was droopy and gloomy Took away the meadows’ beauty Thunder and lightning Like Mother Nature is fighting Just the right timing To be describing This stormy day

One Blade of Grass by Brody Page One Blade of Grass Sits in the the middle of a clearing. Alone, still. It’s been this way forever. This tiny, insignificant blade Sat here since the start of its life. It never moves, Except in the wind. The wind that one day carried it off to see the world. It flew over trees And houses, Rivers and streams. Until it was finally planted back into the ground. Its roots grasped for soil, Stretching deeper into the Earth.

Opening Day by Aidan Mishkin Opening day, The month Before May More home runs And lots of Burger buns Seats are full The lights Aren’t dull Playin’ the Jays Just 2 More K’s Chapman in And this one’s In the bin Theeeee Yankees Win!

This is the armour of that fallen warrior The Fight For Life by Brody Page A starving fox struggles to stay above the softening winter snow. Hunting for prey with nothing to find. As the wind picks up, the quiet fox accepts his fate. He lies down, expecting the worst. He scans the horizon hoping, praying for movement. Nothing. He starts to drift away, into the light. Something pulls him out. A flash of movement right in front of his face. He looks up, and it’s running. It looks like it’s chasing something. The fox gets up and runs. All the energy in his body was depleted quickly, But he continued. And finally, he caught up. He jumped onto the bear, clawing at its soft fur. Inching towards the neck, But then, He was thrown off by a mighty thrust of bear claws. He looked up. He saw a rabbit running in the distance, An owl nesting in a tree. Even a moose walking towards a cave. He had been missing it all along. And then, he saw the bear’s claw Speeding toward his face, And everything went black.

The Cookie Lady by Emma Devine

Dedicated to the memory of Dolly, a staff member who called Christian Brothers Academy her home. May Dolly rest in peace and harmony In HEAVEN

Filled with a lust to be charitable Spreading her ray of optimism, for all to acquire. Constructing a world of unity; Generations of the stupendous and the fallacious. Her favorable deeds established a school characterized by ambitioned boys Gathering hope; not deconstructing the longing. Incontrovertible evidence justifying that she made sure every boy had lunch in her cafeteria. Her powers used for positivity, and not just for first class, but The entire community

The Masked and Veiled Dancer By Andrew Dinger

I am covered But not invisible I am silenced but not quiet I am dancing for my freedom I am dancing for a master I am property I am owned I have nowhere to run and nowhere to hide But I will break free one day. I hope to make it out of this holding cell But I need a light to follow A helping hand to bring me through. The treacherous journey for freedom, And a new tomorrow. *An ekphrasis poem inspired by a vase at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Observable Behaviors by Grace Lamb As the wind whistles, The mouse hinds, Wondering what could that be, That sound, That breeze, Chilling the mouse. He runs to his house, Inside of mine, A place he feels safe from the wind outside. Even if the winds can’t hurt his, He is still scared For his life. Even more scared Than when the cat Chased him. But this noise Stays with him, Well through the night.

When Visiting Down Under By Wolfie Iler When visiting down under Be careful not to go asunder. For a cassowary might peck out your pituitary, And for everyone around you, it would be quite scary. But look at beauty, for it is your duty, Look at the reef, Even if your look is brief. Try and see the wonder Of the land down under, For it is far away, and you may only see it for a day, But if not, prolong your stay. Just watch out for the spiders and slugs And other dangerous bugs, Although a stingray is the least of the worry, Still watch out or it could be gory. And make sure your trip is good, Because it really should. So see the stingray And its skin of gray! If you are going soon, Try to see the moon Out in the distant waves Try to make haste. In the end just have a great time, Enjoy the wonders of the land down under and this rhyme.




The war o f food Was foug ht with to ts Of teeny tiny statu re. The 5th g raders jab bed, The 2nd graders s tabbed, And 8th g raders gr abbed: The war g rew vile a nd bitter. But soon to a surpr ise A teacher stood Just like a preache r would And yelle d “Who wa nts apple pie to the eye!” As soon a sw Shepherd e knew it, Boom! ’s pie in F red’s eye! Pizza pie on Conn or’s thigh And then we all he ard a cry. It was Fer With bloo dy standing high d surroun ding his eye. “I’ve been hit!” he sc “With fro reamed, zen sour c r e a m!” he ye And that lled. was the l ast we Ever hear dy, from Ferdy.

The Rose that Grew From Concrete by Tupac Shakur

Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete? Proving nature’s laws wrong it learned to walk without having feet. Funny it seems, but by keeping its dreams, it learned to breathe fresh air. Long live the rose that grew from concrete when no one else ever cared. __________________________________________________

A Response by Jack Puma

As The Rose shoots Through the concrete, It is completing its goals By doing something No one thought it could do.

The rose kept its dreams and pushed Through that concrete Like no one was there.

Prose noun \prĹ?z\ 1a : the ordinary language people use in speaking or writing b : a literary medium distinguished from poetry especially by its greater irregularity and variety of rhythm and its closer correspondence to the patterns of everyday speech

Source: Students’ prose writing this year highlighted fiction and non-fiction personal narratives, essays, short story and novel writing, flash fiction and memoir. The selections included within this volume show the range of explorations from the Upper School.

Beetle The Clock

By: Sophia Memtsoudis Chapter 1 “I’m telling you I hate beetles,” said Kayla. Chris just shrugged. He wasn’t going give up a once in a lifetime chance to hold a beetle that could possibly be over one hundred years old that was sitting on his kitchen window sill because his best friend’s sister hated beetles. “I’m going to pick it up.” “Don’t you dare,” said Kayla pressing herself against the wall in the far corner of the room. The one that was the farthest away from Chris. It seemed almost as if she was hoping that some portal would open up and she could fall into another dimension. Chris asked, “Why are you so afraid of beetles anyway? I mean, they can’t hurt you or anything like that you know?” “I know!”, said Kayla, “but they can kill you if you ride a motorcycle really fast and one hits you in the throat.” “Do you see a motorcycle anywhere?” asked Chris. Kayla shook her head from side to side. “Yeah,” said Chris. “I didn’t think so.” There was an awkward silence between them; all they heard was a clock ticking and the beetle buzzing. Then Kayla said, “Well, are you gonna touch it or not?” “Oh,” Chris said. “Are you gonna let me?” “Touch it at your own risk.” Chris wondered why Kayla said something like that. But she had all the right to because the second he touched the beetle there was a flash of light in the corner where Kayla was standing. Chris heard a scream and turned around just in time to see Kayla being sucked into what looked like a portal. Then the portal snapped shut. And the spot Kayla had been standing in just moments before was now empty. Chris was alone in the kitchen with only the beetle and the ticking clock. Chris couldn’t be postively sure but he thought the ticking was louder than before. Chapter 2 Chris just stood there in shock. Kayla was gone and had fallen through a portal that lead to who knows where, and Chris had no clue how to get her out. All he knew that was when he touched the beetle a portal opened up and when it closed again the clock was ticking louder. Chris looked up at the clock and saw that it was no longer a clock, it was a timer and it looked like it was set to have 3 hours left. Chris had a feeling that that was as much time as he had to get Kayla back. And there was only one way to get Kayla back. To go to where Kayla was, that meant he had to open the portal again and get sucked in.

Chris thought about what Kayla had said “Touch it at your own risk.” Chris didn’t know if this was a good idea or not, but he had to save Kayla. He took a deep breath, and walked over to where Kayla was last standing before she disappeared. He held his breath and touched the beetle. He waited, nothing happened. Then all of a sudden the portal opened up and sucked him in, then snapped shut. Inside the portal Chris felt himself being flattened and stretched at the same time. Blue and green light whizzed by him making him dizzy. He saw stars flashing. All around him felt like chaos. And while this all this was happening he had the sensation that something was pulling him downwards in a spiral. Then all of a sudden it stopped. Chris fell onto something hard and dusty. His head was pounding as he looked up. He had no idea were he was, but the ticking was louder than before. He saw the timer on the top of a very, very tall mountain. And flying around the mountain was a, pterodactyl? Chapter 3 Chris thought he might be seeing things but after he pinched himself a little too hard he was sure he wasn’t. There was, in fact, a pterodactyl flying around the top of a mountain and it was circling something. Chris squinted trying to see what it was. Then he remembered he had his phone in his back pocket. He opened it and went to camera, he positioned it so that it was facing whatever the pterodactyl was circularing and zoomed in. It was, it was, it was Kayla! Chris was sure of it, her long white blond hair blowing in the wind, her light blue eyes filled with terror. She looked to be about thirteen, it had to be Kayla. Chris was stunned at the fact that she was still alive. He called up to her. It took a while for Kayla to look down at him, but when she finally did Chris knew she knew it was him. It was pretty hard to confuse him with any other person. He was thirteen just like Kayla. He was about five feet five inches. He had dark brown hair and purple eyes. Yes, he had purple eyes. Chris stood there looking through his phone up at Kayla wondering how to get her down from there. Chris’s eyes and phone wandered to the timer and he realized that he only had two hours left to get Kayla back to their time and trap this beetle here.

Chris was trying to think of a plan to get Kayla down when all of a sudden a pterodactyl swooped down and picked him up. The pterodactyl swooped and dove and twisted and looped. Chris held on for dear life wondering if these were his last seconds on earth-if he was still even on earth. But just as Chris assured himself that he was toast, the pterodactyl dropped him off at the top of the mountain a few feet away from Kayla. Chris didn’t know whether these prehistoric creatures were on his side or not. Chris started to get to his feet but was knocked over by something. He looked up and saw that Kayla was hugging him. “Ew” Chris thought. Chris started to push Kayla off “Get. Off.” Chris said. Kayla’s smile faded and Chris could tell she was trying to hold back tears. Chris asked “What’s wrong?” Kayla said “I, I just thought that you wouldn’t come for me.” “Why would you think that?” Chris asked. Kayla answered “Well I was being kind of annoying before. And, well, for the first time in my life someone other than a member of my family is being nice to me.” Chris had no idea that Kayla was so miserable but now was no time to be sentimental. Chris glanced up at the timer which was just a few feet above them now. They only had one hour to get back to their time. Chris asked Kayla “So, when you came through the portal, where did you come out?” Kayla pointed to a spot down, down below them-the exact same spot Chris had come out of. “So, have any plans to get back down there?” Chris said looking at Kayla. Kayla looked at Chris and said in a snarky tone “If I had a plan I would have been down there hours ago don’t you think?” “Good point” said Chris. He looked up at the sky and saw the same pterodactyl as before swooping down. It landed a few feet away from Chris. Chris walked over to the pterodactyl and said to Kayla “Climb on.” Kayla starred in disgust “I hate pterodactyls. They freak me out and can probably kill you too. I’m not getting on.” Chris looked at her with one eyebrow raised. He said in a sarcastic tone “Remember what happened last time you got scared of something? Hmmm. let me see here. A portal opened up to another dimension. We got transported to prehistoric times and now we have to get back before the timer runs out.” Kayla sighed and looked annoyed. “Trust me” said Chris. Kayla took a deep breath and climbed on to the pterodactyl with Chris. They flew back to the spot where the portal had opened up and left them when they first arrived. The pterodactyl swooped down and landed. Chris and Kayla jumped off. Chris touched the beetle and the portal opened up again.

Chris knew the only way to get rid of the beetle and be sure it never bothered anyone again was to kill it. But, Chris didn’t think smooshing it was the best idea. So instead he gave it to their new prehistoric friend as a snack. Then he and Kayla stepped into the portal and it snapped shut. As they felt the portal flattening and stretching and pulling them downwards into a spiral again, the ticking of the timer grew fainter and fainter until it was only in their memories. Chapter 4 Chris and Kayla came out of the portal in the corner or Chris’s kitchen again. Chris was happy to be home and Kayla was happy to be back in their time. Then they both looked at each other and the only thing they heard was the clock ticking, but they didn’t care. Then they both burst out laughing. They couldn’t believe the adventure they just had. They both walked over to the couch still laughing. Once they both got a hold of themselves and stopped laughing they agreed that they had had enough action for one day and they should get some rest. So, they both took a nap on Chris’s couch and didn’t even realize when both of Chris’s parents walked in and started laughing at the sight of two thirteen year olds sleeping on the couch in the middle of the day.

The Small Glass by Adele Bender

Growing up: what a horrible phrase.

Mother sets the table for supper each night. There are

polished and poised glasses and burnished silverware resting on the dining table. Four glasses; three large glasses towering over one bantam glass. The little glass is for the youngest member of the family.

One night, Mother sets the table. She places four glasses on

the table. They are all sizable with no little glass to tower. The youngest member notices her minute glass is missing. There is too much water in her glass, it is too much too soon. She does not like the glass and asks for her little glass. Mother refuses but she empties the shiny glass leaving little water. The youngest member still is not pleased, she wants her meager glass. Mother smiles at the youth.

“Why do you fret?” She says in a sweet and gentle voice.

“The glass is still the same, child. It is only presented in a different fashion.” Mother strokes her troubled girl.

No one “grows up.” One is still the same throughout their

life. One only learns to present themselves in appropriate manners. We all have a small glass at our dinner table. One evening, one shall set their table with a tall glass. It happens at varying speeds, one cannot rush it or prevent it. Yet in end, the glass is still the same. We are still the same. Only presented differently.

Blinking Light = Rudolph? By: Sophia Memtsoudis

“Rudolph is outside prancing around the lawn!” I heard someone yell. I ran with my brother, sister and my cousins to see. * * * It was night time on Christmas Eve so I knew Rudolph would be coming. It was only a matter of seconds; it happens every year. My grandparents had thrown a huge party with all their friends. There were about 30 of us on their dance floor. Off to the left side were huge grey leather couches and to the right was a gorgeously stained glossy wooden table. I could smell the spicy seafood smell of the paella cooking in the oven. I was wearing a dark red knee length dress lined with black and it had a gold zipper on the back. The fabric almost had a springy texture to it. Some people were wearing long shimmery dresses, others that were knee length, and some wore suits. Everyone was talking and laughing and I was getting a headache. We had just eaten. My cousins, my brother, my sister, and I had been on the couch cuddling up. We clutched super fluffy blankets while waiting for Rudolph. Meanwhile, my grandparents’ 16 year old neighbor, Ariana, was outside keeping a lookout. All of a sudden, Ariana stutters in a loud tone like she is almost trying to yell but is so stunned she can’t.

“Come... come look. Rudolph is outside prancing around the l-lawn!” The five cousins, my brother, my sister, and I run outside to join her. I have eight cousins on my mom’s side, but only six of them were there at the party. And the other 16 year old wasn’t interested in seeing Rudolph. When we got out there, all we could see was Rudolph’s signature bright red blinking nose moving around the lawn. Then we looked up at the sky and saw green and red lights blinking high above us. I assumed that was Santa. We all ran inside to tell the adults, but I realized one of my uncles wasn’t there. I told my cousins and we asked my aunt where he was. She said he was in the bathroom. So we checked in all the bathrooms in the house. They were all empty and I was mentally thinking my aunt was a “liar”. We went back outside to see Rudolph, and after five minutes he left. Minutes later, my uncle strolled through the front door. Then, all of a sudden, everything clicked: I knew right then and there I ruined Christmas for myself. I realized that every year when Rudolph appears, one of the adults disappears from the party. It’s not like anybody notices, of course. And, as Rudolph disappears, the adult miraculously reappears (again not like anybody notices.) I was getting old and too smart. I wondered if any of my cousins knew. I didn’t want to ruin it for anyone because I knew how much my cousins and my sister loved when Rudolph came, so I just kept my thoughts to myself.

Then, I realized that my brother Nicholas thought the whole Rudolph act was a little suspicious too when he asked me and important question. “Uncle Greg went outside and pretended to be Rudolph, right?” I knew he was not your typical seven-year-old. No wonder everyone calls him Sherlock: nothing gets by him. I said, “ You might be right, but the one thing that is keeping me believing right now is that bright red and green blinking light flying away.” I pointed up into the dark night sky. “I could very easily be thinking that is an airplane, but I’m letting myself believe that it is Santa and you should, too.” That night we left cookies and a special drink for Santa.


by Grace Gibson

My grandma’s name was Rosera. Her parents lived in Italy and immigrated

to America. She grew up in Camden where her parents owned a grocery store. Rosera would work at the store most days of the week. My grandma met my grandpa at the age of 17 and got married. My grandpa went to college and my grandma worked at the newspaper. They had 3 kids, Dom and Dave my uncles and my mom, Donna.

“Wake up,” my grandma yells at us in the morning. I was sleeping over her

house because my parents were away. Popping, out of the comfy bed, I take a big whiff of the smell of meatballs and sauce. I race down stairs because I know there would be waffles waiting for me on the table. Sitting down, still waking and tired, I ate my heart shape waffle. As I took my last bite, the bell rang on the waffle maker. “Who’s still hungry?” Roro said. “Me, me,” my brother and I shout. I loved those mornings at Roro’s house. The smells of all different foods, and the taste of the delicious waffles.

As a kid I wanted to be at my grandmas 24/7 because it was just such an

active house with someone different their everyday. Every Sunday we would have Sunday dinners at her house. My cousins and my intermediate family would all come over and eat her meatballs of shrimp and spaghetti in the summer. I enjoyed every minute of those Sundays because I got to be with my family and sometimes friends. “Put the plates on the table,” my grandma tells us kids. Quickly, running over to the huge platter of pasta, I pick it up. I carefully carry it to the table where everyone was taking a seat. I sat down next to my cousin Izzy and scoop up the thick pasta and one meatball. Biting into the juicy, salty meatball, nothing was on my mind except more food.

Roro had a designated chair in her living room. Roro sat down in the chair

and I squeeze my little body in next to her. Grabbing the black remote, Roro flipped through the channels until she found the show High Five. I run over to the toy closet and start throwing all different toys out on the floor. Picking up the toys and setting them up around the room like a store. Roro looks at me and knows I want her to come buy something. She slowly gets up and starts walking over and says “Here I come.”

Standing, at the front desk of my store at the cash register, waiting for Roro

to come. “Hi, welcome to Grace’s Goodies. What would you like to buy?” I tell Roro. She walks around the room looking at all the scattered toys I put around the room. “I will buy this blue hippo,” Roro says.” I scan the hippos tag. “Would you like a bag?” I ask her. “Yes,” she says. I open a plastic bag where I carefully drop the hippo into it, as If I were working at a real store. I hand the bag to her and wave goodbye to Roro, like she is a customer.

You never realize how much a person has helped you in life until they

aren’t there. When Roro passed two years ago I realized how much she influenced me and made me who I am today. Roro taught me to always be me and to never change. Roro once said to me, “You have a kind heart, Gracie. Don’t change that.” What Roro told me when she was alive still lives on now because I think back to her words every time I’m in a hard situation or can’t figure something out. Her advice helps me through it.

Roro did so much to make me and my family happy. The little things she

did like buy the hippo at my fake store would put a huge smile on my face, and that’s all she wanted to see. My smile would put a smile and her face. Her heart was just so big and loving that she would always try to do little things throughout the day to make others happy. My grandma even touched the hearts of my friends and teachers because her personality was so bright and positive that people wanted to be around her.

After my grandma passed, I didn’t want to give away anything she gave to

me. But as I kept thinking, I realized that it’s not the objects that someone has given to you that are important. It’s the memories you had with them. The memories are what you will remember and keep forever. I was lucky and had many memories with my grandma that I will cherish forever. I even knew, at the age of three, that when I looked at Roro I saw someone who was going to be an influential person in my life.

Dear 12 Month Younger Me By: Sophia Memtsoudis Dear 12 month younger me,

This year is going to be a great year. A lot of fun things are going to

happen. A lot of things are going to be different. Just remember one thing, you’re going to feel like you are all alone, but you’re not. Friend groups are going to change. Those people that you thought would be friends no matter what, they are going to start and drift away. But you just have to trust that they will mend themselves and come back together. No matter what happens, you do you. Because even though you may not always know it and it might feel wrong, you’re always making the right decision. Even if it’s the hard decision. Some things that happen might knock you down, but you will never break.

You are going to have to make your own judgments about people, and not

listen to what others say about them. You always look at people in a different way, and that’s a good thing. You accept people for who they are. And you will sometime feel like you live inside yourself. But trust me, it’s always for the better.

Some things are going to make you sad to the point where you’re on the

verge of crying, or you are crying. It’s ok though. That’s when you’re going to find out who is really there for you. It’s ok to be sad and stressed, but don’t fake being happy. You’re awful at it, and people always see through it. Don’t keep your feelings inside of you; they just end up swelling to the point where you just can’t take it anymore. Just remember, you’re going to feel like you’re all alone, but you’re not. Be true to yourself and you will always succeed. Love, 12 month older you

The Fall by Grace Conhagen I hugged my stomach, sure I was going to be sick. Pieces of luggage were flying throughout the plane, their owners frantic. Passengers were screaming in a chorus of discord.Red lights were flashing on and off. People were praying. We all knew we were going down.The pilots had abandoned ship via parachute. The death trap they called a plane rattled and shook, the winds tossing it about like a leaf. The one passenger who had an inkling of how to fly a plane could not handle the stormmuch longer, and autopilot could only do so much. We had lost contact with the airport. We were on our own. The flight attendants were trying to restore order, but were no match for the crazed passengers. Outside the storm cracked with lightning, and the plane shuddered in response. I smelled a hint of smoke; the lightning had fried the huge turbine engines. No one really knew what had caused this, only that mid flight both pilots had run out, yanked open the door, and jumped out with their parachutes. Then the storm had arrived. The ground beneath us was peppered with trees and a lake in the distance. I did not know if we were still en route to California or not. Through the clouds I could see a shape that might have been the Rockies.I fingered the rough canvas of the parachute I had found stashed near my bags. I slowly slipped it on. The straps and clips were foreign to me as the ocean to a landlocked state. I had no idea how it or if it would be useful. Would it be safer to crash land? If not, how was I going to get off this plane? Glancing around, I did not see any other passengers with parachutes. It would not be long until the passengers would decide to turn on me. A jolt sent a wave of shock and pain through me. We were losing altitude fast. I could see the ground rushing up to meet us, the red of the exit sign casting a eerie reflection on the window. The passengers shouted in excitement. They had found extra parachutes in the cargo hold. Someone yanked the cabin door open and it sucked all the air out. I fought towards the door, black spots dancing across my vision. I needed to get to the door before it closed. I reached towards the door, the wide expanse of untamed land beckoning to me. Grasping the handles, Iinched myself forward. I inhaled deeply, preparing myself for the jump. A flash of lightning illuminated the sky, blinding me. Something cold and hard slammed into me. A piece of luggagehad hit me. For a moment as I teetered on the edge.I felt angry and sad. Would a piece of luggage do me in? Then gravity took hold, and I fell.

I spiraled out of control, the winds gave no mercy. I screamed in anger and despair, in the unfairness of it all. Thoughts flashed through my head, each more useless as the one before. I pictured what my favorite book characters would do. Wasn’t there supposed to be a cord or something that sent the parachute out? A ripcord. Yes! I needed to pull the ripcord for the parachute, but which one was the ripcord? I remembered seeing a canvas line with a red handle. I twisted to reach it, getting a sickening glance of the ground. Twice my fingers had it in their reach, only to be thwarted by the howling winds. The parachute’s hard yank left me breathless. I peered through semi-closed eyelids. What had been an adrenalin-fuelled, out-of-control fall was now a slower descent. But by no means was I in control. The winds still sent me were they pleased. The jolting and yanking of the parachute made me sick. With my eyes tearing from the harsh winds slamming my face, I looked below. The sight of the ground spinning under me, along with the swaying of the parachute, promptly made me black out. My eyes flew open, and for a terrible moment, I thought I was done for. The I realized that the blinding whiteness was the parachute. I had somehow managed to get the cords from the parachute wrapped around me. I was now falling head first toward the jagged Rockies a thousand feet below me. The storm had lessened, but rain still hounded me. It was soaking the parachute. I twisted my legs, trying to free myself from my bonds. It was no use. I was going to die here, alone and afraid. I choked back a sob. No! I could not let myself be distracted by these thoughts. Determination coursed through me. I began to work, slowly but surely freeing myself and the parachute from the tangled mess of canvas ropes. I shoved the mass of canvas and rope off me. The winds tore at the parachute, and the ropes screamed; but they finally opened properly. There was still one more problem to tackle. It was the elephant in the room. I needed to actually survive landing without impaling myself on the mountains or going splat on the ground. The ground was coming closer a sickening rate. I needed to do something, and I needed to do something now! My mind raced back and I thought of how my favorite character, Lisa, survived jumping from a helicopter into a secret army base in the book series, The Spy’s Life. I faintly remembered her pulling on the ropes to adjust her trajectory. But my arms were weak and the cords strong. It was no use. I was going to crash. I could not just give up like this, there had to be something I could do. The mountains were growing closer. I only had seconds. With a burst of sudden energy, I pulled. I pulled for all those people still on the plane, now lost from sight. I pulled and the ropes obeyed. The world tilted. I held my breath as the edge of the mountain passed, close enough to kick with my battered red Converses. I breathed a sigh of relief,

but it didn’t last long. I was still falling without any reliable way to control myself, and I was now at a slant. There was a valley about two hundred feet away and a hundred feet below me, but how to get there? It looked like a soft enough landing, or at least softer than a mountain. The winds were in my favor at the moment, they were pushing me down towards the valley. I felt elated -- I would make it! A shadow of guilt crossed my mind. What about the people on the plane? I didn’t see any other parachutes, but the clouds were obscuring my overhead sight. I prayed that they would make it and survive like I might. For a final time I wondered what had caused the pilots to abandon us? What could make a human being leave innocent people to their certain death? A clap of thunder cleared my mind of thoughts, I still had to navigate the trees in front of me. Swinging my weight this way and that, I approached my chosen landing site. Ten feet left. I could not wait to be on hard solid ground, ground that I could not fall through. My feet ached to walk. Five feet off the ground. Readiy myself for impact, I took a deep breath. I looked up as my feet touched the ground.

ADHD Is A Difference by Katelyn Weiss ADHD is a difference not a disorder. Some people think when you have ADHD you have an illness in the brain or a disorder, but you do not. You have a difference. When some people think they have ADHD, they meet with a doctor. When you are with the doctor you don’t take a test. The doctor will just watch you and do a bunch of other stuff. Then he or she will talk to your parents. After they talk and look at the results, then they will see if you have ADHD. Some people take medicine, if they have ADHD so they can pay more attention. Other people go to therapy to get some advice so they can think of strategies to use when they are staring off into space or getting distracted. Then they will know what they can do to help themselves. If you think your kid has ADHD, don’t worry it is a difference not a disorder.


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Strength of Love: 100 Words I wake up before the birds start chirping. Though I don’t want to, I get out of bed. I put on my “work clothes”. The last thing I want is go and work as a nanny for yet another rich family, but what choice do I have? Before leaving the house, I peek in on my sleeping children. My heart squeezes. I don’t want to leave them; I don’t know what time I’ll come home. I pull on my sneakers and lock the front door behind me, sighing. They’re happy, that’s all that matters. I remind myself. That’s all that matters.

Fighting for Family by Anonymous I swing my legs out of the too-small bunk bed. I begin to step into my green camouflage clothes, then pull on my tan, thick-soled boots. I tie the laces as fast as I can, desperate to get out of the cramped room. The phrase “Three’s a crowd” really comes to life here. There are dozens of men packed into a room that was meant for twenty. I put on my hat and start to steel myself for battle. I push and shove my way out of the door. I take a few steps into the hall and exhale, glad I finally have room to breathe. After beginning to head further down the hallway, I suddenly remember: I forgot it. Kicking myself for forgetting, I begin to head back into the barracks. People give me dirty looks for trying to get back in, for taking up their valuable legroom. For the hundredth time this year, I wonder if joining the military was worth all these little annoyances. It’s what your father would have wanted, I think. I squeeze my way back to my bed, and dig around in my pillowcase. My fingers graze the worn edges of the Polaroid. I pull it out of the pillowcase, and sit down on the edge of my bed. Tracing the outline of my wife’s and baby’s faces, I miss home more than ever. I haven’t seen my baby girl in a year. She’s probably crawling by now. Smiling, my heart clenches. I remember the real reason why I signed up for this. I need to protect her. Both of them. Casting one last glance at my family, I gently shove the picture back where it came from. I elbow my way back out with a newfound purpose and ferocity. I clomp down the hallway with the people I love on my mind.

Everyone Has A Mouth So Make It Count by Lily Froehlich

Haven’t we all wondered what the best talent in the world is? Well I have an answer for all those in doubt. The best talent to have is to be able to always smile. I know some people who are so kind and are smiling all the time. I’ve always dreamt of being capable to do so. This is the best talent because they are so kind to everyone and everything, they enlighten other people’s lives, and they smile because they are happy. My first reason is they are kind to everyone and everything. Everyone knows that person, the one that you just want to be like. You look up to them. These people are gracious, sages, anything but adverse, and quit the opposite of the definition of sheepish. After knowing these people for a while or getting very close to them as family/friends you might think/say that they are perfect. That isn’t true although it may seem that way, nobody is perfect. It might look like they have everyone loving them, but it’s not true. Don’t become adverse and get jealous of this person but embrace and commend them for the gainful lessons they have taught you. My second reason is these people lighten up everyone else’s day/ world. Say you’re having a bad day, which everyone has, they smile at you and you think, does everyone really have bad days? Yes. They do have bad days, choose not to be elusive but think globally how many people have this talent/use this talent. These people make you feel special and happy. Don’t turn on them or get jealous because they are not doing anything wrong, it’s all you who makes the decision whether you’d like to become one of those people or just keep thinking/blaming them for your problems. My third and final reason is these people smile all the time to show how happy they are. My aunt is always smiling, whenever I go to her house she’s always doing something that cheers me up. You always can tell that this person is one of those who is talented. How? When you’re down you tend think of this person because you know they would come and cheer you up. When you imagine this person they are happy and smiling.

These are outstanding qualities that everyone has the ability to open but it maybe harder for some. But that isn’t the point, the talent is that these people have great temper, they can be kind to everybody and who doesn’t wish they could have that talent? I know I wish. These smiling people are the best people, we all have a mouth so let’s make it count, this maybe a talent but if you work for it hard enough, just like anything in life, you will be able to reach your full potential. In the future when you see these people, watch them, learn from them, and go for it! When you see these people don’t step back, step up and ask for the challenge. “ When life throws problems at you don’t say why me just say try me!” “ In the end we only regret the chances we didn’t take.” -Unknown These are my two favorite quotes that everyone including myself should live by.

The End

2018 literature journal edited final