Category Archives: Student Writing

Never Again by Grace R.

words are stripped from my skin.

so I bleed tears as I watch a video safely in my bed
from an hour before when children found themselves in a war zone.
it used to be fleeting remorse when my eyes touched a headline
but today I learned it does not touch you until it is all too much you.

I was either too young or too old,
wrapped snug in my life,
separated by the glass of a screen,
separated by the miles on a map.
but then it was not far away
and i was eighteen too,
and i was rising, going somewhere
the next four years ahead,
always ahead
always ahead.

and lives that had paralleled
are connected, intersected, and ended
by the blast of a gun,
it cuts sharp corners of sharp pain
shooting up through the roots of
a brokenness I had overlooked,
needling their way through my once numbed mind.

and their names are letters strung together by a coldness
I have never met, but will I know
will I know it too?
the places etched as normalcy have become battle fields,
slain by an army of one person,
commanded by an evil buried so deep.
always.
always.

and then he is taking, and it is taking,
and then he is leaving, and it is leaving
and they are leaving.

and suddenly what should have mattered years ago
really matters now, an absence crashing in the wake
of a suffering so deafening, screaming for change.

ten years from now, will what I say today
reside in the beginning of a turning point?
or will it hang withered in the beating wind of ignorance?

hear the sounds of death shout without
warning, hear the throated cries,
as a monster was climbing out of our nightmares,
and entering the halls of our reality.

i am not the victim today,
but will I be it next?

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Fair Story by Sofia C.

I stared up in horror. My friend, Rebecca had convinced me to come to the fair, and I’d been very hesitant about it, until she finally got to me, and got me to go. We had just come into the fair, and my nerves were already tingling. I kept staring up in horror at the ‘Hyper Loop’, a ride that swung you all over, most horribly spun you up and when you were at the top, it twirled you around, with your head down. I gulped.
Rebecca whooped and jumped up in the air. She and I were total opposites. She was outgoing, very excitable, and loved to draw a crowd and have all eyes on her. I was very shy. I barely talked to anyone, only my closest friend, Rebecca, which had gotten me to do things I have regretted many times. I felt like the fair was going to be one of these times.
“This is going to be so amazing! Isn’t it, Justice?” She nudged me with her arm and I smiled weakly. Rebecca gasped and grabbed my hand and yanked me to a line of about 10 people.
“Justice, look! This is the Dragon Wagon, and it’s like a type of small roller-coaster which takes you really slow, unlike the Epcot one I told you to ride.”
I shuddered at the thought of the horrid roller-coaster which had the biggest loops and the highest drop points that you felt like you were going to fly off it. The Dragon Wagon looked extremely fast to me, began to hesitate about riding it. It had a little high point, the dropped you quickly then gave a sharp turn, then it did it all over again. ‘6 rounds, not bad, I can do this.’ I thought gently, trying to ease my riling nerves.
“Next up! 4 tickets per rider, please!” The man opened the gate and Rebecca pulled me in and gave the tickets to the man, and before I knew what was happening, I was in the seat, and waiting for the ride to begin. I shook all over, as I watched the man fearfully sit down and press a silver button. The dragon took off slowly and I relaxed. It gathered speed at a slope then burst you down at exhilarating, crazy speed. I yelled the whole way. Rebecca, as usual just sat there laughing and videotaping me in the horror of that ride.
The ride finally stopped, and I felt too paralyzed to move. The man came to us and helped us out, and my feet wobbled and I fell. Rebecca laughed even more and didn’t even help me up. The man which was the ‘owner’ of the ride came to me and helped me down the ramp to Rebecca, who was still giggling unstoppably. I eyed her keenly, but she kept laughing until she finally stopped.
“You should have seen your face! It was so funny!” I rolled my eyes and walked on. She followed behind me, showing me the videos. I had to admit to her later that night, I did look funny. In one of the videos my knuckles where white form holding onto the stick that held us tight during the ride, and I was about to cry.
“Tempest! Oh, we need to ride that! Let’s go Justice!” Tempest was a ride sort of like a carousel, which you sat down and it swung you from one side to the other. I looked at the ride. It didn’t look so bad, but again. I thought the Dragon Wagon was easy-going, but it was horrible! So maybe Tempest was bad— I was jolted out of my thoughts when Rebecca tapped me and I looked forward. This line was really long, there was 30 or more people here! I looked down. There were two 5-year-olds chatting about the ride.
“Tempest is so good! It swings you from one side to the other, and it’s even worse than the Dragon Wagon’s drop.” I shuddered. If what these girls were saying was true, I would die on Tempest.
‘Better start writing my will. Let’s see I’ll give my piggy bank to my brother, and my—’ Rebecca shook me.
“Stop spacing out so much! The ride, it’s our turn!” I was shocked. The line moved that fast?
“Next up!” Rebecca pulled me to the narrow ramp which we got on and she dragged me into the blue carousel. Other people came; some adults, teenagers, and the two 5-year-olds I had seen in the line.
“Ready? Buckle up!” A tan man came and helped all of us buckle the seatbelts and the strings needed to keep us from flying off the ride.
“You’ll need them!” The man winked at the whole group and I began to tremble. Even more than on the Dragon Wagon.
The man pressed that hatred silver button, and we shot off, lurching from one side to the other. I was on the verge of yelling, while Rebecca and the 5-year-olds began to laugh at my face. The teenagers and adults were placidly enjoying themselves, while I was desperate for the ride to end.
“How long does it last?” I said in a squeaky, really high-pitched little girl voice.
“About a minute and a half or so darlin’. Better hang on tight to the ralin’!” The teenager smiled at me, and I looked at her and shot her a grateful glance.
About a minute or so later, the ride ended, and the man went around taking our seatbelts off and helping us out. Rebecca waited for me to get out and I was surprised. I could actually walk! Rebecca was running and skipping off the ramp when she tripped on a stone and feel on the dirt. A whole crowd began to laugh. I helped her up and patted the dirt off her.
“So that’s how you felt when you fell of the Dragon wagon, huh?” She looked embarrassed.
“Yes, but it doesn’t matter.”
“Sorry for the rides I put you through.”
“It’s okay, still besties?”
“Besties!”
We linked arms and walked on. Today was going to be a great day.

“Saving Your Writings” by Mary-Kelly

As we continue to grow and improve as writers, we have a tendency to not want to look back. Some of us cringe at the thought of our past writings. When reading them, we know exactly what was going through our minds as each word was written and each grammar mistake was placed. It can be quite embarrassing to look back on, which is understandable, since I have been (and still am) in the same boat. Every time I found a piece of writing that I thought was too bland or embarrassing, into the trash it went. I never wanted it to see the light of day again in fear that someone will somehow find it and go “Wow, this Mary-Kelly girl? What on earth was she thinking?”

These fears are of course irrational, but very real. I almost never kept any of my writings growing up, and even within the past couple of years. Very few pieces have survived. If I wasn’t really proud if it, it was eventually deleted and never to be seen again. I thought that I was simply saving myself from the embarrassment, when in reality, I was throwing away the purest versions of myself. I was setting myself up for regret, and regret is certainly what I feel in this point in my narrative journey, because now there is little journey to look back on.

I greatly wish that I could go back in time and tell myself to quit being so self-conscious. Unfortunately, this cannot be done and time must continue moving forward. I won’t have the pleasure of picking up a piece that I wrote in 6th grade and say “Wow! Look at how much I’ve grown!” because it’s in a crumpled ball out there somewhere. So this is a message directed to myself, and to all of you: DON’T THROW AWAY YOUR WRITING. Every one of your stories or poems has some kind of background. Whether or not you were bored in class one day and decided to scribble some words down or if you were really torn up about a breakup and couldn’t help but pour your heart and soul into a poem. It all has meaning. It’s all you. Each is a part of your narrative journey and even if you find it to be “mediocre” or an “embarrassment” it’s still your creation and has continued to drive you forward. It’s easy to pull the plug, but it certainly isn’t any easier to reverse time to get it all back.

By looking back at what you’ve written from previous years, or even from last week, you will understand yourself better as a person and writer. You get to be the audience for yourself. You let time wipe your slate clean and allow yourself to grow so that you may look back with a fresh mind, as if you were someone else. It is reminder of where you come from and how you’ve molded into the writer you are today. The progress is just as, if not more, important than the end goal. I wish someone could have told me this, so that is why I tell you. Treat your old pieces, even the ones that you aren’t particularly proud of, with respect. Do not feel ashamed of the writer that you used to be, because without them, you can never truly and honestly say “I’ve made it.”

HOPE by Gabrielle L.

Helping hand
Opposing oppositions
Perfect Prospect
Evolving evolutionarily
Hope, helping hurt hands when others oppose against them, while keeping perfect prospect, they will evolve evolutionarily.

Always Waiting by Carlisle Z

Waiting
Always waiting
A sentiment as old as time – search for love or the idea of peace
Its everlasting, consuming
Because when you get what you are looking for – you move on to look for something new
Love, Faith, Hope.
To finish school,
Get that perfect job.
There’s always another thing to wait for.
You can say there’re things to strive for – to live for
But you still wait, search : everlastingly
If there is no end – you wait
Always waiting …

“The Café” by Cristi M

The only table that wasn’t surrounded by groups of people was cluttered with an abundance of junk. Well, not necessarily junk, but who really needs 8 different tubes of lipstick? And who brings tubes of lipsticks to grab a coffee? Three other chairs were at the table, yet nobody sat in them. The coffee shop was full of people who resembled a mix between hippies, geeks, and diehard musicians. Based on the contents on the table, the person who was sitting at this table was the third. The papers strewn across the table were pieces of music-both handwritten and printed out. Words on the sheet music were written one after the other in cursive and print handwriting-something rather strange to see. The laptop, which looked like it had been dropped on multiple occasions, judging from the cracked glass at the top right corner of it, was wide open, displaying a webpage. “What to Wear to an Audition” was written across the screen. Headphones were plugged into the laptop, the cord dangling off of the table, challenging the pink washi tape holding the cord together to break. Some variant of classical music was streaming from the headphones, loud enough to hear from 3 feet away. When one classical song ended, another began, but they were unrecognizable. At the head of the circular table, two coffee cups sat. One seemed to be hot coffee, the other an iced macchiato, as if the person tried one and didn’t like it, so she got another. Two people couldn’t sit at this table even if they tried, so the idea that the coffees belonged to more than one person was instantly ruled out. Car keys sat on keyboard of the laptop, daring someone to steal them. Two delicate silver keychains hung from the keyrings: a small violin, and a treble clef. Three minutes later, if you took a look at that specific table, it was empty, cleared of anything that could have suggested someone was ever sitting there at all.

A Fallen King by Grace T.

A fallen king.
I have heard whispers, as obscure as shadows
When asked, the whisperers start to fade
For the truth they wish to hear
Is what it’s like to be a king, day to day.
Is it having to oversee the kingdom’s fights?
Or is it embracing in lavish delights?
But a king’s job is nevertheless, such stress.
And as a cause, the crown he sets, on his head
Is much heavier, having no rest
Being king involves dealing with the perils of men,
the problems of folks, whose troubles have no end.
For once they complained, the days were too short,
they asked him for the night to prolong its great retort
To the sunny skies, loved by all sorts.
And he replied, to the villages cries,
I can only control the knights on the fields of battle,
Not the heaven called night, which stars twinkle above,
where planets spin and revolve.

The lords and bishops, whine ever so loud,
For days of glorious riches and mountains of treasure
which they long for, each hour they wait.
The king can only say, as the disappointment sets on their face
I have duties in which I have command.
I have to set battles in plans.
I have no time, to bask in golds
For my time, has already been told.

The cries of all, from his subjects and the lords,
pierce his crown,
Enough to turn lovely flowers, into thorns.
The king battles his sorrow, he must command,
But the king topples over, from all the demands.
A cracked chess board, only remains,
And a broken king, no longer stand.

Why Varied Syntax Matters by Grace

This is the first sentence of this essay. This is the second sentence of this essay. We are talking about syntax. Each sentence is the same length right now. Each sentence is the same type right now. There are many different types of syntax. You’re probably getting bored with this essay.

I don’t blame you! When you write several sentences in a row with the same sentence length and style, you’re going to create rhythm (or lack thereof) and tone that can suck the life from what you are trying to say. Imagine having a conversation with someone. As humans, we talk in a certain way that fits with the tone of our voice. Our conversations are comprised of short, abrupt sentences or long, winding sentences that both stream from our consciousness. Would it seem natural for us to use the same structure for each sentence we speak? Absolutely not! The English language has several types of sentences we use every day without us even realizing it!

This is a short simple sentence. It fits nicely between two complex sentences. There are no pauses you need to take within the sentence, and it helps carry the flow of your story or piece. There are other times, however, where you’ll want to use a complex sentence to put more emphasis, to cause the readers to pause and think. Other times, you may have strung many longer sentences together and now you want to put emphasis on an important idea. You use a short sentence. You might use another. The reader will pause at these sentences because they stand out; the sentences will also leave a longer lasting imprint on the reader because of their brief size.

I just described how important syntax is in nonfiction writing—say, when you’re writing an argumentative or persuasive essay. You want your readers to be impacted by your statement, and the way to keep them engaged is to vary your syntax! You want to keep it exciting, interesting, and gripping. Don’t write dull—write lively. The same applies to your fiction, in your novels and short stories, and of course your poetry. You use specific syntax to help create pace for your tone and mood, and to mirror the content of your sentences and breathe life into the story you’re writing. When you want to induce fear, you break up your sentences to quicken the pace. The light just went out. You hear footsteps down the hall. What’s going to happen? Can you escape? Where is he now? Or, say it’s summertime during a chapter in your book. When you describe the setting, you might write with long, flowing sentences for a slower pace that mirrors the lazy, sleepy mood of the summer day. A breeze has just flittered through as the bright, hot sun beats down on the town, and a cat sleeps soundly underneath a shady tree.

The story no longer feels 2D—there’s an element of feeling that is introduced when our syntax can help articulate what is happening in our sentences. The next time you sit down to write something, pay attention to your syntax. Sometimes we tend to write our syntax with a “stream of consciousness.” We may not realize what kind of sentences we are writing—we just write what seems natural! But by being deliberate with your syntax to produce an emotion—fear, laziness, joy, suspense—not only are you making your writing more engaging for your reader, but you are breathing life into it, too.

No matter how genius the concept of your story may be, it’s going to fall flat if your syntax is flat too, so make sure it’s varied. Happy Writing!

Lily by Alyssa H.

It’s hard to believe in most things
In most unimaginable things
The amazing one’s which come from the sky
The way that angel’s would have hung onto my shoulder’s
It’s hard to believe in those things
In the way you would smile,
Or how you could have giggled my name
It’s hard to think about those things
About how I should have loved you
About how I should love you
Even if you’re not here with me
Even if I really didn’t know you
You were only a baby
I was only a kid
I didn’t know I was supposed to protect you
Or maybe I did
You were my sister
And I was your friend
But now you’re gone
And I feel alone again
So many years have passed us by
I should say I’m sorry for not being there
For not being strong enough to protect you
For not being enough to help you
I couldn’t have even if I tried S
o instead, I’m going to apologize
For trying to forget you
For trying to lose you
For trying to blame myself
It’s still hard to think about;
You were my everything
For the short time we had you
I still love you
Even if you aren’t around physically
I hear your giggle in birds songs
I see your smile in the clouds
You’re everywhere without even being around
You surround me innocently
Reminding me you’ll always be here beside me
You’re everything which comes from the sky
Everything unimaginable and bright
You’re the twinkling stars hung overhead
And the bright blue skies
The wind flowing from sea to sea
You’re everything I never could see
Everything beautiful
Everything indescribable
Everything perfect
You little sister, are everything

The Young Generation by Bridget B.

We stood at the edge of our dimension. With a list in our hand, we checked off our duties to complete in their little-broken world.
“I have Celest Byers, a ninety-year-old at the Thornbird Retirement Home in Pittsburg. Along with ninety-year-old Jeffery Wilson, and the eighty-year-old couple, Talia and Arnold Small,” explained Conner.
Ellen told us about her list of contributors. She ran her finger along the edge of the names on the paper she had received from the overseer. “I have a two seventy-year old’s, a woman named Lisa and a man who goes by Joe. His real name is Joseph Ties,” she said. I had the first donors, Alaina Turtle, a woman turning one-hundred and lives alone near the beach in Virginia. The other harvesters went over who they were collecting, where they were going to be, and how long we were going to be there. It would take seven weeks to remain in the other dimension in hiding while collecting our contributors.
“This is it. We can be bringing peace to another dimension once this is over,” Tara admitted once taking in a large breath. “Earth is the most damaged, but we can heal it. Unfortunately, this process will be incredibly difficult if they don’t cooperate.”
Ellen wiped a tear, barely noticeable from her eye, “I wish we could save them all. That last mission…” she paused and gave a shaky breath as she wiped another tear away, “It just left me, just left me in pain.” I remembered it like it was yesterday. Too many people died from the operation; others were euthanized due to being strays or ill. It’s a shame we can only save the healthy, but at least we can create a better, more peaceful nation.
“Come one Keila we need t leave,” said Tara. I reached for the metal ball inside my satchel and clicked the button. It glowed a bright blue and began to open the door to earth. It resembled someone pulling material apart. The strings holding the dimension together separated allowing us to go to the other side. Now, I turned off the glowing sphere and the broken barrier glued itself together. We parted ways without saying anything. We were currently walking through Pennsylvania where Tara would stay and collect her donors. There was a plane leaving in an hour flying to Lynchburg, Virginia. It wasn’t where I needed to be, but it was the only flight going to that state. My job was to go unnoticed, blend in and therefore understand my surroundings. I just hoped that this alley I walked was not a summary of the entire world. It was stupid to think that, but if we were preforming this operation here it must be bad. Graffiti of gory creatures, curse words, and caricatures hid the brick walls. Police declared criminal activity, a man was speaking to himself and frequently laughed, a young boy played with a gun, and a cat screeched when I unknowingly stepped on its tail. The high pitch noise made me jump backwards. My heart raced, and my ears rung. I closed my eyes and sucked in a breath, I felt dirty just being here. Suddenly, I heard a noise from behind. I snapped my head around towards the noise and began walking at a faster pace. Once I got out of the alley, I ran towards the airport, following the directions on my GPS.

***

It was a long day. I hurried off the plane and found a hiding place near Alaina’s house. And later that night, I spoke to Alaina, using my voice disguiser to sound like her granddaughter and helped her pass through the dimension gate. Her eyesight was so terrible that she has yet to figure out I wasn’t her daughter and that she is not in her bedroom. But later that day I confided in Alaina and told her what was happening.
“Where am I. I thought you were Sam?” the feeble, stuttering voice said.
“I am sorry to have fooled you. My name is Keila. I am a Harvester meaning I take people from damaged worlds and transport them to Dimension eleven. We are on a peace mission to help your world become moral again by altering your mind. You will be inserted into our hive mind and never again revolt against someone’s ideals because we all have the same perspective. That everything is good. Everything is right. And everyone is safe.”