Wednesday, March 9, 2016

A Mountainside Adventure

Every ninth-grade student in Central Bucks School District crafts a memoir in English class.  This memoir, by Noah B., stands out for its suspense and its strong voice. Enjoy!

Portrait of Bob Ross by Claudia E., Grade 9

A Mountainside Adventure 
The rock slipped, and if it weren't for my backpack, I would have fallen to my death. It was a beautiful day in the Pocono Mountains. I was at an overnight camp for a month in the summer and for the next two days, my bunk would be going on a character-breaking hike on the Appalachian Trail.  


"Does everyone have a backpack?" one of the instructors yelled. 
"Mine has an extra rope attached to it," I yelled, but he didn't hear me. 
We boarded the bus. The bus driver welcomed each person. A long, scraggly beard hung from his food-stained chin, so it was hard not to stare.  
"Where y'all goin'?" he questioned in a Southern accent. 
My counselor yells back, "The Appalachian Trail!" 
The look on his face told me that this was going to be a memorable trip. The hum of the bus filled my ears just enough for me to hear a slight buzz coming from the radio speakers. Three girls in the back of the bus were trying to sing their favorite boy-band song. The cacophony became almost unbearable. Finally, the screech of the tires hushed any singing that was going on before. Everyone knew that this was the stop, yet nobody volunteered to get up and accept it. For this hike was going to be a long and painful two days!  
"Okay everybody," yelled one of the female instructors, "once you get off the bus, go to your left and find your groups!"  
Everybody files off the bus one by one and finds their predetermined clique. Only one person was left, and that was Josh. Josh was the type of person that would do something to annoy someone and then tell when they retaliated. You could say that he could dish it out, but he couldn’t take it back. He was a short, brown-haired boy with red cheeks. His eyes were sunk into his sockets, and he always wore the same pair of blue Ray Ban sunglasses. His skin was very tan, and he was a bit overweight. The worst part: he reeked of no-shower-in-three-days. When he stepped off the bus, everyone started pretending to talk with their friends, shunning him from their groups. I myself did it too, for Josh and I fought a lot. One of the outcast groups walked over and invited him to join them. Everybody's loud, fake talk evolved to a slight whisper. When the instructor waved us over, we hesitantly headed his way.  
"Everybody check all of the clips and straps on your backpack one more time," he directed. 
This time, I just ignored the extra rope and carried on past the people getting their straps tightened. We walked for about five minutes and then sat down under the roof of a large picnic area. The counselors handed out our lunch, and my peanut butter and jelly sandwich smelled delicious, although the look wasn’t so appetizing. The bread was a slight pink, and the inside of the bag looked as if the peanut butter and jelly just been at war. I ate anyway, knowing of the consequences of not eating anything. Finally, everyone stood up in unison and started walking towards the log cabin. 
We each took a small map and headed towards the beginning of the trail. I saw a warning sign; its job was to notify any hikers of dangerous animals that would be lurking in the woods. There was a picture of a big bear with giant claws, ready to tear through any flesh it could get to.  
“I doubt there are any bears,” I said. 
“Wow, Noah, you probably just jinxed us!” mocked one of my friends. 
We had been walking for about fifteen minutes when all of a sudden we heard a loud crack of sticks and twigs. Everyone got low, and one of the guides pulled out a knife, ready to kill. Again, sticks breaking but even closer this time. I could see glowing eyes: fierce and deadly. Then it happened, a squirrel jumped out of a bush and scurried past us. Nobody could quell their laughter. We continued walking, although I could still hear people attempting to stifle their giggles. It had been an hour now, and my ankles ached from climbing over all of the big boulders that had once fallen off the mountain.  
“In five minutes, we will be at the half way point of our hike, which is also the peak of the mountain,” said the guide. 
All of our energy was rejuvenated. We walked even faster. My ankles still ached, so I found a stick and used it as a cane. It was actually quite helpful with pulling myself over the large rocks. The sun became brighter and brighter until there were no trees at all. I walked about twenty feet to the edge. The guide warned me not to get any closer, for the drop below was a 600 foot plummet to death. I slowly inched forward, ignoring the guide's warning. It was wonderful; the view was like none other. Just me, the mountain, and nature.
CRACK! One of the rocks under my feet slipped off the cliff, and I fell to the ground. With no rock to support me, I slipped down. My legs and arms were getting sliced up on the little pebbles that were once a beautiful thing. I knew this was it. In ten feet, the cliff dropped, and I was sliding fast. I reached the edge and fell. But right as I fell, my body abruptly stopped. I slowly wiped my dirty face with bloody hands and looked behind me. Wrapped around one of the rocks was the extra rope that was connected to my bag. If it weren’t for that, I would have fallen straight to my death.  
Later on, bandaged and feeling fine, we made it to the camp. We cooked our food over a bonfire and went to bed. I had a good dream until my tent-mate started breathing and snoring really loudly. I kicked him, but when he woke up, it continued. I heard it getting louder and louder, now that we had been stirring around. We both looked at each other, thinking the same thing. I slowly opened the zipper of our tent and peeked my head outside. There, behind a small bush, was a huge black bear. It was sniffing some left-over spaghetti. I knew this was my time. Staying close to the ground and being as silent as I could, I snuck to the guide and counselors' tent, which was across our camp site. Once they were all up, they saw the bear and knew what had to happen. We woke everyone up and all got in a group as silently as we could, but the bear knew what was happening the whole time. It stood on its hind legs and roared. We all shook our hands in the air, banged together sticks, and made ourselves as big and loud as we could. There was also another camper about 50 feet from us who had a big husky. The husky barked at it, and together, we warded off the bear. 
Relieved, I exclaimed, “Thank G-d for that dog.”  
It took another four hours to hike the rest of the trail, but we were thankful. We sang a couple of marching songs and continued walking. By this time, I had lost my walking staff, and my legs were like wet noodles. 

“My legs hurt,” complained Josh.  
“Everyone’s legs hurt!” yelled one of the other boys from the back of the line. 
“Well, I want someone else to carry my bag for me!” complained Josh once again. 
“Josh, carry your own weight in the group!” yelled another boy, this time right next to me. 
 I could hear a few snickers from people that took the remark in another way. Getting on the bus was a blur. I was finally able to rest from the mountain hike and drink some water. Driving back to the camp, we all fell asleep
When we got back to camp, everyone was waiting for us, including the next group of campers, ready to go on this wrenching hike. It all passed like a dream as I laid down in my cot and fell asleep once again.    

by Noah B., Grade 9

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Another Sculpture and Another Haiku

sculpture by Emily Walsh, Grade 8

Thank you to everyone who participated in the haiku contest at eighth grade lunch.
Out of the bunch, this poem really stuck out:

A table of food --
I arrive, and when I'm gone,
a barren table.

By Nate S.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Sculpture and Haiku

artwork by Leah T., Grade 7

Thank you to all who participated in the Haiku Contest for 7th graders! We received many
outstanding submissions, but these three really stood out.

Gossips gather 'round
Secrets slip past Snapple cans
Fingers slick with grease

By Grace S., Grade 7

No lunch is silent
Sentences spiral in air
Far too much to say

By Sofia P., Grade 8

People are yelling
Surrounding me with their screams
Waiting for the bell

By Kiera D., Grade 9