Friday, January 27, 2017

Do Not Fear . . . It's a New Year!

It is 2017, and you know what that means! No, not failed resolutions. New writing and artwork! This month we have two poems that shows how to handle adversity while young. These poems may not be very cheerful, but since it is the beginning of the year, we can put all our fears and despair behind as we move forward. We also have an essay about a phone obsession, a recipe for a healthy chocolate cake, and some artwork for you to enjoy. So sit back, relax, and pray for snow as you read this month's post.    

artwork by Max R., Grade 8

The Dreaded Ride

Waiting, in the cold dark morning 
For the blinding yellow eyes to distort my vision.
As the bus turns the corner,
The same old dreaded feeling arises from my stomach.
Oh, who shall I sit with today?
Is it the boy who reeks of month-old underwear,
Or is it the girl who purposefully moves her feet so no one else can sit?
I have no choice, I must sit with the cougher.

As I take my seat, the rough leather clutches the fabrics of my clothes.
Then it begins.  It is the same coughing I hear while in the front of the bus,
Only this time, it is inches from my ear.
I try to drown it out with music that pulsates loudly through my ears,
But it is no use.

Cough, Cough!  Hack, Hack!
Sadly, the irritations grow as if they are insects.
I can feel every bump in the road
And I start to develop a bruise due to the unusual amount of potholes.
Finally, a safe haven arrives on the horizon.
As stressful as it can be sometimes,
School can always save me from the dreaded ride.

by Jack D., Grade 9

The Roots of my Obsession: My Phone

I picked up the plastic toy phone which was lined with different symbols on the colorful fake buttons. I was fascinated by the over-exaggerated sounds the buttons would make when I pressed down on them with my little fingers. My easily distracted three-year-old mind was intrigued. I would yell "Hello" to the fake phone and proceed to talk to the non-existent person on the other line.

As the summer rolled around going into my sixth grade year, all I wanted was a phone. All of my friends were beginning to get phones, so of course, that meant I needed one. I begged for a phone, but my parents were persistent with their answer. And that answer was no. Being the technologically advanced eleven-year-old I was, I created a Power Point listing all the reasons why they should allow me to get a phone. To my delight, it worked.

 I finally had a phone. It was a deep red color with a touchscreen and slide-out keyboard. I carried it with me everywhere I went, sliding the keyboard out and typing away. I boasted about my new cell phone the way a proud parent brags about their stellar child who just got back from winning a math competition after returning from their volunteer job at the animal shelter. In those first few weeks with my phone, I do not think I went fifteen minutes without checking it.  I was on top of the world.

After Christmas break of my sixth grade year, everyone returned with iPhones. Well, maybe not everyone. But those who did return with iPhones—which was actually a lot of people-- showed them off and made sure to let everyone know they had one. I'm not going to lie, I was just a little bit jealous. But who would not be? Those kids had the newest technology that a lot of adults did not even have access to. Not surprisingly, I wanted one. But I did not say much to my parents because I knew what the answer would be if I asked for one, and I would not be too excited about that answer. The one time I did mention my desire for an iPhone to my mom, her response was right along the lines I assumed it would be. She said I did not need one.

I remember looking out the window of our new home in Pennsylvania to see the huge truck pull in with the words "Moving Service" printed on the side. I watched with agony as the movers piled boxes throughout the house. My parents knew that moving away from Massachusetts was hard for me. I knew that they knew that, and I'd be lying if I said I did not use that a little to my advantage. If there was any good time to ask for an iPhone, that time was now. With a little help from the tears pouring down my face at the mention of starting a new school, my parents were finally convinced that I could get an iPhone. 

From the very first moment I held the iPhone 5S, silver and gleaming, in my hands, I knew it would never leave them. I was drawn to fact that now I could do almost anything I could do on both an iPod and a phone, but do it whenever I wanted to all on one device, which is exactly what I did. I was constantly on my phone, texting, snapchatting, scrolling aimlessly through Instagram, and listening to music.

            Although my phone may distract me from studying sometimes—okay, maybe all the time—I still take pride in my obsession.  My phone is more than just a device. It’s something that allows me to call my friends when I miss them the most, watch endless hours of Netflix on Sunday afternoon, and blast my music on a long car ride to temporarily tune out the world. I am completely obsessed with my phone, and I would not want it any other way. 

by Melina T., Grade 9

artwork by Camille L., Grade 9

Role Models

Little girl
Shorter than the shorn blades of the garden,
Fragile as the fragments of her mother's heart,
A delicate dreamer of tomorrow. 

Little girl
Watching the remains of her once wondrous mother waste away
Her courage crumbling faster than the coffee cake her brother captured from her rightful clutches,
Dreams deteriorating

Little girl
Wondering as to what would become of her

She's only a little girl, after all.
A beautiful little girl.
But the world wishes to break what is beautiful.
That's just how it works.

by Iliana S., Grade 9

To accompany this month's literary selections, we have this month's recipe, thanks to our editor and baker extraordinaire, Emily W.:
Healthy Chocolate Mug Cake

artwork by Courtney C., Grade 7