Its day four in Puebla, Mexico. It was a very sunny day and humidity filled the air. I felt the breeze against my damp face as the open top bus accelerated. My dad, grandma, and my cousin, Daniel, sat in the row to the left of me. We were 1 hour away from our next destination, the middle of nowhere.
I’d always loved being exposed to new cultures and places, so the idea of exploring a rural area in the middle of Mexico ignited a new wanderlust sensation through my body. As we reached closer to our destination, the more mountains that apparard. The views were breathtaking. As the bus abruptly stopped at a red light, my dad inched his way into the seat next to me.
“You excited for this tour”? He asked with a grin. I slightly nodded my head, unaware of the actual purpose of our destination.
“You know the tour is going to be about the ancient people of the town we are going to and how they built a civilization underground”, my grandma added, aware of the confusion on my face from my fathers last question. My grandma is very intelligent and knows a lot everything, so she rambled on about the history of the ancient civilization until our bus reached our destination. As we departed from the bus, I noticed there was an unusual abandoned carnival to my right and a small, but vibrant city to my left. My grandma asked the bus driver what the quickest way to the tour, but in Spanish. She is the only one out of my dad, cousin, and I, that could fluently speak the language, therefore she is the only reason how we are surviving in a foreign country. I only know enough spanish to understand some words as I eavesdrop in conversations. The walk from the bus to the tour is longer than I thought it would be. As my family and I entered, our tour guide began the tour. Our guide solemnly speaks spanish, which is no surprise, so throughout the tour I choose to leave my headphones in and simply admire the artifacts. After an hour or two, the tour was finally finished. As my family departed from the group of people and made our way outside, I quickly noticed something interesting. A gigantic hill was to right of the museum, and many locals of the town were climbing it. The hill was so massive it overlooked the whole city, as well as 2 other neighboring cities surrounding us. Curiosity flooded my body. I knew I had to look at the view from the top of the hill.
“Hey dad, could we possibly climb to the top of the hill”, I asked while tapping his shoulder. I realized he was also admiring the hills greatness in size, so he nods his head and we start our climb.
It was around 4:00 o’clock in the afternoon ,and the bus to go back to Puebla leaves at 4:20. My dad and I are trudging up this hill with immense swiftness to try to make it back in time. We feel the summer heat against our skin, but we do not slow down. With our shoes digging into the dirt with each climb, we have made it to the top. The legs of both my dad and I both simultaneously collapse out of exhaust. I lift my head up to admire the view, and it was nothing like I have ever seen before. At this moment, I was on top of the world. I get up off the ground, forgetting about the soreness in my legs, and walk to the edge of the hill. The wind was piercing my ears, but I was distracted by the beauty of the country to even acknowledge it. The colorful buildings were so vibrant and unique from the viewpoint of the hill. I took a deep breath in, trying to make each millisecond of this moment last. We are so small compared to the vastness of Earth. In these few moments of admiration, I realize how much of the world I must see before my time on Mother Earth is up. “The world is full of wonderful things you haven't seen yet. Don't ever give up on the chance of seeing them”. -J.K. Rowling. From this moment on, this will be the quote I will live by forever.
By: Maddie Hewitt - 10th grade
Your father was a brave soldier, a much honored gent.
And now that you are all grown up, you must wonder where he could have went.
He ventured to dangerous lands, far far away, to answer our country's desperate call.
He left to fight for you and our loved home...but sadly he was the one to fail.
Every moment of every single day I would sit by the phone.
Waiting for the news that, one day, he would come back home.
As you know, that was not the case.
The only news I got was that I would never be able to look at his face.
There are many stories of how your father fought beside his brothers, side-by-side.
There was nothing in this world that could take away from his hard-earned pride.
Hand in Hand, the brothers marched across the harsh plains.
Hoping and hoping, that they would be the ones to remain.
Your father was extremely noble, and was an exceptionally strong man.
And unlike many others, he was courageous enough to make a tremendously essential stand.
Your father did not leave you because he didn't love you; it is the other way around.
He wanted to teach his dear dear daughter to always fight for what she wants and to stand ground.
You now might not have a father figure with you here.
But you still have a mother that will always, no matter what, be near.
It is crazy to think of what we have, everything in life.
But we forget to think about the thousands who have died, trying to end the strife.
Now we mourn his death from across the weary sea.
For the soldiers who have fallen, fighting for the cause of being free.
Now you understand the risks he would happily die to take.
Because he realized how much of a difference he could make.
Even though life is tough and it can give you a hard shove.
All you need to remember is that you have a guardian angel that is watching from the skies above
Just know that he loves you, though he is not here to say it himself;
As your mother I love you just as much and I promised that I would tell you myself.
By: Carsynn Miller - 10th grade
My dad has always told me, “Choose your friends wisely, for there are very few true friends.” I never believed him until I got to middle school, more specifically the 8th grade. The saying my father had said my whole life became more evident. I began to see how people I’ve known since elementary school would start to choose paths. I don’t have a specific example but let’s just say that some would stay in the right path and others would start to derail to a not so pleasant path. A few years ago my father told me a story about his friend who, sadly, did not choose the right path.
In 1981, Mexico City, my father had just started 1st grade at a new school and if you don’t know anything about the school system in Mexico, just know that public schools are pretty much the worst option to choose. Because of this, many people send their children to private schools and that means that people that go to your school come from all over the city. Thus my dad did not know anybody there, and had a bit of trouble making friends but soon became friends with a boy who would help him with his homework named Felix. He was a very courteous and intelligent boy who became his best friend and they both became the top students throughout Elementary and Middle school.
Later on they met this boy in middle school named Luis-Alfredo who also became a close friend. In High school, they were still friends but Felix began to distance himself from the group. He started to hang out with the popular crowd, who were only his friends because he was one of the only people who had a car at the time. They took him to parties where they had drugs and alcohol which he eventually got hooked on. My dad and Luis-alfredo tried very hard to persuade him to stop hanging out with the wrong crowd but he never took them seriously and continued going to the parties and consuming drugs.
A few months later, Felix’s mother, who had an alcohol abuse problem was diagnosed with paranoia and schizophrenia and, unfortunately, committed suicide. This sent Felix over the edge and made his addiction even worse and a year later was also diagnosed with the same diseases as his mother. He tried to take his own life as well, fortunately Luis-Alfredo had gotten there in time and was able to stop him. He tried to get on the wright path, but eventually went back to drugs. His addiction had grown to the point where he spent all of his money and would ask to borrow money in order to keep up with his debt. He then sold drugs to pay it off but would still owe since he would consume his own merchandise. This made him isolated from everyone, especially the people that actually cared about him. He would rarely talk to my dad and Luis-Alfredo and would only ask to borrow money.
One day his provider got angry at him for his debt and for using the drugs himself, he ultimately had him cut out of the picture. A year later Luis-Alfredo found out and notified my dad of Felix’s death. When my father told me this story, it gave me a new perspective because it is truly sad how a person’s life can change in a second for the better, or in this case, worse just by the people they have in their lives. It also made me more cautious of who I acquaint with and I hope that it helps other people to be cautious and keep an open eye for the people who actually care about them
By: Luis Ponce - 10th grade
Eyes closed, she stepped out of the car, placing her bare foot on the the wet grass, feeling the earth between her little toes and the breeze against the soft face. She breathed in the fresh air, the essence of everything around her coming together at once. One short moment that lasts a lifetime. As she opened her eyes for the first time, in the place that she had been many times before, she finally felt at ease, seeing and feeling the memories of previous years.
The place of music, as they called it, a place of letting go, the only place she could truly be herself, Suwannee Music Park. Though a simple title, it is filled will so much meaning and promise to every single person that comes and goes.
She ran the grounds she already knew, and felt free, as if nothing could break her spirit. She explored the unknown, filled with hanging tree moss and breathtaking live oak that scattered the park. The way the mystical energy flowed through her as she looked around, causing her to erupt in complete and utter happiness, a feeling she rarely experiences, constant for these few fateful days.
They set up the campsite in a specific way, a way that enabled the center to become a stage for passion and hope, the center of a group that housed a hundred people, all sharing that same love of music. They were called the Terrapin Travelers. A sight to see, they were, as everyone danced and jammed among the campfire, that lit the souls of every person singing along to the rhythm of the dead.
Everything was set, and everyone had arrived, so she and her friends decided to take a ride. The breeze blew through her long blonde hair and the flowers atop her head, as she rode through the trees on that old flower-filled golf cart she adored. They flew past the bra and underwear tree and the tree covered in unmatchable shoes to get to that tainted bridge atop the suwannee river. The graffiti covered bridge, that become a landscape of art for all to paint and see. They set up a spot mid-bridge and admired the artwork beneath their feet and the sky above their heads, while listening to the tunes of the day and talking like best friends should. That was what they were to each other, best friends, even if they only saw each other a couple times a year. It was a great friendship that all five knew would last a lifetime.
As night fell, the music started, and the energy grew wild. She danced, she danced with the spirits and the souls of everything around her. The music, pulsating through her entire body, lets her truly lose herself, dancing, swaying, letting go of all her troubles. She dances, thought to be insane by those who couldn’t hear the music, by those who weren’t really listening. The way the sounds of each instrument flew straight through her, was indescribable. You could see how each note and lyric hit her perfectly, how she was consciously unconscious, losing all her senses to the artists belting their hearts out.
She lived like a lotus in muddy water, for the few days she could, wishing, hoping, dreaming to float in that muddy stream for the rest of her days, and although she couldn’t always act like herself, she knew who she was. A flower child with a rock and roll heart.
By: Madeline Powers - 10th grade
I want to be able to comprehend intricate and complex poetry. I want to be very smart, not at chemistry or in math - even though it would be immensely helpful to be talented in those areas right now - I want to be worldly smart. I want to know big words and current events and astounding, old books and important people. I want to know the earth and how it breathes and thrives when we aren’t touching it. I want to learn how to play the ukulele and I want to write my own terrible songs to sing while playing the ukulele. I want to be kind to everyone, especially myself. I don’t want to be on my phone. I want to go places and hear new things and touch new people and become a different person. I want to write my own poetry. I want to make people smile really big and genuine. I want to build a whole castle around myself with love and kisses and warm embraces and fragments of fond memories and I want to invite all the beautiful people in the world to dinners there every friday and I want us to eat fresh food and bathe in each other’s light and laughter and even though i have a thousand bedrooms in my castle I want us all to crowd into my HUGE living room and throw couch cushions and pillows all over the floor and sleep under big fluffy warm blankets and all breathe in unison.
This world is so vivid and I want to dedicate more of my life to appreciating what it, and life, has to offer.
By: Jay Stabler - 10th grade
Come close, I’ll tell you a secret
There’s a place, that nobody knows
Follow the butterfly, see where he goes
Down the willow garden
Through the weeping sea
Up, on the mountain top
The place will be
Next to the ice, where dead men sleep
Tread carefully, make sure to creep
If you wake, the forgotten souls
You too, will join them, lost, and alone
Tread in the willow garden, through the soft marsh
Do not drink from the river, even if your tongue is dry
It may seem appetizing but I swear, the water is harsh
If you do not heed my warnings,
then surely, your neck will hang high
The butterfly will guide you, his colors bright
But do not dawdle, his temper his slight
Keep your eyes on the path, and do not waver
If your eyes slip, you’ll perish I wager
By: Nicolas Crafton - 11th grade
A girl in a house
a house with teeth
a house with demons
they never sleep
The Windows are shattered
The glass on the floor
If mother could see-
but she can't care anymore
The parents are lost
been birthed not once, but twice
and these new people
well they aren't very nice
The babies are quiet
mother put them to bed
father bid adue
With a kiss to the head
So now it's just us
We count one two three
except that third
does not include me
and so there’s a girl in the house
a house with teeth
a house with demons
and I never sleep
I watch them, I watch them
those with the blackest of hearts
With faces that smile
while they tear you apart
By: Rin Davis - 11th grade
The room was eerily quiet. Flood boards creaking, winds whistling, clocks ticking through the air like it had been all October. Allison sat alone in the corner of the moonlight room, long raven hair illuminated as it shadowed, mirroring her fears. It had been a long month, and it wasn't getting any shorter
Tick-tock, the clock grew louder.
She thought of the figures that towered her into insanity.
She tried to forget them as she slowly lost her mind.
By: Kate Moou - 10th grade
If there is no man, then who is that man? I rise out of my grave with my heart on my actual sleeve. My congregation of family members can't believe it: they look at me like an inhuman marvel of science, like a jackrabbit transfigured before their eyes. My mom shrieked and leapt away. My father petrified. My grandmama, bless her heart, fell back into her wheelchair with the rest of the clan gathered around her worried for her sake. I stood there contently, unmoving, just looking. I had no fear about me. I was bemused. I stood on my hospital bed, not blinking, not moving, I just stood. My mother shrieked, my father reeled, and my grandmama, bless her heart, passed out. I was covered in dirt, awake from my coma.
By: Theresa Washington - 10th grade
Brianca Louis' family has gone through a lot and has pushed through life and its challenges beautifully. Her parents divorced when she was three, and she and her siblings moved in with her mom and her grandmother. A short two years after this, near thanksgiving, their house caught fire, and her mother had a heart attack. This was a major event in Brianca's life. It was a disaster, but her family made the best of it. They rented a little apartment and came together for thanksgiving, thankful that their family stayed alive and intact, and that her mother's heart problem was discovered and treated. As an act of hope and care, her Church sent their family to Disney World, where she had one of her favorite memories. In Jeykll Island, Brianca and her brother went to a ice cream shop and discovered "Cotton Candy ice cream." Ever since that day, whenever she has her special ice cream, she is reminded of her family, the bond they share, and the rough times they've been through. They moved back to their house the following summer but this event would forever effect and encourage Brianca.
Brianca's mother is a huge character in Brianca's life. She looks up to her. She wants to be a vision of her. This person to her is being the person people will come and talk to. She wants to be the person that people come toad say/think, "I need to go talk to her because I have something going on in my life and I know she can help me out, I know she can give me advice." She figured this out her second semester of sophomore year, and people started to come to her for advice, for comfort. She is becoming the person she always dreamed of being. She is impacted everyone around her in such a positive way.
I am a NC sophomore, with a passion for writing and photography. I plan to study at NYU and get a degree in journalism. I hope to one day become a travel journalist.