The Back Porch Review 2021

Literary Journal of Vernon Township High School, Vernon, NJ

Literary Journal of Vernon Township High School, Vernon, NJ


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Illustration by Alyssa Kozdron, grade 12


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Pull up, tie up, and enjoy your stay.



Back Porch



Safe Harbors

Vernon Township High School

1832 Route 565, P. O. Box 800, Vernon, NJ 07462




This has been a year of struggle; we have all had to cope with unexpected

hardships. This literary magazine is a tribute to all those places that have

made us feel safe. We hope this becomes one of your “Safe Harbors.”

Cover Illustration by Alyssa Kozdron, grade 12

Table of Contents

The Literature

To a Lighthouse Keeper – Sara Mazzella – 5

First Madness – Palmer Papson – 7

Let Me Go In Peace – Mia Amato - 10

The Light – Payton Shultz – 12

Message in a Bottle – Tabitha Sherwood – 13

Foxy – Alyson VanGulick – 14

Rock, Paper, Scissors – Alyssa Kozdron – 16

everywhere else on another day - Gabrielle Flig – 17

Obituary for Normalcy – Gabrielle Miller – 20

early lights passing on – Gabrielle Flig – 21

Reflections on Yard Nature – Brianna Cimo – 22

Cape Cod – Janelle Colyer – 23

A Journey through Words – Michelle Brown – 26

Take Me Home – Nadine Yamout – 28

Where Hope Lives – Sara Mazzella – 29

Mask – Palmer Papson – 32

Wake Again to Hope – Sebastian Leak – 33

January Walk with my Grandfather – Riley Mills – 36

To Broken Sails – Victoria Annunziata – 37

Safe Place – Jack Howes – 40

Quiet World – Shane Lyden – 41

Obituary for Normalcy – Morgan Mulvaney – 44

My Safe Place is Not …. Maya Rodriguez- 45

Happy Hound – Sean McGinnis – 48

Ode to a Wave – Robin Gindhart – 49

Seagull Plight – Gabrielle Miller – 52

Peeled Clementine – Alyssa Kozdron – 53

Clearer Waters – Abby “Del” LaGreca – 56

Time by the River – Thomas Birkland – 57

In Just – Winter Version – Robin Gindhart – 60

Game Night – Palmer Papson – 61-62

Obituary for Normalcy – Robin Gindhart - 63

Journey of Seashells – Anisa de Stani – 66

Anchored in Peace – Sara Mazzella – 67

Lost and Love – Victoria Annunziata - 69

Hot Air Balloon Escape – Keely Greenhalgh – 72

Avoiding the Fall – Angis Kellish – 73


Let Good Win – Boriss Von Frankenstein – 76

Message in a Bottle – Gabrielle Miller – 78

Ode to Snow – Jennifer Marcinkowski - 79

The Dock – Samantha Dombrowski – 82

The Crayon Box – Tristan Hakala – 83

Cosmo – Hailey Perise – 86

In the Trees – Timothy McQuaid – 88

“57785” – Jon Weyant - 89

the place where static sings – Gabrielle Flig –91

Table of Contents

The Art

Joanne Baez – photo - 70

Megan Calkin – photo – 27

Avery Crafton – photo - 75

Kayla Cruz – art – 39

Richard DeGraw – photo - 47

Skylar Ehman – photo - 35

Kaden Haw – art - 34

Patience Hevi – art – 8, 30

Nathaniel Horn – art – 54, 74

Isaiah Ingino – photo - 64

Kiana Kerton – art - 43

Erich King – photo - 14

Alyssa Kozdron – art – cover, 15

Christina Lavorini – art - 77

Riley Lewicki – photo – 11

Ethan Lewis – photo - 68

Mark Maffia – photo – 25

Alexis Malec – photo – 46

Kayla Patterson – art – 71

Emily Rhode – photo - 59

Jonessa Rodriguez – art – 80, 84

Terry Sabia – photo – 21, 92

Idalis Santiago – art – 19, 85, 87

Kailee Seeley – photo - 38

Patricia Soriano – photo – 6, 55

Dyllan Terwilliger – photo - 18

Katelyn Thienel – art –9

Hannah Thompson – photo – 24

Will Toll – photo – 50

Laura Waschek – photo - 58

Kathy Weyant – photo – 42, 51, 65, 81

Loeghan Winstock – art – 31

Faculty Advisor – Mrs. Kathy Weyant, with thanks to the student writers, artists and the art teachers for

reaching deeply into their hearts to create art that soothes, that comforts and that heals. With remote, hybrid

and scattered in-person learning, this creativity is a true testament to the beauty and strength of the human

spirit here at Vernon Township High School in Vernon, New Jersey. When all else lets us down, there is

always art and literature to remind us of the heights we were born to inhabit.


To a Lighthouse Keeper

by Sara Mazzella, grade 12

Standing tall above the deep-blue water

whitecaps painted on top

a father’s soul protects his daughter’s

as the lighthouse fields a raindrop

the keeper awakens to a howling twilight.

Raging wind falls upon the sea

the gleaming lantern flickers on

as boats the harbor seek

she lets out a tired yawn

and continues with her dreams.

The guardian keeps his watch on her

during the loneliest of hours

whistles of the wind whisper

stories of the towers

sending streaks of light into the night.

For the word will travel far

in the chill on a stormy breeze

in the faintest glimpse of a shining star

two souls to help the sea to ease

one hope anchored in both hearts.


Patricia Soriano, Faculty


First Madness

by Palmer Papson, grade 12

Blue tides rush in and out

carrying the mystery of the sea

from afar a child shouts

her name is Bree

As the cold water splashes on the beach

it sends sand flying

this way and that, all about

suddenly Bree is crying

Are the tears of joy or sadness?

not even Bree can tell

the ocean thrusts forward madness

the sand sinks in and swirls around.

Bree searches and begs for a sign

a creature emerges from under the ground

a baby turtle, Bree claims it “mine!”

all is restored and hope is regained

as the tide once again disappears


Patience Hevi, grade 12


Katelyn Thienel, grade 10


You do not

get to say

that you miss me

when you

are the reason

I’m gone

You forced me out

then pull me back in

like the tides

of a storm-riddled sea

I have left

and I will not return

so please

grant me one



and let me go

in peace

Let me go in peace

by Mia Amato, grade 12


Riley Lewicki, grade 10


The Light

By Payton Shultz, grade 12

Down the stained wooden stairs and a few steps from the edge

I drop my thoughts and stress into the fluffled green blanket of grass

when darkness creeps into my head, I claim my security

The kiss from the sun brushes my skin,

the touch of Nature traces my body

The clouds in the blue sky wildly mild and unpredictable

shooting wanderous objects in the sky.

In a world of darkness

where would you go to find the light,

a spot, song, person or book?

If the darkness is chasing you, will you stay and let it consume you

or find your perfect escape into the light?

Go hand-in-hand with the fire deep inside you and

burn down the terror of your world

forever safe and unstoppable


Message in a Bottle

I wonder what year it is and where you found me. There are a few

things I would like to share with you.

It is the year 2021 and we are still in a pandemic; I wonder if it will

ever end. We may never know. It’s very annoying to wear masks


I have lost most of my friends because of it but I guess I know

who was fake and who is real. I feel like I’ve changed a lot. I talk a lot

less than I did before. I stay in my room all day because we’ve all

gotten annoyed having to be around each other. Don’t get me wrong, I

do love my family but sometimes it’s hard to be near them.

I never realized how much things have changed, how much I

would regret, how many things I would miss. Like even human

interaction, just a smile from another person. Even having an

awkward conversation just knowing someone is there. Now because

of masks, you can barely see anyone’s emotions. It’s scary because

you never know if the person is happy or not. It’s hard to start a

conversation, too, because you’re afraid that if you do that person

might be sick and then, boom, you’re sick.

However, it could be way worse than it is now. I just hope by

the time you find this it isn’t like that anymore. I hope it’s much better

with more human interaction and less disease.


Tabitha Sherwood, grade 10


Erich King, grade 12


By Alyson Van Gulick, grade 11

Bristle in the bushes

Getting tangled in the vines

A fluffy fox tail

Brushes against

Many tails brushing

in the bush,

Many yellow eyes

looking through

Tiny fluffy paws,

Making their way through

the other side

Of the valley


Alyssa Kozdron, grade 12


Rock Paper Scissors

By Alyssa Kozdron, grade 12

Rock: polished, round, jagged

Primal usage: to break

Slam down and scrub across the defeated

Paper: slices the holder by accident

Everyday use: to create

Spinning off the page in words and art

Scissors: Intentional edges

By choice: weapon or tool

Cleanly slipping through paper

Yet held like a dagger


everywhere else on another day

By Gabrielle Flig, grade 11

i could have been to _____

where the bakery sells freshly baked

loaves every day at 7 sharp.

or maybe visited ______ back at ____

where i can see ___ and _____ again,

it’s been so long.

i heard that _____ just came back

from ______ where we would run

through the cornfields and over the

running creeks.

perhaps, on another day.


Dyllan Terwilliger, grade 10


Idalis Santiago, grade 11


Obituary for Normalcy

By Gabrielle Miller, Grade 10

It’s hard to fathom how it was before, the normalcy.

The random interactions with strangers that will have no impact on

one's life.

The warm spring day, after school, meeting with your classmates

under the setting sun.

I remember the warm winter nights eating soup with family friends.

The rides on the swim bus with all my friends, three of us squishing

into a seat.

I miss the family parties that I used to hate; the way I used to be.

The person I am no longer who still holds places in people's hearts.

How I wish I can get back the time, my innocence.

The year has washed over, faster than the last.

I wish I could have experienced normal life as the person I am now.

I have not lived long enough in the normal life, and I crave more.

I am missing out on life, all that used to be.

As I grow older, I understand more and more

how experiences are the true fruits of our lives.



early lights passing on

By Gabrielle Flig, grade 11

early lights will pass on overhead

all collectively in a fluid motion

no pause, they keep passing on

you, however, keep still

silent, patient, where you sit

you may shout, you may cry,

but you aren’t seen by passersby

no pause, they keep passing on

all collectively in a fluid motion

early light will pass on overhead

Terry Sabia, faculty


Reflections on Yard Nature

By Brianna Cimo, grade 11

I sit on my front porch listening

to the chirping birds.

The wind blows the clouds

like balls of cotton.

Water puddles fill the street

like a lake after a rain.

I feel water droplets hit my head.

All is calm and quiet,

like a church ready to start.

The wind blows and some leaves drop

signaling a step closer to Fall.

My dad begins to work on the lawnmower

in the garage, making noise and

the chill sends me inside.


Cape Cod

By Janelle Colyer, grade 12

The salty wind in my hair

the seas, the trees, the gentle breeze

the beach, hot sand on my feet

tubing in the water, the sun getting hotter

gazing at the lighthouse

my cousin and I in Cape Cod

two sunburnt peas in a pod.


Hannah Thompson, grade 12


Mark Maffia, grade 9


A Journey Through Words

by Michelle Brown, grade 12

Like trees, humans constantly change

but from a distance at times we still look the same.

With the naked eye you can’t tell what remains

as our traits arrive, appear, and fade.

What one must do is get close and observe,

for the effects of change are seen through words.

Through these statements, intentions are inferred

for our language is the limit of our world.

So here we arrive at the summit of humanity

on the horizon we can see ever-changing personalities.

With the constant flowing tide only one fact still stays,

that just like trees, humans constantly change.


Megan Calkin, grade 9


Take Me Home

By Nadine Yamout, grade 12

A little place, I call my base, my safe space

where the wind whistles and the dew perspirates

for how can I leave this little town I call home?

How can I leave this place?

They say you don’t know what you’ve got until you don’t “got it.”

A few more months and I’ll be miles away

I just wish I could stay.

I’m not ready to move forward

I’m not ready to start my life.

College is scary but I know what is right.

No more sounds of barking or daddy’s laugh.

No more momma’s cooking or sissy’s math.

Twelve years go by in the blink of an eye.

How is it already time?

For nothing else will compare to the memories born here.

Take me home.


Where Hope Lives

by Sara Mazzella, grade 12

Sharp with simple purity

of grace and softness;

never to be dulled

by deceitful saturation.

Ominous illuminations

echoing through eyes.

Empty and invisible,

clarifying its divinity.

A quiet reflection of light

cleanses the spirit

and refreshes the mind,

bringing balance from chaos.

Hope dwells within

this space of peace,

yet to share its goodness

with an unruly canvas.


Patience Hevi, Grade 12


Loeghan Winstock, grade 11



By Palmer Papson, grade 12

A time so surreal yet inexplicably authentic at the same time.

My first time on this bus was fifteen years ago though

it feels like the very first time all over again.

I don’t know if it’s the mask’s ego or maybe

just the new person I’ve become in my endless quarantine,

but it’s very odd. Part of me is glad that my peers

can no longer see my face.

My inner monologue is halted abruptly

with the cold swoosh of air wafting in from the open bus doors;

it’s time for my last first day of high school.

Walking down the bus steps reminds me of when I was little.

The fresh fall air surrounding me,

the leaves so gently falling,

smiles from strangers…

all of which are foreign now.

The crisp fall air is repelled by my cheap plastic covering,

making me more of an outsider than I was before the virus hit.

In a way, I’m glad I don’t have many friends.

I can’t recognize anyone’s faces

except those who want to be seen.

The cliché groups are still here and ready to make my last year

another living hell. If only they knew what I could do.


Wake Again to Hope

By Sebastian Leak, grade 12

He rises from his bitter bed,

thoughts of sadness fill in his head.

He idolizes death.

Staring at the clock on the wall

watching the days go by

I see him frown.

So I cry “hello.”

He gives his destiny a shake

as he watches his tears

burn out the smoke

hoping for a joyful day.


Kaden Haw, grade 10


Skylar Ehman, grade 9


January Walk with My Grandfather

By Riley Mills, grade 12

The first time I walked with you

I was five.

Whimsical, hopeful

with gloves in my pocket.

January. Snow falling

beneath our steps, footprints left in our path.

As we walked passing blue slides

and red swing sets

we talked.

Now you are gone

but when I close my eyes I still remember

the swing sets red and the slide blue

and you.

You walk with me still,

your heart in mine.

The first time I walked with you

I was five.


To Broken Sails

By Victoria Annunziata, grade 10

A girl was headed West,

daydreamin’ that she’d get out.

She’d set out on wide-open waters.

Funny thing is she had a lowered anchor.

Wind’s no match for an anchor with a sail.

A boy lived in a humbled, rickety house,

believin’ he’d make it big in the broad sea of science.

He’d go out and mark his map onward.

Funny thing is the stars didn’t shine upon him.

There’s nowhere to go with a broken sail.

To say one can’t go anywhere without a sail is truly a fable.

They say once you are able,

a paddle or oar or even a mighty engine will do.

Without a sturdy sail, one can still motor through.

Remember to inflict gratitude upon her bow.

A sail’s irrelevant when there’s another way through.


Kailee Seeley, grade 10


Kayla Cruz, grade 12


Safe Place

by Jack Howes, grade 12

Listening to music is my safe place

head phones in with a straight face

escape from reality my favorite place

music easily takes my mind off things.

Headphones out anxiety takes its place

thinking how I’ll spend the rest of the day.

First time this year

I take the bus home today

close my eyes

crank the volume

for now I’m safe.


Quiet World

by Shane Lyden, grade 12

The world can be loud at times

Sounds of hatred

Sounds of stress

Like drums echoing in my head

But when I am with my friends

then I am safe

The drums stop

and this big world we live in

narrows to where it is just me

and my friends.


Kathy Weyant, faculty


Kiana Kerton, grade 12


Obituary for Normalcy

by Morgan Mulvaney, grade 11

Normalcy died a little over a year ago; it seems like just yesterday we first heard

the news. The lives we were so used to living were coming to an end. Normalcy kept us

around the people and places we loved.

Since she's been gone everyone is so lonely; we have nowhere to go, we cannot see

anyone. I remember having at least 20 girls over to sleepover; now I can only have one.

I remember visiting family members out of state without any hesitation, except now

it is almost a fearful thing to do.

I remember being able to go out to eat and be able to actually hear the waitress say

what the specials were for that day.

Normalcy is missed greatly by everyone; we want her back. We aren't sure how

long it will take for us to see her again. Every month begins and I wake up hoping she is

here with us again. It is so draining having to stay inside most of the time, and when we do

go out we have to wear masks. It went from being able to smile to people as they walk by

to awkwardly staring at each other without any expression.

I hope to see her again. I miss Normalcy. I wish her the best.


Where My Safe Place is Not….

By Maya Rodrigues, grade 12

My safe place is not home or school

It is not my grandparents’ house in the middle of nowhere

It is not even a physical place.

My safe place is seeing the people I love

It’s going on drives with no destination

It’s singing songs around a campfire

It’s sharing crab legs on Christmas Eve

It’s being free and happy


Alexis Malec, grade 9


Richard DeGraw, grade 10


Happy Hound

by Sean McGinnis, grade 12

Oh how happy is the small hound!

Look upon his wide smile with tenderness

and compassion, for he loves us, too.

His fluff surpasses all else, and

his bark is like the roar of a mighty lion.

He prowls around looking for his meals,

scaring even the greatest of predators.

Despite his small frame he intimidates those around him,

but also attracts admiration from all.


Ode to a Wave

by Robin Gindhart, grade 12

Bringing pain or clarity

Its biggest mystery is its polarity

Its simplest aspect is its name:

The wave.

Some use the soothing sound to fall asleep

While others find their biggest fear within: to drown,

blue nightmares where they awaken to weep.

When the ocean is angry this blue beauty starts to rise

She gets quite cranky

You can sometimes hear surfer and swimmers’ cries.

But this miracle of nature can so calming be,

leaving beach bums feeling cooled.

A wave is not so different from you and me.


Will Toll, grade 12


Kathy Weyant, faculty


Seagull Plight

by Gabrielle Miller, grade 10

You fly with the weight of the world

as you harness the soul of the ocean

you fly as crisp as a cracker

you eat off the beach.

Sun bathers don’t know you didn’t catch dinner

they don’t know the truth behind your beak

Young seagull will never be loved

she carries the weight of the world

young seagull doesn’t understand

she carries the tears under her beak

waiting for love

You will never know this --

It's better that you don’t --

You will never know the extent of her desperation

It’s better that you don’t know the hesitation

of little seagull.


Peeled Clementine

by Alyssa Kozdron, grade 12

Clementines, if they could speak

would tell you words of sweet reassurance

and if you opened up, they would peel away

revealing their true selves as well

Underneath the smooth surface

it is bumpy, plump, and flakey

like all people

yet it glows

The bright color whether ripe or not

is like a lantern in the night

such a color brightens your day

you take the clementine to school that day

A never-before-seen-look on your face

it is bumpy, plump, and wide

clutching the fiery fruit

it smiles back at you


Nathaniel Horn, grade 10


Patricia Soriano, faculty


Clearer Waters

By Abby “Del” LaGreca, grade 11

This water is supposed to be clear, reflective.

Sometimes, that is not the case.

Life can pump pollutants into its beautiful consciousness.

Leading to an unknown, uncertain danger.

You can keep it this way and forever immerse yourself in its new dark


Or you can clean up your waters, clear your consciousness.

See the light from the sandy bottom, see the life within.

You can flow freely through these waters and bathe yourself in safety

and purity.

From time to time your waters will darken, become less clear.

That will happen, just like night and day.

When it does, do not let that darkness consume you.

Clean up your waters and thrive in the waters of your inner self.

Keep yourself clear and don’t let hard times and sadness cloud you.

See clear through your crystal waters,

Only you can do it best


Time by the River

by Thomas Birkland, grade 12

Time passes

Those who pound their fists grow old

Their thoughts soften

While growing old they lay by the river

Watching their lives float by

Streams of memories change with time

Change of hearts, you could say

Their bodies morph, their thoughts change

They grow old with regret

The river flows even without them


Lauren Waschek, grade 10


Emily Rhode, grade 11


[In Just-] (Winter Version)

by Robin Gindhart, grade 12, inspired by ee cummings

in Just-


when everything is white and frozen

and the birds fly south

because they hate the snow

but the snowmen

and I

well, we love the snow

it glistens in the sunlight

but the sun is its worst enemy you know


brings coldness and warmth all in one

Christmas lights on all the houses down the road

make everything feel warm and cheery

but the snowmen

they need the cold to stay alive

so the snow may make my hands freeze but

it’s winter




well I hate to see them

fly far away






By Palmer Papson, grade 12

Scene starts in Kevin and Arnold’s living room, around 6 pm; they have a friendly game

night every week. Note that the sentence structure is a little off (missing periods/commas)

to make the characters seem more chaotic during the conversation. The living room is

nicely furnished and very neat, with white walls and dark hardwood flooring. There is a

large sectional sofa that nearly overpowers the small NYC apartment living room, but the

vibe is more modern and cozy, not claustrophobic at all. There is a black foldable table

with four multicolor chairs in the center of the room, between the couch and television.

Opposite the living room is the kitchen (though it is not shown on stage, only referenced),

and beside the living room, in the foyer, is the front door (which is shown).

Kevin: Alright I’ve got the popcorn and monopoly! Now I just need the TV remote.

Arnold: No, Kevin, we don’t need the television remote for game night.

Kevin: Yeah, but it’s nice to have the TV on in the background; it creates a nice ambiance.

Arnold: You know I can’t focus on the game when you have the television on. I get too

distracted! Also, is this microwave butter popcorn? Do you even know what’s in this stuff?

Definitely poison.

Kevin: (turns on the TV) Oh my god, Arnold, calm down about the popcorn. It’s literally


Arnold: No! Turn that television off! Kevin,

<this is why you always win at monopoly. You fill me up with disgusting poisonous snacks

and then distract me with trashy reality television.

Ding dong!

Kevin: Oh, good, he’s here!

Evan: Hey, you two! Were you outside today? It was a picture-perfect afternoon. Did you

get the pictures of the trees I sent you? They were gorgeous today and there were four new

types of birds. Wait, Kevin, why are you eating that crappy popcorn? You know how bad

that stuff is.

Arnold: (shouting from the other room) THANK YOU, EVAN. Kevin throw it away I

don’t want it here.

Kevin: No, it’s my snack and I’m going to enjoy it. Evan, I didn’t see the trees and quite

frankly I don’t care. Just set up your game.

Evan: Ugh! You never appreciate my artistry. Arnold, I know you like my photographs of


Arnold and Kevin exchange a glance

Arnold: (perky) ohmygod, yes, of course I love your photographs and trees, Evan! You’re

a true genius when it comes to botany.

Evan: Arnold, cut the crap. I saw your glance at Kevin! You guys are really upsetting me.

I’m just going to leave.


Arnold: No, Evan, really. I’m sorry; please stay. I’m already worked up because Kevin is

refusing to turn off the television.

Kevin: (shouting from the kitchen, off-stage) I need it on!

Evan: Kevin, you only have it on so you can distract Arnold! I mean, it’s a genius plan if you

want to win, but c’mon, turn it off.

Arnold: (defensive) What does that even mean, Evan? I can’t just turn it off. It’s my brain. I

don’t question your incessant need to be in the apple orchard taking pictures of trees and

sending them to everyone on your contact list.

Evan: Arnold, calm down. I was talking to Kevin- saying to turn the TV off- wait what do

you have against my trees? It’s a beautiful orchard, you should really learn to appreciate


Kevin: (returning to the living room with a new bucket of popcorn) Okay, can we just start

the game, please? This is exhausting.

Arnold: (under his breath) What’s exhausting is you refusing to give up that popcorn bucket.

Kevin: Arnold! What do you care? It’s literally just a bucket of popcorn that I eat once a

week on game night! What else are we supposed to snack on, (sarcastically) an apple?

Evan: Oh, do you want one? I just picked a few!

Kevin: Evan, ever heard of sarcasm?

Arnold: Okay, guys, stop. Just set up the game.

The three finally start the game of monopoly. Not even five minutes into the game, another

argument begins.

Arnold: Evan, could you be any more obvious?

Evan: What? What are you talking about?

Arnold: There’s $100 missing from the bank.

Kevin: Yeah, I saw him take it the first time too-

Evan: (interrupting) No I didn’t! Sorry that I’m just so good at monopoly.

Arnold: Evan, we both saw it! You cheat every week. It's not a new thing, just admit to it


Evan: You’re making things up again, Arnold. I didn’t this time. It’s probably Kevin!

Kevin: (audibly gasp)

Evan: You always eat that butter popcorn and get the money stuck together, then blame it on

me! Arnold, back me up… Arnold?

Arnold has left the game table and sat on the couch, glued to the TV.

Kevin: Hah! Told you it was a good idea to have the TV on!

Evan: (rolling his eyes) Every week, Kevin. Every week passes by and we have yet to finish

a game of Monopoly. I’m just going to leave now. I’ll see you two next week; hopefully we

can finish the game then.

Evan leaves. Arnold and Kevin look at each other with smug expressions.

Arnold: I can’t believe it’s been fourteen game nights and our plan works every time.

Kevin: Annoy him with the popcorn, distract you with the TV, cheat the game until he gets

annoyed and leaves…

Arnold: until next week then!


Obituary for Normalcy

By Robin Gindhart, grade 12

Here is an obituary for normalcy and all of its fantastic ways.

An obituary for the smell of movie theater popcorn and the sound of faint voices

from far away in the mall.

To showing our full identities in person and hello to sometimes not recognizing the

people you know the best.

No more going out for special occasions and being surrounded by happy people in

the dim lighting of marvelous restaurants.

This was a death that we were totally unprepared for, or at least that I was. You can

never know how painful this death is until you fully experience it and never see it

come back even a year after its passing.

At first, I was shocked by normalcy’s death and wasn't quite sure how to handle it.

I got sick of being home and felt like I was going a bit crazy.

Then, after I had some time to make peace with its death, I embraced it and got to

know myself a little bit better.

I took the time to just relax and reminisce about the times before its death, the good

and the bad, that I never really had time to before.

Now, more than a year after its death, I'm in the same place that I started, feeling

like I'm going to go insane if it all doesn't end soon.

I need to move on from this death, but am unable to; it's completely out of my

control. Whoever would've known that it was normalcy that I have missed more

than anyone else before while its death has been slightly consuming me.


Isaiah Ingino, grade 12


Kathy Weyant, Faculty


Seashells, rocks, and sand

side by side

zipping through the ocean water

travel to unknown land

Ocean water is no longer calm

seashells, rocks and sand

hurling through an ocean wave

uncontrollable of its rage

Journey of Seashells

by Anisa de Stani, grade 11


Seashells, rocks, and sand

wave breaks at land

sand stays with water

rocks fall to the ocean’s bottom

seashells fall onto the soft sand on land


colorful layer broken

ripped into pieces

by the rage of the ocean wave

A child walks by

grabs the broken seashell

throws the pieces into the ocean water

a wave pulls the broken seashell back in

where the seashell’s journey began.


Anchored In Peace

by Sara Mazzella, grade 12

I am anchored in the undertow;

pushing me out, then pulling me in.

I am anchored to the sweet Southern smell of honeysuckle

dancing through my kitchen windows,

holding me back.

A sailboat in the distant sea

wanders through the calm waters,

as the fresh scent of sun-dried linens

flows through the crisp breeze.

A raging wind twirls around my home;

the heavy clouds taunt the peaceful birdsongs,

and turn them into roars of thunder.

The riptide is calling my name,

but I am anchored in peace.


Ethan Lewis, grade 9


Lost and Love

By Victoria Annunziata, grade 10

Things I have lost

jewelry friends pencils socks

shorts sneakers my childhood

money rocks a paper glasses



people ideas words my beliefs

Things I don’t want to lose

friends family my dog my wit

my memory me a chance

a journey/adventure life a moment of peace

a moment to just be

growing old


Joanne Baez, grade 11


Kayla Patterson, grade 11


Hot Air Balloon Escape

by Keely Greenhalgh, grade 10

We will jump into the basket

your hand grabbing mine

they don’t know we’re gone yet

we’ll fly past the stars we outshine

free in our hot air balloon escape.

Have they gotten the hint?

Is their obliviousness even real?

Do their glasses have a rose tint?

I’m unsure how it makes me feel

thinking about our hot air balloon escape.

I’m already on thin ice

the situation’s dire

it’s one thing to be nice

and another to be a liar

about our hot air balloon escape.

We haven’t lifted off yet

I cannot wait until we do

seeing you, I’m dead set

and I hope you are, too.

on our hot air balloon escape.


Avoiding the Fall

by Angis Kellish, grade 12

It’s just like a brick wall

hoping that I won’t fall from that roof

when I fall for you

my brain exploding with the thought of danger

if I ever fell for you

growing up I didn't think it would be this way

cruising on that rainbow

instead of the whole normal way

everyone is different

and I guess I’m just this way

I hope you know I don't even love you

the way that you had treated me

I’m so glad I got out of there

because I was very scared,

afraid of what that would be.


Nathaniel Horn, grade 10


Avery Crafton, grade 9


Let Good Win

by Boriss von Frankenstein, grade 12

So many things can be so beautiful

bringing light to your own life

you just need to go out and find it

what is beautiful

what makes your life worth living

watch out for the worst

it may linger around you or within

don't let the evil take over

overpower it with goodness

show the evil who’s boss

you are a wonder of beauty

needing to shine out into the world.


Christina Lavorini, grade 11


Message in a bottle

By Gabrielle Miller, grade 10

We live in a world where money is worth more than human beings.

The genocides, slavery, and wars are not ancient history,


I wake every morning in this world where nothing I do will make a difference.

Humankind must readjust its values to solve our world problems.

Once we get past the greed of the billionaires of this world,

and once they stop taking advantage of the poorer, we can begin.


From smog covering L.A. to the hunger crisis in Yemen,

nothing is being done.

When will we not feel like pawns in the games of the rich?

I feel helpless in this world of hate.

I feel helpless because of the people who decide to let humans die.

I feel helpless because the barriers of race, religion, and culture divide us.

I can’t not think about it.

My whole life is consumed by the suffering of others.

I wish I didn’t know.

It may be selfish, but ignorance truly is bliss.

I wish I was ignorant, I wish I didn’t care.

The light inside of me gets dimmer and dimmer

every year as the lights of these others dim.

Where is our spark?


Ode to Snow

by Jennifer Marcinkowski, grade 12

As the sky begins to darken

the weather begins to sharpen

chills spike against your body

you get the greatest feeling

you know it’s about to snow.

Animals hide away from the cold

protecting every piece of food they have

counting every last blessing of the warmth they feel

a change in their mood begins

they know it is about to snow.

Hot chocolate with marshmallows warms up the soul

the fireplace burns filling the air with a wintry smell

candles are lighted so darkness does not take over

all you want to do is cuddle and stay in bed

you know it’s about to snow.


Jonessa Rodriguez, grade 11


Kathy Weyant, faculty


The Dock

by Samantha Dombrowski, grade 12

On a sunny June afternoon

after a long day of classes

my worn Converse scuffing the pavement

strolling home from the bus

breathing in the tranquil air

I slip off my shoes

and weave my way through the house

to take a clementine off the counter

my feet light on the hardwood floors.

I fill the watering can waiting for me at the front door

I stop to refresh the veggies and flowers

on my way through the dewy grass.

Before I hear the creaking of old wood

feeling the memories through my bare feet from years before

as I walk to the end of the deck and sit.

My feet slip into the still lake as I slip the peel off the clementine.

Peace is in the air, stillness in the water,

happiness in the clouds and youth in the dock.

I think I’ll stay a while.


The Crayon Box

by Tristen Hakala, grade 12

Everyone always looks at the crayon box

Dreaming of the colorful creations

Shading, mixing, the colors all flow across the canvas

The crayons whittling with each stroke

Do we care, though?

I mean, everyone is a part of the bigger picture

The sun can’t shine without a white booster

The blues can’t fill an ocean without their brothers

The grass doesn’t lie a motionless sea of green

Even black needs assistance to truly bounce off the paper

We’re all a part of the picture whether seen or not

There is no one crayon in the middle

No champion of the colors,

Though some may speak of the attention to a certain color

Never do they own the stage,

In order for a picture to be, the colors must work together

To turn a blank sheet to a sunny valley


Jonessa Rodriguez, grade 11


Idalis Santiago, grade 11



by Hailey Parise, grade 12

As she sits there, mirrored in a chair

All capped and gowned and waiting

Anxious and scared as the scissors work

Feverishly between cuts and snips

The hairdresser listens with a friendly ear

An empathy at her fingertips

Day after day week after week

Remaining focused on the task at hand


Idalis Santiago, grade 11


In the Trees

by Timothy McQuaid, grade 12

Within the trees there is only grace,

soft silence interrupted by birds’ songs,

a feathered choir sounding.

No distractions,

no chaos of the world surrounding.

A gentle breeze like a subtle touch

sets all the leaves to dancing.

Nature celebrates together all day long.

In the trees there is music and grace.



By Jon Weyant, ‘05

My best friend retired a long time ago,

hitched a ride from a truck down in Mexico.

His racing number tattooed in his ear

where it would stay for the rest of his years.

My best friend came home with me soon after that.

His belly I’d rub and his head I would pat.

I’d call him “good boy” and he’d wag his tail

but one day, eventually, he’d become frail.

My best friend got sick and left me too soon,

my doggie named after a dino cartoon.

We did all the things and we had the best time

his life was complete and complete he made mine.

My best friend is gone but his spirit lives on

in the colors of sunset, his light brindle fawn.

Because he’s retired, his number I took,

to walk with me always,

tattooed on my foot.

Rest in Peace, Littlefoot.


RIP, Littlefoot and all those beloved pets we have lost.


the place where the static sings

by Gabrielle Flig, grade 11

distorted singing buzzes by the ear

stuffy, clotted lumps of space pass by.

at times, a melody becomes clear.

at times, a cacophonic choir rocks the brain.

perhaps, it could have all made sense before

but now, it’s just a burning memory.


Terry Sabia, faculty


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