Editors Jillian Bauer & Aaron Johnson
Dear Village Home,
As the 2020-2021 school year is ending, so is my time working as co-editor for The Village Voice. I had expected to continue as editor next year. Sadly, it’s no longer a commitment that I can make during my upcoming senior year. Being a part of this class with Annika Abel has been a great experience. I’ve learned a lot while working with great people, deepened my love for writing even further, and grown as a person.
I hope that you all have enjoyed reading the paper while Aaron and I were co-editors as much as we’ve enjoyed working on it with our learner team, and that the content has reminded you of the fact that we’re all one community despite the distance and, even more so, brought you some joy during this crazy time. If you are a learner who enjoyed reading The Village Voice and want to try out your hand at helping to create it, please give the class a try. Thank you to the journalism staff–I will continue reading every issue next year, so just know… I not only wish you the best, I will be cheering for your ongoing success!
~Jillian Bauer, Editor
Dear Village Home,
This last year has been surreal. The world is so different from what it used to be, and it seems (knock on wood) that we’re close to the other side. Navigating the new challenges that have been thrown our way hasn’t been easy, but I know that — for me, at least — being in community made it easier. My sincere hope is that The Village Voice has been and continues to be another way to connect with this amazing community.
Words can’t express the gratitude I feel for Village Home and the things it has given me over the last five years. Although bittersweet, now it’s time for my next chapter. Thank you, Village Home, for being my bliss, my people, my community, and for making this chapter of my life one to remember. Bless you all, and stay safe.
~Aaron Johnson, Editor
Table of Contents
Since It’s Pride Month, Let’s Talk About How to Be a Great Ally by Mia Sharp
So Long, Farewell: The Village Voice Says Goodbye to Two of its Own by Village Voice staff
Wood You Like to Go For a Hike? by Haydn Reilly Hogan
Particle-ular Matter? Mysterious Muon by Chase Williams
Blend the Rules: Creative Recipes for Every Chef by Annika Elliott
Bon Voyage, Aaron by Ezria Graul
Marvelous Middle Readers by Jillian Bauer
Exploration of the Great Red Planet by Robert Ellison
Voicing Our Views: Queer Artists by Mia Sharp
Fun & Games: Find The Difference by Annika Elliott
Village Home Pet Parade
Caroline and Kevin by Meredith Bauer
Untitled by Oliver Meskell
Snowy Day by Levi Joiner
Finn the Otter by Write Well, Not Good Class
One Sky, One Elephant by Wenyuan Abel
Stardust by Leroi von Passow
Since It’s Pride Month, Let’s Talk About How to Be a Great Ally
By Mia Sharp
Happy Pride Month everyone. Fifty-two years ago was the historic Stonewall Riot, one of the most monumental events of the gay liberation movement. To celebrate this, I’m going to answer some of the most commonly asked questions about how to be a good ally.
Q) What should I do when someone comes out to me?
A) Great place to start! Coming out is a frightening thing for someone to do. Even for people who have come out to other people and in other spaces, it’s scary. When someone gathers the courage to tell you about a part of themselves regarding their sexuality or gender identity, There are only two things you need to do: respond with acceptance and ask about their boundaries. It doesn’t have to be a huge commotion if they don’t want it to be. Just respond with kindness and respect.
Q) What do I do if I misgender or deadname someone?
A) Awesome question! For context, misgendering someone is when you associate someone with the wrong gender. For example: This person uses they/them pronouns and you just said, “She is going to be a tad late.” Deadnaming is when you call someone by the name they were given when they were assigned a gender at birth, that they no longer use. For example: your friend Jacob is a trans man, and you said, “Emily likes the color blue.” It’s called a deadname because it’s just that, a dead name; they don’t use that name because they’ve found their true self. If you slip up and use the wrong pronouns or deadname out of habit, it doesn’t need to be a big deal! Simply correct yourself and move on. If you realize after the conversation, a quick apology text goes a long way. Don’t put them in the position of having to accept your apology by saying you feel guilty. Try your best to get it right and eventually it’ll become second nature.
Q) But isn’t apologizing the right thing to do?
A) Another great question! It’s easy to think an apology would be the best choice, but an apology comes with the expectation of saying ‘it’s okay’ and it’s never okay to misgender or deadname someone. Breaking habits takes time and mistakes are understandable, but you don’t want to put someone in the position of having to say it’s okay because it’s not. Apologizing may make you feel better, but often it makes the person you are trying to apologize to feel worse.
Q) If someone has come out to me, can I tell other people?
A) When you do that it’s called outing someone. Outing someone is when you tell someone that another person is a part of the LGBTQIA+ community without the person’s permission. For example: This is my friend Jacob, he’s trans. Do not do this under any circumstances. Even if this person is open about that part of themselves, it’s never okay to tell others without asking first. Remember I talked about how coming out is a scary thing? It still is. When a person has trusted you with this information, it’s not yours to share. If they say it’s fine to do so, then go ahead. But always make sure to respect their comfort zone.
Q) I want to show my friend I support them, can I give them a Pride shirt or flag?
A) That’s a thoughtful idea, and I’m sure they would appreciate the effort. However, you don’t need to buy anything. Your respect and support are all you need.
These are some examples of how to be good allies, but the key thing is to educate yourself. Always remember Google is free and queer people are not your encyclopedias. Your respect and dedication are the best gifts you can give someone. I can tell you from experience, those actions speak a thousand words.
So Long, Farewell:
The Village Voice Says Goodbye to Two of its Own
By Village Voice staff
Unfortunately the time has come to say goodbye to editors Jillian Bauer and Aaron Johnson, but not without a proper farewell. In addition to helping us produce a record 8 fantastic issues, they have created procedures and policies to ensure that each reporter is treated with respect. They have maximized our learning opportunities. And they’ve kept us laughing through the hours of hard work.
“Aaron and Jillian are amazing editors, and they just liven up the classroom with their personality and jokes,” says newest reporter on staff, Ezria Graul. “Ever since day one they’ve been so welcoming and made me feel like I’ve been a part of the paper for years.”
“Thank you both for being our editors[…], you helped me learn a lot, and I’m thankful to the two of you,” says another new reporter this year, Robert Ellison. Jillian and Aaron recognized that, as a learner-created newspaper, supporting their reporting staff was the top priority. At times editors have to make choices between giving reporters space to learn and creating the most polished, professional publication. Reporter Haydn Reilly wants to thank them for “being great editors and helping us all become better writers. We’re all gonna miss you so much. […] You guys are pretty great.”
Laughter was a constant in Jillian and Aaron’s newsroom. Reporter Chase Williams had this to say to them, “Theirs know write weigh two say how gr8 ewe our– thx!” Incoming-editor Mia Sharp adds, “Aaron and Jillian were both great editors. Even though one of them conveniently wasn’t there a quarter of the time during lay out, they both taught me a lot, and I’m grateful to have gotten to work with them!”
Crafting the Village Voice takes far more than an hour a week. Producing it virtually presented its own challenges. Incoming-assistant editor Annika Elliott appreciates all of the time Jillian and Aaron devoted to the paper. “This past year has been crazy, a dumpster fire, as you both perfectly put it. Yet we have put out  amazing issues.” Not one to miss out on the jokes, Annika adds, “You both have been amazing and will be dearly missed, not as much as [previous editor] Alli, but very close.”
“Working with Jillian and Aaron on the Village Voice this year has been a pleasure,” says instructor and publisher Annika Abel. Annika started the newspaper three years ago to provide VH with a learner-created publication and to create a platform for learners to hone their writing skills and develop as editors and collaborators. Jillian and Aaron “are our first editors who started as reporters, and their experience as reporters infused every decision. They made sure the reporters were able to take ownership of their articles. They were thoughtful about their choices and always, always respectful of others. And they have great senses of humor. I’m proud to have had them as editors this year. Whatever they choose to do in life, I have no doubt they will spread positivity and joy.”
Wood You Like to Go For a Hike?
By Haydn Reilly Hogan
This spring, getting out into nature is more important than ever. Here is a list of five spectacular spots to go hiking or camping this summer. All of these spots are Covid-aware, and allow for social distancing, so you can enjoy the outdoors safely.
The Wahclella Falls hiking trail is delightfully scenic and features an incredible waterfall at the end. It’s fairly wide and not too busy, so there’s room to pass other hikers. It’s not particularly difficult, so it would make a wonderful day trip for the whole family. The hike is 2.4 miles out and back, and there’s lots of rocks to climb on and a few caves to explore along the way. You can find more information here.
Mt. Ashland Campground is on the Oregon coast and camping is free there. There are a ton of breathtaking views and the close proximity to the water makes for a great spot. It’s roughly a 5-hour drive from Portland to the campground, so a week-long trip would work well here. It is located on the Siskiyou Crest, which is known for its wildflowers and birdwatching opportunities. It has an elevation of 6,000 feet.
The Multnomah Falls trail is a must-see for Oregonians. It’s a steep but short hike to the top of the falls. There are two big waterfalls along the way and the loop allows for more choice in how long you spend hiking. It’s a fairly wide trail with a few bridges overlooking the waterfalls. It tends to be a bit busier than Wahclella Falls, especially in the summer, so make sure to bring your masks. It’s easily accessible for people living in Portland, since it’s only 30 minutes outside of the city.
Gifford Pinchot National Forest is located in Southern Washington and encompasses 1.31 million acres of land. It’s well-known for its gorgeous scenery and seclusion, and is around a 3 hour drive from the Portland area. There are many opportunities for camping, and there are also cabins for rent as well as places for larger groups to stay. There are plenty of places to fish, hike, trail ride, swim, and picnic, and it is a great place for families and friends.
The Wind Mountain Trail is great for any avid hikers. It’s a moderately difficult trail that’s 2.4 miles long. It features lots of wildflowers and scenery, and is great for hiking with your dog or trail running. It gets steep at points, but the summit has gorgeous views of the neighboring Dog Mountain and the town of Carson, as well as Mitchell Point if you look South. This is a great family hike, and is perfect for a day trip.
Particle-ular Matter? Mysterious Muon
By Chase Williams
Just last month, a tiny unexpected wobble shook the entire science community. While studying the effects of passing a muon through a magnetic field, a tiny subatomic particle, a few scientists found that it did exactly as they predicted, but just a little too much.
They had expected it to wobble, like the way a compass does when you point it in a certain direction. Scientists had incredibly precise theories on how much it should wobble. They had come up with these theories using the standard model, which is supposed to use everything we currently know to, including gravity, atoms, and even muons; kind of like puzzle pieces to explain everything in the universe.
One of the problems with figuring out the scientific standard model (or maybe finding a new model) is that it requires everything to be absolutely perfect, so even a very small disruption can mean that we have to scrap, or at least majorly re-work, the whole thing. That can make a lot of scientists a bit uneasy.
There have been many struggles with using the model, such as finding a place for gravity to fit in there, but nothing so far has contradicted our understanding in this capacity. Gravity is problematic because there is still so much to learn about it and we don’t know what physical, wave, particle, or mysterious form it actually takes. It’s a bit undefined.
This disruption isn’t the end of the world — it’s just the opposite. This could have massive implications for technologies we can’t even start to imagine yet. The biggest problem is that we don’t have any clue to what’s causing this.
Some theories are that maybe it’s a new type of matter or energy; some people think this might even explain the mysterious “dark matter” that has baffled scientists for decades. Regardless of the outcomes, it’s more proof that even the tiniest events can have a monumental impact.
Blend the Rules: Creative Recipes for Every Chef
By Annika Elliott
Baking and cooking are fun ways of passing time, but sometimes it’s hard to find good recipes. Here are three different recipes for three different levels of chefs.
First off are some simple recipes that are relatively easy to make, but still delicious to eat!
Brownies may not be for everyone, but for the people who are chocolate-lovers, these are for you. Brownies can easily be made in one bowl and one pan, which reduces the mess significantly. This recipe is gluten-free and dairy-free, but that does not diminish the amazingness of them when they are finished. Check out other recipes on this blog, for more gluten-free, dairy-free, and easy to make recipes.
Next up is cookies. While these sound simple, they are almost always a family favorite. Sugar cookies are fun to make because you can make frosting to decorate them with. Also, quick tip: the longer you chill them the better.
The final recipe for this level is tortillas. These are great to make because you can knead the dough for as long as you like and it feels like playdough. These taste so much better than store bought, making them at home is worth the extra effort.
For our slightly more advanced chefs, we have more recipes.
First, cupcakes — delicious and beautiful. These can be fun little art pieces. There are so many ways you can decorate them. Whether you want to put sprinkles on top, or stuff the inside, you can let your creativity flow. This is a simple recipe so you can make the frosting and cake, but decorate them if you want to.
Now we have scones, which are great for fancy but delicious breakfasts, as well as snacks. Again, you can go wild with this recipe and make it your own by adding things in. Many people like chocolate, nuts, and dried fruit, but add whatever you think will make them amazing for you.
The last recipe in our middle group is mac and cheese. If you have not caught the trend in this group, almost all of these recipes are easily customizable and you can make them how you want, and this recipe is no different. Mac and cheese has a pasta base, but many people like to add meat, vegetables, and even breadcrumbs to make it crunchy on the top. Go wild!
The final group of recipes are a little more finicky and harder to make, but still amazing and delicious.
Mousse is like fancy pudding, just more amazing. People like to make mouse and add an Oreo crust which is delicious. Try out what you want and experiment!
This next recipe is complex, and may be challenging to make: macarons. Macarons are wonderfully tasty but picky and complex, so proceed with caution. That being said, they are amazing, fun to attempt, and you will never get better if you don’t try.
The final recipe today is spanakopita, a Mediterranean spinach pie. This is made with spinach, layers and layers of phyllo dough, and many gallons of butter/oil. Just kidding — not actually gallons, but quite a lot! Hopefully, you will enjoy making some of these recipes in upcoming meals. If you want, you can share pictures of your magnificent creations to email@example.com or send them to the Village Voice Instagram account @village.voice.
Bon Voyage, Aaron
By Ezria Graul
18 year old Aaron Johnson is completing his time at VH. As he prepares to leave Oregon, Aaron says “Aside from the lush greens and colorful seasons, [what I will miss most] would have to be the people. That’s the hardest thing about moving for me. I’ve never had a community like this before, and leaving it really hurts.”
Born and raised in Ontario, California, Aaron moved to Oregon when he was 13 and began attending VH. He loves VH for many reasons, one of them being that you get to choose your own classes. He always tells people “it’s basically a college for high school and younger.”
“I still remember the first time we actually talked. Two months later [he was] basically my brother,” says Aaron’s friend and classmate Maryam. He is “legitimately the funniest, most intelligent, and hardworking person I know. [He has] pushed me to be a better version of myself just by being [him].”
At the moment, he’s taking Advanced Improv, Mock Trial, and Journalism. Aaron’s been a part of the Village Voice for 2 years. He is concluding his year as co-editor, alongside Jillian Bauer. And he plans to read the Village Voice long after he graduates.
“It has been an immense joy to get to know, laugh and grow with [Aaron],” says improv instructor Whitney Johnson. To Aaron she says, “ Thank you for all of the hard work, time, passion, and dedication you’ve given to the Village Voice, Mock Trial, Improv, and to all of your endeavors while within these walls, concrete and virtual. I’m so excited for whatever is next for you, because regardless of the path you choose, I know it will be one that is wholehearted and authentic, compassionate and kind, with just the right dose of humor to make the trip even more enjoyable.”
Aaron thinks VH has a great class selection; he’s never personally looked for a class that wasn’t offered, but if he did suggest a class, it would be about transitioning into adulthood, especially in regard to finances.
His current plan is to move to Arizona around August or September. He’s not planning on going to college–at least not for a while. After he moves, he’s planning to continue building up his business and to assist as an administrative assistant for startups and individuals. He hopes to continue being involved with Mock Trial as much as possible and is looking for high school mock trial teams to assist in Arizona. He would like to find some improv groups, but he’s open for anything.
One of Aaron’s favorite memories is when he first attended the closing ceremony for a Mock Trial competition. He says, “That was when I realized that this community meant so much more to everyone in it than just being a place of learning. It’s also what ultimately led me to get more involved at Village.”
Marvelous Middle Readers
By Jillian Bauer
This summer, I will be leading a book club called Marvelous Middle Readers! This free book club is my National Honor Society service project. I will provide you (or, if you’re a parent reading this, your child) with a fun, interactive summer reading group, and you will be helping me out by participating in an opportunity where I can offer a community service.
There will be four terms — one per book. Kids can join the club for as many of the four terms as they would like. We will talk about the book, engage in fun Q & A sessions, I will share context related to the setting and provide questions to think about as students read for the next class. Depending on which term you join, activities include learning about Scottish folklore, creating our own magical forest creatures, and dreaming up fun Saturday adventures. At the end of each term, I will offer up book (and potentially movie) recommendations that are related to what we read.
The Marvelous Middle Readers will meet on Tuesdays from 2pm to 3pm on Zoom. In the first term we’ll read The Secret of Ron Mor Skerry by Rosalie K. Fry. We’ll meet ten-year-old Fiona as she leaves the Scottish mainland to live with her grandparents on the isles. The second term will take us on a magical journey through a forest as we read House Above the Trees by Ethel Cook Eliot. Finally, the third term is all about Saturday adventures as we join the Melendy siblings on their quest to liven up their weekends in The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright. In the fourth and final term, we’ll read another book by Elizabeth Enright; Gone-Away Lake features two cousins who set out to uncover the mystery of an abandoned ghost town.
All meetings will be on Zoom
Age range: 9-12 but flexible
Exploration of the Great Red Planet
By Robert Ellison
Mars, a dusty red planet, has captivated people for centuries. As we discover more about this mysterious planet, its secrets keep us hungry to learn more. Mars is a rocky planet, like Earth, that formed around the same time. Yet Mars only has half the diameter of Earth, and a far thinner atmosphere, with a cold and desert-like surface. Evolving spacecraft technology allows for exploration of Mars’s surface in the search for signs of life. One day, we will know whether or not we are alone in the universe.
On February 18, 2021, the Perseverance Rover was dropped on Mars. The Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover was constructed to better understand the geology of Mars and seek signs of ancient life. The mission will collect and store a set of rock and soil samples that could be returned to Earth in the future. It will also test new technology to benefit future robotic and human exploration of Mars.
Early exploration of Mars using telescopic observations revealed color changes on Mars’s surface that were incorrectly credited to seasonal vegetation and linear features. Further telescopic observations found two moons, Phobos and Deimos, polar ice caps and the feature now called Olympus Mons, the Solar system’s second tallest mountain. The discoveries piqued further interest in the study and exploration of the red planet.
As most people might know, the planet Mars is named after the Roman god of war (more commonly known as Ares, his Greek form). Why was Mars named that way? Well, when the Romans looked up into the sky at night thousands of years ago and thousands of miles away, they named the planet “Mars” because they associated the reddish color of Mars with the god of war — which they believed represented the same violence and bloodshed. Mars, the Roman god of war, was the son of Jupiter and Juno. He represents the untamed violence in war and the personification of brutality. You can probably see how that fits the Red Planet. Mars is very interesting to learn about and has a lot of history behind it as has been demonstrated in this article. If the facts in this article interest you, there’s lots more that can be dug up on this subject and similar subjects via the internet or other resources.
Voicing Our Views: Queer Artists
By Mia Sharp
A decade after she launched her music career, Dodie Clark released her debut album “Build A Problem.” The twenty-six year old, English singer-songwriter Dodie Clark wrote this album over a two-year span during a period of self-discovery after she came out in 2017 as bisexual with a song and video called “I’m bisexual – a coming out song!”
Her initial plan was to make the album as a suite of dovetailed songs; its second half, beginning with “Rainbow,” still does that, complete with instrumental interludes as transitions. The album has twenty-two songs, and it is an hour long. It was largely recorded in 2019, but last year, with the album substantially finished, Dodie spent the isolation of quarantine to write more songs in April 2020.
She uses her music as a way to cope with the problems she faces. Throughout the album, you hear that she not only used her voice, but also offered up her insecurities, her enthusiasm, her frustrations, her giggles, her high-school grades, her sexuality, her mental-health struggles, her sniffles from the flu, and her tears.
Now, going all the way back to her first original song, “Rain,” uploaded to YouTube in 2011, Dodie’s songs radiate transparency. They’re usually built on plucked, syncopated patterns from her guitar or ukulele, threaded through with melodies that she sings barely above a whisper, often confiding her vulnerabilities. By the mid-2010s, Dodie (her childhood nickname) had secured a loyal, voluble audience as both a songwriter and vlogger — or videoblogger, lately renamed a “creator” — on YouTube. Her three independently released EPs went on to reach the British pop charts, and she has had multiple tours of the United States, Europe, and even Australia. Her main YouTube channel now has nearly 2 million subscribers.
If you’re interested in music that is more laid-back but also is upfront and relatable, I would give this album a listen. It never hurts to expand your musical horizons and support queer artists.
Fun & Games: Find The Difference
By Annika Elliott
Village Home Pet Parade
By Village Home Learners
Poetry, Prose, and Art by Village Home Learners
Caroline and Kevin
By Meredith Bauer, Age 11
‘You might explore a cave,
And you might think that that is brave
But what’s more important are people,
Who someday, you might save.’ –Meredith Bauer
Teeeeeeee! Teeeeeeee! Went the school bell as the girls and boys filed into the classroom. Before a 10 year old Caroline could get to her class room she heard something. She recognized that voice. She shook her head, her short blond hair tossing from the movement. It was Samantha, the school showoff. Caroline groaned. She was about to go in when she saw her friend, Becca, trying to get away from Samantha.
“Doesn’t my new haircut look just devine on meee?” he asked Becca, spreading out the word ‘me’.
“It’s much nicer than Yours,” she continued.
Samantha had been picking on everyone since she was in kindergarten just because she thought she was very pretty. She had especially been bothering Becca lately because a few weeks ago Samantha had accused her of copying her by wearing a similar dress. Becca was almost crying because she was so mad.
This was too much for Caroline. She twirled around and glared at Samantha straight in the eyes. “You take that back, you meany!” she shouted.
Samantha gasped. “Why?” she asked. “It’s true!”
“You just take your insults and your flounce somewhere else! I’m sick and tired of you picking on me and my friends! Can’t you behave?!” Caroline yelled in her face.
By now a crowd of students had collected. Samantha didn’t say a word she just stared at Caroline and after a minute turned and walked off, her heeled shoes ‘clickety clacking’ all the way. Becca flung her arms around Caroline and hugged her. No one had ever stood up to Samantha that way and both of them knew it. “Thanks,” Becca whispered.
‘Fighting with someone never solves,
Because in time that might evolve
And turn into something worse and bigger,
And then that, would really hit the trigger.’ –Meredith Bauer
The next day, After school, Samantha came up to Caroline and slapped her face. “Take it back!!!” She screamed. Caroline pushed her onto the ground for slapping her and Samantha burst into tears. “I’m nice, I- I really am.” She sobbed. “Ya right” Taunted Caroline. “You’re the meanest person I know.” And she started to walk away. Then she felt a grab and a tug and before she knew what happened she and Samantha were rolling around on the floor like a couple of angry puppies. Samantha was screaming and pawing at Caroline and Caroline screamed and pawed right back at her. Then their math teacher came out of the classroom and grabbed them and pulled them to their feet. “What’s going on here?!” He shouted. Neither of them explained which led to them sitting in their math classroom on opposite sides of the room for an hour before their teacher called their parents. Later when Caroline got home there was trouble waiting. Her mother grounded her for the whole weekend because that day was friday.
‘Having people that understand,
Can be very helpful, it can
And when you are sad and need some cheer,
It’s nice to know that you have family near.’ –Meredith Bauer
Saturday morning after breakfast, Caroline’s older brother, Kevin, came to her room. “See ya later prisoner!” He said as he headed down stairs. “It’s not my fault!” Caroline shouted. “Samantha is awful!” “Ya right Carry, have some fun in your room.” And he left to go see his friends. Caroline started to cry. Why did nobody understand her? Why couldn’t her brother be nice? Why couldn’t Samantha be nice? Why did her dad have to live in France and she lived in Florida? Why did her mom always have to work and not be there for her? Caroline started to cry even harder. She was all alone on a sunny, warm Saturday morning. Then a thought came to her. Why didn’t she go to France to see her dad? Of course it would be very expensive… Caroline rushed to her brother’s room. She dug through his drawers until she found his money. He had $378.00 Saved up. ‘Plus,’ She thought, ‘It will get him back for always being so mean to me.’ Then she went to her mom’s stash of money. She took $800.00. “That should be enough money to get to France on an okay plane seat.” She said satisfied. After packing her backpack she left to go to the airport. Using the little money that she had for a taxi.
‘Don’t run away from your lair
If you try it in your heart will appear a tear.
You and your loved ones should try again,
It’s not a good choice whether you’re fifteen, six, or ten.’ –Meredith Bauer
Caroline Walked through the airport wondering which way to go. She looked, and looked, and looked for the gate that led to the plane to France. But she couldn’t find it. She couldn’t even find the way out of the airport. She was lost! Meanwhile, Kevin had just got home and found a note that Caroline had left. It said,
‘Gone to visit Dad. No, Mom is not with me.
Yes I took your money, so there!’
“WHAT?!” Cried Kevin and he rushed out the door.
‘Having a sibling who can help you out,
Sometimes they can also make you want to shout.
But overall, it is nice,
To have a sibling that is not mice.’ –Meredith Bauer
“Excuse me,” said Kevin to an older man in the airport. “Have you seen a little blond girl walking around here alone?” He asked. “Yup. Over there.” The man pointed. Kevin looked. “But she’s not alone!” He complained. “Oh- oh… did you say alone? It slipped my mind.” The old man chuckled. Kevin ran off calling, “Carry, hey Caroline!” Finally he found her huddled on a bench. “Carry- what are you doing here? And what do you think you’re doing taking my money?” He asked, taking back his $378.00. Caroline looked up. “Kevin!” She threw her arms around his neck and hugged him. “You didn’t answer me!” He protested. “It’s none of your business!” She snapped. “And besides, didn’t you see the note?” Kevin thought for a moment. Then he grabbed her hand and dragged her out of the airport. They walked home in silence until Caroline said, “Sorry I took your money, I was just so mad at you.” She explained. “Ya, I didn’t mean it either when I called you a prisoner, sorry Carry.” The two hugged and went home. When they got there, Caroline heard a voice that she recognized and she rushed to the living room. “Dad!” She cried, throwing herself onto his lap. “I came for a visit but when I got her you were gone.” He said as Kevin sat down beside them and hugged their dad. Then Caroline said,
“Every family should know,
That a family has to be just so.
It isn’t complete without every member,
And may all your hearts be very tender.”
Caroline and Kevin’s father continued to live in France but visited them every month and stayed with them for three nights every time. Caroline’s mom still had to work on the weekends, but started to spend more time with her and Kevin. And after all of the adventures that you have heard about in this story, Caroline and Kevin fought a lot less.
By Oliver Meskell, Age 13
Mon 1, Jan 1973
My dearest Kaley, it has been quite a while since I last wrote, the situations that I have been
placed in have been treacherous at least, and deadly at most. I do regret leaving you and Moly,
your mother and my dearest wife, back at the log cabin. I hope you understand that what I am
doing is important and necessary. With love,
Your father, Timothy.
Fri 5, Jan 1973
My dearest Kaley, I do now think that upon your 15th birthday, I should reveal what I do when I
go out from our log cabin. I am a leech slayer, I go around the world and slay the horrid pests
that clog up our lakes and suck our blood. Armed with my rifle, my jungle sword, my somewhat
rugged hat, and my spiked boots, I will take down every last leech on this earth. With love,
Your father, Timothy
Sat 13, Jan 1973
My dearest Kaley, it has been longer then I had hoped. I have not been able to write because I
have been busy scouting out a murky lake infested with the vile creatures, I will admit I had a
close call with a leech that darn near attached itself to my leg when I was scouting out the dock,
it was about to attack but I shot it just in time. I do hope I will be able to write soon, with love,
Your father, Timothy
Mon 22, Jan 1973
My dearest Kaley, it has been much longer than I ever could have imagined this battle could
take, I have fought a battle that lasted much longer than anticipated. I moved in on the leeches,
I got 9 of them with my rifle, but it ran out of ammo and I was forced to back off, the leeches
advanced, but I got most of them with my saber, the next day I was fighting more leeches and
defeated them all, but I got a leech bite. with love,
Your father, Timothy
Wed 24, Jan 1973
My dearest Kaley, I have contracted a disease from the leech bite, I cannot carry any more
equipment with me, please send my love to Moly for me, with love
Your father, Timothy
Thursday 6, Mar 1974
My dearest Kaley, I know you have most likely thought me dead, it has been over a year since I
last wrote, my apologies, I have been undergoing a long and terrible process of curing the
disease, as well as I only recently acquired paper to write you with (the rest was in my
equipment) and I would like you to know that I am alright, though I do not know where I am and I
am afraid I will never be able to walk very far again. With love
Your father, Timothy
Thursday 7, Mar 1974
Dear Mum, this is Kaley writing, I do hope you are okay, do not panic, I have gone off on a leech
hunt, and I will not return until I have found father. I do hope you receive this, with all my heart,
Your daughter, Kaley.
By Levi Joiner, Age 11
It was cold at the time. I climbed onto the pink armchair to look out of the window. The cones had fallen to the foot of the pine tree like grenades. Poof! Something had landed on the window. It was a snowflake!
I ran to my sister’s room. “Chloe, it’s snowing!” I yelled excitedly. “Really?” asked Chloe. She jumped out of bed and ran to the window. Staring at the snow in unbelief, Chloe shrieked, “Let’s go outside!”
Running down the stairs, we went to the cubby hole. Excitedly, we pulled our snow gear on. Opening the door, we saw snow covering everything like a tarpaulin. Throwing ourselves onto the ground, we made snow angels. Eagerly, we had a frantic snow fight. Chloe and I made a plan to go sledding the next day.
Suddenly, I woke up because Chloe was in my room. She yelled, “Levi we need to go sledding!!”
“Ok,” I said. I scurried out of my pyjamas and seized my clothes.
Later, I clutched my snow gear and grabbed my sled. The snow was like cream on top of a cake. Chloe’s friend was there. My cousin took the dogs out. We flew to the golf course. Sledding was fun! To my surprise my cousin was there and we had fun making a mini snowman.
All-in-all it was the best day ever. The moral of my story is to always be ready for a surprise!
Finn the Otter
By Write Well, Not Good Class, Ages 10-12
At first glance, Finn appeared to be a fairly ordinary otter. Finn’s day consisted of all the usual otter-kid things: math, science, sweeping the clam shells out of the family den. What most otters missed about Finn was that he had visions telling the future. He never told anyone because while this gift made him unique, it embarrassed him.
Then, one day, as the sun was going down, he met a swallow. She seemed different, in a way that made Finn feel he could trust her with his secret. He never felt like he could trust someone before, it was such a weird feeling. He stared at her for a while.
“Hello little swallow,” he said. “Do you want to be my friend or at least a bird I can spend time with?”
The swallow seemed to consider it, as if trying to read him in some way, then stammered, “How can I answer that, I don’t even know you. You’re an otter I just met.”
Finn considered this, not sure what to say, then before he couldn’t stop himself he blurted out, “I have visions of the future.”
The swallow froze. Finn, embarrassed, wondered what to do. Should he walk away? Should he run and hide? Then the swallow said, “You don’t need to make things up to impress me, you know!”
Finn sighed. “I know this must seem crazy to you, but I’m not making it up! I have been living with this secret for so long that I just needed to tell someone!”
The swallow looked confused. “Really,” she asked, “Can you really tell the future?”
“Yes,” Finn said
“So you are actually him!”
Finn asked, “What do you mean ‘are you actually him’?”
“I mean, your grandfather was a king long ago. His son had a child and your grandfather wanted to do something amazing for that child. He ordered 21 amphibian witches to come to the castle each had to bring a gift for the child. However, the witches gave the baby one gift, a doll. Your grandfather was so angry! He threw the doll out the window and said that his grandson would have an amazing life, even without gifts from witches! Shortly after he exiled the amphibian witches from the kingdom.”
Finn’s mouth dropped open. “How do you know all this and I don’t?” he asked.
“I have my ways,” she said coolly, and please close your mouth, you look like a codfish.”
“But how do you know?” Finn said, closing his mouth. “Are you stalking my family?
“NO OF COURSE NOT!” She chirped
Finn and the swallow, who’s name he found out was Nora, went on a walk along the river bank and were silent for a while, but then she finally talked. Finn learned a lot about himself that night!
The next day after school, he swam as fast as he could to the river bank where he had agreed to meet Nora, but when he arrived no one was there. He looked around, confused.
“Where is she?” he thought. Immediately, Nora shimmered into view.
“Hey,” Nora chirped. “When did you get here?”
“Just now,” Finn said. “ Sit down. We have a lot to talk about.” Nora flew beside him and grinned.
“It’s just so cool!” she said. “ You’re the one!”
“Okay. Start from the beginning. I’m so confused, I have been thinking about this all night!” Finn said.
She puffed out her wings and said, “Your grandfather discovered that the doll, from the witch Hagna, was cursed with evil sorcery. That’s why your grandfather exiled the witches.”
“WHAT? Does everyone know?”
“Probably not, but I am going to tell everyone!”
“No, don’t! I don’t want anyone to know!” Finn exclaimed.
“Because I didn’t want to tell anyone in the first place about me being able to see the future.”
“Well you told me,” she said in an obnoxious voice.
“Because I thought I could trust you, I guess not.”
“Why would you tell a bird you just met?” she asked.
He opened his mouth, then closed it again and then said sadly, “I guess I thought you were different”
“Oh but I AM different from other animals,” blurted Nora.
“Then why were you going to tell everyone?”
“I just thought people should know. Why do you want no one to know any way?” asked Nora.
“I just think if everyone knew they would bully me,” said Finn.
“Why do you think they would bully you?” said Nora. “Just because you are different isn’t a reason to be bullied.”
“Well, they might be jealous,” said Finn.
“Did you hear that?” Nora paused and turned around. “I hear something coming from the other side of the river bank.” Finn looked at her with confusion, she was standing as still as a statue.
“It’s late,” said Finn. “I should go sweep my den.” He left in a hurry.
“Oh! Goodbye Finn.” then Nora flew off into the distance.
Suddenly a figure emerged from beneath the water. It had obviously been spying. It smiled slowly and eerily, then it hurried off in the same direction as Nora.
The next day Finn went back to the river bank hoping Nora would be there, but Nora was nowhere in sight. Finn looked around and saw a turtle. Uncertain about what to do he stepped forward and said, “Hi. What’s your name?”
“My name is Hagna Jr. And yours?”
Finn thought he recognized that name. “My name is Finn.”
After the introductions, Finn felt a breeze and Nora arrived as though surfing the wind.
“Nora, look who I have met. This is Hagna Jr., the turtle,” said Finn.
Nora turned around quickly and said, “Hagna, I know where I recognize that name from! Hagna was one of the amphibian witches that were exiled. Are you Hagna?”
“No, I am Hagna, Jr. just like Finn said.”
“Well then are you related to the amphibian witch, Hagna?”
“No, Nora. I have no clue in the world who this ‘Hagna’ character is,” Hagna Jr. said with a fake smile.
Nora stared at Hagna Jr. and pulled Finn aside.
“Finn,” she said. “I know who this girl is. She is a relative of one of the witches from your Grandfather’s party.”
“Are you sure Nora?” asked Finn.
Nora turned around to find Hagna Jr. walking in the direction of the town.
“I sense that she is up to no good!” Finn exclaimed.
“We should go follow her,” suggested Nora.
Finn nodded in agreement.
When they got to town, they watched the turtle go down the stairs leading to the basement of the old apothecary store. They followed, even though they had butterflies in their stomach. The room they entered seemed to be a secret meeting place, a secret club! Everyone stared at Finn and Nora. The amphibians whispered and pointed their fingers at them. Were they preparing to cast spells?
Suddenly someone screamed out, “Hey! It’s that otter! The one that has visions!”
Finn couldn’t handle everyone looking at him. He ran off with a beet red face. Nora, escaping attention, started to look around the room searching for Hagna, Jr. She found her, in the corner of the crowd, surrounded by engrossed amphibians.
“What did you do? Did you tell everybody?” asked Nora.
“I just told some people! You never said not too Nor,” laughed Hagna Jr. knowing she should not have told anyone at all! Nora, discouraged, slowly walked away to find Finn but he was nowhere to be found.
Nora returned to the riverbank in the morning, their secret meeting place, to look for Finn.
“There you are Finn,” said Nora. “I had visions of the past last night when I was falling asleep! You’ll never believe this but the amphibian witches were actually the good guys! I’m sorry to tell you this but your grandfather was the evil one. They had been battling for years because the witches were trying to prevent him from taking total control of the kingdom. Obviously he did not like this one bit. The witches thought the invitation to your party was a truce so they all attended. Instead it was your grandfather’s plan to turn everyone against them. The doll the witches gave you as a present was fine. It was a lovely gift. Your grandfather pretended it was cursed with evil sorcery and when he threw it out the window HE put a spell of banishment on it. He knew that one of the amphibian witches would pick it up and bring it home to their child. Unfortunately it worked and he cast a spell upon them that exiled them from the kingdom. Luckily your grandfather died before his plans for total control could be realized but the witches have been in exile ever since! No one ever realized the wrong that was done to them,” blurted Nora.
“Hold on, you have visions of the past? You never told me!”
“I was waiting for the right time. And now there’s no time! We need to find Hagna Jr. as soon as we can and tell her!”
“Wait! I had visions of the future last night!” Finn said.
Nora turned around. “You did? What happened?”
“I saw us freeing the amphibian witches. I saw us explaining to everyone that the evil spell was not cast by Hagna! It really confused me, but now I get it. The evil spell was cast by my grandfather. It’s all making sense!” exclaimed Finn.
Nora nodded as they both set off to the amphibian meeting place to find Hagna Jr.
“Hagna, we have something important to tell you.” Finn said
“I do too,” Hagna replied.
“The amphibian witches were not the bad ones that caused us to be exiled. It’s Finn’s grandfather. He was the one that cursed the evil doll that someone gave to my great great grandmother. Once she hugged it the spell was released and ever since the witches have been exiled,” Hagna explained.
Nora and Finn stood still like stones. The room became quiet. Then Nora and Finn filled in the missing parts of the story with the visions they had the night before. The only question that remained was how to break the spell. That would be up to the witches, of course. The oldest witch in the room, sitting far off in the corner by the fireplace, began to speak. The one who never spoke, Dorkus, amazed everyone.
“Aye, I remember that day well. Hagna, your great grandmother was my best friend. She loved that doll. No one would ever have suspected! I have treasured that doll since her death. It is in my bag by the door, please get it for me, Hagna Jr.” Hagna brought the doll to Dorkus. Dorkus shocked everyone by ripping it open. Then she pulled out a shining onyx stone. She threw the stone into the fireplace and it exploded emitting ghastly green smoke.
“There,” she said. “The spell has been extinguished! Nora and Finn you have solved the puzzle that entrapped us. We are forever grateful! And now we are all free to return to the kingdom we have so loved and missed for so long!”
One Sky, One Elephant
By Wenyuan Abel, Age 11
Once there lived an elephant named Barb. She lived in a hot and sandy desert in Africa where the sky was always a bright, bright blue with clouds as white as snow. She lived with her herd of elephants. She would play with the other kid elephants for hours and hours.
After a while though, she would get very thirsty and need water. The only problem was the closest water hole was far away from where she and her herd lived. So why don’t they move closer to the water hole? Well, where the water hole was it was very polluted from leftover gasses that were left by humans exploring the desert and it could really harm them if they lived there.
Once a week she and her family and friends would walk the long and hot trek to the water hole and fill buckets with water. Then they would walk all the way back to where they lived. This is where our story starts. Barb and her herd are trekking the long trek to the water hole.
“Are we there yet?” asked Barb to her mother.
“No dear,” her mother replied wearily.
“Not for awhile, now go talk to Dalla and Veevee,”
Dalla and Veeve were Barb’s best friends. Dalla was another kid elephant that was really sweet and kind and Veevee was a small bird that always had good ideas.
Barb went to the row in the elephant train where her friends were and fell in step with them.
“Hi Dalla and Veevee,” Barb said, waving her trunk a little.
“Hi,” Veevee chirped, flying right above Barb’s back.
“I really wish we had water closer to where we live,” Dalla said, hopping up and down trying to get her foot to uncramp.
“We all would like that,” said Veevee with a sigh.
“Earlier I asked Mom why we’ve never tried digging and making our own water source.” “She said it was because it would be very hard and we would not want to take all the water from wherever our water source was connected to,” Barb told them.
“Interesting,” said Veevee.
“She also said no one would want to do it anyway,” Barb added.
The three of them followed the rest of the herd up a hill that had a stream connected to the water hole. A big mound of sand stood at one end, stopping the stream from going downhill towards where the elephants lived.
When they got to the water hole all of the elephants filled leaf buckets with water. After all the buckets were filled the elephants all got in the water hole and swan for a while before heading back home.
That night while Barb was sleeping she had an idea. If the stream was connected to the water hole couldn’t they just dig the rest of the way to where they lived? She knew her mother would never agree to talking to the other adult elephants about it because she would think it was impossible. Barn would talk to her friends about it tomorrow and see what they thought.
The next day she talked to her friends about her idea.
“You want to do what?!” said Dalla, spitting out her water in shock after hearing Barb’s idea.
“Interesting. It would take a lot of work but it could happen,” said Veeve, less shocked. “We could think about it.”
“Your idea is a good one, Barb, but it would take a lot of work and energy. And how would we build a small water hole thing? You know your mother would never agree,” said Dalla, much calmer.
“We could build it, us kid elephants and tell the adults when we finish it,” Barb replied determined.
After thinking a while Veeve went to Barb, “Ok. Dalla and I talked about it and we will try your idea, Barb. Dalla is collecting the other kid elephants and getting shovels.”
“Great. Let’s go,” Barb said both excited and ready to work.
She and the other elephants began shoveling a hole right outside of where they live. None of them talked much as they shoveled. It was grueling work and it was also very hot.
Finally after days the hole was finished and they began shoveling towards the stream. The only sound Barb heard was the crunch of the shovels against the sand. As sand swirled around them Barb realised their hole that they had worked so hard on was filling with sand.
“We need to stop. Our hole is filling with sand,” Barb said. There were lots of murmurs and “oh no”s and “what do we do.”
Finally Veevee said, “We could get mud and put a layer over the hole and the stream path.”
Everyone agreed that was a good idea and they went back to the hole. They collected lots of mud from where the herd collected and made mud and started patting mud on to the sides of the hole.
Finally when that was done, they left the mud to harden and started the work towards the stream.
After digging towards the stream for a long time and slathering on mud, one of the elephants said, “I can’t do this anymore, I quit.” Others nodded their heads and started heading back.
“Please don’t go. Don’t you want to help get water to the herd?” Barb said.
“Sorry Barb, but we are all tired and really want to get this mud off of ourselves,” they replied walking away. Barb knew she couldn’t change their minds and sat down.
“It will be ok,” Veevee said, soothingly.
“Maybe we should just give up too,” Barb said on the verge of crying.
“I’m going home,” Dalla said, tiredly following the other elephants.
At that Barb started crying not just because Dalla and the others were quitting but because she was starting to realise maybe this really was impossible.
“It’s ok,” Veevee said, sitting on Barb’s head.
That night Barb was too tired and shaky to go home and thought about how Dalla was right to doubt Barb’s idea. Eventually Barb fell asleep.
The next morning Barb headed home. Where was Veevee? I bet she left too, thought Barb glumly.The sky was bright and the hot wind was blowing through the sand as if mocking her and running around her saying, “Haha you failed and your friends quit on you.”
As she was walking, she saw two figures coming towards her. Barb stopped, wondering what they were.
“Hi Barb! I got Dalla to come back! She says she wanted to come back because she realized she really believed in you and wanted to help you!” said Veevee, her words jumbled. “Oh and sorry I was not there when you woke up, I wanted to try to get other elephants back. Then I saw Dalla headed back to where you were and she told me she had tried to get the others to come back too but they said no.” Veevee added, out of breath.
Barb was too happy to speak and just smiled. The three of them went back to where they had left off and went to work.
Eventually they had reached the mound of sand that stopped up the stream. All the mud had dried and they began digging away the mound.
“We made a slab of hardened mud so we can monitor how much water comes into our water hole. All you do is insert the slab into a ridge that we made where our water hole meets the start of the stream,” said Dalla.
They finished digging the mound and water started heading down their stream path. They started screaming and jumping up and down.
“Yay! It works!” Veevee chirped happily.
As Barb watched the stream she realized, after all the hard work, it was more rewarding than she expected. Even though it took much longer to build than it would to just walk to the water hole itself, it would save them much more time in the future.
“Come on,” Dalla said, running, following the stream.
Veevee and Barb followed her gigging and splashing water at each other and Dalla. They all ran and jumped, following the stream and knowing that their friendship would be as bright and endless as the sky.
By Leroi von Passow, Age 15
you are the balance;
the bringer of Life
the dirt covering the grave of our loved ones
everything in your grasp.
For I know there is no escaping the endless gravity.
But is the Black Hole not also
the source of the material from which we have been created?
The endless field of destruction
reminiscent of Dante’s Divine Comedy
It is not true
the Undertaker is not capable of creating
is the dirt not responsible for nurturing the souls of our deceased?
Are the trees we see
not a result of the careful Earth?
And what of the Earth? — The light?
Could such a thing be created without the darkness?
Without a seed
there is no tree.
But what is a seed worth
without the sun
without the water