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3rd Year Pieces



by Savannah Summers

Perhaps the most important lesson I have learned in my short life is about gaining others' respect. My teacher taught me this lesson, which has affected my life by making me respect others more, thus finding that they respect me.

In Middle School, the main goal is to realize who you are as a person; however, trying to find yourself may be difficult. Whether you are in the more popular group or just a tag-along, you usually have respect for friends, family, and some other students. In the fall of my eighth grade year, I was unknowingly ignoring some students at my school and not including them. I am usually with my friends and do not typically acknowledge others. Once I was told that people might disrespect me as a result of my own behavior, I tried to change the way I act.

Since I go to a smaller, private school to help promote my learning, I am called a "Rich Kid." Peers who do not know me think of me as a stuck-up, rich classmate and do not have much respect for me, mostly because they do not know me. If I could help classmates understand that the other school does not make me "better" than they are, they might try to get to know me. Simply socializing with other classmates outside of my friend group could also help me gain their respect because I would know them better, too.

At the public school I go to, students either belong in the popular group or in the not-so-popular group. Before realizing that others might not respect me, I ignored them and did not have concern for them. Now I acknowledge them and try to talk to peers outside my group of friends to both gain and give respect.

Anger Creation

by Tori Ratliff

Touch anger: a fist
starting to clench; faces turning bright
fiery colors; emotions hating
that person who stole your money or
that branch in the woods that keeps
hitting your face. Your heart touches anger
each time emotions make you feel
the way you do.


by Savannah Summers

Strong, 200-foot waves forcibly demolish
flourishing towns without mercy
or sincere apologies. Ascending
over structures, they demolish
each and every one.
A bustling, wet gust
traps all who are al fresco. Exasperation
fills villagers' bodies:
attempts to reconstruct
once beautiful, distinctive homes
using leftover debris, they rebuild but are again
repulsed by aftershocks.
All of civilization lies,
casualties lift to rest
throughout fallen cities.
Fresh air.
Calm breeze.
Tranquil sea.

My Greatest Challenge

by Tori Ratliff

The greatest challenge I have ever faced is schoolwork. Even today, I have a difficult time with reading and comprehension. When I do understand, I often have a hard time retaining information. My spelling is even worse; I could spell a word a hundred times and still get it wrong. I feel my classmates learn more quickly than I do, even though I try as hard as I can. I learn better visually, for instance, when someone shows me a hands-on demonstration as opposed to reading about a subject myself. By participating or watching, I understand it better.

I will probably struggle my whole life, but I keep working hard and using techniques such as reading out loud or having someone read to me. Such techniques definitely make a difference so I can know what the words are saying. I am already greatly improving by working extra hard and not giving up.

Black tells about White

by Tori Ratliff

Black tells about white:
nighttime darkness, reflecting
a shining glowstick.
Making funny poses, my shadow basks
in the sun's white reflection,
tanning a sillouette dark.
Black sky keeps the moon popped out;
glittering stars on the midnight universe
reflect, combining colors as one.

A New Year

by Betsy Sabala

As I return through the melancholy entry grasping my messenger bag, I find craziness and stressed parents helping new faces get situated in their sixth grade classrooms. Then friendly, familiar faces smile among the crowded bodies, greeting me and asking to compare schedules. I can tell everyone has grown a few inches over the hiatus. While excitedly talking, I glance around at everyone, dressed head-to-toe in new attire. Bouncing hair curls, flowery redolent perfumes and the perfect combinations of eye make-up attract flirtatious boys from all angles. Sparkly ballet flats and the newest fashion trends quickly catch my eye like warm cookies on a kitchen counter. Talk of teachers and agendas gives me a sense of which classes will be to my liking. Old smells of terrible cafeteria food and pencil lead enter my system, destroying poignant memories of fresh summer air and reminding me of the few reasons I don't like school. The sound of hellos and compliments overflow the multipurpose room, followed by the loud ringing of the bell, just like the one I despise next to my bedside. Suddenly I feel excited for what my last year of middle school will reveal.

Sitting in class takes me back to the last day of school and our counting down the seconds until summer officially began. I sit and think about the long year ahead. Football games, dances, President of Student Council: eighth grade. Taking a deep breath, I notice a change in my classmates and wonder how that happened over the three-month break. My teachers act differently around me, as if they are expecting more of me, and boys seem like they enjoy our company more. My whole class is more mature.

Preschool mornings

by Tori Ratliff

Crying in the morning,
hoping mommy won't leave
me here again.
Teachers distract me, to decorate paper;
I glance back
to see mommy standing there no more.
I'm surrounded by kids
my age, dressed up as
princesses and creatures,
playing house. I
no longer think this place a jail, and forget
about my mom.

Capital City Wonders

by Savannah Summers

I survey the luggage carousel for my multi-colored bags, scanning all the peculiar things people would take with them on a trip to the Nation's Capital, from baby carriages to skis. Once all the belongings are collected, my family, the Batchelors, and I maneuver our way through revolving doors, breathing in the redolent aroma of overly-mustarded hotdogs while observing impatient travelers whistling for a yellow cab ride. As I step into one myself, I look back and notice the bustling city dance behind me.

The first attraction we see is the White House. On the rooftop, tall shaded figures secret themselves from the crowd below, protecting the president from harm. After the tour guide, Tony, enlightens us with White House trivia, we head back to our hotel and rest until the next day, when we will travel to the Smithsonian Museums.

My alarm clock rings at seven o'clock in the morning, organizing me for another great, adventurous day. The first Smithsonian we go to is the Museum of Natural History. There I see every possible animal stuffed and placed in plastic habitats. We also view the gleaming 45.52-carat Hope Diamond. At twelve o'clock we leave the Smithsonian and head for the Museum of American History. Inside the three-floored Smithsonian, I witness past inaugural gowns of the first ladies, the first Star-Spangled Banner and the original pair of ruby slippers from the Wizard of Oz. Four hours of gazing at historical facts wears down my feet, and as I hear we are going back to the hotel, I prepare myself for the ongoing journey tomorrow at the Capitol. The next day my alarm wakes me up at seven once again, making me more excited about taking a tour of the Capitol.

Once we arrive at the Capitol building, it takes us an hour-and-a-half to get inside due to the long line of visitors with the same goal. As I cross the threshold, I see marvelous sculptures from the eighteenth century surrounding Greek architectural walls. With permission from our senator, Larry Crapo, my family and the Batchelors creep up the stairs and gaze over the Senate Chamber, witnessing the spot where laws are proposed. Over the next two days, I visit countless Memorials where I learn more about the wars than I originally wanted to know.

At the end of my trip I had gained a lot of knowledge from our five days in Washington D.C.  Even the experience of being surrounded by bustling streets and hundreds of pedestrians showed me the contrast between rural America and urban life. Now I know more about our Nation's history and how it was established.

Life Directions

by Betsy Sabala

Up knows Down:
when one achieves success
some pride must plunge.
The sun rises each dawn, just as
the weary moon retires from his nightshift.

Down knows up:
one must tremble and fail before
consistently achieving greatness.
Without the worn moon, each
bright, rested sun would not shine.


by Savannah Summers

Heavy snow brings tranquil dreams of
perfect powder skiing; and slick sledding.
Thick darkness controls the once quiet, blue sky,
isolating the sun. Inside, families share hot cocoa,
saccharine apple cider,
delicious cafe delights. Children cuddle near fierce
fires, while they hope for snow days.
Raging wind scatters flakes throughout cities,
covering homes completely.
Structures drip with solemn icicles. Foggy
mornings drag on for hours.

My Muma

by Betsy Sabala

My grandmother is the most honorable person I have ever met. She lights up a room with her constant smiles and encompassing warmth and love. Delightful hugs along with delicious, gourmet smells from her kitchen greet us every time we walk in the door. Unconditional kindness and generous hospitality are her two special ingredients. When I was little, she would dance around the house vacuuming while carrying me in her arms. Even if every inch of the house were spotless, she would keep vacuuming, because if her comforting motion ended I would wake up.

My Muma always listens and offers her sincere advice on every situation. In her comforting manner, she always brings out some light in each issue, inspiring me to be a better person and friend. As a little girl, my Muma never had much. Working the household was often her responsibility, but she never took anything for granted. Family was and is very important to her.

Later in her collegiate years, she was offered a scholarship but declined because the university was too far away from home. The importance of family formed her into a wonderful mother of four boys. Even with all the joy around her, sudden hardship and sadness entered her life when the youngest died of a car accident. My grandma's relationship with God became even greater and stronger. In later years, her praying with us became our calming lullaby along with "tickles" of her soft fingers across our backs.

Always reflecting her love of family, Muma orchestrates get-togethers with all of the extended family to share with each other our funny experiences and our Basque heritage. I hear all the time how lucky I am to have such a loving grandma, but now I realize how lucky I really am. I am so grateful and proud to have such an accomplished, loving, beautiful lady on the inside and out as my grandmother, and I hope to be as great of an "Amuma" as she is.

Superiority on the Rise

by Savannah Summers

Success remembers failure,
trying to ride a bicycle for the first time;
once defeated, now achieved.
Failure is the future's new victory:
practice makes perfect.

Failure remembers success,
without disappointment, the goal is never made;
ability rises as a result of defeat.
Victory is the future's past failure.
Doors open to each new attempt that fails.

Through a window

by Tori Ratliff

I love looking out a window and seeing the world from inside and out. Inside the warm bright house, relaxing on the ruffle couch with some delicious hot cocoa in my lap; that's the best feeling when it's cold and snowy white out. I take the first few sips of my drink and peek outside at the sparkly snow which reminds me of cream cheese. Sometimes in the summer, when I see buzzing bees swarming around outside, I am grateful to be inside. I would not be happy if I were stung. The window acts like a shield, protecting me from meeting bees face-to-face.

When I'm outside a window and it's cold and white out, I look inside to glows of light and warmth. I adore seeing Christmas lights up outside a window, and the lit-up tree inside. I like the feeling of a living house with lots of lights shining a welcome into the dark night. Sometimes I walk down a street and see some cute shoes on a shelf inside a window, which fills me with desire. Windows light up a room, giving me a chance to wake up in the morning. I appreciate windows because if I were in a car on Highway 55 I would be glad I didn't have bugs hitting my face every second.

A Cold Winter's Night

by Savannah Summers

The sleigh bells ring out loud for all to hear,
and houses give off scents of tart and milk.
The little children gain some Christmas cheer,
while tired parents wear their robes of silk.
The stockings hang above glist'ning red flames,
a promise of candy or lumps of coal.
Young children peek to see if Santa came,
while mothers serve their dinner in a bowl.
Around the tree await bright-colored gifts,
containing couture items big and small.
Bright families wait on icy cold ski lifts,
enjoying subtle winter in McCall.
Anticipating Christmas dinner soon,
outside they find faint glimpses of the moon.

City Life

by Betsy Sabala

The yellow flashes speed on by when black
lines follow. Hot dog vendors scream out loud:
"Hey you! Ya you!" As if. His sweetness lacks.
Oh never would I eat 'dogs in this crowd!
The skyscrapers grow tall and right strait up
above as the street lights glow bright every time.
The people hurry with their coffee cups
while office workers leave to sip their wine.
All tired CEO's with angry stares,
go to apartments lit with modern lamps.
They view parks spread below for all to share:
even homeless in their hobo camps.
Chaotic city life fills crazy days,
my mind is such a whirl it's in a haze.

Summer Break

by Savannah Summers

Summer heat burns bodies into shades short of lobster backs;
sunglasses assure insolation from
fiery sun. The aroma of barbeques
drifts on a serene breeze. Coasts become crowded with swarms
of sun-tanning, barely-covered people. Children beg,
with a hankering hunger for strong, sugary, lemonade;
neon citrus popsicles;
greasy, well-done hamburgers. Long, humid days drag on,
while short, warm nights relieve exhaustion.
Crickets rehearse joyful songs; sunshine spreads
like wildfire. Cloudy, gloomy days are history;
light rain drizzles on and off...chances of
lightening, thunder, loom
frightening and fierce.

Pieces written by 3rd Year students in 2008-2009

Pieces written by 3rd Year students in 2005-2006

Pieces written by 3rd Year students in 2003-2004

Pieces written by 3rd Year students in 2002-2003

Pieces written by 3rd Year students in 2001-2002

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