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2nd Year Pieces


Sea Salt

by Hazel Yonke

Along the salty coast,
a whisper of wind
carries kites to fly with seagulls.
Tides rise and fall,
leaving bright seashells in soft white sand.
Louder than gulls children scream,
while castles, built for kings,
wait for high tide.

That Time Again

by Maddy Hinson

Apricot sprawled all over the avenue,
cheeks the color of blossoms;
timber shedding summer.
Sky faded from vivid to murky,
having no distinct color.
Clouds no longer feathery,
but overcast and mauve.
Harvesting time was chatted about,
harvesting time was cherished.

Dangling Dunce

by Joseph Yonke

He hangs, hovering over
cold ground, looking lazy
as a sloth. The drag of his body;
opening and closing his eyes and mouth:
flexible. Stretching
from the bendy eucalyptus tree with his head
bent back.
Once a boy, now a droop
of a memory.


by Nicholas Hardy

Blue, teal, cobalt silence:
nothing but blowing bubbles
and oxygen coming through my air tank.
Descending deeper I could feel the pressure.
as the world changed.
Fish scurried away from me into
green, apricot, teal, amber, yellow, gray and black
coral. A crab
watched my every move.
Around the corner a monster fish
ruled his coral kingdom.
We all grouped together into a ring;
a line shot up; we ascended into
the blaring sun.

There is Always Sun

by Joelle Evard

When all is gloomy,
lungs and mind fill with tempests;
force shuddering coughs at every gasp…
spin judgments away from reason.

Behind dark clouds,
hidden underneath crunchy snow,
disguised between gray frozen rocks
tornados will pause,
hurricanes will cease:
dark only cloaks light temporarily.
Pelting rain streams down colorless faces,
mixing with their own salty storms,
fading all at once to soft drizzles
that tickle hair, neck, smile, and heart.

Weather cannot help but laugh,
finally, in glee.
Snow will melt away.

Compelling Emotions

by Tess Billmire

Fire burns in anger; festers
under misunderstood feelings.
Beautiful when controlled,
ugly and dangerous underneath:
never to be touched.
Fire cries in darkness;
lighting the way to disappointment,
left behind in grief and despair.

Moving Statue

by Joelle Evard

The robotic clerk glides out
of the grocery store, ready to
droop wearily into his orange-red Ford, easing
into a soft seat like a train
stopping in a night station. Slumping
in his vehicle, wondering
how he can be so inept to live this life;
dragging himself to work each and every
morning, doing his job
thoughtlessly, following
impersonal programming.

Lazy Bones

by Tess Billmire

Lazy people droop and hang
over fluffy couches,
never giving a care in the world. They watch
television, too lazy and relaxed to move.
Neighbors are invited to dinner.
There is an uncomfortable silence when they
enter the room, look at the pizza hanging
on the ceiling, and wonder why it isn't cleaned up.
Slouching even lower on the couch, the host
watches his neighbors leave while they think about exercise.
They are inept and not flexible. They drag
themselves to the gym anyway.

Flaws 'n Anxiety

by Madeleine Hinson

When I look around, I see humans' smiling faces. At least that's what is on the outside. But you wonder what's truly on the inside. I wonder if people think the same thing about me. I've been torn down, filled with negativity, and have shaken until I can't do anything.

A while ago I was very concerned about how people thought about me. I was really worried if I were pleasing everyone who scared me. I was pent up inside from not telling people how I really felt. My hands would start to shake; my heart started to beat a million miles out of my chest. People would notice and ask me why my hands were shaking, but I played it off like it was some weird thing that had never happened to me before.

At the end of my extensive, seemingly endless day, I would lie in bed and think about all the things I did wrong throughout the day. My stomach would start to get in knots thinking about my mistakes and how I might have acted in an awkward situation. Kicking the ball in P.E. in the wrong direction is enough for me to think about it for hours.

Doing anything anyone ever asked me, I would immediately be nervous. My face would occasionally get pale, but mostly really fire truck red. If I made the slightest mistake I would clench my teeth with my absolute all. I would get so angry at myself, I couldn't even function. Perfectionist I may be, but this was a whole new level of it.

A sugarcoated life isn't reality, but if you look at life in a landscape view, you have more room to forgive yourself and improve. Mistakes might feel bitter, but it's not the end.


by Thomas Yonke

Dreadful papers passed, poor
boy obtained his just instants
before relaxing. Even
eloquent equations slouched, slumped,
slurred themselves on the devilish snow-
white sheet, perfectly-
tuned bodies, producing
one answer,
and one answer only.
Fear, bribed by stiff confusion,
took him over with lazy intent.
He stretched, with a yawn,
a moan, a sigh,
dozing off,
to the fading sound of his teacher saying,

. . . Zzzz.

Just A Tad

by Maddy Hinson

Today, nature seemed sluggish.
Rays did not radiate;
chirps were not obstreperous;
leaves did not glow emerald in morning sun.
Instead, rays relaxed into gossamer clouds,
chirps awkwardly sounded muffled,
leaves slouched slightly to the left.
Oh, nature,
having a bad day?


by Joelle Evard

Short brown hair, hazel eyes, four feet
eleven inches tall. Does
that alone define me?
I think not.
I live in Massachusetts; born
in Illinois, but that isn't
quite me.
Karate, hip-hop, writing:
Karate helps me to
build up strength, mental
and physical. In hip-hop, all of the motion
makes me able to concentrate, to be able
to think no thoughts, as if my mind were a rock.
Putting all of my confusing thoughts on a blank page,
lets me live day-to-day without
distracting thoughts running wild
throughout my head. I believe these,
can begin to define


by Thomas Yonke

A normal day of school is sometimes spent sleepily in my pj's. The other two kids in my class don't seem to mind: they mostly exhibit the same status quo. In the past I've never had the experience of using Skype, let alone using it to meet people or have an English lesson. This isn't like the English class most eighth graders have day to day. During this class I may be hundreds or thousands of miles away from my peers or teacher. Yet it feels as if they are all sitting at a table with me discussing our current topic. The odd thing about it is, they are! While they are not really here, my computer is. For the time being, that is where they exist.

Skype functions as the platform through which we participate in lessons. It's a great way to learn because we can Skype in on an actual classroom almost like we were sitting in a chair next to another student. People often ask how we turn in assignments, and keep up with the current reading for our studies without a screen full of tasks or reading selections each day. Our class consists of eight students, four of whom are actually in the classroom. Students who attend class via Skype (including me and my two siblings, and another fellow classmate) are mailed books and worksheets to read and complete as they are assigned throughout the semester. We are challenged with goals for our number of revisions, which are improved drafts of current essays, as well as a number of edits which we correct and annotate for fellow classmates. Most of our assignments are transferred between our homes and the classroom through technology such as email, Dropbox, fax, and Skype. This makes for an awesome combination of learning and flexibility.

Class over Skype is a different form of learning for me. For the two years I've been enrolled in homeschool I've never had any communication with my teachers or with the other students who took part in similar classes. However, I like this idea of online classrooms so far; it brings a sense of learning in a classroom as well as having valued feedback from not only your teacher but also from your fellow peers. Skype also makes things a bit more entertaining than just staring at a computer screen full of dull words you don't have much interest in. I prefer to listen to people share their ideas. This online schooling has helped my learning by fitting to my schedule, and offering me things such as commutative learning, and being able to work at my own pace.


by John Stapp

The pound of a hoof,
the step of a foot:
striking hard ground as a hammer strikes the anvil:
shaping a bond, a double link.
Two creatures; two different
Giving him the voice he does not have;
giving me wings I yearn to possess.
Brothers, or
father and son. . .
partnership is the Goal;
riding to reach the sun.


by Hazel Yonke

Deep Creek Lake each summer's day,
shimmers like a mirror,
reflecting freedom and laughter.
A bridge to the past; every
rock hits still water,
blurring our connection.
What was once so peaceful and calm;
now disrupted and torn.


by Tess Billmire

Having a brother with a disability is different than being in an average family. My brother Ethan has cerebral palsy and his personality is as large as life. He takes his own time on everything: I have to wait patiently for him to finish eating at restaurants. He has a routine in the morning and at night that he has to follow, like turning off the Christmas lights in the laundry room and getting a cup of water before bedtime. Ethan is always happy and he claps and laughs loudly when he gets excited. He will talk about the same thing over twenty times a day, which gets annoying. The only time he stops is when he remembers the answer to his own question, or my parents tell him to stop and be quiet because they are trying to listen to the news.

"Ethan, let's go," my mom says. I wait patiently while she prepares to strap Ethan in the car so I can go to school. Thirty seconds later Ethan comes out in his blue electric wheelchair, steering his way towards our grey van. Everywhere my family goes, we have to take the van so Ethan can fit his electric wheelchair inside the car. It takes us ten minutes longer than most families to get ready for an excursion. We have to strap the wheelchair in so it doesn't turn over while my dad is driving. Sometimes when we are out, Ethan will shout out things he remembers and strangers stare at Ethan. It used to bother me since their attention was also directed towards me, but I'm used to it now and barely even notice.

During snack time, Ethan always has the same thing: a plate full of chocolate chip cookies. He has to eat every single one of them even when he isn't hungry -- if you take them away, he will get sad or irritated. He also watches shows from Nick Jr. which are meant for preschoolers, and I have to watch them too when I sit down on the couch. When it is time to go to bed, Ethan stays up, watching the clock in our bedroom until 10:00 PM before he finally goes to sleep. He will talk to himself in bed, and we share a bunk bed, so I am right above him and I can hear him laughing to himself. He can get quite loud. Ethan is as brave as a lion and finds something happy in any situation we are in. Even though he isn't like my friends' brothers, I still love him the exact same no matter how different he is.


by Maddy Hinson

Golden spring sun beams through open windows.
The living room freshly tidied up, looking superb;
novels staked precisely on the coffee table,
beside them the family Bible.
Five polished pennies lie peacefully on the testament.
Shiny coins noted,
copper filling the eyes of all ages at first sight.
The Bible hides invisible.
The importance of each luminous treasure,

Da Vinci's Smile

by John Stapp

Art is more than individual expression; it's a personal taste, and a visual language. In drawing and painting or film and photography, I pick genres to draw or shoot for a reason: I might like a bird and want to draw it realistically, or tell a story in swirling colors. For telling a story or conveying a mood in a visual form, art is a medium nothing else can match.

I make artwork because I love the language of art; I am always learning as I draw or use a camera. Painting fish against a white background tells a simple story; painting it against dark swirling blue blends the fish into its environment and adds confusion and depth. It is entertainment in a very unusual way; not just a joke or a drama. By controlling light, color, shape, lines, and framing I can reveal exactly what I want the audience to see.

Art can be expressionistic, showing what I'm feeling. But in the end, it is more than that. A realistic painting, or a comedic picture: I'm the one who chooses to create it, making it my art, my masterpiece.

The House on the Left

by Maddy Hinson

Driveway abruptly elevated:
made for ludicrous remembrance.
Kitchen lit up, pleasant voices permeate,
lovely honeyed smell, throughout.
Living space surrounded with grins,
and giggles,
back porch hosting lively cookouts,
peering into an exquisite forest.
A wooden swaying swing,
holding all of the memories,
that exist forever.


by Tess Billmire

Bronze hair, cinnamon eyes,
green rectangular glasses. Chemistry
teaches me about atoms
and molecules. Math is
everlasting and challenging
at times. Playing video
games helps me solve
puzzles when I have time
to play.

Painted Emotions

by Paige Robnett

I feel lost when I first start a painting, not knowing anything but the little image pictured inside my head. Anything can trigger my drive to paint: a man's wrinkled hands with stories of hard labor; a girl's broken smile; the dawn of day. Actions and objects cause the heart to feel.

To me painting is notes written down on a piece of paper. It could be someone's life story in a more beautiful, personal, intricate style. It might as well be my neighbor's grocery list. Unknown emotions lead to a piece that nobody can explain: a psychedelic piece that my mind's manifesting ultimately explains. It's hard to figure out how I feel until I stain the untouched paper, releasing thoughts, concerns, and sentiments toward the world. I can finally systemize exactly how I feel.

Painting when I am inconsolable can be the most beautiful thing any mortal can do. My emotions circulate smoothly from my scrambled head to the canvas like a waterfall with an everlasting flow of clear water that never runs out of its emotional source. I fear feelings will drive me too far. We all have something to hide, some dark place inside us we don't want the world to see. So we pretend everything's normal, wrapping ourselves in rainbows. And maybe that's all for the best. Some say artists are miserable people, which to an extent is true. Most focus is mistaken for misery: artists are always looking, curious about how the weirdest objects could become a masterpiece, then turns into money to put food on our tables. No ingenuity eventually leads to no food.

Any musician who creates a song that reaches out, grabbing my soul and wrapping it in peace and serenity, is an artist who is my partner in crime, my inspiration-giver. Any song expresses a story, important or not, which transfers from the song onto my canvas. I wish the musician could see the finished product, to see joy of his song in art form. Giving away that emotion to an almost complete stranger is an unsatisfying, yet blissful feeling. It's a loss but also a gain.

Giving someone the finished product of either my emotion or his, and seeing his never-seen-before happiness light his face, is definitely an unutterable delight. To know and accept that he will hang my painting up on one of his beige-colored walls and admire it: that is why painting is my life.

Arches by Joseph Yonke

Boy Stuff

by Joseph Yonke

I worry a lot, feel
tired after I run; see
the outline of things before
I see detail. Skiing and painting give me joy.
Rough calluses protect
weathered fingertips from pain
when I play mandolin.


by Nicholas Hardy

Morning dawns brisk and bright;
fog lifts like a dove taking off.
Intense sun shines: a scared child's nightlight, while
white snow retracts, like fire melts withdrawing
ice leaving dirt, moist from damp snow.
Bright bronze glowing fields reflect a rising sun.

Mixed Emotions

by Tess Billmire

Kids see me as a quiet, nice person,
but a lonely girl feeling
unaccepted walks around aimlessly,
wondering who I am. Others see me
as always happy and friendly, but
someone who is scared and nervous
wonders about expectations every day.
My friends say I am smart but who am I when
that is taken away? I am
a nervous, uptight wreck who
nobody can see but

Silky Fields

by Thomas Yonke

Corn fields smell fresh:
crisp air softly takes flight
like new blackbirds
leaving their little gray nest.
Slowly rising, the sticky
warm enchantment of a subtle
breeze runs through golden-flaked fields.
Frolicking with light-brown sparrows in a turquoise sky,
swaying swiftly, soft silky grass moves.
Warm yellow stalks move with wind,
shadows, and weightless air,
somewhat drunk with sunlight.


by Paige Robnett

Earth ballads are oeuvres
of an immortal mastermind,
advancing intellectual creativity for the heirs
of the first two sources of sin.
Muffled chanting in bitter wind.
Stop. Hear the hymn of busy air.
Uncut grasses chatter into the void.
Hark! They bear words of wisdom,
against distractions of the vile world.
Mother Nature provides music
for those who listen.

Northern Lights:
silent, but in reality, howling
sonatas of merriment, wishing their dance to be heard.
Lucid on a dark background of nightfall.
Watch with unbolted eyes;
hear with unbridled soul.
the sacred song
of all that once was living.

Breathing Without Thinking

by Joelle Evard

During most of the day thoughts buzz around in my head like bees, causing me to rush to conclusions, and distracting me from what I should be doing. Honestly, I hate that. I am obsessed with making everything perfect. That is difficult to achieve, with everything in the world going on without me, such as various problems I would like to believe I could fix.

One of the only times I don't need to make everything perfect is when I am doing karate. In karate, I move my body in different, very particular, sorts of ways to form patterns that train my muscles. When I've practiced one kata, which is a pattern of movements, over and over, it's easy to put all of my thoughts in order. Then I don't need to think about repeating the trusted motions. When I'm doing karate, my mind needs to be completely clear. This daily break from my mind, keeps me from panicking at the thought of taking a test, or of learning something new.

When I'm learning new karate movements, I realize how they relate to everything I've learned before. This in turn, makes me think that everything in the world relates to everything else. It's like an endless cycle, one that doesn't need to be figured out. While I love figuring things out and organizing them, sometimes it's nice when they don't need to be. When I look around, I see hundreds of things that could be fixed, but there isn't time to fix them all. When I am practicing kata, the only thing I can fix is what I'm doing. Of course, kata can't ever be completely perfect, but if I just keep moving, practicing, breathing, I can get past that.

It's hard for me to realize that not everything must be fixed, and that almost nothing is perfect. Perfectionism gets in my way nearly every day. When I can't fix something, it stays in the back of my mind until I focus on something else; I worry about all of these problems at once, which then distracts me from important tasks.

Karate helps me to ignore all the imperfections in the world, in people around me, and in myself, putting me into a mindset where I have nothing to worry about. Everyone needs something that clears his or her mind. My release is karate.

The Farm

by Joseph Yonke

Up and down
I sway,
a hand pushing
against roughly wound ropes.
Warm sunlight hits, warming this hole-y net
of the soft basket in which I lie.

Ticking Temperature

by Thomas Yonke

Fifteen years ago today, brief seasons
came and went. Titan oaks
shed crimson, auburn, sometimes feather-
light purple peeling leaves,
like blackbirds fleeing an autumn breeze.

My cheerful flip-flops, lost, were replaced
by armored wool kept safe inside clumpy waterproof
gumboots. White flakes fall on sparkling, crystal water,
building an empire frozen, glowing, stone cold.

Glistening water thaws; icy walls burn down;
perhaps I'll play some joyful music in dazzling sun,
write a tune or whittle an adventure.
Vibrant flip-flops, gleaming, fresh, arrive at a stony shore.

It all depends on the weather.

Classified Discomfort

by Paige Robnett

Sometimes nature can't handle the pressure;
sometimes the sky explodes.
Strength isn't as rewarding as it looks.
Nature laughs and cries, but keep in mind:
she is strong and beautiful
but she can't see it.
You see, the problem with being strong is that
she is never offered a helping hand.
And what happens when she is strong for too long?
She breaks. . .
Letting out nasty cries of sorrow,
lashing out with anger and sadness.
A thunderstorm
seems to be the perfect remedy to her pain.
Maybe the ones who appear the strongest,
aren't so strong after all.


by Joelle Evard

Orange, yellow, red
flames with tints of sky
blue and forest green dance,
sending sparks into crisp air: exploring, cracking,
to the beat of the fire. The whole world
pauses for the length of a breath, watching
sparks break, crack, snap, jump,
dance. Hazy smoke
rises, called forth by cheerful heat.
Grey, dark fog twists around, spinning
merry wind, creating its own
twirling routine. A stirring
inside each chest urges stomping of heavy feet,
raising of clunky arms; moving to unseen beats.
In unison, smiles break across illuminated faces.
People sway, trees in a storm, expressing
bright flames, sparks, smoke:
the fire's joyful

Different Perspectives

by Nicholas Hardy

Imagine if you were the most important player on the football field most of the time and you mess up all the time. What would you want to do? Quit and walk off the field or keep trying? I would just keep trying until I never mess up again.

When I play as defensive end, lined up outside of the people who are next to the ball, I am supposed to get by the opponent in front of me. I also need to watch their quarterback and see if he hands the ball off to the running back or if he goes into a passing position. If he hands the ball off, I must tackle the running back. If the quarterback goes into a throwing position, I try to tackle him, but if I don't get to him in time, I have to jump up and try to block the ball as it is thrown through the air to the opposing team's receiver.

When I play as receiver, lined up by the sideline with nobody around me, I need to know whether to block the safety, run a route, or go into motion. Once I'm in motion, I have to block the outside linebacker, the middle linebacker, or the defensive end. If the play has me running a route, I must know what to do and where I should be. All of the plays that we use are called in numbers. The numbers tell me what I must do.

People who play football have to remember tasks, patterns, and plays; be O.K. with getting hit, getting hurt, messing up, getting yelled at; and taking a lot of pressure. Most people just see running, catching, and throwing a ball around a field. Unless you play football, you never realize how hard it actually is.

End of the Road

by Joseph Yonke

Caring white cold clings, covers,
contrasts a disappearance of a smile,
not of displeasure but of my eyes focusing
the last spring-green seen.
Summer's winding wind blows
warm and bright, wearing
winter away bit by little bit.

Another Experience

by Joseph Yonke

I live a pretty different life from most people: my family moves from place to place every season, and travels the world occasionally like gypsies. In the summers we move to Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. We have been going there every summer for our whole lives. Our parents and grandparents and their parents all had the same summer experience as my siblings and I have today. In the summer, we cruise around on golf carts and go out in the boats as well as sail and do other summer activities.

For the fall we go back to where I was born in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania where we play our sports for Upper Saint Clair Township. My brother Thomas plays tennis with USC and runs on the USC cross-country team. My sister Hazel swims on the USC swim team and plays volleyball for USC. My little brother Kenneth plays baseball and soccer for USC, while I play lacrosse and run on the USC cross-country team.

In December we go to Big Sky, Montana to ski all winter. My brother Thomas and I are on the Big Sky Freeride team. Our school tutor/good friend Max who lives with us, skis with us often, and sometimes just skis alone when he wants to. My little brother Kenneth skis with Hazel mostly, and our parents join in on the fun when they can.

For the spring we leave Montana and do yard work around our lake house. During our skiing and chores we fit homeschooling in. Homeschool allows us to be flexible with our schedule and to work with a self-paced environment for our schooling.

When summer ends and school starts, we are at home while kids who go to public school are in class all day. We start school around 8:00am and finish around 12:00pm. After school, we go off to workout or find a way to spend our free time. Our fall is always enjoyable, but we are very excited for the wintertime, to see our friends and ski all winter long.

So I guess you can say I live a pretty fun-filled life. I am very grateful for being able to do these things throughout the year. We also have the opportunity to leave the country every once in a while to see different parts of the world. Then we hustle to catch back up in school after we get Wi-Fi again.

Reminiscent Kitten

by Joelle Evard

Stretching sleepily, the golden-eyed
black cat awakens from deep slumber.
Blinking slowly like a butterfly emerging
from a cocoon, remembering pleasant
dreams of snuggling
a purring, warm mother, who
laps her kitten's fur until it
drifts off to
a content doze.

The Three Stooges

by Hazel Yonke

Being a triplet is definitely a blessing and a curse. It's awesome having not only one but two twins. Things in the Yonke household do get pretty interesting, especially if you are the only girl out of the three. There are many perks to the situation. For instance, I really don't have to share anything. That is unless my brothers would enjoy walking around in pink and wearing makeup. Also, I've come to realize how thankful I am to have brothers. Being surrounded by boys my whole life has given me a guy's perspective on girls. The female race tends to be moody, annoying, prissy, and just flat out mean, whereas guys really don't care about all the drama. Girls may say they hate drama, but deep down inside they have a burning passion to gossip and ruin other people's lives, one by one. Still, every once in a while my brothers do come to me in search of some feminine advice because we, as girls, know all, and boys know absolutely nothing.

Although it's awesome being a triplet, I can't imagine what it was like having them. I've heard bits and pieces of the horror sorry, and to me it definitely sounded like hell. My mother was on bed rest for five months. My dad wanted to be with her, so he would sleep at the hospital, go to work, and then come back to the hospital and sleep some more. She had the three of us very early. Joseph and I weighed a little less than three pounds, and Thomas, the fatty of the group, was three pounds and one ounce. We were actually supposed to be born January 10th, but ended popping out on November 22, 1999. How could you blame her? She did have three people in her stomach. When we came out, we all looked like aliens. My parents must have been thinking "We have the most hideous children in the whole world!" Lucky for them, we all turned out okay, except for Thomas.

Once we were born, my parents didn't really know what to do with us. My mom says she doesn't remember anything up until we were three. The stuff before that is just a blur of screaming, puking, and pooping. I have met at least twenty people who have come up to me saying, "Oh my gosh! Are you Hazel Ann Yonke? I used to watch you when you fit in a coffee mug!" I guess my parents needed all the help they could get. In the end, being a triplet is the coolest thing I will ever be, and I love my twins to death.

Completing poetry.

by Joseph Yonke

This tough talking takes tardy time,
typewriting to terminate theme.
Thoroughly, tirelessly,
towing temporary thoughts
through typing.

See 2011-2012 2nd Year pieces by clicking HERE

See 2007-2008 2nd Year pieces by clicking HERE

See 2006-2007 2nd Year pieces by clicking HERE

See 2004-2005 2nd Year pieces by clicking HERE

See 2002-2003 2nd Year pieces by clicking HERE

See 2001-2002 2nd Year pieces by clicking HERE

See 2000-2001 2nd Year pieces by clicking HERE

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