Phoebe Quill, 7th - Wichita, KS
The comforting touch of a mother’s hand
The hushed promise of “I love you ”
The soothing rocking of a chair on a restless night
These are all things that have been present in our childhoods
These are all things that have sustained us, helped us grow
Until you’ve “aged out of it”
Until you’re “too old” , “too mature”, “too cool”
Until you push your parents away
Until little disputes define your relationship with them
Until you forget how much they really care for you
Until all you see is red.
But the truth is… they never stopped loving you
They never stopped caring
They’ll never leave your side
No matter how many differences or arguments you have with them
This realization is a part of real maturing
Of knowing what really matters--
Clothes don’t matter.
Looks don’t matter.
Athleticism doesn’t matter.
Popularity doesn’t matter.
What matters is your family.
Who, no matter how many times you mess up and fall,
Are always by your side.
Rainy L. 9th - Baltimore, MD
There is a world that exists in the cracks between sidewalks, the space behind your sofa, that part behind your ear that you never clean.
It is immeasurable, timeless, and it knows no bounds. Its people are colorful, and wear clothes made of thin paper. The color is pure and shared. Nine beings rule over the rest of the land, and each have a seat in the High Council.
On the High Council, there is Rubrum, and there is Auran, and there is Pirum, and there is Virid, and there is Corelius, there is Uva, there is Ilex, and there is Niveus, and there is Nox. They are the never ending, the immortal, the ancient. The Council existed when the Land was only a spectrum in the eye of man. They were not known as the Council then, only as those who inhabit the Land.
It’s people are created from the Council. They are chips from the Council’s pointed heads and cylindrical bodies, shaped in the Council’s waxy hands and wrapped in paper from the Council’s own coverings.
The Council discovered early on their ability to make new beings. When the Land was first created, it was empty and colorless. You could not imagine it. The way is stolen from your mind, taken at a young age by the Council to keep you from the horror they felt when they first laid eyes upon the Land, void of anything at all.
In their haste to bring color to the Land, the Council dropped pieces of itself all over, all different colors. When they’d done all they could, they looked around and saw the little chips doing their part to bring color to the Land, and the Council was happy. They scooped the chips up and held them gently in their hands.
From the touch of the Council, the chips were given life. They were given one mission from the Council: Make the Land colorful. The chips agreed, happily bounding off to carve their own spaces in the Land.
Some of the Council scooped up different colored chips in their palms, and when these chips were given life, they fused together and made new shades the High Council had never seen before. These new colors were revered as strange and beautiful; soon, they too, were bouncing off to bring their color to the Land.
The High Council has an innate knowledge of this: A being who makes their home in the Land should not be excluded, they are allowed to roam free and share their colors.
The Land was created to serve you. It does so happily -- it lives in peace with you.
When you are young, you ignore those beings created by Ilex, and by Niveus, and by Nox. You wear down and break those created by Corelius, and by Rubrum, and by Virid.
You do not mean to hurt the Land. In truth, you are special. It is you, out of everyone in your world, that can see the Land and use the colors the Land has. You tell your elders of the wonder of the world you find behind the sofa, under your bed, and they pat your head. They say, you have a very vivid imagination, darling.
You are taught to see the Land in your early dreams, when you have only existed in your world for half a human year. The way is whispered into your dreams as you sleep, and when you wake, it is as if you were born with the knowledge.
When you age, you lose touch with the Land. Oh, you can still see the colors the Land brings to your world, you still know the names by which humans call them, but you forget the adventures you had with the beings created by Rubrum and by Corelius. And they forget about you, too. They cannot remember your name, or which of their people gave your eyes their beauty.
The people are not saddened by this. Nor are you. You cannot miss that which you do not remember. And there will always be more of you to bring the Land’s color into yours, and there will always be those people in the Land who are there for you to use. The Land will exist for as long as yours will, and perhaps even longer, for the use of the beings that come after you.
This is the beauty, my children, of the Land of Crayon.
JennaX, 10th- White Plains, NY
In Arabic, “Jenna” means little bird. I was always fascinated by this particular meaning of my name as I see myself embodying it each and every day. Though I have my downtimes, I often go about my days in a spirited and energetic manner, trying to soar through my daily tasks, work, challenges, and life in general with ease and fluidity. There is no doubt that it is difficult to put up a front at all times to portray that I have everything under control, but I always find ways to overcome my stress by flying straight through the mess, managing it head-on. My name means so much to me, from the courage it provides me to seize the day to the little nuisances it causes – all of which help me grow into a stronger person.
My name is Jenna. Not Jen, Jennifer, and especially not Julia. I am the third and last child in my family to have a “J” name, setting us, or at least me, up for future mispronouncing and mix-ups with almost everyone we would come to know. My cousins, aunts, uncles, and even my parents would mix us up from time to time. When I entered the school system, though, that is when the endless cycle of misidentification reached a whole new level.
Almost all of the teachers I have ever had have called me by my sister’s name (Julia) since they taught her years before me. They would defend themselves with the claim that we look identical and would apologize, but they continued to make the same mistake over and over as if they never remembered doing it in the first place. I understand that there is some resemblance between us, but certainly not enough to permit the continuous confusion with my name – the one word whose sole purpose is to provide me with a sense of individuality. My frustration may appear ridiculous to some, but other younger siblings who have had similar experiences will understand that it is upsetting to be called the name of another time and time again, making you feel neglected and not worth remembering.
The indifference that people have had towards making an effort to get my name right has followed me to this very day of my life. Even today, someone who I have known for nearly six months addressed me as my sister’s name when the last time they had come in contact was over four years ago. It’s irritating since I see them almost every day, and they fail to make the effort to break this habit. My rage built up in an instant, and I no longer had control of my emotions. But then the anger shifted into self-doubt. I asked myself, “Am I that unmemorable?” and “Is ‘Jenna’ that complicated?” wondering why this annoyance continues to follow me everywhere I go – as if I don’t have a presence radiant enough to create my own individual identity.
Despite my insecurity, I remind myself that whether or not they may remember it, I have my own name – a name that is a true representation of who I am on the inside. It relates to how I carry myself, as I aim to be more carefree to enjoy life while I can, rather than dwell on my doubts forever. Being the little bird I am has brought me the courage to push aside my struggles and understand that I can rise above problems coming at me in all different directions, gliding through to go with the wind. Regardless of what the world has in store for me, this little bird is ready to take it head-on.
Students 6th-12th Grades