Monday, December 18, 2017

Yours, mine, and ours

By Onzura, Aleycia

I came from Winchester. I have a lot of different values in me, for instance my dad is from Chihuahua, Mexico. He came here at 18 years old  because he needed a better life. He grew up in a poor home in Parrel, Chihuahua with seven siblings, his mom, and stepdad in a two-bedroom home. My dad never knew his real father. His education advanced until fifth grade; after that he worked. He worked in the fields gathering vegetables and taking care of the animals. He never worked for money, he worked for his family to survive. At 26 he got married and had three kids. Unfortunately, he got a divorce and got remarried to my mom.  Currently, he lives at home with his family, taking care of us.
My mom is from Cross Junction, Virginia. She lived in a three-bedroom trailer with three other siblings. When she was about 14, her parents got a divorce. Unlike my dad, my mom went to high school and graduated from James Wood, class of ‘89. After graduation she worked at a daycare ( TLC daycare), but made minimum wage. She had three kids as well, but had never gotten married and raised three kids as a single mother.

Then she met my dad  through my uncle. They now have been married for 19 years and had me and my two little sisters. I come from a blended family, with different moms or dads but that doesn’t matter to us. What matters is the love and the lessons I learn with them. Those lessons show me what I have to work for and achieve in life because nothing is handed to you. I come from a home of my parents’ hopes that we’ll strive to achieve our goals and dreams but also work hard for it. I didn’t come from a special place, but my background goes to show that people want better for their children. I think that's what has impacted where I'm from because my life wasn't such an obstacle. I’m from a regular home, with a regular family, but more of a Mexican-American lifestyle. That makes me Chicana, a Mexican-American girl.

Monday, December 11, 2017

From a thought

By Kortney Summers
I am from a thought of having a second child.
I am the product of Jessica and Royal T.
I am from the city of Winchester.
I am from the state of Virginia.
I am from the United States.
I am from North America.
I am from the Earth.

Now let’s go back to the beginning.

“I am from a thought of having a second child” is because I have an older sister, Kaitlyn, who was born 2 years before me. I came from after the thought of having my sister.

“I am the product of Jessica and Royal T” are my mother and father. My mother is the most important person in my life. She helps me with my issues and gives me the clothes on my back. My father helps support my family by paying the bills and taking care of us.

“I am from the city of Winchester” is the city at the top of Virginia. It is very beautiful and full of life, in most parts.

“I am from the state of Virginia” which is the home of JMU, VCU, UVA, SU, VT, and so forth. Virginia is a state along the east side of the country, which is the next place I am from.

“I am from the United States” which is the land of the free and home of the brave, to some extent. At this time, Donald Trump is the president, and I am actually afraid to see if he keeps that presidency.

“I am from North America” which is the home of people from around the world, even though most people from around the world hate the United States…

“I am from the Earth” which is the planet of life and the planet of 7.6 BILLION people. No other planet is like this planet.

So I came from the Earth, which made North America, which contains the United States, which has Virginia on its east coast, which has this little speck called Winchester, which has two people named Jessica & Royal T., which are my parents, who gave birth to me, and that came from the thought of having a second child.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Where I'm From

By Martina Bouder

I’m from the dense woods of Pennsylvania. I’m from deep ponds, and small cabins.
From fall days, and piles of leaves.

I’m from watching the sunrise and listening to the woods come to life.
From cold mornings, and layers of clothes.
Thermoses of hot cocoa to keep me warm.

I’m from beautiful sunsets that no picture can capture.
From stunning colors that are indescribable
And nebulous clouds of all forms.

I’m from whitetail deer and largemouth bass
Finding the first star on starry nights by warm campfires.
From pop-pop’s jokes, and grandpa’s stories.

I’m from The Shore and waves that crash dangerously high.
From sandcastles for hours and the boardwalk for days.
From fishing, and ice cold water that numbs my senses.
I’m from situational awareness
From family talks and family tradition.
I’m from prayers and love.

I’m from one o’clock ideas,
And late night reading.
From insomnia and overthinking.

I’m from books.
From reading non-stop.
From Scout Finch to Kaz Brekker.
From Ernest Hemingway to J.K Rowling.
I’m from getting lost in a story.

I’m from brutal honesty.
From giving advice, and taking on others problems.
Saying what needs to be said when no one wants to hear it.

I’m from some tears and a lot of frustration.
From being better because of it.
And learning from it.

I’m from underestimation.
“Yes I can, if you’d give me a chance.”
“Fight me”
And “Just ‘cause I’m small doesn’t mean anything”.

I’m from classic rock and dancing with mom.
From singing with friends and drumming out the beat with my brother.

I’m from Polaroid photos with friends.
From pulling all nighters, and references that only we understand.
I’m from operations, inside jokes.
From being called short too many times to count.

I’m from being the big sister.
From my little brother, my whole world growing up too fast.
I’m from swinging for hours on end talking about everything.
I’m from tight hugs and messy hair.
I’m from “Never.” and “Always.”
From a brother and sister bond inseparable and strong.

I’m from ambition.
From my drive, my commitment, my willpower.
I’m from what pushes me to be who I am.
What breaks me, and what puts me back together.

That’s where I’m from.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Not from here, but now

By Grace Keeler
I cannot define my origin with the name of a city, or a town. I am not “from” Winchester, Virginia. I am from the earth, my roots running deep down into the soil. I have sprung from a unique collection of experiences that is growing every second of every day. I am born anew continuously, therefore I am from now. This very second, I am different than I was, different than who I will be. I come from every tear I have shed, every bout of laughter to dance upon my lips. Each individual memory I possess has contributed to the person I am in this moment.

My home isn’t a single place, and it certainly isn't another person. I am my home, I am from within myself. The taste of hot chocolate on my tongue after sledding, the sound my pen makes when it scratches upon a page, these are the moments I am derived from. Tomorrow, the experiences from which I have originated will grow, however slowly. I know that I am my own place of origin, when I free myself from thoughts and focus on just being. I am the very essence of myself, unwaveringly Grace.

It’s hard to comprehend that every second we have spent on this earth means something, because we are then overwhelmed by the fear that we are wasting these moments. We are terrified of the concept that we can find a home in ourselves, because we have grown dependent on others for reassurance of worth. I have learned that even though finding a real home within oneself is difficult, it is a leap you have to take in order to fully discover who you are. I will not be confined to the address on my return stamps, or the place of birth on my Birth Certificate, because I am so much more. I am not from a city, a state, a country, a continent, a planet, any of that. I am from myself, evolving on my own within my body, mind, and soul.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

I Am From

By Luke Campbell

I am from

the dog that stared too long
into the sun and bit the apple from the rotten branch, on a tree, in someone else's
neck of the woods, a thousand seasons away.

I am from

A broken chain in a room,
lost in the middle of a day in space
Waiting for a moon to escape on.


I am from

the vibrations of echoes in the chambers of dying heart,
casted out from the lies of an honest man's last beg.

I am from

the star's last goodbye to her
universe at the end of the day,
and at that end of the day
when you pull away my skin
I'm from the dark,
lost in the haze
of our vindictive hate.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Outstretched Hand

By Chip Newcome


It begins soft and slight,
a rhythmic tap, tap, tap.
Insistent and incessant,
it becomes white noise, unnoticed,
a forgotten fan in a child’s room
at night helping her fall asleep.



the tapping is answered;
the one who answers
disappears, and a hole
opens, an emptiness
never again filled.  
Grief follows.



without warning, white noise becomes noticeable.
Tapping ceases and is replaced with a deep silence
extending into the recesses of space and time.
Waves ripple the fabric of our universe.
Silence is filled with wails of mourning.

And the tapping is replaced
by a powerful


knocking.  A deep, hollow sound.
echoing through eternity;
No longer white noise, it brings fear and pain,
an expectation, not of everyday life,
but of life every day, It is its equal, an
opposing force.

It is


night to morning
ignorance to education
old to young
fire to water
war to peace
Heaven to Hell
life to death

It continues; the door cracks and
with a deep thud, closes.
A mourning silence, and, once again,
knocking resumes.

Once heard,


it is ever present,
never again to be white noise;
a hollow sound that haunts humanity
until we pass through the door,

walking into the outstretched hand.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Fourteen years, 89 days

By Maddie Ray
Fourteen years and 89 days I've lived with a disabled mother. At age 37, she birthed a happy, healthy baby weighing in at 8.7 pounds. She had been diagnosed with a nonfatal variant of multiple sclerosis when she turned 30. She turned 40 and life became a spiral of crutches, ace bandages, and compression socks, leading to a wheelchair. Any hope of walking again was lost by age 49.
My whole life I’ve never seen my mother as different. I’ve always had to explain that my father would be picking me up, not my mother. I don’t notice the odd looks from strangers. I don’t think of her as less. But every day I am reminded of how blessed I am to be able-bodied. I see how much more work simple things I take for granted are for her. I am grateful to have been raised to see those that are different as equals. I am grateful to have been raised to open the door for those who can’t.  I am grateful to see disabled people the same as an abled person.
Recently, I met a girl on the street who was in a wheelchair. She needed help opening a door, so I opened it. We both happened to be going to the same place, so we went around the store together. I could see she had bruises on the back of her arms, so I offered to push her. We talk for hours shopping and having a great time. A worker at the store had come up to us and told us the store was closing. Shocked, we paid for our items and left. I asked her if she wanted me to go with her and push her home. By the time we reached her house we didn't want to stop talking. We exchanged numbers and she told me that I made her day. I realized how much simple things like holding the door can change a person's day. Had I just walked past her struggling, I wouldn't have made a new friend.
I believe that the able-bodied should be more grateful for their lives. I see people on the street stare and mock others for things they can’t control. I see people shove past and hurt those who are undeserving. I see able people walk past those who need their help without blinking an eye. The things I see are things most people wouldn’t  think as rude or disrespectful, but from my experiences with my mother, I know what they do is wrong. Most people don’t realize how hard life is for the disabled.

You never know what that disabled stranger on the street dealt with that day. A simple “Hello,” or opening the door for them can make their day a bit brighter. Shoving them and staring at them won’t benefit anyone. I hope that people will realize that the disabled are just as valid as those who are not. I believe that people can change and can benefit from helping others.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Try to Focus: A story about ADHD

By Jade Rickman

As a nine-year-old, the only thing I understood was that the problem was inside of me.

I remember sitting at the kitchen counter staring at the math homework I had started two hours ago and still wasn’t any closer to finishing. This is how it was every single day. I would come home sit and stare. I would find myself daydreaming for hours, creating stories in my mind. I would daydream about superheros, royalty, and all kinds of things. My imagination was endless. But I had work to do. Why couldn’t I focus? What was going on? I had no idea what a twisted road I had ahead of me.
I knew there was something wrong, but I only started worrying in third grade. I would be sitting in class trying to work on a paper to the best of my ability, but I couldn’t. The room was quiet. I was sitting in the back of the classroom, what could be wrong? Even though there was no noise everything seemed so loud, so distracting; time was moving faster than I could even write a single sentence. As a nine-year-old the only thing I understood was that the problem was inside of me. I didn’t know what the problem was or how to solve it, but at least I knew it was there.
I remember my mom taking me to a huge sparkling building in the middle of Baltimore, Maryland. I knew this was where my mom worked but I didn’t know why I was here. She walked me through the silver skyscraper taking me to a plain simple white room. A woman with a tired smile told me that we were going to take some tests and that they would help her understand me better. The tests took all day long and I couldn’t focus on any of them. By the end of the day I was frustrated and tired. I just wanted to know what was wrong with me.
When the woman came back, she had a serious look on her face; her smile was gone. She spoke to my mom like I wasn’t there, using words I couldn’t understand. I didn’t know what they were talking about, but I knew it was serious.
Finally, I got my answer: I had ADHD. I really didn’t understand what that meant until I got older, yet I was happy to know what was wrong with me. As I got older, the doctor suggested that I take medication to help me focus better. The medicine does help a lot, at least when I remember to take it. I am slowly learning how to cope with my ADHD, though it is a struggle. I sometimes find myself getting distracted and end up frustrated. But I know not to worry, because even though ADHD can’t be cured, as I get older, I am able to control it better.

I was going to continue with a closing statement, but of course, I got distracted. So this is where the story ends, for now.

Friday, September 8, 2017

The Cherry Tree

By Jade Rickman

There is a cherry tree by the creek,
Where my friend and I played hide and seek.
We splashed around and played all day,
Until our parents came to carry us away.

In winter we skated on frozen water,
And fall was when we looked for otters.
In spring we watched the cherry tree bloom,
And we wished that summer would come soon.

As time went on and we grew older,
Our relationship grew into something much bolder.
We sat under the tree our feelings undiscovered,
Yet somehow we became lovers.

There is a cherry tree by the creek,
Where my daughter and I play hide and seek.
We splash around and play all day,

Until her father comes to carry us away.

Thursday, September 7, 2017


Illustration by Emnet Abraham

By Mikayla Kennett
It makes its way through a broken town
The wind it carries makes a soft, haunting sound
No hope remaining, for they have drowned 
Cracked roads to buildings yet to fall down

The sea glistens with its many lights  
The birds on ships ready to take flight 
As they'll soon arrive to this broken town
no other life to be seen around 

Poles and wires lay out and about
The waters before it surely brought doubt
As the ocean restrains from its next bout 
The town lays broken, inside and out

Before the storm, the town was alive 
And in its streets many people thrived  
The warning too late and the town on its bay
The waves that had cast their town away 

Panic arose from this catastrophe 
No one ready to be carried at sea
The town now empty and on its own
The souls that linger seem all alone 

Few survived but the town is now gone 
They watch their home at the break of dawn 
On a boat in the distance, they sing soft songs 
Away they go for a journey so long

Friday, February 17, 2017

Step by step

Step by step.
Hand by hand.
Brothers and sisters we stand.
Together we will band
for a new world.
We will rejoice with our fellow man.
Change life for the better.
Equality, no matter the face.
Living in a better time and place.
Knowing the people who fought for
these rights had their hearts in the right place.
Now their work is encased
in our society.
Different everything,
the variety.

-Samalia Nivens

Friday, February 3, 2017

I Believe in Yellow

I believe in the color yellow. Growing up, I lived in a constant power struggle with anxiety. I would start my day overjoyed at the prospect of going to school and spending time with my classmates. But when I was there, I felt awkward and out of place. I was petrified when the teacher called on me, unable to vocalize a single word, much less an answer to a question. I thought that every time another kid laughed, it was directed towards me. Sometimes I became so nervous, that I would run out of the classroom without any warning and hide in a bathroom stall. The aspects of everyday life seemed impossible for me to take part in.
In my mind, I was this bubbly, curious, and funny person that yearned to interact with the world, yet on the outside I was just the sad little girl with the blue personality. My emotions became a tidal wave, knocking me down and trying to wash me away. For a while, I let them. I thought that as long as I kept everything bottled up inside me, someday all the pain would just magically disappear. As the years progressed, I opened up more and made a few friends, foolishly believing that my anxiousness was gone. In reality, after spending five years in school with the same people, I finally felt a little more comfortable. By the time I started middle school, I had closed back up, reading and hiding instead of getting to know new people.
It wasn’t until seventh grade that I realized that something about the way I was living needed to change. I had already figured out I had anxiety, but I hadn’t done much about it. It was the middle of December, and I had just run out of class, only to be reduced to tears on the cracked tile floor of the girls’ restroom. In my state of obvious distress, I thought of my mother. I remembered her singing ‘You Are My Sunshine’ while she scrubbed away at grimy dishes in the kitchen. How whenever we indulged in a bag of M&M’s, even though I considered them all alike, she would boastfully claim that the yellow ones were certainly the best. And if you asked her what her favorite color was, she would always say yellow because it was the happiest. Thinking of her, of the woman I adore and struggle to be more like, I made a decision. I chose yellow.

Yellow to me isn’t just a color. It is making friends and pushing myself out of my comfort  zone. It is smiling and laughing and being open about my flaws. Most of all, yellow is the security in knowing that even if I feel inconsolably miserable, I still have a family that loves me, friends who care about me, and a whole world for me to explore. I understand now that my anxiety will never disappear like the white rabbit in the magician’s hat. I also know that I will have days where I am reduced to a weeping mess because I am convinced that I made one conversation slightly awkward. I’m never going to be perfect, but for every panic attack or horrible day, there is a  tiny bit of yellow...waiting to be discovered.
-Grace Brumbaugh