student work


 writing guide



Paper Café  2004


Ms. Bolus / Ms. Bondurant / Ms. Hurst:  8th grade


My Jungle

by Aochiu Chen


    I have a big fine jungle. I live in a little wooden house on the lake in jungle. I cut a hole at the floor, so I can fish with that hole. The jungle is crowded. I have my own frogs. I see them every day. I like them very much. They are always jumping around my house. They will not run away.

One day I woke up and thought jungle was quiet.  My frogs were gone. When I went out I saw a group of people.  They found this jungle and they were calling their friends on a cell phone! I took my arrow and shot the phone down . . . .

(an excerpt from a larger story)



My Old Pal Peanut Butter

Esther Colbert


Have you ever had a craving for a food that everyone thought was strange? Well, my favorite food is not so strange—in fact, it is a very common food called Peanut Butter. However, many people think that it is strange when you eat it plain. But, Peanut Butter is a good snack and it is very healthy for you.

            I think the best snack ever made is Peanut Butter. To begin with, it goes well with anything. You can dip Ritz sticks in it, spread it on toast, or just eat it plain. There are probably a million things you could do with peanut butter. Furthermore, you can eat it very conveniently—now it comes in little tubes that you can slurp the peanut butter out of. They even have it in chocolate flavor! Lastly, it just tastes good. There is just something about Peanut Butter that makes you want to jump up and down and eat a whole jar.

            Besides being yummy, it is also very healthy. To start, it is the healthy alternative to Olive Oil. Recent research into the effects of Monounsaturated fats says that low fat may not even be the best way to lose weight. Monounsaturated fats are found mostly in olive oil and some other oils. Next, eating a lot of peanut butter can have a good side. Even though it is many calories, a Harvard study shows that it may reduce the risk of getting type two diabetes. Peanut Butter also contains Phystosterols, so it is thought to reduce the chance of getting cancer. Besides these wonderful things, it also lowers blood cholesterol. Finally, it is a great way to lose weight. Did you know that there is now a diet called the peanut butter diet? Peanut Butter is said to be more satisfying, for longer periods of time, than high-carbohydrate snacks. It has a significant source of fibers, proteins, and vitamins.

            In conclusion, peanut butter is healthy in general, tastes very good, and is very convenient. I think that Peanut Butter is really cool. Although it is extremely healthy, it does not taste horrible like Spinach and Brussels sprouts. I think it is quite simple in a world of strange combinations. I defy anyone who does not like it.



Mystery Child

by Bevin Curry


            My mother looked out the window and saw dirty children running down the street, yelling and screaming to their mothers. Oh dear, she thought.  The weekly menace was here to cause nothing but trouble. He instilled fear in the young ones, and made some adults run for the hills. Only one person dared to stand in his way. My father. He boldly stepped in the way of this giant man.

“How dare you come every week shouting some bull about eating someone or killing people, well I’ll tell you mister, that today, when you came rambling down the street, yelling ‘ I come to eat babies!’ I drew the line”.

“Uhhh,” the giant man mumbled, looking down at the tall handsome figure of my father.

“ That’s right, you look straight at me and tell me that you are never going to terrorize the town of Leningrad ever, ever again!” My father shouted these last words at the man as if he was deaf.

“Okay, I won’t come back but you will pay!” he shouted as he walked away.

“Sure,” my father said with a snort as he brushed his shoulders off and walked back into our house.      


*          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *

            “What happened, honey?” my mom asked as my father stepped wearily into the house.

“Oh nothing, I just drove the weekly menace away for good,” he replied.

“Oh honey that’s wonderful,” my mom said loudly, reaching up to hug him but the weight of the baby was pulling her down.

“Please don’t strain yourself trying to get up,” my father said with an angry tone.

My mother pulled back in a burst of sudden anger. “Oh, Okay,” she mumbled as she sat down again.

“Our little girl is putting a lot of stress on us honey, I’m sorry,” My father said as he rubbed my mom’s tummy and then sat down in his huge brown chair.

“It's okay, I forgive you I’m just trying to make it better for us”

“I understand, it's fine now”

“What’s for diner tonight?” My father asked cause his stomach was rumbling.

“Cheese pirogues and spinach”

“Oh good, I need some pirogues”

“Oh you and your pirogues,” my mom says as she chuckles gleefully.

“Yep, that’s me”

            Dinner was uninteresting without any interruptions. Near the end though, my mom look at my dad with a surprised look on her face.

“She’s kicking,” she whispered as she smiled like a five year old with a lollipop.

“She’s on her way,” my dad said returning the smile.

            I was glad that I made my mom and dad happy. It was relief from the excitements of the day. That’s all I really wanted, for them to be happy.


*          *          *          *          *          *          *          *  


            The next day it was cloudy and overcast and there was a hint of rain in the air.

“I don’t like this weather honey, I don’t think you should go to work today,” my mom said sitting at the kitchen table reading The Russian Times.

“Honey, I promise I’ll be fine, I’ve gone to work on days like these, don’t worry, I’ll be okay,” my dad replied, buttoning his suit.

“But I hear thunder in the distance; it may hit here earlier than 12:00. I just want you to be safe,” my mom stammered.

“It’s fine, if you want, I’ll come home by 12:00, before the storm hits, I’m, only a couple blocks away if you need me,” my father replied kissing her on the forehead.

“I love you, take care now,” They said in unison and I happily kicked along. They once again shared the loving smile and deep inside, even though they didn’t see it, I was smiling too.

*          *          *          *          *          *          *          *     

(an excerpt from a larger story)



Sense Of Security

By Amity Lin


When I was young

I had no sense of security. 

There is a time I’ll never 


One day

My mom brought my sister to the


I woke up at that moment. 

No writing sound.

No stir-fry sound.

I cried “Mom” “Mom!”

But no one answered.

Her room was very quiet.

It was too quiet so I started to cry.

My neighbor heard me crying.

She ran and got my mom.

 She said:

“Silly girl. I just left for three minutes!”

From that day on

I knew my mom wouldn’t leave me

Until I grow up.



In Touch

by Katrina Magowan


I think they’re lost,

--I’m not sure.

Their feet don’t touch the ground anymore.

Words don’t flow from they’re mouths.

Smiles don’t grace they’re faces.


But they’re here,

--I know it.

Don’t ask how,

--or why.

Although buried by dirt

and a concrete marker,

some grass,

and flowers.


Maybe it’s the air I breathe.

or the rain I feel,

the old house I see,

the birds I hear,

and the memories in my head.


But they’re not lost.

No, not forever,

--not really.



The Class Trip of Doom

by Kane Ossorio


In my school when you’re in the fourth and fifth grades you get to take a trip to Yellowstone National Park. You stay in cabins for a week and do all sorts of fun things. The only circumstances are that you have to raise money for food and be accepted by Yellowstone. I used to get very homesick so all I wanted was for us not to be accepted and stay at home. Finally we found out that we were not accepted. I was so happy but no one else was. My teacher was furious and he could get pretty mad. He resorted to telling our parents that we had been accepted and we were leaving in a week. He said that if we told anyone the truth he would kill us. Only one person told their parents and the next morning a unexplainable murder left a whole family dead, plastic bags still around their heads. We got out in the wilderness a week later. The trees were very dense and there were a lot of hot springs all around the forest. At one point during a hailstorm in the night we got split up, I don’t quite know how it happened. The group with our teacher was found… by wolves. We found their bones raw, meat all gone. My group eventually found our way back to civilization, but not before resorting to cannibalism. Only ¾ of our class made it back that week but all of their wounds were to infected or deep. Everyone but me died, but the good news is that I lived happily ever after.



The Sycamore Tree

by Andrew Overbye


The Carnival at Midnight

Under the Sycamore Tree

Like a million mirror wave

Whirling the rain to a ripple

Then a puddle

Then a river

Forced by the thunderous wind

Scattering in the dark carnival at midnight

Streaking water towards the rock

Again and again

Until it’s a floating bubble

But the puddle remains

As if hammered to the ground

Like a starfish to the sand



My First Paper Airplane

by Sean Ripoll-Cruz


My first paper Airplane

Was made on a rainy day

I wasn’t having much fun

And the day was nowhere near done

So I went to ask my dad what I should do

And many papers he went through

Until he finally found instructions

For lots of paper-made productions

So I ran downstairs in a hurry

And then I started folding in a hurry

When I finished it wasn’t that great

But at least for a while, I had a new playmate.



Flying to Never Land

by Amy Ryu


In my dream

I was flying

I was flying with Peter Pan


I was flying

To Never Land


I was flying

To be the same age


I was flying

To be in my childhood


I was flying

To be same as now



Now I arrived at Never Land

To be same as now




By Will Sayre


            “You’re going down, Billy.”

            “Yeah right!  I’m beating you by a mile.”

            “Dude, I’m right behind you.”

            “Oh yeah, well check this out.”

            Billy hit a button on his X-Box controller and his car sped up to one hundred fifty miles an hour.  He rode away so fast I didn’t even see the car on the screen.  I was frozen with a surprised look and a beaten feeling.  He won the race by a mile.  Billy jumped up and did a little happy dance.  I stared at the television and said, “I hate video-games!”

            “Oh, you’re just saying that ‘cause you always lose!” replied Billy.  That was actually true.  Thirteen year-old Billy O’Connor is my best friend.  I’ve known him since I was eight years old, and we’ve always been playing against each other in video games. Billy usually beats me.  After he beats me, he usually rubs it in my face, and performs a little dance that he knows drives me crazy.  Sometimes I just feel like punching him in the face.  But after a few minutes I would steam down and we would both be cool again.  He’s a great kid, except that when he comes over my house, he empties out my food cabinets since he eats so much.  He claims that he has crappy food back at his house.  However, he isn’t fat, as you think he may be.  He plays many sports: Basketball, baseball, football, tennis, and golf.  And he is great at playing all of them.  He’s very athletic, you could say.  He has a freckle face, more freckles than I’ve ever seen in my life.  He has a huge bicep muscle and is very strong.

            On the other hand, I am different from him.  I am not a freckle face, I don’t eat like a pig, I’m skinny, and I’m not very muscular.  But I do play basketball, baseball, tennis, and golf like him, and I’m the same age as him.  The differences do not keep us apart, and the similarities give us things to do like shooting hoops, having a catch with a baseball, playing a little ball game called “pepper”, and video sport-type video games.  We also watch a lot of TV and movies together.  He’s probably my best friend of all time.  We are very close, and sometimes we act like brothers.

            So, we’re done with video games, and Billy looked at his wristwatch for the time.  His eyes grew to a gargantuan size.

            “Aw, crap!” he said, “My mom’s coming in like five minutes!  She’s picking me up for football practice!”

            “Whoa, Billy,” I said, “Why didn’t I know this?”           

            “’Cause I forgot to tell you, alright?  I tried not to forget, but I did.  I forget things a lot.  I brought my stuff.  I’ll just run and go get changed in your bathroom.”

            Billy grabbed his duffel bag and ran out of the room, down the hall to the bathroom.  Earlier today I had wondered what was inside of that duffel bag.  Now I found that it’s full of football equipment.

            I felt awkward just sitting in my room on my bed doing nothing.  So I got up and walked into the kitchen.  My mother was in the kitchen baking a cake for her mother’s birthday.

            “Mom, did you know Billy had football practice today?”

            My mom stopped the mixer and paused for a moment.

            “No,” she replied, “when is it?”

            “In like three minutes,” I answered, “but he’s changing right now.”

            “But it’s July.  I thought football starts in the fall.”

            “So did I, but apparently, it starts now.”

            Billy O’Connor has been playing on the Cheshire Rams, a traveling football team representing the town of Cheshire, Connecticut, for three years now; this year is his fourth.  He is one of the best players on his team; I’ve seen him play.  He is fast, strong, tough, and very determined to win.

            Now, it’s 5:43 pm and Billy’s mom is supposed to be at our house in two minutes.  My prediction is that practice starts at six o’clock.  I don’t want Billy to be late for practice.  If he is, it is our fault, and the coach will make him run suicides.  Football is a hard sport.

            It’s 5:44 now and Billy comes strolling out of the bathroom with his uniform on.  My mom goes up to him and says, “Billy, would you like something to eat to give you a little energy for practice?”

            Billy was always in the mood for food, but surprisingly enough he replied, “No thanks.  I’ll be alright.”

            “Are you sure?” I said, “’cause we have tons of food.”

            “Yup, guys, I’m not hungry.”

            So we sat and chatted for a little bit, while waiting for Billy’s mother to show up.  His mother has a knack of being late for things.  She finally showed up at 5:48,and Billy walked out of our house, yelling, “Bye, thank you for having me!”

            I watched Billy hop into his mother’s car, a navy blue Volvo that was bought pretty recently.  Billy’s mom gave us a wave, and they were off to practice.


            Weeks passed, and it was now mid-football season.  The Cheshire Rams weren’t doing so hot.  Their record was 1-5.  I had gone to see them play a couple of times, and, well, let’s just say they aren’t the greatest team in their league.  Let’s just say their coach isn’t the nicest guy when they lose.  Sometimes I kind of chuckle from how pissed off the coach of the Cheshire Rams gets when one of his players doesn’t do something correctly. 

            The Cheshire Rams practice every night of the week for two hours each night.  Their coach pushes them very hard.  We’re talking sprints, push-ups, sit-ups, laps, and hell.  It’s hard for Billy sometimes of his asthma, but he always has his inhaler to give him some air.  I like watching the Cheshire Rams because they suck, but they never give up.  I think their coach used to be a military drill sergeant.


            Football season is now almost over.  The Cheshire Rams are 3-7.  Billy has to stay over my house for a week because his parents are going away.  He brought a giant duffel bag full of clothes, toiletries, and, of course, football equipment.  My mother has to drive Billy to practice every night.  She doesn’t mind though.  She knows she’s doing a nice thing, so that is what keeps her happy.

            So, one night, my mom drops Billy off at practice and comes right home.  She finally gets home and I say to her, “Mom, do you hate driving Billy to practice every night?”

            “Oh, no, no, of course not,” she replies, “it’s just that it’s very humid out today.  Billy must be very hot in all that equipment.”


            A few hours later, the phone rings.  It’s about time for my mother to leave to get Billy, but she picks up the phone anyways.

            “Is this the residence of the guardians of William Christian O’Connor?” says the voice on the phone.

            “Um, yes, it is.  His parents are out of town,” replies my mother, “You can call him Billy.”

            Yes, uh, William…um, I mean, Billy has…passed away just about half an hour ago.  We’ve lost him from a severe asthma attack.

            “Dead.  Billy is dead.”


            My mother drops the phone.  The batteries pop out of it.  I stare in a frozen shock.  I must have stared for at least five minutes because my eyes had tears in them.  Or was that from the sadness?  My best friend of all time is gone.  No, no, it can’t be true.  No!  Asthma attack?  He had his inhaler, didn’t he?  What the hell?  I ran into my room, sobbing to death.  Billy O’Connor has passed away.

            I cried in my bed for hours.  I bet my mom was sobbing greatly as well.  She really liked Billy.  We were great friends with their family. 

            I looked at Billy’s clothes on the ground.  I saw all of his stuff.  It just made me cry even more.  And then I saw something.  A hackysack in Billy’s bag.  It consisted of small squares of different colors.  I took it out of his duffel bag.  It seemed to stick to my hand.  I looked into my mirror, and I saw him.  Billy O’Connor.

            “Hey Will,” he said.

            “B-B-Billy,” I replied.

            “As long as you have this hackysack in your hand, you can talk to me in this mirror.  I know how much you miss me.  Whenever you’re in need of a friend, or you need to talk to someone, I’m here.  Pretty strange, huh?”

            “Um, yeah.  How did you…Nah, nevermind.  Let me go get my mom—

            “No, Will.  Only you.  You’ve been the greatest friend I’ve ever had.  Only you.”

            “Only me?  Why me?  Why not your family?”

“They need to move on with their lives.  They need to be strong.  But as long as I still have a friend, I’ll be fine.”

“Um, okay.  This is very queer, but I will accept it.  Billy, I’m so sorry.  A kid doesn’t deserve to die at this age.  But, didn’t you have your—“

            “Look in that front pouch of my duffel bag.”

            I looked there.  There was his inhaler.  Billy forgets things a lot.



I Pray Every Night

by Sarah Sheu



            This story opens out when I was in Spain and heard sad news from my mom over the phone. The story then shifts back in time to the beginning of seventh grade, and then shifts to when I was in Spain.

Summer 2004

“WHAT!” I screamed when I heard what happened.

My roommates in Spain both jumped up when I screamed. They kept asking me what happened until they saw a single tear coming down from my eyes. Justine and Chloe were my roommates, and they were one of the few people I trusted on the trip. They gave me five minutes to clear my mind, and then I told them.

My roommates were shocked by the news, but not as emotionally as I was. Five minutes passed as we discussed if we should tell anyone else. The decision was “no” that night, and it stayed that way until we got back home, where the news was spilt.

I couldn’t sleep at all that night. The reality haunted me. I really wanted to call my friend Farrah, but I didn’t want her to have nightmares, too.

I stared up at our ceiling that whole night. The hotel we were staying at, Campanile, suddenly seemed unsafe. The ceiling seemed extremely high and dark; the wooded walled seemed like tissue that shields us from nothing. I woke Justine up a couple of times during the night when she heard me mumbling to myself. I think she understood my situation better than Chloe did.



Fall 2003

I’ve known Farrah since the beginning of sixth grade. She is one year older than I am, and we met in Chinese school, in the seventh grade class. I’ve met her mom a couple of times, but I didn’t meet her dad until when I was in seventh grade.

One day, I just felt like sneaking out of our house to go to a neighbor’s house. I know Kevin and Nadine pretty well, and since they live just across from me, I decided to go shoot some hoops with them. I pressed their doorbell, and their mom directed me to go in from the backdoor.

I walked toward the backdoor and saw an unfamiliar, yet very familiar face. The girl standing there was wearing a baby blue Aeropostle sweatshirt and a pink Von Dutch hat.

“Sarah!” she yelled. It took me a couple of seconds to realize she was Farrah.

“What are you doing here?” I exclaimed, “I didn’t know you knew them!”

In the next five minutes or so, Farrah attempted to tell me about how she is related to Kevin and Nadine. This is my interpretation of what she said: Farrah’s dad is remarried to Kevin and Nadine’s mom. Until today, I am still not quite sure about Farrah’s family background because it seems really complicated.



Summer 2004

I sat on my bed sobbing as I asked for Justine’s cell phone. I keep thinking to myself… What if this happened to me? I dialed 1-650-430-0078, after a couple of rings, I hear Farrah’s usual message, and hang up.

What would you do if your mom was robbed, raped, then stabbed to death? I don’t know. I pray every night for my mom to be safe.


            This is true story, based on my friend Farrah Ng, who now lives with her dad and stepfamily across the street from me. The crime happened in June of 2004, and this story is dedicated to Mrs. Ng, who died shorted after she was stabbed.




by Emily Yu


Violin, Guitar, Piano, Triple Harp.

Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Hayden.

When musician and instruments collide emerges spark,

it is special, it is unusual!

Music is beautiful, music is wonderful, nobody can hate music!




by jennifer bondurant, teaching assistant


i came to see him,

to say hello.

only being able to hope

maybe – my hand in his,

my wishes well,

or the soft kiss

i left on his cheek

- after carefully pulling aside

that strange tube

which helped air to his nostrils -

me hoping,

i will somehow help bring peace to him –

like the calm waters we used to watch

sitting side by side

in the midst of that chesapeake blue. 


and as you both

sometimes acted as parents to me,

i hope, also, my presence offers a hand to her.


she who fed him,

bathed him,

brought him clean clothes,

made sure he had enough blankets –

being ever attentive to the temperature

of his paling skin.


her soul mate found

--- now for 30 years,

made child by disease.


he faded slowly,

but too soon all the same –

he, himself becoming

--- the most beautiful sunset of all.


she leans to kiss her lover,

telling him “i love you.”

his last breath used

to begin the whisper,

“i love you, too.”  



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