A Note from the Editor:
What a wonderful writing journey this has been! Thank you for
your honesty and openness to share your personal experiences
and memories with us all. I hope that you were able to learn
more about yourselves, both personally and as writers, through
this process. Enjoy this book as a keepsake of your time in 5th
grade. I hope you never lose your passion for writing!
All my best,
Table of Contents
Cover Design- Sarah Rotenberg
Evelynn Beaton – “The Horseman’s Hollow” ..............................................................................4
Hunter Chapman – “Baseball or Soccer” ......................................................................................9
Alexander Chorny – “My Trip to Wyoming” ...............................................................................11
Bode Cice – “Going Downhill” ....................................................................................................15
Justin D’Alessio – “The D’Alessio Boys’ Trip” ..........................................................................19
Jiya Dhakad – “My First Chance” ................................................................................................25
Leila Dillow – “I Decide My Goals” ............................................................................................29
Annika Duggan – “Mimi and I” ...................................................................................................34
Mia Esposito – “My Bike Ride in Cape Cod” ..............................................................................39
Martha Ewing – “Brave” ..............................................................................................................43
Julia Feehan – “Lesson Learned from Synchronized Skating” ....................................................48
Spencer Flaxman – “My ‘Lity’ Vacation” ...................................................................................52
Christopher Flores – “Scary Thrills and the Kinga Ka” ...............................................................57
Ashley Hollingsworth – “The Castle” ..........................................................................................62
Kalin Huang – “The Struggle to Improve” ...................................................................................66
Zena Hume – “My First Ivy League” ...........................................................................................69
Ben Iaderosa – “A Crazy Italian Summer” ..................................................................................72
Micah Jones – “I Thought I Was Going to Die” ..........................................................................76
Ellie Karger – “Peter Pan” ...........................................................................................................79
Jake Katz – “A Trip to Italy” .......................................................................................................83
Shaun Kim – “The Hidden Benefit of an Injury” ........................................................................88
Rohan Krishna – “Top Twenty in the Country in Chess” ...........................................................92
Emmanuelle Krolick – “Life at the Cove” ..................................................................................97
Jordan LaRoche – “The Beginning of My Career” ....................................................................103
Mason Lee – “The Best Summer Ever” .....................................................................................107
David Lefkovits – “While I was Living in London” ..................................................................111
Miles Leighton – “The Day My Dad Passed Away” .................................................................114
Will Linnett – “Nothing Like It” ................................................................................................117
Mariam Markarian – “Meeting Pope Francis” ...........................................................................123
James Marra – “My Best Trip Ever!” .........................................................................................125
PJ McCaffery – “The First Injury” .............................................................................................129
Sydney Morris – “Living in London” ........................................................................................133
Jake Nadol – “The Peru Trip” ....................................................................................................136
Ben Nadorf – “Journey Across Asia” ........................................................................................144
Abigail Nager – “Last Chance” .................................................................................................149
John Pierre Ngbokoli – “Going to Basketball” .........................................................................154
Michaelangelo Pantanelli – “CPR Saved My Life” ..................................................................158
Kareena Parasnis – “Little Indian Girl” ....................................................................................161
Keira Parasnis – “Three Years” ................................................................................................166
Fiona Pedraza – “Wyonegonic Summer 2018” ........................................................................172
Gabriella Petriello – “When I Got into Hackley” .....................................................................177
Riyaan Ratliff – “My Family Vacation” .................................................................................. 182
Sarah Rotenberg – “My Disastrous Eleventh Birthday” ..........................................................189
Sofia Savchenko – “My Doggy Surprise” ...............................................................................194
Annie Sheikh – “Suspended in Fear” ......................................................................................199
Sam Sugiura – “Fencing and Me” .......................................................................................... 204
Canyon Thompson – “Hard Times” ....................................................................................... 209
Juno Yang – “Predators” .........................................................................................................212
Calliope Yannuzzi – “The Cherry Blossom Tree” .................................................................216
“The Horseman's Hollow”
Ahhhhh! We walk into the haunted house shrieking. We see mist and blinking lights.
Boom! Something jumps in front of us. Scared.
This took place in Sleepy Hollow, in October of 2018. My friends Juliet, Kayla,
Katherine, and my sister Lillian and I were all walking to my friend’s house. At about 5:00 pm,
the whole group of us met up.
We talked a lot then decided to order pizza. When we were all sitting down eating the
pizza, my sister Lillian said, “Guys, Ev is not talking. She must be really scared!”
I said, “Yes.’ Lillian also said, “Her heart is beating really fast! Come feel it.”
When the clock hit 8:00 pm, we started walking to the Horseman's Hollow. On the way
there, we heard lots of screams which made us even more scared. I was very scared because I do
not like people jumping out at me and trying to touch me. I was also nervous because people
who had gone before had said to me that all of the actors go super close to your face and whisper
in your ear, and that by the end of the haunted house, you will not have your head!
We finally got there and pulled out our tickets. During the time we were all waiting on
line, there was a stage set up and someone doing a fire act. I thought this was super cool because
the actor with the fire started to juggle with it and put the fire in his mouth. When we started
getting close to the front of the line, I said to everybody that I wanted to back out and not go in
anymore, but everyone said no because we had already gotten the tickets.
When we went inside the haunted house, Lillian said to all of us, “There’s no turning
The first thing we went into was a corn maze. When I touched the corn in the maze, it
made a loud crackling noise. This was not so scary for me because the maze was very short and
nobody was inside to scare us. I still was very scared because this was my first time at the
haunted house and I did not know what was coming. Another sign I was scared was that I was
hugging my friend Katherine the whole time through the corn maze.
We kept walking in, and the first thing a saw when I walked in was a pig sniffing me.
The pig was saying, “They smell fear and they also have axes.”
This scared me a lot. I thought I should not scream because then they would scare me
even more. This was also very odd to me because the pig was very close to my face, which I did
After I started to calm down, we got to a part where there were big pools of water and
bodies laying inside them. This was not scary because they were not real- they were blue with
blue shiny scales and blue hair, but they had bloody, teared up faces. The whole group took a
minute to see what was inside them and then a big white monster covered in white rugs jumped
out at us. This scared me so badly, that it caused me to jump almost three feet in the air. I
thought the monster was fake, so I did not see it coming. I got so scared of it, that I leaped into
my sister’s ams and she said, “Ev, it’s fine. The person is gone.”
When that was over, we walked into a room where people were walking on bars going
across the roof. This did scare me because the people on the roof were reaching down and trying
to touch us. As we were walking in, I heard a roar! When we got closer, the noise was the
headless horseman putting a sard on a moving white block. I did not like this noise because it
sounded like a very high pitched “Eeeeeeeeeee!” and it did not stop until we left the room.
When the noise was finally over, we walked into a small black room with no lights and
nobody in it. As we started to walk closer, we saw a long blow up tube. We did not know what
this was meant for because there was nothing saying if it was an exit or if you have to jump on
top of it or go through it, so after a while we decided the smartest thing to do would be to go
through it. So that is what we did. When we were going through it, about half way through there
was this small black doll this was very scary because we did not know if it was real or fake.
After we crawled past the doll, it stood up and started chasing us through the rest of the tube.
This was the scariest part for me because when we were crawling through, people were also
grabbing our feet. I was very surprised because I thought nobody was in the tube with us.
After we were out of that part, we saw no more things to walk through. I was very sad
about that because I was actually having lots of fun and it was lots of fun screaming and getting
scared, but I also said to myself that it was a long time. It was maybe about 45 minutes long!
When we got to the part where you could get food and the actors would come out of the haunted
house to take photos with you, we were all staring at one person with great makeup, and he
looked like his face had been teared apart.
We went up to him and asked for a picture and he said, “Rrrrrrr,” which means: “Show
After we all showed our claws, we got a picture with him. I was very excited because I
could have a picture to look back to one of the scariest moments of my life. When we finally left
the haunted house, we walked to the gas station very close by to get candy for the scary movie
we were going to watch later.
We got three candy bars each, and we all shared two bags of takis. We walked home in
the dark and heard all the people screaming coming from the haunted house. This was funny to
me because I wondered if people could hear me when I was screaming from inside.
Lastly, we walked into my friend Juliet’s house and snuggled up onto the couch and set
out all of our candy and turned on the movie The Hush. During the whole movie, I coved my
face with a pillow. Finally it was time to go home at this point, as it was almost 12:00 in the
morning. I did not want to go home because I did not want something to come out of the bushes
and kidnap me.
So………………. Juliet’s mom drove us home. When we pulled into my driveway, I ran
into my room, got under the covers, and did not turn off the light. I was so scared, that every
noise I heard, I wanted to get up and go into my sister Lillian's room and sleep with her.
This memory was special to me because I usually do not get to do a lot of things with this
group of friends. It was also special because I had a really great time doing this, and I felt like I
should not be scared when I am with a big group of people. I learned that it is fun to do things
out of your comfort zone, and that everything that might seem super scary, I should remember
that it is fake and that people are just acting. I have definitely grown as a person because I used
to not want to watch that horror movie or go into that haunted house because I thought it would
be WAY too scary, but now I always say hey Lillian let's go watch that scary movie you were
talking about. Lastly I love haunted houses now and I want to go back to the horseman's hollow
again next year. This memory has an impact on my life because because now when I think
about doing something out of my comfort zone I always think back to the time when I went into
the haunted house terrified but came out and I loved it.
“Baseball or Soccer”’
The big decision happened when I had to choose whether I was going to play baseball or stick to
soccer. The timing was not great for this decision to come up because of school. It was a tough decision
because sports touch my life so much. I really care about what sport I choose to play, so that made me
have deep thoughts about what to do. I had to make a big decision here, and it wouldn't be an easy one.
It took place at my house when I finally reached a conclusion after much stress, going back and
forth over my final decision. I was so happy to finally reach a conclusion. Baseball, yes that sport, is so
fun, but so is soccer, and I love watching my sisters play. My emotions were high during this situation; I
had been clenching my teeth, and all. What was on my mind was what I was going to change. My hands
kept getting squished up into a ball, and my nose was all stuffy. I couldn't take it anymore because the
day-to-day stress was coming throughout my body. It was time to stop thinking of what to do and start
DOING just one sport.
For a few times, I kept trying both sports; however, I love both of these sports! Then, I started
my phase of learning more about one sport, and that sport was baseball, so I started playing it more and
became a pitcher. I was still playing soccer at this point, but it just became too much for me. The reason I
thought it was too hard for me, was that I depend on my mood and I wouldn't always want to play soccer.
I still thought, well... baseball I like more, but not by that much, and soccer, I'm really good at too, so I
continued to agonize about my decision.
I had two or three weeks before the time I had to make my decision. What am I going to do? My
mom was the person who I kept updating throughout my thought process of which sport I wanted to do.
My siblings and my dad kept asking me what I thought I would play, so they got updated from me every
few weeks. Some other things and people that were involved were some (not all) of my siblings.
I came to some conclusions. I would try to play baseball more because I had known I was good at
soccer, but I didn’t think it was that fun. I started to think baseball could be the choice, but still, I thought
baseball might not be my sport. After much thought, it was time for me to pick my sport, and I chose
baseball. To this day, I don't regret at all switching to baseball.
The reason I wrote about this decision was that, other than school, a big thing I do at home is play
a sport. The sport that I play depends on the time of year and for which team. I can't play baseball all the
time, but I think baseball is my favorite sport. When this happened, the only other sport I’d played was
soccer, but I thought I was wasting time because I didn't like soccer a lot. So, what I know is, don't listen
to anyone but yourself, choose what you want to do, or what your mind is telling you to do. Another thing
I recommend to other people is that if you think you aren’t doing what your friends and family want you
to do, don’t worry about it; you have the right to choose what works best for you. Don't choose what you
think you should do. Rely on yourself and make the decision that works best for you!
P.S, If you’re given a “choice”, then choose what you want to do, or else it wouldn't be called a
choice. So when given a decision to make, always remember that you have freedom (depending), to
choose, what you want, so listen and rely on yourself. Now after almost a year I have quit baseball, and as
of last weekend, started soccer. I think it’s the sport for me, even though I hated it when I was seven and
eight years old. I have only had 1 practice since I started soccer again. To conclude this memoir, I think
more has happened in the first 10 and ¾ of my life, than in the few months, because now I have the
decision that I would rather play soccer, so I have been playing soccer again.
“My Trip to Wyoming”
“What am I going to do! I tripped and hit my head on a huge rock!”
I had flown on Delta Airlines to Jackson Hole, Wyoming with my parents and
grandparents. My sister was in my mom’s belly. My dad rented a large SUV to drive to Grand
Teton National Park. We were also going to visit Yellowstone National Park. It happened to be
very nice weather because we were there in the month of May. The scenery for Grand Teton
National Park was great! Even from the airport you could see the spectacular view of Grand
Teton. You could see all the the mountains and they were huge! The mountains were light brown
and really cool. Grand Teton is an enormous national park.
Since there was another national park next to Grand Teton National Park, we decided to
go on a trail there and do some hiking. This national park next to Grand Teton National Park was
called Yellowstone National Park. We went on that hike to see a spectacular view of waterfalls.
When we got to the top, it was an astonishing view of the waterfalls. There were waterfalls on all
sides of me. I could hear a lot of water splashing! I could also feel the mist off of it.
After a few minutes of admiring the waterfalls, my dad went to look at the sign for the
trail. It was only my mom, grandma, grandpa and me. We were having so much fun there... until
a very bad incident happened.
I called my grandpa Nana, so I said, “ Nana look what I can do!”
I jumped and twirled off a rock thinking I was going to land on my feet on the ground
next to it, but I didn’t. I landed on the ground tripping and hitting my head on the same rock I
had jumped off. I remember distinctly that it hurt really badly. I remember the exact moment
when I hit my head and it was really painful. My dad came back about 10 seconds after I hit my
My dad walked over and asked, “What’s wrong?”
He saw that my mom was holding me to her chest and I was crying.
My mom responded, “ Alexander fell!”
A good samaritan tried to help me by giving my parents napkins to clean my bloody
wound. My mom freaked out, my Nana and Nani were very scared, and my dad was the only
person who was calm during this incident. My mom held me to her chest and was really scared
to look at my wound because she knew it would be terrible. I was crying, but not as much as my
mother expected. My dad was calm and thought kids sometimes fall down and get little
scratches. He did not expect it to be bad. It, however, was much worse. I had a huge long red cut
next to my left eye that was very deep. Everyone’s faces were in shock thinking I really hurt
myself, and there was no medical help nearby.
My dad took me to the car that we drove from Yellowstone National Park to Grand Teton
National Park. That’s because the nearest hospital was three hours away in Jackson Hole,
Wyoming. That is where we landed coming to Wyoming and started our trip. My dad called the
hospital while he was driving to tell them about my injury, and to get a plastic surgeon on
standby to give me stitches.
When we arrived at the hospital, I had to get a CT scan of my brain. They had to put me
to sleep for the test. After the doctors gave me a CT scan, they saw I was diagnosed with a
subdural hematoma. A subdural hematoma is a bleed in the brain. It would be very dangerous to
ever have that diagnosis. My blood vessel also broke which led to the bleed. This resulted in the
plastic surgeon giving me stitches. My family was relieved and bursted out with joy when I was
okay after getting stitches. The plastic surgeon gave me about seven or eight stitches. I had to be
sedated to get stitches as well. Sedated means a doctor gives you a certain medicine that makes
you fall asleep.
Since I had a bleed in my brain, I had to go into an air ambulance to Salt Lake City, Utah.
The other hospital we flew to was called Children’s Hospital. The air ambulance looked like a
helicopter ambulance. My mom and dad came with me, but my grandparents had to stay behind
At Children’s Hospital, I went to the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) where I was monitored
for two days. I remember that I had fun sitting on the bed and playing with my toy cars. When I
was little I loved Cars so much (the movie). I watched it all the time. I was very joyful and
jubilant having cars to play with while I was there. I didn’t end up having surgery, for which I
am very thankful. The surgery for a subdural hematoma involves drilling holes in the head to get
the blood out, so that’s why I was happy that I did not have that surgery!
After those two days at Children’s Hospital, we flew back to Wyoming to see my
grandparents. My grandparents were so relieved and happy to see that I was okay. We ended up
staying a couple more days in Wyoming. The day after we returned to Wyoming, we went on a
boat trip on a river in Jackson Hole. I don’t recall the name of it, but it may have been Jenny
Lake. Then we flew back home to New York.
When we arrived home, all of my family and family friends came to visit me. I went back
to my preschool to visit my teacher who really wanted to see me. While there, my mom was
really nervous because I was trying to demonstrate how I fell off a rock, using a rock outside my
preschool. I was trying to do the exact motions.
From this experience, I realized that you should never jump ofF something that you can
hurt yourself on. I was only three years old, but the second I hit my head on that rock, I knew I
would never do something like that again. I was a very energetic boy and I thought I can do
everything. Apparently, I couldn’t jump off a rock while doing tricks in the air, and land on the
ground safely. Now if I do something like that at home, I will fall on a mattress, (if anything goes
wrong). I will not do that outside because I can fall on concrete, or something sharp, or a BIG
ROCK, but now I am ten years old and much more mature. I still have the scar on my face!
HONK! I jerked awake. Why was I in the car? Why was I wearing snow pants? Why did I
have, like, five layers on? What were those big bags for? T hen I remembered. I sat up,
excitement in my eyes. This was my first day of race team! I had just gotten new ski supplies
from my relatives, and dad had placed my sister Lene and I on the race team roster! Then I felt
nervous. What would the other kids be like? I shrugged it off, letting the excitement out again.
After what felt like fifteen hours, (probably because I was little - a hyper seven-year-old;
a really excited hyper seven-year-old, and other things that makes little kids go cuckoo). We
rolled into the gravelly, muddy, slightly snowed-on parking lot.
We got out, got our bags and skis, and started walking up to Crane Lodge. My sister and I
went out to meet the kids and coaches on the race team, while mom and dad stayed inside. Over
time, I trained and made two great friends.
Torin was an African American kid, but his skin was a lighter shade of brown since his
dad was white. He had black hair that he liked longe r in the back, like me. He was tall and
wicked fast on skis. Second friend I made was named Sebastian. He had the same skin color as
me, and he had that kind of German look, since his dad was… Austrian, I think? Anyway,
Sebastian and I looked a lot like each other, except he had black hair and was taller than me.
Like Torin, he was also wicked fast on skis. Out of the three of us, I was the oldest. Sebastian
was the youngest. Torin was in the middle.
Like all friends, we pulled pranks on each other. The main one was hockey stop storm.
Every time we went down a steep enough hill, we would spray each other with snow as we slid
to a stop.
One time, Sebastian tried to get Torin and me, but I hid behind a ‘SLOW’ sign and
yelled: “Ha!” as Sebastian failed to spray me.
Naturally, ski racing comes with competition and/or enemies. It’s like if you order a litter
box for your cat and then FedEx drops off your litter box and a cat 'in case you didn't have one.’
Not that that would ever happen, of course.
Anyway, my enemy's name was Jeremy. If you know emojis, take the angry red one with
smoke coming out of its nose and ears; you got Jeremy. Just kidding. Jeremy looked nothing like
an emoji. He’s about the same height as me. His face would be an oval shape if you flattened it.
He was blonde, and a lmost as fast as me on skis. Almost.
Anyway, he was ”Da Twio” (what I’m going to call Sebastian, Torin, and my worst
enemy). Same for all of the girls. They hated him. Probably because he was annoying, mean,
annoying, pesky, and annoying. He was always trying to beat everyone to the bottom of the hill
by cutting them off. He called everyone else names, and I’m pretty sure the c oaches thought he
was mean to the other kids too, and he thought he was better than everyone.
When the day of race team ski training was over and we went home, Lene and I would go
sledding or have a snowball fight or something if there was any snow in the backyard, and if we
didn’t fall asleep in the car. Then we would go inside, have dinner, maybe watch part of a
movie, and then go to bed. On the night before the race, my sister and I talked.
“Are you nervous for the race tomorrow?” I asked her.
“Yeah,” Lene replied. “I trained so hard, and it would totally s tink if it were all for
“We woke up at, like, 7:00 in the morning for a month. I agree with you. It would stink.”
“Good night,” Lene said.
“G’night,” I replied. I fell asleep.
“Bode,” I heard a voice say. “Aufstehen.”
Oh, no! I knew that voice. That was the voice of doom. That was the voice of (DUN
DUN DUN!) m y mom, waking me up early with her cheerful voice. O N A SUNDAY!
“Come on, Bode,” my mom said. “Wake uuup.”
“Why?” I groaned.
“Well, first, you have to go to race team. Second, today is the day of your first ski race!”
“Urrrrrgh,” I grunted. Now I r eally didn’t want to get up. But mom was right. I didn’t
have a choice. I sloooooooowly got out of bed and dressed into my ski clothes. Before I knew it,
we were in the car and heading to Jiminy Peak, which was the mountain where Lene and I had
been skiing at since we were 1 and a half years old.) I recalled my past training and how hard I
had tried. I recalled what I had learned from it. Then I focused on the race itself.
Dad said, “The race is two runs. If you get a good time on both of them, you can win. But
just remember, you don’t have to win. You just have to try your best.”
I tried to relax my brain, but it was impossible. The race suit that my parents had bought
and made me wear felt about three sizes too tight. Of course, it wasn’t, but race suits are
annoying that way. Hmmpf. Somehow, I managed to take a little nap.
Once we got there, we performed the usual and very tiring task of carrying the ski bags,
skis, and ski poles up to Crane Lodge. When we got up there, Lene and I got our gear on while
my mom got our race bibs that said our number. Once we were all ready, we took the six-pack
(the ski chair that can carry six people on a chair at a time) up to the top. Then we skied down to
Expedition East, where the race crew was setting up the course.
Soon, the race was on. The U-8 girls went first. I watched my sister go down the course.
Then came the U-8 boys. Sebastian, Torin and I talked to each other to take the pressure off our
backs. Then, it was my turn. I felt a little queasy. Then I gave it everything I had. It was a pretty
good run. The real tension came when my second run came. I felt a little queasy. Then I did it. It
was just like the first one, except I slipped. I leaned back, ready to fall, but I didn’t. My dad
always told me that I have very strong legs. I had never really tested them in a strenuous
situation. But there I was, leaning back, not falling down, and somehow going faster than I was
before. This got me into third. If that hadn’t happened, Jeremy would have gone in my place.
I am amazed to this day that I, as a seven-year-old, managed that. I learned to always
work hard for what I want. It was a major stepping stone in my career. It felt good to accomplish
something so great. It actually made me mature in the knowledge that this doesn’t happen to
everybody. It gave me the special boost to keep going with the skiing thing. And now… I’m
“The D’Alessio Boys’ Trip”
“Hey Justin, we’re here!” said my dad.
“I’ve always wanted to come here and now I’m in Italy!” I exclaimed.
This took place over the summer in July 2018, when we landed in Rome and I took my
first step off that airplane. I smelled clean air and tasted amazing foods like pizza, pasta, and
ravioli. I heard Italians talking from all around me. It was just my dad (Michael), my uncle
(Ronald), my cousin (Jake) and me. We were on a “D’Alessio Boys’ Vacation!”
When we landed in Rome at the airport, we jumped in a cab and were all starving. We
decided to go to an auto-ban (fast-food place in Italy) to get food. When we got our food, we
realized it was delicious. I had a salami and cheese panini. It was just like food from a restaurant
in New York, but it was on the side of the road in Italy. That’s how good the food is there. When
I finished and got back into the car, I knew that this was going to be the best vacation of my life!
With full stomachs, we got back on the road and headed deeper into Rome, to our hotel.
As we drove through the big streets and the skinny alleys, Jake and I had our heads hanging out
the window. We were fascinated, looking at all the cool details of Italy. We looked at all the
artifacts from ancient Rome, at everyone walking and talking on the sidewalks, and at all the
people making their own food and pasta in the basements of their restaurants.
Then when we got there, my cousin and I both opened the car doors and got out as fast as
we could, like something bad was going to happen if we didn’t. When we got out, we both stood
there and stared at the tall and skinny hotel. My cousin and I walked in before our dads. We
looked all over. On the bottom floor, there was just a one- person elevator and a spiral staircase
going around the elevator, up and up and up. Jake and I were both shocked at how small the
When we got to the sixth floor, Jake and I were so excited to see what the room was like.
We opened the door and the room was amazing! We all decided that my dad and I were going to
sleep in the master bedroom, and my uncle and my cousin were going to sleep on the pull-out
After we looked at the room, we went to the rooftop and found out that there was an all-
you- can- eat buffet! After we finished eating, we talked to the owner of the hotel and his wife,
who would be our tour guides, about what we were going to see in Rome. After an hour of
talking to the owners of the hotel, we decided to go to our room and unpack our stuff.
After we unpacked, we were all hungry again, and it was lunchtime. We decided to go to
a very good restaurant that wasn’t very touristy, so that it wasn’t crowded. We sat down and
looked at all the Italian photos and designs. We all had an amazing meal! We shared a huge
pizza pie and I think that was the most I ever ate in my whole entire life! Then we were ready for
dessert. We asked where the best dessert place was near us, and we walked three or four blocks
to get to a gelato shop (Italian ice cream shop). My cousin and I both got lemon flavored gelato,
and our dads both got chocolate ice cream.
Jake and I both said at the same time, “This is the best ice cream I’ve ever had!”
It was smooth and you could really taste the lemon; it was perfect!
Then our dads responded, “Same with us!”
My cousin and I both asked if we could get gelato every day after every meal. Our dads
took a minute whispering to each other thinking what their answer would be, and after a minute
or two they started laughing and turned around and they said at the same time to us:
“UH! Why not! It’s a boys trip, let’s do it!”
My cousin and I both got so excited that we did our victory dance, our secret hand shake,
and ran a lap around the block. When we got back, we said that we should go home and go to
sleep because we were tired and jetlagged and we had a big day the next day.
My dad and I woke up early in the morning while my cousin and my uncle were still
sleeping, and we snuck out to the rooftop buffet and started to eat breakfast. After ten minutes or
so, my uncle and my cousin finally came up to eat. We talked about the experiences my dad and
my uncle had the last five or six times they came before, and they told us a little about the Italian
culture and how the Italians live. After we finished talking, we all went back downstairs to our
room to grab our sunglasses, phones, or any other things that we wanted to bring on our tour.
We all met up at the bottom floor and started the tour. We walked out of the building,
down a couple blocks, and we stopped at a massive fountain called the Trevi Fountain. We
learned who made the fountain, what the designs on the fountain meant, and all the other history
on the fountain. The designs meant loyalty, and there were serpents and gods in the fountain.
Then we started walking up a big hill, and when we got to the top, we saw an obelisk that was
made by a very famous Italian designer. We learned about the designer and about what the
obelisk is and about the designs on the obelisk. They were hieroglyphics and it was from Egypt.
It was really fascinating.
Then we went to get lunch. After lunch, we went to see another obelisk. It was amazing,
huge and detailed with different Egyption signs . After we visited the Trevi Fountain, we went
around the block to a gelato shop to get dessert. After we ate, we went to the most important
place in Italy (I think); The Vatican, which is its own country. We walked all through it and it
had the smallest, coolest designs ever! There were mosaics of Jesus and God and the Roman
wars! It was the best experience of my life.
The next day, all of us with our tour guide, took the train to Florence. It was a five hour
train ride and it was very fun. Us four sat in a first class cabin and our tour guide bought herself
first class tickets too! When we got to Florence, my cousin and I were just as excited as we were
in Rome! We got off the train and drove to our hotel. Then we started just walking around
Florence and looking around at all the different toys and shops and food stores. There was a
colecut store and a store full of army figures. Then we passed by a toy shop that sold wooden
swords! My face and my cousin’s glowed up!!! Our parents then knew exactly what we wanted
and how badly we wanted it, so they both asked:
“Do you guys want to get the swords?”
We respond, “YEEEEESSSSS PLEASE!!!!!”
So then we went into the store and we bought the swords for both of us. Right away when
we got them, Jake and I were non-stop fighting with the swords and our fathers knew that.
They said to us, “We have a surprise for you guys... come with us, let’s go!”
So we got in the car and drove a half an hour, and the whole car ride my cousin and I kept
on asking for hints of where we were going. Our dads started to crack up laughing because of
how many times we asked for a hint.
Once we got there, Jake and I jumped out of the car as fast as we could and looked where
we were. It was a rundown campsite and we were both so confused. Then we walked inside and
the sign said, “Gladiator training camp!” Jake and I were so excited that we jumped right in; we
got our uniforms that they gave us and put them on immediately. Then we got to a big dusty pit
of dirt with a bunch of obstacles throughout it.
Then our trainer said, “Ok guys this is gladiator training camp. We don’t let you out easy,
you have to work!”
We started with our “warm up”. We had to run across a long log without falling off, and
then we had to run through big, heavy, swinging rocks. We did that for 15 minutes just to “warm
up.” After we did that, then we got to fight. Jake and I fought for 20 minutes long, hitting each
other, and whomever hit the other person’s body first won. We did three rounds, and who ever
won most of them won the whole entire thing. I won all three rounds!
The next day we got on the train and headed to Venice. When we got there, the roads
were water and the cars were boats. When we got there, we went to our hotel and dropped our
stuff off, and then we went to eat lunch. We had seafood, and it was delicious! After we ate, we
went on a gondola, which is a private small canoe with cushions and couches on it. The driver
stands on the edge and rows us around and takes us on a tour all around. We went through small,
tight alleys with wrecked, dirty buildings. It was fascinating looking at all the places that were
founded over 1,000 years ago, compared to America where the history is only from like 200
years ago. At the end of the tour, right before we got off, the tour-guide brought us passed the
famous painter, Michaelangelo’s old house when he lived! It was so old and ruined. After that
we got dinner and than went to sleep.
Then we packed our stuff and went to an island next to Venice called Ischia, where we
just hung out and sat by the beach all day for four days, under the glistening sun and by the cool
water. We spent the nights walking around finding our way around the island. Once we left
Ischia, we packed our bags and got on the plane to go back to New York. I sat on the plane
saying bye to Italy, but I said to myself, I will see you again.
Then, just then, I realized my appreciation for my family and its culture. Italy might be
my favorite place in the whole entire world, and that is why I have a strong significance and
connection with Italy. Through this experience, I learned about myself, and how to connect with
my emotions. I learned about my family, the culture, and what it was like for my ancestors, and I
really grew a strong appreciation for them. Most important of all, I realized that I am special and
lucky to have this chance to see Italy. I think about how millions of people are poor and can’t
even afford a house, or to even sit on a plane, while I was traveling six hours to Italy on one. I
am just so happy I got this opportunity and I promised myself that I would ever forget it! I think
as I move forward, I will always date back to when I came to Italy, remembering the people I
met, and how everyone lives in a nice and happy lifestyle. I want to be like that. I really look up
to my ancestors and Italians in general!
“My First Chance”
The lights were hot. Burning. My jean jacket was getting too hot and I was super nervous.
Nervous about what? Well, I could elaborate. Or… the story is right there. Try reading it. Yeah,
I like my idea better.
“Pull it together, Jiya. We’re just signing in,” my mom said.
“I - I - I know. But look at all the different people! They all look like better actors than
me,” I replied.
“It’ll be okay, honey,” my mom stated.
We were walking into the Random Farms studio where I was going to do my acting camp
for the next 2 weeks. I was so nervous; I was crying because this was my first play outside of
Hackley. We were doing the play S chool of Rock. I wasn’t 100% sure if I was going to make it.
There were so many people! When it was my turn to audition, the director asked me to read for
the part Madelyn. I thought I did pretty well. Not my b est work, though.
I, later, found out that everyone was going to get a part. This was a big relief because I
really wanted to make it and get the experience of being in a play.
The next day was our first rehearsal. I was so excited! During the first rehearsal, we got
our parts and split into our A&B casts. I was chosen to play Madelyn in the A cast. This is the
part I wanted because it had just the right amount of lines that I wouldn't forget any of them, but
enough that I would still get a good experience. After we got our parts, we started some singing
and dancing exercises, and the director wanted us to do some improv. I was really starting to get
the hang of things and starting to fit in. After the first rehearsal, the director said she had a treat
“Come into the meeting room!” the director said.
We were all really confused, but it turned out to be an Ice Cream Party! She said we all
did amazingly today and that we could have as much as we wanted. This was our chance to say
goodbye to everyone that wasn’t in our cast, for we wouldn’t be seeing them for a while. The
other cast would now rehearse when we were in the dancing studio and we would rehearse when
they were in the dancing studio. Unfortunately, we wouldn't get to see the performance for Cast
B’s production because it was going to be on the same day ours was, but really late.
The next day, I received the script for the play. I had 5 major lines! After everybody got
their scripts, we did a couple reads through with the full cast. Next, we worked on blocking, or
stage cues, and the choreography. There were some pretty awesome songs and dance moves, so I
was really happy. For the next couple of days, we just worked on choreography and more cool
songs. I met a girl named Phoebe Rubin. We were in the same cast, so we got really close. We
became really good friends over the course of the play. Phoebe and I also always practiced
together. Phoebe was also a really good dancer, as am I, but we're really competitive with each
At this time, our cast was at our sixth or seventh rehearsal. At that point, we were just
putting on the last edits on the songs and dance moves. We also made signs that would advertise
the show and the actors. Then we posted them all around the auditorium. After making the signs,
we played some more improv games, and then we actually took some dance classes to help us
with the big dance number at the beginning of the play. As we got closer to the show, the
directors got really exact on precision, so it was really hard to say one line without being called
out on one mistake.
Two days later, we met in the theater we were going to perform in. We got our costumes
and our microphones ready. The next day was the dress rehearsal. We did three run-throughs of
the whole show with the lighting, dancing, singing and the full cast. It was really cool to see
everything in real life as it all came together! After, we then put tape on the stage to mark our
The next day, it was showtime! I got there extra early. We were all backstage. The play
would start in one hour. We rehearsed a couple of the transitions and we did the final touches.
Now, the play was starting in 10 minutes. We were getting our microphones on. What
seemed like two seconds later, we were behind the big curtains hiding from the audience. I had
butterflies in my stomach. I couldn’t believe I was actually doing this!
“ You can do this!” we saw the director give us a thumbs up from the wings of the stage.
“ Let’s do this,” Phoebe whispered.
“ Yeah. We can do this!” I replied quietly.
“ 3, 2, 1,” we could see the director counting.
Let’s make this a good summer! We started to sing.
As I look back on this moment in my life, I started to realize how much I liked acting,
dancing, and singing. I think my favorite part of this experience would be the friends I made,
including Phoebe. I met so many people who were starter actors just like me. I picked this
moment because it was such a big turning moment in my life. Because of this moment, I have
changed in so many ways. I have been doing so many more plays and dances because of this
moment. I learned how to work with people well and how to really embrace a role on stage.
Now, to end this memoir, I would just like to remind the readers…there are no small
parts, just small actors. And truthfully, I am a small actor!
“I Decide My Goals”
Pick, pick, pick I thought. W hat travel team for soccer should I choose? This decision
would affect how well I played the game.
I was ten when I tried out for Greenburgh soccer and Sleepy Hollow Football Club in the
late summer. Whenever I went to one of the tryouts, butterflies would fly around in my stomach.
The tryouts for Greenburgh were at House of Sports, and the ones for Sleepy Hollow were at Pee
Wee field. The hard part to get into Sleepy Hollow was that there was only one spot to get on the
When I got to House of Sports for the Greenburgh tryouts, my nanny and I waited in a
line so then I could get a red or blue jersey to play scrimmages. Around me I saw girls and boys
talking and playing soccer. When we got to the front of the line, they gave me a blue jersey.
Then I saw my little brother and his best friend Nils leaving from their tryouts. They wished me
luck and left with Nils’ nanny named Fabula. It was time for me to get onto the field. I felt hot
and nervous. We only played scrimmages. I felt that I was doing well. The next time I went, I
felt the same way as I did the time before, but less nervous and more excited.
I ran down the hill toward the group of girls that were trying out at Sleepy Hollow. I was
as nervous as I was trying out for Greenburgh. The girls were talking and practicing. They all
seemed to know each other. When I played, I thought I was doing pretty well. The next time I
went I felt better, like I did at the tryouts for Greenburgh.
After the tryouts, I waited a couple of weeks to see if I got onto one of the teams. Finally,
the emails came out. It turned out that both teams wanted me. I was shocked and excited!
I couldn't decide which team, so I asked my mom, dad, and brother what I should do. My
mom said that they were both great teams and that I should be on Sleepy Hollow because I could
play soccer with my old friends and carpooling would be easier. My dad said that I should be on
Greenburgh, but didn't give me a lot of reasons why. It might be that my brother was on the
team. And, of course, my brother said I should be on Greenburgh because he and his best friend
were on one of the boys’ teams. It took me weeks to decide. This was a hard decision because
whatever team I chose, it would affect how well I played soccer. The two teams have different
coaches, and I thought maybe one might be better than the other.
At the end I decided… Sleepy Hollow Football Club! The two teams were both great and
I’d be able to see my old friends. I kept on wondering if I made the right decision. It was the first
day, and knowing that the girls that were there were already on the team, made me nervous.
When I got to the field, I saw my new coach Joe and a Red Bull trainer named Danny. The drills
were fun and challenging. We did scissors, different types of dribbling, scrimmages, and more.
Some of the drills they taught, I had never heard of. Everyone was really nice. When it ended, I
was more tired than I’ve ever been before playing soccer.
As the weeks went by, I didn't see a lot of the Red Bull trainer, but the drills were still fun
and challenging. Danny did not come any more, so another coach came whose name was Chris.
Later on I learned that Danny went to coach another team. No one knows why. Every day I got
better and better, learning new drills and tricks.
It was a hot day and I couldn’t wait to play. When I got down to the field, we did some
drills. One of my teammates told me that we had a scrimmage against another team that day. I
was so confused. No one told me that we were having a scrimmage against another team. When I
walked onto the field, it felt like the sun was trying to burn me. In the beginning, I was nervous
because I never played against another team before with the Red Comets (my new team). We
lost, but I knew I tried hard.
Finally, it was the first game of the season! My mom was coming. When it was time for
the game, my friend Armani and I sat out for the first couple of minutes. I was one of the
defenders. When the first half was done, I had some water and the coach then explained our
game plan. The whole game we didn't seem to give each other enough space; we didn’t have
good passes, and not alot of good moves. At the end of the game, we lost. Our coach said we had
to play our positions better and not do the job of another player.
It was a hot and sunny day when I went to the next practice. My mom came to drop my
friend Greta and me off at practice. To get to the field, we had to walk through a trail in a forest.
It was really cool and pretty. There were little droplets on the spotless green leaves and you
could see a bit of the pond nearby. When we got there, my mom left and Gretta and I ran towards
our team. One of our drills was to practice how to play in our positions better. I was midfield. In
that position, you have to bring the ball up the field and try to make some goals. I thought I
played well on this position, and it seemed like my coach thought the same. When everyone was
leaving, my coach pulled me aside and said that I played really well on midfield and that instead
of me playing defender, I’m going to be a midfielder! This practice really helped, and even
though we didn’t win, we played way better!
During another one of our practices, we played monkey in the middle, except we played
the soccer version. All of a sudden it started to rain! It was so fun and really refreshing. Our
coaches said if we got ten passes on the person in the middle, they’d have to do ten or five
pushups in the rain, and in the muddiest part of the field. I really wanted my teammates to get ten
passes on me. It was so fun.
About two weeks later, my mom brought me to my game in N.Y. C. In the car, we saw
the track marathon. People with different numbers on their fronts and backs were running and
jogging over a bridge. I couldn’t believe how many people were running the marathon. It was
really cool. When we got to the field, the grass was brown and the air smelled weird because
there was a factory nearby. It was pretty hard to score because the goalie was really good. The
girls on the other team looked way older than us, probably because they were really tall. We
gave each other space, did pull backs, tricks, and great passes. At the end of the game, we lost
again. I was really frustrated. My mom said we did great, but so far we were losing the whole
It was then one of our last games and all my team and I wanted was to win at least one
game. I was the captain for this game, which meant that I would pick which side of the field we
wanted to play on. After my coach told me what side my team wanted, I walked with the referee
and the two girls that were captains of their team that day. To choose which side we wanted, we
had to do a coin flip. I lost, but they chose the side we did not want, luckily.
So far, we were winning. There were passes left to right, megging, tricky moves,
pullbacks, ten and eleven year olds calling, “I’m open!” and cheering. At this point, I really
hoped they would not make a comeback. Finally the game ended. We won! I was so happy. We
finally won a game.
My dad brought me to one of my last games of the season. At the last half of the game,
my friend passed the ball to me. I dribbled up and no one was there to stop me. Boom!
Everything seemed to be a bit of a blur. But where was the ball going...straight into the goal,
that’s where it was going! I almost fell over the goalie because when she tried to save it, she
stuck her hands out where the ball was. Then my team came congratulating me, high fiving me,
and jumping all over! We played like it was the last game of soccer we would ever play. It was
my first goal of the season, but it was also the first time my mom didn't come to one of my
games. When we were going back home, my dad told me not to tell mom that I made an
incredible goal, but I did and mom got annoyed that she wasn’t there to see it, but she was happy
This experience taught me how to quickly decide and be confident with my decision.
When I was trying to decide on which soccer team to choose, I was stressed because both teams
were great and there were many different good examples why I might want to go on Sleepy
Hollow or Greenburgh. To me, there are only two ways to decide: number one- think about what
might be best or fits you better, and number two- if you can’t decide, ask someone that has
decided something similar to you, and that might help!
“Mimi and I”
I could see colors flying by; it was a rainbow of cars across the highway. It was
September, 2015; my first week of school. I was seven years old and I had just lost my grandma.
My last day with Mimi was flashing through my head. I had hugged her tightly and asked when
I’d see her again. My mom gave her a look, as I felt a weird feeling. After that feeling, I didn’t
want to leave, but I had to. I had to let her go. I could hear the car noises; b eep, vroom, honk. I
could feel my hand forming into a fist.
Why her? Out of all of the people in the world, it had to be her? A fter what felt like a
million questions and five hours, we finally got to the beautiful house that I remembered so well.
That house in Florida now meant so much to me. It was the biggest thing I had left of Mimi,
besides love. The plants in the front had a pathway leading to the house. I looked through a
window; the window where I could see everyone: family, friends, my cousins, aunts, and uncles.
We went in to see my mom’s whole family there to greet us. Everything was worse than I
had imagined. The noise was beating down on my eardrums, b um-bum-dum dum. The grownups
were crying and hugging, while the kids were running around. I hugged the people who were
there greeting me, and then I searched for Papi. I saw him and ran into his promising warmth. It
was like everything was going to be ok, but I knew it wasn’t. I was never going to see Mimi
again. I then realized that another family friend was coming in.
“Why is everyone crying SO much,” I asked.
I was very sad, but I was not crying my head off. But now that I realized it, everything
didn’t seem to be ok. That Bob Marley song “Everything is gonna’ be alright,” (at least that’s
what I think it’s called), is a false song.
Oh no, back to reality. T he vicious sound of silence, one by one overtook everyone, until
everyone just stopped and stared at me. It was as if there was a giant spotlight on me. They
didn’t respond. Instead, they just stood there hearing the echo of my question. Finally, everyone
started talking again. My mom introduced me to Mimi’s goddaughter. Her name was Jenny
Rose. She was sweet and told me some memories she had with Mimi, but that couldn’t make me
It was definitely time for a break. I ran to keep up with all of the cousins getting their
bathing suits on. Mine was black with an explosion of colors: purple, red, pink, orange, green,
blue, and yellow. It was definitely my all time favorite bathing suit. I ran and cannon-balled into
the water. Then I swam around feeling the pools softness, letting me glide across it. Next thing I
knew, it was time to get out and go shower.
I asked my mom, “What dress should I wear?”
“Wear this dress over here,” she said, pointing to the one fancy dress I had brought, “and
then you should decide whether or not you want to go to the funeral,” she announced as I got
undressed for the shower.
I turned on the shower as thoughts rushed through my head again. Why her? Go to the
funeral or not? W hy was everyone crying so loudly? B ut then a good thought came. Mhmh! Yes!
I could smell it. Papi was making his homemade lime-made. I rushed to dry off and get my
clothes on. I ran through the hallway, took a sharp turn, ran and I got there in about five seconds.
“Can I have a cup?” I asked politely.
“Yes you may, ” Papi said, exaggerating the ‘may’.
I sipped my lime-made as I thought about the funeral. Would I go or not? Once I was
done, I went over to talk to my mom’s friend.
“Annika,” my mom interrupted me as I was talking to her friend, “you don't need to go
to the funeral.”
“Why not?” I asked.
“Because you’re so young!”
“I don’t know... for now, I won’t go,” I answered, the lonely feeling of sadness
overtaking me. But after some thinking, I decided that I should do it. Mimi would be proud!
So I asked my mom, “Who’s staying home with the kids?”
“Babysitters..” she responded.
“Oh,” I answered, “then I’ll go with you!”
“Ok……” my mom said confused, “but then, because your sister is, you should make a
“Ummmm….,” I’d never made a speech before. “I’ll try it!”
Fifteen minutes later I decided to try it, but I couldn’t think of ANYTHING! I walked
over to my mom and said, “I’ll just stay.”
“Ok, sweetie,” she answered.
Then I decided I should play to cheer myself up! I ran into the other room and started playing tag
with my cousins.
“Tag, you’re it!” said Callie.
“That’s not fair. I didn’t know you were it!” I exclaimed.
“Ok!” she said, an evil smile spreading across her face as she tagged me and ran off,
turning her head towards me, “Now you know!”
About fifteen minutes later, it was time for everybody who was going to the funeral, to
change. I looked around all the boys, friends, parents, and oh... there she was, Maialen. Maialen
was my youngest cousin at the time, so I ran over:
“Hi, Anni,” she said.
“Hi!” I answered, as Jade (her mom) came over.
“Maialen, sweetie!” Jade said, “when the babysitters get here, it’s bedtime!”
I ran into my mom's room as she got her earrings on.
“Mom, when are the babysitters coming?” I asked impatiently.
“Thirty minutes,” she said, “now get out of here, I have to finish getting dressed!”
“And...” I asked, “what’s for dinner?”
“Pizza... now GO!”
“Ok,” I answered, as I rushed out. Tip: it’s never a good idea to get any mom mad!
After what felt like forever, the babysitters finally came. I jumped up and when they
entered, they acted nicely, but once the grownups left, they were all bossy and clingy to Maialen.
The bad thing was Maialen had just been put to bed, so we couldn’t play or be loud. So after
getting yelled at by the babysitters several times for playing tag in the house, I decided I needed
some air. I went into the bedroom that no one was in, and sat on the windowsill bench. I stared
up into the beautiful blue sky, as it started to set. Now I can understand why everyone was crying
so much. You really never realize how much you love someone until you lose them. For the first
time in my life, I felt alone, as I could feel a tear trickling down my cheek until it got to my chin
where I wiped it away. My whole body was shaking as I sniffled back tears.
“T ap, tap,” I heard.
I turned my head at the soft voice of Maialen.
“What’s wrong?” she asked, as I wiped a tear from my face.
I slowly smiled, “It’s nothing,” I murmured, as the smile disappeared from my face.
“Ok, Anni,” she said “let’s go.”
I let her lead me out of the bedroom and to our room. I slowly closed my eyes and drifted
off to a deep sleep.
I chose this memory because it sends a message; you really never realize how much you
love someone until you lose them. This memory is how I learned that. I have grown to not take
advantage of people or things. Moving forward, I will definitely realize how much I love
someone, and act on it before I lose them.
“My Bike Ride In Cape Cod”
Before my bike trip in Cape Cod, I went on a lot of bike trails in New York with my dad,
so that I would be ready to bike when I got to Cape Cod. I would practice with my dad for hours
going uphill and downhill. When my family finally got to Cape Cod, we all wanted to go on a
bike trail. The only problem was that my mom didn’t have a bike.
We had to go all the way to the bike rental store, which felt like thirty minutes away. I
was waiting in the car for so long when we were trying to get to the bike rental. When we got
there, I started looking at all of the different kinds of bikes. The girl who worked there helped me
make my seat higher. When I tested it, the bike felt like it normally did.
We finally started heading toward the trail. Of course, my dad went ahead because he
was using his top gear and I wanted to get used to mine. My mom fell behind because she had
only been on a bike one time before. When we got to the trail, my dad found fifty dollars that I
tried to take from him.
Around five minutes later, we started to actually ride on the trail. My mom fell behind
again, and I was starting to catch up to my dad. At the first light, my dad and I had to wait for my
mom to finally catch up.
“How much longer do we have to wait?” I asked.
“Until your mother gets here,” my dad said.
When my mom finally arrived, we got to ride to the next part of the trail, and I was so
happy. I could see the tiny clouds starting to form in the sky, but no one cared.
After we hit around two lights, we reached a neighborhood. We had to go so slow, just
like a snail, so that we wouldn’t get hit by a car pulling out of a driveway.
By the next few houses, I needed a water break. My mom, my dad and I pulled to the side
to take a little water break. I kept thinking about how after this ride I would be able to go to one
of my favorite restaurants of all time, The Squire. It had around five arcade games. There were
still a lot of houses to pass. My mom and I were getting tired, but my dad kept on going.
It was so hot that I was sweating. Luckily, it was starting to get a little bit cooler. I was
happy that the temperature was getting better,. but I was still getting extremely tired. I stopped
asking if we could go back to the hotel. Today, I know that I should have gone back to to the
hotel with my mom, but of course I had no clue what was going to happen to me in less than an
It was getting cold and cloudy and there were only two places that I wanted to go to- The
Squire or Candy Manor. Candy Manor is a store that has candy and fudge everywhere. I felt a
little drop of water on my hand. I just assumed that it came from the trees because it was raining
the night before. It was getting colder by the second.
“Can we go back already?” I asked my dad.
“How many times do I have to tell you,” my dad said, “you can go with your mother if
you really want to leave.”
“No, we can’t because we only have one car,” my mom said.
We got to a really bumpy road. By now, I couldn’t see the sun at all because all of the
clouds were blocking it. I didn’t even know what time it was. I was starting to wish that I’d
brought a jacket with me or at least a sweatshirt. I asked my dad if we could go back, and of
course, just like the other fifty times that I asked him if we could turn around, he said no.
A few minutes later, I could feel another drop of water, but really soon that would be the
least of my problems.
It was getting colder and colder and I could tell that I was starting to fall. I tried as hard
as I could to stop myself. I put my foot down, I pulled on the breaks, and I tried to get back up
again but none of it worked. My bike hit the ground because of a rock, and the handlebar twisted
and slammed into my chest. The next thing I knew I could barely breathe or talk. That only
happened to me one other time, but it was three years ago and it didn't hurt as much. I had gotten
the wind knocked out of me and it was extremely painful. Then the rain started!
I had to make a really hard decision. Should I have my dad ride back to get the car while
I waited with my mom in the local airport we were near, or should I ride back in the rain?
I chose to ride my bike in the rain. It was really cold, wet and painful on the way to the
car. When we got there, we returned the bike to the bike rental. I was proud of myself, but mad at
myself at the exact same time. We went to the CVS and my mom got some Tylenol and an ice
pack while I waited in the car with my dad. When I got to the hotel, there was an ambulance
outside and my mom said “Why don’t you have them look at your bruise?”
“No, I don’t think it’s that bad,” I said.
Ever since I fell off my bike, I have always been more careful, especially when I’m on
my bike. My wound was there for a few more months, and whenever something would touch my
wound, it would sting.
It’s almost a year later, and I am excited to get on my bike this Spring and improve my
biking skills and ride. I’m probably going back to Cape Cod this year or next year, and this time
I won’t let a random person “fix” the seat on my bike.
“Tom’s blood sugar is incredibly high,” Doctor Mira announced over the speaker in the
That was when I knew it would be a long afternoon.
We had just gotten back from a summer vacation in England. While we were there, Tom,
my younger brother, had been drinking a lot of water and going to the bathroom all the time. We
had decided that we would take him to the doctors as soon as we got back to America.
“You must get him to the hospital immediately,” she continued.
“Uh oh,” I said quietly.
By the sound of the doctor’s voice, I knew this had to be serious. What could be wrong
with my brother?
Just fifteen minutes later, we arrived at the hospital, just my Mom, my brother, and me.
The hospital looked more like a hotel. It was so fancy! A doctor called us into a room and took a
blood test on my brother. It looked pretty painful, but he told me that it didn’t hurt. The results
came back after a painful and worrisome ten minutes of looking at fish in a tank, and five
minutes later, we were in our car, on our way to yet another hospital. We were brought into the
pediatric Emergency Room. We sat in the waiting room for a while. It was fairly large and
colorful. I would have liked it if I wasn’t so worried. We were called into a small room that
didn’t have a door but a curtain instead. A doctor came in, and it made me feel a little less
worried. He did some tests and talked to my mom.
He then told us, “Tom has type one diabetes. You are lucky you brought him in sooner
than later because it could have gotten worse.”
I asked the doctor what that meant.
“Type one diabetes is when your body stops producing insulin. Insulin is produced by
your pancreas. You need insulin whenever you eat carbohydrates or your blood sugar will go too
high. You will have to give insulin to your brother, Tom through injections or a pump when he
“ Oh, so it is nothing to do with your diet?”
“No, not at all. That is type two diabetes. Type one diabetes could happen to anyone, but
it usually happens to people younger than you. In fact, many famous people have it, like Theresa
May; the prime minister of England has it.”
“That's cool,” I replied. I never knew so many people had it.
I don’t really remember the rest of that afternoon. Tom was moved out of the Emergency
Room, and into a nicer room, with a comfier bed. He was hooked up to a machine that dripped
saltwater into his body. My dad and I went home to grab supplies, like books, toothpaste, and
pajamas. Then we drove back to the hospital, dropped off the supplies with my mom, and went
back home. My dad and I had a salad, watched Coraline, and then went to sleep. It had been a
long day, and I needed rest.
The next morning we woke up early. We ate a small breakfast and drove straight to the
hospital. My mom was happy to see us. I took Tom to the playroom, and we played with the toy
car he had been given the day before as a present from the hospital. It was getting close to his 8th
birthday, so it was also a birthday present. We played while our parents were having meetings
with the doctors. I was hungry by the time the meeting ended. My dad took me downstairs to a
shop and bought me a cookie. Then we drove to a nearby supermarket. I started to relax as the
music floated through the speakers in the car. While my dad looked for food and medicine, I
looked around in the magazine section. I found a magazine about soccer for Tom, and a
magazine for my mom. We bought everything and drove back to the hospital. Tom liked his
magazine. We gave each other quizzes and compared answers. It was really fun until a doctor
came in and Tom and I had to go outside to play.
I guess I kind of liked my afternoons with my dad. We did fun things, like sports in the
backyard and watched movies like A Wrinkle in Time. We ate salads and macaroni cheese. We
played fun games, like making treasure hunts for each other.
We went outside and fixed the car. We drove to supermarkets and pharmacies. We were
always doing something. I was in charge of feeding the guinea pigs and walking the dog. Our
dog, Mouse, was worried about my mom and Tom. They had been in the hospital for almost two
days. Everyday she would stay beside me, with her tail between her legs. She would hide in a
corner and shiver until I came to find her and give her a treat. Our house felt empty without the
other half of our family.
Although we spent some time at home, we spent most of our time at the hospital. We
spent about seven hours there everyday. It was mostly meetings about how to give insulin shots,
or how to do finger pricks. I didn’t really listen in that much. I usually stared out the window. I
did listen in on the parts I would need to know, like how to spot when Tom has a low blood
sugar. I had learned a lot on diabetes over the last couple of days.
There were lots of things I enjoyed about the hospital, like when the doctors organized a
magic show. The doctors were also really kind and nice. They made everyone feel better.
One day, we were sitting in our room in the hospital and Tom was having lunch. I would have
some later. A doctor knocked on our door, and we invited her in. She told us that we were free to
go home when we were ready. I was so happy; I jumped up and down in the air! We walked
slowly downstairs. Tom hadn’t done much walking, so his legs were a little wobbly. We got to
the main lobby and thanked the doctors. We were free to go home! I led the way to the doors.
They were automatic, so I could run through them.
Tom told us that he was so happy to have fresh air again. My mom took a picture of us
standing in front of a sculpture just outside the hospital.
“Mom!” Tom and I moan (we do that every time she takes a picture of us). We don’t
mind it really, but we pretend we do.
As we drove home, I thought about the whole experience. My brother had gotten
diagnosed with type one diabetes and I had learned so much about it. I also learned so much
about myself. I was braver than I realized. Maybe this means that I will be braver in the future? I
had been through the ups and downs of type one diabetes, and I had managed it!
“Lesson Learned from Synchronized Skating”
The familiar tune started and our team pushed off as one. We had practiced our program
hundreds of times. It was going well, until suddenly one of my team members, Molly, stumbled
and fell! She crashed to the ice and our hopes for a gold medal finish started to melt away. It felt
like I was skating in a bad dream.
I first learned to ice skate when I was four years old. I fell a lot in the beginning. With a
silver helmet firmly strapped to my head, I was given a large orange cone to hold onto and push.
The cone stopped me from falling so much. Eventually, I learned to skate without the orange
cone. Once I got the hang of skating, I liked it a lot. I enjoyed the feeling of gliding around the
ice. It felt fast and effortless. I started becoming more serious about skating and started taking
figure skating lessons when I was eight years old.
One day I was at the skating rink in Elmsford, when I saw a group of girls skating in
sync. They were wearing black pants and black uniform jackets with their names embroidered on
them. Their hair was pulled into a neat bun. I found their skating very impressive. They skated so
gracefully and skillfully on the ice. I asked my mom to find out more about that team. In the
spring, I tried out for that team and luckily I made it onto the beginner line of Team Image. I had
no clue what I was getting myself into.
This is now my third year on Team Image. I am currently on the pre-juvenile team. We
started practicing together in the spring. This past August, we spent one week together in a boot
camp in Massachusetts. The training was grueling. We practiced for five hours each day, both off