8th Grade Graduation

Last night, I graduated from 7 hard years at Cherry Creek Academy.

I remember starting at CCA in second grade. I was coming from a new school, and since most students had been there since kindergarden, I already felt out of place. My mom was her usual bubbly self, taking pictures of me and my brother (who was entering fifth grade) nonstop and ranting on about how much we’ve grown. She dressed me in one of the school’s required uniform options: a plaid jumper and white polo. My socks reached up to my knees and my hair was slicked back in a high pony tail on the top of my head. I walked into Mrs. Knowlton’s second grade classroom with a pink cheetah print backpack and purple lunchbox.
Some people may be wondering how I remember so much from my first day at Cherry Creek Academy. Truth is, I don’t. All of these reconciliations came from a single picture that was in my 2007-2008 yearbook. It was me walking into class on the first day of school, just like I described.
The point of this whole flashback was to show that I began at CCA a stranger. Wide eyed, curious, and nervous. But it didn’t take long for me to join the close knit family that existed within the students and teachers at the school.
I’ll admit that everyone in the grade hasn’t always gotten along. Even in a small class of about 35 people or less (changing as the years went on) there were cliques and discrimination between groups. It wasn’t until seventh grade that we all began to accept each other and be kind to everyone; not just the people we hung out with. I’m happy to say that as an 8th grader, we have all ended together on a positive note. We all got a lot closer when middle school started, and now that I think of it, there isn’t a single person whom I am not at ease with. (I can’t say the same for all of the middle school teachers, but that’s a whole different story.)
Moving on from CCA is difficult. I’m not going to lie and say I love the school and everything about leaving it breaks my heart, because truthfully I have had my fair share of problems with the school itself. But that’s ok, because I’m realizing now that it’s not hard to leave behind CCA; it’s hard to leave behind the family I made while attending there. These people have shaped me and defined who I am, and who I will be. I’ve spent by best moments and worse moments with these people, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. (Cheesy, but true.)
As we all move on with our lives I wish only the best for the amazing brothers and sisters that I’ve grown up with. It’s ridiculous to say that we will all be together again at some point, laughing and being stupid like always. But it’s not ridiculous to say that you guys will always be with me. Goodbye guys.
“It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday.”

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Denver School of the Arts Auditions

So, as I wrote yesterday, my audition for Denver School of the Arts was today.

It wasn’t as stressful as I’d fantasized it to be, though I wish I had more time at the audition to go back on some of my writing and make changes. But it’s over now, and what’s done is done. My fate in acceptance is no longer up to me, for my part is done. Nothing I write now could change the outcome of whether I get in or not. My words have been submitted. 

The audition had many parts to it. There was a section in which we had to incorporate a line of poetry given to us and make it into our own poem. (I used the sentence: we swam backwards in time.) We also had to make a character description and write a sentence using a given word. (Ex: Word: Seasons. Sentence: His eyes changed like the seasons; what was once warm and bright now turned cold and dark, as if they were empty.) The last section, and also my favorite, was having to write the beginning of a story using the first line they gave us. 

The first line was: He left with nothing but a train ticket and a love letter in his coat pocket.

I was actually quite inspired by the writing I did for this section, and decided to rewrite the beginning of it so I could continue it on my own. Below is the beginning. 🙂

            He left with nothing but a train ticket and a love letter in his coat pocket. It was the only thing he had left to remember her by, though her sweet smell of lavender and powdered sugar still stuck to him like super glue.

            He remembered her telling him about California. She talked to him about the ocean, and how the waves would roll slowly up and down the shore, leaving tiny shells and aquatic plants behind. She said the sand would get stuck in your hair and you wouldn’t be free of it until days later. He thought of the passion in her eyes as she spoke, though at that time, the words of California dreaming meant nothing to him. The only thing keeping him paying attention was the way she spoke with such eloquence and artistry, like every sentence she said was that from a poem.

            He rummaged through his coat pocket, pulling out a small square piece of paper. Depart to Los Angeles was printed in bold at the top.

            It was time for him to move on, though the thought of leaving her behind completely seemed improbable. “When I die, you better believe that I’ll still exist within the waves,” she had told him. So here he was at the train station, waiting in the humid summer of Illinois, for his train to come and carry him to his love, who existed within the waves.

I’m not sure how far I’m going to go with that story, but I thought it was a fun prompt. The only thing I have left to do in my audition process is wait, and hopefully, get a callback interview.

 

A Moon Among the Stars

Tomorrow at 11 AM, I will be sitting in a testing classroom at Denver School of the Arts, sweating my heart out and gripping my pencil so hard that my knuckles will turn purple.

The past few weeks I’ve been preparing my “portfolio” for auditions on entering the creative writing department at Denver School of the Arts. Though I’ve known for a long time how selective the school is upon admission, the whole aspect of it is just now coming into focus. Around 30 current 8th graders (including me) are auditioning for the creative writing department, hoping for an opportunity to enter for high school. Because DSA is a middle school and high school combined, they already have a full class for next year’s creative writing department. That being said, the number of available admissions is solely dependent on how many current 8th graders at DSA in the creative writing department choose to continue on to a different high school. This number will most likely be around 2-3.

This means, if there are three open spots, and 30 people audition, I have only 10% chance of getting in. Just the thought of it sends my nerves off the radar.

Though I know how highly selective the school is, not getting in would still crush me. I can imagine the deep feeling of disappointment striking me in the stomach when my number isn’t among those posted online for callback interviews. Or the misled hope crashing down on me when my mom gets an email apologizing that Denver School of the Arts will not be able to offer me a spot in their creative writing department. But if I try really hard, it’s possible to feel that sense of relief and joy when I read my number posted on their website. Wanted for callback interview would be typed there, right above my number.

I don’t want to get my hopes up too much, but I also don’t want to give up already. Denver School of the Arts is filled with amazingly talented artists, writers among them. Compared to these people, I’m a moon among stars.

All I can do is write my heart out tomorrow and wait until January 6th for the outcome.

Impermanence

My Language Arts class has just previously started studying poetry. Our fist focal point in poetry is spoken word. I received an assignment a few days ago to write a free verse, spoken word poem that I will be sharing with my class on Friday. My inspiration for this piece of writing was brought to me from a conversation I had with my aunt, while on a casual walk to the park. 

Small things inspire big ideas. 

My poem goes a little bit like this:

I feel as if I am the only one.

To feel those strange, disconnected moments

Those times when you’re not sure if what’s going on around you is really happening.

When I explain this to most people, they look at me with a blank stare.

They’ve never experienced that before.

My aunt once told me I had a reason for feeling this.

She said I was more aware than most people.

Aware that we’re here, right now, but it’s just temporary. .

Our existence is a small particle of dust in the universe of time.

A grain of rice lost in miles and miles of land

But despite this, we still crave immortality.

Of course, It’s natural for humans to desire the unattainable.

To satisfy these cravings, we create stories in our heads.

We worship gods and spend hours in praise

But for what?

We do it for that possibility, that glimmer of hope, that after we perish, we can experience eternal existence.

So that maybe, just maybe, we can reach that heaven up above in all of its golden glory, and taste its bittersweet fruit of immortality.

But we can’t.

Everything is temporary.

All life, love, emotions…

They only stay for so long before fading out of reality until the end of time.

But go on, and worship your gods.

Believe in that angelic afterlife; give yourself a reason to keep your mind off of the terrible, interminable thought of death.

Because your end, my end, our end, is coming.

And it’s a lot sooner than you think.

Dancing in the Rain

It rained today.

And something about those droplets of moisture falling from the sky, made me think about my friends. Maybe it was the memory of traveling to Florida with Madi to visit our best friend Emily who had moved there… One night in Florida (probably the best night or at least most memorable in my opinion) it was raining down hard. We had just gotten back from Rocco’s Tacos (AKA the fancy Mexican restaurant with the attractive guacamole makers) when one of us got the idea to go run in the rain. Of course we had to, what do you expect? We’re 13, so getting our clothes wet in rain water is the least of our worries.

It seems like we made 10 laps around Emily’s apartments… Our feet slapping against the hard cement, us laughing and screaming at the same time, praying we don’t wake up anybody and make them complain to the HOA. I think what I loved most about that night is how I just felt so young and re energized. Yeah yeah, whatever, I know I am young… But that night we didn’t have to worry about school drama, problems with our friends and family, boys… It was just us. And it felt good to not care for just a little while.

I don’t mean for this post to turn into one of those cheesy long friendship posts, though by now it’s probably too late. I just miss you Emily. And though we may not have been as close as you and Madi were, or even still are, you’re one of my best friends and I just want you back. Why do I always realize I’m taking something for granted after I’ve lost it?

My California Experience

And now, after 5 short days on the west coast, I’m back home. My California experience was a great one, and like last year, I found myself not wanting to come back home.

The reason my family went to California in the first place was for my brother’s jiu jitsu competition. Most of our weekend was spent at the tournament, (which paid off when he received gold and bronze medals) but during our free time we visited Venice Beach, Manhattan Beach, and Santa Monica. My previous post expresses the experience I had from Venice Beach, but I never had the opportunity to write about Santa Monica.

Santa Monica was probably one of the best parts of my vacation. As much as I enjoyed walking the streets of Santa Monica, the pier was definitely the highlight of the town. Night was a good time to go, when the Ferris Wheel and roller coaster are lit up in flashing lights and people are shooting blue glowing helicopters into the air.

I’d love to say that looking over the Pacific Ocean from the top of the Ferris Wheel was breathtaking, but I was honestly more worried that we would fall out and die. Though I didn’t get a great look at the ocean from the wheel, we did go to the tip of the pier and look out over the dark abyss.

Looking out on the ocean from above water, it’s easy to feel like the ocean is empty and lifeless. I kept in mind, though, as I admired the dull beauty, that there was more life under that surface that there was on all of the land. Maybe it’s not visible to us, but it’s there.

So now I’m home again and away from oceans and the alien life that inhabits them. Goodbye, California. Until next time.

Venice Beach

Arriving to our destination with a full day to spare, yesterday a few hours were spent at the famous location of Venice Beach, California. 

When my family visits Venice Beach, the time we spend there aren’t actually on the beach, but walking around checking out the little stores and restaurants. There are a lot of homeless people around there begging for money, along with many crackheads going wild on the sidewalks. (Not to mention people in green doctor suits with 9 leaved plants on the place where the pocket should be advertising “Doctor is in! Get legalized today!”)

Despite some ghetto things that could make you a little shaky on the location, Venice Beach is a great place for teens to hang out with friends for a day and have some fun. The walk is filled with souvenir shops to lure in the tourists (guilty) as well as skilled artists and musicians.

An award should be given to California for “Most Cultural Diversity”, which is extremely visible when walking around Venice Beach. There are so many different kinds of people, from hippies, stoners, and skaters to fully clothed Islamic women and nerdy college students. 

We found ourselves just slightly intimidated by the big muscly men walking around Muscle Beach in golden Speedos. Though the ambiance of Muscle Beach is pretty nice, I would reco mmend not working out there if you’re an amateur. (It might be just a little bit embarrassing.) 

I look forward to writing more of my California experience tomorrow. Tonight we are going to Santa Monica Pier*, which I’m sure is just as exciting as it was last summer when I visited.

*When you all say the word “pier,” do you pronounce it “peer,” or “peeair” as in the way it looks in the spelling?)

California Dreaming

In just one short day I’ll be back to the salty air of California. I say “back” because I have been to California before, and though I don’t live there or visit often, it feels like I belong there.

The ocean is something that I’ve been craving ever since leaving California last summer. Something about laying out in the sand, letting the sun soak up your worries as you listen to the waves roll up and down the shore… It’s amazing. (Let’s ignore the part about hungry seagulls and noisy pedestrians.)

My brother may argue that I don’t really love the ocean because maybe I wasn’t in love with surfing, but there are other ways to connect with the atmosphere other than throwing your body into the waves. I’m not bashing on surfers. I think surfing is awesome and it was pretty fun, I just prefer to get to know the ocean in a different way.

I’ve heard from many people that California is an expensive place to live. And, in the words of my grandmother, “Many people are trying to get out of there.” But honestly, I just want to go there. I realize that when visiting on vacation I’m not held responsible with electric bills and rent to pay in the state of California, (though my parents do have to pay for the hotel room) but I hope that my future brings me enough success to where I can live some place that I love. And I love California.

I’m now going to bring this post to an end, for I have realized that my suitcase to bring to California is still empty.

Father’s Day

I guess it would be pretty typical for me to make a post on the topic of Father’s Day for my daily blog… Because, well, it is in fact Father’s Day. 

Now if I were a hipster, making an average post for Father’s Day would just be far too mainstream. But hipsters are getting too mainstream, and not being mainstream is too mainstream, so I’m going mainstream mode. 

Disregarding that last paragraph, (for it had absolutely nothing to do with the topic) I’d like to reach out to all fathers and father figures and say thank you. I’d also like to say thank you to all of the single mothers out there that have to play the role of both parents. 

Thank you all. And especially, thank you to my own Step-Dad (Terry)  and Dad.

Terry, you’ve been such an important part of my life since you first entered it. I can’t express how much you help our family. I don’t know where we’d be right now if it weren’t for you. Your words inspire me to do better and be the best that I can be. You’re not only a huge inspiration, but a great father. I love you and thank you for being a part of my life. 

All personal stuff aside, I hope everyone enjoyed their day dedicated to honoring our dads and father figures. It’s important for us not to forget that it’s not just one day a year that they should be thanked and appreciated. They should be appreciated every day. Not with materialistic things, but with love. 

Happy Father’s Day, everyone. 

 

64 Days of Summer

Summer. The one word that kids and teens yearn for all through fall semester and spring semester. Visions of relaxing on the beach, listening to the waves roll up and down the shore dance in their heads as they count the days until they get to pack up their lockers and leave school without returning for 2 months.

I understand everyone’s excitement and anticipation for the break off of school. (It’s here now, but I mean before.) What I don’t understand, though, is everyone’s extreme hatred for school itself. I guess I can’t speak for everyone when I say that without school, I’d have absolutely no friends. 

What would I even do all day? Sit at my desk blogging? Filling up my schedule with more dance classes to keep me busy? 

I think people need to start thinking more about the good things school does for us rather than the bad. I realize that by saying this I’m being extremely hypocritical, (I always complain about school) but I feel as though I just had an epiphany. 

Sure, school can feel like it ruins our lives. For 8 hours 5 days a week, we are forced into classrooms with a bunch of people we hate to learn a bunch of nonsense that honestly? Nobody really cares about. Much less, things that we’ll actually remember and use in our every day lives. 

But school also gives us things to be interested and excited for. It gives us friends and excitement… Drama and gossip… Love and pain. It doesn’t take much to realize that life without school would be much less eventful. Probably even boring.

Again, I guess this doesn’t apply to everyone. I’m sure some people have very interesting lives with people that have nothing to do with the educational fortress that they attend most days of the year. I speak for myself when I say that as stressful as it can be… I don’t mind school.

There. I said it. My secret is out.