Octavio Moreno (9th grade)
Early in the morning the sky starts to shine.
The cold sharp wind settles as the clouds break,
revealing a good new day, a good sign,
A moment that not a person could remake.
All those years ago not to remember
The life I left behind so stagnant in my mind, the hate,
But I don’t want to ever surrender
To the fate, the unsolvable solution fate.
No matter the time you have, unforgiving,
Now the heart of the sky climbs to the sun
It's a brand new beginning, beginning
With the songs of birds in my ears, rung
The overindulged life of profusion
Is nothing but unstoppable delusion.
AnMei Dasbach-Prisk (10th grade)
Dark clouds hang above misty grey air and dew collects on the leaves of the redwood trees.
Wind whistles a tune that blows on the mountain in the green forests, a tune that yearns for summer.
Down long windy mountain roads to the sea breeze below.
Hot sun beats down on reddened faces and browned shoulders.
Waves crash overhead and the smell of sunscreen lingers on salty skin.
As the day comes to an end and the sun sinks below the horizon, the sky glows a rosy pink.
The sky is now covered by night.
Moonbeams cast silvery light on the mischievous acts of night.
Shadows dance across smiling faces as the bonfire burns and grows high.
In the morning all that is left are the embers which still contain the blue ocean, the green forests, and the bright sky.
12th Grade Art: Brigg Busenhart, Indigo Kelly, Unknown, Unknown
Priyanka Bharghavan (11th grade)
They’d put on a show, their voices ringing through the microphones. The set forever moving across the globe. He boarded an army jet to Europe, the wife by his side rocking the new baby girl in her arms. They shot their film all over the continent, a few years on location from France to Italy, a quick layover in Greece. The passionate voices of strongminded souls struggling to find that sweet spot. That was the plot of the film. That’s what the people saw as they loaded the DVD into the disc tray.
But then, not on camera, the two actors would take a break to go on a romantic stroll in the Parisian plaza, to skip stones in the little stream behind the German cottage, to squeeze the baby as they were serenaded by the gondolier. This was not for public viewing. But this was them.
And they made it back safe and sound to the identical beige San Francisco Presidio facades as the baby girl was not such a baby anymore. The husband still working for the army, the mother with her series of projects and passions. The small antique shop in the Sunset district and collections of dust on old treasures. The odors of the dried seaweed gathered by the tons and woven into baskets. And even now, the little sheep figurines of black pipe cleaners and golden wool.
You Are a Woman
Imogen Cockrum (11th grade)
you are a woman
strong and courageous
capable of emotional murder,
sometimes upon yourself
you are a woman
exquisite in all your ways of being,
except for when you choose not to be
you are a woman
don’t think for a second that his heavy breath should fog your vision
his letters of love should not make you feel as though they had started out as suicide notes
don’t look for he who has big hands and long fingers
they will still never be big enough to catch your tears
they won’t be soft enough to heal your heartbreak
why are you afraid to to set fire to the gasoline pools his “i love you”s swam in
you are meant to be who you are and the rest of us are proud of you for becoming
look at who you are becoming
The NorCal Lit Club traveled to San Francisco the Sunday after Thanksgiving and, despite the rain, we had an amazing adventure!
Glide Memorial Church
Union Square for lunch, holiday decorations, and the SPCA adoptable animals in the Macy's windows
Walk to Chinatown and North Beach
City Lights Books
Show at Beach Blanket Babylon
Dinner at Mona Lisa
Below are some of the students' reflections and photographs.
Indigo Kelly, 12th grade
I didn’t know what to expect when we walked in. I had heard about how amazing it was, but I did not know what to expect. I am not a religious person, and I have never been to church, so I was intimidated at first. When we walked into Glide Memorial, everyone was very welcoming and kind. We sat down and waited. We watched as people kept flooding and flooding into the room. Everyone was waiting in palpable anticipation. The choir walked onto the stage and you could see the joy in their eyes. They opened their mouths and a symphony of sounds that blended seamlessly rang out. We heard them sing and watched for an hour. After the service was done, I don't think any of our jaws weren’t dropped. Their passion and love came through in their music, and the room was filled with emotion. It wasn’t a religious experience; it felt like something more than that, like people connecting through music, and I had felt the power they held.
Sienna Clifton, 12th grade
My favorite part of our trip was the people I was surrounded by. Being in a big city with some of my closest friends is an indescribable feeling. As you are walking the streets of this busy condensed city, you are at peace because you are surrounded by who you love. Being in the city in the fog makes me want nothing more than to go on an adventure. The city makes you just open your heart to what is to come. Going on this trip gives me an opportunity to explore the city in a unique way. From churches to exciting shows and amazing dinners, to merely stumbling around the city, it is truly an amazing time.
Zac Clark, 12th grade
This trip was really the first time I went to a church. I had gone to one earlier when I was in Costa Rica, but that consisted of walking into a huge church and then having all of these people look at us. We didn't really feel like we belonged. Going to Glide Memorial Church was a completely different experience. Pretty much anywhere we went we were welcomed. The community that consisted in the church was amazing. You immediately were part of the family. During all the singing there was so much emotion in the room, flowing through everyone old and new to the church. It made me realize why people can like a religion so much. It creates this community that gives so much support to everyone involved. It was a really amazing experience to be a part of and I would definitely do it again.
Aimee Kerr, 12th grade
Entering the Changing Forest... Art, Photography, and Writing by Ben, Harmony, Simone, Sienna, and Sandy
Ben Pearson (8th grade)
I was always fond of hide and seek, and I would do anything to win at the time. I was the most devoted hide and seek enthusiast you could ever meet. On some occasions, I would wear all black on days I knew we would play, and although the heat was scorching, I would find the best spots. It was a Saturday night in November. The wind rushed through the open doors and into the house. My friends and I were about to have the most epic hide and seek match ever. We were going to do back to back matches, and I planned ahead.
I was wearing all black, and we did “Not It” to see who would be the seeker. Jimmy was last to say it, and he began counting. I could hear him counting down from 30, 29, 28. I ran through the house trying to find a spot where no one would find me. I could still hear him counting, but I was running out of time. 17, 16, 15, 14. I was so stressed until I saw a pile of bean bags hidden in the corner of the room. I rushed over and lifted up the top two bean bags and climbed in. I could feel the tiny crinkling beads under me as I lay in my coffin tower. I waited for a long time, and I could feel my bladder begin to get upset for how long I had been sitting while it was full. I tried shifting positions, but that just made it worse. I couldn’t bear it anymore, and then tension of either being found, or wetting my pants was about to kill me, so I chose. I could feel myself let go, as the warm liquid ran down my legs like a river. I was so embarrassed even though I knew no one was watching. I could feel as if one million eyes were glaring right at me, and my face turned as red as a tomato. I felt all the blood in my body rush to my face, as I lay there, still without motion.
After another five minutes, my friends called out that the round was over. They walked into the room where I was, but I didn’t reveal my position, afraid of their mockery. They didn’t find me, and they went to the next room, and the next. After I knew they were gone for awhile, I came out of the spot, and rushed straight to my room to change, being as quiet as I could. I could here my friends in the other room, still shouting my name. I changed into new shorts and went out saying, “Here I am!” trying my best to scare them. I did a decent job considering I could see them flinch as I spoke. They kept asking questions of where I was or why are you wearing new shorts, but I just smiled and said that some questions are best left unanswered.
County Fair Horse Show
Harmony Caron (3rd grade)
Simone McIntyre (8th grade)
She is like a loyal paintbrush;
She goes through life trying new colors,
Blue for her love for swimming and the water,
Red for her fire inside of her, the motivation,
Green for the love of nature and climbing trees
Yellow for her loyalty to friends and family and golden state warriors,
And catching frogs,
Purple for the mystery of her spirit and her mood swings.
She stays true to herself,
Expressing every emotion and feeling
Her power and strength in volleyball,
Expressing it through writing,
And hoping it will make a difference.
She stays true to her colors,
Washing the bad ones away,
The ones that start taking over like black paint does to light colors,
Then beats them clean like a dirty rug or clothes,
Staying focused with every line she paints,
She goes with the flow like a river does into the ocean.
Through her path there are rocky parts
With sharps edges that cut and leave scars,
But, hey, she learns from those mistakes and overcomes,
When at times she thinks it can't come to an end
But it becomes smooth like a glassy lake.
She likes to climb to the top and see the beautiful view,
Like she's one the top of the world.
Feeling the breeze on her face and through her hair,
She takes that extra risk and climbs higher, knowing that the branches will catch her,
And her strength and motivation helps her get there,
Not feeling weak, but that she can do anything.
Then she goes out and adventures,
Finding the better ways and bad ones
Because she should not be perfect or succeed in everything.
She's finding herself as a hawk finding food,
Staying sharp and keeping an eye out for dreadful distractions.
Like glass, because it is so hard to see but can easily hurt you.
Shielding herself from shallow or cheap vibes
Like a blackberry bush does to keep its treasures safe.
If she fights through the thorns and gets to the sweetness,
She grows stronger and figures out how to outsmart them.
She's as graceful as a gazelle
And as clumsy as a bull in a China shop,
But gets right back up as a baby hummingbird trying to fly.
All her interests branch out like a redwood tree,
Each one unique.
Catching lizards, art, daydreaming of boys or confusing and sometimes unrealistic topics, volleyball and being apart of a team, clothes not the fancy ones like dresses, but her complete love for the combination of sweat pants, a cute shirt, and a sweatshirt that has something related to volleyball on it because she feels like she should be recognized as an amazing volleyball player.
She is as sweet as nectar from a jasmine flower,
Not as sweet as cotton candy at the fair,
But gives you the pleasure of sweet
And has an edge like coffee does when it has no cream or sugar.
Boardwalk, Summer 2017, Sienna Clifton (12th grade)
English Class Survival Manual for Beginners
Sandy Astone (7th grade)
Entering the Changing Forest of English Class
As you enter the perilous forest there are some things you need to watch out for.
If you see a humongous low-hanging fruit and pour all of its goodness into one big project, that’s good. King Sampad, ruler of the English Jungle, bearer of the etc. etc. etc. will have to take about half of that goodness and cut it right off the page. Then the remainder will get heavily edited. But no use crying over spilled fruit juice. Get back out and show him what else you found. Think about different things. Turn over leaves you haven't thought to look under. There will be perfect little berries, little gems that go perfectly with the writing. King Sampad, ruler of the English Jungle, bearer of the etc. etc. etc. loves those. If you really want to keep a section of your writing, keep looking for those little “gems of preservation.”
Venturing Deeper Into the Undergrowth
I used the title “The Changing Forest of English Class” for the last page. The emphasis on changing. You can be stumbling along making it through (barely) and all of a sudden, you find a clearing full of perfect berries. Each one a new and great idea. Or you can procrastinate and have all of the berries be eaten by little squirrels who want just what you do, and a branch falls on your head in the form of another due date, and while you finish that, it becomes the night before the due date. By then you are panicking. Ants have gotten into your soup, your dog has fleas, and bears have mauled your Pop-Tarts. While you are busy scraping the remains of the Pop-Tarts into a project, you stay up late and forget your binder at home. Then you have to tell all the royal adults who teach you why you don’t have your binder and your tent’s rain fly got a leak.
Completing Your Adventurous Endeavor
King Sampad, ruler of the English Jungle, bearer of the etc. etc. etc. talks a lot about revision and editing in the beginning of the school year. As he was droning on and on and on about the importance of editing, I tuned out and read something he gave us, thought about lunch, that sorta thing. I now realize I left behind the salt and pepper. I let a rabbit run away. Choosing to not listen to that was a very bad idea. I found some of the spices on the paper that he handed out, but I feel like he got a bit more in-depth while talking. But now I know. And now I listen much more closely to what he says and maybe if I work hard enough, I can grab that rabbit and use the salvaged salt and pepper to make a project great.
Don’t be afraid to let him butcher up your paper. He may take out that one sentence that you loved, but know he is doing this to improve your paper. You can make a sentence just as good. Make 5 that are even better. Blow Sampad’s socks off!
Don't procrastinate. I do it all the time, and I hate it. If you need explanation on why not to procrastinate, re-read slide 2. I'm not explaining it again.
Pay attention to what he says. Always listen to even his half-hour lectures. You will learn new things guaranteed.
Holding Hands with Layla, Luiza O'Campo (preschool)
A Short Story by Priyanka Bharghavan (11th grade)
The snow drifted slowly onto the trail and trapped itself onto the maple mane of the mustang. Its rusty coat hidden under layers of gear strapped onto the saddle. The rider shook his head, snowflakes flying from the brim of his hat. He had stepped out to clear his mind. The family told him it would do him good to let go of his worries before the New Year; they knew the crisp morning air of the Rockies would do the trick. The last year had been tough on him, and no doubt the next year would bring its own set of troubles. These thoughts circled in the riders mind as his horse’s hooves crunched in the snow and left a trail behind him. After all, what was the new year except just another morning. Past experiences don’t just go away because the Earth finished its orbit. Nevertheless, he sat the kids down and told them his resolution: to work harder, for this would be the year things work out. They smiled and hugged him and told him that it would be. And that was enough for now.
He pictured his family back at home. The kids stuffing their faces with chocolate chip cookies left over from Christmas and their wide smiles lined with sugar. He smelled the pines wafting through the windows and the cinnamon from the dainty pastries. He heard the Beatles singing from the radio clashing with the Christmas songs his wife quietly hummed. This would be the year things worked out, he told his kids, he believed it too.
Mask, Zoey O'Campo (7th grade)
Squarespot Fish, Kaya Westbrook (6th grade)
Kenzie Culbertson (3rd grade)
"I was like floating. ~ Brigg," Zac Clark (12th grade)
Untitled, a poem of life stages
Noah Kaplan (11th grade)
A budding flower newly born,
Into a world of love and scorn,
An empty page by grief unstained,
With innocence soon to be claimed;
Unshaped by life’s extensive hand,
Your ignorance is a jewel in sand,
But also the most potent curse,
For you’ve no thought of bad or worse;
When others’ wills are not imposed,
The doors of fate remain unclosed,
Unbound by shackles of the past,
Volition reigns but cannot last;
Inside a maze with walls of law,
Where heroes fall into death’s maw,
You glide through barriers brick and stone,
For unto you rules are unknown;
And so where some see sealed rock,
Conventionless you know no lock,
And pass along the unseen trail,
Where it was thought none could prevail;
And though you boast clairvoyant sight,
It cannot be a given right,
But rather like the serpent’s scales,
It’s but a skin that will turn pale;
When slashed apart by thoughts ingrained,
Ideals born from others pained,
When slashed apart by thoughts within,
Ecstatic joys and heinous sin;
To gain the right to live by laws,
And leave behind chaos’s flaws,
The price, is selfhood you shall lose,
The price, is freedom; right to choose;
A blossom in the prime of youth,
That seeks only to see the truth,
To find the things that some neglect,
And earn from peers sincere respect;
Curiosity governs all thought,
Discovery’s thrill intensely sought,
Inside a maze with walls of fire,
You walk a thin and fragile wire;
Despite your care soon, in the end,
You’ll meet a wall you can’t ascend,
And then like paper you shall burn,
The punishment for your wrong turn;
But greater tortures you shall bear,
And greater wisdom you now wear,
And so you stand from your defeat,
A lesson learned not to repeat;
Now down again the unwalked path,
To brave again the world’s harsh wrath,
To go where none have gone before,
And see what nature has in store;
But as you search for the unknown,
And walk down unmarked trails alone,
There will be those who try to shield you,
Unknowingly they shall impede you;
They’ll wrap you in their loving arms,
That turn to chains to your alarm,
Once a gentle tender feel,
Fear twists them into stiffest steel;
To form a prison without key,
Within from which you must break free,
Alone you must learn right and wrong,
And teach the world your unique song;
A golden fruit mature in age,
That’s free of doubt's most crippling cage,
A solid rock by force unmoved,
Once restless mind, now gently soothed;
A ship that’s sailed through the sea,
Where life was ruled by entropy,
Shall sail in its learned way,
Into a calm and peaceful bay;
To cast an anchor in the sand,
And after years of journeying land,
Upon the shore of stable stone,
To build a life in this new zone;
Where on a sound and sturdy base,
A family’s grown at its slow pace,
That’s built from love with gentle hands,
That binds you in its steel bands;
You’ll plant your roots deep in the earth,
And build a haven on your turf,
Together shall the world be met,
Your branches form a silken net;
To shield from life’s harsh trails and pain,
The saplings that in ignorance feign,
To have the strength to bravely bear,
Life’s crushing suffering, and despair;
But even when you know they’ll fail,
That soon they’ll fall beneath Life’s gale,
Remember you were once like them,
A sapling still, an uncut gem;
They’ll soon outgrow trees of all sort,
And ask to leave this sheltered port,
And when they ask you must release,
If you are ever to find peace;
A sickly fruit far past its time,
A senior age its only crime,
In youth it grew round and pristine,
Now old it’s shriveled and unseen;
The strength and prowess you once reared,
Is far from reach, it’s disappeared,
Like morning smoke you try to touch,
It tauntingly evades your clutch;
While memories long gone from the past,
Resurface to your mind at last,
Like specters risen from the grave,
To rend the mind you try to save;
They’ll strip you of your peaceful life,
And leave you burden high with strife,
Remind you of the joy you’ve worn,
Remind you of the pain you’ve borne;
Exhausted, broken, at the end,
With weary soul to quietly mend,
While isolation will repress,
With family you must contest;
With greatest wisdom yours to share,
You’ve treasures far beyond compare,
Like gold flakes lying in the sand,
Through arduous work they can be panned;
But some look at their miner’s plate,
And lack the patience to await,
The jewels that come from minor toil,
Too prideful to dig in the soil;
And when you’re weak and strength is gone,
And mind has come to twilight’s dawn,
Then will you get respect you’ve earned?
Or will they leave you tired and spurned?
Moon Walk, Ruby Bracher (12th grade)
Circle with Hands, Ruby Bracher (12th grade)
NorCal Lit Club:
We curate a variety of writing and art from across grade levels, we study and deepen our understanding of local literature and our literary roots, and we share our knowledge of local authors with our community through brief presentations and writing exercises.
J. Haley Campbell
Graduated and Retired Members: Caroline Smith, Izzy Thomas, Devyn Powers, Elias Moreno, Nathan Burgess, Elise Slater