The Future by Phillip Kalafatis

I am not scared of many things but the future does unnerve me. It’s probably because there is so much we don’t know. That I don’t know. I don’t necessarily want to know what is going to happen to me or the world; I’m afraid because anything can happen.

Literally, anything can happen in one year, let alone eighty. There are infinite possibilities for wonderful things to happen and infinite possibilities for horrible things to happen.

I think I know what I want to do in life but in the next four years, that could all change. I entered high school wanting to be a biologist and left it wanting to be a writer.

I will most likely enter college thinking I want to do such and such or be a so and so, but I honestly don’t know.

I think it’s safe to say that most people are unnerved by the unknown. I like to think that it’s human to fear what we don’t know, and what could happen because at any moment anything could happen.

My whole life could change in a flash.

And that scares me.


I’m Undecided And That’s OK by Lily Roth

“What do you plan to study in college?”

“No clue, I’m undecided.”

This exchange occurs about twice a day every day. I never viewed the word “undecided” as a negative thing, but apparently, I missed the memo that “undecided” is a shocking and terrible thing for adults or peers to hear. My undecidedness should not merit any of the following responses.

“Don’t worry you have plenty of time to figure that out before heading to school!”

“Oh, that’s okay! Don’t stress about it.”

“Ah, I’m so sorry, I bet you’ll find your way.”

I swear, the next time someone replies in this way I might just #go #off. My undecidedness should not merit any of those responses because I am proud of my undecidedness. It gives me the freedom to explore, create, and test out new and interesting things. Why is it such a terrible thing that I don’t know what I want to spend my life doing? Is it such an outrageous thought that maybe I want to spend my life changing professions, trying new things, and following all of my passions?

Bravo to you if you have your mind set on one thing and one thing only. I hope you thrive and remain happy in that field for the rest of your life. But a student or professional should never be looked down upon for having multiple passions they want to pursue. In fact, I think these people should be admired and cheered on by the rest of the world.

I am undecided and proud. I won’t let anyone else take that away from me.

idk what to write about by Isabela Carroll

cloudy junk mushed into a piece of fluff jammed in my ears

when I don’t know what to say it suffocates

clogging up the inner cubicle

Get it OUT

like a splinter in my toe

not so painful as aggravating

forcing what will not come

on to a blank screen

so white it’s plainness mocks me

but if I don’t write anything nothing will come at all

so stuck in a winding swirl of


toned text

muddy with curved tall circular symbols none that I can tell apart

splotched and sputtering and withering away

I create something and




(close to complete) until ENOUGH

and I decide to press


(they/them) pt. 2

 A woman enters, laughs, spits on the floor, resentment curling down her lips, and exits with a cheerful tingle of the fairy bell. “In all god frickin damnation, ” Kenny mutters, crouching under the counter for a dirty rag to mop up the puddle. Again their hands struggle to complete the objective, sidetracked by discarded book jackets and should-have-been-fuzzy-rags-but-are-in-fact-fuzzy-something-else’s. Alas, they are too late and one of the Brunch-Peruse-Dance-ers has broken off. Curiously, she seems to be trying to meld her face with the floor to get at eye level with the puddle. She whistles a gust along the lake, coaxing floating dust to shore. A particularly sharp, particularly dandruffed gifted dancer snaps a turn past the puddle, flinging dandelions into the lake. She jumps on them before they disappear into wishes, tracing a finger on the spittle’s surface and collecting the dust into one big clump, drawing it slowly upwards in a droplet clung to her finger. She stands and rotates to face Kenny, fingerpad proceeding her lips. They smile and gratefully receive the wishes as they scatter on their desk, accompanied by the rain to make them grow.
Accepting the keyboard from Kenny’s outstretched hands, she humbly types:
Canoer, player in the winds of wishes, works well with others
The database blinks and returns her entry:
[Amiable Seagull] (1)
Kenny encouragingly nods her on and she presses the key for another line:
A woman who laughs like it is her greatest regret and spits like it’s her birthday cake
[Mother on her leash] (1)
*Flicks wrist—them
[Green- eyed Sunflowers] (11)
Kenny turns the screen back to themselves and solemnly clicks ‘Add’. The tavern sign flips Closed and the shop empties. Puddles slurp up a leash, feathers dance, and seeds crunch.
They return the dropped books to stretching shelves, adding newcomers at the end. A fruitful day.

The Musings Of A Senior: 3 Poems by Renold Mueller

A Sonnet

First comes the mass of work, which to compete

With my priorities and happiness,

Decides, by threat and theft, my soul to cheat

Of that which keeps my Sanity, no less;

Then Strangers judge, as Vultures do descend

Upon a weary self with talons hooked,

As the Snake in Eden called to Eve as Friend,

And pounce to Spite, my burdens overlooked;

Last come the tests—the coup de grace—this end

Subdues our education overall

Into a twisted shell—they just pretend

To teach—learning gives way to folderol;

These conditions choke the mind and soul,

Until what’s left is half of what was whole.


I Could Not Breathe

I could not Breathe when first I Saw

The Letter that They sent

And tried to Quantify just what

Exactly it did mean


So like a winter it did seem

That I felt Stabbed—

By Icy Scythes of Indignation

And rejection


Though I was in—and Others not,

I grew lost—

I’d Dreamt of College Education—

“But at What cost?”


Those who seek the prestige of Names,

Or those at Public Schools—

They All want to know: Where?

Where does It go?


Welcome To The Writing Center

Welcome To The Writing Center,

We Are Here To Help You,

The Student,

Who Comes To Us,

With A Paper In Hand,

Which Is Filled With Spelling Errors,

And You Want Us To Take A Look At It,

And You’ll Come Back For It 6th Period,

Or You Need To Rework Your Thesis,

And It’s Due After Lunch,

And If You Get A C You Will Blame Us,

But That’s Alright,

Because We Are The Writing Center,

And We Are Here To Help You


Welcome To The Writing Center,

We Are Here To Help You,

The Teacher,

Who Sends To Us,

Your Students,

Who Think Writing Is About Spelling Out XYZ,

Who Barely Know What They Are Supposed To Be Working On,

Who Were Told They Would Get Better Grades If They Came To Us,

Who You Don’t Like,

So You Sent Them Our Way,

Because We Are The Writing Center,

And We Are Here To Help You


Welcome To The Writing Center,

We Are Here To Help You,

The Administrator,

Who Looks At A Number,

And Tells Us If We Are Doing Our Job Right,

And Expects Quantifiable Results,

And Still After All This Time,

Hasn’t Figured Out What It Is We Do,

Even Though We Are Obviously Here For One Thing,

Because We Are The Writing Center,

And We Are Here To Help You


Welcome To The Writing Center,

We Are Here To Help You,

The Writer,

Who May Be A Freshman,

Or May Be A Humanities Teacher,

Or May Be An Administrator,

Who Comes From A Family Of Writers,

Who Doesn’t,

Who Comes During Lunch,

Who Skips Econ To Conference With Us,

Who Is Working On Anything At All,

Who Seeks Improvement,

And Possibly Something More,

Don’t You Worry About Anyone Else,

We Are Here To Help You

Goodbye, farewell, so long by Mariah Jordan

Goodbye, farewell, so long, Shaker. It’s been a great 13 years, but, the time has come that we must part ways.

With days left until my high school graduation, I’ve decided to dedicate this blog to the 13 highest and lowest moments of my adolescent educational journey. Low: early mornings and late nights. High: field trips to the high school planetarium. Low: my current computer science grade. High: the people. Low: throwing up in middle school study hall. High: 6th grade camp. Low: falling in front of your entire 5th grade class during an overly competitive game of kickball. High: 100th day of kindergarten. Low: level 1, level 2, and level 3. High: elementary SGORR visits. Low: being rejected from the middle school volleyball team. High: holidays and birthdays in elementary school. Low: missing the late bus at the middle school. High: graduating (aka getting the heck out of Shaker).

Writing this, on the brink of tears, I’ve concluded that the highest of the high is the separation, the departure from the place that has been my home for 13 years. I’m happy to say it. But, is that so bad?

Now is the time to apply classroom topics into reality, to fail and succeed on my own, and to venture into the real world where I will be sure to be safe, respectful, and responsible.

Recharge by Madi Hart

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always hated overhead lights. They’ve always seemed insulting to me. Their all-encompassing blue or orange glow makes the rest of the colors in the room look duller, less organic, and almost as insulting as the overhead light itself. Because of this, I’ve always favored teachers who used light sources other than the sterile, bright rectangles that highlighted the grease on the desks. Additionally, I put up Christmas lights in my room and a standing lamp by my bed because the light on my fan is the most atrocious overhead light of all overhead lights. And whenever I can, I open my blinds and choose natural light instead.

I never fully knew why I had this quirk until ninth period on Friday, the warmest and sunniest day of the year so far. I hadn’t seen the majority of my peers smile with their eyes in a few months, and when I watched everyone walk into the classroom, their faces lit up (metaphorically and literally). The light coming into the normally dreary room was almost blinding. We were recharged. The colors of the posters on the walls were more vivid, the laughter was more organic, and the room had life again. “That’s why!” I thought. “I don’t like overhead lights because they’re a reminder of the dim overhead light in the sky.”

In our dreary and seemingly never-ending Cleveland winters, I don’t have control over the amount of natural light I get, and all I want during Cleveland winters is to feel the comfort the sun brings. As long as I live in a place with six-month-long winters, I’ll continue to attempt to make my environment indoors as close to recharging as it can be.

les enfants seuls savent ce qu’ils cherchent by Caitlin Cullina

Last year in my French we read a popular book called Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince). Often mistaken as a children’s book, Le Petit Prince was one of the most insightful and enjoyable reading experiences I’ve ever had. Its many themes also seem to be very pertinent in today’s society.

It is a timeless story, narrated by a man who had always felt isolated from society. He grew up with a great sense of creativity and wonder, things that the adults around him stifled. He ended up being an aviator and that is how he met the famed Little Prince. The narrator crashed his plane in the desert and was on the verge of starvation when the Little Prince appeared. The prince explains his many escapades after leaving behind his life on an asteroid to explore the planet earth.

The story is far more complicated than that, you’ll just have to read it to hear the rest. But the reason I feel the book is so important is that the lessons and morals can easily be applied to today’s problems. The journeys that unfold warn against greed for power and money and a lack of discipline. But most importantly the narrator and the prince’s adventures display that adults aren’t really the future and they don’t have all the answers.This is extremely applicable these days after the shooting in Florida and the call to action made by students across the nation and the globe. Additionally, the story teaches that the things that represent success don’t have to be tangible. Which I definitely have been pondering a lot lately because of the climate of academic competitiveness that I’ve experienced applying for college.

This little story is not to be underestimated. It is sweet and strange and the French is certainly beautiful (it can be enjoyed in any language though, the messages are still clear). It will open your eyes and your heart.


“I have lived a great deal among grown-ups. I have seen them intimately, close at hand. And that hasn’t much improved my opinion of them.” –Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

A Brief Fable on Human Nature by Renold Mueller

I came up with a philosophical anecdote—if you can call it that—a few months ago. Two books inspired me—East of Eden by John Steinbeck and A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. Both novels focus on the existence of evil in our world, and what role choice plays in it.

The fable starts with a rich man whose expensive car drove into a ditch, along a lone country road. He is standing outside on the road, waiting for someone to come by and help. From here, the story splits up into three different timelines. In the first timeline, an angel approaches the unlucky man, and without a moment’s hesitation, it drags his car out, and accompanies him to the nearest town, where he is nursed back to health. In the second timeline, a demon comes along, and without a moment of hesitation, it stabs him to death, steals his bulging wallet, and hides the body in a field so no one can find it. In the final timeline, a human happens upon the accident. This is where the story ends.

The cliffhanger is essential to the meaning of the fable, because no one can say for sure what a human would do in that situation. We all know that there are human beings who commit wonderful acts of kindness, as well as horrible crimes. However, angels are bound to good. Please note that when I say angel, I do not necessarily mean just the ecclesiastical type. I am referring to any theoretical being (a robot, for instance) that is bound to doing only good—much like protagonist Alex in the second half of Burgess’s dystopian novel. An angel does not see evil as an option; it cannot comprehend it. An angel contemplating about wickedness would feel much like a fish contemplating walking.

On the other hand, demons view good much in the same way. Similar to my angel definition, a demon is a being which lacks internal goodness. This includes people who are born psychopaths. In East of Eden, Steinbeck discusses a similar type of being, though note that he uses the word “monster” instead of “demon”:

“To a monster the norm must seem monstrous, since everyone is normal to himself. To the inner monster it must be even more obscure, since he has no visible thing to compare with others. To a criminal, honesty is foolish. You must not forget that a monster is only a variation, and that to a monster the norm is monstrous.”

He is leading into a section introducing Cathy Ames, the villain of East of Eden. His point is that evil, as it manifests in psychopaths, is not experienced as anything outside the norm. Kindess would seem demonic to a demon.

Anthony Burgess’ theme in A Clockwork Orange is that the choice to commit evil acts is the condition that makes us human. Steinbeck has a similar theme in East of Eden, however it focuses much more on the freedom to choose good over evil. Both novels are important to read, and they both revolve around a similar axiom—humanity exists in the freedom to choose between right and wrong. We are neither angels nor demons.

The question I brought up with the fable is this: what would the human do? We can’t say for sure. It depends on the person, as well as the day that person was having. Externally, society would suggest that we should strive for good. Internally, we could wonder whether humans are mostly good or evil forever and ever—I like to think the former, but someone could find a lot of evidence for the latter. Regardless of what you think, there is no denying the value of the choices we are allowed. Know that for every good deed you’ve done, for every kind word you’ve said, there has always been a different option, and for a moment you thought about it, possibly even considered it. You are not born good or evil, but you always have the option to be both. That is the human gift.


People Watching by Abigail Herbst

Image result for busy airport

It’s a busy afternoon at the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. Although the weather outside is cold and dreary, the environment inside buzzes with activity, with waves of travelers making their way to their destinations.

Carl walks briskly down the moving sidewalk in the middle of the wide and airy walkway. With his black winter coat in one hand and maroon suitcase in the other, he makes his way towards his gate. Carl is a fair skinned, graying man in his late 40s, possibly early 50s. Carl is not from Cleveland,  he’s only passing through on business, his final destination is Boston. You would never guess it from looking at him, but Carl came from a difficult upbringing. He struggled financially his whole life, his biggest struggle was funding his college education. That was until he made some wise investments in the stock market and now lives a comfortable debt free life with his wife and two kids.

He brushes past passes Maggie, a beautiful young woman in her late 20s. By her sparkling jewelry and expensive looking clothing, it is evident just by looking at her she comes from a long line of wealth. Today was supposed to be the happiest day of her life, her wedding day. At least it was until she discovered her then fiancé only wanted to marry her for money and surplus of wealthy contacts and connections. After publicly humiliating him and leaving him at the alter, she proceeded to attend their honeymoon with her best friend and maid of honor, who waited waited for her at the gate.

There is a one and a million- probably billion- chance that the backstory of these two people I observed walk by each other at the airport this past weekend is true. People watching, observing my surroundings and creating a backstory to those passing by is one of my favorite pass times in busy areas. Maybe Carl is really who my imagination created him to be, or maybe he’s Joe from Chicago or David from Australia. There is no way of knowing, and there is an infinite number of personas to create of the people passing by.