My Happy Place

Every summer I spend early August rafting down the Fall River and riding quads near Idaho Falls, Idaho. For two weeks out of the entire year I get a chance to connect with nature and feel calm before the chaos of school starts again.

I love Mission Viejo in California, but I don’t get the same feeling when a bald eagle flies over the river to get to its nest, or when a crack of thunder interrupts the sunny sky, a bomb in disguise. Or just the feeling of recklessness as I’m hurtling through the brush along the roar of the river, gassing the four-wheeler as much as it will comply with my hunger for adventure. Or even just enjoying the river view and “setting out on the deck,” as my grandma would say, catching up with the locals whom are tougher than nails, relating a story of her pregnant daughter being flattened by a sick cow that had died and keeled over when she tried to nurse it.

Idaho puts me in a meditative state of mind and really opens my eyes. I love being able to set aside all the temporary worries in my mind and be in the moment with my family because when we get a chance to get all together, it’s too much fun to be anywhere else. However, the one thing that I learn every time I come here is I can be happy and content anywhere if I have the right mindset. Idaho is my happy place and I wouldn’t spend my summer vacation anywhere else.

-Megan A.

Fall!

It’s almost the first day of fall (September 22, specifically) and there’s no better way to kick off this wonderful season than giving you some tips to have the best time ever. Autumn 2018 is definitely going to be one for the books!

When I think of fall, football games, pumpkin patches and other outdoor activities come to mind:

-Show some school spirit and spend a Friday evening at your school’s football stands with your best buds to cheer on your home team! If you’re not a huge football fan, no worries. . .

-You can head on over to a pumpkin patch with your family or friends! Have a competition to see who can pick the biggest, oddest or most colorful pumpkin and definitely snap a few photos for social media.

-And if you’re into the spookiness fall has to offer, find some brave friends and walk through a haunted house or maze–if you dare.

Now, what’s fall without tasty treats?

-First of all, pumpkin spice lattes are now back in season and personally, I believe fall practically wouldn’t exist without these warm cups of goodness.

-Actually, pumpkin, cinnamon, and vanilla anything is ideal. Whether it be scones, muffins, pie or even pumpkin pie frozen yogurt, satisfy your sweet tooth craving and dig in!

-Or if you’re into baking, look up some fun DIY recipes to bake and share with your family. They’d appreciate your effort and thought–and they’d enjoy the deliciousness of fall flavor!

Lastly, I wouldn’t be writing for this blog if I didn’t have any book recommendations. Grab your fuzzy blanket, light a candle and get reading.

Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo. A heartwarming novel about a young girl in seemingly miserable situation who crosses paths with the adorable Winn Dixie, a lovable dog who lights up her life.

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. Written by the “Queen of Mystery” herself, this novel keeps you on your toes until the last page. (As do many of her other books–check them out!! They make for a great nighttime read.)

The Fault in our Stars by John Green. An oldie but a goodie. Who doesn’t like to read a teenage romance novel every once in awhile? Green’s unique love plot dances in and out of humor, sorrow and everything in between.

Even if you’re bogged down with schoolwork, SATs or college applications, try giving yourself some personal time to relax and enjoy all autumn has to offer! I hope this post could give some inspiration to have some fun during the last few months of 2018!

-Jessica T.

CT-7567

This is the story of CT-7567, also known as Captain Rex who was introduced to the Star Wars universe in the animated series, The Clone Wars. Monthly installments will be released. Hope you enjoy.                                                                                                   _____________________________________________________________________

CT-7567 was having a great dream before the datapad next to his bed woke him up. It flashed red and blared,

“CT-7567, prepare yourself for morning Physical Training.”

The young cadet rubbed his eyes, jumped out of bed, and shook his bunkmate awake.

“Come on, 2224! We’ve gotta go!”

CT-2224 slowly and methodically rolled off his bunk and dressed himself. Once 2224 was ready, the two clone youths jogged over to the training area. Their instructor, Bani, waited for them. The Duros was irritated.

“You’re late again! How many times do I have to tell you?”

He made the two clones run laps until they were sweaty and miserable. Cody, or CT-2224, grumbled under his breath as they stepped into the sonic refreshers. Rex, who was designated CT-7567, was equally displeased. He knew they had gotten there on time. The eternally irate Duros always found something wrong.

Their next assignment was their favorite: Battle training! As they hefted their mock blasters and blew holographic droids into oblivion, they joked and laughed. Battle training never failed to cheer them up. Rex especially loved using special tactics to destroy the fake droids, who always used the exact same formation and strategy. He had just attacked a huge wave when something hit him in the shoulder. He stumbled forward and whipped around. It was CT-6453. What a jerk. Rex always saw him around, bullying cadets and bothering teachers.

“Eat bantha dung, 43.”

Rex waved him off. Little did he know how important 6453 would turn out to be.

The last assignment of the day was worse than PT: Galactic history. Their teacher was a hardworking taskmaster. The Kaminoan, Lima Bri, gave them tons of work and papers, and she never graded easily. Rex was feeling good about a report he had written about the moons of Io, but when he got it back Bri had given him only 75%. Cody was disappointed as well. His paper had received a 73%. They left class and headed back to the barracks to grab some sleep.

-Joshua M.

Summer’s Over!

We can’t deny the fact any longer: school is fast approaching. Whether it’s elementary, middle, or high, it’s inevitably…SCHOOL. How these 6 letters can make our eyes widen in dismay or whoop in excitement (the latter not my case, but still), the answer to this can only mean one thing.

Summer…is over.

No longer can we awaken and look at the clock and tumble out of bed and yelp, “What? It’s 11:30? How can this be?” Or smirk when we see our backpacks not bulge with the weight of millions of textbooks and those mountains of homework that the teachers claim are, “Barely enough.”

It’s all gone the moment the 1st period bell rings. When your new teachers step into their classrooms, with the desks freshly scrubbed and gleaming under the fluorescent lights, the sound as every stands in unison to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in homeroom. It’s all so familiar to us, from the day when we first toddled to school on unstable legs and clutching onto Mom’s hand, to many years later, walking or biking to school with friends, laughing and chattering among ourselves. It’s all the same, in essence.

But for me, it’s a goodbye. A final farewell to the school that I have seen for the past 8 years. Graduating from the elementary school next door to emerging into the hectic, bustling life of middle school, I have loved it all the same. Now, as an 8th grader (I feel so old…), it’s my final year here. A year that I’m certain that will be filled with love for my teachers that have guided and supported me, brimming memories with friends, and jokes that I’ll be sure I never forget for the rest of my life.

I’ll miss my friends as we part ways, scattering with the winds to different high schools. Who knows, maybe we’ll still be the best of friends when we turn eighty-five, or maybe we’ll just never come back in contact again. Although it pains me to think about it, it’s the way life works. I bet high school will be an even more amazing and rewarding experience that middle school has been, no matter which one we attend. In the end, school isn’t something that I really groan over. I would be lying if I said I loved it with all my heart (just take a glance at my Geometry homework and you’ll understand), but I’d be lying also to say I’d never miss it at all.

Ah, school. Something that has followed us since years after we were born to this day. Every single moment in the classroom we have been endlessly learning, absorbing new knowledge, although it can be quite tedious (want to compare notes, anyone?). No matter what happens in the future, I wish to make a memorable last year here as an 8th grader, spending one final year surrounded by all those I love most.

Adios, summer!

-Katherine L.

The Joy of Summer

Summer is more than just a season to me. To me, it’s the anthem of teenage freedom, the epitome of happiness, the release of stress. Every year, summer gets better because I learn to enjoy it more. From the outrageous heat to the cooling ocean, from late nights out with friends to weekends with family, summer is the season I live for and thrive in.

The heat wraps its arms around me when I step outside and although I relentlessly complain about the warmth, I am ever so grateful for the sunshine. The bright light pours down on me, leaving my skin sunkissed and my hair lighter. The long days under the sun feel like an eternity of bliss. It’s tangible happiness that makes me both long for the coolness of fall and desire to soak up every ray. Finally, after twelve hours of light, the sun bids the world goodnight and paints an incomprehensibly beautiful sunset. The pink and orange mix with the blue and purple on Mother Nature’s canvas, leaving me in awe and wonder.

A true blessing of summer is the liberty of swimming in the ocean for hours. The waves of Laguna Beach save me from the scorching heat and free me from all my responsibilities. Shocking coldness sends chills up my body but once I jump in and plunge my head under the salty water, it’s as if everything is right in the world. The ocean is a huge basin of excitement that allows me to float on your back, dive under the waves or ride them to shore. It’s calming and exhilarating, addicting and tiring all at once.

The beauty of this season is the joy of being with my loved ones. There’s nothing better in the world than making last minute plans to ride the trolley and hit the beach with my best friends or drive down to McDonald’s late at night to grab ice cream with my family. Adventure is everywhere and summer enables me to share those adventures with anyone at almost any given time. The long days and late nights are memories I will never forget or trade for anything.

Happiness can never be stripped from me and my smile seems to be etched into my face. I am joyful, I am energetic, I am forever in love with summer. And I hold onto these feelings and memories throughout the school year, reminding me that it’s only a matter of time before summer 2019 begins and I get to experience summer all over again.

-Jessica T.

Neville’s Seventh Year Pt. 1

This is a fanfiction written in Neville’s perspective as he enters into his seventh year at Hogwarts. I always wondered what Neville was going through while Harry, Ron, and Hermione searched for Horcruxes, so I decided to write about what his experience might have been like. I’ll most likely be adding to this story in future posts. Hope you enjoy 🙂


“Neville, you had better not have forgotten anything else!”

Neville winced. He had nearly left his wand on his bed this morning. His wand. And then there had been his robes which he’d left in his closet. He’d thought he finally had everything gathered, until they arrived at King’s Cross Station, and he’d lost his herbology book.

“Honestly,” his grandmother had said, shaking her head. “How does someone lose a book that was in a trunk?

She was a bit exasperated by now, which was saying something. Neville’s grandmother had grown accustomed to his unusual knack for misplacing nearly everything he touched. She was now rifling through his trunk with a frown, making sure he hadn’t somehow lost something else.

“Neville!” He spun around to see a head of flaming red hair making its way toward him.

“Ginny!” He sighed, somewhat relieved. He’d be spared from a full-blown reprimanding from his grandmother.

Ginny came into view, after shouldering her way through the crowded platform. She was wearing an olive-green sweater and simple jeans. She looked weary, and her eyes were slightly red, as if she’d been crying. She smiled genuinely at him nonetheless.

“Hey Neville! Do you happen to be missing a toad?” She asked, holding out her hands.

Neville’s eyes widened. His grandmother’s head jerked up.

“But — ,” he touched his shoulder where he could’ve sworn Trevor had been moments earlier.

His grandmother’s nostrils flared, and she narrowed her eyes at him.

“Thank you, dear,” she said kindly to Ginny, taking the toad from her hands.

“Of course,” Ginny replied, looking as if she was about to burst out laughing.

Neville’s grandmother placed Trevor firmly in his free hand, and gave him a stern look. She didn’t have to voice anything; the message was clear.

“You two should get going,” she said, nodding toward the train and closing up Neville’s trunk. “It’s nearly eleven o’clock.”

“Right,” mumbled Neville.

He carefully placed Trevor in his pocket and quickly hugged his grandmother.

“You be careful,” she said, patting his back.

He grimaced. Augusta Longbottom wasn’t one for mushy goodbyes, but given the times … Her behaviour only confirmed his worries.

“Bye, grandmother,” he called, heaving his trunk toward the train, while Ginny followed in toe.

Neville and Ginny boarded the train, and had no trouble locating an empty compartment.

“Bunch of parents probably pulled their children out of school because of Snape,” Ginny said, voicing Neville’s thought. “Mum was reluctant to let me go, but I insisted. I couldn’t just stay at home all day, you know?”

Neville nodded and smiled faintly at the thought of his own grandmother making him stay home. She’d never do such a thing.

He placed Trevor haphazardly onto the windowsill and, with the help of Ginny, hauled his trunk up onto the rack above the seats. Then, remembering his venomous tentacula, brought the trunk back down to retrieve it from the side pocket where he kept it. After laboriously returning his trunk back to its place upon the rack, he and Ginny finally settled down on the plush, maroon seats of the Hogwarts Express. Neville glanced out the window, and could just barely make out the bird on his grandmother’s hat. He watched it grow smaller and smaller as the train pulled away from the station and started picking up speed.


-Elina T.

Bipolar Bears

The tall wheats grew beside her, moving and swaying like her golden, thick hair. She looked up at the sky waiting for the clouds to pass by. She sighed. She had the bear riddle suck in her head, running through over and over again “…polar bear, the polar bear”. What if there were two bears? Would it be a bipolar bear? Now, bipolar bears were dancing through her head…“Bipolar bears, bipolar bears”. She looked up at the sky. Smiling, the clouds ambled across the atmosphere. Glooming over her, a gray cloud seized the sky, taking it as its own. Stupid cloud, why couldn’t it become fluffy and carefree as the others? Frowning upon the wheat, she realized she didn’t want to be here anymore, she didn’t want to be on this planet anymore, but who said she lived on a planet? Was it a planet? Was she actually alive? Why couldn’t these clouds leave? Why wouldn’t the voice saying “bipolar bears” leave? Why couldn’t she leave? Why was she stupid enough to let this grey cloud take over her life? But most of all, why couldn’t she be normal?

She looked over at the squirrels, crawling to their hideout to protect their precious acorns. Was that a way of living? Just protecting your acorns? Using all your willpower to protect some nut? Did they have a voice saying anything like, “bipolar bears”? If not, then she wanted to be a squirrel. Actually, no she didn’t, a squirrel seemed boring, just protecting nuts. “Protecting nuts,” she laughed. She would protect her bear’s nuts, if she had one. But who would have her? Other bipolar bears? Squirrels wouldn’t, they would hide even more, not only to protect their acorns, but to hide from her.

-Kimi M.