Ignite Your Pen

Vote for Your Favorite Story in the Middle School Writing Contest. After scrolling through the gallery of stories, please write down the name of your favorite article in the comments section for a chance to be featured in the Globe. Cast your vote before May 13.
After reading through each of the stories, please write down the name of your favorite story in the comments section for a chance to be featured in the Globe. Remember to cast your vote before May 14, when the magazine goes to print.
After reading through each of the stories, please write down the name of your favorite story in the comments section for a chance to be featured in the Globe. Remember to cast your vote before May 14, when the magazine goes to print.
Bethany Lai
The Power of Friendship by Tommy Castellano

My cabin of eight boys approached the field activities station that was on the large, dark green field. We strolled up ready to do some challenges. I was feeling confident from the two activities before that had warmed up our brains. We got to the station, and the teacher explained what we would do and the objective: to get some marbles from one tin can to the next. We huddled and came up with ideas, selected one, and began.

I gathered some of the smooth blue tubes we would use and got ready to help. While I jogged to my position, I realized that my ankle ached, and not a little bit. It hurt badly. The pain was a lightning bolt— a sharp, striking pain. I saw that one of my cabin mates had asked for ibuprofen from the counselor so I shuffled over and asked, but they told me said to sit out and rest.

I sat on the green grass and looked at the light blue sky. The soft grass felt nice. As I waited, I heard my team working together, and saw the bonding and teamwork from my cabin mates. Everyone knew what to do, would help when someone needed it, and when someone wasn’t doing well, the cabin came together to solve the problem.  Our team came together like a jigsaw puzzle. Everyone was doing their part.

I sat for a little longer, then decided to get up and help out my cabin. As I limped over, my parents and family suddenly popped into my head, and I started to get homesick. I was a mess. All I could think about was how much I missed my family and how much I wanted to be with them. I was sucked into this world where all I could think about was them. That’s when Logan saw I was upset, walked over, and asked me if I was okay. I told him I was just homesick. A few seconds later, the whole cabin was comforting me. All I saw were the blurry faces of my friends, and I could feel them put their hands on my shoulder. I heard them say, “Are you okay, Tommy?” and “Tommy, you good?” Because they were around me I was too distracted to think about my ankle hurting. I felt good that I would have a cabin with kids who would support me. I felt valuable.

I got into the activity, and the homesickness slowly faded like a storm cloud slowly being blown away by gentle wind gusts. Hearing the plunk of the marbles hitting the can sounded like a drum being hit, and felt like an accomplishment.

I realized that when I’m not feeling well, or am blue, that I know I can rely on these friends, and future friends. That felt good, like when trees start blooming again after winter. That moment made my camp experience better, and taught me that support from friends will be important throughout my life.

Going Canoeing by January Wrighton
Photo by Devon Divine. Free to use under the Unsplash License.

I got in the green canoe, and I could already feel the sweat rising from my skin. When I got in, right away I realized the canoe was rocking side to side. I put my hand on the side to stabilize it. I could feel the protective rim around the canoe, and the fake leather absorbed all of the never ending sweat from my hand. I tried to reassure myself by looking at the other groups and how they were safe out in the lake. My friend tried to get in but she was scared, so she sat out and I went with my counselors.

I could smell the salty sweat wiping away my flowery perfume. I could hear the water swish side to side as we paddled out. I was scared and shivering as if it was winter again but I sat down and closed my eyes. I gripped my paddle as hard as I could and took a deep breath and opened up my eyes.

When I looked around I was amazed! I was so focused on not flipping the canoe that I forgot how beautiful it was. I saw the blue water reflections, and in the reflections I saw the lush leaves on the trees, some of them dancing down to the floor. Some of the leaves were still waiting until they are ready to fall. The paddle felt like hard plastic with little indents as if a dog scratched it. I could see the water making little tornadoes as we glided across the lake to get to the closing campfire place.

After that we swam out to the middle and just sat there to take in the beautiful water reflections, then the pungent smell of the salty water hit me. At that point I was calm and relaxed and it felt tranquil and did not want to leave the canoe. I could hear the other campers laughing and babbling off in the distance. Whenever I pointed my paddle up the little droplets dropped off my paddle and into the water sparkling, rippling and then dropped softly into the lake. The little dragonflies and the little bugs danced, twirled and spun in the sky. Every once in a while I would stick my hand in the salty lake to wash the dust and mud off my hands.

A few minutes later the instructor told us it was time to get out so we raced as swiftly as possible back to shore. After that I was sad, because I wanted to stay in the canoe. I could feel the dry sweat on my face from earlier in the day, as if it was a protective layer on my face. When we all got out it was quiet and calm. I am glad I didn’t chicken out and sit out because it was a really fun experience, and I realized that life is hard but if you try, you can see how beautiful life really is!

The Last Spirit Circle by Abigail Neils

My palms were warm and sticky with sweat, and I was screaming and cheering as loud as I could. 

I could smell the fresh morning dew as Anna’s raspy voice whispered, “We got this guys! Even if we don’t win, me, Gabriella, and Addie are extremely proud of you!”

Mr. Chisholm opened his mouth to announce the runner ups for the spirit stick—the biggest award that you could get at 6th grade camp. My heart was beating so fast—a cheetah about to catch its prey.

Mr. Chisholm first announced the runner-up of the girls cabins. Everyone was motionless as he said, “The runner-up is… Sassafras!”

Everyone applauded and then got quiet once again. Out of the corner of my eye I could spot the cheerful, sweaty faces of our “brother cabin” Nebula. I was really hoping that they would win 1st or 2nd for the boy cabins.

Mr. Chisholm interrupted my thoughts with his loud deep voice. “And the runner-up for the boy’s cabins is… NEBULA!”

I was cheering as loud as I possibly could for them, then suddenly everyone was mute again. Mr. Chisholm was about to reveal the winning girl cabin.  I knew in my heart that it probably wouldn’t be us. I felt like we hadn’t cheered hard enough throughout the week. Everyone was silent as the night sky.

I took a second to look at all of the places I had made memories during my time at this camp. The beautiful mess hall where I had all my meals, the big wooden barn where I did lots of fun activities, and the huge green open field where my cabin did our team building.

I was getting ready to clap for the winners, when Mr. Chisholm said, “The winner of the spirit stick for the girl’s cabins is… OWL’S ROOST!”

The entire circle erupted, it was music to my ears. I felt my face turn hot, and red. We were invited into the middle of the circle. As I ran, I could feel the cool, fresh breeze against my face. I looked around and saw people smiling and waving everywhere, all cheering and clapping just for my cabin. It made me feel super special. 

I was just taking it all in when Mr. Chisholm yelled, “The winner of the spirit stick for the boys cabins is… GOGGINS!”

The rest of the spirit circle went by in a blur. Before I knew it, it was time to go to the bus and go back home.

Looking back, my cabin was so thoughtful, kind, and positive the whole week, even when we didn’t get to climb Tango Tower because of the rain, even when we had to wait for the bus to come and get us from the shut-ins. Even if we hadn’t won that award, we still would have all of these amazing memories. I will remember that week for the rest of my life.

The Final Campfire by Javier Ward

My cabin had just finished our trot in the dark. It was a beautiful night to walk. The wind rubbed against my skin as we walked to my cabin’s seats around the campfire. The wood that I sat on was wet and chipped and it smelled earthy. It seemed like a small wave had hit the wood, but it was okay. We had brought our rain ponchos to sit on.

I looked around me and all the other cabin’s were waving their glow sticks,vocalizing songs like a choir in perfect harmony,and talking quietly to the people around them.
I looked up and saw the amazing glow of the stars from above. I had never seen anything like this before. It was like the whole universe was right in front of my eyes. I also thought about how I had never been to a sleep away camp before so this whole trip had been a new experience for me. But I was happy, because my experience at camp had been good.

After every cabin had made it to the campfire. Somebody hurled a match in the campfire and a flame burst out in front of me like a lion jumping in front of its prey. The fire was bright like the stars shining that night, growing like young trees, and loudly roaring like a lion in front of me. It was getting bigger every second. There was a smoky smell in the air around me.

After a little while I took my attention off the bright flame. After I thought about how amazing the nature was around me. I glanced up at the stars in the sky. I peered down and I saw the beautiful glimmer of the lake and the tall trees. They looked like they were forming rows like a marching band preparing to play. I looked down and saw some mud below me but it didn’t matter because this night was still going to be amazing. The wind brushed against my skin. The air smelled crisp and clean. A leaf fell from a tree above me — drawing a slow zigzag and then it landed in my hand. It felt smooth and wet. I thought about how amazing the nature around me was.

Mr.Chisholm invited one of the counselors from each of the cabins to give a speech about 6th grade camp. Our C.I.T Mark started his speech. I could tell he was really nervous. I knew this because he twiddled his fingers so fast – hummingbirds fluttering around. While He was announcing all of the great things we had done at camp. I started to remember how many good memories I made at camp. I will never forget any of the things I did at camp and the friends I made.

Fishing by Gwendolyn Thompson

I was standing on the side of the lake. Ada had just cast the old black fishing rod. I was swimming in hopefulness. I could smell the disgusting soggy hot dogs, the stench getting wafted by the wind over to us from the bait table.

We had been casting the rod for what felt like an hour. I smelled the cold damp forest behind our backs. Ada passed me the rod and I held it below the water, swinging it side to side to interest the fish. Then after a while I passed it back to her. I heard the birds twittering like a cheerleading squad cheering us on. I inhaled the disgusting odor of the worms as people poked them onto their hooks. I felt it in me – the warm sensation that was sweeping my body telling me this would be the time I was going to catch a fish. I could hear the canoe paddles splashing into the murky depths of the lake. The fishing rod buoy that was red, sitting on the top of the gloomy lake glimmered in the sun. We had been casting our rod for so long, and we started to lose faith in ourselves… but then suddenly we saw multiple bubbles come to the surface of the lake like a rocket ship soaring up into space “Ada!” I exclaimed. “The rod has caught a fish!”

We were extremely delighted. I felt the wind slapping us on the back. We saw bubbles but then something even more amazing happened. The buoy went under the water like a large rock dropping from the top of a 15 story building. I could hear our cheerleaders encouraging us like a high school cheer squad inspiring and encouraging for their team in quadruple over time. Then Ada reeled in the hopeful fish holding onto the juicy worm on the rod. Then the buoy went under again! We started to reel in the rod as the buoy got pulled out of the water. We were wondering what fish it would be. But when we pulled the hook out of the water, there was no fish on the rod! The warm sun left our backs for a quick moment when realization hit us. And worse, the squirmy worm had vanished from the end of the rod! We were both as disappointed as a balloon deflated after a party. We looked closer at the hook and found that the fish took most of the juicy worm and left the part of the worm actually sprung on the hook. The air once again smelled like forest and rotten wood. We knew we did not have much more time to get as lucky as we had but we figured we would attempt to reel in a fish again.

We may not have caught a fish, but I realized that anything in life is better to do with a teammate. But this was still the time of our life because we did it together.

Jekyll Island by Izzy Pratl

It was getting close to sunset and my friends and I were playing sand volleyball at Camp Jekyll. I was feeling afraid about heading onto the beach with no flashlight when it was as dark as coal outside, but we wandered towards the beach. We were all joking around and scaring each other about the dark. We would say that there was a tall, dark shadow behind us and then everyone would start shouting and sprinting down the eerie path. This made me remember when I was little and I used to have to sleep with my closet door open just so nothing was hiding in the dark. When did I get so old? What happened to the girl who used to sleep with lights on and whose parents, each night, had to check under her bed for monsters?

At the beach, we flopped onto the damp sand. The wind was blowing and sand whipped everywhere.  We sat in a circle and played a game, trying to guess the object we were holding, but the darkness made this tricky. I remember one of the objects was a toy frog, but before Audrey passed it, people were saying that it was a real frog, so I was getting grossed out. Later, I spread out on the soggy sand. The stars shimmered like sequins, and it was so clear that we spotted a planet. I loved laying down with everyone, hearing nothing but the subtle sounds of waves hitting the sand. The people didn’t just seem like just classmates, but friends. It felt as if no one was isolated. We didn’t have to worry about snapping people back, posting Tiktoks with friends or how many likes we were getting on Instagram.  When the night walk ended, the individual groups walked back to the cabins. But, first, we all ran through the sprinklers, and I imagined the water was raindrops.

ASTA by Nguyen Vuong

Last year, the year of 2023, the orchestra director of ViBravo recorded the orchestra and entered it for the ASTA competition. They got accepted, and are one of the youngest orchestra groups to be accepted to this opportunity to play in this competition. This is a very big thing, and they should be proud of themselves for that! The ViBravo and Vivace audition orchestra groups were accepted to compete for ASTA. They worked so hard, and took out other activities/ clubs to prepare for this competition. They spend hours and hours practicing together and individually. The St. Louis Symphony got to work with them, and The Arianna String Quartet worked with them. ViBravo will be playing, “An Irish Farewell”, “Warrior Legacy”, “1812 Overture”, “Catharsis”, “Eat My (Rosin) Dust”, “Bossa Nova Triste”, and “Ave Verum Corpus”. Vivace will be playing “Beyond The Thunder”, “1812 Overture”, “Bossa Nova Triste” and “Ave Verum Corpus”. The ViBravo director is Monica Holy (Dr. Holy), and the Vivace director is Mariana Wood (Mrs. Wood), have been working so hard and spending most of their time on this. They are writing in music, or planning times to meet with their orchestra, and the information and things they need to go on the trip. We should be proud after a big accomplishment that the orchestra has done, and how it shows Clayton/Wydown. Let’s give them all the luck we can!

Are Elementary Schools The New Hang Out? by Margaret Sison

As a new student to Wydown I had no idea what “I’ll meet you at Glenridge” meant. I later realized that it meant the elementary school. As you know Glenridge, Meramac, and Captain are Clayton’s three elementary schools. As I’ve observed, many middle school students spend their free time hanging out with their friends at Glenridge. Obviously the other elementary schools are hang out places too but the majority seems to lean towards Glenridge. Maybe because Glenridge has a soccer pitch, basketball courts, and a playground or maybe because it’s more convenient because it’s sort of in the middle of Wydown. Its location is also convenient because it is close to downtown Clayton, which has Starbucks. I know that when I hang out with my friends we go to Glenridge then we hit up Cafe Manhattan. Which is a really unique old-fashioned diner. Many kids my age tend to hang out at Cafe Manhattan. Cafe Manhattan’s waiters and waitresses are used to kids hanging around so it’s not an uncomfortable experience. The Center of Clayton also seems to be a popular hangout spot. I know that the Center is mostly used for its indoor basketball courts, where many kids meet up to 1v1. That is also true with the elementary school basketball courts. I think these elementary school playgrounds act as a safe space where kids come to be kids. Many adults are clueless on where their kid spends their free time but they should be assured that it might be at their old elementary school!

The Campfire by Doxsa Mathewos

We arrived at the campfire and sat on the logs. The logs were cold, rough, and uncomfortable to sit on. I could feel it on my thighs, so I put my jacket on the log so my legs could be warmer and wouldn’t get splinters.

Then Mr.Chisholm walked up in front of the big wooden logs set on each other. They were brown with dark black spots and were set like a tipi. It was filled with small sticks inside like a home for a gnome. He set the bottom small sticks on fire and then it caught fire.

When the flames started it busted right into my face like a big gust of wind and the heat hitting my face hard. The fire flames were so bright and its colors were red, orange, and yellow, with little sparks flying up above the fire like tiny fireworks. The fire was growing higher and higher every minute and the smoke was also lifting in the air. It was dark gray and a little white in some places, and it was like someone was twisting the smoke into beautiful patterns and lifting it to the sky. The smoke spread the smell around the woods.

I could feel my eyes getting lost in the sky because there were big and little stars twinkling in the black night. It looked like it just came out of a painting. The fire was like a candle burning endlessly along the night.

Then I could hear the song that was so gorgeous and delightful. I could feel every note dancing in my heart. We were laughing and our laugh sounded so high-pitched that people began to look back at us. Our singing was so loud that our throats were dry. Our laughs sounded like nails on a chalkboard so loud and squeaky but we still kept on laughing, almost falling over backward. Our arms were wrapped around each other like the smoke that was twisting together in the sky.

Then my favorite song came up, “Country Road.” It was the best feeling I ever had before. It was like the notes were little people jumping through my mind. My heart was so joyful that I could feel the notes come into my ears and down to my heart where they would stay. As I breathed out, my head began to clear from all the worries. The air was nice and cold but with a fresh new scent. It was nice to sing under the stars.

The fire loudly crackled before us while we were waving and feeling the breath in our arms. Our arms were in the air like we could touch the sky. I could feel my heart bouncing and bumping against my ribs trying to escape, and could feel the joy in my heart. This experience taught me that the world is really pretty and being far from the cities can show you the real beauty of the earth.

All Together, As One by Frank Liu

“Almost heaven, West Virginia,”

A thousand voices in the clearing,

“Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River.”

A thousand stars in the sky above.

“Life is old there, older than the trees,”

A cool night breeze wafts through the air,

“Younger than the mountains, growing like a breeze.”

A thousand trees, like a thousand shadows, cast against the dark night sky.

A legion of us, generating this wonderful music, under the blanket of the galaxy above. Our harmonies are glorious, like a chorus of heavenly music. The leaves around us whisper quietly, as the night descends upon us. 

“Country roads, take me home,”

The forest smells surround us,

Fresh grass, wet soil, and a faint hint of nuts.

“To the place, I belong.”

Around us, around all, the cold night air,

Cool, sweet, and everywhere.

“West Virginia, mountain mama,”

The flickering flame crackles and pops,

The woodsmoke’s smell is warm and rich,

Emanating warmth like that of the home, of the hearth.

“Take me home, country roads.”

The world dissolves around me until nothing but this moment remains, this one moment which is eternity. I’m frozen in time, forever a witness to this breathtaking sight. 

One thousand people, one thousand voices.

“All my memories, gather ‘round her,”

A thousand voices, singing in tandem, in harmony.

“Miner’s lady, stranger to blue water.”

Everyone, connected.

“Dark and dusty, painted in the sky,”

Glow sticks swinging, all as one.

“Misty taste of moonshine, teardrop in my eye.”

It was at this moment that I fathomed the enormity of what I am part of. A group of 200, an entire grade, a third of my school–but also, a community. A whole community made up of incredible people. I suddenly experienced a sense of unity and humbleness–for I was part of something far bigger than myself. And that, compared to this world, and all its people–I’m even smaller. If we broaden our scope to encompass our entire universe, well, that makes us seem even smaller.

“Country roads, take me home,

To the place, I belong.”

And yet–a big piece is nothing but a collection of smaller pieces. Without the small pieces, there isn’t anything at all. So in a way, everyone is important. Everything is important. Everything is one of the building blocks of something much bigger and greater than ourselves.

“West Virginia, mountain mama,

Take me home, country roads.”

It’s funny. Such a small moment in time. It’s as if nothing happened, yet all these thoughts came rushing through my head, coursing through my mind. Such an incredible moment in time, one that I will surely never forget.

Can Students Safely Walk to School in Clayton? by Simone Millet

Kids walk to and from school everyday, crossing many different streets as they go. The busiest streets have crossing guards. The purpose of crossing guards is to make sure that kids get to school safely. However, is this enough to keep our kids safe?

To answer this question, I turned to some people familiar with this issue. For example, the crossing guard at Wydown Forest estimates that about half of the cars that cross his intersection don’t pay attention. He doesn’t think that they are purposefully reckless, but rather distracted by things like cell phones. Sadly, there have been accidents in the past. But this can be prevented and the crossguard has ideas how. One suggestion was to increase the number of crossing guards from one to two at the Wydown Forest crosswalk. He also thinks that adding flashing lights to stop signs would help.

But what has Clayton done to improve the safety of its kids? One good place to turn for answers is to Officer Jack Boeger (School Resource Officer at Wydown Middle School) and Mark Smith (Chief of the Clayton Police Department).

At the outset they noted that roads like Hanley and Big Bend are maintained by St Louis County, not Clayton. Nonetheless both men revealed to me that, in response to community concerns,  they have made several safety-related changes near Wydown Middle School. For example, they prohibited U-turns near the school although sadly drivers regularly ignore this rule. The two men also noted that crossing guards are now posted at Big Bend before and after school. The Chief of Police felt strongly that the relatively new bike lane has increased safety in part because people drive slower down narrower streets. Furthermore, between 7:00 and 9:00 am, the speed limit on Wydown is lowered from 30 mph to 25 mph. The Clayton Police Department tries to have officers stationed near the schools in the mornings, but oftentimes they are called to accidents on the highway. On a related note, the CPD is concerned about pedestrian and driver safety everywhere in town. If there is a complaint in a neighborhood about something like cars not stopping at a stop sign, they will send an officer to be there for about a week and to help enforce the stop sign.

While accidents in Clayton continue to happen, fortunately it has been a long time since one has occurred near a school. While this is encouraging, it is essential that everybody— kids, pedestrians, and drivers—continue to be careful and work together to make our streets and crosswalks as safe as possible!

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Globe
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Clayton High School. Our goal is to ensure every student and faculty member receives a print copy, and that we can continue to explore interactive storytelling mediums on this platform. Your donation also helps provide us with necessary equipment.

More to Discover
About the Contributors
Norah Gross
Norah Gross, Reporter
Norah Gross is a senior at CHS and a reporter for the Globe. She is also an active in BBYO. Outside of Globe she can be found playing spending time with friends and family, and voicing her opinions to anyone who will listen. She also enjoys reading and writing.
Bethany Lai
Bethany Lai, Page Editor
Bethany Lai is a junior, and she is thrilled to continue to write on the Globe this year and to learn more about journalism. Aside from writing, Bethany enjoys playing the piano. She is also a part of the school orchestra and Tri-M.
Donate to The Globe
Our Goal

Comments (0)

The Globe is committed to fostering healthy, thoughtful discussions in this space. Comments must adhere to our standards, avoiding profanity, personal attacks or potentially libelous language. All comments are moderated for approval, and anonymous comments are not allowed. A valid email address is required for comment confirmation but will not be publicly displayed.
All The Globe Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *