Gissel Gomez is a seventeen-year-old Mexican American artist. She is the Editor-in-chief of her school’s literary magazine, and her artwork has been recognized by several publications. Beauty is her main inspiration and can only hope for people to stop and stare at her work.
Gondola Ride was taken in Switzerland from the top of a mountain, looking down. I kept the entire scene in focus as I actually really enjoy the sort of “overwhelming” feeling it gives off at a first glance. With so much movement and so many colors, I think that this piece highlights how small man-made creations are compared to their surrounding areas. The clouds and mountains in the back add depth to the scene while the actual gondola guides the viewer’s eyes towards the center of the image.
Ria Parikh is a high school junior from Cincinnati, Ohio who finds enjoyment in the small things. She is an avid traveler, Starbucks addict, and dachshund enthusiast. Currently, she serves as the opinion chief and photo editor of her school newspaper, The Leaf. Ria is also the recipient of three gold keys, two silver keys, and seven honorable mentions from the Scholastic Awards for her journalistic writing, poetry, and photography. She is a Kundiman Youth Fellow as well as a first place Writing for our Roots winner. Ria keeps herself busy after school by volunteering, playing varsity tennis, and pursuing her degree in Indian dance. During her free time, Ria loves to spend time with her friends and family.
Life’s Progression, was made with charcoal on paper and touches on the feeling of losing a sense of control over your life and “losing your mind” in the process. The piece is representative of a really hard time I went through personally where I felt very out of place in my life and out of control of the things around me.
Kalvin Verner is a high school junior from Kansas City, MO. He has been making art for as long as he can remember. Verner has previously won a Scholastic Honorable Mention for his art and another Honorable Mention award in the Missouri State University Art Competition.
Through depicting myself in the side view mirror- watching, horrified, as the trash floats toward the car- I hope to bring awareness to the effects of global warming and pollution. The words “current pollution levels are more damaging than they appear” and the murky city skyline represent the foreseeable state of our world. While the car drives away from the pollution, it enters the untouched Antarctic realm, symbolizing life and growth. My piece highlights the deprecating impacts of climate damage and initiating change.
Ally Chen is an ambitious sophomore student attending a high school in Northern Virginia. She has long been interested in art and has been actively creating pieces since around age five. Although it fluctuates, Ally’s most preferred style is realism! Her passion for art grew throughout the years, especially during the quarantine period of 2020, where she found an abundance of time to take advantage of. During quarantine, she used art as a way to entertain herself and relieve mental stress. She now uses it to help children in healthcare centers through a youth-led nonprofit organization. Aside from art, Ally also enjoys travelling and spending time with family!
There was a girl at my school who never spoke a word. She had turquoise hair, a septum piercing, and she wore a green hoodie like a shell. We all called her Turtle Girl.
I don’t know why I called her that and laughed with the other kids. You see, I was unpopular like Turtle Girl. The only difference was that I talked, and she didn’t.
One day, some bullies hit me at recess. I wasn’t much of a fighter, so I took it for fear of worse. The other kids watched from a distance, some trying to defend me but most doing nothing. Turtle Girl sat on her own, away from me, the bullies, and the other kids. She chewed her sandwich and looked bored, until suddenly, she wasn’t. She stood up, walked over to the biggest bully hitting me, and she left her shell just like that. She rolled up the sleeves of her green hoodie and hit the bully.
When the bullies retreated, Turtle Girl left the scene. She didn’t say a word, just walked away. While the other kids talked, I followed her, spewing thanks and wonder. Turtle Girl remained silent.
Eventually, frustrated by her silence, I asked her, “Why did you help me?”
Turtle Girl blinked at me. “You looked like a turtle going into its shell,” she said, rolling back down her green sleeves. “I thought I’d help you, because you don’t have a shell.”
And just like that, she returned to her shell and resumed her lunch.
I never called her Turtle Girl again.
Patricia Jane Donato is the aspiring author of short stories, novels, poems, and maybe even graphic novels. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, walking in the woods, drawing manga, or chatting with her friends. Patricia’s work also appears in The WEIGHT Journal and Cathartic Literary Magazine.
It is a warm summer morning, the sun is bashfully peeking over the mountains, filling the mansion with a wonderful warm glow. The halls are empty, and eddies of dust swirl around. My golden frame glimmers in the morning sun, and I stretch my arms out as far as they can go. I flutter my eyes daintily. Another glorious day.
A loud jingling sound emanates from downstairs, then a loud creak. Astonished, I peek out of my painting and glance down the stairs. An elderly woman has entered the building. Her face has melted with age, covered in liver spots. Next to her is a middle-aged woman. When they look my way, I quickly meld back into my painting, assuming the position I was born in. The two women begin to search around the house, my house, rummaging through drawers and file cabinets. I feel my blood pressure increasing with everything they move out of place.
Something seems off about the older woman. Her eyes seem like cruel copies of my own eyes. Her hair is a faded version of my own golden hair. On her finger is the same ring that I wear! I am outraged as I recognize this hag. I hear the younger woman climb up the staircase, the younger woman fixated with an old piano. She sits on the old stool and opens the lid. When I am sure that she isn’t watching, I slither out of my frame. When I touch the sleek wooden floor, my delicate foot makes no sound. The woman begins to play, and I recognize this melody. It was something she would play when she was younger; however, her skills are greatly diminished. My eyes narrow as I approach her, standing silently behind her. What a cruel imitation of my eternal beauty. Suddenly, her head whips around, shouting in fear as she sees me. I zoom back into my painting, quickly resuming my pose.
The younger woman rushes down the stairs, wrapping her arm around the elderly woman, who is as pale as a ghost.
“Are you alright!?” the woman asks, panicked.
“Y…yes… I thought I saw someone behind me…” The elderly woman mutters, her eyes not moving from my painting. “But it was nothing…”
“I think we should go,” the young woman says quietly.
The pair leave quickly, closing the door behind them. Once more, I am alone.
William MacLeod, 15, has been writing poetry, short stories, and novels before kindergarten. This is his second published work, his first being a poem put in the newspaper of his small hometown in California. When he’s not writing, he enjoys other creative hobbies like drawing and painting, or spending time with his cat: Gwyneth.