Presented by the RSMS Student Journalism Club

Welcome to the February edition of SouthChat, your Student Journalism Club newsletter! We have Black History Month features, short stories, book reviews, editorials, poetry, and profiles on new RSMS staff members! We hope you enjoy this issue!

Whipped Hot Chocolate

By Aubrey Warren

For those who have TikTok, and even those who don’t, remember back in December when all you’d see was those big balls of chocolate being dropped into steaming hot milk? They’d melt away before your eyes and within the snap of a finger, the chocolate ball and the milk had combined together to make a delicious-looking, hot chocolate. Well, now we went from the trendy hot chocolate bombs to the beautiful, eye-catching, whipped hot chocolate! Now instead of putting whipped cream on your hot chocolate, you put whipped chocolate on your milk, it’s kind of like reversed hot chocolate! A delightful thing about this recipe is you can make it a hot OR cold drink. For a more original hot cocoa use warm milk. Or, if you want a cold chocolatey drink, use refrigerated milk with or without ice. It’s also really yummy to just eat the whipped hot chocolate part by itself without the milk, and to be honest, that is what I do sometimes! It’s such a delicious drink, that has so much variety for you to make the drink how YOU would want it, and I hope that you give it a try! Now for as much as this recipe sounds like it might be complicated, it’s actually quite simple! Here are the ingredients you’ll need;

  • 1 pack of Hot Chocolate mix. Use your favorite brand because any will work.
  • 2 tbsp Granulated Sugar. The hot chocolate mix will have a little sugar already included but adding a bit more will give it the ultimate taste
  • ½ cup Heavy Whipping Cream is used to make the whipped chocolate fluffy. Make sure it’s cold when adding it to the mix for whipping.
  • 2 cups of Milk. Use whatever milk you prefer, hot or cold. The milk will go into the cup first and the whipped chocolate will go on top of it.
  • (optional) Ice. Only use if making the cold version


  1. Whisk together the hot chocolate mix and sugar in a mixing bowl.
  2. Pour in the whipping cream and beat on medium to high speed until the mixture begins to thicken and soft to stiff peaks form when you lift the hand mixer out of the bowl.
  3. For the hot version: heat the milk and divide it between two glasses or mugs.
  4. For the iced version: add ice to two glasses and divide the cold milk between the glasses.
  5. Divide the whipped chocolate mixture and add half on top of the milk in each glass.
  6. Enjoy!

Covid Positives

By: Natalie Moehle

Everyone dislikes COVID-19 in some way, many have lost family members, friends, and have experienced so many bad and sad things, but there’s a flip side to that. Many good things have happened like, more time with family, more leisure time, and more time to relax.

I know that before COVID I wanted my life to be exciting instead of boring, but once COVID hit I realized that my life was hectic. I barely had any time to do anything, I was so busy, but I thought that my life was boring, ha! There is an ancient Chinese curse that says, may you live in interesting times! Well, right now is definitely interesting. Now instead of going out to hang out with our friends, we’re at home having a family game night.

Some days I forget what the day is and feel like there aren’t enough things to do, I once asked to do chores to pass the time away. I have been sleeping in until ten and have been reading books in my pjs on the weekends. I know that it is sometimes hard to find positive things about COVID, but there are a lot of good things that have happened too.

Dragon Sculpture


Every day I sit,

I rarely move

From my perch

On this desk

I stare up at the

Stuffed animals

Situated on the net

Mocking me

For they can see

Almost everything

In the room

And I see



How I crave to


And see

Everything that's

Around me

I wish I could

Take to the sky

Like the enchanted beasts

She modeled me after

To extend my wings

And see what else

Is past this

Small world that I

Live in

I yearn to be free

To feel


And the


But I know

She's just protecting


And that

If I was broken

Or lost

And couldn't find

My way back to her

That she would be worried

About where her beautiful

Silver-skinned dragon

Would be

And concerned

That something

Happened to


So I do my job

I sit here and wait

For my human,

My girl,

My creator,

To come home

Black History Month Profile: Ruby Bridges

By Raegan Vahey

In honor of Black History month I thought I would share a short story of the young Ruby Bridges.

Ruby was the eldest of five kids. She usually spent time taking care of her younger siblings. Ruby Bridges was always a great student. She worked hard everyday in her all black school. Back then, when segregation was going on, there were two schools. The all white school and the all black school. None of this was fair. Since Ruby was at an all black school, the teaching wasn’t high level. On the other hand the all white school was high class. Ruby didn’t seem to be getting the right amount of education. So she, along with 6 other students, were given a test to see if they were qualified to go to an all white school. If they passed, they were then allowed to go to the all white school without it being against the law. Ruby along with 5 other students passed. Their parents were told they had to now attend an all white school. Her father was concerned about Ruby’s safety. Her mom on the other hand wanted her to get the education that she had been denied. Of course, young Ruby didn’t know what any of this meant and what would come next.

A few weeks later it was Ruby’s first day at William Frantz School. Her mom put her in her best dress and best shoes. Her mom packed her lunch, and gave her her backpack. Four men showed up at her house the day of her attendance ready to take her to William Frantz. Ruby was super ready to go, not knowing what she would see at the school.

They slowly approached the school. Already Ruby could hear yelling and screaming. This didn't really frighten Ruby. As they approached the school, she saw a mess. People were holding up signs and chanting very loudly. Ruby was very confused but she got out of the car anyway. The signs said things like “No black allowed” and other crazy things. The four men stood in a square around her, trying to protect her from the mob. There was yelling, chaos, and screaming.

As soon as Ruby got into the school she was sent straight to the principal’s office. She waited in there for hours with the guards still around her. The day went by slowly as she continued to sit in the principal's office without actually attending class.

The day ended and Ruby was escorted back out to the mob of people. She was then safely driven home where she met up with her mother and father. She kept repeating this for a few days until they let her into a classroom. But, sadly, some parents didn’t want their kids going to school with a black kid. So, parents took their kids out of school. They protested everyday outside of her school. Ruby did not know what any of this meant. People kept leaving until Ruby’s classroom was only her and her teacher. But Ruby continued to go to school every day, with no one.

But, slowly, kids started coming back, but no one wanted to talk to Ruby. One time, a teacher asked for a student to play with Ruby. The student responded by says that her mom had told her she couldn't talk to Ruby. Ruby was upset because she didn’t know why no one wanted to talk to her. Was this all because of the color of her skin? It didn’t make sense. Slowly more and more students showed up to her class until she had a full class. Ruby’s actions advanced the Civil Rights Movement. Her story tells us that segregation is wrong and if you put your mind to something, you will be able to achieve it. Ruby still speaks out today saying racism is wrong and “does not belong in the hearts of our children.” Because of Ruby’s bravery, schools today include children of all races.

Cartoon by Lucas Derenski

Big picture

Cotillion Comes to RSMS

By: Natalie Moehle

We’ve all heard that manners are everything. Well, here is an activity that is based on that, Cotillion at Rockwood South! Cotillion sessions include how to communicate with others, how to use social media, how to dance, along with good table manners. These lessons will teach you good habits that will go a long way in life. They might even help you in a job interview! At the end of the program, there will be an event where you will have a formal meal, a dance contest, and a chance to win a prize!

The main priority is to keep everyone safe. The organizers have procedures in place to make sure everyone will be socially distanced at all times. They will have hand sanitizer offered to you throughout the program, masks will be required, and temperatures will be checked prior to entering the building. Their procedures will also include any guidelines provided by the school, the nurse, and the county.

Bored? Check These Ideas Out!

We are officially in winter and most of us probably agree we are ready for spring. But, I have come to your rescue in case you're in need of something to do when you’re bored! Here are 8 things to cure any boredom you might have.

Do a diamond art

On Amazon, there are these things called diamond arts for around $10. There are so many different pictures and sizes! It comes with little plastic diamonds with an applicator and a picture. Except, the picture is sticky. It’s basically a more fun version of a color by number!

Make some snow ice cream

Every time it snows above a few inches, my two brothers and I always ask my dad to make snow ice cream. It may not snow a lot, but when it does, definitely ask your parents to make you some! If you need a good recipe, click this link.

Do a sudoku

However you might pronounce it, sudokus are a great way to relax. I personally feel like this is the most underrated game or activity because everyone thinks it’s so confusing when it’s super easy. If you don’t have a book of them at home, try finding some on Google.

Find a good book to read

There are a lot of good books out there. I recommend Hunger Games, Harry Potter, and Scythe. This one is kind of self explanatory!

Bake something

Whether it's a cake, cupcakes, or cookies, it's pretty easy to bake something! Whatever it may be, just grab your mom or dad and make a delicious dessert for after dinner.

Practice your waitress/waiter skills

At dinner or lunch, have everyone sit down at your table. Give everyone a menu, take their orders, and get cooking! You can even have a brother, sister, mom, dad, maybe even grandma or grandpa help you prepare everyone's order. If they complain, no dessert!

Play a family game

We all have so much time at home right now, why not play some games with your family? I’m sure your mom, dad, sister, brother, or anyone you choose would love to play with you. You could play board games like Monopoly or Sorry, or even get the whole family to play a game of Among Us!

DIY something

DIY stands for Do It Yourself, so find something to do! There are plenty of tutorials on YouTube for good crafts, but you can also buy kits from Walmart, Target, etc.


By Marissa Swanick

You look straight ahead

As you walk

Down the street

To your house

It’s a normal afternoon

To a normal day

But you don’t want it to be

You want something

Exciting to happen

You want some


But you’re stuck

Staring straight ahead

Walking down

the bare road


It’s only the same because

You make it that way

All you have to do is

Change something and


It’s different


You can

Not look straight ahead

Look anywhere but ahead

On the second one



Do anything

But don’t walk

As the days

Drag on

Do something


Do you notice it?

Do you see the change?

Now the day

Isn’t as bad

As it used to be

There’s a difference

In how you see things

You just need

a new


New Staff Profile: Ms. Stoverink

By April Watson

For the 2020-21 school year, we have a new face here at Rockwood South! Ms. Stoverink is a 7th grade black team math teacher, and she replaces Mrs. Smarr, who retired at the end of last school year. She is certified to teach Social Studies, but Ms. Stoverink chose to teach math because she's better at math. She prefers Google Classroom over Canvas, but uses Canvas more because it's what's recommended from the school. To get a glimpse into her more personal life, Ms. Stoverink has her bulldog, Lucy, who only has three legs! She also said she likes to teach math to help kids enjoy math even if they think they don't like it. She even coaches volleyball! So, if you see Ms. Stoverink in the hall, make sure to say hi and give her a smile, even under your mask!

Valentine's Day Poem

By Aubrey Warren

White snow on the ground, hand in hand ,

as they walked to school saying they were just friends!

But little did the girl know that the boy had a special surprise,

with a heart full of love, and a twinkle in his eyes.

They went to each of their classes, one by one,

‘till finally, the end of the day has come.

He meets the girl in the front of the school and gets down on one knee,

and then he says, “My love, will you go to the Valentines’ dance with me?” In his head, he’s praying for her to agree,

and then she exclaims yes and he drowns in relief.

Happy Valentine's day!

Reviews and Recommendations

The Social Dilemma

By: Natalie Moehle

We’ve all heard of robots and A.I., someday in a million years taking over, but what we haven’t realized is that A.I. already controls most of our life.

Social Dilemma, a Netflix original documentary, brings light to that. The creators and programmers of social media apps like, Facebook and Twitter, explain what happens to our physiology on our devices. They explain the algorithms that these companies use to get you more addicted. Every swipe, click, every second that you spend is monitored by these companies.

Now I know what you're thinking, social media doesn’t affect that much of my life, well in the show, they have a challenge for you, go one day where you’re not on any devices no computers, video games, phones, nothing, you can’t even answer texts from your friends. See if you can do it. If you can, congratulations you haven’t been sucked into the social media loophole! If you don’t, I hope that this shows you how serious of a problem this is.

Now that you see the problems with social media, what can you do about it? The producers of the show have several suggestions:

  1. Know Your Usage: Use your phone’s screen time app (Screentime on iPhone, Digital Wellbeing on Android) to see how much time you are actually spending on your device. Set a goal to use less!

  2. Turn Off Notifications: By turning off your notifications, studies show that you use your phone less because you aren’t “called” to look at it.

  3. Create Limits: Set some limits for yourself on how much you use your phone. You can set limits on how much time you can spend on specific apps, set up times each day when the phone is off limits like a meal times, and set limits on where you use your phone like no phones in your bedroom.


By Hadley Keirsey

Hi there! I am here to tell you a little about this amazing book that I read, Magyk.

Magyk is the first book in the series of 14! If you like these books then you have 14 of them to read. I could not put the book down. I have read the first two (I want to read them all eventually), but enough about me, you probably want to know about this book.

In this book, if your father was the seventh son for his parents and you are too this means that you are a wizard. So, the seventh of the seventh son-Septimus Heap-was born and suddenly the midwife declares that he is dead, rapping him up and running away with him. The parents were so upset.

That same night the dad of Septimus Heap finds a little baby girl bundled up laying out in the woods in the snow and cold. She had violet eyes and was a newborn. The Heaps take her home and give her the name Jenna. They took her in as their own.

The real questions are where did Jenna come from? Where did Septimus Heap go? These questions are important, and you can find them out if you read the book. I know all of the book reviews that you read, mostly say read the book! It is true though! That is the whole point of a book review, so if you like Harry Potter, wizards, witches, and a whole other world that you can escape to when you are mad at yours, then this book is perfect for you.

The Croods 2

By Hadley Keirsey

How many of you have seen Croods 2? Probably not that many of you, I am almost positive that it is still in the movie theater. If you have seen Croods though, and if you absolutely loved it, this movie is for you. I know that some people do not like books, or you just do not enjoy reading. Some of you guys might enjoy reading more than sitting down and watching a whole movie. You might still enjoy it though! Let me get on to the actual review, what this movie is really about.

There is a family, the Croods (of course!) and they are cavemen. There is a baby (that is more like a dog) named Sandy and if you let her go she will race to an animal and probably attack it. Then, there is grandma named Gran, she is very funny! She has a big green tail that is like a lizard, she also has a cane that she uses to swing around on, or to wack an animal in the face with. Next, there is Eep, the older sister. She likes this boy named Guy who they met in the movie Croods. Guy has a cute sloth named Belt, Belt is called that because he wraps around Guy like a belt. Belt is probably known the best for the Da-da daaaa! He says this a lot!

There is also an older brother named Thunk. He is not smart at all and is usually hungry. Last, but not least, there is Ugga the mom and Grug the dad. Grug is overprotective and Ugga is a wife, a mother, and is the daughter of Gran. Ugga is the one who usually holds back Sandy. She is also more calm than Grug and helps him calm down.

In Croods 2, the family can not find any food, they are always so hungry. That is until they accidentally stumble into a space behind gates where there is food everywhere! When they find out that this land is owned by someone though they can not decide if they want to beg to stay or to run away at the first chance they have. It does not help that the owners know Guy and he knows them. Guy wants to stay with them even if the Croods do not. Though, if the Croods do decide to leave, Eep might try to put up a fight. None of the Croods want to leave, but they might not have a choice.

You can rent or buy the Croods 2 on digital services like Google Play and AppleTV. It is full of laughs and is a great family movie. When this movie comes out I am definitely watching this again, but this time it will be with my family. This is also a good movie to watch with popcorn. If you have not watched the first one, then watch it. This movie can wait until you are done with the first one!

Miracles from Heaven

By Natalie Moehle

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and I bet you are thinking of all of the candy hearts and cards that you will receive this year. But I have a heart and tear-jerking book just for you. Miracles from Heaven is a tale about a little girl who has a lot of problems with her stomach. She has gone through surgeries her whole life, GI testing, invasive tests, everything, just so they can find a cure.

It all started when she was little, the cramps, headaches, bloating, but then it got serious. She was called to the hospital multiple times but the doctors all said that she was fine and that the mom was just crazy. But, one day something was different, they rushed her to the hospital and then, bang! Her intestines had deteriorated. Two surgeries later she had purple veins and looked like a fly caught in a spider web.

Facing depression, only Anna Beam’s sisters can get her up and out of bed. They go on all sorts of imaginary adventures they make up, unicorn palaces, monkey fighting clouds, everything. They race around the yard, play games, and climb trees. But in the great tree down the way, an accident happens. Anna visits the afterlife. But God says that she isn’t ready so he sends her back. After the accident, she makes a miraculous recovery and slowly tells the tale of how she visited God. Find out more, in the book Miracles From Heaven by Christy Beam.

Rockwood Reads Together to Make a Change

By Mrs. Barrett

In February, people from across Rockwood School District got together to talk about the book, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi. You may be familiar with some of Jason Reynolds’ other books like the Ghost series, Long Way Down, Look Both Ways, and Miles Morales: Spider-man.

Stamped is a book that traces racism back to its roots, and helps readers to see different sides to many moments and people in history. The intent is to help readers to become antiracist. Reynolds explains that antiracists are people who believe that, “...there is nothing wrong or right about Black people and everything wrong with racism. The antiracists say racism is the problem in need of changing, not Black people. The antiracists try to transform racism.”

The Rockwood School District encouraged students, staff, administrators, and parents to read Stamped, and then take part in a district-wide forum to discuss issues raised in the book. The forum was led by Dr. LaGarrett King, Associate Professor of Social Studies Education at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

If you are interested in reading Stamped, or any of Jason Reynolds’s other books, go to Rockwood South’s website, click on the library tab, click Destiny, log in using your Chromebook credentials, and type Jason Reynolds into the search!

Student Short Stories


By Madison Stevens

When I got out of bed, I tipped-toed down the hall and stepped outside. I breathed in the crisp morning air, as I breathed out, I could see my breath. I quickly realized that it was five degrees outside and I was only wearing my fuzzy pajama pants with a tank top! Quickly, I scurried back inside to grab a thick coat.

When I got inside, the aroma of pancakes and scrambled eggs filled my nose. How had I not realized my mom cooking in the kitchen when I sneaked outside? I didn’t let her know that I was there. I plopped down on the couch next to the fireplace and took a sip of her coffee. It tasted really good! I had no idea what flavor it was, but it wasn’t normal coffee.

A few minutes passed, and I hadn’t realized that my mom was standing right there in the doorway, glaring at me. “Hey, that was my coffee!” she said teasingly.

“Sorry,” was my sheepish reply.

“It’s ok honey, I’ll go make two more cups!” her voice was soothing and calming.

I had a party in my head. I was gonna get good coffee, pancakes, and scrambled eggs for breakfast! I could tell today was going to be a good day!

My mom called me into the kitchen when breakfast was ready. I was so excited that I was there in under two seconds!

“Woah, slow your horses!” She looked surprised that I got there so fast.

“Sorry Mom!” I muttered, “But I am just so excited for breakfast!”

I quickly got my pancakes and eggs and tip-toed back to my room because dad was still asleep.

When I was walking down the hallway, I heard a noise, like an engine! I sprinted to my room. I didn’t feel fourteen anymore, I felt like a little two year old! I took a peek out the window and saw two men, standing by three snowmobiles, talking about something. They looked at me through the window and I swiftly hid behind the curtain. I still think they saw me! I heard them start talking again. I ran to my walk in closet before they could see me and I quickly changed into warm clothes. I was going to save my house!

Once again, I tipped toed down the hallway.

I was surprised when I got to the kitchen, my mom wasn’t there! Nor were the pancakes and eggs! It was like they just disappeared. I didn’t have time to look for mom. This was the first time that I was probably going to get any excitement in these big woods. It is hard to like Wisconsin when the only thing you do everyday is sit at home and do nothing but play in the snow by yourself, get homeschooled, and read. Well I guess I did have my phone, and my computer but those can get boring too!

I cracked the front door open and it made a loud creak. The guys looked over to me and screamed, “Hey!” They sounded excited. They must’ve really wanted to kidnap me. I quickly ran towards them. Right after I started running, I realized that it wasn’t a good idea to run towards two strangers that could be dangerous! I had very little time to think. I slid under their legs while they were trying to grab me and hopped on one of their snowmobiles. I took the keys out of the other two so they couldn’t chase after me on them. I knew how to drive a snowmobile and I even had my license! I don’t have a driver's license, but you can get a snowmobile license when you are younger.

I was driving as fast as I could for what felt like ten minutes, then I realized that they probably weren’t Olympic runners and I could even be a few miles ahead of them. What are you doing? I screamed at myself in my mind like mom does when I am in big trouble, That is your house and you left the door open! That just leaves all of your belongings to the bad guys!

After screaming at myself, I turned the vehicle around and drove back to the house.

When I got back, the front door was closed. The other snowmobiles that the men had driven were in the garage. The snow crunched under my boots as I walked to the front door. What is happening to my parents? Was the question my mind was asking me over and over again.

I bravely put my hand on the freezing door handle and peeked inside. Unfortunately, the door creaked even louder than last time. The two guys looked up at me from the couch and smiled at me. I could hear mom in the kitchen and the smell of snickerdoodle cookies entered my nose. I stood there, not moving at all. I didn’t know what to do!

Mom finally came out of the kitchen with a steaming plate of cookies. She hollered, “Finally! You're back from your ride! Did you have fun?”

I just stood there with a confused look on my face, I was riding away from the bad guys and now they are sitting on my couch and mom was totally fine with it! She smiled at the unknown men and gestured to me to sit down.

“Mom! Why did you let the bad guys sit on the couch?” I yelled at her. Her face expression changed to a frown.

“You don’t understand sweetie, these are your uncles.” She whispered into my ear, “You only met them when you were a baby so you don’t know them that well.”

“But then why were they trying to grab me!” I replied.

“We were just trying to hug you,” one of my uncles butted in.

I could feel my expression changing to surprise. I had uncles! I had no idea I had other family other than my mom, my dad, my grandparents, my aunt, my uncle, and my cousin!

“Why did you bring three snowmobiles if there are only two of you?” I asked, turning to my uncles.

“Well, we thought we would get one for you!” the other uncle responded.

I was so happy that I was probably smiling ear to ear. My own snowmobile! I usually have to drive my mom or my dad’s snowmobile. I gave them both hugs and they appreciated it.

Later, I learned that my uncles names were Logan and Liam. They were twins! They were my mom’s brothers and they loved snickerdoodle cookies just like me! I didn’t get the adventure that I thought I would get, but at least I now know I have three uncles instead of one!

"Overcoming the Odds"

By Elizabeth Davis

My name is Georgia Brown, and I have been blind my whole life. When I was younger, I had trouble in school because of it. I had to learn to read separately from the rest of the class, so that I could learn braille. People weren’t necessarily mean to me, but I didn’t have very many friends, either. People mostly just didn’t talk to me, which was probably just because I was very introverted.

Luckily, I did have one great friend named Samantha. We always hung out after school, and if people did make fun of me, she would stand up to them. We were best friends for all of elementary school.

Unfortunately, in sixth grade, we didn’t have any classes together. Sometimes I would hear her say hi to me in the hallways, but by the time I noticed, she was probably already gone.

The first day of sixth grade, we were still great friends, but everything slowly changed. I went to my new locker after my first class, science, and opened it up on the first try. I had marked all of my binders with raised dots with the name of their corresponding class in braille. I took out my language arts binder and closed my locker.

Right after I did, I heard Samantha’s voice say, “Hi Georgia!”

It startled me, so I jumped a little. “Oh, hey Samantha. Why are you at my locker?” I asked.

“Well, my next class is on the way, so I thought I would stop by and say hello,” she replied.

“Oh, what’s your next class? Maybe we have the same one,” I suggested.

“No, I remember that you said you have language arts next. I have history.”

She acted sad, but also had her usual bouncy energy. She looked at her watch and jumped.

“Oh no! We better get going. The bell’s about to ring! Bye, Georgia!” She yelled, running down the hallway.

“Bye, Samantha,” I mumbled, even though she was already gone. I speed walked down the hall and stepped into class right before the bell rang. I felt along the wall, to find the seat in the farthest back corner. I hear the door close, which usually means that the teacher is here, and ready to start.

“Hello students! As you can all see on the board, my name is Mrs. Mayfield. I will be your language arts teacher.

I laugh on the inside and try to suppress a smile. She must have forgotten I was in this class.

“Now, you all know my name, but I don’t know yours’!” Mrs. Mayfield continued. “So, I want all of you to say your name, then one fact about yourself that you want us to know. Now, you start.” She probably pointed to someone, because a boy starts talking.

“Hi, my name’s Liam and I think that you should all know that I have broken three bones in the past year.” He said loudly. We went around the room and everyone said a fact about themselves, like “I have a dog named Cocoa,” and things like that.

When it was my turn, I didn’t say that I was blind. I said, “Um, my name is Georgia and I play the piano.” I’ve always loved music, because it is a source of beauty that I can identify, unlike art or sunsets or anything like that. The rest of Language Arts was pretty fun, and Mrs. Mayfield was really nice.

At the end of class, she pulled me to the side. “Georgia, is it?” she asked.

I nodded.

“You are my blind student, correct?”

I nodded again.

“I just want to make sure you are comfortable in class, and make sure you ask when you need help, okay?”

I nodded and finally spoke. “Okay,” I said, and gave a small smile.

Mrs. Mayfield’s voice changes, so I know she’s smiling. “I’ll give you a pass, and you can go to your next class. I hear her walk, and come back. “Take this, and you can go to your next class now. Bye, Georgia!”

I walked to my next class, and had a pretty good day. The next day, Samantha didn’t stop by my locker, but I heard her yell, “Sorry, Georgia! See you tomorrow! Probably!” As she walked by.

I sighed, then smiled as I went into Language Arts.

“Hello, Georgia! Hello, Layla!” Mrs. Mayfield says enthusiastically as I walk in. Layla must have been near me.

I hear her footsteps stay near me as she comes to the back of the room with me. I remember Layla going before me in the ice breaker on the previous day.

“Um, Georgia? That’s your name, right? Sorry,” I heard a voice say from Layla’s direction.

“Yes,” I mumbled.

“Do you mind if I ask you a question?” Layla asked.

“You can,” I said a little bit louder.

“Did Mrs. Mayfield, um, did she say you’re blind?” Layla’s voice gets super quiet, like she feels bad for asking.

“Yes, but it’s okay. Don’t feel bad for asking,” I assured her.

“Okay, thanks.” Layla sounds relieved.

Our conversation, and many other people's, were cut off by Mrs. Mayfield. “Good morning, class! Today, we will start working on our first project. In this project, you will find a book to read, then once you are finished with it, you will write a summary of the book, and do two of the following extra activities,” She explained, and I heard tapping, so I assumed she was pointing to a list on the board. “You can design a new cover for the book that still represents the book well. You can write an alternate ending to the book. You can write a backstory for one of the characters,” Mrs. Mayfield listed off many, many options. I took note of two that I liked. I wanted to write an alternate ending for a book, and write a backstory for one of the characters. Then, Mrs. Mayfield went on with the instructions. “Don’t worry about what book you want to do, or what activities yet, because you will want to discuss that with your partner! Yes! This is a partner project, and I am going to let you pick your own partners! I will pick the quietest person first.”

I sat and hoped I wouldn't be called up to pick. Three people picked partners, then Layla was called up. “I pick…” she paused, “Georgia!”

I was surprised to hear this, but also very happy. After everyone else picked a partner, we got to talk about what book we wanted to read. Layla and I decided on Wonder. We agreed that that night, we would read the first three chapters, to get a start on it.

The next day, when I walked into Language Arts, I heard a girl talking, but I wasn’t sure who. “I feel bad for Layla. She’s stuck with the blind girl, Georgia. She’ll have to do basically all of the work.”

I had heard this before, and I knew how to handle it. Instead, I channel that energy into working even harder, to prove them wrong.

When Layla and I began to read, I heard Mrs. Mayfield come up and say, “Here you go, honey. I got a braille version of Wonder, so you don’t have to listen to the audiobook.”

We read, and having the braille book helps me out a lot in feeling like I am helping. I really enjoyed the book, but I loved the extra activities even more. Layla made a new cover for the book, and I wrote an alternate ending. It took us a couple weeks to get the whole project done, but I think that it turned out really good. Presenting was a bit nerve racking, but we got through it, then went back to our seats.

Layla leaned over to me and whispered, “Great job! I was a little worried about whether you would be able to do this, you know? But it turned out amazing!”

I was so happy to hear this. Not only was it a compliment, it proved that I did do well, despite what other people thought.

Every day, from then on, I improved on two things. First, after Layla picked me on the second day, I started gaining confidence to talk to people and make new friends. Second, I kept working harder every time anyone belittled me, because doing something back to them won’t do any good. If you work hard, not only will you prove them wrong, you will get things done.

Valentine's Day Come True

By Natalie Moehle

When I woke up on February 14th, 2021, I knew that this year would be different. I knew that there would be tears and masks, and a fear of going out on this special holiday, but I didn’t expect that all of the spirit would be lost to this dread. I knew that we would all be together in a bittersweet moment, where we would spend Valentine’s Day together.

I woke up that morning expecting the sun to be shining on new-fallen snow. I would hop out of bed and get all of the Valentine’s Day decorations perfect so that my family could enjoy them, but when I walked down the stairs I saw empty shelves. No food was in the pantry or fridge, the heart-shaped candy was all gone, and the beautiful flowers that my dad gave my mother were wilted and dead.

Where are all of the gifts given with love? Where are the decorations that brought me so much joy?

I searched all morning, and then searched into the afternoon. My brother wouldn’t help me, and my parents had left for some unknown reason. I searched and I searched but I couldn’t find the elusive decorations.

Then at five o’clock, my parents came home with a surprise. We’re going out, they said. I could tell by the way they were dressed that this place was fancy, I put on my dress, coat, and boots. I walked back down the stairs and I gasped. The decorations were perfect, we had the most beautiful flowers on our table, and the food smelled tremendous. It was my Valentine’s Day, come true.

Wishing everyone happiness and love on this Valentine’s Day!

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