Stop—It Is Spring

To continue our celebration of National Poetry Month, we have another poem for you today. But this isn’t just any poem! Ebonie’s “Stop-It Is Spring” was a finalist in our Spring Poem Contest.  We’ll be posting each of the four finalists until Sunday…when we’ll reveal our winner!  Ebonie, a sixth grader at Ojeda Middle School, writes in her finalist poem about that special “wonderfulness in the air” that comes from the warmth of spring, the smell of newly blossomed flowers, and the dancing wind.  Ebonie’s words remind us to stop and admire the beauty spring brings and to look forward to a new beginning.

Stop—It Is Spring

The tree stops doing what is was
doing—shaking, you might say.
The grass stops dancing in a very
odd way, like a girl I don’t know
as she runs through the grass
and the red roses and the sunflowers—
she stops. Her nose is clear. It is
hot now. She can smell the
wonderfulness in the air because—
it’s spring.

Ebonie, sixth grade, Ojeda Middle School



Ah, middle school—one of the most complex ecosystems on the planet. It seems an impossible task to explain the joy, the angst, the possibility of it all. Luckily, we don’t have to. In this week’s Unbound selection, eighth-grader Morgan articulates the middle school landscape with honesty and exactitude. Congratulations to Morgan on this accomplished piece.

No matter what, I bet you remember your first day of middle school. You’re labeled the second you walk in that door—jock, nerd, goth, outsider, popular, clean freak, or just plain freak. One day we will all be gone. It will take you a while to remember all the classes you had with your best friends. It will take some time to remember all the extracurricular activities you were in and who was involved. You’ll think of all the fights, make-ups, heartbreaks. You’ll think of all the friends you’ve gained and lost. You’ll cry over it and then cry from laughing, thinking of all the fun you had. Then you’ll think of guys—both good and bad. The guys who were your best friends, the guys you had crushes on, the guys you never got, the guys who slipped away. School is one of the best times of your life. Sometimes you think the world’s coming to an end, but it’s not. It’s only the beginning.

Morgan, eighth grade, Ojeda Middle School

This Crazy, Mixed-Up Life

Ah, life. No one said it would be easy. But rather than belabor the point, let’s turn the discussion over to our Badgerdog writers, two of whom offer sound advice for getting through, well, existence. Congratulations to Daisy and Dominic from Ojeda Middle School for their insight and inspiration on one particularly trying topic.


Never let life take hold.
Make everything into a piece of art without lines.
Don’t see what people want you to see, but what you want to.
Be grateful for what you have.
Don’t live life in poverty without something to fall back on.
Listen to your heart and live a peaceful life within yourself.
Make a happy place with trees and things that keep peace.
Don’t be overpowered with hatred.
Don’t cry over things that bring no use, that bring no pain but sorrow.
Let life make a wonderful change in nature and things that surround you.
Don’t live in fear.
Try to find things you’ve never imagined.
Be at peace with the world, even if it hurts.
Don’t play games with Destiny.
Don’t think about the things you do when you fall in love,
Just the things you say when you care.

Daisy, seventh grade, Ojeda Middle School


Life should be enjoyed. You should live it to its fullest and take risks. When life knocks you down, just keep trying.

In life, you and everyone around you will encounter obstacles. If you keep trying, you will overcome them.

Your life should be fluid and graceful. It should flow like a river. It has currents and even whirlpools. Drama ends up as a waterfall. Excitement is a whirlpool of happiness.

You should enjoy life. It does not last as long as you think. You can overcome an obstacle. There is always a way. Don’t give up on life, ever.

Dominic, seventh grade, Ojeda Middle School

The Truth About My Neighborhood

The sound of snarling pit bulls rings in my ears as clear as a bell, a rigid, cold bell. I get chills up my spine. “Bang!” I hear a shot like a firecracker. Within the next few moments a bloodcurdling screech of pain and agony cuts through the air, through my head, stabbing my soul like a knife slashed in water.

“Ari, get inside!” my grandmother bellows with a terrified edge to her ancient voice.

Later, I am followed down the street like prey. Defenseless prey. It doesn’t connect in my mind, to know why he stalks, but I know he is there. The bass from the speakers shake the earth greater than any earthquake. And the profane rap leaks from the piece of rusted metal called a car stereo. Among the sewer water, cans of Budweiser and candy wrappers float carelessly. . . . A civil war begins. . . . Riots and incomprehensible Spanish is the only thing I hear then.

PregnantCatYet, it’s not all bad. Down the cluttered street, Shakayla and Jariah talk loudly about nonsense, and my house is being invaded by pregnant felines. This war between the adults, between ethnicity, will not affect me. I will not say that I’m color blind, but I do not take notice. I’m the outsider. I’m unable to fit in. What?! Is it because I’m Mexican?!

Ariana, sixth grade, Ojeda Middle School

The Girl Grim Reaper

hourglassFlowers wilt when I walk by, boys flinch and say, “Get away, I don’t want to die!” Girls scream and run away because I am Death or Deathena. I was cursed to become the new grim reaper. I do sometimes execute the people whose time is up or whose hourglass sand has run out. I carry around a scythe and it’s big and heavy. I could chop someone into pieces but I can touch the flesh of a living thing, and it will collapse in death suddenly and without haste. I can always become normal, but because of my well-known stature and occupation of Grim Reaper, no one dares approach me.

I’ve been through this world many times. I’ve seen Zeus and his many perils, I’ve seen Athena and her good wit pull her through situations that I would never resolve myself. And I’ve been through all time sequences, first discoveries, terrible tragedies, and all other emotional scenes.

Times have changed and people should accept me and how dare people curse at the sound of my title. You will all pay someday.

India, sixth grade, Ojeda Middle School