By Jonny Wu
With her family and friends cheering her on, Jacqueline Olson closed her eyes as she ate the first piece of cheese in her life.
By the way, Olson was eleven at the time. Eleven. Strange, right? This is the story of Olson’s amusing and lighthearted journey of overcoming her dairy allergy.
By Ben Calmas
Returning from the restroom, Davis reached to stop a door from closing, but his finger wasn’t strong enough to prevent the swing of the door. At the age of eight, Ryder Davis planned to attend his second Hollywood film premiere. Before attending his uncle’s Step Brothers premiere, however, Davis nearly severed part of his middle finger on his right, dominant, hand. While some people fear snakes, heights, or spiders, Davis fears doors.
Davis says, “My finger was literally hanging off.”
By Russell Stern
Jenna Sadhu rolls down her car window, feeling like she had to do something. In a moment of anxiety, she reaches for her jeans pocket and pulls out a five dollar bill. Then, she sticks her hand out the car window and offers the money to the homeless woman, and says, “Have a nice day.” To Sadhu’s delight, the homeless woman responds with gratitude and warmth. Sadhu would soon find out that her own generosity would come back to meet her.
By Sarah Oh
The sun beams against the shimmering Missouri river, manifesting a sprinkle of sparkles across the clear blue stream. It is a source of inspiration, of joy—of risk.
On June 14, 2017, Jonny Wu from Choate Rosemary Hall embarked on the risk at an Indian Reservation in South Dakota. As part of a community service trip, Wu and his friends built homes and organized activities for the Native American kids such as basketball, frisbee, and more.
By Ryder Davis
Texas high school student Sophie Ryland’s family has enemies across the globe — but these foes aren’t treacherous spies or violent mobsters. Stunningly, their enemies are primates, found in tropical forests, circuses, and zoos.
At the age of five, Ryland learned that her family had three separate encounters with primates of varying types, starting with a brutally violent one. When Ryland’s great-aunt babysat her neighbor’s monkey for a couple of days, the animal pounced on her face and severely injured her in an unexpected fit of rage.
By Sophie Ryland
In the second week of freshman year, Ben Calmas felt confident as he climbed up to the top of the wall in front of his new dorm, certain that only a few of his friends would watch his impulsive stunt. Instead, his nerves began to take hold as he surveyed the crowd scattered on the grass in front of him- everyone in his grade was watching.
It had all started minutes earlier when one of his prefects joked that freshman used to do flips off the wall all the time. Though the prefect was just trying to tease the newcomers, Calmas, who had learned gymnastics alongside his sister when they were younger, decided that he could actually perform the feat and impress the crowd.
By Alexander Aibel
Second grade student Julia Johnston sat in Mrs. Grossman’s class faced with her first daunting writing assignment– to write a personal narrative. At first, Johnston was nervous to write this because never before had she been given an assignment of this magnitude. To her surprise, not only was she able to get through the assignment, she was able to write 28 pages and fell in love with writing.
Johnston attributes Mrs. Grossman for bettering her as a writer, and supporting her throughout the process. After turning in her assignment, she received praise from her for writing such a masterpiece.
By Katherine Zhang
For the seven years up until his bar mitzvah, Alex Aibel’s childhood schedule had revolved around a fixed religious routine. Sundays were reserved for Hebrew school and Fridays for the shabbat, the Jewish day of rest, while temple visits, Jewish holiday celebrations and trips to Israel to see relatives were sprinkled throughout the rest of the year. And through all of it, he felt neither particularly enthusiastic nor especially resentful – just detached.
Aibel’s Hebrew school took a wide variety of approaches to teaching its students about Judaism, from reading prayers and stories to watching videos about Jewish history. But for Aibel, none of it really clicked. Whether he was sitting in a small classroom or staring at the expansive ceiling of a temple, he always found himself slumped over with his head propped up on his fist, anticipating the time school gave him to bond with friends rather than appreciating the religious meaning.
By Ryann Perlstein
When Angelina Campanile first walked out onto the stage in Ireland, she felt like she did not know anything, but as she continued speaking to the audience of 300 teenagers, she gained confidence about her topic.
Campanile considers herself an expert on cyberbullying, and online safety, an expertise she has acquired through her involvement in Teenangels. Teenangels is is an organization that conducts research on cyberbullying and presents the results to teenagers around the world.
By Macy Lipkin
Linnea Foote, orchestra dropout, worried that her music teacher would be mad at her.
He wasn’t. When Foote stumbled into his middle school guitar class, he simply asked what she’d been up to. Neither party predicted that the guitar would strike a chord with Foote.
“Do I even have the right to hold this guitar?” she wondered at first, fretting over how to hold the clunky instrument. She started out with the basic beginner chords—G, C, and Em (her favorite)—and she’s working on expanding her arsenal of chords in order to play more songs.
She took a break after the intro class.