Rancho Santa Fe School students shine in writing class

On behalf of the English Language Arts team at R. Roger Rowe School, Darcy Gleisberg shared

the excerpts below with this newspaper from stand-out student pieces at the completion of the first units of study for sixth, seventh and eighth grade.

An excerpt from “1,829 Miles,” a fictional narrative by Audrey B., eighth graderIf you’ve ever been through the back woods in Milwaukee, you’d know what I’m talking about. Standing under those billowing clouds of ephemeral stars, bare as bones and white as the milk in a cereal bowl, just the spark of a flashlight might as well as been a wildfire. Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a mere 1,829 miles from Phoenix, Arizona. Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a mere 1,829 miles away from my home. It was like going from a blazing inferno of heat to a cold only matched by the glazed eyes of the deer perched as trophies over my father’s hunting shed, like watchdogs over his prized musket nuzzled in the lingering smell of gunpowder. That’s why we moved here, anyway: Daddy was a hunter. In his mind, however, he was a businessman, and that’s why he said we moved here to this ghost-town as empty as radio static, that worthless job.“I’m going to go there someday,” a voice broadcasted in a matter-of-fact manner over my father’s telescope, alert and fixated towards the dramatic sliver of a moon. “To the moon, I mean. What do you think it’s like up there? I bet it’s made of cheese, Dad said it was. Isn’t that right, Iris? Isn’t it made of cheese?”Gabriel. My five-year-old brother, Gabriel. The one with the deep, brown teddy bear eyes and a syrupy smile, who acts like the world never did him wrong. Oh, but it did, it took Mom. It took her in a car accident, and there we were, standing in the hospital corridors, waiting. She was fragile, like a broken china doll, and perched in her chair in a numb, emotionless state as she lived out her final hours in the creepily sterile room, flowers from her precious rose bed perched by her bedside in a pale, chipped vase. White walls, crimson roses, indigo tears. I felt my hands clench into white-knuckled fists, as if I was trying to hang onto something to stop me from falling, but I wasn’t falling, I was infuriated, plain old outraged that he was stupid even to still believe in such trivial things anymore, it was just beyond me.An excerpt from “Gone Forever,” a personal narrative by Seraphine B., sixth graderI was filled with cold fear. My mouth was dry and parched from calling my dog’s name. With a twinge of regret, I stumbled up the stairs. As I lay in bed, twenty, thirty, forty minutes passed before my eyes started feeling heavy. I looked out the window into the dark. The sound of crickets chirping comforted me. Somewhere, a frog croaked. A feeling of confidence lay over me like a warm feather blanket. Deanza would turn up in the morning, I was sure of it. But like a tiny needle pricking the back of my neck, a feeling of worry still remained. What if she didn’t come back? Please let her be okay, I prayed silently.“Seraphine. Seraphine, wake up. Deanza’s back, but — ” I didn’t even let my mom finish her sentence. I threw my blankets back and bounded down the stairs, not even bothering to put my contacts in. I yanked open the back door and ran to Deanza’s kennel.“Deanza! You’re-” I stopped short. What used to be my beautiful dog now lay in front of me, motionless. Scratches ran here and there along her back and sides. But what really filled me with sadness was her face. Half of it was torn away, taking her right eye with it. I gasped and turned away. I wanted to run back to my room, bury my face in my pillow and go to sleep, make this all a dream, nothing but a horrible dream.Instead, I forced myself to look at my dog. I’d thought she was dead, but really her left eye was open and she was breathing. Maybe she had a chance! “It’s okay, my little puppy, you’ll be fine,” I said in a soothing voice. Deanza lifted her head and whined softly. As if that action had sucked all the energy out of her, she lay her head back down and sighed deeply.“First Snow,” a poem by Sawyer S., seventh graderI could feel the coldair around me,wrapping me up as if Iwere a Christmas present.I watched Mother Natureprove her powers.Those white little flakesfalling from the skymelting into the floor.I remember his look,his face,my body going numb.I remember the laughs, the cries,the tears rolling down my face.I remember the warmth, the comfort,the sorrow taking over me.I can hear the gunshotsfrom far over the ocean.I can hear the bombsdropping on the innocent,who just want to help.

I can hear the moans

and the cries of the wounded

on the floor.

I want him here,

I want him home,

safe from all the danger.

Inside our comfy home,

warm and snug.

I want him by my side

watching the first

snow fall.

I need him here with his

new baby girl who

he may never meet.

I want him here to

watch her grow

and to become something


I want him home right now

right beside me...