Aug 17
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The Importance of Personalized Learning and How Our Schools Fall Short

Parkinson’s disease can be caused by a variety of genetic mutations. One damages PINK1, a protein that sticks to the tops of damaged mitochondria, tagging them to be broken down. Spring of my sophomore year bio class I had the opportunity to dig into the genetic and biochemical mechanisms behind Parkinson’s disease. My learning came from breaking down scientific papers, speaking with people with a connection to the disorder, and modeling connected pathways. That summer, I worked in a lab and throughout the experience found myself drawing on the skills and knowledge I gained from my independent project. I began to realize the breadth of what I accomplished and the transformative power of personalized learning.
Aug 02
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She burrowed nimble fingers
into the soil's depths.

Brown lines traced themselves 
upon her short cut nails
And cool brownie crumbs
danced in her palms.

She lifted her hands
as one would lift the world:
carefully, powerfully,
backed by the sky's love.

Soil lay in the cocoon 
of her hands.

She rolled her eyes back
as if trying to look inside herself
for something of interest...

And so the tongue wiggling began. 

With a vehement spit
A black watermelon seed
plunked down onto the soil.

She wiggled her hands a bit
to blanket the seed
And then stood still

waiting for the rain. 

Aug 02
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The Earth's Grave

On a crunchy, cheek-reddening morning
I shoved open my ice crusted door
And ventured forth into the pillowy landscape.

As I walked southward, into the crown of the trees,
A frosty butterfly flapped its way
Onto my purple pompom. 

It was vibrant blue
Adorned with black rivers
And reminded me of the earth. 

But it had these ice crystals
Threaded upon its winds
That seemed to weigh it down,
Or perhaps just petrify it,
Preventing any type of progress.

So, I pulled off my gloves
And cradled the butterfly
With bare, human hands.

I allowed myself to seep
Into those promising wings.

The crystals retreated
And the black rivers
Began to flow.
The world came alive. 

Excitement spiked through my hands
I held on more tightly
For, look at the wonderful
Impact a human can have!

The black rivers raged
Jul 12
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Little toes

I stood in the sea
little toes mushing into
waterlogged sand. 

Deep gray waves
crisscross crashed 
under the charcoal blanket
woven of clouds.

The tide pulled at my
blue tinted ankle bones
and the wind whipped
a hair cloud around my face.

Raindrops began to pla plunk 
into white tipped water
which blossomed with
overlapping ripples 

Black clouds tightened 
around my head
and the wind edged me
towards the hungry sea.

I wondered
What did the universe do
to anger the earth
into this howling fashion? 

The sand trembled
shaking seaweed out
of its mineral pores
And the water danced
frenzied spirals
through my little toes.

Here I am
in the middle of the sea
catching the sky's sorrow.

Jun 24
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Star Whispers

The stars are screaming their story tonight
through the sonorous megaphone
Of empty space

Triumphant stardust 
rains down from the explosion
"Look at me,
blown to pieces
and magnificent"'

Electromagnetic radiation
400-700 nm
Beaming upon sullen spotted grass
"Hey, I'm looking out for you"
-Light from afar

 "I will ignite
the path back home"
Says fairy light constellations
and buddy stars
Tracing swirls across my sky

Silence is stamped across
the universe
Or so it seems from the earth bubble

"Listen to me"
Whispers the stars
Jun 19
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Flower crown

I have 17 flowers on my head
For each of the 16 years I've lived
and one for the year that is to be.

Some are shriveled up by now,
or may I say preserved 
In their barest, waterless state.
Rosy pigmentation wiped away
a quilt of black and white photographs.

Those middle years have retained
structure, color, and a bit of spring
One can dive in and still imagine
the fullness of the year.

As for the most recent
Bees still dip in and out collecting
sweet, dripping nectar
Tails brushing bright pollen memories. 

The tail end is adorned with a little button
of a peach pink bud
Which has only begun to peek
out of it's promising leathery shell.

All these flowers are
gently studded among a twisting vine
Woven into a graceful, but sturdy flower crown
Which can be found perched upon the tip of my head
at any time or place.

May 31
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Fairy Lights

I believe in once upon a times
And fairy tales
Abundant bedtime stories
And wonder

Fairy godmothers looking after me
Favoring hard work and heart
A grand savior

I believe in look-less love
That inner beauty exists all around me
Waiting to transform
And redeem
With one simple rose

I believe in big gingerbread houses
That warn against temptation
But teach of self-preservation
The triumph of the innocent!

And, dwarfs
Receiving love with open arms
For what one loves

I believe I can climb to the sky
And claim the world
By chopping down the stalk
In admirable bravado

I believe in dreams
And buckets full of imagination
Fairy lights
Stringing together
The world

May 24
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Paper Thin

I was walking in a garden one day
and a little girl turned to me
Eyes sparkling in beauty she said
Soft and delicate
“I want to be a butterfly one day”.

Straight out of a fairytale
Barely brushing a purple daffodil
Was a paper thin
vibrant blue butterfly.
Soaking in the summer sun
Dancing lazily
in toasting air
Enjoying the possibility of flight.

I looked at her
Eyes tracing curled golden pigtails
Floating tulle dress
A soft hope
of 4 cakes of birthday wishes
I said,
With all the grit I could muster,
“You better wish you’ll be a bat one day”
Her eyebrows brushed the sky.

“Grow thick leathery wings
That can’t be torn by a sandwich toothpick”
I proclaimed

“And bare those nasty
Pointed yellow fangs
With all the pride in the world
For you’re going to have to dig them in one day.
File your claws to perfection!
May 20
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Honey Coated Lips

Hope drips down from my lips
Viscous globs of honey lip gloss
A bee farms sponsorship
Sweet, sweet filter
On all my words and wars.

Hope curdles at my feet
A crescendo of mountainous honey
Air turns it bittersweet
How my legs have turned to turtles
Swimming through gold.

Hope spins me a cocoon
Honey strings envelop me
The eye of a monstrous typhoon
Glued to the ground and caged in
By the one thing I trusted.

Place a beehive on my grave
And let the honey soak through
It’s sickly sweetness I crave
Even under the blanket of death
It defines me.

Plant a beehive in my heart
And let it bloom
Nothing will do us part
I am bursting from the seams with honey
Hope drips down through my veins.