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student example personal narrative
Editor’s Note: Autumn Eastman, a senior at Champlain Valley Union High School, is one of the premiere distance runners in the state. Last fall, Autumn began journaling about her running to show what it was like and explain why she works so hard to succeed. Autumn’s story is the first in a new YWP feature, INSPIRED, in which young people write about what inspires them to succeed.
Note: This is an essay I wrote for and submitted to the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. The prompt was to pick a photograph of something or someone that is important to you and explain why.
The mornings begin on an A.
Out of the confusion—the cold fingers and the visible breath, the hurried breakfast and the cacophony of ninety instruments being tuned and prepared all at once—comes an echoing silence, and then the single oboe’s crystalline A.
The music of an orchestral concert begins with the tuning, when the musicians stop and match their pitches so that even if later in the performance the violins are raging at the cellos, and the brass are battling the woodwinds, both their harmony and dissonance is by mutual consent.
Early summer mornings at the Interlochen Center for the Arts find me walking to the cluster of practice huts blending with the trees, just past where the orchestras rehearse. As I sit at my piano, I hear Beethoven’s “Pathétique” Sonata mingling with the gravelly resonance of a double bass, and farther off a violin singing Bach’s Chaconne. As June turns to July, I am able to trace pieces to faces, and my own melody becomes a familiar color in the rich tapestry of sound. But there is more than just music evolving in Interlochen’s woods.
I’ve outgrown this building.
My mind shifts uncomfortably, fleshy puffs bursting from the windows and open doors, groaning in resistance as it shimmies itself into these dark-washed confinements that are our hallways. Every day. Twenty after seven.
I wish I didn’t know what
By Rebecca Landell
I can still see her there, on the front steps, standing by her son. She wasn't beautiful. No, she wasn't beautiful, but she was lovely. Her arms would be crossed, her carrot-red hair brushing her shoulders, and she would be saying - as she always did when I thanked her at the end of a lesson - "It's a pleasure."
Going down Cold Tree Hill
By Charlotte Dworshak
Burlington High School, Grade 10
I scrape the snow off my skis as I sit on the chair and wait. It is made of metal that has been turned white with the frigid air. I think about how cold it was last night and how the chair must have been in the middle of the night. I shiver at the thought. I look at my torn gloves and ball my hands up to keep them warm. A gust of wind comes as I protect my face by tipping it down. It is snowing in big clumps, and I try to catch one on my tongue. I do; it instantly melts like cotton candy. I stare straight at the falling snow and watch it tease me by coming straight at my goggles but never hitting them.
By Lucy Skinner
Richmond Middle School, Grade 7
Molly read her piece on Vermont Public Radio earlier this year. For other examples of pieces aired on Vermont Public Radio, click here.
By Molly Ziegler
Hartford High School, Grade 11
Winter was never my favorite season. All of the inconveniences that come with the season make it hard for me to truly enjoy it, like icy roads and frostbite. Don't get me wrong, I never thought that snow was ugly. I just don't like the consequences of its beauty.
By Lily Harris
Charlotte Central School, Grade 6
On a warm, sunny day in July, 1998, we stood in a circle in my huge back yard and planted my tree. My family and our very close friends were gathered to celebrate my adoption. The tree we planted is a red maple.
I have noticed over the years that my tree is a lot like me.
By Eman Hayyat
Middlebury Union High School,Grade 10
Those who don’t understand Arabic or the culture say we are bad people. Those who listen to the news and watch the destruction assume we are terrorists. The walls come crumbling down and so do our lives. They see the dark skin, the dark hair, and the dark eyes and think we are monsters.