Mar 10
lorenyoung's picture

Emerald Ash Borer

The ash tree is a very important tree in Vermont’s landscape.  Ash have beautiful diamond-shaped bark patterns and they stand out in a forest due to their tall and straight lines. 

To me, ash trees are iconic. They make the Green Mountains green in the spring and summer, and turn to vivid orange hues in the fall. My dad and I find morel mushrooms growing in the nitrogen-rich soil at the base of our ash trees. They are known for having great, full tops, and bring good value in the timber market. Birds love ash trees because they are high enough to keep away predators, and deer rely on ash trees as they eat the buds off the young tops in the winter. 
Oct 13

College Essay Workshop -- Online Version

For those who couldn't make the YWP-VSAC College Essay workshop Oct. 14 (it was pretty awesome -- thanks to the seniors who attended), you can go to our online version. From now until Oct. 31, access resources, help & feedback. 


Nov 23
essay challenge: Boredom


    I am often bored. Coincidentally, boredom fueled me to get on the computer and look at this writing prompt. Apathy is hard to manage. However, I find after being lethargic for a short amount of time my mind begins to entertain me. I make up funny stories in my head and replay what I can remember from my favorite movie. Although my mind amusing me when I am bored is often entertaining, it can also have negative consequences. My thoughts travel to the ending of The Dead Poets Society during a math test or to young Brad Pitt during bio. Overtime I have usually had the same process of ruminating, though recently I find myself reaching for a phone. Now I realize ‘why repeat Titanic in my mind when I can watch it on netflix?’ However, I cannot reach for my phone during class, which has been particularly challenging for me. I am often bored at school. When I try to focus I cannot hear the teacher but only my inner monologue of ‘focus! I have to do homework later’ on repeat.
Oct 30
fitzgerg's picture

My field hockey season

 The biggest conflict I faced this season was personal. I have been told my whole life by even my closest family that “Some people just aren’t that good at sports. You need to be more aggressive when you play sports and we just aren’t very aggressive people”. When someone says something limiting to me, I am quickly encouraged to prove them wrong. In my life, I have tried soccer, softball, tennis, basketball, volleyball, lacrosse, field hockey and more. In all of these sports I felt the weight of just not being good enough and aggressive enough. I always feel that I am one of the worst and maybe I’m not a sports person. But, the thing is, I love to play sports. I don’t love being pushed or hit, but I enjoy competition and the way sports are played. Many of these other sports I eventually quit. I never thought that I would still be playing two sports in highschool. Recently, I have grown up a lot and gained a lot of confidence. I realized that when pushed, you just need to push back.
Oct 25
essay challenge: Sailing
Summit House-WCS's picture

Sailor's Granddaughter

Since I was little, I have always loved sailing. The rush, the speed, everything about it. I’ve had my fair share of Titanic moments, but they’ve all ended in laughter. Sailing teaches me so much and I truly value every moment. My memories on the sailboat are some of my favorites.

 My dream is to retire and live on a sailboat. I will have to work hard for many years, and save every penny. It will not be easy. That's why I want it so bad. The harder the lesson the more you learn in the end.
 There's so many places waiting for me to explore them. I think that if my dream ever comes true (which is unlikely) I will want to go somewhere tropical. I think my first adventure would be to go to Costa Rica, and travel as far as I can. 
Oct 19
essay challenge: Sailing
Crown's picture



Crown Morand 

    It's early July and per usual I’m in Maine with my Nana and Papa. We stay at the same campground every year. And every year something goes wrong; Whether it be the stove in the camper, the size of the spot we’re assigned, or that we get rained out of sailing. 

The stove is an easy fix for my Papa. He gathers his tools and swiftly sets to work and after a few statements of “Son of a gun” and “You creep” he's solved the problem and my Nana can start whatever she has planned for dinner.  Dinner and negotiations is what Nana does best. She can always find something to cook and will always without a doubt negotiate anything. 
Oct 12
essay challenge: Music
Xander Oshoniyi's picture

Music I Can Feel

My favorite kind of music is hip hop/rap. I like this genre of music for a couple reasons. The first being the rhythm, I really like being able to follow along with the beat that’s playing within the song. I feel like the beat is one of the most overlooked parts of a song but I believe that it really sets up the entire piece. I like the beat because it’s very interchangeable yet it’s very unique to every song in the same way. I like being able to drum along with it and feeling the song in my head and body. 
Oct 10
michellekim's picture

The Many Definitions of Love

The Many Definitions of Love
Michelle Kim

    Love has an infinite amount of definitions that cannot be measured by any physical means. One may never know what true love is until they have experienced it for themselves. Some people may love superficial or materialistic items such as money, power and fear. However, no one can truly know when they have found genuine love. Can you love someone or something without actually having had that person or thing with you your whole life? I have often fantasized that when I fall in love, it would be a precise moment where you just know it is  that person at first sight. Although, I can say my love stories are not like the movies, there are moments when love simply comes to you, whether it is  by getting to know someone over time or their physical attractions. 
Sep 25

My library

My library would be magical. Not like real magic, but it would feel that way. First of all when you walked in the first thing you would notice would be the smell. Old books and flowers. Not rotting old books, but the nice old book smell. If you read, you probably know what I mean. There would be an entryway, with coat hangers and a cork board full of poster and flyers for art shows, lost pets, cooking classes and more. The door would be big and wooden with big handles. There would always be a nice old lady at the front desk, sipping tea and reading romance novels. The kids section would have bean bags, lots of picture book and special events. The teen section would have big squishy chairs and all the newest books. Plants would be everywhere and so would families. The adult section would be upstairs and not as nice as the kids. When you left, you would always have an armfull of books. You would always long to go back, and dive into the books once more.
Sep 10
essay challenge: Portraits
nicolebettencourt's picture

My Vóvó

Sixty-nine years ago, on a speck of land floating 850 miles off the coast of Portugal, a girl was born who looked a lot like me. She had long dark brown hair, brown eyes, and fair skin. But she was shorter, only five feet tall, with a frail build due to malnutrition. Her family was so poor that she slept on a rough bed of corn husks gathered on a dirt floor. At eleven years old, she had to abandon her schooling to help at home. She quickly learned the importance of work as she milked her family’s cow with her tiny hands and gathered potatoes, kale, blackberries, and more in their small garden. She also helped her mother prepare dinner for her and her six younger siblings. The family ate while huddled around a small petroleum-lit candle because they had no electricity, and the dark soot streaked across their noses like warpaint and lingered until morning,

This little girl from São Jorge island would grow up to be my grandmother.
Aug 12
essay challenge: Writing 2022
anna__poghosyan's picture

The Forsythia

An in-depth exploration of femininity, emotion, and coming of age. 
Aug 01
woojin's picture


In recent years, the developments of Internet technology and the frequency with which people use the Internet has increased dramatically. In recent times, people not only use the internet as a search engine but also as a way to communicate and share their daily lives with others. One of the greatest features of the internet is its anonymity. Online anonymity may foster political activism and encourage conversation by helping people feel at ease to express their thoughts on controversial topics. However, we must be aware of the disadvantages that anonymity can induce, such as cyber crimes and information overload.
Jul 28
essay challenge: Writing 2022

The Can of Worms

I feed worms to turtles and I hate it. 

I decided to volunteer at the Nature Center because I wanted to work in the garden. Instead, I found myself inside animal care, cleaning lizard tanks and cutting up apples for hamsters. It is my first day and Maura, the director, teaches me everything. She tells me to pretend I am like a maid to the animals. Maura is the kind of person who lets birds perch on her shoulder, feeds frozen mice to snakes, and enjoys when they catch the prey that was handed to them. She listens to '70s rock, tells me how she misses David Bowie, and teaches me how to spritz the cages. Maura is an expert on animals, unlike me. She can reach in a tarantula cage with ease. I cannot. Maura asks me to feed worms to turtles. For the first time she says, “You don’t have to if you don’t want to. I know not everyone is comfortable with bugs.” 
May 28
The ELM's picture

Inside Cat

By Ibrahim Moge

If I was an ally cat, I couldn't imagine what life would be like. It would probably be like a trash can, or maybe like a dumpster, or maybe like compost. Smelly, wet, nasty, I would never be an ally cat. What if I was a tiger? I would be the king of the jungle. The most respected. Ferocious and deadly. But I could starve, what if I can't find food? Or maybe be mowed down by an elephant? I think I'll stay a house cat. I'll have food and water and a nice warm house. I think I will be a house cat. It's better.

May 28
The ELM's picture

Awaken in New York City

By Lisa Zhou-Hackett

My life is like New York City. The days are as busy as the streets of the city. When my days are quiet, the noise is low. When it is chaotic, not much can be done. When it is calm, life moves swiftly along like a freshly rosined violin bow on a string. There are those days when my mind is buzzing, like a fly. And there are some days that my mind is at peace, like the ocean floor after it rains. The bustling of people shows when there is chaos or when I’m stressed.

My life is also like a river. The water runs calmly at some parts and angrily pushes through the rough rocks that lay throughout the river bed. Sometimes when the water trickles down to just a small stream, that's when my life is simple and tranquil. The flow of the river shows that my life is always going on and on and on.

May 28
The ELM's picture

A Tribute to Red

By Matias Citarella

When I think of red, I think of a dull sidewalk peppered with maple leaves full of color, ripeness, and energy. I think of a single cardinal cheering its bright call and breaking the monotonous white snow blanketing the cedar trees in my backyard. While red is far from my favorite color, it shows an energy that is lacking in every other color. But the special thing about red is that it can also be soothing. Think of a time right in the middle of a sunset when the hardwood floors are awash in yellow, orange, and red. For me at least, this is one of the most calming things I know, because it shows that all the raucousness and drama and maniacal energy of the day is finally coming to an end and night has arrived, quiet, soft, and dark. Red is often used as a color that shows negative emotions or thoughts, and that’s fine. But one should also recognize the beauty in red because it often is taken for granted.

May 28
The ELM's picture


By Nora Vota

Red. It’s not something people usually associate with happiness, care, and faith. It’s an angry color, a sad color, a color that doesn’t care. It says, “Stay away from me.” Usually associated with blood and fear, it is a color that most people stay away from. But “most people” doesn’t refer to everybody. Some people love the color red. Maybe it reminds them of sunsets or big red balloons from the fair. Maybe it reminds them of their childhood. Red raincoats and hats. Maybe it reminds them of their camping trips out in the woods. The big bonfires that they would have with their friends. These people are the ones that have big hearts. These are the ones that you have to keep close.

May 28
The ELM's picture

The Game of LIfe

By Ayanna Dayes

My life is like a game, a game where you can lose or win. A game with levels that just get harder as you go on. Each year you are alive is a different level and they always get harder to beat. I've beat 11 levels in my life. I'm close to beating 12 which means I'm almost 13. The last two levels have been the hardest. A pandemic broke out and a lot of people have lost sense it started. Some people wonder if you can quit this game, and the answer is yes but you have to remember if you quit you can never join back in.

May 28
The ELM's picture


By Sawyer Paschel-Harbour

Siblings… What does it mean to have one? I’ll tell you what it means. Early in the morning, peaceful sleep is interrupted by the sound of a door slamming open and an annoyed voice dryly telling you to get out of bed the easy way or hard way. Having a sibling means that when you're getting ready for school you have to maneuver around someone else because even touching them early in the morning could have them waxed for the rest of the day. Having a sibling means yelling “Ahg!” in the halls at school because someone randomly jumped on your back for no apparent reason except for “Because I felt like it.”  Having a sibling means having arguments during dinner at home and listening to long jokes with no real punchline. Having a sibling means always having someone to talk with. Having a sibling means always having a new story to hear. Having a sibling means living in the same home as your best friend.

May 28
The ELM's picture

Just Try

By Emma-Rose Holas

I've always loved art. I am always doing art and improving my art.

When I was younger, I thought that art had to be a certain way. I thought that there was a “right” art and a “wrong” art. I had my mind set on going to art school so I could learn the “right” art.

But after trying one style of art over and over, without getting better or even enjoying the process, I decided it was time to change my style. I enjoyed art much more when I was exploring. I was trying new things, and, whether I liked the finished piece or not, I was always enjoying the process.

Even today I am constantly trying new styles, new materials, and new ways of thinking. So try new things. Try anything and everything. Put yourself out there and try.