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. 


Apr 16
Megan22's picture

"Kick The Can"

Water would always run down the sides of my mouth after hastily drinking a cold cup of water, exhausted from all the running. We would always makes sure no nieghbors door was missed, in excitement they would join us for a game of kick the can. When we had our tribe prepared to play, I would make an attempt at exclaiming the game, but usually was quickly drowned out from their laughing and chatting. After begging and getting my dad to be the seeker, he would start counting down and we would all run in different directions, hoping to learn by imitation. The only thing you could hear was the loud ribbits of the frogs, and occasionally a giggle from a hiding spot. Even now after years of practice at the game, I often find myself amazed at the places some people find to hide, or resort to hiding in. 
Apr 16
molly.sargent's picture

The Cows At The Barn

When I was younger I remember going to my grandparents and being brought to the barn. That is where all of the cows were of course. With the cows my grandfather had always put us on them and let us ride them. I loved the cows so much (also known as the moo moos at the time.) Now that I'm older I still like the cows but I also find them to be a bit more gross. I'm also a bit too big to ride them now which kind of stinks. I still like the cows and it is fun to see them but I don't even see them as much. The cows can be fun and cute now but I can definitely say I loved them a lot more as a child.
Have I ever disliked them? Honestly no I do remember times that I was scared of them and still am to this day. Like I hate walking behind them because I feel like I'm going to get kicked or something. Other than that and the grossness of them at times I really like the cows. Always have and probably always will.
Apr 16
lvaughan's picture

Summer Days

Since school is out during the summer there are many different possibilities of activities to fill your days with. There is spending time with friends, going swimming and camping. Those are common things to do during the summer. My summers did have swimming and hanging with friends but that was in between haying. Most of my summer days are spent in a field. Especially when I was younger my entertainment was running and somersaulting through the windrows with my younger sister. After it was all bailed up and brought home. We would have to put it away in the barn. Always right before my sister and I would climb up to the top of the hay and ride a little bit to the barn. Once the hay was emptied from the wagon we got to ride. Finally, my favorite thing to do after the hay was in the barn was to make a hay fort. Now you might have made a fort in your room with blankets and pillows but this is way better. We used to make huge forts with tunnels instead of doors.
Apr 12
Yellow Sweater's picture

Spring Break: a Reflection on Vacations

God, it’s finally spring. I can feel my face burning as I read out on the patio this morning. I wish that spring meant something other than an unfounded, unsubstantiated brightness that threatens oblivion and a terrible headache. But drunken monotony is better when it’s sunlit. My thoughts move more freely under the blue sky. I don’t feel like my words have to reflect the view out my window. There's no window, only air, too much air to breathe. 

I’m barefoot, lying in my aunt and uncle's courtyard. I’m the only one on vacation, the only one for whom the city with its neat neighborhood blocks lined with cherry trees and people walking their well-bred dogs, is an escape. I’m the only one for whom the conventional American Dream is an escape.  
Apr 02


I have forgotten just how difficult it is to leave someone. It really tears you apart, I think, and will stick with you for such a long time. A boy I know, who I did—and still do—consider my first boyfriend, broke my heart. Repeatedly. And I don't think he's a bad person intentionally, (though my best friend thinks differently) but there's something about heartbreak. You cannot truly forgive someone. At least not for a very long time. And redeeming yourself is a long and complicated process. Many choose another path. Sometimes, friendships and relationships are not rebuilt, and two individuals will live without peace for decades, if not longer. 

I am trying my best to forgive, but it is a dangerous game—too many times I have caught myself at the wrong hand of kindness, and it has not served me well. 

Apr 02
Megan22's picture


Thomas Reed doesnt think very highly of himself, in fact if you asked him about his personality, or his favorite things to do, his life is so bleak he couldn't even respond with a proper answer. He's read all the philosophy literature he could, talking about how special life is, and how you should make the most of it. He could tell you that the odds of you being alive right now are 1 in 400 trillion, and yet Thomas still works 9-5 every day at a desk, feeling insignificant and dull. He feared this for so long in his youth, talking about if his life becomes so boring he might as well off himself, that's harsh though. Thomas had two great parents, he's very thankful for how they raised him, and that they supported him through everything. He's worked for a lot of things, and still doesnt think he deserves much. He has the worst luck, so maybe he deserves that. 
Apr 02
essay 0 comments challenge: Weather
lvaughan's picture

Hay time

“How does the weather look for this week?” I ask my dad early Tuesday morning. “Sunny and beautiful,” he replies. In other words, that means perfect weather for haying. “What are you going to mow?” my mom asks. “Everything that is standing!” my dad says with a laugh. That can only mean one thing, we have to unload the two wagons that are parked up in the shed. Because if he says he is going to mow everything standing, that means he is going to mow as much as he can before it is time for milking. I shouldn’t be complaining, it's good to get the hay in now so we have plenty for the winter. Also, we don’t want a repeat of what happened last week. But still, around 280 bales is a lot to unload this early in the morning.
Mar 26
essay 0 comments challenge: Critter
lvaughan's picture

Cow's Thoughts

Here come the annoying humans. Has it really been a whole day already? I think they are lying. I am trying to enjoy the sun and fresh air. Why do they have to come along and ruin everything? Is it because I pooped the whole length of the barn on the way out this morning? If that is the reason then I am sorry. I said I was sorry, now can you leave me alone? Fine. Since you can’t respect my wishes, we will do this the hard way. I think that instead of going inside, I am going to sit here and enjoy the sun. The sun is so nice. Oh great, one is coming towards me. Maybe if I stay very still they won’t see me. Okay, okay stop poking me, I will get up. Hey, just because I got up doesn’t mean I am going to start walking. Fine, if you insist on me going I guess I will. You thought I was going to head towards the barn? You were wrong. Tag you're it, catch me if you can. I think I should go see what is over there. I know I had all day, but I didn’t go over here yet.
Mar 26
molly.sargent's picture

All The Tomorrows

Thinking about tomorrow doesn't seem to bad. I mean its just thinking of things like what are tomorrows workouts? Or is my grade in this class going to be updated? All of these tiny thoughts are just some things we take serious in the moment, but are they going to impact all of our future tomorrows? When it comes to how many tomorrows I'm having to think about well thats when it seems a bit more tough. If I think about next week I'm just thinking about school and my regular daily life. That doesn't bother me. Thinking about the amount of tomorrows that bring me to next year does. What is going to happen on each tomorrow and where will it put my in a year? Which tomorrow is it going to be that gets me the money I need for a car? Or which tomorrow is it that I get my collage acceptance letter? All of the tomorrows that are going to come are going to have an impact on my future tomorrows. That is a little scary to think about.
Mar 19
essay 0 comments challenge: Glass
Megan22's picture

The Window From Which She Watched

She stood on her tippy toes and grasped onto the windowsill with the chipping lead paint. 
“Eric, you insisted on moving into your mothers old home, you need remove these lead paint window sills!” She heard her mother holler from the kitchen. The little girl brushed off the paint chips from her hands quickly and ran to the kitchen. Rebecca hauled the seemingly 100 pound stool over to the window, eager to see out of it. 
  Her dad comes up behind her and picks her up to his shoulders. “One day you’ll grow up, and being the smart little girl you are, you'll probably be looking out a grand castle window. One with majestic horses and a ginormous pool!” She giggles as a response. 

The car door slammed and 7 year old rebecca ran from the tv to greet her parents. 
    “Try to get it inside before she notices.” Her mom failed to whisper to Eric. 
Mar 19
Yellow Sweater's picture

Prayer Book

I wanted to experience Catholicism, the ritual of eating God on a dreary Sunday morning. So last winter, I hauled myself up the hill to St Mary’s Star of the Sea, only to find that mass was conducted in Spanish and that God’s dismembered body was reserved for initiates. 

Is it too late for me to understand the rhythm of the ritual? Too late to flesh out my flesh? Too late to learn Spanish… Latin… Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic?  Elohim, your name is plural. I am who I am. You are who you are. We are who we are. Are we separate? Or are we whole. 

I want to kneel before beeswax candles, to feel God’s grace behind the stochastic incandescence of our light. I want to passionately believe what my ancestors knew. Dear, Mr, Sir, Your Majesty, Your Eminence, The Pope, give me a prayer book. I’ll repeat the words until they become palpable, palatable, poetry.

Mar 19
essay 0 comments challenge: Glass
lvaughan's picture


The one thing Mia wished she could do was go outside. However, she couldn't because she is trapped inside the tallest tower. Ok, maybe she wasn't trapped in a tower but it felt like it most of the time. That was her favorite thing to do was pretend that she was a princess waiting for her prince. The only problem was this story didn't have a happy ever after ending, no prince charming. She was never going to get out. She couldn't she was sick there's no way around it. Even if she wanted to leave the second she stepped out of her house she would die. 
Mar 10
morganau's picture

My Hunting Life

For a large portion of my life, I have been a hunter, and I see that as something that defines me. When I was a young boy, around six or seven years old, my dad would take me hunting. I wasn’t really big enough to shoot the gun, so I would just come along to watch, taking in everything I saw my dad do. For my first two years of hunting, I was learning how to sit still and be quiet, as well as how to stay properly camouflaged. It wasn’t until I was almost eight years old when my dad let me shoot the gun. We were just sitting in the woods one weekend, and we were not expecting to see anything. I was watching the pine trees sway in the breeze and the sun filter down through the leaves in little rays. We had been sitting in the stand for about two hours when my dad tapped me on my shoulder. “Look,” was the only thing he said. As I followed his eyes and squinted down the trail, I saw a deer. It was just standing there, looking at us. Slowly, without making a sound, he handed me the rifle.
Mar 07
lilnoreault's picture

Let’s Fight Back

We let them say everything that comes to mind 
but we,
aren't  even allowed to wear a thin strap crop top 
Does anyone see what's wrong with that statement?!?

women are being told what to wear when we aren't even the topic of the issue?


everything about that is terrible.

if we say something too 'feminist like'

we are looked at and criticized 
because we speak are mind

And it's the things such as comments like

"you suck at this"

"girls can't do this"

that we have stopped trying
the fight in us has burned out

fight back
i don't care 
even if it's another girls fight. Don't let her fight the fight alone
Our voice is louder together.

Mar 05
essay 0 comments challenge: Unjust
lvaughan's picture

A Special Story

Maddie was sitting in her social studies class, her teacher Mrs. Smith was talking to the class. She was known for just babbling on about her personal life and talking way too much then she should. Most people thought her stories were boring and hated them. Maddie on the other hand loved her stories. She thought that they were so interesting and one-of-a-kind. This time her teacher was talking about her experience when she was trying to get hired for her first teaching job. The school that Mrs. Smith works for at the moment wasn't the first school she applied for. Before moving to Vermont she lived in New York. She applied for a teaching job near her home New York City. After the interview she was feeling confident about what questions she had been asked and her answer to them. She was totally sure that they were going to hire her. However, that wasn’t the case when she got a call three days later saying that they had hired someone else.
Mar 05
essay 0 comments challenge: Unjust
molly.sargent's picture

Un-Equal Treatment

Just because I am a female does not mean I cant do things the society considers "a mans thing." I have been told by many that because I am a female I should stay home and clean and do school. People have judged me because I hunt and do outdoor things but when it comes to a guy they hype him up. Just because of my gender it shouldn't matter what I do and do not do. From the people that have said things about my life choices I have leaned not to care what they think.
Mar 01
Sarah Kodama's picture

Why do we strive for perfection even though it is unattainable?

Perfection: a flawless state in which everything is exactly right. Today, I will be answering the question, “Why do we strive for perfection, even if it isn’t attainable? The first thing that we need to answer is, ‘what is perfection?’. Perfection is the state at which someone or something, maybe even someplace, is free of all flaws or defects. This is the dictionary definition. But the dictionary definition, while it may be true, will differ in meaning for every person. It depends on our background, our life goals, and every single action that we perform during our lives. This is the second thing that we need to answer. What is perfection to us? Perfection, in my eyes, is being so great at something, there is nothing that anyone needs to teach you about that specific subject. For example, if I drew or painted something, and there wasn’t anything that someone would need to say about it, that specific piece of art would be perfect.
Feb 26
essay 0 comments challenge: Fame
molly.sargent's picture

I Thought It Would Be Luxury

Being famous is fun and it has its advantages, but at this point I just want to be a regular, average person again. There are good parts yes, like the money, having fun, and people knowing you. Along with those advantages there are some disadvantages. Like the paparazzi, the hate, and the constant need to be at my best at all times anywhere that I go. Being a normal and average person has many advantages and less difficult responsibilities, and I would die to go back to that