Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Need for Speed

The Need for Speed
Kenny McKenzie
(age 18)

June 4th, 2017

We arrived at K1 Speed just as they opened. At the reception desk, those of us who had not raced before created an account. When that was done, they gave us our membership cards and a head sock. Then, we walked to the indoor track past the Formula 1 and Stock Car that were on display. The staff gave us new racer’s instructions on how to use the karts and a safety brief before letting us onto the track. Then we put on the head sock and a fully enclosed, visored, racing helmet. We checked our assigned kart numbers and climbed in.

These were electric karts. Compared to the 9 horse power two-stroke engines that most go-karts have, these electric motors produced 20 horsepower and were capable of reaching speeds of 45 mph. Now you see why we needed helmets. Soon, we were strapped in, visors down, karts turned on, and they signaled us to move out onto the track. We moved slowly, the electric motors enabling the staff to remotely reduce our speed or, in the event of an emergency, stop us. Once everyone was on the track and they had closed the access gate, there was a jump and my kart rapidly increased speed. The race was on.

In K1 speed, you don’t race for first, second, or third. You race for time. The fastest lap is considered the winner. I started off a bit slow; it usually took me one or two laps to get the hang of the kart, but then I gained confidence and let the adrenaline take over. Around twisting corners shooting down the straightaway we went, passing, braking, and trying at all times not to hit another kart or the wall. The slightest collision or scrape could affect your time. Around and around and around, slowly learning the best way to take a corner, or to squeeze around a slower racer, coaxing every bit of speed out of my kart. Fifteen laps later our karts slowed down, and we drove back to the pit. I finished third with 21.339 seconds, best lap, and a 23.981 average. After a quick break, we returned to the track. The second race began.

There were six of us the first race, but now only four. My sister and one of my cousins had only paid for one race. The second race showed marked improvement over the first one. Having grown used to the track and the capabilities of the kart, I shaved almost a full second off my time with 20.533 seconds and my best average of the day at 21.406. For the third race and final race, two more people had arrived, bumping our numbers back up to six. This race was the best yet. Navigating around the slower newcomers proved challenging; I collided with the wall and other karts more than once, but I came away with my best lap time yet 19.965, although my average was only 22.485.

K1 speed has tracks all over the country, and the membership I got when we arrived extends to all of them. This was probably the most fun racing go-karts I have ever had, and you can be sure I will return one day. Plus, I got to keep the head sock.

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Saturday, June 17, 2017

New Hampshire March

New Hampshire March
Zachoia Cooper
(age 17)

Here am I in all my barrenness—
I am only an outline 
Of hills and rocks and wires of branches

I have no heavy snow to majestically hush the atmosphere
Nor am I clothed in versicolored leaves
My thawing-cold lakes and muddy, rutted roads are not ready for summer’s tourists.

Here am I in all my barrenness—
Pools of water traced with ice hold down broken, taupe plants
My rivers reflect back camouflaged branches and sky—
Bare, Brown over Low, Gray.

Here am I in all my barrenness—
Melting snow trickles down granite roadside walls. 
My ground holds no flowery surprises
Only uncovered flat, brown grass 
(It mixes old, dirty spots of green here and there.)
Scanty tree’s gloom is broken only by the occasional dark evergreen
Or exposed lichens on branches.

Here am I in all my barrenness—
The tree-gaps reveal all my secrets:
Red mill buildings distorted into brown by lack of sunlight.
Yellow construction parking lots.
Squat and faded warehouses.

There you are in all you barrenness
No sun, or snow, or leaves.

I look
At beautiful New Hampshire.

(original and unedited)

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Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Secret Message


A Secret Message
Gracelyn Beaulieu
(age 14)

Once upon a time, there was a man named Habakkuk who had not seen his brother Haggai in a long time. His brother had left the family many years ago when he was eighteen years old. Habakkuk is now twenty-five, and Haggai is twenty-three. Haggai left his family because he wanted a new and different life. His parents raised him in a Christian home, but, sadly, he did not want that type of life. He wanted to get away from God.

            One day, when Habakkuk went to town, he stopped at a farming store to get grain. He saw that his brother had gotten a job there. What a surprise to see him after these years! Realizing his brother did not know he was there, he did not talk to him in case he would run away.
He thought, "I so want to talk to my brother, but how do I after so many years?"

Now you see, Habakkuk was a Christian, followed the Lord, and went to church. His brother, on the other hand, was not a Christian. Habakkuk got a brilliant idea. He decided to leave a secret message on Haggai's doorstep. This is what the note said:

Dear Haggai,                                                            
I am an old friend that would like to be friends again.
Over the last five years I have finished college, 
gotten married, and have bought my own home.
Please leave a letter for me in the same spot you 
found this one if you are interested.
                                            A Friend

They exchanged a few letters back and forth. Haggai finally wrote that he hoped that they would be able to meet someday soon.

The last note that Habakkuk wrote to Haggai said that he was a Christian. He told him that just as spring shows new growth and the snow kind of washes the dirt away, that it reminds him of how when we repent from our sins, the Lord washes our dirtiness, our sins, away. He wrote that he had gotten saved in the spring five years before.

Habakkuk invited him to lunch at his house for 12:00 on a Friday afternoon, two months after they had started writing.

 "Hello, Haggai," said Habakkuk.
"You are the one who has been writing to me?"
"Yes, I am. I was afraid you would not accept my invitation to see you again."
"Thank you, Habakkuk, for still being a good brother to me after these years that I have been gone."

Habakkuk and Haggai began to know each other really well again. They had done fishing, taken walks, and even went to church together. Because of what he had last written, and how he had shown love and forgiveness, Haggai saw his need for God's love and forgiveness too. Habakkuk had the privilege of leading his brother to the Lord that Friday.

(Assignment for Lesson #2 - Subjects)

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Saturday, March 18, 2017


Poetry is found everywhere. 
It shows the emotions of the heart. 
No where is more keenly felt than at death.  

Here are two very poignant poems, 
written by 
Zachoia Cooper 
(age 17)

Do I miss the silvery oak 
Or the flower’s efflorescence?
The river’s spry flowing
The quartz’s soft glowing?
Because the moment I woke
In heaven, I saw the quintessence
Of beauty: knowing 
my Savior when I saw his face.

Do I miss the swaying stars, 
The radiance of the sun
At precisely noon,
The curved, sharp white moon?
Adorned with nail-shaped scars
Jesus Christ, God’s risen Son
Who’ll return to earth soon,
Lights heaven with his grace.

And you. 
Do I miss you? The many days
We’d laugh and talk and feel
The specialness of a bond
That always held strong?
Though paused, in many ways
Our state of friendship is ideal
We'll share heaven's celestial song.
Our true home is this place.

A Short Life Still Leaves 
Enduring Mourning

(Assignment for Lesson # 20 - Poetry Lessons, Epitaphs)

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Saturday, February 18, 2017

White Out

DJ McKenzie
(age 13)

The bus skidded to a stop in front of the Pritchard house. Jordan and Jason Tumbled out of the bus, and tried to run on the slick driveway. Slipping and sliding, they finally made it to the door. Before they could reach the doorknob, it turned and the door was opened. Their sister, Jessie, was on the opposite side of the door, holding a little kitten. Jordan and Jason were twins who went everywhere together. They were eleven years old and had no interest in being any older, but wanted to be astronauts. Jessie loved animals. She had three hamsters, five fish, six kittens, and a dog. She was fourteen years old and wanted to be a vet when she grew up. Jordan and Jason ran to the kitchen table, where their mom and dad were sitting.

“Hi, Mom! Hi, Dad!” Jason yelled abruptly.

“Gosh, Jason, inside voice,” said Jessie.

“Sorry,” Jason replied.

“Hey, Mom, can Anthony spend the night tonight?” Jordan asked.

 “No, Honey, we have to leave for swimming tomorrow morning at 8:30, remember?”

“Oh right, I forgot.”

Jason and Jordan loved swimming, they were on one of the best swimming teams in the state. Jason and Jordan raced upstairs to their bedroom. They plopped down on their beds and bounced.

“I don’t really want to go to swimming tomorrow,” said Jason

“Me either. I’d rather Anthony spend the night.”

“We could pretend we’re sick,” Jason suggested.

“No, that won’t work. If we were sick we wouldn’t go to swimming, and Anthony wouldn’t be able to come over either.”

“Oh yeah, I didn’t think of that. I hope it snows tomorrow so we can’t go to swimming.”

“Me too.”

The next day arrived with the sun shining bright. Jason and Jordan got up and ate a quick breakfast of eggs and bacon.

“Well it doesn’t look like it’s gonna snow today,” said Jordan feeling very disappointed.

“Yeah. Oh well, you can’t get out of everything.” Just then their mom walked up to them.

“I need to run some errands and I won’t be back in time to bring you to swimming, so dad is going to take you, and Jessie will come too.”

“Why is Jessie coming?” Jason asked.

“She has volley ball practice.” Mom rushed out the door and drove away.

“Well that just happened,” said Jordan. “Now we’re stuck with Dad and Jessie. Great.”

It was 8:30 and time to leave. Jason and Jordan were in the car waiting for Jessie and their dad. Once they were all in the car, they backed out of the driveway.

“Look, Jason, it’s starting to get cloudy. Maybe it will snow!”

“I doubt it.”

They were just about half way there when suddenly it started to snow, really really hard!

“I can’t see ten feet in front of me!” their dad exclaimed.

There was a small ditch to the right, and giant fields to the left, the only problem was, they couldn’t see either side. Driving slowly they came to a curve. Suddenly the car started to drift toward the ditch, and then… White out!

None of them could see a thing, they had no idea where they were going, until they felt a thud. “Dad, what just happened?” asked Jason.

“I think we’ve gone off the road, son. I’ll have to call a tow truck.” He turned off the car in case the exhaust pipe was blocked up. Then he pulled out his phone, and dialed a number.

After talking on the phone, he told everyone they should get out of the car and try to flag someone down. They all stepped out, and agreed that since it may take a while for the tow truck to arrive, they should try to start a fire to keep themselves warm and cozy. Jason went to find some fire wood, and Jordan found a place for the fire. When Jason returned with the wood, he found Jordan digging in the snow.

“Well, we got our wish. It’s snowing.” said Jason.

“Yeah, I guess so.”

Jason threw the wood down where the snow had been cleared. Jessie and their dad were waiting for a car to come along, but no one came. It wasn’t a particularly busy road, and with the snow it was even less busy. Their dad came to start the fire, and told Jason to go get more wood. Jason went into the woods and started looking for some good sticks. He had been looking for about three minutes, when he heard something. It sounded like sticks breaking. He turned around and was shocked by what he saw. Two wolves were standing there, easing closer. He let out a yell of fright!

Back at the road, Jordan had been working on keeping the fire going. Jessie had seen a few cars, but they all ignored her. Their dad was waiting at the tree line for Jason, when he heard a yell!

Jason’s feet couldn’t move as he watched the wolves coming closer and closer. The wolves started running at him. He turned and started to run, but the wolves were faster than him! They were gaining quickly. He started to run out of breath. Just as he was about to give up, he heard something else coming from the other direction. Had the wolves circled him? Was he going to get eaten by wolves?

Suddenly his dad burst out of the bushes in front of him, carrying a big stick. He bashed one of the wolves on the head, and smacked the other across the face. The beasts ran away with their tails tucked between their legs. Jason thanked his dad countless times as they headed back to the road.

When they got back, the tow truck was waiting there, and so was their mom. They put out the fire and headed home. They all stayed home the rest of the day and didn’t want to drive in a blizzard ever again.

                                                                                     THE END 

(Assignment Lesson #12 - Climax)

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Saturday, February 11, 2017


Zachoia Cooper
(age 16)

Be nice to someone
said Ma.
You never know when they
might NEED it,
and I'm thinking of a new friend
won't do you any harm.

Said I,
What'll I get 
from going out fo my way
to make someone else's day?
I've got my own to make.

said Ma,
If you find that anywhere in the Bible,
I’ll pay you a million bucks.
Until then, just you remember
it does say to love your neighbor as yourself.
If that isn't for your good,
then God's a liar
(which He ain't.)

Bye Ma,
I said.
I’m gonta be late.

I ran out the door to the park.
My buddies and I threw the ball for some time.
Whenever I saw that dazzling white sphere
flying through the air towards me.
I caught it right where it was supposed to be
in my mitt.

Eating out of a big bag of Sour Patches
Little boy comes sauntering over,
sitting on the fence
swinging his legs
"Whatcha doing?
Can I play?"

“Go away, squirt,”
says Jake, drawing his thick, black eyebrows 
in a frown.
“Yeah,” says Max, then presses his usually smiling lips 
in a frown.
Sebastian just gives a glare with those intense bright blue eyes
looks down
in a frown.

Frowning’s the thing to do; I join.
I think,
I’ve got my own day to make.

The sun is at just the wrong place,
all the sudden
it must be blinding me.
I can’t catch any of those balls any more.

The wind is howling so weird,
I keep thinking I’m hearing a little boy crying. 
But, no,
the park is long empty.
We’ve been playing for over two hours.

It’s getting dark,
We run to get our gear
and get home
before our moms anger

Even as I put the extra balls away,
I feel like quicksand inside, all the 
good feelings of the day
sucked away
as quickly as they arrived.

Until my hands hit the bottom.
There’s a big bag of 
Sour Patches: A treasure trove for a little squirt.

a paper, 
a stick scene of baseball-throwing boys, 
a sentence in thick, red crayon:
i hope you hav fun.

Shame washes over me 
like the dark of a
But this thought rises with it:

Love your neighbor as yourself,
for God ain't a liar.
Be nice to someone

cause kindness just made your day.

(Lesson #19 of the Poetry Lessons - Narrative Poem) 

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Saturday, February 4, 2017

Baby Boy in NICU for 3 Months

Hannah Aldrich
(age 13)

Baby Liam .J. Osgood came into this world through a c-section April 10th 2015 at EMMC (Easter Maine Medical Care.) He was born with a medical condition called gastroschisis. Gastroschisis is when a baby is born with his/her intestines outside the body.

Little Liam was cared for by many experienced nurses and doctors in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) and was unable to eat anything during his time there due to his condition. Little Liam was visited by family members on and off during these long three months. His mother and father went back and forth from the Ronald McDonald House to the hospital. Family members unable to visit Liam prayed for him constantly and hoped for his return to be as soon as possible.

Thanks to the knowledge of the doctors and nurses caring for Liam, the hand of the LORD, and the unconditional love of his parents, Liam returned home in late July. Liam is now a happy soon-to-be two year old, who loves to play with his older brother, Jackson R. Osgood and all his loving aunts and uncles. 

(Lesson # 18 - News Story)
(printed with permission from the baby's parents)

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