Friday, October 13, 2017

Scholastic Spotlight: Tanessa Skadberg


The Fae Factor
Skadberg, Tanessa
Grade: 11
School: Watford City High School, Watford City ND Educator: Leslie Mans
AWARD: Gold Key, Science Fiction


"Eighteen Himas for these two fine ladies here!" shouted the auctioneer.

I snorted. Fine young ladies? Yeah, right. I kept my gaze ahead and moved my hand to intertwine my fingers with my sister, Summer. I could feel her hands shaking. She was scared.

My gaze looked critically over the buyers: rich people in fancy clothes that I had only ever worn at fancy parties. They must live in those things if they wore them to slave or servant auctions – take your pick, the concept is still the same.

I then remembered the day our parents disappeared.

My mother stood in front of me and looked at my face, holding me out at arm’s length while my father held Summer next to his chest as she cried.

"Ripple, whatever happens to us, you must promise me you'll be strong. Not for us, but for your sister."

I nodded solemnly. "I will," I said, my voice catching. Then my mom gave me a hug and stroked her hand through my blue hair. She then pulled away and looked at me with her sad, brown eyes.Then she and my dad pulled away and left. I wrapped my arms around my sister as she cried.

Back then, we hadn't known what we know now. We were both born odd. But while my sister had

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Saturday Morning Writing Prompt--Fall is on the Way


Fall is on the way. Describe an element of fall without naming it. Try to capture imagery that appeals to all of the senses.​

Friday, October 6, 2017

Scholastic Spotlight: Hunter Harrington


A World Without Song
Harrington, Hunter
Grade: 11
School: Fargo North High School, Fargo ND Educator: Lori Koenig
AWARD: Silver Key, flash fiction


Long ago in a world without song, there was a homeless man living in a poor Indian village. He lived his days in silence, saw the world in a melancholy blue and didn’t have anything to soothe his discontent. Every step he took was filled with pain and misery, for he had no money to pay for food, clothes that weren't tattered, and a roof over his head. He had nothing to protect himself from the elements or even the unbearable pain that filled his empty void of a stomach. During the afternoon, when the village had gotten shipments of fruit, he thought that the only way he could ease the hurting inside was to steal. The chief of the village saw that he was stealing from the community and asked the homeless man a question.

“Why are you stealing from us?” the chief's voice boomed and attention drew from the games the children were playing to their conversation.

“I have nothing. No food, no shelter, no family, no happiness,” the man with soot- covered clothes and a sickly smell replied. His words shook when they left parted lips, the man was broken and that was apparent to everyone nearby. The chief, full of pity, let him go without hassle; there was nothing more he could do.

The man then went behind an old birch tree with dead branches so no one could see his tears hydrate the dry sand, but he still wasn’t alone. High above the clouds were the wind gods, discussing what direction the wind should travel next. They overheard the man’s pleading for happiness and him cursing the bleeding silence that ran through his ears. So on the day that the sun blasted its rays, the wind gods swept a current of air to the homeless man. The wind made the dried leaves on the earth dance while the tree branches creaked together like an orchestra.

To accommodate the new sound, blue jays started miraculously singing with pride and rain clouds appeared at the edge of the horizon. The dirty man looked up to the sky with a smile as fresh rain started to pour, the pitter patter acted as a drum beat and the man got an Idea. He picked up a stray leaf and began to blow into it, creating a calming whistle tone throughout the forest. All the animals appeared from their homes and gathered in harmony as life filtered through. The last thing he did was thank the wind gods for their help, for his newfound passion, and the music that had been created. 

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Saturday Morning Writing Prompt--Everyday Arguments

Egg and Bacon Pizza for breakfast?
This year’s focus for the RRVWP is argumentation. Smith, Wilhelm, and Fredricksen, as well as Lunsford and Ruszkiewicz, will tell you that everything is an argument. For example, when your alarm clock went off, you likely had to decide whether to wake up right away or hit snooze. Toast or bagel for breakfast? Wash a load of laundry today or wait for tomorrow? Write about some of the arguments you’ve had lately.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Scholastic Spotlight: Cheyenne Olien


Only Seconds
Olien, Cheyenne
Grade: 12
School: Kindred High School, Kindred ND Educator: Tanya Neumiller
AWARD: Gold Key


It was a typical hot, windy North Dakota summer day. I had woken up late, which is unusual for me. Rushing to get ready, I threw on the first clothes I could find, grabbed a granola bar from the kitchen, and ran out the door. I hopped into my car and took off down my long driveway, probably going a little too fast, but I didn’t care. I could not be late for work. I was never late and I liked having that reputation. I liked knowing people knew they could count on me to be on time.

Turning out of my driveway, I knew I probably should have waited until the pickup, headed the direction I was going to be going, passed by but I went anyways. Knowing I had to pick up speed as fast as I could before the pickup caught up to me, I pushed the accelerator down a little too much. If you have ever driven on the side of a gravel road, you know that is where all of the loose gravel ends up, making it harder and less safe to speed up. My car started to fishtail, but I have felt that before and I could always correct myself by slowing down a bit. Seeing the bright red cab of a semi coming at me, I knew

I had to stay over to the side and continue to slow down. I thought the semi would get over to his side more. I thought I was far enough over. I thought I was going slow enough. I thought wrong.

The semi ended up being farther towards the middle of the gravel road than I expected. Doing a last minute correction, I jerked my wheel towards the right side of the road to avoid hitting the semi head-on. Of course, this made me start to fishtail even more on the side of the road. I tried to correct myself once again by slowing down, but it was too late. I was heading for the left side ditch and there was nothing I could do to correct it anymore.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Saturday Morning Writing Prompt--Rabbits and Punctuation


Saturday is International Rabbit Day, and Sunday is Punctuation Day.* Write a story or a description of a rabbit, using at least one of every punctuation mark you know. Bonus points for the writer who can correctly use some of these oddities.
*Source: https://www.daysoftheyear.com/days/2017/09/

Friday, September 22, 2017

Scholastic Spotlight: Scobie Bathie


Family Troubles
Bathie, Scobie
Grade: 11
School: Fargo North High School, Fargo ND Educator: Lori Koenig
AWARD: Silver Key, Dramatic Script


Characters 
Paula
A caring mother of the four children, Mark’s wife, funny, but can be stern when needed.
Mark
The laughable father of the four children, Paula’s husband.
Jackie
A daughter of Paula and Mark, a typical teenage girl, has a stereotypical sibling bond with Josh, 17 years old.
Josh
A son of Paula and Mark, a witty gamer, has a stereotypical sibling bond with Jackie, 12 years old.
Sam
A daughter of Paula and Mark, a curious little girl looking for adventure, 6 years old.
Devin
A son of Paula and Mark, infant. This character is to be played by a doll wrapped in a blanket that covers most of the face as to give the illusion of an actual child.

Setting
This play is set in the early 2000s in a modern house of a family of 6. The set is shown as the living room of the house. A couch stands center stage right, with a coffee table in front of it. On it lays a game controller and a TV remote. The television is not on stage; instead its screen is in the audience. All actors should face out completely when looking at the TV as if a small part of the audience was the screen. Other furniture and accessories are found throughout the room, including a small round dining table with several chairs. There is a large, glass, operable window along the back wall of the house, a front door positioned upstage left, and a kitchen door exactly opposite of it stage right. A staircase leading up to the upstairs, stage left.

(Scene starts in the living room; starts out with SAM, JOSH, JACKIE, and PAULA holding DEVIN, in the room, PAULA standing beside JACKIE, and JOSH sitting on the couch while SAM colors on the floor)

PAULA: All right, that’s the lowdown on what I expect for tonight. Now, repeat it so I know you understood.
JACKIE: You guys leave, we take care of Devin, make sure the house doesn’t burn down, I watch the little ones, blah blah blah (takes DEVIN from PAULA’s hands). And then, (talking towards DEVIN but to PAULA) when you get back, I’m going to get a shiny new car!
PAULA: That’s right. But, if anything bad happens, no one will be getting anything. Understood?
JOSH: Yes Mom, we understand. You don’t have to worry about anything. (aside) Except for me playing the new Forge Striker game you told me I couldn’t buy but went behind your back and did anyway.
PAULA: What was that honey?

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Saturday Morning Writing Prompt--one-word from a quote by a famous author


If you weren’t able to join us at the Pens and Pints Writing Crawl this past Thursday, you missed out on the fun. So we’ll bring some of the fun to you! Our writing prompts this year were one-word prompts that accompanied quotes from well-known authors. Grab a beverage and find some inspiration in these words: irritation, hope, broken, risk, dreams, change, magic, friendship. Please share a little of your writing in the comments below!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Scholastic Spotlight: Melissa Pratt


Never Good Enough
Pratt, Melissa
Grade: 12
School: Kindred High School, Kindred ND Educator: Tanya Neumiller
AWARD: Gold Key, American Voices nominee


Sitting in the waiting room, I felt so tired. Children were running around and screaming with runny noses, touching everything in their path, and more often than not, coughing over everything. I felt like I had been waiting here for hours, though it was maybe only about thirty minutes. I had been the first one in the waiting room, but I still hadn’t been called. Sick of waiting I laid my head on my mother’s shoulder next to me. I had tried to pass the time by reading, but the children’s cartoon, Caillou, was blaring on the TV above me, making it hard to focus. Instead, I tried to prepare myself for the many questions that surely awaited me. I grew very impatient. There was a coldness between my mother and me, and that made conversing hard. Not that we had much to say anyway, being we were both tired and exhausted. I had had enough of this. I finally decided to ask my mother if we could leave. Before she had time to answer, I was called. “Finally,” I thought, as I stood up, grateful that they called me, but perturbed that it took so long.

I had been to the doctor so many times before, I knew the whole routine. I would walk in, state my name and birthday as they would lead me to a room where they would take my weight, blood pressure, and temperature. I followed the nurse into the room, trying to figure out a good explanation of why I was here without everyone thinking I was a complete psychopath. I sat down in the chair as she took my blood pressure on my left arm, instead of the usual right arm. I drifted into thought about pointless things, but was quickly awakened from it as I felt that sharp squeeze on my arm by the cuff.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Saturday morning writing prompt--school days memory


School is in full swing. Recall a memory from your school days and write down the emotion it made you feel. Then write your memory without naming the emotion. Instead, add details to help your reader feel the emotion with you.