2018-2019 Paragraph Contest Winners – High School

Each year, Write from the Heart holds a writing contest among students. They’re given different prompts or styling criteria and asked to write something unique. And, the students never fail to exceed expectations. The following submissions are this year’s high school winners listed by grade level.

9th Grade
Emma D., Florida

The Art of Music

Music, to me, feels as natural as an eagle soaring through the air. It’s a great way to convey how someone feels or to tell a story, whether it be Taylor Swift singing about her latest breakup, or a musical composer writing a piece about how sad he’s been lately. Music has, also, always been a great escape for me from some of the more depressing moments I’ve had since moving, whether the genre is classical or rock n’ roll. I love singing, both for people and when I’m just alone in my bedroom. Whenever I am on my computer, I pull up music to listen to while doing whatever it is I’m doing (including right now, as I write this.) I used to dabble in piano, but I didn’t have the patience for it, and now, I regret not going further with it. My favorite type of instrument is the percussion, but all instruments add to the song a little in their own way, as different ingredients add to the overall flavor of a dish, and I appreciate them all.

    Back in Maryland, at the church I attended, I participated in its choir. I enjoyed it wholeheartedly for four years, and that was such a blessing for me to be able to glorify God by doing one of my favorite things. It helped me improve both the quality of my singing and my overall knowledge of music in general. Now that I’ve moved to Florida, I am hoping to find another choir group that I can both enjoy and learn from.

    Music has provided a great distraction for these past few months and has given me a great opportunity to explore different genres and music types. Some of my favorites are: rap, classic rock n’ roll, pop, doo-wop, classical, and even, on occasion, trap/EDM. Also, game tracks and film scores have hidden treasures in them that I also heavily relish listening to. Music, though very entertaining, can also be incredibly therapeutic. Some people have emotional connections to different songs that can trigger happy memories. Music, as it was for me, is a great thing to focus your energies into and can also just cheer you up in general. Without music, I’m not sure I would’ve been able to make it through moving.


10th Grade
Mary A., Ontario

Albert Einsten

Albert Einstein is the best known scientist of the 20th Century. Most people recognize Einstein because of his theory of relativity and his genius equation E=mc². Yet, it’s not for this, or his other breakthrough theories, that Einstein inspires me. His ability to use his curiosity to think outside the box and to apply great creativity and imagination to science is what makes him a truly inspirational scientist.  He knocked down barriers of his mind,and he didn’t accept reality as it presented itself. 

In his younger days, Einstein thought that he lacked imagination. In high school he wrote as his motives for becoming a teacher in physics and mathematics – “My disposition for abstract and mathematical thought, lack of imagination and ability.”   Later on, when Einstein had played with our insights of the world and re-negotiated them, he stated “I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”

Though Einstein may have looked like the stereotypical mad inventor, he was not the mono-dimensional scientist. He was definitely a well-rounded individual, and embraced philosophy and art from an early age. Einstein, because of his curious mind, has created theories that were far more advanced for his time, and has become an inspirational figure to many  individuals, including myself.


10th Grade
Deklan B., Florida

Art

To create art is to be human, to be human is to be flawed, to be flawed is to be relatable, and relatability builds community. Art is a universally recognized way for individuals to connect with others on a personal and emotional level.Art has help me express my emotions and ideas in a constructive way that can resonate with others, and it’s a beautiful way to improve my way of thinking.

            Art is an extension of the humans who are responsible for creating it. When you hear a song that lays out in detail the terrible day you just had, you can’t help but feel like you’re understood in your suffering. The same way creating art can help you express your emotions, it can also allow others to process their own feelings while enjoying the art you have created. Listening to a song that tells about the emotions you are currently feeling can be very comforting. Music is just one art medium that resonates with us and helps us feel personally connected with those around us.

            Art is written in the language of emotion. Paintings especially connect with me; their beautiful color, the long, sweeping strokes of energy, and the sheer variety of emotions they can convey. Just think of Edvard Munch’s “Scream,” and the reds, oranges, and yellows of the sky inside. You can’t help but feel disturbed and probably a little uneasy. When I saw the painting for the first time, I got goosebumps all the way up my arm, my eyes where stuck on the agonized expression of the man, and I could almost hear the bloodcurdling sound emanating from his mouth. This was exactly the emotion Mr. Munch was trying to convey. On the contrary, the paintings by Beatrix Potter that are full of brightly dressed bunnies and other forest folk fill us with happiness,joy, a sense of mischief, and youthful vigor. Paintings and other art forms like it are perfect ways to share emotions with others.

            Art is a way for us as humans to express our emotions and connect with others. It has been used as far back as the stone age to express one’s feelings, hopes and dreams. Art can assure us that our current feelings are legitimate, and inflict us with new ones. Art has no rules, and self expression and creativity are limitless. With a wide variety of forms and practices, art can reach people in any country, age, people group,religion, and state of mind. Such is the power of art.


11th Grade
Christiana D., North Carolina

Gone

Bang! The noise reverberated in her ears, shocking her senses. As suddenly as it had come, it vanished. Everything was still; she stood, heart beating, hands clenched, eyes burning. Could there be any more emotion left from the heartache of these weeks?Yet, she yearned for the feelings to come to ease the pain. Slowly, yet forcefully, her soul showed the painful, pent-up anger and hurt. The tears brimmed and overran. Gone. No recollection of time. No memory that did not hurt. Time kept moving, but her world had stopped.

Finally, her numbed mind led her, as if by force outside,into the freezing night air, but even then it was no friend. She sat on the hard brick steps slumped against the wall. Her cheeks were dry. Her eyes,empty. The freezing wind was her only company, raising goosebumps on her arms,but she did not notice nor care. No light seen. No warmth felt. Gazing into the pitch blackness, she saw, yet did not see. Everything was dark, cold, and heartless. The tears had dried long before, and now only silence and heart-wrenching anguish reigned. 

Then, unexpectedly, a distant, painful scene of long ago flashed before her eyes. Her thoughts came flooding back and the tears ran silently again. Why me? She let the emotions once again rush over her. Suddenly, in the darkness,carried along by the howling wind, a long off whistle sounded. Into of the darkest depths of her soul the whistle rang, calling to lost and forgotten memories, calling to her heart.


12th Grade
Belinda S., Pennsylvania

Sometimes You Just Have to Try a Tomato

“Whew! I’m so hot!” I exclaimed as I plunked myself down on the staircase of the building where we had been playing for hours. Little did I know that I was about to learn a valuable lesson that night. Just then the mouthwatering cries of “Watermelon!” reached our ears. We all flocked outside to find this invigorating treasure—only to find that it was mandatory for each of us to eat one cherry tomato before we could devour the watermelon. Oh no. Cherry tomatoes are entirely outside of my eating habits and are never to be experienced. For some reason, I’ve always had a hard time trying new foods. What to do? I want watermelon. But…

One by one, we uttered our complaints or consents. Several of the others had already stooped to try this scandalous fruit. Beside the bowl of tomatoes, on the sidewalk, stood that lip-smacking watermelon. A knife raised over its head and split it right down the middle. Ahhhh… the juicy red flesh…

“Tomatoes first.”

“Oh, no. Really?” I complained. “Alright then,” I sighed, shaking my head. 

“One,” I tensed, “two,” the tomato drew closer to my tongue, “three!” I couldn’t do it. I just knew I couldn’t. I staggered backwards, uneaten tomato still in my hand. Laughter.

“Let’s try again,” I ventured, but the same thing happened. The tomato still could not touch my tongue.

“Why can’t I do this?” I asked, eyeing my tomato with a scowl. But then, my gaze drifted to that watermelon, now cut into perfect triangles, waiting for my teeth to sink into. “Alright, this time I’m really going to do it.”

“One. Two. Three. Go!“ With an extreme surge of willpower that little intruder rolled right into my mouth as my teeth penetrated its flesh. Juice gushed across my tongue. I thought about spitting it out but then decided against that idea. “Woohoo! I did it!” I yelled as I swallowed the last bit. Everyone else already had watermelon juice “walking” down their chins, and it was now my turn to enjoy myself. I picked up my prize and sank my teeth into it.

I learned something important that evening. For one thing, I discovered that tomatoes are not nearly as bad as I thought they were. I also realized that this experience is similar to many others, like learning to drive a stick-shift or sharing a testimony, for instance. I have preconceived ideas of what something, in this case a tomato, is like, but I don’t really know until I try it. Often times, it isn’t half as bad as I thought it would be, and sometimes I actually learn to enjoy the experience.