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Grades 8–12
Narrative

A Challenge

Shayne Williams
Discover what one student experiences when they tuck their phone away for a whole day.

It is the first day of summer vacation going into my senior year. I find myself waking around 10 in the morning as usual, but this year’s summer vacation is going to be different.

The smell of turkey bacon and buttery pancakes transports me from the comfort of my bed to the stools in my kitchen. My dad asks me about what I have planned for the day, but I completely disregard what he says as my head is buried in my phone.

My dad slaps the top of my head which grabs my attention. He says, “Here is a challenge for you Mr. Shang Lee: Why don’t you put down your phone for a couple of days and enjoy life for once?”

I decide to take him up on his offer, and shut down my phone hesitantly, and give the phone to him. And so, the challenge begins.

I start off moving around because I have nothing to do, but in reality I do have things to do. I clean my filthy room up, which takes me a good hour to clean. I sit back and admire my cleaning masterpiece.

Then I start to read my summer reading, 1984. But I ACTUALLY get interested in the book. I read on for hours in the comfort of my bed.

Three o’clock hits and I can hear the pitter pattering of my baby brother’s little feet running towards the front door. I dash down our steps as I meet my baby brother at the front door. I ask him if he wants to play kickball outside. He seems puzzled, but excited to try out this “kickball” game.

I take him outside and demonstrate slowly how the game is played. We start to play, and my inner-child bursts out of me as I actually am having fun, bringing back memories of the days of not knowing about cell phones.

Ever since that day, I intentionally take breaks from my phone and spend time either being productive or spending time with my family. Now my goal is to get my own family away from burying their heads in their phones.

From This Resource

by Rebecca Darugar, Liz Levine, and Brancey Mora, 826NYC and 826 National

Grades 6–9
Lessons
True Connections: Personal Experiences with Social Media

by Rebecca Darugar, Liz Levine, and Brancey Mora, 826NYC and 826 National

Informational
Media
Memoir
Narrative
Poetry

Invite students to write about their personal experiences with social media and online platforms with this lesson from 826NYC.

From This Publication

PRESENTED BY 826 NATIONAL AND COMMON SENSE MEDIA True Connections features young writers from around the country exploring their relationship with the internet, with social media, and with the digital world in general. From essays about internet addiction to explorations of digital disconnections, True Connections gives young writers the chance to ask big questions about what it means to strike a balance between real life and online life, and to remain true to oneself in both.

See more Writing at this level

Grade 9
Writing
The Great Under

by Kyla Edwards, 826 New Orleans

Fantasy/SciFi
Narrative

This creative short story explores a snapshot of what a future New Orleans might look like amid climate change.

Grade 8
Writing
The Deadly Ivory Trade and What It’s Really Costing Us

by Piya, 826 Valencia

Informational
Persuasive

A demand to the public stop to buying ivory that seeks to explain the devastating effects of poaching on elephant and rhino populations.

Grades 9–12
Writing
What Becomes of the Brokenhearted

by Ryker, 826michigan

Informational
Narrative

Liner notes that showcase the meaning and musicality of the Jimmy Ruffin song “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted.”

Grade 10
Writing
Check, Please!, Drop-out, and Happy Endings

by Aphra, 826CHI

Informational
Media
Persuasive

A student considers realistic happy endings and the representation of LGBTQIA youth through the analysis of two webcomics.

Grade 8
Writing
Protest for the People of Color / Protesta para la Gente de Color

by Roger, 826 Valencia

Informational
Persuasive

An essay in English and Spanish that traces connections between two movements in modern American history for the rights of people of color.

Grades 7–8
Writing
Who I Am

by Duanté, 826 Valencia

Narrative

A personal narrative about race and identity.

Grade 12
Writing
It will be hard, but you will prevail

by Helen, Grade 12, 826 MSP

Narrative
Persuasive

In this letter from the Essential Words lesson, a senior at South High School in Minneapolis offers words of support to healthcare workers across the country, including her own mom.

Grade 10
Writing
She, He, Them

by Savannah, 826NYC

Narrative
Poetry

Using dialogue and detailed description, this poet investigates whose voices are heard and whose voices are left behind when injustice occurs.

Grade 11
Writing
We are not alone

by Jeremy Hsiao, 826 National

Poetry

From the forthcoming anthology, Poets in Revolt!, this poem reminds activists that "to change everything, we need everyone."

Grades 7–8
Writing
Just Glitter and Be Questioning

by Eva, 826 Valencia

Narrative

A student celebrates the journey of discovering whom to love.

Grade 8
Writing
Friends Should Be Forever

by Sharon, 826CHI

Memoir
Narrative

A memoir about finding true friendship.

Grade 8
Writing
Lessons of a Lifetime

by Jiaxi, 826CHI

Memoir
Narrative

A student’s worldview is forever altered after a lesson on the Segregation Era and Jim Crow.

Grade 9
Writing
Strength, Bravery, Selflessness, and Dedication

by Sammie, Grade 9, 826 MSP

Narrative
Persuasive

In this letter from the Essential Words lesson, a freshman at South High School in Minneapolis thanks care workers for supporting our local and national communities during this global pandemic.

Grades 11–12
Writing
Dancing in This Hurricane

by Earl Williams Jr., The 826 Dallas Project

Poetry

A powerful poetic piece about the experience of being Black in America.

Grades 6–8
Writing
Dear Mom

by Jin, 826LA

Narrative

This student says thank you to her Mom, her hero, for a life full love and beef noodles!

Grade 8
Writing
Voices

by Isabel, 826 Boston

Poetry

From the forthcoming anthology, Poets in Revolt!, this poem features a student battling with the voices constricting her freedom.

Grades 9–10
Writing
The Rez Girls Are Powerful!

by Navayah, 826 MSP

Fantasy/SciFi
Narrative

Through redefining a label, a student reclaims a piece of their identity.

Grades 9–10
Writing
Retrospect

by Kevin G, 826 Valencia

Narrative

This narrative calls us to see the world through the perspectives of others.

Grades 10–11
Writing
In Between

by Joanne H, 826 Valencia

Poetry

In this poem, a student’s experiences in two countries meld together as she seeks out her true home.

Grade 10
Writing
All Humans Are Equal: A Call for Immigration Reform

by Cindy, 826LA

Informational
Persuasive

A student compellingly argues that immigrants deserve respect and to be free of discrimination.

Grade 10
Writing
Black Power

by Anthony, 826DC

Poetry

This poem gives insight to what it's like growing up Black in America.

Grades 8–10
Writing
David & Daniel

by David & Daniel, 826CHI

Memoir
Narrative

In this heartfelt exchange of letters, two students bond over food, videos games, and some scary adventures.

Grade 9
Writing
Here, Queer, Yet Not Really

by Mercury, 826CHI

Informational
Media
Persuasive

A student explores the representation of LGBTQIA+ minorities and youth in US pop culture.

Grades 11–12
Writing
I’m Here to Stay

by Leydi Di Villanueva, The 826 Dallas Project

Narrative

This creative narrative imagines how the coronavirus views humanity during the pandemic.

Grades 11–12
Writing
Wrong Black Boy

by Oriel, 826NYC

Poetry

In this poem, an echoing question strikes a chord and reveals the tragic loss held within systemic injustice.

Grade 11
Writing
Finding Myself in Desire and History

by Raheem, 826 New Orleans

Narrative

A student compares themself to the place they live, New Orleans, as both evolve through great obstacles.

Grade 12
Writing
Generations

by Jizelle Villegas, Grade 12, 826 Dallas Project

Poetry

The stunning and vulnerable poem processes feelings of loss, grief, and hope for the future.

Grade 8
Writing
Finding Out I Have a Brother

by Natalie, 826CHI

Narrative

Weaving together Spanish and English, a student shares the discovery of a family secret.

Grade 11
Writing
My Black

by Keyshana, Grade 11, 826CHI

Poetry

Black strength, beauty, and pride soar in this poem as a student discusses overcoming brutality and discrimination.

Grades 7–8
Writing
My Volleyball Blues

by Lesly, 826 Valencia

Poetry

A sports poem about the losing blues.

Grade 8
Writing
When I Laughed the Hardest

by Diego, 826CHI

Memoir
Narrative

On the funniest day of this student’s life…

Grades 8–9
Writing
Shout-Out Poem

by Anjum, 826CHI

Poetry

A shout-out poem to some things missed (Hyderabad) and celebrated (Mom).

Grade 8
Writing
Chaos in Antarctica! Millions of Penguins Dead!

by Luke, 826 Valencia

Informational
Persuasive

An essay shared in English and Spanish discusses the effects of global warming on penguins and their source of nutrients, krill.

Grade 11
Writing
America’s Hatred

by Quardasha Mitchell, The 826 Dallas Project

Poetry

In this compelling poem, the author navigates her relationship with America as a young African-American woman.

Grades 7–8
Writing
School Blues

by Jamie, 826 Valencia

Poetry

A metaphorical poem about frustrations, from homework to homelessness.

Grades 7–12
Writing
My Family Interview

by Johnny Vasquez, 826 MSP

Narrative

A family interview reveals a mother's painful past and shines a light on her persistence.

Grade 8
Writing
It’s All About the Teamwork

by Victor, 826CHI

Memoir
Narrative

An epic memoir about an epic volleyball match! Who will win: the teachers or the students?

Grades 11–12
Writing
Home Away From Home

by Jennifer Alcocer, The 826 Dallas Project

Narrative

This personal narrative addresses the struggles of students graduating high school during the pandemic.

Grades 8–10
Writing
Bryanna & Kayla

by Byanna & Kayla, 826CHI

Memoir
Narrative

Two students across one city bond by writing letters to each other about the people they love most.

Grades 9–12
Writing
Haunting Picture

by Jazlyn Moses, 826 National

Narrative
Persuasive

One student explores their online persona and the lasting importance of conscientious social media practices.

Grade 12
Writing
Two-Sided Latin Culture

by Karina Centeno, Grade 12, 826 Dallas Project

Poetry

This poem takes an honest look at two sides of the writer's culture.

Grade 8
Writing
What walking the red road means to me is

by Mariah Valenzuela, Minneapolis, MN

Poetry

From the forthcoming anthology, Poets in Revolt!, this poet uses her voice to speak up for those who have been silenced in the indigenous community.

Grade 11
Writing
These Walls

by Augustus Griffith Jr., 826 National

Poetry

From the forthcoming anthology, Poets in Revolt!, this poem explores the aftermath and lasting impacts of school shootings.

Grades 11–12
Writing
Where I’m From

by Michaiah Anderson, The 826 Dallas Project

Memoir
Narrative

In this personal narrative, a student describes their family origins with an intimate point of view

Grades 10–11
Writing
Bigger Than You Think

by Sharoya Bracey, 826NYC

Memoir
Narrative

In this memoir, the narrator recounts the struggle of being the bigger person in a very small space.

Grades 9–10
Writing
Beat of the Drum

by Aniah, 826 MSP

Poetry

A student is lifted up by the dance of her ancestors.

Grades 7–8
Writing
jalapeño + love

by Calvin, 826michigan

Narrative

A student professes love—to a jalapeño!

Grade 12
Writing
Still

by Franny, 826CHI

Poetry
STEM

A student spins through space and a treasure trove of memories in this poem.

Grade 8
Writing
The Sun Radiates With Light

by Cora B., Grade 8

Narrative

This narrative uses nature imagery, to help the reader walk through a day in the speaker's shoes

Grade 8
Writing
Completing the Pokédex

by Andy, 826CHI

Memoir
Narrative

In this memoir, a few friends bond over a rare Pokémon Go catch.

Grades 9–12
Writing
Giving Shelter

by Steysi Hailee, 826LA

Narrative

A student reflects on a small moment and single sacrifice that transformed her outlook on giving.

Grade 8
Writing
2.719 Million People

by Sebastian Cendejas, 826CHI

Informational
Narrative

A student reflects on how much Chicago means to them.

Grade 10
Writing
Matricide: Addressing Climate Change

by Maggie Munday Odom, Kailua, HI

Poetry

This poem personifies Earth as a mother coping with the brutalities of climate change.

Grade 8
Writing
Co-ed Teams, Yes or No?

by Ella, 826 Valencia

Persuasive

A persuasive argument for co-ed teams in the face of gender stereotypes, supported by results from primary research conducted by the author.

Grades 6–8
Writing
The Crane in the Constellations
by Cartoon Network

by Alondra, 826CHI

Fantasy/SciFi
Narrative

An epic story of a princess who seeks acceptance among the stars.

Grades 7–9
Writing
New Sport: Pencils

by Jason, 826michigan

Informational

Making bottle flipping look like child's play, this piece outlines rules for the new, competitive Fantasy Sport "Pencils".

Grade 8
Writing
Chicago is My Voice

by Kiara, 826CHI

Narrative

In this personal narrative, a student explores growing up young and black in Chicago.

Grade 10
Writing
I Will Be a Lifesaver

by Yazmine-Gizelle, 826DC

Poetry

This poem uses a fundamental poetry technique, repetition, to share the writer's future plans.

Grade 9
Writing
My Language

by Fahima Dahir, 826 MSP

Poetry

A poem about the strength and limitations of language and shared culture.

Grades 7–8
Writing
BLM

by Chelsea, 826NYC

Poetry

An acrostic poem about the Black Lives Matter movement.

Grades 9–12
Writing
Stupid Blue Screen

by Vanessa Ramon-Ibarra, 826DC

Narrative
Poetry

Living in the digital world can create unwanted attachments, as one student laments.

Grades 6–8
Writing
Dear Jackie Chan

by Luis, 826LA

Narrative

This student writes a letter to a hero with a sweet double kick: Jackie Chan!

Grade 8
Writing
Women United: Stand Together Against Being Critiqued

by Elizabeth W., 826 Valencia

Informational
Persuasive

A persuasive piece for women and girls to unite and cultivate a culture of body image positivity.

Grades 6–8
Writing
Listen

by Khloe Fewster, 826 Valencia

Poetry

This poem uses repetition to give advice for when you're feeling unsure of yourself.

Grade 12
Writing
The Reason We Have Balance

by Kailyn Espinosa, 826NYC

Narrative
Persuasive

In this letter from the Essential Words lesson, a student shares how essential workers’ courage and compassion center her during these hectic times.

Grades 8–9
Writing
Booking an Adventure

by William, 826LA

Memoir
Narrative

A teen discovers the power of books to transport him to another world, and shares his excitement about becoming a published author.

Grades 8–10
Writing
Reuben & Giselle

by Reuben & Giselle, 826CHI

Memoir
Narrative

Two students write to each other about where they came from, what they love, and a few mishaps along the way in an exchange of letters.

Grade 10
Writing
Managing to Find Joy

by Luciana, Grade 10, 826 MSP

Narrative
Persuasive

In this letter from the Essential Words lesson, a sophomore at South High School in Minneapolis gives thanks to Children’s Hospital employees.

Grades 7–8
Writing
Irritating Noise

by Curtis, 826michigan

Poetry

A rhyming (inverse) ode to a very irritating noise.

Grades 9–10
Writing
Thoughts Onto Paper

by Pretty S, 826 Valencia

Memoir
Narrative

Glimpse into the mind of a student who considers artistic influences in her life.

Grade 8
Writing
Changing the Lunch Menu for the Better!

by Kaitlyn, 826NYC

Informational
Persuasive

A middle school student firmly protests the flavor and quality of her school’s lunches.

Grade 12
Writing
Suitcase Blues

by Cristina, 826CHI

Poetry

A student recounts separation with a beloved friend through a nostalgic lens.

Grade 12
Writing
The Heart of New York

by Matthew Inoa, 826 NYC

Narrative
Persuasive

In this letter from the Essential Words lesson, a student describes how essential workers are the pulse of New York, fueling the city’s hope.

Grades 5–8
Writing
The Great Achievement

by Marco, 826LA

Narrative
Playwriting

A screenplay about a plane crash and an epic journey to Mexico, with a twist!

Grade 8
Writing
I See

by Itzel Medina Luna, 826 Valencia

Poetry

In this poem from the forthcoming anthology, Poets in Revolt!, a student walks through her neighborhood searching for hidden stories.

Grade 8
Writing
The Terrific Tale of Transferring

by Angel, 826CHI

Memoir
Narrative

A student writes about the transformative experience of changing schools.

Grades 6–8
Writing
Laughter Means You’re Alive

by 826NYC students

Poetry

This collaborative poem explores the many sides and senses of laughter.

Grades 9–12
Writing
Technology Gives Me a Way In

by Jonas K., 826 National

Narrative
Persuasive

A student explores the paradox of how technology is used amongst teenagers.

Grades 7–8
Writing
My Persuasive Letter

by Renée, 826NYC

Persuasive

A persuasive letter detailing to the recipient the pointlessness of writing a persuasive letter. A helpful example for reluctant writers.

Grade 9
Writing
You Deserve More

by Sabrin, Grade 9, 826 MSP

Narrative
Persuasive

In this letter from the Essential Words lesson, 9th grader Sabrin discusses how she feels both happy and sad, and thanks nurses nationwide for bringing her peace through their work.

Grades 11–12
Writing
I Took My First Steps…

by Maria, Grade 12, 826 Boston

Narrative
Persuasive

In this public narrative, a student makes the case for creating community change by building youth centers in her neighborhood.

Grade 10
Writing
Six Poems in Search of My Border

by Jasmine J, 826 Valencia

Poetry

A student reflects on her origins to deconstruct social borders and seize her boundless future.

Grades 9–10
Writing
Dandelion

by Elizabeth W, 826 Valencia

Poetry

Even though we may look different, we remain united with one another.

Grade 10
Writing
Woman

by Jahruwach Hamilton, 826NYC

Poetry

In this rousing poem, a student asserts her strength and worth as a woman.

Grade 8
Writing
The Sugar Trap: We Just Can’t Get Enough

by Jack, 826 Valencia

Informational
Persuasive
STEM

An argument against the overconsumption of sugar outlines the ways its effects are anything but sweet.

Grades 11–12
Writing
De Werito A Prieto

by Katya Torres, The 826 Dallas Project

Narrative
Poetry

This bilingual poem explores the harrowing story of a boy working while in school to save his mother.

Grade 12
Writing
Finding My Wings

by Camille, 826LA

Memoir
Narrative

A student finds her wings in unexpected places in this piece about the transition to college.

Grades 11–12
Writing
The Woods

by Jesus Sanchez, The 826 Dallas Project

Fantasy/SciFi
Narrative

This creative short horror piece explores the mysteries and danger of a night in the woods.

Grade 8
Writing
20 Years From Now

by Salome Maldonando, 826CHI

Poetry

A poem about unrequited love.

Grade 8
Writing
Optimism

by Mya, 826CHI

Memoir
Narrative

A piece packed with vivid description about taking risks at an ice rink.

Grades 7–8
Writing
Manifesto

by Djeneba, 826michigan

Poetry

A student’s manifesto!

Grades 9–12
Writing
A Glitch in the System

by Soraya, 826NYC

Poetry

This student’s powerful piece reveals the essence of racial injustice.

Grade 9
Writing
Used To Be Booty, Now I’m Good

by Rey, Grade 9, 826 MSP

Fantasy/SciFi
Narrative

Aliens give this student superpowers to help him fulfill his greatest dream.

Grade 8
Writing
We Are All Family

by Rafael, 826CHI

Memoir
Narrative

A student remembers an afternoon adventure around town and explores what Chicago and community mean to him.

Grade 9
Writing
Gone

by Kalyn Jackson, 826 New Orleans

Fantasy/SciFi
Narrative

Through this short story, Kalyn explores ideas of home and change in an altered world.

Grade 8
Writing
Where I’m From and What I Want

by Dayana Alvarado, 826CHI

Memoir
Narrative

A student shares finding home in two places: Mexico and Chicago.

Grade 11
Writing
I Cannot Be Defined

by Alexis G., Grade 11

Narrative

In this narrative, the author uses vibrant language to explore their identity, in all its complexity, through different landscapes.

Grade 8
Writing
Memoir

by Laila, 826CHI

Memoir
Narrative

A memoir about losing a parent—and a community’s support.

Grade 8
Writing
Alex Nieto: The Unsung Hero of the Everett Community

by Jason, 826 Valencia

Informational

A student reports on the death of a college student from Bernal Heights, San Francisco, who neighbors believe was killed due to racial profiling.

Grades 6–8
Writing
Bryan

by Elsy, 826LA

Media
Narrative
Poetry

Song lyrics about memories of cake and pizza, friendship, and giving 1,000 opinions.

Grade 8
Writing
I Remember

by Vivian, 826CHI

Memoir
Narrative

A narrative about loving to run—and learning to never quit!

Grade 8
Writing
Where I’m From

by Cayden, 826DC

Narrative

This poem lists all of the pieces that make up the writer's whole.

Grade 9
Writing
Note to Self

by Gilbert, 826LA

Memoir
Narrative

One teen writes a letter to his 14-year-old self, citing his past fears but looking towards his present, a brighter future.

Grade 10
Writing
I Can Only Imagine

by Tala, Grade 10, 826 MSP

Narrative
Persuasive

In this letter from the Essential Words lesson, 10th grader Tala asks essential workers what motivates them to keep going during these difficult times, offering her own views on hope for the future.

Grades 8–10
Writing
Christopher & Bryan & Jahir

by Christopher, Bryan, & Jahir, 826CHI

Memoir
Narrative

In an exchange of letters, three students across one city share stories about where they came from and the places that matter most.

Grade 8
Writing
My Latino Self

by Arianny, 826 Boston

Poetry

A poem that celebrates being Latino

Grades 11–12
Writing
Nothing New to Us

by Julianna Cruz, 826 Dallas Project

Informational
Narrative

This narrative piece contemplates the struggle of immigrants during the pandemic.

Grades 10–11
Writing
Sunny Smiles

by Sergio M, 826 Valencia

Narrative
Poetry

A smile isn’t always what it seems.

Grade 8
Writing
Ode to My Grandfather

Amara, 826 New Orleans

Poetry

An ode celebrating an important figure in this student’s life.

Grades 11–12
Writing
My Uncle Nilton…

by Ryan, Grade 12, 826 Boston

Narrative
Persuasive

In this public narrative, a student illustrates the hardships his uncle has faced to argue for a path to citizenship.

Grade 8
Writing
My Home, My Life

by Iliana, 826CHI

Narrative

A student searches for answers in their community.

Grade 10
Writing
Are You White?

by Isabella, 826NYC

Poetry

This poet rejects judgement based on the color of one’s skin.

Grade 11
Writing
Who I’ll Always Be

by Riti Shrestha, 826NYC

Poetry

In this poem, metaphor is used to describe who the narrator is.

Grade 10
Writing
I Write

by Sabrin, 826 MSP

Poetry

The written word is a powerful tool, and this poem shares a few reasons why the author continues to write.

Grades 8–9
Writing
The Saga Continues

by Calvin, 826michigan

Narrative

A laugh-out-loud personal narrative about a crush. Has your heart ever beat so fast it might get a speeding ticket and a $500 fine?

Grade 8
Writing
Burning Love

by Lola, 826 Valencia

Poetry

A poem that portrays the arc of a love story told through the gift of a cigarette lighter.

Grade 12
Writing
Nosey Much

by Kayla, 826 Boston

Poetry

This poem offers a very-real answer to "What do you want to be when you grow up?"

Grades 8–12
Writing
It Might Not Always Disappear

by Sian Laing

Narrative

When Instagram becomes an unsightly battlefield.

Grades 6–8
Writing
Happy

by Evelyn Escamilla, 826 Valencia

Poetry

This poem uses metaphors and similes to describe happiness.

Grades 10–11
Writing
When Mean Girls Attack

by Tammy Fong, 826NYC

Memoir
Narrative

A soccer-filled, feud-fueled memoir.

Grades 7–9
Writing
Fruit Woman Saves the Day

by Pia, 826NYC

Fantasy/SciFi
Narrative
STEM

A student reimagines food justice: Fruit Woman must convince Junk Food Man and Cheesecake Boy to eat their fruits and vegetables.

Grade 8
Writing
All I Want

by Jabari, Grade 8, 826 Valencia

Poetry

A poem about wanting more from life.

Grade 10
Writing
What Is Freedom?

by Regina, 826LA

Poetry

From the forthcoming anthology, Poets in Revolt!, this poem expresses the realization that a cage is not the only obstacle to a bird's freedom.

Grades 8–9
Writing
Kneel Down for What You Believe In

by Caroline, 826 Valencia

Informational
Persuasive

A student explores U.S. soccer player Megan Rapinoe’s decision to kneel in protest during the national anthem.

Grade 12
Writing
Lives on the Line

by Terry Velasquez, Grade 12, The Bronx, NY

Narrative
Persuasive

In this letter from the Essential Words lesson, a student shares gratitude for the dedication of nurses and gives “credit where credit is due.”

Grade 12
Writing
Cake for the Culture

by Isaiah, 826 New Orleans

Narrative

This student reveals the mysterious origin story of the king cake. Hint: it includes Big Freedia, DJ Chicken Wing, and a massive party.

Grade 8
Writing
How to Know if You’re Awake

by Tylor, 826NYC

Informational

A lean but essential checklist for readers to determine if they are awake.

Grades 7–8
Writing
Hoverboard Failure

by Kevin, 826NYC

Fantasy/SciFi
Narrative

An informational briefing on a horrible incident in the year 5176 that changed the hoverboarding industry forever.

Grade 11
Writing
Where I Am From

by Rockelle Rodd, Grade 11, 826NYC

Poetry

This poem uses analogies to describe all of the pieces of the writer's personal history.

Grade 8
Writing
When People Come to See Me

by Arielle B., Grade 8

Poetry

This poem invites readers to remember that people are often going through more than choose to show.

Grades 11–12
Writing
Alemeny

by Izzy T., 826 Valencia

Narrative

A student reflects on memories of home and what binds her special community together.

Grades 8–9
Writing
Jazmine & Vanessa

by Jazmine & Vanessa, 826CHI

Memoir
Narrative

Over a series of letters, two compassionate and resilient students develop a deep friendship sealed in writing.

Grade 11
Writing
Dang, Crawfish

by Jordan, 826 New Orleans

Poetry

Crawfish, crayfish, or mudbugs. Whatever you call them, the writer of this poem doesn't like them.

Grade 8
Writing
3 and 1: The Golden State Warriors Came Close

by Emmanuel J., 826NYC

Informational

An avid basketball fan discusses the rise of the Golden State Warriors through its individual players.

Grade 8
Writing
Where I’m From

by David, 826CHI

Narrative

A student writes about the smell, taste, and pace of their neighborhood.

Grades 9–10
Writing
Where I’m From

by Charles, 826 MSP

Poetry

A student reflects on his life, stemming from the life of his father.

Grades 6–8
Writing
Rap for Stan Lee

by Luis, 826LA

Media
Poetry

A rap song dedicated to the Marvel comic writer Stan Lee and his inspired creations like the Hulk, Deadpool, Iron Man, and The Fantastic Four.

Grade 8
Writing
Meanwhile at the Creek…

by Gabriela T., 826 Valencia

Media
Narrative

In this resolution inspired by the "Include Someone" lesson and Cartoon Network storyboard, we learn that inclusive leaders take action—they don't wait for others to make a difference.

Grade 8
Writing
Christmas

by Jeff, 826CHI

Narrative

In this piece, a student describes Christmas as a holiday best spent together.

Grade 11
Writing
History and Me

by Corazón, 826 New Orleans

Narrative

In this essay, a student threads their identity across cultures, histories, and places, engaging with legacies of violence and the movement of people.

Grade 8
Writing
Wage Gap: Who Does It Affect?

by Xaria, 826 Valencia

Informational
Persuasive

An argument against the wage gap that prevails in the U.S. and across the globe.

Grades 8–10
Writing
Henry & Matthew & Santiago

by Henry, Matthew, & Santiago, 826CHI

Memoir
Narrative

A compilation of letters written by three students across one city filled with thoughts on books, sports, music, family, and musings on Valentine’s Day.