There was a family who had the best parties in the city. However, their latest one had to be different because it was to celebrate the birth of the one and only Big Freedia the Queen Diva. Not only that, but it was to celebrate the culture. It was a hard time for New Orleans. It was more divided than ever. But this family knew if one thing could bring the city back together, it would be a party bus and a DJ. So, they started to plan. They called DJ Chicken Wing for the 1s and 2s, and Beedy to bring that beat. But, it was still missing something. The matriarch of the family stood up and said “You need cake for the culture.” She began to say, “We need this cake to remind us of our royalty. So each of the colors will show that. To have fun, let’s put a baby in there to show that this party is for the new birth of New Orleans.
And wow, this cake has to stretch, so it can’t be too thick. That’s all we need. What are y’all doing? Let’s get to work!” The party was a success. No beef, but there were beats. Everyone loved the cake. It showed them that kings and queens don’t fight but make sure each other is alright. Oh, and Big Freedia loved it as well.
by Kyley Pulphus, 826 New Orleans
In this workshop, students will create a pourquoi tale, or origin story, of how a local delicacy came to be.
by Steysi Hailee, 826LA
A student reflects on a small moment and single sacrifice that transformed her outlook on giving.
by Kayla Wayne, Grade 11, 826NYC
In this poem, a student reflects on their first encounter with forced assimilation.
by Terry Velasquez, Grade 12, The Bronx, NY
In this letter from the Essential Words lesson, a student shares gratitude for the dedication of nurses and gives “credit where credit is due.”
by Julianna Cruz, 826 Dallas Project
This narrative piece contemplates the struggle of immigrants during the pandemic.
by Katya Torres, The 826 Dallas Project
This bilingual poem explores the harrowing story of a boy working while in school to save his mother.
by Jonas K., 826 National
A student explores the paradox of how technology is used amongst teenagers.
by Kayla, 826 Boston
This poem offers a very-real answer to "What do you want to be when you grow up?"
by Ryker, 826michigan
Liner notes that showcase the meaning and musicality of the Jimmy Ruffin song “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted.”
by Karina Centeno, Grade 12, 826 Dallas Project
This poem takes an honest look at two sides of the writer's culture.
by Maria, Grade 12, 826 Boston
In this public narrative, a student makes the case for creating community change by building youth centers in her neighborhood.
by Cristina, 826CHI
A student recounts separation with a beloved friend through a nostalgic lens.
by Ryan, Grade 12, 826 Boston
In this public narrative, a student illustrates the hardships his uncle has faced to argue for a path to citizenship.
by Kailyn Espinosa, 826NYC
In this letter from the Essential Words lesson, a student shares how essential workers’ courage and compassion center her during these hectic times.
by Jennifer Alcocer, The 826 Dallas Project
This personal narrative addresses the struggles of students graduating high school during the pandemic.
by Vanessa Ramon-Ibarra, 826DC
Living in the digital world can create unwanted attachments, as one student laments.
by Sian Laing
When Instagram becomes an unsightly battlefield.
by Henry F., Grade 12, 826CHI
In this poem, a student reflects on identity.
by Michaiah Anderson, The 826 Dallas Project
In this personal narrative, a student describes their family origins with an intimate point of view
by Johnny Vasquez, 826 MSP
A family interview reveals a mother's painful past and shines a light on her persistence.
by Sarah X. Age 18, 826Boston
A rousing public narrative from an author coming to terms with their identity as a young Chinese American woman and what they represent: the community of Boston's Chinatown.
by Jesus Sanchez, The 826 Dallas Project
This creative short horror piece explores the mysteries and danger of a night in the woods.
by Shayne Williams
Discover what one student experiences when they tuck their phone away for a whole day.
by Jazlyn Moses, 826 National
One student explores their online persona and the lasting importance of conscientious social media practices.
by Oriel, 826NYC
In this poem, an echoing question strikes a chord and reveals the tragic loss held within systemic injustice.
by Franny, 826CHI
A student spins through space and a treasure trove of memories in this poem.
by Jizelle Villegas, Grade 12, 826 Dallas Project
The stunning and vulnerable poem processes feelings of loss, grief, and hope for the future.
by Camille, 826LA
A student finds her wings in unexpected places in this piece about the transition to college.
by Izzy T., 826 Valencia
A student reflects on memories of home and what binds her special community together.
by Melody Marcano, 826 Boston
In this poem, a student reflects on their roots and their desire to grow.
by Leydi Di Villanueva, The 826 Dallas Project
This creative narrative imagines how the coronavirus views humanity during the pandemic.
by Matthew Inoa, 826 NYC
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.
by Soraya, 826NYC
This student’s powerful piece reveals the essence of racial injustice.
by Earl Williams Jr., The 826 Dallas Project
A powerful poetic piece about the experience of being Black in America.
by Helen, Grade 12, 826 MSP
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.