Personal Narrative Genre: Our Personal Narratives from Students 22 – 32

The Sleepover at the K.O.A

by Faith

“AHHHHH!” screamed the group of girls, while listening to scary stories.

“Hi, guys,” hollered a little girl.

“AHHHHH!” we shrieked again, not knowing who was out there in the wilderness.

We looked out of our tent to find a little girl in a lime green hat standing right outside of our tent.  The little girl started to hit our tent, and the tent was screaming in agony.  We dunked under our sleeping bags, but she could still see us.  We asked our friend’s mom and dad if they could block the openings to our tent with the screens. Then, the little girl’s dad came to our rescue.  We sighed in relief as she walked back to her campsite.

We started to tell scary stories again, when we heard a noise that sounded like a zipper. ZIP, ZIP, ZIP!  We all looked over and saw the little girl for a hot second before she vanished.  We took a quick look at each other and noticed that she was gone for the night; at least, we hoped she was.  We had a sneaky feeling that she would come back, and we were right; she came back with a pillow.  She asked us if she could sleep with us, and of course, we said no.  She would not take no for an answer.  I would hate to be that pillow; she was hitting it like it was a piñata and there was a prize inside.  We just ignored her and kept telling scary stories.  Finally, she left and we celebrated like it was a party.

The next morning, we woke up to the sweet smell of morning dew.  We couldn’t get out of our tent until everybody was awake, so we played a friendly game of Truth or Dare.  It got really boring; finally, we talked about what we were going to do that afternoon: go swimming, get some ice-cream, and jump on the jumping pillow.  When it was time to eat breakfast, we got out of our tent and saw the BIG, BAD….little girl who had been pestering us the night before.  She thought that she could eat breakfast with us, which she couldn’t.

When breakfast was over, we went on the jumping pillow that was as big as an elephant.  We all took one look at the pool and immediately went swimming.  We thought the water was going to be warm, but it was as cold as a cup of iced water.  We could stand the coldness, but it was so cold that even after running a marathon, it wouldn’t be relaxing.  Everybody soon left, but five of us stayed because we wanted to have more fun.  So, we went into the hot tub and got ourselves really warm, and then we would jump in the pool and get ourselves freezing.  It was fun, but you could feel your body go from warm and relaxed to cold and awake.

After spending time in the pool and hot tub, we went back on the jumping pillow.  Standing in the middle was a figure on the pillow.  It was the little girl!  We asked her what her name was, and it was Bailey.  Then, a few seconds later we saw a friendly guy named Adam. He was cute, but he was older; bummer.  Adam was a beautiful flower swaying in the wind.  For fun, we dared Skylar to go and say, “Hi; how are you today?”  She did, and we all giggled secretly.  We also started to act like Bailey, our little girl tormentor, and we followed poor Adam.  He started to get creeped out by us, so he left.  We all started to think that maybe this is what Bailey felt like, so we played with her, which was actually fun, and we enjoyed it.  While we were playing with Bailey, she just disappeared.  We were all spooked by the fact that she would disappear that fast.  Then she reappeared, and we all saw her and noticed that bubbles were exploding out of her hand.  Then it was easy to see that she had bought bubbles from her brother, Brody.  POP, POP, POP went the bubbles.  Bailey started laughing and dropping on the ground.  She was a witch, cackling after falling off her broom onto the hard and humid sand.

When Bailey left us, we got bored and went to find Adam.  We looked high and low for him, and we finally found him.  We started to follow him everywhere again, so he distracted us and escaped.  We finally spotted him in the store buying some candy.  We didn’t want him to see us so we hid behind a shelf.  After he was done buying all the candy, we saw the burglar leaving the store.  We captured him and put handcuffs on him and took him for a ride.  Poor Adam! He was going to be locked up in jail on the jumping pillow.  When he asked us if he could leave, we said yes, and we watched in sorrow as he ran away as fast as lighting.

Once Adam had departed, we were again uninterested and looked for something fun to do, but when we heard the car door slam shut, we knew it was time to leave.  As, we were leaving we saw out of the corner of our eyes, Adam waving goodbye, and we just smiled and waved back as he walked with another group of girls.  WHATEVER!

It had been an amazing trip! I learned to be nice to one another, even if a person is annoying.  I also learned not to judge somebody just by the way they act.  If somebody doesn’t want to hang out with you, let them go and do their own things that they think are fun.  Additionally, I learned that sometimes older boys are not interested in younger girls, at least for now.


by Tanner

It was the sixth and last inning.  There were two outs, and the bases were loaded. The other team’s power hitter stepped up to the plate. He looked like a cow on steroids because he was so bulky. I was catching. I gave the pitcher the sign:  Gas him with a fast ball. First pitch. It was a lightning bolt crack when the ball and bat made contact. The hit was a high fly ball deep in center field.

I thought for sure it was gone, but I looked. With a running start, I saw Chase, our center-fielder, leap like a frog. He robbed it. I was so shocked. I was flash grenade. We had just won the game by two runs.

My entire team yelled with joy.  We all threw our gloves up into the air. I was so excited. We all jumped on Chase and were cheering. After about five to ten minutes passed, the announcer called our names and awarded us our championship pins and our gold trophies.  I was so happy.

After the game, we all went to Brain Freeze to get ice cream. I always got the same vanilla with cookie dough, brownie bites, and Andes mints. It was so good. Afterward, we all had our picture taken. Then we went home after what was one of the best days of my life.

It was the best day of my life because I got to catch in the championship game.  I hit three for three with two singles that went over the first baseman’s and the second baseman’s heads. Additionally, I made a sky rocketing double that hit the wall. We won the championship game, and I received a pin and a shiny gold trophy. I also got Brain Freeze ice cream, and to top it off, I got to play BASEBALL. What could be better?

My First Year of School

by Zac

I walked into the classroom shaking in terror. The classroom was full of howler monkeys, but I was not with howler monkeys. I was with a bunch of five and six year old kids. I was acting as if I was watching a horror movie until I met the super nice Mr. Keig. Mr. Keig was the best teacher in the universe.

Mr. Keig was like a giant to us, and he still is. At first, I was scared of Mr. Keig, but I found out he was super nice. He taught me how to read and write. Add and subtract. He even taught me how to make school fun.

In the beginning of school, I was horrified by math and reading. I was soon shown that those subjects were not formidable opponents, but I had yet to meet my match.

Writing. I hated writing. I had met my match, my enemy, my formidable opponent. The reason I hated writing was because I wrote slowly.  It took too long for me to write, and I was always the last one to finish my newest story. It was also always boring for me. It was hard to find inspiration, or the urge to take a step up. Math and reading, on the other hand, I sped through like Speed Racer.

I was still shy, and I only had a few friends in the first couple of weeks of kindergarten. I figured out making friend was not a piece of cake. I eventually made friends. Thank God that problem was over.

Even though we got to play and create our own art, sometimes school days were boring. Sometimes days felt like they were two million years long. There were other times when I was terrified about a test, and it seemed like the paper was laughing at me, and my pencil was dodging my paper. I was sweating, shaking, and FREAKIN’ out. I eventually pulled it together and got my test done. Relieved, relaxed, and extremely calmed down. Tranquil and overjoyed I was. It felt like I was soaring through the sky a million miles per minute.

What I learned from my year in kindergarten was to face your fears.  If you are scared, don’t run away from your fears. Another lesson I learned was not to judge a book by its cover. I assumed school was going to be extremely hard and tests were going to be impossible. I assumed wrong. School (kindergarten) was not as hard as I thought it was going to be. While kindergarten was a breeze sixth, grade is challenging, but I know I can succeed if I set my mind to it and work hard.

Lake Tahoe

by Bryan

“It’s freezing,” I shout out to my laughing dad and uncles. I leap out of the water with my feet all pale. They are numb and feel like frozen snowballs. I go inside the two-story mansion and change into my snow clothes. We drive away to a small mountain that is covered in snow. I see the look on my cousin’s face, and I know we will get in a boatload of trouble.

I get my bright orange sled out of my dad’s pearl white truck. I run up the small mountain and leap on the tiny round piece of slippery plastic. I slide down, feeling the rush of adrenaline for what seems only a second. I hit a rock and start spinning out of control. I eventually hit a log and fall into the huge body of white.  I get up, soaked, feeling like a miniature iceberg, still as a caveman frozen in the winter.

Once I am on my feet, I join my cousins at the top of the hill. I tell them that their trip downhill will be fantastic and painful. I do not care what the conditions are. My brother and I hop onto the double sled. Our weight becomes speed, and we hit the ramp. It feels as if we are flying into the blue, white sky! I convince my cousins to join the incredible experience. One of the two hops on, ready for the creepy, fantastic adventure. I push him, and down he goes. He screams and laughs at the same time. He marches up the miniature mountain. He is as angry as a bull ready for the charge. He stands in front of my face. For a second, I think he’s going to push me off and into the white, puffy snow. He starts to crack up right there. I think someone has tickled his funny bone.

I ignore my frozen hands and ice cold feet. We leave the precious pearl snow with three of us on the double sled. We push off the top onto the high mountain and hit the ramp. We touch the sky! We land roughly, but safely. We get into our parents’ cars, and off we go to Nevada.

In Nevada, we enter the beautiful doors of the casino and prepare to be entertained. We amuse ourselves with our new, slick, black guitar. We go to see our parents play, and we end our trip with delicious, tasty ice cream, even though it is eleven p.m. We lick the spoon to get the best flavor out of the delicious product.  Last of all, we take a family photo and leave the biggest little city. Never underestimate all the fantastic adventures you can have in less than twenty-four hours.

First Flight

by Dylan

The place was the Oakland airport, and the time was 7:00 a.m. My dad; my brother, Justen; my dad’s girlfriend, Tracy; and her daughter, Emma would all be flying to fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada. This would officially be my very first time flying at all, unless you counted the times I jumped off my bed and landed on a couch cushion.

At the entrance, the lady told us that there would be a baggage fee because one of our bags was over fifty pounds, but she was a pleasant woman, so she let us rearrange our luggage to avoid the fee. When we all arrived in the main terminal, I noticed a barrage of security checkpoints, from the metal detectors to pat downs. I thought this reasonable because after 9/11, the United States was on its toes.

Then, after we waded through this madness and chaos, we browsed around in the little airport stores.  Each of these shops seemed to have completely disproportional prices.  For example, a pack of regular mint Trident gum cost a whopping $3.59. We decided it was best not to make any purchases, with the exception of Emma, who bought the exorbitantly priced gum.

After that, our flight was finally announced after what seemed like hours of silence and waiting. First, they called out for the A seats, who were first to board, so Emma and Tracy boarded the 747 jet. Shortly after, the flight attendant called out for the B seats to board the plane; I got the chills. As my dad, Justen, and I walked down the passageway to the get to the jet, it was like they were pumping in that liquid nitrogen because the air was so frigid, and even my dad agreed with me.

Once we walked into this metal monstrosity, it looked a lot smaller, probably because I never saw the cockpit or the lavatory. We sat in the back so we could simply recline our seats without disturbing other passengers. I was happy because I got the window seat. Finally, the C seats were called, so we were clear for takeoff.

In my opinion, the experience of flying was formidable, confusing, and awe-inspiring all mashed into one. In seconds, this titanic metal bird was swimming through the air like a US Olympic swimmer. As we rose higher and higher, we entered the puffy, white pillows that we call clouds. Minutes after, we were at the top of the world.  It was like being at the top of Mount Everest.

As the plane flew, I saw squared divided fields, which I had always thought were fake. I also saw Yosemite. I was amazed by the majesty of this national park’s forests. When we landed in Las Vegas, I thought back to what it was like to fly.

In conclusion, this entire experience completely changed my perspective of life and also my life because all along, I feared and dreaded my first flight. This was partly because of 9/11 and the terrorists who had caused all of those planes crash into the World Trade Center. So because of 9/11, I had been scared of flying. However, then I did it. I flew up over the world, not with fear, but with amazement. In the matter of an hour and a half, I, in my opinion, teleported.


by Brighton

Vroom! Vroom! That’s the sound of my go cart as I pass my grandparents, Sue and Russ. After I finish the race, I take my helmet off and look at the scoreboard for a couple seconds. I can’t see my name, but then I see my name under the first place driver. I hear Sue say, “Great job!”

I say, “Thank you!” and walk over to my grandpa, Russ, and ask if I can go again.

Russ says, “Okay, but this is the last time.”

I nod and go to get another helmet to put on and a new go cart to drive. As I come around the corners, I slip, slide, and squeal. For a quick second, I look at the scoreboard, noticing that I am in first place.  As I look at the scoreboard, I almost smash into the wall, but I quickly recover and finish the race in first place.

When I return home, I head into my room and lie down on my bed and turn on my television. When I am called for dinner, I wash my hands and walk toward the dinner table to eat. When I ask what is for dinner, Sue replies, “We are having steak for dinner.”

After I hear those words come out of her mouth, I run straight to the kitchen table, anxiously waiting for my juicy, tender steak! My chops start to drool. As I see the beautiful steak placed right in front of my face, I immediately dig in. When I finish my dinner, I ask Sue for a huge bowl of ice cream.  She agrees and gives me a gigantic bowl of ice cream. When I finish my ice cream, I ask Russ if I can play on his iPad.

In a quiet voice, he says, “Okay,” and in a happy voice, I replied to him in a happy voice reply, “Thank you!”

After I finish playing with the iPad, I go outside to play basketball until dark. When darkness falls, I go inside to my room to watch television until time for bed. I fall right to sleep, and when I wake up in the morning, I smell something sweet, so I wash my hands and go to the kitchen. I see what is cooking. There are pancakes and fruit. In the middle of eating my breakfast, I feel something fuzzy touch my leg.  It startles me, but it is only my silly cat, Woodrow.

Later that day, Sue takes me to find a new pair of shoes, but it takes forever to find a good pair that I like. Finally, we find a pair I like, but store is all out of the shoes in my size. The person helping Sue and me tells us that they can ship the shoes to my house, so we make that arrangement. When we get back in the car, I say, “Thank you!” and we return home.

Once I am home, I put on my swim shorts and go swimming in my grandparent’s pool. Russ comes by with a bunch of coins, and he throws them all into the pool so I can dive for them. When I have all the coins, I dry off and go inside to watch the Giants game. When the Giants game is over, I tell Sue that they won.  Then I ask, “Can I take a shower and then eat dinner?”

She says, “That’s fine; just try to make it quick.”

So I do, and then after dinner, I go straight to bed because I am so exhausted. The next morning, I walk outside to check on Sue’s kittens. I notice my grandparent’s boat, and to me, it looks like a huge elephant because it is on a big trailer. When I see the boat, I run inside to look for my grandma, and when I find her I yell, “Are we going to the lake?”

Sue turns around and says, “You scared the heck out of me, but yes, we are going on the boat today, but not now.”

However, I forget get my swim shorts on so I can go swimming in the lake. I quickly run back in the house to change and then ran outside where my grandparents are waiting in the huge truck that will haul the huge boat all the way to Lake Shasta. Once at the lake, we have Sue back the boat up into the water while my grandpa and I stay in the boat. Once my grandma gets into the boat, we start go all around the lake. When it becomes lunchtime, my grandma prepares everyone a cheese, ham, leftover steak, and mustard sandwich, which I ate in a second like a tiger eating a little bird in one bite.

My grandparents are still eating, but I want to swim; however, before I make it out the door, Sue calls, “You can’t go swimming yet because you have to wait thirty minutes or else you’ll get a stomach cramp”

I answer with “that’s just a myth” and jump back into the water. After lunch and swimming, we go get ice cream at the store on the lake, a store that at some point in time was all held up by water. I look inside the massive cooler and see a huge ice cream bar, but to me it is so big it looks as titanic as my grandparents’ boat. When I ask my grandma for the huge ice cream bar she says, “OH, MY GOODNESS! Are you going to be able to finish that?”

I grin and say, “Oh, yeah!” When I return to the boat where my grandpa is waiting, all I hear is “Wow.”  I have no clue who is speaking until I turn around and see my grandpa hanging his mouth open. He is looking at my enormous treat. I finish eating my ice cream and then we go tubing all around the lake until it is time to go. Then we let my grandma off at the docks and wait for her to bring the trailer over so we can load up the boat and go back home, where I fall to sleep immediately.

In the morning, I wake up early so I can feed the horses. When I walk back into the house, I see a huge plate of food on the table.  The plate contains eggs, bacon, and toast. Later that day, I ask Russ if I can give him a ride in his tractor, and he says, “Yeah, just give me some time to get ready.”

I reply, “Okay, take all the time that you need.”

After he is ready, we go out to the barn to get the tractor. I drive him all around the property. When I am done giving Russ a drive, I head into my room to get in bed for some rest. A couple minutes later, Sue comes in and says, “It’s time to start packing up to leave tomorrow.” So I pack up all my stuff and then relax watching television until it is time for bed. When I wake up in the morning, I pack all my stuff into the car and say goodbye as I prepare for the long drive home after the fun-filled time with my grandparents.

The Greatest Poultry Show

by Rose

I rushed to pull up my blue jeans, and I almost choked on my waffle. Then I slammed the door shut. I ran to my chicken’s rusted, old pen, and I grabbed my chicken, Peanut. We both went to my shed to practice to get first place at the Sonoma County Fair.

I said to Peanut, “We have to get first.”

Peanut said, “Cluck,” but I knew she meant, “And we can.”

It was the first day of the Sonoma County Fair, and I was as excited as an ant drinking coffee. I found Peanut’s cage and put her in it. I gave her some food and cold water. Then my sister, Rachel, and I finished feeding our other birds. Rachel fed her turkey, two ducks, and her hen. I fed my two ducks, Marshmallow and Stretch. Marshmallow was a Blue Swedish, and Stretch was a Fawn and White Indian Runner. The breed names are related to the animals’ coloring, so Marshmallow was a grayish-blue hue, and Fawn was a light tan color.

The next day we went back to the Sonoma County Fair, and it was the day of the big show. I got Peanut out of her cage and made her all shiny and clean by putting mineral oil on her comb and wattles and rubbing baby wipes on her legs to clean them. I put her back in her cage and fed her so she looked full and nice.

The show started, but first we had to watch the Special Juniors, the kids under nine years of age, compete.  When the Special Juniors were done, we had to watch the first group of my class, the juniors, which was the nine to eleven years old age group, compete. Did I mention poultry shows are super boring?

Finally, I heard the judge call, “Rose,” and now I was nervous. He asked me to pose my bird by making Peanut stand tall with her feet spread evenly apart. Then he asked me to name all the different types of combs, the red part atop a chicken’s head.

I said, “Single (which has five points on the top of the head), Buttercup (which looks like moose antlers), Pea (which is small and lumpy), Cushion (which is the least common type of comb, and it looks like a Pea comb), V-Shaped (which looks like a “V” and is only on some breeds of birds), Rose (which are flat and lumpy with a point on the end), and Strawberry and Walnut (which both look like walnuts).

The judge said, “Great!”

Then he asked me to cage my bird, and I did so by putting Peanut in a cage and posing her inside it. Then I had to wait for him to say, “O.K., you can bring your bird back to the table.”

Then finally it happened, the thing I had been waiting for this whole time.  The judge said, “Can you please walk your bird across the table.”

I walked Peanut across the table by pushing her with a wooden dowel, but I had to be careful because you couldn’t actually touch your bird a lot, and if you did, the judge would minus points because your bird is supposed to be well-trained enough to walk on its own. I tried my hardest not to touch Peanut; fortunately, Peanut walked great! I was so happy.

The judge then said, “Your bird is very well-trained.”

“Thank you,” was what I said.

The judge then announced that we had to wait an hour for the results. When I heard that, I was not happy at all; actually, I was as mad as a penguin without ice. So my family and I decided to go get some breakfast burritos because we were hungry, and we wanted to kill some time. The burritos had sausage, eggs, cheese, and salsa on them. The yummy combination with the hot sausage and the cold salsa was heaven in my mouth.

After eating, it was time to go back to the show ring, and the judge told us we had to have a couple tie-breakers. When he said that, my hands started to shake and my cheeks where turning into cherries. So this girl, Elizabeth, and I had to answer some poultry questions.

The judge asked me, “If a chicken has red earlobes, what color eggs does it lay?”

I said, “Brown.” I was feeling really confident.

Then he asked me, “How many bantam ducks can you name?”

I said, “Call Duck and East Indie.”

This time he asked me, “In what class is a Polish?”

I said, “Mediterranean?” I was wrong, and I knew I was, and I was also confused.

I was worried that I wouldn’t even place since there were seventeen other people in the class with me.

The judge started announcing winners, counting down from twelve. I almost started to sweat. I was turning into my own hot tub. He finally got down to two, and I thought I didn’t place, but the judge finally called my name. I was extremely excited, and I didn’t know what to say, but I eventually found the right words to say, and those words were “Thank you.”

I ran to my mom and dad and said, “I did it! I got second place!”

When the show ended, we went home and fell asleep. The next day we went back to the fair to get our birds to take home.

I said to Peanut, “We did it; we got second place,” and, of course, Peanut said, “Cluck.”

Ever since this experience was over, I have felt way more confident when showing in front of an audience. I’m also never going to forget this special moment I had with Peanut. I learned that practice doesn’t make you perfect, it does make you better.

My Bike Experience

by Jarod

“Wahoo! I finally got a new bike that I can ride,” I said as my mom drove us home from the bike store. I was so unmentionably excited and as scared as if I had been locked in a pitch black room. I had never ridden a bike without training wheels, and I had actually barely ever ridden a bike at all. My old bike was too small and still had training wheels attached.

Part of the reason why I couldn’t wait to learn to ride without training wheels was that we had purchased the new bicycle only a couple days before my birthday.  My mom had promised me that if I learned how to ride a two-wheeler before my birthday, she would give me a brand new 3DS XL as a birthday present!

When I looked at my new bike, in my nervous eyes, I saw a battleship that I had to learn to use. My new bike was big, shiny, and bright orange. While I was about to make my first attempt to ride, my neighbor was outside because she had to take care of her two, two-year-old grandkids. My mom held onto the front and back of my bike. She would lean me one way and then the other so that I could try to balance myself. I was a teeter-totter, leaning one way and then the other.  Staying on the bike was really hard because a lot of the time, I would start pedaling too fast for my mom to keep holding me upright.

Then my mom took a break to talk to my neighbor. I wanted to succeed so much so I tried twice on my own.  On my second try, I did it.  I stayed balance atop the seat of my bike. At first I didn’t realize I had done it, but then my neighbor said, “Look, Jarod, you did it.” When I realized I had succeeded, I was as happy as a boy could be. Happiness ran through my veins.

After that, I just didn’t want to stop riding. I was elated.  I kept riding in wide circles because my neighborhood was almost a cul-de-sac, except it has two ways out of what I thought of as the center.  Two of my friends lived in the same area, so when they saw me riding my bike, they came out with theirs and rode with me.  You should have seen us!  We were three vultures circling and circling.  This was one of my best days ever!  It was so fun, even though I bumped into many things, such as cars, trucks, and walls.  However, you couldn’t blame me; it was my first time.  When I took a break from riding, you should have seen my legs.  I had about a million scratches.

At first, I thought riding a bike was going to be scary and hard. Instead, it was incredibly fun and quite easy. What I gained from this experience is the knowledge that some things seem hard and or scary, but can be really fun and easy.  The important thing is something can seem unattainable or impossible, but if you try, taking one step at a time, you will succeed.

The Best Trip to San Francisco

by Jimena

HONK! The ferry that we rode on left the dock, and we started walking towards the interesting shops. Above us, a guy was screaming down a zip line!  I knew we were in San Francisco because of the weather, which was very foggy. We all wanted to go to the zip line, but my friend’s mom, Maria, said that first we had to go to a place that was a surprise. We were all super exited. We couldn’t wait! My friends and I all followed Maria, and when we got there, I couldn’t believe my eyes! We were in Japantown.

When we got to the mall, we first had to get something to eat. We were wandering around everywhere, looking through stores, and finally, we found a cool restaurant. We got a table and sat down. For some reason, our table had a stove on it, and then I thought, “Why would there be a stove on our table,” but then I thought,” Oh, maybe somebody is going to cook right at our table,” and I was right. When the cook arrived to our table, we ordered, and she started cooking our meal. She was amazing! She flipped and flopped the food. Her spatula was her magic wand! One time she made a volcano out of onion rings and vinegar, and she even made a heart out of rice! In addition to the entertainment, the food was outstanding.

Later, we went to a groovy store. It had all sorts of astonishing things, such as Japanese erasers, fantastic notebooks, and really neat fans! I bought two packs of erasers, and Jenni, my sister, and Kira, our friend, both bought fans. Then, we went to the Hello Kitty store. We were in paradise! I was like a kid in a candy store. I saw an attention-grabbing game in which you received a paper net and there would be a tub of Hello Kitty mini-figures full of water. The goal was to scoop as many figures as possible with the paper net. The bad part of the game was that you had to pay $3.00 to play. I paid the fee and started playing. It was as hard as looking for a needle in a stack of hay, but I managed to scoop out Hello Kitty; her sister, Mimi; her dad; her friend, the deer; and her other friend, the dog, in one scoop. They were adorable!

I told Jenni and Kira about the game, and Kira wanted to try. “That’s $3.00 more for the person that runs the game,” I said to Jenni. She took her net and started to scoop as many figures as she could, but she could not pull them out fast enough. She only became a little disappointed that she didn’t win. A little while afterwards, we saw an enormous box full of insignificant Hello Kitty figurines. We wanted to buy the box of figurines, but once we saw the price, $200, we didn’t want to buy it anymore.

We had to hurry out of the store because we still wanted to go on the zip line. Once we got to the zip line, Kira bought the equipment. Maria didn’t let Jenni or me go because if something happened, she would be responsible. We watched Kira go down the zip line, and Jenni and I waved to her, but she did not see us. After she got off the ride, we hurried back to the dock to get on the ferry on time.

Even though we didn’t get to do everything we wanted to there, we still had a great time because we were all together. It was also exciting to experience a new place and culture in Japantown.  That was the best trip to San Francisco I ever had. I know now that it isn’t what you receive, but the experiences you have that make a day special.

The Tropical Swim

by Bailey

The sun was as hot as an oven, the sky was bluer than blue topaz, the ocean was warm and wet, and it was impossible for me to be any more excited than I had been already. The coconut trees danced with the salty, balmy breeze that soared past. Finally, it had come: we were going snorkeling with sharks and stingrays in the tropical coastal waters of Belize! It had all started a week or so before…

My brothers, Malcolm and Ty; my parents; my grandparents; and I had just flown in to Belize. When we arrived, we got settled into our beach-side hotel, and my parents told us that we were going snorkeling with sharks and rays! At first, I wasn’t so sure about this salty adventure we would be having. I had never been snorkeling before, and I knew that the tide could be very strong. After that thought, it dawned on me: I had always been fascinated by sharks—I used to watch Shark Week every year—and I loved the ocean. Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad, I thought.

I spent a week practicing snorkeling, in the pool and by the dock protruding from the beach. Eventually, I became very good at snorkeling and grew very comfortable in the deeper waters. In no time at all, I was prepared for our voyage.

When the day came at last, I was excited and more than ready. That morning when my mom woke me up, I slipped my swimsuit on; grabbed my flippers, mask, and snorkel; and sprinted for the dock, ready to meet our guide and go. When we arrived to our spot, we all slipped off the edge of the boat and immediately were surrounded by dozens of colorful fish, from Parrot fish to Blue Tangs.

Where are the sharks? I wondered. As if on cue, about seven sharks filtered into the spot where we were swimming. I was too scared to touch one, but I swam next to one, and a few stingrays started to float in the water over our heads. Our guide lifted one up over his head like it was an umbrella! My brother, Ty, did the same thing, and he also touched its stinger; luckily, it didn’t hurt him. We played with the sharks and rays for a while, but then they left us.

After they left, we went exploring. At first, we just swam next to the boat, but then we started to drift farther away from the boat. About half an hour into our swim, we swam over a deep, underwater cliff. My brothers held their breath and swam way down to the bottom, and when they came back up, Ty was holding a Sea Cucumber! It was slimy, and surprisingly, it looked a lot like an actual cucumber. I was tempted to eat it.

We swam over coral so colorful and beautiful that it was like a rainbow resting on the sea floor. We looked at fish and on our way back to the boat, we even passed over two green Sea Turtles! Sadly, we couldn’t touch them because it would be unhealthy for these majestic creatures, but they were beautiful, and it was a sight I would remember for the rest of my life. The patterns on their backs were like a tessellation of vines. We also swam over two Barracudas that were enormous floating logs with sharp teeth. I was very scared because our guide had been bitten by one and still had a huge, ugly, nasty scar on his leg. Because I was so scared, I tried to make myself float at the very top of the water so I wouldn’t get bitten by the fish.

Eventually, we made our way back to the boat, and I was expecting that we would be going back to the dock by our hotel, but our guide said we had one more stop to go. That stop was at a little reef. There, we saw an eel, a shrimp, and some other sea animals. After that stop, we headed back to the dock.

I was bummed when we got back, but I had absolutely loved the experience. I learned that people should have more respect for the ocean, and we should take care of it because they sea creatures cannot speak out for themselves, so we need to speak for them. I think that is the reason for my love of the beach, the tropics, and anything to do with the ocean. I also realized something that all people should see: sharks are more than just scary, man-eating, monsters; they are living, breathing animals who deserve honor, and when we are in the ocean, we are in their home, which we need to respect. Now, I have a new-found respect for sharks, the ocean, and all of the ocean’s creatures. I loved snorkeling with sharks and rays in Belize, and I wish I could experience that again. I will always remember that, and I believe that if people found time and money to do that, they would love it!

My Bike

by Kristin

I see a twinkling light in the distance.  As I come closer, the sun shines on my brand new bike. It sparkles like a crystal. It is a tall mountain of a bike, black and purple. The bike is humongous.  It looks much bigger than my old bike.

I’m a little nervous to ride my new bike.  I approach the new bike like a bunny carefully exploring the world.  As I put my feet on the pedals, I feel the wind blowing on me. The warm breeze gives me confidence, and I’m ready to take off, a bird ready to fly.

I carefully balance myself. With a push from my dad, I’m off. Zoom! I wiggle and I wobble.  I am frightened. I think, “Oh, no! I think I’m going to CRASH!”  I do.  I look myself over to be sure I did not scrape or hurt myself.  I am fine.

I get up and get back on my bike. Time to try again. I steady myself as dad gives me another push. This time, I try to lean to balance myself, but it is too late. CRASH! Oh, no! Not again!  Each time I crash, I become more determined to ride the bike without falling.

I get off the ground again. I take a deep breath. I grab my bike. “Focus! Concentrate! Third attempt,” I tell myself. “What is this I’m feeling?” I wonder. “Am I nervous, worried? Yes, I am.” As I get on my bike I am ready for the final push. This time, I know I can do it.  I feel my dad’s push, and I balance.  Faster and faster, I pedal, and I pedal. I’m staying on. “Did I do it?” I ask myself. I look, and no one is there. I did it! I rode a bike all by myself.

Learning to ride a bike is challenging, but it taught me how to overcome my fear.  After overcoming my fear, I realized that you can succeed if you put your mind to doing what you need to do.  Facing fears is something I will have to do all my life.  It is all about overcoming my fear by facing challenges I never thought I could and believing in myself.

Past Years’ Personal Narratives from Students 22 – 32

The Terrible Incident

by Sarah

It was just an original afternoon–hot weather; music playing from my radio. I could hear my stomach growling louder than a bear, so I began to walk downstairs when my dad called me. “Hey, Sarah? Go get Leti and Ricky for me.” I nodded sheepishly and ran to their house quickly. Leti and Ricky are our neighbors. We’ve known them for what seems about a million years!

Once I scrambled onto the porch, I rang the doorbell. The door opened swiftly, and I saw Leti. “Hi, mija, how are you?” Leti said, pulling me into a hug for we had not seen each other in a few months.

“My dad needs you and Ricky. I don’t know why.” Leti nodded and left me standing at the front door, coming back with Ricky about thirty seconds later. We all began walking to my house, and for some odd reason, I saw a gigantic red ambulance racing toward our street, red lights flashing.

“Dad?” I said, once we all got to my house.

“Sarah, go upstairs.” Dad said, glancing at Leti and Ricky. I walked upstairs, and once I was in my room, I sat on my bed. My curiosity overcame me, so I tiptoed out of my room and poked my head out from the top of the stairs. I saw two or three men in dark blue suits talking to my dad. Step, step, step. I knew someone was coming up the stairs, so I ran to my room and sat on my bed.

“Mija?” I heard. Leti walked in my room. “Your dad’s shoulder is hurting him, and he needs to go to the hospital in an ambulance.”

Hospital in an ambulance, hospital in an ambulance. The words were ringing in my ears. I could feel my eyes welling up with tears.

“Oh, mija.” Leti frowned, pulling me into a hug. “Your dad will be fine.”

“Ewww!” my sister exclaimed. After my dad was sent to the hospital in the ambulance, my cousin, Diandra, brought my sisters and me to her apartment after buying us food from McDonald’s.

“What?” I said, looking over at her. She held up a French fry, and I noticed a fly attached to it, dead as a doorknob. After I convinced everyone to avoid their fries, we finished eating.

The next morning, Diandra dropped us off at our house, where my aunt took care of my sisters and me. It was pretty rough knowing that my dad was in the hospital. That afternoon, my mom stopped by from the hospital and told us: Dad had a heart attack. I swallowed, tears streaming down my face.

A few days later, my dad came home from the hospital, healthy and strong. When he went to the hospital, I stayed up all night worrying. I was sad and depressed that he had a heart attack. I learned to be strong and accept challenges, no matter how hard they are. I’m very lucky to have my dad.

Nothing But Net

by Kelly

“Get up!  Get up!” my mom yelled.  I lay there, a dead log for a minute until my mom finally said, “Okay, I guess you don’t want to go to Nothing But Net.”

“I do, but why did you have to wake me up two hours before I have to be there?” I whined.

My mom ignored me and started walking out the door.  She suddenly turned around and said, “Oh, and remember basketball camp,” she said, basketball camp being short for Nothing But Net, “is co-ed.”  I groaned loudly, but started getting up.

Upon my arrival, I stared at the huge front doors of the gym.  I waved good-bye to my mom and opened the big doors.  Immediately, my ears were filled with the noise of people talking and laughing, basketballs bouncing, and basketball shoes crying on the hard wooden floors.  I spotted my friend, Camille.  I was so glad she was here on the first day. Unfortunately, I had arrived late, missing the first day because I had still been on vacation.  I hoped Camille would tell me everything to do.

I ran over to her.  As soon as she saw me, she pointed to a large table with thousands of lunch boxes on it.  Luckily, I knew what she meant and ran over to add my lunch box to the table.  I raced back over to Camille and opened my mouth to say something, but a roaring whistle blew.  Silence fell over the gym, and an extremely tall man instructed everyone to sit around the three-point line.  It felt like a stampede of animals was running past my friend and me, knocking us around and pushing us into people.

We finally found a spot in the back next to this weird-looking guy wearing pants that were way too small.  “Okay,” Camille whispered while the tall man was talking, “we get into our groups, and that’s when you go ask the man talking up there what group you are in.”  She pointed to the tall man.  “Then we go with our groups either outside or up into the other gym, which is up some stairs.  Or you might stay in this gym and practice.

I stared at Camille like everything she told me was oxygen, and I needed it to live.  “That’s pretty much what we do all day.  We practice some more, and then we eat lunch.  After that, we play our game and then go home.”

The weird-looking boy shushed us, and I scowled at him.  The loud whistle blew, and the tall man told everyone to go to their teams. I gulped, and my heart was a horse galloping, going thump, thump, thump, thump very fast.  I stood and walked to the man.  He was so tall he had to look down at me.

“Hello,” he said.  He had a deep voice, but he smiled at me and looked very nice.

I sighed with relief and said, “I wasn’t here yesterday.  Do you know which group I’m in?”

“Let’s see.  Go to that group over there.” He pointed to a group, and I ran over to them.  I looked around at all the coaches and noticed that they all looked younger than eighteen.

“Hi, I’m on your team,” I said to my coach.

“Okay,” we are going to go outside to go practice in a couple of minutes.   Oh, and what’s your name?”

“Kelly,” I said, staring at them hard because he did not say it in a very friendly manner.  I got in the back of the line, and all I could think was, “These boys will probably never pass in the games at the end of the day.”

Every game we played that week, the boys refused to pass to the girls, and even though we won all of our games, I was really sad.  Why wouldn’t the boys pass to me?  I was almost as good as they were.  On Thursday, I got really mad, and I went up to the boys on our team and said, “Why don’t you pass to the girls?”  They just stared at me.

“You want us to pass to us?  Okay, we’ll try,” he said and gave me a really creepy smile.  I felt really proud of myself for standing up to the boys, but I was kind of tough, and maybe that’s what the boys needed to learn so they’d pass to me and to the other girls on the team.

On Friday, the last day of the camp, I went to my coach and asked, “So what are we going to do about the games?”

“Well, today, we are going to have a championship game, and it’s us against the really hard team we played and almost lost,” he said.

My stomach twisted upside down, and my legs turned into Jell-O.  I despised championship games.  They made me feel so nervous, but as the day crept on, it was soon time for the game.  As I approached the court, I felt like I was going to throw up my stomach.  The ref released the ball in the air, and my teammate tipped it off one of the boys on my team.  I ran as fast as the speed of sound down the court.  I saw the ball fly through the air and into my hands.  I took one step and shot a lay-up.  The ball bounced off the backboard and into the net.  “Wow, one of the boys passed to me.  They finally learned to pass to the girls,” I thought.  I was so happy I felt as if I could fly right through the ceiling and into the sky.  The game went on, and we beat the other team easily.

The day ended, we sat on the court, and it was time for medals.  Each coach gave their team medals that said, “Nothing But Net” on them, but our medal said, “Champions.”  My stomach had butterflies, and it wasn’t just because we won the championship.  It was because the boy on my team passed the ball to me.  I now know that I shouldn’t let the boys bring me down.  As long as I stay happy in sports no matter what, I think I’ll be better off.

Magic Mountain

by Marty

Three…two…one…zero!  Ah! That was the sound of people riding on Superman.  They screamed as loud as an air horn.  As I looked around in fear, I kept asking, “Is something going to pop out and scare me?”  No.

I waited until it was our turn to ride the roller coaster.  I was so scared that I was shaking like I was in the arctic because the Superman accelerated from zero to one hundred miles per hour in five seconds!  As my family got on the ride, I could see light as we walked through the tunnel.

Now the countdown began. Three…two…one…zero!   As we went up, up, up, I was so amazed at how fast the Superman pinned you back in your seat.  Then when the ride was over, we came back down.

I was so happy that I conquered my fear of riding on the Superman.  I was so excited that I wanted to ride the roller coaster twenty more times.  So we rode it again.  Unfortunately, then it was time to leave.

I couldn’t believe how much fun I had a Magic Mountain.  I would never forget that experience.

Kayak Tip-Over

by Grace

Cold waves lap at my back.  The wind roars.  The capsized kayak bobs crazily like a runner’s short ponytail.  My arms and legs tingle with the thought of an underwater creature dragging me down into the watery depths.

“This is just like T.V.,” I think as I anticipate a shark jumping out from the water and eating us.  I shiver involuntarily.

“Help!” I cry, small-voiced.

Earlier, that day had started out like any old vacation.  The weather was warm, and there was a pleasant breeze licking at the waves in the lagoon.  My mom’s book club invited my brother, sister, mom, and me, along with two other families, to a beach house.  The house was on a tranquil lagoon with rippling water.  No one else was in the water that day.  The house had kayaks, body boards, and a paddle boat!  Perfect for us kids!  All was going well until the two boys got bored.

The boys were evidently going to go crazy if they didn’t do something soon.  They had been lying in the sun for too long, and they were swiftly accumulating girly tans.  Suddenly, Josh had a marvelous idea!  Why didn’t they let one floaty go drifting downstream and then go chasing it in the paddle boat?!  The idea was perfect.  There was only one catch: the pleasant breeze that had been blowing gently was now a gushing whirlwind of energy, and the floaty was rapidly growing smaller and smaller, with the boys close in tow.

“Tino!  Joshua!”  Madison, Ana, and I screamed and yelled, but it was to no avail.

“JOSHUA BURCH!  COME BACK HERE!”  Madison hollered.  Our mothers came up behind us.

“Looks like they’re going to need a rescue team,” Madison’s mom said.  We looked at her for a second, and then jumped into action.  Ana manned the one-person kayak while Madison and I took the two-seater. We pushed off, soldiers on a mission!

Ana reached Tino and Josh before Madison and I did.  The situation was worse than we had thought.  Tino and Josh were flailing about in the water.  In trying to reach the floaty, they had fallen out of the paddle boat.  Ana had tied the kayak and paddle boat together, hoping to give it a tow because the current was too strong to paddle the boat back.  The boys were still in the water, unable to get in the boat.  Ana, realizing her plan wasn’t working, untied the kayak.  Finally, Josh managed to get in the paddle boat, leaving Tino to fend for himself.

Meanwhile, Madison and I struggled with our kayak.  We had moved away from the others and into the middle of the lagoon.  Seeing Tino swimming towards us, we made room for him on board.  He reached us and heaved himself on.  I threw my weight on the opposite end so we wouldn’t capsize.  Madison and Tino sat with their legs dangling, resting.  I knew they shouldn’t do that, but before I could warn them, we tipped over, and we all went spilling into the lagoon!

The cold water hit me like a wall.  I surfaced, sputtering water.  I prayed to God, thanking Him that we had life jackets.  My first concern was that we had to right the kayak.  Unfortunately, this was easier said than done.  After our fifth try, the kayak reluctantly flipped over with a loud squelching sound.  I felt as if we should get a gold medal for that!  All I wanted to do was get out of there, but the lagoon wasn’t finished with us.  Our paddles had floated away!  Luckily, Ana, the hero of the day, brought the paddles to us.  Thank you, Ana!

During that time, Ophie, Josh and Madison’s mom, arrived to help.  She joined Josh on the paddle boat, relieved Tino from us, and took him to shore.  Madison and I managed to arrive at the shore safely without any more tip-overs.  Hip, hip, hooray!  I watched Ana battle her way home and thought it would have gone much differently if she hadn’t been there.  I looked back at my friends, then at the water, and I knew this wouldn’t keep us out of the water.  No way!

The whole experience helped me learn that you have to be calm in scary situations even if you aren’t calm at heart.  Things look much worse when you’re scared, so sometimes you just need to pause, take a deep breath, and I promise things will look much brighter!  My advice to kids like me would be to listen to your parents when they insist upon wearing life jackets.  Those jackets really do live up to their name.  They can save lives.  They helped save mine!


by Jordan R.

Today is the day that my mom took me to a circus.  This is the story of the rivalry between me and Bozo, the crazy, psycho clown.

So, once when I was little, my aunt let me watch this scary movie called It.  Believe me, it left an impression.  Then when I was about five or six, off the radio, my mom won two tickets to a circus. We got front row tickets.  I watched that movie about a week before we went to the circus, so I was surprised that my mom was taking me to a circus, especially since she had said we were going to a magic show.

She did this because she thought I would be more surprised if she didn’t tell me.  However, that was a mistake.  When we got to the circus, we got in our seats.  I did not want to tell her that I watched the scary movie because I was afraid I would get in trouble.  I tried to act like I wasn’t scared.

It was all going swell until Bozo asked for an assistant to help him with a demonstration.  My mom told me to raise my hand, so I did, but I wasn’t expecting him to pick me out of hundreds of people.

When Bozo called on me, I almost wet my pants.  I had to go up to the stage, or my mom would suspect something was going on.  When I got to the stage, I tried to stay calm, but it was hard with Bozo breathing down my neck.  I felt as if I was in a horror movie and someone heard a sound in the basement and then I say, “I’ll go check it out.”  Of course, I went down there and found a masked killer, and then fifteen minutes later, someone went down to see if I was okay, and everyone ends up dead.

So anyway, Bozo put me in a box and left me there for dead.  At least that is what my passed out subconscious said.  When Bozo finally opened the box to see if I was dead, I thought it was so he could eat me without me struggling.  As he opened the box, I screamed like I was being kidnapped, and I bit Bozo in fear and rage.

The next day my mom figured out that my aunt had let me watch It, and that was why I was so terrified of Bozo.  Still, I’m glad I went to the circus because if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have taught Bozo a lesson or two about messing with me.  To all of those crazy, children-eating clowns, don’t mess with me because those legends about what I did to Bozo are true.  If you eat another kid, just know I’m coming for you.  You clowns are not safe as long as I am around.

Tower of Terror

by Alex S.

“Come on, guys. Let’s get in line,” I yelled. We were inside the building about to go on the Tower of Terror. The worker led us into this dark and spooky room. The worker left the room and locked all the doors so no one could get out. Once the worker left, a creepy video came on about what happened in the elevator we were in. Then all of a sudden, I heard a tap, tap, tapping noise.  The video was finally over, and the worker led our group onto the ride.

As I sat in my seat, the elevator doors closed. All of a sudden, the elevator got pitch black. Suddenly, I saw a bright, scary-looking, green light. In that green light, there was another video of the family that had once been in the elevator we were in. The video ended and something said to say, “Bye” to yourself.  We all waved goodbye in a mirror, and then we all disappeared. My heart started thumping like the thumping of a rabbit’s foot.

I felt air as cold as the snow blowing toward my face. I knew we were starting to go up. Finally, I didn’t feel anymore air so that just had to mean we were at the very top. Suddenly, the ride dropped. I felt like all my insides were going to burst out of my mouth like confetti bursting out of a canon. The next thing I knew, a window opened, and I could certainly see that I was very high up from the ground. The ride went up and down millions and millions of times, which felt like forever.

Thank goodness the ride was finally over! The worker let us out. As I stood up, my legs felt so weak I could hardly walk. As I took my first step, I felt like I was going to fall to the ground. While I was walking off the ride, I said to myself, “Thank goodness I’m on the ground!” I just couldn’t believe I had ridden this frightening ride.

I left the ride as proud and happy as someone who had just graduated. If I hadn’t gone on this ride, I wouldn’t have experienced this experience. I now know not to judge a ride by how scary it looks, but by how fun and amusing it is. To me, the Tower of Terror is the most amusing ride at Disneyland. To this day, I am brave and confident enough to go on any scary ride in the whole world!

Sky Screamer

by Meheak

What is fear?  Fear is something that can make you feel insecure or unsafe.  It can produce a feeling that makes you sick, a feeling that you never want to feel, a feeling that many people want to overcome, but don’t have enough courage to succeed.  I used to be one of those people.

“Ahhh!” people yelled above me.  I gulped.  This ride was a skyscraper!  How could I go on this?  Me, the girl afraid of spiders.  I was going to go on a ride one hundred fifty feet high that also went forty-three miles per hour?  Impossible!

It all started the morning we arrived.  “I see it!  I see it!  I see Six Flags!” someone yelled.  My brother and I had traveled to Tracy, California to attend an exciting one-week Sikh camp.  We had been rewarded with a trip by bus to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom with all of our camp friends!

“Look!  There’s Sky Screamer!” Karman exclaimed.  She was as excited as a Jumpy rabbit.

“We have to go on that!  Right, Meheak?” Gurmeet asked.

“Umm…yeah,” I answered nervously.

“You’re not going to go on it?” Karman asked surprised.

“Okay, everyone!  It is now ten a.m., and you need to return by seven p.m.  If you have money, you are allowed to buy things, buy food, or play games.  If you don’t have money, you may meet out here at noon to eat.  Understand?  Good.  Now go!” the teacher said.

I dreaded riding Sky Screamer, but what choice did I have?  I had already promised Karman and Gurmeet that I would ride it, so I had to do that.  Additionally, I didn’t want to be called chicken.  I knew I had to overcome my fears.

“Come on; let’s eat,” said Gurmeet hungrily.

“No, wait!  What if we go on Sky Screamer now?  Everybody is going to be at lunch, so the line will be shorter,” I suggested, thinking that I might as well get that over with.

“What are we waiting for?” Karman asked.  We ran to the line, and I was right.  Almost nobody was in line!  Karman spotted her friend and decided to go on the ride with her.  Gurmeet and I got in line, and soon we were next.  As soon as I sat down, I had butterflies in my stomach.  Suddenly, we were slowly rising up and turning.  Sky Screamer was just like those swinging chair rides, only Sky Screamer is much higher.  I started to shiver.  I was a polar bear with no fur.  I finally forced myself to open my eyes.

I wished that I had a camera!  I could see all of Vallejo from here!  I thought we were going extremely fast while my eyes were closed, but I was wrong.  We were moving as slowly as a snail!  Although I almost died of boredom, I did overcome my fear of heights, which I had thought was impossible!

My First Goal

by Adrian

Yes!  It was summer in Mexico.  I was watching my sixteen-year-old cousin playing soccer.  My cousin said, “Come play with us!”  So I did.

We played and played.  He shot lots of goals on my thirteen-year-old cousin.  That frustrated my thirteen-year-old cousin. “I’m not playing anymore because I’m going to win playing against you,” he said to me.  After that, I felt sad and mad because my cousin said that.

The next morning, my dad and I were passing the ball back and forth, doing penalty shots.  I was getting ready for the next game my cousins and I were going to have.  When we went to my cousins’ house, my older cousin said, “Are you ready for the game tomorrow?”

I said I was.  I looked outside the window and my other cousin was doing the same stuff for practice that I had been doing with my dad.  I said to myself, “That’s weird.  I wonder if he was stalking my dad and me or if he will use my moves when he is playing me.”  I decided that he had probably been stalking me to be practicing the same way.

It was the day of the game.  I said, “I need to eat,” so I ate a little snack.  I warmed up for a little bit and then went outside to run.  I ran very close to my cousin’s house, and I stopped a few houses away.  I took a step closer to get a better look.  I saw my thirteen-year-old cousin coming out of his house, speaking loudly with his friend and saying that he was going to use my moves when he was playing me.  I said, “I was right!  He was stalking my dad and me.

Two hours later, I was at my house, and I heard the door open.  I stood up to see who it was.  It was my thirteen-year-old cousin and his friend.  They had come to ask when I was going to the park, and I said, “I’ll be there in a second.”

Once my cousin closed the door to leave, I took a big breath and got my soccer equipment ready.  Clomp, clomp; my cleats bumped on the ground while I ran my very fastest to the park.  I saw my cousin at the park, and I stopped.

It was time for the game.  My thirteen-year-old cousin throws the ball up in the air, and in my mind, I was saying, “The game is on.”

My cousin ran right past me like a lightning bolt.  I turned around, and I slid between my cousin’s legs to make a goal.  My whole family was yelling, “GOALLLLLLLL!”

My cousin hugged me with pride, and I hugged him back.  From that day on, soccer became my best sport ever.

A Changing Experience

by Ashleigh

Vrooommmmmm! Flight Deck goes! Yes, most people write about Great America. From what you have probably heard, what people write about is their feet getting tired from walking. This is definitely not one of those stories. This is a life-changing moment. My story will make you want to keep reading till the very end, but that’s not all. It will make you put your shoes and socks on and drive to Santa Clara to California’s Great America!

Well, it all begins when, from our hotel room, we see the tallest ride at the amusement park. We all shout, “DROP ZONE!” The ride is as tall as a telephone pole. We shout, trying not to lose our voices. We have finally arrived at Great America.

“Don’t get too excited, girls. We have to unload luggage first into our room, number 672,” says Maddie’s mom, Malissa.

“All right,” we shrug. Maddie, Alyssa, Justin, and I jump out of the car, smelling the breeze of Santa Clara. We go to the trunk and grab our rolling suit cases. “Done!” we shout.

Maddie and I book it down to the front desk, racing like two cheetahs, to reserve a cab to haul us over to Great America. “What time would you like to book it for and how many guests?” the front desk clerk says.

“We would like two-thirty and four guests, please,” we say. The clerk didn’t realize we weren’t older until she hears us speak. She looks at us as if we are kidding for a second.

Finally, while waiting in the marble-floored lobby for the minivan taxi cab to appear, we see the marbles of the floor glimmering. We see the taxi pull up, and we make a run for it through the sliding glass doors.

Time passes. Then we all see the gorgeous, lit-up Great America. It looks beautiful! There are no lines. It is as if we had the whole park to ourselves. We give the people are our tickets, and the next thing you know, we run to Flight Deck. This is the ride people say is the scariest ride at Great America. It goes upside down, through a corkscrew, and over water. We go through stairs to get up to the very top to get loaded onto Flight Deck.

Maddie and I are wigging out about it at first, but both knowing neither of us will back down. We reach the top–the loading zone. Our faces are frightened…. The next thing you know, we are about to go down the drop and around the corkscrew. “AHHHH!” everybody screams like in a horror movie. No!!! The flash brightens our faces as it snaps the picture! “Great.” We’re over water, not to mention I am sitting with Maddie’s phone in my pocket while I’m holding on to the ride with only one hand. We scream at the top of our lungs as the ride passes over the water and onto a corkscrew! Flight Deck is the size of a skyscraper!

The ride is now over, a three-minute ride feeling like a three-second ride! The ride was an eye-opener for both of us in the beginning. We did it! We went on what people say is the scariest ride at Great America! We had enough courage to go on a life-changing ride, and everything changed in the moment we followed through. Great America loves me. We followed through! Would you?

Clear Lake Adventure

by Bjorn

Have you ever been in a situation where you felt helpless? Like there was nothing you could do? I have, and it’s terrifying. It all started as a simple ride in a tube, but then things got bad. Let me tell you the story from the start.

It was a hot summer day at Clear Lake. It felt like the world was on fire, and TV was my life.  My cousin, Connor, and I were in the living room of the cabin. We were staying on the couch, looking for something interesting to watch on TV. “Bjorn what should we do today?” Connor asked.

“Well, I don’t have any idea,” I replied. So we continued to watch TV.

During an episode of Looney Toons, my uncle, Connor’s dad, came to check on us. “How are you two doing?” he asked.

“We’re fine, but we are extremely bored,” we answered.

“Well, why don’t you guys go get the tube with the two seats?”

That was exactly what we did. We were wolves hunting down our prey, which was the tube. Once we got to the side of the house, we grabbed the tube and two oars, and we ran to the dock.

                              *          *           *          *

We started rowing with the oars. The tube started to glide smoothly across the algae-filled water. We were sailors at sea, steering our boat across the water.  It was a beautiful day outside; the sun was shining, and a breeze was blowing us across the water. The dock got smaller as the tube went farther and farther across the lake. “I think we should turn back now,” Connor said as we pushed the oars, each time making a small splash.

“Let’s wait. I’m really enjoying this,” I replied.

Once I finally agreed to turn back, it was too late. The current had gotten too strong for us, and it was pushing us towards a random person’s dock. The current pushed us onto that dock, and so we started to row dock to dock, run across the dock, and then start over. While sprinting across one of the docks with the oars and tube, Connor said, “Let’s just throw the oars in the tube and swim while dragging it.”

“Well, I guess we have no choice,” I said. Connor and I dived into the water with the stuff and started swimming to our dock. We swam like dolphins, our hearts racing as we got closer just by little bits.

I noticed a person off in the distance on a jet ski, and we started to scream as if we were banshees. The man finally came to our aid after hearing our cries for help. “You kids need help?”

“Yes!” we exclaimed .

“I’ll go get my wife to take you two back to wherever your dock is,” the man stated.  He went to a nearby boat and came back for us, tying the tube to his jet ski and having us get onto his wife’s boat.

When we neared our cabin, the woman asked, “This your dock?”

“Yep,” we replied.

She stopped at our dock, and my uncle was waiting for us, staring. I thought we were about to get the yelling of a lifetime, but once we got on the dock, all he said was, “You guys need to go to the cabin and shower. You both stink.” As we walked back, I could tell we were both curious, but afraid to ask why we weren’t in trouble, and my uncle never told us either. We had turned a boring summer day into an adventure.

Great America!

by Claire

As the ride goes up, my fear gets bigger and bigger. Tick, tick, tick; then a drop, and here comes the loop. My heart beats as fast as a puma’s. My eyes stare at the red stripes as they constantly move up and down. The roller coaster looks evil and fierce like a demon! My eyes stare at the red track as the ride goes around the loop.

It is only a little earlier when I think, “Here I am at the front of Great America.” My heart beats rapidly; I am so excited. As I walk up to a snack shack, I notice a small ride hidden around the corner. I sprint to the line. After I get off, I run to my mom and notice my brother is gone. My mom tells me he is at the Demon. I rush to the ride.

As I walk to the line, my parents stare at me impatiently. My brother glares at me. The line is as long as the ride. I’ve been staring at the red stripes ever since I got here. The line finally makes its way up to the ride. The gate is wooden and all torn up, and as I am noticing this, my brother waves me over.

We enter the ride. Then, I sit in the third cart. The seat belt is a black, slippery snake, and it won’t close. So I hop to the back seat. As we go through the tunnel, red lights flash. Then there is a drop. I scream! The loop looms in front of me. Before I know it, I am upside down and speeding through the loop. The loop is now past me, and the rest is pure fun! When the roller coaster slows to a stop, I am sad the ride is over. “I told you, you would love it!” my brother, Kyle, says to me excitedly.  After the ride is over, I run to get in line again.  Then I see Vortex, and I sprint into line. I wait for a half hour. Then I’m on and ready for the ride, although it is very scary.  After the two thrill rides, I go and buy cotton candy and enjoy the rest of my day.

Now, I have faced my fear of going on an upside-down thrill ride. Next time I go to Great America I now know I am brave enough to go on the Demon. Better yet, next time I will go to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom and conquer Medusa!

Our Personal Narratives from Students 22 – 32

Dreaming of Toilet-Papering Trips

by Brandon

“Shush! You’ll get us caught!” I scolded Riley (Kyle’s little brother) with words.

“Well, sorry!” he whimpered back.

“Okay, we need to be swift and quiet.”

“Definitely!” exclaimed Kyle.

“Absolutely,” agreed Chris

“Precisely,” added Riley, acting intelligent.

“Here we are!” said Michele, driving the car.

“Move out, men!” I said, sounding like a commando.

“Get the trees, the bushes, and the roof. Make the trees look recycled and the whole house like white paper!” Everything was going splendidly. Riley was not very good at toilet papering (TP’ing), so he had a full roll of toilet paper. We had grabbed his roll, demolished it, and not even the cardboard roll was there! In a country accent, Kyle said, “Marvelous! That be a toilet paper house!” We all silently cracked up, and then scurried for the car.

As we went to bed, we were talking. “That was like smashing a brick wall!” We continued our conversation, and then fell to dream land one by one. Sooner or later, I was asleep, dreaming of TP’ing. “Get the bushes! The trees! The driveway!” This was a TP trip between me, Kyle, Riley, and Chris. This was an odd one, though, because we could throw the rolls to the next yard. “This feels weird, like we have super TP skills,” said Chris in the dream, and I responded “I know, right!”

“Let’s get another house!” exclaimed dream Kyle. We got another house, and it was made of white toilet paper. Then we went home, fell asleep, and I woke up, both in my dream and in reality. “That was a weird dream. It was almost as if it were real.” My muttering awakened Kyle and Chris. Then Riley walked in. His pajamas were still sleeping, too. They were still all rumpled and wrinkled, as if they were blinking their eyes.

I said, “Let’s go downstairs. Maybe we can have a smoothie for breakfast.”

“Yeah. I’ll make some.” Kyle said, delighted.

After I had my smoothie, I packed up and brushed my teeth.  Michele took me home. On the way, I saw trees that looked recycled and houses made of white paper. “Maybe that wasn’t a dream… It could have been… no! There is just no way that’s possible!” While I was muttering to myself, hallucinating because of exhaustion, I arrived at home, where I fell asleep, in my own bed.

Russian River Splash

by Danielle

“Ah,”I peacefully whispered. At a halt in the shade, I saw in the distance people leaping off large boulders. We’d been canoeing for a while now. As we started canoeing again, we got closer and closer, and I noticed these people were jumping to get other people wet!

I was as shocked as a person who just saw someone jump off a cliff. I snapped out of it and told my mom to move to the right. As I looked up and saw the man, I thought in my head: I’m dead. The overweight man had already plunged in and it was too late to escape. We and everything, and I mean everything, was sopping wet. I was so furious it was like everyone in the whole river stopped what they were doing and looked at me.

I cooled down, literally, at a beach nearby. I was colder than Jack Frost in Antarctica because the wind was hitting my drenched face even though it was a bright summer day. The fresh air soothed me as I watched people get soaked by the devil that consumed me in water. I realized that it was kind of an extreme and fantastic experience for me. It also was a little funny after the event, and I knew this because I chuckled to myself.

After we fled the beach, I noticed that I left my shorts! We were already a mile from the beach, and we couldn’t go back because the current was too strong. I understood that they were just shorts, and it wasn’t like they could talk or anything. At the time, that was my only pair of shorts, though. In my journey back to land, I couldn’t stop thinking about that wonderful pair of shorts. To this day, I still think about my shorts and wonder where they ended up.

I was so lucky that a leprechaun would probably come on St. Patrick’s Day and give me a pot of gold. I was so lucky because I never went canoeing before that day. I thought about the things I faced on that day. I learned three lessons on that day:  1. Never canoe by a big guy jumping from a colossal rock, 2. Keep track of everything, and 3. When someone makes you enraged, learn to laugh, but not at everything. In my bed thinking about all the things that had happened, I swore to myself to never, ever forget that amazing day at the Russian River.

The Exhilarating Ride

by Giselle

“OMG! Are sure this is safe?” I said as I approached the ride. The gate opened. I found the perfect seat to sit in, and I sat down. My friend assured me this was an awesome and entertaining ride. The man buckled me in with a lot of really, thick, and heavy seat belts and one safety bar. Then I realized I was going to die.

It was July 28th, 2009. My friend Noemi and I wanted to go on the ride, Flippin’ Out. We waited impatiently in line for about five minutes. At this point, I thought it would be a fun and enjoying ride. The gate opened, and I pick my seat which was in the dead center. The man buckled me into the seat, and it was then that I realized I was not going to survive.

At first the ride was going back, and forth, back, and forth; I thought it would be safe to tie my shoe because it was untied. Then, as I reached for my shoe, all of sudden the ride flipped up and down and all around! I nearly slipped out of my seat. I was squirming in mid-air trying to feel the bottom of my seat again. I could see my dad in the distance laughing at my facial expressions, which I found dumb.

I felt like I was going to throw up ,and I was screaming as loudly and continuously as if some psycho dude was chasing me. My friend was screaming, too, but not because she was scared; she was yelling because I was cramming her hand just like I would to a really hard orange when I was trying to juice it.

After some horrifying spins, the ride finally stopped, but not right-side up, but upside down! I could assure you that the machine that was controlling the ride hated me, and all the screeching noises were the machine laughing at me. At that moment, it felt like I was praying more than I ever would in my life, and I was only upside down for like thirty seconds!

After a while, the ride calmed down, and it stopped. I rushed myself to get all the enormous seat belts and the boulder-hard safety bar off me. I jumped out of my seat, shoved people in line, and just ran. I wasn’t sure how far I ran until I tripped on a cable, but I was gratified that I was still alive.

After all those torturous, terrifying, terrible spins and turns, I forgave the ride and the evil machine, although only because surprisingly, I had survived the deadly ride.

The Fairgrounds

by Justen

Sniff, sniff, ahhhhhh….. I just love all the legitimate smells at the fair. The fair is fun, and I’m here to have the best time of my life!

I’m at the Petaluma Fairgrounds for my sixth time. This year I’m with my friend Daniel. I have known him for seven years. He’s like my second brother.

My first ride I want to go on is The Zipper. The Zipper is one of the best rides at the fair, and it gets you as dizzy as a spinning top. The first time I went on it, I was nine, and I barfed when I got off.

After some rides, Daniel and I go to get a drink, and it costs four dollars for a large, so we buy a medium for three dollars. After we finish, our lunch we go on another ride. It is called Tower of Terror. When we drop, it feels like all of our blood goes up into our head. We get off, and it is about ten o’clock at night. We are so pooped out.  We are exhausted athletes needing a nap, so I call my dad to come pick us up.

After we get home, Daniel calls his mom and asks her if he can spend the night. His mom says yes, and then I scream, “YES!!!!!!” So that made things a lot better for one of the best days of my life.

The Swimming Fight

by Taylor S.

A fight began at exactly at 4:05 pm. It started with playing tag in the water, but then it all turned on us… Slap! Jacob was hit in the back of the head by someone. Jacob turned around to see who might have hit him in the back of the head. When he turned, he saw Chance. Splash! Chance’s eyes were filled with chlorine-rich water, and his eyes squinted as he noticed it was Jacob. Whoosh! Jacob dodged the punch, and then that’s when I knew this wasn’t going to end well. I jumped in the middle of it, pushed Chance away, and grabbed Jacob. “No!” I shouted, peering at them with a mad look on my face. “Don’t touch each other unless you want to get out and sit down.”

Next Isabella jumped in the cool water, swimming toward us, and hugged Jacob. Jacob pushed her off, and then she slapped his arm, making him angry and letting his ‘evil’ side out. He hit her with a noodle, and she began to cry. “Don’t cry, Izzy. Jake, get out… Go sit in the chair and don’t make a noise,” I ordered.

He looked at me and threw me an odd look, but I knew what it meant. He slowly got out of the pool and wrapped himself in a toasty, red and black towel. He looked down and kicked his feet. “Izzy, you O.K.?” he asked. She nodded.

An hour passed, and I got out and began to dive with my cousin Liam. He and I dove in and swam as fast as fish. I raced out and then hung my toes over the edge of the cement and looked into the water. I did a front flip into the water and landed gracefully, not making a sound. Izzy said I was like a little butterfly fluttering across an open pasture full of mustard flowers. I allowed Jacob to swim with us as long as no fighting accrued, but it didn’t work. I guess the fight never truly ended. At one point, Liam’s foot started bleeding, and at first I thought it was ketchup because it was the same color. Boy, was I wrong.  He began to wail, and when he wails, you don’t want to be there when it happens. You could hear him wailing and Isabella giggling under the trampoline.

“Isabella, did you do this to your brother?” I inquired angrily.  She nodded as I sat down beside her. She whispered softly in my ear that she hadn’t meant to hurt her brother. I hugged her and kissed her forehead. “It’s O.K.” I crooned.

I slowly crawled from under the trampoline and jumped in the water. Once the cold reached my head, a smile appeared on my face under the water.  I experienced a moment of tranquility until a scream made me pop my head up to the surface of the water and look around. It was Isabella hitting Jacob and him scratching her. I shook my head and gave a loud, high-pitched scream that made them stop and look at me. Just then a parent popped her head from inside the air-conditioned house to see what the scream was for and from whom.

In the end, the fighting stopped, but I know I will remember this fight. My cousins were going at it like two lions fighting for the kill and were being as fast as cheetahs springing out of the water and chasing each other. Our faces were rosy red, our eyes were bloodshot from the chlorine, and Liam had a few dark bruises on his knees from climbing out of the pool onto the hot cement, as if he was a baby monkey just figuring out how to climb his first tree, falling a lot, but enjoying every moment. I will never forget this fight because of how it ended with everyone upset, unhappy, and punished by being sent to separate rooms.  The day began with so much fun and ended in distress.

A Goodbye to Remember

by Casey


There he was, lying on the bottom of the cage, dead as an animal that’s been run over by a truck. He looked kind of hazy and obscure, but that was just from my tears. I only had my petite dwarf hamster for a year, and I couldn’t believe he was gone. I loved that little guy. He was the plumpish, most foul-smelling, and agitating younger brother that I never had. His name was Cinnamon. I knew I would miss him, but I think it was his time to go.

The worst part about this was that it’s really hard to enjoy the summer when your hamster just died. We hadn’t even buried him yet. I wanted to wait until I found the perfect spot before he would be buried forever. I sat waiting downstairs. I didn’t feel like looking at him right now. I wasn’t in the mood to cry. My sister told me that it wasn’t a big deal; I knew he would only live for about a year, and that’s how long he did live.

Sitting downstairs by myself for a while made me realize something, and that thing was that it was really boring, so boring in fact that I thought I would die myself. Even if it sounds ignorant, the only good thing about Cinnamon’s death was I didn’t have to worry about my cat Kaia getting my hamster. Also deep down I felt it was time to let him go and move on, and that’s exactly what I tried to do.

I stood over the grave; I felt as if a whirlpool of emotions was in my brain. In my head, I knew this was the right thing to do, although I couldn’t bring myself to do it. My mind was sometimes harder to control than a helicopter in flight. Hours passed in only seconds, my heart pounding rapidly. I bent down, cautiously placed the hamster in a small cardboard box (using a napkin and gloves), then put that box in a bigger wooden box, and buried it in a hole. On top of that, we placed a giant stone there, and it lay at its post protecting the grave. I couldn’t do anything else than to stand where I was and slowly and silently weep to myself.

Days later, I was mostly over what had happened. I never found out how Cinnamon died. He had food, water, and he never got too hot or too cold. I remember how he would bite anyone who touched him, but he had never bitten me and never will. It was probably a good thing that I found the courage to bury him because nothing lasts forever. However, anytime I want, I can go outside and see where my sweet hamster is buried.

In Memory of:

A loved hamster who liked to eat, sleep, and run on his wheel all night.


by Vikram

Vroom! I just came home after my dad mailed something. I looked on my porch. I gasped. “It’s here,” I told my dad. “It’s finally here.” I took my package and literally flew into my house. I broke the box open as if I was a maniac.   Then, I gently took out my wish, my desire, my GAME SYSTEM! MY PS3!!!

From my package, out came my PS3, an extra controller, and Uncharted 1 (Uncharted 1 is a video game). ARGH! My dad “accidently” ordered Uncharted for me even though after trying the game’s demo, it wasn’t a game I wanted.  However, I knew I would get more games later in the year.

My PS3 was as shiny as a baby’s bald head. It said “PS3” on the system, and it was very, very, VERY, skinny! When I turned it on, I heard a quiet *beep* and the red light on the PS3 turned as green as the grass. I turned on my TV and I saw the PS3’s home screen. It said, “Please create an online account so you can play online and download demos.” I clicked next, and there was a dinosaur-size page of terms and conditions.

Because my PS3 wasn’t set for online gaming, my friend came over and helped me set it up. He told me with online I could browse the Internet, chat with friends, and download demos. Downloading demos would allow me to try games before I bought them. I was as shocked as lightning when I saw the list of demos because there were so many. I immediately downloaded billions of demos, taking little space on my PS3.

I soon got bored of the demos and went out in search of some games. I headed to GameStop and came home with nothing.  Speaking of games, I hated Uncharted! It was so repetitive. Really, all you did was shoot someone, and then a hard puzzle appeared. Later that day, my friend came over and he traded me Uncharted for his game called Ratchet and Clank.  The game was not that good, but at least it was better than Uncharted.  Despite having gotten a game besides Uncharted, I’d had my eye on this game called Assassin’s Creed 2. Of course, though, the game had an enormous price: $60! Just for one game!!!

Well, I ended up getting Assassin’s Creed 2 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 on my birthday. I also got to see the VGA (Video Game Awards), and Uncharted 2 won the game of the year! I was as surprised as the developers of Uncharted 2 were!

However, every day, whenever I think of the day I got my PS3, I feel happy. I still use to buy PS3 games. Every time I see a package on my porch, I think of the day I got my PS3.


by Kyle

I enter Medusa’s cold, life-threatening temple and climb up the dark passageway to get on the ride. I am paralyzed with fear, not knowing what to expect. I can feel the pressure building up inside of me. I am about to drop hundreds of feet to my death, down Medusa’s drop. I feel as nervous as a cat that just met a huge dog.

“Clink.”  I am trapped in the clutch of Medusa’s seat, so scared that I am almost turned to stone. The next thing I know, I am climbing up the steep hill to my doom. Knowing that this might be the last time I ever see daylight again, I close my eyes as if I am in a dream. Then they snap open as I fall and lift up out of my seat as if I am lighter than air. Then everything goes blank as I become lost in the thrill of the ride.

I fly upside down and spin to the ground with the wind blowing against my face. The ride feels so intense that I am about to explode. I am an icicle frozen with excitement. I go so fast I am moving backwards. Then I feel a sign of relief as the ride eventually slows down, so I think it is over.

Then off I go through another slick turn and up a corkscrew.  Finally I soar through the air like an eagle in full flight. I zip by everyone at the speed of light, going so fast it is hard to breathe. Then I catch my breath as the last loop approaches. The earth appears to rotate as I come back down.

The ride finally comes to a halt, and I feel as twisted as a rubber band. I get off. I am a floppy fish. “That ride was astonishing,” I say to myself. I am lightning struck with excitement and ready to ride again!

T.O.C. Championship

by Spencer

“Oh, no!”  We are down 4-0 in the bottom of the first inning. We are Petaluma Police and the other team is Sebastopol Athletics. Ryan Lowe, our pitcher, is pitching revolting curve balls. Our defense is strong. We are playing in Sebastopol at night.

In the regular season, Petaluma Police did okay. In the beginning of the year, Police struggled; we went 1-3. However, when we make it to playoffs, we thrive. We are undefeated in playoffs. We play Century 21 in the championship game. We beat them to go to the T.O.C Championship, aka (also known as) Tournament of Champions.

When we are down 4-0 in the first inning, nobody gives up. Our offense keeps us in the game, and not only our offense, but also our coaches. They tell us that the Sebastopol Athletics are just as ruffled as we are. We are still as scared as a rat when it sees a cat. Every inning, Police and the Athletics score one or two runs. Our faces are as red as tomatoes.

Three innings later…….

We know we are still in this game when we get to the bottom of the sixth. In the bottom of the sixth inning (the last inning), Police are down 9-5. We are getting hit after hit. Now it is 9-7. Sebastopol is getting nervous. The pitcher is getting rattled, he’s furious, and another hit makes it 9-8. With runners on second and third bases, there are no outs, and Josh is at the plate. Josh hits a bullet over the center fielder’s head. That hit leads to two runs being scored to win the T.O.C CHAMPIONSHIP.

Our whole team learned a lesson today, and that lesson is to never give up, no matter what the score is.

The Alarm

by Kennedy

“Finally!” I said and sighed.

I was tired from our long day’s walk in L. A. My brother; my friend, Shelby; and I just settled down in our hotel room while my mom and dad were downstairs in the hotel lobby. Then out of the blue came a loud screeching noise. It went, “Beep, Beep, Beep”in a high-pitched sound!

My friend, Shelby, yelled, “Fire alarm!”

“Let’s go!” my brother told us.

So we evacuated our room as quickly as we could, forgetting our shoes. We sprinted towards the line of people leaving through the emergency exit. People were in their boxers, pajamas, robes, normal clothes, and some were barefoot like us. Some kids and people were worried and some not at all. I was worried so I grasped my friend’s hand tightly as we walked down the stairs like we were in a long parade. My feet soon felt like ice blocks once we walked through the vacant parking lot. It was like a haunted house. Everything was black. You could still hear the siren screaming in your ears like a trumpet blowing off note.

I was lost in a line of people evacuating. Then the walking stopped. We had to wait five minutes before we could go back in because they needed to check for fire. I felt bad for the people in boxers because they must have been freezing. Then the sea of people were led into the lobby, still waiting for the manager to say it was okay to go up to their rooms. I started looking for my mom, scared. Then someone came up behind me and hugged me. It was my mom. Then my dad hugged me. After that I felt much better. At last, the manager marched in and announced, “You can return to your rooms.”

“But what happened?” a guy asked.

“Oh, some guy got drunk and pulled the alarm,” he replied.

Then we all trod back upstairs in a long sea of people. I finally felt safe again. I guess every day is filled with surprises.

The Tryouts

by Emma

Swoosh went my leg as I practiced pirouettes across my living room floor. “Mom, tryouts are today, and I’m scared I might blank out while I’m dancing,” I said uncertainly.

“Honey, who cares? Just smile and have fun.” My mom said it like it was obvious.

I thought, “Wow! Nice advice, Mom. ‘Just smile.’ Oh great, I’m going to be horrible. I might not make the teams. If I mess up, I can’t just stand there and smile.  They’ll think I can’t dance.”

When it was 4:00 and time for my tryouts, my friends and I car pooled up to Cotati to our dance studio. When we got to the studio, I put on my audition number, my lucky number eleven.  Hopefully it would bring me good luck. My friends and I practiced and went over our dances.

Shortly, it was my turn to try out for the part of a kid kidnapping Santa Claus, where you have to improvise a dance on the spot. I was a terrified kid in haunted house, not knowing and not ready for whatever was coming next. So I took my mom’s advice and just smiled and acted out the dance. Everybody said I was totally going to get the part because they thought I had done well. I also felt like I conquered the role. I was as confident as a guy flying in a plane racing a guy running. I knew I was going to get the part.

In these tryouts, after you auditioned for one dance role, you went into another room to wait to audition for up to three parts.  I kept practicing until it was my turn to perform again. Next I was going to audition for the narrator part for the main person in one of our competition dances. As I was trying out, all the judges had a serious face. Once in a while, they would crack a smile. I tried to make them laugh, but it wasn’t working like it did last time, so I lost my confidence. The taste of embarrassment lingered throughout my mouth. The speaking portion was over.  It was now the dancing part of the audition, so I just let my fingertips glide through the wind as I did pirouettes and let the music dance with me.

Luckily, in the end, I had finally finished trying out for all three roles. I made the dance teams I wanted and got the parts I wanted, too.  However, I no longer feel as I did before this experience, when I felt like a baby who needed the safety of her mother’s arms, but now I am invincible. I can walk without my mom holding me, but still appreciate her spoken words support. My body finally stopped soaring through the air, as I pliéd and thank the judges, knowing I did my best.