Showcasing our Creative Writing Workshop Entries!

Showcasing our Creative Writing Workshop Entries!

We are so excited that the start of school is just around the corner! Soon, the MODG Student News Staff will be back, working hard to write regular news updates and articles for you right here, on MODG News. 🙂

In the meantime, please enjoy some of the poems and stories that our Creative Writing workshop students worked on earlier this summer!

by Faustina Cusmano

I opened my eyes for the first time with fright.
My eye’s caught the world’s light.
My mother cradled me and my father gave me my first kiss,
From that moment I knew there was so much I could not miss.

As I began to walk, I trembled over stones,
But as the seasons went by, and so I began to grow.
When I hit double digits, I felt like an adult,
My parents still treated me like I needed consult.

When I turned eighteen, I wished I was turning ten,
For I was off to State University of Penn.
When I went up to receive my diploma four years later,
It felt like life could not be any greater.

As the years went on, I settled down.
I bought a home for my wife in a small town.
We welcomed our first child on a chilly fall day in October,
A year later we welcomed another and our son became a big brother.

As time went on, my children grew..
Welcoming grandchildren into my home is when I knew the time flew.
Everything in life was just as it should be,
A lifetime of family and glee.


The Hamster Hideaway Story
by Ava Clare Joly

It started out like any morning.  I microwaved some waffles and covered them in delicious, sugary syrup.  It was a great morning.  Well, until my mom said, “Ava Clare, you need to finish up your hamster maze today and write your conclusion.” Here my mother was referring to my project for the Natural Science Course. It was to have my two hamsters memorize a maze I had created.  

I sighed inwardly (which actually is not true, I sighed an exasperated outward sigh) and replied to my mother, “I know, Mom, I will do it!”  To prove my point, I got up and walked over to the two-story cage where my hamsters, Raphael and Gabriel, abide.  I reached into the cage and shook the the little house.  One hamster came out.  I shook it again.  No hamster came out.  I shook it again, desperately hoping another hamster would come out.  No hamster.  “Uhh Mom,” I dared to say,”There’s only one hamster in this cage.”  I only need to say my mom freaked out…only a bit.  I continued to search the cage and only came up with one hamster.  

Now for a bit of back story.  A few weeks ago I was outside cleaning their cage.  The top story of the cage has these little tabs.  I may have set it down a little hard and one of the tabs may have broken off… But anyway no hamster had escaped out the small hole because I set their house in front of it.  It had been a few weeks since it had broken, so I sort of stopped worrying about it.  Long story short, Raphael was gone – presumably long gone. Like never will be seen in a million years, gone.  

But that did not stop us.  We are a family of optimists, mostly.  My younger sister and I put small piles of hamster food around the house.  Then I did my part and went to put into my conclusion of my paper that I had lost a hamster.  My younger sister, and then 3 year old brother were sweeping the house, checking under every piece of furniture and kitchen appliance for the hamster that was MIA.  

I heard a shriek.  “I found him!!! He’s under the oven!!” my sister yelled excitedly.  She was on the floor shining a flashlight under the oven.  I then called my brother, who had not helped the hamster investigation in ANY way, to come help us.  Unenthusiastically, he came to my aid.  So my brother started to poke under the oven with a marshmallow roasting stick.  My sister had a bowl and I had a shoebox, which were ready to be thrown on Raphael when he darted out.  It ended up not being necessary, because my brother caught him with his hand.  Yes, I know.  He caught the hamster with one hand.  

To conclude, I finished my project with both hamsters, which is really a good thing.  Plus it would have been bad to have a hamster running loose in the house.  Who knows what could have happened…

Which is why I’m saying there are quite a few lessons in this story, so that the things that happened to me, don’t happen to you.  1) Never, never break off any part of your hamster’s or rodent’s cage.  ONLY bad things come of it.  2) If you think your hamster can’t fit through something, it probably can.  3) And the last lesson.  If you ignore the lessons above and you do lose your hamster, recruit your siblings (especially younger siblings who have nothing better to do) to lead a search party.  They are usually good at finding lost things.  Sometimes. 


It Should Have Been Illegal
by Dagmar Gruy

(Note to Reader: This story takes place on a ranch and involves scenes of branding cattle. This story is most suitable for older students.) 

It was early in the morning on Los Hermanos ranch, east of Falfurrias, Texas. The hot June sun was already up, pulling dew from the mesquite brush and undergrowth, making the air humid and hot as an oven. Outside the working pens full of Santa Gertrudis cattle, pickup trucks and suburbans were parked, with more arriving all the time. 

James Clement lifted his hat and rubbed sweat from his forehead. This event was turning out even better than he had hoped. Already far more people than he had expected were arriving. His family members and some other friends were already running the grown cows through the pens, branding them and inoculating them. Several men and one woman were on horseback herding more cattle into the pens. Other men were setting a fire in a hitherto unoccupied pen, placing small calf-sized brands in the coals to heat. Several ladies and toddlers sat on the ground outside the pens, or on the fences or in the bed of their trucks, watching the proceedings with interest. As the last few cows were sent though the pens, the final few cars drove up and parked. Kids and grownups filled the pen with the firepit in it. 

James stood in the shade of the lone mesquite tree in the pen. 

“Everyone listen up!” he called. Everyone quieted down. “Pancho is going to start herding half of the calves here. If you aren’t gonna help, stay on this side of the pen. If you listen the first time, you won’t get hurt or yelled at. Is everybody ready?”

The response was a resounding affirmative. 

James added, “You little boys, we need y’all to keep the calves circling on that side. Don’t let any get past you!”

“Yes sir!” came the small voices, and “We got it!” “No calf is getting past us!” They were completely confident in their abilities, every one of them a complete expert of course. What chance would any calf have against these fully adept cowboys, Billy and Viggo, Panchito and Alfie? As the calves thundered out, charging toward them, they spread their arms and made various noises to make them turn. The calves were turning until Alfie stepped sideways. Two calves immediately took the opening, a black Santa Gertrudis Cross and a small spotted longhorn calf. 

Two older kids ran up to help them, Viggo’s brother and sister. The girl held back the other calves while the boy chased the two stragglers back to the herd, almost losing one several times.

“Jesse, don’t spread your arms unless they turn around!” the girl shouted.

“Don’t tell me what to do!” the twelve-year-old yelled back. They began to turn the cows, keeping them circling as a cohesive mass. The little boys stepped back in, enthusiastically making different noises. Billy stomped his feet, making an explosive “Hoohah!” noise, while others stuck with more conservative “Heys” and “Go on, mamas!”

“They’re not mamas yet, Viggo,” Jesse remarked.

“It’s what Dad says. He says mamas. Isn’t it what Dad says, Dagmar?”

“I’m staying out of this one,” Dagmar retorted.

Up on his horse and unaware of the nine-year-olds’ trouble behind him, Pancho shut the gate and the flow of calves stopped. He threaded his blue roan horse through the calves, and swung his rope. Then he threw it onto the ground under the calf’s feet. One stepped into the loop and Pancho instantly yanked the rope up, jerking the calf’s hind feet upwards. Then he began to urge the horse forward, pulling the calf with it.

James and two other men ran toward him. One of them lunged for the calf’s tail, jerking it sideways, and flipping the cow on its right side, leaving its left flank exposed. James pulled the lasso off of its leg.

“That’s it!” James shouted. “Now brace against its lower leg! Not that way, that’s a good way to break your leg. That’s it! Grab the other leg, now. Don’t let it get up!”

The other man, leaning his knee heavily on its shoulder, twisted the calf’s leg up, exposing the skin under its leg. 

“Bull calf!” James yelled, giving it a shot through the pistol-shaped syringe. A redheaded man with a wide mustache sprayed blue medicine on his back, and James yelled for a brand. The cowgirl that had been herding the cattle grabbed the brand, a long metal handle with the ranch’s symbol on the end of it and pressed it to the calf’s flank. They held the calf in place as the iron brand imprinted its flank. Everyone not holding the calf down jumped out of the way, and James counted “Up in one…two…three!”

The men rolled and jumped free of the calf and it climbed up, seeming unaffected by the various unpleasantries it had undergone. It ran off to join its brethren. Meanwhile, Pancho had roped a second calf. This one didn’t go down without a fight, only being caught by one foot. When it finally did go over, it fell on its left side, so James and Stephen, Viggo’s father, had to roll it over, and they caught the mustached man’s leg under the calf. The man yelled loudly as he struggled to get free without letting the calf up. As the cowboys went through the same routine, the kids giggled behind their backs, mimicking his undignified recovery.

The next calf was not male. However, it was very large so James had to help hold it down. He handed the shot to Dagmar, and went to help the others. As he twisted the calf’s foreleg up, Dagmar eyed the spot she had to inject, leaned forward, took a deep breath, and…

…stabbed James in the hand, drawing blood instantly.

He yelled loudly, jerking his hand back and shook it hard. Dagmar apologized profusely, but James just told her to take flowers to his funeral and save some for the calf.

As calf after calf was roped, dealt with, and released, the kids, cowboys, and cowgirl acquired a thick layer of dust and sweat, speckled with the occasional blue stain of medicine. Finally there were only two calves left: a tiny, fast light brown one, and a huge, fiery black one with little horns. Pancho caught the black one first. As he wound the lasso around his saddle horn, the calf strained with all of his might. Suddenly, the calf pulled so hard that Pancho’s saddle slid sideways, tipping Pancho onto the ground. Several men ran toward the calf as it tried to escape, leaving poor Pancho to fend for himself.

Suddenly there was a yell from where the boys were keeping the calves away. Alfie, his red hair liberally besmeared with dirt, had caught the last little heifer by the back legs. As Viggo, Panchito, and Billy tackled the calf, the cowgirl rushed over with a brand. The small calf was easily subjugated, and as it was released back into the herd, everyone heaved a collective sigh of exhaustion. 

After that, the entire party drove to the ranch headquarters and ate a delicious lunch. They sat around outside while kids swam and fished in the creek. Then, one by one, they drove the long ways back to their respective ranches. As they drove, they discussed their treatment of the cattle, despite the fact that it was a necessary evil. 

Once everyone was at their own home, they could only say one thing about the fun events of the day:

“It should have been illegal!”