Submitted by Khloe

Scary Story

Ya know that feeling from a perfect vacation? When you’re relaxed and happy and maybe a little sleepy from all the fun? We’d had a great vacation with my family. We rented a beautiful house with an awesome pool.  My cousins came on vacation with us too.  I had sooo much fun.  I came back from vacation so happy and ready to enjoy some more time off.

Then it all fell apart!!!!  As soon as we returned from vacation, BOTH of my parents tested positive for Covid-19.  Up until this point, Covid was just something I saw on the news.  I knew it was serious because school was shut down and we were all wearing masks.  But this was the first time Covid effected my personal life.

My parents took their positive diagnosis very seriously.  My entire family was tested.  Thankfully I tested negative and so did everyone else in our household.  My parents did not want to infect the rest of our family.  They were being very careful.  My mom and dad locked themselves away in their bedroom.  At first I thought that they were joking.  But they were serious!  All three of us kids had to do all the cooking.  It was so weird to switch places with the adults.

When it was my turn to bring breakfast, lunch or dinner into my parents room, I felt like I needed to really prepare.  I put on 2 masks, an apron, and rubber gloves.  I looked like I was wearing a full surgical suit ready to go into battle!

My parents eventually got over Covid and my family got back to normal.  I have to say that I learned a very valuable lesson during this experience.  No matter how scared I was of Covid, I had to help my family.  I could not let my fear control me.  I learned that fear can’t get in the way of doing what I need to do.

Submitted by Halee

Halee – Sweet Lesson

Something beautiful can come from something sad.  That is what happened when my grandma’s sister got sick.  She was elderly and lived a good life, but it was very sad seeing her so ill.  During this period, my grandma came up with an idea.  She said to me, “Scooter (that is her nick name for me) you should do something to help all the grandparents who do not have their grand kids around to help them.”

I am proud to say that I am close with my grandma and I always help her around her house.  I love being with my grandma.  She is a great cook.  She has a full kitchen filled with professional equipment.  Then it came to my grandma.  She decided that we should bake delicious banana bread to pass out to her neighbors.  She lives in a 55 and up community so it would be perfect.  And that is how Banana Go Nuts was formed.

Banana Go Nuts is my non-profit that I run with my mom and my grandma.  Each Saturday we take banana nut bread door to door in elderly communities.  We do not sell the bread.  We give it away for free.  We first thought, “Maybe we should do this online.”  I told my grandma I would rather do it in person because some elderly people may not have internet and would never find out about us.  So on Saturday morning my grandma or mom drives behind me as I take my banana nut bread door to door.

We first started with full loaves.  I told my grandma, “Why don’t we do mini loaves?!” I thought that a full loaf would be too big for someone who lives alone or maybe too much sugar.

I have been running Banana Go Nuts for one year now. It feels so nice to help others.  I didn’t realize how much people appreciate this small gesture.  I think the lesson I learned is even better than my banana nut bread!

Story Submitted by Emani

Finding True Friends

Hear I go!  Good bye California and HELLO Florida.  I could not believe I was moving.  I used to live with my grandfather who is a doctor in California.  I was now moving to live with my mom in Tampa, Florida.  I was really excited.  I was going to start 4th grade at Tampa Heights Elementary School.  It was really exciting to meet new people and be in a new place.  BUT the best thing of all was Dwele.  He was my best friend that I met when I lived in California.  Dwele moved to Florida a year before me.  Guess what school Dwele goes to?! Tampa Heights Elementary!  We would be back together again.  How cool!


Now my excitement turned to being terrified.  When I got to 4th grade, some of the kids were rude.  There were times that kids in my class were not very nice.  It was a real bummer because I wanted to keep the excitement I had when I first moved.  I made it through 4th grade.  But then came 5th grade.  Everything was different to begin with because of wearing masks and social distancing.  But even still, I had more issues with friends.  The kids were still rude and not very nice.  I really wanted to find some good friends.  So I finally did!  I met Tessa and Isis.  They were so nice and eventually became my best friends.  I also had Dwele as a close friend that has known me for years.  So three really awesome friends are pretty good!!!!


I made it through 4th and 5th grade.  Even if ALL the kids were not nice.  Even if things were different.  I did learn a very important lesson.  It is not how many friends you have, it is the quality of friends you have.  Tessa, Isis, and Dwele were wonderful to be best friends with.  They helped me though my last 2 years in elementary school.  Now as I enter middle school, I have a really good lesson that I learned in elementary school: find the right friends.


Story Submitted by Darrah

Scary Rollercoaster

Never say never right? That is except when you’re hanging upside down, hundreds of feet in the air, buckled into a giant metal death trap. Look, don’t get me wrong, I love roller coasters. The wind whipping through your hair and the rush of screaming your face off while you fly around the track – it’s the best. Again – unless you’re upside down. I can’t do it. Nope. No thank you. That was until my 11th birthday party. We’d had a blast at my sleepover the night before and headed to Busch Gardens the next day. My friend Ollie convinced me to go on Cheetah Hunt. Now if you all aren’t familiar with this ride, let me tell you. It’s literally the longest roller coaster at the park and spins you upside down about a million times while you’re suspended over a rocky gorge. Yep, that’s right, a rocky gorge. I couldn’t believe I’d let her talk me into this. I freaked out the entire time in line. Panicking with every step we took closer and closer to the ride. Every couple minutes, I almost chickened out. Finally we were there, it was the moment of truth. Somehow I found myself buckled into my seat and before I change my mind one more time we were off! I screamed the ENTIRE time. I was in a constant fight with myself to keep my eyes open are shut them in terror. Every time we went upside down, Ollie was terrified I was going to pass out. I mean I was terrified of the very same thing! But somehow I made it. After what seemed like an eternity, but was really only 57 seconds, we were back and the ride attendant was letting us out. I was dizzy and out of it, but somewhere deep inside I was proud too. I had conquered my fear, and lived to tell about it!

Story Submitted by Camille

The Evil Substitute

I’m so over all the changes in school because of the Pandemic, I mean I get it, we have to be safe and careful, but it seems like my teachers are dropping like flies. Now we have a substitute in Science who I truly think is an alien acting like a human. Besides her crazy make-up being very distracting, she doesn’t know how to help us learn science. Science is my favorite subject, especially the way Mr. Clark used to teach it. I can just feel the sub doesn’t like me. Last week in class, we were told to complete pages 22-26. The lesson covered the parts of a cell, which I had already learned the summer before, so I flew through it. I showed the teacher my completed work so I could get my check for the day, but she told me since I finished the assignment so quickly, she wanted me to complete pages 27&28. Well, I was NOT a happy camper. Why should I have to do more work just because I completed my assignment? I told my friend Ethan what happened and he said, “she told me the same thing”. I decided this was not fair and I should say something. I approached our sub and said, “Excuse me, but I don’t think we should have to do more work just because we completed our assignment.” She said, “Well if I wanted to know what you thought, I’d ask you.” What kind of professional says that?! This was an outrage, and I wasn’t going to take it. Turns out the teacher reported US and we were told to go see the principal after school We pleaded our case. He really listened and he agreed we should not be punished for completing our assignment quickly. When I went home, I told my parents what happened, and they were proud of me for standing up for what I believed in. I learned how to speak up, even if it’s to an adult.

Story Submitted by Audrey

Miss Shirley

You never know where you will make a new friend.  That is exactly what happened to me when I met Miss Shirley.  My church organized volunteering opportunities at a memory care facility.  It was nice and I liked volunteering, but when I met Miss Shirley, everything changed.  Miss Shirley was an elderly resident at the facility.  She was a petite woman, with blonde hair, and a kind smile – she was just lovely.

Each time I would visit, I would learn more about Miss Shirley’s life. Miss Shirley would tell me stories of when she was younger and we would do crafts together.  I even got to meet her family, there were all so nice. Miss Shirley always said I reminded her of her own daughter.  She would put her hand on my face and tell me that I was beautiful – it made me feel so special.

In the past I’d only had friends my own age. Some people might think it’s weird to be friends with a senior citizen, but it truly wasn’t. We had so much fun together and had such a special bond. When I was with her age was the last thing on my mind.

When we volunteered for the facility’s Halloween Party, I asked one of the staff if they could bring Miss Shirley down. She took me aside and let me know Miss Shirley had passed away. I was shocked, I simply couldn’t believe that she was gone, I’d just seen her! I’d never lost a friend and my heart was absolutely broken. I closed my eyes and tried to picture us together. Memories of us laughing and chatting flooded through my mind, and it brought me some comfort to remember so many happy moments. It was at that point that I realized what a wonderful lesson I learned through my friendship with Miss Shirley.  If you open your heart and your mind, you can meet friends in the most unpredictable places.

Story Submitted by Alishya

Recess Crush

The best part about being in 4th grade is RECESS!!!!  Now that I am in middle school, we don’t have recess anymore.  Recess was the best.  I can see it now: hanging out with my best friend, running, talking with kids in my class.  I really miss that.

But there was one day at recess I do not miss.  Has anyone ever had a WEIRD CRUSH? Well Michael had a weird crush on me.  Now let me tell you about Michael.  Michael had weird crushes on EVERYONE!!!!  Michael was in love with a new girl each week.  I was so glad that Michael had never had a crush on me.  But now he DID!

My best friend and I were hanging out during recess, when a crowd started to form.  All of these kids started to gather around me.  I didn’t know what was going on!  I was thinking to myself, “Whoa.  This is not good!”  Then Michael appeared in the center of the crowd.  In front of the entire group of kids, Michael confessed he had a crush on me.  We were all just standing there.  Everyone was looking at me.  All the kids were waiting for my response.

I was very nice and told Michael that I liked him but not like that.  I felt a little bad but I wanted to tell the truth.  Michael started crying!  The crowd of kids started yelling and telling me how mean I was.  I was so confused.  I was just telling the truth.  I was nice.

Then my best friend pulled me out of the crowd of kids.  She reminded me that Michael does this all the time.  She told me not to feel bad and that I did the right thing.  I learned a lot that day at recess.  I learned that you do not need to give into peer pressure.  Even though the other kids called me mean, I did the right thing.  To think, I learned something so important on the playground!!!!


Story Submitted by Kathryn Manz

Ray Ray the retard. RAY RAY THE RETARD. Their taunts got louder as they got closer. I didn’t really understand what they meant by “retard” but I sure knew who they were directing it at – my older brother, Ray (Ray Ray) and by proxy me, as I held onto his waist while he maneuvered the bicycle over potholes, gravel and a speed bump. This group was hungry for something. Usually, they call out a few mean words or throw a rock or two but all 6 of them are following us through West Hempstead and my brother is NOT going to let us get captured. We just finished our paper route and it was collection day so our pockets were heavy with the paper distributor’s cash and our tip money. These guys screaming after us, wanted our blood and the cash. That was the last thing I thought when a flash of pain hit the back of my head. I woke up just as the ambulance was putting both of us inside. Ray lost balance when the rock hit me in the back of the head and I fell off the bike. The boys kicked the crap out of him until he had an epileptic seizure and blacked out. Then they rifled both our pockets, stole our money, and left us in the middle of Cherry Valley Road. Two more feet separated us from the hole in the chain-link fence that would have secured our freedom. Instead, defeated we quit our paper route. The press boss still demanded his fee for letting us deliver the Daily News.. mom and dad had to scrape that together on top of our ER bills. Oh, and the boys that followed us? I kept tabs on them over the years. They ALL showed up at Ray’s funeral 3 years after they nearly killed us. They got away with it. ALL of them are dead now…most from drugs. ALL got a shot of karma that I must say gives me some small measure of relief.

Story Submitted by Anonymous

Whoever said ‘that which does not kill you makes you stronger’ was never bullied in school. My middle and high school years were in the 80s, so technology didn’t play a role in bullying the way it does now. Of course, no one was trying to kill me; the bullies had no problem pummeling my self-esteem for being bespectacled, smart, tall, and skinny, killing any bud of confidence I might have had. As a grown woman, I certainly don’t feel stronger having endured those six years. Though I was never beaten up, the verbal abuse – it was called being picked on back then – caused invisible bruises that I carried into adulthood. I couldn’t walk into a room without looking down. I didn’t want to make eye contact for fear of accidentally connecting with someone who might see it as an opportunity to be cruel. My childhood escape was writing and drawing. I wrote stories where I defeated my bullies or drawings where they were no longer in power. It enabled me to control a situation that, in real life, I had no way to regulate. My safe space was the newspaper office and my drama class – especially my drama class. My drama teacher knew I was bullied and always had something nice to say. He was the first person to allow me to have something I wrote produced on stage.

I found comfort in theatre and playing characters unlike myself. I truly feel that theatre brings together people with these similar experiences. I was planning a degree in journalism and playwriting, but life interrupted and changed my course. I rediscovered my passion for theatre and playwriting in my late 40s. Because of being someone else on stage, I’ve finally learned to walk into a room of strangers without an overwhelming sense of panic, feeling like I needed to shrink into myself. Instead, I become a character who’s brave and confident, and that helps me ‘fake it, till you make it.’ As crazy as it sounds, when I was a teacher a decade ago, the hardest thing in the world was walking into a classroom with teenagers without feeling like I was still a teenager and waiting for the bullying to begin. It ended up being one of the best experiences in my life because, as the teacher, I got to stop bullying. It felt somehow like redemption. I couldn’t protect myself – that girl who desperately wanted to fit in, but I could protect my students from bullies. I could not fathom being a bullied child in 2021, where there is no escape from the brutality of words and videos on social media. The worst I got was taunts down the hallway – ‘if I were as ugly as you, I’d shave my *** and walk backward,’ not ‘kill yourself.’ Something needs to be done before another bullied child decides he’s had enough and becomes one of two horrible possibilities: a suicide statistic or another school shooter.

Story Submitted by Anonymous

I knew this evening was a well orchestrated plan. I have an incredible memory. My husband often comments on how I can recall the smallest details. Crazy, non important details just stick with me. Yet, on this anniversary I can’t tell you where we went for dinner or what show we took my parents to. I have no idea. My only recall is how I felt, what I heard, and my despair. Utter despair like never before. I believe it was at dinner but I’m not exactly sure, my brother decides to discuss my appearance. In front of my parents, in front of my husband he tells me flat out – “You look like a PIG.” Oh, he led up to that with a tirade of words but that’s the gist. I was shocked, dumbfounded and HURT. The words pierced me – it was like the joy of the evening was sucked away. I don’t know how I made it through the evening, if we continued with dinner or what. I recall going to the restroom and sitting in the stall. I wanted to DIE. I wanted to END IT ALL. I firmly believe if I would of had a razor in that moment I would have taken my life. It would have been over. The ride home was incredulous. Nobody corrected my brother that evening, nobody challenged him. I think he’s been a bully so long and it went on because of many factors. My husband didn’t want to make a scene, didn’t want to ruin an evening for my parents. My dad, always a peacemaker I’m quite sure made a, “Let’s change the subject.” My mother I’m sure sided with my brother in my mind,for she said nothing. Now that we were driving my parents home (my brother and his wife had gone in their own vehicle) my husband decided to bring up the conversation, no – the bullying. He spoke about how horrible my brother spoke, about how mean he was, the cruelty of it all. My mother actually thought it was okay for him to speak like that to me! My husband actually questioned my mother and asked her if she truly believed it was okay to chastise me in this manner and she said, “Yes.” This caused my husband to just retort and let my mother know in no uncertain circumstances that he did not agree with her and he felt she was WRONG! I dont recall my dad saying anything, I’m sure he felt he made his point earlier by wanting to change the subject. My sweet husband while very empathetic truly couldn’t have known just how hurt I was. I was in that bathroom stall alone, I hadn’t had a moment to let him know my feelings. Those horrible thoughts and the worthless feeling I had stayed in me. I lost my voice, I lost my soul. I’ve not shared my truest thoughts with anyone. I consider myself to be a reasonable and caring person. Looking back, those words made me not care about myself, my child I was carrying nor my one-year-old. Nothing mattered. I only wanted to crawl in a ball and never open my eyes again. All because of WORDS. The words from my brother as well as the words of my mother cut deep. I couldn’t open my eyes or get out of bed for DAYS after. My self-worth was gone. I cried and curled up, . It’s been a long time since that night and my children are now grown adults. My husband and I have celebrated almost 45 years of marriage and I’ve learned a great deal since that time about the dynamics of my own parents and their marriage. We are all worthy. YOU are worthy and deserve respect and love. I know Bullies truly have issues under which they hide and the act of bullying has its own reasons. About twenty years after this incident, I was sitting with my brother at the hospital as my father was very ill. I had once again dieted and was quite successful. The weight I had shed was noticed. My brother asked me how much I had lost. “Seventy pounds,” I told him. He then replied, “Wow, I’m really proud of you.” I said nothing. His compliment meant nothing. At that moment all the many years of bullying surfaced and reared their ugly head. I’d like to think God held my tongue. Please do not accept what a bully says or does, know your worth and know you are deserving. Know that there are those that can only feel good by putting down others. Don’t become like them. You are worthy.