Contributors Teen Issue Spring 2019

Studying but Suffering by Kevin Nguyen

Zamzam Abdullahi is a freshmen at Rochester STEM Academy. She is a poet who is ready to take the world on by storm by helping people with her poems. Zamzam enjoys fencing, writing poems, and swimming.

Edill Ali is a sophomore writer based in Minnesota. Her poems are inspired by her outlook and experience on life itself. She aspires to be a writer known all over the globe, but for now, she is taking it step by step. Edill enjoys having fun with her friends and family and loves to try new things.

Mohamed Ali is not only an American but consists of the roots of a Muslim, Somali, and Arab. He lives in Rochester Minnesota and attends STEM Academy, in the tenth grade. His family immigrated here from a war-torn country. Mohamed uses his voice to let people understand where he came from and the struggles of being “different.”

Sara Alsheikh is a senior at Santiago High School and a staff writer for the school newspaper Shark Attack. She has a passion for poetry and creative writing, leading her to attend poetry clinics at UC Riverside and participate in a poetry showcase for the district.

Abby Asmuth is from Madison, Wisconsin where she is currently a freshman at Madison Country Day School. Her work has previously been published in the Yahara River Writers Anthology, the Wisconsin State Journal, and the Appelley Rising Star Collection. When not writing, she can be found spending time with family and friends.

Deka A. Bade is a fifteen-year-old female. She attends Rochester STEM Academy as a freshman. She was born and raised in Rochester Minnesota. Her father is full Somali and she is also Omani (From Oman) and half Somali, this makes her 75% Somali and 25% Omani. She has just recently gotten interested in writing.

Aisha Bashir currently attends high school at Rochester STEM Academy as a freshman. She was born in South Africa and moved to the United States in 2013. Writing is a way she expresses her opinion and is something she is passionate about. She is interested in works like volunteering that aid a certain role in society. She aims to do the impossible if possible.

Kiyani Carter is a young writer from Beaumont, California. She’s traveled much throughout her life, most notably living in France for around two years, always participating in the best reading and writing courses she was allowed to take. Now, she continues to read and write, as well as repetitively pesters her family and friends, tarnishes the health of her eyes in front of computer screens, and thinks ambitious thoughts while taking no action towards them.

Manqi Chen is a student and aspiring writer residing in Shenzhen, China. She enjoys reading and practicing martial arts in her spare time. You can find more of her writings at

“Criminal” is about the struggles that Mexican-Americans face in post-Trump America. I drew most of the poem from my own experiences of being mistreated and ashamed of my culture because of the constant belittlement of the media. But now I can proudly say that my name is Alejandra Constantino, I’m sixteen years old, and I am a Mexican-American.

Castiel Crews is a growing writer and poet. They are a sixteen-year-old high school junior. They aspire to work in film, sharing their love of storytelling with the world.

Cesar Diaz is an eighteen-year-old high school student who will graduate this
June. Cesar lives in a family of five, both younger sister and brother along with
a mother and a father who all love him dearly and always support him through his goals
and aspirations. Cesar is a Varsity Tennis Singles player and has worked extremely
hard to contribute to his team and go on an undefeated streak this year in order to be crowned League Champions. Cesar also enjoys playing video games, hanging out with his girlfriend and just relaxing.

Aiden Duarte is a seventeen-year-old student who likes to write poetry. His poems are made as a summary of his losses and gains. Everyone loses something, but a spot is never left truly empty.

Anishka Duggal is an American poet born to Canadian immigrants. Currently, she lives between Vancouver, British Columbia and Seattle, Washington. Her work has appeared in Cirque Journal, National Poetry Quarterly, and Austin Poets International’s Di-verse-city Anthology.

Janelle Edgar is a senior at Serrano High School. She currently resides in the High Desert with her family and hopes to find a career in writing.

Avery Garcia is a fourteen-year-old Los Osos High School freshman from Fontana. This young scholar is a voracious reader and enjoys creative writing, math, world history, and the life sciences. She aspires to be a renowned author and poet, as well as a surgeon in the U.S. Navy. Avery is the middle child of three girls and would like to thank her family for always supporting her in all of her endeavors.

Charity Griffin is currently a high school junior at Serrano High School. She’s been writing since she was in elementary school, and even when she is not writing, her thoughts are deep within fictional worlds.

Priyanka Jagadeesh is a senior high school student attending Los Osos High School. She is currently engaged in the school’s Literary Literate Writing Club and often takes temporary leadership of the club when the president is out of commission. She was inspired to write by her freshman high school teacher, Mrs. Teresi.

Kevin Jang is a poet who also writes short stories in his free time. While living in Rancho Cucamonga for almost half his life, he has set a goal to write at least three hundred poems by the time he graduates, and so far he is well beyond that finish line. With a love for poetry since he was seven, Kevin hopes to become part of the next generation of poets through the complex meanings and unusual comparisons that tell different sides to life.

Lauren Kawecki attends school at Los Osos High School in Rancho Cucamonga, California. She has been writing for as long as she can remember and as the years have gone by, this interest has developed into a passion and creative outlet. She likes to use writing (and specifically poetry) as a positive coping mechanism for her depression and anxiety and hopes other teens can connect with her work and know that they’re not alone. When the teen isn’t writing, she likes to cook, watch Netflix, and bother her cats with her love.

Luci Kirlin is a poet from Sacramento, CA. She writes about many of the sufferings and livings she has faced throughout childhood. She has always loved writing poetry and finally decided to publish some of her pieces with the support of family, friends, and teachers.

Aubrey Koyle is a senior at Alta Loma High School in Rancho Cucamonga who loves making music and writing poetry. She is expecting to go to BYU or a UC in the fall of 2019.

Jessica Lao is a senior and Writing Fellow at the Westminster Schools in Atlanta, where she serves as editor of her school’s literary magazine in addition to reading for Polyphony Lit and working as a two-time Editor’s Choice Award-winning essayist for Teen Ink magazine. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in The Louisville Review, Chautauqua, Alexandria Quarterly, National Poetry Quarterly, and more. Her art will be exhibited in Paris, Beijing, New York, and Nairobi in the coming year.

Wren Leyva is a non-binary thirteen year old who enjoys reading poetry books, giving speeches, and playing volleyball. He wishes to go to UC Berkeley someday and wants to become a writer.

Emma Mancilla is a seventeen-year-old high school student who has a passion for writing. While she enjoys creative nonfiction she doesn’t shy away from other genres. She hopes to continue developing her writing skills and to explore new genres.

Alicia Manning is a sixteen-year-old full-time high school student and a part-time reader with a passion for poetry.

Stephanie Martinez-Beltran is a senior (seventeen-year-old) student attending Chaffey High school. She will be pursuing a major in microbiology and a minor in creative writing or English literature at the University of California, Riverside. She enjoys reading YA novels, fantasy, and other genres. She loves writing poetry and prose, listening to punk rock music, spending time with her pets, and eating sushi. She enjoys writing about controversial topics, human rights, mental illness (and how to provide the best support to those in need of it), and gender/identity equality. She tries her best to communicate through her creative writing and to encourage others to express themselves in the safe space that blank sheets of paper provide.

Akyr Majok Bor Ayuiel Anyiel Makuach is a first generation South Sudanese immigrant, resident of Minnesota, and high school student. After graduation, he wants to travel the world. Among many things, his favorite pastimes include going on twitter and playing animal crossing. Akyr’s sun sign is in Leo, moon is in Taurus, and rising is Gemini. Akyr’s work is inspired by the lyrical work of the many artists he enjoys, his family members, and his experiences being Black in America.

Darren Mouk is a fifteen-year-old sophomore attending Indian Springs High School. Raised in San Bernardino, he has an Exuberant style.

Layla Munye is a Somali American young woman who enjoys writing poetry. She was born in America but speaks fluent Somali. She attends Rochester STEM Academy.

Alissar Nahhas developed her creative side at age ten, starting with short stories, scripts, and fantasies, until now, age thirteen. Lately, she’s been becoming more in-depth with her writing. She holds to the belief that it’s essential for writers to grow, mature, and learn in time. Otherwise, with no sense of adulthood, writers won’t have their own voices. Writing for Alissar is a way for her to branch off into a world of her own. It’s time to comprehend that, though we’re all contrasting human beings, we will always have that one something in common. A passion. So let it burn.

“In Bloom” by Leah Urrutia

Kevin Nguyen attends Indian Springs High School in San Bernardino. He loves to draw, whether it’s at school or home. Drawing makes him happy, so he would love his future career to have some sort of drawing to it like animating or game developing, etc.

Britney Obasi is a high school senior at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Eastvale. She aspires to be the happiest she can be and pours her heart into each work of poetry, so she can one day be recognized for her work. She thanks her school librarian, Ms. Nadine Loza, and fellow members of her school’s poetry club for supporting her dream.

Maggie Odom is a sixteen-year-old poet and playwright. Her work has appeared in the Oahu Fringe Festival, Hawaii Women’s Voices Festival, and Playbuilders Playfestival. Her work has been recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. She has performed spoken word poetry in the 2019 Honolulu Biennial and is the 2019 Hawaii State Poetry Out Loud Champion. She believes in using the power of conversation and communication to make the world a better place and applies this belief to her work. In her free time, Maggie enjoys teaching yoga classes, as she is a certified yoga teacher.

Pablo Orozco, fifteen years old, attends Citrus Hill High School. He enjoys spending time with family, friends, and pets; going to and serving at his church, watching movies/TV shows, reading, writing, and being involved in clubs and after-school activities such as ASB. When he is older, he wants to be a writer or a film director, though, lately writing has been a great passion of his and he leans toward it. He hopes one day to tell stories that will inspire and speak to others emotionally and personally.

Elizabeth Pacheco is a nineteen-year-old writer from Taos, New Mexico. She grew up riding horses, figure skating, and playing hockey. Elizabeth has been writing poetry for as long as she can remember.

Aubrey Parker’s works focus on the human condition, whether that is portrayed physically or emotionally. She analyzes all aspects of human nature, and portrays them in a way that is important to her. She’s an eighteen-year-old artist, who has been working passionately on her art since she was young. A majority of her work is inspired by her own experiences, emotions, and thoughts, as well as her interpretation of others she witnesses.

Vivyan Perez is a spunky thirteen-year old who is full of optimism and light. She enjoys creating art, video games, and spending lazy Sunday afternoons with her dog.

Maihan Phan is a sixteen-year-old Vietnamese American who has a passion for writing, especially when it comes to world building and character creation. She likes creating something mindblowing out of nothing, and hopes to convince her parents that yes, writing is a viable career. (Being published in a literary journal means she’s one step closer!) She writes with the purpose to entertain and touch people through the written word, as she still has yet to conquer the necessary life skill that is socializing and networking.

Ashley Renselaer is a fourteen-year-old student who enjoys writing poems, short stories, and plays. She is also an avid reader and dreams of someday having a grand library of her own. She serves on the editorial board of her school’s literary magazine. She lives in Culver City with her Mom, Dad, her playful golden retriever, and her philosophical tuxedo cat. In her free time, she plays the saxophone and travels around the world. She hopes to have an anthology of all her poems published some day in the near future.

Samantha Schmiedel is an aspiring young writer who dreams of impacting the world through words. She is a seventeen-year-old high school student, and plans on attending Crafton Hills College in the fall, with the intention of transferring to a four-year university. She wants to study chemistry, but her main goal is to be a published author.

Paola Sifuentes is a fourteen-year-old girl from Chino Hills, California. She enjoys sports, spending time with family and friends, helping others, and most importantly writing. She is inspired by her mom, dad, and sister to work hard in everything she does and to persevere. She strives to inspire people of all ages, races, and genders to know that they have a voice, and to use it to better our society.

Mike Sims is just a little freshman teen in college struggling to learn the ways of adulting. Getting there. His dad is a high ranking officer in the coast guard, so he’s basically what you’d call a base kid. Making friends was always tough, since he never stayed long, but hey, get what you can take right? Anyway, his poems deal with dark and depressing aspects of life, much was inspired by his own personal life. Hope you all enjoy!

Krysta Szuszka

Ashley Tandoc is a burgeoning writer from Fontana who has lived in the Inland Empire for approximately thirteen years and dreams of becoming a professional writer or editor one day.

Leah Urrutia is seventeen years old and a senior at Palm Desert High School. She’s had a keen fascination with photography for years, and can vividly remember playing around with all sorts of cameras as early as five years old. Taking pictures not only serves as a way of documenting the world through her eyes, but has allowed her to capture and save key moments which she will cherish forever. Through each of the images provided (taken throughout the Coachella Valley/Riverside area), she hopes to share with others a glimpse of her surroundings, as well as highlight the striking natural beauty of the Inland Empire.

Violette Valencia loves to read, thinks books are the best, and will take up a debate with anyone who says otherwise (seriously). She believes that there’s a book for every person, no matter how much they deny it. She also loves writing, exploring, learning, chess, and quotes. As Thomas Jefferson said, “I cannot live without books.” Neither can she.

Alyssa Valenzuela is a thirteen-year-old eighth grade student at Loma Vista Middle School. She loves to read and is very passionate at playing the flute. It is her dream to one day publish her very own book.

W. Connor Wallace is a junior at James River High School in Midlothian, Virginia. He was born on June 17, 2002 in Baltimore, MD and grew up in the small town of Crofton, only a half hour away from the bayside capital of Annapolis. During his sophomore year he moved from South River High School in Edgewater, MD to James River High School in Midlothian, VA.

Connor White, a sophomore at George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology for Literary Arts, is an avid writer living in Freeland, MD. He has been awarded with a Gold Key in Scholastic Publishing’s Art and Writing Competition and is an editor of Carver’s Literary Magazine Synergy. In his free time, he usually reads or goes out to hike in one of the many trails the Appalachia has to offer. Connor visited Inland California when on a trip to summit Mt. Whitney.

Clarice Yau is a teen preparing to leave home and fly to college soon, at a point where lots of the stress in her life has culminated and come to a head. Poetry has been a steady source of comfort for her–a place to speak and be heard. Life hasn’t been extraordinarily kind to her, taking away loved ones and half of her sanity, but while the past will always have its hold on her, she can now view it as a quiet reminder of what has passed and progress on.

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