Personal Narrative

By: Garrett McMillian


I was at Springhill Camp with my church. It seemed like a normal day at camp but it wasn’t. It would turn out to be the scariest experience in my life. I was in the fourth grade. I had done a lot of fun stuff that week at camp like ziplining, archery, and rock wall climbing. Something in my gut told me that today wasn't going to be a good day. We were about to leave the cabin, but first my counselor told us what we were doing for the day. The first thing he said was the solo challenge. “Roar,” went my stomach as I cowered in fear.

The solo challenge is were you put on a harness and climb up a telephone pole with pegs sticking out. Then, once you're on the top, you jump off and try to catch a rope suspended in the air. I have always been frightened of heights, so this was way out of my league. As we walked toward the solo challenge, my stomach began to churn faster and faster. We got to the solo challenge I looked to the sky to see the 25 foot pole and the suspended rope. I started to panic I felt like I was about to have a stroke.

Our group gathered around our counselor as we shivered in fear. John, my counselor, asked who’s going first. We all got chills as the words jumped out of his mouth. John suddenly said, “Garrett's going to go first.” Ohhh, goes the rest of the cabin as they sighed in relief. I felt as if I was being stabbed with a thousand needles.

I slowly put my helmet and harness on as the chills still went up my arms. I thought to myself, "why me, I haven't been bad all week?" I sat at the base of the pole petrified in fear. The volunteers told me to start climbing. I started to climb up the pole one peg at a time. I started to speed up. I just wanted to get it over with.

Eventually, I reached the top of the pole. The volunteer yelled, "put your right foot on the pole and pull yourself up!" I hesitate, but I did as I'm told. I was on top of the pole I thought to myself, "don't look down." I did it anyway. I began to panic. The pole started to shake under me. I yelled, "I want come down now!" The volunteer said, "you made this far! You're going to have to jump for the rope!" I cried in complete terror.

I counted to three, closed my eyes, and jumped, soaring through the air like an eagle. My hand caught on something. I opened my eyes as everyone was cheering. I caught the rope with two hands as I was suspended in the air. 

"Thank God," I think in my head. The volunteers lowered me and I got mobbed by my cabin mates telling me "good job" and "that was awesome!" This experience changed me forever. I didn't have such a big fear of heights anymore and I knew all things were possible. I always look at this experience when encountering new challenges because it gives me hope that I can do anything.


What Makes A Place A Home

By: Shyla Bryant


Many say home is where the heart is, and an apartment, house, or dorm room does not necessarily make a place a home. A home is a place where you can feel comfortable and safe. For me, a home is just an environment where you can be free and can be yourself. A home can be from actually living in a house to camping out in the mountains for a few days.

For example, a time when I was comfortable in an unusual environment that I looked at as a home, was when I went camping with a group of my classmates. Camping is not an environment for everyone, but I loved it. It was all nature, and full of fresh air. When I went camping, I was comfortable, because I didn’t have to worry about impressing anyone, by putting make up on or doing my hair. I was able to be myself and enjoy time with my friends.

Being able to camp out was like a breath of fresh air. Living in the outdoors, was a place where I could explore, hike, and run its beauty. The first night of camping was very relaxing as we all sat around the fire pit, making s’mores, and just having fun conversations. I remember the smell of the air was just so.

A place can also become a home with the people you surround yourself with. It doesn’t just have to be about how the place feels, but how the people around you are influencing you. While on my camping trip, I was surrounded with a group of people who were just as amazed as I was. They made me feel comfortable and showed many fun things you could do while on camping trip. My classmates felt as if the nature was their home and they gave off great positive energy.

Overall, a place does not necessarily have to be an apartment, house, or a dorm room to be a home. A home is any place where you are comfortable, and feel as if you can be yourself. A home is a place where you just feed off of positive energy and feel free. It does not matter whether your home is outside in nature or in an apartment, as long as your heart is there.

Wolf Is My Nickname

By: Chris Kaklegian


I’m from Bridgton, but I haven’t lived there since I was five. We lived right on Main Street, and right behind the house was a river. My brother and I used to throw our toys down into the river and make my mom go get them.

It’s quiet in Bridgton—everyone knows you. It’s a small town. I have family and family friends that still live there. I know all the back streets. My brother once lived on a street there that was really hard to find, but I could find it no problem.

I don’t like Portland—it’s too big a city. I’m more of a country person. I like going to Highland Lake—there’s a dam there where all the fish get trapped, bass, trout, catfish, and I’m a fisherman.

Sit outside in the woods and you’ll see animals after a while. Moose, woodpeckers. When I was younger, I was in a field and a doe came right near me, maybe five feet away.

Wolf is my nickname. I gave it to myself.

I’ve always wanted to have art in my life. I met my grandfather when I was eight, and I started to get into art. He was an artist —he painted pictures of people. Once he looked at my mom and painted her picture and it looked exactly like her. He drew the logo for the Celtics and used to work in Scarborough for a sign store, but he died in 2001.

A couple of years ago, I started drawing crosses and hearts with wings. I used to draw skulls, but then I had a feeling that something bad would happen. I don’t know why I draw crosses and hearts with wings; they just come out of my head that way.

I’d like to go back to Bridgton and meet my dad. He’s got a rude thing coming the day I meet him. When I was a baby, he stole some money my mom had set aside for me and abandoned me. My mom came home and found me alone. He took his friends out and got them drunk. I know where he lives and that he hangs out at Sandy Dog’s or Bridgton’s Best Pizza with his friends.

I like to stop up at an old farm in Bridgton and feed the horses. I used to ride a horse there named Daisy—my mom never told me the horse’s name, I just remember it. If I ever move back up to Bridgton, I could focus on my life and not worry about anyone else’s. I’d track down my father’s side of the family. I’m told I look like them.

"Pancakes For Breakfast"

By: Gaby Baez

The sun was bright. It shone through the curtains. The room was so quiet you could hear the little birds tweeting from outside. I tried to open my eyes, but the room was so bright that I couldn’t. I pressed my face back against the pillow. I let my eyes get some light so I could get use to it.

When I got up, I opened the curtains and woke up my friends. Ashley threw a pillow at me and said, “Leave Me Alone ! It’s too early!” But it was already 11:00am. We had gone to sleep so late the night before that the time flew by that morning. We couldn’t go back to sleep again, so we turned on the TV.

After a while we got kind of hungry so we got up, brushed our teeth, and went down stairs to find something to eat. When Ashley went to open the refrigerator door, she found a little note on the door from her mom. It said, “Dear girls I went out to buy some things and I won’t be back for a while. Pancakes are in the cabinet if you ladies want any. See you soon! From, Mom.” Since there was no one in the house, we decided to put some music on to dance to. We picked ‘On The Floor’ by Jennifer Lopez, and then we went to look for the bag of pancakes.

We looked everywhere until we finally found them. We opened the fridge and took out the milk and eggs and started mixing the pancake mix. We poured the flour into a basket. Ashley poured the milk and I cracked the eggs. The batch got harder and harder to mix because it was thickening. After mixing the pancake mix we poured it on a little pan to cook them. While they were cooking, we decided to step outside for some fresh air.

It was so warm out. The sun was super bright. It was our first week of summer vacation and summer was actually here; the only good thing about Maine. We said we would sit down and get a quick two minute tan, but it was so quiet and peaceful that we forgot about the time. Out of nowhere we heard a loud alarm beeping. We freaked out and ran into the house. It was a pancakes disaster !!

We’d forgotten about them and they had burned! There was smoke everywhere and we were scared. We opened all the windows and brought the pancakes outside. The alarm stopped beeping and we calmed down. We picked up the mess we’d made and started a new batch, but this time we watched them very carefully. When they were done, we sat at the table and ate our pancakes with bacon. When we were done eating we continued with our “Sun Tanning”.

A while later Ashley’s mom came and she asked us “How was your morning girls? What have you done?” We answered her with laughter.

"From Mexico"

By: Shamir Anzures

I was born in June/17/1998 in Mexico. I lived there in Puebla in the middle of Mexico for three years. It was so beautiful and also had good weather to go in the water , the breeze with fresh air. One day, my mom and dad told me we had to move because we were so poor and that we were going to lose our house. So we all got packed and ready to leave. It was hard to leave every relative and uncle and aunt. I cried when I had to say good-bye to my grandfather and grandmother.

It was the first time going on a plane. It felt so funny going up. We got to America at 12 in the morning. Good thing my dad knew a friend in New York that we could stay with.
About a month later, my dad and his friend decided to look for a house for us and they decided to look in Maine. It took them six hours to get there to look for a perfect house and then after the six hours, my dad called us from Maine and told us he had found a perfect house. It was a big red house that had 2 floors and lots of rooms and he’d bought it. I was excited.
I never knew what would it be like in Maine. Maybe good fresh air. Maybe a place where we can play or maybe one day have our first dog. We packed up our stuff and left New York. It was a long trip and I was so tired, I felt asleep the whole ride.

When I woke up, I opened the window and felt the cool fresh air. I saw trees all over. We were getting out of the car and I saw neighbors welcoming us. They were so nice and helped us with every kind of thing we needed. But I still missed my family and I knew right then they still missed us.

Our neighbors were very nice and they helped us a lot. They even helped my brother and I speak more English. The neighbors found us an elementary school to go to and jobs for my mom and dad. Now, I always hang out with my family and we have a lots of fun. My family and I like Maine–the peace and quiet, not much going on and not much crime.

Maddie Bernard, "Funny How-Tos"


These how-tos are meant to be funny, for humorous purposes only. Do not try at home.


  • How to breed a unicorn

  • How to teach your dog magic

  • How to ride a bike

  • How to type

How to breed a unicorn

If you want to breed a unicorn, first let me make something straight-- you’re crazy. There is no such thing as unicorns and magic, and I don’t know the first thing about breeding them, much less, breeding a horse. I will try to explain to you what I would do if I found a unicorn in my backyard.
First of all, I would call the police, the fire engine, and the ambulance. Yes, the ambulance. Because a giant horse with bright pink hair and a horn is scary. Plus, who knows if it might hurt me??? Then the police would take the unicorn away to the national horse study center.
Second I would go inside and email everyone I know and tell them about the unicorn. If anyone said they didn’t believe me, I would tell them to go ask the police.

Finally, I would write a book, maybe even multiple books, all about pink haired unicorns attacking people. It would be a universal best-seller.

And that’s how you breed a unicorn.


How to teach your dog magic

People really are nutso these days, because, I might have mention this, THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS MAGIC OR UNICORNS!!! Plus, I don’t know how to teach anyone magic, nor do I know how to teach a dog anything, much less teach teaching a dog magic. But, if I found a dog who knew magic in my front yard, this is what I’d do.
First of all, I would call the police, the fire engine, and the ambulance because a dog who can turn you into a frog is scary. Plus, who knows if it might hurt me??? Then the police would take the magic dog away to the pound.
Second I would go inside and email everyone I know and tell them about the dog who knew magic. If anyone said they didn’t believe me, I would tell them to go ask the police.
Finally, I would write a book, maybe even multiple books, all about magical dogs turning people into frogs. It would be a universal best-seller.

And that’s how you teach your dog magic.


How to ride a bike

Seriously, if you think this How-to is going to teach you how to ride a bike, you’re crazy. You can’t tell someone how to ride bike. But, if I had no experience with riding a bike, this is what I’d do.
First of all, I would call the police, the fire engine, and the ambulance because riding a bike is scary. Plus, who knows if I might get seriously injured??? Then the ambulance would take me away to the hospital when I crashed.
Second I would get on the bike and attempt to ride down the hill. I would try to balance myself out, fail, fall off the bike, and have to go to the hospital because I was seriously injured.
Finally, I would write a book, maybe even multiple books, all about falling off bikes. It would be a universal best-seller.

And that’s how you ride a bike.


How to type

You hit the letters on the keyboard, which for some silly reason, they didn’t put in alphabetical order. That’s it. Now leave me alone. 


Maddie Bernard, 11 years old, from Tanglen Elementary, Minnesota


My College Essay

My name is Adan Kumane Mohamed. There are great meanings in my names. Adan means the father of human beings; Kumane means the nice one; and Mohamed means the messenger of Allah (God). I was born at Libio in Kenya, along the border of Somalia and Kenya. My family fled from Somalia, due to the civil war. I grew up in a place called Dagaheley refugee camp; the world’s largest camp. I personally had faced many obstacles, including education challenges, social injustice and financial crisis. I have solved my problems through dedication, respect, enthusiasm, passion and patience.

After all of my friends went to kindergarten, I asked for my parents to take me to school, but unfortunately no one listened to me. I started seeking my mother’s bag for money, and stole some, then went to the only store in the whole town. I bought three small books and a pencil. Early in the morning I woke up and asked my dad to take me to school. My dad got very upset. He knew that he had to pay the school, and we were already suffering from financial hardship. He finally agreed. It was one brilliant morning. The glare of the sun shined toward our eyes. This was my first day in school. I was six years old.

My family suffered social injustice. After my family had a particularly happy day, we all went to sleep. In the middle of the night I heard a loud sharp sound. I thought it was a nightmare, but when I woke up I saw a gun pointing toward my mouth. The gun-man said to me, “Where is your bastard father?” I was too frightened to say a word. He heard bullets outside and he ran away from me, with his colleagues. They had shot bullets at my father, then he escaped. They looted our properties, and the event caused my father to lose his mind.

The devastation lead my family to a financial crisis. I had started working when I was eight years old, as a restaurant waiter. This money helped my family’s needs and also helped to pay for my education. When I got home, i smelled like rotten potatoes, which I was slicing all night long.

I knew that the only way that I could get out of that horrible life is through education. Education is a life long journey, which had unlocked me from the locked doors. I am striving for a better life.

Adan Mohamed – 17 – Portland, Maine