Academy of Palumbo

A school community can be anything you want it to be. To me, it is a place that I can show my inner colors and be myself. It is a place that I cannot be harassed. At Palumbo, I would not be embarrassed to ask for help. In some schools, you would be made fun of for asking for help. That would bring a person down- they would not be able to learn because of the fear that they would get bullied. 

We should encourage people who ask for help. In my ideal school community, there would be culture, social people, and sports I can play. 

At Palumbo, there are a bunch of sports available that I never had the opportunity to play in middle school. Time spent on athletics at Palumbo could lead me to have a career in sports; most of all, I would love to play basketball professionally.  

My ideal school community is one where I can be in a competitive environment because I enjoy having to work hard to get better.  This is because of my work ethic.  I tend to show the most growth when in a group that has to fight to get a spot. When there is a problem I need to overcome, I put more effort to overcome the problem. 

A school community should have people that support each other, but most importantly they should do so when times are hard. If other people thought about how their actions might affect others, it would greatly improve the community. We should also realize when someone needs assistance, We should provide it to them. 

Most importantly I feel like everyone should have a voice. Many people assume that students don’t have good ideas; however, I firmly believe that students are just as capable.

The biggest conflict I face is myself. I tend to overthink things that occur. This holds me back, because I can get stuck thinking about something so much that it can delay my completion of a task. 

In order to deal with this challenge, I look for ways to balance work and play. This way, I am reminded that if I work when I should, like on an essay or project, then I will be able to relax fully later knowing I did my best. 

Sometimes conflict leads to more conflict. I might be mad at someone and put some else in it, making them mad at the person. Like triangulation. 

For example, you are person X, you argue with person Y, and you tell person Z about it which drags person Z into that conflict. I get over this by admitting I was wrong and trying to do better. 

The conflict I am dealing with now is the pandemic. It is keeping me from talking to my friends and having the social part of a school I was missing.

I missed out on that part of a school for a long time. Being social is really important to me because that is how I show who I am. 

How I overcome the pandemic Is by wearing a face mask, washing my hands frequently, and social distance when I go out in public. 

The conflict that keeps coming back to me is the pressure of a lot of school work. It gets really hard to get a lot of assignments done in good timing. How I get over this conflict is by trying my best to lay out my schedule for the week so I can properly turn in all the assignments. 

When I use my schedule, I get my work in on time and I don’t have to stress about the due date and which work is more important than another.

Sometimes that doesn’t work and then I go and ask for help so I could get my work done properly and on time. Asking for help makes it easier to get what I need in an efficient manner. 

Throughout my education, I was always put to high standards. Due to that, I feel like in a community of learners like Palumbo I can shine. Palumbo has all the things I want in a school. I really love playing sports Like basketball and baseball. In my school now I really did not get a chance to be on a sports team to show my skills. 

In Palumbo, I would be able to play on a team. Lastly I want to go to a place where my ideas can be shared with my peers and become a better learner. Not only that, Palumbo Palumbois a really competitive school with a lot of smart people around it. That is why Palumbo is the perfect school for me. 

Musa Kane is a 8th grader at Science Leadership Academy Middle School.

Hopes and Dreams for Back to School

Virtual learning was set up as an emergency effort by teachers because of the pandemic, this COVID-19 that is keeping everyone in quarantine.  So as we continue forward, everyone has to keep moving and keep growing.

There are some improvements that can be done with online learning to make the experience better, because everyone learns differently and not everyone is in a perfect learning environment.  So if that is taken under consideration when planning the lessons, the learning  will be fun and  the more  students will be engaged.

During this pandemic, I believe that teachers should be able to allow students to be free to some extent during online classes.

There  is a lot of pressure on the students of the classroom. For example, children also have responsibilities at home especially now and teachers need to respect the fact that parents are going to have to sometimes pull them out of class.

Parents  need all the help they can during this quarantine.  This is a fact teachers can’t ignore, so they should try to be aware of these things without it disrupting the learning process.

All people need breaks. In normal times, at most schools every class goes on a class trip for relaxation and learning. Unfortunately, we are under lockdown.

Since everyone is on a computer or some type of electronic device; classes could go on virtual “class trips.”  A trip to the Franklin Institute and trips around the world are all possible online, giving everyone, including the teachers a break from the classroom and even have some fun in the  process! It will keep everyone engaged and improve drastically!

The big hope is that this Spring will be an improvement on virtual learning.   All virtual classes are going to need improvement, and while it may be difficult, it can be done. Schools just need to remember to be mindful of home situations and keep things fun and exciting.

I think things will get better though.  Once you do something for the first time you are going to get better as you keep doing it.  The more we continue online learning, the better the students and the teachers will get helping each other learn.




Sharon Suardi is 9 years old, currently attending Abram Jenks School.  As an artist for roughly five years so far, drawing is a favorite pastime (especially when bored!), and she loves to spend her time and explore life through her artistry.

The Injury

I was on the ground and I felt a sharp pain in my right leg. The excruciating pain continued to spread through my body. The coach ran on the field… 

It was just like any other Saturday morning. I had begun to get ready. I had put my gameday clothes on and drank lots of water like my mom had kept nagging me to do. I got my Gatorade, my bottle of water, and began to walk to the soccer field.  Before I was able to reach the door, my dog ran up to me and started to play with me. For a good minute I played with him but I knew I had a game, so I kept it short. When I got to the soccer field I greeted my friends and we joked around for a little. After that I drank my bottle of water and  started to warm up for the game. I did my normal stretches, then I took some shots up on the goal. 

After our stretch the captain walked over and said, “Yo coach!”

 “They have first ball,” Coach responded, 

“Alright good job; 3-4-3-1 formation The back three are Bryce, Garret, Amadu This is gonna be a tough game, Play your hardest and have some fun.” 

We walked on the field and readied ourselves for what our coach said would be a hard game. Right off the bat, their offense demolished our midfield and as I went to close in on the player with the ball, he gave a good cross to his teammate who finished it with a great goal. We kept trying to even the field with a goal of our own but struggled. Our coach called a timeout and switched us around moving me from defense to offense. I was nervous when he switched me because I usually stay on defense but when I switch to offense, it usually means he needs me to kick the ball upfield. At the time I was happy because offense was more fun but it was also way more work. Soon after he moved me up, we were able to tie the game up.

At halftime we took our time hydrating while our coach told us the game plan going forward. It wasn’t too different from what we were just doing but it had worked. After the halftime kickoff JR, our striker, got a beautiful goal that the goalie just couldn’t get to. I walked over to him, “dapped” him up, and said, 

“Good shot! Let’s keep that going.” He smiled and said,

“Just keep giving me the ball.”

After that we saw that the other team was frustrated because they didn’t like that we broke ahead and they came back with another goal. There were almost 10 minutes left in the game and we  were thinking about how we were going to get the ball and score. We were all focused on winning and as we looked for an opening to grab the lead, I saw the opponent make a bad pass. I intercepted the pass and “burned” one kid. That’s when I saw another player from the opposing team come at me trying to kick the ball but he hit me directly on the leg. 

For a second I didn’t know what was going on. I just laid there as the pain got worse. I couldn’t think straight and I just squirmed holding my leg. My coach walked over and asked if I was ok. I just nodded, got up, and continued playing. I assumed if I kept playing the pain would go away. But as the game continued I lost focus and the pain began to get worse. After my injury the ref decided to give us a free kick. JR. took it and it was a beautiful shot in the top left corner and, after that my coach decided to sub me out. 

I still wanted to play but waited until the final whistle when we came out with the win. My parents went home and I walked back with my friends. On the walk, we made jokes and played around as usual. We were very happy after the win and still had a lot of energy. Jalen said 

“Y’all tryna come over for a lil?” 

As much as I wanted to go, I really just wanted to go home and take a nap. I said no and he understood. When walking back home I realized that just walking off this injury wasn’t going to work. With every step, the pain continued to get worse and worse and finally, the agonizing pain was just too much. My friend Jalen saw me struggling and pulled me over and let me lean on him to help me out . Finally, when I got home I decided the best thing for me to do was ice it a little because this usually helped me when i got hurt. After the ice melted, I took a shower then got in the bed to take a short nap. I was exhausted, and with the pain getting worse, I thought resting would make it better.I woke up to my mother shaking me and saying 

“Clean this room! We’re still going to the movies with Aiden but if you don’t clean this room you won’t be going.” 

As I got out of bed, I bent my leg to get up. I felt a shock of pain and laid back down. I told my mother how my leg felt and she was mad I didn’t tell her and my dad sooner. 

“I’m so disappointed in you! What were you thinking? You should’ve told us earlier you could’ve made the injury worse!” 

I was disappointed in myself. I shouldn’t have tried to hide an injury just so I could play in the game. My dad and mom drove me to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and had me checked out. The doctors X-rayed me and made sure I was ok. The doctor told my parents I had fractured something in my leg and I couldn’t play for a while. I love sports, but not being able to play for a while really taught me something. I was never injured like that before, and even though I still play, I always make sure to be careful. Winning is awesome, but it isn’t the most important thing. Always play hard, but play smart.

Bryce Ford is 15 years old and in the 10th grade at The Haverford School.


Introverts Unite!…Separately

I went home after spending two whole days at preschool for the week. When I walked into the house, I stopped in the doorway and stared at my mom. She turned around from the kitchen and asked what’s wrong. I looked at her with eyebrows furrowed, dropped all my things wearily, and said, “Mommy, I need to be alone”

My mom smiled and said I could be, understanding that children, real children, were beings that came straight from Hell.

Since my parents understand what it’s like being introverted, especially at my age, I never thought of it as a bad thing. It wasn’t until I reached middle school I realized that introversion is, according to stuck-up idiots of society, seen as a negative thing. Apparently, they think that wanting to be alone for at least fifteen minutes and not befriending everyone that’s in a five-to ten-mile radius are the two major signs of an extreme antisocial disorder.

One of my best friends happens to be one of these idiots and confronted someone in our class about his said “disorder.” She kept going on and on about how he needs to stop being antisocial, depressed, and negative. I cut in and told her she could just ask why he’s an introvert. She looked at me with pure disgust and said, “Yeah. Exactly.”

I remember giving her a look of disgust back, and I may have been thinking something along the lines of, Ya big-mouthed socialite. I’m an introvert.

Being that people thought that being an extrovert was the greatest thing in the world, I decided to see what’s just so great about it. And before I tell you about my first experience, let me say there’s ABSOLUTELY NOTHING SO FAN-FRIGGIN-TASTIC ABOUT IT. Anyways…

After standing in the lunch line and paying, I sat down at my table and started eating. It was nice outside, where my real friends were hanging out, but all the talkative people at our table were sitting inside. And being that extroverts just have to know everyone in existence, I decided to force myself to sit with the people I kinda know.

For a couple minutes, I told myself to jump into a conversation that involves me or to just start one. When I finally thought of a topic to talk about, I sat up and opened my mouth until a cursed extrovert sat down, said my name in a stupid, high-pitched and cheery voice, and started loudly conversing with others.

I looked outside and yearned to be with my fellow introverts. At the same time I didn’t want to be rude, so I desperately stared off into the distance, praying that the right moment to leave would soon come.

And it did.

When Stupid, High-Pitched and Cheery Voice sat down, she sighed, rolled her eyes, and said, “I need a fork. Lisa can you come up and get one with me?”

Once she left, I quickly grabbed my things and went outside. When I saw my group of my friends, I shouted, “I can’t do it!”

A week passed, and I didn’t try my experiment again. I weighed out some of my options, and here were my answers: there’s no way I’ll try talking to people at lunch again, and there’s no chance I’ll ever play along with the incoherent babble that occurs on the bus.

Though after I made that conclusion, I got a text from one of my friends from my old school, asking if I would be coming to their prom.

“Force me to be social and talkative and nice to the others,” I reminded my friend when we pulled up to the banquet hall.

“Will do.”

As I walked into the lobby, I was greeted with fanatic screams (okay, maybe just two), surprised yet (slightly? somewhat?) happy faces, and hugs. A lot of people were saying they didn’t know I was coming and how beautiful I looked and so on and so on.

After getting away from spending a whole two to three minutes with my adoring fans, we walked into the room the dance was being held and sat down at an almost empty table. My two friends were listening to me gabbing away about my new school and how much I loved it while the three people we were sharing a table with got up and moved, once again hindering me from going through with the experiment.

However, throughout the night, I was surprised to see how outgoing I was, dancing for over an hour, catching up with people I didn’t even know would’ve missed me. People who were new to the school that I’ve never met knew who I was.

Even after that, I didn’t see why being an extrovert was so great, and I spent the next two days in solitude. To me, you just put yourself in situations where everyone wants you to come to their social event and will be eternally upset if you say no. Meanwhile, introverts have it good. Unless they’re invited to a party from one of their close friends, then they’ll either A: won’t hurt the host’s feelings if they say they had other plans (and those plans were curling up with a book, laptop, or furry animal and watching Netflix) or B: not get invited at all which would only make them happy. You know why? Because it’s one less person an extrovert has to worry about.

Around Christmas time, I went shopping with my friend (the same friend who called us introverts all those nasty names, mind you), and our first stop was Macy’s. There, she was looking for gifts to give each of her friends in their Secret Santa game (but if everyone’s getting everyone a gift, how is it a secret?). I was told it’d be a little, short trip there, then we’d go to Target, which was where I needed to go.

Well, a short trip to my friend and her mom means an hour and a half to two and half hours all because my friend couldn’t find good gifts. She found a couple things they’d like, but she was nervous they wouldn’t really like it.

Let me just interrupt my own story really quick: so, if you can’t quickly find at least one gift for each of your friends that you’d know they’d like, then do you really know them enough to call them your friend? Yeah, just further proves my point on introversion.

“I have too many friends,” she finally admitted.

I stopped walking and stared at her. This girl had to be friends with every single person in her school ever since Kindergarten, and she’s just now admitting she has too many friends?

“I don’t even know what they really like all that well, and I have to buy gifts for every single one of them. Why do I have to be so social?”

“I’ve been telling you all these years that you should be like me,” which was my verbal way of my thoughts being, Yeah, having eight plus “best” friends is a pain in the ass.

Maybe I’ll try this experiment again, but I doubt that I’ll ever convince myself that being an introvert is a bad thing. You know why? Because it isn’t, and you can be feared by most and loved by few which, to me, is a great gift, especially during the holidays.

Erin Brody is a writer from the Pittsburgh area who attends Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter school for their Writing and Publishing program. She has been published in pulp. for creative nonfiction, Hot Dish Magazine for short fiction, Dime Show Review for poetry, and she will soon be featured in Variant Literature for creative nonfiction. She is also the managing editor of The SIREN newspaper and could often be found watching or participating in theatre.

Why the Flowers Grow

My grandmother used to

wipe the tears off my cheek,

her smile full of all the kindness,

I now wish I could hold.

She had her own brand of love,

telling me:

Yesterday we were imperfect,

so today we start again,

and tomorrow we will be better.

My hope is that if we are flawed yet,

the flowers will still grow.

My grandfather would promise me:

the will of God will never lead you

where the grace of God cannot keep you.

The flowers will still grow.

If you’ve ever been in so much pain

that its tentacles wrap around you,

until they’ve stolen your breath,

and looked in the mirror to find

absolutely nothing wrong at all,

I’m quite sure that you will know

somehow the flowers still grow.

My mother explained to me:

The world is running low on love

because people have forgotten

how to respect themselves,

so it is our spiritual obligation

as warriors and as women

to protect and uplift one another.

This is why we’re drowning ourselves

in self-help that all say the exact same thing:

Providing the same hollow advice.

We’re drowning faster than ever before,

But somehow we’re still flying while

the flowers grow without care.

Brianna R Duffin was a senior at Haverford High School when she submitted this poem. She now studies English at Rosemont College with the hope of earning an MFA in Creative Writing and an MA in Publishing. She publishes her work on Medium @briannarduffin.



Should the NBA Play this season?

For about half a year now, NBA players have been gathering in Disney’s “The Bubble.” The Orlando Magic stadium has been hosting numerous basketball games, where fans can attend via Microsoft teams. But, is it still safe for players to interact, and touch each other without wearing a mask? More than 40 players tested positive for Covid – 19 within the first week of December! I personally think that the NBA should take a break from these basketball games, because it doesn’t seem safe.

The first reason why I think it isn’t safe for the NBA to play is because of the transfer of germs through physical contact. Basketball is a sport where everyone touches the same ball; that also is a way for Coronavirus to spread. When somebody touches a contaminated surface, and then their face, they are susceptible to getting the disease.

That could result in a COVID diagnosis of another basketball player who could spread it to other people without knowing. Players such as Kevin Durant from the Brooklyn Nets contracted COVID back in March along with four other teammates.

The second reason why I think that the NBA shouldn’t play, is because the players are so close to each other and are not wearing a mask. Although the teams in the NBA play in the bubble, they still can spread the virus within their team. The World Health Organization (WHO), recommends that everybody who isn’t staying within 6 feet of each other to wear a mask.

The players in the NBA are staying about 2 inches away from each other, without even wearing a mask! Furthermore, even if they were wearing a mask, it would be hard for them to play wearing a plastic cover over their mouth for more than two hours!

The last, and final reason why I think the NBA shouldn’t play, is because nobody knows who could have the virus. The NBA players do not take blood tests every day. Symptoms for Covid 19 can show up as late as 5 – 6 days after initial contact. Somebody in the NBA could have the virus, and could potentially be spreading it around asymptomatically. In addition, the blood tests aren’t very accurate; 30 percent of the people who get tested with a blood test, test negative, but are actually positive.

In conclusion, I do not think that it is safe for the NBA to hold basketball games this season. Although we are going through tough times and need a little bit of entertainment, I think that basketball isn’t the sport. Even though the players are all staying within one place, I think that they should take more precautions, and definitely not play this season.

Credits and Citation:

Adams, J. (2020). NBA Virtual Fans: How Do You Sign Up to Attend Bubble Games? | Retrieved 5 January 2021, from

Kent, A. (2020). List of NBA Players to Test Positive for Coronavirus. Retrieved 5 January 2021, from

Foley, K. (2020). Where does the six-foot guideline for social distancing come from?. Retrieved 5 January 2021, from

Cruose, C. (2020). NBA Introduces Six Phases For Return. Retrieved 5 January 2021, from

Jackson, Wilton. “Report: 48 NBA Players Test Positive for COVID-19.” Sports Illustrated, Sports Illustrated, 2 Dec. 2020,


The Nature of Brokenness

He said my brokenness was beautiful.

And silly me! I must have liked that

because I allowed my butterflies to

dance in their grave so much that

finally they rose like a tornado and

went insane. Poor things, they’re just like me.

He told me also, on a day made of snow

while his whistle drowned out the wind,

that he really did think I was a clever one,

but of course he couldn’t say so to my face.

What he did tell me over and over like it was

the song in some sick music box that he adored

watching me spin to: my brokenness was beautiful.

He insisted it was refreshing to find the one girl

out of hundreds who was honest and real with him.

I should’ve known right there and right then that

when he cradled my brokenness with fingers like daggers,

it was because he intended to cherish it forever.

Because he was so enraptured by the ashes

weeping where they lay on broken glass that he failed

to understand my heart is a phoenix, forever reassembling

the pieces, one spark, one sparkler at a time, rising again,

flying again, singing again, shining again, yes, I should have

known his eyes beheld no greatness when he held his stare

at the dagger embedded in my chest to stop the heartbeat.

I should have reached out- like his hands grabbing my skin

and ripping it off my body in the dead cold of the night-

and traced a line, connected those dots. I should have seen it,

should have known. Maybe I have no one to blame but myself.

Even now I must admit I do not know if deep down

he was in love with the china doll or simply addicted to breaking it.

Lucky for me, I tolerate neither, so I’ll tell you one more time,

no sir, you will not find the stale vestiges of bitterness you search for

inside of me for, yes sir, for your information, I have purged them already.

I forced them from the nest they’d made in my gut and I ripped them

through the fabric of time and spice rushing inside me like wind through the trees

and I pulled them out through my throat. Silky spiderwebs tearing away

the ugly midnight memories as they went, I expelled them from my being

and I erased the girl with the life that they knew. Good riddance.

What you don’t understand is that my body was built for better things

than that, better things than you, even bigger and better

than the Broken Girl you thought you could make your own.

Yes, you heard me right but you weren’t listening, were you?

So I’ll say it again, take one more look if you dare at the body you laid waste to

and scorched like dry earth under the cruel summer sun

and know that it was made for better things.

 Like my mothers before me, I was designed to grow and bloom

even if time and time again I find myself the only rose in the desert.

I’ve come to realize: not every rose comes with a thorn.

Brianna R Duffin was a senior at Haverford High School when she submitted this poem. She now studies English at Rosemont College with the hope of earning an MFA in Creative Writing and an MA in Publishing. She publishes her work on Medium @briannarduffin.



Sharon Suardi is 9 years old, currently attending Abram Jenks School.  As an artist for roughly five years so far, drawing is a favorite pastime (especially when bored!), and she loves to spend her time and explore life through her artistry.