Tag Archives: creative writing

Creative Writing gives students a space to explore themselves

By Andrea Castilleros

Staff Writer

In their freshman year, students read creative novels in their English class. Now, the Creative Writing as Performance Expeditions course gives them the chance to write their own stories. The course gives students the chance to express themselves through their writing.

“I was able to express my emotions about a certain circumstance that happened in my life. It was my favorite because I was able to incorporate my feelings into it and really show who I was and the person I had become during that time,” Denali junior Andrea Atayde said.

Creative Writing instructor Liz DeOrnellas explained that teaching the course also helps push her to further develop her own craft. “It gives me more motivation to actually continue writing my own stuff and to publish my own stuff,” she explained.

See below for a video about the Creative Writing course:

Creative Writing students reflect on the impact of their class

By Jesse San Miguel

Staff Writer

Creative Writing as Performance is an Expeditions class taught at Summit Tahoma High School where students are required to write poems and stories. Students are also taught how to present and the elements that are required while performing, such as body posture, arm movement and voice.

This course impacts students by allowing their minds to run wild with creativity and feelings. Leo Hernandez, a senior at Tahoma, said, “I actually put my feelings and thoughts in my poems … I write what’s a part of me in life so I feel more proud of my poems.”

Liz DeOrnellas, the Creative Writing teacher, works hard to give students a space where they are able to be free with their writing. She said, “We’ve rewritten the curriculum so there are … more opportunities to share what they are writing, so we’ve really focused on how to be confident enough in your work that you are OK to present.” This allows students to be more involved and to be invested in their work as they should be.

See below for a video about the Creative Writing as Performance course:

Featured image (at the top of this post): Tahoma freshmen Savannah Mills and Daniela Cuevas present their work during a Poetry Slam. PHOTO CREDIT: Max Taniguchi-King

Creative Writing course opens the imagination

By Albert Chang-Yoo

Staff Writer

The Creative Writing as Performance Expeditions course at Summit Shasta has explored poetry writing, perspective shifting and storytelling in the course of a single year. Students have the opportunity to freely express themselves through short stories and poems.

The course was taught by Elizabeth DeOrnellas for the 2018-19 school year. During the 2019-20 school year, Eric Gross will become the new Creative Writing as Performance Expeditions teacher at Summit Shasta. “It’s a great way to share my passion with those who also have a similar passion for Creative Writing,” he said. 

Shasta freshman Bowie He said: “You can do whatever you want … you can be serious, you can be funny.” Shasta freshman Devin Elizarde said he likes how the class gives him the freedom to tell his own story: “All the work comes from the heart.”

See below for a course video about the Creative Writing as Performance course: 

Students show creativity in Expeditions

By Shawn Wilson

Staff Writer

Art is all about expression and personality, something the students taking arts Expeditions courses at Everest Public High School showed during Everest’s Celebration of Learning.

Visual Arts

Students in the Visual Arts course were tasked with creating art pieces that represented themselves and their own interpretation of an image.

The students all created a picture of a unique eye, with various other elements such as the eye’s reflection showing an image or creative choices with its overall shape. Everest sophomore Samantha Suchite said her art teacher “told us to make it


Everest sophomore Samantha Suchite PHOTO CREDIT: Cameron Eberle

what we perceive, what our interests are. For instance, mine is focused on nature – that’s what I like.” Her picture takes pieces of nature and incorporates them into an eye, such as the lacrimal caruncle (the small pink flesh close to the nose) being hooked to look like a bird’s beak and the eyebrow growing into trees.




An eye, inspired by nature, drawn by Samantha Suchite PHOTO CREDIT: Shawn Wilson


Students from the Arts Expeditions course showcased some of their drawings on the main Everest staircase. PHOTO CREDIT: Cameron Eberle

Rock Band

Rock Band is an Expeditions course at the Riekes Center. It educates students wanting to learn or improve their music skills through the help of musically skilled teachers. For Celebration of Learning, Rock Band instructors allowed students to practice their new found skills by performing in front of different-sized audiences. The students built their piece off a cover of a song and showcased their ability to have fun while performing.

Everest freshman Mako Oshiro said that students in the class “learn to play music and get to choose songs.” Students develop and practice their musical skills in this class and even reignite old passions. Everest sophomore Rojo Mendoza said, “I love Rock Band. I used to play drums, and then I stopped playing. Then, Rock Band helped me pick it up again, and that was such an awesome thing to do for me.”

Students who took the Rock Band Expeditions course performed in the main lobby at the start of the Celebration of Learning and then moved out back as the crowd got ready for Everest’s award ceremony. See below for clips of their performances. VIDEO CREDITS: Teresa Faasolo



Creative Writing

Creative Writing is offered at Everest Public High School as an Expeditions class in which students can express themselves through multiple ways, including poems. Students make poems using figurative language and then present those poems to an audience. It is a place where students can show off their writing capabilities.

For the Celebration of Learning, the class put on a Poetry Slam, which is a spoken word competition. Everest freshmen Kaitlyn Hutcheson (below left) and Carmela Bello (below right) won first place.

Hutcheson said that her poem is “based off of music and how it is connected to me – and how, even in hard times in my life, I can always go to music because I feel like it understands me.” Bello said her poem is about “forgiving people” and learning to “not let others bring you down.”

Everest senior Madilyn Middlebrooks performs during the Celebration of Learning Poetry Slam. VIDEO CREDIT: Jose Luiz Sarabia

Madilyn Middlebrooks, a graduating Everest senior, performed a piece about what it means to be beautiful in society today and what we can do to break the stereotype. She feels that “in American society there is only one beauty standard. I wanted to tell people there is so much more to being beautiful than our outward appearance.”


Everest senior Sierra Sholes performs during the Celebration of Learning Poetry Slam. VIDEO CREDIT: Jose Luiz Sarabia

Everest graduating senior Sierra Sholes wrote her poem about a giant, explaining that’s “what was in my head” at the time.

Staff Writers Cameron Eberle, Teresa Faasolo and Jose Luiz Sarabia contributed to this report.

Celebration of Learning rounds up the Arts Expeditions year

By Alex D. Bonnett

Staff Writer

Students at Summit Public School: Rainier showed off their arts skills and performed for the community during the Celebration of Learning on May 11. Summit Rainier had their Celebration of Learning to end the Expeditions year, and students had to present or perform different forms of art depending on their Expeditions course.

Creative Writing

The Creative Writing class prepared a Poetry Slam to present during the Celebration of Learning. For the Poetry Slam, five teams were instructed to write three different poems, either individual or group, to read in the Slam. Five judges were chosen from the audience. They judged the groups anywhere from zero to ten (decimals included).

Little by little the audience began to build up. People took their seats and waited patiently for the Poetry Slam to begin. While preparing the judges, an intro poem was read by one of the students. After that, the Poetry Slam officially began.

The young poets wrote about a variety of things. There were poems about gender roles, society, family and even some short stories.

 Rainier freshmen Maggie Silva, Toan Chau and Ashley Venegas from Team 5 close out the Poetry Slam with their poem about a potato’s life on Earth. Then Creative Writing teacher Elizabeth DeOrnellas announces the night’s results.

Rainier freshman Elliott Alejo presents a poem in which each line starts with the letter ‘W.’

Rainier seniors Hunter Lindstrom, Austin Zhen and Anthony Nguyen-Pham, along with Rainier sophomore Andy Nguyen, present their poem about the seasons.

As the Poetry Slam was coming to an end, all the scores for the teams began to add up, soon revealing the winner. The final scores were announced from last to first. The winning team of the Poetry Slam was the Great Artists (also known as Team 2).


Rainier seniors Austin Zhen, Hunter Lindstrom, Anthony Nguyen-Pham and sophomore Andy Nguyen celebrate their Poetry Slam win.

Team 2 celebrate their win with excitement and yelling.

Advanced Drama

On May 11, the Advanced Drama class held a big performance at the Mt. Pleasant theater. The class had been working for four weeks on the making of the performance.

The performance was meant to be a highlight of all of the skills that the students have been taught over the course of the year.

The performance included six ten-minute plays and one thirty-minute play. Overall, it was a success for the advanced actors, showcasing many styles of theater.

The Advanced Drama students perform in the style of Greek theater. 

Rainier sophomores Jordan Franco-Lee and Isaac Little described their post-show emotions:

  1. How was your performance last night?

“I think my performance was pretty good,” Franco-Lee said. “The whole show came together and it was a lot of fun.” 

“I thought that it was pretty good,” Little said. “I had a lot of fun.” 

  1.    What did you do to prepare for it?

“To prepare for it, I made sure I knew all of my lines and blocking,” Franco-Lee said. “I put in a lot of extra work for the show.”

“I memorized my lines and took time to know my lines,” Little said.

  1.    Why did you choose drama this year?

“ I chose drama this year because I had a lot of fun doing acting last year and wanted to give it another try,” Franco-Lee said. 

“I had a lot of fun last year, and I wanted to experience it again,” Little said. 

  1.     In your opinion, what was the best performance last night and why?

“My favorite was Absent Grace because it was really deep and moving,” Franco-Lee said. “I think Naomi and Isaac did a good job.”  

“Absent Grace ’cause I was in it, and I can relate most to it,” Little said. 

Beginning Drama

The students in the Beginning Drama class wrote scripts for their own plays. Here are some images of the students presenting their plays:

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Here are some short clips of the Beginning Drama class performing for the community:

Rainier sophomore Briahana Martinez starts off this clip. 

Students from the Beginning Drama class continue to perform for the audience.

Video Production

The students who took Video Production spent many weeks filming and editing four or five films that were shown to the guests who came to the Celebration Of Learning at Summit Rainier. Rainier sophomore Naomi Crispino explained, “Every week they made short stories about different topics.”

Each team presented short clips. To view more student film clips, check out this YouTube channel


Staff Writers Ashley Venegas, Andrew Sanchez, Yelitzi Sanchez and Hunter Tilbury contributed to this report.