Honorable mention winners in national contest

Congratulations to Iowa School for the Deaf sophomores Jessie Murphy and Ashley Schroeder, who earned honorable mention status in the annual National Literary Competition, sponsored by Gallaudet’s Youth Programs and Phi Kappa Zeta.

Murphy and Schroeder were students in Megan Shama’s English class when they were given an independent assignment “where they could write about whatever they wanted,” said Shama. She provided feedback on ideas and writing and submitted the works.

“I try to enter as much student work as possible into local and national competitions because their ideas deserve to be shared,” said Shama. “Both students are very creative and worked hard on writing and editing their submissions. They are very deserving of praise and recognition!”


The World Is Hard

by Ashley Schroeder

The world is a hard place for me.

People don’t really get what I mean when I say that.

They try to tell me

“The world is fine.”

“Get over yourself.”

But they don’t know what I’ve been through.

They don’t know what I’ve seen.

I’m 16 and I’ve seen and experienced tragedies

That not even an adult should handle.

I try to keep a smile on my face.

I try to keep it all inside.

But it’s hard.

I miss the days when I didn’t have a care in the world

And everything was sunshine.

I miss being the happy, playful little girl

Who never wanted to stop being active

And thought there was no evil.


I wish it wasn’t like this.

I wish that I could still see the good in everything.

But how can I do that when I know the truth.

Should I lie to myself?

Tell myself, “Oh, it’s nothing; it will be ok.”

What people don’t get is that I tried doing that.

I’m still trying to be that perfect little princess

That the world stereotypes me to be.


But I am breaking.


I’m getting worn and slowly starting to shatter.

But I don’t show it,

I can’t show it.

If I show how I really feel

That would make me look weak,

Wouldn’t it?


No one can really show how they are feeling.


We don’t want to make others feel that same way

If we do show,

If we show even a tiny bit of how we truly feel

The world shames us.


The world shames us

To the point where we just feel like

We don’t matter at all.

To the point where

We don’t want to exist.

Where all we want to do

Is slip into the shadows

And never come out.


The world is a hard, cold-hearted place.

It sucks away everything we love

And makes us watch our dreams die in the fire of fear.

I still have small hope that this can change

But sadly that little light of hope

Is slowly starting to burn out.



The First Meeting

By Jessie Murphy

As Frisk walked down the path down the ruins.  She had just finished Toriel. This is the True Pacifist Route. She just wanted to leave, never have her thought that She would have to fight her own mother. Toriel was only trying to protect her. But what did Toriel mean by Asgore will kill Frisk. She passed the door out of the ruins, and there was the little weed. Flowey. “Clever, very clever.” he said in his high pre-pubescent voice. “You were able to play by your own rules,” Frisk had died 2 time against Toriel. Both times she had heard a familiar voice. It was deep, a bit scruffy, but it felt warming, telling Frisk to not lose hope. To stay DETERMINED. “But what happens if you meet a relentless killer? You’ll die over and over again. What will you do then? Will you kill out of frustration?” Said Flowey. Frisk wondered what he meant by that. Flowey went into the ground and frisk left the ruins.

A cold breeze hit Frisk hard. She was shivering hard. In front of her is a path going through of what looks like a forest. There was a snow poff next to her, inside it is a camera… how long has that thing been there? Frisk started walking and soon found a big stick. It was too heavy for her to pick up so she just let it be. Not even ten steps later, a huge snap was heard. Frisk quickly turned around to only find that the stick was broken in half. How did that happen? Frisk is very afraid right now. She continues her way, ready to defend herself. She….felt strange… she wasn’t sick or anything. Like something was following her. She quickly turned around and caught a glimpse of a black figure. Using the last ounce of energy and ran. But without thinking, she stopped in front of what looked like a gate. *crunch, crunch* that thing is getting closer. “h u m a n.” it said. It sounded deep. Almost threatening.. “D o n ‘ t  y o u k n o w  h o w t o g r e e t  a n e w p a l?”  it continued. He was speaking quite slowly. She was starting to get sleepy after the 2nd word. “t u r n  a r o u n d  s h a k e m y  h a n d…” She did what he said and turned around. Despite the voices telling her don’t do it. He brought out his hand, waiting, Frisk reluctantly brought out hers, too. And then the most unexpected sound fills the quiet atmosphere. *ppfffffffffttt* the sound of a fart.

“Heh,heh” the small skeleton laughed. Frisk started to chuckle, then she bursted out laughing. “the ol’ whoopee cushion in the hand trick.”  continued the skeleton. “it’s always funny.” He’s right. It was funny. The skeleton introduced himself, “i’m sans, sans the skeleton.” sans… Frisk feels like she met him before, maybe in another life. “yer a human, right? that’s hilarious.” how is that funny? Frisk had tears coming down her cheeks from laughing so hard. “Y-Yeah..” she said. Sans explains that he’s a sentry, that he is supposed to be catching humans.  Frisk started to get scared now… she wanted to run for her life. What happens to her, she won’t care, yet she stayed where she was. “but i don’t feel like capturing anybody” he said. Frisk instantly felt relieved. “but…” Sans continued. “ my brother Papyrus is a human hunting finatic.” all hope that Frisk had went straight down the drain.. “ actually, i think that’s him over there. Go ahead through the gate thingy.” Frisk was confused. Was the gate supposed to stop people? “ yeah, my bro made the bars too wide to stop anyone.”

Frisk and Sans went through and saw Papyrus dashing towards them, it doesn’t look like he saw Frisk yet. “ quick, get behind the conveniently shaped lamp!” Frisk saw that lamp sans was talking about. It was exactly her shape. “What luck, huh?” she said under her breath. Frisk went behind the lamp and tried to stay completely still. Papyrus came furiously. “ sup, bro?”  Papyrus’s eyes were twitching. This doesn’t look good. “You know what’s “sup” brother” his voice was almost…. Funny in a way. Almost like an announcer. “It’s been eight days and you still haven’t. Recalibrated. Your. puzzles! You get lazier and lazier everyday. What are you even doing?!” Frisk tried not to laugh at Papyrus’s voice. “ woah, bro. relax. I’ve gotten a ton of work done today.” Frisk had a feeling what is going to happen…. “ a skele-ton.”  Frisk tries even harder to not laugh. That  was the best joke she has ever heard in years. “SANS…….” Papyrus’s eyes became almost human. Instead of eye sockets like Sans, Papyrus has two bulbous eyes coming out, creepy… “ come on, bro. you’re smiling” he’s right. Papyrus is smiling. “*Sigh*, Why does someone as great as me… has to do so much just to get some recognition?…” Frisk felt like supporting him, helping him in anyway she could. “ wow… sounds like you’re working yourself…” not again, sans…..”Sans, no…” Sans, please don’t make another pun… “down to the bone…” ok, ok. That was kinda funny… “I’ll get back to my puzzles. As for your work, put a little more… backbone into it.” this is too much for Frisk. Two inches away from busting her gut laughing. Papyrus walked away laughing. “ ok, you can come out now.”