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Three FTHS Students Earn Recognition from APP Student Voices Contest


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Three Freehold Township High School students were recognized for their submissions to the January Asbury Park Press‘s Student Voices essay contest.  The topic for January’s contest was “What was the scariest moment of your life?”

 

Freshman  Trinity Pelina earned second place for her essay titled “Fearing the Impact of My Dad’s Job Loss.”  Freshman Cole Matino and Junior Mackenzie Kean won for their essays, respectively titled “Lost in the City” and “Breathless Boxes.”   You can read the three winning entries below.

 

Trinity Pelina’s “Fearing the Impact of My Dad’s Job Loss”

Trinity Pelina

Trinity Pelina

   One evening long ago, I sat in front of the television, unmoving:. Luscious green, rolling landscapes filled the screen, along with crystal clear blue skies and majestic mountains. The Sound of Music had been of my family’s favorite musicals, and I, still a little girl then (about nine), was ecstatic to finally be watching the film. The stunning scenes, catchy songs, and fascinating plot enraptured me, and had me glued to the TV. My mother smiled, watching and singing along to the musical too.           

            The night was going smoothly- all was calm and quiet, except for the soft sounds of the TV, and my dad was on his way home from work. As I watched the Von Trapp family dance and laugh on screen, suddenly, my mom’s phone rang. She picked up as I watched her, curious to see who could be calling- it was my dad. Her smile turned to a sad frown, shaking her head as she listened to my dad’s calm voice. As she nodded and hung up, she broke the news to me: my dad had lost his job. I immediately started crying and shaking: my body filled with fear- this was the scariest moment of my life. My mom comforted me as I began to think: what was going to happen to my family? Would we be okay?

            I cried and cried until my dad came home, who wrapped me in the tightest hug and assured me everything would be fine. Looking up, my face previously buried in his jacket, I saw the movie still playing. The Von Trapps were hiding from the Nazis, their lives

hanging in the balance.  I realized- if the Von Trapp family found the strength and courage to survive during World War II, I could find the strength to go on during my family’s time of need. My fear at that moment lessened and I knew: everything was going to be fine, just like my parents said.

            Eventually, things did turn out fine: my dad found a better job at AMC Networks, where he still works to this day. The scariest moment of my life led to better experiences and happier times for my family- without it, we wouldn’t be the family we are today.

 

Cole Matino’s “Lost in the City” School Picture Freshman

   As a child, my biggest fear was not the dark, dogs, or monsters; it was being separated from parents and lost. In the spring of 2012, my family and another paid a visit to the September 11th Memorial in New York City. It was not my first time to New York, yet I was still overwhelmed by the skyscrapers and the amount of people. We reached the Memorial, and began reading the list of the names of the victims and paying our respects. It was then, when I asked my mom for a bottle of water, that I realized she was not there, nor was my father and everyone else in our party. I was all alone.

            My eyes darted back and forth as fast as they could, looking for a familiar face, but there were none. There were so many people, all of whom seemed to be speaking different languages, who towered over me like the buildings of Manhattan. My heart was racing and the panic of my worst fear set in. I wanted to cry, scream, and yell out for help, but no one would hear me with all the noise. The air was getting hotter and harder to breath, and I strained to take breaths. As the tears began to swell in my eyes, I scrambled to whip out my phone. I was so terrified I could barely dial my mom’s number, which I had unfortunately forgotten in my state of panic. Holding my phone close to my ear, trying to drown out the cruel world around me, I saw my mom push through the swarm. She threw her arms around me and the tears flew out of me like a broken pipe. I was finally safe again.

In reality, I was not lost for that long, probably a minute at the most. However, I had never experienced such a situation of that degree, and I was still relatively young. Today, I have left my fear behind and am comfortable being by myself, even in a city as big as New York. I know that, as a teenager, I will face many more scary situations, but now I know that I will be able to overcome them when they come along.

 

Mackenzie Kean’s “Breathless Boxes” app

I had seen big boxes before, but my young mind never really understood how a life could be captured in a six foot one- how one’s entire existence could end up being defined by corners and edges and finished wood. I did not understand how someone could be buried beneath the ground that they had just stood on the day before.

I entered a room full of salted hands holding hands; holding faces; holding heavy hearts and wondered how long it would take mine to firmly grasp the concept of inevitability.  I made sure not to look towards the front of the room where my grandfather’s vacant vessel rested- sleeping, but no longer dreaming. I was scared. I was scared of seeing closed eyes and mouths that would no longer see or speak happiness; of seeing hands perfectly folded and a tie perfectly strung around his neck like a noose; of a smell that was less like cigars and more like the formaldehyde that coursed through his veins just a little longer than his blood could. I was scared of seeing death.

“He will always be with us- in our hearts and memories,” my mom had said. In that moment, I knew I had to face death and say my goodbyes. I knew I had to learn to let go and know that his spirit never resided in him, but around him, and that it was now residing around me, my family.

So, I unclenched my nervous, tightened fists and released the thought of death from my palms. I took the delicate piece of paper that held a hand-drawn picture of my grandfather, with his glowing wings wrapped around him, and walked up beside the six-foot box. I peered over the edges and corners of the finished wood and saw a man quietly laying inside. And despite what everyone had said through glossy eyes and exasperated breaths, it was not my grandfather at all. I looked down at the drawing that I had placed inside that big box and saw my winged grandfather shining beneath the sun and sitting atop the clouds and realized that he was not really gone- he had just travelled to a place where he was not so cramped.

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Three FTHS Students Earn Recognition from APP Student Voices Contest