The Otto Specht School Blog

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In Our Words

When our students discover that they are writers, a whole world is unlocked within them. Our work as educators is to give them the keys. The main lesson teachers and our reading and writing specialist, Elizabeth Harriman, work to remove obstacles and anxieties and provide students with tools and guidance along the way.

student writings

Elementary School Poetry

The Sweetness of Syrup

by the Third Grade

Maple syrup is sweet.

You can even use it with meat.

It's sticky as glue,

It's not blue.

The sap is boiled all the way,

Sometimes it takes all day.

It is sweet and sticky,

Maple syrup makes you very licky!


In the Forest

by Shelby Yager, Grade 5

A forest is a splatter of paint, simple, yet expressive.

A forest is a glistening gem, precious and unique.

A forest is a faded shirt, ordinary yet extraordinary.

A forest is an aromatic vase, full of the most delicate roses.

A forest is a whisper, it’s an icicle, it’s a song.

A forest is an exclusive club, special and divine.

A forest is a cushy pillow, comforting and welcoming.

When I walk into a forest, straightaway, nature’s song is sung.

As a blue bird flies by I think:

A forest is the place that I really love to be.

Middle School Short Stories

In this assignment, the middle school students were told about a person at one moment in his life. It was up to them to imagine his story before and after. Below, are the introductions to each of their stories.

Zachary Pace

Vouk sat down on a dormitory bench with a coffee in one hand and an intermediate Chinese book in the other. He had come all the way from Yugoslavia to China to get his Master’s Degree in Chinese. He missed his family. He remembered how his sister had thrown her arms around him like a bear, begging him to stay, while his father reassured her. He remembered his mother wishing him good luck, and best of all, his cat rubbing and purring against his legs. He smiled to himself. These memories comforted him. He bent over and took up the newspaper, scanning through it quickly. He didn’t know what he was looking for but he had a feeling something he needed to know, something important, was in it. As soon as he saw the headline, his mouth turned dry as a desert. He was afraid but he began to read the article. The first few words said, “ Yugoslavia at War.” He stopped in shock. What was he going to do? Should he stay and become a citizen of China or go and try to save his family? 

Jaisaiah (JJ) Savage

Hello, my name is Yugo and this is my story. I was born and raised in Yugoslavia, in a small village that looked like a strip mall, with vendors everywhere. I lived in a small house with my mom and my sister, Mai. Mai was five years younger than me. She was cute like a rabbit, goofy, and sometimes annoying, but I still loved her. Since mom was usually out working, we only had each other. Sometimes mom would come back really late so I would have to tuck in Mai myself. Mom would act like everything was ok, but I could see she was suffering. Whenever she came home late she would give Mai and me treats from the market. She was a kind, hard working, and strong woman. Now, you may be wondering about my dad . . . 

Masai Marchan

There was a time long ago when there was a country called Yugoslavia. In it loved a boy named Kai. He lived in a very rich town. He never had to worry about money. Kai went to a prestigious school - a smart boy indeed. One day he was walking home and he got a letter. It was a scholarship to the University of Shing. He was so excited that he ran into the living room and told his mom the good news. She was proud of his accomplishment so she bought tickets to Beijing. Right away, they started packing for the move. The big move was only a week away. Kai said he was so excited, he could not stand it.

High School Poetry

Freedom – Oppression 1

By Kesshem Williams, Grade 10

Cold an untold hold

on your body but your

mind is free but physically

you have been stuck in the

world’s perspective see cause

as long as I can remember

I’ve never been free.


Freedom – Oppression 2

By Kesshem Williams, Grade 10

I’m trapped in a mission

with decisions that aren’t my

choices. Captured in a society

where my body is rashful

but my mind is roaring.

if I had one glimpse of

freedom I’d end my

story right there right

then cause I couldn’t be

captured again.



By Kesshem Williams, Grade 10

scratching and pulling

at your emotions hoping

you can find happiness

again. Frustration bashing

around in your head thinking

of things you shouldn’t

have said but there’s

this warm feeling in

your chest telling to hold

your head because mistakes

are food for knowledge.


The Man Who Lived For Years

By Kaito Maekawa, Grade 10

I am a person who lived for years.

I have seen everything change over my life.

I have been to this place before.

But I used to see a beautiful sundown over the buildings.

I remember a woman that I love.

I thought I lost her during a fight.

But she managed to survive the tragedy,

and her descendant is standing before me,

singing the song that we sang together.


Us and They

By Kaito Maekawa, Grade 10

We ride on machines.

They ride on animals.

We can’t ride animals.

They can’t ride machines.

We buy food.

They hunt for food.

We don’t know how to hunt.

They don’t know how to buy.

We write words.

They write pictures.

We don’t know their pictures.

They don’t know our words.