The Renaissance

Kellenberg Memorial's Literary Magazine

An important extra facet of the academic life at Kellenberg Memorial is the arts and literature publication The Renaissance.

A hybrid print/online publication, The Renaissance features  student arts and literature submissions online every Friday. In addition, a print issue of selected works is produced each spring. The Renaissance contains the creative writings and artistic talents of students from grades six through twelve.

The creative voice heard in poems, short stories, essays, and art is often unheard in the students’ day-to-day work within the classroom. The Renaissance provides the opportunity to express those voices.

Reflection

Above:
The Monster Within
by Samantha Nobles, ’22

 

Reflection
by Angelina Scalice ’23

Such… horror. Such monstrosity. I begged myself to avert my eyes, yet I could not. The terror, it held my gaze.

Before me, I saw such a—wretch. Filthy, abhorrent. Feral were its eyes, glowing with— not a flame of passion, but of desperation, the only source of light among the void it stood a part of. Its claws were long, having been sharpened on the stone of avarice. It must have been one to love punishing its prey, or something just as primitive and evil. In entirety, its figure was ghastly, gaunt— dead.

And yet, it stared. A cold, icy stare. Murderous, I say. I should have feared for my life.

It outstretched a long, cloaked arm, cocking its wrist and pointing directly at me. Square between the eyes. A millimeter away, and yet it dared not touch me. Why?—Nevermind. It had its ways to penetrate me, regardless. A chill like no other went through me, like the harsh bite of frost on steel.

We held a contest, it seemed. Who would give way: I, in fear, shrink away? Or it, in boredom (or perhaps mercy) decide not to prey on what lay before it? Not that this demon could have a conscience. It may have eyes, flesh, and bone, but to give this thing the consideration of beating, human heart, or of intelligent, conscious mind? What absurdity.

It spoke to me. I could hear it internally, yet so distantly too. Its voice (dare I personify the beast) was strangely familiar, as if I once knew the speaker. With how it shook me, one might even say this one was once dear to me. I defer.

It not only spoke, but weeped. Whispered, begged— I almost pitied it. A trick of the mind, surely— and yet, I found myself understanding it. This cryptid, in all beastiality and nature, was suffering. Suffering, suffering—it was on Death’s doorstep, perhaps of its own volition.

It grasped me without contact. For these moments, we were bound by emotion. The creature had a sickly grace, now that I observed it. Much like a phantom of memory, or of dreams. But like all dreams, it had to depart.

Flashing its wide, almost manic grin, it beckoned me to follow it into the shadows of its background. I found myself longing to hand myself over to it, to become limp in the tendrils of the serene mystery, the velvety unknown, that lay beyond—

I blinked. Hard. Shaking my head, I scolded myself. I need to stop looking in the mirror so often.

Starry Night

“Sky and Stars” by Juan Montes ’22 (above)

“Starry Night” by Grace Wilson ’23

Starry Night

My phone reads 7:11 PM as I’m boarding the train to Long Island. Just on time, I think to myself, relieved that I wouldn’t have to spend the night in a hotel here in New York City. A few moments prior, I was making my way through a Barnes & Noble in search of a new book to delve into. The “Bargain Book” table is undoubtedly my favorite section. Two months ago, I had promised myself I would finish all the books on the table. I already adventured into The Complete Collection of Edgar Allan Poe, Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, and Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. Each book branded its own unique impression upon me. Glancing at all the hardcovers, paperbacks, and Flexibounds, I found myself gravitating towards The Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson. The book seemed to smile at me as I extended my arm to pick it up. “This is the one,” I whispered under my breath.

The hissing and screeching of the brakes on the track wake me from my daydream. Just three more stops to go until I can nestle into bed to say farewell to the day. I reach for my shopping bag that’s resting between my backpack and the side of the train. As I open up the front cover, a symphony of crackling sounds emerges. The first page reads, “‘The stars awaken a certain reverence, because though always present, they are inaccessible’ – from Nature.”

I look out the window, and beyond the glare of the fluorescent lights, I see an infinite sky of dark splattered with stars of light. I focus my attention on one star in particular, its pulsating glow in sync with the beating of my heart. I can feel its radiating warmth travel through the veins in my body. Alone with the stars, I am at peace.

The star-lit sky is my map. Every star represents a fault, an accomplishment, a wish, a failure, a truth, a lesson learned. Each constellation represents another chapter of my story. Every night, the stars put on a performance in their dome theatre, the moon being their spotlight. I am the spectator, though I never knew I was. I remember wishing upon stars as a child. I remember always trying to find the Little and Big Dipper. I remember thinking that angels communicated with each other through the flickering of stars after watching It’s a Wonderful Life. I became blind to the gifts of nature around me. I wore a disguise that concealed my youthful heart. I found what I had lost at that moment.

The train halts. I step onto the platform with my book clutched in my hand. I take a deep breath and, once again, look up at the sky on this starry night.

Red Scarf in Winter

Red Riding Hood (above) by Katelyn Takes ’23
Red Scarf in Winter (below) by Erin O’Connor ’25

On the first snow day,
I wore a bright red scarf in the snow.
I left it on the tire swing,
And forgot to take it inside.
All winter it stayed there,
Through cold and wind and blizzard.
And when I saw it,
Each time I thought,
“I’ll get it next time.”
So now it has sat
There in the tire,
Through rain, and thunder, and heat.
Dirt is covering it,
And weeds are attached to it.
And now when I see it,
I don’t want to remove it from its home.

Persevere

Candle of the Mind by Samantha Nobles ’22

Persevere by Angelina Scalice ’23

“Make this choice!” “No, this!” they cry; I can hardly think ahead.
“Take this path!” “Go here instead!” I try and try, but still, I dread
Moving forward. It’s so hard, with all this shouting, misdirection;
This confusion, such delusion, chronic fear of great rejection;
And as the panic settles in, waves of pain invade my head.

Am I here? Is this real? What does this hazy veil conceal,
For I feel crazed, strange and dazed, as if in a dream; unreal.
There is darkness, and now light; do my eyes betray my sight?
Do they too betray my mind, convincing me that nothing’s right?
My thoughts are raving, full of fright, and they now begin to reel.

Helpless, hopeless, great despair; what’s this I see standing there?
A door? A friend? A hope? An end? Will this help me; will it dare?
It extends a hand so warmly, smiles kindly, and then tells me:
“You are not alone, you see. I am here, and so we’ll be
On this journey, not forever, but for the time we are, together.”

It finally disappears, the fear that crept in, stayed, and reared
Its ghastly head of mere illusion, and in its place then appeared
An ally on this winding road, to help me through and through; and so
I know you are by my side, you will not leave me alone.
Together we will fight and challenge, overcome the dark and feared,
Now the battle’s fought and won, and in my heart, I truly know

Together we have persevered.

The Renaissance: Moon Writer

Moon by Isabella Shulman '24

Moon Writer

By Chikamso Agina ’22:

In 2014, on the tenth night of April, I found something nestled within the fullness of the moon. It was the night of my tenth birthday that I found a fragment of myself in the silver glow that rests in the sky. I had admired its beauty with eyes that brimmed youthful and elated, and I slipped into a trance, broken only by the frantic search for pen and paper scraps.

Growing up as an only child with a single mother, I always sought comfort in things rather than in people. So I found comfort in music, cartoons, and games until I fell in love with the moon one night and crowned it as my muse. I ached for understanding beyond scientific fact, wanting desperately to ascend to its peak and dance along its stars.

Even in Nigeria, volunteering at my uncle’s hospital and local orphanage, I would go to my bed exhausted, anticipating the moment my head would collide with my pillow. But sleep would wait until I could bid the sun goodnight and welcome the little stars that came out to sing their gentle lullabies. Once I saw that familiar lunar glow, then I would be content and close my eyes for sleep.

I began to write with purpose once I was ten years old, dutifully placing pen to paper and fingers to keyboard as my brain flourished with pictures that I transformed into words. As a child, my little nonsensical stories featured the moon in the form of someone who was human (a very poorly written human at that). My dream was to describe it to be someone noble, someone kind, someone beautiful, someone admirable.

I was never satisfied with what I wrote about the moon, constantly deleting my drafts and tossing them away. I grew frustrated, but I was so enthralled with the process of writing that I couldn’t imagine giving up. So, I didn’t. I began to write differently, writing short stories about other things and about other people. I began to observe differently, taking notice of the way my classmates behaved, how my teachers behaved, how strangers behaved. I aged as I wrote, and once I was fifteen years old, I wrote a story called Earth Boy, a flash fiction about a being who found himself in love with the moon which I represented exactly as it was, a stellar body that was wrapped in dust. I was so content and pleased with what I’d written, but once I gazed up into the moon weeks later, that feeling of contentedness quickly dried out. I knew more than anyone I had to try again. I knew more than anyone that I could push myself to do better.

When the world came to its Covid eclipse in March 2020, I found myself writing every little thought that waxed and waned around my brain to spark some life into the night of quarantine.

I poured myself into my writing for an entire year, staring at the moon as I usually did on nights when I felt hopeless. Now, in the year of 2021, my first book is reaching its end, and once again, I am feeling more than content. Content, yes, but I’m not nearly satisfied. Like the moon, my writing goes from new to full, waxing and waning in its phases forever and again without end.

Homeroom 7C Wins Cadet and Tyro Spirit Day

Article by Phoenix writer Amir Jeudy ’22:

On Friday, September 24th, the 6th and 7th grades competed in Latin School Spirit Day. Latin School Spirit Day is an afterschool competition where each homeroom in the 6th and 7th grade competes against each other in a series of athletic events. Each homeroom was assigned a color that they’d wear in order to show their spirit. The games included kickball, tug-o-war, relay races, knockout, and volleyball. The weather was beautiful, a stark contrast from the rain-filled Friday morning.

Though many homerooms participated, only one was able to walk out a champion. Homeroom 7C won the day in convincing fashion. Many felt the day was a refreshing return to Kellenberg normalcy, as and 7B Marianist Leader Amanda Pillig ’22 remarked, “ The afternoon gave a really good sense of normalcy especially since a lot of these kids haven’t experienced a normal school year in a while, it was nice to see everyone having such a good time.” The Latin Schoolers also had a lot to say about the day. Member of 7F John Vitale ’27 said “It was really fun to run around and I especially enjoyed tug-o-war.” Overall, it was a day enjoyed by all and offered a nice, fierce, and relaxing competition.

Poetry Week Features Student Open Mic Event

By Phoenix writer Edward Jansen, ’21:

National Poetry Week was celebrated at Kellenberg through the school’s first poetry Open Mic Ceremony, pioneered by Mrs. Page.

Senior Edward Jansen, Master of Ceremonies, introduced readers after dramatizing an original poem, titled “I Do Not Know The End,” and providing some insight on the purpose and process of truthful writing. “A writer’s goal,” Edward said, “is to convey his or her message through actions and through attitudes; to use words as little as possible, to never say more than necessary, and to elicit courage and grace under pressure through honest and sincere prose.”

First to perform was sixth-grader Zachary Gallegra who read the opening prayer— Psalm 96–and two original poems— “You Are You” and “From the Start.” Mr. Brown, English teacher and published author of the novel Chuckanut Dreams, read an original poem titled “To Steven,” dedicated to deceased Officer Steven McDonald— someone Mr. Brown has found particularly inspiring— and masterfully described the journey of a writer to multitudes of young minds. Most participants were from either the sixth or ninth grade, with a handful of exceptions, such as Senior Robert Nolan, who believes, “though I messed up a six-word Hemingway story— ‘For sale: baby shoes, never worn’— it was good to see so many young people in love with poetry.”

And that is exactly what the Open Mic was— a display of affection for art, for poetry, and for writing, championed by some of Kellenberg’s best speakers— such as drama personalities Gabriel Blanco and Clara Ambrosino— upheld by an expansive audience of teachers and students— including Mrs.von Schoenermarck, Mrs. Agulles, Mrs.Villani, Mrs. Sullivan, and Mr. Each— and produced with much love and many thanks through the kindness, sincerity, and dedication of Mrs. Page.

78 students and staff attended the event, encouraging English Department Co-Chair Mrs.von’s hope for the future of poetry at Kellenberg.

Students interested in publishing poetry in Kellenberg’s arts and literature online magazine can email renaissance@kellenberg.org.

The Renaissance: A Sliver of Light

Artwork by Mairéad Lees, ’21


By Katerina Thireos, ’23:

A Sliver of Light

Being in the dark is no easy thing. Nyctophobia is the extreme fear of night or darkness. Even in the brightest of days, it is still fearfully dark. I wake up at the crack of dawn when the sun begins to shine but it still has yet to rise. It eats me alive to walk around all day without a flashlight. What if I crash? What if I bump into the wall where everyone can see? I remind myself that it is still night and no one can see me even if I fall. At least that’s how it felt anyways.

I resented being in the dark. In the way, I resented getting out of bed each morning. They were both back-breaking tasks for me. I hate struggling to do the things that everyone around me could do so effortlessly. There were countless times I wanted to explain to those around me what it was like but who cares enough to listen? I didn’t want to be a burden to those surrounding me and truthfully, that’s all I was. As I enter my school and walk the halls, I can hear the laughter amongst students and their friends. It’s hard to see what they’re laughing at. I couldn’t help but ask myself if they were laughing at me. I’d feel ridiculous saying it out loud. The laughter and noise began to grow louder and louder. The walls began to narrow and I felt myself suffocating. My own throat was being strangled by the hyperventilated breaths. I wanted to scream but was silenced by my own head. Instead, I rushed into the bathroom but there was an extreme uproar of laughter, as if it was following me. I left and no matter what I did or where I l turned , nothing seemed to relax me, until I met your eyes.

Your big blue luminescent eyes stared into my soul and almost immediately I was released from the restraints that were once on my neck. You had asked me If I was ok. It was nothing too deep, just ok. I nodded but I was in awe of the peculiar sense of peace one could bring. People ask all the time if others are alright out of obligation and common courtesy but you… you seemed to wholeheartedly care. I didn’t know if it was true but my mind was at ease with just the words that came so smoothly from your lips. After some time I opened up to you and to the best of my ability, I explained to you my life through my eyes. For once, I didn’t feel like such a burden in someone’s life. You held me close and assured me I was normal, and I was normal to feel this way, something I longed to hear from just about anyone. I found my happiness, peace, and my home in you. It wasn’t my plan to latch onto you however I can’t say I’m surprised. Having you in my life was like coming up for a breath of fresh air in the water and being thrown a life saver. You were the person I needed, my flashlight in a dark tunnel.