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The Student News Site of Oakmont Regional High School

The Oakmonitor

The Student News Site of Oakmont Regional High School

The Oakmonitor

Oakmont Writers Win Awards in Annual FSU Writing Contest: LeBlanc, Stowell, Patty

Oakmont+Writers+Win+Awards+in+Annual+FSU+Writing+Contest%3A+LeBlanc%2C+Stowell%2C+Patty
Parker Johnson

Congratulations to the Oakmont writers listed below for placing in Fitchburg State’s Annual High School Writing Contest. All three were awarded certificates and FSU Bookstore gift cards.  Also, LeBlanc’s 1at Place winner will be published in FSU’s annual literary magazine, Route 2.  Thank you to Fitchburg State’s English Department for this opportunity.

1st Place, Cammie LeBlanc, 12th Grade

My kindergarten was small and infested with ants. Or at least, that’s how I remember it. On Mondays, we took turns sharing experiences from the past weekend. I excitedly rattled on about the adventures I’d had with my two moms until I was interrupted by the boy sitting beside me.

“…Moms?”

This wasn’t the first time I’d been asked about my parents, so I explained that my moms married because they loved each other, despite being two women. As he processed my words, his expression changed from curiosity to something I could only classify as disgust.

“Ew,” he said. “That’s weird.”

I felt a new sensation crawling up my neck, as if an earwig tickled its way out from behind my ear and settled on my cheek. I was ashamed. This was my introduction to homophobia. 

Slowly, I began to question the way my family was viewed by others. The directions from teachers referencing “mom and dad” at home just unwittingly highlighted my parents’ deviation from the “standard” family. My moms wanted a child more than anything and were unable to have one in the conventional way. Unfortunately, this conversation wasn’t easily had with my elementary school classmates.

My inevitable alienation led to my development of anxiety at an early age. I had many irrational fears, though nothing could surpass my hatred for bugs. I found them disgusting. They were appalling creatures, disturbing me with their very existence.The only thing I dreaded more were the bus rides home. I spent hours wishing that the kids on the bus would stop throwing paper balls at my head, calling me a word I didn’t know the meaning of: Queer.

The queer label stuck with me throughout my early schooling, along with my intense fear of bugs. Eventually, I learned that queer is another word for “strange”. Being an embodiment of both meanings of “queer”  wasn’t something to be proud of in my conservative rural town. Despite the negative stigma, I knew how lucky I was. My parents were the best parents in the world. They loved me unconditionally, no matter how weird or queer I was. Some kids can’t say the same.

As time went on, I found myself relating to the creatures I previously despised. Why did society hate bugs? What makes the way we treat moths different from the way we treat butterflies? The negative connotation that comes with the word moth does not extend to other lepidoptera. Both moths and butterflies go through the same spectacular pupation process, so why does one hold more value than the other? Who said it was wrong to be the moth in a town of butterflies?

Soon enough, I found myself fascinated by spiders residing in their webs, jumping at the chance to catch a meal with their handcrafted trap. I studied ants marching rhythmically in complex traffic. I admired bees succeeding in their quest to gather pollen from tulips in my yard. I found comfort in weird and strange things – queer things – the things I once feared. Oftentimes, what makes an arthropod unique not only makes them beautiful, but aids them in survival. The adaptations developed over thousands of generations are features to be looked at with awe, not disgust.

Throughout high school, my self-confidence grew, as did my love for misjudged or stereotypically weird creatures. I took the bugs I once feared into my care, placing them on my bare hand to admire their beauty. My fear metamorphosed into a deep love and understanding that I longed to share with anyone who would listen. This love allowed me to discover my passion for unconventional creatures, sparking my wish to possibly become an exotic veterinarian. I adored my weird critters, no matter what anyone thought of them. In learning to appreciate the value of their unique intricacies, I learned to appreciate another queer creature: myself.

Red Is For Fear

2nd Place, Savannah Stowell, 1oth Grade

Red. The color of rubies, love, and fresh strawberries on a hot summer day. A color that represents fire, hate, and danger. Growing up I loved red: my favorite dress, ladybugs, and autumn leaves. Despite my hate for watermelon, clowns, and those raspberry bushes full of thorns, I loved it. 

Now, red for me is an ambulance carrying me from hospital to hospital; it’s throwing up trash bags full of blood. I beg my parents not to make me go back to the hospital- the place where there’s no freedom. I have to sit in a hospital bed while my parents worry about how much money it will cost. It first happened in third grade at school. The doctors couldn’t explain it. They assumed I swallowed too much blood from frequent nose bleeds so I went back home, only for it to happen again, and again- at least once every two years. It took them years to figure out that I had a rare stomach disease and it was no coincidence.

Meanwhile, I’m here getting used to the hospital life: gross food, little to no sleep, surgeries and procedures, getting bloodwork done, being pushed around in a wheelchair, and worst of all feeling useless. Red for me is never a good thing. I can’t help but go onto Pinterest with that distinct logo. I’ll scroll for a while just wondering: why me? Why not any of these people that seem so happy? I say these things although, aside from my condition, I’m perfectly healthy. I just don’t feel like it. I’m scared of the color red: I’m scared of the sound of ambulance sirens, a nasty stomach ache, throwing up my guts, and most of all going back to the inevitable place called the emergency room.

One Foot in Front of the Other

Honorable Mention, Nola Patty, 12th Grade

I put my headset on and adjusted the mic. I could hear their skates hit the ice. My heart started racing, I felt it beating out of my chest. Mike signals to me that the countdown is about to start. His fingers tick down from five…four…three…two…then he points to me. I take a deep breath. “ Good evening ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Iorio Ice Arena for tonight’s boys’ varsity ice hockey match-up. I’m Nola Patty.” 

Being a girl in the world of sports, I’m constantly trying to find a way to get involved. Hockey has been a big part of my life from the very beginning. My father played professionally and my little brother is advancing in the game. In the past two years, I have been gifted with many opportunities to expand my passion and name in the sports media world, but nothing compares to the most recent one. I started commentating on my school’s boys’ varsity ice hockey games. This connected me to the sports media community. I have spent the last few weeks learning even more about the game and the different wording I can use when I announce. Many connections have been made and will continue to be made for me. I am growing my name and brand with each game I commentate on. This community inspires me and empowers me to progress in my interests.

 I’m a photographer, a social media manager, and a play-by-play commenter in the hockey world at the age of seventeen. 2023 brought many challenges, but the support and connections helped me learn and grow. Whether that was learning how to set up a tripod, get the framing right on a shot, how to make black and white photos “pop” more, or how to market a college hockey team on social media. I’m endlessly grateful for all of the opportunities I have been granted by the community I give so much back. My brain is constantly thinking of ways to open more doors for myself in the sports media world. I am currently a sports editor of Oakmont’s school newspaper The Oakmonitor and I’m creating my own sports podcast to put on the page. 

Though this is all fun for me it has been hard balancing this work with my other activities. This past fall I completed my sixth year of marching band and this spring I will complete my fourth year of high school lacrosse. My family has played a huge role in helping me manage all of this. They constantly push me to be successful but have open arms when the challenges get too much. I have to give them the award for being my most supportive community. 

Lastly, I just want to give a bit of advice to anyone scared to make a name for themselves. Take the first step and see where your foot lands. Opportunities will fall at your feet, but if you don’t take the initiative to step forward, you’ll never take off running.

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About the Contributor
Gabby Comeau
Gabby Comeau, Reporter
Gabby Comeau is part of the class of 2027 at Oakmont Regional High School. This is her first year being part of The Oakmonitor. After school Gabby works as a babysitter and she dances at FreeForm Dance Academy. Gabby has been dancing her whole life and she lives in Westminster. In her free time, she likes to talk with friends and family, watch movies, and see her dog, Myles. She enjoys the beach in the summer, traveling, and dancing. Gabby loves to spend time with her dog, watching movies, and shopping. She is excited to learn more things while being a part of The Oakmonitor.

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