AHS Summer School Creative Writing Students Find Publishing Success

Addrian Mendoza, Reporter

In AHS 2021’s summer school Creative Writing class, a handful of students walked away with awards and publications.


Michelle Grajkowski, the Director of Wisconsin Business World, hosted a competition just for the class. 


The essays were written of no longer than 1,000 words and they highlight the importance of businesses in their community and the incredible way they’re witnessing companies in Wisconsin respond to the pandemic.


The top three essays were gifted $30.


The students who had the finest essays were junior Ahmad Arabiyat, senior Cassandra Kuenn, and senior Avery Dunham.


You can view their first paragraph from each essay below.


My Great Community by Ahmad Arabiyat


My community has been a vibrant place for small businesses and a great community and the pandemic only made both of us stronger. The community in Oconomowoc is a diverse area of small businesses such as the popular Root Cafe and yard work material at the Stein shop. This diversity of businesses made our community unique and together. And these relationships benefit the business and communities in the long term.



The Three Pillars Supporting Wisconsin Communities by Cassie Kuenn


Support your local businesses.  A mantra repeated throughout the Covid-ridden months.  It was plastered on billboards, announced in commercials, and advertised throughout the country.  During one of the United States’ pivotal moments, citizens banded together to protect their most valuable asset: businesses.  Residents went to lunch at their favorite family owned sub-shops, the corner store that’s been in town for decades, and even the new indie cafe.  Not only were citizens helping the companies, but the businesses gave back to their communities as well.  When the federal government disregarded the Covid-19 Response plan, the local legislation, citizens, and businesses banded together to pick up the slack.


Coming Together Although Apart by Avery Dunham


Whenever I reflect on the year 2020, I am reminded of a year full of memories that both make me smile but also send shivers down my spine. Memories of confusion and frustration and worry fill my mind, starting with suggestions from teachers to bring home anything we needed “just in case.” Those feelings became even stronger as I sat and watched the news with my family as clips of hospitals and masks and cloth covered gurneys flashed across the screen. I remember that feeling in my gut on March 13th, 2020; I understood that life as we knew it would never be the same. I did not know what to expect. I did not know what the next day would bring. I did not know what lessons I would learn through such a time of uncertainty. I did not know how much I would grow to appreciate the time I would spend with my family. I did not know when it would all be over…


Arabiyat said he felt accomplished. “It was a big surprise and I was overjoyed when I got an email about getting top three in the competition because I never imagined that my writing would get to that position,” he said.


Arabiyat says he recommends everyone to take the class because “creative writing really shows your creativity by doing a bunch of different writing styles and poems.”


Elizabeth Jorgensen was last year’s online summer school creative writing teacher. She said, “I so enjoy the summer school classes, watching as the students dive in and really enjoy writing, expressing, creating. It’s a resource I’m honored to offer for Arrowhead students. I hope I am able to continue to teach summer school classes in future summers; so many great things come from them for our students year after year.”


In addition to submitting to the Business World Wisconsin, students also submitted six-word memoirs to be considered for publication in a book called A Terrible, Horrible, No Good Year


Senior Cassandra Kuenn’s memoir and senior Ashley Ell’s memoirs have been inserted in the book by students and teachers over their personal thoughts on the Covid-19 pandemic.


The book can be purchased for less than $13 on Amazon and can even be purchased at the famous book company Barnes and Noble.


You can spot Kuenn’s poem on page 142.


Inside my house and my head.


Ells’ poem appears on page 99.


One cough can change your life.