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Student Tierney Nevermann Published in Youth Be Heard

Arrowhead senior, Tierney Nevermann, was published in Youth Be Heard on October 23, 2020.  

Youth Be Heard was established in 2018 in Greater St. Louis with the goal of elevating youth expression so others can be inspired around the world and so that all youth can believe in their value and potential. 

According to their website, YBH develops the voices of youth with the goal of reshaping the media landscape through including more perspectives. The core of YBH is to acknowledge thoughts and voices, as YBH suggests people don’t believe that their work is good enough which stops people from reaching their full potential of growth. 

Nevermann is in a creative writing class where she learned about synesthesia which is when the brain routes sensory information through unrelated senses, causing a person to experience more than one sense at the same time. 

Nevermann said, “We had to write [using] synesthesia and I thought of an episode of Grey’s Anatomy where the hospital was on fire. Since I could picture the scenes in my head, it was easier to write the specific details to make the piece come to life.”

Synesthesia by Tierney Nevermann

The scent of smoke burns my skin. 

All I can smell are the flames burning before me. 

I hear the bright orange cries of the fire alarm piercing the room. 

Embers dance while shooting through the air. 

All of my senses vanish like the ringing in my head. 

Until the scent of smoke burns my skin once again.


Nevermann’s creative writing teacher, Elizabeth Jorgensen, says she teaches synesthesia to give her students another tool in their writing toolbox. 


Jorgensen says, “Many of my students know what synesthesia is from psychology class. In the social studies department, Mrs. Brown and Mrs. DeRosiers teach this concept; but my creative writing students have not yet considered how they can use the synesthesia in their pieces.” 


Jorgensen says synesthesia is a way people experience the world; she often describes it as experiencing one sense through another. 


“Think of how a day of the week or a subject in school could have a color—kind of like how some people think math is red or Wednesday is purple. Or maybe how you smell something and that triggers a memory. These are rudimentary ways of understanding synesthesia,” Jorgensen says. “Synesthesia is also a study in metaphor and this pushes students to be innovative, creative, original and thought-provoking in their writing.”


“But students do not have to have synesthesia to use it,” Jorgensen says. “In class, we study Taylor Swift lyrics and also look at Lorde lyrics; we also hear from other artists and musicians who have or use synesthesia in their art.” Jorgensen says having synesthesia is more common in artists and musicians.

According to the YBH submission page, submissions are open year round for youth between 13 and 24-years-old. After a person submits, they will hear back from YBH within two weeks, and although there is no guarantee that a submission will be published, YBH will offer feedback for all written work. 


The only directions [from Ms. Jorgensen] were to be creative with synesthesia,” Nevermann said.

According to Youth Be Heard, everyone should write so they can hear themself, hear each other, and so adults can see them. YBH wants diverse voices, views, and topics to encourage greater understanding and empathy. 

Nevermann said, “I was surprised. I didn’t think that my piece would ever be published when I was submitting it. When writing this piece, I just wanted to write an interesting piece off of that Grey’s Anatomy episode. I didn’t think anything of it when publishing it.”

According to their website, the core of YBH is to acknowledge thoughts and voices, as they suggest often, people don’t believe that their work is good enough which stops people from reaching their full potential of growth. 

Jorgensen says she’s very proud of Nevermann and that she hopes all of her students use this as an example.

Jorgensen says, “My students write such amazing things. Their voices are powerful and individual and important. Each student can be published and I hope Tierney has inspired her classmates to submit their own pieces to writers’ markets, like YBH.”

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