The long-playing record of “The Sound of Music” was my prized possession at age 10. I spun it on a portable record player over and over till I memorized all the songs. From overplaying it the record became scratchy. It skipped or repeated certain phrases of songs.
Bits of music playing in my head remain stuck with me since childhood. But what about Generation Z, the ones I face weekly and who sometimes wear that look of “C’mon, Teach,’ challenge me with an exercise worth my time.”
The instruction was to take a long look at an object that has meant a lot to them that it’s almost like a talisman, a charm. They had to give it life, animate it the way God molded man out of clay.
Here are the students’ works.
Among others, these short pieces made clear that not all teens are obsessed with the latest models of cell phones or technological gewgaws, those that begin with a lower-case “i” (iPhone, iPad, etc., no offense meant to the late Steve Jobs).
Far from being cynical and angst-filled, which is normal for their age, these Community of Learners Foundation (COLF) high school students show how simple, not too costly, things can make them feel content and desirous of not much more.
Do you see that ring inside that small box? That is an ancient family heirloom made out of pure silver. It can fit any finger without trouble. The ring was worn by previous family heads, but it carries a curse.
Whoever wears the ring is fated to suffer a terrible death. No one in my family is certain of the ring’s history. I believe that grandfather Scott was wearing it on a hiking trip with friends. They told us that grandpa fell off the top ledge head first. When they came to get him, it was too late. The ring though was shining splendidly while his blood was drying.
After the funeral, my dad became the next head of the family. He inherited the ring and put it in a box in the main hall. It’s shocking that a small but priceless and beautiful object can cause much weeping and pain.—Franco Gargantiel
Headband, you rock
Even though I have tons of you at home, there is none like you. I have no other white hair band with green and silver accents.
Even if I always throw you in my closet nightly, you never complain.
I want you to know that it’s great loving you. No matter what I do to you, you’ll be by my side, not unless I break or throw you away for good. I love the feeling that everything is up to me. It’s just like being loved; only you don’t have to love me back.—Kimberly Yu
You’re a keychain that’s always stuck in my backpack’s small black pocket. I imagine what a long trip you made to end up with me. You came from Bohol with your brothers and sisters. I’ve always wondered why you’re hanging from that small make-believe branch with a silver hook. It’s a good thing your bulging eyes aren’t worn out yet.
You remind me of my friends who are precious. They’re the ones who give me something like you. I will cherish you always. When I look at you, you remind me how unique the Philippines is to have a tarsier.—Mark Lee
A pick for luck
In the pocket of my jeans you have stayed for hours. It’s a source of comfort knowing you are there. As I sit motionless and my thoughts run endlessly, I remember the first day I had you.
You were put in my palm. I looked at you with awe. I had never seen such a beautiful bass pick: round edges, transparent, a portion with a printed design. You are totally remarkable.
I used you to pluck the electric blue bass strings when I auditioned for the 2012 Himig ng COLF. You, I must say, are a good-luck charm. You helped me passed the auditions. For that, thank you.—Janely Endaluz
My friend, the Rubik’s cube
I woke up this morning with the thought of what I should bring for our creative writing class. I wasn’t sure what until I heard something fall. Then I saw my Rubik’s cube. When I picked it up, I saw that the puzzle wasn’t solved and its parts all scrambled.
Suddenly, it talked. It said, “Hi!” I got scared. Thinking that it was just my imagination at work, I picked it up again. Again it said, “Hi.” This time I talked back.
The cube asked me if I could solve him. But I don’t exactly know how to solve a 5-by-5-inch cube.
The cube said he would help me solve him by telling me where I ought to twist him. After 10 minutes, I solved him. That was fun!—Andrei Gamit
Before I had you, I couldn’t see all the good things right in front of me. Then you came along, my glasses. You’re with me every day. We share experiences. I must thank you for making things clear, teaching me many things, among them to look beyond appearances.
Without you, I would’ve probably never changed, corrected my mistakes and become the person I’m supposed to be. I used to be blind and acted foolishly. I took everything for granted. You made me want to become better.
I can’t promise that I’ll always be able to look beyond appearances. Sometimes you get foggy, too. For now, I think you and I are doing good.
When I think of you, I remember what the Little Prince said, “It is only with the heart that one can see. What is essential is invisible to the eye.”—Mika Mamauag
I found a red ribbon loosely tied around the strap of my bag. It can ride the wind and also stand its ground. Looking at it, I realize I want to be like a ribbon that flies to the sky but always finds its way back. It’s like waking up from a dream or returning from an adventure or a visit from Wonderland.
I found a red ribbon, a bow tied ’round my bag. It came at the right time. It helped me tie my hair up when the sun was too hot.
I want to be that ribbon, that glorious red ribbon, floating with honor, able to make peace with my enemies who will turn the ribbon that’s me into a friend.
I want to be a red ribbon, I want to be THAT red ribbon.—Paulina de los Angeles
White Mage Chocobo
I enjoy the time I’ve spent with you. You look cool in your white mage outfit with your little red ribbon and cat ears on your hood, although I still think you’ll look better in a different outfit.
I always have you by my side when I play a Final Fantasy game with Chocobos in it. When one appears on the screen, I smile as you squawk with joy, “Kweh! Kweh!” I’d also go “Kweh! Kweh!” I’d throw a Gysahl Green at the game’s Chocobo while I politely offer you food. The game’s Chocobo pecks at it immediately, but you just stay still.
Oh well, I need to find some Gysahl Greens here then.—Junald Robin de Guzman
(Note: Gysahl Greens are carrots in a Nintendo game. The Chocobo is a birdlike character in the Final Fantasy game.)
Dance of the pens
Other people see you as simply another pen, one pen among many, common even in your looks. To me, your blue body and shiny metal nib stand out. You dance gracefully, smoothly across the paper. It’s a thrilling show. The tracks you leave enthrall and amaze me.
If I had not bought you, you will just remain with the others. Now you’re one in a million, enticing me with your dance. You are not just a pen; you’re a ballerina doing fancy pirouettes, again across the sheet of paper.
You and I have danced through hard moments and through delightful times. Even if the ink that runs through you is gone and your tip is broken, you will always be a memorable fountain pen.—Isabel Arellano
The ‘Me’ notebook
My notebook is big, has lots of pages. It’s where I write a lot of things on my free time—my favorite music, games, movies, topics and activities, all nice things. I want to thank it for keeping and remembering those things, including my secrets. Sometimes I tell friends that I write in it, some ask to read it. Not all of them tell others what they’ve read. They let things be. The notebook reminds me that I’ll only show it to people I really trust.—Gio Gutierrez