Blizzard Bag Samples

The first-year venture into trying out Blizzard Bags is behind us, and Mr. Lally wished to share the variety of projects that his students came up with for this assignment.

Poetry Out Loud Recordings (on SoundCloud)

Several students recorded themselves reading Poetry Out Loud poems, and we’ve put together a SoundCloud channel – we figure these might be a good study guide for students in future years who wish to memorize these poems. Readers included Joe Bertolami, Stephen Blathras, MiKenna Mattson, Melanie Sunnerberg, Nick Whitney, Tiffany Wu, and Mr. Lally. Together, they’ve started the BHS English Department list with nearly 50 recordings.

Longfellow House Visits

Many students went to Cambridge to check out the home of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, easily the greatest American poet of the mid-19th century. No contest. Students created posters and slideshows showing some of the artifacts that they saw, including the location of the room that inspired the tragic poem, The Cross of Snow, and the desk where Longfellow penned most of his most famous poems. Samples are from posters by Kerry Curtin and Aadil Islam.

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Louisa May Alcott House

Longfellow isn’t the only house in the area worth visiting. Marin Campbell went to go see Louisa May Alcott’s house, and saw the window desk where she wrote Little Women and other novels.


Graphic Novels: A Primer

Will Rizza gave a presentation where he explained the differences between graphic novels, text novels, and comic books.


Graphic Novel Writing

Gariné Minassian tried her own hand at writing a graphic novel, as a complement to Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, which Mr. Lally’s students were reading at the time. This piece incorporated some of the themes of self-discovery and cultural identity that are within Satrapi’s novel.


Short Story Writing

Two trios of sophomores tried their hand at writing a short story in the style of Ernest Hemingway. The results were excellent, as the students admirably adopted Hemingway’s sparse style and bleak worldview.


Fictional Styles – A Contrast

Kailee Heffler explained the main stylistic differences between Ernest Hemingway and Marjane Satrapi, the final two authors of Mr. Lally’s sophomore year.

Poetry Analysis

Some students opted to analyze a short packet of poems by significant poets not covered in the poetry unit from earlier in the year.

Although this first year had its bumps (the Hemingway museum’s hours made visits difficult, and students were coming up with new ideas right up to the final deadline), it seems as though a lot of students really got a chance to try something they might not otherwise do.

2015 Book Awards – Congratulations!

On June 11th, BHS held its annual Book Awards Ceremony, where select BHS students receive awards for standing out in our various departments. The English Department is proud of the five winners of our departmental awards this year.

The 21st Century Book Awards are given out each year to one student in each grade who has shown the greatest improvement or effort in his or her English class. This year’s winners were:20150617_075915
Class of 2014: Jake Baumgartner
Class of 2015: Alex Thelusma
Class of 2016: Rita Saraiva
Class of 2017: Mariano Rodriguez

And the Brown Book Award goes out annually20150617_075904 to a student who shows excellent verbal and written skills. This year’s winner was Kavya Sebastian

Congratulations to our five winners, and to all other recipients of the BHS Book Awards! Keep reading!

Three BHS Students Receive Accolades for their Fiction

Danielle McFadries (’15) and Sidra Afzal (’17) have both had their original fiction selected for publication in the Claremont Review, a Canadian magazine for teenage writers. This is the first time any BHS students have gotten in to that publication, and both of them received a cash prize for their work. Junior Rebekah Aran has also recently been featured on the front page of “Thriller/Mystery” page of the website for her story, “Strictly Business.” Congratulations to all three authors!

(The above information has been added to the BHS Published Authors page on this website)

Updates to Sidra Afzal’s Poetry Post and Summer Reading

We have recently gotten video footage from the finals of the 2015 competition in which sophomore Sidra Afzal read her award-winning poem “He” in front of 21,000 people in Baltimore, and have added that video to our original post. To check out her performance, CLICK HERE.

We have also added a link on our home page to make it easier for everyone to find our summer reading assignments and options.

Curious Incident wins Tony for Best Play of 2015, Best Lead Actor, Best Director, and more

The Broadway production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, which nearly 100 BHS sophomores went to go see in March, has just won the 2015 Tony for Best Play. Alex Sharp was also given the award for Best Lead Performance for his depiction of Christopher Boone, which was amazingly also his Broadway Debut. Marianne Elliot also won the award for best director, and the play earned awards for Best Scenic Design, and Best Lighting.

To see the Tony Awards’ page for this play, which included videos, pictures from the production, and interesting pieces of information, CLICK HERE.

Sidra Afzal (Class of 2017) Receives Two Amazing Honors

Sophomore Sidra Afzal has had a good month.

Her short story, “Officially Innocent,” was recently selected as the top piece of realistic fiction on the Teen Ink website. After reading the story, State Representative Ken Gordon brought the story to the State House, where he shared it with fellow members of the House of Representatives. Today, Representative Gordon came to BHS and visited with Sidra’s Creative Writing class, and presented her with a Certificate of Recognition from the state of Massachusetts for her excellent story (see below). He spoke with the class about the courage that Sidra showed in writing and publishing a story that confronted the prejudice that Muslim Americans face every day, and how glad he was that students at BHS were able to have such mature thoughts on such a difficult subject.Screen Shot 2015-06-02 at 6.35.26 PM

Also, on May 23, Sidra was invited to Baltimore to participate in the 40th Annual ICNA-MAS Convention, as she had entered a spoken-word poetry competition whose theme was the life and trials of the prophet Muhammad. After performing her poem titled “He” in the semi-finals, Sidra was invited to perform in the finals of the competition, where she read her poem in front of 21,000 people (video below), and was declared the winner of the competition! Truly an amazing feat!

Congratulations, Sidra, on both of your impressive accomplishments!

[UPDATE: The title of this poem was originally misstated in this post]