Headmaster’s Newsletter

Sorin Honored for Poetry Anthology

April 16, 2020

SJA senior Noah Sorin, of Montgomery Center, VT, has earned a Silver Medal as a 2020 National Award recipient. Last month Noah was recognized for his work with a Gold Key in the Vermont Scholastic Art Awards. Students who earned Gold Keys on the regional level were eligible to be judged on the national level.


Each year the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards recognize the talents and work of students in grades 7-12 in 29 categories of art and writing. Founded in 1932, the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards are the nation’s longest-running recognition for students.


According to their website (artandwriting.org), students submitted nearly 340,000 works of visual art and writing; approximately 90,000 pieces were recognized at the regional level, including 35 by St. Johnsbury Academy students. The top 2,700 earned National Medals.

Noah was honored for his Anthology entitled, From the Outside Looking In, which contains the poems Just a Duck on a Rock, Happiness is Propaganda, The Universe, and Pondering Life.


Just a Duck on a Rock

By Noah Sorin


Time to leave the schoolyard:

It’s three o’clock on a Friday afternoon.

The mountainside stretches a lifetime 

Across the backcountry that is my home.


Clank. Clank. Pa is in the barn again,

And Ma is fetching butter from the milk house

So she can fry the potatoes.

Butter sizzles; clock turns five.


On comes the voice of the radio man:

“Good afternoon, this is Harold Arlin seeking

Duty for KDKA radio in Pittsburgh…”

His voice breaks and turns to static.


Calmly, Pa turns a knob until

The voice can be heard once more.

From a lack of interest I look to find my brothers.

A few are in the kitchen; the rest play ball outside.


I watch as they run around the yard, free of all 

life’s troubles. The older ones wrestle for the ball,

But they give the youngest a chance to catch it too.

They are having fun, but I do not wish to play.


Instead I watch them as they play in the yard,

Appreciating the beauty of the sunset:

Sweet like the Mr. Goodbars my dad always buys me

When we drive to town for supplies.


Happiness is Propaganda 

By Noah Sorin

The little girl skips, hair in the wind;

On her face gleams a smile.

As she finds herself crossing a bridge

She looks to the sky and finds a white cloud

Resting gently above the grass plains.

She stops running and forgets the time.


Years pass and so does time;

Just like the little girl’s joy, it fades away with the wind.

No longer does she skip and smile.

All that’s left in her memory is a broken bridge 

And a dark gloomy cloud

Of smog above the city from the planes.


Ruptured buildings like clumps of mud cover the plains

And there is nobody to clean it up this time.

Old government flyers drift through the wind:

A meaningless phrase rests above an American soldier with a bright white smile.

They were only attempting to abridge 

A message, but instead the little cloud


Bubble was just a dull cloud,

With a message so plain:

“It is your time”.

Now it’s just a thought in the wind

Of a dead man’s smile

Beneath the broken bridge.


Sometimes I wonder why they built the bridge.

The propaganda serves to cloud 

My memory. But I wonder if they had never invented the plane

Or the bridge, maybe the U.S. would’ve lasted a longer time.

War does not get blown over the ocean by wind

To take the lives of all those who smile


Perhaps the little girl would still smile

If people stayed on their own side of the bridge

And didn’t drop shells from above a cloud,

And didn’t invent a plane 

With the power to end time.

Just another lost idea drifting in the wind.


On that day the little girl skipped across the bridge as she heard a plane.

She noticed something different this time, as a black balloon fell through a cloud

And her smile dimmed as she felt the oncoming heat in the wind.


The Universe

By Noah Sorin

The evolutionary track fell just short of its name;                 

The universe moved on, but forgot what it became. 

The giant scaly predators were wiped out by a rock,           

Yet Earth still got destroyed by primates that could talk.      


Red stars collide and fires light                                 

To fill the cosmos’ appetite.

Life appears and so does death,                               

To the universe just one last breath.             


Millions of planets spin away from the big bang,

Too many in the universe for each to have a name.

They float, they crash, and most importantly they change,

For life to do the same would certainly be strange.


The importance of life is what humans are taught,               

But to the universe they mattered not.

The universe will live and die —but nobody             

Will ever tell the universe goodbye—


Pondering Life

By Noah Sorin

I sit in the grass and stare at the sky

And watch the rays of the sun radiate

To feel something I can’t identify-


Sometimes reality feels like a lie:

Unsure if I really choose my own fate,

I sit in the grass and stare at the sky:


Why am I down here, when clouds get to fly?

I’m glued down to the grass by my own weight

To feel something I can’t identify,


I watch as family and friends pass by, 

But I have no desire to communicate.

I sit in the grass and stare at the sky


While I take this medicine that will nullify

The thoughts in my mind that I contemplate,

To feel something I can’t identify.


Now I wonder how I should satisfy

The hopes and dreams I’ve had to fabricate;

So I sit in the grass and stare at the sky

To feel something I can’t identify… 

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