TA News

Young Writers Project Features TA Students

English students at Thetford Academy are encouraged to share their work with the Young Writers Project, a Vermont-based “community of young people who create and connect online through words, photos, and art.”

English teacher Joe Deffner on why TA’s English department makes the Project a part of its curriculum: “YWP is really a wonderful tool for engaging reluctant writers,” he shared, “The prompts don’t require lengthy responses, so anyone can respond to them. It’s also really exciting for a kid to see their work in print or in an online magazine–especially if it’s a kid who might not have formerly thought of themself as a writer.”

This month, two of Thetford Academy’s young writers were featured by the site for their outstanding writing. Lizzie Brown, TA Class of 2027 and Margaret Smallwood, Class of 2024, submitted work in response to YWP prompts. Lizzie’s poem, “Boston” was included in the October edition of the YWP publication “The Voice,” and Margaret’s piece “Eating Ice Cream Out of the Container in the Early Morning,” a response to the YWP challenge “Taste: If you could eat something inedible, like an object or a memory or a feeling, what would it taste like?” was featured as a YWP Daily Read.

Eating Ice Cream out of the Container in the Early Morning

by Margaret Smallwood

You wake up early on Saturday, the windows dark like your father’s coffee. It tastes bitter but exciting, like sour candy with a hint of sweetness in the back of your mouth.

You stumble into the living room, the brightness of the TV blinding like the first taste of food in the morning when your mouth waters with the shock of flavor. Your brother is already awake and watching cartoons, his excitement tropical like papaya and mango.

You slip into the kitchen, realizing your parents are still asleep. It tastes sly like cold spaghetti and mischievous like licorice jelly beans.

You open the freezer, a blast of cold air hitting you like a maraschino cherry, sweet and devious. You spot the ice cream, neapolitan, and reach for it, excitement growing stronger and tasting like too-sweet birthday cake, a little bit wrong.

You open the silverware drawer quietly and take out a big spoon. It tastes like nearing the end of a Tootsie Pop, when you crack the hard candy shell and start to taste the Tootsie Roll.

Finally, you open the ice cream and start to eat spoonfuls of it. The freedom is euphoric, like gulping cold water on a hot day. The ice cream freezes your mouth and you’re worried your tongue will get stuck to the spoon. The slight fear tastes like sushi with tangy ginger.

Suddenly, you hear footsteps coming down the stairs. Your parents. The taste of panic washes over you like wasabi, the spicy fear of getting in trouble.

You rush to lick the spoon clean, put the ice cream back in the freezer, the sheer terror tasting like sour milk that you accidentally poured into your bowl of Cheerios.

Your dad walks into the kitchen and stops, the realization tasting like oranges, nostalgic. He remembers doing this when he was younger, the citrus fruit memories wafting through his mind.

You’re frozen, spoon mid-air, reaching for the ice cream lid, your stomach knotted and tasting like pretzels with too much salt. 
Your dad just says, “Make sure to share some with your brother,” and walks out of the kitchen. Relief floods over you like vanilla pudding, friendly and always welcome.

You decide you’ve had enough excitement for the morning, and put the ice cream away. You didn’t really want to share with your brother anyway. You feel good, like you’re doing the right thing by putting the ice cream away, and it tastes like snap peas, fresh and crisp.


by Lizzie Brown

I see buildings — tall, skinny, large, big buildings surrounding me, making me feel like an ant.

As I stand in the middle of blinding lights and hundreds of people, I feel the warm sticky air touch my skin.

I smell the dirty, polluted air, and maybe even some chicken wings that a guy is selling from his food truck down the street. 

I hear pigeons flying above me and dogs barking. I hear people talking all around me. 

I see buildings — tall, skinny, large, big buildings surrounding me, making me feel like an ant.

And then I get this weird feeling, like I’m in the right place, like I’m supposed to be here. 

I’m here with my mom, my wonderful, amazing, caring mother. 

As I stand next to her, looking around, I start to get a sense of happiness rushing through my body. 

I’m happy that I’m here, in the wonderful city of Boston, Massachusetts.



We set high expectations. We challenge all members of the school community to reach their highest potential.


We value initiative, courage and dedication. We take personal responsibility for the goals we set and work hard to achieve them.


We work and learn together. We see teachers as coaches, students as team members, families as partners, and learning as practice and action.


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We respect differences among people. We welcome the contribution of varied perspectives to a rich and flexible school culture.