Ama Asamoah (Class of ’17) wins the 2016 Collab Poetry Contest

Senior Ama Asamoah took first place in our annual poetry contest this year and earned a $25 gift card to True North in Burlington. This will mark her first entry into our literary magazine, and the editors were very impressed with her poem, titled Neglect, Regret, and Reflect on the Black Roots. You can read her winning poem on this webpage. Congratulations, Ama!

Our runner-up this year was Benny Grubner for his poem titled Who’s Hatin’ Now? Benny, also a senior, will be making his Collab debut with this poem, although he was also recognized for his writing last year in the Scholastic Writing Awards.

Our third-place winner was Sidra Afzal for her poem Verbal Abuse. This marks Sidra’s second-straight year being published in our magazine.

Congratulations to all three finalists, and thank you to all who entered!

Neglect, Regret, and Reflect on the Black Roots by Ama Asamoah

Curls and coils surrounded by the straight

Left out in the purified world
Incapable of integrating with the commoners
Desperately wishing to fit in
Willingful to endure pain for change

Multiple hands attacking the nappy beast
Clear droplet upon the scalp temporarily reduced the grip
Tugs, pulls, and yanks from the metal comb
Puffs of hair hit the ground
Tears and yelps released to the open
Disposal of excuses for an escape
Swivels away from the malicious hands
Blades found in the young executioner’s grip
Clumps of lifeless coils staggered across the tiles
“Ama, what did you do to your beautiful hair?”

Long curls and coils resurrected
Still surrounded by the straight
Constant begs for the transition to purification
Many nos and maybes but finally a yes
Finally granted a chance for acceptance

Thick white paste splattered on the black roots
Scalp sizzling, curls unraveling
Quiet tears from the burning sensation
The thick curls and coils transitioned into straight silky strands
The tears replaced with a grateful smile

Daily and repetitive strokes from the scorching hot iron
The slightly curled follicles steamed to death for approval
Smiles as the strands easily transcended down the comb
But, eye contact with the person of the unknown stole the happiness
Who was I?

12 inch straight strands fell gracefully to the ground
The reflective mirage of the unknown became familiar
The curls and coils sprung to life
“Ama, what happened to your hair?”
Her matured hands clenched the silver shears and said “I made it beautiful again.”

2016 Short Story Contest is Now Open

As our poetry contest comes to an ending, Collab is pleased to open our annual short story contest. Any BHS student may submit his or her own original stories of any length, any genre, any topic. The best entries will be considered for publication in our Volume 45, due out in the spring of 2017. The deadline for the contest is October 27, and students may submit their stories to – students can also bring submissions to Mr. Lally in room 316, or into the submission box outside of the Collab Room (room 312).

We are also excited to announce that this year’s winner will once again earn a FREE t-shirt from Out Of Print Clothing, a company that makes excellent literary-themed clothing and gear. Here’s a sample of their work:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Good luck, authors!

Copies of 2016 Collab are Selling Out

Haven’t bought your 2016 Collab yet? No problem – we still have some remaining. If you’d like to pick one up, you can bring $10 (cash or check) to Mr. Lally in the English hallway.

We also have copies for sale at True North in Burlington – stop by and get a muffin and a Collab while you are there.

And a reminder – once we sell out, we on’t reorder copies, and we have sold out four times in the last five years.

Thank you to all who supported Collab with your purchases on our recent Back to School Night, and to Neil Ford for his excellent work at the sales table.

2016 Collab Poetry Contest is NOW OPEN!

Collab wishes to announce the opening of the first of our writing contests: Our annual poetry contest.

Any BHS student may submit his or her own original poetry to the submission box outside of room 312. The submissions are made anonymous, and our student editors will determine the top entries. The best poem we receive will earn a $25 gift card to True North in Burlington. Our other prizes include a reduced price for a copy of the 2016-17 edition ($5 savings) and a pair of beverages at Starbucks.

The deadline is Thursday, September 29.

Poems can be any length, any subject material, and any quantity. Although students may submit any number of poems, they will only be eligible for one of our prizes.

Good luck, and we look forward to reading your poems!

Attention Writers: Read at Collab’s Open Mic Night on June 8th at True North

This Wednesday, June 8th, True North Cafe in Burlington will host an Open Mic Night to support Collab. All BHS writers (past and present) are invited to come read their original poems, stories, or personal essays. In the past, we’ve also had students read famous works by published authors, or recite poetry that they know by heart. We hope to have a good selection of pieces that we printed in our 2016 magazine, but the event is open to all students. The Open Mic will start at 6 PM, and we’ll go until we run out of things to say. Copies of the magazine will also be available for purchase there.

We hope to see you there!

Collab Volume 44 has Arrived!

The copies of our latest edition of Collab arrived today, and are available for purchase immediately. The cost is $10. We will have a table set up at lunch for the next few weeks, and you can also get a copy from Mr. Lally or from one of our head editors (Havanah Becker, Kavya Sebastian, Neil Ford, or Jillian Sullivan).

Collab has earned high acclaim in national competitions over the last three years, earning the top ranking in the ASPA competition last year, and the top award in the NCTE competition in 2013. The magazine features the best artwork, poetry, fiction, and prose created by BHS students. We hope you’ll consider picking one up!