Aerie: Spotlight

For the full Spotlight Experience purchase the Magazine!

Letter From the Web Editor

The Aerie website started as a solution to keep the magazine alive during quarantine, but I am so grateful that the staff decided to keep it as the other half of Aerie. It has brought about so many new and exciting possibilities to expand on the magazine as a whole.

I was originally emailed by Mrs. Bruzzese my sophomore year to come in and help the staff complete the website. The next year I signed up for the class and continued to work on the web team. This year as head of web design I wanted the website to feel more like an extension of Aerie and not just a place for digital art work. I think that goal was accomplished with this year's site as it includes a mix of short and long literary works, photography, songs, traditional art work and of course digital pieces. I’ve had the privilege of watching this site blossom from a temporary fix to a fully produced, professional website and it has truly amazed me. 

I want to give a huge thank you to our editor in chief Lily for leading the staff and working with me to coordinate the Aerie website with the physical magazine, Issy our submissions editor for keeping the whole staff organized and to Anna for helping me create and produce the website. 


Thank you Mrs. Bruzzese for getting me involved in Aerie and for being a phenomenal director. It has been a pleasure to be on the staff and work with you for the past two years, you have taught me so much and I will miss this class dearly. 

Hope you enjoy Aerie: Spotlight,

Lillee Vest

Letter From the Advisor

The inclusion of an advisor letter began with the creation of the web portion of the Aerie Experience. It was my idea. Boy, do I regret that decision! How do I tell the students of Aerie how fun and rewarding it was to work with them in a way that doesn't sound like every other time I've said that to a class or staff? But that's the thing -- each group of students creates their own "flavor". This year's staff was no exception. 

Aerie: Spotlight was put together by brand new and repeating staff members. There were athletes, artists, and non-conformists on staff. There were classic and unconventional students on staff. It was a varied group. Sometimes, varied groups don't work out. This time it did. With beautiful results.

I would like to spotlight their efforts to work together and work outside of their comfort zones to produce the magazine. I am proud of you. I will miss you.



The Firebird English Department

For always supporting the advisor and the students of Aerie

Miss Caroline Rhea

For listening to our problems and giving helpful suggestions. Good luck with teaching!

Mrs. Emily Bruzzese

For being our fearless leader and never giving up on us.

Mr. Jared Parker

For patiently receiving too many emails from Mrs. Bruzzese and always responding kindly.

Kenzie Baker and Colin Smith

For formatting all our art for layout.

Fairmont Students

For sharing your creativity with us. Keep creating!


The opinions expressed in Aerie are those of the authors and artists. They do not purport to relflect the opinions or views of Fairmont High School or the Aerie staff. The designations employed in this publication and the presentation of material therein do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Kettering City Schools. The structure within these works is as they were submitted to us.

Authors & Artists in Order of Appearance

Saba Halabi ~ It's Okay to Leave Your Dog in a Hot Car

Kenzie Baker ~ Floral Flat

Toby McElwee ~ going home.

Farzonakhon Izatullaeva 

Eve Glascoe ~ Gold Coins

Ellie McCall ~ Gateway

Ellie McCall ~ City Rush

Eve Glascoe ~ Misty Coyote

Ruben Baker ~ Megalophobia

Marlee Gibson ~ Snared

Charlie Cute ~ Stolas' Grimoire

Joey Estes ~ Love

Georgia Sosebee ~ Natural Beauty

Ruben Baker ~ Generations

Jay Smith ~ Dear One Who Breaks My Defenses

A.M. ~ Development & Growth

Gabby Campbell ~ You

Emma Dietsch ~ 10 Things I Hate About Myself

Lily Rueckhaus ~ Double Vision

Kenzie Baker ~ Carved in My Heart

Kaia Williams ~ Who is She?

Lillee Vest ~ Take Me to Church

Anna Gustin ~ Raphael

Lily Rueckhaus ~ Safe Girl

Muntadher Hazaa ~ Guardian Despair

Natalie Rozier ~ lying.

Georgia Sosebee ~ enough

Anonymous ~ She is Not Enough

Hashim Al Samarrai ~ Summer Rain

Asha Horton ~ ὅλος (hólos)

Ella Gustin ~ A Place in My Heart

Gaberial Shaw ~ Joker Portrait

Toby McElwee ~ Chadrick

Kenzie Baker ~ Amanita Mugs

Reagan Daley ~ Pi Poem

Marlee Gibson ~ Recreation

Penelope Ericson ~ Experience

It's Okay to Leave Your Dog in a Hot Car

Saba Halabi

Floral Flat

Kenzie Baker


going home.

Toby McElwee

They tore down the old house last January.

Not this year, but last year, the one before.

I drove by it with my sister, in hopes for some 

something. Anything? I wasn’t quite sure,

but it was gone.

No one ever tells you this when your home is torn down, 

But when you close your eyes, it's still there.

You can feel your way through the hall between your and your brothers' rooms

with dirt beneath your feet and in between your toes and in your teeth,

and you can walk up stairs while falling down hills and slamming your knees into pavement.

You can do many things with your eyes shut.

You can’t make the house come back, though.

I think I stood there for a mere minute, simply…

staring, I think. 

Then I walked up the (dirt) driveway,

into the (dirt) entryway, stared at the sky, stared

up. I don’t know how long it’d been this way, 

and I don’t remember when my sister got out of the car,

but I think I just stared.

Farzonakhon Izatullaeva

Digital Art 

Gold Coins 

Eve Glascoe

I sleep with necklaces wrapped in layers around my 

neck; the jingles lull me to sleep, and wake me like 

morning birds in an ancient song of jewels and 


Collars loose as chainmail, change the whole idea.

Toothpaste and blood string my sense and my 

snout, the blend of pink changes the whole idea.

I wear these necklaces in preparation, for the 

morning I won’t hear the bird’s sweet song, for the 

evening fire that boils the golden coins into my 

eyelids like welded buttons.

Achilles changed the idea for us all; but in his 

bloodshed, there was no line of Patroclus and us. 

The world became one again, even in his sweet 

limping death.


Ellie McCall 

Digital Art

Origins of Modern Art

City Rush

Ellie McCall 

Digital Art

Misty Coyote

Eve Glascoe

those roads hold rotting leaves rushing into the 

drains, flowing strong with heavy gray tears. 

losing you; losing the other too, that greatest 

moment of my divine fear. 

more pain than distance, to lose a soul from this 

complete Earth. 

your god is visionary, the Earth forever even in its 

bits and pieces. believe in the grass, the deers you 

come upon, the coyote dashing across the farm fields in 

the dead of autumn. Their pieces are forever, matter

never disappearing this realm's iron hearth. 

these days i feel funny; though i might feel real. the 

forest sings my names, not the names family 

squeeze into my rib cage, they only see onto my 

thin layers of skin, ignoring the drumming of my 

bones, the silver moon in my eyes, sharp claws that 

leave gashes across my chest. 

one day, i will feel this real again, when the world's

names erase into my bones. when i am laid in the 

mossy roots, finally for my needed rest.


Ruben Baker



Marlee Gibson

Mixed Media

Stolas' Grimoire

Charlie Cute



Joey Estes


Natural Beauty

Georgia Sosebee



Ruben Baker

I am the same blood, sweat,

tears, bruises, smiles,

losses, late nights, early mornings,

bad grades, broken hearts,

terrible haircuts, new friends,

and love as the generations before me,

and those before them.

Dear One Who Breaks My Defenses

Jay Smith

This thought breathes in me, how do we love without losing 

The most tender parts of ourselves to something so temporary?

See now why I fear pursuing

What we called love; it shall land me in the cemetery

I do not shy from commitment, rather the contrary

Giving far too much to one who I am not sure will accept

Never learning from mistakes I see the pattern will not vary

This will end me here drowning in the silent tears I wept

In the dark shroud of night, where the quiet comforts and erodes my pain

However, all I cried out for was to hear their voice

Words of compassion that I will never obtain

Because though a newfound love is something to rejoice

Will I ever feel the warm touch of a hand

Brush against this head of mine that weighs so heavy on my shoulders

Or is this simply just a symphony of lies, visions escaping like sand

Somewhere inside, embers fading to smolders

As my last hope disappears as a raven; such solitary creatures they are

Not wanting to crumble to foundations of what has been built

I shall watch this unfold from afar

Wondering how many drops of blood and tears had been spilt

For me to find myself here, in this place that is a person

Where I can set myself free but must still be wary

Cannot make an assertion

That it is my strengths as well as my evils that they are willing to carry

Alongside me in this wretched storm

A raven died of fear in my path, so afraid of solitude, yet ‘tis his nature

Never could quite conform

To the ostracization of his world; he felt there was something greater

A different breeze waiting to catch his wings

But incredibly scared of what it would take, the losses he could face

Completely losing sight of where the angel sings

If it were not for the dread, the raven could have lived, may have found his grace

But we can never love without losing

A piece of us

Development & Growth




Gabby Campbell

  I love you for all the wrong reasons. 

And one of them is you not being here, 

And the second is us not being together.

Because without you being here I can't mess everything up like I usually do. 

So I can live this “perfect life” imagining the thoughts of you without hurting you more.

    You don't deserve whatever is going on in your head,

but I know that when you figure it out you will let me be there for you again 

without destroying what you have built.

I fell in love with what we could be, 

and it wasn't any different from what we already had.

    I still have reminders of you on my phone. 

I want you. 

I want you on the days that you feel free,

I want you every day in every life of ours. 

I want you on the days when you don't even want me. 

    I will be here every step of the way right next to you, waiting for my day to arise.

Possibly the only toxic trait of mine is how deeply I care for you.

I could never apologize for it even if I tried.

I will never want someone “better” because the only thing better than you is us. 

   You may have thought that it was easy for me to watch you leave, 

but it was the hardest thing for me to witness.

To just “be friends” is killing me slowly due to how deeply I care and love for you.

I will wait so that you can have your time for as long as it takes.

Just stay with me.

    I want you to know that every day I don't talk to you I die a tiny bit.

I want you to know that you are the thing that I think about every waking moment of the day.

I look for you in the hallway, sometimes you look sad and I just want to give you a giant hug.

But whenever you are smiling, I know that you are happy even though now having me around is hard to know but it's great for you to have.

   This will be an epic love story one day.

I will be waiting as long as it takes,

only for you.

10 Things I Hate About Myself

Emma Dietsch

Based on "10 Things I Hate about You"

I hate that I’m so quiet

I hate that I’m so bland

I hate that there are some things

That I really just can’t stand

I hate that I’m a contradiction

I hate that I’m so meek

I hate that when I look at myself

All that I see is weak

I hate that I’m not memorable

I hate that I’m too nice

I hate that I feel like I can’t do it

Like I’m not enough to suffice

But most of all

I hate that I’m writing this

And making myself feel bad

Destroying any good self-esteem

That I ever really had

Double Vision

Lily Rueckhaus

Digital Mixed Media

Carved in My Heart

Kenzie Baker


Who is She?

Kaia Williams

Who is she?

The person staring blankly back into my eyes

Hot tears stream down her face

I find myself reaching to wipe them for her

The years are shown through the many harsh lines on her face 

She's withering away

“Only 15, I'm only 15”, she whispers to herself

that girl is me 

Take Me to Church

Lillee Vest



Anna Gustin


Safe Girl

Lily Rueckhaus

I always look both ways before I cross the street.

I always lock my car.

I always say good morning,

And proofread papers,

And arrive on time.

But I never think before I speak-

It gets me in trouble. 

Like mom always told me it would.

And mom always told me

To never trust a man.

To never leave my drink unattended,

To never walk alone at night,

To never dress too slutty,

or get too drunk.

So I always keep my guard up-

So it will never be my fault.

Because it's always the safe girl's fault,

And never his.

Guardian Despair

Muntadher Hazaa 

Digital Art


Natalie Rozier

Sometimes, I try to lie

Lies are hard for me, I value nothing but the truth.

I try to lie to my friends,

Tell them what they want to hear me say.

But the words just slip off my tongue

And trip over my teeth as they fall out of my mouth.

The border that once existed in between my brain and my mouth

Weakens over the years.

The older I get, the more I wish it was still there. 

I try to lie to my mom, 

Yes, I’m doing okay.

Yes, I am happy.

With her the border exist, but its small.

The words are weaker when they stumble around my mouth

Barely able to sustain themselves for long.

She always believes them, 

No matter how little they are. 

I try to lie to myself,

Say what I want to hear in my brain.

But whenever I do,

The words arent there.

They're dead, took one breathe and collasped.

The border that was already weak and worn, 

Is long gone before I can ever try.

I try to lie to myself, 

But no matter how hard I try,

I always know the truth instead.


Georgia Sosebee

what is enough?

if there is always more.


as much or as many as required.

is it a real thing?

am i smart enough?

am i pretty enough?

if enough isn’t a thing

then why am i constantly being 





i work, i study, i practice. i want to be good,

but maybe i don’t want it enough.

the constant comparisons 

as distinct as silver and gold

both rare, but one more than the other

if there is always more,

then how much is enough?

She is Not Enough


She is not enough. 

All her bad decisions, 

Glued into the crevices of her mind. 

Worry leaks from her head to her chest,

Filling her heart, the weight of it tangible. 

She is messy, not graceful. 

She is insane, not admirable. 

She is a failure, not a “she”. 

Sometimes she fits in. 

Wearing the brightest lipstick, 

Liking dresses and loving pink, 

She’s trying too hard. 

Sometimes she sticks out. 

Watching every baseball game, 

Liking trains and science,

She’s trying too hard. 

The blind didn’t need glasses to see her failure,

The deaf didn’t need sound to hear her despair. 

If she’s not good enough, then who is she? 

She is a person. 

She is trying. 

She’s the girl who dances in the kitchen, 

After an unbearable day of work. 

She’s the girl that compliments peoples shoes, 

Knowing they need the kindness. 

She’s the girl who works her hardest, 

Who never stops trying. 

She is not enough,

But she tries.

Summer Rain

Hashim Al Samarrai 

Summer rain

Hot and cold

Falling water

Shines of gold

Nighttime air

Smells of sleep

Counting raindrops

Like they’re sheep

Day and night

Doesn’t matter

The sun’s light

In raindrops scatter

ὅλος (hólos) 

Asha Horton

Paint Markers

A Place in My Heart

Ella Gustin

A place in my heart was given. It was out for someone to fill however they choose. It was there to give them comfort, warmth, so they could have someone who loved them. Anyone who wanted in could come in. I was naive. I was reckless with my heart. 

I let them walk in and walk out whenever they wanted. I let them string me along because when they came back, I felt whole again. I can’t count how many times people walked in and out. I will not say how many people took advantage of the space I gave. 

Because when someone leaves, all you can do is move on. You accept that they’re gone and move on through time. 

But when they leave it hurts. Like a stab to the gut, something being removed from where it was. Sadness flows from it like blood from a wound. So you’re there all alone, waiting for them to come back, to patch your wound, to come back to you. You’d wait for them to give you a hand and pick you up, and hold you close, telling you they love you and never wanted to hurt you.

I became okay with people walking in and out. The hurt subsided and I thought it was something normal. I thought it was something that was just part of friendship. But I was wrong. That’s not what friends do. Friends don’t break your heart. 

Because that place in my heart could not be a gaping wound forever. I couldn’t justify the pain it caused me, so I guarded my heart. It healed. It became a scar that was sensitive to new friendships. So when someone else took a place in my heart, and they walked out, I didn’t leave it open for them to come back in. When they left me lying on the ground, I’d pick myself up, dust off my knees, and go. 

There are places in my heart that people reside in, the people who won’t walk away. The people who won’t hurt me over and over. 

Though the hurt has left me scarred, left me scared of connecting with people, my heart is still full. 

I don’t need the people who won’t stay around, I don’t have to put up with the pain they bring me. So I don’t. I don’t owe them the time of day, I don’t owe them that place in my heart. That place that has healed. They aren’t welcome. They leave, so I don’t let them back. 

My heart is not something for people to take advantage of. My kindness is not something they can take and leave with. They cannot take, and take, and take, without me running out of kindness to give. 

I think they forget I’m a person too. They forget I have my limits. How much I can take before I decide it’s too much?

Though they left me hurting, my heart is full again. It is guarded, I don’t let just anyone in, they have to earn it. But my heart is full. It is full with the things I love, the things I take joy in. It is full with the people I love, who won’t leave me. There’s no longer any space for the people who will. If they want to hurt me, to take advantage of what I gave them, they are not my friends. 

They do not deserve a place in my heart.

Joker Portrait 

Gaberial Shaw


Toby McElwee



Amanita Mugs 

Kenzie Baker



Pi Poem

Reagan Daley

Pi oh pi as I let out a sigh

We have a love hate relationship

You fill my mind with great skills

But then you turn around and make me feel ill

The delicate numbers within you

They soften the blow of which would come true

Celebrated on the day of March 14th

You never cease to make me feel weak

I feel unimpressed with myself once I learn who you are

You’ll leave and escape me in a few years but I will be left with a few scars

The digits of you go on forever

And I have never remembered them, as just the thought fills me with terror

I’ve always thought that math was my best subject

Until it wasn’t and I believe you are the suspect

I still persevere trying my best everyday

But what will become of me? 

What price will I have to pay?

This is a day to celebrate the change you have made

But it seems I am one of the only who has had this difficulty reflect onto my grade


Marlee Gibson

Felted Wool


Penelope Ericson 

You thought me to be inexperienced

But little did you know

I had done this type of thing before

And am very skilled

You thought I would be running back to you

Begging for your forgiveness

Explain to me why you are now at my feet

Begging for mercy

Death is natural

It shouldn't be fought

Especially by a cheater

They know the rules, they just ignore

You saw the side chick on the floor

Or was I the side chick?

I asked what I wanted to know

But you didn’t answer

If you had the energy for multiple relationships

Why don’t you have energy to talk

Is it because of her corpse

Laying on the floor beside us

You said you didn’t know what had happened to me

As if there was something wrong

But what would ever make you think

That I didn’t have experience