Elise comes from Lake Oswego, OR, and also spent a semester at The Oxbow School in Napa, California. Much of her work, she says, is actually research:
“I use my physical body as a creative foundation. The work is a quest for my own identity, a research project about who I am. I develop a line of research questions: about my mind, my body, my vices, and my impact upon others, which becomes my unique artistic process.” Elise uses many media, from ink to thread to digital video, in order to explore her place in the world and to gain a greater sense of personal meaning. Check out some of the videos from her Award-winning Art Portfolio here.
Rosa hails from Boise, Idaho, and is now a freshman at the University of Arizona. She writes about her struggles and her successes with a goal in mind to help other teens feel less alone.
In her Writer’s Statement, Rosa explains: “I tend to view things in terms of all of their complexities. “I don’t like either/or answers and I don’t like black and white situations. I believe that nearly nothing is black and white. Writing allows me to explore and express the grey areas, and to address uncertainties with confidence.”
In the following sample from her Award-winning portfolio, Rosa tackles her descent into and emergence from one such complex and personal struggle: with an eating disorder.
Christians called it Lucifer.
Poets called it The Hunger.
The internet called it
“Rich Girl Feels Sorry for Herself”, and the library books
called it anorexia nervosa.
I didn’t know what to call it so
I spent most afternoons
on the kitchen floor
with my hair in my eyes.
Doctors say that my body started to eat itself, for lack of other nutrients.
As I lost weight
I began to spend increasing amounts of time alone. My hair thinned.
I slept and jogged and
until my skin was tart and watery.
My friends spun away like fingers of smoke.
When I walked, gravity hung on the hems of my clothes. When I was alone I let my words cave in at the edges and fall away from my hands. I didn’t own my lips, my legs, or my heart.
But I too, Mr. Whitman, contain multitudes,
and through all of this
something deep inside me was starting a revolution.
After two years of stillness, I stopped waiting for pity and
started staying up at night and beating back my demons.
I beat them by claiming what was mine: my eyes, my heart, my brain, my dignity. I made them sit straight and listen to me
for the first time in my life. I demanded respect.
my eyes still dart like moths trying to find some light to smolder in.
I cry at night, but
sometimes I wake up laughing. Every so often I feel
a solidity in my step
and I am reminded that my demons cannot, will not, win.
I eat tuna fish sandwiches and ice cream with my friends and when my demons knock
I pretend not to hear.
Psychologists call it recovery.
People at school call it gaining weight.
The Earth calls it springtime and
my mom calls it strength.
I don’t know what to call it, but I know
that I am growing into a stronger woman,
more and more each day.