Ava Sharahy Earns NCTE Achievement Award for Writing

Each year, the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) hosts awards in a range of subjects and for different age groups. This year, Ava Sharahy (’20) was one of 15 11th grade winners from the state of New Jersey for the Achievement Awards in Writing. Below is an excerpt from her short story, “‘Long Live the Car Crash Hearts’ ~ Morrissey“, as well as “Golan Heights”, a poem that was part of her submission. Congratulations Ava!

I started the song again, the familiar hum of guitar untangling my heartstrings, and allowed myself to exhale, in and out, just like my therapist taught me. I continued listening until Morrissey’s voice cracked, lilting up at the repetition of “Take me anyone, I don’t care, I don’t care, I don’t care—”

At least someone else knew that desperation. You didn’t even have to be in love to feel it; God knows I probably wasn’t. All you needed was someone to spark that hunger, as unquenchable as Tantalus in the retracting river and the bobbing fruit tree, that primal need strong enough to break your composure mid-lyric, breathing in a little hysteria amidst the fluttering violins.

– Ava Sharahy, excerpt from “‘Long Live the Car Crash Hearts’ ~ Morrissey

Golan Heights

holy lights flash before the village
sparking jibril’s wings as
are printed against the dirt floors
and the unfortunate few to live 
are unable to dig themselves 
out of the ruins, for their fingers 
were broken by angels
mohammed has emerged
from the scars of the earth
on a carriage of cockroaches,
the only ones to survive 
the soldiers of allah’s wrath,
to preach to the rats of the village
satiated by smoke and
bathed by blood, the villagers
still listen, using army surplus
blankets as mats, prayers silent with 
tongues chewed away, bowing towards 
the rubble that was once mecca
all we can do is watch the wind carry the ashes

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