You are here
Home > Community > O’Neal Holds Blackbird’s Eye Dedication and Presents Youngclaus Awards

O’Neal Holds Blackbird’s Eye Dedication and Presents Youngclaus Awards

Southern Pines – On Wednesday, May 18th, O’Neal’s 2016 literary publication, The Blackbird’s Eye, was dedicated to Middle School English teacher Kristie Wolferman.


Written by O’Neal sophomore and member of the Blackbird’s Eye editorial staff, Mary McMurray, the dedication is as follows:

This year’s volume of The Blackbird’s Eye is dedicated to an author of four books and graduate of Middlebury College and the University of Missouri who has been an inspiration to everyone she meets. This outstanding woman taught at the Pembroke Hill School, located in Kansas City, before becoming a teacher at the O’Neal School. After arriving at O’Neal in 2004, she taught English, history, and writing and has been a major participant in the O’Neal Academic Enrichment Program. She taught her students the fundamentals of writing, which has helped them all to succeed long past her class. She has positively affected every student she has taught and The O’Neal School is extremely proud of her and her accomplishments.

A student in each division was given the Bill Youngclaus Award for their writing excellence in poetry or prose. All entries that are considered for the School’s annual literary publication are presented before a committee comprised of teachers from each of the Lower, Middle and Upper School divisions as well as Upper School students who make up the publication’s staff. Youngclaus winning entries are exhibited in the Blackbird’s Eye and the writers also receive a monetary award.

The Bill Youngclaus Creative Writing Award was founded to honor Mr. Youngclaus, who was an avid writer himself. Nine years ago, the first Bill Youngclaus Creative Writing Awards were given. Written by Bill’s wife, Lisa Youngclaus, the following was recited upon presenting the first awards.

“This award was created out of the generosity of many friends and family members who chose to honor their fond memories of Bill Youngclaus by making a memorial donation to The O’Neal School.

Bill Youngclaus was a brilliant, creative, talented man who attended Yale University on a full academic scholarship and graduated with an English degree. He pursued a successful career in the advertising business and lived and worked all over the world, mastering four different languages and assimilating to many cultures and ideas. But the language he loved most was the language of the written word. He read novels, plays, and poetry and he wrote fiction and poetry throughout his life.

Bill loved The O’Neal School for its high academic standards, its devoted faculty, and the loving, caring environment the School provided for his young son, Will. Bill served passionately on the O’Neal Board and dreamed of the school being able to fulfill all of Will’s dreams and the dreams of all the other students that call O’Neal their home.”

Will ’12 is currently living in Nashville, Tennessee.

The 2016 winners are Maisie Shin (4th grade), Kaleigh O’Leary (6th grade), and Devon Moore (12th grade).

Below are their winning entries:

My Travel, by Maisie Shin

When I grow up, I’ll travel to different places. I’ll go to museums and explore. I like learning about history. I’ll start in the eastern part of Asia and learn about its attractions. I’ll go to India and eat lots of curry, learn yoga, and meditate. I will learn their ways and meet their president. I will stay at each place for a least two weeks. That way I’ll get to know the country and its people. Maybe I’ll learn some of the languages.

I’ll go to Iceland and learn about Vikings. I’d like to see the geysers and take a swim in a hot spring. Once I have spent some time in Iceland, I will go to Easter Island and go to Rapa Nui National Park. I think the faces will look cool. I have never seen them.

After Easter Island, I’ll go to Europe. First I’ll visit Austria and then the rest of the countries in alphabetical order until I get to the United Kingdom. There I want to see the British Museum, Big Ben, Stonehenge, the London Eye, and more. Then I’ll travel to Scotland and play golf with my Uncle Bob.

After leaving Scotland I want to head back to America. On the way there I can go to Peru and climb the steps of Machu Picchu. I will end my travels back home in North Carolina and share my adventures with my family.

I want to visit all these places because I am curious. I’ve seen pictures of these countries and their historic places on the internet and though they were beautiful. I’ve traveled to Scotland and it has made me want to go to different places and see their monuments. I want to visit these countries and see the world.

The Guardian of the Night by Kaleigh O’Leary


Last night I saw her in the sky
A burst of brilliant marble white,
She watches me when days turn old,
She watches me when the nights turn cold.

She sees the starts, the sun, the sky
She sees the days spiral by.
She knows the secrets of the night,
She is a wonderful stunning sight.

She is the only one who saw the days of old,
She is the only one who has seen all days grow cold.
She watched me while I was young, and she watches me grow old.
She’s seen when I was weak, and she’s seen me while I am bold.

She is the moon, up in the sky,
The beautiful burst of marble white,
She’s seen the stars, the sun, the sky,
She is the guardian of the night.

Expectation of Summer by Devon Moore


Is this happiness?
When the children under four feet
Play barefoot on hot asphalt
And people whisper to their lovers
Secrets and favorite colors.

Is this happiness?
When the sprinklers soak through one pieces
And turn the sidewalks from beige to brown,
As the sunshine slowly decreases, we’re told to go inside
And the expected chorus of “aww” fills the streets.

Is this happiness?
When we watch the explosions in the sky
And feel them in our chests
Eating rinds of watermelon
Seeing who can spit the seeds the best.

Is this happiness?
When we learn to travel by two wheels again
Reminiscent of our childhood simplicity
Soaking ourselves in an August sun
Knowing it must all come to an end.

Is this happiness?
When we grow up to realize
There used to be no such boundaries
And our imaginations knew no limits.
What a bittersweet understanding of adolescence.

Is this happiness?
Maybe it’s supposed to be.
But to expect a precious memory from every sunrise or sunset
Seems like a lot to ask to me.

O’Neal is a college preparatory, independent day school. Presently, it serves students from pre-kindergarten age 3 through 12th grade. O’Neal is dedicated to the development of academic excellence, strength of character and physical well-being of its students in an environment where self-discipline, integrity and consideration for others are fundamental. The School is dually accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS). Tuition assistance and limited transportation services are available. For more information about the O’Neal School, contact Director of Admissions Olivia Webb, at (910) 692-6920 or go to


Similar Articles

Leave a Reply

Facebook login by WP-FB-AutoConnect