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“With golden heart and paper wings,

The emerald gilded sparrow sings

Of moonlit, lilac, summer skies,

The river speaks, the forest cries.”

                     ~by Preslee Gerber

Dear Reader,

We dedicate this anthology to the students of Atascadero High School and their families during this unprecedented time of school closures and distance learning. This monumental change has challenged our community to find new ways of supporting learning and helping those suffering from fear, loss, and isolation. We have had to ask more of ourselves, our students, and others to create memorable and meaningful experiences to end this school year. With a “golden heart,” many in our community responded. 

The judges for the AHS writing contest this year commented on the incredibly high caliber of the writing. As you read the winning entries in our anthology, we think you will agree. Here, you will find a collection that includes humor, heartache, mythical characters, scholarly research, the struggle for identity, and the songfulness of poetry. You may find some passages that make you laugh, and others that speak to your mind or echo in your heart. 

We would like to thank each student who submitted work and everyone who contributed to the successful outcome of the contest. Among these were AHS teachers and administrators, participating School Board members, and the CAPS Grant Committee.

We also extend our gratitude to the members of our Student Editorial Board. You played an essential role in organizing, publicizing, and serving as first readers for the contest. And, finally, to  Lauren Briley, Landon Kindel, Jennifer Zielke, and Julia Zielke (the seniors who served on this committee three years or more), we thank you for helping to shape this program. You have been the backbone--and the funny bone--of this endeavor.


The AHS Writing Contest Committee 

Previously published books


Visit iTunes Bookstore

Cover of Nature of Hope digital book2018

Nature of Hope cover art

Myths of Atascadero digital book

Tide and Tender digital book


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With Golden Heart and Paper Wings



Web pages

Art Contest Winner

Contest winner with teacher Mr. Bradley, Peter Hannan, and Jeffrey Bacon.

Forrest, student Art contest winner.
Forrest Martinez is the winner of the "Me is We" student self-portrait competition and exhibit held at the at San luis Obispo Museum of Art. The competition included 15 high schools. Forrest proudly displaying his entry, Graphics teacher Ivan Bradley, Peter Hannan, and contest organizer and mentor for the AHS Portfolio class, Jeffrey Bacon.

The contest had over a 100 entries. Twelve artists and professionals locally and from the LA area were judges for the competition. They selected a favorite that became one of the twelve finalists. Well-known Hollywood animator Peter Hannan, creator of Nickelodeon's CatDog was the final judge and select the first, second, and third prize winners. Earlier in the open and awards ceremony held at the Art museum Friday, March 6th, he did an amazing ARTalk on how he creates.

Atascadero High School was very much represented at the competition with six finalists. Four were Mr. Bradley’s students and two, Mr. Pascolla’s. In addition to the first place award for Forrest, honorable mention awards went to Tamara Castro, Isaiah Rodriguez, Everett Stanton, Samuel Plascencia, Mel Webb, Lauren Briley, Mason McLain, and Jethro Cedillo. All received certificates and cash prizes. Their framed entries will be returned to students following the end of the showing at the museum April 27th. Congratulations to all!


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