Growing up as a Afro-Somali Muslimah

By Hodon Yassin

Hello, My name is Hodan Yassin. I’m eighteen years old and it’s my senior year. I’m also a student at Whetstone High School. Sadly, because of quarantine, I had to spend the last months of my senior year cooped up inside my house doing online school. However, It doesn’t stop me from continuing on with my artwork or excelling well in my classes.

I was born in Decatur Medical Center in Atlanta, Georgia on April 16, 2002. I was also born to my mother and father, Safiya Farrah and Hassan Mohammed. After I was born, all of my family members came to see me. All my grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles and cousins congratulated my mother and were all so very happy. We even stayed at the hospital overnight because my mother was too sick after giving birth to me. After she got well, we went back home.

Life growing up in Atlanta was alright. I don’t remember that much about it since I was a baby. All I remember is my parents had a conversation in the kitchen. My father was laid off at work and could no longer afford to live in Atlanta. My mother was devastated to hear the news. Thus, we had to move out so my father could get a better job.

We moved to a really small apartment in Columbus, Ohio in February of 2003. My grandmother came to live with us to keep us company. We lived in that apartment for a couple of months. After that, We went to live in this apartment in this neighborhood called The Heritage. It was a really nice neighborhood. I had fond memories living there, like when my sister was born and when my father brought pizza home every friday night.

Growing up, My parents have raised me to be a good muslimah (a female muslim). They taught me the Quran, took me to dugsi (a school that teaches the Quran) and taught me the Salah (the Isalmic prayer). They also taught me to be a kind and respectful human being and accept those who are different from me. I often use the Quran and Salah as coping mechanisms whenever I’m upset. I still continued on with both to this day.

It wasn’t until I was five when my mother announced that we were going to Somalia for vacation. There, I had a really good time. I played with animals, participated in dance festivals, spent time with my relatives, etc. Not only did I have a great time, but I also saw people just like me. Many people outside from my family had the same facial features (dark skin, black hair, brown eyes) and spoke fluent Somali. I spoke a lot of Somali back as a child, so seeing others speaking my second language boosted up my self esteem. It was so amazing to live in Somalia, and it was just the fact I didn’t feel like an outsider, I’m just like everyone else; a human being.

After our vacation was over, we moved back to Columbus, OH. There, my parents applied for me to attend school. I was assigned to a special education class from kindergarten to tenth grade. It was because I had autism and my parents wanted me to get extra help from my teachers. I had a pretty good relationship with most of my classmates. Many of them had very severe disabilities, ranging from non-verbal autism, Down’s syndrome, cerebral palsy, etc. I helped them out with their work and calmed them down whenever they were upset. It was an alright class.

After I was pulled out of the special education class sophomore year, my life totally changed. I made many new friends, my grades improved, etc. Many of my friends were different in so many ways, ranging from race, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, ability, etc. It was really good that they were different in so many ways. No matter who they are, they are still human beings.

In conclusion, I accept myself for who I am. I am a Afro-Somali Muslimah who has autism an am a proud asexual. I accept people despite their differences and each and every person is unique. I just wish there was more empathy and respect for those who were different. In conclusion, I love myself for who I am.

A Week in the Life

Micah Palmer’s Blog


I woke up at 1 pm today which is a bit later than I would like but I started by doing some exercise of 30 push-ups and 50 sit-ups. Not being able to go to the gym these past couple months has been a challenge especially because I was just getting used to going but I have been trying to make the most out of what I can at home. Later today I might go on a bike ride with a couple of friends to get my body moving more and to get out of the house a little bit because it looks like a nice day.


Today I woke up around 12 pm and again started my day with some push-ups and sit-ups. After that, I worked on some homework then went on a long bike ride with some friends. When I got home at night I ate dinner then played some video games then right before I went to bed I read some of my book.


Today I woke up at around 9 am because I did a zoom meeting with some friends from middle school I haven’t seen in a couple of years. It was really fun catching up with all of them and talking about our future plans. Later today I am going to do some meditation and see how it is.


Today I woke up and started with my push-ups and sit-ups then had some eggs for breakfast. Yesterday the meditation felt alright and I think I am going to try it again today. Today I am also going to work on some more homework for the week.


Today I woke up and once again started with my push-ups and sit-ups. Later today I am going to meet up with some friends just to hang out. Tonight I will probably read more of my book as well.

Whetstone Lights Up the Sky for Class of 2020

by Catherine Flanagan

This past Monday, April 20th, Whetstone along with many other Columbus City Schools, lit up the football field for 20 minutes and 20 seconds at 8:20 pm (20:20 in military time) in honor of the senior class of 2020.

Governor Mike DeWine made the decision to proceed with online education for the rest of the year, meaning that the class of 2020 has already experienced their last day of school, and that their senior year is essentially over. While they still have online school, they will not be returning to the school for classes ever again.

Everyone who went was told to stay in their car in the parking lot and practice safe social distancing. The event was live-streamed on Facebook so everyone could watch, and those at home were encouraged to turn on their porch lights to help celebrate.

There was a good turnout to the parking lot, it started with everyone reuniting with their friends, a safe distance apart, and then everyone was encouraged to drive around the parking lot in a large circle. Students and parents drove around the parking lot a few times, honking their horns, and eventually returned to their original parking spots for the last few minutes.

At 8:40 pm the stadium lights were turned off and slowly everyone made their way out of the parking lot.

Even though their final year was cut short, this event offered closure for many seniors and was a way to remember their high school experience.

Amazing Gluten/Dairy Free Pancake Recipe!

by Olivia Cobbs

Are you sick of feeling guilty and bloated after eating cheap pancake mix? Do you not eat dairy or gluten? Well look no further! This perfect dairy and gluten free pancake recipe will make you feel good and look cool! It is so incredibly easy and will take only 15 minutes out of your morning! This is also a perfect recipe to trick your kids into eating healthy. So get rid of that nasty pancake mix and let’s make something FRESH!!!

Let’s get out the ingredients!


  • 1 small banana
  • ½ cup of rolled oats
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp of cinnamon
  • ½ tsp of baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp of maple syrup

TOPPINGS (Optional):

  • Maple Syrup
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Coconut whipped cream (You can find this at Trader Joes!)

  1. Take out a smoothie blender! Put the banana, rolled oats, egg, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, vanilla, and maple syrup into the blender until the ingredients are THOROUGHLY mixed.
  2. Once the ingredients are completely mixed, get out a griddle and lightly grease it so that the pancakes don’t stick. When the pancakes are ready to flip they should have bubbles on the top and have cooked edges.

  1. The pancakes cook fast so be watchful! Once they are ready they should be golden brown and cooked all of the way through. This recipe makes about four small pancakes so it’s perfect for one hungry person! Now that all of the pancakes are finished start getting excited!
  2. Get your toppings out! Heat up some maple syrup and cut up some fresh fruit. Place on the plate as desired. Make it look fancy! UNSUPPORTED: UnsupportedElementAdd some coconut whipped cream to complete the awesomeness!
  3. Voila! You did it! Take a moment and feel great about yourself. You just made something awesome AND healthy! Now sit down and enjoy the amazing breakfast you just made. You deserve this!

Life in Pandemic: Braves Messenger Reporters discuss how Life has changed under the Stay at Home Mandate

by Catie Flanagan

Everyday, my sister and I have been going on walks. Each day I have photographed something that is interesting or positive and have used it as motivation to continue these walks. Staying inside can get boring and somewhat upsetting, so going on walks is very important

On Monday, the weather was awful. Common to most days this week, it was rainy with thunderstorms throughout the day and night. However, even though the skies were gloomy, there was a single yellow tree lighting up the whole street.

On Tuesday, the weather was about the same as Monday, but we took a look at a nearby field that was covered in deep puddles that looked like ponds all around. In this field we saw lots of geese enjoying the weather.

On Wednesday the weather finally brightened up and multiple flowers had bloomed because of the rain. We noticed in particular this small patch of purple flowers.

On Thursday we noticed bears in people’s windows. There is a neighborhood scavenger hunt going on for little kids when they go on walks, so this was our participation.

On Friday, it was again sunny and a great day to spend outside. On this day my sister and I decided to draw with some chalk instead, to hopefully brighten up someone’s day a little. 

Pick your own Quarter 4 Project!

Second Assignment of Q4:

After you have completed your 4th quarter personalized learning goals you need to pick a project for Q4. You will turn your work in every Friday and it should build upon your daily writing/video blogging/photography etc. to tell a story week by week. 

Here are four suggestions: 

Choice 1. Open up a Google Doc and share it with me. Then write in the document as a “BLOG.” You should blog several times a week. 

Choice 2. Open your camera and record yourself. Do this daily or at least 3-4 times a week for maybe 1-2 minutes. Produce a weekly product. 

Choice 3: take pictures of your world. Can’t go outside much? What are you doing at home? What do you cook/eat? What do you do to pass your time? Take a picture a day and write a short description of each photograph and connect it with an introduction/conclustion to tell a story.

Choice 4: Pitch me another idea. Don’t like these three choices? What do you want to do for Q4?

By MONDAY March 30 you should pick what you woud like to do and create a GOOGLE DOC describing to me what your plan is! Here are some links below with other high school journalists who created a VLOG about their experiences through this crazy time. You do NOT have to anything about the current Pandemnic. You can write about music, reflect on your life, interview family, friends etc. (phone/email/video interviews of course…not face to face!).

Mr. Smith