The Blood of Ziquar: a novel by Tilden student Esme Cammarata


Esme Cammarata, a middle school student at Tilden’s Albany campus, has written a novel, The Blood of Ziquar. The teaser is sure to excite the curiosity of any fan of fantastic tales:

Long ago, a man named Ziquar brought magic into the world. He gifted his six children with shards of a gem, that, when united, would bring its wielder unspeakable power. Two people are on a quest for this gem. One–a madman, a murderer. The other, a young boy, by the name of Evan. In a world where magic is just as real as the dangers, who will live? And whose blood will be spilled?

The novel is available in paperback and for Kindle at Esme’s website and

Declaration: a Poem


A poem by Laurel Nelson
10th grade student at Tilden – Albany

This is my declaration
Not of independence,
But dependence
I depend on you
And you on me
And everyone on each other
And you can’t change that with words
Or deeds
You have touched every other person’s hand at least once
No matter how far apart
No matter the intermediaries
And you have returned that back
And no one will ever know

No one will ever know
How much we depend on one another
So I declare to the world:
Every problem is everyone’s problem
Yours are mine
And mine are yours
I cannot speak for everyone else
Truth being variable, and perspective dangerous
But we all know one thing about ourselves for which we would be persecuted
One thing we hide, consciously or unconsciously
Or one thing we cannot hide
Something inside the mind, denied but impossible to suppress
Or something on the surface, a badge of pride or shame
(Or, not xor)
That is dangerous in the wearing whichever way you wear it
Neither is a person’s sole defining factor
Neither is the thing about a person they may consider most important
But somehow, that is the only thing others see.

Continue reading Declaration: a Poem

Tilden Student Impresses Pop Star, Shawn Mendes, with her ASL skills!

Last year, Julia Villano, a student at Tilden’s Walnut Creek campus, performed the song, Never Be Alone by Shawn Mendes, using only American Sign Language (which she, of course, learned at Tilden!)

We just found out that Julia had a chance to meet Shawn Mendes and show him her video. Naturally, he loved it!

We are so proud of Julia and impressed with not only her skills in American Sign Language, but also her confidence to show the world what she can do, and share her translation with the original artist.

Jun 13, 2015

image1 (2)

Summer 2016

Shawn Mendes and Julia Villano

Project Night -by Anonymous

The night is cool, the wind brisk. As the wind blows Dr. Smith steps out onto the catwalk. The sky is dark with clouds, only the occasional star can penetrate. The facility sits around the rim of a large man made hole, about half a mile across. It goes down farther than the human eye can perceive. It narrows as it descends like a funnel. The pit is grey and dreary, like a place long since forgotten. But this hole was not forgotten. The facility surrounds the hole, buzzing with activity and light, containing three large towers that can be seen from space. It was built and created for the purpose of a single experiment; one that could change the course of the human race forever.

Dr. Smith, director of the Night project, is a short man. He has long hair, wearing glasses, and a high but not whiny voice. Born and raised in the city to a life of privilege. He was always interested in science. As a teenager he started doing experiments in physics and genetics, and it became his love. He came up with a theory, one so amazing, so strange, so different that no one had even considered it before. In the aftermath of this idea project Night was born. The funding came from an unlikely source: the United States government. The site was constructed with the utmost urgency and the hole made in record time.

All his life Dr. Smith had waited for this moment that was almost upon him. Everything was almost ready. All the work, all the research…., he hoped it had not been for nothing. In the control room of the facility he and the other scientists stood, along with a guest from the Government. “Welcome Gentleman, to the next forefront the of human race, the next step in our history” he says enthusiastically. “Now, behold!” he practically shouts. He presses the red button. Nothing happens for a few moments; moments of absolute silence. The government representative seems apprehensive and doubtful. Then the whir of engines and the hum of power. Lights start to flicker and the ground begins to shake. A beam shoots out from each tower into the bottom of the hole. The light is blinding. The shaking increases and the intensity of the noise builds into a howling crescendo, and then it stops. The power all goes out and everything is disheveled. Papers are scattered, and a look of sadness shows Dr. Smith’s face. “Well, I guess that was a failure…” he begins to say, as everything shatters. Every atom within a 4 mile radius of the hole just shatters, is torn about, every quark on its own, vaporized into pure plasma. Nothing, not even the towers survive. But the shockwave does more damage. It rushes across the continents wreaking destruction. It is the biggest disaster humanity has ever faced.

The following day the world is in ruin. The Shockwave knocked down buildings and destroyed power systems. The World is devastated but is still able to recover.

Twenty years pass. The hole is still abandoned, now made even bigger by the blast. In the center something stirs, a ball of light, a shimmer of hope: the project had worked.