Chocolate With 70% Cacao


Lindsay Uba, Dedicated Writer


That’s what it is.

Like chocolate with 70% cacao. 

For someone who likes chocolate, bittersweet is always the best. It explodes with a sugary melody in your mouth trailing with a sharp echo. 

Leaving Westlake is the same. 

I’ve been here all three years of middle school, and each had its own flavor. 6th-grade: transitioning from Coyotes to Wolverines. 7th-grade: the start of the pandemic. 8th-grade: remote learning. 

6th-Grade: Caramel Chocolate

6th-grade was a lot of things―mainly eventful and with a tablespoon of cringe. The main event was meeting one of my best friends.

She and I had electives together, though we weren’t fully acquainted until later. At first, it started with “Hey”s and “Hi”s, then “Do you wanna hang out?” As someone who is quite awkward and shy, I was fearful of what her answer would be. I can’t explain how elated I was she agreed. I. Achieved. A new. Friend. It’s like how you bite into a piece of chocolate and an unexpected caramel blooms out. Surprising yet welcomed.

As for school, my favorite memory was in Language Arts. At first, I was miserable.

Within one hour, we had to complete a story from a passage. One. Hour. It was painful―I couldn’t think of anything. Each tick, tick, tick made my heart beat faster and my brain more scrambled. More than halfway, I scrapped it, trying to start again. “Try” is the key word.

I left class dejected.

When our teacher allowed us to redo the assignment, I came with determination. In the end, I made one of the best things I’ve written. All my blood, sweat, and tears―well, maybe not blood―went into this beautiful piece of writing. Just to remember, I opened the assignment up, and even looking at it today, I don’t think it was too bad.  Sure, there were grammar mistakes and small plot holes―but the fact that 6th-grader me wrote this, I feel like I’m on Toblerone mountain.

7th-Grade: Dark Unsweetened Chocolate

7th-grade was full of projects, experiments, and missing pencils. That year was awesome. But, like all good things, there’s always a “then” or a “but”.  For me, it was COVID.

March 13, 2020 was my last day learning in person.

Last day learning in a middle school.

I felt like I was in a time capsule, quietly viewing the craziness outside, waiting for the end. Meanwhile, my house slowly became a comfy prison: serene yet suffocating. It was a different sort of bittersweet. Or maybe it was all bitter. Either way, I couldn’t tell; everything was…muted.

8th-Grade: Chocolate Box

8th-grade was a bit different. We had Zooms compared to assignments and new faces instead of old ones. Though I have been in confinement this entire year, it has been surprisingly great. So many memories I’ve gained this year were different. This was partly because clubs entered my life.

I had WEB―where 8th graders work with 6th-graders―and though there were ups and downs, it was amazing. Through this club, I’ve gotten to meet more fantastic and spectacular people. Each and every one of them are awesome.

For NJHS―a kindness club for school and communities―I mainly helped with kindness posters and oh boy, it was kind of exciting. I mean, actual people were going to see my stuff. So of course, I had to make them punny. What better way to spread some kindness than through punniness?

Last but not least, the Newspaper Club. I first joined on a whim, swayed by parents and possible opportunities. It was the best capricious idea I’ve ever had. I’ve been able to experiment with many ideas in and out of my comfort zone. When I first published an article, I was petrified. What if nobody likes it? What if it’s hard to follow? What if…? But to my surprise, readers actually clicked on it―and actually read through. It makes me so fulfilled that people are interested in my ordinary writing. So thank you, readers.

Learning at Westlake has brought me many lessons that I’m continuing to learn.

Thank you, teachers.

Thank you, staff.

Thank you, Westlake.

Through middle school, I think I have grown. Taller, of course, but with friendships, assignments, and experiences, I have grown in a way I can’t describe. I mainly saw that happiness comes with a pinch of negativity like bittersweet chocolate comes with bitterness. Frankly, I’m still figuring things out so I’m unsure of what I’ve learned.

I have time, though, to verify, add, and delete my findings. I mean, I’ve got this upcoming summer―not to mention my entire future.

But that means I have to leave.

Leave the birthplace of my memories. Leave the people I have bonded with. Leave Westlake.

I feel bittersweet.

Like chocolate with 70% cacao.