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When I was… Mr. Miranda’s 2011-2012 Eighth Grade Students

Published by FastPencil


Copyright Š 2012 Marcos Miranda Published by FastPencil 3131 Bascom Ave. Suite 150 Campbell CA 95008 USA info@fastpencil.com (408) 540-7571 (408) 540-7572 (Fax) http://www.fastpencil.com No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior consent of the publisher. The Publisher makes no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this book and specifically disclaim any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. Neither the publisher nor author shall be liable for any loss of profit or any commercial damages. First Edition


This book is dedicated to the students and their families. â?§


Acknowledgments

I would like to thank our principal, Dr. Sheffield, for her support. She is a true educational leader. I especially want to thank the following students for believing so much in the project: Autum, Bailey, Brandon, Breanna, Damien, Dieumitha, Ian, Jade, Jason, Jeff, Joe, Jordan, Kennedy, Kevin, Mae, Markeyah, Mathew, Morgan, Paul, Sam, and Vanessa. I wish them all the best of luck and success in high school.


Contents Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Chapter 16 Chapter 17 Chapter 18 Chapter 19 Chapter 20 Chapter 21 Chapter 22

Introduction ....................................................................................................... ix Forward ............................................................................................................... 1 What’s wrong with people? ................................................................................... 3 When it rains, it pours ........................................................................................... 5 I was just kidding! ................................................................................................. 7 Who knows best? ................................................................................................. 9 The Principal’s Office ......................................................................................... Pink! .................................................................................................................. So! ..................................................................................................................... Why me? ............................................................................................................ Good things come to those who wait ................................................................... OMG! ............................................................................................................... Who’s got your back? .......................................................................................... Easy, Boy ...........................................................................................................

11 13 15 17 19 21 23 25

YeeHaw! ............................................................................................................ I’m No Pecos Bill ................................................................................................ Hey! .................................................................................................................. Reaching The Top ............................................................................................. All’s well that ends well ....................................................................................... Keeping my eye on the prize ............................................................................... What’s a guy to do? ............................................................................................. You’re Out! ........................................................................................................ What was all the fuss about? ................................................................................

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Introduction

What can a moment in time tell me about a student? In my 2011-2012 eighth grade classes, I started an Autobiographical Moment Project. First, the student had to create a timeline from birth till the present that represented only moments that stuck out in his/her mind for one reason or another. This in itself was a little challenging because the typical response from a kid is, “I don’t remember anything”. In the next step, the student had to choose one of those moments and create a sentence about that moment. This was the biggest challenge because the sentence had to attract more interest about their moment. This exercise involved a lot of soul searching and creative writing. Once that was done, he/she had to expand the sentence into a paragraph. This step was surprising for them because they thought they were done; they had to explain their sentence. The last step was to elaborate on the moment bringing it to about a page long. This step was the easiest because they knew they had more to say. I took some liberties with the images for each story. There is no particular order to the book. Feel free to bounce around the various chapters. This project was more than a writing exercise. On the surface, it looks like the student is demonstrating the English skills he/she learned this year. However, the project was also about knowing more about themselves and how to communicate to others what they felt. For a bunch of thirteen and fourteen year olds, the book is pretty funny, touching, and very inspiring. We all thank you very much for showing an interest in it. Now please enjoy, When I was…


1 Forward

How can you ever know someone? As a principal, I am responsible for a hundred employees and eight hundred students. It is not easy to really know someone. They say that the squeakiest wheel gets the oil. For me, those are usually the troublemakers. However, over eighty percent of the student population is doing the right thing. How can we get to know them? This is one of the many challenges a principal faces. Mr. Miranda’s various projects have helped ease some of that burden. He has helped all of us here at H. L. Watkins Middle School get a little closer to our students. In today’s quick pace world, one can easily lose touch with the essence of a person especially of a child. Projects like this one will always be relevant because they promote relationships. This is Mr. Miranda’s second book with his senior classes. Like the first book, it has proven to be very insightful as to the thinking of teenage students. The student’s interpretation of a moment in his/her life and the clever way of its presentation, makes When I was… a must read. If your child, grandchild, friend, or classmate is in the book, read his/her story. I trust that you’ll find it as funny, touching, and inspirational as I did.

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2 What’s wrong with people?

The face of discrimination appeared to me when I was 11. A white schoolgirl didn’t like me because I didn’t speak English well. I was a recent immigrant from Haiti. Even though I was polite to her, she still bullied me and made me feel dreadful. Florida was supposed to give me a better life. One day at lunch, she started to bother me yet again. I didn’t even do anything to her; I guess she just wanted to show off. I was fed up with her pushing and hitting me without getting in trouble with the teacher. I told her to shut up and stop; she did to my surprise. However, later when I went to sit down at my table, she was in my seat. I told her to get out of my seat; she refused. All hell broke lose: food flying, kids screaming, and teachers trying to separate us. From then on, she stop bothering me, but I regret that day because every school I go to, my files say that I fought someone. Sometimes people get the wrong idea about me because I fought that girl. I wish that day never happened. Dieumitha

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3 When it rains, it pours

When I was ten, I learned some new vocabulary words: Drugs, Rehabilitation, and Foster Care. It seemed like any other day, and I felt as if no one could hurt me. Yes I had knowledge of the scandalous things my mother was up to, but nothing could prepare me for what would happen later, during this ever so seemingly average day. I had been playing outside going about my usual childish activities when my mom exclaimed, “I am sick, and we’re going to the hospital!” She seemed sadder than usual. My mother was young and weighed down with personal illnesses that were too inappropriate for my young brain to be concerned with. Sitting in the waiting room was overwhelming. At my young age of ten I was quite mature, but I wasn’t even close to being prepared for what would happen next. My mother stammered out of those emergency room doors that were so foreign to me. I was definitely startled at the sight. She told me that she was really sick and would be attending treatment. Although I wish I could say that was the worst part, it wasn’t. I was being legally taken away from my mom. Later that day I was placed in a foster home. The foster home turned out to be a lovely family. They took care of my brothers and me, but the absence of my mom was prominent in my heart. I don’t deserve pity for this altercation in my life. The only thing I can wish for is that people can understand the seriousness of drug abuse, and take my story and others like mine as an example. Hopefully one day there won’t be anyone with a drug addiction out there. Is that too much to ask for? Bailey 5


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4 I was just kidding!

When I was 4 years old I lost my head to a wager. My dad and I bet that if I lost my first basketball game, I would have to shave my head bald. I lost that game. I could hear from their bedroom, the echoes of my mom’s attempts to save my hair. She came out of the room, shrugging her shoulders, mouthing the words, “Sorry Jeffrey.” Then my dad instructs, “Come in the kitchen, Boy. It’s time to pay your debt.” I sat down, and he slid from around the corner of the kitchen wall like James Brown with a sadistic smile and carnivorous clippers. The clippers angrily buzzed away my hair bit-by-bit and wave-by-wave. I was terrified, crying my eyes out until I couldn’t anymore. My dad’s Joker laugh would even have Batman cowering in a corner. After about 15 minutes, my dad showed me my new two-tone alien look —a light head with a dark face. I had planned on faking sick the next day, but my dad was hip to it all. I went to school. They laughed, and pointed at me in the morning, during lunch, and even at nap time. Some kids didn’t go to sleep just so they could laugh at me. From that day on, I’ve never bet with my dad for anything, not even a penny! Jeff

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5 Who knows best?

When I was six, I was between Heaven and Earth. It was a hot sunny day. My family decided to go to my cousin’s pool. My mom reminded me to put on sunscreen and to play on the shallower side. As soon as we got there, I ran as fast as I could and dove into the pool; it was cool and soothing. A couple of minutes later, I saw my sister and cousins swimming to the deep side. I went to join them. Halfway there (when I realized I couldn’t do this) I remembered what my mom said. I started to panic, wobble around, and tried to scream; it was too late. Water filled my mouth. My body started to feel weaker and heavier; I was sinking. The next thing I know, my mom pulls me out and begins to ask me if I’m ok. When she saw that I would live for another day, she began to drown my ears with a long lecture of, “I told you so!” Jason

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6 The Principal’s Office

When I was 7, I was perfect. It was a warm sunny Tuesday, and I was excited to go to school. I woke up at 6 AM, ate my breakfast, and went to school. I waited in the car loop for the bell to ring just like any other day. I could have been a teacher’s pet, but I wasn’t. I pretty much goofed off everyday.”Stop talking,” or “Stop with the jokes,” was the usual comments my teachers gave me. But yesterday, I made the teacher really mad. She warned me that, “I would get it.” Today, the office buzzer called for me to go to the principal’s office. My first thought was that my teacher snitched on me. However, when I came up for the hall pass to go to the office, she didn’t smirk. Instead she coldly said, “You’ll be surprise of what you’re going to get.” I wasn’t afraid; I was used to the office. I walked slowly to the office thinking of what was going to happen. I saw the principal. He was pretty preppy; he’s never like that. He said to me, “Damian, I called you to my office to give you something very special, and you’re the only one who’s getting this. You have never missed a day of school. Therefore, I am proud to give this perfect attendance certificate to you”. I was thiking, “What the….”. We shook hands, and I struted back to my class. I was happy not so much because I got the certificate but because today, I was going to make my mom and dad proud. It was an awesome day. Damien

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7 Pink!

I’m no stranger to Mr. Knife; I met him at nine years old. The doctor told me to drink some bitter pink medicine that would make me fall asleep. It was time for me to go into the room where the surgery would begin. I was a little scared since it was the first time doing this. When I entered the room, I had to put on a breathing mask; it knocked me out. I woke up in a pink body cast a few hours later and in a terrible amount of pain. After the pain medicine kicked in, I started to feel a little better. Since then, I’ve gotten use to hospitals, but I still don’t like Mr. Knife. Markeyah

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8 So!

Disney is the happiest place on Earth—NOT! When mom asked where we would like go for Spring Break, we said Disney World, as usual. I happen to love Disney World and so does my sister however, not on this time around. We had been to both the Magic Kingdom and MGM Studios and the Crystal Bridges trip was going great. We were having a swell time. Well the next day, we Museum of decided to go to Animal Kingdom instead of Epcot because my sister has American Art this love of animals. It rained. We had to stand out in the rain to see the parade; also there were long walks to get anywhere. I was of course tired and had an attitude (so I was told). When we went to get something to eat, I didn’t want to eat at the place that the rest of the family wanted to eat, so I was upset and didn’t want to eat. I got something any way. My mom and Nana started fussing at me saying that I should lose my attitude. I was thinking to myself, “What attitude? This sucks.” So in a small act of unjust karma, Splat! A bird crapped on my head. My mom, sister and Nana started laughing so hard they were crying. I was crying too because it wasn’t funny! Then they started calling me doo doo girl the rest of the trip and just laughing every time they looked at me. Darn Animal Kingdom! Kennedy

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9 Why me?

When I was 10, I learned that, “Surprise”, doesn’t always put a smile on one’s face. We were coming home from a visit to my Aunt Susan’s house. Half way home my dad told me there was a surprise waiting at home for me. “Really?” I was hopeful, yet this wasn’t like my dad. We finally arrived home. Barking, was a usual greeting, but when I heard the door scratching and clawing of twelve little puppies, my heart sank with a terrible feeling. Surprise! The smell was awful. It hit me like a ton of bricks. Some how the puppies had gotten out of their enclosure. The dozens of piles of poop and pee were toxic minefields. We quickly left, speeding to the closes Wal-Mart. Dad told me to gather the supplies my brother and I would need for the disaster area and rushed home. I was in charge of poop and pee disposal, “Yuk!” My brother was in charge of general clean up and deep cleaning the carpet. About four hours later, we were finally finished. One more thing we bought at WalMart, better locks. Brandon

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10 Good things come to those who wait

The snook that I hooked but couldn’t cook almost didn’t happen. I waited impatiently for my dad to get home from a long shift at work. He ended up working late, and the next day, the weather was iffy. Shish, is it so hard to just do a little fishing with my dad? Finally, we were able to go. I could hardly stand still, but I almost blew it because I was bugging my dad so much. At last he said, “We need to rig up the rods”. I knew what that meant from the fishing shows, but I had no idea that it would take so long. After the rods were done, I thought we were on our way to fish, but the first stop was the bank. Apparently we needed money. I started to feel like this was a cruel joke. After almost forever, my dad said one more stop. Ugh! It was a bait and tackle shop. This was actually kind of cool with the plethora of fishing materials. My dad said I could pick out the bait. I remembered my mom’s words, “Don’t come home unless you catch some dinner”. My dad taught me to do some chumming, which was to throw some shrimp and mullet out. Before long, I saw some tarpon jumping around. I told my dad I wanted to catch one and he said, “Good luck”. I did hook one, but it got away. After hours of losing most of our bait, I got a hit. Right then and there, I knew this was going to be the first catch of my life. I caught a 35-inch snook, over 25 pounds! I was ecstatic and almost fell in the water. After I landed him, I wanted to cook him, but my dad sadly informed me we couldn’t keep it because it was over the legal size. Even though I was disappointed that I couldn’t cook him, I was extremely happy to have caught my first fish with dad. Samuel

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11 OMG!

When I was five, I stared into the eyes of a beast. My mom and I went on a nature trail at Juniper Springs in Ocala National Forest. My mom and I were exploring a trail. The trail split into a fork. We chose the trail to the left. A few yards into the trail through some trees, I saw it, the dark brown eyes of a Big Black Bear! I was frozen until I busted out crying. I ran behind my mom. My mom said its ok, that they were more afraid of us. I quiet down. We started to take pictures, but it walked away from us. I will never forget that moment when a beast let me live. Matthew

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12 Who’s got your back?

When I was eight, I found out that love could turn into hate in an instant. My family has a history of owning pets, specifically Rottweilers. We got Jake when I was only two years old. Jake and I connected instantly. When I was eight, my father decided to get another dog. Mom thought it was a bad idea from the get go, but dad didn’t listen. He got a new female Rottweiler named Sadie. She was extremely shy, yet she would let you pet her. It was on a weekend when Sadie attacked me. Mom was at work, and Dad and Jasmine were in the front-yard talking to the neighbors. I was in the house hanging out with the dogs and watching Kim Possible. I got up to get a drink; Sadie jumped up and bit me on my face causing my eye to almost pop out of the socket. Jake saw me on the floor, and he attacked Sadie by grabbing her by her neck and throwing her to the ground. Dad had heard me screaming. Dad described my scream as “ blood-curdling”. Dad sat me up, looked at my eye, and called mom. Mom got to the house in ten minutes, open the firstaid kit, cleaned my wounds, and took me to the Hospital. Dad had gotten the choke chain leash and put it on Sadie. Sadie was taken to the Animal Care Unit to get euthanized. Mom told me that once a dog has the taste of blood in its system, it will attack again without any restraint. Mom let Jake sleep in my bed with me that night. I’m thankful that I have Jake. I knew that he loved me and that I can trust him no matter what. Jade

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13 Easy, Boy

When I was ten, I became a horse whisperer. I went to my barn on a Friday night. I looked for all the horses but saw none. I soon made my way over to the pasture, but no one was in it either. All the horses were in their stalls, but no heads were sticking out saying, “Pick me.” Out of nowhere I heard a faint neigh. It came from two stalls that sat by themselves. One horse, a reddish brown and white paint named Sox, stuck out his head. “Erica can I ride Sox?” I said hoping for Sox’s owner to say yes. “Sure, just let him roll before you tack him up and…” “I know,” I interrupted her, ”Keep him away from the other horses when riding,” “Very good,” Erica said confident in me. “Thank you!” I said excitedly. I walked over to Sox’s stall. “Hey boy,“ I said gently. I grabbed his hunter-green halter with green little gems and the orange lead rope that was attached to it. The chains rattled as I unlock the squeaky gate. I opened it just enough to get in. Sox perked his ears forward like he was excited to go out but not trying to push me out of the way. I patted him gently on the neck showing him that I wasn’t going to hurt him. When I touched him, his coat was soft, and I felt a connection between us like we were supposed to be together. I smiled; he looked at me like he had felt this connection as well. I took his brown leather crib collar; it kept him from chewing on wood. After taking it off, I slipped the huntergreen halter on him. I pushed the gate open all the way, the chains rattled and the gate squeal once more. We walked out of the stall, and he walked next to me like a champion. We rode off, connected forever. Breanna 25


14 YeeHaw!

When I was 11, rednecks thought I was weird. We were vacationing in North Carolina. Sledding down snow covered hills with my cousins was pretty exciting. Some parts of the mountain were frozen with a little layer of snow on top. I started to slide down those parts on my back and stomach. We slid for hours until we got hungry. We drove back into town to a little burger place. We sat down and ordered. That’s when I noticed my clothes felt wet. Trapped snow was melting in my seven layers of clothes. I took off my heavy jacket and hung it on the back of an empty chair to dry then I squished-squashed to the restroom to take off the next five layers, but it was occupied. So, I began to take the layers of clothes off in the hallway. That’s when I noticed that every redneck in the restaurant was looking at me. I walked back to the table feeling very embarrassed with arms full of wet clothes. I sat down with my last wet layer on. Lunch finished up fine, but the run back to the car through the snow in wet clothes was freezing. Now, when I go back to that place, the rednecks that work there look at me as if they’re afraid that I might start taking off my clothes again. Go figure. Ian

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15 I’m No Pecos Bill

When I was eight, a tornado spared my life. My family and I were on our way up to Ohio for the summer to stay with my ill grandmother. Although the weather was fair most of the time we spent on the road, there was one day when the clouds above us grew dark and thick. Worried about the weather, my parents decided to stop at a gas station and check the news. The weather channel spoke of tornados farther west; my parents were worried. Since the tornados weren’t expected to reach to close to us, my father and mother decided to continue on and hope for the best. About an hour after leaving the gas station, we noticed the clouds down the road coming low into a sharp V shape. My father recognizing that is was a tornado forming stopped the car. While my memory is slightly blurred, I do remember holding on to my mother’s hand as we ran across a field to a small grouping of trees. I was so sacred. When we came out of the trees, I saw that our car was pushed about forty feet down the road with the back window busted and a couple of flat tires. I’m surprise I’m alive to tell the story. Paul

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16 Hey!

When I was eight, I went one on one with the biggest, tallest, and dumbest, kid in school, Jason Richardson. It was the first day of school and everything was going great until this gigantic kid with a deep voice and a slight mustache walked in. I had a sense it wasn’t going to go right with this kid. That day, he was assigned Line Leader and me Door Holder which meant that I would have to sniff his butt for a whole week since Door Holders have to walk behind Line Leaders. So, I held the huge brown classroom door and watched as everyone passed by. When we got to the cafeteria, I held the blue door and once again watched as the class went by. I started to think, “This isn’t so bad. I don’t have to sniff his butt for too long”. When we returned from lunch, this big freak-show tried to hold the classroom door like it was his job. In a split second, I pushed him with all my might. He sent me flying into the girl behind me. I got back up and swung at him, but the teacher grabbed me and stopped the whole fight. She told the class to go in the classroom. Gigantor and I stayed out as she gave us the You Shouldn’t Fight speech. She made us say sorry, but I didn’t mean it. Do you believe the teacher made us stand in different corners of the classroom for the rest of the day? When I got home that day, my mom asked how was the first day of school. I said, “Great”, and it was because Big Foot never messed with me again. Autum

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17 Reaching The Top

When I was seven years old, I was above it all. My family and I were in beautiful Seattle, Washington, home of rainy days and the colossal Space Needle. I remember parking the car and tilting my head way back to see the top of this gigantic building. Being inside was even more overwhelming; seeing all the people crowding in the elevator to get up to the best part of the tower. It was a long wait to reach the top, not to mention it wasn’t the most comfortable position to be in. This place was crowded, hot, extremely noisy, and I was desperate for a bathroom after drinking a huge cup of iced tea. But with all the discomfort I was feeling, and after using the bathroom, it was completely worth it to finally reach the top. I believe that was the highest I have ever been, other than being on an airplane. However, the best part was the view. It took my breath away. There were binoculars posted all over to get a closer look at everything, but I liked standing there and seeing everything as a whole. It made me feel as if I was on top of the world! I could see the top of buildings that were amazingly far away. And to top it all off, the gorgeous city lights were glistening as if they were stars in the sky. It was extremely beautiful. The Space Needle was a great experience. It is something I will never forget. Mae

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18 All’s well that ends well

When I was seven, I found out how unforgiving concrete can be. I was bored, impatient, and trapped at afterschool chorus practice. The day was never ending. After finally being released and getting home, I hopped out of the car and jumped on my skateboard. I slowly began to roll down the drive. I was happy for about 10 seconds because suddenly the sidewalk jumped up and smacked me in the face. The next two seconds were not even of my realization. I found myself lying face first on the ground with my left arm tucked under my toppled-over body. I had to have been lying there for a good minute till I finally comprehended the situation and forced myself to get up from the concrete. I realized the absence of feeling in my left arm. I ran to my mom screaming. My mom noticed the unpleasant shape that my arm had been crushed into and ran me into the car along with my older sister. We raced to the emergency room where we had to bounce via ambulance to a different hospital. They had given me a shot for me to pass out while they cracked my arm back into place, but unfortunately, I had regained consciousness before they had done so. I had to live through the moment. I was taken home with a soft cast. I got to stay home for about a week until my arm healed a bit and was put into a harder cast. Of course as a kid, I was really excited to show every one my broken arm and got everyone to sign my cast. Though it was a horrible and terrifying incident, in the end, I was able to laugh and brag about my broken bone story to my skateboard friends. Joe

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19 Keeping my eye on the prize

So much pain all because of SpongeBob! Everyone in class was discussing the SpongeBob episode I missed last week. I was determined not to miss another! It was the end of the school day, and I was sitting at my desk all packed up and ready to go to catch the next episode. My teacher always lectured us about not running out the door at the bell’s dismissal, but my mind was set on watching that show! I had no time to go over safety. My plan was to get up and go! The minutes felt like hours. Finally, I heard that beautiful sound “Ding!” I was off. Then suddenly, Bang, Crash! I was on the floor with a broken wrist. I had forgotten to open the door. I started hollering with pain! Everything became a blur. My teacher couldn’t help but laugh at my stupidity. She helped me up and tried to hide her laughter. She took the opportunity to say, “See class- this is why we don’t run when the bell rings!” She escorted me down the hall and walked me over to the car loop. My mom ran out the car when she saw her baby was hurt. She sped all the way to the hospital. Throughout this whole ordeal, I was still determined to watch SpongeBob! When the nurse took me in, I asked if she could put on the episode I was so eager to watch. I crossed my fingers (well, not really), and she replied “Sure thing, sweetie” (I was nine and irresistible). After everything I went through, I finally got to watch it! By the time the doctor was done wrapping up my cast I had the biggest smile on my face. Kevin

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20 What’s a guy to do?

To pee or to play, the answer is so simple. There were many activities to carry out in class, but the only thing I liked to do was to get onto the computers. Many other students liked to go onto the computers too which was a big problem for me. Every student would have at least 15 minutes to go on to computers, and all of the computers were in use! To kill some time, I read a book. It seemed like it took hours just for one student to get off one of the computers, but it was finally my turn to get on. That’s when I realized that I had to go to the restroom! I didn’t want to go to the restroom because if I did someone else would take my seat; I would have to wait all over again. I got onto one of the computers and started playing. Five minutes into it, the floodgates were about to open; I just let it all out. Nobody noticed. I kept playing for the remaining 10 minutes. After I got off the computer, my pants kind of dried off. I felt like I just walked away from a crime scene without a trace. I did feel bad for the person who was going to be stepping in my puddle of pee. Hey, I was six; what was I to do? At the end of the day, I went home and took a nice warm bath. Jordan

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21 You’re Out!

Why does 100% hurt so much? It was a normal 3rd period gym day; I was twelve. After our prerequisite laps outside, we chose teams to play softball. After about 10 to 15 minutes, the score was 5-3; my team was winning. Two outs on the batting team, and oh how I wanted to get the next person out. The next batter was a big guy. I took my eye off the ball for second when I suddenly heard everybody yelling, “Get the ball, Vanessa!” The batter was a fast runner. The only way I knew to get him out was a full forced run to stomp on home plate. The runner and I were in a battle to the death. Just as I stepped on home plate, he slid in. His feet slid into mine knocking me off the ground and into the air. I have a vague memory of people laughing at me while I was in dreadful pain. What was so funny? I was hurt. Anyway, I got him out. That stupid decision to run to home plate left me four bruised ribs and a torn muscle in my left shoulder. It also left me worried and terrified that one wrong move and that muscle would tear more, and surgery would be needed. For a whole week I worried about tearing that muscle. But you know what? (This) was all part of giving it 100%. Vanessa

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22 What was all the fuss about?

When I was eleven, I got a crash course in downsizing. Not only was I entering middle school for the first time, it was a primarily black school. This was a life-changing day. I had to leave my racial comfort zone. I went through new obstacles that I never been faced with before. It wasn’t easy nor was it fun. The straw that broke the camel’s back was leaving my friends. This had to be by far the scariest day of my life. I kissed my parents, and they wished me good luck. I hesitated taking the next step, but I breathed in deeply and continued toward the jet-black gates. As I approached the quickly filling courtyard of new “faces”, I began to panic and turn colors. I made it to homeroom. But to my surprise, the teacher was very nice and this happened with just about every other teacher. However, I didn’t know what I would be getting into at lunch. “Uh-Oh”. As I entered the crowded cafeteria with people that didn’t look much like me, I felt myself almost loosing my cool. But then a group of girls from earlier in the day waved over and invited me to sit with them. We laughed and talked about the fresh new dramas. Middle school wasn’t as bad as everyone said it was going to be especially at this one. I couldn’t stop raving about it to my parents. As nervous as I was for the first day, I was so excited to return! Morgan

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When I was...