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Welcome to Magna Opus! Since the beginning of Houston Christian High School, students have earned many awards in various educational and community competitions for their outstanding visual art and literary works. HC students, parents, faculty, staff, and visitors have the pleasure of viewing these extraordinary pieces which are showcased throughout the campus. This magazine highlights a fraction of the creations produced by our creative students throughout the school year. Magna Opus provides an outlet for student voices and visions and the opportunity for collaboration between departments, teachers, students, and staff members. The publication of an actual product that showcases the high caliber of art and writing from our students also provides the opportunity for real-world learning that many students can take with them as they move on to college and beyond in their careers. The Visual Arts, English, and Marketing & Communications departments, as well as students from visual arts and English, worked together on Magna Opus with a focus on encouraging: •

Students to articulate and vocalize a Christian worldview

A collaborative approach to education (students and teachers are co-authors in the learning process)

Students to develop real-world leadership skills (learn how to work with peers and superiors)

Dialogue between students and the greater community

We hope you enjoy these exceptional pieces.

Writing Editorial Staff

Art Editorial Staff

Faculty Contributors

Katie Garbarino - Editor-in-Cheif

Logan Zoelle - Head Art Editor

Michelle Sorak - Director of Marketing and Communications

Katherine Allison - Editor

Mary Evans Atwell - Editor Linda Harvard - Art

Jordan Dickinson - Editor

Kevin Chin - Editor Susan Henson-Perry - Writing Patricia Jonesi - Photographer and Layout Consultant Lana Roland - Art (Pottery and Ceramics)

1


“To make my writing style

The Pie Fight

unique, I used repetition to

It all started with pie.

“I wasn’t Lilith! I was just getting some Sprite! Calm down,” I said.

I was spread out on my bed. The moon shined through the

That made her even more angry. It wasn’t even her pie! She got up quickly from the couch, and stomped over to where I was

display the main point that

window, creating a dim light. Deciding to stay safely in my room, I surfed

I was making. Also, I used a

the only ones home, and I had decided to avoid her. She was in a horrible

metaphor to relate the main

the uninteresting web to keep my mind from rambling. Lilith and I were mood because her dog had just been diagnosed with a disease that could result in death. More importantly, our relationship was dying as tediously

Shoot! She must have seen my reflection in the window. The window seemed to smile evilly as it gave me away to Lilith.

standing. I prepared myself for her incoming insults.

“Don’t lie to me! I saw you reaching for it in the window!” She practically screamed in my face.

I could imagine steam coming out of her ears her face was so red. The only thing I could think of saying was, “I’m not lying, Lilith.

You’re just mad and overreacting because of your dog.”

“No I’m not! All you do is lie, lie, lie! You don’t even care about my dog. Just yesterday you were joking about giving my dog the

antagonist to a monster

as her dog. We were best friends and enemies.

throughout this whole piece.”

drab room. The dull colors of my walls did not pop out at me like the bright-

a rat. Her hair had almost fallen off completely due to the disease, and she had decided to create a mess everywhere in the house. Her

red, vibrant color of my parents’ room. I heard the monotonous ticking

nails had appeared longer because of the hair loss right at her toes. Was it right to make that joke? Deciding the best thing to do was to

noise of the fan, while its blades created great shadows on the wall. My

apologize, I told her I was sorry.

mouth tasted bland, and my stomach seemed to grumble every second,

“You never even take care of your dog! I have to take her out every single day, and you don’t even care! She might as well be mine,” Lilith

warning me that it needed food soon. Curiosity and hunger overtook me,

spat in my face.

abby shearer

Lying back on my uncomfortable purple pillow, I scanned my

“shot of death”!” she fumed.

I thought about the moment yesterday when I had said that. Seinfeld and I were making fun of her dog because she looked like

so I decided to sneak downstairs to get a snack. The door loudly creaked

I glanced over at my dog lying calmly on the couch while Lilith blew up like a flame that was too close to gasoline. I tried to stand firm, and

open, as I slowly pushed it. A column of light created a pathway in the

not crumple on the ground, and start to cry shocked tears. Our relationship was dying because of her dog.

hallway. I crept downstairs on the tips of my toes, trying to be as quiet as

“You know, I never asked you to do any of that. I do it myself, and you can just stop taking her out if you are making such a big deal about

possible. The floorboards squeaked with every step I took, and seemed

it!” I yelled at her, trying to give the same amount of force.

to become louder as I finally reached the bottom of the stairs.

I was shaky in saying my words, and the look in her eyes told me she knew I was weak. In the next moment, she slammed down the snack

I peeked over the railing and saw Lilith watching a show on TV

box I was holding, put her hand on me, and ferociously pushed me back into the counter. My back slammed hard against the marble, and

that was turned on loud volume. Her face was distorted and grumpy.

I looked up to see Lilith closer to my face than she has ever been. She had a wild look. Eye’s popping, face red, nostrils flaring, cheeks

Glancing around, her eyes detected every movement or sound. She

bulging; she looked like someone evil. Jabbing her finger on my chest, her putrid breath surrounded me. A monster.

looked like a predator looking for her prey.

The smell of popcorn drifted through the air, luring me to the

kitchen.

“Be glad I haven’t sent you to the emergency room,” she whispered in my ear. “I could kill you right now,” she said slowly, her

snake-like tongue forming every word. She had never been this angry before. I inched myself away from her, and passed the long-forgotten snack box on the floor. “I’m calling

Slowly, I made my way downstairs, carefully watching the ways

Alaina to tell her what you did,” she said to me.

her head turned. The jingle from a collar rang through my ears as I

“I didn’t even do anything! You can tell her that you tried to kill me if you want. I’m sure Alaina will enjoy that,” I sneakily added.

accidentally tripped over a black chubby cat. I crept the secret way to the

I sprinted upstairs, taking my dog with me, leaving the monster’s lair. I could hear her screaming at Alaina through the phone, telling her

kitchen, trying not to go through the living room where Lilith’s lair was. I

a fake story. More lies. Why was she doing this? I locked my door, unsure if my sister still wanted to kill me, and quietly waited in my room

opened the fridge door, and glanced at the big, sweet cherry pie that was

for Alaina and Seinfeld to come home. Now dark, my room was sullen. The once dull colors, now looked depressing. My dog stared at

right in my view. My mouth was drooling, and I could already sense the

me with sad eyes as if she knew what had happened and she could feel my pain.

delicious taste of it. Beginning to reach for it, I heard a low growl.

I was alone.

“Alice! You better not be reaching for my pie!” Lilith yelled at me.

Finally, they were home. I heard the door slam as Alaina and Seinfeld walked in, and could hear Lilith’s scheming voice sweetly greeting them. She was Delilah. Not wanting to open my door because of the squeaky sound, I listened to their muffled voices. After about fifteen minutes of my ear plastered on the door, I could hear Alaina coming up the stairs. I sprinted to my bed and leapt in, making it look like I had been in bed the whole time. Alaina slowly opened the door and peeked in. “Alice? Are you awake?” She whispered as she turned on the lights. “I am now,” I grumpily said as I stretched my arms. “I heard you and Lilith had a little fight,” she stated, her eyes searching mine. “Don’t believe anything Lilith says! She’s crazy and needs to be sent to a mental institution!” I blurted out.“ All I did was reach for a pie and then my sister blew up for no reason and started talking about her dog and she pushed me and yelled at me and told me she was going to kill me,” I rambled on as frustrated tears spilled from my eyes.

“Ok, Ok, calm down. I think we need to have a family meeting,” she said calmly. (Continued on Page 86)

2

3


“Colors are not just

Don’t Be a Slug

simple. They come

“What did Moe Syzlak call Marge Simpson,” he asked. “What

is the name of the cinema in Springfield?” These are the funny, random

in numerous shades

type of questions you would not expect to hear during the middle of

“If you try hard you really can succeed.”

football practice, but these are the questions asked by Coach Roberts,

and values like the

one of the most influential people in my life. Although his speeches often

various shades of nude

seemed irrelevant, without them I know I would be a lot worse off than I am now. During my middle school years, Coach Roberts would ask me,

combining to become

“Do you want to be a slug the rest of your life, or are you willing to work hard to be someone?” This was his idea of inspiration, but it made me

adam dole

the skin in the portrait.”

realize that being a slug would be my worst possible fate, so working hard to be someone became my personal credo.

As a seventh grader, I was overcome with feelings of intimidation

when I first met Coach Roberts. Casting a shadow over my four foot eleven inch frame, he stood six foot five inches tall. He was mostly bald, and what hair he did have was shaved close against his head in military style. Although his waistline had expanded and his belly hung over his belt due to years of being unable to work out because of an injury, he was as strong as an ox. His piercing blue eyes softened his appearance and made him look younger than his years. His clothes were not coordinated like all the other coaches in their fashionable Nike shirts and coaching shorts; instead, he wore extra large, wild printed colorful Hawaiian shirts, khakis, and out-of-style tennis shoes.

Coach Roberts’s personality was as wacky as his exterior. The

list of adjectives to describe his character includes funny, honest, caring, and intense. He was always there with an encouraging word and helpful idea for how to improve our game. Sometimes at football practice and games, he was too intense to the point of a fault, but looking back I realize that he was trying to keep about forty rambunctious twelve-year-olds focused and on task, which could not have been an easy job. Just when I thought he was about to come down hard on us, he would do something weird and funny that broke the tension. His favorite TV shows were “The Simpsons” and “Green Acres”, and he often asked us questions about these shows that would relieve us from having to run a “gasser”, (Continued on Page 80)

hannah shearer 4

5


The Importance of Awareness

In Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, the Ghost of Christmas

“I just want readers to

Present opens the folds of his robe and reveals to Scrooge two wretched

understand that ignorance

Scrooge to be wary of the two children. Scrooge must especially be wary

is not bliss and that being

a sobering sentiment when one considers that the simple state of not

aware isn’t just for the top-tier students.”

alaina urbankte

children. They are Ignorance and Want, born of Man. The Ghost warns of Ignorance for the Ghost sees the word doom written upon the boy. It’s knowing can lead to death or destruction. While it certainly won’t be on a Hallmark greeting card anytime soon, it is just as poignant as those inky balls of fluff plastered on paper. It is in light of this that I have chosen my core value: awareness.

Charles Dickens was making a social statement.

He was

asserting that people, especially the more affluent, should not turn a blind eye to the needy. What was true for Victorian times is true today. The world’s reality today is a global one. With modern technology, natural barriers are eradicated and people may communicate across the corners of the globe. Of course, the free exchange of ideas also means the free exchange of problems. Consider the unrest in the Middle East. The United States is heavily involved in Middle Eastern affairs. Our men are in Afghanistan and in Iraq. Now, we are considering involving ourselves in African affairs, perhaps sending troops to Libya. We may be an ocean away, but globalization is making their problems our problems.

So, what does one do when confronted with a problem? At the

very least, one should be aware that there is a problem. Unfortunately, I have seen behavior to the contrary, especially among my generation. From what I have observed, they seem to be proud of their ignorance. It borders on anti-intellectualism. It certainly is quite easy to get caught up in the daily grind and become unaware. This isn’t the ignorance I’m talking about. What’s disturbing is when people make a conscious choice to remain ignorant. With that choice, the actions of the past continue in present; Victorian problems transcend time to become American problems.

This prospect of ignorance becomes even scarier when one

considers it in light of increasing technology. Our geographic isolation is (Continued on Page 80)

“I don’t paint or draw based on a technique or with a scale, I just paint or draw and work with what it turns out to be.”

anna boucher 6

7


Are Prison Bars Enough?

the problem. In reality it is still very difficult to receive the death penalty. To receive the death penalty twenty-eight different procedures

Take a second, look at the person passing by you. Look at the

must be completed (Sharp). A jury of twelve must ALL pronounce the plaintiff guilty. Even after the plaintiff is found guilty, he will enter an

“My writing can sometimes be

person in the car next to you. Look outside your window. Has the person

appeals process and this process could take up to eleven years. (Sharp). This process is intended to protect us from the chance that

in the car next to you been convicted of six

an innocent person is executed but these steps are not enough for the critics of the death penalty. So the people that try to proclaim that

aggressive just because it can

murders and sentenced to life in prison, only to get released fifteen years

killing innocent lives is a high risk when dealing with the death penalty are very incorrect. However, since I think we should do everything

later? Has the man that lives in the “haunted” old house on the corner

possible to make sure the legal system does not make a mistake, I would propose to you a compromise solution that would keep the

of your street raped and killed three kids? It is quite possible that this

death penalty option but provide more certainty on convictions. I believe that there has to be conclusive and solid evidence of the murders

could be the case. There is only one way to make sure that you or your

to convict and sentence someone the death penalty. Cases like Anthony Graves should not be considered for such a punishment

family do not fall victim to another act of violence from these criminals.

because the only thing linking him to the crime was a witness report of a criminal. But cases such as the brutal Tucson shooting (Jared

Putting them behind bars is not enough. Bars maybe iron, but iron rusts.

Loughner entered a political rally and killed six people, including a seven year-old girl and shot a Congress woman in the head critically

Prison sentences maybe for life, but life in jail may turn into only fifteen

wounding her) should be a prime candidate for a quick and certain conviction and sentencing. The shooting took place in a public place

years due to “good behavior” and overcrowded jails. But no murderer

and Loughner was seen by hundreds committing the crime. There is no question that Jared Loughner committed this horrible act. Not

can escape death and go on to to kill more innocent people. The death

sentencing this man to death and avoiding the cost of a long appeal process and incarceration would be irresponsible and present both a

penalty is the only way we can ensure that innocent lives are not taken

threat to the U.S population from another psychopath that wanted to make a statement and be a drain on taxpayers. Horrible crimes like

by these heinous, inhuman, and gruesome murderers. Crime in states

this should not go unpunished regardless of Loughner’s mental state. If we took away the death penalty, then he could easily just stay in

like New York, which has just recently adopted the death penalty, has

jail for twenty years and get out and go on to kill more innocent lives.

dropped by more than 22% (Pataki). Statistics show that the mere threat

of a death penalty is a crime deterrent, not just a punishment. Since 1967

said that the punishment for murder is death. Matthew 26:52 says “Put away your sword. Jesus said to him. For those who draw the sword

we have only put to death one person for every 1600 murders (Sharp).

will die by the sword” (Sharp). Protecting the innocent is not just the duty of a police officer or a judge and jury; it is your duty as a human

That’s a lot of murderers who are either waiting for their release from jail

being on this great earth. I don’t think it is fair that a criminal’s relatives get to visit them in jail, when the loved ones of the innocent have

or murderers who are still on the streets cutting innocent people’s throats.

to put flowers in front of a headstone (Pataki). What if Anthony Shawcross had been stopped? What if our justice system had ended the

Implementing capital punishment will protect people from murderers like

story there? Oh no, but he might be innocent.

Arthur Shawcross, who slayed two innocent lives and was only given

Think about it. Is it innocent to take a life of an innocent soul? To steal his last breath. To not only let his light go out, but to turn it off for

a fifteen-year sentence. White collar criminals that steal money from

good.

people sometimes get more than fifteen years. Unfortunately, Arthur

be so raw at times. I think that is why it is unique.”

alex duck

With all of the benefits of the death penalty, I can’t see why you would not want to protect innocent lives. Jesus Christ himself

Is that innocent?

Shawcross was released and went on to kill again. Losing one innocent life is bad enough, but letting the criminal go with just a slap on the wrist is unacceptable. This is especially true when the answer is so simple. It is clear that having capital punishment as part of the consequences can make a difference in protecting innocent lives.

The people who are against the death penalty usually oppose it

under the grounds that the risk is too great that a jury would convict and sentence to death an innocent person. While I am aware that our justice system is sometimes flawed, taking away the death penalty will not fix

8

9


A Decision Worth Making

You’re alone. How did you end up this way? You don’t know

“I wanted to express feelings

a lot, but what you know for sure is that it will remain that way. Your

about the death penalty and

No visitation, except to her grave. No last words, unless in a prayer. No

how severe and permanent it

crime she was accused of; there was no evidence against her. Without

mother, and only guardian, has been taken away from you permanently. last embrace, maybe only in a dream. You know she didn’t commit the

is, especially when the person

a chance to defend herself, she was gone with a siren, flashing red, blue

accused might be innocent.”

more she could do than to sit defenseless, listening to the charges against

amanda brown

be put on Death Row, all she could think about was how she would never

and white lights, and screams to be set free. In trial, there was nothing her, a brutal murder of someone she did not know. As she was driven to get to see you again because of someone else’s crime. As poisonous liquid trickled down her throat with a sharp pain, her lone child was the only, and last, thing on her mind. Is this you? Would you want it to be? Because of the death penalty, your loved ones could be taken away even when they are not deserving of any punishment at all.

The death penalty should be abolished because the legal

system can never be 100% sure of the guilty. In most cases, the death penalty is a fair and just punishment, but there have been cases where the innocent have had their lives taken from them, even when there is no evidence against them. Just ask Anthony Graves, who was on Death Row for twelve of the eighteen years he spent in prison under false accusations for the brutal murder of a family of six. Behind the research, there was no motive or physical evidence, only the testimony from the man who committed the crime himself, Robert Carter. Although Carter had told his attorney Charles Sebesta that it really was him who committed the murder, “Sebesta never shared that exculpatory tidbit with them, even though required to do so” (Pitts). However, this is true because the innocent die because of a faulty legal system. Imagine you are in the above situation, and your only guardian was taken away from you on false evidence that should not have been enough. You would not want anyone to suffer through what happened to you, and you probably wouldn’t even want the family of a criminal to go through that either. (Continued on Page 80)

“I wanted this piece to represent the conscience of a hunter, as he sits before a fire and sees images of the animals he has killed while hunting.”

sarah ott 10

11


“I would like readers to come to realize how important forgiveness is in our lives, and how peace comes from settling tension between your peers.”

ariana morgan

“Mrs Harvard helps me

Dear Shakespeare, There is something to be said about a heart that forgives. It is not cold, nor is it prone to judgment, but rather it is blessed. It is through your words that I have come to understand this truth. In your work, The Merchant of Venice you not only told me a story, but you taught me something special about life and giving grace. I remember the first time I experienced the power of forgiveness. When I was five years old as I played with my older brother outside, we got into out first big fight. Looking back, I don’t even remember why we were angry at each other. My mother, a woman so full of wisdom and patience, heard us yelling and broke up our quarrel, sending each of us to our rooms. She spoke to each of us privately, and told us that we should go and apologize to the other. Her words were as promising as those of Portia’s, for she assured us that doing so would benefit us both, the giver and the receiver. She guaranteed that apologizing would settle our hearts and make us feel better again. My brother, being more mature and having a greater sense of pride than my five-year-old self, left it up to me. I do not know why I gave in, but I walked into my brother’s room and sat down next to him. He was playing, and even though he took notice of my presence, he never looked up at me. I sat there looking at him for a few minutes, but eventually, I mustered up the willpower to apologize. He looked up at me then, and his big blue eyes did not seem so angry anymore. I asked him for forgiveness, and he said he forgave me. He wrapped me in a hug and he told me he was sorry too. I told him that I forgave him and that I still loved him no matter what. How could I not, he was my brother and my best friend. I remember he smiled at that. Both of us learned something about forgiveness that day, but as time went by, the special moment we had shared passed out of my memory. However, playing a small role in The Merchant of Venice my freshman year brought back that past. Portia’s mercy speech reminded me what a beautiful feeling it is to extend and experience mercy. Portia’s words are forever engraved into my heart because of the beauty with which you expressed it. Through your words, I’ve learned that one who gives mercy is filled with the grace of God. Portia engages us with her soft words and conveys something of God’s heart when she says, mercy “droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath” (4.1). Isn’t this how the giver of mercy is blessed in addition to the recipient? I believe it to be true with all my heart. I am so grateful for your gentle reminder of what mercy is truly all about. Thanks also for your humbling reminder that without God’s mercy we would have no salvation. With Regards, Ariana Morgan

with everything I create. She is a great teacher and really encourages herstudents to think outside the box.”

erin miller 12

13


The Promise of a Passport

and what each one teaches me.

I believe in travel. I believe in planes, trains, boats, cars --

Travel reveals abounding similarities over emphatic differences. Through the language barriers and cultural differences, I see

“There is so much out there to

anything that takes me beyond where I am right now. To stay where I am

much of myself in the people I meet. The shop owner in Monticchiello, Italy shared my love of color; the student in Oxford, England, my

is to leave this world unaffected by and unaware of the people who share

desire to learn; the musician in Saint Malo, France, my passion for discovery. These similarities remind me that the world is my family, and

discover about other cultures,

my home. On the other hand, to travel beyond my origin is to grow as a

to meet my family, the people who share my home and are much like me, is my ultimate desire. Around every corner lies a conviction that

but during your travels you

person, to discover what makes me who I am as a member of the family

far away from my origin, I can find something familiar.

of people from every continent, country, and city.

can also find things out about

Travel turns a vacation into an experience. While vacations

encounter is the greatest gift. Rather than resisting the challenges of a new place, I let them affect me. I let the language, the people, the

often consist of laying on a beach, shopping with friends, and seeing the

cities change me. I discover that patience is indeed a virtue, that school is a blessing, that streets do not always take me where I need to

yourself.�

sights, travel extends each of these activities into interacting with natives,

go. The difficulties of a new place teach me the beauty of transformation. The girl at the end of the trip is slightly different from the girl at

ashley mack

challenging language barriers, and abandoning the beaten path. I have

the beginning. But after all, the ending is a new beginning.

often stepped out of my comfort zone and as a result expanded who

I am and what I believe I can do. If I had never walked into that tiny

wait many more minutes for taxis, I know that I may not go on that trip, sit in that airport, or wait for that taxi ever again, so I try to take

cheese shop in Pienza or visited that nearly abandoned town in Tuscany,

in every moment. Eyes and ears wide open, I watch the locals as they congregate at the corner bread shop and listen as they speak so

I never would have realized the complexities of food-pairing or the beauty

elegantly in a language I can only pretend to understand. Those are scenes I know now only in my mind and in pictures. They are my

of solitude. These are facets of life worth infinitely more than a postcard

once-in-a-lifetime, my reminders that newness is all around me, and travel helps me find it.

or t-shirt.

Travel goes to a new place and creates a new person. Being diversified by the different cultures, traditions, and lifestyles that I

Travel draws once-in-a-lifetime from every day. Though I may embark on many more trips, spend many more hours in airports,

Travel is much more than a list. It is a strongly connected network of lessons drawn from every aspect of life -- mental, physical,

Travel transforms narrow minds into wide perspectives. When I

emotional. It makes me yearn for something new, desire for realization of truth, trust in the possibilities of today. Without travel, I am just a

hear Normandie, I no longer think simply of D-Day, but of the steep cliffs

person; with it, I am an affected and understanding member of the world’s family. The distances I walk, the prices I pay, and the minutes

and a perfectly white cemetery; when I hear Stonehenge, I no longer think

I wait can be measured, but the truths I absorb are priceless.

of rocks, but of the mysterious circle of boulders so far out of reach; when

Travel is limitless discovery. This, I believe.

I hear the term Colosseum, I no longer think of a dilapidated building, but of gladiators and warriors, and 50,000 spectators. I have learned that a place is more than pictures and facts, which never tell the full story. However, when those pictures come to life and those words echo from the source, empty knowledge becomes true understanding.

Travel makes a memory out of a mistake. Losing luggage and

getting lost are necessary to fruitful travel. It is in such moments that I abandon itinerary and simply go. Brushing my teeth and sleeping an extra hour can wait; I would rather soak in the essence of where I am. The humor of England, the sophistication of France, the mystery of Italy -these facets of culture have all taken root in my heart, but without a wrong turn or a faulty translation, I would never have discovered these beauties. In travel, I appreciate mistakes, waiting to see where each one leads me

14

15


The Forbidden Fruit

smiling from ear to ear.

I opened my eyes to see the clear blue sky. The clouds were

“Sarah that is stealing!” I screamed in shock.

dancing in the sky. It was April of the fifth grade. The long green grass

“It doesn’t count if it’s just one lime!” She explained.

was softly tickling my legs. Sarah hummed as she tossed another piece

“It counts no matter what it is Sarah!” I yelled as she ignored me, running forward grabbing a lime off the tree anyway.

of pineapple in her mouth. It was just your average Thursday afternoon.

“Just take one, it really isn’t that huge of a deal. The lemonade, well limeade, will be so scrumptious. This branch is over the

“I like to make my writing

The lake bubbling quietly was a picture. My best friend Sarah and I were

fence, so technically it isn’t even in their yard. These limes are public property, Ashley!” She made the best argument she could.

personal and make it relatable

alone at her house once again after school, just hanging out and finishing

Looking at her sweet face as she explained to me why this really wasn’t a huge deal, I realized this was like the serpent telling Eve to take

all the homework we could stand to do.

the forbidden fruit. Sarah was the serpent and I was Eve. I took another step forward towards the tree.

“There you go, come on Ashley,” Sarah whispered in the most sincere voice I have ever heard.

bit boring.

My hand met the lime. I stood there like that for a while. Then it happened. It seemed like the lime winked at me, telling me it

“I’m bored,” Sarah said flatly as she sat up.

was okay.

“Me too,” I exclaimed, brushing pretzel crumbs off my shirt,

to everyone that reads it.”

ashley richards

Normally we had a really good time. This Thursday, it seemed a

I tugged.

shoving them into the grass.

The lime popped right of the tree. I had stolen something. I felt oddly accomplished. I looked back at Sarah. She was glowing as

bright as the sun. We were no longer Sarah and Ashley, we were Bonnie and Clyde, partners in crime.

“You want to walk around my neighborhood and see if there is

any thing we can do that is more fun?” Sarah said with that sweet face

“There you go!” She screamed, jumping off the hot concrete in pride.

she made when she thought her idea was just amazing.

“I did it! Let’s go!” I started jogging back to Sarah’s house, my feet slapping the pavement with every step I took. I knew what I did

was wrong, I felt guilty deep down, but that evil little lime stealer in the back of my mind told me that it wasn’t a big deal, so I kept going

“Sure! That sounds great!” I said hopping off my place on the

grass.

with a lime in hand. We started walking and talked about the latest news in our

We threw the door open to Sarah’s house. We found everything we needed to make the most perfect limeade. We giggled as we

fifth grade classes. We were gossip machines. We talked about Sarah’s

squeezed the limes and mixed up our delicious concoction. Then the garage door opened. We kept going with our limeade preparations,

teacher and how mean she was. We talked about our grades on the

assuming it was Sarah’s sister Elizabeth, or to me, Bibith. When the back door opened we both screamed, “Bibith! We have something to

science test, and what we should have studied better.

show you! Come here! Come here, Bibith!”

And we talked about lemonade.

“Girls?” and voice we weren’t expecting said.

“Lemonade sounds so delicious right now,” Sarah said as she

“Mom?” Sarah squealed as she straightened up. It looked as if someone had put a rod right up her spinal cord.

placed her hands on her hips.

“Girls, what are you doing in here?” Mrs. Byrne entered the kitchen with a puzzled look.

“We made limeade, Mommy.” Sarah said in the most fake, yet sweet voice I had ever heard. She was no longer Sarah; she was

“Oh my gosh! Yes it does!” I said as we rounded the corner

of another cul-de-sac. I looked up and there was a lime tree. The most

the serpent that tempted me a while back.

beautiful lime tree in the world. It was tall, and branches and branches of

big, ripe, delicious limes.

it was hot sticky prison food. Prison was where I belonged. I had stolen something. I was a thief. I immediately burst into tears. I was like

an infant, crying my eyes out for no apparent reason.

“Those look so ripe and juicy,” Sarah whispered. A sly look

I looked at the limes with utter disgust. The limeade we made no longer looked delicious. It was no longer a drink for the gods;

crossed her face as she walked closer to her neighbor’s lime tree.

“Darn it Ashley!” Sarah said slamming her fists into the counter.

“Yah they are. Too bad the neighbors aren’t home. We could

“We took them, we took the limes, Mrs. Byrne! We took them off the tree! I’m sorry! I am so sorry!” I said through my heavy tears.

have asked for one!” I said glancing over at Sarah.

“Oh precious girl,” Mrs. Byrne hugged me. “You did the right thing telling me. You two should know better than to take something

that isn’t yours.” Mrs. Byrne rubbed my back as I just cried.

“We could just take it... I mean it is just a lime.” Sarah said

I glanced up expecting to see an evil, terrifying grimace on Sarah’s face, but I was shocked to see that her bright blue eyes were

filling with tears. This moment felt like a movie. The moment where everyone cried at the end, but it was real, and I wished it wasn’t.

“I’m so sorry, Ashley. I shouldn’t have told you to do that. I am so sorry!” My best friend ran over and hugged me as hard as she

could. Her love surrounded me, and knew instantly she felt bad.

Sarah and I walked outside and poured out our limeade in the already sticky grass. The sun was smiling down on us, as we

prayed and asked God to forgive us. I instantaneously felt better. We were like the people of Israel; we had sinned and we were praying for our forgiveness. We knew we would sin again, but never again would we steal a lime.

16

17


“I wanted to guess what

The God of War, an ode

a stranger was thinking

Strophe 1

“I want everyone to know that

A bloody shore upon which landing crafts unload.

I don’t view war as a place to

The overwhelming noise attacks the soldiers’ ears

become a hero, and I think

Swift soldiers move with fear while comrades fall,

my art.”

The Day of Death has come.

that the imagery expresses

They think of home and call to loved ones dear

that opinion.”

The pain and anguish take their strength away

brendan ehrenstrom

by representing them in

The boots are stained with red as soon as ground is touched.

As they lie dying, alone and frightened; They give their lives for freedom near and far. Antistrophe 1 Great eagles of death soar from the clouds. Ares watches from his throne on high. He laughs at the strife that has spread ‘cross the land; “Ares, please spare them from horrible fates! Fighting for freedom they fall to their graves.” Strophe 2 The world slows down as shells fly o’er the earth. The empty cases filled with lives stolen All time is slowed, the battle presses on. The broken bodies cover sandy beach, Their organs spilling out upon the sand. Like hordes to slaughter, soldiers fall down marred. The arc of flame that burns so bright Alarms the soldier hiding near. Antistrophe 2 “Do you not see them, these soldiers so proud? Ares, have mercy! Your angels of death, Spreading misfortune through all of the lands, Strike fluid from heaven, the skies up above.” On his throne, the god of war makes not a move.

hayden sneed 18

19


When Good is not Good Enough

“You should not dwell on your

Who would not rejoice with a ninety-five on a killer physics test

successes but always focus

when I would have answered, “Certainly not I.” Back then, minor mistakes

on improvement. I hope that

matter how small, is at the core of a philosophy that my father has instilled

or a level nine score on a challenging English essay? There was a time were never much of a concern; today, paying attention to setbacks, no

my readers’ work ethics will

in me, one that has become the guiding principle through which I tackle

change for the better just as

mine did.”

would quickly follow praise with criticism by adding, “Now, let’s see how

christopher tutunjian

challenges, big or small. After academic or sporting competitions, my father would

always rush up to me and say, “Atta boy! Good job!” However, Dad you can still improve.” His words would always annoy me, especially after I had performed so well. Only much later did it become clear to me what he meant by these words.

When I was in kindergarten, my dad began tutoring high school

students. I can still remember the day when Kenny, one of my dad’s students who was failing a physics course, ecstatically announced that he had gotten a B on a test. My dad high-fived Kenny, only to quickly return to a more serious tone and remark, “You know, Kenny, there is still much room for improvement.” Kenny’s face, initially glowing with content, faded into bewilderment and confusion. All Kenny wanted was simply to bask in the glory of his accomplishment, exactly the way I would have felt. I did not understand why my dad was not satisfied. Was it not enough that an F student had gotten a B? Why was it so important to do even better?

The answers to these questions came to me once I started

elementary school. Whenever I got a test back, I would run to my father and proudly announce the high mark I had earned. My dad would simply reply, “Very good. What did you miss?” I was stunned by his words. Was it not enough to get a ninety-five? I asked Dad this question and then he told me something that would affect me for the rest of my life. He looked into my eyes and said, “How else are you going to improve? Will you get better by just focusing on what you have done right? Will you allow contentment to hinder your path to improvement?” It was then that (Continued on Page 80)

“The most important part of my fish woman is the fins. It gives the sculpture a lot of character.”

ty webre 20

21


“My inspiration was my

A World of Pure Imagination

started to write short stories and start longer, chapter length stories. Admittedly, looking back the short stories were not all that great, and

My head is like my bedroom --messy and downright weird. All

the longer ones I never finished because they were not all that great. The point, however, was that my imagination produced those stories,

imagination and my past

my knowledge, experience, and memories are stacked in haphazard

and since at the time I thought they were okay, I kept writing. Thank goodness I did, because I write much better now than I did back then,

piles all around my mental room. It is hard to know where they begin

though I have a ways to go to become great. I still pour out stories and ideas onto paper from my fabulous imagination, and I still read

experiences with it! My

and end. A rather large closet in the corner of my mental room houses

books and watch movies to feed my creativity. It is a give-and-take deal with regards to my mind.

imagination has shaped me

everything I need to remember about school and the knowledge thereof.

The overhead light in my mental room is my faith in God, and it never

the Bad Wolf and blue police boxes; I believe in boldly going where no man has gone before. I believe in Aslan and Never Land; I believe

to be who I am now, and it is a

winks out.

in talking cats, enchanted forests, and tales of buccaneers on the high seas. I believe in moving castles, griffins, friendship, and limitless

redemption.

major part of my life.”

luminescent, twisty green vines. They run through all the stacks, through

power. Faith, hope, love, courage, valor: I believe them because I imagine them and can see them play out in my head. When I see them

claire hill

the light…they even penetrate the closet. The vines are my imagination.

in my mind’s eye, I can be that thing; I can make it real. It is the ultimate creative source a human can have. With imagination, I create my

They grow; they live. The vines are fed from everywhere –books, movies,

world, and I create myself. This I believe because it makes me who I am: “A dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean

everyday people, and stories I write myself. I need imagination to grow. It

buyer” (Shel Silverstein).

There is something else in my mental room: a web of half-seen,

I believe in imagination. I believe in dragons, Dark Knights, true love, mercenaries, and dramatic rescues. I believe in time travel,

All my other beliefs stem from my imagination, except, of course, my belief in God, who gave me my wonderful creative

is a necessary staple to my everyday diet just as much as food. Without them, I suffer. Of course my mind does not really look like that, and there are not vines growing out of my head, but that is my point –with imagination, you can think and dream anything you want.

I can pinpoint just about when my imagination was kick-started

into action: some time around the third grade, I was at the library and just perusing the shelves absently when I ran across a book entitled Dealing with Dragons. The story looked interesting, so I checked it out. Little did I know that it would change the way I viewed books and imagination in general. It was the first book in a series, and it had a masterfully original plot line, and interwoven in the story were little pieces of fairy tales with which the main characters would come into contact. The witches defied the stereotype of black pointy hats, ‘Herman’ kept ending up with children because no one could guess his name, Jack stole magic carpets from a giant, and the title “King of the Dragons” stayed the same no matter which gender held it because “it’s much simpler that way.”

This book taught me an important lesson about imagination: if

you can dream it, it can become reality. I did a lot of that in later years. Up until about seventh or eighth grade, I fed my imagination with anything I could get my hands on, and then it began to produce some output. I

22

23


X

“Those who know me won’t

be surprised to learn that this

rarely used letter in the English language, with only a slight edge over

essay was centered around ideals of progressivism, youth, and social justice - all topics that I’m passionate about.”

dillon sorenson

By analyzing the eleventh edition of The Concise Oxford

Dictionary, a team of researchers determined that x is the third most J and Q. However, x is unique. J and Q are forgotten letters; x, while insignificant in the context of the English lexicon, is significant in, for example, mathematics. But more important than that, x, without the aid of any other letters, symbolizes something greater: x symbolizes change.

Let us look at a basic Algebraic equation: 4x=12. How does little,

lonely four become twelve? Four is so boring – just another multiple of two. Twelve, on the other hand, is monumental: there are twelve months in a year, twelve hues in the color wheel, and twelve disciples of Jesus Christ (who according to most historians, is the most significant human being in the history of the world). While the argument can be made that every number has significance, the public perception of four is just not as great as that of twelve; and in modern society, public perception is everything. But I digress: in the equation 4x=12, x=3. Four is stuck in its hopelessness and misery, and three comes along to save the day. Three is a unique number; three is a rebel. Three is the first of its kind, the first odd prime number. Three is greater than four, and three – while only one number – has the power to take four and make it something great: twelve. While X does act as a catalyst, it is not naturally occurring. It takes a revolutionary, someone who is the first of his kind, to rebel against societal norms and change things for the better. As x, three stood up to the establishment; stood for what is right. A great example of this is a man who, ironically, has x in his common name: Malcolm X. While many state that Malcolm X was a divisive force in American race relations, he did something that few activists before or after him did: he focused on the individual self-esteem of African-Americans. While most mainstream civil rights advocates emphasized the things that white America needed to do, even fewer spent time to focus on the things that black America needed to

“I hid a little ‘where’s waldo’ in the picture for those up for a challenge.”

do. Malcolm X realized that as a result of a history of oppression, AfricanAmericans at their cores viewed themselves as little better than the ways they had been treated. And he believed that the only way to fix this, the (Continued on Page 81)

steve hartshorn 24

25


“I want readers to see the trickiness hidden away in

How to Lie with Statistics: From Math to Rhetoric

numerical or statistical error. The survey itself is entirely separate from the analysis and calculation. But Huff entered the second chapter

Numbers did not lie, cheat, or confuse. They only explained

by asking what the objective of conducting many surveys is: to determine the average trend of a particular subject—the average income,

and clarified. In my eyes, numbers were infallible. They represented the

the average family size, the average length of math books, et cetera. There are three important averages: mean, median, and mode.

exactness, consistency, and correctness that everything else lacked.

Statisticians can chose the “best” average for their purpose, even if that average fails to accurately describe the subjects. For example,

Math was the science of numbers through deduction, definitions, and

the Census Bureau may want an accurate median to describe the nation’s average income, but a real estate agency may want the higher

axioms—to me, the three constants of logic. Thus, I found numbers to

arithmetic mean to overstate the prosperity in a particular neighborhood, and a non-profit organization that reaches to the poor may want

be all-knowing and indisputable. The more mathematical evidence an

the lower mode in order to communicate the great need within a particular region or group. All three of these organizations will likely

contradictions even I didn’t

argument held, the closer I listened and the more I agreed. After many

report their results as the “average” because of the term’s familiarity. In this way, statisticians like those from the real estate agency or the

years of relatively intense mathematical studies both in and out of school,

non-profit can stretch the truth while hiding under the all-encompassing “average” term. Once again, Huff forced me to pause and think.

catch.”

I developed a great trust for numbers, a trust so great that I made myself

Was this simple change of terminology a mathematical lie? No, I told myself, words were the means of deception in this case; numbers

eric hopper

vulnerable.

were innocent.

statistics. There are seeming

I held an incredible unconscious bias for numbers. Math never

To me, Huff was hardly convincing. As a mathematically literate reader, I already looked out for all of his examples and tricks.

reported facts incorrectly, and only a small population of credible people

Through eight chapters, I still believed that Huff had neither taught me anything nor given evidence that math can be wrong. I was

were capable or entitled to handling the higher levels of mathematics.

winning. But Huff was not finished; he felt the need to teach me how to “statisticulate,” a self-invented term defined as “[to misinform]

Or so I thought. Picking up Darrell Huff’s How to Lie with Statistics, I

by the use of statistical material” (Huff 100). In the process, Huff introduced a fourth “average” that really is no average at all; it is the

anticipated learning little. Numbers were too consistent. Any considerable

combination of two averages. His example included the merging of the average (type unspecified) American family size and the average

discrepancies would be easily noticed.

To me, effectively lying with

(mean, so it is high to begin with) American personal income. By multiplying these two figures, a magazine arrived at an abnormally high

statistics was impossible because math was never wrong. Ultimately, it

“average” for American household income. The mistake is obvious: children don’t earn as much as adults; moreover, most adults don’t

was my mathematical insight, not my mathematical ignorance, that got

earn as much as other adults. It is unreasonable to assume each family member brings in income, much less equal income. At this point,

me in trouble.

I credited Huff with his first valid point. I understood that a statistician could arrive at this figure by legitimate mathematical devices such

as means and multiplication.

In the first chapter, “The Sample with the Built-in Bias,” Huff

explained how many published statistics come from surveys of different

groups of individuals. As I continued reading, I began thinking, Surveys

the dangerous of the statistician’s tricks, or was it? But Huff had saved the worst statistical sin for last: percentages. Percentages are

can’t lie as long as one interviews a reasonably large and diverse

the driving force of statistics. If one can lie with a percentage, one can lie with nearly any type of statistic. Almost any problem involving

sample; any qualified statistician undoubtedly realizes that. Further into

percentages has two answers, neither one more right or wrong than the other. American math education typically teaches students to

the chapter, Huff countered this belief asserting that interviewers and

use one method, but the other one, although just as valid in most situations, is nearly ignored (except by statisticians, of course). To

pollsters may know the requirements for strong data, but they either do

explain, Huff gave an example of an advertisement that read, “Buy your Christmas presents now and save 100 percent” (Huff 109). At

not want realistic numbers, or they think it is too expensive to acquire truly

first glance, I thought, free gifts! But, no, the bases had been swapped; the gifts were only fifty percent off; thus, the consumer’s savings

representative data. Thus, they compromise by either sampling too few

were equivalent to one hundred percent of the new price. Although keeping to mathematical rules, the advertisement used the alternate

people or too many of the same type of people. Huff found this to skew

method to calculating percentages in order to arrive at the deceptive figure.

results. He contends that the use of a survey is often, if not always, a

strong indication of a statistical lie.

have asked, “Or is it really thirty-one percent?” Huff went one step further into the all-important percentage by providing simple algebraic

At this point, I conceded that polls may cause some inaccuracy,

proof of the effectiveness of the lie. One of the illustrations noted that if a particular laborer had a salary of $100 per week, but suffered a

but it’s because of statisticians’ laziness or financial issues; it’s not a

50% pay cut, his salary would naturally drop to $50 per week. Sometime later, his boss wished to restore the 50% cut by implementing a

Okay, Huff scored a point with this example of numerical manipulation, but it was such a trivial case. This couldn’t be the most

Except in the aforementioned ad, I would have never noticed a changed percentage. If it had stated forty percent, I wouldn’t

50% increase. One may think this would null the earlier reduction, but percent difference and percent change are not inverse functions; one operation cannot be used in order to reverse the effects of the other. In respect to the scenario above, 50% of $50 is $25, so a 50% increase would only raise the laborer’s pay to $75 per week, which is still significantly less than his original salary.

As simple as it may sound, and as learned as I may be, I never fully recognized the duplicity of percentages. Huff had me beat.

This fact alone displayed the lying powers of statistics. One may ask how such a simple concept of percentages transformed my outlook towards all statistics. It was quite simple. Percentages dictated those surveys; percentages formed those averages. Underneath the surveys, averages, and graphs, confusing percentages were likely planting lies. Thus, I lost. My numbers were not infallible. If something as simple as percentages could be so easily erred, how much more could complex devices? When mathematics leaves that realm of deduction, definitions, and axioms, it becomes rhetoric. Once the mathematician’s objective is to impress rather than to inform, to argue rather than to answer, his or her math immediately loses its scientific status and must be relegated (Continued on Page 84)

26

27


Wake-Up Call

Groggily, I got our of bed, and just like every morning, got

“Why yes I do, and it’s actually the swans. Do you think you can help me relocate the cygnets?”

“Of course!” I responded happily. Helping her often helped me temporarily escape my worries about upcoming tests, finishing my

“I enjoy writing straight from

dressed and slugged down stairs. My dad had turned the local news

homework, and completing my chores. “Would you like me to come over now?”

on, and as usual he leaned back against the counter and stared at the

“That would be fantastic! I’ll get the car started,” she replied, before hanging up.

inspiration, and not with

television, absorbing in the words as the light reflected off his face. As I

I quickly began to get ready, changing into some old tennis shoes, jeans, and a T-shirt. Though cygnets were still just baby

poured myself a bowl of cereal, nearly missing the bowl when pouring the

swans, they were still nearly full grown by six months, and the ones were relocating were five months old. They were oxes when they

milk, my mother marched in. I could already tell my brother, Ross, and I

really wanted to. Even though they were very strong for their size, I had helped Mrs. Burkett for many years and had become an expert

were in for a lecture. “Now kids,” she began for the hundredth time, and

at doing the job quickly and efficiently.

I resisted the urge to roll my eyes, “I was watching the news with your

father this morning and there was a story about a young girl who was

routine we were both used to. We drove to the section of the neighborhood called “Pelican Point.” I have no idea why. Quickly, we both

killed by that speeding car in a gated neighborhood!”

spotted the four cygnets that were our current target, and she drove around to the other end of the lake so we wouldn’t have to walk to

far. But as we got closer, we both realized in silent agreement that something wasn’t right. Three of the cygnets were happily swimming

guidelines, which I think helps make my writing unique.”

grace craven

“Mh,” was my response. It’s not that I did not care, but I really

Because she lived only two doors down, I easily jogged over and hopped into her growling car as she began to back out, a

couldn’t think this morning.

around their mother; however, one of close to the edge with its head resting on the bank. The water around it was red. This was a wake-up

call.

“You guys need to be careful when you’re going on your bike

rides,” she started again, ignoring my bland response and my brother’s

silence. “You need to be wary around adults, even other kids.”

praying as I ran. A few feet in front I slid forward in the mud, spraying up drops of icky water and soaking myself, almost falling completely

This was a wake-up call. Other kids? Why would we need to

into the lake in the thankfully warm afternoon. When I reached the baby swan, I instantly carefully picked it up and put it completely on

be wary of other kids? However, the thought soon slipped my mind as I

land, trying to keep it as still as possible. When I removed my arms from around the still motionless form, they were covered in blood. I

spooned into my cereal. Those things on TV would never happen to us.

was shocked. I was like a statue as I was momentarily paralyzed. What could have happened? By this time, Mrs. Crony had also reached

Things like that always happen to other people. Nothing would happen

me. I broke the silence that followed with the question on both our minds, “Is he still alive?”

here. Eventually, everything left my mind and I continued through my day.

up her head she responded with a slightly lighter tone now, “Yes, he is still alive.”

After school, I was working on homework when I received a call.

I rummaged around until the second to last ring before I finally found the

As Mrs. Crony began to slow the car down, I jumped out without even waiting for her to stop. I sprinted hard towards the still form,

Slowly, as if scared of what might happen, she reached down as put her ear close to the back of the cygnet. When she picked I was happy for about two seconds until the truth slammed into me like an incoming train. The poor guy must have been to so

telephone that had crawled away. It was Mrs. Crony, our “neighborhood

much pain, and we needed to get him to the vet, and we would need to find enough money to fix him up, and after that we would have to

duck lady” as we liked to call her. She was the “Abel” of all the ducks

help medicate him until he could return to his lake, and it was going to take a lot of effort. And he might not even survive. What if..? My

on our seven lakes in the neighborhood. I often helped out when she

mind began to whirl. We had to do something quickly! So again, I took up the responsibility of sounding out the question on both our minds

needed, as I was more efficient in lifting the big bags of duck feed and

again. “What are we going to do?”

helping to pour them into separate buckets for feeding times. I also

helped her relocate different ducks and swans to different lakes for a

swan, cradling his head in one hand and keeping the rest of his body in the crook of my other arm. We took him to the back of big silver

variety of reasons. In the spring and summertime, I even raised some of

SUV, popped the back open, and gently lowered him into a prepared bin for safe traveling. I walked to the front seat then looked at her

the ducklings we hatched in an incubator. They were really cute! Curious

obviously newly cleaned car and down at myself. I was worse than I thought. I glanced at Mrs. Crony who obviously noted the situation

“I guess we will have to take him to the vet. And fast,” she responded gravely. Instinctively, I reached down and scooped up the

as to what she wanted help with now, I zoned in on her voice.

as well. “We’ll worry about that later,” was her response. I carefully tiptoed in, still guilty about making her car filthy, and sat as lightly as I

“Grace? Is this you?” She asked almost skittishly into the phone.

could at the edge of the seat. I feel so bad. Maybe I should offer to pay for another car wash. This occupied my brain for a few moments

“Yes, this is me!” I responded, “Need help with the ducks today?”

before the thoughts of what had just happened swirled in. With that, we began the grueling forty-five minute trip to the “bird vet.”

The car was completely silent as we traveled slightly over the speed limit down the highway like a race car. Although she

looked calm and composed, Mrs. Crony was clearly freaking out under her grim face. Then there was me. I was as filthy as you can get, sitting there with water and mud squishing between my toes every time we hit a bump and not one bit concerned about concealing my anxiousness behind a mask. I glanced at the time. Still thirty minutes to go. Twenty. Ten. The seconds inched their way lazily pass, and I felt like screaming at them to hurry up, that this cygnet was going to die if they didn’t move it. A life was on the line.

After what seemed like hours of sitting in car full of anxiety, I spotted the sign that marked the veterinary clinic. Mrs. Crony parked

in a fast, skillful manner, and I once again hopped out before she completely stopped, almost slamming into the car next to us as a result. I leaped to the back of the car in two bounds and threw open the trunk to collect our unfortunate friend. I once again lifted him slowly out, then sped into the clinic, not bothering to hide my urgency. I rushed in, and was suddenly filled with a still dizziness.

28

I must have been an odd, desperate sight. Here I was, walking into a veterinary clinic where some very proper people were sitting (Continued on Page 85)

29


“I enjoy empirical writing greatly so I would normally assume that my creative writing might be a little dry but

The Beat of a Ballgame A Sonnet Three up and three down, inning in and out,

this is not the case.”

There is a peace surrounding a baseball game.

jack detiveaux

An experience with nothing the same.

A peace unmatched for me there is no doubt,

I have got my food as the first pitch flies. So quick is the ball to the catcher’s mitt. This catch-by-catch heartbeat in the ninth dies, Each player striving for that one hit. No matter what team, and my team is bad, I will follow them to the final game. But now a new year, no need to be sad, And along comes another chance at fame. New seasons bring hope for one more good year; New hope for the fans that hold this game dear.

selest guzman 30

31


“The inspiration behind the writing of “Ruins” was the little patch of woods (the EcologyLab) on the HCHS campus. It showed me how humans have taken over nature.”

john clarke and amanda brown

“I draw my pieces on a

Ruins Oh, but it is destruction! --this small shrubbery, a sacred, missing piece to a larger, more meaningful puzzle. Be whole once more!

piece of wood which is unique to me, then I not only use charchoal but also white chalk to show

Here there is a sanctuary, like a shelter to the homeless that is the ark in the flood and it has flowers and trees and bugs crying out for help. (it is a small area filled with sorrow) all quite dreary.

contrast”

Does it have the opportunity to grow? It has a limitation, forever restraining and compressing as green life crunches beneath your greedy feet. You tear down this beloved home to make civilization; on the rocky soil, once echoing sounds of a bird and her young ones high atop the trees. Some greedy aliens come in like thieves in the night, stealing what these creatures once held dear. They have no resistance, no soul, no compassion, destruction is all that’s on their mind. They don’t look out for anyone but themselves, their tools of destruction playing a dismal tune only pleasant to the hostile beasts. Why the unnecessary deaths and demolition? Why the new buildings and ruined wildlife? Why, oh why, must it happen? (Would you like foreign things coming and destroying your home?) Somebody plowed down this wildlife. Somebody fuels this destruction with the odor of burning chemicals, with smells that sting the inside the nose. Somebody creates these ruins.

henry britven 32

33


“My goal in writing this was to evoke that sense of despair, sorrow, and heartbreak from readers as well as to comfort anyone who can relate to the speaker in my final stanza.”

jordan zeal

Shattered, an ode Strophe 1 Raindrops down the glass, tears falling fast Burning on the bud of her blazing cheek. Like an explosion of thunder in the silence of a storm, Her lonely heartbeat drums, meaningless; Hollowing a hole, filled by the bitter sting of hatred. Though volume surrounds Sore silence pervades While senseless glances seem worthy of death. Antistrophe 1 A distant smile sends shivers. Cold wind collides with warmth. A broken heart, patched whole Only to shatter with time. And all the while: Questions. Regrets. Wishes. Spurred by fleeting memories long abandoned Like rays of sun dying behind dim clouds. Strophe 2 Storms of fury flood the mind, overriding sanity Broken hearts lie heavy in the desolate dust. While ruins of regret carry no hope, drifting away in the summer winds. The wounded soul cannot turn back the hands of time, And haunted history births dented dreams. Torturous words echo endlessly, inescapable; Reverberating from the scarred walls of her heart forever. Antistrophe 2 Force the mind to forget. Fade away sore memories New days give way to shattered smiles, hopeless dreams. Let go, live life Fact or fiction no one minds. Fake your joy and say goodbye, For even that may numb the pain, A rainbow glowing in the midst of rain.

“Mrs. Harvard first gave me my inspiration for this piece when she mentioned her past pieces on homeless people. Her stories made me think of this one woman I see everyday on my way home from school.”

logan zoelle 34

35


Risk

Waitlisted. I sat down to write this paper after spending an hour

compulsively refreshing my e-mail inbox, my Twitter feed, and a certain college’s admissions committee blog, eagerly and anxiously awaiting an admissions decision. After starting an upbeat and earnestly hopeful introduction, I checked my e-mail once more, only to find news that I would rather not have received: waitlisted.

Whenever an admissions e-mail begins by thanking the

applicant for applying instead of congratulating her, she knows it isn’t good news. While I know that being waitlisted still offers me a chance for

julia weeks

admission, it is, in some ways, worse than being denied. Being waitlisted prompts the applicant to think, “What wasn’t quite good enough about me to be accepted?” or “I wonder if I had taken class X, if that would have made me slightly more competitive?” Being waitlisted also offers me the chance to wait two more months to hear back from college that has already told me that there are other students it would have preferred to have. Yet, despite all of this, I am glad I took the risk. I wanted to get in so desperately, and even though my chances were slim, I decided to apply anyway. I believe that taking risks is necessary in order to truly appreciate the reward.

While I was not exactly rewarded in this past risky endeavor,

I learned quite a bit. I am a very pragmatic and practical person, so I usually do not live according to my emotions. Getting attached to a certain idea like majoring in theatre (which is a dear passion of mine) is usually hampered down by thoughts like, “What about a steady income?” And, “Do I really want to face the possibility of being a waitress for the rest of my life?” I am constantly struggling with taking risks. Taking risks defines the kind of life a person lives, and I do not want to live a boring life. It is ironic that people constantly strive to eliminate their flaws and failures, yet these elements are what make a person interesting and give his life value. Without the possibility of failure, achievement would mean nothing.

“Ms. Havard helped me make the piece more obscure and abstract.”

After receiving my admission decision, I still find myself checking

my e-mail occasionally, just to make sure there wasn’t some kind of mistake. Though I have not quite reached the point where I can say, “It (Continued on Page 81)

erin miller 36

37


“I think my style is unique

The Celebration of Diverse Cultures

At the beginning of America’s entry into World War II, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, many Americans automatically assumed

because it displays so many

Not only is celebrating the various cultures in America a vital

all people with Japanese culture supported the bombing. According to author Stetson Conn’s, author of The Decision to Relocate the

part of equality, but it also helps us to understand the basis of our country.

Japanese from the Pacific, over 133,000 Japanese-Americans were forcibly or voluntarily relocated to “War Internment Camps” due to

of my life experiences and my

America is a nation of immigrants. When my father tells me the story

the prejudice against them. Even though President Ronald Regan apologized on behalf of the U.S. Government in 1988 for the relocation

family’s history. This paper

of how my grandfather came to America, I see the pride in his eyes. It

camps, people of Japanese culture and heritage still hold the memory of being ridiculed and discriminated against during World War II. I

is a story of hardship and struggle, ending with my grandfather’s ability

have an American Dream that immigrants can still proudly represent the country of their ancestors, even during a time of war.

is extremely personal to me,

to provide his children with a better life than he had, regardless of the

discrimination he endured because of his Italian heritage. I have an

heritage. Eventually my grandfather was at peace with the things he endured, but that does not mean he did not consider another path in

and I am so proud to share my

American Dream where people celebrate their culture and heritage,

life. While in college, he spoke to his language professor about changing his last name, Panaccione, to a more common American name.

family’s story with others.”

instead of being ridiculed for it.

The professor convinced him to keep his last name by saying, “Smith. Jones. What do these names say? Panaccione. It is like music.

When the founding fathers of America drafted the Declaration

Eventually your name will be appreciated for everything it represents.” The day my father told me that story, I had never been happier to

of Independence, they had one specific dream in mind: a land where

have such an unusual, yet wonderful, last name. Because of my heritage and last name, I am an Italian-American. I want to live out my

all Americans were created equal, with the right to life, liberty, and the

dream of celebrating cultural diversity by teaching others about my Italian heritage. When I am a mother, I want my children to learn to

pursuit of happiness. However, these rights did not always extend to

speak Italian, so they may converse with their Italian relatives that live in The Panaccione Village in Cassino, Italy. I want my children to

immigrants. When my grandfather came to America, an eight year-old

attend a school where there is a focus on learning about various world cultures, so they can appreciate the cultures America is based on.

who did not speak a word of English, he experienced the brunt of what is

I have an American Dream that the youth of America can learn and appreciate the various cultures that make up our nation.

now known as “Anti-Italianism.” Because of his last name, my grandfather

experienced various forms of discrimination, including name-calling and

came to a land where he felt he could achieve anything, and give his children opportunities he would never have. I have an American

bullying and unemployment. Yet he never gave up. Even though he

dream where Americans work towards celebrating multi-ethnic culture, and in turn, celebrating the diverse heritage America is based on.

spoke six languages, my grandfather was never able to attain his dream

I want to teach my children not to judge someone based off their culture; instead, I want them to judge someone based on their values

of becoming a translator, all because of his last name. However, this was

and character. I dream of a better America that celebrates cultural diversity.

kaitlin panaccione

Because America is a nation of immigrants, it is our duty as Americans to accept others, rather than ridicule them for their

Most people say America is the land of the free and the home of the brave. I think they are right. My grandfather was brave. He

not enough to dampen his love of America. While I have been fortunate enough to see a revitalization of appreciation for Italian culture (Italy was even voted the fifth most visited country in the world by a 2008 Trifter poll), I wish my grandfather could have lived to see it as well. I have an American Dream that all citizens can be proud of the country they originate from.

Even though I have been blessed enough to see my heritage

embraced by modern society, there are many other cultures that are still frowned upon. Much of American society hold negative stereotypes towards people of Middle Eastern descent, due to the events of 9/11. The effects of 9/11 often give way to anger toward people of Middle Eastern culture, even though they may not necessarily support the terrorist activity that occurred. We are all Americans. We are all united by our grief. The unfair stereotypes towards people of Middle Eastern culture only helps give the terrorists what they wanted: division and hate between Americans.

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Courage: The Foundation of America

to keep bloodguiltiness from you, desiring you to repeal the unrighteous and unjust law made against the innocent servants of the Lord.

Courage is not the absence of fear, but the ability to withstand

Nay, man, I am not no to repent.” On May 31, 1660, Mary Barrett Dyer was condemned to death and then hanged. She was an ordinary

“America is where it is today

it. It is a significant civic value in American society; in fact, America was

woman, who through her faith displayed courage even to the point of death. Mary’s courage is what gave her the freedom to voice her

founded on courage. It took fortitude from the first settlers to break away

opinion, and it is important for Americans today to recognize and revere this most important civic value because America was founded on

because of the courage and

from Britain and to establish a new life, nothing like the one before.

this value and continues to be the driving force of America.

self-sacrifice those in the past

Moreover, courage is essential to the freedom experienced in America.

This freedom is not free, but rather a result of bravery. Courage is

team. However, there was always something different between the rest of the team and me: I did not fit in. During one of the weekend

arguably one of the most important municipal values not only because

tournaments, I realized the difference when they asked me a general question about why I do not go to parties on the weekends. I

this characteristic allowed America to be free from Britain, but also, today,

stood up for my moral beliefs that partying is not only against the civil law, but also against principles in the Bible. I had other options of

it allows people to be free to have their own opinions and faiths.

staying neutral and silent or lying by saying that I do participate in parties on Friday nights. However, I made a courageous stand that

As the feather pen and black ink left its mark on the Declaration

day; I decided to stand up for my faith. My morals come from the Bible; theirs, from the world. Despite the evil voice in my head telling

of Independence, the signers essentially signed away their names, their

me to succumb to worldly values, I voiced my opinion as loudly as they did theirs. From that moment on, I became the girl they picked

wealth, their power, their land, their career, their families--even their

on because I would not engage in their inappropriate conversations. Instead, I found myself at the end of the table, alone. In addition, I

have expressed.”

kaitlyn hirschbuehler

The strength of courage is something that I have recently experienced in my own life. For two years, I was on an club basketball

lives. By “pledg[ing] to each other [their] lives, [their] fortunes, and [their]

realized their bias overflowed onto the court once I began to touch the ball less; they would not let me have the ball. Just like Mary Barrett

sacred honor,” the signers of the Declaration of Independence displayed

Dyer, I was verbally persecuted for my faith in God. Standing up for my Christian faith not only made me be a more courageous person in

their ability to overcome their fear, fight for freedom, and demonstrate

general, but also gave me the strength to openly share my faith in order to help others and the community. Today, I volunteer my time as

their courage through their actions against the British government. This

a teen volunteer at my church on Sunday nights in order to teach children about developing their own faith. Even though in today’s society

courage allowed them to stand up for their beliefs in order to achieve the

I do not have to worry about losing my life, like the signers of the Declaration of Independence or Mary Barrett Dyer did, I condemned

greater good for the greater amount of people.

myself to social suicide.

A remarkable woman in history who displayed courage daily

Even if either the Declaration of Independence, Mary Barrett Dyer, or my personal experiences might be more extreme than the

was Mary Barrett Dyer. Her younger years are subject to speculation;

other, the same theme is found throughout: Courage comes with a price tag, but the results are priceless. The people who signed the

however, in 1633, she married William Dyer in London and then they

Declaration risked their name, and wealth, and power, and land, and career, and family, and even their lives in order to gain freedom; Mary

moved to Boston, Massachusettes a year later. In 1637, Mary became a

Barrett Dyer risked her life in order to lead others to Christ. I risked my acceptance in order to stand up for my God and what I believe in.

supporter of Anne Hutchinson, a woman who preached that God spoke

Just like these examples, Americans today should care if Americans are courageous because courage is the foundation of America and

directly to people and not just through the clergy and together, they

continues to make America great through innovation, free speech, and much more.

organized groups of women and men in a bible study in violation with the theocratic law of Massachusetts. Mary gave birth to a stillborn, which was considered evidence of the heresies of her belief, and therefore, both she, her family and Anne Hutchinson were banished from Massachusetts. When she moved back to England, Mary adopted the faith of the Quakers. Returning to America, she began to protest a law that banned Quakers and was banished for a second time. Mary continued to express her convictions and exhibit courage when John Winthrop challenged her to repent and denounce her Quaker faith. As Mary Dyer said, “Nay, I came

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“I would like the readers to

Finding Strength in the Face of Adversity

take away the fact that a

us stronger, not consume us or define us. When typical eighteen year-

I believe that the hardships we face in life are purposed to make

hardship should not define

olds think about their senior year, they think of the carefree season ahead

who you are in that season

of when anticipating this last year of high school. However, although I

of life, but instead use those

of them, full of spontaneity and adventure; at least that is what I thought planned on not having a care in the world, except college decisions of course, my “plan” quickly took a turn only a few months into the year.

situations to become stronger

and grow as a person.”

does not produce enough essential hormones the body needs to properly

kaitlyn melton

Health problems in my life all started at the age of eight when

I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, an issue in the thyroid gland that function. Some classify thyroid problems as a disease, but I always saw it as lots of doctors who prescribed me lots of medicine, while I was experiencing numerous symptoms with unanswered questions. As this became routine in my life, I tended to push my health problems to the side in an attempt to get through the day whether feeling well or not.

Then, on a recent routine visit to my endocrinologist’s office,

I soon learned there was speculation of a pituitary glad tumor in my brain, and I was quickly bombarded with medical terms I could barely pronounce, followed by descriptions of tests to come, though all I could do was sit there in shock, and all the voices in that small white room soon rumbled into a muffled noise, leaving me numb. The more I thought about the concept of brain surgery, the more overwhelmed I became, but then I stopped and thought of two simple choices. One, I could let this circumstance consume me and tear me apart, or Two, I could become determined to do everything possible to become healthy.

Though never having a healthy typical adolescence, any

normalcy that I once had flew out the window, but I was ready. I no longer cared about the petty problems of senior year; instead I was shaken by reality and knew what my priorities had to be. Option Two that I had chosen that day in the doctor’s office altered my path ahead. When facing hospitals, nurses, and even neurosurgeons, I was naturally fearful, but my attitude was one of determination and peace. I was not going to let this health problem become a source of attention or pity, but instead it (Continued on Page 81)

“I was inspired when I saw my little sister finding joy in something as simple as blowing bubbles.”

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43


Tiger Mom Knows What She’s Doing

their lives. I personally have actually faced times where I wished my parents have held higher standards and pushed me harder because it

I sat in my seat, watching my friend perform a piece on the

would have benefited me more now. For instance, when I was younger, I took piano lessons. I never took them seriously, played cursorily,

“I think that writing is

piano in front of the whole school. Her adroit fingers flew over the keys,

and after about three months, I gave up and quit. My parents were disappointed, but they didn’t necessarily force me to keep taking it,

capturing the attention of everyone in the room. I looked around, and

and they let me quit. At first I thought it was a great decision, and I was really happy that my parents gave me the freedom to quit. But now

such an expressive way to

noticed how almost every single person was gaping as they watched her,

that I’m older, and I watch other people play the piano, I wish that my parents had forced me into learning, because then, I could “bear the

communicate, and I don’t

and how people whispered to each other, extolling her performance. I

fruit” and be able to play. Now, I lack instrumental/

grimaced and a pang of nostalgia kicked it. I was suddenly reminded of

artistic abilities, and all I can do is watch other kids’ fingers fly around the keys of a piano while my own fingers can’t.

want it to just be a part of my

those piano lessons in fourth grade, where, with enough practice, I could

Another example I’ve heard is from Imani Daffin. When she was younger, her stepmother put her in Kumon, which is basically and after

have learned to play just like my friend. I closed my eyes and drowned

school “school” that helps you improve your math and reading skills. Imani hated it because Kumon gave these little packets of homework,

school life.”

myself in the music, wishing that my own fingers were creating it.

and she had to do that homework, plus, the homework she got from school. She was really averse to it, but looking back, she realized that

karen silitonga

The controversial article written by Amy Chua, “Chinese Mothers

she needed it. It really helped her improve her math skills, and she was in an advanced reading level in third and fourth grade. So even

are Superior,” has brought a lot of debate about whether or not that

though her parents had made her done something she didn’t really wanted to do, and had set higher standards by making her join Kumon

parenting style is right. The article talks about how Chinese mothers are

on top of school, in the end, it really benefited her a lot.

superior because they hold high standards, and this leads to successful

A second example I’d like to bring up is of my friend, Vanessa Gunawan. Two years ago, she joined the International Competitions and

kids, assuming that good grades equal good parenting. Amy Chua shares

Assessments for Schools, or ICAS. This is basically a competition where you take a test on a certain subject and you will be given a rank

how she didn’t let her kids do a number of things, such as go to sleepovers

based on your results. There are five rankings: Medal (the top-scorer), High Distinction (the top 1% of participants), Distinction (the next

or play dates, be in the school play, or get any grades less than an A in

10% of participants), Credit (the next 25% of participants), and Participation (the remaining participants). Vanessa did the maths ICAS

any subject except gym and drama. She portrayed herself as a stolid and

test, and she was a seventh grader at the time. Her brother, who was a fourth grader at the time, also took the maths ICAS test for his

belligerent mother who is willing to make her daughter practice the piano

grade level.

for hours without even allowing bathroom breaks.

When the results came in, she got the ranking of Credit, while her younger brother got the ranking of High Distinction and earned

The article also emphasizes the three main differences between

himself a silver medal. Her parents were extremely proud of her brother, but when they found out Vanessa’s results, they showed clear

Chinese parents and Western parents. First, Western parents are less

disappointment, and said that they had expected more. These high expectation hurt my friend, but it motivated her to do better. The

strict and too easy towards their kids, and that they care too much

following year, she took the test again for her grade level, and earned herself the ranking of Distinction, making her parents proud. She

about their children’s psyches. Secondly, Chinese parents believe that

also feels proud of herself and has the satisfaction of having done better. Christine Kim, a Policy Analyst on welfare, family, and marriage,

their children owe them everything, meaning that the child should repay

said that “high parental expectations continue to yield significant schooling benefits” (Kim). She also stated that “parental expectations for

his or her parents through their actions. And thirdly, Chinese parents

achievement stand out as the most significant influences on [their] achieve­ment growth, high school credits completed, and enrollment in

believe they know what is best for their children. The article came off

extracurricular academic high school programs” (Kim). This expert statement shows that a high expectation from parents do affect their

as if it was bashing Western parents, but Amy Chua said that it really

child’s academic achievements.

is just a misunderstanding on both sides. She lastly said that Chinese

parents want to prepare their kids for the future, let them see what they

because kids who are successful are usually successful because they have high standards to achieve. Studies done by Harvard Family

are capable of, and arm “them with skills, and inner confidence” (Chua).

Research Project actually tells us this: “The further in school parents believed their adolescents would go, the clearer the adolescents’

Western parents, on the other hand, want to let their kids find their own

perception of such expectations, the higher their own academic expectations, the higher their academic achievement.”

way.

I understand that by making this argument, I am assuming that holding high standards benefit kids more; however, this is true

Those that oppose Amy Chua’s argument argue that Amy Chua’s parenting style is too harsh and and limits children’s choices

I agree with Amy Chua’s argument in “Chinese Mothers are

in life. However, this is not true because it in fact does the opposite. A great example would be Amy Chua’s very own children. Now that

Superior” because in the long run, it is often more beneficial for the

they are older, they are glad for the way they are raised, and they are pretty successful kids. Amy Chua’s parenting style doesn’t limit

children. It could benefit the kids in academics, arts, and other aspects of

children’s options, but it in fact recognizes all the capabilities a child has. Amy Chua’s first daughter, Sophia, even admits that her mom’s strict and dour parenting had made her more independent. It has also made her realize a lot of things, such as that even creativity takes effort. This kind of thinking is what has made Sophia successful, and the young girl even found herself playing at the Carnegie Hall when she was only in the eighth grade.

So even though many may think that high expectations and strict parenting would scar you for life, and really doesn’t have a

positive impact on your achievements, I beg to differ. Because maybe, if my parents had been stricter on me, and had pushed me harder, I might have been the one playing the piano in front of the whole school. Maybe if my parents had expected more, I could be the one making beautiful music with my fingers. Maybe if my parents had higher standards, I could be the one playing at Carnegie Hall.

44

45


Your Best

words. Chua even admits to having once called her daughter Lulu “garbage” and threatened to send her stuffed animals and toys to the

Salvation Army if she could not master a piece on the piano.

As a kid, my dad always told me, “Do your best.” Looking up at

“I try to write what I honestly

my role model and wistfully imagining myself just like him some day- all

grown up and on my own, I took his message to heart. It became my

because they grow up to be extremely awkward in social situations. After never being able to socialize under their parent’s watch, what

think. I don’t want to write

personal maxim, my reason for everything I did. My parents never had to

will they do when their mom and dad can’t protect them any more? As successful as you might be in the world of academics, socializing

something I don’t really feel is

push me very hard to do my homework, or practice basketball.

is equally as important, if not more. I’m not saying that academics aren’t important, and I think that Amy Chua does have some good

As I grew older, I grew as a person too, and I learned to do these

advice on how to make your children successful, but I think that she needs to let her children interact more with others and have more of

true, because then it has no

things for myself. I no longer needed the push from my parents that is

a social life. What will happen to poor Sophia and Lulu when they have to deliver a presentation at work, or when they have a company

necessary for younger kids. Of course, I occasionally needed a gentle

Christmas party? After so many years cooped up in their rooms, studying Spelling and Algebra, they will probably never be able to make

passion behind the message.”

nudge, but that’s what parents are there for, right? To help you out and

friends because they haven’t had any practice. Chua thinks that she’s doing her kids a favor by forcing them to be perfect, but in reality

audrey wood

encourage you. To help you do your best. However, some people aren’t

the only thing she’s doing is oppressing them.

as lucky to have as relaxed parents as I do. When I brought home a ‘B’

in a subject I knew I could do better in, my parents sent me to tutoring, or

as she let out all the pent up anger and frustration she had built over the years. “I hate how my mom treats me!” she exclaimed, “She

helped me double check my homework, so I could achieve that ‘A’. Some

makes me study for hours and I can’t even focus with her watching over me. If I don’t make straight ‘A’s she calls me names and yells at

kids are called names by their parents and are forced to study for hours

me. She did the same thing to my brother, and he’s twenty-five now and an intern. He gets so nervous when he’s presenting things that

on end until they reach their breaking point. They aren’t even allowed

he always does a terrible job! I don’t want to end up like him--scarred for life.” It’s easy to see how Kayla could be so frustrated with her

to go on sleepovers or hang out with their friends. They are constantly

mother. Dr. Amy R. Vigilante, who wrote her book called Building Children’s Self Esteem, says that one of the major “don’ts” of parenting

locked up in their rooms, always trying to prove to themselves and their

is belittling your children. She also adds that parents should “make sure your children know at all times that they are secure in your love.”

parents and peers that they are everything they are expected to be. I

have news for them. You can still do your best and have fun doing it.

settings. My mom often describes the pressure my grandparents put on her as a child. Her mom and dad were always making her focus

Amy Chua is one of those extreme parents and her article, “Why

on her school work and playing the trumpet in the band and they left no room for her to have a life outside of school. My mom ended up

Chinese Mothers Are Superior,” seeks to prove that very claim. Chua uses

having only a few friends in high school and often describes the loneliness she felt when she was trapped inside her room, striving to make

two terms to define a broad spectrum of parenting styles. She uses the

her parents proud of her. When she finally escaped the pressure of her family and went on to major in Sales and Marketing in college, she

term “Chinese parent” to describe those who, like herself, support a much

found that she had a lot of trouble speaking to others and making friends. However, her job put her in a situation where she was forced to

stricter method of parenting, which is typically seen in Asian countries.

learn the social skills necessary to be good at selling a product. Through hearing my mom’s story, I’ve become more aware of the need

She calls other parents who prefer using a more laid back parenting

for developing social skills at an early age. Without it my mom would still be trapped in a very lonely and hollow place. That’s why she

technique, “Western parents.” Chua argues that Chinese parents create

always made sure that I was able to freely express myself, and have time away from basketball and homework to relax and have fun with

successful children, while Western parents tend to give up on discipline

my friends. It’s said that the most important years for development socially during a person’s adolescent years. My mom understood this,

and coddle their children more than is necessary. However, Chua was

so she never put me down and she encouraged me to be myself and make friends, because she didn’t ever want me to be in the same

so dedicated to her kid’s academics that she left almost no time for any

spot that she was in when she was my age.

socializing. Her children Lulu and Sophia were not even allowed to go on

sleepovers or be a part of their school play. They were forced to practice

children who cannot function in social settings. Chinese kids can be the most successful people in the world academically, but in terms of

the violin or piano for hours, and if they showed any signs of resistance or

everyday socializing they will end up far behind. In fact, Asian-Americans have one of the highest teen suicide rates, which could easily

weakness they were called harsh names and were showered with hurtful

be caused by the feelings of loneliness and isolation that Chinese parenting techniques use (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

While Chua’s Chinese parenting style may create successful kids, they are also left crippled in the real world without their parents

After asking my friend Kayla about her opinion on her mother, who is a Chinese parent herself, relief seemed to wash over Kayla

I know from personal experience the disastrous consequences that come with low self-esteem and lack of confidence in social

People who argue that Chinese parenting is superior say that their technique creates successful children, but it also creates

To me, this does not sound like success. Chua says that she cares so much for her children that she would give up anything for them, when in reality it’s her kids giving up everything for her. By letting their mother take hold of their social life, Lulu and Sophia are handing their mom the keys to their future. It’s time that Chinese parents cut their kids a little slack and let them just enjoy being kids. You’re supposed to make friends, have fun, and discover yourself and the things you love when you’re young, so how can you do that if you’re constantly slaving away at the piano, or are locked away doing hundreds of practice tests? What these Chinese kids really need is a friend. They need someone who can make them forget about their crazy parents and that upcoming piano recital they’re dreading. They need someone who understands them. Someone who knows that their best is just perfect.

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“it’s rather conceited to think

Call of Duty

that we are the only people

he fought—not what he fought for, but why he fought. The soldier took a

capable of feeling patriotism

for my country to defend her.” This particular soldier was not the first to

recognize the nationalistic

order that this country might become great. Their example of extreme

kathryn quandt

surrealism or dream-

moment before replying, “I can’t even explain it. I just feel an obligation feel such a notion; throughout history men and women have submitted

other countries.”

to embody a sort of

I once read about a reporter who asked an American soldier why

for our country. I hope people sentiments of people from

“I wanted my piece

like state. I also wanted to portray the creativity

their actions, their possessions, their dreams, their lives to America in

of a younger child’s

commitment to their country illustrates America’s most important civic value, duty. Duty, a binding obligation towards something morally right,

imagination.”

calls all other civic values into play, values such as loyalty and courage, responsibility and honor; these in turn unite Americans to become a more honorable society.

The instinctive duty towards America was initiated in George

Washington’s First Inaugural Address. Reluctantly approaching his new office, which was undefined and previously unheard of, Washington outlined several expectations of himself, all falling under the duty of “service to [his] country.” Pursuing “the public good,” preserving “the public harmony,” and “[revering the] rights of freeman”—these American virtues precipitated from the Inaugural Address’ call of duty to the president. Despite the seemingly impossible standard set by these obligations, Washington’s own weaknesses (namely, his reluctance to become president and his tendency to deviate from good health) demonstrated that the Address called not for a perfect president, but a president who would serve America to the best of his abilities. No man would ever succeed in fulfilling these tasks flawlessly, yet the president could not give up on his moral obligation to America. By defining the president’s own duty and allowing for his humanity, Washington’s First Inaugural Address established a standard for national leaders—yes, for all citizens—by which to live.

Time proved that the Inaugural Address’ description of duty did

not only hold at the national level; for Robert E. Lee and many other Confederate supporters in the mid-1800s, duty to one’s state even held precedence over duty to one’s country. Before the Civil War officially (Continued on Page 81)

sarah ott 48

49


Rural Meets Bustle a sonnet Your weathered streets are filled with history,

katie flores

From days of simple life when grass grew tall. Enchantment like yours is a mystery, Experienced when I was very small. Your fields of sunflowers roll on and on, Untouched and effortlessly majestic. I search the stars from my spot on the lawn, Designed by Him with a wand of magic. But sometimes, new opportunities come, And we move to new places far away. Bustling cities are a change of rhythm, Crowded cars on a ribbon of highway. I’ve found beauty with a different name; Homes will change but family stays the same.

“My grandfather often says “the world turns on personalities”. It means that depending on which person is put in a position of leadership or at a certain place at a specific event or time, he/she will be forced to make decisions in life that can change the world.”

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51


“I used to think when I made

Redemption

“Can you run over to the newspaper room and get these scanned

Holy crap.

A few hours later, during lunch, I walked about the building, dragging my feet. I sank to the floor in the back of some hallway I

any mistakes, it was the

for me and put them on the website?”

had rarely walked through, looked around and saw absolutely no one I knew, and dropped my face into my hands.

My editor Chelsea dangled photos in front of my face.

end of the world. I learned,

No. I have my own photos to take, insert, edit, crop, perfect...

that my perfectionist nature mixed with my ever-increasing number of small missteps were creating a massive dissatisfaction and sorrow

slowly, and difficultly that God

“Yeah, sure.”

within myself, the problem would go away.

She smiled.

It did not.

redeems our mistakes, and no

“You are by far my favorite.”

It was more than just school or stress -- it was everything else, really, that had reduced me to this state. I started to cry, quietly

one is perfect.”

The first three months of my sophomore year had involved a

as to not attract attention. The syntax check I was surely going to fail (I was missing about 200 sentences) was only a trigger for this

learning curve like I had never experienced before. I was no longer a

outpouring of emotions. I did everything wrong. My friends were better than me -- better at getting good grades, being funny, being

freshman, no longer one of the babies of the school, and the maturation

attractive, having fun. My grades were fine, much better than fine, really, but that did not matter. I scolded myself for even having trouble

apparently involved stress, and lots of it.

in my advanced math class. I pleaded with myself to write better. I begged of myself for more diligent work, better results, a more pleasing

appearance.

katie garbarino

Mental map for WHAP; two newspaper articles, plus the final

I was in a hole. I never let my mind mull it over; I never let my thoughts stray to their own condition. I thought by ignoring the fact

edits of my two page spread; an extra theater rehearsal on Friday; finish

reading The Ox-Bow Incident by Monday.

would not see, I realized that it was not the stress or unhappiness or the imperfections in my life that were making everything about me

-- my thoughts, actions, and values -- so muddled. I was looking up from the hole I had dug for myself. That distance between me and the

I got up to the newspaper room, placed those photos I was

In those moments where my face was wet and hot and the decency in me refused to lift my face so the others in the hallway

supposed to scan on my computer keyboard, and quickly asked one of

ground, where the sun was shining through, that was what was ruining the peace in my heart.

my fellow first year editors if the late night for the deadline was tonight or

“Katie?” A voice called softly and hesitantly through my fitful reverie.

tomorrow.

I recoiled and despaired. I knew that voice. It was Carolynn. Terror seized me. I really like Carolynn. She was fun, she was

honest, she was a great friend. I did not want her to see me this way.

“It’s tomorrow. We have to clear out soon. Mrs. Walt wants to get

going.”

I sighed. I would not be able to finish my article today, then.

I lifted my head, and she gasped. Instead of asking what was wrong or trying to comfort me, she leaned back against the wall

next to me. We did not look at each other.

Her voice broke the silence.

“Yeah, I know exactly what that is like.”

Feeling good.

Later that day, I walked into the newspaper room to find Mrs. Walt screaming at Chelsea, who had tears in the corner of her eyes

and a horrified look on her face. I blanched. I had forgotten to scan those pictures and post them online.

I got to school the next day, having finished my homework the

night before and gotten several newspaper interviews over the phone. My pleasant mood faded quickly when in second period I heard

my friends whispering about how first period English had a syntax check.

After Mrs. Walt had lowered her voice, Chelsea strode to where I was standing.

My stomach fell.

“Can you guess what that was about, Katie?”

Syntax checks were just quiz grades to see if the student had

“Chelsea, I am so sorr--”

done the daily homework, which was writing ten sentences for one syntax

“Save it.”

pattern per day. The only problem was, the teacher checked about every three weeks or so at random, and if you did not have every single one of

-- -- -- --

the sometimes hundreds of assigned sentences, you got a zero.

A few months after that horrible day, I dropped out of high school with perfect grades and friends who loved me. I dropped out

of high school, and home schooled for my second semester of sophomore year, both literally and figuratively holing myself up. Falling away from the stress and onlookers did nothing to bridge the gap between me, at the bottom of the hole, and the ground above, warm and sunny.

I felt more jumbled and disappointed with myself than ever.

A few more months after that, I completely froze up and became completely immobilized by my own perception of my shortcomings. My home school work came to a trickle. One day, though, I woke up and remembered that day Carolynn had found me in the hall. As I was lying in my bed, still groggy from sleep, I remembered her words.

I know exactly what that is like. (Continued on Page 87)

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53


Learning to Fall

To most, the saying, “Get back in the saddle” is only a figure of

speech, a motivational quote when you’re going through a rough time, yet

“I want readers to realize

to me it’s literal, personal even.

they should never give up no

the sand from a hard fall and the tears from a hurt pride. Yet, as I’m lying

matter how hard you fall.”

me, there is always that one voice telling me to ‘get back in that saddle’ a

I have been bucked and I have been launched. I have tasted

there on the ground, trying to regain the air that was just knocked from voice that belongs to Eliza Bishop, my instructor.

maddy coppello

Eliza Bishop is the type of person who you answer ‘yes’ when

you mean yes and ‘no’ when you mean no. She is a tall, without-theaccent German with short hair and a uniform consisting of high waisted, faded, skinny jeans, a belt and colorful polo shirt that is always tucked in, with a visor that rarely matches. Eliza looks like she has been everywhere and done everything, with scarred, calloused, hands and smile wrinkles at the corner of her eyes. She walks with the air of authority.

Eliza has done everything twice, and will always look for a

way to do it better the third time, such as approaching the jump from a new angle or adding a new jump in a course. She challenges herself to do better with everything, and welcomes failure as a friend, gaining experience from it instead of accepting defeat. While she has learned so much from her fifty years of experience with horses, she is always open-minded for new ideas, taking lessons from other professionals or learning new disciplines such as dressage and cross-country. Eliza will never give up on what she has her mindset on, and lives her life by the motto “nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

Eliza has taught me that getting back into the saddle is not just

about facing your challenges. She has taught me to pull myself up from the ground, brush the sand off my boots, walk slowly to my horse now on the opposite end of the arena, get back on him, go over the same jump, and execute it perfectly.

This I learned the hard way. A few weeks ago I was jumping a

course on my horse Tesoro, when we came cantering up to this particular jump, a two foot, six inch vertical white gate, with bright, beautifully (Continued on Page 82)

“The silhouette of the figure is most important in my piece; it expresses tranquility and peace.”

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55


Home, an ode Strophe I

“Above all, I try to unify the

Tears, divide us,

ideas in my writing while

Make man’s misery a home

keeping it relatable, which creates an interesting tone.”

Trickle down into the past Where floors are laid with hopeless hands. Antistrophe I Hate, consume us, Hold our hearts in death’s embrace

madison deluca

Build bitter walls of painful lies: Our misplaced blame a mortar makes. Strophe II Love, protect us, Strive to shield us from all fear This roof is torn with worried cracks Where terror’s tempests slither in Antistrophe II God, forgive us, Deny and lie is all we do Unbelief corrupts our dwelling, We plead for mercy, plead for Truth.

“I wanted to convey that if you work hard, you get far. No matter what comes at you, just keep going and never give up.”

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57


Dumbledore’s Army

I, the middle child, have lived the life of a shadow. Not the

beginning, nor the end. Not the first to claim the cell phone. Not the last never to sit in timeout like the siblings before him. Other than that, I have lived like any other child growing up, young and free from worry. That was until my mom fell ill when I was twelve. Then, I faded farther into the background than ever before. My older brother Matthew, the hero, saved her life when she had her first seizure while driving her car. He and my frightened and innocent little eight-year old brother obviously received first dibs on the special attention.

meredith richter

So there I was, a twelve-year old hormonal mess, sitting alone

in the hospital lounge trying to figure out my next step. Middle school was hard enough; now I had to cope without a mother to care for me.

Who would make my lunch? Take me dress shopping, or

worse… bra shopping? What about my boy problems? If I were sick, who would take care of me? What if girls were mean to me? This was not okay! I needed a mother!

But only me and my introverted self heard the screaming inside

my head. With no one around, my plan of action came to be the following: figuring things out myself, alone. No mother, except for the one I would become. So, I took my vitamins to avoid being sick. I shopped for myself, made my own lunches, avoided the heartache of boys, turned away when girls teased me, and dared not cry about any of it. Sometimes people would see me and ask about my mom. It would go something like this: “I’m sorry about your mom. How is she? Do your brothers like casserole? Great.” I am sorry to say that I shall never eat another casserole as long as I live and love on this dear earth.

Eventually, Mom’s brain cancer vanished, and everyone

cheered with elation. Mother was a mom again! She tried to put herself back in my life, but she had missed a few critical years where I needed her. I don’t blame her for being absent, but time had turned. I was my own mommy, and she was just my mother. We never really connected in the time she was healthy. She died this past year; her at forty-four years, me at sixteen. (Continued on Page 82)

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“I would like anyone who

Having Faith

reads my work to realize that

Struggling, I reached as far as I could. I felt as though I had my own

how to live?” I couldn’t focus on anything but Shane. It was the first time I had ever learned about the Bible, and I had found myself looking

force of gravity working against me, holding me back. I could feel the tears

forward to the classes, but that day I wanted to be anywhere but there. Ever since Shane told me he was gay, I had no problem with it.

God loves everyone, no matter

push into my eyes and my muscles stretch to their full length. I’ve never seen

I never thought that it was wrong, and I never thought that it was much of a big deal. I always figured it was that person’s decision who

his face look so troubled. This isn’t working! I could see the gate to Heaven

he loves and everyone else was in his business. I even stood up for the freedom of homosexuals when my teacher declared that it was

what they do. We are all fallen

closing. I only had a little longer to pull him from the abyss of Hell in which I

against the Bible! But, when it was proven to me through the stories of the Bible that God does hate it, I realized that Shane really was

people and we shouldn’t put

knew he did not belong.

headed for Hell. I didn’t know what to think. I was confused by the complexity of it all that day. There was no way that Shane could escape

tell him that being gay is sending him to Hell? Would he be mad if I tried to change him? Wouldn’t I feel wrong telling him who to like and

“Keep trying!” I choked out, “I’m going to get you up here!” What would

Hell unless he changed and was no longer gay. But Shane is gay, that’s how he is. But I know Shane and I know that he doesn’t deserve

ourselves above another

I do if I couldn’t? How will I survive with this gnawing at my heart forever? Is it

to go to Hell. He is the sweetest, kindest, and most self-sacrificing person I’ve ever met. He doesn’t belong in Hell with the demons and

possible to be heart-broken in Heaven? I collapsed, bawling. I had failed.

murderers. Yet he is gay and gay people go to Hell. He’s too generous and compassionate for this fate. What am I going to do?

person.”

molly welch

THAT was the best conclusion I could compose; THAT was the

Tears threatened at my eyes all day as I remembered all the fun times Shane and I had together. Towards the end of our eighth

brightest ending he could have after a life of ridicule and judgment. It couldn’t

grade year, Shane and I would leave the grimy and crowded cafeteria where everyone ate lunch and go out to the football field’s fresh

get any worse than that! He would die and more trouble would be thrown at

green grass and crisp air to eat and talk. We would sit up on the hard silver bleachers or even in the very center of it all, soaking in the

him. How was I supposed to change his future from this terrible fate? I tried

moment. I was pretty sure that it was against the rules, but we had so much fun doing it and we were never told not to. Every day Shane

to imagine all the wicked and corrupt demons that Hell contained, awaiting

and I would sit outside and laugh and eat enjoying the life we had. He would make me laugh and advise me on any problem that I had. I

Shane. My mind drifted to Shane arriving in Hell and the fire overtaking his

could talk to him about anything and I’d always leave feeling so much better. He was the highlight of my day. I remember one lunch time

soul, swallowing him, I could see his face screaming, begging and struggling

Shane and I got into a very deep discussion that still stands out to me till this day. I remember feeling that Shane truly opened up to me

with tears running down his face, grasping at nothing but the hot, musty air that

that day.

surrounded him. I had to stop myself from going any further; I was too close

to breaking down. I loved Shane and I couldn’t let that happen to him! I looked

looked so embarrassed as he admitted this to me. I could tell that this was well thought through and it was truly his passion.

around me and no one noticed the pain eating me up inside; I tried to focus on

what my Bible teacher was saying.

be really good because he was so creative and brave. I wanted to give him my full support and show him I was there for him no matter

what everyone else might think.

“It’s against God’s rules to be homosexual,” he continued in his

“I’ve never told anyone this,” he remarked more times than I could count. “I want to be a fashion designer when I grow up.” He “Oh my gosh! Shane, you would be so good at that! I always love what you wear!” I really did think he would love it, and he would

lecture, “God burned up the town of Sodom in which all men were gay…. God

made Eve for Adam on purpose. He made woman for men on purpose. He

his eyes. He was thanking me for the encouragement I was giving him.

did not make a man for a man nor a woman for a woman.” The rest of the

class laughed and giggled trying to cover up the awkwardness of the area of

continued talking about his dreams and thoughts and other opinions that I was so happy to finally know. I had nothing but love for my best

discussion. They thought of homosexuality as something on television but I

friend. I knew he appreciated me as I appreciated his trust.

knew better. I had seen the trouble it caused my friend, Shane, and found

nothing humorous about it.

I didn’t know if I should tell him or change him. So I did something that was still new to me but always comforted me. I prayed.

“Does that mean that everyone who is gay,” I questioned, “no matter

“Thank you Molly! I actually wasn’t sure if I would be any good at all,” he insisted. I could read what he was trying to say through “Have you thought of any designs yet? I’d love to see them!” I knew he could tell I was happy to be there. We smiled and

When I got home, I was overwhelmed with thoughts of Shane. I didn’t know what to do or how to feel about Shane going to Hell. “Dear God,” I started,” I know Shane has sinned and I know the punishment is Hell. But would you take mercy on him? Give him

what, is going to hell?” I tried to sound curious instead of desperate for a chance

some slack and please take into consideration all the good he has done in spite all the hard things he’s been through. He’s one of the

at escaping Shane from Hell.

strongest people I know and to end up burning in Hell…. It doesn’t seem fair!” I was furious at the rules because they fought against my

“Now remember, God loves the sinner, just hates the sin. It says it in

best friend Shane and the way he was. Why did he have to be the one to break the rules? “He’s such a good person; he doesn’t deserve

the rules of the Bible that homosexuality is something that truly repulses God.”

this, God. He’s so kind and selfless and sweet. He doesn’t belong in Hell! Please forgive him. Take from me if you can just please. Don’t

send him down to the burning depths of Hell. Please.” I begged. “If there is something I can do to change him or his out come please bend

“That means yes,” I thought to myself. “What would I do? How could I

and break me to make that happen. Amen,” I concluded. I began to cry, letting out all the emotion that I had kept that day.

Then, when I was on the line between consciousness and sleep, something occurred to me. I was crossing the line. It was not my

decision. God will do what he wants, and I cannot ask him to change what he knows is right and wrong. As hard as it is to grasp, I know that there are some things you can’t control. I should enjoy the time I have with him on Earth, and when we pass on I will hope that God shows mercy on Shane and allow him to be with me in Heaven. I should not be begging for a change. God knows what is right ,and God has a plan for us all. He knows what is best, not me. I will stand by Shane’s side no matter what he decides to do because I love Shane and so does God. And I’ll let God be the one to make the decision that only he can make. I will hope for the best because I think Shane deserves the best, but I will prepare for the worst because Shane has sinned and there is a punishment for wrongdoing.

60

worst.

My advice to everyone is do not try to change God’s plan because you can’t. Do what you can. Hope for the best and expect the

61


“Mr. Kelley’s class is a

sharp and exact; I

Ecologist, environmentalist and essayist Aldo Leopold once

humbling yet broadening

asked, “Is education possibly a process of trading awareness for things of

experience, and you can

woman, well-educated in several fields, who was quite unaware of the

always count on him to notice

the past thirty years. When I first read this passage in Leopold’s essay, I

wanted the figure to

lesser worth?” He preceded this question by recalling a Phi Beta Kappa

seem scholarly and

geese that had made their home on the top of her own every summer for

the smallest details of God’s

was surprised at how much I unfortunately related to this woman, so utterly

creation and weave them into

of education. It forced me to think: What exactly does “education” look

the interrelatedness of it all.”

morgan long

“I like to keep my style

Belief in Un-Education

reserved.”

and ironically unaware of her closest surroundings, despite her high level like, and what does it mean to be “educated?” I relate to “the educated woman” on a daily basis when I am

reminded of how little I know, even compared to those I know who are relatively un- or poorly educated. My parents, for example, did not go to college (and according to what they tell me, their high school degrees would be the equivalent of my middle school education), yet my dad is ten times more self-made and successful than I can ever imagine myself becoming on my own. I rely on the help of my “uneducated” parents to get the education that sometimes fails to teach me the most basic and practical things in life. For example, the majority of students my age know next to nothing about government and general economics (and I do not think any person should have to wait to take a course when he is eighteen to know what is going on in the world around him). It is somewhat embarrassing to know that I can do some things my parents cannot, like physics and trigonometry, yet I do not even know what balancing a checkbook means, how to change a car tire, nor the difference between dishwashing soap and dishwasher liquid. Many of the “most educated” would gasp in horror at my previous statement, understanding it to mean that I believe my practical role to be with cars, checkbooks, and kitchens in the domestic realm. I do not believe that my role is restricted to the domestic realm; I believe that women have the power to use their education in the domestic realm to improve the lives and awareness of every human being that passes through the home – in other words, everyone. If that is not using education practically, I don’t know what is. (Continued on Page 83)

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63


Unity

“In a world that is constantly

“O beautiful for heroes prov’d In liberating strife,

changing and the power of

Who more than self their country loved And mercy more than life.”

the United States is constantly being challenged, American citizens need to regain their

From America the Beautiful, 1893

The greatest issue facing the American people today is a

decline of unity.

Traditionally the U.S. has placed emphasis on the

patriotic fervor.”

importance of principles and ideals, such as morality, unity and diligence.

parker malone

placing importance upon the individual rather than decent moral behavior

However, America seems to have abandoned these ideals, instead throughout society. I believe that if the United States of America wants to continue being a power, Americans must put aside their differences and renew the patriotic sentiments that are vital to the unity and success of our nation. From the very beginning, our nation has recognized the importance of unity; in the Revolutionary War, patriot colonists retained a zealous passion for acquiring their innate rights; this passion led to a unified front and had far reaching effects upon the number and dedication of volunteers serving in the Continental Army. These selfless volunteers, ranging from the soldiers in the army to the people who served them, adhered to their moral standards by sacrificing their own personal welfare in order to benefit society. By today’s standards, these necessary sacrifices would have greatly diminished the number of volunteers because Americans have become obsessed with the notion that the individual is more important than the whole. This lack of unity has spread through our nation like an infectious disease, and it is deeply concerning that this selfishness has engulfed our society. While it is certainly understandable for someone to be concerned with his or her own personal welfare, Americans have made themselves so uncompassionate toward others that they have become blatantly narcissistic. We should recognize that we as a nation are fighting a war. Rather than (Continued on Page 83)

“I wanted the feeling of family, contentedness, and happiness to come through with the warm colors in my picture.”21

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“I wanted to bring out

Embrace the World

facial features through

One summer, I was relaxing at home when my mother surprised

me with a gift. She handed me a pink gift bag and from it, I pulled a yellow,

colors, and point out the

handmade ceramic sign that read, “Embrace the World With Your Own Genuine Style.” Immediately impressed, I carefully traced the engraved

fact that distortion can

words with my fingers, pondering what these words really meant.

be pleasing to the eye.”

I am different. I always have been, always will be. Although I

have always lived in America, I am of Indian origin. My parents were born, raised, and educated in India, so my upbringing directly reflects this. They taught me my heritage in the same way that their parents taught

priya chacko

them – through experience. Almost every summer, I travel to Kerala, India, to spend time with my extended family and learn more about our culture and our customs; I learn about a lifestyle completely different from that in America, a lifestyle that I truly understand. My Indian culture shines through every aspect of my American lifestyle: it influences every decision I make and how I think. My style – the way I embrace my world – is the manifestation of my heritage and experiences; therefore, it not only distinguishes me from others but also allows me to be myself, regardless of society’s confines.

Because I was brought up as an Indian in America, two personas

coexist within me: the traditional Indian and the contemporary American. For example, my Indian side values conformity while my modern American side places importance on individualism. The Indian culture places great importance on obedience, for children are expected to listen to and respect their parents, trusting them above all else. Because my parents taught me this traditional belief, I try my best to follow their advice and wisdom, which comes from the life experience that I do not yet have. In contrast, my American side values individualism: my enthusiasm for being myself and breaking out of the mold my parents have set for me illustrates the influence of modern American values. American culture cherishes the individualistic aspect of society; I have noticed that people from across the nation will speak out for what they believe in, stand up for what is right, and fight for liberties that allow them to be who they are. The environment in which I live, including both my peers and the American (Continued on Page 83)

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“Sometimes escaping your comfort zone to reach out can truly be beneficial for everyone involved.”

rachel craft and grace munford

Familiar Faces, Worn-out Faces Oh, but it is empty now! --this abandoned hallway closed lockers, locked doors to a graveyard of desire, void of promise. Be cautious of disturbance. Here there is this cue, the perpetual cycle starts anew that cages and saves us. It hold power and freedom and releases captives from class. (it is a gift and a curse) all quite necessary. Does it unite or separated? It has a cold floor with individual tiles, and the light from the doors beckons its captives; on the tired bench a lone student hiding behind the fear of rejection. Some lockers open reveal a well kept secret--a secret of the teenage mind. They group and segregate to benefit themselves like the buses of Montgomery (take a seat where you belong), beside a long wall of history. Why so segregated? Why so secluded? Why, oh why, can’t we be friends? (clumped together separately, hushed whispers of secrets being told) Somebody shatter the noisy silence. Somebody burst the bubble, or break the barrier. Somebody fix this hallway so it softly says: let my walls no longer be like a prisoner’s cell. Somebody stop this.

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69


“Writing, especially in this

How To Lie With Statistics:

does makes sense....As Huff explained how it is nearly impossible to receive opinions or facts from every “pool” of people, my eyes wandered towards my desk where two Us magazines lay. Flipping through the pages I came to the weekly “Who Wore It Best?” poll.

piece, helps me to put my

An “Average” Person’s Guide to Avoiding Manipulative Numbers

“Hi there! Can I help you?” Apprehensively scanning the book

According to Us, 72% of voters believed that Erin Andrews wore the better dress, while 28% believed that it was instead Kim Kardashian

shelves at Barnes & Noble, I looked up to see a bright, cheery face

who wore it best. Using Huff’s logic, I thought to myself, Obviously the percents are not made up of the world’s opinion. The people who

smiling back at me. His bubbly state of mind drastically contrasted mine,

most likely voted are women between the ages of 13 and 50 who have access to both a computer and the magazine and who live in

paper, as well as letting

which consisted of a mixture of dread and anxiety.

the United States. They also might have a biased opinion of one actress instead of the other, which might sway their opinion. Knowing

others know my thoughts

this, I realized that only a few votes went towards the polling, and that Erin Andrews might not have been the best dressed after all. Huff

statistics?” The word tasted funny in my mouth, like it didn’t belong there.

also describes how many times important information is left out of the final report because of its potential to “taint” the statistic, and how

As I hesitantly followed the employee towards the “Math and Science”

many times the “average” given is actually not an average at all, but instead a median. As I continued to read through Huff’s argument,

section, I was convinced that I was being led towards my doom.

that most all statistics are manipulated, I began to see the truth all around me. I questioned commercials on TV and the radio, back-to-

As someone who has come to despise numbers and all forms

school advertisements, weight loss results, sales events, “Who Wore It Best?” polls, and even the Reese’s cereal box sitting in my pantry

of math under the sun, one might wonder why I chose to read How To Lie

claiming to have 30% more cereal than before. What does that even mean? 30% more independent pieces of cereal? Does Reese’s

With Statistics versus a book strictly written with letters. The thought of

have a standard cereal count now? Since when? Why didn’t they add the 30% earlier? Why now? Am I the only one confused here?

sifting through percentages and deciphering countless digits absolutely

The questions are endless.

terrified me; however, something in my head continued to nag me about

thoughts and feelings on

and feelings without even speaking.”

reaghan gillman

“Um, yes, actually. I’m wondering where I can find books about...

The more I read about the constant lies seeping into the lives of thousands, the more I became disappointed in the human race.

reading the book. Despite my hatred in regards to math, the idea that

What happened to morals and ethics? Are people that willing to manipulate the facts just to make a profit? Are the paychecks really worth

numbers could actually be used to deceive and manipulate interested

the lies? Though I was extremely frustrated with the advertisers who make the daily choice to manipulate people every day, I was also

me. I generally found the numbers on my algebra homework to be clear-

disappointed with myself for blindly stumbling into their trap. Was that smoothie really 75% less fat? Did Erin Andrews really wear the

cut and honest, despite their ability to confuse me to no end.

dress best according to the polls? Did I really believe those lies? All of a sudden, I felt surrounded by empty, bottomless lies. I wanted

Plus, there were comics.

something more concrete; something that would not crumble.

So though I was a bit leery about tackling a book made up of

I wanted something that seemed far off: the truth. I’m almost positive that the seven billion other people on this planet would want

percents and statistics, my curiosity defeated my anxiety and I began to

it too.

read. I already found myself questioning Huff’s argument when I read

the segment comparing a statistic to Hitler’s “big lie.” Is he seriously

but it’s worth something.

comparing a puny statistic for cold medicine to the man who wreaked

havoc throughout the world and was responsible for the death of

as easy as a “how to” book. Yes, Huff describes many techniques used by advertisers in his argument, but surely there are some he left

thousands of Jewish people? About five sentences later, I experienced

out. Since this book was written for the general public, it has, in a sense, been “dumbed down” so that the average person might be able

the same reaction when Huff declares that “crooks already know these

to understand the information inside the pages. This is all fine and dandy, but I do not believe that it is enough to fully educate a person

tricks; honest men must learn them in self-defense.” I raised my eyebrows

about statistics in such a simplified form. In order to master statistics and be able to see through their flaws, one must heavily research

Is wanting the plain truth really too much to ask for? Sure, it might hurt sometimes and it might not bring in the biggest paycheck, Though I agree with most of what Darrell Huff argues in his book, I do not believe that educating people about statistics can be

in skepticism. So now this has become a full-blown battle between the

the topic versus reading a simple “how to” book. Still, Huff’s book acts as a helpful “first step” toward educating the public of the statistical

advertisement companies and the general public? Well, better go get my

lies they face everyday.

armor...

The world is currently in an era where technology makes the media a very helpful and powerful tool to spread information, which

However, I hadn’t even made it through the first chapter, “The

means that just as many lies will be spread as truths, if not more. Though there is not much hope for the end of these fallacies, people

Sample with the Built-in Bias,” when I thought, Oh...well I suppose that

like Darrell Huff are educating people so that they too might see through the hype and demand more substance. Reading the first page of this book, I was hesitant and slightly nervous to face the wrath of numbers, but knowing what I know now and being equipped with the truth, I am now able to look past the manipulated numbers of this world.

70

Not to mention walk straight on by the Reese’s cereal box in the grocery store.

71


Nuclear Proliferation: A Criticism and Proposition

Recently, mid-August 2010, the United Nations approved the

nuclear war. It’s time for plan B.

It is going to require an unprecedented, complete global initiative to resolve this problem. First off, the world is still running off

opening of a nuclear power plant in Bushehr, Iran. Unsurprisingly, Israel’s

the Cold War notion of deterrence: the threat that stable world powers like the United States possess nuclear weapons will deter other

Foreign Ministry released a statement condemning the move as foolish

nations, and terrorist groups, from using their own nuclear weapons for fear of nuclear retaliation. In order to completely resolve this

to allow Iran a gateway to developing nuclear weapons. Israel’s recent

issue, we will eventually have to wean ourselves off of this notion. However, I realize that, right now, abrogating nuclear weapons in the

censure of Iran represents the fears of many people that threatening,

United States is not only unrealistic, but also irresponsible—leaving the United States, and consequently the rest of the world, exposed

progression. My writing style is

anti-western countries like Iran and North Korea might develop and

and vulnerable to nuclear attack. Hence, I am by no means advocating complete nuclear disarmament in the United States until further

analytical and academic.”

use nuclear weapons. And this fear is legitimate and rational. Nuclear

steps are taken to ensure world peace and security without them. Secondly, terrorist organizations do not comply with diplomacy: treaties,

proliferation has become one of the most daunting global issues of our

regulations, et al. Thus, a simple international agreement by national leaders to stop producing nuclear weapons in their respective

time. There is a very real threat of a nuclear war if such weapons fall into

countries will not suffice. The solution requires much more—to stop the development of nuclear weapons at a grass-roots level.

the wrong hands (hostile totalitarian governments, terrorist organizations,

et al.) — which would undoubtedly have prevailing, devastating global

regulatory measures and second, there must be a strict enforcement of said measures and harsh consequences for not abiding by

ramifications. Therefore, the question is not whether nuclear proliferation

them. This agreement must require global participation—realizing the imminence of this issue and acting in a strong, swift manner.

is indeed a problem, but how are we to deal with it? If my generation does

Also, the agreement must outline strict regulations by which countries must abide by in order to prevent the spread and trade of nuclear

not want to find itself suffering the concomitants of a nuclear war, a lasting

weapons technology and fissile materials—especially to known terrorist groups and any other suspicious radical groups. In this way, we

solution must be found.

can effectively treat the problem in its infantile stages. Failure to follow these regulations must result in harsh consequences such as

As of now, the solution for this issue is the Nuclear Non-

global economic sanctions. Hence, essentially what we have is an agreement that, although similar in its mission statement, is inherently

Proliferation Treaty. Initially coming into force in 1970, the 189 signatory

different from the NNPT. These regulatory measures, in combination with a global initiative that likens that of the Montreal Protocol, will

nations agreed to non-proliferation and disarmament of nuclear weapons.

help remedy this looming issue.

“I write like I think, in a logical

reid bishop

However, the NNPT has its limitations. First of all, the treaty is neither all-

Hence, our new solution is two-fold: first, a new, comprehensive global agreement must be made to re-determine nuclear

In conclusion, we have a dangerous, global issue at hand—one that can and will have lasting implications on this generation if it

inclusive nor fully complied with. India and Pakistan, both non-signatory

is not resolved quickly and deftly. Our current solutions to the issue, the NNPT and deterrence, are insufficient as long-term preventions

states to the NNPT, possess and test nuclear weapons. North Korea

of nuclear war. Hence, a new, comprehensive solution must be presented and acted upon. Although it is becoming ever more imminent,

withdrew its membership (and with relative ease one might argue)

it is not too late to prevent nuclear proliferation and, consequently, nuclear war.

under the NNPT and publicly declared in 2005 that it possessed nuclear weapons. Of the five original Nuclear Weapons States supposedly committed to nuclear disarmament, three are still reluctant to dispossess their nuclear weapons: the United States, United Kingdom, and Russia. Moreover, NATO states agree that in a state of “general war” the treaty becomes null and void. Hence, the treaty loses all real power in preventing nations from using nuclear weapons in times of war. Not to mention the treaty fails to address the most threatening prospect of them all—terrorist organizations, which do not adhere to international regulations of any sort, possessing nuclear weapons. All of this leads us to a troubling conclusion: our current “solution” is completely ineffective in preventing a

72

73


I was sitting on a branch of the Chinaberry tree in front of

my house one day when a man walking on the street began yelling

“I found that suffering is just

incomprehensible phrases—mixed words and sharp, startling syllables—

as common as happiness, and

tree I was perched on, chuckled softly to himself and said, “That man

together, through friendship

the house, and the man down the road and to the right, into the unknown

shaking his hands at nonexistent people. My dad walked up next to the

six-word memoirs

forgot to take his medicine today.” Both walked away, my dad back into

and community, we can find

world that had began to prick my mind with questions. My father, an

balance.”

that could be helped by medicine. It was an illness of disorientation and

sarah ott

occurrences in life to my father were.

internist, said the man was afflicted with schizophrenia. It was an illness disorder that could be explained by reason, rationale, analysis—as all

I plagued my father with endless questions, thinking that maybe,

alex duck

“I was born with perfect flaws”

one day, he would not have the answer. Yet, he always seemed to know: Why was that child not playing with the others? “Asperger’s.” Why did Paige bite Jacy today on the playground?

“Narcissism, the female version of multi-personality disorders.”

“Life is more than six words.”

connor pryor

Why did Tom constantly shrug like that? “Tourette’s.” Why did my throat hurt?

“Swollen lymph nodes.”

Why were there rings on the trunks of trees?

“Rings are an indication of how old a tree is; count them and you

can find out.” Why was it not snowing?

“While it is below freezing, there is not enough precipitation in

the air.”

meredith richter

“I wish life had background music”

(Continued on Page 83)

“Life is a story; start writing!”

74

hayden sneed 75


Square One

What is Time?

Wandering Nomad

“I want my readers to examine

The fish, swimming in her pond.

Go back in time

Life needs water:

Chases after a shining light

To re-walk those paths

Fresh, cool, succulent water.

their lives for mediocrity or

Until she see it’s a hook.

Down a forest of nothing,

This desert is full of strangers

superficiality and to actually

Turn, swim, swim away, little fish

Nothing but trees,

Whom I don’t understand.

Before you’re caught by the cook.

Trees and me.

They speak my language

live the lives they mean to

Back to Square One

Isn’t that what you find in a forest?

But are not of my land.

Trees and me.

United, they push me away,

live.“

A man makes a name for himself in his life,

A sea of trees.

Away from where I’m headed.

tyler look

A well-paying job, a retirement plan,

I walk past an oak

Alone, without common ground.

He’s the definition of the self-made man,

With bark as his cloak.

I sleep, I talk, I fight myself,

Until his car breaks down,

He speaks to me

My tongue so parched and dry.

Until his house burns to the ground,

And tells me of days

I find my shelter under this tree.

Until his wife is buried in a mound,

Spent standing and growing

Yet move on I must try,

Until his job moves out of town.

And all of his ways.

For I am a wandering nomad

Back to Square One.

His roots well established,

Bound for the sea.

Pretending he has it made: a car, a house, a wife.

Now here I am,

An underground maze. You live your life through the motions. A puppet led by thread,

I walk past a pine

Instead of using your heart

With such a tall spine.

And thinking with your head.

He tells me of a time

You’re chewing on that raisin

When the birds used to rhyme.

While I’m feasting on this bread.

Now all he hears is sadness,

You find your heart hungry

Anger, and crime.

While mine is well fed.

“Oh those days

Back to Square One

When what I had Was mine!”

Both fish and man begin a new New lives started, old ones done.

Those trees

Memories, plenty – regrets, a few.

Live in one place

Starting back at Square One

An unchanging face.

What is this flesh – Mere dirt with life?

But I see twenty clocks in my mind, Places and ideas I have left behind. People I have grown to love, Deep In my memory, faces so kind. How is this time defined If a mind is set on years of old, Of memories and hopes and dreams untold, Of love and trust and sincerity so bold? What is mere time If I live somewhere else in my mind?

76

77


Internet: An Enabler of Stupidity

“I was inspired to do this piece by my dependence on the internet to help me analyze

When faced with writing an essay on what I believe, the first

thing I did was Google “things people believe in.” I do this on many assignments. When faced with an assignment I do not particularly feel motivated to do, I usually consult the Internet in hopes of finding some “inspiration” (a euphemism for “the answers”). What is the limit of this

poetry more easily (as I wrote

series? Bing. What is the theme of this poem? Ask Jeeves. To what

this piece while studying

help.

extent is Keynesian policy used in America’s economy today? Wikipedia,

poetry in English).”

How does searching my homework help me at all? Well, in the

zack dotson

output and get to bed on time. There are other incentives for searching

short run, finding some inspiration on the Internet helps me maximize my for the answers online. Online answers are, in most cases, correct, while my answers have a greater percentage of error. Teachers give completed homework with correct answers good grades. Good grades correspond with good test scores. Good test scores correspond with good colleges. Good colleges correspond with good jobs. A good job corresponds with a good life. A good life corresponds with contentment. So really, my happiness for the rest of my life is at stake here. And one hundred six times out of one hundred thirty three times, I will go with the answer influenced by the Internet.

On the other hand, in the long run such a strategy does not

really help at all. (It may seem that I just contradicted myself—perhaps I was exaggerating a bit in the last paragraph.) Searching the Internet for answers can become an intellectual “crutch” for me or anyone else. Once someone begins using the Internet to help him with his homework, he finds showing originality in his answers to be more difficult and finds himself searching the Internet more and more. Soon, he reaches a point where he is plagiarizing many of his assignments. Using the Internet in this fashion is dangerous because plagiarism is not only illegal, but destructive as well when it enables stupidity.

Students who spend their time paraphrasing ideas found on the

Internet will have more difficulty with critical thinking, as they use other sources to do the thinking for them. This is how the Internet enables (Continued on Page 84)

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Art Contest Winners 2010 - 2011 Henry Britven - Clay Sculpture - 11 - Everyone’s a Little Bit Mad About Something - Scholastic Arts & Writing - Gold Medal Taylor Birmingham - Ceramic Sculpture - 12 - The Music Box - VASE - Blue Medal/Division 3 Sarah Livesay - Ceramic Stoneware Sculpture - 11 - Pumpkin Teapot - VASE - Red Medal/Division 2 Morgan Sparrow - Clay Sculpture - 11 - Dancer - VASE - Red Medal/Division 2 Lauren Dumler - Drawing - 9 - Who Are You? - VASE - White Medal/Div. 1 Amanda Blanchard - Sculpture - 11 - Take a Bite Out of Time - VASE - White Medal/Div.1 Amanda Blanchard - Ceramic Sculpture - 11 - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Replenish, Regrow - VASE - White Medal/Div.1 Kaimyn Kinkade - Clay Sculpture - 12 - Footloose - State VASE - Red, White & Blue State Medal Kendall Maddox - Sculpture - 11 - Who Sawed Them Off? - Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo - Red Ribbon Taylor Birmingham - Sculpture - 12 - Beauty From Ashes - Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo - Red Ribbon Steve Hartshorn - Sculpture - 12 - Where’d I Put That Hat? - Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo - Red Ribbon Ben Boucher - 10 - Spirit Man - Houston LIvestock Show & Rodeo - White Ribbon Logan Zoelle - Painting - 11 - Kaleidescope - Scholastic Art Competition - Silver Key Logan Zoelle - Prismacolor Drawing - 11 - Sunday Stroll - Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo - Best Of Show (2D) Sarah Ott - Portfolio - 12 - Scholastic Art Competition - Silver Key Sarah Ott - Oil Based Sculpture - 12 - Conscience of the Hunter - Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo - Best Of Show (3D) Anna Boucher - 12 - VASE - Gold Sarah Ott - 12 - VASE - Gold Kevin Chin - Prismacolor Drawing - 9 - Kool Kevin - VASE - White Hannah Shearer - Oil Painting - 11 - My Face in Pixels - VASE - Red Savannah Kincaid - 11 - VASE - Red Grace Morris - Prismacolor Drawing - 11 - Morning Glory - Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo - Red Ribbon Ava Finstuen - Prismacolor Drawing - 11 - Cowboy Up Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo - Red Ribbon Bucky Desadier - Prismacolor Drawing - 11 - Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo - Red Ribbon Morgan Sparrow - Prismacolor Drawing - 11 - Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo - White Ribbon Jillian Thompson - Charcoal - 12 - Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo - Blue Ribbon Writing Contest Winners 2010 - 2011 Alex Duck - six-word memoir - 9 - HCHS Six-Word Memoir contest - grade level winner Connor Pryor - six-word memoir - 10 - HCHS Six-Word Memoir Contest - grade level and grand prize winner Meredith Richter - six-word memoir - 11 - HCHS Six-Word Memoir Contest - grade level winner Hayden Sneed - six-word memoir - 12 - HCHS Six-Word Memoir Contest - grade level winner Jackie Bruegging - personal narrative - 9 - Serving Justice - Region 4 Scholastic Art and Writing - Silver Key Rachel Craft - personal narrative - 9 - I’ll Never Be the Same - Region 4 Scholastic Art and Writing - Silver Key Amanda Brown - personal narrative - 9 - Not Loyal, but Still Lame - Region 4 Scholastic Art and Writing - Silver Key Ashley Mack - personal narrative - 11 - Solving Savage Inequalities - Region 4 Scholastic Art and Writing - Gold Key Reghan Gillman - personal narrative - 11 - How To Lie With Statistics - Region 4 Scholastic Art and Writing - Gold Key Kathryn Quandt - personal narrative - 11 - The Omnivore’s Dilemma - Region 4 Scholastic Art and Writing - Gold Key Eric Hopper - personal narrative - 11 - How to Lie with Statistics: From Math to Rhetoric - Region 4 Scholastic Art and Writing - Gold Key Kaitlyn Hirschbuehler - persuasive essay - 11 - Courage: The Foundation of America - Region 4 Scholastic Art and Writing - Silver Key Priya Chacko - persuasive - 12 - Proud to be an Indian-American - National Freedoms Foundation Contest - George Washington Medal Chris Tutunjian - persuasive - 12 - The Land of Opportunity and the Home of Individualism - National Freedoms Foundation Contest George Washington Medal Kaitlin Pannacione - persuasive essay - 12 - The Celebration of Diverse Cultures - National Freedoms Foundation Essay Contest - Honorable Mention Eric Hopper - persuasive essay - 11 - An Unknown Patriotism - Houston Area Freedoms Foundation Contest - Semifinalist Kathyrn Quandt - persuasive essay - 11 - Patriotism: Battlefield of Devotion - Houston Area Freedoms Foundation Contest - Semifinalist Devon Sills - persuasive essay - 11 Patriotism: Leading, Following, Challenging - Houston Area Freedoms Foundation Contest - Semifinalist Michael Dunn - persuasive essay - 11 - What Does It Mean To Be Patriotic? - Houston Area Freedoms FoundationContest - Seminfinalist Alyssa McKinzie - 10 - Letter to Yann Martel, author of Life of Pi - Letters About Literature - 2010 Texas State Finalist, Level III Faith Redding - 11 - Letter to Jeannette Walls, author of The Glass Castle - Letters About Literature - 2010 Texas State Finalist, Level III Megan Keller - 11 - Letter to Jon Kraukauer, author of Into the Wild - Letters About Literature - 2010 Texas State Finalist, Level III Lindsey Scott - 11 - Letter to Jeannette Walls, author of The Glass Castle - Letters About Literature - 2010 Texas State Finalist, Level III Ariana Morgan - 11 - Letter to William Shakespeare, author of The Merchant of Venice - Letters About Literature - 2010 Texas State Finalist, Level III Anthony Farfan - 11 - Letter to Jeannette Walls, author of The Glass Castle - Letters About Literature - 2010 Texas State Finalist, Level III Rebecca James - 11 - Letter to Jon Kraukauer, author of Into the Wild - Letters About Literature - 2010 Texas State Finalist, Level III Sophie Molzan - 11 - Letter to Jeannette Walls, author The Glass Castle - Letters About Literature - 2010 Texas State Finalist, Level III Eric Hopper - persuasive essay - 11 - Ambitious Moderation - Being an American Contest - Honorable Mention, South Central Region Devon Sills - persuasive essay - 11 - American the Beautiful: America the Resilient - Being an American Contest - Honorable Mention, South Central Region Kathryn Quandt - persuasive essay - 11 - Call of Duty - Being an American Essay Contest - Third Place, South Central Region Grace Craven - personal essay - 9 - Wake-up Call - 2nd Annual HCHS We Believe Essay Contest - grade level winner Maddy Coppello - personal essay - 10 - Learning to Fall - 2nd Annual HCHS We Believe Essay Contest - grade level winner Ashley Mack - personal essay - 11 - The Promise of a Passport - 2nd Annual HCHS We Believe Essay Contest - grade level and grand prize winner Alaina Urbankte - personal essay - 12 - The Importance of Awarenes - 2nd Annual HCHS We Believe Essay Contes - grade level winner Priya Chacko - personal essay - 12 - Proud to be an Indian-American - Region 4 Scholastic Art and Writing - Gold Key Dillon Sorensen - humorous essay - 12 - X - Region 4 Scholastic Art and Writing - Gold Key Trevor Johnson - persuasive essay - 12 - Leonardo DaVinci - Region 4 Scholastic Art and Writing - Silver Key Tyler Look - poetry triad - 12 - Square One, What is Time?, Wandering Nomad - Region 4 Scholastic Art and Writing - Silver Key Sarah Ott - personal essay - 12 - Charles - Region 4 Scholastic Art and Writing - Silver Key Parker Malone - personal essay - 12 - Befriending the Black Sheep - Region 4 Scholastic Art and Writing - Silver Key Reid Bishop - persuasive essay - 12 - Nuclear Proliferation: A Criticism and a Proposition - Region 4 Scholastic Art and Writing - Silver Key

79


(Continued from Page 4)

(Continued from Page 24)

an exercise that required us to sprint. Luckily for my team, watching “The Simpsons” was part of my daily routine, so Coach Roberts was

only way to truly achieve progress in America, was for black Americans to stand up for themselves, recognize their beauty as people, and

never able to stump me with his trivia questions.

claim their well-earned place in society. “Nobody can give you freedom,” he said. “Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If

you’re a man, you take it.” And that is exactly what he did; he earned his freedom, as x always does.

Seventh grade was my first opportunity to play football for a school team, and I was excited but somewhat worried at my first

game of the season. The tension was building, as the game was about to start. At our season opening game, my team won the coin

Malcom X died at the beginning stages of the birth of Generation X, which most sociologists contend ranged from 1961 to 1981. But it

toss and elected to kick-off first. I was just about to put on my helmet and run onto the field for the kick-off, when Coach Roberts yelled

seems that Generation X’ers learned a great deal from the great revolutionary with whom they share a letter with. As the first generation

“Dole!” as he abruptly grabbed my jersey, pulled me aside, and asked me a variation of the question he had asked so many times before

raised in the postmodern era, Generation X’ers in America rejected the notion of typicality in their culture. Malcolm X rebelled against

in practice: “Do you want to be a slug the rest of your life, or are you going to make something out of yourself?” At that moment my

societal norms. He was a powerful black man, while most powerful people of the time were white; he embraced the Islamic faith while

adrenaline kicked in and my heart began to race. I answered back, “Yes sir,” and rushed onto the field to prove myself worthy of his

most African-Americans were Protestant Christians. But the members of Generation X rejected the notion of societal norms to begin

respect. The instant the ball was kicked into the air, I sprinted down the field and made the first tackle of the season for my team. A sense

with; at the time, they were the first generation to, for the most part, embrace people of different races, classes, nationalities, and sexual

of accomplishment flowed through me, and as I looked to the sideline, I saw Coach Roberts with an ear-to-ear grin giving me the thumbs-

orientations. While my generation, Generation Y, is even more heterogeneous and accepting than Generation X, Generation X was, in

up sign to express his satisfaction with my accomplishment.

true x fashion, the driving force behind change.

Since that day, I have tried to live my life with the same credo Coach Roberts instilled in me: to work hard to be someone. Coach

motivated and guided me during my middle school years and has continued to influence the purposeful way I live my life today. His life lessons have enabled me to react more maturely and make better choices. At times it can be hard to attack each day with zeal and determination, but when I feel like slacking off, I think of the gruff but loveable Coach Roberts demanding that I do my best at all times. I try not to be a “slug” but to work hard to become the person I want to be. Thanks to Coach Roberts’ training, I have better direction and focus, and for that, Coach has my everlasting gratitude.

X is someone, or something, that changes hearts and minds, that causes people, societies, and things to change for the better. But the beauty in x is that it cannot be found or defined. X is a combination that transforms stagnancy into change. X is, well…x. (Continued from Page 36) just wasn’t meant to be,” I am glad that I had such a strong reaction to the e-mail. I cried, I wrote less than complimentary letters to the college admissions office (which I did not send), and I simply sat and wondered “Why?” Taking risks isn’t easy. It wouldn’t be a risk if a person knew the outcome was predestined in his favor. However, risks really do give life flavor. They are the cayenne pepper that can

(Continued from Page 6)

give a dish punch or give a person indigestion.

no longer an excuse for ignorance. There is no nice way to put this, so I’ll put it bluntly: If people want to do us in, they have the capability.

Imagine if our military was ignorant of an impending crisis. We’d be done for. We’re a nation, so it isn’t just our military that should be

I pursued my dream whole-heartedly, following my belief that nothing worth my time is easily attained. Failure is not an invitation to give

aware and prepared for present dangers

up; it is only an opportunity to risk oneself for an even greater reward.

I have a confession to make. I was once proud of my ignorance. Politics, who needed it? Politicians all stank. Current events?

That was only for the magnificent top-tier students. However, after carefully considering past history, such as the Holocaust, I realize that

Will I risk rejection once more for the possibility of going to my dream school? Probably. Even if I do not get in, I will know that

(Conitnued from Page 42)

ignorance does indeed lead to destruction. It scared me. Now I find that awareness, not geographical location, is where true security lies.

would something I would personally grow from through the challenges faced. I believe this hardship turned into an experience that took

(Continued from Page 10)

the brain tumor was never detected after numerous tests, I still face questions of why my health is the way it is. Yet, because of this

Those who support the death penalty argue that it is a “deterrent to crime” and “turned the tables on fear and put it back where

me back to a place where I appreciated the small joys of the day, a place where there was nothing I felt that I could not handle. Although adversity, I am a much stronger eighteen year-old than I was only a few months ago, and I am better equipped for the life ahead.

it belongs--in the heart of criminals” (Pataki). However, this is not the case whatsoever. Jail is just as much as a deterrent as the death penalty, if not more. More people find jail to be a worse punishment than death, and they were less likely to commit the crime after

(Continued from Page 48)

knowing or experiencing something as scarring as sitting in a cold, hard jail cell alone for fifteen years was the punishment. In jail, you

began, President Lincoln requested that Lee, known for his military competence, take command of the Union Army. Lee refused, believing

are just sitting around, waiting for the day you are freed from your sole thoughts and the painful silence. If you are willing to punish

that he owed more loyalty, resources, and abilities to Virginia rather than to the United States. His sense of moral obligation to his state,

someone by committing the same that they committed, you are no better. Some people even go to the extent to say that the death penalty

seemingly absurd in opposition to the more technologically and economically advanced Union, resulted in the unparalleled level of valour,

saves money because keeping jail inmates can become pricey. Someone’s life, something we take for granted everyday, should not be

dignity, and courage that he exhibited during the Civil War. Compelled to protect Virginia, Lee took enormous military risks, dividing his

sacrificed for a measly couple hundred dollars going where your well earned tax dollars already go. Whose place is it to decide how much

army and attacking another that possessed four times as many men; startlingly enough, Lee’s tactics prevailed as he pushed McClellan’s

somebody’s life is worth? It is God’s, not someone working for the government. I will let you make your decision, but remember this: an

army across the Potomac. Despite his ultimate failure (losing the Civil War), Lee is still revered and honored to this day because of his

innocent life is worth sparing a criminal by using a more effective punishment.

dutiful actions for his state.

(Continued from Page 20) I realized what my father had meant all along: he wanted me to understand that no matter how well I had done, I could and should always try to improve, and such improvement would come from focusing on my mistakes, not from relishing my accomplishments.

My father enlightened my thinking at an early age, and his ideals were pivotal in helping me shape my own work ethic. Over the

years, his steady balance of praise and critique has forged in me the notion that in order for me to succeed, I must always set my sights well beyond the “good enough” mentality. I am confident that continuing to adhere to the core principle of always seeking to do better no matter how small the improvement may seem to be, will help me, or anyone else for that matter, be a more productive and successful individual throughout the rest of my life.

80

Though historical examples usually portray political and military figures as the only ones with a sense of duty, students can also

live as dutiful American citizens. In modern times the temptation to cheat in school has grown exponentially; at my school, the epitome of pressure to succeed at all costs, I witness a myriad of cheating methods on a weekly basis. Nevertheless, I have a duty to my school to pursue education in an honest manner and to encourage others to do the same. Rather than ask other students what test material to study, I study independently; rather than give a friend the answers on homework, I explain the process to achieve the answer. This policy is certainly not the most popular, but when I refuse to participate in or tolerate cheating, I develop values like integrity and courage, which will shape me into a more honorable citizen. If more students will deny the call of deceit and obey their duty of honesty, the future of America will rest in more respectable and capable hands.

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Though my duty to education may seem incomparable to the national duty described in Washington’s Inaugural Address or the state

(Continued from Page 62)

duty demonstrated by Robert E. Lee, all three are connected. Because each level of duty introduces different American civic values

under various circumstances, Americans’ feeling of moral obligation to their country, their state, and their own principles deepens and

for “real-life experience” when full-time youthful education is through. But that could lead one to believe that continued education is a

strengthens. Sharing this sense of duty moves America towards a unified and honorable society. It moves Americans in a way they cannot

waste of time, and after much speculation, I believe that maybe it is for some people. I don’t believe that everyone should go to college,

even explain.

and it quite frankly upsets me that a bachelor’s degree has become the “new high school diploma.” Specialization is occurring later

(Continued from Page 54) frightening flowers tucked away between the its slats. When we jumped, Tesoro not only cleared the jump, he coiled and launched himself over it, soaring well above the five-foot standards at either side. As we flew over the jump, the only thing I saw were the black tips of his chocolate ears and the white clouds in the sky. Six feet above the earth, the only thought that came across my mind was, “I’m off.” There was an almost audible click as I felt all connections break between my horse and me. He went one way and I went the other. I landed with a thud, and prayed that he wouldn’t step on me. As I lay upon the sandy ground staring up into the open expanse of blue sky, trying

I suppose that many of the things of “greater” worth can only be learned by experience, and one will eventually have more time

and later in college to the point at which it is almost necessary for job competitors to pursue post-bachelorette education in order to be successful in their field.

So yes, I answer yes to Leopold’s question. Education can only get someone so far, but it is up to an individual to take that

education and apply it to the real world around him or her, to use it for things of greater worth. If education means becoming the Phi Beta Kappa who learned how to ignore her most simple surroundings in order to gain “awareness for things of lesser worth,” then I am for uneducation.

to regain my breath, I heard Eliza’s voice: “You okay?” I put a thumbs-up, not able to speak. Tears rolled down my face but not because

(Continued from Page 64)

of the fall I took, but the fall my pride took. “Maddy, you’re all right, get up,” was all she said, so I did just that, I got up, dusted the sand

protesting the war and complaining about the ramifications upon each individual’s life, American civilians should be unified and supportive

off my pants and got back on. Eliza didn’t give me the chance to think too much about what happened. She told me what I needed to fix,

of our troops in the Middle East. These men and women risk their lives daily to defend the principles that America has held since the

then put me right back in the saddle and said, “All right, go jump that better this time.”

Revolutionary War, and they deserve the utmost respect. Because Americans today seem to be more interested in an individual’s welfare

rather than that of the nation as a whole, the United States has developed a callous indignation toward the War on Terror.

Eliza has taught me to do the best I can in everything I do, and even when I fail, I should accept the mistake and learn from it.

I never realized how strong I could be until Eliza challenged me to become more then anyone had expected of me before, and to apply

America has always placed tremendous value upon the good of the community and society as a whole, but a shift seems to have recently

everything I had to something I wanted to accomplish. While riding horses under Eliza’s instructions I learned that I can never achieve

taken place in which the well being of the individual takes precedence over the welfare of society. It is disconcerting when individuals

perfection, and if I do I will not have learned anything in the process. I will never reach her expectations because every time I get near

disassociate themselves from society, instead of being unified as a group. If we continue on this path, we as a nation will surely decline.

them she raises them even higher. Eliza will never expect anything less than greatness from me, and when I do reach greatness, she will

As American citizens, it is our duty and responsibility to serve our nation in any way possible. For me, this has taken the form of my active

never expect anything less than excellence. Eliza pushes me to give my all in all that I do, and when I fall, she pushes me to get right back

participation in the Boy Scouts of America and an exchange of letters with congressmen supporting my opinion. It is not wrong to question

into the saddle.

the authorities of our country, but we must respect their decisions whether we agree with them or not. Societies are the weakest when they are not unified. If America wants to continue being one of the world’s great powers, then we as a nation must obtain more unified

(Continued from Page 58)

Now, I live day by day. I go to therapy every week, and I live with my little brother and father. From five family members to three

is a hard transition, but this is my reality.

I have to be honest. This is quite embarrassing, but I recently dove into the magical world that is Harry Potter for the first time. My

friends questioned why I had never read the series before. I politely apologized for being a bit busy in the last four years. They stopped talking. I have read many books before Harry, but none that exposed me to the true adventures that lie within J.K. Rowling’s series. The characters are so young, and yet they live exciting, wondrous lives! I envied them. I still do. Most people say that Harry Potter is for kids, and I agree with them.

I am a kid. I will not stop being a kid for a long time. Harry helped me realize that. When I began to take care of myself at twelve

years old, I signed the contract into adulthood. Not until I read Harry Potter did I realize that I had to break said contract. He brought me back to my fee and easy, yet adventurous youth. I can once again let my hair down or jump into a pile of autumn leaves without shame. No, I will never get to right the back of a hippogriff, taste the pleasure of a Chocolate Frog from Honeydukes, or compete in the Tri-Wizard Tournament, but I truly wish I owned a wand and studied at Hogwarts.

My reality is here. My reality involves school, friends, family, and death. Here, I learn through Harry to embrace my own

adventures. Aside from the non-magical mortal part, I am a lot like Harry. We both took care of ourselves for so long that we struggled with trusting others to share our burdens. If Harry can assemble Dumbledore’s Army and fight side by side with his friends, why can’t I?

I believe in the power of union. Though I did not believe this at first, I refuse to make it through any more rough times alone. In

my life, I have assembled something quite close to Dumbledore’s Army: friendship. Together, we learn to fight off the evils in our lives. Together, we conquer our fear. Together, we adventure.

I do not have to fight my fights alone. This I believe.

ideals and demand the same of our elected leaders. (Continued from Page 66) society, in general, has influenced me to strive for individualism in society, to strive to overcome expectations, and to strive to be my best. Therefore, the Indian and American personas are not two separate identities; rather, they are one unified style by which I embrace the best of both worlds.

Throughout my life, I have always been different, but my differences distinguish me, make me unique. It is not a difference that I

am ashamed of but rather something of which I am proud. My mother’s gift plaque reinforced the significance of being myself, despite the opinions of others – a belief that has implanted itself into my very core. By “embracing the world with my own genuine style,” I can indeed embrace the world, accept the challenge, fight the odds, and be true to myself above all else. (Continued from Page 74)

I began following my father’s example. I doctored my classmates’ cuts and scrapes, explaining, as best I could, why the

hydrogen peroxide burned. I diagnosed my friends’ explosive anger as his having a double y-chromosome (often found in serial killers and prisoners in jail). It turns out Brandon was just moody. I even used what I perceived as my extensive knowledge of the world to aid my arguments; I told one girl that her sore throat was an early symptom of scarlet fever, a highly deadly disease. My teacher reprimanded me for making her cry; nonetheless, the girl never argued with me again. Medicine was a safety net for me. It provided comfort and security in knowing that which could go so terribly wrong could be bettered, sometimes fixed, by medicine. I liked having that—a logical explanation for my world. I saw it as the ultimate healing agent.

However, as years passed and I became a bit more familiar with that unknown world that had once so intrigued me, I found

medicine could not fix everything. It could not fix family discord, or death, or any form of inevitable tragedy. There was a pain I could not explain to myself, a pain deep within my chest that seemed to consume every emotion I had and replace it with an overwhelming heaviness, a sadness I could feel on my shoulders. At times I was convinced my head was not working correctly. Perhaps I was like the

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man who had once walked the street in front of my house, confused at my reality, perceiving the world around me incorrectly.

representation, I knew the statistician was not attempting to hide the type of average. Also, the authors sourced the United States Census

But while medicine had failed me, people had not. There is no diagnosis for a relationship or a friendship; it is a bond of pain and

Bureau, one of the world’s most credible statistical agencies, adding to the ethos of their statistical display. After taking many of Huff’s

joy, betrayal and trust. This was a lesson that I had to learn in time, but I came to realize that people are the ultimate healing agent. What

warnings into account, I concluded the College Board had a strong, honest case for supporting further education. Instead of forcing me to

is medicine compared to people—people who fill one another with passion and motivation and perseverance and inspiration? I believe

make my own calculations or continue reading skeptically, Baum and Ma’s truthful use of numbers allowed me to finish reading the article

that it is in a community that we build immunity to life’s most basic ills.

with a greater trust towards the argument.

Only after a few moments of extra analysis and calculation was I able to make an accurate conclusion about these statistical articles.

And while I know this account of a man with schizophrenia to be true, if you were to ask my father, all of this is just a result of my

false memory syndrome. (Continued from Page 78) stupidity. Students do not need to worry about learning the material themselves because a webpage will give them what they need

Before reading Huff’s book, I would have given enough attention to the numbers, but not with the necessary scrutiny. At one time, I would have fallen for the lie, but my new, humbler viewpoint of numbers allowed me to become a more attentive reader and a more alert consumer.

to know. Those who do not develop critical thinking skills will encounter problems later in life, in their future career perhaps, in which

(Continued from Page 29)

an Internet page will not have the answer for them. Environments in which this method of completing schoolwork is unregulated are

with their well-groomed dogs and cats or maybe a bird sitting in their laps or in a neat and tidy cage next to them. Their heads barely

producing laborers largely unprepared for working in the real world.

turned as they read a magazine or newspaper with their reading glasses hanging on their nose, unconcerned about his or her pet’s life

In my opinion, schools are not doing enough to combat this problem, but how much can actually be done? And how widespread is this

because they were only in for a short annual check-up. Then there was me. I was standing there in the middle of the floor, in filthy tennis

problem anyways? Google…

shoes, jeans and T-shirt. I was completely covered in dirt, sand, grass and blood, both aged and new. The mud caking all over myself was now falling off in little crumbles with every step, and I left a track of mud so thick a half blind person could follow them. My hair was

(Continued from Page 27)

a mess, sticking out like spikes and beginning to curl dry after the water experience, and I probably even had some grass and a stick or

to the art of rhetoric. This does not mean such work should be entirely or even partially disregarded, but instead written or read with an

two sticking out, and my face was distorted into an almost permanent sense of panic. Despite this, my embarrassment managed to seep

appropriate approach. Both the author and the audience must be aware that the rhetoric of numbers can often be two-faced; a large

through the small cracks and spread throughout the room, and my face was a cherry, though you could hardly tell. The abrupt silence that

portion of the audience will be awed by an impressive figure, but another sector will be impressed by the logical process necessary to

followed my appearance was deafening.

arrive at such a figure. In this way, mathematicians weigh the interests of their audience and respond accordingly.

I attracted many stares like a magnet as I walked straight up to a very shocked looking receptionist and explained the situation.

Upon completion of the book, I found myself in almost complete agreement with Huff concerning numbers and calculations,

She nodded, gave me one last stare of wonder, and ran to the back. I turned back to the now interested crowd and noticed one older

but I believe Huff should have included a more direct method for distinguishing between misleading and truthful statistics. Although he

women widen her eyes at me, then shake her head as if to say “This new generation!” before continuing her sudoku. After a few moments,

attempts to create a sequential process for sorting through factual and opinionated data, his explanation evolved into more of a summary

an older vet who introduced himself as Dr. Dawdling, stepped out and beckoned me into a back room. I turned to see if Mrs. Burkett was

of the previous nine chapters. Also, I disapproved when Huff accused statisticians (even the highly qualified professionals of the American

following me, then hastily followed. The room we entered was dimmed, and there was nothing but a counter with some cabinets and a

Statistical Association) in general of intentionally distorting facts. He made little attempt to vindicate those who were not involved. In my

table squatting in the center of the room. In fact, it was quite drab. I carefully deposited my load on the counter, gently laying his head on

opinion, these two shortcomings, the lack of a strong method to categorize data and the use of mass accusations, could grow into a form

a few paper towels I had ripped hastily from the cabinet.

of statistical headhunting. No one would believe anything, and no one would trust anyone. Readers would be quick to disregard numbers

and hasty to blame mathematicians. Although the book may have not appeared this radical at first, Huff’s ideas had potential to lead to a

like look into his eyes, check his pulse, his lungs and feel him over before he told us something I wouldn’t have thought. “He is bleeding

type of statistical destabilization.

from a small, but apparently deep wound in the back,” he proclaimed, as if reading a script in front of him. Before I could comment, he

After finishing Huff’s work, I became much more statistically wary, especially of figures that included percent differences and

continued his almost ominous speech. “Your cygnet here is bleeding from a shot wound near the spinal cord. I will need to perform

changes. Running across a stat in other articles or advertisements, I would give it a few more moments of thought than previously. Most

immediate surgery to remove the bullet before his chances for survival raise even the slightest bit from nothing. Even then, he might not

often, figures were exaggerating, but this did not discredit the number entirely. The truthful, but less extreme number may still serve as

survive the surgery because he is too weak, or is since the bullet is literally next to his spine and we have problems removing it, he could

strong evidence towards the author’s argument, only not to as great of an extent. For example, when I read “Apples to Oranges,” an

become crippled and we would have to put him down.”

article with many illustrations by Claire Ironside, her statistics gave evidence of the environmental advantages of purchasing local apples

“But...” I started, then stopped myself.

over imported oranges. In one graphic, she divides the fossil fuel inputs of a particular product into categories such as manufacturing,

Dr. Dawdling continued his speech with little interest, like a swan near death because he had been shot near the spinal cord and

transporting, preparing, et cetera. My questions arose when these categories were defined by percentages. Not only did I become

was nearly dead was brought in every day. Based on the awed look on the receptionist’s face I certainly didn’t think so, even if he was a

skeptical at the legitimacy of the numbers, but it was impossible to tell the magnitude of each category. It may be an exemplary case

bird vet. “Okay, so I will take him now. Goodbye.” With that, he was gone. What? He didn’t even have the dignity to comfort us! Poor Mrs.

of Simpson’s Paradox, a situation in which percentages appear opposite the truth. Looking further into the article, I could infer some of

Cory must be freaking out! My distaste for him instantly grew, but I knew he was the only one on this end of the trans Continental Railroad

the missing information through my own calculations, but Ironside was hiding these figures for an undisclosed reason. The figures I had

that could help this poor swan. So did Mrs. Crony.

calculated still made a case in her favor, but not to the extent of her original document.

In other cases, after putting the statistic under the microscope, I would conclude that it was accurate and honest. In instances such as

car. The cygnet would be here overnight because of the surgery, so there was no point in us lingering. The vet had promised to contact us

these, I was drawn to believe the author even more, for I honored his honesty more than an impressive statistic. In a report from the

after the surgery to tell us how the procedure went. I hopped into the car and sat down, and it was then that the weariness in my arm swept

College Board, educators calculated the monetary advantages of higher education. In two detailed bar charts, authors Sandy Baum and

through me, like the blood was finally rushing through my veins as though I had been restricting it with a tight rope around my shoulders.

Jennifer Ma displayed the exponentially increasing incomes for each tier of learning. Both graphs had an appropriate scale with their

Then it hit me.

axes representing the zero value. The charts graphed counts rather than percentages, eliminating any doubt in that regard. Additionally,

My mom was right. People in our deceivingly safe, gated community were dangerous. Many people in this neighborhood were

it is noted that the data showed median income rather than mean income. Even though I may have not known if median gives a better

ordinary friendly people, who we invited to dinner, went to the movies with if they were our friend, rode bikes with to the park, went down

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The vet said nothing as he continued with his work, and I watched, fascinated. All he did was give the cygent a basic check-up,

The cygnet was then swept out of the room before I even realized what was happening, and I was led by Mrs. Crony back to the

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to the lakes to feed the ducks with and did many other things together. And in this fog of happiness, other tried to conceal themselves.

your dog,” I said quietly.

Bad people. People who wanted to hurt us, people who had guns, people who broke the law, people who were up to no good whatsoever.

She stood there, mouth half open, stunned at my sudden act of kindness. I backed out of her room, approving of her thoughtful

The people who had almost killed this cygent. This was a wake-up call.

look. I lost this fight victoriously. I turned the corner losing sight of her, and went into my room. I felt relief creep through me, and my body

For the first time, I was scared.

was tingling with happiness like butterfly’s wings brushing against my skin. I fell asleep with good thoughts. Our relationship was now

Hot tears welled up in my eyes and streaked my streaks, doing nothing to douse the fire of anger within. Despite the car trip here,

strengthening because of her dog.

which seemed to take hours, the car trip home seemed to take seconds. When Mrs. Cory pulled up, I simply got out and walked into my house without saying a single word, before collapsing onto my bed with sobs. Why wasn’t the world what I thought it was? (Continued from Page 3)

“Oh, Alaina! Those family meetings never work!” I groaned. “Now. We all need to talk,” she said firmly. “Fine,” I replied, not wanting to get in more trouble as I was about to.

The bright morning mirrored my mood as the sunshine tickled my face, waking me up. I stretched and felt as though I had the

best sleep. I walked happily downstairs for breakfast, and sat down in my usual chair. Lilith smiled at me, sharing my equally happy look. I knew, right then, that I would always have some one there for me, standing up for me in the toughest situations. She would look out for me like good friends do. She was my best friend, and my sister. It ended with a beginning. (Continued from Page 53) I picked up my Bible and flipped to my bookmark in the midst of Exodus. I was reading slowly through the first five books of the Bible. I

I slowly got up from bed, trying to show Alaina that I didn’t want to do this. I heard her sigh as I stomped out of the room, making sure my

read chapter 34, where I had left off the last day.

eyes didn’t look puffy or red. I put a brave face on like a solder, and walked loudly downstairs, making as much noise as possible. Glancing

at Lilith as I neared her lair, I heard her snort and saw a sneer painted on her face. I plopped on the farthest chair away from her, feeling

people, and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance.’”

the heat of her glare on my face. I put my head down waiting for Alaina to start the meeting.

“And he said, ‘If now I have found favor in your sight, O Lord, please let the Lord go in the midst of us, for it is a stiff-necked

I could not stop reading verse nine.

“Ok, Lilith tell your side of the story,” Alaina said.

Pardon my iniquity, my sin. Redeem me. Take me for your inheritance.

“Alice made fun of my dog, so I got really mad, and I started yelling at her. Anyway, she wasn’t respecting me and I’m older than

Suddenly, in one moment, I could feel the warmth of sunshine and see the sky as I peered down into the hole my feet had been

her so that makes me her babysitter and she has to follow my rules,” Lilith said, adding a glare in my direction.

“I think you left out a chunk of the story...” I added in.

“Alice, be quiet! It’s my turn to talk,” she yelled at me.

I threw up my hands in defeat, and allowed her to continue her fantasy story. She rambled on and on, starting to sob, catching

Alaina’s attention. Alaina was Samson, being tricked.

“... I mean Alice is so spoiled. You get her everything she wants, and you never punish her! It’s not fair at all!” she screamed at

Alaina.

firmly planted in moments before. -- -- -- -

White walls. Blue trimming. Clean floors. Smiling faces. Houston Christian High School was exactly what I expected. My first

day as a transferring junior went by not in a blur, but slowly and crisply; I felt I was viewing the whole day -- every interaction, smile, introduction, and lesson -- through the finest microscope.

“Ok, Ok. I think its Alice’s turn now,” Alaina said.

“My name is Katie Garbarino; I transferred from public school this year.”

I explained the truthful side of the story, saying it as calmly as I could, ignoring the seething anger coming from my sister. “By the way

The wayward stares and calm explanations and awkward encounters; the self-conscience smiles and puzzled looks and quiet moments;

Lilith, I get in trouble all the time! Whenever I want something, I have to put it down because you always selfishly tell mom that you had

the calm thoughts and ordered intentions and intelligent notions. I treasured them all.

always wanted it,” I said.

I was standing over a hole. A huge hole, reaching far into the dirt beneath my feet. I was happy, though, jubilant, victorious, triumphant; I

Lilith screamed in rage and left the meeting room up into her room, bawling as she went. Our relationship was still dying.

was no longer in the hole.

“Well, aren’t you going to punish her for trying to kill me?!” I asked Alaina fiercely.

Rely on God, not yourself. Trust Him, and His redemption.

“No one’s going to get punished today. I think everyone just needs to calm down,” Alaina, the peacemaker, replied.

I had done just that, and this was the beginning of a better direction. The internal redemption from God, not the external

“Wow, so you don’t care that I almost got killed, and got pushed around! It could happen again, and then you’ll regret not

redemption of the world, had finally lifted me out of my pit. My mind had dug itself a prison, not from the unfairness of my life, or the stress,

punishing her!” I yelled, frustrated at her for not making the right decision. My anger was now aimed towards Alaina instead of Lilith. What

or the evil of the world, or the pressures of my friends; I had been stuck simply because of my own lack of forgiveness and redemptive

was wrong with her? I planned on giving Alaina the silent treatment.

grace for myself. This I believe, redemption of our mistakes and personal failings is God’s most precious gift.

I was pressured to stay infuriated at my sister. She had no right to yell at me! I stared at the wall forcefully, as if it would give me the answer to my problem. I sat on my comfortable bed, and thought more about it. I tried the remedy of screaming into my pillow, which toned my anger down by a small amount. It cleared my mind for a second as I wondered what the right thing to do was. Forgive her. Two words that seemed so far away at the moment, but at the same time so close. Forgive. That’s all I had to do. It may have seemed easy at the moment, but soon I would realize that it was one of the hardest things I had to do. I had to do it or else she would be mad at me for a long time and I realized that her dog had just gotten diagnosed with diabetes, so I knew that she was going through a hard time and she was probably taking out all her anger on me! I felt pity for her. I had no experience as to what she was going through, and I understood that forgiving her was right, even if she was the one who started the argument. I knew that it was going to be embarrassing. Strengthening a relationship definitely beats embarrassment.

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I quietly crept into Lilith’s room, making sure she was awake.

“What do you want?” She yelled in a booming voice that startled me.

“I just wanted to say that I forgive you for pushing me and yelling at me for no reason. Also, I’m sorry for the jokes I said about

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