May 2015 Official Newspaper of the International American School of Warsaw
Reflections of an MUN Career
The Art of Silencing the Truth
Small School for All
WAR OVER School Life
Mindlessness, Meet Mindfulness Tia’s Report
From Montpellier with Love
Interview with Haider Ali
INTERNATIONAL AMERICAN SCHOOL • WWW.IAS.EDU.PL • SECRETARY@IAS.EDU.PL UL. DEMBEGO 18 • 02-796 WARSAW, POLAND • +48 22 649 1440
One Great Adventure: An interview with Rebecca Cloutier
R ! A R W VE O
R E H WS T E O N D D N A OO G rly
XTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT! THE WAR IS OVER! Europe has been at peace for 70 years! The globe has not been in simultaneous battle for 7 whole decades! This is spectacular news! Why don’t we go around patting ourselves on the back for the great efforts put in simply to be nice to one another? Not news? Well, it seems like the news is a never-ending blitz of horrible tragedies, impending economic crashes and environmental disasters. The sporadic stories of good news are important for a sense of sanity and security, but they are seldom. Still, it’s comforting to know that we live in a world that doesn’t actually suck, right?! This month marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. As is customary in May, most of Poland proudly brought out their Polish ﬂags. This was to demonstrate the vehement patriotism of a country that has been unyielding in the face of dozens of world wars and battles for territory. Regarding WWII, a ceremony was held in Gdańsk to commemorate its conclusion. Many other celebrations were held worldwide, recognizing international victory against the Nazi forces in a unifying manifestation of peace. Since we rarely discuss things that aren’t breaking news, the ‘anti-news’ if you will, it would do us well to number the things we take for granted. This past month marked the lowest number of new Ebola cases with ZERO fatalities. Since 1990, extreme poverty rates have been cut in half. Over 2.3 billion people have gained access to clean drinking water within the past 25 years. Also, 17,000 fewer children die each day compared to the early 90’s. In the terror that is the indeterminate arrival of “peak oil”, progressive technology has delivered effective sustainable energy to replace fossil fuels. Hey! There’s also the fact that the sun came out this morning and the world continued spinning on its axis!
If obvious (roll of the eye) everyday, baby-step improvements aren’t enough, then wonderful coincidences and heartwarming acts of kindness should spark our gratitude. In 2004, a 7 year old boy discovered a mysterious fossil while studying rocks with his family in Chile. Today, at the age of 18, Diego Suárez learned that he had, in fact, uncovered a dinosaur that was a close cousin of the T-Rex! More soberly, in the wake of the recent earthquake in Nepal, 19 year old Ishwor Ghimire built a shelter for the 55 children living in the orphanage he had grown up in. Ishwor’s selﬂess act is not solitary, as other able Nepalese are working collectively to aid one another. We could focus on the estimated 7,000 casualties from the quake, or the 19 people who lost their lives in resulting avalanches along Mount Everest. We don’t want to diminish these tragedies, only train our eyes on what is less obvious. The bad should not obscure the good. It is inevitable that after this little happiness broadcast, you will switch back to your pessimistic headlines (“7000 Dead in Quake”). They’ll likely go on about the decline in the globe’s ecosystems, or overpopulation. Or they may be convincing us about the innumerable catastrophes and acts of violence happening at this minute. There is, without a doubt, as much atrocity in the world as prosperity, neither of which we must turn a blind eye to. This brings us to the query: the bad news? We still have a lot to work on. The good news? It’s not the end of the world.
INTERNATIONAL AMERICAN SCHOOL • WWW.IAS.EDU.PL • SECRETARY@IAS.EDU.PL UL. DEMBEGO 18 • 02-796 WARSAW, POLAND • +48 22 649 1440
Dear Big School: Did you know that there is only a “big school” because there is a small school too? One goes with the other, right? But its seems most of you on Dembego aren’t aware of us little ones down here on….Dembego. You see, it’s even the same street! Anyway, to end the year we thought it would be good to take a moment and let you know who we are. Next year, like always, you’ll see some of us in your halls.
Small School For All by Disha Keswani
fter recent interchange trips organized by the marvelous teachers at the IAS elementary school, I can say that they, the little school, are the ones to be labeled the “big school”. I still remember that nostalgic feeling when I walked in the building with my classmate Flóra and Ms. Marta for our German lessons program. Yes, the children are learning German already! Ms. Marta gave the opportunity to Flóra and myself and we’ve completed two sessions so far, in February and March. Preparing for the lessons is not so difficult now that we have experience. But the most stressful part of the process (for me) was actually teaching the kids. I had a dream to become a teacher in 6th grade, but it’s off my list now! Teaching small children, in two languages, is very difficult. First of all, you need to be properly experienced in how to handle children, how to talk to them. You must be calm and peaceful to facilitate the knowledge. Also, you must have the will power to bear their occasional boisterous outbursts. Trust me, it’s hard. But with the help of Ms. Rebecca and Ms. Marta, Flóra and I came out doing a wonderful job. The kids remembered a lot of German from just one session. So this is what it means to teach! This school year, the small school has gone for field trips to an apple orchard, the Earth Museum, Warsaw Museum, Art Museum, Kabaty Forest for art lessons, and much more. They have collaborated on cultural activities, most notably the recent Carnival at the big school. Lead by Ms. DeeDee, herself a former student at the small and big schools, the afternoon Carnival took a great deal of preparation. Students attended Samba Batucada drumming workshops. Members of the Warsaw school of Samba “Ritmo Bloco” taught about Brazilian Carnival, presented instruments and rhythms specific to Brazilian culture, and created a “Bateria” – samba band
consisting of 50 people. They were then ready to take their Rio inspired costume parade to the big school to show off what they had learned. The parade marched through the compact halls of the big school and shut down lessons for an hour. It concluded with a drum and whistle blowing climax in the main hall. Students were all smiles, as if they brought the Brazilian sun with them! Another fun activity took place on the first day of spring. Grades 1 and 2 stood in front of the school on Friday March 20th from precisely 10:20 to noon, to observe and record the phases of the partial solar eclipse. Late spring promises more excitement: the Warsaw Zoo, a “sushi adventure”, and more events are scheduled. To keep in touch with the school’s happenings, just check out our own school website and Facebook pages. That’s another reminder that we are indeed “one school”.
Mindlessness, Meet Mindfulness
an interview with Mr. Krasner about the old beneﬁts of a new program for students, by Soﬁ Pantoja
istraction—who doesn't know it? Who doesn't check their phone while studying, send a few texts, and then realize they haven't studied anything at all? I made an “attention survey” with 20 students from grades 8 to 10 and the results were astonishing. On average, they spend 1 hour 40 minutes doing homework each day and get distracted 13 times per hour. The most frequent factor of distraction was...guess what? Yeah, the internet and social media. Thanks to those endless updates, young people are less able to remain concentrated on one thing for a long period of time. Silence has become uncomfortable and we move our minds too fast.
To this modern problem there's an ancient solution: mindfulness. Mindfulness means awareness, not only in the outside world but inside ourselves as well. It encompasses meditation and breathing exercises that can help people with stress, attention deﬁcit, addiction and even depression. Today, mindfulness is a training method used in all kinds of organizations, including companies, athletic programs, prisons, and yes, schools. So how about having it at IAS? We explore this topic in depth with Mr. Krasner, who will be leading mindfulness workshops at IAS next year!
SP: So what do you think about the results obtained in the survey? Do you think its normal that 20% of the students spend 3 hours doing their homework? MK: Are you saying it takes 3 hours to get through an hour and a half of homework? That sounds about right. I don’t know what normal is, but I will say this: procrastination has never had a greater friend than the internet and social—wait, hold on a sec…. SP: Are we too dependent on technology? Is it controlling our minds? MK: I don’t think it’s helpful to blame technology. I’m typing my answer to you on a Macbook and I will soon send my interview to you over the T-Mobile network. And I’m riding on Poland’s premier fast train, PKP intercity! Trains were once as new and threatening to cultural norms as iPhones. Technology changes the way we live, from more local and in-person, to more removed and virtual. But it’s the person who chooses to become a slave. This is about us. SP: Mindfulness as a solution to the modern way of living? MK: Mindfulness is a tool. We have a lot of tools today to entertain ourselves, to provide short-term gratiﬁcation, to be busied and yet inactive. Mindfulness is just a good habit, like running or working in the garden. But it’s also something you can do anywhere and everywhere. It doesn’t require a garden or gym. SP: You have experienced mindfulness training; can you tell us more about it? MK:Yes, a group of IAS teachers took part in a mindfulness course last year, and this summer I’m receiving training in the UK’s .b program (mindfulness for students). It is based around exercises that focus on one’s breathing. This can be sitting or walking meditation, or just eating a piece of fruit. When we do something, one thing, in silence for an extended period, we notice our thinking mind. The thoughts keep coming, and we follow them. We think. Or we experience our emotions, often agitation, boredom, and want to do something about it…to get rid of the emotion (or if positive, to make it last). In mindfulness, we just sit with it. We try not to feed our thoughts, but instead follow our breathing. If it’s a walking exercise, we follow our steps. If it’s sensory, like eating an apple, we stay with the senses, the touch of the apple’s skin, its taste, the sound of our crunching. We try not to add anything “extra”. Especially judgment. Just do what we do, accept what comes up, and be present. Mindful does not mean a full mind. It’s an empty mind. If it’s empty, it can take more in, digest more, and let more go. SP: Does mindfulness have something to do with religion, or is it just meditation? MK: This is a great question. Mindfulness is associated with Buddhism because the word is taken from Buddhist and Vipassana teachings and is a clumsy equivalent of “anapanasati”, which is Sanskrit for “mindfulness of breathing”. It means to be present with
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one’s breathing. Sounds simple, and it is. But of course it is dealing with what we face while breathing that is hard. Our need to interfere with the present moment, our reflections, our emotions, both positive and negative, all the thoughts that pieced together form our identity, our “I exist!” person, which can be considered the ego. Facing this construction is hard. Eastern teachings discuss the ego as a false entity, a non-being, and a source of suffering. By attaching to our ego-self, we live in a complicated state of duality, which means I-it, I-you. We try to make ourselves and our world fixed, and fight against the more genuine reality, which is a state of non-duality, oneness, and impermanence. We come and go, not in the frozen sense of we live, then we die. But in the every moment sense of breathing in, breathing out. Every moment just comes and goes. Mindfulness practice cultivates this reality. It is practice, not a belief system. SP: What is the science behind mindfulness? MK: Another good question. It comes down to neuroplasticity, something I hope you’re learning in science classes (so you can teach me!). Neuroplasticity is the study of how the brain, and brain function, is actually “plastic”, not static, and therefore through habits can change, for better and worse. The most prominent studies in mindfulness and mental health are being conducted by Richard Davidson at the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds (University of Wisconsin). Two areas relevant to the youth are studies in addiction and attention deficit. Addiction, whether to cigarettes, video games, or social media, involves a weakening of the regulatory part of the brain, the prefrontal cortex, which if strong allows for the delay of immediate gratification. Meditation exercises this prefrontal cortex and so people who practice experience more control over addictive cravings. There is simply more space between the initial craving and its automatic behavior. Regarding attention deficit, practitioners experienced enhanced focus and the reduction of the “attentional blink”, which is exactly what you discovered in your survey. The blink is that moment we lose focus and give in to the next stimulation, whether it’s our iPhone or our discursive thoughts. Your students noticed the blink about 13 times per hour, but I’d suggest it’s higher. Think about what happens when we start a novel. How long before attention wanders? We are learning more and more about neuroplasticity and there are some excellent books I can recommend, like “The Brain That Changes Itself”. But really what we are talking about is strengthening attention, and therefore asking what attention is. Studies show that increased attention actually evolves the brain. It opens up neural pathways that are more regulatory, less reactive, and can be linked to more cultivated states, like awareness and even empathy. SP: How would you describe your experience with mindfulness? Do you feel anything special with your inner life? MK: It’s nothing special. It’s like getting up every morning to go for a jog. There is resistance at first. It’d rather sleep in. That’s the conditioned me talking, the lazy one. If I can withstand that initial tug of resistance, and get through the door, then I just do it. It’s boring. My mind is very active. I face that. And if I sit long enough, eventually my mind quiets down. Something else becomes more prominent. My breathing. Like in jogging, you can literally feel your breath after a while, and your mind stops. Your awareness of everything around you grows. There is less separation. More of the present moment enters you, so you feel more full. More awake, alert. This is a good feeling. But it also passes. SP: In what ways has mindfulness helped you? MK: Well, I’ve practiced meditation for about six years now. That’s not long. But I’ve noticed that when I practice, especially over an extended period of time, I am more productive, more creative. I have more energy for my real ambitions, which are writing and developing more workshops for young people. I am less controlled by my “automatic” habits, which feed laziness and short-term gratification. I feel stronger and better about myself. But the thing is, it only lasts while I’m practicing. Not just meditation, but similar things like jogging and writing. The benefits are there while the habits are active. SP: So is mindfulness coming to IAS? How do you see its benefits for students? MK: We’re planning to introduce mindfulness as a club next year. Meetings will take place Wednesdays after school. Groups will be divided up based on age and the course will likely last 10 weeks. Whoever wants to practice can. It’s not mandatory. We’ll have seminars at the beginning of the year and see who responds. As you know, most students are already aware of their attention depleting habits. I asked my students once, “when do you experience silence?” And the answer was, “never….maybe for a moment before sleep.” That made me a little sad. Silence means stopping, just stopping, listening, and letting things be. If you can’t stop, you can’t listen. And if you can’t listen, that leads to more problems than just poor academics. SP: Thank you Mr. Krasner for your time! I kind of feel like meditating right now. MK: Let’s do it!
SHE SAID, SHE SAID
The good, the bad, and the newsworthy I
by Shikha Gianchandani and Nicole Rogowski
n the February issue of the IAS Times, we covered a lot of “bad news”—the Charlie Hebdo shooting, a string of deaths attributed to police brutality in the States, the Peshawar school massacre. As a staff, we wondered aloud if we were getting caught up in the cycle of following tragedy, like ambulance chasers. And then this news cycle presents us with an airplane crash in the Alps, an earthquake in Nepal, and yet another terrorist shooting and school massacre in Kenya. It’s become automatic to provide commentary on these mournful events. But this time around, we asked ourselves: are we covering these stories because they are the most relevant to our school community? Or simply because they are regarded as the “biggest” stories of the news cycle? While our eyes are trained on all the drama and bloodshed, what stories are we ignoring? Do we owe it to our readers to balance the bad news with the good? How do we select what is newsworthy? That’s the topic if this issue’s installment of “He Said, She Said” (which has morphed into “She Said, She Said”).
Nicole: In the times we live in, we are reliant on the media to educate ourselves about the world around us. But turn on the TV to a news channel, what's the first story you hear? Odds are it's bad, an airplane crash, a school massacre, a virus outbreak. These stories are important. But their existence doesn't mean there are no good stories. Instead, don’t they just make the good stories so much more valuable? When there's little or nothing of something, we tend to prize it more; isn't this happening with the news in general? Shikha: I agree that in some cases, good news is more valuable. But for every good news article, there are 17 or more bad ones. The way I see it, the good does not outweigh the bad. We humans are all trip-wired to be receptive and responsive to the bad more than the good. Nicole: But the problem with media coverage is that it is selective and really, it’s become a form of entertainment. The biggest power of the journalist and editor is the delete key. And since the media relies on people's tastes, they give us what we want: more bad news. This makes us narrow minded; we believe that since we don't hear about the good news, there isn't any. But there is so much. Good is happening in our world all the time. Shikha:: Focusing on the bad news does not make us narrow minded. Rather, it gives us direction. When something bad happens, we automatically think of solutions to the problem. So without people being focused on the bad, or traumatic, we wouldn’t have the good either. Let’s take an example from the current news cycle. If you were the last journalist on earth and could offer just one report that carries impact for the world, what would you choose to cover: A) the Kenyan Massacre; or B) 15 new koalas adopted in the Australian Zoo? Nicole: Well obviously I would write about the Kenyan Massacre, but if I was the last journalist I would ﬁnd some time to write about both to keep it even. And I’d stick around Kenya for a while to report on rebuilding at the Garissa university campus. Good news doesn’t just mean light news.
Anyway, if focusing on the bad were to help us solve these problems, I’m all for it. But when you read an article about something terrible, what do you think? Most of us think, “Wow that’s terrible, maybe we could do..." but you know what happens after those thoughts? Nothing. Nothing happens. Because we have been conditioned to think that the government, or anyone in power, will never listen to us. Or worse, we don’t think about solutions at all. We’re just “interested”, not involved. So bad news doesn't make us face and solve our problems; it just make a bigger deal out of them. Hypothetically speaking, do you really think a shipwreck would be that much of a deal if the media hadn't covered it constantly? Ships sink. There wasn't anything really special about this particular incident. The press sometimes help us to exaggerate things. Don't you think? Shikha: True, the press exaggerates a lot of things. But I think that is a different issue, something like sensationalism. Whether it’s good news or bad news, both categories suffer from sensationalism. Once in a while you will find some trivial article titled, “Oldest Grandmother Goes to School with Her Children!”, or “Justin Bieber Crashed a Prom and Made Trillions of Fans Happy!” I mean you have to give credit to both sides. Both can come up with juvenile approaches to stories. From your perspective, bad news stories just make a bigger deal out of normal things, but that isn’t the case. The bad news works as a trigger that requires someone to do something, whether it be take action to ameliorate the problem or just soak in the all the details and let it create an impact personally. Good news can serve as a kind of bonus prize, but in comparison it doesn’t require the same level of attention. Nicole:: Good news doesn't require the same attention, but it gets it sometimes doesn't it? There are millions of terrible stories and millions of good stories. Neither weighs more than the other; they're equal. And we need to fight more for good news. Since the media knows our interest lies mainly in the bad news, it gives us bad news. We just need to change our perspective on things! Shikha: Yea, I see your point. Bad news does seem to have a bigger sphere of influence than good news. Just like how the saying goes: “It’s hard to hear over the racket of gunfire. Politicians want to talk about war, but the people want to talk about peace.” You are correct that we need to change our perspective. Maybe not ignore bad news, but just bring in more of an equilibrium. Nicole: So I guess this is the time to mention that Lady Catherine and Prince William had a healthy baby girl? Shikha: Let’s wait some years to see how this turns out. You don’t need to read a lot of Shakespeare to know how these royal family stories usually go.
Read all about it! An interview with IAS alumnus Sebastian Kettley about journalism in the real world….or at least in Uni, by Lilla Orly
eing a journalist is akin to playing a game of whack-a-mole—waiting cautiously for stories to pop up so that you can nail them with your mallet. Um, maybe that wasn’t such a good analogy. To be a true journalist you have to be a livewire, always ready to catch the next scoop, or snatch a good quote. Also, ahem, ﬁnding the appropriate words to capture the attention of your audience. Sebastian Kettley, IAS alumnus, ex-columnist for the Times, and current student of journalism at Goldsmith’s University of London has taken the time to answer our questions about reporting in the real world and this issue’s theme of the “bad news” epidemic.
LO: What made you choose to study journalism? SK: Honestly? It was a last minute decision. My ﬁrst choice was to do a Media and Comms degree but I changed my mind before I submitted my applications. I ﬁgured this would be something I would enjoy and I’m glad that I did. I feel more focused on what I’m doing, and at the same time I’m acquiring relevant skills instead of wafﬂing around with theory studies. Since I got here, I’ve been promoted to news-editor of the student newspaper, The Leopard, and I’m a reporter for East London Lines, and it’s all great. LO: You're a former member of the IAS Times. What has changed since you've begun writing for bigger publications? SK: Not to rain on anyone’s parade, but it certainly feels more real. During my tenure at the IAS Times, I did some creative writing, reported on football matches. I sometimes shouted at people. Nowadays I’m running across East London, going to court, interviewing people on the streets, and sending out tons of emails. It’s much more hectic, but it keeps you grounded in what is happening in the local news. Also, it allows you to build a reputation and make contacts….it’s all about contacts. LO: What’s a standard day of reporting like? Is there a process you follow? SK: On a good day, I have a fresh story and am out there talking to relevant people. However it mostly comes down to hours of searching through Twitter for content, reading police press releases and council news. The other half of the time I spend sending out emails to press bureaus (that never get answered) and phoning people to arrange meetings or ask them questions. If I’m lucky, people will start adding me to circulated email lists, and stories will start coming into my inbox. Most of them aren’t of interest. But sometimes I will ﬁnd a diamond in the rough. It gets tedious at times, but if I ﬁnd a good story that isn’t just rewriting a council press release about future tax plans, then it is worthwhile. Especially if no one has done it before me. LO: What issues are currently ruling journalism, if there are any? SK: The biggest issue, made clear to us right off the bat, is that the internet is playing a much bigger role and has changed the way things work. I have to agree. More news is being created and digested online. It is not an elitist world of journalists anymore; anyone can write from the comfort of his or her living room. It’s quite a “prosumer” environment
IAS TIMES nowadays, with more user generated content being held as significant. In fact, our course featured computing skills in web development to make us more relevant once we’re out on our own. I think it’s great to have this range of skills; it makes me feel more confident about job prospects. LO: Are there any topics that young journalists are being pushed towards by academics or editors? Do you see this as a positive inspiration? Or biased and misguiding? SK: So far we haven’t been directed in any particular way, and considering my strict choice of practice modules next year, I shall be staying away from any journalistic theory. It keeps everything hands down and more focused. If anything, I am always reminded to keep the news relevant and fresh. Someone robbing a store with a crossbow (yes, this did happen) will be just as newsworthy as the opening of a new local job centre, so I can’t say that we are being steered in any one direction. Ultimately we have the free choice to find our stories. LO: For this issue of the Times, we're trying to report on good news. Do you think there is a lack of 'good news' in journalism today? Do you believe the predilection for ‘bad news’ is more of a worldwide epidemic? SK: I always found it ironic that I wanted to do a journalism degree, considering I never read or trusted the news. Certainly the news portrays a lot of the bad things that are happening. Take the current Baltimore riots. All we hear about is the violent rioters and looters, rather than the peaceful protests that kicked things off. At least I’m assuming that’s how things started, because again it is hard to tell, and the news is of no help. Same thing happened in Ferguson. We have to ask ourselves, are we going to get to the bottom of things, or just skim the top because it’s easier, because it sells better? While I certainly believe we have to report on difficult events like this, I’m not as sure that it’s done in the right way. I don’t know if I’d call it an epidemic; celebrity gossip seems to sell just as well as death and destruction. I think it’s a matter of setting our priorities straight and seeing what matters. You want to portray the black American populace as unemployed and aggressive? Maybe you should look at the reasons why unemployment and frustration are there in the first place. If you’re looking for good news, you’re better off looking at the local level, where celebrity or political scandals don’t appear, because that’s where real people stories take place. LO: Do you have a favorite moment that occurred while working on a piece? SK: Last month I went to an event where Boris Johnson, the London mayor, unveiled a 9/11 memorial sculpture in the London Olympic park. After the event I spoke to Miya Ando, the artist who created the sculpture, and Peter Rosenberg, the head of the Since 9/11 charity. I was also set to interview the mayor, but he rode away on his bicycle before I got the chance. So that would have been my most memorable situation, considering I’m still a student. As it is, I think I’ll give this to the first time I did some court reporting. You always read and hear about people being sentenced for their crimes, but you rarely get to witness it. The person in question was a 22 year old single mother of two, who attacked a woman with a broken glass in a nightclub. She was sentenced to five years in prison, and it was very affecting to see her react as her life shattered before her. It’s a great experience for anyone to go to their local courts and see justice in action. LO: Any words of encouragement for our future journalists? SK: I would not give any words of encouragement whatsoever. This isn’t the sort of environment you want to get into, thinking you’re going to travel around the world, make lots of money. It just isn’t. What it is though, is a lot of hard, but rewarding work. It can be a lot of fun as well. You get to meet interesting people and share their stories with the world. So just be prepared for that. Otherwise it is a blast. LO: Thanks Sebastian! We look forward to seeing more of your name in print. Visit us soon!
Herr O’Keefe + Flugtag = Gute Zeiten! photos provided by IAS photographer Flóra Melke
In and out of the classroom
—one big adventure: an interview with Rebecca Cloutier, Head of the Small School, by Disha Keswani
ebecca Cloutier has been Head of the Small School for two years. This summer, she plans to return to the U.S. with her boyfriend to start the next chapter in her life. We wanted to take this opportunity to get to know her better, and gather her reﬂections on life in Warsaw and at the Small School. She is an educator and person that will be sorely missed.
DK: Take us back a little—Minnesota to Warsaw? Why? RC: Why not? When looking to teach abroad, I wanted to ﬁnd a location I was unfamiliar with. Poland has a rich history. It typically goes unnoticed because it’s not considered a popular tourist attraction, especially compared to Spain or France. I wanted to engross myself in its culture full-force by living here for one year, which in turn, has ended up being four! DK: Of your many pastimes, what is your most favorite and why? RC:That’s a tossup between waterskiing and dance. When it comes down to it, I would say waterskiing. I started when I was four and continue to do it each time I visit my family. Waterskiing is not only for two skis. I enjoy having fun and challenging myself by slaloming, trick-ski, barefoot and even being the top of a three person water ski pyramid. It is a hobby shared with my brother especially. When I visit, we always do “4-a-days” which means getting up at 5:00 for a run, taking another at 10:00, at 16:00, and always being the last on the lake for a sunset run at 20:00. Most people think we’re crazy, but it's a great workout and bonding experience. DK: Can you talk about the challenges you face as a long distance runner and rock climber? RC: The hardest challenges when running and climbing are mental. You try to prepare yourself physically to the best of your ability by running and lifting weights, but once you’re out there on the rock or in the race, your biggest challenge is overcoming the thoughts that ﬁll your head. DK: What do the two sports bring out in you and how do they differ? RC: Each activity results in different feelings of accomplishment. When running, I feel the endurance I need to keep my body moving and my mind picturing the ﬁnish line. With climbing, it’s about accomplishing the next grab, ﬁnding the perfect rock and knowing the ﬁnish line is not ahead of me but up above, at the top of the mountain. The best part of rock climbing is that no matter how many times you climb, you’ll never take the same route twice. Both activities are great because you can’t see the ﬁnish…until you’ve ﬁnished! DK: Is it true you are an experienced shooter? Can you tell us more about your sporting experience with guns?
IAS TIMES RC: I wouldn’t say experienced, but I do enjoy shooting a few times a year. There is a shooting range in Warsaw that provides a safe shooting experience. There are trained professionals that guide you with each gun. In Warsaw alone, I’ve had the opportunity to shoot multiple handguns and fully automatic guns including an AK47, PM-06 Glauberyt, Walther P99 and Glock 17. I’ve also had a few opportunities to use the interactive shooting experience where you shoot at an interactive movie. Of all the movies, being a cowboy in the Wild West is the best. DK: What has been the biggest challenge in educating youngsters at the small school? And your biggest rewards? RC: Every day of my career is rewarding. I love seeing children succeed on a daily basis. It is extremely rewarding when you’ve worked with a child who is struggling in English, then one day it all clicks as if a light bulb goes on and they are speaking and learning in fluent English! One of the hardest parts of teaching young children in an international setting is that parents tend to be on a short-term contract. You work with children daily, develop a close relationship with them, and as they start making progress the contract finishes and they leave. DK: There was some interaction between the small and big schools recently, when your students and teachers conducted the Samba Parade here at Dembego 18. How do you think we can develop ever more interaction between the two schools? RC: Knowledge is power and what better way to spread your knowledge than by teaching. We have introduced German lessons in the small school, conducted by students in the big school, and it’s been a huge success. The younger children look up to the big school students as mentors and the students from the big school get to step into the teacher’s role. It would be great to see other lessons taught in the small school by older students. Conducting science experiments together, being reading buddies, having math tutors and continued language lessons are a few ideas of interactions I’d love to see. DK: I was one of those big school mentor-teachers, and I can tell you it was a great success for me as well. Can you reflect generally on some of the development in the small school in your time as Head of School? RC: The small school has developed a strong sense of community during my tenure. We are not only individual classes, but work together to enhance each other’s learning. Many times an outsider will come in and be amazed to see various grades working together. DK: Quick—if you have to choose, what memory will stick in your mind longest when you reflect on your time in the small school? RC: Amazing and out of the ordinary events in the small school! The teachers have done an amazing job organizing standout events. Some of my favorites include Carnival 2015, Family Day 2014, and the St. Patrick's Day celebration, when the leprechaun destroyed our school! DK: I won’t ask about that. But tell us, what’s your next dream/adventure? RC: Next on the agenda is heading back to the United States (and looking for work!). Moving to the Washington DC area is going to be a new adventure in itself and I'm not sure which direction it will take me. I'm open to all opportunities that head my way, including advancement in the field of education. As far as my vocations, I’ve recently taken up boxing among my growing list of extreme sports. I’ve started intensive training in hopes to compete upon returning home. DK: Any advice for students, who by the end of this article, may look to you as a role model? RC: Set your goals and aspirations high. Never let a few hiccups get in the way of achieving the goals you’ve set for yourself. If you set your goals high, even if you fail you will have accomplished more than most.
Small School Revisited A look back at big school students when they were once "small". Photos provided by resident photo artist Iza Mieszczanska
Some Good News
by Disha Keswani
1 - Freedom from disturbance;
quiet and tranquility which seems to be lacking in the 21st century
2 -An annual conference that IAS had hosted in February for
the second time
3 -The ______ ______ is another
part of our school, but we tend to forget it (PS. the kids are so cute!)
4 -The quality or state of being conscious or aware of something 5 -A war in which countries such as Germany, Italy and Japan fought against an alliance of UK, Soviet Union and US 6 -A recently victimized nation from a museum massacre due to which tourism economy sector has dropped there 7 -A break all member of IAS are eagerly waiting for at the end of June 8 -The science fair where participants tend to create inventions such as devices that convert breath into words, enabling mutes to speak
9 -The IAS _______ team just won another game in April against the Warsaw Hussars! 10 -A place where the French students of IAS recently did a cultural language exchange
Here is a wordsearch for all of you on popular demand! The words are all from around the whole newspaper (if you donâ€™t know the meaning, refer to the article!). Words you must find: Good, Bad, News, France, Travel, Interview, Small School, IASMUN, Kenya, Massacre, World Cup
From Montpellier with Love
by IAS rogue reporter, Tia
alking down the Montpellier streets trying to find this “museum of wonders”, it seemed anywhere but in Montpellier. This museum with rare cases of deformities held in jars had triggered all our unnatural curiosity. From the moment our guide mentioned it, we were on a restless hunt. Why? Why do the morbid and sad curiosities grab our attention most? If one were to read solely the news for clues on human life, she'd be convinced the apocalypse was upon us. Plane accidents, catastrophes, epidemics and deaths ﬂood the media and don't show signs of slowing down. Where there is supply, there is demand, and this I realized in Montpellier. Even I, Tia, a journalist of justice, had fallen within the grasp of this vicious cycle. Look at my record. I have found more importance in the distant unfortunate events rather than what we truly live for, the happy things. Ebola? Prejudice in the US? Ring a bell? I have turned into a bloodthirsty journalist and this is why I decided to make a change. I took this trip to France with my grim reaper notebook behind, preferring to look for the unnoted events that make our days worth waking up to. The streets of Montpellier were ﬁlled with the boisterous French people. Montpellier, city of youth! A couple of things stood out, one being Monsieur Nicola, our previously mentioned guide. This was no ordinary guide. He was high on energy and French positivity, and had more things to say on ancient Rome than anyone living. He guided us through Montpellier and neighboring Nimes and Aigues-Mortes. Often I found myself giggling like a little girl over his accent and French gestures, yet at the end of the day we were all grateful to him. He had a kind heart and passion for his job, which was reﬂected in his buying of a “group juice” after every tour and being open to our endless, silly questions. Another glow-stick in my mind was Monsieur Chat (Mr. Cat), who was saved from the streets by our host mother. It wasn't
Monsieur Cat's presence I remember, but his stench. You see, our house had two ﬂoors. Next to the stairs was Mr. Cat's litter box. Every morning while heading downstairs, we were welcomed with his “daily business” odor, which woke us up for good. On my pilgrimage, I found what I was looking for in the most bizarre of places. Walking down the vintage streets, past the wine-making streets, tailor-streets, streets of modern art where bikes came out of walls, and crowded streets with pubs and French music, a friend and I simmered down in an old alley. We had stopped there to take pictures and shake off the crowds. That was when “it” found me. The old alley, whose walls were slowly chipping away, with windows on either side for apartments….some were decorated with red and yellow ﬂowers, others had their shutters closed. Looking up between the two buildings, the blue, French clouds peeked at me. The buildings were joined by thin cords, randomly spaced apart with colorful dancing clothes. The wind, carrying sounds from the far away city center, made it seem as the dancing phantoms were talking to us. And that was when it hit me—the beauty came rushing in so immense and raw it was almost unbearable. I held onto the wall, breathing in the view, not understanding how something so simple and forgotten had placed a rough ﬁnger on my heart. Gazing at this calm yet action ﬁlled scenery, it seemed my heart would cave in from the pressure. Raw beauty existed and it came down as violent as a hawk. Now in case you are wondering, we never found “the museum of wonders”, but I found something worth more. It wasn't tangible, something I could place as the main headline of the New York Times, but it made me feel. It gave me life, unlike reading about the Ebola crisis, which only made me feel numb. No words, no interviews, just primitive eyes gazing at the world. Therefore, I am proud to say on my trip to Montpellier, I found beauty in its greatest and simplest form. For now dear readers, a tout a l'heure!
New views on the everyday
(or guess the objects game) by Amber Wazacz
Let’s play a game The game? What am I? And you guess
I am the Magic Carpet of Aladdin Well not really— I have four corners And can float with the wind I may not have any pretty designs But I do have the lovely gibberish That was painfully inked into my body I come from a long line of Magic Carpets Literally! I come from a long line My family and I We stand in a line and hold hands We hold on to each other for as long as possible We go together Sometimes we even leave a piece of us behind Why do we do this? Because we never see it coming The goodbye So we hold on for dear life Hold on to our loved ones Because in reality I’ll probably never see them again So after I say my goodbye Which isn’t really a goodbye I take up my new home A pocket A strange purse And lay there forgotten But I don’t stop hoping And I don’t stop dreaming Because if mother ever told me anything It was you are what you want to be I choose to be the Magic Carpet of Aladdin I refuse to accept my fate And if I shut my eyes tight enough I can actually feel the wind beneath me
Blank Space Well first thing is first— Close your eyes Now I want you to picture A white wall, clean and pure as a soul Now I want you to wait I want you to stand back and see Watch them draw all over me Now I want you to see Watch them write and poke Do you know what I am?
If I were a mirror You would see all I see Every inch of their faces Every freckle and every pore
If I were a mirror You would see me reflect in their eyes And you would see what I see Every thought and emotion As it flickers in their eyes Now Can you see? Do you know? What am I?
I can see you You can see me In fact believe it or not You see me everyday So close your eyes And watch me be painted and left, forgotten Come back tomorrow And see I’m as good as new So do you know? What am I? How can I see you? How can you see me?
Knock Knock 17
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Letters to the Editor
n response to the February issue, we received many letters from the 6th grade, four of which are printed here, plus a response from Lilla Orly. We hope this page can be a useful forum for dialogue between the writers and the students they write for. Each article is an invitation to respond. So keep the letters coming! Send to:
Dear Senior Editor, I read the article from the newest IAS Times called “Gray Area” by Lilla Orly. It was about the terrorist attack on the Charlie Hebdo magazine. The article grabbed my attention because I wanted to get to know the other students’ opinions on the attack. I really liked the article because it was interesting and well written, but I do not quite agree with what Lilla wrote. She said that, “Under no circumstances are violent and murderous acts ever justified(…) However to claim that Charlie Hebdo’s material is not wildly offensive(…)would be ignorant too(…) Their work is simply not worth defending to the extent of the blind circulation of the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie”. I do not see it that way. I think that the people who do not agree with the contents of a newspaper might protest, but the terrorists should never be excused in any way from what they have done, which was mass murder. I find the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie as a respectful medium towards the people that died that day. I do not think that a newspaper, which is widely known for making fun of every religion, should face such a terrible and irreversible act as having its writers killed. I think the terrorists have done the worst thing possible, which is interpret the contents of a cartoon wrongly and then kill someone for it. I think it is obvious that Charlie Hebdo is a humor magazine and that words do not equal bullets. Still, I found the article provocative and I know that it is disturbing to make fun of anyone’s religion. I also think we need to remember that people who are in the comedy business are just acting out and not always expressing acceptable opinions. I think freedom of speech should never be limited because it is one of the things that allows human beings to hear things and decide for themselves what’s true.
Dear Klara, You brought up a great point that perhaps I did not make clear enough in my article: no one should be killed or harmed for practicing their right to speak. I can understand how #JeSuisCharlie is a unifying and comforting slogan after such a tragedy. It was important to recognize the lives that were lost as well as the implications this would have not only on the Hebdo publication, but journalism universally. This event was as destructive as it was provocative in terms of alerting the world to issues of extremism and freedom of speech. My greatest dilemma with the matter was that much of the public was heedlessly advocating Hebdo’s work as though it was groundbreaking satire and not crossing the line of hate speech. Though it’s true they mocked several religions and important figures, they favored the ridicule of Islam, particularly in the form of crude Mohammed cartoons. Unfortunately, the drawings in question were too explicit to print in a school newspaper but they would have helped illustrate my point. Your statement, “…people who are in the comedy business are just acting out and not always expressing acceptable opinions,” is true, but I also mentioned in my piece that it’s vital for journalists to check with themselves to see who exactly they are trying to provoke. I appreciate your thoughtful insights and your incentive to disclose it. Thank you! Lilla Orly
Sincerely, Klara Matuszewska
Dear IAS Times, I have read in the February issue of the Times the article “Cracking the Lens” by Lilla Orly. This interview is very well written. Ms. Iza Mieszczanska has shown well that we are surrounded by art every day and everywhere. I think the interview can change the way we look at things. In my opinion, the pictures used to illustrate the interview were great and show us more details about Ms. Iza’s unique art. “Cracking the Lens” is something I could read many times. It shows us what art actually is. I admire Ms. Iza Mieszczanska as she has so many creative hobbies. As Ms. Iza said, “My goal is not making each student into a Poet Laureate, but to bestow the courage within them to perform in front of an audience.” I think this is a good goal, to show students what poetry is really about. Getting up and speaking! Sincerely, Klara L. 6th grade
Dear Editor, I just finished reading “Bad Grades, Great Future” by Nicole Rogowski in the most recent IAS Times. The article is about the fact that bad grades do not always lead to a bad future. In the article, Nicole gave us two examples of Nobel Prize winners who had poor grades in school. I agree with her that grades should not rule our lives, even if our parents get mad at us when we bring home bad reports. When I was reading the article, I thought about all my poor grades. Then I realized that it is just a letter on a piece of paper. After reading the article, I was convinced that I could have a great future, just like John Gurdon or Carol Greider, even if my report card is not the best.
Dear IAS Times, Recently, I read the article “Asians Number 1” from issue 27, written by Gichang Kim. I have seen that most the Asian students I know do get better grades than the non-Asian students. However, some of the other students have more creativity. I think that Asian students study more and follow instructions, but they are more likely not to make up original ideas. Usually, I take my ideas from the internet, and I rarely think of my own. I get jealous when I see my friends’ posters and drawings. My posters always look boring. When I was younger, I had really bad grades and my parents would shout at me. Because of the shouting, I started to study and practice more. Now my average grade is usually a B or higher. Even if I get a B, my parents still demand an A. I think that some Asian parents might be more strict than others. When my friend gets Ds or Cs, her parents will not get so mad. They just want her to pass. Every time I get a bad grade, my friends say, “Ohhhhh Kitty!” or, “How could you?” (as a joke). It is really bad to shout out these things. It makes me more stressed, and so I keep studying until I get the good grades. I do not think that non-Asians are not smart enough. They just have different habits and attitudes, and most of that comes from the parents and the culture. It is wrong to judge someone’s intelligence just because of his or her nationality. This article made me want to study more about topics I’m truly interested in. That does not mean that I will change my habits totally. But in my free time, I will focus on those areas I choose for myself. Thanks for the article! Sincerely, Kitty Bui
However, I also think grades are important because they show us where we can improve in our learning. Sincerely, Ania Bartyzel
Revisiting Chernobyl: the art of silencing the truth by Sofi Pantoja
pril 26 was the 29th anniversary of the worst nuclear disaster in history. It's hard to look back at the pictures reminding of the destruction, but it’s harder to realize all the lies about the accident, which cost so many lives. Now that we know better, let's revisit Chernobyl in 1986, and start from the beginning.
26 April: Pripyat, Ukraine, 1:23am. Block 4 in the Chernobyl nuclear power station is doing an experiment for electric supply while the city is sleeping. Suddenly, the roof collapses. 120 tons of radioactive material is released into the atmosphere. A cloud of shiny metallic color rises in the sky. The countdown starts; ﬁremen arrive, having no idea of the amounts of radiation they are being exposed to. 27 April: Pripyat is evacuated. No information about the accident is provided. Dosimeters (which measure radiation) are conﬁscated by the government.
28 April: Sweden notices abnormal levels of radiation in the atmosphere and concludes it's coming from Eastern Europe. Vremya (Moscow radio) informs the public of the disaster, saying steps are being taken. No more details are provided.
29 April: Information about the disaster begins to spread in the West. Soviet photos of the site are censored by removing the smoke from the images. 1 May: Labor Day parades resume as normal all around the Soviet Union. The government regards Chernobyl as normal; however Soviet bureaucrats remove their children from Kiev. 5 May: Rumors begin about a second explosion in the reactor. Meanwhile, 195 tons of radioactive material is reaching water levels. Contaminated water is drained and lead added to cool the dangerous magma. If the second explosion would have occurred, Europe would have become uninhabited. April-October: The government hushes up the
gravity, saying just 30 people have died. Hundreds of thousands of people (many young, most from the military), known as liquidators, are called to clean up. They have poor equipment and are not well informed about the dangers. About 20,000 die due exposure. Those who survive will suffer from radiation illness and cancer. Pensions providing their health care will be cut back due to limited budgets.
May 2015: 29 years later and it still hurts to hear. Could the disaster have been prevented? Wait, wait, wait...ﬁrst of all, was Chernobyl even the ﬁrst nuclear disaster in the USSR? NO. Many more accidents occurred but were hidden. Kyshtym was the site of the largest nuclear disaster before Chernobyl. It occurred in 1957 and remained hidden for 30 years. In 1982, a partial meltdown occurred in Chernobyl’s rector 1! More shocking: a woman named Lyubov Kovalevskaya obtained classiﬁed documents reporting several problems at Chernobyl months before the catastrophe. Kovalevskaya was persecuted by the KGB for criticizing the Soviet nuclear program. The Soviet Union didn't only hide information, but manipulated it. By May 12th 1986, 10,000 people were hospitalized due to high levels of radiation. Meanwhile, the government announced that everything was normal. They also quintupled the levels of radiation considered “safe” and residents were cleared to return to their homes. In August of 1986, the ﬁrst investigation into the catastrophe was held behind Soviet doors. Valery Legasov, a chemist who headed the commission, estimated 40,000 deaths attributed to Chernobyl. By the end of the conference, leaders negotiated the number of “reasonable deaths”, as they were ﬁxing the price of a t-shirt. They arrived at 4,000. 20 years later, this remained the ofﬁcial number. Legasov fought to reveal the truth. On April 27th, he committed suicide. Even now, no ofﬁcial study has been made about the 130,000 refugees living near the damaged zone. 5 million people still live in polluted areas. In 1996, Yuri Vandayevsky published a report elaborating the shocking consequences of radiation, including bodily deformations and mutations. He was sent to jail for ﬁve years. The true enemy at Chernobyl was not radiation, but the liars who played with hundreds of thousands of lives. They were the enemy and still are. I have spoken out about Chernobyl, but there are many historical events that have been manipulated, and are still manipulated for the convenience of the “winners”. Every time they are the winners, we are the losers. It's an oligopolistic game. Which side are you on?
Reflections of an MUN Career by Mohit Keswani
onest leaders are individuals, and more and more rare in this world. MUN is something that will make you an honest leader, but only if you take the right track. Discovering your talent, taking a fearless approach, and gaining more knowledge about valuable issues are some of the areas in which I developed through my seven MUN conferences. I started as the quietest delegate in the conference and moved to holding the most powerful position: Secretary General. One thing I always said: “I am not doing MUN for CAS. I am doing it because I like it, and CAS is a side-advantage.” If you want to succeed in MUN, you must do it with your heart, probably like all other things you want to achieve in life. My first conference was TBSMUN at the British School. I represented Azerbaijan, a country I hadn’t heard of, and probably did the most research for it. However, in my committee I was hesitant to speak, and after the compulsory policy statement, I was closed to points of information. This nervousness was with me through my first two MUNs. However, I was never behind in sending page notes, or flirting, or raising motions, all tasks that were easy to carry out. That’s the other fun part of MUN, girls in skirts and a chance to flirt In 2014 came the chance to organize IASMUN. This event changed my style of participation. I was in front of people I knew, and as PGA and Chair I had to speak for the whole day. Since then, there was no looking back….MUN was like a train in front of me at 50km/h, and I was Usain Bolt running behind. There was PORGMUN in Prague, our school’s first international MUN trip. We got the delegation of the United States and I was in the Security Council, with the familiar topic of the Kashmir border dispute. There was no better chance for me to show what I was capable of. Debating for three days, following my knowledge and intuition, having my resolution prepared, this still was a tough battle. UK, Pakistan, China gave me a real opposition. But my coalition prevailed and my efforts were recognized. Both Tommy Le and myself collected the school’s first Best Delegate awards.
The next two MUNs were showcases of domination. At WAWMUN, I lead the school’s next generation of MUNers. Again we represented the USA and the best part was advocating for a crisis resolution in solving Ebola with Vitamin-C gas. With four out of our six delegates getting awards, it was a magnificent performance. Then it was time for BERMUN, the biggest MUN in Europe. The rules were different in Berlin. My committee had 70 people and the Chairs kept strict control. In an ironic twist, I represented Pakistan and was portrayed as having a negative character. However, my resolution passed and that was a success. Most special was all the socializing that went on with our group for five days in Berlin, and celebrating my birthday in the train home. That takes us to this spring. IB exam preparations did not stop me from setting up our second IASMUN. This was hard, as all the corners of the decagon needed to be joined. Seriously, without my MUN cohort Tommy, most of the workload was on me: the committee papers, the website, registration, crisis topics. It was a stressful period. But the 11th graders did an excellent job and it seems that IASMUN is in good hands for the future. Through MUN, your body and mind are tested for three days, and you realize your strength. Sleep is optional, good times obligatory. For some, MUN opens opportunities to a future in diplomacy. For all, it makes you a better citizen of the world—grants you a passport with international citizenship, needed wherever you go, unless we soon emigrate to Mars. But then, there will be the United Nations office of Outer Space Affairs. Sign me up!
STUDENT STUDENTFICTION FICTION
Black Mask by Jade Martin
Chapter 3: Getting Warmer
t has been almost a month since Abby received the unpleasant surprise in her locker. Nothing unusual happened since then but that did not bring relief for Abby as well as the rest of the school. The news spread like wildﬁre after an hour. Everywhere she went, she noticed that there were students whispering and looking at her with a mixture of shock, fear and sympathy. This made her feel uncomfortable but more so for the fact that someone was after her and may strike at any moment. Eliza and Danica felt uneasy. They refused to let Abby walk around by herself, especially because the school had several possible hiding places where one could lay in wait for Abby and at that moment trap her.
“ABBY!!!!” Abby, who was in deep thought, snapped out of her little world and looked at the person in front of her. It was Mack. “Mack! I’m sorry, I didn’t notice you come in,” Abby said. Mack looked at her with confusion but she quickly changed her expression into her usual smile. “It’s ok…. I know about what you are going through. I mean, who could blame you? Nobody would feel good if they knew that someone could be after her,” Mack said sadly. “I know, I have to admit, I’m kind of scared,” Abby said. “You should be! It could be anyone. That is seriously disturbing.” “Whatever, I need to get this off my mind. What were you going to tell me?” “Oh! I just wanted to invite you to this club I’m starting,” Mack said. “Really? What club?” “It’s where we watch scary movies and then we can write our version of it! It’s basically the same theme but we can make changes to the plot and at the end of the month we get to tell each other our stories. Then we could see whose is the best!” “Ohh! That sounds interesting,” Abby agreed. “Great! Meet me in room 10 at lunch break. You can bring Danica and Eliza too!” “Sure!” The bell rang and Abby had Chemistry next. Danica and Eliza told her to wait in the classroom so that they could come get her. “Aren’t you going to your next class?” Mack asked. Abby nodded. “Yes, Eliza and Danica told me to wait here. They don’t want me to pass the hallways by myself because….well, you know what.” “Oh, right. See you later then!” Mack said and then left the room. Abby was alone. She couldn’t help looking around and making sure the coast was clear. She noticed a tiny notebook under one of the tables and bent down to pick it up. It was a black notebook; it appeared to be a diary. Abby knew very well that diaries are private but she had to discover the owner so that she could return it. The first page read, “Private property of a nobody”. This is weird….a nobody? Abby said to herself as she turned the page. Then she read something more eerie. Two pages with only one word written several times, over and over: Revenge. Abby felt a chill down her spine. Her gut feeling told her that this was a very important clue and that it might be from the person behind the black mask. Before she could turn to the next page— “ABBY! We’re here! Sorry we’re late. Let’s go?” It was Eliza and Danica.
“What’s that?” Danica asked as she pointed to the notebook. “Nothing,” Abby said nervously. “Come on, we’re going to be late!” As they made their way towards the science lab, Abby told Eliza and Danica about Mack’s invitation. “Sounds like fun! Sure I’ll go with you!” Danica said. “Yeah! At the same time, we will protect her! I doubt that Mack can take down the Black Mask,” Eliza said. “Seriously, what’s in the notebook?” Danica asked.
Abby didn’t know if she should tell them or not but she realized that it was not a good place to talk anyway, because even the walls have ears. “It’s my diary,” Abby replied as her friends gave her a questioning look. When they reached the science lab, they sat down with their other classmates. The teacher said they’d be doing an experiment. “Hey Abby, did the Black Mask get you yet?” Edith asked with a teasing tone. “Very funny Edith,” Eliza said sarcastically. “What’s the matter? I’m just stating the obvious.” “Well, she’s obviously not captured, ”Danica said. Before anyone else said a word, the teacher arrived. Edith was forced to stop taunting Abby. “Don’t worry, you will be captured pretty soon,” Edith whispered, but nobody heard. Chemistry went by slowly. Abby couldn’t focus on the lesson. All she thought about was the diary and she was eager to read more. Abby thought that the author must have written his or her real name in it somewhere, but she had to wait til lunch to investigate. When the bell rang, she stood up and was about to leave when her friends stopped her. “Where are you going?” Eliza asked while raising an eyebrow. “Lunch,” Abby said. The two girls looked at each other and then shook they heads. “I thought we were going to meet Mack for the club?” It was a wake-up call for Abby. She was waiting eagerly for hours to uncover the diary’s secrets and forgot all about the club. Abby decided to sneak peeks during the meeting. They met Mack in room 10. They were shocked to see that no one else came. “Mack? Only us?” Abby asked. Mack looked at her with a sad expression.
To be continued…..
…..[please stay tuned for the final installment of “Black Mask”, which will appear i n the next issue of the IAS Times]
“Yeah, nobody wants to join a club that’s started by a ‘loser’,” she said. “It’s fine! We will still join,” Eliza said. “Ok, so let’s start by setting up,” Mack said more cheerfully. “Eliza and Danica, can you go get snacks and then we can talk about the plans? Abby and I can fix the seats and my laptop.” “Ok!” both girls said in unison and then went downstairs. Mack and Abby were left alone. “Come! Let’s move the tables,” Mack said. “Umm, Mack?” Abby said. “Can I go to the toilet for a minute?” Abby asked. “Of course! Go on,” Mack said with a smile. Abby smiled back and then she ran to the toilet. Once inside, she reached into her pocket to grab the tiny diary but it was not there.
Noooooo! It must have fallen out while I ran out the classroom, Abby thought. She made her way back to the classroom. Mack met her there and to Abby’s relief, she had the notebook. “There you are! Is this your diary?” Mack asked. “Yes, sorry, I think I dropped it earlier,” Abby said. “You did! You ran so fast towards the toilet that this came flying out your pocket,” Mack said. “What do you mean by ‘Getting Warmer’?” Mack asked to Abby’s surprise. “What?” “When that thing landed on the ground it opened up to a page that said ‘Getting Warmer’. The whole page was covered with that. Here!” Mack said as she opened to the page, which had the current date. Abby couldn’t believe her eyes. Indeed the whole page was covered in ‘Getting Warmer’ but the most striking feature was at the bottom of the page. It was so tiny that it could not be recognized right away, but Abby noticed it. It looked like it was a sign for infinity…..or, a mask.
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Published on May 21, 2015