Kids Standard March 2016 issue

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I S S U E 1 1 | MA RCH 2 01 6

I want

To be

ME Interview with MR. MATT PFEIFFER PAGE 22

Parents’ Corner

ARE WE WILLING TO ACCEPT? PAGE17 Opinion : Sadness and Happiness

My View: Year Round School PAGE



Parents’ Corner: My Best Brings Out The Best in Others


Motivate. Activate. Celebrate.





I Want to Be ME!

Feature..................................................2 My View...............................................3 Food for Thought................................6 Opinion.................................................7 Parents’ Corner....................................9 Expressions of Self............................10 My Interest.........................................12 My Interest.........................................13 Poetry..................................................16 Arts......................................................17 Educators............................................18 People We Admire............................21 Interview............................................22 Parent’s Corner..................................23

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magine our world ten years from today. There are 8.2 billion of people on the planet, while one of them has a very special property: this person is you! Ten years from now, there will be someone out in the world who is you, and yet you don’t quite know this person. How is he or she different from who you are today? Is this person whom you want to be? Since a dawn of civilization, we, human beings, have been in a constant search for the self-identity - for understanding how we are similar and different from others around us. What does it mean to be a human being? At the same time, what makes me stand out among other human beings? What do I know when I “know myself”?

Arina Bokas

Kids’ Standard Editor & The Future of Learning Host

Kids’ Standard March issue I Want to Be Me offers reflections, perceptions, and expressions of many ‘selves,’ that, together, create the world in all of its beauty and complexity.

Happy Reading!

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Arina Bokas Kids’ Standard Editor


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Year Round School

By: Katie Brumbaugh, 7th Grade

Waldon Middle School, Lake Orion


n the United States, 1.8 million students in forty-one states attend school yearround (Eisler). Year-round schools have shorter summer vacations, but have longer, more frequent breaks throughout the school-year, which are called intercessions. Some people will argue for year-round calendars because they offer benefits for students and teachers. Others will argue against year-round calendars because they cause scheduling problems. I believe that schools should operate on a year-round calendar because it increases positive behavior, improves student achievement, and benefits students by eliminating a long summer break. Historically, school calendars with long summer breaks were created to provide helping hands on the farms and ranches, extended instruction in English for young European immigrants, or special interest classes to wealthy urbanities. These have been long gone in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries (Ballinger & Kneese). Hence, a year-round calendar takes the long summer break that is no longer needed. Instead, school should adapt to the life of our time. Schools should operate on a year-round calendar because it increases positive behavior. Student’s attitudes towards school did significantly improve as they spent more time there on a year-round calendar (“Year-Round Schools in the United States”). Proponents say that year-round schools and their modified calendars also decrease school vandalism and reduce MARCH 2016

student stress (MacCallum), leading to a positive perception of schools. Schools should operate on a year-round calendar because it improves student achievement. The state of California’s Department of Education claims that yearround schools’ third graders showed an increase of 9.5 percent on state tests and 13.3 percent in reading scores (“Year-Round Schools in the United States”). Year-round high schools had an end of the year math gain of 10.05, and an end of the year reading gain of 10.52, while non year-round high schools only had a math gain of 7.71, and an end of the year reading gain of 8.91 (“Year-Round School Statistics”). Students “ more things in a day than I’ve ever seen a school do before, and the calendar helps allow for that,” (MacDonnell). Therefore, proving that year-round schools help students academically. Schools should operate on a year-round calendar because it has intersessions that offer more benefits to students than a long summer break. An intercession is a period between two academic sessions or terms sometimes utilized for brief concentrated courses (Merriam Webster). These short breaks are usually for two or three weeks at a time. Detaching from a familiar environment can help gain a new perspective on everyday life (Landau). As a result, taking periods of time off schools regularly gives students have time to relax and then come back refreshed and ready to learn. The intersessions are also helpful with catching up in reading, writing, or math (MacDonnell). Thus, a year-round education gives students struggling in school the opportunity to catch-up during the breaks.

Some people believe that a traditional calendar is better. Opponents may also say that childcare is hard to find during the frequent intersessions at a year-round school. Yet, “it is easier to find childcare for a few weeks at a time throughout the school year than during a whole summer” (Stewart). Some people may also think that there is no time to take family vacations because there is no long summer break. On the contrary, family vacations can happen not only during the summer break not also during the intersessions throughout the year, making travelling “off season” less expensive. As can be seen, year-round schools increase positive behavior and decrease stress. Also, year-round schools improve student’s academic gains and offer more benefits to students than schools with the traditional schedule. Schools should operate on a year-round calendar. After all, year-round schools do help our students, and do we not want the best for them? “The direction in which educations starts a man will determine his future in life.” –Plato Bibliography • Eisler, Dale. “Summer School: Experimenting with Year-Round Schools.” Maclean’s (1997). Print. • “Year-Round Schools in the United States.” (2015): 19 pars. Web. 13 Nov. 2015. • MacCallum, James J. “Can Year-round Schools Improve Students’ Learning?” (2000): 19 pars. Web. 13 Nov. 2015. • “Year-Round School Statistic.” (2015). Web. 13 Nov. 2015. • MacDonnell, Sharon. “Year-Round School in Michigan.” MetroParent (2015). Web. 13 Nov. 2015. • Merriam Webster. 2015. Web. 2 Dec. 2015. • Landau, Elizabeth. “Why Your Brain Needs a Vacation.” CNN (2011). Web. 13 Nov. 2015 • Ballinger, Charles, and Carolyn Kneese. “Year-Round Schooling Offers Benefits Over a Traditional Calendar.” (2008): 1-10. Print. • Stewart, Allison “Could Students Benefit From a Year-Round?” PBS News Hour. 6 Sept. 2014. Web. 13 Nov. 2015. 3

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Real Beauty is in Who You Are By: Kaylin Conkright

5th Grade, Pine Tree Elementary, Lake Orion


eing yourself is very important. A reason for this is because if you were not yourself, people would not like you. Also you could not explore what your true self holds, for you. Could it be that you end up being something you’re not, or doing something you don’t want to do?

Amanda Storm was always rude. She talked back to her parents; she was doing things she knew she was not supposed to be doing. She was pushing other kids around with negative words. She always had her “friends”

walking with her everywhere. It made her feel important. Amanda thought the whole world evolved around her because she was pretty. People were nice to her because they wanted to look like her, thinking she could give them tips and advice of how to be pretty. Deep down people didn’t like Amanda. One day some girls were tired of her attitude. The next day at school, they wore their worst clothes. “Umm. What are you doing wearing those nasty clothes?” Amanda asked in her nastiest voice. “Don’t you want to be pretty, like me?” “NO!!” said the girls. “We’re tired of trying to be like you! You are mean because you look pretty; you feel good about yourself only when you bring other people down. You friends don’t even want to go anywhere YOU go!” Amanda looked at the girls who followed her around all the time. They were staring at the ground and biting their bottom lips. “Whatever!” said Amanda. “I still have them on my side! They would never leave me! RIGHT!?” No one said a word. They kept staring at the ground, while biting their bottom lips. When Amanda saw this, she stormed out of the crowd to her classroom.

The next day, everybody wore their worst clothes, while Amanda still wore her fancy and expensive clothes. Amanda now saw that no one was acting like her. She didn’t have any friends, she realized. This made her feel sad and empty. The next week, Amanda asked a girl, Dalilah, how to get friends if not by not being popular. “Well, I am just being myself and I have lots of friends,” Dalilah said. Amanda thought about what Delilah had said. “Maybe,” she thought “If I don’t pretend to be popular and loved by all, girls will like me.” From that day on, she was no longer a mean popular person; now she was just Amanda - a nice girl with a lot of friends. This story shows that if you try to be something you are not, the only thing you are doing to yourself, is bullying yourself. The reason for this is because you know you want to be yourself, but if you are never yourself, you never know if you are truly being yourself. If you act like something you are not, you are setting yourself up in a web that you can never escape from. But you can change, by cutting that web, and being a better person.

Living with “Being Different” By: Samantha Nidiffer,

4th grade, Bailey Lake Elementary


ome people think that if kids have a disability, it means that they are weird, or different, and that they can’t be friends with them because they’re different. I think that all people have things in common; sometimes we just can’t see them. Last year, I made a good new friend, a girl with a disability, who touched my heart. My new friend and I have something in common - we both play soccer. Often times, she wants to do things on her own, but people think that because


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of her differences she can’t do it. Yet, she rides horses and does much more! All of the things she does are amazing and cool! Her having a disability did not hold me back from being her friend. Every day I miss her smile after school; she always makes my day happy and bright. The memories are priceless. Friends are hard to find, but easy to lose. I know, however, that this friendship will never be lost. She taught me that having a disability doesn’t prevent you from reaching goals. People can be friends if they are willing to accept others for who they are.

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13 Exceptions to Being


By: Evan Hall

9th Grade, Clarkston Junior High School


have always been told “Be yourself,” with a few exceptions.

1. When you are told to do something, even when it goes against your morals or beliefs, you do it, or your green card becomes red. 2. A test is just a test, unless you are the one taking this test; your score shows who you are, or rather what you are, as tests don’t know you. 3. Your parents love you, as long as you maintain grades that are worth a gold star. 4. Be creative, within a set amount of guidelines that can get you an A on the project, but not a feature in the local gallery. 5. Your complaints, anxiety, and worries cannot be computed on the scantron. 6. The number you have been given for your student ID is who you will be known as until you graduate high school. 7. Failure, of course, is not an option in the answers provided. 8. You may be anyone you want to be as long as you can be put into a certain category that we can easily identify. 9. Organize your thoughts and ideas in such a manner that your teacher can easily understand them. 10. Colleges look at your transcript, not you. 11. A grade will never define you, for it is already a part of you. 12. Innovation and creativity are not on the syllabus; you have no need to use them in school. 13. I guess the biggest exception to this rule is - BE YOURSELF, no exceptions!


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Choices OR Voices By: Meckenna Hamidi

6th grade, International Academy, Bloomfield


o one likes rules. What if you don’t have a choice what to wear and you can’t even say anything about that? There it is no choice, no voice. Yes, that’s how it is in some of the countries around the world. Children of my age have no saying about anything in their life. I often wonder when these young people will finally start having their choice at something in their life. I wonder if they can have social interactions with others of their choice or their environment chooses it for them? So, what are our choices? Many parents are not allowing kids make their own choices for such simple things as choosing clothes to wear or watching a movie. Who is right and who is wrong? Are the parents who respect their children’s choice right to let them have a voice of their own? Or should children have a boundary? I choose what I wear; my parents always respected what I like, but I have learned that some may not have the choice and voice, such as I do. However, I am just grateful that my parents have given me the option for my choice and voice. I am celebrating my freedom of choice and voice - my freedom to be me!

I Am Different By: Annie Maly


4th grade, Independence Elementary, Clarkston

am different; you are different; we are all different in many ways. We are all unique. For example, we all have different taste in clothing. Some people wear dresses and some people wear jeans. Also, we all have many different personalities. I am different because I like sports. The sports that I play are soccer and gymnastics. Another thing that makes me different is my hair; I have brown hair. What color hair do you have? Everyone's eyes are different! No two persons’ iris is the same. My eye color is light green/ light blue. But most importantly, no one is perfect. Just keep doing your best and become the best YOU could be.


Sadness and Happiness

Reese Colwell

5th grade, Pine Tree Elementary, Lake Orion


adness is part of life. Without it, we wouldn’t know happiness. Some days I wear Sadness like a pair of headphones playing a sad, sad song. Sadness is when you are jumping on a trampoline and no one is there to see you. Sadness is like your friend

moving schools and not coming back. Sadness is how I walk some days, alone when nobody notices me. Sadness is also how I walk, with my face looking around for attention, but nobody notices. Sadness is walking with your head down, and hood over your head. Sadness is the taste of something really bland. It is the taste of defeat, after a long time of trying. But then come happiness and washes sadness away.

Do you like the ocean? By: Keira Tolmie and Ella Cady, 5th grade, Pine Knob Elementary, Clarkston

Keira: As an animal lover. I believe that oceans are amazing. They are a perfect place for me to relax; it is the home to thousands of animals, and are great places to research the world. Although there is still much to learn about our world’s oceans, scientists have made some great discoveries, including extinct ocean animals like the 310 million-year-old Bandringa Shark and more. When I went on vacation to Florida, I had my first experience with a parasail. As I was in the air, I saw so many creatures in their homes under the water. Another reason why oceans are great is that they provide awesome views that can be useful in photo shoots, and they are great for relaxing. Oceans are a great attraction for family vacations, and they are a great way to provide learning experiences. Lastly, oceans can provide transportation, and they play a big part in our world’s food chain. That is why I absolutely love oceans and all the creatures in it.

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Ella: Since I was a little girl, I have been scared of oceans. One reason I don’t like oceans is that when I go swimming, there is seaweed. Seaweed is bad because it tickles your foot. Also, there are crabs and stingrays, which are dangerous creatures. Sea animals like this are bad because they might hurt your feet by pinching or stinging you. Another reason why I don’t like the ocean is that it is cold, which makes it not enjoyable to swim in. Also, you can get sand in your bathing suit. That is not fun because it feels very uncomfortable. Lastly, I don’t like the ocean because there are fish. I don’t like the fish because they feel weird against your feet when they swim by. After going to the ocean and experiencing it for myself, I found that it was not very enjoyable. That is why I don’t like the ocean.


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The Beat of Life’s Moments By: Marissa Traver

9th Grade, Clarkston Junior High School


ith the lights low and the music loud, it seemed as though no one could see or have time to process what was happening. The music controlled us; it hypnotized us and paralyzed our fears, as the lights blinded us from the reality we wanted to escape. Time had stopped, and the only thing that mattered was our wish for this moment to never end. With all of our hot sweaty bodies pressed together, we jumped up and down to the beat of the music. We were jumping high only to gasp air for a quick second and then go back down to what we were doing; in that moment, we pretended that air was all we needed. In reality we needed so much more; that’s why we were all there. We yearned for a brief moment to feel alive and unstoppable. Now we were free, uncontrollable, and wild. The struggles had been forgotten; the concerns had vanished. All together, we screamed and

shouted into oblivion, and no one cared. We danced to the wrong beats and sang the wrong words at the wrong times, but no one cared. To my left, I saw Joseph, a quiet, shy boy, recklessly moving his body without allowing his insecurities stop him from throwing his hands up. He leaned to me, trying to yell over the crowd. ”Marissa, I feel as if my heart and the drum are beating to the same

We experienced what it truly meant to be alive; to live without being enslaved by society’s hierarchy, without pretending that we hadn’t been shaped by the roles our cultures forced on us to play. rhythm,” he beat his chest, emphasizing his pulse. I knew what he meant: the drums were so loud that I felt as though my heart was going to come out of my chest. It was a good feeling; it was a great feeling! I saw Luke, pumping his fist so high and aggressively that it almost seemed like he was protesting something out of anger and hostility, but it was a symbol of feeling alive. At that moment, we were alive and nothing about it was questionable.

UP, UP AND AWAY By: Jack Vitous

4th Grade, Bailey Lake Elementary


was climbing a tree, eager to get to the top. It was sunny, and there was a beautiful breeze. It was not too hot, not too cold; it was perfect. I was stepping from branch to branch until I got half way up. Then I saw something; fear rushed down me as I realized what I had to do. I needed to duck under a branch, while holding it, and then take a thrilling step of faith. If I fell, I would not be happy. I grabbed the branch so tightly I could snap it in half. It felt like I lost all senses and then stepped. My body filled with relief when I hit the branch without falling to the ground,


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Lights randomly flashed on and past us. For a split second, we would be in the spotlight, and then it would move on to someone else. We would get flashed with bright colors of blues, reds, greens, oranges, and yellows. The guitarist would scream and shout into the microphone, making us feel like we were going deaf. I didn’t care. I envied him because he could be deep in his song’s lyrics, and yet, crazy and wild on stage where he played for us. He was living his passion; he was living his dream. For me, it was only a dream; I was just preparing myself to be awakened by the terms of reality. We are told it’s not okay to sing the wrong words or dance to the wrong beat. Throwing hands up is looked upon as a bad thing. For that one moment, we weren’t living on the terms of reality. We were acting as if we were at some crazy rock band’s concert with thousands of other crazy “psychos,” all jumping up and down to the same music. We shared the same passion and love for some artists who were not very well known, but who meant the world to us. This is how I want to live the rest of my life. To live like I am at some crazy rock band’s concert where I am able to feel infinite without worrying about what boundaries I am overstepping. To be free and to fully live a life where being who who I am isn’t a bad thing. To live without fear, doubt, and hesitation. To be me.

but also shivered with fear. Then I noticed the air smelled so fresh, it was like I was in heaven. “Let’s keep climbing,” I said to myself. I felt the scrapes and scratches on my helpless legs. I started to feel weak, but I kept climbing from branch to branch. I had to tear through branches to clear a path, holding for dear life at the same time. Finally, I got up to the last branch. It was so beautiful! I saw the sun glistening through the air, shining so brightly. I could see the dust in the air. A breeze passed over me. Two leaves were shaking, and it sounded like the trees were trying to talk to me. It smelled so fresh up in the tree, like I was cooped up in a city apartment and just got out for the first time. I was no longer scared that I was going to fall; I felt that I could just fly away. I was alone. I was unique. My heart was beating fast, knowing that I had climbed the tree.

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BASKETBALL H By: Jersey Loyer

4th grade, Bailey Lake Elementary, Clarkston Schools

By: Devan Wcisel 5th Grade, Bailey Lake Elementary, Clarkston


wanted to play chess when saw Harry Potter playing wizard’s chess. For my ninth birthday I asked for a chess board; my grandpa got me one and taught me how to play. It can last a half of an hour to a few hours. Chess is a amazing game full of strategy. It involves thinking and planning. There are sixteen figures: eight pawns, two rooks, two nights, two bishops, and a king and queen. The pawns move only forward but attack diagonally, one space at a time, except on first move when they can move two spaces. The Rook moves straight as the board as far as you want but do not jump. (All the players DO NOT JUMP but the knight.) The bishop moves diagonally across the board. The queen can go do both, but not on the same move. The knights are the odd ball - they move in a L shape. Two forward, one to the side for example. And the final player, the king, moves like the queen but only one space per turn. The way to win is to take


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ave you ever sat home on a weekday doing nothing? Have you ever heard of all the fun and exciting sporting events at your local high school? I can’t wait for this basketball season to start. The Wolves never disappoint! Last year, one of my personal favorite games was when Clarkston played Dakota High School from Macomb. The game was super close. Everyone was nervous to see the outcome. We were all biting our nails. With almost 20 seconds left, my brother Foster ran up the court, looking for someone open. He ran as fast as he could to score, stopping at the 3 point line. He was risking a loss, but he had to go for it if they wanted to win! He jumped up and released the ball out of his hands. We watched the ball go into the hoop, up up away - it was nothing but net! I was screaming so loudly, I had a headache. We sprinted on to the court. Everyone was so excited! It was an awesome moment for me, my family, the team, and everyone who was watching the game. By doing his best and believing in himself, my brother made it happen. Basketball is an exciting game. I hope to see you at a game one day.

out your opponent's king. Most people think it’s better to get all of the pawns out, but it’s not! One of my brother’s strategies is to make a square horse shoe shape around the king with the knights at front corners and the rest - pawns. If you want to be safe out in the middle of the board, there are four squares that knights have a lot of trouble getting to - the very center squares. One of my friends’ strategies is to make a zigzag line of pawns. He calls it the Wall of China. The thing you never want to encounter is an endless game. One of the ways that you will find an endless game is when you or your opponent are left with only two kings, and each time he/she is in a check, the king is moved away. The last thing is that it is a good idea is to PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR OPPONENT'S EVERY MOVE. Chess is a fun game that is easy to learn. If you want to play chess and you don’t have a board, one place that carries them is As seen on T.V Now, I don’t mean to be a teacher, but if you like the article, please get a chess set.

MY INTEREST By: Abigail Evans,

5th Grade, Pine Knob Elementary, Clarkston


am a junior black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Tae Kwon Do is a Korean martial art that is known for its forms. Some people say that it is very similar to karate, but it is actually very different. There are seven belts and eleven stripes, so a black belt is very difficult to earn. It took me three years to earn it, even though I skipped a stripe! I love to be involved in the art because I can experience something that not a lot of other people choose to be a part of.

Tae Kwon Do is known for its forms. Though some forms are hard to memorize, with hard work and perseverance it can be accomplished. It all starts with the X-stance drill. First, you form an x-shape with your feet and cross your left arm to your right arm. The next step is to perform #1. The #1 consists of low blocks and lunge punches. The next step is to perform #2. The #2 consists of reverse punches and reverses inside blocks. Then it goes on to Tae Guk Il Jang. Its philosophy is Keon, which means beginning because Il Jang is the beginning form. Then comes Tae Guk Ee Jang, which philosophy is tea, meaning joyfulness. An adult black belt has to memorize at least twelve forms. Next, we will learn some kicks and punches. We’ll start with a stretch kick that is lifting your leg as far as you can without bending your knee; a low scoop kick, that is a soccer kick; and a front thrust kick that is when you bend your knee then push out with the ball of your foot. There are many more kicks. As for punches, there are a lunge punch, that is stepping your foot forward from your stance

Tae Kwon Do

and punching with the same side’s hand; a reverse punch, that is stepping forward then swinging your hand and punching on the other side than your foot that is currently forward; a back fist that is stepping forward and swinging your fist and hitting your target with the back of your fist. There are many more punches to learn. Lastly, there are twelve takedowns. I know three. Take downs are very important because they come in handy when someone is trying to attack you. In class, we pair up to do takedowns to get better at them.

Women’s Soccer By. Solana Darnell-Mason

4th Grade, Independence Elementary, Clarkston


n 2015 the US women’s team won the World Cup. The women’s team players names are Hope Solo, Shannon Boxx, Morgan Brian, Lori Chalupny, Crystal Dunn, Whitney Engen, Ashlyn Harris, Tobin Heath, Jaelene Hinkle, Lauren Holiday, Lindsey Horan, Julie Johnston, Meghan Klingenberg, Ali Krieger, Sydney Leroux, Gina Lewandowski, Carli Lloyd, Stephanie Mccaffrey, Samantha Mewis, Alex Morgan, Alyssa Naeher, Christine Nairn, Kelly O’hare, Heather O'reilly, Christen Press, Christie Rampone, Megan Rapinoe, Amy Rodriguez, Emily Sannett, Abby Wambach. This team also went to the Olympics and won the gold medals. The reason they won the World Cup and the Olympics is because they worked hard, worked as a team, and never gave up. They always passed the ball so other players could score goals. After the World Cup, my family and I got to see them at Ford Field in Detroit playing against Haiti. It was an experience I will never forget. It was so exciting to cheer “ USA, USA, USA!”

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All I Want To Be is Me By: Emily Valencia, 4th grade, Bailey Lake Elementary, Clarkston Being me is fun,

I Want to be ME By: Avery Sealey 5th Grade, Bailey Lake Elementary Clarkston Schools

Being me is like the sun,

Scientist, Marine Biologist, Teacher, Boss,

Being me is grand,

Who do you want to be?

It is definitely not bland, Me is the best I can be,

Hiker, Biker, Runner, Swimmer,

All I want to be is me,

Who do you want to be?

I don’t want to be a coat, I don’t want to be a boat,

Soccer player, Tennis player,

All I want to be is me,

How about professional golf?

Me is the best I can be.

Fashion Designer, Car designer,

Failure, Falling, Floating, Flying By: Malaya Mojica

5th grade, Bailey Lake Elementary, Clarkston Schools Feathers fall from puffy pillows in the sky The air, frosty, somehow fragile Not a worry, happy and grateful Seeing light to the world around Shoes with razor sharp blades on my feet Icy platforms calmly lay below me Gracefully gliding, smoothly, sharp push by push Marking my journey, impressing flawless ice twirling, tumbling, twisting, turning I’m floating, flying, free I fall, I fail, I crash Pain strikes hard, hurtful, horrible and full but Like a toaster I pop back up, ready

What about president? It all depends on you.

The Clock By: Anna Laube 6th Grade, Sashabaw Middle School, Clarkston The clock mocks me Every tick Every tock Every little click Tells me I’ve wasted another second Tells me I’m further away Tells me I didn’t make it I missed it by one second one tick one tock

I rise from the FALLING the FAILING the CRASHING

one little click

I know I try, I trust, I’m tough

The clock mocks me

So I try,I try, I try, I try Till I go from failure and falling to floating and flying and gracefully gliding


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Inside the Blanket

everywhere until I reach the door.

By: Jakob Levengood 8th Grade, Clarkston Junior High School

I push with all my might, my mind forcing me to push harder.

Our headlights are a beacon in the night, a deep, dark space.

I look outside to the forest, all I see is a blanket of snow.

The moon above me shines, its light cold and deep.

I collapse to the ground, trapped by a icy door.

The cabin isn’t my vacation, it’s my prison. Outside the trees stand tall, seeming to guard my fate worse than death.

We approach the rickety cabin in the woods,our shelter from the darkness.

What do I do? What do I do?

We are exhausted from the journey, ready for some much-needed release.

hopelessness has set in. But I know something, a idea small, yet bright.

I have a dream that night, the world shines like no-other.

¨The window! The window!¨ I cried, My own personal home-baked cake.

There is a bright blanket everywhere, snatching the emotion from the world.

Why did I need escape? It was truly irrational.

I wake up to birds chirping, itś a frantic, highpitched scream.

All I knew was that I was scared, and I wanted out.

The warbling loud and soft, alerting us of danger.

I started to pry at the window, chipping, hacking and fighting.

I am a cheetah, the ground rips beneath me. I am the wind, blowing things around me

Finally it pops open, and I am free.

The Plane By: Doug Olson 8th Grade, Clarkston Junior High School I haven’t been on one in years I’m full of excitement, but some fears I cringe with glee, ready to go UP! UP! UP! The plane is full, as people relax in their smooth, leather chairs The pilot steps out, and waves to his passengers “1 minute” exclaims the pilot, and goes back up to the front

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We hear the plane roar, as the buzzing engines aggravate our ears. The plane is running like the wind, the wings are turning fast The wings are flapping like a bird, Being still, is in the past As the plane rolls slowly it start to build momentum. The plane has taken its test lap, and is now ready to go I’m feel the rumbling of the plane And my heart is beating faster! I feel free! and up we fly, 2 hours I will spend, in the sky.


POETRY A Game of Telephone By Ceren Ege, 12th grade, Clarkston High School Under one household, maybe two One mother, maybe two one dad maybe two– They will grow They will grow features that look similar to yours, They will learn to walk with steps similar to the ones you took They will hold the palm of your hand and try to overlap your life line fate line heart line with their own and wonder why they do not align But their mind will not be a mind of its own A child’s mind is innocent, malleable, and formed entirely by influence so your beliefs will bleed on their skin your ethics will stick into every fabric they wear and your behaviors will align themselves in symmetry Children spends the first 3 years observing and learning human behavior from their surrounding subjects and the next 5 mimicking these exact behaviors and by the age of 11 they has formed a psychological framework for reason, judgment, and belief based on their parents and peers Parenthood, is one big game of telephone So whether you choose your first phrase that you whisper to be an explanation to why you’ve been using they as a unisex pronoun to allow him a say in his gender identity, What will you whisper into his ear? Will you tell him that everything is temporary? Will you tell her that the deadliest shackles can be to her own body Will you tell them that health is the biggest wealth? Will you teach him to wake up with something to live for and not someone? Will you teach her to see the beauty in simplicity, like the way the waves never stop kissing the shore, or how the moon sometimes lingers to see the sun Will you teach them that words can be used for things other than filling the silence? Will you remind her that there are women who give birth to their pain instead of children Will you remind her to never be one of those women? Will you remind him that men give birth too, to their hopes, their dreams, but they kill them because of having to be a man because being a man is the thing that’s supposed to make their touch a punch, clenched from the thought of coming off as soft Will you remind him that his emotions do not make him feminine? Will you explain how every religion supports coexistence and equal treatment Will you explain how not all Muslims are terrorists Will you tell and teach and remind and explain until they start asking the questions? And when he asks you why his president is building a wall around his country And when he asks you why we live on a continent we murdered our way into And when she asks you why can we never talk about the blood of our ancestors, the blood of our history, the blood between our legs, You will smile and know that you have started a game of telephone that will not be misinterpreted for generations, no matter how hard the world will try to end it.


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Are We Willing to Accept? By: Mary Herzenstiel

Parent, Sashabaw Middle School and Clarkston Junior High School, Clarkston Schools


ay after day in second grade, kids would refuse to work with him. They said he couldn’t do the work. One boy even hid in the bathroom to avoid partnering with him. Other kids, trying to be helpful, would take his math objects and put them in the right order for him, eliminating his chance to do it himself. The teacher, overwhelmed by thirty two 7-year olds, barely had the time to monitor the situation, let alone change the behavior. Resenting school and developing nervous habits, he cried more often and, eventually, came to believe that he really couldn’t do it. Kids didn’t play with him much at recess anymore. Over the next few years, little by little, he gave up on school and himself. This is how his story of learning to be different began. We most likely know a child (probably more than one) who sits alone at lunch or on the bus. How often do we wonder why? If people are attracted to one another based on shared commonalities, locations, or experiences, what does it tell to a child in the classroom with thirty other kids, studying the same things, and yet, not having a single connection? Imagine being that child; every

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day, day after day. As a former teacher, I remember a 3rd grade girl who walked the School Fair alone because “she had no friends.” She had all of the traits of a good friend: kind, loyal, funny, and trustworthy. There was also the boy whom kids called “smelly,” without any reason; yet, the label stuck. Many kids are alone in a sea of peers not because they are mean or threatening, but because they see the world in a different way. Unfortunately, this is enough for them not to be accepted by their peers. Instead, we, adults, are quick to accept hateful behaviors towards them, writing it off as “kids will be kids.” Teachers and other parents often feel uncomfortable addressing this, wondering if they might make it worse. But adult modeling, intervention, and follow up are a must to break this pattern. Part of the solution, I believe, is teaching our kids to reach out, to be open to new experiences, to question their first impressions, and to challenge their preconceptions about people. This starts with adults. We, parents, teachers, church leaders, coaches, counselors and other trusted adults, have to model acceptance of others. Parents can break the barriers by talking to that other mom or dad in the drop

off or pick up line, at sporting or music events, at school parties, or in your neighborhood. By doing this, they can show kids how to reach out and accept others. Mr. Fuller, a teacher at Clarkston Elementary, made a music video of his kids holding a sign with one word that described them: shy, helpful, athletic, smart, funny, adventurous, brave, and outgoing. This was a great way to celebrate the unique identity each child brought to the classroom, while showing acceptance for each one of them. In such an environment, different is good and no child is expected to be and learn the same. The boy at the beginning of this story, of course, could do the work, but in a different way. When his parents moved him to a new school for his 5th grade, his new classmates reached out to him - a stranger in their class- and included him in their work and games. He began to see that he was smart and that he did have friends. What happened to him earlier is not a passing event that he will easily forget, but thanks to a wonderful teacher and equally wonderful parents true role models for their kids - this boy is once again feeling good about being himself!


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Storyboard By: Robert Brazier

5th grade teacher, Bailey Lake Elementary, Clarkston Schools


n the second day of school, my student, Star, shared that she enjoys working on group projects but also seeks out “alone time” (her words) to regroup. Having recently read Susan Cain’s extraordinary Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, I immediately connected Star’s statement of selfawareness to the idea of introversion. Her tale aligned remarkably well with Cain’s description of the energy needs of introverts. I wondered how she could possibly know so much about herself at the tender age of 10. We all have tales to tell, of course, and there is a human propensity to story-tell, to narrate our own lives. But the stories we tell others - and ourselves - are far from a fait accompli. Indeed, we habitually construct and reconstruct the stories we use to make sense of our experiences. There’s no way to tell a whole story all representations are partial - and so what’s included and what’s omitted are choices influenced by our sense of self. Ultimately, we angle our narratives in ways that align with our beliefs about ourselves and the world. How one comes to tell one’s learning story, then, is of high concern to me as an educator. In Clarkston, we take pains to tell each individual’s ‘story of learning’ with an emphasis on ‘growth over time.’ This is a strikingly studentcentered stance, and I’m proud to be associated with it. It must be said, though, that a student’s version of events is the one that gets published! To what degree are the Stars of the world the authors of their own epics? To what extent do they allow ghostwriters to tell the story for them? How do Star and her classmates define and explain themselves as learners, and in what ways do we influence


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plot developments? A school-aged child like Star, who’s still developing personal and social identities, tends to be in possession of an especially inchoate and malleable manuscript of life and learning. What opportunities is she afforded to assume an agentive stance in school, to be given space to explain how and why she figured out or has not yet figured out a dilemma? One purpose of schooling, I maintain, is for students to begin to find their “voice.” Educators, in my opinion, should make deliberate attempts to nudge students toward more productive identities, to sway the way in which a story of learning will unfold. They can do so by routinely asking students to reflect on their learning experiences within the walls of a safe and caring classroom. “How did you manage to solve that tricky problem?” is a query that normalizes the struggle inherent in a learning situation. This question and its many cousins - such as “What have you done to make this work...and what’s your plan for continuing?” - can position youngsters as people who face problems head-on, make and revise plans, and, at least sometimes, conquer that which is thrown their way. “When you figure out something for yourself, there is a certain thrill in the figuring,” notes Peter Johnston in his seminal work, Choice Words. “After a

few successful experiences,” Johnston continues, “you might start to think that figuring things out is something that you can actually do. Maybe you are even a figuring-out kind of person.” Drawing out reflections on a learning experience enables an educator (or parent) to positively intervene in the crafting and recrafting of a student’s persona, leading one to potentially conclude from the above example, “I am the sort of person who refuses to give up when the going gets tough.” Self-talk of this sort becomes part of one’s “voice.” Of course, one may be tempted to sway another’s sense of self to an unreasonable degree. The truth is that, in fundamental ways, we are who we are. We ought not force Star to join more team sports! Urging her to be less private or make more friends, especially if you personally value openness and companionship, seems unfair. An educator’s goal ought not be a classroom of Mini Mes. In place of mimetic engagement, we must strive for empowered students who take pleasure in feeling the power of their own ideas. We are advisers to, not the co-writers of, our students’ autobiographies. Star’s second day statement stopped me in my tracks. There she sat, a pre-teen with a strong sense of self, a comfort in her own skin, and an awareness and appreciation of her uniqueness! With her teenage years looming, one imagines she’ll remain at the helm of what happens in that crucial next chapter of life. Life won’t happen to Star. Instead, keenly aware of who she is and for what she stands, she’ll sketch out her storyboard. Works Consulted: 1 Barone, T. & Blumenfeld-Jones, D. (1998). Curriculum Platforms and Moral Stories. In Beyer, L. & Apple, Michael (Ed.), The Curriculum: Problems, Politics, and Possibilities. 2 Cain, S. (2013). Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. New York: Crown Publishers. 3 Johnston, P. (2004). Choice Words: How Our Language Affects Children’s Learning. Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers.

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My Best Brings Out The Best in Others Olivia Maday

11th grade, Clarkston High School 1st place, Oratorical Contest Winner


n elementary school I used to identify a heart as a shape, something to be delivered only on Valentine’s Day: a symbol of love, to be reserved for special people. And yet, as a child, I saw the potential of the heart as something more - each fragmented part performing continuously in silence; its valuable beats only heard through the ears of a stethoscope. Later, in middle school, I was taught that the heart functions as the body’s circulatory pump. It takes in deoxygenated blood through the veins and delivers it to the lungs for oxygenation, before pumping it into the various arteries. But this scientific definition still left unclear the potential of the heart. Its symbolic duty still seemed as important as the anatomical definition. I thought that it was impressive the way the heart performs everyday while its actions remain hidden beneath layers of skin and bone. And the solace I found in its unceasing reliability. I trusted it without ever realizing the vast amount invested in each small beat. I desperately sought to personify this valuable organ for it to become all that it stood for in life. I remember what I was taught in school. The heart pumps blood into the various arteries. This one organ is responsible for the survival of so many small components and, simultaneously, one large mass - a real-life symbol of what I wanted to be in my life. I came across a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson: “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” Yet, as I have lived, I have realized

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that making a difference does not mean sacrificing my own happiness. Just as the heart sustains me perpetually, I continuously strive to help the world around me, a kind of happiness that I have come to love. My best is how it feels to perform so many small actions, knowing that the world is changed by my seemingly invisible acts. Every week I help mentor elementary students, teaching them to write. With gracious sentiment, they often exclaim that they would like to be writers one day. They thank me with the blooming smiles that grow upon their faces and then ask why I decided to help them. I often say that it’s because the heart is responsible for keeping the body alive. Anatomy is seldom understood by

elementary students, so I am forced to explain this metaphor. I change my words to reflect the pleasure that I get from being able to impact their lives so deeply. The beat of my heart carries on through each action I perform, caught in a perpetual loop of committing my time and mind to others. Frequently, I paint at an assisted living home, helping the seniors create art. The real value of my visit is in the words we communicate to each other. Just a simple “How was your day?” brings life into their eyes and the opening of their hearts. A permanent happiness never is diminished by time. People say it’s not enough to help those around me; they say to stay focused on what really matters – getting good grades, going to college, being productive. Then they ask me what I want to be in the future. My response is not what they expect. I wish to be a heart, pumping happiness and bliss into the lives of many others, knowing that one day my actions will change the world.


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Interview with MR. MATT PFEIFFER Northern Flooring and Interiors, Owner

our friendships are one of the few things that we can fully control at a young age. I think that too often we get caught up on having a large quantity of friends, when we should really be focused on having quality friends. It’s better to associate with people that are truly interested in our well-being, and with whom we share interests. Of course, we should avoid “toxic” people that don’t have a solid moral compass. Surround yourself with people that are positive and passionate about something, anything! By: Brendan Britt,

9th Grade, Lake Orion High School

How has your sense of self formed and changed over the years? My self-image was formed through many experiences growing up. I grew up in Keatington and attended Lake Orion schools from kindergarten through my senior year. I wasn’t what most would consider popular. I never felt like I fit into any specific group or “clique”, but got along with most of the kids throughout my school career. To be included in the various activities, I had to be pretty outgoing. This benefited me later in life by helping me to get along with all types of people in many situations. I knew that to be accepted, I had to be open minded and tolerant of many types of people. To a young adult, these skills were very helpful.

Since friendships impact our sense of well being and overall selfesteem, have your friendships helped you in this regard? Our success and happiness have a lot to do with the people we associate. We are all a product of our surroundings, and 22

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When I moved out from the area for a while, I lost touch with most of my old school pals, but as soon as I moved back to Lake Orion, I gradually regained contact with those still in the area, and am proud to call many of them my friends today.

Have your positive self-image helped you overcome challenges in your life? I have had some challenges, as we all do. Several years ago our home burned to the ground while we were out at a movie. We lost everything that we owned, most importantly, our 4 beloved pets. Around this same time, the economy was going through what was called “the great recession”. Having these two major traumatic events happening at the same time was an incredible challenge. There is no doubt that the confidence that I had in myself gave me the ability to survive and eventually thrive through these challenges.

You are now the owner of Northern Flooring. How did you get the skills and confidence necessary to run your own business? I grew up in a family owned business. My business ambitions started very

early, around the age of five. I always had some type of business venture going. Initially I sold carpet samples door to door in my wagon, eventually adding vegetables into the mix. After several years, I set up stands at the entrance of the neighborhood, or in the front yard. I also worked with my parents and siblings from an early age. Granted, the tasks were very basic to start, but by the time I graduated from High School, I had pretty much learned their business at every level. Since I worked at a lot of jobs in my teens, I was positively influenced by many hardworking entrepreneurs, including my parents.

What made you decide to open up a business in the community of Lake Orion? I decided to move back to Lake Orion when my kids were toddlers. The main reason was the fond memories I had from growing up here and the great schools and recreational opportunities that Lake Orion has to offer. Shortly after moving back, Northern Flooring was having a difficult time, and was going out of business. Since I spent much of my life in the flooring industry, and knew that I wanted to stay here, I bought the business, and the rest is history.

What advice would you give students to help them develop a positive self esteem? Get involved with helping others that are less fortunate or in need of assistance. We are fortunate to live in a very caring community. There are a tremendous amount of opportunities to make a difference, and there is no doubt that you will get much more than you give! The more involved we get in helping others, the more positive we feel in all of our other endeavors and about ourselves. When helping others, it is much less likely that you will let the little things in life bother you. You will have a much higher self-esteem when your life is based on well-being of others more than on your own.

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E Maggie Razdar Publisher/Founder

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Be you

very day we judge others, and others judge us. This creates a vicious cycle. How can we be who we truly are if we have to constantly be on guard and in fear of what others think? Think about the dangerous consequences judging and stereotyping creates for our world, especially when it comes to our own children. Yet, unfortunately, it happens everyday around us. Judging and stereotyping others is not based so much on the perception of what we see but more on what we feel about what we see. If we judge with our emotions, we cannot be objective; however, if we choose to be objective, then we tend not to judge. When we first find ourselves in front of someone, it is only the surface, the outward appearance, of an individual. What lies underneath the surface remains unknown— But this is the most important part of a person, as their mind and heart is who they truly are. Each person has different characteristics and unique experiences that define them. A characteristic may include an insecurity about their appearance, and an experience may be a painful memory. Overtime, these insecurities, vulnerabilities, and painful memories create emotional baggage. If we do not have an understanding of this baggage, our judgement is distorted. So when we see someone, and we are ready to judge, we should always remind ourselves of the invisible truth— the past, unique life experiences of that person. We judge for numerous reasons, perhaps out of jealousy, anger, or pride, to name a few. But when we judge, it is really a reflection of ourselves, the state of

our own heart, which is unknown to others and also comprised of baggage and unique life experiences. As a result, there is only one question here: How should I fix my heart in order to not judge others anymore? The answer to this question requires honest introspection in order to find and fix the problem at the source, which could be the way your parents were or even the corporate environment you worked at, to name a few. With this in mind, we have to make a commitment to be open-minded about differences among members within our society—whether those differences are related to race, religion, culture, or worldview. To be open-minded allows us to have understanding and compassion instead of passing quick judgements. Shamefully, I had to go through several judgements from others in order to understand that I should not judge anybody and realize how fast and easy it is to judge. People judge others for one reason or another, and we judge all the time, no matter how good of a person we might be. The fact is, we are so accustomed to doing so that it is second nature—Many times, we may not even realize that we are judging. But we most stop judging others, as it is an unwise and unkind habit. Making a conscious decision to stop judging is the first step towards individual progress and, in turn, a better world for our children. It is a difficult task, to become free of judging, but it is worth it. In the end, judging can have profound, detrimental affects on young minds. This, however, can be avoided if we become more aware of our own thoughts and more careful with our behavior towards others. It is important to realize that every person has a hidden story within them that we may not see, or they choose not to express. To know the true heart and mind of an individual, one must not judge, and so this is what we must do. Be you, and let others be themselves, too.


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2015-2016 Editorial Calendar April 2016

The Digital Kids

May 2016

Listen to Your Art

June 2016 Learning is Everywhere

July-August 2016

Family Dinner

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