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Escola Americana de Brasília December 2011

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by Carolina Ferreira That question often plagues the existence of the average teenager. School seems to be waste of time, an obstruction in our social life and one of the key components to our rising levels of stress. Recent studies have shown that the classes alone are not enough to prepare ourselves for the so-called “real world.” If that is true, then we have to return to the original question: “why are we here?” The essential is to understand our classes themselves are not negligible, but that if we leave school with merely academic knowledge, our chances dwindle. The only way to undermine these studies is to make the most of the experiences it offers, both from the strictly intellectual and from the outwardly inconsequential. Here, we are given the opportunity to learn, not only the derivative of tan-1 x, but also to learn how to judge, how to debate, and most importantly how to discriminate what is key from what trivial. Our discussions both in and out of class provide us the capacity to judge the happenings of our world and to defend our own opinions with greater credibility. The Arabic spring, for example, has been under the spotlight for months now, but the typical student may only know that uprisings are happening in Egypt and Libya. Being part of international school we are lucky to be able to make use of the examination of a student that has firsthand knowledge of what is actually happening, as is seen in Zena Salameh’s poignant story Syria’s Summit (pages 2-3). Here, we are taught to depend on our own observations and discussions rather than depending solely on the media hubs of our society. Furthermore, we can learn to evaluate these newscasts with greater scrutiny, which happens as Letícia Lopes assess the publicity of the sickness of Brazil’s and Venezuela’s presidents, Lula and Chavez, respectively (Are our Leaders Private or Public – page 4). Taking ourselves even closer to home, Julia Ziller observes, much like what I’m doing now, the whys in our life and what it means to be “wise.” (WHYser - page 5) My own article, is not bulked with information and probably will not bring an epiphany of any kind to its readers. But sports have always played a significant role in the daily life our peers, regularly teaching them teamwork, patience and persistance. (A Semester of Sports – pages 6-7) Our school’s motto, “Celebrating Diversity and Cultivating Citizenship” can be clearly seen in Tess Dzurny’s Alternative Ways to Spend the Holidays, where beauty can be found in the trivial and we can rejoice in idiosyncrasies of life (page 8). Netsai Kizito, joins the capacity of judgement with those seemingly subsidiary elements of our society, questioning the image of Africa that an art exhibition in Brazil showed (Boredom, UFOs and Angola – page 9). School also has the beauty of introducing us to tools that we’ll use for the rest of lives, evident in the article about Pinterest written in joint effort by Júlia Cardoso and Lucas Lundell (Pinteresting Ideas – pages 10-11). And bringing us back to school, Julia Ziller, shows how important diversity is in our school, revealing the influence variety can exert on us as individuals. (Exchange for Life – pages 12-13) The golden moments, the learning moments, at school are those where our world, our interests, and our passions meld with unison and complement each other perfectly; when what we learn results in a greater appreciation for what we love. This is truly why we’re at school.

SYRIA’S SUMMIT By Zena Salameh TODAY ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD, HISTORY IS BEING MADE. The uprisings around the Middle Eastern nations, known as the Arab Spring, including Libya, Syria and Tunisia, have startled people all over the world. I am Syrian so this hits very close to home, therefore I will focus only in the revolts that are happening in the various cities of Syria. The wave of Arab unrest started with the Tunisian revolution of January 2011 and reached Syria in mid-March, when residents of a small southern city protested the torture of students who had spread antigovernment graffiti.

posted online and details gathered by activist groups have been filtering out. The conflict has intensified Syria’s ethnic divisions. The Assads and much of the nation’s elite, especially the military, belong to the Alawite sect, a small minority in a mostly Sunni country. Since the Christians are a minority, they tend to keep quiet and maintain distance from politics. However this neutrality seems to be an alliance with the government, in the eyes of the protesters. Since the beginning of the uprising, the Syrian government has made several concessions including : liberation of political prisoners, and the presence of multiple parties. The president’s party, Baath has been considered a monopoly for as long as the Assads were in power. Protestors however are demanding more meaningful reform.

President Bashar al-Assad, a Britishtrained doctor who many had hoped would soften his father’s (Hafez el Assad) iron-handed regime, suspended the country’s decades-old state of Demonstrators protesting against Syria’s President Bashar In July, the Obama emergency, leading al-Assad through the streets after Friday prayers in Hula, administration, took to the launch the near Homs on 14 October 2011. (Photo: REUTERS) a position about the first series of situation turning crackdowns, sending tanks and security forces to the cities against Mr. Assad and demanding to step down of Syria’s where the protest took place. But no direct intervention government. By early August, the American ambassador has been proposed, However, many people fear to support was talking about the future of Syria assuming the absence the protesters due to the instability and oppression in a of Assad’s government. country at the heart of so many conflicts in the world’s most erratic region. The United Nations said in a report published recently, in November the death toll from the eight-month Syrian After the uprising erupted, the government has largely uprising has reached 3,500, and since the uprising started sealed off the country from foreign journalists and thousands of people have disappeared or been jailed or prevented independent reporting, but anonymous videos tortured.

By the fall, Syria’s economy was crumbling under the pressure of sanctions and the unrest, with its currency weakening, its recession expanding, and its tourism industry is wrecked — a serious blow to a regime whose legitimacy has relied on economic success. Recently, an important attempt to bring together a fragmented opposition took place. Foreign ministers from 19 Arab League countries voted Sunday to impose economic sanctions President Bashar Al-Assad (Photo: Creative Comments) against the Syrian regime. However Iraq and Lebanon did not vote for the imposition I was there in Syria of these sanctions. Some of these sanctions include, when the situation cutting off transactions with Syria’s Central, to ban highwas taking place. profile Syrian officials from visiting Arab nations and a Certainly the capfreeze on resources of Al-Assad’s regime. The league ital, Damascus is also voted to impose a ban on commercial flights between more civilized and Syria and member states which will be agreed within the calmer. However next week. we can sense the fear of the people. Fridays, are the sacred day for the Muslims, just like our Sundays. As they go to the The view of the city from my mosques to pray, family’s apartment. the highlights Damascus (Syria) of protests happen after. This situation has repressed people even more, already in a limited and censored country. It is necessary to take in consideration the lifestyle of people who are protesting, since they make part of the majority of the country population. They consist President Bashar Al- Assad says of low class Muslims, fighting for a better quality in relationship to Western interof life. The best solution for this conflict to cease is for the government to fulfill the people’s needs, ference upon Syria’s situation. by imposing beneficial reforms and encourage the (Source: Ria Novosti) liberty of expression. The fall of this government may not necessarily mean the end of an oppressive time period. We must understand without a government, the country will enter a power vacuum, which may cause chaos. I, as a Syrian citizen hope for the prosperity of such a marvelous and unique country, full of hospitality and a rich culture.

“Syria is the hub now in this region. It is the fault line, and if you play with the ground you will cause an earthquake ...”

Are our leaders private or public? By: Letícia Lopes After having the opportunity to read The Economist article about Lula’s larynx cancer, I began to reflect about Lula’s character and nobility. The article (“A New Battle For Lula”), not only mentions Lula’s health problem and how he was able to deal with this issue; but also demonstrates how Lula’s public response was very different from that of the Venezuelan president. The Venezuelan people were aware of the “pelvic abscess,” a minor surgery that Chavez would receive in Cuba. However, we can only imagine how surprised the population was when they learned that he was diagnosed with malignant tumors in that area, in another words cancer. Chavez seemed to have accepted this problem with less courage than Lula. When we are experiencing an event in our lives that struck us hard and affect us with strong emotions, sometimes it is better not to talk about it and deal with it by ourselves. When an issue you have becomes public, many people may feel pity and make the issue worse than it already is. For that reason, I believe that Chavez chose to keep his health condition as a secret and not make it completely public. For Chavez this situation may have been very delicate, he may have taken the news of his condition roughly and only wanted the attention and support from those individuals, which are really close to him. Lula in the other hand is a very public individual, who is always sharing his life with the population and may have taken the news more easily. Maybe Lula’s purpose of delivering his illness were not completely with good intentions. I believe that Lula is trying to get the public attention and trying to commove the population by declaring his illness. Lula exploits his personal life as a chance to gain votes and appreciation from the population. In the past, he would always touch the audience with his tragic life story of a not very educated individual who was a factory worker explored by the bourgeoisie. Lula has a strong voice and is a charismatic leader, who tries to make the population connect their life stories with his. Therefore, Lula may have been stronger and more courageous while dealing with his illness, yet, I don’t

agree that he was entirely noble, since we can infer that he had less-than-noble political intentions. I also believe that neither were noble while being treated in private sector institutions or out of the country as in Chavez case. If they are not being treated in public hospitals or in their own country it shows that they don’t believe in the efficiency and quality of the hospitals they provide to the population. As presidents who collect an enormous amount of taxes from the individuals, they should provide the best health care possible and we can observe that it is not the current case. If their country and the public institutions are not the best place for them to be treated, then it is not the best place for the population neither and they definitely should improve it, since the people pay to have high quality institutions. My final opinion is that Lula may have taken the news of his health problem with more courage than Chavez; however, he was always very open about his personal life and he might have done so with ulterior political motives. In my perspective neither presidents were noble, since they were treated in non public organizations, and what do you think? Who acts more “nobly” and/or with more “courage”?

“It is important to understand that a president’s health is the country’s welfare due to his position. Consider this; if Chavez were to die from Cancer at some time when all believed he was doing fine, who would take over? The most likely scenario would actually be chaos, because the country would not be prepared for the sudden shift.” --Marcos Igreja, grade 12


by Julia Ziller


hen you become a teenager you start to ask yourself the “whys” of life. Why do I have to do my homework, why do I have to go to school, why do I have to listen to my teachers and parents, why, why, why… I have gone through that -- I am over it though, I’m almost 18 now, and if you haven’t figured out the whys of life by now I am sorry to tell you that it is going to be really hard to do so-- and after long chats with myself I now understand why the life has whys, or at least I understand most of them, there are some things that we only understand when we get old -- really old-- and that is a good thing, because that gives us a good reason to learn from our parents and grandparents, or some random person we met at the mall, old people in general (sorry Mom...) My grandfather once told me that the wise men are not the ones who think they know everything, but the ones who are always questioning themselves and others. Asking why makes us wiser, and hey, isn’t that what we are aiming for? Even if you are thinking: “that’s not what I’m aiming for,” I know that unconsciously I was in a search for wisdom. I have heard that our souls long for it, just like our brains do. Therefore, asking the whys of life makes you already wiser. If anything it is not the

answer that develops the mind. That’s the beauty of the teenage years: our job is to ask the right questions. But getting wiser does not mean you are wise. To become wise, you have to learn, from life, from your decisions, from your friends, from your family, and especially from the answers you get from asking why. LEARN. Why be like a regular teenager who starts questioning everything and rebels against the system or something like that? YES! It is our happy task to question things and ask why, but don’t forget it’s not because you can question it, that it is not right. Socrates once said: “I just know that I know nothing.” Knowing he knew nothing allowed him to seek deeper and richer answers. Aside from his legacy to the Greeks--namely, Plato and Aristotle--he is known as the father of philosophy, and like other great minds (think Madonna and Bono and THE Oprah) he only requires one name. Asking why is a characteristic of a regular teenager, and during those years you have to acquire as much information as you can, because when you grow up you’ll have to accept a bunch of things as truth without questioning them and one day you’ll realize that the most wonderful thing to know is how little you know.

A Semester of Sports

Alternative Ways to Spend The Holidays

December 2011 Sunday



5 Santa’s List Day, Wear Brown Shoes Day

11 National Make a Noodle Ring Day, International Children’s Day

18 National Roast Suckling Pig Day, Bake Cookies Day, Flake Appreciation Day


Christmas Day, National Eat Pumpkin Pie Day


6 Have a Bathtub Party Day, Wear Blue Jeans Day

12 National Ding-A-Ling Day (Act very bizzare day), Make Gingerbread House Day

19 Look for an Evergreen Day, Oatmeal Muffin Day


National Candy Cane Day, National Whiners Day

Mitten Tree Day, Learn how to put on your own Shoes Day

13 Eat Ice Cream Day, Celebrate Violins Day

20 Play Games Day, Go Caroling Day


Make Cut Out Snowflakes Day, National Fruitcake Day

Wednesday Thursday

7 National Cotton Candy Day, Letter Writing Day

14 Monkey Appreciation Day


Look At The Bright Side Day, National Celebrate Flashlights Day, and Hamburger Day

28 Card Playing Day, No Interruptions Day




World Aids Awareness Day, Day Without Art Day

National Eat a Lot of Pie Day, Eat a Red Apple Day



National Brownie Day, Take it in the Ear Day

15 National Celebrate Lemon Cupcakes Day, Bill of Rights Day, Cat Collecters Day

22 National DateNut Bread Day, Forefather’s Day, Abilities Day

29 Pepper Pot Day

Saturday 3

National Fritters Day, National Celebrate the Roof over Your Head Day


National Pastry Day, Horse Appreciation Day, Make Christmas Cards Day

16 National Chocolate Covered Anything Day, Appreciate Clean Air Day

23 Celebrtaion of Potatoes, Yams, Cassava, and other roots.


Festival Of Enormous Changes At The Last Minute and National Bicarbonate Of Soda Day

Festival For The Souls Of Dead Whales, Human Rights Day

17 Underdog Appreciation Day, National Maple Syrup Day

24 National Egg Nog Day, National Chocolate Day


Unlucky Day, Make Up Your Mind Day, New Year’s Eve, World Peace Meditation Day

All holidays have been approved by google.

BOREDOM UFOs & ANGOLA AS MY INTERMINABLY BORING SUNDAY MORNING AWOKE GROANING, I sat down with my cup of Earl Grey black tea, thinking, what can I do to occupy my time? I was learning to adapt to a city that is not known as having the ultimate infrastructure for entertainment. In short, I was bored.

by Netsai Kizito

After about eight sips of the hot liquid, it finally hit me: I thought of a place that could take me out of the depths of dullness: The National Museum of Brasilia. It appeared that there was no better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than to visit a museum shaped like a UFO. Soon after, my plans were stopped short after I realized that I am a dependent--I needed one of my parents to drive me to the museum. They did not want to leave the house. Apparently they were tired, but not tired enough to watch the monotonous misery presented on CNN. I decided that to get what I want I would need to pull out my witty charm. First, I gave my mother a generous foot rub, then I gave my father a large glass of orange juice with a side of sugared biscuits. This mild form of bribery worked to my advantage. I heard them chattering about what a good daughter I am and how I deserve to be taken wherever I please. Within moments I had boarded the UFO. Upon arriving, my excitement levels were at an extreme high. Like a gourmand who has seen a sumptuous chocolate cake, I couldn’t control myself. I looked absurd, according to my mother, who suggested that I calm down. We finally entered and I was immediately struck by the featured artist, an old man with a piercingly grave face. He had geared his artistic focus to Africa. Specifically Angola. As I made my way through his exhibition, my heart began to sink. I saw the familiar misrepresentations of Africa: from shoddy mud huts to large jungles that supposedly constitute Africa. Most prominent in the exhibition was the images of half-naked African men, women, and babies. The sight would have made a nun blush. For as long as I can remember, the African image has been tainted. Africa presented as a down-trodden, underdeveloped jungle is no new idea. Artistic and media portals have done a superb job portraying Africa in this negative light, but these portals fail to realize that their works have embedded ignorance into our society.Walking among us are people who succumb to these misrepresentations and take them as truths. It is not there fault but rather it’s because of the media, which has failed to uphold a the full picture of the African experience. The visual narrative in the museum perpetuated the false idea that Africa is an unsophisticated, primitive continent. Speaking as a young African this is not the case. Africa is a hub of social and cultural greatness, and its image needs to be preserved . As of now, playing with the spoon in mt tea seems to be the most interesting thing to do .

Pinteresting Ideas By: Júlia Cardoso and Lucas Lundell Pinterest is a sharing website based mainly on vision social photos. It allows its users to create and manage theme-based image collections. Pinterest was created when its founder, Ben Silbermann, was looking for an engagement ring for his girlfriend. He used his own invention, found it on list of a jewelry enthusiast, and pinned it to his digital board. He also used Pinterest for many other reasons, and that’s what millions of people do: use it to help plan weddings, keep track of vacation destinations, list favorite recipes, etc. After all, according to Silbermann, Pinterest allows you to collect ideas, and “the things you collect say a lot about you, and we wanted to bring that experience online.” Pinterest is very simple to manage. Users create lists about anything and fill them with photos from around the web. They can follow other lists and users, and “repin” specific items. Users need to request an invitation to use Pinterest. They then are able to label and create theme-based image boards, where they can fill it with media found online using the “Pin It” button. Pinterest can be used as an alternative for students to become more interest when searching for school issues. It helps them connect to larger themes and engage in a higher level. For that reason, Pintereset can be called a collaborative visual tool. Pinterest can also be used to help out in planning parties or getting ideas for holidays. And right now, since we are getting close to Christmas time, we can use Pinterest to help set everything up. For instance, we can search for “Christmas” theme and get ideas for: 1. Christmas trees a. Ornaments b. Lights

2. Gifts (Secret Santa)

3. House decoration a. Dinner table b. Stockings c. Pine cones

4. Outside decoration a. Snowman b. Reindeers c. Wreaths

5. Christmas food (recipes) b. Cupcakes c. Candy Canes d. Gingerbread Man e. Eggnog

6. Christmas Carols a. Carolers b. Songs c. Stories

7. Nativity Scene a. Baby Jesus b. Three Wise Kings


Check out Julia Ziller’s Pinterest Board:

Exchange For LIFE...

by: Julia Ziller

This year is a remarkable year for our school. Name: Not only is it the 50th anniversary but this year Signe Jean was the first time our school received exchange Hanson students! Age:

Our school has students from 42 different ALmost 18 countries. Most of them are here because of their parents’ jobs. This means that most of the time they don’t have a choice of where they Normally lives in: want to live or go to school. What makes Signe Duluth-MinessotaHanson and Killian McKee different from them is that they chose to be here. They accepted the Currently lives in: challenge of living in the house of someone Duluth-Minessotathey didn’t know, going to a school where they didn’t know anyone and adapting to a different culture. And they did a great job!



I was an exchange student and I know how hard Killian is to live in a different country then yours and to McKee make friends when you are the “new kid”. Signe and Killian didn’t seem to have this problem; Age: they made a lot friends, and friends they know Almost 17 that they will remain friends with for a long, long, time. Normally lives in:

Duluth-Minessota- USA

I interviewed both of them. Signe had to be interviewed through the internet, since she had Currently lives in: already left when I started writing this article. Brasilia - DFAnd here is the interview with a little profile of our first exchange students:


Q: Brazil seems to have a lot of stereotypes like: everybody plays soccer, or everybody knows how to Samba, and that here we have good looking women. What did you think of Brazil before gettin here?

Q: Brazilian music: better or worse (than American music)?

Signe: I don’t think it’s better or worse, just different. the house music was so much fun. I blast it in my car all the Signe: Before I left I assumed that everyone was beautiful time now and dance by myself because there’s no where and good at soccer. I knew that people went out a lot else to dance. People think I’m weird. The concerts I more than they do in the states. And thought that you went to with my host sister, like Axé and stuff, were fun but not as fun as the club music. all went to the beach all the time. Killian: I thought Brazil was all about soccer and Samba, Killian: Probably worse... (Dramatic pause) Yea, worse! -- and the women here are good looking-- and I thought the weather here was nice... But I guess I was wrong. I Q: DO you think Brasilia is pretty? heard this weather is Signes fault... Or maybe mine since Signe: I don’t usually think cities are pretty. The Pretty she left and it’s still raining. Bridge (Ponte JK) was of course beautiful and Chapada Q: Were you concerned about getting a weird disease was sooooooo gorgeous. while here? Signe: No i wasn’t at all because I don’t think about Killian: It’s pretty nice, I’d say 4,5 out of 5. things like that. my school was paranoid though and Q: What class is the hardest? The easiest? made me get a bunch of shots Killian: Not really. Before coming here I had to get about 10 different shots! Like yellow fever and others...

Signe: Physics was the easiest. AP Calculus was the hardest by far.

Q: Do you think the food here is boring? (Rice and beans every day)

Killian: Study hall... No, no. Math probably. And the easiest, I’d have to say English.

Signe: The food wasn’t boring to me because it was something new. I miss rice and beans. I only had one thing the whole time there that I didnt like--it was some kind of crazy fish.

Q: What is the biggest difference between Brazil and America?

Signe: The biggest difference was that everyone there is more relaxed and affectionate. It is normal there to kiss Killian: Not really, you get used to it. I like the food here people when you say hello. And it’s normal to go out . and have fun. A lot of times people in the States think Q: What did you think of our crazy dry weather? And of going out as something that “bad” people do. And kissing people on the cheek all the time would make never-ending rains? you a tease. Signe: I loved the hot weather! it made it hard to exercise outside though. I think that I would get sick of the rain if Killian: Besides language, of course, I don’t know, I guess soccer here is better, and most of the drivers here don’t I was there for the rainy season. drive well. Killian: It’s kind of disapointing. I didn’t think it would rain this much! Signe s final word:


Q: What is your favorite Brazilian food? Signe: I loved eating sushi all the time, and of course churrascos. Killian: CHURRASCO!

The best part was definitely the more relaxed feel. Everyone was so much nice and accepting. I don’t if that’s an American School thing, or a Brazilian thing. I miss my friends the most! The hardest part was the language, especially in the beginning at my host home. But I learned how to get by. I could put minutes on my phone at a gas station all by myself at the end!

Media Class 2011

JĂşlia Cardoso Tess Dzurny Carolina Ferreira Netsai Kizito LetĂ­cia Lopes Lucas Lundell Zena Salameh Julia Ziller

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December 2011