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A Place in the Sun

Issue 1 Table of Contents

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Page 2 -The Meaning of Life

Miranda Justine Mellendorf

-Greatest Triumph to Date -Future Goals

Page 3 -Most Memorable Moment in High School -How I Wish to Be Remembered -Time Capsule

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Page 4 -My Top Ten Favorite Childhood TV Shows

Page 5 -Most Influential Moment -Describing Myself -News Article Important to My Life

Page 6 -Reflections on the Sandy Hook Shooting -Memorable Moments in Pop Culture

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“I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it.” -Groucho Marx

-Art Reflections

We All Have A Place in the Sun There’s nothing wrong with making a stupid joke to cheer someone up when they’re in a bad mood. Nobody frowns upon a hug or a friendly smile. No matter how old a person is a swing always brings excitement. Everyone has something or someone that cheers him or her up. It’s important to go on adventures and find new things that make you happy because life is short and there’s no room for bad days. When times get tough, we all have a place in the sun because happiness is what we pursue.


A Place in the Sun

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What is life? More importantly, how is anyone expected to define something that has a different meaning to every person? In general, life is the presence of properly working bodily functions in all organisms. For a human, life is the presence of a heartbeat and a breath. For me, life is an opportunity. I was born into this world fresh and new with no personal past and no definition, with the exception of my name. Every moment since my birth is representative of how I have approached my opportunities and how I’ve chosen to define myself. The moments of my lifetime do not all have to be ones I have enjoyed. In fact, the times when I’ve been confronted by a challenge are the ones that define me the most. Now, only 17, I have so much to my past and so much to my name. Although I cannot remember every moment, they still exist as a part of this life that I’ve lived, of this long-lasting opportunity.

The Meaning of Life

Greatest Triumph to Date At about age 6, I began gaining weight without reason. My parents always had me eating healthy foods and kept me active by encouraging me to play outside and start a Tae Kwon Do class, but my doctors blamed them for my weight gain. Finally when I was 12 years old, a new doctor had me take a blood test to check my thyroid levels and told me that my results showed that I had hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is a disease, which causes a person to have a slow metabolism, and causes weight gain. For years I tried to lose weight but never had any luck. In October of 2011, my doctor started me on a diet and workout regimen. Every morning at 5, my mom and I would go to the gym before she had to go to work and I had to go to school. I was determined to work hard at it. At my first check up, I had lost 15 pounds…in one month. Hearing that I had lost 15 pounds, no matter what the time frame, made my heart smile. By my final monthly checkup, I had lost 45 pounds, something I’d never thought I’d be able to do. I felt as though I had proved to the world that I could do anything if I put my heart and soul into it. (226)

Future Goals

One of my goals for my future is to have a career that has to do with I study in college. I would like to major in psychology and get a Ph.D. so I can open my own practice when I become more experienced. If I’m going to spend more than four years studying for a major, then I am determined to get a career in which I have to use my knowledge. Another goal for my future is to have a happy, healthy family. My family does not have to be perfect, and I don’t have to have a lot of money, but I want my family to enjoy their quality of life. I’m hoping that I will be as great of a mother as mine is. Lastly, I would love to travel the world. There are so many beautiful locations in this world and I want to visit them all. In order to do that, I’m going to need a good amount of money, but it is my dream to travel to all types of places, including populous cities to natural villages. I won’t be disappointed if I can’t get everything I want, but these are the goals I will work my hardest to achieve.

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A Place in the Sun

Most Memorable Moment in High School

Issue | Date Being an overweight girl with a breathing problem, running the dreaded mile couldn’t have seemed more unappealing. Ever since sixth grade when I was first obligated to set foot on the dark black, turf track, I loathed it. Four laps had never felt more tedious or more strenuous to finish. My abhorrence for running the timed mile would vanish when I attended summer gym right before sophomore year. The sun rested high in the sky, illuminating the countenances of the students around me. Only inches existed between the feet of other kids and my own. The high-pitched resonance of the whistle, which I had adapted to for the previous three weeks, penetrated my ears and ignited the reflex of my feet to spring into action. I powered through the first lap, passing girls and boys I had usually observed ahead of me. I rounded the last corner of the path that I had trotted for many consecutive days. Sweat trickled down my face. My breathing had accelerated in tempo and intensity. The muscles in my calves strained. No matter how exhausted, I persevered at running my way to the finish line. When the instructor informed me of the best time I had ever accomplished, was my most memorable moment. (209)

I am not the best tennis player, or the most intelligent student, or the president of every club in the school, but I am the epitome of the choices that I have made. To my fellow students and my teachers, I would be content with being remembered as a person that put her effort into everything she did. I don’t need to be remembered as the homecoming queen or the best player on the tennis team. I’d rather be remembered as the girl that cracked a funny joke at the perfect time during tennis practice when the time was stressful. Friend making is a passion and talent of mine that I don’t take lightly. I want to be remembered as a girl that is a quality friend rather than a girl with an abundance of fake friends. I try at everything that I do, which includes making friends, trying to improve in tennis as much as I can, and receiving the grades that I deserve. Being the girl that naturally put effort into what she did in people’s memories would make me incredibly satisfied. (184)

How I Wish To Be Remembered

Time Capsule If my school decided to bury a time capsule, I would put one of the many notes that my best friend Jayne wrote to me during sophomore year, a stuffed panda bear, a used iTunes card, my old Barbie video camera, and one of the many seashells I’ve collected from Bethany Beach, Delaware. The note is important because friendships are important to me and even as sophomores in high school, we still wrote notes to each other for fun. The panda bear has always been my favorite animal ever since I was really young. I absolutely love music and am constantly asking for iTunes cards so I have a lot of used ones. My old Barbie video camera has recorded so many memories from when I was little and has captured my creativity. Nearly every summer since I was 9 or 10, I have gone to Bethany Beach, Delaware. It was my grandma’s last summer vacation before she passed, and that same summer was before my parents got divorced. 3


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A Place in the Sun

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My Top Ten Favorite Childhood TV Shows

10. “Dragon Tales”This show was one of the many PBS shows that I used to love coming home to watch. The show told the story of a brother and sister pair that had a magic dragon scale that transported them to a fantastic dragon land! To this day, I can still sing the show’s theme song.

9. “Rocket Power”- I always wanted to learn how to skateboard and surf when I was younger. The kids in the show, who all had cool names, always had fun shenanigans that I wanted to do. I wanted to be the main girl in the show because I thought she was so awesome.

8. “Hey, Arnold!”- I still watch this show when it comes on Teen Nick. The characters in the show were all so unique. Arnold’s family was insane and so fun! It was also fun to follow the love story of Helga because she was deeply in love with Arnold.

7. “A Pup Named ScoobyDoo”- This show wasn’t as popular, but I loved it! The show was about The Mystery Gang when they were younger. The monsters they chased were usually dumb, but I still loved watching the show!

6. “Rugrats”Every morning while I would get ready for elementary school I would watch this show. I loved all the adventures that the babies would go on. One episode, Chuckie had a roly poly that he had befriended and it died. I cried so hard every time I watched that episode.

5. “Courage, the Cowardly Dog”There’s no doubt that this show was super weird, but for some reason, I watched it every time it came on and enjoyed it. Courage went on weird adventures to try to help his owners Muriel and Eustace from some supernatural situation or character.

4. “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!”- My dad got me into watching this show because he watched it as a kid. I only like to watch the episodes from the 60s and 70s, though, but I love those ones! I’ve probably seen every episode 100 times!

3.“The Wild Thornber rys”- I absolutel y loved animals as a kid, so a show about a girl that can talk to animals…you know I loved it! I wanted to be Eliza so badly and used to make up situations in which I could talk to my pets or an animal I saw at the park.

2. “Powerpuff Girls”- I watched this show religiously. I had stuffed Powerpuff Girl dolls and a Blossom costume and so much more! I know nearly every line from the beginning sequence when the announcer says “sugar, spice, and everything nice”!

1. “Spongebob Squarepants”Honestly, this show is still one of my favorites. I quote it constantly and embarrassingly enough, I can recite whole episodes when I watch them. I have loved watching this show since it came out in 1999. Although annoying at times, it’s such a hilarious show. I catch jokes now in older episodes that I never understood as a kid, and they make the episodes even funnier!

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A Place in the Sun

Issue | Date It’s unusual for a child to come home from school and to find out a rather large secret from one of his or her parents. Those unique children that may encounter that in his or her lifetime exist, though. I would know because I was one of those children, now more grown up and a little wiser.

Most Influential Moment

One afternoon, after leaping off the school bus, backpack hanging over my shoulders, I entered my house to see my parents sitting at the dinner table. They asked me to sit down. My parents had gotten divorced nearly a year earlier, which made seeing my dad a rarity. I sat down, completely blind to what they might about to tell me. My dad began to tear up and finally my dad told me that he is gay. His words struck me, not because I was angry or embarrassed, but because they were so unexpected. I had always been accepting, but that day made me evaluate every word I said and from then on, my chance to stand for something appeared to me. That evening was very influential for me. Every time somebody, including myself, says something demeaning towards those who are different, I attempt to make him or her think twice about what they say because their words may hurt those who don’t deserve the pain. (224)

Because I am an only child, one would assume that I am spoiled, unappreciative, and difficult to communicate with, but my upbringing steered me away from the stereotypes. As a young child, I was often in my room by myself when I wasn’t with my parents. I had a few friends, but none of them were near enough to play with me every day. While I would spend time alone, my imagination soared. I would create scenarios with my dolls or pretend I was some of my dolls’ teacher. Growing up, I was shy, but easy to talk to once I got to know a person. Now, I am not afraid to approach strangers and make conversation with them. Many of my friends would say that I’m a little too open, but that makes me easier for people to feel comfortable with me. I do everything in my power to make everyone happy, including myself, which many would say is destructive. I just know that I like living in a happy world with happy people and there’s no shame in that. (181)

News Article Important to My Life

Describing Myself

The issue stated in the article is the recent legalization of samesex marriage in the state of Maine. Same-sex marriage is a wide spread dispute among the states, the nation, and the rights of the people. Not only does this dispute occur in the United States, but it occurs throughout the world. Naturally, same-sex love occurs in all throughout the globe, because love is love, no matter towards who it may be. The legalization of same-sex marriage in Maine portrays the growing openmindedness of the new generation in the United States. In my community, others can see the elation that the right to marriage brings other people who deserve that right. Personally, this issue is dear to my heart because my own father came out to me about six years ago and has been with his partner for just about five years. Loving and deserving, my dad and his partner should have the right to have a recognized marriage wherever they may travel in the United States. If people focused on this issue and fought hard enough to work towards rewarding everyone with a right he or she deserves, then I predict that there will be an overwhelming feeling of happiness in the country. Determined and prepared, I will be one of those ready to defend my father’s right. (219)

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/30/us/same-sex-marriagebecomes-legal-in-maine.html?_r=0

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Reflection on the Sandy Hook Shooting The Sandy Hook shooting is probably one of the most humbling occurrences of my lifetime. All of the inhabitants of the United States became unified as we all mourned for the lost students and teachers, as well as their families. Gun lovers, gun haters, pacifists, all banded together, even just for a little while. Twenty children will never get to have their first kiss or graduate from high school or get married. Six brave teachers and administrators lives were taken much too soon. After some time had passed, proposals for new gun laws were being presented and the issue of gun safety became a major discussion. Obama began entertaining the idea that stricter gun laws need to be put in place so an event like this could never happen again. When I heard about the shooting during my seventh period class last semester, I almost didn’t believe the news we were watching was real. It made me sick to think that someone could do something like that. I am in favor of gun restrictions, or at least background checks before gun purchases because nobody needs to own an assault rifle. Clearly the shooter was unstable and the fact that he had access to guns and was able to shoot twenty-six people and his own mother without trouble is unnerving. (219)

http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2 012/12/us/sandy-hooktimeline/index.html

Memorable Moments in Pop Culture During the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, Kanye West went up on stage and interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech for best female music video of the year. He grabbed the microphone and said, "Yo Taylor, I'm really happy for you, I'mma let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time. One of the best videos of all time!" I don’t usually watch music awards shows, but this time I actually witnessed this event as it happened. At first, I couldn’t tell if this was scripted or what was going on. Once I saw the horrified look on Beyonce’s and Taylor Swift’s face, I realized that it was not planned at all. For months, Kanye was scrutinized and the event was subject of many parodies, but what did he expect? Did he think that everyone would agree with him and it would all be all right? Well no, it did not happen that way. In all honesty, I don’t even like Taylor Swift very much, but she still didn’t deserve his interruption. I’ve forgiven Kanye and so has most of the country, but his action will still go down as one of the biggest celebrity blunders in my book. (203) http://www.complex.com/music/2013/03/the-40-biggest-hip-hop-moments-inpop-culture-history/kanye-west-taylor-swift In 2007, Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone. When the iPhone first came out, I didn’t think I would get one and I didn’t for a while. The summer before freshman year, my dad finally got me an iPhone 3G. I never thought I would use my phone so much, but all the things that the iPhone could do just fascinated me. I had the same iPhone until November of junior year, when I upgraded to an iPhone 4S. I don’t know what I would do without this phone. It is my entertainment, GPS, place for social networking, and my on-hand resource for a random Google search. Nearly all of my friends have iPhones, with the exception of a few smart phones from different makers, but a majority of them have iPhones. Although iPhones seem super expensive, I have never gotten more use out of one item in my adolescent life. There are many apps that entertain and others that make life so much easier and organized. The fact that I have the connection to the rest of the world in my pocket fascinates me. (184) http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2007/01/09Apple-Reinvents-the-Phone-with-iPhone.html

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A Place in the Sun

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Art Reflection Sunsets are one of the most beautiful shows that nature presents. The way the shades of colors flood through the sky is so alluring and mysterious. All variations of blue, orange, pink, and purple illuminate the sky as if they’ve been painted. This photograph perfectly portrays the simplicity and beauty of a sunset. I also love the way the sunset reflects off of the water. Sunsets like these remind me of summer, which is my favorite season. The colors are warm just like the weather, I have always been fascinated by the way the colors of a sunset appear so vibrant. The mystery, though, makes its presence that much more enjoyable. The tree standing alone in the middle adds even more simplicity to the photo. The whole image is just a beautiful captured moment of what nature has to offer.

“Some of us, We're hardly ever here The rest of us, we're born to disappear How do I stop myself from Being just a number How will I hold my head To keep from going under Down to the wire I wanted water but But I'll walk through the fire If this is what it takes To take me even higher Then I'll come through Like I do When the world keeps Testing me, testing me,testing me”

Not only do I love this song, I also appreciate that the lyrics are actually meaningful, which is something you don’t see much of recently. This song is about the struggle some of us face because we feel unnoticed and we just feel like a small fraction of a big crowd. Then it goes on to say that in order to make a name for yourself, you must face challenges that will be more difficult than you’d prefer, but if you prevail, you’ll come even closer to your goal. There will always be challenges that we have to overcome, but overcoming them always brings positivity. The vultures represent scavengers that will come in the way of achieving your goals and that benefit from your losses. So in conclusion, you must not let the scavengers intimidate you and lead you to giving up on your goals because you have to win, not them. This message is important to anyone. There will always be obstacles to our goals and we need to learn to shake them off. It took a few listens to the song to actually comprehend the message, but it’s definitely a message I love and appreciate. (197)

“Vultures”-John Mayer

“In this bright future, you can’t forget your past.” -Bob Marley

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A Place in the Sun