Archive for March, 2010

by Caroline G. – 8th Grade

You wake up at 6:00 with your outfit laying out on your floor and your back pack packed and ready to go. The outfit is cute, brightly colored and dressy (but not too dressy). You are actually excited for school; to see those familiar faces and just to start the year off. That first day of school is a great feeling.

But this year, well, this year will be different; it’s time for high school. The words give any eighth grader the chills. It sounds so awesome to be in high school, yet it’s so scary. I know this year the first day of school will be different for me. The familiar faces will only be a few; us eighth graders will be like a small school of fish in a big ocean with millions of other fish going right around us with unwelcoming and blank looks on their faces. You can’t tell which way is the right way in that big ocean because it all looks the same, but you don’t want to ask anyone around you for help and direction. You know that you aren’t welcome and just have that gut feeling that nobody wants you there. So what do you do? There is nothing to do. It is school; you have to go and it should be a fun place. I guess I won’t know until I get there.

Although high school seems so big and scary, I think that as eighth graders we overthink it. We assume that it’s something so much worse than it is. Yes, there are older kids, but that is the same as elementary school and the first two years of middle school. Now that the time for us has finally come, we are all afraid to grow up. As kids, everybody wanted to be like older kids they looked up to, or the older siblings who would always have friends over or be out. It is great to be older, but now as a teenager I would love to be a kid again and have those easy school days and fun imaginations.

The work part of the high school is going to be difficult too, but it isn’t like we are going to be drowning in homework; our teachers are preparing us for the work level and expectations of the teachers. High school is nothing special, just another four years of school, and, just like every year, the work is going to get harder. Though we are the new kids and there are bigger fish in the sea, we will be fine as long as we treat it like any other transitional year.

Image Courtesy of Pics4Learning

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 by Maria G. – 8th Grade

 March 12th, 2010.  Annabelle’s beloved elderly sister will be boarding the plane on a two-week trip to Mexico.  Afraid of the earthquake hotspots, poisonous insects, flues and more, she constantly begs her sister not to leave.  Annabelle is not surprised to hear “why wouldn’t I?,” her sister’s nonchalant reply, as she has received this answer many times before.  One day before the departure, Annabelle slips some insect repellent, vaccines, and a survival kit into the over-packed duffle bag by the front door.  Annabelle spends this last night dreading the day to come.

          Beep, beep, beep, beep. Slam.  Annabelle’s alarm clock is on the ground.  6:40, it reads.  She springs from her bed and runs down the stairs. However, she is too late. Her older sister has already left for Mexico. File:Ulyanovsk-2008-an-124 flight.jpgConvincing herself that everything will go fine, she worriedly gulps down breakfast and slips into old clothes.  She hurries off to school where her French teacher is, yet again, teaching some pointless lesson.  J’ai, Tu as, and every other French possessive noun are carelessly slipping from Annabelle’s mouth as she clicks her pen and thinks about her sister.  Next period, in Mr. James’ English class, the phone rings.  “Annabelle Brown, your mother is on the phone for you.”  She jumps from her seat, hoping it is news about her older sister’s safe landing to Mexico.  She throws the phone to her ear and immediately hears the sobs of her mom.  “Ann-annabelle, your sister… she’s been in a plane crash.”  Tears swell up in her eyes, as she is trying to put the pieces together.  Tybalt and Romeo are battling one minute, and she is receiving her own tragic news the next. 

          Annabelle’s mother picked her up from school early that day, and they mourned over their loss together.  Spending the rest of the day in her room, she throws out everything that would remind her of her sister.  Pictures, books, cards and clothes are rocketing out of her room and into the trash.  Annabelle is positive everything is gone, and she returns downstairs to her mother. On her way down the stairs, she spots a small, neon yellow sticky-note, isolated from the rest of the junk on the staircase.  Annabelle picks it up and begins to read it.


Thanks for the survival kit.

Don’t worry about me!

“Why wouldn’t I?” Annabelle thinks.

Photo Courtesy of WikiMedia Commons

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by Elaina S. – 8th Grade

Gentle hearts are the garden

Gentle deeds are the fruits

Gentle words are the flowers

Gentle thoughts are the roots

My great aunt Leontine made me a pillow and stitched those exact words on it. Each sentence means something different, but they all relate to each other.

Gentle hearts are the garden. What happens in a garden? Things grow. Plants are grown and nurtured. When those seeds are put into the soil, they don’t all grow the same. Some may sprout up fast then slow, while others may grow a little bit larger each day. People with gentle hearts allow seeds to grow. Gentle hearts allow people to grow the way they are designed to grow. Gentle hearts understand that seeds and people all grow differently.

Gentle deeds are the fruits. A good deed is something person does out of the goodness of their heart. It is the fruit of the gentle heart. The fruits grow because they have been nurtured in the garden. The deeds are nurtured from the gentle heart. A good deed is the thing someone will remember. They may not remember the person who did the good deed, but they will remember the deed itself. The deed itself speaks volumes.

Gentle words are the flowers. Flowers are pretty and they are appealing. Flowers are nice to look at, and gentle words are nice to hear. You could say something extremely nice and that could make someone’s day.

Gentle thoughts are roots. The roots are the base of any plant. Roots are the invisible strength. You don’t see the roots, but they are there, supporting the plant, feeding the plant, and allowing the plant to survive. There would be no fruits or flowers without the roots. The garden would be dead. Thoughts are the invisible strength behind the gentle deeds, the gentle words, and the gentle heart. Without gentle thoughts, there would be no gentle words, gentle deeds, and there would be no gentle hearts. There would be no garden.

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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by Anna G. – 8th Grade

Why write fiction?  It’s funny how such a simple question can have such a complicated answer.  “All the time I wonder why I never wrote fantasy, authors like Stephanie Meyer and J.K. Rowling were very successful after writing the Harry Potter and Twilight books,”  explains visiting author Doug Wilhelm,  “…but I don’t write fantasy, because it doesn’t click with me.  I write stories that are realistic but still have a plot that keeps you reading, because that is the kind of story that I like to read myself.”  Wilhelm has written many books that are considered realistic fiction including Falling, The Revealers, and Raising the Shades.   Once these three books were mentioned, the curiosity of those who had read them was stirred, and many more questions surfaced. 

One student asked the question that many of us were wondering, “What is easier to write, fiction or non-fiction?”  Wilhelm explained that, “…with non-fiction, you have a story that you just need to add details to through research.”  And that, “With fiction, not only do you have to create your own characters, but you also have to create a plot for them to follow and obstacles for them to encounter along that plot.”    Other students asked Wilhelm about his personal writing style with questions like, “Do themes or characters re-occur in any of your books?”  To which he responded, “…none of my books have repetitive themes or characters except for the sequel to the Revealers that I’m writing, which is the first sequel I’ve ever written.”

After Wilhelm finished reminiscing about his personal experiences as a writer, he began to elaborate on the creative writing process.  One common question which led to others was, “How long does it take you to publish a book?”  Wilhelm explained to his audience that, “…one of my books was rejected many times, and was still never published,” and, “The publishers have much more power than the writer when it comes to publishing a book.”  Sometimes we don’t realize what kind of valuable insight we can get from authors that may not be as well-known.  Doug Wilhelm inspired me and hopefully many of those interested in writing here at Parker.

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The End of the Cold

by Kaylee R. – 8th Grade

My brother is the figure in the left bottom corner and my cousin is the long silhuette.

My brother is the figure in the left bottom corner and my cousin is the long siluet in front of the boat.

Hunger. I guess I could call it that. I have a growing hunger to be free. Not from a literal prison, but from the cold chains of winter that bind me inside. I’m not the only one who feels this way; my family, friends and the Earth itself share the pain. The Earth has been hidden and is finally stretching after a long, frigid sleep.

My cousin and I are starting to get a bad case of “Cape Sickness.” “Cape Sickness” is when you are tired of winter and need spring and summer or you will explode. It is called “Cape Sickness” because we miss our summer home at Smaland Beach, Island Pond. My family has been going to this part of the Cape since my Pepe (grandfather) was a kid. Always exit 2 before the bridge’s traffic, a perfect place to stop with impassioned children in the backseat. I don’t know how my mom deals with the screams that open every spring; maybe she did the same.

An hours drive of music and excited talk. I look back into the mental pictures I’ve had since I could stand. “There’s the water tower that looks like a spiral rainbow and there’s the McDonalds with the totem pole in front.” These thoughts buzz in my head like an angry bee. Exit 3, almost there, just two more minutes, but I can’t take it and start to bounce in my seat. Finally Exit 2 comes into view and my mom pulls into the exit lane. At last my brother, my cousin, Rachel and I open the windows and scream as we approach the red school house that welcomes the highway travelers. Suddenly I feel faint and calmly breath in the Cape air.

I’ve memorized every tree and house (except the new, “fancy” ones, that take away from the Cape experience). My heart starts to beat on my chest as we pass Great Herring pond with the boats attached to white, yellow and red buoys. Three more turns and we’re there. One and now two. I can see the pond through a patch of trees. Last turn and I see my summer home, my cottage! Mom parks in the driveway that is cluttered with leaves and dirt. The kids push to be let out, of course the doors are locked and our fingers fumble with them.

Finally we’re out and high-tailing it down the crooked stairs that unfamiliar people would fall if they ran, but this is our element. We brake free of the trees and look out. My breath has left me and my heart skips a beat as I look at the clear pond that has been my inspiration since I could read properly. A smile creeps on Rachel’s face, I know what she’s thinking and I start removing my sneakers like her. We put our socks in our shoes and wade into the cool water and I am at peace, even with my brother saying we’re crazy and he is going to visit a friend. Oh well, his loss. Rachel and I get working on our summer plans as we scrunch our toes in the sand and celebrate the end of the cold.

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by Claire W. – 6th Grade



A bird flying south

Through the dimming sky

 Has really no choice

But to fly or to die.



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Over the past three weeks students have been learning about how plate tectonics cause both slow and sudden changes to Earth’s surface. To show their understanding students created “museum quality” models. The results were fantastic as many students poured their artistic talents and scientific attention to detail into some fabulous models. A number of “super-models” were selected by students and can be viewed below!

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by Kevin F. – 8th Grade

About a week ago, I was watching an episode of NCIS when a little, blue box popped up in the upper right-hand corner. It read “Watch the 2010 Winter Olympics now on NBC! Press OK to interact”. Curiously, I followed it’s directions.

I was redirected to NBC where they were showing the closing ceremony live in Vancouver. Watching this gave me the opportunity to reflect on all of the hours I had spent watching the Olympics. One blogger said “The Olympics are like an iceberg: nine-tenths of it is invisible. What people don’t see is the grueling, lifelong training — the hard slog just to qualify”.

The 2010 Winter Olympics had a lot of ups and downs for the USA, but in the end, it’s not about the medals.

This year’s winter Olympics were a great success for the United States. We won 9 gold, 15 silver, and 13 bronze for a total of 37 medals. Bode Miller won a gold medal in Men’s Super-Combined Alpine Skiing, a silver medal in Men’s Super-G, and a bronze medal in Men’s Downhill. One upset for the US was when Canada won the Gold Medal in Men’s Ice Hockey with a score of 3 to 2 in overtime. USA snowboarder, Shaun White, won the gold medal in Men’s Half-pipe. Speed Skater, Apolo Ohno, won the bronze in both the 5000m relay and the 1000m. He also won the silver medal in the 1500m. The 2010 winter Olympics was a huge success for the United States.

However, the Olympics is not about the medals you win. While watching the closing ceremony, I saw all of the different people marching in as one. The fact that there were athletes from all around the world, of all nationalities and religions really amazed me. At that moment, I realized that the Olympics wasn’t about the medals that were won, but about bringing everyone together, no matter how different they are. Olympic bobsledder Mike Kohn said “The Olympics is about more than winning medals, and this experience is one I’ll remember for the rest of my life”.

Photos courtesy of WikiMedia Commons

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by Anna G.- 8th Grade

When our car reached the end of the street, my attention was caught by a makeshift sign hanging off of an old oak tree.  Words snaked across the old beam of wood in curly black letters; they read File:Wintry scenery.jpg“Oak Ridge Golf Course.” Paint peeled on the sign’s edges and icicles were hanging off of the bottom.  I stepped out of our old red Subaru Outback, my eyes passing over the familiar scratch near the back that looked like a fish.  I paused to look ahead of me at the breathtaking scene of untouched snow that seemed to go on for miles. 

The hill was menacing next to my timid five-year-old body.  Snow covered trees who had lost their leaves in late fall glistened in the early morning sunlight.  For a second I had a feeling of fear, which was soon replaced by excitement.  I turned to my mom and dad who were unloading the sleds out of the back of the car.  We were all bundled up in coats, hats, mittens, and boots because it was getting colder each day now.  I could even see my breath in a foggy cloud before me, staying suspended in the air for a few seconds, and then disappearing as I drew in a new breath. 

For a few moments, it was so quiet and peaceful that when my little brother’s footsteps crunched up next to me, I jumped.  He turned and pointed to a dark blue Honda Pilot pulling up next to us.  Its thick black wheels on the icy snow made a sound that imitates gravel crunching on a dirt road.  “Looks like we’re not the only ones here,” my mom noted, and I have to admit that I was a little disappointed.  When we had first arrived, the idea of having the hill all to ourselves was delightful.  I turned and took my brother Joe by the hand and whispered in his ear, “I guess we have to share.”  He looked up at me puzzled, and obviously hadn’t understood anything I had said, but still trudged along next to me, eager for the fun to start.

I hoisted my brand new sled from the trunk with help from my dad and started to pull it towards the hill.  I was so proud of that sled; it was top of the line and was black with red racing stripes.  It was large enough so that my body could fit in it lying down, so more than one person could sit in it at a time.  On the box it had even said that it was the fastest sled around, which added to the childish excitement that consumed me.  As I guided it towards the hill it made a quiet scraping sound on the icy snow.  I looked back, noticing my family starting to follow me and the faint marks that the runners of my sled left in the snow.  I sped up, making sure I got there first.

I reached the top of the hill and was reminded of its astonishing size.  I felt like a pebble next to a boulder.  I wasn’t one to pass on any kind of challenge, even at age five, so this was just another adventure to me.  I wanted to throw a snowball and see how far down it would go, so that maybe I wouldn’t feel as small.  The first handful of snow that I took from the ground crumbled between my gloved fingers.  I was wearing my favorite gloves; they were fuzzy and pink, had Mickey Mouse on the top, and had little grips in the shape of hearts on the inside of each hand.  I reached down and picked up a new handful of snow, which I hurled as hard as I could.  When it became airborne it was hit by a huge gust of wind, which blew a mound of snow back into my face. 

I flinched, impatiently brushing the snow off of my face and opened my mouth to take in a deep breath of chilly air.  I could feel snowflakes melting on my tongue.  Snowflakes are just as fun to catch on your tongue the 15th time as it is the 1st, especially when you’re five.  Soon my family walked up beside me.  Joe turned and pointed at the other group of people on the other edge of the hill.  “Friends?” he questioned, being two and a half years old and not knowing many words.  “Maybe,” my mom replied, glancing at me with a look that read ‘go along with it’.  I put down my sled and held onto the string.  “I want to go with Mom this time” I said, looking up with a hopeful smile. 

As I turned to face the hill again my mom bent down next to me so that she was just about at eye level with me.  “You sure you want to go down this big hill Anna honey?” She looked into my eyes, knowing how I ignored when she called me honey at just the right times.  “Yes!” I almost yelled. I made certain not to look the least bit scared despite the uneasy feeling in my stomach.  We got onto our sleds with Joe and I in the front and Mom and Dad in the back.  My mom’s strong arms around my little waist were reassuring, and I was more than ready to conquer this hill.  “Okay, let’s go!” my dad exclaimed, and we pushed off. 

File:Sparkling-snow.fairytale.jpgIt was an amazing feeling.  The cold air whipped against my face and blurred the quickly moving scenery around me.  The once crisp clear trees and snow covered sheds around the golf course now looked like ones in a watercolor painting.    As we glided down the hill I was aware of myself laughing, and of the vague sensation that I was flying.  This went on until we were near the bottom of the hill, and almost too soon, it was over.  My heightened senses and heady feeling of thrill was replaced by a desire to do it all over again.  We trudged back up the hill and were all flushed a light shade of pink when we reached the top.  “I want to go by myself this time,” I said and looked up at my parents with the eyes I knew always got to them.  My dad smiled warmly.  “Really?”  He laughed.  “Already?  You’ve only been down once!” his voice showed amusement even though his face showed fatherly concern.  “Don’t worry, I can do it.” I said, which brought on another quiet bout of laughter which I knew wasn’t intended to be insulting, but always made me a little mad.  I grabbed my sled and jumped on. 

This ride was twice as good as the first.  I swerved left and right, feeling the sled move easily with my silent commands.  When I reached the bottom, I raced back up the hill, trying not to slip on the icy mounds of snow that were around every corner. As I looked around I saw the lines that traced the path that I had taken down the hill, which would be covered up by new snow in a few hours.  I dragged my sled over to a tree and carefully draped the string around its base.  My mom and dad were talking over by the car, so I sat down next to my brother who was playing with the snow around him.  When I reached him, he turned to me and looked at me with the face that always made me laugh, when he narrows his eyes and one eyebrow is higher than the other.  I tried not to laugh, and didn’t succeed when he looked at me and said two words with a completely solemn expression.  “Show off.”

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Blogology 101

by Mr. James

If you’re like me, you’re still getting used to this new medium, the “blog.”

We chose to put the Quill in blog format because it is superior to print media. We use no paper, no ink. Every article, every story, every piece of art is preserved and can be easily accessed. Special attention is brought to each student creation, rather than being buried in a monthly addition. Material can be more immediate, more closely matched with Parker’s true “pulse.” There are no sad gray pages, half-torn and unread, lingering in hallway corners.

Despite all of these advances, navigating the site may feel daunting. Here’s a few helpful guiding lights:

-Look to the right side of your page. You’ll notice “categories.” Do you want to read about sports? If you click on that category, all sports related work will pop up. How convenient!

-Look to the right again. Notice the box with all the words that appear in different sizes? Those are tags. Each article is “tagged,” which means that the editor highlighted certain words in that article as important, unique. The more these words are tagged, the bigger the font becomes in that box. If you click on a tag, that will bring you to articles related to that subject or author, or word. How adventurous!

More guiding lights to come. Enjoy your visit.

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