Archive for May, 2010

by Linda L. – 8th Grade

“Deshi! Come back!”

Deshi stormed outside, fuming. Why did they have to stay here, of all places? At my house, with my family. Stupid lawyer and his stupid wife, coming here from Russia to “assess the situation here for an upcoming trial”. Idiots. She strode through the maze of tents in the refugee camp and ducked through the forest to a quiet, moonlit clearing. It was a place she cherished, a place where she could be by herself to think and rest, or to just be able to do her homework in peace.

“Hey, are you ok?” A voice sounded behind her.

Who’s that? She spun around, expecting to see one of the other refugee kids.

“Who are you?” she asked. He wasn’t anyone she recognized.

“My name’s Nicolai. What’s yours?” Nicolai. A Russian name. I should’ve known. I know almost everyone here. He must be the lawyer’s kid.

“Deshi.” She studied the Russian boy. He had short black hair and a pale face, with pale eyes the color of the sky on a clear winter day. He’s pretty handsome. For a Russian. “What’re you doing here?”

“I’m trying to find my cat. Have you seen her? She ran off as soon as we arrived. I’ve been looking for her ever since.” Nicolai watched the girl closely and took in her second-hand clothes, her scraggly hair, and her dirty face. She’s beautiful.

“She’s not here.” Talking in complete, perfect sentences? Definitely educated. Private school, of course.

“Are you sure? I could’ve sworn I saw her come in here.” He peered into the shadows at the bases of the trees, almost as though he expected his cat to magically appear out of nowhere. “Tsarina? Are you here? Tsarrrinnnaaaa!”

Suddenly, a streak of gray fur leaped into his arms. He caught the cat neatly, tucking her into his chest. He snuggled the cat in his arms and glanced over in time to catch Deshi roll her eyes minutely.

Deshi was unimpressed. Definitely rehearsed. Probably showing off. She could hear the cat–What was her name? Tsarina?–purring up a storm. Well, if his cat likes him that much, he can’t be that bad.

“Well, now that you have your cat, will you leave?” She crossed her arms and stared at him with piercing green eyes. The sooner he gets out of here, the better.

“Only if you come back with me. You’re mother’s worried about you.” She narrowed her eyes at him. Nicolai realized the mistake he’d just made and grinned sheepishly at her.

“How do you know my mom’s worried?” she asked.

“It was just a guess. You’re here all alone, and you look mad, so you probably didn’t ask your parents to come out here.” He avoided looking her in the eye and suddenly had a keen interest in his cat’s silver tabby fur. Liar.

He raised his eyes. “So… are you coming?” She stared at him for a few seconds more. He didn’t budge. Obviously, he wouldn’t leave unless she went with him.

“Fine. I’ll go.”

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by Grace S. – 8th Grade

When I was little I wanted to become a writer. It wasn’t so much the “writing” part that I loved but the idea used for a story. There were so many crazy, infinite ideas to use for stories. Playing with my plastic animals and dinosaurs, I would pretend they were characters acting out each roll like puppets. As I grew older and learned more about the English language my interest in writing grew. I didn’t enjoy writing essays, but I dived right in to short stories and poems.

Recently Kathleen Benner Duble, an author, came to speak to our school. Having a love for words myself I found some of her main points were helpful to a young writer and student like me. This past Friday I was fortunate enough to see her share at W.S. Parker Middle School and take notes for my next article. She covered many areas from how to get ideas for stories to finding an editor.

Duble was very well spoken and is one of those people that can motivate middle school kids! One of her main points in the assembly was how to transform an experience into a book. She showed the audience a slide show of each book she had written and published. For each book she described the story behind it that motivated her to write the book. I found this very interesting. She used stories from her sibling, parents, friends, family members, and hobbies.

After the assembly I noticed that my hearing became more acute. Probably because Duble told the students to keep their ears open in case they heard an interesting story. Duble also told the students that the most inspiring stories are usually the short and simple kind. Overall the assembly was very inspiring and unique. After the assembly I found that Kathleen Benner Duble’s words were still echoing in my head. Being a journalist myself, I was fond of the assembly because Duble’s main points are important to students and young writers. By explaining the story behind each book she made, I realizes how anyone can use that experience as the foundation of their novel.

For some reason I always thought that authors just wrote books from their imagination, not based on their real experiences. Now students understand that the idea for a book or school essay can begin from anywhere. From a cheesy, funny story told by your grandmother when she was a kid, to when your father served in the war. Duble’s idea is important to a writer, because now they are inspired to write and create a story from the little things that happen in their life. Kathleen Benner Duble is an amazing author and teacher.

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by Kaylee R – 8th Grade

Have you ever read a book that inspired you? Just think about it for a second, any book at all, even if it doesn’t hit you at first and you have to think about it. The book I am reading now is titled “Green Jasper,” by K.M Grant. This crusader’s novel is the second book in The De Ganville Trilogy. The characters hit a lot of rough patches along their already twisted, dangerous destiny. But they always keep faith, hope, and trust in the end.

From the first chapter of this story the characters have had faith in the future. “I must have faith,’ the girl whispered as she felt the ovals warm against her skin. ‘Gavin’s right. That’s the key to everything.” This quote is said during a hard time for the speaker, but she keeps faith in her husband-to-be. I agree that faith is the key to everything because without it people would be as cruel as a tornado. The characters need faith for the hard decisions throughout the book. Their faith inspires me that the end is never near, only the beginning.

The characters also trust each other and in God. “Ellie had the fate of the de Ganvilles in her hands.” Ellie says this from her comfortable tower prison when she realizes that free choices are becoming slimmer and slimmer. Ellie either marries a bad man or the people she loves will suffer. She must trust them to help her and they must trust in her to make the right decision for everyone. I haven’t finished the book yet but I hope she makes the right choice. Trust is what makes the world go round, without it we woldn’t go anywhere with confidence.

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by Ben W. – 8th Grade

Glinting in the sun a knight dressed in armor of gray
Upon his right shoulder did a giant ax lay

2 more sat beside him not a word did they say
“Please do not go, oh I beg that you stay!”

The woman said, finding her voice
“Ah” said the knight “alas I don’t have the choice.”

And with that he left, no more was said
They knew he would not make it, He was already dead!

He walked until the sky turned from bright blue to dark black
Then he continued on walking not once looking back

As he finally came to the great forest where the beast did lay
he held his ax high and bellowed “Beast I declare a duel to the death on this day!”

But quiet and peaceful the forest did remain
So onward he walked in search of the creatures domain

Buried deep in the woods he found the creatures huge cave
As he entered in darkness was he bathed

So he took out his bow and a large piece of wood
After he started a fire motionless he stood

By the light of the flame he could plainly see
Every gruesome feature of this monstrosity

Horns on its head, spines on its back
4 spikes on its tail and claws of pitch black

but as for its eyes, those where closed tight
he chuckled to himself as he raised up his ax, “Well monster goodnight”

and with that he came down with his ax on the sleeping beasts head
but only then did he notice as the poor beast lay dead

that in that cave there were more than he and the poor beast now dead
two smaller beasts nestled to their mother, asleep in their bed

right about then the smaller two woke; as they saw their mother they wailed
as the knight saw the two he knew he must kill them or his mission would be failed

but alas that knight he did not have the heart
as he looked at the two he knew he had become the thing he set out to kill from the start

they were not monsters and they were not beasts
they were a family and he took out the most important piece

so as he turned to leave a sad, sad look in his eye
for a family not unlike his a tear did he cry.

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The Diary of Anne Frank

by Lily M. – 6th grade

On April 14, 2010 two sixth grade English classes stepped onto a yellow school bus. Twenty minutes later they walked into the semi-darkness of the theater awaiting a play and experience they would never forget.

This play follows the story of a young Jewish girl becoming a woman. During World War 2, Anne and her family escape the persecution of Jews by going into hiding. As two years pass Anne Frank, with pen in hand, records her experiences, thoughts, and feelings in a plaid diary. As food becomes scarce and discovery lurks in every corner, Anne face hunger, loneliness, and isolation. She turns to her diary for consolation and sanctuary.

The youthful actress playing Anne was flawless. She bounced around energetically and her lines were spoken quickly but clearly. When I first saw the actress playing Mrs. Van Daan I gaped. I don’t understand how they could have a more perfect person. Boisterous and dramatic, this actress gets five stars. Now Margot was a different story: although she looked and acted like Margot, her lines weren’t very well spoken and were a bit mediocre.

As the play came to a close I sprang up and clapped my hands as loud as I could. This play had everything: drama, romance, and humor. Well, what are you waiting for? Go see it!

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by Christina O. – grade 6

She is a faithful girl
Whispers the light pink rosary
Draped on the hutch of her old wooden desk.
She is a heavy sleeper
Yawns the sleepy sagging pillow
Resting on the slouching unmade bed.
She is a lover of sports
Squeak the brand new black Nike sneakers
Strewn at the foot of the bed after basketball practice.
But she is not one for clutter
Chatter the pens and pencils neatly
Stored in the old wooden desk.

She has an eye for style
States her fashionable wardrobe.
She has a bubbly personality
Chirps the cheerful flower bedspread in the
Purple room with the yellow furniture.
She is young at heart
Giggle the plush stuffed animals lying at the foot of her bed.
But she’ll never be lonely
Say the pictures of family and friends
On her crowded yellow dresser in her quaint purple room.

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by Justin Y. – 8th Grade

It was his third day here. His third day as an invader. And it didn’t seem like there would be many more days, the way things were going. Night had fallen in war-torn South Ossetia, and the streets resembled a ghost town; a ghost town where the ghosts were launching missile strikes into highly populated buildings. He’d snuck out of camp and was now wandering the eerie city streets. Through the quietly haunting destruction around him, Adrik spotted the remains of a building. Like a fly, helplessly attracted to a lamp, he strolled zombie-like through a massive hole in the building’s wall.

Upon entry he recognized the building to be a concert hall of sorts. Past torn up chairs and crumbling pillars, he made his way to the piano stool at the back of the stage, where a single lamp illuminated the dusty, yellow air around him. Once at the piano, he softly played a slow chord progression. How long he’d been there he didn’t know – time itself no longer had a grip on him. Through the dimly lit concert hall, a woman of about 19 or 20 slowly walked. The woman was clean, dressed in an expensive looking dress. Delicate feet carried her through the musty air. Without so much as an upward glance, she made her way to a guitar. Gradually she lifted her head, finally meeting his gaze. Adrik continued to play the piano as they gaped at each other across the stage of the concert hall. The moment was so surreal that neither of them believed the other was really there.

Finally the girl managed to snap out of her trance, and mustered the words, “What are you doing here? You’re a soldier.”

The statement was obvious. Grimy and covered in mud, he donned a camouflage-patterned Georgian military uniform. His sidearm rested coolly atop the piano, its barrel gleaming menacingly in the faint radiance of the lamp. After a while he responded coldly, “I don’t fight for them-I fight because it’s what I have to do. Not all of us are able to buy our way through life.”

By now he had stopped playing the piano. The woman sat at a concert chair and rested the guitar in her lap. “You think because of my shoes, or my clothes, that my life is so effortless? You live your entire life as the biggest disappointment of your widowed father’s life, and then tell me how you feel. He needed a son. I can never be that son.”

She spoke in a certain way. He could tell she had been keeping that in for a while. Adrik bowed his head, feeling a twinge of regret for being so aggressive. Still, she was definitely Russian, definitely upper class. “Some people have all the luck,” he replied slowly. “How about you tell me how it feels when your mom walks out on you and all you have left is an alcoholic, silhouette of a father.”

Neither of them spoke. Cold air penetrated the crumbling building and sent a sharp chill down Adrik’s spine. He could tell that he was not the only one in the room with problems. There was something in her eyes – it was pain. He had come here to escape the pain of this war. It was possible she had come here to flee whatever was hurting her. Adrik again played the piano. A slow, sad song. Staring at the guitar in her hands, the girl strummed along, quickly picking up his little tune. For a while they continued playing, pouring their souls into the music. Silence again overtook the room. The woman looked at him strangely for a second.

“You know, I’ve always wanted to be an author. I’ve thought about it often, but you’re the first person I’ve told.” Adrik thought for a moment. He realized he wanted to see her again, and immediately had a plan. “So that’s what you have to do. Write a book – become famous. Tell me your name. If you succeed I’ll be able to find you, and maybe we can play again together someday.”

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by Jason C.

Day 1
We got to school at 6:45, packed out bags, said bye to our parents and friends, and left Reading. The bus ride up was very calm and relaxed, probably the most relaxed part of the trip. Even our visit to customs was relaxed (an extremely easy check), until the time for lunch. On the way up, there was singing, counting train cars (109 was the believed number of cars on one train), eating, and talking.

As we started to come to more populous areas near Quebec, everyone woke up from the early start and got excited. Our first French language-only experience was at none other than Burger King. We drove our bus over one bridge to the city of Levis, opposite of Quebec on the Saint-Lawrence River. We met our tour guide Dominic at the ferry that would take us across. On the
ferry, the whole upper-city was painted across the sky., including our hotel-castle, The Chateau-Frontenac, and many other old Canadian buildings.

A walking tour up from the lower to upper city from the ferry gave us our first glimpse into the mostly pedestrian city. We unpacked at the Chateau and set out for dinner of chicken or pasta. Then, we went to the Martello Tower Two, where we learned about the British military during their control of Quebec. We went back to our rooms and slept well.

Day 2
With our first-day-craziness subsiding, we started with a French breakfast of croissants and chocolat au pain, or a croissant with chocolate, and hot chocolate. The next event was a scavenger hunt. It was fun, walking through Quebec in groups with friends. Lunch was on our own in groups in the Latin Quarter where McDonalds and Ashton’s were the main restaurants of choice. Ashton’s sold la poutine, or french fries with gravy and cheese curds. The cheese curds weren’t very appealing to anyone, but the rest of the meal was enjoyed.

After some shopping, we went to Saint-Anne-de-Beaupre cathedral.The whole cathedral was in amazing detail, and was very modern too. Many sick people come to pray, get healthy, and leave their crutches behind them where Saint Anne cured them. One person lost their wallet before coming on the bus, went in to the cathedral, and found it back on the bus. In the basement, there was a painting where the eyes of the painted figure would follow you wherever you walked. We then went to the Montmorency Falls where you could walk across a bridge and look down at the amazing waterfall.

We traveled again through rural Canada to the sugar shack. We learned how to make maple syrup, then enjoyed an all-you-can-eat dinner. Pancakes were the dessert, and after we got to have hot maple syrup poured in snow, then wrapped around a popsicle stick. At the sugar shack, there was a lot of fun and dancing. Everyone loved it. We then went back to our castle on the hill.

Day 3
Breakfast was a traditional Canadian breakfast. French toast and scrambled eggs with potatoes was the meal at a fancy restaurant along the Rue Tresor, or the artist’s street. We went to the Musee du Fort where all the battles involving Quebec were portrayed on a scaled city model and with powerpoint. Afterwards, we walked around the lower town to eat and shop in groups. About ten of us decided to buy plastic blowhorns. Many of us are in the band, so we could play them so loud that anyone in the lower city could hear us. The bus ride back was much more calm that we left. I think that everyone would deem this their favorite trip ever.

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by Rayna P. – 8th Grade

I leap
I spin
I twirl
In a complicated dance that is
My protection

Your pen
As it scribbles the
Mindless instinct
That is
Its purpose

My legs
From the knee
From the hip
To throw the invisible attacker

Your pen
Its way across the page
By your mind
Reaching out to touch
Your imagined reader

At first
I fell
I was ungraceful

At first
You stumbled
Your writing was choppy

I am
As I fly
Through the air

You are
No longer here
As your brain
Sightlessly scrolls
Upon the page
To capture
Something unseen

In a way
They are,
We are
The same

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