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Archive for January, 2011

Baton of Hope

-by Ada L., 8th Grade

What gets us through our lives? Our families, friends, cell phones, computers…the list can stretch a mile and more. Imagine if all that were taken away. You’d have nothing. No friend to talk to. No family to comfort you. No way of knowing what is going to happening to you. Life seems to have been overrated. How do you cope and move on?

“Without hope, life is no good.” Mr. Edgar Krasa said these words toward the beginning of his powerful presentation. Yet, as he went on, I could hear this quote, in his comforting accent, playing in the background. Everything he said afterward revolved around that for me. All the painful stories he told, combined with the image of him standing in front of five hundred middle school students retelling this downfall in history, proved there was something that held him up when death was one wrong move away. Being ninety years old, it’s been about seventy years since he actually went through this. To be able to remember the story in such excruciating detail means that it is forever burned into his mind. There’s a scar that was left there that cannot be covered, just like how it has left a scar in history.

Each person was allowed one hundred ten pounds of belongings. To fit all your clothing, food, and necessities takes up that allotment. Yet, people “illegally” lugged in their instruments. These instruments were played, and the notes and melodies kept the light close. It gave people hope that things would get better. In a sense, hope is what kept them alive. Without hope, there would be no point in staying alive in a situation so brutal.

To be honest, at first, I didn’t feel too much during our Holocaust tour on the third floor. I read the words, looked at the pictures, and even took some notes, but I didn’t really have any sort of deep thoughts. However, after hearing Mr. Krasa presentation, I realized that he and all those people and stories on the walls shared one thing: hope. The Diary of Anne Frank, Number the Stars, and many other books and texts that we have read in study of the Holocaust have come together in my mind, adjoined by the idea of hope.

Mr. Krasa is a remarkable man. To have the privilege to witness a survivor from this horrific time is indescribable. Sitting in the audience, it’s hard to imagine that this same man really lived through these things we read in texts and learn about in school. I’m thinking about it now, and it is still moving to have shook this courageous man’s hand. He has shared his story of hope. He has made me want to hope. He has passed the baton. If he can gather enough hope to make it through the Holocaust, then I don’t have an excuse to give up on anything.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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Momentum

Have I caught the attention of our science buffs? Sorry, this isn’t going to be an exploration of objects in motion.

It is however, an exploration of ideas in motion.

Schools always struggle with momentum. Right as we’re really working together, growing, and making deeper connections, June comes along and the pieces of progress disperse to their summer destinations.

By the end of last year, The Quill Online was in full gear, pistons pumping, ideas and inspiration moving at the speed of human effort. A diversity of strong student voices was gathering momentum and reaching a wide audience with their stories, articles, discoveries, and art. As editor, my role went from pushing and encouraging to simply watching and reading. I sat back and marvelled as ideas kept moving forward and gaining momentum. My expectations were blown away.

Then summer came. I drifted, you drifted; the engine of The Quill sat idle. And in the midst of teacherly responsibilities, I lost touch with the drive to share through this medium.

Today, a former teacher left a comment on The Quill. It was simple. It was a basic encouragement not to give up. It was a reminder that there’s an audience out there, hungry for more of what Parker students are serving up. That one comment, that one encouragement, was the jump-start I needed.

Let me pass that jump-start along to you. The community wants to hear your voices, Parker students! They want a taste of your creativity, commitment to excellence, and your distinct originality.

What can you offer? What can you do to fuel this exchange of ideas, this grand collaboration? Maybe a poem, or an editorial. Maybe a photo or a scientific discovery. Maybe you have something to offer that I can’t even categorize. Please share your great work with us. We’re waiting eagerly.

Remember, if you want to contribute to The Quill, just drop by 207 and talk to me. If you know what you want to share, we’re ready for your work. If you’re unsure, I’ve got some ideas for you to run with! To keep our momentum going, we need enthusiastic contributors from every grade and every walk of life.

So let’s get rolling together. Remember, an idea will simply sit in your head and will never impact the world if you don’t give it a push; but once it’s out there, there’s no telling how many minds and hearts you will impact. In other words, if an idea is set in motion, it will stay in motion!

– Mr. James, Editor

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