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Archive for February, 2011

Three Graves

-by Natalie S., 8th Grade

Heavy breathing, almost out of breathe, but we keep running. We barely have enough time, and we need to do it. Denise, Sam and I run out of the school as if we had just been let out of some sort of prison, as if we had just become free. We sprint over to the rusty chain-link fence with a smell of nectar in the air. We see three brightly colored daisies sitting there as if they were left behind.

We grasp them with our paint-covered hands and look for the right place. Excited and determined, sweating from the burning hot sun glaring down on our little heads. We look around as if we were animals desperately looking for food, and then we see the tree, the prey we’ve been looking for. The clock is ticking; when that bell rings its game over. We start to panic.

With only minutes left of recess we find our way through the heavily crowded four square games. Finally the place we’d been looking for is right in front of our tiny bodies. We start to get down on our knees. With even more sweat rolling down our rosy cheeks we start digging through dirt, ripping up the trees roots and weeds. The dirt covers our hands and arms, but to us it seems normal. We have our holes in the ground ready, almost like three burials, the graves.

We kiss our flowers and place them into each one of those graves. We then cover each of the wholes with the piles of dirt and broken roots we had just ripped up. I start to look around for something that can prove we were there, evidence. With a muddy stick we found next to the tree we carved our names.

Letters not many people could read. Squiggles and lines are what made up what we called our signatures, for we were still mastering spelling our names and the shapes of letters. We look up at the teacher, waving her hands in a forwarding motion, signaling us children to come back inside.

Ring, ring, ring. The bell has rung; we’re out of time, but we have completed our mission. Walking towards the school, the three of us turn back, watching our graves disappear farther and farther away as we enter our school. We say our goodbyes.

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-by Grace T., 8th Grade

Kelstar’s Riddle: “Is time the wheel that turns, or the track it leaves behind?”

Time is the Wheel that turns.
And also the Track which the Wheel leaves behind.
The Wheel is never present;

It does not falter, does not waver, does not cease.
It does not stop in its forward venture
To see what it leaves in its wake.
Unstopping, unstoppable, the Wheel pushes on.
It strives to reach the future.

The Wheel of Time creates life.
Devours life.

Builds mountains.
Tears them down.

The Wheel is the whisper of softest memory
The lullaby of birth
The grinding scream of death.

The Wheel dances in the laughter of a child,
Smiles through the wise eyes of age.

***

The Track is both history
And that which is beyond.
It is the path of the past,
And the foretelling of the future.

The Track began before the Wheel,
And forever stretches on.
It is that which remains unseen
And yet, is seen by all.

The Track is the howl of a lone wolf,
Traveling through the years,
To bridge the present with the raw beginnings of life
In the primitive age when wolves ran free.

Time is the Wheel that turns.
And also the Track that it leaves behind.

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-by Maddy M., 8th Grade

I loved when she told us stories.

She told us a particularly outrageous story this past week. Her defining laugh started her sentence. “And I am not even going to tell you how I managed to get an A in that class.” The whole class erupted in laughter at the idea of it. “Oh whatever!” she exclaimed, “I have two days left.”

After her story, I quickly jotted down a few ideas for our coming interview. I went around and asked my peers any questions they had for her. Most of them were along the lines of ‘How much will you miss Mary-Kate?’ etc.

I was getting nervous; the interview was in less than a period. I had nothing written down; what was I going to ask her? Here she was, sitting less than six feet away from me.

“Mrs. Low let me just start by saying I have, like, nothing prepared…sorry.” She gestured to the table in the corner. “Oh that’s ok; we’ll figure out something.” We sat down across the table from each other. I started off easy; I asked her how long she had been teaching. 31 years. Eighteen of those years were spent here at Parker.

“Mrs. Low what was your first teaching job?” She then took her time, reaching back in her memory.

“When I first came out of college I went to work in Virginia, and that year is when they started to integrate schools. Half my students and faculty members were African-American. Of course having just come out of school I had no idea.”

And from then on, it wasn’t awkward. We talked, mostly about her.

M- Why are you leaving?
L- Well my husband had been retired for five years, and he needs me to come home. I have been teaching for 31 years, so I need to take a break. There are also some family issues right now.
M- What will you miss most about Parker?
L- I just love the people, I love teaching kids every day, I love talking to my faculty members. I just love the people. And I am going to miss that.
M- What is your overall best moment here?
L- I have always been happiest in the classroom.
M- How have you seen education change?
L-Technology mostly; in just the past ten years it has changed so much. I remember last year Mrs. Davis and I took a technology course; Mrs. Davis did not want to take it. But I told her to ‘shut up, and hurry up.’ A few times we got lost but it was good. I have also seen society change, the pressure put on students has changed immensely; not for the better though.
M- What compelled you to teach?
L- Through school I always got straight A’s, and when I was in school I always did teacher-like things; helping kids with their homework, etc. It has always come naturally to me.
M- What have you learned over the years?
L- Not to judge kids from the first time you see them. People (kids, teachers) can and do change.

Right about this point Mrs. Lows eyes started to water. She accused me of making her cry, and eventually we laughed. But she was still crying.

M- Are you sad that you are leaving?
L-(Shakily laughs) yes; yes I am.
M- Will you come back?
L- Definitely, at the end of the year.
M- Do you know if you will regret retiring?
L- You know, I really don’t think so. There are a lot of things to do outside of school, and I have been thinking about retiring for about a year.
M- Why aren’t you waiting till the end of the year?
L- Well my husband needs me home, and you are allowed to retire on your birthday. So that’s what I am doing.
M- I heard a rumor that you were going to travel. Where were you planning to go?
L- My husband and I were planning on traveling to every state, and traveling to the most popular spot there.
M- What will you do in your free time?
L- Well, if the warm weather ever comes, I love to garden; I also have a pool and I love to entertain; ask Mr. Musselman about that. Haha! I also have two grand-kids that I am looking forward to spending time with.
M- What has been your funniest moment here at Parker?
L- Every day since I have worked here I have laughed!
M- Have you always taught 8th grade?
L- No for a summer I taught a course in high school, which wasn’t my favorite. I also taught for a little in fifth grade. And a junior college.
M- What was your favorite grade?
L- Oh, definitely 8th grade; you know I love joking around. In 5th grade you are too young to get anything, and in high school everyone thinks they are too cool too laugh, so this is the perfect age for me.
M- How have you changed as a teacher?
L- I have become more patient, and more tolerant. When you are beginning a new teaching job you are so worried about what you will do right or wrong. But I definitely learned how to be more different.
M- Is there anything you regret as a teacher?
L- You know, everything I regret as a teacher is becoming an ancient memory. But in general I regret the fact that years back they changed the curriculum from American history to World History. I miss the connection kids had with American History. World history is very broad.
M- What is your philosophy on teaching?
L- I believe all can and want to learn. Teaching history is a chance to look at the world. Education can be used as tool; it’s a life long journey. It’s something you want to use for the rest of your life.
M- What is a parting message you want to send to Parker?
L- Well to the kids: Learn to work hard, and have fun. To my faculty: Work is important, and have fun!

By the time the interview was done, we had fifteen minutes left in the period. Now the awkward feeling was back. But instead of awkwardly leaving or sitting there, we talked, about life. What my parents did, about her daughters. How the beginning of the year was weird because we didn’t really like each other. It was fun!

I know it was late, but it was great to get one-on-one time with Mrs. Low before she left. Throughout the whole interview she looked me in the eye. We laughed and cried. There was hardly a second one of us wasn’t talking. It was great to get to know her.

Mrs. Low, you have been an amazing teacher. I feel so prepared for high school. Your classes are great, and always really interactive. I know I am going to miss you, and tons of others are going to miss you too. I feel blessed to have you as my teacher.

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Beach

-by Dan H., 7th Grade

At the beach I feel the soft sand.
I lay down on my towel and fall asleep
the lullabying sound of the frothy waves hugging the shore.
The seagulls calling as I walk
while the water tags my toes.
I know I am relaxed.
I wander into the ocean,
take a deep breath of salty air.
As I leave I know
I will be back soon.

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