Archive for the ‘Editorials’ Category

 by Aymon L., 7th Grade 

File:Bully Free Zone.jpg

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Bullying is a  major issue around the world. This crime is committed at almost every school in the United States. According to www.dosomething.org “Over 3.2 million students are victims of bullying each year.” This means that over 8,770 schoolchildren on average are bullied in a day. If you bully and you think you are just joking you’re part of something big, much bigger than you. 

        Many kids in their lifetime have been the target of bullying. When I asked them, an anonymous source said that they had been bullied and that he was “in the bathroom, and these two guys cornered me and took turns punching me” the source also said that when he was in elementary school “it [bullying] was not dealt with accordingly” and should be stopped in it’s tracks here at Parker. If this bullying continues, the amount of suicides each year in the US, potentially, could start to skyrocket. That is truly scary to lots of people. Parker is a very nice school and if we make it a safer environment where people feel they can openly express themselves then people will want to go to school as well. 

        If you are being bullied just know that you are not alone. Many people may have said this to you in your lifetime but it is still true. If you are being bullied it “should be reported to the administration or teacher as soon as possible” as stated by the Parker Middle School Handbook. Or if you feel confident enough even confront the bully that has been troubling you. Also you can anonymously submit a report at http://reading.k12.ma.us/Bullying/BullyingReport.htm Again please don’t feel like your alone. You have an army surrounding you. Bullies please know that we are going to get you and bullying will be stopped.

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The Beginning of the End

by Caroline M., 8th Grade

In response to a prompt about “The Beginning of School.”

RoilBroil. RoadAmericaOriginalStartFinishLine. N.d. Road America, 43° 49′ 40″ N, 88° 1′ 45″ W. Wikimedia Commons. Web. 12 Sept. 2013.

RoilBroil. RoadAmericaOriginalStartFinishLine. N.d. Road America, 43° 49′ 40″ N, 88° 1′ 45″ W. Wikimedia Commons. Web. 12 Sept. 2013.

Winston Churchill once acknowledged, “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”  This wise statement applies much to the beginning of eighth grade, which engenders many changes in one’s life.  As the first “Ding Dong Ding Dong, Ding Dong Ding Dong” of the school year greets our weary ears, the ears of more than a hundred eighth grade students, we begin to reflect on the eight years we have previously performed this same, simple routine.  While on the surface this day may seem like all of the others, it is much more.  It symbolizes all of the years that have past, the year we are about to experience, and all those to come.

When thinking about my past starts to school years I become nostalgic for that “care-free” aspect of elementary school.  Soon I remember that with the greater work, we have a greater independence and responsibility, well worth it.  For example, in most classes I have noticed that now we can choose our seats.  During past school years we were not allowed this due to the concern of us sitting in places and with people that would disrupt the class.  Another way I see our freedom expanding emerges from the few subjects where we can organize our binders in a way that best suits ourselves.  This seemingly small liberty beholds a great importance in the minds of us students, for it shows how teachers now trust our knowledge of what organizational method works best for ourselves.  Thirdly, we are given the option of what elective to take, where as before we had to take music, art, and gym for both semesters in middle school and elementary.  From when we started in kindergarten, we have been granted more choices each year, symbolising our growth in independence and creating new potentials for this new year.

The year to come holds as many, if not more, promises as that of the preceding years.  As in other years, now is a great time to become involved in new interests and activities.  For example with our electives, you could have a new favorite class due to a new found interest in the subject.  Interests are not just limited to this.  After school programs and clubs present a great way to spark interests at the beginning of the new school year as well as to find new friends who share those interests.  There also are new topics to learn about from new teachers.  This year I can already tell that my teachers are amazing!  Teachers who are really enthusiastic about their subject make it evident to their pupils by challenging and exciting the students which in turn can inspire brand new passions.  In the future, after eighth grade, we will be presented with additional privileges, and with these privileges come the start of a new chapter in our journey through school.

Next year, and the years to follow in high school and college will most likely be some of the most stressful years of my schooling career.  There will be new experiences, and hardships, it will be the beginning of a whole new part of life, and the end to another.  The famous writer T.S. Eliot said, more than 50 years ago,  that “What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.” and he could not have been more right.  This beginning of the school year is marking the end of our time at middle school, but with this end is coming the beginning of high school and beyond.  This is where we are starting, and this is the beginning of the end.

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A Dream Coming True

by Erin H. – 8th Grade

The third Monday of each January is a federal holiday that most Americans enjoy as a day off from work or school. Often times, Americans spend this day sleeping in, going to the mall, or hanging out with friends, but the true meaning of this day is usually forgotten. This day celebrates the birth of one of the most powerful historical figures in the United States of America, Martin Luther King Jr. King is considered one of the most important leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. In this speech, King envisioned the way people should be judged, by “the content of their character”, not by the color of their skin. Throughout the speech two main themes are presented about how people should be judged: without racial prejudice and equally.

King had a dream that no matter what race or ethnicity you are, you would only be judged by the way you act and your integrity, or your character. This was made clear in what may be the most famous line from Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech. This line stated, “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” His dream was for a world where it didn’t matter if you were black or white, dumb or smart, athletic or not athletic, fat or skinny; it only mattered if you were a good person. In addition, King believed all citizens of the United States of America should be “…guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” King said that according to the Declaration of Independence, all Americans were to receive these rights, but “…America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned.” King needed these rights to be granted to every citizen in order for his dream to one day be fulfilled.

Today, if an outsider came into my hometown of Reading, I think they’d say we are an example of King’s dream coming true. Reading, like most American towns, attempts to hold itself accountable to King’s dream of ending racial prejudice and equality for all. In my thirteen years of living in Reading, I have never personally witnessed racial injustice or someone not being treated equally. This is not say that people don’t have preconceived opinions about whether or not others are kind or mean, smart or dumb, athletic or not, but this happens everywhere. Let’s face it, we live in an imperfect world; we don’t live in Utopia. Today, our society, including the citizens of Reading is focused a lot on the exterior, expecting people to look and act like celebrities, but if outsiders really looked closely at our community, they would say Reading’s character is great. I know many people, young and old, who are involved in programs such as Mission of Deeds, Adopt-a-Family, and Friends of Reading Recreation. All of these people are trying to make our town and the surrounding area a better place to live. Right here at Parker Middle School, many people are involved in the Parker Leadership and Service; or Parker News Live programs. All of the people involved in these programs have one intention: to make Parker and Reading a better place, therefore, I think Reading’s character would be judged favorably.

In my hometown, like many other places, you can see Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream is coming true. People are no longer segregated or judged because of the color of their skin or their ethnicity. Now, everyone gets equal treatment when they go to school, shopping, or to a restaurant. However, there are still subtle messages of prejudice that people have towards others that they haven’t gotten to know. For example, if someone is very overweight, a person who just walks by him or her might think that the person is lazy. However, this person is probably not lazy, their weight is just something that they have struggled with for their whole life. Who knows if there will ever be a perfect world where there will be no prejudice or inequality, but today, we have come such a long way from 1963, and Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream is finally coming true.


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Our Baby

by Liz T., 8th Grade

courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Think of the Earth as a baby.  Babies are helpless and can’t do anything for themselves.  They rely on people to nurture it, protect it, and help it.  The Earth does too.  The Earth is our “baby” and Americans are acting like a neglecting mother.  When a baby cries, a person will come and comfort it.  Right now, our Earth is crying out to us.   But Americans continue to ignore it and continue to act greedy, selfish and lazy.  When a baby needs help, someone is there to help it.  Our Earth is asking us for help and many people are not responding.  When a baby is sick, a person will nurture it back to health. Our Earth is sick.  The Earth that we live on,  the Earth that we take advantage of, the Earth that we play on, is sick.  It is our job to nurse it back to health.   Everything we do affects the Earth, from the food we eat from the fertilizer we use.  We are destroying the Earth and its resources. It is about time we recognize what we are doing and how we can put a stop to it.

Americans devour food.  We take advantage of it, while some people in other countries don’t know when they will eat next.  Together, Americans eat 1,649,630,427 pounds of food a day.  When we sit down to eat, we don’t think about the resources used to give us the food.  For example, there is so much more to an egg then just a chicken hatching it.  It takes gas for the truck to deliver the egg, coal used to generate electricity for its refrigeration, plastic for its packaging and the resources used to boil or fry the egg.  An American will eat 19,826 eggs per lifetime.  One would think that’s enough.  But Americans just keep on demanding more- just like with meat.  An individual will eat six pigs in their life.  Each of those pigs weighs about 600 pounds.  The amount of pork we eat is nothing compared to the chicken we eat.  One person will consume 1,423 chickens in a lifetime.  Sure, meat gives us protein, but there are many other sources of protein available.

 Not only do we each cattle, but we also drink its milk.  The love for milk starts at a very young age.  It is found in our cereal, coffee, ice cream, cake and so much more.  Milk is in so many foods that we can consume it without even realizing.  A whole industry is busy preparing, preserving, packaging and transporting the milk to us.  The industry is releasing carbon dioxide, the packaging uses plastic, and the truck transporting the milk is also releasing carbon dioxide into the air we breathe in.  But Americans don’t care how bad they are hurting the Earth, because they still manage to consume 13,056 pints of milk per person in a lifetime.

Everyone likes to have a green lawn.  It looks really nice and impressive.  But would you put your life in danger just so you can have a green lawn?  Many people would answer no to this question, but they are probably doing it without even realizing.  

Fertilizers have nitrogen in them.  Nitrogen is a greenhouse gas.  The toxic chemicals can kill plants, and put pets and humans in danger.  Also, the chemicals from the fertilizers can get into our water systems.  This is bad enough, but it gets worse.  The chemicals can go into lakes and rivers and cause algae to grow.  The algae covers the water and blocks sunlight.  If the ecosystems do not receive the sunlight they need, they will get all messed up.  This is all because Americans want green grass.  No towns can ban a fertilizer, but that doesn’t mean you have to use it.  Go against using fertilizer!  Take a stand.  It is time to make a difference in this world.  We have abused the Earth, and it has gone too far.  Every human affects the Earth and every human can make a difference.

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courtesy of Paramount Pictures

-by Claire W., 8th Grade

Everyone wants to see what they want to see. What they want to happen should happen, in their opinion. But, that never really happens, unless there is a way where everyone’s preferences can be addressed.

In the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick, the interpretive drawings make it possible for anyone to believe what they want to believe just happened. They can imagine a movie in their mind, generated by the some 160 pictures. The reader gets to choose whether the Hugo and Isabelle fall in love, and to decide what the characters are thinking by their facial expressions in the drawings.

I loved this book, especially how you could interpret the drawings for yourself and try to find out what the drawings were depicting. When I went to see the movie, directed by Martin Scorsese, I was really excited, but when I walked out of the theater, I was thoroughly disappointed. I had not seen what I had wanted to see.

When I picked up The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick, from the library so many years ago, I could never have guessed that it would become a major motion picture. I expected Scorsese’s film to be just like the book. But book-based movies are never as good as the original. Everytime a part passed by that I had been looking forward to see based on the book, I was disappointed. My heart sank so low by the end of the movie that it was touching the floor. It was just like when I read the book The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan and went to see the movie. That was really disappointing, too. The only thing that I learned during that movie is how far producers will go to make an audience laugh.

I wish that producers in the future will see how much readers like me count on the movie to be like the book. We want to see other people’s interpretations of the book. That is what I was looking forward to seeing in the movie of The Invention of Hugo Cabret. All they could show me was fake relationships and mushy romances, skipping right over the real meaning 0f the entire novel.

Sometimes you don’t get what you want. You get disappointed. I was entirely happy when I read The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick, but really disappointed by the movie version. The book was filled with interpretive pictures that made the book what you wanted. The characters were happy or worried, if you thought they looked like that. You got to decide. But all the producers of the movie could do was change the title to make it shorter, and take the spotlight off of Hugo; not my idea of a good time.

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-by Simran P., 8th Grade

“Although I would never want to relive that period of time ever again, I am thankful that it has made me much more of a stronger human being”. Standing before a group of about seventeen to twenty students, Ji-li Jiang, author of Red Scarf Girl spoke these words with pride, courage, and no hesitation. I attentively listened, as the author retrieved her childhood, during China’s Cultural Revolution in the 1960′s. Her words were clear, as she explained the haunting memory of waking up to her mother ill, her grandmother weak, her father detained, and possibly even killed. Her family had faced peril every single day, and surviving a day without being tormented by the Red Guards would be considered, “a good day”. Ji-li had experienced such a difficult period of time, yet without a doubt, she agreed that the Cultural Revolution had shaped an unyielding, resolute woman out of her. By recieving a chance to meet Ji-li, I was able to determine that she is a hero within a victim of such an abominable period in history.

Before the assembly, I was having trouble connecting Ji-li’s situation, with another one that had ever took place in the past. I kept thinking, and it was only after Ji-li mentioned the terms “Chairman Mao” and “brainwashed”, that my mind was able to project on Hitler and the Holocaust. Like Hitler, Chairman Mao had manipulated many people to have them follow what he believed in. A majority of people forced themselves to believe that what both these powerful figures were causing was beneficial, while there were many people that disagreed, but wouldn’t dare to stand up and risk their lives to confront these persuasive tyrants. Chairman Mao and Hitler were lions, while the people were their prey. The only thing is, they both convinced others that they were their friends.

In sixth grade, I read a book called The Diary of Anne Frank. I felt like Ji-li and Anne lived through very similar situations. They were both forced to make sacrifices in order to protect themselves, as well as their families from getting killed. Every day, they would face fear, worries and emotional pain. They never thought that their lives would be that same, yet they knew that if they lost hope they would become even more weak and miserable. They were both victims of two horrific periods of time, and as they fought through tears and agony, they were redeeming themselves into heros.

It was an honor to be fortunate enough to meet Ji-li. I was able to hear her story, and truly be inspired. I believe that what she went through allows others to persevere when things are tough, and never lose hope. It is so wonderful that we are able to meet heros such as Ji-li, and Edgar Krasa that teach us that hard work, dedication, but most importantly, always believing in yourself can withstand the forceful power of any dictator. With determination, a victim can transform into a hero.

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Traffic Free

-by Jane D., 8th Grade

As humans, we feel day after day. As writers, words are our resource to share those feelings. There is certain magical air about every experience that is not only felt, it is lived. So, the challenge I see in writing is giving someone the gift of an experience that they didn’t live. It is also transferring that indescribable magic through nothing but words on a page. Whenever I sit down to write I often find myself wrestling with words to find that perfect adjective. I try out words, but I never am able to find the one that truly describes that magic I felt. I generally get frustrated and settle for a word that is insufficient.

I have realized that one word isn’t going to create the ambiance of a moment. The story has to have little hints of the magic scattered across the page. I have to think back to that space in time and the things that were running through my head. The first word that comes to mind will help guide me in the right direction. However, it won’t be the only sufficient adjective. It will just set the mood, and begin the process of the reader feeling how I felt. Words are the bridge between the writer and the reader. Bridges can be beautiful and they can take you where the writer wants you to go. They also can be ugly and get you in a traffic jam so horrendous the reader ends up turning around. As a writer my responsibility is to create a beautiful traffic free bridge. I will overcome this challenge by setting a mood using sensory details and well thought out adjectives. I am determined to get my readers over the bridge with a full and emotional connection to what was on the page.

In the future I want to write pieces that bring out emotion in my readers. I want them to feel as though they were in my head feeling the moment along with me. I don’t want my writing to just be a school assignment. I want it to make people feel and inspire readers to do things they never dared. I want them to run across the bridge I create without the fear that they will hit some traffic. The future me will question words and challenge herself to make the reader understand the magic of that moment. This year I hope to get my writing to that beautiful traffic free bridge that takes readers where writing has never taken them before.

Photo Courtesy of WikiMedia Commons

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-by Kelcey H., 8th Grade

It was then my eyes gazed upon a magnificent monument, all lit up under the night sky. I was swiped into history as I stood back to see. It hit me. This inner feeling that I cannot explain filled my stomach. It towered over us in its beauty and the message of freedom.

Above the statue, the monument states; “In this temple as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved the union the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever.” All inside the walls of the Lincoln memorial.

Despite our fascinated faces, I could only pay attention to the words held inside. “Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” The powerful words out of one man’s mouth took me over as I found myself having to read every word on the wall. The speeches about freedom and justice made me feel like America is our home and our country.

To climb those stairs up to the monument seemed like a journey through time. Just to climb up to the top seemed to have the feeling of freedom. Faces lit up as people marveled over the statue of our former president. And even though I have already seen it years ago, I don’t think I was old enough to really understand how he effected America so greatly. To have a president full of ambition and fearlessness was what America needed to strive to move forward.

The statue itself is simply stunning and inspirational. Just by looking at it, sitting up high in its chair, shows the importance of this historical figure. The breathtaking view is absolutely incredible, but to actually experience seeing it yourself is much more rewarding.

Going to Washington broadened my understanding of how much has changed in America. And after going there I often find myself rethinking what had happened before our time.

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-by Walter G., 8th Grade

courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Have Boston’s streets ever hit you at the heart? Have they ever made you cry? Millions of people struggle in the streets of our cities. Homelessness is everywhere; it’s not an uncommon thing to see. Boston is where I live and I am not proud of what the economy and the world has done to most people. Lost jobs, incredible amounts of debt and when it’s all been said… no one volunteers to step in and help.

At the Holocaust Memorial I noticed a man sleeping on a bench in ragged clothing and I felt sorry and helpless towards him. This is where we live. And this is the place we call home. What is home? The clear definition is not as easy for those like the man sleeping on the bench. In their mind they simply need to survive.

The next time you feel pity amongst your existence or feel the world is falling down onto your shoulders, think about the ones who actually have the world on their shoulders. You could be one of those on the streets with a tin can, looking in the eyes of the people who throw you quarters or pennies. Think about your life and how lucky you are to be in the position you are in. Think about their lives. Who is there for them to reach out to?

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Eighth graders recently spent time learning about how severe earthquakes take a toll on the metropolitan cities and towns surrounding their epicenters. Students were also exposed to the infrequent but present history of earthquakes in Massachusetts. Then a question was posed: As a government official in these difficult economic times and knowledge of the area’s geologic history, would you choose to spend government dollars on putting in earthquake-resistant supports to public buildings such as schools, fire stations, and hospitals? Here are some of the responses of our future politicians:

In favor of the earthquake-resistant treatment spending, representative Kaylee of Reading.

I say yes. We may not be having them now but what is stopping them from happening? We need to be File:Chuetsu earthquake-earthquake liquefaction1.jpgsure that our children and sick are taken care of and that the fire and policemen can get to us. Public buildings like schools, hospitals, fire and police departments are very important on any occasion, which means they have to be saved in an emergency. If someone is stuck under a fatal load and the fire department can’t get to them then what is their purpose?

These may be tough times but they will be worse if everything comes tumbling down like a child’s building set. Having the construction done isn’t that expensive. Just some replaced boards and extra support. You could even do these things around your own house. Support your foundation, heater and chimney in place. Also put a few boards to support your walls and ceiling. We have the choice to be safe, will we take it?

… and opposed to the referendum we have Representative Megan of Reading:

Most public buildings in New England are made of bricks. Police and fire stations, schools, town halls, and many more are made from bricks. It just happens to be that bricks are one of the most weak and dangerous in an earthquake. They break and fall most easily and when one occurs it’s almost certain that buildings made of bricks are not going to survive through it like if you drop a glass cup sometimes the don’t break but most the time they shatter.

I don’t think we should use tax dollars to make public buildings earthquake resistant. Even though it is a lot more safe, I believe that people can survive without it. There are plenty of other things to spend tax dollars on. Earthquakes are’nt common in New England now; they used to be but now they aren’t and it wouldn’t be the most pressing issue on my list if I was the mayor. Also, this would mean the taxes will rise and now lots of people can’t afford that especially in these times. A lot of people would not be happy with knowing that their tax money is going towards earth-quake resistance when they believe that there will never be one here.

The truth is a lot of people will experience an earthquake in their lifetime. If we learn from other earthquakes and did what other people did to be successful, I think that earthquake resistance is not necessary and people can be safe and happy with their family.

Photos Courtesy of WikiMedia Commons

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