Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

-by Kerry B., 8th Grade

A muskrat. One sign that spring is here. It has come out of hibernation and is now swimming in the warming waters of the Ipswich River.

As I was walking in the town forest with my mom, our dog Hally, and our friend’s dog Roxy, we were lucky to see this awesome animal. With just enough time to take a picture, the muskrat was out of the water and back in. All within seconds! Who knows how long this animal has been awake this Spring. It is a clear sign that the weather is going to be clearing up.

Animals have a way of knowing when things are going to be happening. Which is why I believe “when in doubt, follow an animal.” I think that over the next couple of weeks we will see that the weather is going to become much nicer and the snow will be a thing of the past.

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-by Megan L., 8th Grade

An eruption of protests in Egypt has broken out recently in efforts to expunge President Hosni Mubarak from office.

Egyptians were not happy with the unfair leadership of President Mubarak and they banded together to voice their opinions. They were unhappy with the amount of authority that was given to the police force, and many citizens were beaten by police on a daily basis.

Additionally, the unemployment rates and low wages led to a wide gap between the rich and poor. The unemployed citizens living on less than $2 a day are unable to succumb to the ever-increasing food prices. Simply put, Egyptians feel that President Mubarak has lost his ability to produce change in his 30 year reign.

The riots were different from previous revolts in significant ways. Unlike before, the rioters joined together and marched; in some cases police could not stop them.

But what really set this revolution apart from other revolts was the method of communication between the rioters- consisting of students, unemployed youth, industrial workers, and other courageous men and women. They connected by social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, and police could not keep up with their unexpected, fast-paced riots across several Egyptian cities. Despite the police’s violent attempts to suppress the revolts, the rioters remained peaceful as they chanted “Kifaya kifaya!” (“Enough, enough!”) This message became the name of the movement, whose new message is “Too much, too far, for too long!”

Their nonviolent approach served them well, and on February 11, Hosni Mubarak resigned and handed over his power to Egypt’s military leaders.

This successful rebellion, inspired by the 2011 Tunisia revolution, has sparked similar flames in Libya. Unlike in Egypt, after tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Benghazi, President Muammar Khadafy ordered police to suppress the revolts. They mercilessly opened fire, threw rocket propelled grenades, and used tear gas on the rioters. Over 200 injured people have arrived at local hospitals, adorned with bullets and wounds from grenades.

Sunday, February 27, President Obama said that Khadafy has “lost his legitimacy and must step down immediately,” after what he had seen in Tripoli in recent days. Journalists reported that snipers were shooting at innocent, unarmed citizens. Witnesses say that Libyan security was removing dead and wounded bodies from streets and hospitals in an attempt to hide the shocking reality.

Currently, orders have been made to revoke travel visas for Khadafy and his five children, as well as several Libyan officials and their immediate family. What President Obama plans to do next is unknown, but hopefully the chaos will subside in Libya soon.


Dave, Paresh. “Why Are People In Egypt Protesting? – INFOGRAPHIC | Neon Tommy.” Neon Tommy | the Voice of Annenberg Digital News. 28 Jan. 2011. Web. 27 Feb. 2011. .

Tisdall, Simon. “Egypt Protests Are Breaking New Ground | Simon Tisdall | Comment Is Free | Guardian.co.uk.” Latest News, Comment and Reviews from the Guardian | Guardian.co.uk. 25 Jan. 2011. Web. 27 Feb. 2011. .

Reuters. “Libya Protests: Dozens Killed As Anti-Gaddafi Protests Continue.” Breaking News and Opinion on The Huffington Post. 20 Feb. 2011. Web. 27 Feb. 2011. .

Kirkpatrick, David D. “Libyan Capital Still Rocked by Violence.” Boston Sunday Globe 27 Feb. 2011, The World sec.: A 13. Print.

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-by Drew J., Grade 8

“I didn’t really plan on it at all,” says Willy Downing, who plays the lead role of Tevye in Parker’s ‘Fiddler on the Roof’, when asked why he decided to try out for the musical. “When people told me to [try out] I guess I felt I had to, otherwise I would let a lot of people down.” He later goes on to say “I thought there was little to no chance [I’d] get the role…When I got called back for the role of Tevye, I actually thought I had a chance.”

Fiddler on the Roof takes place in 1905 Russia. The country is in the midst of major political changes, and one of the things going on is unkind treatment to the Jews in Russia. This musical follows the family of Tevye, who is a Jewish milk man and the father of five daughters. They go through some of the changing traditions and hardships of a Jew living in Russia during this time.

Willy also says that he sings in most musical pieces and believes he has over 100 lines. They’ve been rehearsing since January, so he feels he should be ready by opening night. “The last couple of weeks we rehearse every day.” said Mr. Clark, who is Parker’s music teacher and the director of the drama club. I asked Mr. Clark if he likes working with kids more than adults. “Absolutely,” was his response “I have never directed adults [and] don’t plan on working with adults…I relate to kids better.”

If you think that this production will be low-tech then you’re wrong. There are over a hundred different people other than the cast involved working on things such as props, lighting, sound effects and music. “It’s a huge community effort,” said Mr. Clark. He goes on to praise Mrs. Davis, Ms. Copeland and Mrs. Webster for their contributions. There is a lot to do, however Mr. Clark seems confident saying “We will definitely be ready for opening night.”

Willy seems to be enjoying his time acting, saying “The most fun thing by far is actually being on the stage…It’s almost like the whole place you’re in changes to that scenario…I’ll probably be in more plays after this.” Willy is currently in a band, but I asked if his musical career doesn’t take-off would he ever consider acting. He responded “I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.”

I’ve heard many great things about past Parker productions and I’d expect no less from this one. Tickets are $9 and $7. You can find more information on how to buy them on Parker’s Edline page. Show times are listed below.

Thursday March 3rd @ 6pm
Friday March 4th @ 7:30pm
Saturday March 5th @ 2pm

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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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by Mary Kate K. – 8th Grade

School is finally out! The only thing on anyone’s mind is spending a nice hot day on the beach. Go ahead! Run to the beach or the neighborhood pool. It is all fun and games until you get home and realize you are scorched. Not only are sunburns painful, but long term exposure to the sun can also cause serious skin damage.

Girl Scout Troop 73712 has embarked on a community service campaign targeted towards children ages 2-6. In an effort to promote healthy skin care and prevent skin cancer, the scouts have created a coloring book with adorable pictures and a funny story featuring “Timmy.” The silly story educates the youngsters about protecting their skin while in the sun.

On June 19th between 11 am and 3 pm, stop by the “Teens-to-Tots” booth at the 7th Annual Reading Friends and Family Day (sponsored by the Reading Lions Club) to get your free coloring book and sunscreen samples provided by Oil of Olay. This event will be held at the Birch Meadow Area in Reading.

While visiting the booth, kids can win fabulous prizes by answering “fun sun safety questions” and visiting Timmy’s duck pond. While visiting the booth, parents should make sure to enter their child’s name to win a REI hat or t-shirt made from UPF 50+ fabric. The booth will also feature brochures and bookmarks provided by the Curt and Shonda Schilling SHADE Foundation.

The funding for much of this project was earned by the scouts through the sale of the “2010 Sites of Reading Calendar”. The scouts will earn their Girl Scout Silver Award, the second highest award in Girl Scouting, upon completion of the Teens-to-Tots project. For further information, visit their website at http://www.teens-to-tots.com or call 781 944-3620.

The scouts would like to thank Oil of Olay, REI, Nestle Pure Life Water, and the SHADE Foundation for their generous donations of products and information. They couldn’t do it without their generous contributions.

Cadette Girl Scout Troop 73712 of Reading is composed of five middle school scouts, Mia Cappuccio, Kasey Cook, Mary Kate Kelley, Sandra Sgroi and Grace Stroman. Reading is part of the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts which serves more than 45,000 girls ages 5-17 in the 178 communities served in Eastern Massachusetts.

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by Courtney D. – 8th Grade

What is a country
that has people travel to marvel
at the large stone buildings
that protect the leaders that
have led us into despair and war?

Is it taking pride in our accomplishments,
is it smiling at the power we pass,
or the feeling that that kind of thinking
is out of reach?

We have built walls to remember the brave.
We have built walls to remember the strong.
But have we built the most beautiful walls of all
to mask the mediocrity of our wilting leaders?

The brave soldiers get a slab of white stone;
The leaders who are responsible for those deaths
sit in a marble home
with all the riches of the world.

What is a country like this country?

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by Kaylee R. – 8th Grade

My classmates placing a wreath in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers.

My classmates placing a wreath in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.


“19, 20, 21, stop. Turn right, click shoes and count.”

A worn black mat under his shiny black shoes.

A sparkling wooden rifle over his shoulder.


Twenty-one seconds left,

Twenty-one seconds forward,

Twenty-one steps across the black mat.


Another soldier will take his place in the night.

But he will not be alone,

Three soldiers only known to God lie before him.


The white stone turned brown

In places shiny black shoes stood at attention.

Always guarded are the souls of the unknown.


Twenty-one seconds right,

Twenty-one seconds forward,

Twenty-one steps across the black mat.


The Sargent appears with a replacement,

But the soldier keeps walking.

Only when an other steps in with him will he lower his weapon.


Three soldiers only known to God lie before him.

Always guarded are the souls of the unknown.

Only when an other steps in with him will he lower his weapon.

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