by Mareck D., 8th Grade

File:Tim Tebow 07 Heisman Trophy Winner (2620577646).jpg

Photo Courtesy of WikiMedia Commons

Tim Tebow, a much-discussed quarter, back is now a free agent. A free agent mainly because of the fact that the Patriots cut him. Being cut is nothing new to him, however. In his 3 year career he’s been with three different teams and started with only one. He has been the pinnacle for talk around the NFL in his time that may now be coming to an end. Is he done? Was he ever good? And most importantly, why he was put onto the Patriots roster?

Tim Tebow’s main appeal as a quarterback is the fact that he is mobile and big enough to pass for a running back. Add the fact that he can throw the ball to a point, and he seems like a perfect player for the QB position. A perfect player until you realize that he is coming to a team, the Patriots, that have one of the greatest NFL quarter backs in Tom Brady.  Compare stats like Tom Brady’s 5,235 yards in 2011 to Tebow’s 1,729 or Tebow’s 6.38 average per throw and Tom’s 8.6. These stats just continue to reveal that Tom’s better at the QB position. So why would they sign Tim Tebow? Why would they spend time on him in the pre-season?

Much speculation came up. I remember hearing that he might become a tight end. Some said running back, some said they had no clue. A common thought was apparent, however: no one really knew. At the start of pre-season it became apparent, he was quarterback. He would play the same position as Tom Brady on Tom Brady’s team.

This didn’t work. Why would it? How would it? Tebow was cut after the 4th and final pre-season game. “So why did they sign him?” people came to asking next. Well I believe that he was signed for two widely accepted reasons: to sell jerseys to recover financially and attract positive attention because of recently accused Aaron Hernandez. Others will say that he was not really cut and will return soon. Whatever the reason, and whatever he will do next, Tim Tebow’s time with the Patriots was short lived and filled with confusion.


Morning Practice

by Steven B., 8th Grade

File:Competition swimming pool block.jpg

Photo Courtesy of Sandstein, WikiMedia Commons

Waking up at 4 a.m. to swim can be dreadful

Yet wait until 5:05 the time when he walks in

Waiting in the dark on the cold metal bleachers

Hoping whoever walks in the door is not him

When the time comes he walks in

We all groan because we know what is coming

“1,500 swim with snorkel, paddles, and buoy”

As I hop in the water I feel a shock go through my body

Then it feels as if the pool is 50 degrees

Soon my arms feel as if I’m carrying 30 pound weights

Slowly I pick up my speed getting use to the water

And use to the pain through my body

6:15 the pool gets emptier

Kids leaving for school

Me and a few others stay late

What are we going to do

We hope it’s technical

But no it’s 2*400s on 6 minutes

As we finish 6:30 comes across the clock

Then finally the rest of the team hops out

Tired and proud

Weird or Pure Genius?

A Review of Disney Channel’s Gravity Falls

by Matt A., 8th Grade

What category do you think these things fit into? Lawn norms, psychics, and boy bands. If you said, a group of random things, then you are dead wrong. These were fit under the category of plot twists thrown in to Disney channel’s hit show, Gravity Falls.

Gravity Falls is about a pair of twins named Dipper and Mable Pines, who come to live with there Uncle Stan in Gravity Falls, Oregon. But nothing is at all as it seems. Dipper and Mable soon realize that there is more to this town. Each episode, they discover a mystery either at the mystery shack (where Uncle Stan and the kids are staying at) or in the town that they have to solve.

There are a couple of things that I enjoy about this show. First, every episode is different. It’s not always the same thing every time. One episode can be about the towns founding, and the next episode could be about mermaids. Second, it’s unique. This show has crazy characters and wild adventures. I don’t see many shows like this one.  Finally, it takes classic topics and put new twists on them. An example is vampires. Vampires have been there and done that. But they kick it up another knock. In the first episode, Mable goes out with a vampire. But, the vampire is actually a group of lawn norms looking for a new queen.

This show over the past season had a ton of guest stars. Every one from Jeff Bennet to Coolio, and even Larry King. There’s a lot of media and merchandising that is dedicated to Gravity Falls. Everything from tee shirts to hats and even a podcast on iTunes devoted to it. Even though the show is off-beat, it brings a uniqueness and mystery that is perfect for all ages.

Parker Excels

by Joshua B., 8th Grade


People are very encouraging here!
As awkward as it is on the first day of school it becomes a lot better.
Representing their school pride by wearing Reading Rockets shirts and jersey.
Kindhearted students help one an other.
Entering a class room to see the student’s teamwork and friendship.
Ready to learn and write every day.

Ending the day with a smile, waiting to go hang out with friends.
X-Rays can see through the day dreaming in class.
Coming into school prepared, had a healthy breakfast.
Excellent grades come in on report card day.
Learning with all your friends and having fun doing it.
Students starting their work right as they enter the class room.

Glorious Perfection

by Molly O., 8th Grade


Photo of Courbet's  "Seaside" by Stanisław Lorentz, Tadeusz Dobrzeniecki, Janina Michałkowa, Kazimierz Michałowski, Krystyna Sroczyńska, Jerzy Zanoziński (1984). Malarstwo. Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie (Painting. National Museum in Warsaw), Arkady.

Photo of Courbet’s
 “Seaside” by Stanisław Lorentz (Painting. National Museum in Warsaw), Arkady.

Waves crashing by the shore,

Sun shining on your back.

Sand comforting your tired toes,

Losing time, no need to keep track.


Children splashing in the waves,

Pushing your family and friends in too.

Witnessing the wonderful world below the ocean,

Catching sight of life in the deep deep blue.


Escaping the hustle of daily life,

Relaxing by the sea.

These summer days will not last,

The leaves will fall off of the tree.


Mystery hidden in the waves,

Shells from centuries ago.

Fish gliding through the smooth warm water,

Watching the sunlight’s lovely warm glow.


A day of splashing in the ocean,

A night of ice cream and blissful peace.

Where can you get this glorious perfection?

At the breezy, relaxing Beach.

The Mess in Syria

Damascus by night viewed from Mount Qasioun. (Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Damascus by night viewed from Mount Qasioun. (Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

by Matt C., 8th Grade

Right now, over in the Middle East, in a certain country called Syria, there is a massive civil war going on as we speak. The war has been going on since March 15, 2011. It is still going on strong. Syria is a mess.

The reason this big mess even started in the first place is because In April 2011, the soldiers for the current government, Ba’ath, went out to try to calm down the civilians, the protestors, but ended up firing shots on them to drive them back. In response, the civilians gathered their weapons, and fired back on the army. The whole thing has been going strong ever since.

So, the center of this whole thing is the Government? Aren’t they supposed to help? Well, not if the citizens have no say. According to a quote written by Hanna Batatu, (a historian on the history of Syria), on the Ba’ath government, “Whatever independence of opinion its members enjoyed in the past was now curtailed, a premium being placed on conformity and internal discipline. The party became in effect another instrument by which the regime sough to control the community at large or to rally it behind its policies” (Wikipedia). This quote means that the Ba’ath government took away all freedom of citizens and did anything they wanted. They made their own laws, and get this, they chose who ruled the land! How crazy is this? Sometimes, they chose leaders who people didn’t like. Wouldn’t you be angry?

US president Barak Obama has taken matters into his own hands. He had considered bombing Syria because they are only going to hurt people with all their chemical weapons, but recently, many people have not favored the use of military action in Syria. According to Gallup Politics, “Sixty-eight percent of Americans say the United States should not use military action in Syria to attempt to end the civil war.” The president has already ruled out this solution.

This situation in Syria must be solved. If this problem is not resolved, a lot can happen. If we act on it in the wrong way, it could start an even bigger war. News 4 Jacksonville spoke with Syrian-American Rose Safar who has relatives and friends in Syria. She says  what is “most scary is that Syrian leaders have said if the U.S. attacks, they will defend themselves.” We definitely don’t want that. So, stop all the craziness in Syria now! A war will solve nothing.

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.