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Humanities Portfolio 2012

“Hard work leads to a lifetime of accomplishments”  (Jessica Marorano)

Throughout the year in History/English I have learned many different things. The topics I studied varied in subjects and made real world connections. Each piece of work that was done in both classes was a continual process. Nothing was just done and over with. I worked hard with my peers in perfecting and editing my work to make sure that it was the best. I think I deserve a gold star for the completion of each assignment.

The most memorable topic of study in History was the playwright. I joined the school in the middle of the semester and when I came one of my first assignments was to write a play. This was one of my biggest challenges that I faced. I had no idea what I was writing nor did I have any ideas for a topic. Over the weeks I began reading my peers plays and began working with a play expert who helped me with a idea and sort of gave me a guideline of what to do. I worked hard and thoroughly for months and with dedication I eventually created a masterpiece. This project gave me an opportunity to express myself and display my creativity to everyone.  I think this play was one of the biggest obstacles that I overcame and succeeded with during this year so far. Click here to view the entire play.

One of the most memorable pieces in English was the Poetry Wiki. Each class period we learned about a poet and analyzed their poetry and got ideas for our own. We expressed many of our life stories and circumstances with our poems. Some poems like our found poems were totally made up of phrases and sentences that we heard throughout the day. This was one of the most unique poems in the entire wiki.

 Along with working with peers, we also collaborated with others. For a couple of weeks everyone was working with the Leah stein dance company. This workshop was during our freedom unit where we analyzed prison stories, read graphic novels, and most importantly worked with Leah to create expressions of art. This ongoing process was very different and quite interesting. We worked with the environment and with things that we see everyday to perform or tell a captivating story through our dance moves. Click here to view our process.

 “Creativity is the reason of ones work to express the power of ones mind.” (Sean McAninch)            

That is the general understanding I get when I am working. I am creating masterpieces to express the power of my mind. “Without struggle there is no thrive to work harder.” Everything during this year wasn’t so easy to accomplish. I think one if the most difficult projects for me was the Revolutionary Guidebook. Over a period of time we studied different revolutions then it was our turn to teach all about a revolution. I had the chance to apply all the knowledge I obtained and teach it to someone else as if they had no clue about the subject. That was a struggle for me because I had such a hard time getting my ideas across. I had a hard time explaining what I learned in a way that made it easier for others. Eventually I overcame that challenge, passing it wasn’t so easy.

In English we studied about crossing boundaries and passing. There were a lot of fun activities within that unit. My favorite was the Passing reenactment. We read the book passing then it was our job to reenact the scene and present it to the class. Making the video was really fun it was my first time collaborating with a group. (Click here for the video.) I worked hard with each assignment and I succeeded, each piece is wonderful. These classes has helped me get a better understanding of myself and the world. 

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SLA Philadelphia "Inquiry"

The Inquiry

The Philadelphia newsletter

Employ and Empower Yourself. Thats the message that 18 year olds, Anthony Torrance and Rashaun Williams were trying to get across to the public on June 2nd, this past Saturday. These young ambitious African-American gentlemen are co-founders of a non-profit organization focused on community empowerment, development, and integrity, that goes by the name of Phresh Philadelphia. They have been running this non-profit for more than two years now, and show no signs of slowing down. They feel that they “moved the crowd” with their sermons as well as their panelists that spoke to the youth (which were focused on ages from 15-18) about starting a business while still in high-school. The two young men felt very adamantly about starting a business at such a young age, and feel it has been their biggest crutch as well as their greatest asset. Nevertheless, they feel that starting a business early has more pros than it does cons.

The “Employ and Empower Yourself” conference that took place this past Saturday was done in partnership with OIC of America, which is another non-profit that helps to support and facilitate business. It was also done under the label of the F.L.A.S.H. initiative, which was created by OIC and revitalized by Phresh Philly. F.L.A.S.H. stands for Future Leaders Advancing Self Help. It originated as a group name in 1984, and was  positive message to the youth at that time, but didn’t get much recognition. With the promise to get F.L.A.S.H’s name out to the public, OIC gave the ownership of it to Phresh Philly in hopes to gather more youth to their cause. 

Going back to the event, it would be considered a huge success. At first the seats were empty, which worried the two gentlemen because they had put a lot of time and effort into making sure they were prepared to teach their audience. But after half an hour, the crowd started rolling in, and by the time the panel was getting started, the room had pretty much reached capacity! Three of the focal points on the panel was how to get a job and make money, how to start and maintain your own business, and how to get more involved with your community, all of which were thoroughly addressed throughout the seminar. The majority of the kids walked out with a new F.L.A.S.H. t-shirt to show off to friends and other members. 

When asked if they would do it again, Anthony responded “Certainly, this was only one of many events that will help our youth and get more young people driven and focused. We won’t stop here,” For more information, you can check their website and, send them an e-mail at phrehphiladelphia@gmail, or just attend one of their many meetings on wednesdays at Broad and Master.*

-Anthony Torrance

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Humanities Portfolio 2012

Main Understanding: Hard work and struggle can lead to creativity


Throughout the year I have learned about many different and controversial topics. Some of which I believe aren't part of the normal curriculum. Many things that we did included our own original play that was part of a controversial topic and many other things that are interesting, In the beginning of the year I walked into Mr. Block's History and English class thinking it would be a regular boring class and we would do what I did in a regular high school class. Instead of that I had a different experience. It was regular assignments and research but it was a hands-on experience to different things, like being a part of the Art in the Open festival.


Some of the topics that struck me as interesting were the lesson that we learned about the different rights to education, and the boy that refused to say the pledge of allegiance. We asked different essential questions about each of the topics that we were discussing in class. When we started the process out making our own play, I struggled because I had never done a thing, in actuality I never wrote much until this year. The first thing we did before we wrote plays were that we were to read plays written by the classes from before. After we had read plays and talked about different controversial topic that our play had to include. Throughout the process of writing it, we had much help by doing several activities that would immerse us into the characters that could be in our play. I had some trouble thinking about what topic I wanted to pick during the period that we were choosing. During that time, Kim Jong il died so I decided to do something with the country of North Korea. I strived to create a play following a couple with mixed feelings about the Leader of North Korea dying. I tried creating a story that could’ve been possibly be happening at that very moment.


Second Understanding: Change can only occur when there is support


            Throughout the year we’ve had many different assignments and most of those assignments required us to as another student to peer-edit each other’s work. Most of what I am proud of writing wouldn’t be what it is. This year we wrote a language autobiography on how language affects us. Seeing that I am Vietnamese, I know two languages. The difference from knowing an Asian language and English in my eyes is a big leap from knowing Spanish and English, or English alone. It’s a big leap because of the structure of the Asian language and the difference it makes. In my language autobiography I talk about how when I was younger I felt like an adult. I felt like any adult because of the responsibility that I had as the best English speaking person in the house. Another thing that we did that I help finishing up was the Poetry Unit. Inside this Unit we wrote different poems, with each poem having a different requirement, and constantly had our peers editing posting feedback about the specific poems we wanted. We asked our peers to support us we wrote poetry and made a specific page where we stored our different poems that we wrote at that time.


Third Understanding: Listening can help immensely


            Although I have listened for most of the school year, there are some bits and pieces here and there where I started to space out momentarily. One moment was when Mr. Block was talking about the Final portfolio, which is what you’re reading, I spaced out because I was reading different vignettes from the book “Finding Freedom” Another instance where I wasn’t in the zone was when we were introduced our podcast interview which was part of our Crossing Boundaries unit. This project was a group one where we all interviewed people outside of our school.


            This year has been very interesting, it has been weird but in a good way. I feel satisfied with what I produced this year


William H. Felinski: Rainwater Collection Unit, Capstone 2012

I built a rainwater collection, filtration, and storage device.  It is an innovative engineering product designed with a humanitarian focus.  The water collection unit is collapsible; capable of folding together into a small waterproofed backpack.  Made from weather resistant tarp, covered with a durable mesh netting, and suspended by rope tie offs the device is highly adaptable.  As a product the water collection unit provides access to clean water sourced from rain for campers, gardeners, and other sustainable activities.  However, the greatest purpose is as a combatant against water scarcity.  Applying knowledge from my service experience in the Dominican Republic, I decided my capstone was an opportunity to better the availability of safe drinking water to those in need and greatest effected by water scarcity.

Provided below is my keynote presentation used to defend my capstone.
William H. Felinski, SLA Presentation, Rainwater Collection Invention, Capstone 2012
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Humanities Portfolio 2012

Learning in challenging ways can help a person learn not only about ideas, but also more about themselves. This year in Mr. Block’s class there were many challenges that we had to overcome. I learned a lot of new things about my self because of that. When I think back, I realize that the whole year has had tons to do with challenges as well as identity. In many ways, the two topics were tied together. 

One big challenge was the language autobiography. That was probably the most challenging thing for me to do this year. The quote that started off my paper explains it all. “When I learned that I was going to have to write a language autobiography, I thought I was never going to be able to do it. I thought that I was doomed because I was taught to speak properly and correctly my whole life. When we were reading about people who had large opinions on language identity and what language was, I couldn’t relate to any of them.” This project challenged me a lot. However, while I was completing the autobiography, I discovered many things about myself that I had never thought about. This was the last bit of my autobiography: “Before this assignment, I never thought about any kind of language identity. I’m still not positive what mine is quite yet, or if I even have one. But I know that I am in the process of figuring it out. I might even have multiple ones. I do know one thing for sure though, I once thought I didn’t have a story to tell with language but now I know I have a huge story. It’s just still in the process.” As you can see, this shows how much I learned about myself while doing this project. I learned tons more about my background and even about my own opinions. 

Another challenge for me was the art in the open dance. When I first heard that we would have to dance, I hated the thought of doing it so much that I wished I could be absent those days. In my art in the open reflection, I explain my first and last thoughts about the whole process. “I was confident I could do something really good by the end of the weeks. Before going to the armory, I really did not want to do what we were doing and felt super nervous. After the armory, I felt confident enough to know that I could do it. I also was a bit more excited. The whole process happened in a way that was easy yet challenging at the same time.” The art in the open experience taught me a lot of things about myself. I learned that there are some things that, even though they seem impossible, I can accomplish. 

The other big challenge was the religion benchmark. We had to research two religions. I looked at the after-life in Buddhism and Christianity. When I reflected on the whole religion unit, I realized I had learned a lot about myself during it. Here is a part of the reflection I did: “I learned a lot in this unit. I basically did not know anything about religion before when we first started the unit. This unit taught me a lot about the differences between religions. I had no idea that many religions believed in reincarnation. I really enjoyed learning about different kinds of religions.” I have never really had a religion that I followed. I always hated being told what to believe. In a way, I have always had my own religion. Even then, before the religion unit, I wasn’t sure exactly what I believed. After the unit, I started to sort out my own beliefs. That let me discover much more of my identity. 

During my tenth grade year in Mr. Block’s class, everything was a challenge. Some were bigger than others but nothing was easy. I realize now, that to learn you have to overcome challenges and connect things to yourself. In doing that, you learn not only about the world but about your identity. You have to keep an open mind. Most importantly, you can not be afraid of challenges. You need to challenge yourself to learn about yourself. If you do that, your learning will expand in many ways. That is what I learned to do this year and I think that it will help me through out the rest of my education.

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Humanities Portfolio 2012

            In the beginning of the year, I walked into Mr. Block’s English and History classroom unaware of the amazing things that I would get to experience. This class changed my mindset about many things. I have had so many wonderful opportunities in this year. The top three things that I have learned this year is that hard work really does pay off, it’s okay to make mistakes, and there is art in everything. I really got to experience hard work and determination in this class. Along the way I made some mistakes. However, I got through them and found out that it would be all right. That is just a part of growing up. Then, I learned to see the art in some things that I would normally overlook. Mr. Block’s English and History class is a place where I grew as a person.

            I had never experienced the workload that I did in Mr. Block’s class before this year. I have high expectations and many goals in life. I plan on doing a lot with my life. I always say, “Make your life something that you will be proud of” (Roles, Rules, and Responsibilities Poem).  I wrote in the first poem for the year “Is it true that you can do anything you put your mind to”(Theme for English B remake). My work ethic has grown throughout this entire year. Mr. Block has really taught me that hard work pays off.

            With the large workload, I have learned that it is okay to make mistakes at times. While I was learning this we had to write poems for our poetry unit. We made an Ode to anything we wanted. I made my Ode to Erasers. I stated in that poem, “Erase the mistake you make”(Ode to Erasers). Later on in the year, after learning this valuable lesson, I wrote a thesis paper. I stated in that paper, “Erasing the past is key to finding the freedom that one seeks; but managing the past gives one the strength to move forward and find a new way of being free (History Thesis Paper).

            After I learned to calm down and understand that mistakes are made all the time, I learned to enjoy the art in everything. We did many projects involving art in Mr. Block’s class. The first project that we ever did was describing a picture. I decided to write about a picture of my family taken by me in Jamaica. At the end of the essay I wrote, “ I sat in front of the resort with one eye close and a camera up to the other. I realize what a beautiful moment with my family this was. And then, I took the picture”(Descriptive Picture Essay). This really taught me to see the art in something so minuscule that I would normally overlook.  This lesson came back to be when we danced for the Philadelphia Art in the Open Festival. I states in my reflection, “There were poles and walls that we thought we could work with” (Art in the Open Final Thought). With this project, I really learned the value of art.

            It is amazing how you can walk into something so blindly and come out with amazing experiences. Mr. Block’s class has taught me many things that I will use throughout my life. This year leaves me thinking of the amazing experiences that I have to come. 

Worlde-Final Portfolio

Humanities Portfolio 2012

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This year in my 10th grade English and History classes at the Science Leadership Academy, we covered a wide variety of interesting subjects. But out of all of these, the ones that stood out to me the most were the ones that focused on revolution and rebellions. I thought these were interesting because they really gave us a new perspective on how the world changes. Through these units I finished the year with a few different basic understanding. The first is that power is bought, not earned. The second is that human rights are often treated as human privileges. The third is that the needs of the many will always outweigh the needs of the few. 

When we first touched on rebellions, it was in the French Revolution unit. The French Revolution was possibly one of the bloodiest wars in all time and resulted in the people of France rising up together and killing the king and tyrant, king Louis XIV. We had one of our class’s famous historical role-plays, where each of us assumed the role of a key figure in the French Revolution, I personally got to play the part of Robespierre which I found very interesting because I got to be the villain. Here is a sample from some of the in role-play work.  “Hello, I am Robespierre I am a founding member of the committee of public safety. I was born and raised in Arras, France, and I grew up to join the Committee of Public Safety. I am a die-hard supporter of the revolution and will do anything to make sure it stays in motion. I think that if you are not for the revolution then you are against it. The grey area is for loyalists and cowards. Also discipline is mandatory for a peaceful society. While I looked at myself as a heroic leader, some of my people look to me as a tyrant.” When we each went around to introduce ourselves, this was the paragraph that I used. I feel like taking on the role of one of the characters really helped me to get a sense of what the French Revolution was like. As the Role-Play continued, people gave input from the point of view of their character. The Role-Play ultimately concluded that the politicians of the time were extremely corrupt and that the people of France had every right to rise up the way they did. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. 

This was not the only role-play that we had; another favorite of mine was the “Sweatshop Trials”. In the Sweatshop trials, we all assumed the roll of one the participants in the system of the economy. The goal of the sweatshop trial was to help decide who in the system was the guiltiest. The accused parties were The CEOs, the system itself, the factory workers, the U.S. consumers and the local governments of the countries that hosted a factory. I played the role of The System. Following is a sample of our work and was used as the opening statement for the trial “We are going to try to pin the blame on the C.E.O.s, we are also going to try to make examples of other companies that make a profit. We are also going to try to point out that we only suggest that a profit needs to be made, we don’t say how much or how to make it. And we can’t say how they spend it.” – Sweatshop Trial These role-plays were also great because we didn’t learn only one point of view, we got a good chunk of each side of the argument even the ones that are generally thought of as the bad guy. It also let us take a more in depth look at how manufacturing works and why factory workers are paid so poorly. The trial ultimately concluded that the CEOs were the guiltiest since they stripped people of their human rights and refused to accept any of responsibility or blame for it. We also learned that those who become super rich almost always start well off, buying their way to the top instead of earning respect.

In our English class, we read Lord of The Flies. In my opinion this book also shows allot about revolutions and rebellions. For our Lord of The Flies project we had to make a political ad campaign, and write an essay about the book. I chose the character Jack. I thought he would be the best leader since he actually has the best overall survival plan. Rather than sitting and waiting to be rescued he takes a pro-active stance and teaches the boys how to survive for themselves. However, the plot takes a dramatic twist late in the book and he goes from a leader to a tyrant. Here is a paragraph from my essay on Lord of The Flies  “Fear is one of the most powerful emotions humans experience, it has the ability to do everything from disrupt a relationship to destroy a civilization.  This is a common occurrence in both real life and in literature.  One of the strongest examples of this is in William Golding’s Lord Of The Flies, which depicts the downfall of innocent children into power hungry monsters.  By looking at Jack’s tribe, one can see any civilization will become uncivilized when its leader uses the peoples’ fear of something to control them.  It is important for one to notice this so that one can guard against it, and stay rational in the face of terror.” I enjoyed this project because we got to take a look at Lord of The Flies in terms of society forming and going through changes as opposed to just the survival of boys on an island.

Overall I think that my English and History classes really helped me to look at the world in new ways. We learned to look at things from everyone’s perspective. I think this is one of the most important things to do both as a student and in real life. Mr. Block’c classes changed the way I look at the world drastically and his lessons will stay with me for the rest of my high school career if not my life.

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Humanities Portfolio 2012

Looking back at my writing from this year, I really see my growth as a person. I formulated many opinions about how I view things and really solidified them with my research and classwork. I’m proud of every opinion that I have formulated from my work this year, and with this portfolio I hope to show some of the things i’ve learned.
Coming out of your shell, being open about your opinions, and getting out of your comfort zone really help you become more confident. One of the things that taught me this was a project called Art in the Open. Art in the Open was an incorporative movement project that we were assigned to do, we were given professional choreographers from the Leah Stein Dance company to work with. We had to make an incorporative dance in a specific environment, and I could tell by the lack of excitement and the mild annoyance on the faces of my group members that our project was going to be uncomfortable, but I was far from right. Stepping out of your comfort zone in front of people you aren’t familiar with, or people in general seems to be the worst possible situation for a 16 year old, But after a few days with this project my expectations totally changed. I felt proud to say my group had grown immensely. We all just sort of jumped out of our shells and began doing crazy dances and sharing our ideas, and much to my surprise we didn’t argue much, we worked really hard. The Leah Stein Dance Company members really helped expand our imaginations and took us into a new world of art. I remember thinking to myself “wow, this is really great” while finishing up our incorporative dance in the peaceful garden with people watching us. I was so confident with the movements, we all were. After our performance, I decided that people are afraid to experience foreign things; but if you never step out of your comfort zone, you will never know.
One should never be afraid to show who they really are. Whether through poetry, or writing, or singing, or speaking up. Marjane Satrapi’s book Persepolis was a huge contribution to my thinking in this way. The book Persepolis is not only a completely original autobiography of what it was like growing up in the iranian revolution, but it really gives you a feel for what Ms. Satrapi is like. One thing I noticed about her writing is that she seemed completely open about every mistake and detail that had happened in her life, which made her brave in my eyes. She was proud of what she’d been through to become the incredibly talented person she is today. She and Suheir Hammad really taught me what it means to be an independant woman.

We studied Suheir Hammad’s poetry in class and I was completely taken aback by her presence when reading her poems, and the flare she added to her writing that distinguished her from other poets. We were given the opportunity to meet Suheir Hammad in school and have a private session with her, and I signed up to go. I can only say that she truly inspired me to keep creating, and writing, and expanding myself throughout life. She told us that whatever we felt, we should turn into writing. That anything could be turned into writing, and even if we ever had to start from scratch it didn’t mean that we should ever give up. I was truly inspired.

What I ended up realizing was a quote that I found in one of my earlier journals in which I said “Originality is when everything has been done before. Then you become free to be whoever you want.”. Basically, what this means to me is that you should be comfortable in your own skin because life is too short to worry about being the first to try something, it’s a good thing to let your creativity shine through.

One of the major opinions I formulated was from our many global studies this year, which always made me question the systems/situations we have going on in the world. “Everything we do impacts the earth in some way” was a quote from one of my journal entrie. I remember when I was younger, I always cared about the earth to a large extent. Looking back at myself when I was younger I realize just how little I knew. One of the assignments that really educated me about the things being done to the environment was something called “The Pipeline Monologue”. This assignment was about an oil pipeline that would go through Canada and into the U.S., but was not necessarily safe. Me and a partner made videos and wrote monologues from the perspectives of different people involved with making the pipeline. In doing this, we got to formulate our own perspectives after having tried to have seen the situation from approximately 5 different perspectives.
One of the perspectives I wrote from was Hilary Clinton who was for the Pipeline. I personally was not, yet I wrote my monologue from her voice. “We need this oil, we need this fuel to ramp up our economy” I said from her perspective. (monologue link) Writing through someone elses perspective can help change or solidify yours, it helps you weigh different options before choosing one. Overall I was really proud of the work I did this year, I hope to continue expanding my learning throughout my years of highschool in the same creative ways we had the chance to do this year. To check out some of my journal entries from History and English click Here, Here, and Here. To check out my poetry portfolio click here.

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English Journal 40#

"Love is like the rain. It comes in a drizzle sometimes. Then is starts pouring and if you aren't careful it will drown you." -Edwidge Danticat,  Breath,Eyes,Memory.


Yes, Pretty Much. It's like living in a well too. Or it's like your love bieng in the well. If it overflows, Your love is dead. If it rains, you have to hope it doesn't overflow. you have to calm it by taking buckets of water out. I guess love is a losing game. You play for the rare beauty and chance of it working out the way you wanted, but you can likely be hurt. Love is pain.
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History Journal 34#

Define progress: Progress is moving forward and improving a system.

In your opinion was the industrial revolution a time of progress?

The industrial revolution was in some ways a time of progress but only for certain people. Racism played into who got the better cut of the progress. It also defines who begins working as a machine, and who's living to die. Many people had to live and work hard for someone else's happiness because they were told they had to.
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Humanities Portfolio 2012

At the beginning of this year I was given an idea about a descriptive essay. In order to be descriptive you have to study the object or scene and say each part using the five senses. This year in general has been a great experience it helped me figure out that everything is not handed to you. You have to earn what you can’t have. In order to be accomplished in life you must work. My teacher Mr. Block is both my english and history and he helped me understand a lot about both courses.

Throughout the entire year my work has been hard to understand. I wasn’t able to comprehend the new information that I was learning. So through the months I used deeper analysis. This analysis allowed me to  help understand things that we never thought were possible. Later in the year we learned about the renaissance, we has to discuss renaissance art and one statement I remember is, "Art existed just not on paper". This quote shows that If you think about art, art is something you can explain deeper than you thought you could. Even though a person could name colors or what’s on it, you can say how the person feels you can relate the picture to something in real life. An assignment that also stood out was Lord of the Flies. Leadership had a lot to do with the book. “A leader can only be one person but you need people to help you further”. Basically this quote shows what a leader is. A leader can not be multiple people. There could be different Leader(s) with an s. The reason why I say that there can only be one leader is because it does not consist of more than one person. The other people that you may feel is in power could be assistants but not at the same rank as the LEADER.

A lot of my work has been expressing how I feel. In order to express how you feel you need to know what you feel and telling that is  a challenge. Expression is used to show how a person feels without saying it. It’s like reading the mind but this time you read the body. This means expressing yourself without words could be stronger than expressing yourself with words. I wrote a letter to my parents about how I felt at times. "Certain things you say to me hurt my feelings throughout the day". This was to show i felt, but this was stated in words when I could have showed it. Certain are not meant to be shown because it makes situations worse. Anytime you express your self make sure it is meaningful so it makes a change. Back when my class did the French Revolution Role Play we began to thing people were cruel and that they showed respect for the cruelty. “he showed honor”. Honor, the way honor is expressed it to be bold out going showing your boss that you could do what no other man/ woman could ever do. To show honor means that you give respect not to earn but because you honor that person. it is possible that you look up to that person. The more honorable things you do the more respect it given.

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Mr. Block taught me a new way to write and speak and I think the effort that I put into the work really helped me. The only thing I had to do was try. Trying new things allows the person to feel accomplished after doing what they thought they couldn’t. In the beginning of the year we did some trial work like a court case and I quote that I have picked up from it is "But we would have also been imprisoned". Speaking on this quote, this could have been a new thing tried. Not everything your friends do is something that you have to do. It could get you in some trouble that you are able to get yourself out of. Back in 2011 Mr.Block gave us  a paper to do and it was the Language Auto Biography. I knew this was new to me because I actually got to discuss where my mom is from and how she speaks. “you feel the rhythm in the words coming out of your mouth”. This quote shows that you notice new things to. If you have never written about a different accent or dialect try it because it makes you want to speak in a way that everyone could understand. The only way to do that is to feel that rhythm in the words that are coming out of your mouth. Then you have to remember that rhythm.

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The Andormeda Strain and the Science Behind It.

​In our science class we took on the concept of a 10% project. Where an individual spent 10% of their time making something that interests them. For my 10% project I read a Sci-Fi book and looked at the scientific concepts behind it. The book I read was "The Andromeda Strain" by Michael Crichton. The book was about an extraterrestrial bacteria strain later named Andromeda comes to earth and devastates a town. Luckily a program was organized for this specific incidence called "Wildfire". Scientists then work hard to figure out what this thing is and how it works before it can cause public panic or devastation. After finishing the book I made a Powerpoint looking at the scientific theories and processes in the book. One of the most notable is the process of identifying, processing, and curing an unknown illness. One of the theories that played a big role is the odd man hypothesis. Both explaining the process of doing efficient scientific research and various forms of testing and experimentation. I furthered my knowledge by exploring the realm of biological warfare and incidences. This included the bio-chemical attacks rainbow agent attacks on Vietnam and the Anthrax Scare in 2001.

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Humanities Portfolo 2012

At the beginning of this year. the very first day Mr.block assigned us a paper “English B” were he wanted us to go home an just wright about us i was very skeptical about the year as the year went on we tested our artistic skills along with our creative skills. One of the main things we did was things with creativity in our individual minds let us express our personalities. like from my descriptive essay even’t thought i didn’t know it i had the idea of it from the very start of this year. when we were made wright a descriptive paper.”“Ok men now it’s time to force owe way into this crested place. Watch your step here there could be traps anywhere.” As I said that ten men fall into the dark abuse of death. “Well we came here we knew there would be losses now lets keep going.” As we turn the corner a large bone monster is floating at the bottom of a frozen pillar using a frost to stay in the air. ”Attack it” As we all charged in it yelled bone storm and started to spin like a top ripping throw any in its way luckily the rangers were able to kill him. As we reformed the team we plunged deeper into the citadel were confronted with more and more challenges. But the worst of all was when we need to get a war gunship up to the ramparts to continue thrown the citadel.” (Descriptive essay) this was a very different form of assignment it taught me that i didn’t need to follow a set structure for every thing and that no mater what i wright about it would be respected in the class as a whole. Another time that we showed our personalities through creativity was when Mr.Block had the Young Philly Playwrights come in and let us wright plays.Scene 3 Start- The Bounty.
(sitting around a campfire.)
Well Leo your skill has got better.
thanks hey Zack you never told me how you were hired to the staff of the castle i know you were made in to my guard by my father but there is not much more to the story.
its not a very impressive story.
I don’t care i just want to know.
when i was 12 years old i was poor and homeless i walked up the steps of a old Church that i had used for shelter but the members of the Catholic Church had started to rebilled it when i was out hunting when i walked through the door a member of the church grabbed me up and through me down the steps as your mother carried me to the castle. there she let me stay and serve out my life as a guard.

(Enter left Bounty Hunter)
Bounty Hunter-
well isn’t that a nice story to bad you will not get to tell it again time for you to die.

(Zack Draws his sword)
so the Catholic Church got a dog to do there dirty work!
Bounty Hunter-
dog is it? well ain’t that nice.
Leo go and hide.
Bounty Hunter-
You will not get away
(Bounty Hunter Draws his sword)
Neither will you!Time to die!
(The Battle Starts)
(Zack Dose Multiple power attacks)
(Bounty Hunter jumps back and deflects)
(Zack Charges at the Bounty Hunter Cutting wildly with the sword cutting the bounty hunters Armor)
(Bounty Hunter Calls for back up)
(bandits Jump out of the trees)
Bounty Hunter-now kill this fool and get the kid! a loud enraged voice.)
(Bandits all at once)-
yes my lord.
Fine then i will release my restraints. (Zack Rips his shirt opine and unhooks 2 heavy iron plates from his chest and takes his iron leg plats off.)
Now i can play for real. (His voice Drops in to a dark tone)
(the fight started up once more)
hes a monster.(looks back to the Bounty Hunter) were being distorted out hear you ant Payne me enough to get my men killed were falling back.
Bounty Hunter-
you try to run and i will kill you....ehh
you will all die if you stay!
All bandits-
RUN (as they start to run away the Bounty Hunter pulls a bow and start shooting them)
(Zack Charges past the Bandits Stabbing the Bounty Hunter killing him as the Bounty Hunter shoves a knife into Zack)
Scene 3 Ends (From my play wright)this a fun assignment that got us to express to the full existent of our minds our own personality with everyone doing there own thing we were abele to find a new personality for everyone. another main part of the year a struggle of conflicting ideas. like in my descriptive essay a lot of people were writhing about real experiences but i created a world to play with and made up people for it. Then on to the Dark Lord Gokuen. When we get there he was waiting for us when we charge agents him he starts to kill all the men we have. Then he froze me in ice. Then attacked Gottoms as they fought for a while showing a display of devastating power. As he stabs Gottoms in the chest freezing Gottoms internal organs when I broke free I charged him and throwing the sharp blade flying like a boomerang at the dark lord as he deflects it I see a flare burst out of it. Then I charging at him as we sit in the middle of the field fitting he cast a dark spell on me I feel a dark shadow looming over me as I cast a bolt as green and blue hitting him to the grown. I pull my sword out putting it to his neck. I sad to him “you aren't event worth killing you will suffer in a world were you can be killed.” as I walked away from him I feel a paralyzing feeling to my back I look back at him. I see him casting a spell with dark Aura swarming around his hands then delivers his final bolt to me as I fall I hear him say “ you were worth killing ha ha ha ha” and that's why I'm here in the after life now. As the game over sign flashes and I get turned back into Sean.(from my descriptive essay) this was a part that i liked and i feel like it shows a lot of description and like i sad this quote shows that my ideas were differing from every one showing that i was individual and i released that i was very different from the people in the class by just the way i wrote things and my opinions about writhing. another point in the year when we got to wright things to show our conflicting ideas was in my Language auto biography i had a hard time wright ing this because it was about real life and i was always better at writhing fictional stores.The way that we are required to code switch from one dialect/language to another from standard English to an informal way of speaking like when I'm playing games Online with people I talk in Text talk like “wtf”, and “lol”. But if I were sending an email I would type in full sentences. If I’m in an interview, then I would talk formally or if I'm with an adult that I know get angry if I don’t use Standard English when they’re talking to me in a formal manner. But with people I consider friends then I joke around with them when I talk with them. Most of the time when I just meet someone, I will speak with them formally until I get to know them and their personality.
Then I will code switch to see what type of tone I can talk with them in so they don’t get offended. Sometimes I find that it is easier to always talk formal new people I meet but I don't want them to think I'm not enthusiastic when they're talking informal. When I go to a new place I don’t talk much but when I’m where I usually stay I talk a lot. The way that I speak changes with the setting that I find myself in. but now that I'm getting more comfortable about talking in public.  Now I still don’t talk much but I still don’t talk much. I think it is because I don’t want sound stupid that is why I don’t talk unless I’m asked a question then I talk to them but at first I just stay and lesson to the way they act then I know if I can just say anything around them.
    I would never talk to people if it weren’t for my brother Ed. When he first introduced me to his friends I was shy and didn’t want to talk. But when I meet his friend Lonnie he made it clear that I was not just going to sit there. He in colluded me in all of the activities like playing “super smash bros brawl”. When I first met him I was really quite and Lonnie's mom nicknamed me shadow because I never talked and I just stayed behind my brother. (from my Lang auto biography) it was hard for me to wright this because i never really talked about my own talking habits and way i started to speak out more but this thing forced me to talk about it and made me learn from other people. that is what i experienced this year.
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Humanities Portfolio 2012

When I first came to SLA, I was completely unaccustomed to SLA’s different teaching style. At the end of my freshman year, I had grown used to it and vastly preferred it to the methods that other schools use. However, going into History and English with Mr. Block was a new experience for me entirely. For one thing, History and English classes were more or less mixed into one class we had twice a day. It wasn’t that Mr. Block would switch up what class we were doing that day, but we would work on things that could be applied to both subjects during both classes. For example, during our prison unit, we studied the history of prisons in History, and we discussed and read books on the subject of freedom in English. In another unit, we were reading the book Things Fall Apart in English, which is a historical fiction novel about a man in an African village and how his life is changed by European colonizers and missionaries. We wrote a chapter after the final chapter of the book, to show how we think the book would have ended if there were one more chapter. During History, we studied the history of colonization.

A normal class for us began with us writing a journal entry. Mr. Block would write a prompt or question on the board, and we would answer that question, or use that prompt to write something in our journal. Almost always, these journals would relate to what we were learning in class that day. After that, we would discuss what we wrote. The discussions we had in this class were some of my favorite parts of the class. We would read our journal entry to the class, then people would respond to what we said. Often, people would disagree with one another, and we would have a small debate. Our teacher would rarely talk during these discussions, except to call on another classmate, and we would only ever have to cut the discussion short because we were running out of time, never because we ran out of something to say. After our discussion we would either read something new about the topic we are studying, or work on a project. The projects we did throughout the year were very rarely a simple paper about what we were studying. Every one of us wrote a complete play, and submitted it to Philadelphia Young Playwrights. We made podcasts, and then made a radio show with similar to This American Life. We even created a site-specific dance piece and performed it to an audience during Art in the Open. Even the papers we wrote were more complex than simply analyzing a character in a book, or responding to a question about the book. We would take a larger theme or idea, and use the book to support our opinions about that theme or idea. For example, in my Lord of the Flies thesis, I talked about how power can affect people.

During my year, I learned many things. Along with learning about the history of the French revolution, and the Industrial revolution, and other events; I also learned some things about the world in general. One of the things I learned about the world from studying history and literature is that inequality is the main cause for conflict in this world. The majority of the world’s problems can be linked to inequality. If you look at the many wars and conflicts in our history, you can see why this is true. In the French Revolution, the royalty and clergymen and had almost all the power the in country, and two thirds of the voting power, so they rest of people, about 98% of the population, could not have any control over their country. They were poor and hungry, while the King bought very expensive jewelry for his wife. Because of this, they revolted, in one of the bloodiest revolutions of all time. Another example of this is the Arab spring. The people in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya, were unhappy with how their dictators could just torture and kill their people for very little reason, and how the government abused their people. They were unhappy with the way that the government and the dictators had all the power, and the people had none. They revolted, and kicked out their dictators, and while there are still problems in some of these countries; they are on their way to the democracy they fought for. It is interesting how the revolutions in the Arab spring took much less time than the French revolution. This leads to the second thing I learned about the world, which is that social change can be made more powerful through peaceful protest. The French revolution lasted about 10 years, and the revolutionaries used weapons and simply fought the King to take control of the country. In the Egyptian revolution, for the most part they simply protested and demonstrated, and there was very little fighting, except for military or government people attacking protestors. The revolution in Egypt lasted 18 days until the Mubarak stepped down. What this shows is that peaceful protest is much more effective than violent conflict. There are multiple reasons why peaceful protests are more effective. One reason is that when the government kills and attacks protestors who do not fight back, it turns the protestors into martyrs and victims. It makes their cause look better in the eyes of the world, and it makes the government of that country look evil. It also will make it so that if the protestors eventually win out, the country they inherit is not a warzone, but is more or less in the same condition as when they started. In the revolution guidebook that I made in History, I talked about what makes a revolution successful. While you can’t see exactly what I said, because the majority of this project was a presentation, you can see my bullet points about the subject. I learned many other things about the world in English and History class, but there would be too many to list here. Overall, my year in English and History was a very unique learning experience for me. The emphasis was not on grammar and spelling, or memorizing historical dates; but on our world and how we can make it better place.

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Humanities Portfolio 2012

“Language is more than just words that someone says. It’s as much of a person’s identity as is their name is.” This is my favorite quote I’ve written over the course of the year because it taught me so much about myself and it gave me so many opportunities. It is from my Language Autobiography. In that we had to write about what language meant to us. I wrote about my experience in speech therapy.

I’ve learned that hard work can make you stay up the entire night perfecting something, but when you get results you realize that it was all worth it. I worked so hard on the autobiography and my results weren’t just in a grade, but also I had a result from myself. I used to be afraid to put so much about myself out for someone to judge, but maybe it’s a good thing to put all my emotions out in my writing. From doing that in the paper I got the amazing opportunity to present it at University of Penn, where the adults had nothing but great things to say about mine and my peer’s work. I also got my quote put onto the mural my school did, so now in my work I don’t hold back anything.

We did a podcast project where we interviewed someone in our life and tried to get a story out of them. That was the most stressful project of the whole year because since I interviewed my little brother (10 years old), it was very hard to get a story so I had to edit it to make it into a story. I felt like it was not good enough but then when I got feedback it was all good so I realized that sometimes I am too hard on myself. From that I learned that in my work to take a step back and try to look at my work as if I wasn’t the one that created it.

At Science Leadership Academy we publish a lot of work so we have to take things more seriously because then there becomes no room for mistake. With the help of Leah Stein and her dancers we participated in the Art in the Open Festival.  We were split into six groups and told to find a location four blocks away from the school to prepare a dance. If we were not going to be performing for an audience, I feel like the performances would not of been as strong because then there would to a place for people to be able to make mistakes and play around a little more.

From the year we also wrote journal entries, ending the year with more than 100 combined in our English and History class. From these, they were not as stressful and we didn’t feel like they had to be perfect, until we were told to publish 3 of our favorites. It taught us that even if we don’t want to do something or take it seriously, there is always a reason that we still sound. My entries that are my favorite can be seen here, here, and here. They talk about art, life, and leadership, one of my quotes from them are,“​I learned that groups make decisions by leadership and strength.” (Journal 11).

Overall, this year has taught me a lot academically but also about myself.  I’ve done some great pieces of work that I never thought I could accomplish things and be so proud of my work. I learned about how my writing style is, which is that I like to do fact based papers compared to creative writing. Finally, like I stated above, I learned that going all out on my papers is not a bad thing. I feel like before now I didn’t like writing all that much because I was always holding back things that I wanted to add because I didn’t know if I wanted to take a risk and make things personal. 


Some other pieces of work from my year…

Pipeline Monologue

Descriptive Essay

Lord of the Flies Thesis Paper

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Rubens' Flame Tube

For my 10% project, I constructed a Rubens' Flame Tube and conducted a brief experiment with sound waves. A Rubens' Tube is a physics experiment that demonstrates the relationship between frequency, wavelengths, and wave speed. In the experiment, flammable gas is pumped into the tube and exits through a series of holes in the top of the tube. When the gas is lit, the flames rise out of the tube in a pattern that follows the vibrations of the sound waves through the gas. When no sound is played into the tube, the flames are all the same height because the sound pressure is equal. When a constant tone is played into the tube, a standing wave forms, which looks like a typical graph of a sine wave. Each musical note has a specific frequency, and the wave does not change shape because the frequency does not change. With a standing wave, we can measure the length of the waves. When music is played into the tube, the waves dance and change because the frequencies of the notes constantly change as the song plays. In my experiment, I found that the wavelength doubles when a note is decreased by one octave. By further researching the topic online, I found that the wavelength can increase or decrease depending on the gas inside the tube. Sound travels faster through the atmosphere than it does through the propane in the tube, and not at all through a vacuum.
Rubens' Tube
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10% Project!

Click to see my Project (: 
-For my ten percent project i made a twitter instead of a Facebook for a famous scientist. The scientist of my choice was Alexander Graham Bell. He was the inventor of the telephone. On the twitter i was tweeting about his accomplishments, and famous quotes. There is only a few tweets but when i talk about it there is more of an understanding. In the bio it tells you about who Alexander Graham is and his background of his life is. Also i tweeted a few pictures of him and also of his inventions he made other then the telephone. Alexander Graham bell was always taken to just invent the telephone but little do many know that behind all the research of the telephone he came about to create and invent other things such as a hydrofoil, a hydrofoil is a boat that is lifted slightly up fromt he water and acts somewhat like a plane would. While tweeting i didn't just make it like i was the speaker. Alexander Graham bell was actually the one who was posting, i made it so you would think that he was the one posting and all the tweets came from him perspective. I hope you enjoy (: 
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Hey Fire Stream, 
Field day is just around the corner and we need to kick some butt! 
Here is the place to post your ideas!
Maybe we can have T-shirts with a design on them?
Maybe we will do face painting? 
We need to talk about it because this is our last year and we wanna kick butt and look good doing it!

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Humanities Portfolio 2012

This year has seen me grow considerably. My ideas have matured a lot from September to June. Over the course of the year, I feel as though I’ve come across three general understandings that I feel are significant. They show that I’ve grown significantly this year.

            My first general understanding is something I’ve learned a lot about in history. I’ve come across many examples of how conflict is required for social change. Though I’ve realized that this conflict is most successful when violence is not involved. "The French revolution was a revolution in the way that it was carried out, and because of the results of the uprising. It was not however, much of a change for the better. The government in France changed but the difficulties did not end." (French Revolution Reflection) I wrote this after completing the French revolution unit in history. It seemed that the French ultimately didn’t gain anything meaningful after the uprising. My next example comes from my project How to Start a Revolution. I found many examples of successful social change in history that was mostly nonviolent. "There are many different methods of nonviolent protest. An effective one would to have women and children at the front of a demonstration, this would discourage any military force brought up by the dictator from attacking. Another is to humanize the military force by talking and interacting with them. This shows both sides that they are all part of the same country." (How to Start a Revolution) My last example comes from a journal entry I made pretending to be Galileo during his in-house arrest brought on by the church. I feel that he ultimately succeeded by complying and not getting himself killed. "I've resigned to comply with the Church. I’m tired of fighting this fight; it is better for me to reject my work then to die. At the very least I’ve contributed to the scientific community. Even if I’ve not enlightened the public, at least I can say that some benefit from my work."(Galileo Journal Entry)

            My next general understanding comes from a mixture of my classes of English and History. After out many discussions about the issues we covered I feel that the discussion helps me see the full issue. Discussion helps me see all sides of the argument. My first example comes from my Servant Point of View piece. My role was to see the issues that came along with the French revolution through the eyes of one of the lowest members of society. But as we discussed the issues at hand, I learned about all of the higher rungs on the ladder. "I'm just a servant, no one important cares about the likes of me. I just go about my day making sure the palace stays completely perfect. Everything around me costs more then I will ever make in my entire life. The royal family is a group of pigs! They make all the decisions so that they'll always come out on top." (Servant POV) My next example comes from my reflection on the Sweatshop trial we had in History. I realized after the trial was over that I’d begun with a very biased opinion on the matter. It was only until after it was over did I realize that I’d been ignoring half of the points that were made because they were made against my group. "I think that each group that participated in the trial did a good job of representing their organizations. It is especially difficult to do a trial like this when there are no clear victims or groups at fault. All groups defended their positions with relative success, even when they were more clearly at fault in the situation." (Reflection on Sweatshop Trial) My last example comes from my roles as Pope Urban the second during the religious role-play. I feel like the lesson from the French revolution role-play where driven home during this unit. "Hello, I'm Pope Urban the second. I became pope in March of the year 1088" (Religion Role-play)

            My last general understanding comes from the beginning of the year in English 10. I realized that writing out the stories of my life and describing my experiences gives me a fresh view. My first quote comes form my very first assignment. It gave me a vague idea of what I would be doing for the first part of the year. All I had to do was describe myself in a journal entry. "I'm 15 years old, born in Philadelphia/ Spanish is my second language, after 10 years, I'm fluent/ I play soccer, defense, and I work hard. In sports, and everything else/ I have a brother and a sister, I'm the oldest one." (Theme for English 2) Our next assignment that year was to write a descriptive piece about a painting in our house. I was given a new look at the painting after having to describe it in detail. Every time I walk past it in the hall I think of the assignment. "In the foreground, waves rock the two boats as they approach their prey. The men are experts, standing in the their positions, ready for action" (Description of a painting) To finish up the unit, I had to write a whole descriptive essay. In this essay I had to describe several different memories in detail. I think that describing them has helped me remember them more clearly. "As I sat inside, I heard my brother talking animatedly to my sister, to him this is a fun family-bonding treat. He smiles as he runs back and forth, helping the rest of us in the small ways he can" (Descriptive Essay)

            My growth this year has been gradual. But I can see it clearly just by looking at my work in the beginning of the year. My initial reaction is to laugh at myself from a year ago, or to feel embarrassed. But in the end I’m proud, because it shows how far I've come.

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History Journal 13#

1. how and why did religion change?

Religion changed from bieng something that people believed in, to what people identified with, to a world wide thing that everyone was told to follow. Nowadays, culture and religion are all together as one, and people have more freedom to believe in what they want. 

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International Cookbook

For my senior capstone I decided to create an International Cookbook because I was very interested in going outside my comfort zone. I love languages and I figured that if I could create something in which it helps me travel the world then why not? My partner, Amaris Romero, and I created and modified different recipes from various countries and I made tutorial videos on how to cook them. These videos can be found on my cooking channel on youtube. ENJOY! The recipes were AWESOME and tasty!

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