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M.Scuderi-Q2 Benchmark: The 10th Amendment, Education, & "US"

For our second quarter American Government project, my group (Julia Boyer and Natalie Sanchez) and I focused on the importance of the 10th Amendment of our Constitution and education. The 10th Amendment simply states that any powers not given to the Federal Government are for the States and if not the States, the people. Over the course of several weeks, we researched about our topic, specifically pertaining to education, and we gathered multiple sources and presented what we found most important and interesting in our video, which is based around the standards of the C-Span Student Cam competition requirements. The video itself is eight minutes and we wish we could have made it longer with all the material that we collected consisting of interviews, footage, and self reflective narration. We hope that you enjoy this video and learn a lot from it, especially the importance of the 10th Amendment to "US". 


*If you are having trouble viewing the video, go here. If the link to the video is not working, go here instead.

Project Self Reflection:

When I thought about the topics that I could choose from for this particular project, I first thought about the 2nd Amendment (the right to Bear arms), freedom of speech (the first amendment), and freedom of religion. However, when I reviewed these topics, I realized that the 2nd Amendment doesn't really apply to me at this time, freedom of speech is probably overrated as a topic, and religion would have been very simple and hard to put together at the same time for me. I chose to work with the 10th Amendment and education because it is a topic that directly relates to future students and my education as well. When I chose this topic, about the 10th Amendment, I focused on education and how it is changing and I really wanted to talk about how standard based learning and what is changing about schools is important to me.

The thing I liked most about this project was the fact that it was so open and that I didn't have to research the 10th Amendment alone, but rather I was able to extend my topic to a certain proportion of the 10th Amendment (education and the powers of the states). I found that editing the of the video the most challenging because my group and I had so much great material that we wanted to include and we were limited to only eight minutes of footage max. The hardest part of the editing process is cutting down certain things to the right size to try and fit what we ruled out as most important and most effective in delivering the message of why the 10th Amendment and education is important to us. Personally, the most interesting thing that we research and learned about was the No Child Left Behind Act and how it has in fact impacted our school and standard based learning. Mr. Sherif gave us a really outstanding interview that brought up some really great points. 

I believe that this project can be improved by more space for students to speak, including me. I sacrificed my position for more C-Span footage and ideas of other students and school officials and staff members in order to make the video no more than eight minutes long. This project could also improve by having more time to fit the things that we wanted to and I think that my group and I could have added more depth to each component of this project if we had more time. Some things that went really well with this project were primarily that materials and sources that we were able to collect and present in the video. My group and I collected a great number of rich resources that have proven very effective in out video. These sources were effective in delivering a clear message because they all coincidentally fell into place on the same topics very easily, thankfully. 

If we had the opportunity to do this project again, I would definitely cut out all the parts about financial crisis in our schools in order to preserve more space for ore effective footage that directly related to our topic. Another thing that I would have done was cut down some of the interviews with students and some of the C-Span footage with Obama speaking as well as the narration by Julia, which took nearly a whole minute in our footage. From the process and research that we conducted as a group, I learned a lot of material. I never truly knew what No Child Left Behind was until I researched it in this project and I never knew much about the standards that are pushed on the States by the Federal Government that if not accepted by the states, the Federal Government would cut funding. I never realized how much the Federal Government has schools in checkmate with finances and so we would have to adopt the standards imposed in order to remain functional financially. 

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Quarter 2 Benchmark: 10th Ammendment

For our second quarter benchmark, Natalie, Matt and I focused on the 10th amendment and how it relates to education. 
To view our work cited page, click here.

When picking the topic for our project, our group decided to find a topic that was easy so we didn't have as much to research and more time to get footage and make our project great. The 10th amendment and education stood out to us. All in all, I thought this project went well with the American Government class and making a documentary about something interesting made the project engaging. The hard part was working with the C-SPAN footage; while they provided us with a lot of material, I wish that I could have had access to the entire archive of footage. It was also difficult fitting our topic into the over-arching question: How does this amendment affect our lives? Trying to fit education into such a broad amendment was hard enough! But what we learned about our topic made the hard work worth while. 

The best information we received was from Gillian Cohen-Boyer, a member of the Dept of Education and a professor of education. She was eager to share her perspective on education reform with us but her interview via email was very challenging and slowed down our project enormously. Her answers, though thorough and full of good bits, arrived the night before the project was due in long, detailed paragraphs. Despite the setback, our group managed to produce a reasonably good documentary. I only wish we had edited so the story came through more clearly. But my education has increased during this project and that's all that matters! I now see the complex relationship between federal and state governments; it's, at times, icy and stand-offish-full of "blackmail" and polite requests with undertones of authority and warning. I also see how, as a student, I have little say in how I am taught due to the tug of war between federal, state and local governments. It's a terrifying and mesmerizing process.   
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Quarter 2 Benchmark: 13th Amendment

This is my project for the second quarter benchmark.  I talk about why the Thirteenth Amendment is important to me, why the Thirteenth Amendment utterly fails at the things it should defend, why I hate the draft/why I am terrified of the draft, and also why the Thirteenth Amendment is important to me.

Seems the quality dropped immensely in the conversion to .flv.  This doesn't matter very much, otherwise I would upload a higher-quality version elsewhere.

Works cited/footage/imagery used are in the credits of the video, and they are also here in MLA format.
C-Span StudentCam
If there's something that always resonated strongly with me, it was the draft.  The only Amendment that could possibly oppose the draft does not help, which makes it an interesting topic to investigate.  Also, the Thirteenth Amendment is the kind of strange and obscure thing nobody else would talk about, so I decided I'd like to do it.  I'm like an Amendment Hipster or something, and most of them are simply too mainstream for me to do a project on.

I have a strange fascination with/hatred of the draft, so that's always a fun thing to investigate and complain about.  My favorite thing to do for any project is always, invariably, to write the script.  People that are used to my work are aware that I have never once planned anything (I imagine they are also aware that I love italics).  It's a lot of stream-of-consciousness and unplanned ramblings that often come together and work, no matter how long-winded they are.  That is also a style of mine, to write for far longer than I should.  I feel like Richard Dawkins if he rambled on and on about unicorns and miracles rather than politics and religion.

The most challenging thing about this project, to me, was that I had no working microphone when I set out to record the lines for the project.  Every single microphone I own broke down in around the same time frame (my headset and built-in microphone both decided to stop working within the span of about three hours).  I was without means of recording for a few days, so I rewrote the script a good seven or eight times.  When I got a new headset, I decided I was not pleased with the script, and rewrote it a few more times, staying up far into the night to rerererererererewrite this thing and then record it, only to change it again.  And then I finished it.  So, I suppose the actual challenge was, when I had no means of recording and thus more time to work on this, I became indecisive and unpleased with my script and kept changing it for several hours.

If my built-in microphone worked, I would have personally appeared in the video a lot more.  I was not particularly in the mood to record myself and then lip-sync (and I was also not particularly in the mood to make a silent film, despite being related to the actor behind the one of the most famous silent film character of all time), and I have a distaste for documentaries made up of static images.  It's why I tried to fill it with semi-relevant clips, and is also the reason why I have such a horribly out-of-place video of me typing on my typewriter in the beginning (also, I just really wanted to show off said typewriter).

So, I think the trouble with this project was all of the technology issues and script issues I was having.  Other than that, it went pretty smoothly.  Of course, recording and script made up pretty much the entire project, so there wasn't much to go smoothly other than the final click of the button to export to Quicktime and be done with the thing.  I think the only reason I started to hate my script was because I had too much time to consider it and analyze its flaws over and over again, otherwise I would have had a product much earlier than I actually did.  However, I suppose it turned out for the better, since I think what I have now is an improvement over the original script and the thirteen or so scripts that followed.

I worked on a project earlier this year about the Espionage Act and how it practically trampled free speech like the stampede trampled Mufasa.  One of the historical events I mentioned in this project was the Schenck v. United States decision, in which the secretary of the Socialist Party told people to refuse the draft, which he believed was in violation of the Thirteenth Amendment.  Ever since I learned about that, I've been very interested in the Thirteenth Amendment and what it does, what it does not do, and what it should do.

I mostly spent this project expanding on knowledge I picked up when learning about the Espionage Act, but the most interesting new thing I learned about in this project was the O'Brien case, the one where the guy burned his draft card in front of some FBI agents outside of a courthouse (which is an incredibly awesome thing to do).  Listening to the audio for that trial was pretty fascinating, and the most enjoyable part of the entire project may very well have been learning that 1960s trials really sound exactly like they did in the black-and-white movies, right down to the voices of the actors.

Anyway I've written god-knows-how-many paragraphs and I have under two minutes, so I'm just going to end this here and say I've covered everything I think I had to cover, so we're done here.  Right?  Right.
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The Black White Girl


Zaria Fortson-Linton

The Black White Girl

One summer day, I decided to hang out with some of my friends ad we were talking about many different topis. The topic at the moment was about what we were afraid of. When it came to my turn to admit it, the conversation went from being good, to me being bashed.

“I am so petrified of squirrels! Just there presences is enough to making me sprint away from them in fear!”

My friend then responded saying:

“Why you always speakin’ wit that proper voice & those big words? Its like you tryna make everyone look stupid.”

“I am not! I just can’t help it. It is something I’m so use to doing.”

“Whateva! Tryna act white!”


This is the typical conversation I have with my peers. Most sixteen year olds my age like to use as much slang as they can. They tend to cut off certain letters and make abbreviations in texts. Since I don’t like to use them, I come off as a “Miss Know-It-All”, stuck up, or even white. Being known as a know it all or stuck up doesn’t bother me as much. The one that bothers me the most is being told that I sound white. For one, I can’t seem to comprehend how race has a language. I also didn’t know that using higher-level words that I am taught in school gives off the impression that I’m trying to be someone who I am not.


The worst part about this is that it isn’t just my friends who think this. Even my family views me this way. When I mean family, I mean cousins and aunts and uncles. You see, my mother, step-father, sister, brother, cousin and grandmother all live together, and we all use what people consider “White people talk.” Not only that, because we get really good grades and it’s been that way since kindergarten, that also gives them a reason to classify us as know it alls. I’m not saying that we are stuck up, but I feel as though this generalization is unfair. I feel like judging someone before you even get to know them, or judging them because you were taught differently then they are is wrong and unfair.

In the passage “If Black English Isn’t a Language, Then Tell Me, What Is?” by James Baldwin, he says, “…that language is also a political instrument, means and proof power. It is the most vivid and crucial key to identity: It reveals the private identity, and connects one with, or divorces one from, the larger, public or communal identity.“ 

This quote is something of which I disagree with. Basing the way someone talks is one of the worst ways of trying to get to know and better understand someone. Judging someone before you get to know this is terrible.         

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Quarter 2 Benchmark: 19th Amendment

This video was created following the guidelines for C-SPAN's StudentCam project. 

I worked with Thea Farah and Rita Willard.

If the embed isn't working, check here for a link!

At first, my group wanted to look into the ability of the president to veto bills. However, we couldn't find vetoed bills that really affect us. Instead, since our group was all female, we figured that the amendment that most directly affected us was the 19th. Once we picked a topic, our lives got a bit easier! We did have a lot of trouble choosing a method of storytelling. Although I do really like the freedom we had to pick our method, so long as it fit in the video, we ended up brainstorming for far too long and didn't have as much time to produce.

Although I appreciated that the project was formatted after the C-SPAN documentary challenge, I think that a slightly altered assignment could have been better for SLA. Maybe we could have chosen whether to create documentary videos or some other form of presentation – videos tend to be just as much about editing as about actual information. We could have had more restrictions on how much history we had to put in. My group did a lot of work on finding the history of the 19th amendment, but didn't include much of it in our project because it didn't fit with C-SPAN's requirements.

As we prepared to create our video, we found plenty of drama in the fight for women's suffrage: a constitutional amendment was brought to congress for 40 years in a row before it was passed, women wrote a "Declaration of Sentiments" that is a pointed reference to the Declaration of Independence, and more. The one point that I found most interesting was the story of the ratification of the amendment. In the end, it all came down to the vote of a single senator within Tennessee. He was in his 20s, and ended up voting for women's suffrage partly because his mother wrote him a note and told him to do so.

In the end, I liked our final project. However, I don't think it thoroughly reflected all that we learned. Instead of telling the story of the amendment, we had to think of ways to explain why the right to vote matters to us. I think that we ended up successful because our video definitely explored the reasons that the 19th amendment matters, and even tied in those reasons to the history of the amendment and an international perspective.

My group specifically ran into a lot of trouble with the scheduling and technicalities of collaboration. We had to get the video from computer to computer, and weren't able to find time to all work together at the same time. Even when we did all work together, we ended up unable to work efficiently. I did enjoy working with the group, though, because we all brought different ideas to the table. If I had to do this project over, I think I'd want to start getting video earlier. That way, we would have been able to add more pictures and other edited pieces, and I think our project would have been richer. However, I did like our overall project, and am proud of my work.

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Above the Influence by Chelsea Starks

What is your product? What is your message?

My product is an Above the Influence commercial. The message I am conveying to my audience is don't drink and drive.

Who is your intended audience?

My intended audience are young adults between the ages of 21 and 30

Why do you think this is an effective way to reach your audience?

I think this is an efective way to reach my audience because in that age group most listen to the radio and don't really change the station when a commercial comes on. It's easier to reach this target audience that way.

If you were to to do this again, what would you change about your BM?

I think I would make the arguments stronger in such a way it stays realistic but there's more emphasis on the point I'm trying to get across. Overall though I'm proud of my finished product. :)
Above the Influence (English)
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This is the result of the 'Copy a picture' project thing. The picture is of a masked man named Hakumen, from a video game called Blazblue, Continuum Shift 2. I never played that game, but I do love the character designs on it. 
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New York & New Jersey vs. New York & New Jersey

“New York & New Jersey vs. New York & New Jersey”


"No, you’re wrong it's New Jersey and New York, now you say it"

"Ard, I got chu new jewsey and new ywok"

"Sigh… pero por que tu segi desiendolo haci?"

“what chu been por que? Haci es como yo hablo?”




People nowadays are just so quick to fix someone else up when really there's nothing that's broken. People want others to speak what they consider and accept as "normal" when really it's just one of millions of ways to talk. For an example, when I'm talking with my brother he says that I sound like I'm from Brooklyn or if I'm Italian when honestly I don't It's just the way I talk. It's kind of stupid that people want everyone to talk like how they talk. Everyone is different in everyway. But, then there are some people that take it to a whole other level even though it's not that deep. Just because one say certain words how the majority of people say them doesn’t mean the whole world need to say it the same way. When I'm having a full conversation with different people they all say that I talk weird because I speak both Spanish and English at the same time and I be pronounce things differently than others. For an example some words that people say that I always say wrong when I know that im saying that they are right are, “Inevitable”, “Congratulations”, “talk”, “New York”, and “New Jersey.”


When I'm speaking to my close friends I also switch back and forth using both Spanish and English to talk to them. When I'm talking to my friends when we go to the corner store and we all are making fun of each other or something we always switch from Spanish to English. So when I talk people say that I talk really weirdly because I apparently talk “Ghetto”, like an Italian, and Spanglish. Im always having somebody correct me and I get annoyed because I know that im right and it’s just the way that I want to pronounce them.


“Ayo, por que tu siempre esta hablando haci. You saying that the way that I tolk is wrong when u can’t even pronounce have of the words you is saying.”

“Si pero like you say New York and New Jersey like a whole italian boul or if u from Brooklyn when u is not and u talking like one of the drugies around here.”

“I know im not cambron pero that’s the way I talk and I don’t get it, why is it wrong like how is it wrong”

“Porque tu nunca oyo los gentes aqui talking like that, you talk like a whole nut daawg”


The conversations would be full of argument about how we both talk and the pronunciation of words ect. Also, I think that I am the only person that talks the way I do because I haven’t seen anyone else talk the same way. Like, the combination of English, Spanish and the Italian accent and Brooklyn accent. When im having a long conversation with someone they realize it imitaly and the point it out. Then that’s were it starts the argument of how Im just talking normal and they say that it is not normal and they begin to correct me and talk slow for me and they just cant because I don’t know how else to say them. So, I have im guessing a few accents mixed into one.



Now another example is when im talking on the phone to a company and I start talking how I always do my mom would get mad because I sound like im talking “ghetto” or “dumb” when really it’s just the way I talk. Why is it that when we talk there is a “smart” way to talk and a “dumb way” to talk. Shouldn’t talking just be Basic English everywhere we go and not be judge by how we pronounce words or the accents that we have. So I think that I could relate to “Tonge Tied” a lot because in the story there was a quote that said “She didn’t understand black language. I stood their nervous and sweating I did not know how to react or what to do. I couldn’t run away, I couldn’t breath, I could not even swallow.” This quote explains how I feel when people give me a weird look, or ask me about what I just said.


Another quote that I could relate to from the same story is when it say’s “there are different Spanish’s. “Every Spanish speaker waits and wants to hear what kind of Spanish you use. If u mess up a lot of words or the pronunciation of a word you are look down at and they will think that you weren’t raised right or you grew up in a bad neighborhood”. I have this feeling all the time when talking to my mom friends or when talking to my friends because I don’t want to make a mistake I want to speak as perfect as they do but it’s hard when I talk the way I do. If I were to pick a thesis for this story it would have to be “Everyone’s a critic, always ready to judge one’s language and style.” Why I decided to pick this thesis was because I think that it’s true how no matter what race, age or sex one can be are there’s always someone ready to judge the way you talk and will look at you differently once you open your mouth and that reputation will always follow you because of the first time you talked to someone they will always have some kind of word to describe you.






Short story
The monotone countdown began. The 10 ton structure sat glimmering in the Key-West sunlight. The radio chatter began to stop. “Fifteen, Fourteen, Thirteen, Twelve, Eleven, Ten, Nine, Eight, ignition sequence start.” Raymond could not hear the rest. The craft violently began to shake. A heavy bass tone rung from the depths of the craft. The liquid oxygen fuel ignited with a massive red fire cloud. The flames were sucked within the base of the structure. The count was now on 0 however the crew could not hear the radio over the violent reactions of the engine. At the negative four count the craft lifted, First ten feet, then twenty, then the tower was clear soon after that. The craft rose a greater and greater speeds. Breaking the barrier of sound. “That was some little jolt”
spoke Raymond. Ray flips various switches preparing for the next stage. The three manned crew prepares for OSS(Orbital Sleep Systems). As the crew travels for six months they will be asleep for the entire trip. As they step into the pods the countdown begins. At zero the massive liquid oxygen fires in a jolting motion setting a telemetry for the crew.

Raymond’s heavy eyes slowly begin to open. He is pleased to see paul the missions captain moving about within the module. Raymond spoke to paul, “wow six months of sleep, and I still feel like shit.” “The OSS will do that to you” “Should we wake up dave?” Raymond asked. “He will wake up on his own, but you can help me establish a radio signal with mission control. This signal keeps relapsing in and out.” Raymond Takes his seat. “Lets take a look out these windows first.” The large steel covered windows slid with much friction and vibration. Staring back at the crew was it, the red plant! The three crew members were to travel down the the planet and replace the soviet crew already on the IMS or International Mars Station. Raymond hailed  signal from the Station. “Good morning comrade, this is group system 576 here to relieve you of your duty.”
The soviet responded, “How vas da ride, a little bumby” the soviet chuckled in a heavy russian accent unlike the rest of the crew.. “ You are clear for landing system 576, we are glad to see you”. “ Any contact with earth?” Paul asked. “ We have some bad news” the soviet replied.

The full awakened crew strapped into the cockpit begun the decent towards the red planet. In total orbital free fall with no control of the craft they lowered. building more and more speed. The Altitude meeter reduced. “Three, Two, One” A massive push in the opposite direction. The reentry pyros, fired with 2 million pound thrust. As the thrust backed off, the craft slowly lowed the remaining three thousand feet. A swift clinch of metal as the arms locked together to complete the docking process.Paul looked at the crew and smiled, “We are hear, finally” After a few beeps and buzzes the airtight locking door opened sighlently to the IMS, The other side just 2 cosmonauts, Yuri and Sergey. Both Yuri and Sergey pale as ghosts stared back into the eyes of the american crew. David shouted ”Good morning, we are so glad to meet you and to be aboard the IMS” The american crew continued into the IMS, hugging the soviet crew. Yuri shot Sergey a look. They whispered amongst them selves. “Do they not know” “How could they know” “They need to know”. “Have you been able to reach a signal from Houston or Moscow” asked Raymond. Yuri patted Ray on the back, “please sit, all of you, much needs to be explained”

“Twenty-seven days ago it began. We began getting radio relays from moscow telling of the american threat. A terrorist attack on moscow occurred within soviet russia. America was to blame, how ever it was never proven. Russia responded Air attacks to america and the whole world turned for the worse. The last transmission we received from moscow, it read “Do not trust the NASA astronauts” the rest was garbled” We have lost all communications since then. Seven days ago these images were relayed to us by scavenger seven a satellite above earth. The pictures show 3 distinct cloud masses over the us and 5 distinct cloud masses of western russia. These cloud masses were those put out by a nuclear explosion. So quickly terroristic accusations turned to total joint destruction.” The american crew back away, and stared at each other for a good few minuets. They looked back at the soviets in disbelief and anger. Paul spoke for the group,”it would be in both our interests if you left this IMS as quickly as possible.” Paul turned back to raymond as he began to whimper for his now deceased relatives and friends back on earth. Yuri and Sergey both moved the shuttle, which was to return them to what as left of earth. Sergey moved to on of the various control panels,” Im stirring the Oxygen tanks 3 and 4 before we leave, they are low. As the button was pressed a loud ripping noise rang through the ship. As if bare sheet metal and steel was being ripped easily like a piece of paper. The IMS jolted around, and artificial gravity was lost. David poked his head out of the room where the american sat. He shot Sergey a look, screaming “what was that!” Paul pushed out of the room “what in the hell did you just do” Sergey responded” I stirred the tan----paul cut him off “you what, I need a damage report” Back up generators kicked in restoring gravity. The americans kept hawkeyed on theSoviets, David said “you were the last to tough the panel, what happened, you have stirred those tanks , 300 times and it just decides to go faulty now, and how convenient for it to go faulty just as you were leaving.” Your not suggesting that we, on no, we would never” Yuri responded. “They hell you would” Raymond answered. The computer responded with a damage report. Leaks in main oxygen supply. Crew survival rate 0% in 4 hours. “We have four hours to live” whispered David. Sergey between is fellow crew mates stood up. We would never sabotage this IMS, not because our countries are at war with each other, they are on earth we are on mars, to different set of values, we need each other to survive, now more then ever.” Paul nodded. An hour proceed with silence in the ship, each crew packed and boarded the shuttle home. At 0900 hours they were ready to leave. Each party still disgruntled with each other, watched there backs. As they packed into the shuttle the locking doors enclosed them. A light push and the shuttle left the station and pushed the craft into mars orbit. Yuri turned to Paul, “to get home faster we could you LWS.” Paul answered back, your crazy Light warp speed has never been tested  before!” Mid sentence Yuri flipped the switch, with out crews consent. They were wisked away at the speed of light. In only 3 min the capsule reached earth. Paul disoriented from the speed, passed out along with Sergey. the capsules quick decent through earths atmosphere was approaching. Faster and fast the capsule fell, almost ripping the craft apart. Staging pyros begun, spinning the craft in the opposite direction. parachutes opened. Splash down. The capsule hit the water at roughly 30 miles per hour. The windowless cockpit revealed little to the crew before opening the gate. Yuri pulled the hatch release button, and the door blew off. An orange swirl of death and destruction over took the crew. Black and red clouds as far as the human eye could see or the soul could bare. The Earths oceans was slightly boiling and vapor was rising, black rain was failing.

Raymond's eyes opened, “How was that six month sleep, welcome to mars, what did you dream about?”.
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Tickets Available for the 2012 Rocket to the Stars Silent Auction

Please save March 23, 2012 for an adult-only evening of food and fun at the THIRD ANNUAL ROCKET TO THE STARS Silent Auction.  This year's event will be at the Chemical Heritage Foundation at 315 Chestnut Street in the Old City neighborhood of Philadelphia.

This fundraising event is Home & School's biggest of the year. Funds raised go toward school trips, sports equipment, fees for science fairs, field trips, SAT prep classes, and SAT applications, music programs, clubs, painting & repair of the school interiors, and supplies.

Buy your ticket(s) online today through the Home and School's Paypal Account!

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May I Have...

  “May I the have the turkey club without bacon?”
“Sssr Hun. Would you like some wooder?”
“Yes please with lemon.”
I did not know it then, but the way I speak has a big impact on how the world views me. Some people might think I’m rich or something because I speak “proper”. Some people think I’m sucking up or trying to act superior.
“Why you talk that way? Are you White?” I usually ignore them because I don’t really talk all that differently then they do. In fact I talk the same way they do in a language called English. You would think people with an accent would have a hard time fitting in But for me its the opposite. My lack of accent is what makes me standout for better or worst. When in the “hood” some people think it’s uncool. When out in the street some people look at me like “ I didn't know black people could talk” I think I have always talked well, but never in a dry NPR kind of way. I have an accent apart from my “white” or Philly ones. It is my accent picked up from living with a crazy family, and hours of watching Star Trek.

When I was little I loved using big words because if you did people would listen. Strangers would upon meeting me exclaim how smart I was, telling my mom I should get tested as if she did not know me. My big vocab at a young age also got me into trouble. For example in kindergarten a fellow classmate was talking to me about animals.

“ My favorite animals are cats and dogs and fish and...”

I knew a lot on the subject and chimed in.

“ You know you’re a animal”

“No I’m not,” she said loudly

“ Yes you are, you’re a mammal”.

At this point she had enough of my blasphemous tongue, so she ran off to the teachers. “Khari called me a mammal” It took the teachers a while to calm the child. Then they want me to say sorry to her, for what I thought, but gave a half hearted one anyway. Now I know this is taking it a bit too far but people seem to be insulted with certain language when the meaning is unknown to them. It holds some weight over their heads. One must first take in account the place where people come from in order to communicate.


I used to feel that in order to be understood I had to change the way I talked depending on where I was. I didn’t want them to judge me by the way I spoke. So I try to sound less like me and more like the people I was trying to fit in with. This reminds me of a quote in James Baldwin If Black English Isn’t a Language, Then Tell Me What Is. He says, “What joins all languages, and all men, is the necessity to confront life”. This fear of being left out or being seen as an outsider brings to mind “the necessity to confront life”. For that is all a language is, a way to describe life. So that being said the language of others I used to fit in, was not reflecting my life. I want to not lie to people with my voice, I started to talk normally and use “big words”. The dreaded insults came back, for a little while anyway, but over time they got bored with the teasing and got used to my voice.



Looking back, it feels rather silly to try to sound like someone am not. However the reasoning behind the action was sound. With so many people in the world trying to fit into social boxes, it is hard to say true to yourself. I might have stopped trying to sound like other, but there is still pressure to be like them. So keeping in mind “the necessity to confront life” I must make sure I’m true to mine.  





Epic Search

​Gabby Nigro, Chelsea Smith, Aja Wallace, Dylan Cordivari, Alisa D.

This is the first project of the year in Dig-Vid class. We worked in a group of five and had to come up with a short film that had a protagonist and an antagonist along with supporting characters. We learned how to work the camera, along with different shorts and created a story board and a script. Then after all the filming we took what we filmed and learned how to edit and finalize it using Final Cut Pro. 

This film is about a group of homeless people on a search to find something to eat. They haven't eaten in days and starting to go a little bit crazy and will just about anything to get their hands on food. They come across a snobby well off women and make some serious decisions that turn out to benefit them. 

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Mind Esacpe

Andy woke up to another rainy morning in Quillayute, Washington. He slipped on his jeans and stomped his feet into his rain boots. He drug himself over to the bathroom to brush his teeth.  Andy never brushed his hair. He thought it would make him look like he tried to too hard.   

“Andy you still aren’t ready?”, his mother hollered.  

He snapped back at her, “Chill out Mom. I’ll be down in a sec.”  

Andy trudged down the wooden steps of his back stair case, moaning and groaning as he stepped into the kitchen. 

“Don’t forget you have to be home right after school to help Grandpa with his storm door. I made waffles; they’re in the toaster,” his mom said without taking a breath. 

“That doesn’t mean you made them. It just means that you put them in the toaster.” 

“Either way, they’re toasting! Eat and leave for school. I’m going to work  now.” 

She gave him a quick peck on the head and rushed out of the door yelling, “I’ll be home before 7!” 

“BING!” The toaster screamed and the toast was in front of Andy instantly. He munched down on it in three quick bites and left for school. He walked to his girlfriend’s house so they could catch the school bus. Just like he did every morning. 

He walked up her front patio, knocked on the door, and waited for Clara to come out. 

She stepped out of her house saying, “Hey And-Man,” a pet name she had for him, “did you catch any Z’s?” 

“Barely. All I could hear was thunder.” 

“Me too! Luckily we had a hard volleyball practice so I fell asleep fast.”  

“I’m jealous. I will most definitely be sleeping in all my classes today,” Andy said has he reached his arm around Clara. 

During gym, Andy went to his locker and the locker door met his hand. Mark Efritt, Andy’s sworn enemy, began to walk down the aisle he was standing in. “What’s going on Handy Andy?!” 

“Seriously Mark, leave me alone. I’m not bothering you so stop trying to bother me.” 

“Oh but you are bothering me! Just seeing you here is bothering me.” Mark proceeded to grip Andy’s arm as if he were to yank him away from the locker. Andy pulled his arm away from Mark. 


At that moment a chair flew across down the aisle of the lockers right towards Mark. Mark was able to catch himself in time in order to not be hit by the chair. He fell to the ground and scurried away. Andy didn’t even understand what was happening. He  had no idea where the chair came from. He knew no one else was in the locker room besides him and Mark at the time. 

“Did I do that?”, he thought to himself in astonishment. Andy decided that he needed to go home and get out of school so he could calm down. He grabbed his things and ran to the nurse’s office to fake sick in order to get home quick. 

Once Andy got home, he sent a quick text to Clara, “Come over after school. Not feeling well & left early.” Andy’s mind was racing though. How could a chair just take flight if no force had touched it? He couldn’t wrap his mind around it. Andy clicked on the television to try to relieve himself from his wandering mind. Of course, during the middle of the day, the only thing playing was old comic cartoons about super-heroes.  

Andy sat up in bed and looked around. His eyes stopped on his door. He focused on the closed door. Then suddenly, the door was open. Andy tried searching for another object to move. His eyes settled on his boot. Again, he began to focus. The boot flung across the room and hit the wall. He knew it. Andy knew he could move things with his mind. 

“How could this be? I don’t understand how something like this could happen. Should I tell anyone? Definitely not my mom, she won’t understand. Clara? She might get freaked out though!” Andy was pacing around his room trying to figure this out. He heard the front door creak open. From downstairs Clara called up to him. 

“Andy, I came right over after school to make sure you were all right.” 

“Yeah, I’m feeling better. You can come up.” 

Andy began to get really nervous. He didn’t know if he could exactly control it. Clara came up the steps and into his room. 

“Hey big man, what’s going on?” 

“Not really sure. I just felt nauseous and I couldn’t focus at all in class. I felt like I was gonna pass out.” 

“Were you able to get any sleep?”, Clara said as she walked over to the bed and sat down. 

“Not really, just watched some toons,” as Andy followed her lead. 

“Well why don’t you lay down now and try to get some rest. I have to get to volleyball practice soon.” 

Andy didn’t say anything to Clara but was trying to be very cautious about his actions and temper. A few weeks passed and everything was fine. 

Andy began to notice there was a new kid that had just moved into town. He seemed quiet and not very friendly. The next day, Andy saw him in the locker room getting ready for gym. Andy thought it would be nice of him to say hi and introduce himself. 

“Hey man, my name’s Andy. Welcome.”

The boy glared at Andy and finally just said, “Hey.”

Andy thought it was very strange how the boy reacted but didn’t pay any mind to it. He saw the boy more and more. He had no idea who he was. Andy had seen the boy again in the locker room and thought maybe he’s just shy. 

“Hey, I think we got off on the wrong foot. My name is...” 

“Andy, I know.” 

“Right, I guess I did tell you that last time. So, what’s yours?” 


“Where did you move from?” 


“Oh, so over seas! That’s pretty cool.” 

Hank didn’t even look Andy’s way and left the locker room. Andy thought there was no hope in trying to get to see who this kid really was. He decided to put it behind him. 

A few months had passed and nothing seemed strange. Andy was very happy and surprisingly, his relationship had gotten better with his mom. He thought that maybe it would be okay if he told her about himself. 

That night at dinner Andy said to his mom, “Mom, I have something to tell you.” 

“Are you on drugs or something?” 

Andy gave a little chuckle and said, “No Mom, but you might think I am after I tell you this.” There was a long pause before Andy told her. “I can move things without touching them.” 

“I don’t understand.” 

“If I focus on an object, I can move it.” 

“Ha-Ha-Ha, very funny Andy.” 

“I’m not kidding! Watch!” Andy immediately looked at his glass of water and began to focus on it. Within seconds, the glass slid slowly down the table to his mom. She was dumbfounded. She had no idea what to say. 

“Andy, don’t do that again. You’re freaking me out.” His mom got up from the table, put her dish in the sink, and walked into the living room to watch TV. Andy just got up and walked out the front door. He wanted to tell Clara what had happened.  

He walked up her front patio like usual and knocked on the door. Clara answered and let him inside. Andy stepped in quickly and they went into the basement and sat down.  

“So, what happened with your mom?”, Clara said quickly. 

“I told her something that I don’t think I should have.” 

“What do you mean?” 

“I told her I can move things without touching them.” 

“I thought super heroes and like villains only did that stuff.” 

“Well, apparently I can too.” 

“I’m sorry, but that’s a little hard to believe.” 

Again, Andy preformed the same thing for Clara as he did with his mother. Clara herself couldn’t believe it either. “Andy, maybe your mom is right.” Andy simply got up, kissed Clara on the forehead and went home. Once he got home he went straight to his room and went to bed. 

Andy woke up with the sound of a knock at his bedroom door. He checked the clock quickly. The clock read four in the morning. Andy rolled over and pulled the covers up to his head. He then again heard a knock on his bedroom door. He  used his mind to open the door not expecting anything, but standing there outside of his bedroom was Hank. 

“HANK!? What are you doing in my house! Get out!” 

“Andy, you don’t understand what you’ve done. They’re coming for you. You need to leave now.” 

“What are you talking about ‘they’?” 

“The other talented ones.” 

“I have no clue what you’re talking about. 

“They are on their way! We must leave write a quick note to your mom. Leave anything precious to you here. And don’t bring your cellphone. I’ll break it. You need to make it seem like you ran away.”  

“Can I at least say goodbye to Clara?” 

“I’ll take you there for a few minutes. But you can’t wake her up.” 

Andy quickly grabbed a bag and threw in as many clothes as he could. He grabbed a pad a paper and jotted down a few lines: 

I decided I must take some time to figure some things out. Please don’t come looking for me. I’ll be home soon. I’ll be safe. I love you.  

Hank and Andy left the house and went to Clara’s. Clara was fast asleep. Nothing would wake her up. Andy wrote down another note to leave Clara: 

I love you more than anything. I need some time away from here. I’ll  come back soon. Please don’t worry. Don’t forget me. 


And with that, they were gone. The other talented ones were hunting for a person  that had the ability of mind control to add to their team. But this was no ordinary. Each member had a special power that all together, they would be able to bring pure destruction to whom ever they chose.  

Andy’s mom woke up the next morning and found Andy’s note. She did not make a big deal about is but simply tried to understand. She kept her hopes up and did not try to search for him. She stayed right where she was just incase Andy would need her. Clara for a long time was confused and didn’t understand what happened. She continued to hope that Andy would come back one day. 

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Internet Sculpture

11/21 - 12/2

Internet Sculpture

Best project of the year is this project. The project where we found a sculpture on the Internet and copied it. I found a dress made out of new paper. I got really excited, but I had to think how to make it. I took a cardboard box, and bent it so it can fit around my waist as a skirt. So then I grabbed a stack of new paper, and grabbed some glue and pencils. I stuck the pencil into the glue and smeared one side of the cardboard with glue like sheet rock. Then I ripped piece of newspaper up and crumbled in and stuck it on piece by piece. It took 3 hours to do this. Then when I was done with the glue and newspaper, I got the paint. On the web the dress wasn’t painted, so I added my own flare. I took purple and black paint and splattered each side, to add a retro look. I let it dry for a day, and then it was done. This project was interesting, because it’s different ways to interpret the skirt.
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Chronic Rebellion

                                                     Chronic Rebellion

The air was crisp as Taylor stared at the envelope that was lying on his front step. Something about that letter intrigued him. Perhaps it was the fact that it was on the cement step rather then stuck in the crowed mailbox with the rest of the mail. Analyzing the letter, there were no postage marks or return address to be found anywhere. The only thing that the letter showed was mysterious lettering spelling out “Taylor Smith.” Something about this letter gave him a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach. But he knew that opening the letter was the only way to find out what was inside of it.


Taylor couldn’t take the pressure any longer but the intense urge was eating him alive. Sliding the door shut Taylor placed the letter down on the counter. The fact that he was skipping school for the second day didn’t even cross his mind. As he poured himself a bowl of cereal he heard the front door open.

He could hear the door’s lock having struggle will it was being fiercely pulled back and fourth before it opened.

“Taylor! Anyone home” Taylor’s eyes opened real big as he pour his milk. His dad’s voice made he jump as he scattered to close the milk. Throwing his bowl in the sink, with fast thinking he opened the back window from the kitchen and climbed out of it. Taylor’s dad entered the kitchen and found the back window opened. With an annoyed emotion on his father face he closed the window tightly. Squatting down beneath the sliding of the window Taylor felt the thump of the window being closed waiting for his dad to be away from the window so he could make a run for it. Before he could make a clear run for it, he waited for his dad to get into the car and pull out of the driveway until he was turned the corner and was completely out of sight. Taylor stood up and jumped over the back yard gate and onto the sidewalk. While Pulling out the crumpled up cigarette pack out of his rusty blue jeans he looked at the pack and began to light it. Placing the pack back in his pocket he found the note. Walking by the field he saw his 3 childhood friends Luke, Chris, and Steven.

     “Guys I was this close to being caught by my pops today”

“Good one bro, that’s all we need is for you to get caught” Chris said as he sat back in the dugout against the gate. Luke looked at Taylor and then down out his front pocket where the letter was hanging out.

“What’s this your little love letter”  Luke said as he grabbed it out of Taylors pocket before he could grab it.

“I don’t know what it is, should we open it?”

“What are you waiting for” Luke handed back Taylor the letter and everyone crowed Taylor to see what was inside of the envelope.  Ripping the envelope opened a tiny paper fell out of it and slowly floated down to the circled that was perfectly formed by their feet. Taylor picked it up quickly. This was it! This was the moment Taylor waited for all morning. Reading the letter outloud it said.

       Taylor, This letter is not to put you in any kind of danger at all. We would like to think of it as a gift or a responsibility Not only for the future and but the safety of others.

-       Unknown

Taylor stared at the letter.

“Someone’s just trying to mess with your head” Steven said as he took the letter out of his hand and reread it in a girly weak voice. Taylor grabbed the later out of his hand while the rest of them laughed.

“Enough guys! I’m not going to worry about it”

Taylor made his statement to the guys as a joke but he knew that it was becoming a seriously problem.

With a confused look on his face Taylors eyes rolled back into his head.

 “GUYS! I think Taylors going to pass out”


         The bright lights were all Taylor could see when he opened his eyes. The force of his hands felt tight and he felt like the pressure was unbearable to left. “Why am I here” Taylor thought to himself.”

“Who am I” “Where am I” Taylor had no idea where he was or even who he was but all he wanted to figure out was how he got there. Walking up on a what appeared to be a surgery table wasn’t what Taylor experienced ever in his life.

He was in a different room, one he never saw before. Where was here? And why was he there. Did this have to do anything with the note?  The force of his arms started to tighten up. Cringing to get away he knew it wasn’t possible to move.

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