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Homelessness And Poverty In Philadelphia: Agent of Change

This is my third blog post in a series of blog posts about homelessness and poverty in Philadelphia. You can look at the first post here, and the second post here.

For the Agent of Change portion of my You and The World Project, I volunteered at the People’s Emergency Center (PEC). The People’s Emergency Center is an organization which helps people, often women and children, who are homeless and who need help with things like getting a job, school work, or finding a place to stay. It provides housing as well as many different programs teaching children and adults valuable skills. When I got there, Tan Vu, Director of the Digital Inclusion Program met me. He gave me a quick tour of the facility after which he sat down with me and talked about what they did and what I would be interested in doing. One of the first things Mr. Vu talked about was the digital divide. He explained to me that many people are not able to get access to computers or internet. Since nowadays, computers are such a big part of our lives, it is hard for these people to get ahead. I always had a computer in my house. While it was not necessarily surprising to me, I really had not thought about how many people do not have computers in their own home. One of the programs they have at PEC is called Digital Inclusion. This program tries to break the divide. It tries to give people who cannot afford it, access to computers and internet. Children can participate in a ten week program in computers. After that, they get a free computer along with a Clear modem so they can connect to the internet. While I am volunteering at PEC, I will be refurbishing computers for people who finish the programs and get computers. I also perform maintenance. This whole experience, specifically the Agent of Change part of the project has impacted me greatly. I have enjoyed the work I have done at PEC as I get to help people and work with computers, both things I enjoy doing. One of the things Mr. Vu told me about was how hard it is to make sure children continue to use computers. I think that for people at SLA especially, the idea of NOT wanting to using a computer is strange. For so many people, computers have become an important part of our lives. I While I volunteered there, I was surprise how much I learned. I got to learn a lot about the inside of a computer. I got to see how to take out a hard drive or replace/add RAM. When we think of volunteering as a society, I think we generally think of strictly give. However, volunteering as I have experienced it has been both give and take. At some point during my experience at PEC, a little girl came into the room where I was working and said to one of the people who worked there “I will never forget”. It was unexpected but I thought it was really amazing. I got to see how volunteering really affects people. I just got there and had not done much but it helped motivate me. I saw how what I do can really make a big difference.

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Random Acts Of Kindness

Since my last two blog posts, (which you may view here Blog 1 Blog 2), I have made my hollow and cavalier promises into things more concrete and worth of time. Many weeks have passed between what I write now and what you have last read of my experiences. During those weeks I took the opportunities given to me and went hands on the projects I wrote about. It’s extraordinary thought how much the human mind can accomplish when setting one’s goals. It is even more extraordinary though how much more the human mind can accomplish in numbers. I have put a great amount of care into all the stuff I did to get involved with the community. I wouldn't feel right however without including the people that aided me in my journey. Therefore before starting you readers, who have so graciously chosen to read my blogs, on inspiring events produced by your fellow members of society, I will first thank those who deserved to be thanked. For everyone who is mention in this blog I seriously could not have done any of this without you. All of you guys have proven just and have involved yourself in the campaign to human kindness more than I have.

My You And The World project revolved around human kindness. I wanted to do something deeper than helping an old lady cross the street or paying for someone’s food. I wanted to be kind to people’s emotions. Nowadays there are tons of problems in the teenage world merely because we are all too immature to be nice to one another. Part of my project gave people the occasion to change that. I created a Google-Doc page where people could go on and just give positive reviews about their friends. So far the whole thing has been a real success and I see smiles in the hallways all because of things I’ve said on the Doc. I encourage everyone to go on and say a couple of things for yourself. The link to it is right here.

Other things I did included unveiling everyday forbearance on people’s parts. You’d be surprise on how people strive to do good in this world. I feel that knowing you made someone happy that day is a gift in itself but I really wanted you guys to see how all of your classmates interacted with each other. It is seriously heartening knowing that we live in this community where we all take pride in helping one another. If you want to see the documented pictures/photos click here.

As a christian I take self pride very seriously. In order to accomplish my goals in this project I had to actually go out and start doing acts of kindness. I don't believe in tooting your own horn or trying to make yourself look good. Pretentiousness is something I don't look fondly on. So instead, I decided to observe my neighborhood for good deeds that other people did. I even made a journal to keep track of things. On April 5, I witnessed my 4 year old sister let my brother use the TV in the livingroom even it was her turn to use it. On April 9, I saw a man drop his wallet while walking to the store. Before I could register to go and pick it up for him a stranger walked by and gave it to the man himself. So inspired by what happened I went home that day and talked to my older brother. He then turned around and followed in the stranger’s footsteps. On the 10th of April he came home and told me that he did his best to be a good samaritan in his school. On April 12th I saw my friend Brandon lend my other friend William a pen. It was all these little things that really made people’s day better.

My process hasn't ended yet for I am still trying to expose the generosity people have in their hearts. The distance that I have accumulated already though has been kind of great. At first there was a few problems but after I solved them everything went smoothly. One of the most pronounced problems that I had was trying to figure out what to do. It was hard trying to figure out the whole meaning of kindness. At many times I was trying too hard, but what I noticed was the whole point of being benevolent was not to be selfish. All I was doing was going out in the world and showing off all the good things I’ve accomplished. What I really needed to do was to show off all the good things other people accomplished. That is how I came out with such a community reflected project. It wasn't about me, it was about everyone.

I have a hard time controlling my emotions and mostly only the bad emotions come out. I haven’t been the most selfless person in the world and I am still not. The thing with this project though is that it helped me so much to be a better person. I wasn’t the only one impacted by all of this. The chain reaction of friendliness made tons of people’s days better I could really feel all the positive energy radiating from everyone.

I don’t see myself as a leader and I don't see myself as a follower. I don’t see myself as an observer and I don’t see myself as an unveiler. Samaritan is too high of a title and libertine is too low of a title. Instead I see myself as a vindicator. I do things for a purpose and only do things if they are worth it. I saw the chance to make people see how our world still had people who cared as worth it. I don’t think I’ll ever stop doing this. It starts chain reactions, that eventually when big enough, could really revolutionize the world in tranquillity. I encourage everyone everywhere to walk alongside me. If you recall my research on Pay It Forward  in my last two blogs then you will be proud to know that I am trying to start a Pay It Forward Philadelphia. Please email me at if you are interested.

Here is the link to my bibliography.
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Litter Blog 3

When 9 people fill twenty enormous trash bags with litter in one hour, you know you've made a difference.

I'm Zack Hersh, and as an Agent of Change for litter, I organized a litter pickup around SLA, on April 13th, 2013 from 12-1 pm. While it wasn't quite the turnout I had hoped for, the nine of us picked up pounds and pounds of litter on 22nd Street and the disgusting Trader Joe's parking lot and green space. We left the area much cleaner and greener, and went home feeling satisfied.

But it took a lot of effort to get there. First, I had to familiarize myself and get to know the issue inside and out, and I did that through my first and second blog posts. Afterwards came the pickup.

The only thing I thought would really make sense to do for my Agent of Change part was a pickup, especially of the local community. This was narrowed down from other possibilities being Raising Awareness, Money for Organizations like "Keep Philadelphia Beautiful", and petitioning or trying to get more trash cans put in.

My vision was a bunch people all gathering around SLA, and working together, making a difference, and having a good time, in purging the neighborhood of litter.

Once I had the idea and vision in place, it was time to set a date, and time. It was a surprisingly tough decision. I was conflicted between having it be after school or on the weekend. If it was after school, it would be much easier for more people to come. But that would've limited it to mostly SLA students, and most sports, including baseball and track, have practice after school every day. With a weekend pickup, this wouldn't be a problem, but it would be harder to get a turnout. 

Ultimately, I decided on a weekend pickup, and scheduled it two weeks in advance for Saturday, April 13th from 12:00-1:00.

The next, and most important part of my process was getting other people to join me. 

I made flyers, and put them up all over school. I made posts to Facebook. I got two announcements in the Advisory memo. I talked to people directly. And, after all that, I had 3 people in total who said they would come, plus me and my parents.

But things have a way of working themselves out, and following that motto plus help from friends, when the pickup came, we had nine people in total.

Ridding the streets of all the garbage felt really good, and really satisfying. In that way, devoting myself to this issue, and being an Agent of Change, has strongly impacted me, for the better. Even the first two blog posts, researching it, and spreading the word, really made me feel like I was making a difference. It really made me feel like I was doing something right. I feel that this project, this experience, has strongly instigated fundamental, significant growth in me, and this is visible through my actions and who I am after this. It showed myself that I can lead, and surprised myself with what I am capable of. This was a demonstration, awakening, of leadership I didn't know I had. 

In the end, I can go to sleep at night knowing that my community is different, better, cleaner, because of me. Knowing I started something that snowballed into so much more than I ever thought it would. 

Knowing that I impacted, knowing that I changed my community, and almost without realizing it, let, and inspired others to do the same.

Click here for my bibliography.  

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YATW Blog 3: Agent of Change

Blog 3: Agent of Change
Jesse Shuter

Hunger and poverty in Philadelphia is a serious issue. It is also the issue that I chose to learn and teach about. As part of the experience of helping to abolish hunger in Philadelphia. Through a youth organization that I am a art part of called Gratz JCHS, I joined a program called food for thought. I volunteered with this program nine times, I went on the following days: October 15th; October 29th; November 5th; December 3rd; January 7th; February 4th; March 4th; April 8th; and May 6th. The program entailed going to a kitchen at a synagogue near where I live. As a group we would cook varying meals including all the main food groups (meat; vegetables; starch; fruit; etc.). We would then package the food and deliver the food to a variety of organizations that bring food to people that cannot afford the food and would otherwise starve. Sometimes we would even deliver the food to homes for old people. 

Another event that I took part in was going to the Ronald McDonald House. Together my family and I, along with two other families that we are friends with went to the Ronald McDonald house to cook a meal and serve it to all of the people staying at the Ronald McDonald House. The Ronald McDonald house is for families that have children in the hospital and cannot afford a place to stay while their children are getting special treatment for their illnesses that they may not be able to get anywhere else. By serving the food we provide these families with a meal and we also try to brighten their day and take their minds off what may be going on in their lives. I volunteered at the McDonald House once on March 3rd, and I will be doing it again on June 2nd.

When I started this project my plan was to learn more about Hunger and Poverty in Philadelphia and try and help some people along the way. My process began by choosing my topic. I wanted to choose an important topic, but at the same time I wanted to choose a topic that people seem to be ignoring. Sadly there were many options, but one issue that I felt needed more attention was povery and hunger in America. This was a pretty broad topic, so I wanted to narrow it down. Then I thought that there was no better way to start then by fixing poverty and hunger in my backyard; in my home; in my city. That is how my topic became Poverty and Hunger in Philadelphia. At the same time my friend had just joined the program food for thought and he told me it was a very rewarding experience so that was how I got involved in that program. By the end of my experience with poverty and hunger, I had been affected by my new experiences. By meeting these people and learning what they are going through on a daily basis, I have come to appreciate what I have more, and I also have become more invested in the programs I am participating in.

Through this project, I feel that I have helped many people. If it were not for me there would be many people that would not have meals and that is an experience that I cherished. I was also able to take a leadership role and got many of my friends invloved in the food for thought program, just as my friend had done for me. I the community I see myself as someone who is still learning. I truly believe that I can and will make a difference, but I believe that the small steps that I am taking now are playing a large role in what kind of leader I will be. The experience I gained from this project will influence me to continue participating in programs where I can help people and make a difference.

If you would like to see my first blog click here. If you would like to see my second blog, click here. If you would like to see my bibliography click here.

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YATW Blog 3: Littering and its Affect on the Environment

This is a continuation of my first and second blogs. If you have not read them, I suggest you do and then come back and read this one.

My name is Miles Cruice-Barnett. My English class at Science Leadership Academy is doing a “You and the World” project. What is a you and the world project? What we do is pick an issue in the world, or nation, or community, or wherever, and we do research on it. We then post a few blogs about it and go out and try to help fix the issue. My issue is about littering in public places and how it can affect the environment.

For my agent of change I organized and participated in a litter cleanup at Jefferson Square Park.

Organizing the cleanup was harder than I thought it would be. First I had to find a date that worked for me and then I had to see if people were available to to it. I had to do it during the week because I had no free weekends. In the end only a few people showed up, but we worked for over an hour and cleaned almost two bags of trash.

We took lots of pictures and you can see all of them here by downloading the PDF.


There was definitely a lot of trash in the park and we made it better for the community and the environment. I found that though organizing a cleanup can be hard, doing them can be fun, and when you are finished you know that you have made a change in the world. When I first started I thought it would be boring work, but even with few people we worked well and had fun. I will definitely be organizing more cleanups in different areas and trying to get people involved in making the world a better place


This is the Bibliography for all of my blogs.

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Agent of Change: Cradles to Crayons

For my “You in the world” project, witch consisted of three consecutive blog post about any worldly topic, I choose international adoption. It all started with my first blog about international adoption. Then in my second blog post I interviewed my mother about her process if adopting my older brother.  Some might say that adoption, was a noble choice of topic, because through my blog I could stress the importance of adopting children in our great nation, instead of adopting abroad because it’s what all the celebrities are doing. But I did not feel like I am making a big impression by sitting behind a laptop. I felt like I was just spewing out a bunch of baloney that sounded good, just for a grade. I thought of myself as selfish and heartless every time I worked on this project. Because I knew when it came time to actually do something to help with awareness, I wouldn’t be able to do anything. Yeah I had a few good Ideas but nothing really seemed to make the impact I wanted it to.

Volunteer work? Sure, but where? Not at an foster home the kids there would despise me, a kid who has both her parents coming there to pity them, not the way I wanted this to end, besides I couldn’t find any home that would allow a 15-year-old volunteer, whatever. So I was just going to give up on this project, write a sappy apology for why I didn’t have an “Agent of Change”, as my english teacher calls it, part to my third blog post. The one thing that I had to have in order to get an “ok” grade on my third blog.  I was about to give up on my cause, even though it did mean a lot to me, and my third blog and move on with my life, excepting my bad grade. But before I officially gave up I decided to give up on my project I decide to do one one google search to see if there were any options I had missed.

It was through that search, on the fourth page of results, is when I found it. The thing I had been looking for. I didn’t have to make a big comment, it didn’t involve me being put in an awkward piston, and best of all it supported my cause. What I found was the web sight for the Cradles to Crayons organization. Cradles to Crayons is an organization that collects clothes, books, and all other things kids, who either who have parents who can’t afford it or children who don’t have parents to even try to afford it, need.  After finding the perfect fit I automatically singed up to volunteer two time over the course of April. I signed up for two times, because I wanted one time to get used to the way they worked, and the second to get the pictures I needed for my blog post. But as the saying goes “Nothing ever goes as planned.”

A few weeks later, one morning, I told my mother that I would be home later than usual because of my volunteering. She had know before then that I was going to volunteer at a place for my “You In The World” project, she just didn’t know where. That morning when I told her about me being late because of volunteering, she asked where I was going to be, like a good mother should. When I told her where I was I was going to be, she freaked out as any good mother should. I was a little disappointed at first, of course, but I saw he point it was farther away from home than I was used to. So I agreed to not go that time and let her drive me in two weeks, witch is when I signed up to volunteer for the second time. Except what was going to be my second time was going to be my first. My next attempt at volunteering didn’t go as well either. The day stared out great, I went to school, and after play rehearsal, my mother was supposed to pick me up afterwards and take me to the “Giving Factory”, witch is what Cradles to Crayons store, sort, and distribute their donations. While at rehearsal I got a text form my mother saying that our car had broken down. Of all the rotten luck. After that I didn’t have any other days to volunteer lined up, and my obligation to my cause happened to slip my mind, replaced with the excitement brought on by spring break. After coming back from spring break, my duties to my cause were brought bake to the for front of my mind, when my english teacher reminded me about them. That reminder made me hard pressed to get my volunteer work done.

I emailed Cradles to Crayons again, but instead of get an email back about when I could volunteer again, I received an email saying that I couldn’t volunteer because they didn’t have any open slots for me to volunteer. So I talked to my mother and she stent an en email to one of the coordinators for Cradles to Crayons.  He got back to her and they set up a date for my mother and I to volunteer. 

The next thursday my mother an I went to the “Giving Factory”. When first getting there we walked into the front room where they collect all donations. There where a LOT of donations, even the people who came in to volunteer that day brought in more donations. After signing a media release form our group, of about 10 people, were giving orientation. In orientation the talked about all the usual things, like what they do that the organization. The assignment they gave my grope was something they called “shopping”. “Shopping” is when you walk around there area where they have stored, sorted, an cleaned donated items, and pick up items, like jackets, clothes, shoes, and toys, that were requested by social services or other organizations for a designated child. (Here is a link to a picture slideshow of my time volunteering at Cradles to Crayons.)  After we finished our “Shopping” the volunteers in charge told us more about how we could help more.

Even tough my “You And The Wold” has to end here, that does not mean I have to stop here. I plan to volunteer at Cradles to Crayons  as often as I can. Not because it supports my cause, or because the work was easy and  very rewarding., even though it is. But because it was fun. But because I know the work I do there will help the children in need, for the rest of their lives. 

Here the link bibliography of research that helped me through the journey of this project.

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Historias de inmigración- Wynn y August


Manuel fue un inmigrante ilícito, y el habla sobre sus historias de cuando ellos cruzaron la frontera a los Estados Unidos. Habla sobre trabajar en Illinios y ganaba dinero por sus hijos y esposa. Cuando él cruzó atrás la frontera de Chicago a Mexico, no tuve problemos y estaba feliz porque estaba con sus hijos y esposa. Estaba importante a trabajar en los estados unidos porque Manuel podria ganar mucho dinero, por cinco meses en Illinios ganó más dinero que ganó por tres años en México.  


1) What border did Manuel cross to/from?

2) Why did Manuell illegally cross the border from Mexico to the U.S.?

3) Why is it so dangerous to cross the U.S. border?

4) What are some reasons that Manuel might not have been able to cross legally?

5)  5 months salary in the U.S. Is equivalent to how many years salary in Mexico?

6) Where was Manuel’s family when he went to the U.S.?

7) Where in the U.S. did manuel go when he immigrated?

8) How did Manuel physically get across the border? I.E. on foot? by car? by plane? by boat?

9) How long did he live in the U.S.?

10) Who did he live with in Chicago?/.,jhg

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Testing Schedules - 5/14 - 20

Test takers need to arrive on time, as testing begins promptly at 8:15. 

There will be no classes on the 5th floor on those dates. If your locker is on the 5th floor, please arrive to school early to collect your things; you will not be allowed back on the 5th floor while testing is taking place.

ROOM CHANGES & TESTING ROOMS - Check on MOODLE’s front page 

5/14 - 
9th - testing/Algebra 
10th - testing/Algebra 
11th - some testing/Algebra or non-tester to Free Library
12th - Activity Day - check your advisory MOODLE page for assignments and times

5/16 - 
9th - Regular school day - C, D, X, Y, E, A & Advisory
10th - testing/Literature - no Advisory
11th - some testing/Literature - non-tester - Regular school day - C, D, X, Y, E, A & Advisory
12th - Regular school day - C, D, X, Y, E, A & Advisory

5/20 - 
9th - Regular school day - A, B, X, Y, C, D & Advisory
10th - testing/Biology - no Advisory
11th - Regular school day - A, B, X, Y, C, D & Advisory
12th - Regular school day - A, B, X, Y, C, D & Advisory

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Domestic Animal Cruelty #3

Hello everyone, I’m Jiwon Choi and for my You and the World Project, I chose domestic animal abuse. If you do not know what the You and the World Project is about, click here to get a basic information about what this project is about and for. After I wrote my second blog post of why animal cruelty should be put an action to, I started my agent of change part of the project. The agent of change is when individual go out into the world and make a change for their issue. For example, they can present to others about their issues or volunteer somewhere to help make a difference for their issue. For my agent of change, I volunteered at Operation Ava. Operation Ava is a no-kill animal shelter located at 3rd and Poplar in Philadelphia. At the animal shelter, I volunteered for about 45 hours from March 25th to April 30th.


   The first time I researched what animal shelter I was going to volunteer at, I had some difficulties because had to be at least 16-18 years old. Then, I came across the Pennsylvania SPCA and I received an email telling me to attend the orientation. I started to take classes on the basics I had to learn, but they told me that it was a mistake that they made for sending me the email. I had to find a different place to volunteer, and I came across Operation Ava. When I first went to Operation Ava to volunteer, I had some problems with taking the dogs out from the kettle because some were very nervous and shy, while others were very hyper. The staff and the experienced volunteers there were very kind and helped me whenever I needed any help. As I learned how to handle the dogs as time went on, I didn’t have any problems dealing with them. At Operation Ava, I walked dogs and played with them in the backyard.

    This project has impacted me in so many ways. I realized that there are a lot of domestic animals that were neglected a lot more than I imagined; I was sort of shocked when I saw all the dogs in SPCA and Operation Ava had. Also, I was sad when I saw some of the dogs shivering whenever I walked by their kettle. I knew that they were afraid of me, of what I will do to them, of how I will treat them. In the other hand, I noticed that most of the dogs were very energetic. It made me believe that if you give them love, if you show them love, they will actually trust you and like you, even if they were hurt by someone in the past. By noticing this and by knowing that this is why I am volunteering, I felt accomplished because this was a way that I was helping the animals. Even though this project impacted me a lot, I believe that this also impacted the community because I think that if more and more people are aware of how many animals are neglected and abused, they would help adopt animals and give the animals love. I believe that more people would donate to animal shelters and volunteer to help these animals. I think that I need to learn more like the people who don’t as much about neglect and abuse because I know that there is more to this problem. I know that the more I study this issue, the more I will learn from it, but I also think that I can lead. I think I have the ability to make this issue more known by giving people presentations about it.

  I am definitely not done with this issue yet. I am still planning to go to Operation Ava and walk the dogs, and I am still planning to help this issue become more known to the world. Also, I thank my 9th grade English teacher, Mrs. Dunn for letting me have this opportunity. Thank you.

    Lastly, I made a scrapbook for my memories at Operation Ava. I made the scrapbook so that it seems like I am actually talking to the dogs. At first, I made it so that I am describing every dog to the people who are reading the text but it seemed to get boring because I was using the same words over and over. Therefore, I made it so that I am talking to the dogs, and I made the font like an actual handwriting font to make the scrapbook more realistic. I’m glad that my scrapbook came out very unique.

Click here for my scrapbook. 
Click here for my bibliography.

Below is a dog featured in my scrapbook. 
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Teen Driving : Distractions, Part 3

Teen Driving : Distractions, Part 3


Hello again! My name is Lauren Thomas. I am a freshman from Science Leadership Academy. I am writing a series of blogs called You and the World. For more information, I urge you to read my first blog post for an introduction and my second blog post that leads up to final installation, this post. 

For our last third of this project, everyone in the class had to become an “Agent of Change”. The mission for us as Agents of Change was to make a difference in the community. Your change would depend on your issue (for example, if you did blog post on animal cruelty, your Agent of Change would be to volunteer at an animal shelter). Because my topic is Teen Driving, there isn’t much you can do except raise awareness. I decided to create a Public Service Announcement (PSA) using iMovie. 

My first idea was to record a video of what a teen driver should and shouldn’t do behind the wheel. I had big plans for this so I asked my friend Maddison to help me film. When I watched the footage back I got really upset because it didn’t turn out like I planned. 

Screen Shot 2013-05-12 at 4.41.14 PM
I went back to the drawing board and came up with a new idea. I decided to make a PSA of teens who were affected by teen drivers. Of course, I didn’t use real teen drivers, I had friends volunteer to help me out. Over Spring Break I posted many statuses on Facebook to get as many people as possible to help me out. On Friday, April 5, 2013, I gathered all 13 volunteers to help me film my video at lunch. I gave each volunteer a piece of paper with their person’s story on it. The stories I used were either real or based on real stories. I was really happy when the PSA turned out perfectly, I couldn’t have done it without the people who volunteered to help.

To actually make the difference, I had to present my video to people. I presented my PSA to the Bey/Martin (and a small number of VK’s) advisory of freshmen on Monday, April 15, 2013. On April 22, 2013, I presented to Mrs. Dunn’s senior advisory. Click here to see the video me presenting to her advisory. (Thank you to Morgan Caswell-Warnick who recorded me and took pictures.) I also had some of the seniors play the Toyota Teen Driving game from blog two. Vinny Russell tried the first first level of the game.

Vinny Russell
Here was his scoring (Vinny was better in some parts of the game than Dillon who took it in my second blog). 
Vinny's Trial
I feel that this was a really big project for me. It was something very different from what I was used to doing when I was in middle school. I had fun with this project and I learned a lot about myself while doing so. This project had me open up my eyes to see that there are many teens, more than what is shown on the news, who have driving accidents. I feel like my PSA could really make a big impact on people who watch it because it’s all true. 

I’m not the only person who has a You and the World project, all of my volunteers do too. Please visit all my volunteer’s blogs, I couldn’t have done my project without them: Michelle Friedman’s Immigration Reform, Morgan Caswell-Warnick’s LGBT Rights, Angel Owens’ Self-Harm, Jiwon Choi’s Domestic Animal Abuse, Dillon Hershey’s Pet Euthanasia, Trinity Middlebrooks’ Child Adoption, Lauren Hummel’s Animal Abuse, Zack Hersh’s Litter Problems, Des O’Donnovan’s Animal/Vehicle Collisions, Andrew Roberts’ Abortion Issues, Miles Cruice-Barnett’s Litter Issues, Rosalie Swana’s Gay Marriage, and Anna Sugrue’s Gay Rights

And the best part of this project: my final PSA! Here is the video! Please enjoy it.

And if you’re interested you can find the BLOOPERS from this PSA here.

Here is my bibliography!

Thank you for sticking with me for these three blog posts, I hope you enjoyed. 

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​SLA Poetry Team Qualifies for Championships

This past Friday, the SLA Poetry Team was rewarded with a trip to Slam League Championships: an Elite 8 on Friday May 17th at Franklin Theater. This victory was a team effort. Bella Mezzaroba kicked off the first round with a silky love poem that swept both judges and audience into a trance. Her mastery of language drew from the audience a steady rainfall of snaps. In the second round, Josh Melendez rocked his now-famous “Hallelujah” piece where he switches seamlessly between the character of a gay male and the bigot that kills his lover.

The third and final round began with Veronica Nocella alone on stage, words poring forth in her customary velvety waves; when all of a sudden a shout rang out from what seemed like the heavens – Soledad Alfaro-Allah was beckoning from the balcony! This was the ghost of Veronica’s murdered partner. The crowd wasn’t ready! These young ladies spun out their story, then brought a hush over the crowd with a stunning and horrific conclusion.

Thanks to Team SLA for their continued hard work throughout the season.

                                        -- Coach Marchella Baldwin

Also, if you ever miss a slam, you can check Team SLA’s YouTube Channel

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Now thats scary... (Budget cuts)

Will Amari 



To whom it may concern, 

I’ve been attending school for eleven years now and I’m proud to say that I still enjoy it. School for me is a symbol of education and with out it, there will be no sense of ideal order. I desire knowledge, not because my parents want me to, but because I choose to be an intellectual and I choose to help the world. I don’t plan on dropping out. I don’t plan on breaking the law. I don’t plan on becoming a DJ. I want to write. I want to write because I love art. I don’t care If I become famous. I don’t care about money. I’m not asking for that. I’m asking to study art. 

Art is the reason why I show up to class everyday, it is the reason why I get As, it is the reason why I’m not totally depressed or dysfunctional or discombobulated. In fact, if I am ever tired in the morning, it is because I stayed up all night reading, writing, watching Annie Hall, and playing music. I would like to study art all my life, but sadly this request had been threatened due to the possibility of budget cuts. I am scared and concerned, not just for my future, but for everyones future . I look around my classroom, and see nothing more then intellectual individuals, with passions different and similar to mine. Everyday I hope they succeed, as much as I wish for myself to do the same. I can’t even imagine school with no courses, clubs, or activities. The thought of it sounds like a nightmare. 

So don’t fund our schools for me. Fund our schools for us. We are the future, and there is nothing to be afraid of. Don’t make school a Kalfkaesque Experience. Make it an opportunity for me, my friends, or anyone to become the next Hemingway or Einstein. Make it an opportunity for opportunity. I promise you, education is nothing to be afraid of. Taking away education... now thats scary!


Anonymous Individual number 667-349 

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It was well below freezing when an 'Army of the Interested' pressed hard into the whipping winds swirling about the Schuylkill in January. While the immediate goal of reaching a new practice field was a mere two miles away, their true destination was waiting patiently four months down the road in the form of a division championship and playoff berth. That initial group, numbering over fifty on the daily, commanded the attention of tourists who had simply come for a pic of the famous Rocky Statue after running the steps in pseudo-mocking fashion. While they would get their picture after struggling up and down the steps in designer boots, they would also leave the Museum witnessing some dedicated, never-say-die young "Rocks" in the making.  

As was expected, the "interested" dwindled when the sessions increased in intensity and frequency. However, those who kept coming back for more formed the core of a dominating "Army of One" set to do battle from beginning to end. While their heroes and role models worked out in the golden sun of Florida and Arizona, this Army did so in defiance of the elements. When both started their respective seasons on April 1st, it was as if the roles had been reversed and the professionals paled in comparison to the amateurs. 

"There were three main goals when we started out this season", said SLA Varsity Baseball Coach Doug Herman before the team took the field vs. Sankofa in their final regular season game. "We set out to establish a J.V. squad to expand our program, finally secure a home field, and we looked to command our own destiny with solid, fundamental performances to earn the right to move up in the Varsity ranks. We obviously achieved the first two, thanks to the addition of Coach Dan Winterstein, but a solid win today will help us accomplish all three." While having the Umpires officially deem the field unplayable on the final day of the Regular Season was not how this team wanted to earn a trip to C, they'll take it. 

That Army, formed through the dark days of painful practices in swirling winds and bone-cold temps behind the ominous towers of Lee Park, never took their eyes off the prize. That Army, which would become known simply as "The Rocket", would weather all sorts of storms and suffer through hours of daily public transit to attend practices. That Army, which never let anything ruffle their feathers, had something to prove and constantly put their all on display. It was clear to anyone who glimpsed at the standings or box scores during this 2013 Season that this Army walked the talk and clobbered most who they faced. 

From the very first game, when King's most Dedicated forgot he wasn't coaching football, and chose to incessantly bark his orders instead of sending signs, to the very end when Sankofa's coach didn't lift a finger to prepare their field for battle, "The Rocket" maintained composure and completed a near-perfect season, finishing 11-1. But these warriors were gentlemen too. They dominated but never forgot where they came from. Remembering what it was like to be on the receiving end of mismatched beat downs, they moved toward their goal with class and earned the respect of everyone along the way.

"Started from the bottom, now the whole team here."

If all things were fair and equitable "The Rocket" would not yet be the material for an end-of-season article such as this. For in no sport, on any level, does a team with only 1 loss over an entire season NOT make the playoffs. Outside of their own circle of fans and divisional opponents the "The Rocket" will merely serve as a poster-child for what happens when your best IS good enough but it still doesn't get you to "The Show". So exactly how does a team that goes 11-1, leads the league in Runs Scored, and establishes the best overall Run Differential NOT make the playoffs?  

The answer is surprisingly rooted in an attempt to ensure all things were fair and equitable. Somehow this best laid plan has led to massive inequity, inconsistency and the continuation of smaller inner-city schools being further stripped of opportunities to fairly compete. In theory, the structure of the Public League for High School Baseball- four Divisions based off skill and four Classifications based off of school population- is supposed to ensure fair competition takes place. But the functional reality of this structure unfolds more like a Caste System with extremely limited upward mobility and consistent obstacles imposed upon under-funded and under-supported programs across the city. 

SLA, classified as a "AA" school based off the number of eligible boys in their student body, has been in the D-Division since joining the Public League in 2010. After fighting through a rough start (notching zero wins in its first eight games is certainly rough), "The Rocket" has surged with 29 wins for an overall program record of 29-17. During this stretch they made the playoffs twice and yet remained in D since the only way out was to win the Division. The system, which works a little bit like the English Premiere Football League, only promotes 1 and demotes another each season to ensure competition in each Division is "fair and equitable". 

While this seems to make sense, the reality is that regardless of Classification a team literally needs to be perfect to get out of D. Teams who make just one mistake along the way, like SLA this season, are doomed to dwell in D forever and suffer as a result. Fields are not maintained, if they exist at all, permanently installed equipment is regularly stolen, major transportation issues are a daily reality, many games are only afforded one umpire instead of at least two, and the level of competition is inconsistent at best. 

Every team that has escaped the dungeon of D- Boys Latin ('10), Ben Franklin ('11), Del-Val Charter ('12) and now University City ('13)- have all accomplished the necessary feat of perfection. This leaves younger teams like SLA on the outside looking in when a C-Division team drops down and then goes undefeated. This was the case with Ben Franklin and Del Val in previous seasons. While SLA had their eyes squarely and legitimately set on a Divisional Championship this season, their coach knew that an early season loss to University City would come back to haunt them. In response, he started wearing number 11 on his jersey to signify the number of wins they would NEED to have for a legitimate shot at the top spot. SLA won their final 9 games, and over that stretch remained perfect at home, tossed 2 "no-hitters" (Nick Manton and Jeff Schwartz), outscored their opponents 97-13, and further clarified they belonged in a higher Division all along.

The unfortunate reality is that D is a "one-and-done" league. Unlike the higher Divisions, where teams can actually make mistakes, lose games and still make the playoffs, D-teams MUST be perfect to move up. This unfortunately motivates coaches to abuse their best and brightest players in their attempts at perfection. On more than one occasion this season SLA opponents had their best starters throw well over 100 pitches in a single game. In three cases they hurled over 200. Coaches were inclined to repeatedly throw their best starter in every game instead of develop a full rotation of pitchers. Seeing the potential for long-term injury, many are talking about implementing pitch count limits on players as they do for International Little League World Series players. 

Aside from their offensive prowess, SLA impressed by consistently using multiple pitchers, none ever throwing over 100, which ensured all were legally available for every game and healthy enough to do so. It also opened up more opportunities for everyone to contribute to the team's success. While the results speak for themselves it was uncertain what would happen by the end of the season. In hindsight, SLA wishes it had all their starters for that game vs. University City. Perhaps they are the ones who end up undefeated, but the point here is that one loss shouldn't have been the death knell for a shot at post-season play. SLA was forced to remain perfect and hope for Univ. City to slip up and they almost did. But with come-from-behind-wins against Sankofa, West Philly and Randolph U.C. pulled it off to finish undefeated, win the Division, face Nueva Esperanza in the AA Classification Playoffs, and give the school something to be proud of in its final season of operation.  

But what about SLA? Shouldn't finishing just 1 game behind an undefeated team get them to "The Show"? The answer is yes. Well, that is if it was still 2012. 

However, this year an out-of-nowhere and unexplained new development unfairly snapped SLA's streak of consecutive playoff berths at a time when they clearly had built a team to go deep in the Tournament. Only 1 AA team would qualify for the Tournament so that a school- Mast Charter- that doesn't even play in District XII could compete. As a result, SLA which beat everyone but U.C. doesn't get in at 11-1. No clarification for this decision was ever provided, but it should have been seen on the horizon since District XII leadership has slowly but surely been limiting the number of D-Division teams that qualify for the tournament. 

In 2010 and '11 three teams from AA got in, in 2012 just 2 made it, and now only 1 would earn a berth. The rationale behind the shift was that it had been a long time since a D-Division team won a playoff game. According to the current League leadership a D team has never beaten an A or B-Division school and the latter automatically make the tournament regardless of record. With the focus squarely put on the Public League having the best possible team to represent the City in State competitions, no mind was paid to any of the Little Engines That Might-Could compete on that level. But anyone paying attention to the growth and performance of specific AA-Class D-Division programs, while higher class-programs dropped significantly in quality, would have seen this coming well before the first pitch on Opening Day. So the result is as follows: A-Class (Rush 6-5), which lost to SLA 12-1 gets in. AAA-Class (King 6-6), which blew a 4-0 lead to SLA and lost 8-5, gets in. And AAAA-Class Bartram (9-3), which blatantly ducked SLA in the final week to ensure they had their best pitcher available for the playoffs, gets in. This leaves SLA on the outside looking in on account of that one loss to U.C. which represents AA-Class. 

While SLA's near perfect season isn't for naught- they will move up to C since Univ. City is closing- a plan is in the works for a D-Division Tournament of Champions at SLA's home field at Mt. Airy Park. Invitations will be sent out to the top 4 teams in D in an effort to provide these forgotten programs with some high-stakes games. For Seniors, this will be all they get in terms of meaningful games as their High School Baseball careers come to a close. SLA would be the #2 Seed, right behind undefeated University City, and would face the squad from Bartram that ducked them. Univ. City would face Randolph (9-3). The winners would play for the Championship and the losers in a Consolation game. The Tournament is expected to take place after the official PIAA Playoff brackets unfold prior to Memorial Day Weekend.  

As the sun starts to set on a magical season, and SLA Varsity Baseball says farewell to Nick Manton, Abe Musselman, Jordan McLaughlin, Mike Sanders and Matt Rinaldi, at least they stayed true to their mascot. Much like an actual rocket engine, which thrusts forward by rapidly throwing back its exhaust, "The Rocket" will continue to surge with the contributions of all who weather the storm to be a part of this "Army of One". 

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My Protest on School Budget Cuts

To Whom it May ​Concern:

My name is Jasmine Nieves and I am a sophomore at Science Leadership Academy High School. I support education very deeply. It helps everybody in life. Since I came to this school, I was expecting this to happen because I loved the school very much because of all the teachers. They had helped us along the way for these past two years. Now that it gets to me about these cuts on school budgets, I would like to spread the word about them. Students need teachers in their lives and students need everybody from the staff that belongs to the school. The people who are standing outside protesting for these things, have important things on their minds including this, to finally conquer with. Nobody wants to be cut or laid off of their jobs. They enjoy doing it so much, they can’t think of anything else on their minds other than what they are doing right now, this instant which is working at schools. 

Life without teachers could ruin a students life. Not really their whole life but in how smart they are. Some of the classes that are in schools, are some kids favorites. Without as much education, people may not know all the things they would have known with the teachers. The schools would be all lonely without out with what teachers what the teachers want. Teachers want kids to learn and develop a strong scene of smartness in their life from learning. Kids would learn themselves but not know what to teach or talk about with each other. Even though there might be some teachers at schools, don't get rid of their job which is to be a teacher. They are trying their best for us and the school. When we go to trips we have to give them money for it. Life without teachers is like seniors in high school or older students in elementary, middle or in college leaving us because they helped us along the way and gave good advice just like teachers and now their career or most of their career is about to end. If you care about schools, don't have budget cuts for schools. You should just take a minute, if possible, and try to help them. 

They are just as worthy as we are. All teachers and all staff are innocent. You could just tell from their faces and tell they don't ever want to give up what they love. Just look at the counselors, they helped us along the way too. They are just as good as teachers and as we are. Actually, most of are all innocent as long as we don't do anything bad such as destroying buildings while protesting. That's why so many teachers have protested with their students because they know how important it is to them and the students. The students and the staff are all on the backs of teachers, nurse and counselors. if protestors try to get rid of the nurses, we wouldn't know how to feel better at school or know what to do when we don't feel good or when we are sick. All these people at are schools just want us to have a good education and not a bad one. The decision some protestors are making could open up more minds than there is now to have a larger revolt and revolution to change from having budget cuts to no budget cuts in schools. Everything in schools is important to everybody who goes to it.

If there would still be budget cuts, all of our lives and all the teachers and staffs career and jobs could go right down the drain. Both students, parents and all staff would like to be heard and here is my voice. Here me now, or see all staff at schools including teachers with no jobs, no money and laid off from work as if they were on a strike. This is what everybody wants and not the opposite which is the budget cuts. This is what everybody is trying to say. So please don't take it away from them. Classes would be shorter than the double classes such as if a teacher were to work as a Drama and English teacher and the budget cuts cut it in half and now the teacher is working only for the English Class.  Teachers and adults have the right to teach what they want to the students as long as its appropriate and students are most definitely to learn it. 

Without any of these people, we wouldn’t be the smart people that we are today. Change the world and not have school budget cuts but just school budgets. They are important to the staff but its also important to the students because they know how hard it can be when teachers or any part of the school staff loses their job because they have protested so many times already. Listen to their hearts because they don’t want the worst to come after them and the staff. They love the school and so do we. Us students would do anything to make these things subside even if we tried. Be a leader and not let schools more and more of these cuts. If you were still young and in a public school, what would you do? 

Help stop the budget cuts or just continue to make it a big issue. If I were you, I would bring on a fresh face and and make this brand new to people because they have a life and their life depends on teaching and helping the schools. Schools also wouldn’t be safe without most of these adults there because, who else other than family, are we going to learn from. Make a smart move and move forward. Give back the things taken away, and again, make a smart move.  That‘s all we ask of you. We all don’t like the idea but if you still want to go along with your idea, it wouldn’t be the same as now, it will be different. This is much respected and it is to support the students who are fighting for the same cause. Take a stand and join with us while our chance is slowing drifting away. This is my protest again school budget cuts.

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Carter, Othello Journal


“Now will I question Cassio of Bianca,

A huswife that by selling her desires

Buys herself bread and clothes. It is a creature

That dotes on Cassio, as ’tis the strumpet’s plague

To beguile many and be beguiled by one.

He, when he hears of her, cannot refrain

From the excess of laughter. Here he comes.” 

In this soliloquy, Iago can be talking to a matter of two different audiences. He could actually be talking directly to the audience, since it is a play. Shakespeare could’ve made it almost like where Iago knows he is in play, and is able to actually have some sort of contact with the audience, but then again that is a new play concept and might not have been around during that time. A more reasonable person(s) he could’ve been talking to is himself. Iago is very deceitful and could have just been devising the whole plan aloud. Othello was still present in the room (although he was in hiding) so he could have been whispering to himself. He was smart enough not to  let Othello hear. Therefore, I’ll stick with my response that his audience was himself as well as the readers of the book.

Journal #2 

Cassio is an obvious character of importance in Shakepeare's Othello, considering the fact that Iago uses him as the scapegoat. In Act 2, Scene 3, Cassio realizes that he was fired by Othello (after being drunk)  and goes to Iago in hope that he will help him get to the Moor to get his job back. Cassio observes Iago being supportive of him getting his job back. Iago is telling him that wine isn't bad for him but is in fact good for him and that he just went a little overboard. Iago also tells him  that he's not a drunk and Othello knows that. Cassio eats up everything that Iago says and believes that the Moor will be forgiving to him, but he didn’t realize that he had just fell into Iago’s trap. Iago told him that he must go to Desdemona since she is a woman and has an open heart, and he does just as he was told .He knows that his reputation (or at least the one that Othello knows) is ruined, but he also knows that Othello is crazy about Desdemona and that he’d listen to her over him. I believe this scene proves that Cassio is gullible, because through out the whole booked he was fooled.

Journal #3 

Cassio has been in love with Bianca for two years and counting, or so we thought? Cassio had a journal under his bed that absolutely no one knew about until Desdemona found it one day while in his room looking for him. In it, she read words that she’d never thought she would. “The Moor is questioned by her, being my heart. Are’t he belongings of Desdemona, or shall my heart want him to be mine?” (translation: My heart questions my feelings for the Moor. I know he’s Desdemona’s man, but I think I want him to be mine.) Desdemona was stunned at what she saw, but at the same time she wasn’t too surprised. Now she understood why he loved Othello so much and why he was such a kiss up but she didn’t tell because she knew what would happen to a man who was gay at this time.She didn’t see Cassio as a threat to her, so she kept her little secret to herself.

Journal #4 

In my previous journal, I said that Cassio was homosexual but the only person who knew was Desdemona. I will be portraying him as slightly feminine and crying when Bianca leave him because she suspects him cheating. Also I will portray him as gullible, because in journal 1 stated that I believed he was gullible since Iago was against him the whole time. I will do this by laughing and seeming to take Iago as a joke when he jokingly asks me about what I do with Bianca, although Othello believe I’m talking about his Desdemona. As for my costume, I plan to take a beard and mustache to my face. In case you didn’t realize,I’m a female. I want it to be clear that I’m playing a male and for some reason it’s just the way I picture Cassio. I think I will do a pretty good job portraying Cassio, but overall I think my group will do well too. Bianca’s prop is really a sight to see! (she has money coming out of all of her clothing.) Also, i think Cassio (My) reaction to Bianca leaving him will be slightly amusing to the class. I’m pretty sure that my group will nail it!

Journal #5

Cassio: How now my sweet Bianca! How now? How now?

I wasn’t sure as to how Cassio was feeling when he said this line and although he isn’t too much stated in this quote, the emotion behind it is what matters. When accuses Bianca accuses him of cheating (indirectly) then this quote follows  it. He was in a state of confusion when she accused him of it. His state of confusion seems like it should’ve negatively effected Iago’s plan but it didn’t. Othello didn’t notice the confusion because of his anger, but if he would’ve I believe it would’ve made him realize even sooner that he was being deceived. 

Since I was playing Cassio, I acted as if I was in a confused state as I thought it should be portrayed. My group’s performance overall went exactly how it was planned. My group had difficulties working together and getting everyone to cooperate, but I’m proud because at the end EVERYONE cooperated and got their lines down packed as well as brought in the props or costumes needed. If I could re-do my scene I would delete all of my laughter on stage. I get slightly awkward when in front of an audience so I think I should’ve just practiced more in front of people. As for my group members, I believe they did a wonderful job and I would not change anything about their performances.

After performing the play, I felt like I had just got out of the book. I had a first person understanding of the book rather than just reading it in third person. I understood the characters actions, emotions, and motives much more than I did. We (my group) spend plenty of time analyzing each part of our scene and with the help of Ms. Pahomov and Aaron, I believe we captured the exact image of each character (well at least the exact image we wanted to portray.) Overall, I just feel that I got a first hand understanding of the book because I truly felt like  I was apart of the book for that short period of time.

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Rocket Finishes Near Perfect (11-1), Moves up to C for '14

 It was well below freezing when an 'Army of the Interested' pressed hard into the whipping winds swirling about the Schuylkill in January. While the immediate goal of reaching a new practice field was a mere two miles away, their true destination was waiting patiently four months down the road in the form of a division championship and playoff berth. That initial group, numbering over fifty on the daily, commanded the attention of tourists who had simply come for a pic of the famous Rocky Statue after running the steps in pseudo-mocking fashion. While they would get their picture after struggling up and down the steps in designer boots, they would also leave the Museum witnessing some dedicated, never-say-die young "Rocks" in the making.  

As was expected, the "interested" dwindled when the sessions increased in intensity and frequency. However, those who kept coming back for more formed the core of a dominating "Army of One" set to do battle from beginning to end. While their heroes and role models worked out in the golden sun of Florida and Arizona, this Army did so in defiance of the elements. When both started their respective seasons on April 1st, it was as if the roles had been reversed and the professionals paled in comparison to the amateurs. 

"There were three main goals when we started out this season", said SLA Varsity Baseball Coach Doug Herman before the team took the field vs. Sankofa in their final regular season game. "We set out to establish a J.V. squad to expand our program, finally secure a home field, and we looked to command our own destiny with solid, fundamental performances to earn the right to move up in the Varsity ranks. We obviously achieved the first two, thanks to the addition of Coach Dan Winterstein, but a solid win today will help us accomplish all three." While having the Umpires officially deem the field unplayable on the final day of the Regular Season was not how this team wanted to earn a trip to C, they'll take it. 

That Army, formed through the dark days of painful practices in swirling winds and bone-cold temps behind the ominous towers of Lee Park, never took their eyes off the prize. That Army, which would become known simply as "The Rocket", would weather all sorts of storms and suffer through hours of daily public transit to attend practices. That Army, which never let anything ruffle their feathers, had something to prove and constantly put their all on display. It was clear to anyone who glimpsed at the standings or box scores during this 2013 Season that this Army walked the talk and clobbered most who they faced. 

From the very first game, when King's most Dedicated forgot he wasn't coaching football, and chose to incessantly bark his orders instead of sending signs, to the very end when Sankofa's coach didn't lift a finger to prepare their field for battle, "The Rocket" maintained composure and completed a near-perfect season, finishing 11-1. But these warriors were gentlemen too. They dominated but never forgot where they came from. Remembering what it was like to be on the receiving end of mismatched beat downs, they moved toward their goal with class and earned the respect of everyone along the way.

"Started from the bottom, now the whole team here."

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In Disfavor of Philadelphia Budget Cuts

protest philly budget cuts poster png.002

I was intently hunched over my laptop at a table of four. Like the 20-odd other students in the room with me, I was hoping to finish my work before the period ended. The brightness of my screen was turned way down to conserve battery; programming with Alice eats up charge like no other software. We were given a difficult project to work on - which I was close to finishing. I ran my code... it worked! The hint the teacher had given helped perfectly. 

This class, computer science engineering, was not something I thought I would like. However, high school is a time to explore my options and all the fun things out there.  

Right now, I want to try new things and enjoy school, and electives fulfill both wishes. Unfortunately, the Philadelphia School District can not pay for people to teach these classes based on proposed budget cuts. This also translates to no language classes, no clubs, sports, counselors, nurses. Classes will be expanded while teachers are laid off.  Learning does not just take place in core classes; this proposed future is not an acceptable form of education. 

Instead of shutting down extracurriculars, the state and other decision makers should prioritize education. No matter what else is going on, education should not bear the brunt of it. Instead, trying to manage funds more delicately and procuring money to close the gap through other means would be much more acceptable. 


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A Severe Disrespect of Education

To whom it may concern,

My name is Alex Marothy, a Sophomore at Science Leadership Academy, and I respect education. I value learning over many things. Not only do I myself love to learn, but I equally enjoy seeing others around me benefit and grow from the programs every school offers. Each student has their own unique passion, and the allowance of their academic growth through that passion is a beautiful thing. I am deeply saddened by the threatened loss of these possibilities, for without that flare in a student's day, their education loses all value. Such a tragedy I cannot comprehend, and so I implore you to do what you can. Whatever is in your power to do, whatever actions you can take, do so for the children you've never met, but who mean so much. For we are the future, and a budget cut today means inevitable unraveling tomorrow.
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My Education tied with the Budget Cuts

​I am a sophomore in SLA and I came to SLA to learn in an environment that I fell in love in. If the budget will be cut further, the laptops to enhance learning experiences and different electives that would help me decide my future career would disappear. I applied for Digital Video and Advance Engineering for my junior year. Would I be able to take these classes? If not, then what is school's purpose anyway? Isn't it to teach future leaders? Then, why is this budget cut will potentially prevents me from being an renown photographer or engineer? I think that every children should have the basic opportunity to tried out things that they want to do in the future. Saying that Philadelphia is an underdeveloped educational institution or any other reason isn't enough to let the government have a cold or negative response to Mayer Nutter's proposal on recovering budget.

I really want to spend my next two years in Science Leadership Academy in an environment that this school could give me in the best of its ability, not a backslash that will turn my last two years in this wonderful school into a nightmare filled with regrets.  
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Since I was little, I have always loved working with computers. I always liked going on the internet to play games, and look at websites, but that was never enough. I wanted to know how they worked, and what the process was behind them. I wanted to know the languages, and the codes, and how to put all the pieces together to make something coherent that anyone could enjoy. 
When I was in fourth grade my I saw a video about a kid my age, who had the same curiosity as me. So he started using the internet to find guides and lessons, and soon he was able to make websites himself. At the end of the video there was footage of him playing a game that he made by himself. This was a driving force, and convinced me that I could do this. The very next day I went to look for ta guide so I could start learning. After a few hours on Google, I came to a crushing realization. There was no good way to learn programming online. Not one that was free. After this I put my hopes on a shelf, and moved on to different things.

My freshman year of high school I decided to go back to programming. I was older, more experienced, and there had never been more information on the internet then right then. I soon found a website that had a free html guide. With that guide I began to build my own website. I came to school early every morning to read and work on it. I spent months working, until I had something I was really proud of.
Around December of my freshman year It was announced that there was a chance that my school would be shutting down after we graduated. Within a few months, this escalated to us being closed at the end of that school year. It was crushing to hear, and soon it became apparent that despite protest, there was nothing we could do to stop it. We were told we had to apply to new schools. We were all sad to hear that the people who we had just spent a year getting to know, would not be the ones walking across the stage with us as we graduated. It was something no one really wanted, and everyone tried to fight. 
When I came to SLA at the beginning of this year, there was a sort of light at the end of the tunnel. I was able to sign up for both Computer Science, and Web Design. I  was ecstatic to know that I would have the chance to learn even more about programming, and the way computers work. Now budget cuts threaten to take away these paragons of hope. These classes have taught me more than I think I ever could have learned on the internet. The have advanced me in the craft, and given me a chance to hone and challenge my ability. The thought of having something like this taken away from me next year is insane.
I know that you can't just give the schools all the money they need, and I know that someone has to lose out. I just don't understand why kids like me, who are plentiful in this school as well as others, have to get the short end of the stick. If children are the future, then shouldn't we be doing everything in our power to make sure the future is strong, and capable.

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Budget Cuts

I find it very interesting that people, specifically adults, are constantly telling younger children that their education is important and that is important to figure out what you want to do with your life so that we can help better America's future however, they take away things that we students need the most. School is not supposed to be a place where all you do is math,english,history and science. School is supposed to help students figure out what they a have a passion for while gaining knowledge necessary to get a great career in what ever field it is that we are passionate about. The idea of SLA without electives is absolutely crazy. I know that if sports and electives are taken out, more kids will begin to drop out of high school. I think we all need to figure out away to ration the money better so that schools can continue to have electives and sports. In my opinion school is the MOST important thing in my life and without proper education the probability of me becoming a unique and helpful part of civilization is very slim. It's a shame that some people honestly believe it is a good idea to drop school budget down 300 million dollars. I'm terrified of what school will be like next year if my school looses out on 17,000 dollars. We are the future of America. Without education what will we be or better yet, what will America be?  However, I do understand why some may believe that this is necessary. I have noticed that a lot of people believe Philadelphia is becoming a waste land and that there is no point in helping people who seem to not really care about their education. I just feel badly because I do understand that there are people in Philly who really want to succeed but can get their voices heard. 

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Budget Cuts- Philadelphia School District

​To whom it may concern, 

I wanted to talk about the budget cuts and how they shouldn't happen from my point of view. I am a student from Science Leadership Academy who loves playing sports and trying new things. With the budget cuts, after school activities, and sports programs would be abolished. This year I started playing this cool sport called Ultimate Frisbee which my friends and principle got me into. I wouldn't want this to be taken from me because it has really been a stress release and a great way to stay in shape. I work to get better in this sport and am dedicated to my school's team. From this I keep up my grades so I will be able to play. With the budget cuts all my hard work and dedication would have been for nothing. Also, with the abolishments of after school activities in the city of Philadelphia more students from all over would be wondering the streets instead of being productive, and this would cause more "flash mobs", and fights in our city. I hope you understand that the students of Philadelphia including myself truly needs sports programs. Thank you for your time and consideration and hopefully change can be made 

-Pierce Luck
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The Importance of Education / Suggestion

In my opinion, education is one of the most important stuff in our society. Education is the only thing that shouldn't be cut, because the students are the country's future. The point is, the government couldn't afford the money as much as before, in order to solve this problem, the government can borrow some money from some rich people, or from other countries instead of cutting everything. 
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