Advanced Essay: A bad Memory

Intro:  Is it possible to hate the feeling of love? Why can’t we just be with the people that makes us happy? My goal with this paper was to just go all out and not be afraid to write what I feel. I feel that I did well with description, and focusing on a larger issues for many people in the world. I feel that added to my scenes.

A Bad Memory.

In hopes of gaining more knowledge you try to understand a variety of things and why they matter to you especially. You try to understand why there are memories you put an effort in forgetting and decisions you wish you could erase. You dab at making sense of things that have always been complicated in your eyes. I can’t come to acknowledge the fact that I have put myself in such a position, a position of self-destruction. As I pace back and forth in this large, cold room, I feel goosebumps crawling up my spine as I was disgusted by the actions I have taking to solving my problems. I plan on leaving this world for the better. What other choice is there?

At a young age, we are always reminded that soon we shall meet our prince charming, so we should safeguard ourselves. However, once the time has come they make it impossible for you to keep your happiness. Now I feel beads of sweat on my forehead, and the shaking of my hands I can no longer control. Had I known I would be in such pain, I would have tried harder to control my love.

I have falling in love with a man. I never understood the saying “love hurts” because I found those words foolish. How can love hurt, when love is supposed to make you content? I have come to realize that the saying indeed is true and it’s me who is foolish. I had all my hope up, I would dream of the day him and I would live happily ever after. However, my family has snatched away our happily ever after. They have refused the man that I love because of where he is from. I tried to explain that love doesn’t have an age, a race or a gender. Nonetheless, once the heart is filled with ignorance, it will always be difficult to see two sides.

In this same room he came with respect, to ask for my hand in marriage. That was were I went wrong. We should have ran away together, like I suggested. He wanted to get my fathers blessings. We had planed to see how this day would turn about, and I have giving up on making the ignorant understand that I am just a young girl who is in love with a man. A humbled and honored man who has a different culture than I do. This is a day I would try so hard to forget but I won’t be able to.

Father- “You’re a man of a different background than Aissatou.”

Lover- “I love Aissatou so I will learn what she knows.”

Father- “Culture and tradition is something you grow up around not something you learn from just a simple explanation.”

Lover- “I will love her till the end, and live the way she wants us to live, with your culture.”

While these words are being exchanged, neither my father nor my lover is backing down I found something to focus on. I had to free myself of this debate. Something that reminds me it’s not the end of the world though I am heartbroken. I stare at the shahada frame. I stare at it not comprehending what it was for a few minutes. I observe it’s gold edges and gold writing. The writing is in English and Arabic. The Arabic letters are bigger and they are on top. The English letters are medium sized and they are on the bottom. The rest of the image is the color burgundy. There is also a gold line surrounding the words. Everything about the image is shiny and polished. The Arabic words have vowels on top or under the letter, which are smaller than the letters. I feel my eyes blur with tears, but I will not shed any. No one deserves to see me in such a vulnerable state. Than I am shocked at the words I hear next.

Lover- Why can’t you just let your daughter be happy? Your so stuck on culture and what people think of you, that you don’t even think or care about how she feels.

Father- Can’t she think about her family? She is being ungrateful and she only thinks about herself.

Me- Dad?

Father- Leave my house now! The audacity to come into my home and disrespecting my cultural beliefs.

Lover- Please sir, try to understand.  

Father- There is nothing to understand, please leave.

My lover stares at me and I look away because the longer he looks at me the more I think of leaving with him. I look away and stare back at the shahada frame, the only thing that is keeping me sane. He leaves and my dad walks to his room. I am still lost in this frame as I realize how heavy it looks to me today. As if it’s also feeling my sorrow. The gold edges have small silver crystals around it. The English and Arabic words have glitter inside of them. The English words are translating what the Arabic words mean. I stand up and touch the frame. The meaning now stands out the me. I learned that I can’t be with the man I have falling in love with.

Advance essay 1

the goals i wanted to achieve were to make the reader feel surprised because of what i wrote. I feel like i described as much as i could in my story. I would like to improve any repetitive sentences. 

Everyone should be treated equal with respect, kindness, and with love. I wrote this essay to show the readers that this could happen to anyone even yourself. Also it describes the emotions and feelings a person has or is feeling today. I wanted to write this because i feel like some people aren't treated fairly.  

Feelings, feelings can be expressed in many different ways for example in writings like  poetry or any kind of writing. Feelings express people to emotions and how they handle them. Feelings describe people's actions and also how they present themselves. If someone is feeling mad you would see more of angry person a different side of them. I know when I get angry I act like there is a mad beast in me and I went to unleash my rage. This starts to go into depth about how people treat others.

when people are treated with disrespect and being picked on  you can see that the other person will reflect by being mean and disrespectful to others.  When I broke my arm when I was 12 it was a very painful and vague memory. when I was in pain I never wanted to be annoyed. I just wanted to be in my own world and be peaceful. Because I know if I was annoyed  I could throw a temper tantrum.  

“ actions speak louder than words”, I use this quote because it is a very powerful quote.  this can show you, the different types of people you will be dealing with in your life. For example your actions are like your feelings  if you do the right or wrong thing it will determine how you would act in life and to others . Words, They can be very powerful and some words could hurt people's feelings. Many words describe many things, words play a big role in somebody's life. they can tell people how you prevent yourself in front of others.

For example when people are angry they like to use lots of curse words these curse words can show how angry a  person is. Words aren’t only used for negative language, they can also be used to describe how happy a person is. Words can make fall in love, if you say the right thing to a person they can feel some type of way. But if you say the wrong things to a person the they might be offended and might not like you at all.  I love using words words can show how I'm feeling, even tell people what I'm going to be doing.

Words are put into sentences, These sentences could  the questions or commands, Or simply just telling somebody story. You can greet somebody using words which will make them feel good. You could yell at people which would make them feel terrible or make them feel upset. I just would like to say that feelings are part of everyday life also it's how you interfere with other people. People lie,  people lieing  could be a big deal in life.

It could give people reputation which is not good. Sometimes people are addicted to lying which means they bluff and they like to have attention drawn to them.   I know everybody hates a liar even I do, some people live just to be cool.  also people like to get a things and to take the easier route in life. Line also has to do with feelings because whatever the person is feeling they feel like they have to lie in any situation. Lying is  a bad habit.

I feel like lying could help in good ways, because if they get you out of predicaments that you don't want to be in. Lying can also make people not trust you which makes people not want to deal with you. Feelings Just play a big role in life and to people because it can affect people for the good and for the bad. when people are in their feelings they tend to be alone.

 When the truth is spoken many people will attend to respect you because they know you don't lie and that makes them trust you. But sometimes the truth can be bad if people speak the truth too much you can hurt somebody's feelings also this is why people lie. Because they don't want to hurt people's feelings. When you are older and  is more mature you can tell when people are bluffing or telling the truth.

I know that all I speak is the truth sometimes here and there there will be a lot old but mostly I stick to the truth because that's what a real man would do, speak the truth. I believe that everybody has to the lies nobody's perfect everybody tells it lie. People get jealous because of what you have but never let that stop you because people are just rude.

Advanced Essay #1: Adults vs. Kids

The goal I had for this essay was to show that a lot of people lose the imagination they use as kids. Another goal of mine was to use enough description in my scenes. I think I was able to accomplish both of my goals with this essay. I want to improve on my transitions between my scenes. 

Around the table happy birthday was sung as my little sister sat in front of her Minnie Mouse shaped cake. Once the song was over, she looked around as if asking if she could finally blow out the three lit candles on top of her cake. With everyone’s encouragement, she blew out the candles with all her might in one gust of wind. Deciding she wanted to get her own piece of cake, she excitedly grabbed a fistful to put on her plate, not without a bite of it beforehand. Ripping through each present, she would happily shout the toy she got. With each one she opened, her eyes grew bigger and bigger. 

The excited gleam seen in kid’s eyes is always contagious. Without realizing it, you get excited along with them. It is like they cast a spell over you, letting you join in on their emotions. Kids draw you in with the excitement and let you get caught up in their unimaginable world. Though adults soon find themselves back in the place they have stayed for awhile now, the world of competition. It seems as though they are all in on this secret. They have a secret way of being able to see the world in a light that adults can never imagine. The world is just a giant playground waiting for them to discover something new and be amazed by the things it can do.

As we get older we start to lose these superpowers. Every once in awhile, will get a little spurt of it back and can share our joy. For the most part, though, we don’t get as excited as when we were little kids, catching fireflies or staring up at the moon in wonderment. This is what separates adults from kids. We get consumed into the land of work and thinking that money will bring back the superpowers we lost. Kids make it look so simple, so easy to be happy. The older we get the more complicated the equation that equals happiness becomes. We interpret with our new set of eyes, the set that knows everything that is going on around us. We try to convince ourselves that we know more than those little kids poking around the garden, but are we really the ones that know more?

They retain the imagination, the wonderment to look at the world in a light of their own, not affected by outside influences. The older ones, we form our decisions around others and we only make inferences based on what other people have said. Even our thinking can be affected by what other people say. We get caught in the trap in a world of trying to up one another. Our thinking completely changes from our childhood, everything to us changes and everything seems less interesting. When we could be seeing what else the world has to offer us, people get stuck on what we already know. Adults see one thing and say same old same old whereas little kids look with amazement and try to figure as much as they can from it. 

When I was little I went to the aquarium. The school of different fish and different colors made me not want to leave. I watched as they swam inside the giant tank, my little hands pressed up against it. From tank to tank I ran ahead, with my parents trailing behind. “Woah, that is so cool!”, I ran over to the shark tank. It was shaped as a tunnel, with the fish and water surrounding you. I looked up the entire walk through the tunnel. The hippo area was next for me. From above I saw the tip of their heads poking out. Running to the bottom of the tall tank, I saw more hippos underneath swimming around. All I wanted to do was get even closer, to break down that simple glass that was the only thing separating me from these magical creatures. When kids see something new, they latch onto it, see what else it can do or see what else they can get from it. They take on all this information then move on to the next fascinating thing. 

Though it is quite often that kids lose their sense of imagination or way of looking at the world, there are some cases where they are able to keep it all the way to adulthood. There are adults out there that keep this frame of mind but others call them childish. That person keeps their head down and tries to fit everyone else’s ideal understanding in order to not be teased with things such as they are not prepared for the real world. Maybe it is the other way around, maybe the real world isn’t prepared for them. A person who is able to think in a different mind frame may be what this world needs to solve the problems we face. When thinking in another way, they come to solutions that no one could ever imagine. These type of people shouldn’t be shamed but brought more into the light because they are the ones who lead our world innovation.

Advanced Essay - Matthew Willson

My goals for this paper were to show how having a special connection with someone you look up to is important. Having someone to show you the ropes is a very important thing in the development of a young person. Sharing a connection or passion with a parent or someone you look up to is an important thing that every child should have. One thing I did well for this essay was connecting scenes from my childhood to my idea. One thing I would have liked to improve was my development of a larger issue. I did a good job talking about my issue and I connected it to my scenes but I could have gone more in depth.

Advanced Essay

When you hear the word “legacy”, you may think of something that is left behind, or when someone does the same thing that a former family member has done. Legacy doesn’t have to be either of those things. It can be a type of mentality or outlook or even a passion or love for something that is passed on from someone to someone else.  Sharing a common experience with somebody makes you closer – you learn about that person and what makes them tick – and you gain an appreciation for the things they value and how it relates to you.

My dad is Canadian and hockey is a very large part of his life.  Most kids in America grew up having a catch in the front yard with their dad.  As a kid I played many sports but hockey was my main focus. Those moments where I could have been playing catch, I was on the ice with my dad.  My older brother and I both played hockey and my dad coached our teams.  We were on the ice together all the time.

When I was very young my dad bought a poster displaying a picture of a famous goal from a famous hockey game between Canada and Russia during the 1972 Summit Series. This was an 8 game series between Canada’s best professional team and the best Russian players.  The game took place at the height of the Cold War and it was such a big deal in Canada that grade school children were allowed to watch the games from Russia in school during the day. Everyone crowded into the gymnasium and the watched black and white TV’s perched on tall TV stands.

My Dad also bought a DVD about the series that was made by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) - and my brother and I watched it with him.  As the documentary moved onto the final game of the series I started to pay more attention. The way the narrator spoke over the slow motion shots gave me goosebumps and made me lean forward closer to the TV. My heart rate went up and I started breathing faster but I wasn’t moving at all. The emotion from the players and the fans was so greatly illustrated in the film that it was almost as if you were there.  As the game got close to the final moment where Henderson scored the game winning goal the narrator stopped and it played the voice of the commentator, Foster Hewitt, from the game.  As the final goal was scored it felt as if an extreme amount of pressure was released through my body.  I realized how fast my heart was racing when it started to slow down.  Sharing this moment with my family wasn’t very important to me back then, but now I realized how interesting the moment was. My dad watched this same game live forty years ago and he shared that moment and experience with my brother and I when we were almost the same age.  

As I grew older I stopped playing competitive hockey because of concussions.  The same thing happened to my brother.   Since both of us still liked to play,   we would rent the ice on Fridays during the winter at Simons Recreation Center and play pick-up with 15-20 people including my dad.  The games were always fun, and I was always one of the better players, since I played so much as a kid.   I really enjoyed playing and sharing the experience with my dad and brother.  Every kid in the world needs someone to look up to and learn from.  When children grow up and don’t have good parental guidance they may end up doing bad things and may make bad decisions. Having someone to show you the ropes is a very important thing.  Sharing a passion for something with your parent is a special thing only some kids have in life.  

My Dad takes a team from Philadelphia to play pond hockey in a tournament in Canada every year.  I have been going with him since I was 10 years old.  My brother goes to university in Canada now, so it is a chance for us to get together and have fun.  There is usually 3 feet of snow – and it was 28 below zero last year.  At the tournament my brother and I skate and play pond hockey with people from all over North America.  It is an absolute blast.  We play, we talk about it. We play, we talk about it some more.  You realize that it is not playing the games so much as sharing the experience together that makes it great.

Time Flies...

Time Flies…

(This story was first gonna be first about me coming back from tour but then it switches. I guess you have to have emotion to read this.)

The lost for life was on top of the world while we were in the van on the way to the airport all of us were just talking you know chatting it up like normal teens, but the ride had gotten more intense because someone was scared of highways so we ended up blasting classical music to calm him down I don’t remember his name but if I did I wouldn’t mention it because it would be embarrassing for him but he’s in this school though that’s why I can’t mention names. Anyway back to the story and I don’t really feel like starting over the whole thing so I’m just going to go from here the beez in the trap song was playing on my ipod so I joined into the music without friends because you know the vibe was cooling like that,  so I took advantage of it and I went pretty far in the moment towards the eyes that was staring down at me for the farthest of time. I couldn’t get to myself in time to be the top of the mountain of my mind.

We were in the airport the guy with the stick that went “woom woom” and his name tag said security. I’m guessing that’s what it was yeah security, so we’re all walking through the crowd trying to get some snacks before our flight. I was with my friend Jake and I remember  the feeling he had for Japanese food in airports he loved it and so did I! SO we waited in line that was all way the down the line because we weren’t the only ones who wanted the food everyone on that floor was in that line and it went on forever. So finally we’re both up there ready to order and I asked for 3 platters 1 for then,the plane and the plane to england. I ordered this pepper chicken which was worth the wait at the time, but the time being I really had to use the bathroom so I had asked my friend to wait at the door but then I forgot he had to wait for the food so I ran towards the bathroom and the time I got there I heard something vibrate in my pocket and it was my phone and I saw the lights flashing through my pocket so I figured out that I needed to do something right? So I dialed my grand moms number once I had got back into the states and she picked up wondering how I was doing and I was doing fine because I knew she was okay. and I was also happy because it was the first time in awhile that I had Starbucks.When we got back on the bus I told my friend to move over and he just sat there for about  3 minutes.

Well instead of changing the times how about I switch it up to rhymes for a little bit of time because it’s the time of feeling and the feeling of time towards racks of going on onto the century of head giving feeling and emotions being spread in the air.

There are six flowers that’s full of sunshine, which all are different colors. The feelings they bring is the order of the colors. The first one is Red which brings the spice out of me, Orange which makes me feel appetising you know like a juicy steak in the hot blazing sun, Green...well green gives me all types of feelings which brings the inner goodness come right on out and don’t think about that as a negative way either because I know you all feel the same way. The next color violet ( is like a light purple)  which contains so many memories which is crazy because of the time being set throughout the times that are just already set around you and for the time being set so slow and pasty we all could/can evolve our memories through this time. The person still went inside my heart for the feelings that I gave her because if it wasn’t for me I would’ve been down to be the greatest there ever was with thoughts and all of that. The flowers, gave them to mom and I let her keep them inside of her big heart and she kept them because she loves me I guess. I went to my grandma’s grave the other day and dropped some flowers off as I was driving away I said to myself why you’d have to go, because I never got to finish my conversation with you. The reasons I feel the way I feel is because I want another chance to talk to her because I didn’t give her all the time I should’ve, I don’t know man I wasn’t expecting anything to happen.

Advanced Essay#1

My goal was to share my experiance with others about standing up for myself.

I feel that I expressed my feelings and emotions well.

I would like to improve the setting a bit.



(Scene 1)

I remember when I was a young kid at my Church’s annual picnic . I got into a fight that I wanted no part of. In this picnic area, there were 2 pavilions, one for my church and one for another group. In this other group, there was a kid that really did not like me; however, I never knew the reason and to this day, I still do not know why. It was a nice, sunny day when the picnic started. I was busy playing with all my friends in the feild when we all saw a small playground area. At one point during the picnic, when I was playing on a slide,  the kid started to hit me. ¨Stop!¨ I shouted over and over again. However, the kid ignored me and kept hitting me. Since I was young, I ran off and was upset. I told my parents and they said if I ever saw him again, that I was to stand up for myself and fight back.

(Scene 2)

After this fight, I decided to carry on with my day.  I returned back to my church’s pavilion to hang out and ignored the kid who had hit me. After some time playing some sports and running around the picnic area with my friends and family, the kid came back and started hitting me again. I was scared out of my wits but I could hear my parents shouting from behind me to defend myself.

¨Hit him Noah!¨ Shouts mom.

¨Defend yourself!¨ Shouts dad.

     I wanted to run away so badly, but I knew I couldn’t, so I fought back. I took a few hits but I fought back until he gave up and started to cry.  To this day still feel bad; however, I learned I could now stand up for myself and I was not afraid anymore. I was never in a situation like this since having fought that kid.  I learned that when you need to defend yourself, that it’s important not to be afraid to fight back because there are some people who just won’t back off without a fight.

Advance Essay #1:Beauty Is Only Skin Deep


No one should have to change who they are or what they look like just so other people can enjoy it. My goal for this essay was to tell people that they should always love who they are and what they look like no matter what anyone says. I feel like I did really well with sharing out my thoughts throughout this essay. I fell like I could have done a better job on elaborating more on my bigger idea.

Tick tock, tick tock the clock keeps singing. My heart is pounding through my chest as I am anxiously waiting for my best friend to come over.

I never really understood the reason why girls always try to impress boys by putting on makeup and getting all dressed up for just one night.  I get that it is fun but girls should go to these dances dressed how they want and how they feel comfortable. Ding dong. I threw my iPad on my bed and ran downstairs as fast as I could. Julia comes in and we both run up to my room.. We only had two hours  to get started. I set the straightener and the curling wand by my window sill, then ran downstairs out of breathe to get my older sister, Antonia .  She followed me upstairs. Bang! The hot steamy blue straightener fell on the floor as my sister and I entered the room. Julia had tripped over the wire. Luckily, the straightener did not fall on her foot. Antonia told julia to sit on the bar stool  in front of our window so the sun's rays fall on her face. She has a natural glow. I tell her all the time she doesn’t need makeup; she's naturally beautiful. However, she never listens to me, so I try to keep my mouth shut most of the time.

I don’t understand why girls and guys try to change themselves into something they are not and try to create this whole different person to just try and fit into today’s society. No one should have to change who they are or what they look like just so other people can enjoy it. Why does any of this matter in society? We should accept people as they are. Why do people have to be pretty or handsome to fit in with the popular kids. People say “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” but then they go and judge it anyway.

As Antonia started Julia’s makeup I set a alarm on my phone so it would let us  know when a half hour went by, since we only had two hours to get Julia ready. I got Julia’s black short sparkly dress out and hung it on the white ladder to my bunk bed. As my sister kept doing her makeup, I split her hair into sections and started to straighten her long, beautiful blonde hair. As I continued straightening her hair I noticed she started shaking. “What’s wrong?” I asked.

“I am scared, what if he don’t like how I look?” Julia asked nervously. I stopped doing her hair and put the straightener down on the window sill. Antonia finished her makeup and I told her to look in the mirror.

“Do you like how you look?” I asked. She looked in the mirror and a smirk appeared on her face.

“Yeah.” she said.

“That’s all that matters.” I said.

This is what gets me mad. People should never doubt themselves on what they look like; even if they say they don’t like the way they look. Everyone should love themselves no matter what and who ever told them they aren’t worth living.. Julia is very insecure about the way she looks, which is why I try and get her not to think that because no one should  think like that.  

As time went by, my sister curled Julia’s hair. I got Julia’s heels from downstairs. When I walked back upstairs, Antonia was done her hair and it was time for her to get dressed. Julia pulled her dress over her head and asked me to zip it. I gave Julia her heels.  After she put them on I told her to look in the mirror. She was so excited with the way she looked that she started dancing around my room. I told her to stop because I knew how clumsy she was and I didn’t want her getting hurt before her dance. However, she didn’t listen to me and fell  down and twisted her left foot. Antonia and I ran over to her and lifted her up on the bed. She kept saying her ankle was hurting her. She tried to stand on it but it hurt to much for her to weight on it. I called my dad up to my room to see what was wrong with her. He walked in the door and said “What happened, what was that big bang?” I told him what happened and he looked at her ankle. He told Julia it was sprained so my dad carried her out of my room to take her to the hospital and Julia never got to go to her dance.

I took a glimpse of my painting before leaving my room to follow my dad which it reminded me the reason why I painted it in the first place, people are beautiful in many different ways on the inside and out. Accept who you are first so everyone else can. You have to accept their interest no matter how weird or dumb they may seem. Accepting someone for who they truly are takes some time because they may seem so different to you or you may have nothing in common with them but you learn to accept them anyway.

Advanced Essay #1: Superstitious Sundays

With this paper I wanted people to see something that goes on constantly in my life. To provide an in depth look to me. I succeeded in making my story a serious but funny piece while focusing on a common practice in human behavior. I wish I could have improved on expanding my pre game rituals and introducing game time rituals.

Superstitious behavior is a common practice; it is practiced by people who are desperate.  People make sacrifices hoping for a specific outcome. Superstitions can be practiced in infinite number of forms from sitting in a lucky chair to snapping your fingers every five seconds. Many U.S citizens claim to not participate in superstitious behavior.  Nevertheless, some people, like me, take it to the extreme and do ridiculous things hoping to control the outcome of events beyond our control.  We are caught in an endless web of superstitious behavior.

Superstition behavior is tough to stop once engaged in; it is addictive. Although I am conscious of my superstitious behavior, I can not stop.  For example, before a baseball game, I can’t step on the foul line. It may bring bad luck. Before a game, I can’t watch a TV all day.  Another pre-game superstition is I can not tie my shoes. These superstitions interfere with my daily life. None-the-less, there is no way, shape or form my pre-game baseball superstitions are as intense or entrenched as my Sunday Steelers football game superstitions.

On Steeler football Sundays, I wake up, tired, from whatever I did the previous night, excited and frightened. I am frightened that the Steelers may lose. I am excited for another Steeler win. You don’t want to be near me when the Steelers lose. So, in order to not contribute to  a loss, I go through some pretty odd practices to help them win. When I execute my pre-game and during game rituals, the Steelers often do better.

I begin by checking the time, reaching with my hand across my bed to see how much time I have to prepare. Next, I sit on my phone for roughly ten minutes, always checking my Bleacher Report Team Stream app. I like to see the games’ inactive players. I usually get disappointed.  Today, for example,  I was infuriated by the Steelers choosing to not play Sammie Coates, our third round selection. Then, I roll out of bed, take a shower and put my music on shuffle. In the shower, I brush my teeth but don’t wash my hair Sundays. Obviously, slightly greased and ruffled hair is needed for total focus on the game.

After showering, I proceed to get dressed, but never, EVER in Steelers gear on Sundays. This one is critical. The Steelers seem to play worse when I put on their clothing, so my Steeler shirts, hoodie and hats stay in my drawers or hang on a shelf. Next, I exercise a bit, just so I don’t fall behind because on Sundays I eat fairly poorly. Then, I have a conversation with Luke, my twin brother, strictly concerning football.  Breakfast awaits and if breakfast is botched I can become a little crazy.

Breakfast starts with a bowl of any cereal but most likely plain cheerios. One thing that is crucial here is my lucky Steelers bowl. Until the ending of the game, all food must be consumed on my Steelers decade old plate or bowl. I eat my cereal, and cook two eggs on an English muffin. I add one squirt of ketchup and savor a one heck of a breakfast until about 10:30 A.M. Mid morning is time for NFL Gameday Morning.  While the talking head commentators are previewing the Sunday football rosters, I am researching stats and predictions for the game.  This is one of the few time during the week when I enjoy facts and figures - math - and delve into computation.

Madden football comes next. Playing the actual opponent whom the Steelers will play later in the day is a tradition. I set it to realistic 15 minute quarters to ensure I remain channel the game. Playing is for enjoyment but also to get ready for the game. I win, obviously; Madden isn’t something I play often but I am a stud. It is less than two hours of virtual game time but I run plays via my controller and through my head. To think I am predicting the game is a frightening feeling so I drink the traditional sport drink, gatorade, and prepare for the afternoon pigskin match-up.

Although the morning has been full and I faithfully follow my pre-game routine, waiting until 1:00 pm is arduous. To fill time and get into our football mindset, my brothers and I watch FOX NFL Sunday. We loved the days when Frank Caliendo would make amazing impressions of athletes or celebrities. Rob Riggle is fine too but we enjoy the commentary and make our own predictions for the weeks biggest games and also an upset and a wild card. During the FOX commercials we tune into James Brown’s CBS football preview with Bill Cowher, Dan Marino and others. It’s a bit less entertaining but the predictions are the best.

You see,  my superstitions completely dictates my schedule; they consumes my day and I continue to follow my pre game rituals with a passion and a reverence for the Steelers. Superstitious behavior, in my eyes, is had involved in today’s victory. We, the Steelers and I,  won 43-18.  The game was a blowout and I’m beyond thrilled that I feel like I helped! Superstitious behavior is followed because we want something, or we’re desperate. I am desperate for the win like millions of others who practice superstitious behavior because it’s a lifestyle. For U.S. football fans, my superstitious behaviors and routines will never vanish.  When the Steelers win, I’m on a high.  Their win is not just for stats or fame; they are for the high of feeling part of something successful. These are my pre-game superstitious behaviors; there are also during game rituals.

Superstition is built on one thing -  cause and effect. What I do before and during a game will affect what will play out during the game. It’s a battle with my mind and out of desperation. We are willing to sacrifice and do many things to support our team. Nevertheless, superstition is an odd.  Why does whether or not I wash my hair, wear certain clothes, watch particular sports programs or check stats matter?  Who am I fooling?  Unfortunately, I will not change because I am afraid if I don’t follow the superstitious routines I may think I contribute to a Steelers loss.  Once a person participates in superstitious behavior, they are caught in its trap.  I am locked in a web of Sunday superstition.

Advanced Essay #1: Lost and Found

My goal for this essay was to connect both of my scenes in a way that would paint a clear picture to the person reading it. I wanted to use just enough detail to describe my main idea, which was memories. The thing I did well was being descriptive. I made sure I described everything that could be described, and left no detail unsaid. I feel as though I could of used more advanced words instead of the basic ones I used (ex. bad, good, boring, etc.).

It’s hard to understand oneself and who they are. In society today, you are expected to be resilient, selfless, “perfect”. How can someone know their own identity if they only see the imperfect parts of themselves that society forces them to correct?

All this wraps up into one big question, how can you discover your real self? This is something I like to call, ‘Lost and Found’. When you’re a child, you don’t give a care in the world about what people think of you, because it’s likely that no one cares who you really are, they like you for you, but little did you know that everything you did from birth until now, is what made you into the person you want to be.

It all begins with memories. Memories you reminisce about the most, are the memories that inspire you, memories so good that it would hurt to forget them. You remember specific things because it reminds you of who you were.

I’m in high school, yet I have a detailed recollection of something that happened to me when I was 4.

My brother and I would always wake up at the same time every Sunday, and run to my parents room, filled with yellow bright light and warm air. We would jump on their tattered bed and my dad would reach into his vintage nightstand and pull out a small box covered in words I couldn’t read or understand at a young age.

“Burro!” we would all yell in synchronization, and we would circle up on top of the bed, and begin our weekly card game of ‘Donkey’, or ‘Burro’ in Spanish.

I remember that moment, not only because it frequently occurred, but because it reminds me of the fun I used to have as a kid. There wasn’t a single moment as a child where I wasn’t doing something entertaining, something where I would laugh and make other people laugh with mel. I grew up, and everything changed. My laughter and energy became dull. My stories became tedious and worn out, so I stopped telling them, and the untold stories got lost amongst my teenager thoughts. I was different, I became quiet and independent. I had lost myself and had no intention to search for what had vanished.

Years later I made a bold decision to start running, and little did I know that I would have a great appreciation for it.

I had started my first race, and I was running so slow, that I might as well have been walking. Men with rainbow tutus ran passed me, children with legs as long as my arms ran passed me. Mile 4 and I wasn’t getting any faster. Mile 6, I’m almost there. There were big houses next to me with people screaming out the window, “You can do it!” I know they weren’t specifically talking to me, but it was those words, those people who decided they’d cheer on sweaty stinky strangers just because they wanted to, that simple act of kindness is what pushed me the last 4 miles.

Those people didn’t even know who I was, and they smiled at me and patted me on the back. It was at that moment that I realized, who was I fooling? I didn’t want to look back at my adolescence and regret everything I had done or didn’t do. I had lost myself for years, but one single moment, one single gesture from a stranger, pushed me to get out of a dark and lonely pit I had put myself in years ago. I didn’t care how the world saw me, I cared about how I saw myself. Some people may think memories are useless and a waste of time, but I think, memories are what makes each and every person unique in their own beautiful way. It’s horrible losing something so important to who you are, and one should only be grateful that they were able to find it, because some people never do. It’s easier to lose something, what’s complicated, is finding it, and I was lucky enough to find it.

Advanced Essay #1: All Lives Matter

Zaeem Wallace-Parker                                                                   


English 3

My goal for this paper was to find a deep meaning in my image and connect it to a real world problem going on today. I feel like I found a very great topic to touch on and give my reasoning on something that is not very criticized at all. I would improve the repetition because it's some topics and facts that have brought up and then later in the paper speak on that topic again.

In 2013, a movement that goes by the name Black Lives Matter, began to promote their slogan and motto against police brutality and injustice. The movement is being supported by many other blacks and even networks such as B.E.T. . The only problem with Black Lives Matter is that they’re segregating themselves from other races whenever they say the words “ black lives matter.” Black Lives Matter is creating a bigger problem in this post-racist and discriminating world.

Black Lives Matter is a movement that began in 2013 after George Zimmerman was found not guilty of the murder of Trayvon Martin. Black Lives Matter campaigns against police brutality against African Americans. The movement grew stronger after the death of two unarmed African Americans last year. Those two guys were Michael Brown of Ferguson, Missouri and Eric Garner of New York City. People spontaneously added and followed Black Lives Matter social media and re-posted their trending hashtag Black Lives Matter.

Although Black Lives Matter was created, it has a major flaw in its purpose. Black Lives Matter only campaigns for those who are black. Which is said here , in the second sentence of the first paragraph. The problem is that police brutality is not only inflicted on those with color, it happens to everyone. Black Lives Matters is seeing a view of what life was back in the Jim Crow era not today. Today 352 people ( of all races) in the U.S. have been killed by the law enforcement. 623 people were killed by the law enforcement last year. Those numbers included people of all races in the U.S. not just African Americans.

Most African Americans, especially those who support Black Lives Matter, still see an unbalance amount of justices against whites and black. They think that the law enforcement prefer whites over black which is sometimes true but mostly uncommon nowadays. Here’s proof that officers do not discriminate in colors of the skin As I said before all 975 people who killed this and last year were not all black.

People who don’t follow Black Lives Matter campaigns believe in the statements I made earlier. Some are even going against the hashtag Black Lives Matter and are saying #AllLivesMatter. It’s like Black Lives Matter is creating this boundary between blacks and other races. They might not believe in that way but that’s the way it looks because the name of their movement. It’s like saying we only care about the black guy or lady that was killed about the police. Black Lives Matter is creating a bigger problem than just police brutality and injustice and they should be criticized for it.

The founders and supporters of Black Lives Matter don’t see that they are idolizing black supremacy. Now it’s ok to be angry and upset when black are treated wrong by the police. But, in the process of being upset don’t discount those who are not black. Mexicans and other hispanics are killed and harassed by the police every day. They can’t be in our country without permission! 14 year old Ahmed Mohamed was arrested for having for a homemade clock in school. The police discriminated him and saw for his culture and not for who he truly is, a smart young American.

This essay is not to discredit Black Lives Matter, don’t get me wrong their movement was made for a good cause. It’s to educate those who don’t see the flaw and what may be the outcome of this movement. This movement is on a path that’s causing segregation all over again. They’re segregating their beliefs from those who are not black and those who don’t believe in Black Lives Matter. The same thing goes for all the other black supremacy movements like Black Girls Rock. As a nation we should all care for each others races and maybe just maybe we would have a better country. Stuff like this goes back to the Civil Rights Movement. Dr. Martin Luther King believed in All Lives Matter. While other leaders such as Malcolm X on saw and believed in the injustice against blacks at the time. Therefore he was supportive of Black Lives Matter or black supremacy. Black Lives Matter is movement that adding fuel to fire. They’re doing what whites were doing 60-70 years ago. They’re trying to rise against all other races and cultures instead of just coming together as 1. You never know maybe police will even join in!

Advanced Essay #1: Open Your Ears

 In our first advanced essay, we were asked to utilize description and explore a big topic. In the big topic we explored, we were also asked ​ to have some scenes to support our bigger topic. In this paper, I wanted to talk about the power of small things and my scenes all wrapped around my example of music. Over the summer, I was able to gain more insight and appreciation for the power of music. I was also able to see how overlooked music is. This essay does include scenes that some a descriptive insight to my bigger topic but I would say that some more scenes could've added to topic.

Music has always been one of the few things to connect people no matter where they come from. Genres like Reggae, RnB, Hip-hop and many others have had influences in revolutions and times of trials for countries. Music has also been one of the only outlets to utilize the entire brain. Bringing in more memory, language, and the ability of relieving stress, music holds power that is able to give life meaning whether it is a booming baseline of Rap or the soothing tunes of jazz, the power of music can captivate anyone and make the simplest times meaningful.

It was one of those Saturdays. I slept in and woke up around 11. It was so cool outside because it was fall, but the sun was so bright and the sky was clear. I woke up with tiredness still in my eyes, but I decided it was time to get up.

I made my way to the bathroom where I turned on the cold water. I then started to splash my face and it woke me up right away. The smooth coolness of the water was just something that settled in with the calm feeling of this Saturday. Suddenly, my mother with a raw, horse morning voice started to yell that Saturday chores needed to be done. Still being in my calm mood, I just seemed to find a way to tune it out. With all the aggression and yelling surrounding me, I found a way to still enjoy my morning. I told my mother I would do my chores right after I ate breakfast. We had just gone grocery shopping and that added more happiness to my life. After eating and feeling replenish, I decided to avoid any more yelling. I decided them to begin cleaning.

It is a common routine that when I start to clean. I must have music on, preferably hip-hop. The sounds of the beats from songs like Push it Along by A Tribe Called Quest and Dead Wrong by Notorious BIG create a relaxing  atmosphere. Songs like those allowed me to just bob along and the cleaning gets done and just creates a soft mood.

In addition to Saturdays of listening to music and cleaning, over the summer, I was able to fall more in love with hip-hop. One of the ways I was able to do that was take a class at Drexel called The Politics of Hip-hop. When music was brought up in general, not only was I able to see music as an art, but music is freedom. It is liberation. In addition, not only was I able to love and appreciate hip-hop more, I fell in love with the connection different genres had with each other. Music has always been one of the few things to connect people no matter where they come from. In particular, Reggae has been one of the most influential genres in music. One of the most noteable genres Reggae has had an impact on is Hip-hop. Reggae gave power to the people of Jamaica. Reggae allowed many young people to be free. In music, political fortunes might rise or fall, society made or undone but it is the people’s space. It was also the same with Hip-hop. Dance floors were where the minority became the majority and nothing could stop that.

It was in this class throughout the summer that music became something that represented a whole culture and became the way for a nation to voice injustice.

I have had time to think about the power of such a small thing. Everyday we hear sounds, but when it comes to the way people are able to put multiple sounds together and add words that are able to captivate billions of people is something that goes in depth than what people seem to see. The human mind is able to make anything into something that will have a person invested in for days. A prime example is when people commonly say they “spaced out”. There can be nothing but silence in a room, but a person is able to wander in a space. The mind is able to see beautiful to see interest in things, visible and invisible, which is a power that many do not understand. Our minds are are so wrapped around reason that anything that seems so small is overlooked because of the fact we haven’t come up with a reason of how significant it is.

Advanced Essay #1: Scary Things (Like Small Children and Growing Up)

This essay is about realizing your growing because of other people. In my case specifically, these other people were my two younger cousins. My goals with this paper was to look at growing up and family in a different way. Most people talk about growing up in vague, undefinable terms. I tried describe this experience in terms of family. I think I was able to clearly portray my sense of humor and terror throughout the essay. I feel like I could have done a more in depth analysis of my fear, and I could have tried to determine it's exact root better.

Having a big family is great. Not being able to see said family… Not so great. From my Aunt and Uncle in Maine to my cousins in Hawaii, to my extended family in north Jersey, almost everyone in my family lives over an hour away. Physically, the closest family I have is my Aunt Elaine, my Uncle Ed, and my Grandma, and they live in West Chester. Because of this distance, seeing my family is kind of a big deal for me. I can count on one hand the number of times I have seen my cousins Dashtan and Rae in person. Oh, and Dashtan and Rae live on opposite sides of the country.

The first time I saw my cousin Dashtan was about 3 years ago. It was the first Christmas he would ever spend in the continental US. It was also the first time my immediate family would ever meet him. This was something monumental for my sister, Stella, and I. Until Dashtan came along, we had always been the babies of the family. We had no younger cousins, unless you count Angel and Maya, but they live in Switzerland. It was an odd feeling, fussing over someone, instead being fussed over ourselves. When we got to my Aunt’s house, I saw a little flash of green and red out of the corner of my eye. Dashtan had rushed from the kitchen into the living room to see greet us. He’s eyes went wide at our height, since up until this point, he had only seen us over Skype. It was an incredible feeling, seeing this little boy look up at me and my sister, both physically and emotionally, something no one had done before.

Normally, during family holidays, Stella and I would often be sent to the basement while the adults talked. When we were little, we enjoyed it. We loved curling up on the couch under a blanket and watching Disney movies. As soon as I turned 8, it became clearer to me that we were being sent away, so they adults wouldn’t have to deal with us. That Christmas was the first time in several years we eagerly headed down the steps to the basement. Dashtan picked out a movie he wanted to watch and then sat on the floor to play with some of the toys he had brought with him. As we played with him, I realized why we had always been sent to the basement. “Little kids are tiny balls on indecisive energy,” I thought as Dashtan stopped building with his blocks and started playing with the trucks, again, all while The Rescuers played in the background. Another realization: young boys are a lot more rambunctious than young girls. I can’t tell you the number of times I almost had a heart attack, watching Dashtan run and jump around the room. At that point, it really hit me for the first time. Stella and I weren’t the babies anymore. We weren’t little. We weren’t the ones being watched over. Everyone has a realization like that at some point. When you realize, you aren’t a kid anymore, and it’s terrifying. When you’re little, growing up seems great; but when you actually get there, you realize you have no idea what you’re doing.

The next cousin to come along was baby Rae. By this point, I was 14. I had learned how to master toddlers, but babies? Yeah, I didn’t have a clue. When Rae was about 6 months old, my family and I went down to Asheville, North Carolina to meet her. She was, of course, adorable, as babies should be. She had big, light blue eyes and tufts of dark blonde hair. She was just starting to teethe, so we were all greeted with a gummy smile, but happy none-the-less. I was fine while I was playing with her, as long as she was sitting on something or someone else. But when I was asked if I wanted to hold her, I had a very internal panic attack. I’d never held a baby before. Like I said, Stella and I were the babies of the family, and she is only 3 years younger than me. If you’ve never held a baby before, I wish you good luck. And no matter how big their smile is, it’s still terrifying.

Terrifying. I’ve used that word a lot in this essay. But, I guess that’s a part of getting older and getting more responsibilities. It’s also the part we never see coming. Growing up seems great until you realize your mind skipped some very big, very scary things. Like high school, or realizing that you aren’t the youngest in the family anymore. It’s scary, all of these realizations and experiences, and most of the time, you don’t know what you’re doing. Maybe someday I’ll get the hang of this growing up thing, but until then, just like learning how to deal with little kids, I’m taking it one step at a time.

Advanced Essay #1 Emotions

My goals with this paper were to convey the idea I had been thinking about for a while, I had just never had the proper essay to do so until this one. Another goal of mine was to make my scenes have a balance of description and flow. I feel like I accomplished both of these goals very well. I also think that I got my point across very well. I would like to improve my vocabulary so I wouldn't have to use such basic words.

Advanced Essay #1 Griffin Gallagher

It was hot out and we had been on the water for hours, with no results. My little sister was getting impatient, just like any four year old would. Finally one of the lines took, and a fish was on. It was small so we let my sister reel it in. When the fish was finally landed my sister’s eyes light up with excitement. Many things make people happy. Happiness is an emotion that we experience very often, because we like the feeling so we try to make ourselves feel like that all the time. Just because something makes one person happy does not mean that the same thing will make a different person happy. For example, John Doe goes on a roller coaster, and he enjoys it, he has fun. On the same day at the same amusement park Jane Doe goes on the same roller coaster and it makes her feel fearful, or scared. There are certain things in the world that cause different people to feel Different emotions.

We walked onto the wooden pier that had been here for years. The loud sounds of metal gears grinding and clanking was only outshined by the high pitched shrieks of people on the rides that seemed terrifying. It was my first time ever going on a roller coaster, I was terrified. But all my friends were excited, they loved going on rides. They had been on every ride, and rode the scariest ones twice. I on the other hand never rode any rides. I prefered to sit back and watch the flashing lights of one of the game stands. Many years later on the same pier I was the first person in line for “the great white.” If you have never been to wildwood, the great white is a wooden roller coaster. It is large and it moves quite fast, faster than the average car drives on the streets. This ride is my favorite out of all rides down the shore. This shows another face of how we experience events. When I was younger I was scared of all the big rides, but when I got older the fears disappeared and excitement took their place. This type of event causes a rush of adrenaline which when we are younger triggers fear, but when we can control this adrenaline, it can be used as a form of happiness. This shows me that over time people change, possibly even into a whole nother person. What we like at one time in our life may become a view of disgust later on in life. But the same can also happen, something that we hate we can grow and learn to love. A few examples of this is me, when I was younger I loved pickled beets, now i can't stand the look of them. This also works in reverse, when I was younger I hated kale, now I eat kale salads at least three times a week because I love kale.

When we change, the changes are seamless. We do not realize our emotions change they just do. there is nothing we can do about it. If we try to hide our emotions, we bottle them up and this is not healthy, because we become an unstable time bomb of emotion. When that bomb goes off things tend to be quite ugly. Emotions are meant to change and mold who we are as we grow up.

Advanced Essay #1: Family Interpretations

My essay is about the meaning of family and how it is viewed nowadays. My goals was to show to my audience another way to interpret the word, family, through my own experiences. In many ways, I feel like I did well on pulling examples from my life and pasting it into my writing because I did have a hard time doing that from the start. Something that I would like to improve on is, my grammar. I wish I had the reminder and time to go to someone to help me specifically on my grammar.

The weather was beautiful on that day where my friends invited me out to clear my feelings. I’ve been listening to J Cole’s mixtape for a long time now. They all knew what happened, that’s why they invited me out. J Cole’s music just calms me down at times when I want to be by myself, but also don’t want to be lonely. No human beings like to be lonely in this world. It’s a scary emotion.

“Hey, what’s up Jun-Jie,” I heard. “Still living,” I replied. There they go, my cousins and my friends. They’ve been in my life for a long time now, always been there, always there when I needed them, they’re just always there. They heard about the breakup that happened between me and this girl. They just wanted to make sure I’m okay, but at times, I just want to be alone. I just want to go home and sleep because when you’re asleep, you can’t feel anything, but the sensation of feeling nothing. No harm, no sadness, no depression, no suicidal thoughts, no nothing, and you have the blanket acting like a shield to protect you. What more can you ask for?

I regret what I did that day, but I felt like it was what’s best for me. There are people I go to to vent, but I know for a fact that that time was the wrong time. After greeting them and walking them to a restaurant, I plugged in my headphones, with J Cole playing, and left the restaurant to catch the train home.

As we grow older, we learn the importance of family and how it affect us day by day. They say you are able to obtain a lot more as you grow older; you become more understanding about things and start to have your own interpretation. Family is a big word to have just one meaning, and often, that meaning are referencing to your parents and siblings. We grow hearing other opinions about things whether we agree with it or not. Let me show you another way family can be interpreted.

I know for sure that I’m not the only one in this world that don’t like being lonely, and thankfully, I have really close friends that cares for me and no matter how loud my yelling is or how annoying my rants can be, they are always there to listen to me. Because of this closeness I have with my friends, I feel like that’s probably why I’m so hesitant to meet new people. I never like meeting new people. If I have a program meeting to go to, I’m not nervous because of all the strangers that going to be there, I’m nervous about meeting them. One of my fears in this world is the fear of losing somebody. So I always thought to myself, the less friends I have, the less I will have to lose. At time, that state of mind can be really wrong. As a matter of fact, most of the time, it is really wrong, but at times, I don’t realize I’m making new friends, but I am,

A lot of my friends really like going to parties, but they all don’t like going alone. There was one time where my friend asked me to go to a birthday party with him. I told him I have no idea who any of his friends are, so I would be feeling left out. We went on for days arguing about me not going to that party.

I ended up going to that party because he fooled me into thinking that his friend is really rich, so J.Cole might be invited to that party. As dumb as I am believing that, I went to his friend’s party that night. I’m not going to lie, that party was pretty fun and loud.

When I first stepped inside, I noticed the blasting music coming out of the speakers. I usually don’t like loud music playing, but I noticed that J.Cole was playing from the computer, so I was fine with that. There was so many people at the party. Some of them actually tried to convince me to drink or smoke, but I knew better than that.

We finished the night off with a cookout in the yard. We had burgers, steak, ribs, chicken, etc. Before you know it, my friend’s mom was here to pick us up. I went home, took a shower, and went to bed. It’s been a long and unpredictable day.

As fun as that day was, there were a lot of behind the scenes. It is true that I am not a party person, but the main reason why I did not wanted to go that day was because I know I might need to meet new people. The day didn’t turn out that bad, and I made a lot of friends. That was also the day where I realize that meeting new people might be okay for me now. I’m still hesitant to meet new people, but I don’t feel strongly about it anymore.

As much as I talked about how important family is, I also mentioned J. Cole a lot. J. Cole have been my role model for a really long time. At times, when I don’t have my love ones around, I listen to his music because helps me relax and clear my mind. He is an important person in my life. As much as I want to know him in real life, I still feel like he acts like my friend who is always there for me.

Family isn’t a word to just describe your sisters, brothers and parents. I use family to also describe my really close friends because, like my actual family, they have been there from the start, failed with me, and most importantly, have succeeded with me.

Advanced Essay #1: You Can Win The Battle But Never The War of Your Mind

My goal with this paper was to juts honestly get it done and stick tone topic. I think I did well with shrinking my words and connecting everything to one theme. I would like to improve going into a depth with such limited words.

“I just feel so numb.”

I lay in my bed, body clenched from mixtures of emotions. Anger, Sadness, Frustration. Why is this happening. I was happy! I was finally happy for once. Truly happy. I swallow my anger and tried to calm down.

I text back.

Me: Ok

A bubble pops up. She begins to type.

Her: How do you feel?

I pause. How do I feel? She is someone I was always able to fully express myself with. An “idk” isn't an answer with her. I start typing. For once, I’m not going to hold back my feelings.

Me: Life is all about the seconds, not the minutes, not the hours, not the days, not the years. It's about just 1 second. One second is all it takes for your life to change. It takes 5 seconds to read a winning lottery ticket and match it to the winning numbers. It takes 3 seconds for a break up to begin. It took one second for me to snap into a reality with you. Then it took another for me to snap out of that reality into one that's realistic.

The bubble pops back up. She responds.

Her: Oh

When I’m overloaded with more than two emotions, in the end I speak everything that's on my mind. I continued to speak more fully in that conversation. I just kept texting paragraph after paragraph of just every word that entered my mind. Eventually she stopped answering and waited until I was done. For once I felt at peace with myself. She was surprised to finally know how I completely felt.

Not everyone knows how I feel all the time. Usually people get a half story of my emotions during a certain time. One of my biggest weakness that makes me cower into a corner and become completely quiet of how I feel is my father. No matter what the conversation, I’m always hesitate and stumble on every word I say. With him, I have to battle my mind who just wants to let everything out but could cost me a lot of trouble, whether its clever comebacks or outburst from anger. So 99%, I keep everything to myself in fear that one of those two scenarios happen.

“I don't know."

All the the terrible events that could take place in the future fill my mind. I can feel all the stress and anxiety, the blood boiling. Why is he asking me this? What is he trying to accomplish?

His stern voice begins to rumble in my ears with his reply.

"What do you mean you don't know?! How bout next time you ask me for something instead of thinking about I'm just gonna say 'I don't know.' How you like them apples?"

His frustration was like a slap in face when his question threw me in the corner and ambushed me.

I wanted to respond with "I like apples." It's enough that if he doesn't see it as getting smart with him, he can see it as me being "stupid and simple minded" like he always seen me as. I just stand there in silence with my confused face. I sink my head into my coat. The lights just seem too bright, they feel like a thousand infernos against my face. I think about this situation with my clouded head of his random question.

Every once in awhile, everyone has a battle with themselves. Whether it's pushing yourself to go the extra mile in a work out, that extra step to achieve a higher grade on a project, or fighting your subconscious on what to say in a current situation. These battles may be common for some people and for others it may just occur few times in their life. For me however, I usually have a battle like this everyday. There are times where I don't speak a word and just listen and other times, everything in my mind is spoken. The variable that helps me decide this, is usually based on the person, place, and subject. With certain people, when I speak out my mind of certain subject they begin to see me as a different person. Others see something wrong if I’m quiet. I have to constantly fight myself by knowing when to speak and when not to. I can win most of the fights but I’ll never win the battle against my subconscious mind.

Advanced Essay #1: Winter

My goal when writing this paper was to allow the reader to read mu thoughts and grasp a deeper understanding of what was happening. I wanted the reader to experience the same emotion that I did. I wanted to display the struggles that many student athletes in high school face and some ways others deal with them. I was able to get my ideas and feelings across pretty well. I was able to use enough detail to explain the basics of what I felt the reader needed to understand. I could improve on making it even more relatable and more captivating. 

Every week it’s the same routine. Monday through Friday I have school, Tuesday to Saturday I have practice. Some days I’m happy to go to practice and it’s all I wait for throughout the school day. Other times I wish school wouldn’t end so that I would not have practice. It’s part of being an athlete and part of making a commitment. The real challenge with being apart of a sport such as rowing is that the weather decides what you will do that day. We cannot finish winter practice at any time we feel like. 

“I say next week. It’s supposed to be warm.” says Kat, my neighbor.

“Yeah let’s hope. Although they said we’d be back on the water this week.” Darya, my sister replies.

“I just don’t see it happening.” I say as we walk down our block. It is March and the trees are leafless and the air is cold. Our hands are stuffed into our pockets for warmth (even though our gloves are on) and our jackets are lined with fur. We have been in winter training since December. It should have ended in February. But the weather decided it did not like us yet again. This was just another repeat of last year. The river is frozen and there is no way for us to go back to the only reason we enjoy this sport. Only two days ago we had ran down by the river and seen the white shell that trapped the brown murky water of the schuylkill river. Boy did we miss that brown murky water. We were losing hope. It would be winter forever.   

For rowers winter is the time where the ones not as committed are weeded out. It is the time when we all second guess why we have even joined such a sport. The school day consists of us worrying about what torture awaits us at 4:15 on Girard Avenue. The bus ride there is filled with voices that complain about the workout and threaten to quit. These threats are something rowers are used to. We hear them everyday and we say it practically every week.

It’s a sport based on mentality. Without it it is very difficult to stay motivated and push yourself further. Yes, there is a motivation based off teammates by not wanting to let them down. But there is also a point in which you must push yourself. You have to keep going for you. That is what is so unique about this sport. You must find the balance between pulling for the people in your boat and pulling for yourself. Winter is the worst season because you are alone. Pushing for you and only you. It’s so hard to stay motivated, so hard to keep going through the same motions.

The worst year in any high school sport is junior year. You’re stressing out over your school work and studying for the SAT’s. Sports is the last thing you want stressing you out. With rowing the only thing you do is stress. You wonder what boat you will be in that day- will it be the top boat or have you been pushed to the bottom boat- you wonder what seat you will be. You get home at 7 or later from practice, shower, eat, and do homework while half asleep. By the time you have finished there is no time to study.

As I sit here at my desk writing this paper I looked up at the painting on the wall. I flash back to mercer lake. It was a crisp morning, the sun was shining as I walked towards the pale blue trailer. I could see the other girls sitting there, getting ready for the race. The morning raced by and soon it was our turn to get ready to go out on the water.

“Alright Ladies, it’s our turn to go. Let’s get hands on!” says Tatiana (our coxswain).

As we held the boat we looked at each other with excited yet nervous eyes. Smiles were big as we walked to the dock. We could barely wait. Our last practice had gone smoothly and we were confident. This was the biggest race of the season and we’d worked hard to even make it into this boat.

“I’m freaking out guys. Like I’m super nervous.” Calla says shakily (3 seat).

“We are gonna do great! No worries.” Emma replies (2 seat).

“Tatiana did you bring the water?” asks Kai (1 seat).

“I already have to pee again!” I say (4 seat).

As all rowers we rely on our coxswains so much. They hold a great deal of power over the boat. Once a coxswain loses hope the entire boat stops functioning correctly. These 4 girls have been everything these past few days. We keep pushing for each other when we are tired and desperately want to stop.

In the last few moments before we put the boat in the water and get ready to head up to the race we remember all the hard work that we have put in. All the times we pushed through. All the times we finished practice at 6:30. All the half done homework. It has all lead up to this moment.

Below the painting there is a quote “Coming Together Is a Beginning, Keeping Together Is Progress, Working Together is Success.” I  often think about this quote when I am the one threatening to quit or when I just need a little more motivation. Without those girls I would not be who I am today.

Advanced Essay #1: Invisible Iron Dome

The goal of this essay was to give a short story of biased news and information. I compared the mindsets of the world to on going crisis to a invisible iron dome. From there I argued that we had a necessity to become open minded with how we view the world's people around us. I believe this essay was very powerful and gave room for self reflection as human beings. There are areas where I believe I could have extended my thesis, yet I only had a specific timeline to complete this essay. Enjoy. 

Hope, broke, killed, died. A peace deal was a possibility. Soon afterwards, human right laws were broken. One war began and armies were killed. More than one person died, more than one dream of hope ended. Soon after, the cycle begins again. Never stopping to the end. The whole world has lived through one, a war between Palestine and Israel. A conflict that has raged for years and probably many more to come.

In my lifetime, there have been too many wars. Too many people dead, too many people's hopes lost. Yet, giving a blind eye to the hope for a peaceful solution is what too many across the region and across the world have brought upon themselves. I still see a future of change in a peaceful manner for this ongoing challenge that has faced generations for decades.

July 8th, 2014. The middle of the summer and 10 days before Madiba Day, the internationally recognized day of service celebrating the life and fight for human rights that the iconic leader Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela gave our world. That was the day Israel began one of their many military invasions on Palestinian land. Later on, the world would hear of despicable numbers detailing the people that were murdered by the apartheid government. 2,000 plus Palestinian men, women and children would die in the weeks that followed. To this day, families continue to suffer from the war, the war that highlighted the inhumane actions that Israel took on their supposed “enemy”.

“Israel isn’t the enemy,” say Fox News.

“They are the heroes for peace,” say half our country.

Then why does a hero carry hundreds of deadly weapons, including the most dangerous weapons known to men and women, in their backyard? Why have they threatened to use them (and have indeed used other deadly weapons) on millions of people? What does a enemy or a hero mean to us as a nation? Were we heroes when we sent the nuclear bomb to Japan? Were we enemies when we formally recognized Nelson Mandela as a leader and not a ‘terrorist’?

Days before the official military intervention by the Israeli government led by all around war criminal Benjamin Netanyahu, my family and I had followed the news consequently. It was like running a marathon for us, the pictures brought pain but at the same time (strangely) optimism. Even though each news agency took the war in a different perspective and sometimes bias view, we looked over each news program carefully to understand their hidden statement. Yet, there was less bias on news agencies compared to wars in the past. There was a small hole of openness to all sides of the conflicted that wasn’t real a year before. 

Now, it was July 8th and I was set to leave to Germany the day that followed. We stood around looking at the live images on MSNBC. Israel had invaded Palestine. Israel began to harm, to break and to kill. All our personal worries ended, for the worries, the pain, the struggle of the Palestinians was real. And it was not going to end.

There’s this dome, a dome that hides the world’s people from the true story, the complete story. For this dome is made of iron, it seems to never be able to break. It’s so tough and sturdy, that to everybody it feels like human nature, it’s just a simple fact. Like Christopher Columbus being a exploring hero or George Washington being the most perfect President in history, nearly everyone takes it as fact, without digging for the utterly, complete truth. Not the biased truth but the real truth. We go into the lazy category there, when we have the curiosity to learn so much more. For the dome we live under, however, everything we hear isn’t necessarily fact. What’s outside the dome isn’t completely told. For this dome seems unbreakable, for now.

This dome is invisible. To more than half this world, no one can see it being formed over their mindset and heart as they grow and accomplish. But there are few with the superpower to escape outside the dome and see the perspective view. Those superheroes don’t have bias, they encounter the truth of a conflict that has too many opinions and to much passion, that it’s nearly impossible to make everyone happy with your very own view. There’s more than that invisible, iron dome and we can all break it from ourselves. We have that power. and we should use it.

Israel and Palestine is not the only conflict with so much complexity that no one really understands it and see no use for a peaceful resolution. There’s a huge refugee crisis affecting Europe. The refugees come from two continents, Asia and Africa (and some from Europe itself). For not all news agencies cover it in detail, due to not seeing interest in the refugees and instead in an election that is over a year away. There is an intense murder rate swooping Central and South American countries that has frightened human rights activists across the world. We only hear about what’s going on down there when Donald Trump opens his mouth and the reaction that follows. Why do we not want to challenge ourselves to care?

There are people dying while the rest of the world just stares in with half a care. We all have a deep curiosity on the fabulous and usually crazy lives of rich celebrities. Yet when it comes to painful truth on our fellow global citizens living under terrible conditions within their borders, we don’t care. If we can care about Kim Kardashian’s “dresses” and Kanye’s fashion show, why can’t we care about the women who has lost her entire wardrobe, entire home, entire life due to bombing or due to lack of basic necessities? If we can care about the birth of Princess Charlotte, where hundreds camped outside for a family that has no real power, why can’t we care about the babies born without an officially approved nation or for a baby that is a refugee within her first second of birth? We need to care about the conflicts surrounding our world. We need to leave the invincible, iron dome and find the truth.


Misery. The bright sun turned scorching and cruel inside those cinder block walls. The owner of this cramped apartment lay shirtless on the tarted blankets of his twin bed, as one by one 10 strangers packed the room so tight that not one more could enter. His story matched the desperate environment that surrounded him, from the bamboo stalks cut to funnel into  rain barrel, to hi sister hiding under the table pressed flat against the far wall. He told his story through the words of a translator, explaining his sisters shyness was due to the recent death of their mother to his bedridden state from abdominal pain. We our filed out as my mom and translator remained for a diagnosis. The thought that nearly had to be on everyone's mind is, How does he bear it? The easy conclusion is he has no other choice.
This idea defined my opinion on perseverance long before my time in Guatemala.  I would look forward and decide if the pain would be worth the reward. Then proceed to persevere or falter based on that original decision. The orphaned teenager must have looked forward to something in life even if it was just the act of living, that was why he was willing to endure so much suffering. This was truly defined by my brief stint on the cross country team. When one of the new runners in the group would falter, panting the classic words “I can’t go any farther,” the couch would respond with the mixture of wisdom and cruelty movies often bestow upon drill sergeants and football coaches. “Really you can’t? If your best friend just over there, wouldn't you go and help them?”. They would mumble a reluctant yes already seeing the un, “ You wanted to stop, that’s fine and I understand.  But remember you wanted to.” The runner had decided that the rewards of running were not worth the costs of continuing.
The event that ended my running career is what would have brought about a change in how I viewed perseverance. The awkwardness of it was what got to me. As I hobbled forward lifting one stiff leg sideways and forcing it forward, then  switching quickly to my good leg. All I  had done was jump into the air, but I could not put weight on it. The second pressure was applied it would painfully buckle. I pushed onward refusing to fail where my siblings would succeed. The five miles around the lake passed with slowly. Every step asking why I decided to go, and every step deciding not to quit. A few days later I learned my leg had a small fracture just below the knee. Reflecting on this event currently I came to the lack perspective. I knew from the teenager in Guatemala that so much could be endured, I just assumed as the cross country coach illustrated, you stop when you can not go any farther. Had I known my leg was “broken” I would have quit. I realized that so often I gave reasons why I could not continue instead of trying to push past them. 

Advanced Essay #1: Discussion of Silence

Intro: My idea/goal of this essay was to explain how keeping helpful ideas to oneself instead of contributing them can prevent deep connection making between two people or communities. I feel like I did well on explaining my theme for the essay, but I think I could have improved on the background information on the choirs and what the cultural meetings meant.

It happened just last week. I heard two of my peers bring up the debate on who should really have ownership to the Modern day land of Israel. “Yea that’s true but it was ours first.” I’m not a very religious or spiritual person. Which may be a large part of the reason why I find the dispute over who should be in control of the modern day land of Israel to be silly. I see no reason why that today Palestinians and Israelis cannot live equally together in the same state without constant attacks on each other's cultures. I don’t necessarily enjoy talking about the disputes in the Middle East, specifically in Israel, but hearing my friends bring it up reminded me of a time where I witnessed young Israelis, Palestinians and Christians, all peers of mine, come together briefly bond with a mutual interest and non-hostile discuss the events of tension they witness in their daily lives and how it upsets and affects them. The Jerusalem Youth Choir, a choir made up of “Palestinian” and “Israeli” teens, had come to visit Philadelphia and the Keystone State Boychoir and Pennsylvania Girlchoir would be hosting them. I remember how I wasn’t looking forward to the discussion workshop we were going to have about race issues in America and Israel, I didn’t think much would come out of it.

I’m entering the church I’ve seen a dozen times before but this time there’s something different. I can hear what sounds like mumbles and the clearing of throats move past my ears. I awkwardly lean against one of the walls in the hallway as I search for my Jerusalem Youth Choir buddy. I couldn't see Muhammad, no, I saw Mohammad but not the one I was looking for. The wave of kids from the three choirs somehow molded into one at the double doors of the church. The idea of ditching Muhammad slipped into my mind and left in the blink of an eye as it occurred to me that my mom would kill me if I was not glued to Muhammad. The large mass of children had all entered the church and I decided it would be best for me to simply join and blend in with the amoeba of my peers that was heading to the dining hall, perhaps I could find Muhammad there. The amoeba was making it’s way into the dining hall of the church, but I had managed to get just a bit ahead of the group. Before me were seven cream colored tables surrounded by metal folding chairs and a few other fellow singers who also managed to get ahead of the group. When the rest of the amoeba fully entered the room I had already found somewhere to sit down at. I began looking for Muhammad as the crowd dispersed. Then I saw him heading towards a far away table and then I noticed he saw me to. One… two… for two seconds we made eye contact and he continued to walk towards the table 40 feet away from mine. At that moment one of the chaperones called out and said that each table should have a mix of kids from each choir and all JYC singers should be with their assigned PG or KSB singer. I moved over to Muhammad's table. I thought about asking him how he is enjoying Philadelphia, but his lack of knowledge of english and my lack of knowledge of Arabic and Hebrew would have made our conversation too short.

The Jerusalem Youth Choir holds cultural workshops after every concert and rehearsal they have. These "workshops" were just discussions and sharing sessions on what the Israeli and Palestinian singers wanted say about local conflicts they may have witnessed or been a part of in their communities. While the Pennsylvania Youth Choirs were hosting JYC in their first tour in America, a select group of singers from the Pennsylvania Youth Choirs would take part in a cultural workshop. The singers from Philly would use strategies JYC uses in their discussions to help discuss the problems of racial discrimination and hate crimes in the United States.

The twelve of us sat down in the small plastic chairs. Around me, 13 other people gathered in a circle. Five other of the Philly singers, six JYC singers and one adult monitoring the discussion. The adult began to present a discussion for us to talk about. “What issues have you noticed in your community between people.” None, as far as I knew, I don’t have much to say. I looked down at my feet. I began to zone out as all objects within my peripheral vision became a eye-straining blur of colors. Then time went so fast, what was feeling like one minute was actually ten. Suddenly my field of was disinterest was broken. One of the JYC singers had brought up how she always found that more conflicts between Israelis and Palestinians come up in less diverse neighborhoods than in neighborhoods than neighborhoods that are more diverse with Israelis and Palestinians. At that moment I was able to connect in my mind how Philadelphia has a similar type of problem, not with daily race based attacks but with the separation of of race through neighborhoods and how some are predominantly black while others are predominately white and with a few in between. It wasn't much to contribute to the discussion but it was something, something to show I was engaged and that even though the conflicts in Israel my not be connected to me that they mean something to me. I looked up from my shoes, but I stayed silent. I sit there looking up and the discussion slows down to a point where the subject is dropped and a new one is brought up.

After the culture workshop ended, I felt like I had not learned much and the mixed feelings of apathy and concern for the people in conflict in Israel were still at conflict with each other, I just wish that I had said something in the meeting.

A New Enviroment

When I begun writing my advanced essay my goal was to develop the idea of community.  Writing my first memory piece I was clueless as to what my larger idea was.  Yet once I finished my second and third memory piece I realized I had produced something that had potential.  From there on out it was easy for me to convert my ideas into fluid writing.  I feel like up to that point in the process I was very successful.  Developing my larger idea was difficult.  In the end I had an epiphany but I still feel like I could contribute more to the conclusion.

Being the new kid is overwhelming.  Regardless of the many times I have begun at a new school, it is still difficult for me to comfortably adapt.  The thing is, it’s impossible to magically fit the mold of a new group; I’ve concluded that there will always be an adjustment period, no matter how big or small.  I myself tend to asses the new situation I am entering, occasionally for longer intervals of time. Currently observing the people around me I notice how harmonious they appear, leaving me longing for community. 

When I was asked to think of a memory piece, something interesting, my mind kept circling back to a meaningful moment I experienced last year with my peers from my previous school.  I was in my 7th period class, Theater, and my classmates and I were discussing the events of the day.  My head snaps to the front of the room when the door opens, all conversation ceasing.  Ms.MA calmly walks in and starts collecting her belongings, her face set in determination.  I sit, momentarily dumbfounded, trying to comprehend why my teacher is preparing to go an hour before school ends.  Then Jade asks “Ms.MA, are you ok?” “I’m fine, just everybody grab your stuff you need to leave for the day.” she says in a steady voice.  As I slowly start to pack up, I feel my heartbeat quicken.  What had been said in the meeting she had just arrived from?  Feeling frantic at the scenario coming to mind, I scurry to shove the rest of my books in my bag.  A few minutes later I stand at the head of the room with my classmates, all of us sharing the same expression of concern, whispering quietly.  “Was she fired?” India asks, broadcasting the fear running through my mind.  Before we have time to further discuss Ms.MA cuts off all conversation, “Do we have everyone?” she asks.  I feel myself nod, and we shuffle out the door. The elevator ride is quiet.  Then I notice tears are silently rolling down my teacher’s cheeks.  We crowd around, wrapping her into a big hug.  Choruses of “Are you ok?” and “We will beat up whoever did this!” fill the elevator but she is quiet, muffled by our embrace.   

The emotion of that day lives on in my mind, with the recognition that everything was intensified with my classmates there.  I come to find that I am mourning the community I lost when I transferred.  Yet I must remind myself that though I think of my past family of classmates fondly, the community was not perfect.   There were times prior when I was not proud to be a part of that society.  Being included in a huge community does not make it a healthy community and you can’t always choose the people you wind up with.  However when the right individuals come together to form a group it can be a miracle.  I experienced this kind of connection on a friday in an earlier week of June.  It was about 5:40 when I got out of the car, my stomach in a twist.  Hearing the driver door slam, I turn.  “I’m coming in with you.” my mom says.  I groan but don’t argue seeing as she has already made her way around the car and is holding the gym door open for me.  Hesitantly, I take a step in.  “Come on!” mom says herding me past the threshold. As we make our way further into the gym, I see a few girls using the exercise machines and my nerves heighten.  “I just need to finalize some details with the instructor and then I’ll be out.” my mom is saying as a blonde woman exits a room just ahead, stopping in her tracks when she spots us.  “You must be Anastasia!” she exclaims, delighted.  “That's me.” I manage anxiously, stepping out from behind my mom. “I’m Erin, come on in!” she gestures leading us back into the room from which she had just exited.  While Erin explains some ground rules multiple girls file in and out of the room, introducing themselves as they go and I begin to relax.  Erin is finishing up introductions when a new girl enters the room.  “Ah, here’s Sheila, she’s new as well!” she exclaims.  I face Sheila as Erin goes to greet her mom. “Hi, I’m Anastasia, this is my first time here too.” I offer with a smile. “I’m Sheila” she says shyly, returning the gesture. “I’m going to go.” my mom says, turning toward the door. “Ok, bye.” I say, “I’ll be fine.” And once I say it, I know it’s true.

Connecting the way I did made me realize that the people which you are surrounded by truly make an impact on how you feel about a situation.  Upon joining Kickboxing the people I met were open and welcoming, allowing me to feel comfortable to be myself.  Situations in new communities are not always as rewarding.  When people think of a community, most often they relate the word to a huge group of people.  In actuality a community can be a family of two, a relative, a best friend, a cat or a friendly acquaintance.  Entering a new community it’s hard not to have huge expectations about creating a huge family of friends, but sometimes it can take one companion for someone to feel support and that is all that matters.


First Things Firsts

My goal with writing this paper was to write something that I was proud of. I wanted to really enjoy my writing and connect with the topic that I decided to write about so that it could be the strongest piece of writing possible. I also really wanted my essay to have a nice flow. I think that I was really descriptive in the situations I was describing and how I was feeling. My conclusion was strong and tied everything together. I think that I could’ve really gone in to make sure everything worked well and it would make sense to people who aren’t just me.

There is always a first for everything. Each thing that you have done, riding a bike, playing an instrument, there was always that first time you experienced it. Because we have all had so many firsts it seems that the majority of them are pushed under the carpet so that only what is considered to be the most important firsts are what is shared. When you’re a child it’s your first words and steps. Although these are exciting for yourself, it seems to bring more joy to your parents. As we age, the firsts that are considered important become our first day of school and first time riding a bike and from there to first kisses and part time jobs. These are the firsts that most people remember, the ones that are kept on a shelf rather than under the bed. But why were these the memories that have been chosen for us to recall? What if they were swapped out for the first picture you took or the first real meal you ever cooked? Shouldn’t the memories of firsts depend on the person rather than all of us who have a version of the same story? It could show what is important enough to that person to remember the first time it happened.

“Come on Indee, we’re going to be late,” my dad called from the stairs. I started to put on my other sneaker. I sprinted down the stairs where my parents and Aunt and Uncle were waiting. We all piled into the car and drove through the night. When we got to the Electric Factory it was already full of people and buzzing with conversation. “Over 21, come and get a stamp,” a man with a chubby face called. We all entered into the building. It was hot, and smelled of stale beer, perspiration, and fifty different perfumes. Everyone's bodies were so close together and there was no room for personal space. As I stood, wide eyed, I realized how amazing this was. So many people here for the same reason, to listen to some good, live music. I had never seen anything like it. When the band went on everyone went wild. Arms flew up, heads and hips bobbed from side to side. You could tell what everyone's favorite song was because when it came on they would sing along like they were the one performing. Something about this type of connection felt so powerful. I couldn’t get enough of the bass blaring through the speakers, the beating of my heart matching its pace to that of the drums. “So, what did you think of your first concert?” my aunt asked as we were slowly being pushed out by the mob of bodies. It was exhilarating and beautiful. It filled me with an energy that pulsed through my fingers and toes.

Like everything in life, there are positives and negatives. So of course there are positive firsts and negative firsts. Like first love and first heartbreak. The majority of firsts that I mentioned were more joyous and I find that a lot of the time we accentuate the joy and pretend as if the sadder things do not exist. However it is those melancholy firsts that so greatly help shape who we are. Our first experience with loss, first breakdown, or heartbreak. Without these first, which at the time seem like the worst and only thing that matters, we would never be able to grow and learn, to understand and change so that the second or even third time we don’t make the same mistake. It’s sometimes good to follow the branches grow from your roots, to see how your firsts have affected the you of today.

If I were to choose three firsts that make me, who I am, I wouldn’t be able to. I know that this is not true for all but I feel that I have not lived enough years to decide exactly who I am or who I might be. I know the firsts that are not on the list. The first time I rode a bike, baked a cake, and stubbed my toe. But that doesn’t take the importance out of them. It’s just that I know what has left its mark on me and what has slowly faded to the background. In times when I need to lighten up I can think back to those firsts that make my eyes glimmer and when I need to remember a lesson I learned I can recall the times that dulled the bright glow. Maybe we should all stop focusing so intently on the future full of hundredths and thousandths  and just take a second to close our eyes and remember the firsts.

Advanced Essay #1: Fall Leaves

Descriptive writing is not always easy. You're basically trying to create a mental image in the readers mind. I wanted to approach this assignment with an open mind. I wanted to create a mental image that every reader from every background could see. I also wanted to make my reader feel every word and leave lasting impression on the idea of growing up. The scary reality of growing up and how age doesn't play a part in it. I feel very accomplished, I'm very amazed of how much I've grown as a writer. 

Fall Leaves

by Ona Brown

I always looked forward to Summer when I was younger, it was the most highly anticipated season for a young 12 yearold girl. Time for long days at the beach that leave you two shades darker than the shade you had when you came. Numerous visits to amusement parks. Having so much fun that you put your summer reading off, to do two weeks before school starts. Summer break felt so long, halfway through I would start to miss school. As I got older what felt like a year was gone in a blink of an eye. As I got older I started to anticipate the fall in summer. It’s something about Fall that makes everything feel more homey and close. It’s Not too cold and not too hot. Not too many rain showers to wash your worries away, just a silent wind that speaks to you with no words. It’s something about the warm orange, yellow and brown colors and the way the trees let us know it’s okay to change. It’s something about how the trees aren’t scared to be naked and how they don’t fear Winter coming soon. Fall made me see things so much clearer at a young age. It help me to realize that my age had nothing to do with maturity, rather it was my experiences.

My mom and I used to go to Linvilla orchards every year around October. But this particular time we decided to bring a couple of friends to tag along and share in the Fall activities. I loved getting on the Hayrides. It was the first thing my mind was focused on upon arriving at the Orchard. I made my way to line full of anxious faces, while using my right hand to guide my mom. I used all my weight anchoring my feet into the ground and pulling her arm with my upper body. She hated when I did that. She scream “Stop or we won’t go until it’s time to leave!” I stopped immediately, although every step she took I couldn’t help but wish she was running. I tried to focus on something else, like looking at all the small faces that looked just like the bigger faces they were with. Finally we made it to the line which was so long. After one minute of waiting I became anxious. A stern look from my mother reminded me to be patient. As we walked up the steps to enter the tractor, the corners of my mouth rose. We would sit close making it easy to see each others breath. We breathed in unison, small white clouds formed as we exhaled then they disappeared into the air, never to be seen again. As the farmer made his way through the field maze, taking different twist and turns he pointed out the earth's cultivation. From the small apples to the tall stalks of corn. I never understood how the small insecure seeds could become the big confident crops that laid before my eyes. I wondered if it was how long it took them to grow or their environment that made them ripe?

After the Hayride we picked sweet ruby red apples that showed the reflection of our little brown faces when we looked into them. Later we bought popsicle sticks and make candy apples that I lost my tooth to that night. But Every sweet bite made it worth it. The tooth fairy confiscated my tooth and replaced it with five dollars just to remind me change was okay that night. Soon a new adult tooth would be growing in the narrow empty space.

I know for a fact Fall was forcing me to grow up. The leaves pointed to the things I didn’t see before. The cold wind shook my body and told me to stay awake to not miss a thing. I truly started to understand why knowledge is pain and why it hurts to know. Why did knowing more have to mean you were growing up? I felt like I was out growing my friends. We were around that same age but our mindsets were totally different. The things I knew, they were just starting to understand and some weren't even starting. I hated when my mom told me to act my age. I wasn’t fresh, she just said I “worried about things I couldn’t control and I needed to just be a kid.” But can you really act your age? In my opinion, you can act like your experiences. People’s lives and what they are taught and see vary. I wanted her to see that you could be 40 years old and still haven’t grown up.

I remember that fall when I taught my brother that age had no correlation with growing up. The October air kissed my cheek passionately. My brown hoodie held my body snug. My heart was beating fast. Confusion and suspense filled my tiny mind as I held his rough callused hands. We walked down the steps at a fast pace. As we reached the bottom, he said “I’ll race you to the end of the block.”

I took off running, letting the wind caress my soft brown hair. I’m losing my     breath but I’m almost at the corner. Don’t give up *pant Don’t *pant. You can win this! I made it to the corner and came to an abrupt stop. I turned around and seen a frown plastered upon his face.

“What’s wrong?” I asked

“You cheated, ” He said.

For some odd reason instead of arguing how I won fair and square, I said

“No, what’s really wrong?”

He looked at me, like he didn’t expect me to utter those words out my small  mouth. I knew there was something else going on. I looked back at our house that was in the distance, now that we were at the corner. I heard a high pitch voice that sounded similar to my moms.

As soon as he caught my eyes and see how I was paying too much attention to the noise coming from the house, he said “Come on, we’re going to the park.”

As we crossed the street I couldn’t help but think about the noises.

*Ring *Ring. His phone was ringing. He stop walking and let me get a little ways in front of him. I was trying my best to block out all the extra noise so I could listen to his responses to figure out who he could be talking to.


“Are You Okay?”

“Yes, We’re fine”

“I took her to the park”

“Okay, call me if you need me.”


“Ona what’s wrong?” he said.

“Was that mommy?” I replied

He looked up then replied, “Yes.”

“What’s going on Brendon?” I asked

“You’re too young to understand lil sis.”

“Am I too young to understand that you’re trying distract me from whatever is going on at the house ?”

He smirked, “You think you’re so smart.”

It was his turn to be distracted.

“Look there goes a ball, First to 10!” I shouted.
He said, “You’re going to lose.”

I gripped the ball in my hands and threw it up in the air surprisingly making it into the net. “Who’s going to lose again?” I said with a grin resting on my face.  

He smiled so big that even the sun was no match for its shine.  

Life told me to grow up. I used to tell life, “I was too young that It wasn’t time.” But then life finally convinced me that age was just a number.

Advanced essay by Luke W-S Nothing


My goals while writing this was to write something clean and to make it crisp and grasping. I feel for the first thing I did well was time management because I had almost everything done a full day ahead at least for each due date. I feel as well my ability to broaden the topic like nothing helped me write a good essay. I'd like to improve on describing because things such as describing, grammar is something to always improve one

My picture is a picture I carry everywhere. It’s a photo of me, my twin brother Aaron and my older brother Dessler. We at this time are hiking I am like 4, and so is Aaron. Dessler is about six. My twin brother and I are wearing red shirts. I honestly do not know which one is which in this picture. Until we were 6 every picture we look the exact same. My older brother has a white shirt on. Not plain, it has a picture on it consisting of other smaller pictures. We are on a trail at this moment. We were almost on the way back to the car as we take this picture. As we take this my older brother and one of us have our arms over each other’s shoulders. While Aaron and I lock elbows and 1 of us point at ourselves. All three of us have black basketball shorts on. We also all look extremely similar almost like triplets. As we take this there is a lot of shade in the background from trees. These trees make it a good spot for a picture with a fair balance of sunlight. The ground is a pavement. Gray and smooth so when we used to ride our bikes along this trail as a kid when we went hiking. I believe that we are a fair height and are extremely happy in the photo. Sadly I do not remember well as I was young. Finally, my brothers and I had fun this day and as a token to our friendship I carry this in my wallet.  

Dubois- Good description of articles of clothes

Declan- Talk about trees

Part 2:

As we walk this trail we always begin walking by the creek. We continued down past the bridges to do our echos. As a kid making huge echos was fun. But as we finished our echos we saw a trail we never saw before. So we decided to walk down it. As we walked down it we soon realized we have no idea how to get back. As my brother panicked we tried to work our way back onto known ground. We were surrounded by so many plants and felt isolated into the forest. As kids we were afraid we’d become like the kids in lord of the flies. But after a while we saw a deer. Uncommon in philly even for a common hiking area sent us running like rabbits. We didn’t know that deers were not dangerous so the idea of one freaked us out. So we eventually ran into a place we knew. A commonly known rock that was known because of its unnecesary size. So we climbed the rock and found the trail we needed so we wouldn’t be lost anymore. So that day we learned things such as deers are scared of us and that when you are lost don’t panic and manage your surroundings.

Memory 2:

As a kid I would go to camp every year. It was an overnight wilderness camp and we every year played the best game ever. One that is very hard to play if you have no athletic skill, critical thinking and self awareness. Usually this made my team lose every single year(misunderstood the game). So this game is mission impossible. Like the movie you are given a task to find the pieces in 4 different parts of the camp. You have 60 minutes in the middle of the night to get as many as you can and to return to the base. So a few years ago we started and five minutes later many people screwed up on my team. They were afraid of all the trees and the surroundings. This was frustrating. So early in the match the people who search for you and if caught twice you lose we were caught because another team was too loud. So here is the relation we ended up after two objects getting lost. A few of our teammates were unaware of what to do and the surroundings scared them so we had to turn in ourselves so those kids would leave the group. After the third object we were almost found again. At this time we hid in bushes and I kicked a beehive. Stinging me a dozen times along with my teammates. So when we returned I had cuts and stings everywhere and by being handed every single year bad teams I lost every single time. But through the cuts and stings I had a lot of fun playing the best game ever.

Memory 3- I remember this game as if it was yesterday. The 2008 world series brought joy to all Philadelphians. Brad Lidge exits the bullpen to try and earn a save so the Phillies will win the world series. First up to bat is Evan Longoria 3B for tampa bay. After two pitches he gets to a 0-2 count, leading to a foul and an end result being a popout to Chase Utley leading the Phillies to their first out. We are a third of the way to being champs. Dioner Navarro comes up to bat. Lidge takes him to an early 0-2 count. Navarro anticipates and takes the ball to shallow right field for a single. Next the second basemen for Tampa Bay comes up to the plate. Ben Zobrist. After the 1-1 count the pinch runner steals second base putting a runner in scoring position for tampa bay. Zobrist on the 1-2 count lines it to right field making the phillies only one more out from being world champions. The next batter earlier in the matchup hit a homerun to center field. The first pitch results in a foul ball making an 0-1 count. The next pitch is a check swing by the batter. But the umps say that he went around the plate. The 0-2 count put the longest time between pitches for phillies fans. “The 0-2 pitch swing and a miss, struck em out the phillies are the 2008 world champions of baseball”.- Harry Kalas. At this moment my brothers and I dogpiled celebrating the win. One of the best nights ever, happening with the people in the artwork above my brothers.

Frustrating- Indee

Awareness- Lukas

Surroundings, cuts- Xavier

Relation- Jake

Kicked, Misunderstood- Zeshawn

Nothing by Luke Watson­Sharer Nothing sings, talks, walks and sleeps. Nothing has the ability to persuade. Nothing has skills and concepts. Nothing has been here forever. Nothing tells us everything we know as nothing but everything as well. Nothing is our freedom as well as our dictator. Nothing is action; it is idleness. Nothing has power to give and take life. Part 1: Action and Idleness The sun, poised above the zinc roof, fried the wilting branches of mango and avocado trees. Both trees gently cried for rain. Together, roof and trees, sheltered an elderly, blind woman relaxing on the veranda. With each gentle push with her worn, calloused feet, she moved the rocking chair against the cement. It was another afternoon waiting for another evening. She would wait for her great­grandchildren to walk the dusty path home from school. She would wait for rain to quench the dirt’s thirst. She would wait for the night’s news of the day’s events. She would wait for the sun to quickly disappear and for her The elderly woman would spend the afternoon anticipating the wealth of family and food. Her movements were slight. Her gestures were nearly invisible. Her memories were wrapped into her lap blanket. She counted the tassel of thread, worn with her thumbs. Then, tapped her feet to a tune no one could hear. Nothing”,” but still air waiting for a splash of rain. The elderly blind woman did nothing while remembering Part 2: Idleness and Action As they load the panga at the docks, they lose count. One, two, three, four.... the count fades with the thump of another load. Ah, nothing. The driver signals. There’s room. Climb down. Steady. Feed bags piled on heads to fill the panga. Sit on top of feed bags of corn. Shift. Move the cobs to form a They need to get on the panga. The sun is here but then there will be nothing. No light on the river. No full moon. Just the still, damp slap of the water on the river’s bed. Soon the boat will remain idle. Another day lost. Tomorrow to gain. Where will they go? Anywhere. Nowhere. Escaping no food. Escaping threats of breathing. Forced travelers from all paths meander to the river. Dying for prosperity as blind as a bat sleeping in the sun. The travelers walk the path, which leads to a boat. The boat, covered in rust brown as bark; or it is red? The bark of mahogany draped before the river. The bark of a mutt snug against the first woman apparently in her second trimester. Or, it nothing but a lump of air. A deep breath? Then, she exhales relief; next Inhales fear. Nothing to fear but caring for a child she will soon bare. Behind her is a man missing an ear. Does he hear? The hole, instead of an ear, is formed from his head. It’s flat as a mid day horizon. His two eyes that peer at the boat piled with what could be nothing. As he bends, his white ripped shirt covers ribbs. His frame as long and thin as the first woman’s is short and round. They stand, lean and move toward the boat with nothing but their hope for a seat on cobs of corn. More people move toward the boat. Just one more seat. Finally, the driver holds up his hand: STOP. He nods and then shakes his head. The boat is full. 20 pounds could cost a life. Ah, but 20 pounds are nothing! The driver says in a low, hoarse tone: “The owner will kick everyone off if nobody follows.” Huh? Everyone is quick to throw something. A small, knit bag, a pair of holy socks or even a new blanket. With the toss of each item, the sky turn grey. The stillness turns to twists of wind. The clouds quickly fill with rain. Then, splat and With no dusk, the sun is gone and the driver becomes skeptical. Why chance the nothingness of night on a river? Why risk the sacks of corn? Why expose the travelers to a watery grave? The boat driver’s eyes suddenly fill with blood. His veins drained of hope. Hopelessness is nothingness. Surprised, the rain subsides. The remaining raindrops play a game of tag with the dust along the river’s banks. They are the center of civilization. One hundred kilometers from nowhere. If only the boat could float and carry the woman in her second trimester, the long man needing a shirt, the old couple smug in their hugs along with the line of humanity clinging to the hope of surviving tonight. Nothing else left of hope. The driver makes the call. His head tells him the river will be their guide. The river will coddle them with sweet waves and sounds of nothingness under a dark, moonless sky. He carefully reaches for the travelers, guiding them, assisting them, helping them sit between the cobs of corn. Then, out of nowhere, the boat becomes unbalanced. The long, lean man tips to the right. A streak of lightning brightens the sky. The water splurges into the back of the boat as the lean man dives into the river’s waves. Head first. Feet last. Disappear into the nothingness of river. Everyone gasps. The rain is no longer tapping the river’s waves. It is churning in anger. The sacks of corn begin to sway. Next, the woman in her second trimester loses her grip. She rolls off the sack of corn and into the river’s waves. Her body bounces against the boat. She grabs the side pulling a sack, and then young child, into the waves. Where is the moon? Where is the lightning? The sky has nothing to offer. Only the clouds give. They give rain and more rain. The only light is the corn. The boat quietly melts into the river. The motor attempting to fight. The driver treads water. There are a few other bouncing heads. Will any one remember? Is it too much to forget? Is there nothing left? The sun rose at 5 AM. Bright, round, and licking the gentle waves of the river. Cobs of corn were caught in a mango grove. Nothing left to reveal the graves of longing for everything. Receiving nothing. Their loss may seem like nothing in the midst of war but it was everything no one hoped for. Idling. Similar to those boys in the woods, knowing none of their locations, scared of what is to come and if they’d find a way back to the trail, waiting for a tomorrow. Waiting for nothing.

Advanced Essay #1

Timely Mind
By Sherell Messing

With this paper my goals are to elaborate on the fact that everyone eventually grows up. When you grow up you will have responsibilities and you will not have the same kind of freedom that you were once use to. ​Despite the fact of it all, you must take time for yourself to me worry free, stress free, and let your mind be free. Without your sanity it would be hard to be yourself, or even to find yourself. In this paper I feel as though a did well when I gave detailed visuals so readers could see my words come to life. One thing I would like to improve is my way of blending, going from one topic to another.

This tiny piece of rainbow printed artwork slowly made its way into my hands all the way from Japan. No, I have never been to Japan. I have never even left the United States. Just like most teens and young adults of this generation I have been introduced and taken hostage of the wonderful person, place and thing we call the internet. I received this in the mail as a bonus item/thank you card. This was for buying from a specific company online that sells cool, fun and useful things from Japan that can not be found here in America. Right before I open the package I look at how smooth the cardboard edges feel. I wonder how it made it across the world and still look so untouched. The sweet, but yet strong, fresh scent of cardboard still lingered upon it.

I grab the small box and spun it upside down, left and right, examining each side just like people do to dice. Instead of searching for dots that represent numbers I was searching for the end of the piece of tape that kept presents inside and locked away from me. My fingers are the keys. I scratch at the edge of the tape with my red colored nails until I could grip it in between my index finger and my thumb. I slightly pull the tape back not trying to damage the perfected texture of cardboard. As I listen to the ripping and tearing I feel like I am doing something bad. Maybe I feel bad because I should not be wasting my time. I should be doing something like chores or homework. I choose to do something I want instead. Finally, I have the box open and a neatly folded sheet of bubble wrap is mirrored in my eyes.

I close my eyes and slide the wrap in my hands rubbing my nails against the soft plastic then piercing the paper with force repeatedly. POP! POP! POP! I sit back with satisfaction and think about all the air that touched this piece of plastic. It must have been on a plane. Or maybe a boat. Or maybe it traveled from car to car. Maybe it was all three. Was it a big truck or a small van that it was carried in? Was this package on the top of other packages? It must have been on the top. As I touch each bubble I imagine touching the ground of states in and out of the country. I wish I could travel just like bubble wrap.

This is one of the many times I feel like I have a free and childish mind. I am a high school student daydreaming on the tiny complexities of bubble wrap. I no longer have time to waste on such things. So, I steal time. I steal time on my way to and from school, while I eat dinner, and when I wash in the shower. I steal time because time was stolen from me. Life goes by way too quickly. If I do not have time to think of new thoughts then I think of the thoughts I had when I was allowed to have thoughts. Responsibility has made it hard to think for myself. As I sit in the crowded hallway on the third floor near the shiny silver elevators, up in a hard to reach window, I dose off from my work and think about when I was younger as my eyes stretch above the city building rooftops into the clouds of balloon animals. 

If the sky can paint itself with colors then I can too. I see right through the rainbow but I can never see through me. I wonder why that is if we both contain color. Sometimes if I stare at my hand too long I can see right through, until I realized I had closed the eye that was in front of my hand the whole time. But I like to believe that I can see through anything, even the darkest of colors.

I run on the steaming hot pavement without shoes like I always do, even if i’m not suppose to. I pick up my chalk and replicate what I see around me. Trees with birds, soil with worms, and a cookie on a plate. I like to draw what is real. I like to image what is not. Maybe that is why I can understand the darkest of colors. The pavement is made of black tar and it burns the bottom of my toes and the flip flops are pink which protect them. But I still decide not to wear them. The trees in the back yard have brown bark and give me splinters when I peel it and I have yellow garden gloves to protect me. But I use my bare hands anyway. Directions when cooking sweets like cakes and cookies state to bake until golden brown. They are full of sugar and I am not suppose to eat them all the time but I still love the taste.

So many things are invented to protect the world from the most natural of things. I like to take the world as it is. If I start to draw the things that I imagine then somebody out there, somewhere, will invent something to stop my thoughts. I continue to draw the things I can see like flowers and bugs so people will not change the world. The sky is even more beautiful to me when the stars are out and the moon is bright inside a navy blue spread. I may not be able to see through my hand but I can surely made a cookie disappear.

If I could steal time I would spend it being young. 

Advanced Essay #1 It's Worth the Wait

My goals with this paper​ were to illustrate my first memorable experience with soccer. And to emphasize the importance of patients. I also wanted to show how teamwork and friendship is quite powerful, and can be thought of as a family or community. I felt that I did a good job with my descriptions of my experience and I feel proud of my writing. I still feel as if there are some things that I could improve upon. Sometimes my writing isn't up to par and I am still trying to paint pictures with my words, but I feel as if this is a challenge for me.

We ride up to the field on our bikes, my dad and I, as I feel a breeze wash over me like a welcoming. My eyes glance from one thing to another as I see the soccer field, my mom, and her team. “Stay focused! Look where you’re going!” My brain screams at me. I look up startled, but find no reason to be alarmed. “It’s just grass and a few trees here and there,” I tell myself. “There’s nothing to be afraid of,” I think. I hop off my bike and search for a tree to rest it against. “Where should I put it?” I ask myself, “Should I put it next to my dad’s bike or will that be inconvenient? Naw, I’ll just put it next to his.” I gently lean my bike down against his, making sure it doesn’t fall, then I look up and follow him as he heads toward the field. I jog a little to catch up, his huge legs giving him an advantage. He walks fast. I look back at the field where my mom is playing with her team. This is where they usually have practice at Edgely Field, and my dad and I often come watch her play.

The game pauses for a bit. She comes over to say hi. It looks like they’re just taking a break. She talks with her team about something I don’t register, and after about five minutes they walk back on to the field. Just then an idea springs into my mom’s head, and she walks back towards us. Now usually this wouldn’t happen, but on this one particular occasion, my mom thought that I would like the opportunity to play. I was only seven at the time, and had played soccer with the Fairmount Association for a few years, but these women were definitely bigger than I was, and had played soccer for several more years than I had. Because of this, my mom decides that it would be safest for me to play goalie. I had played goalie before and was pretty good.

I think about it. My mind races for an answer, searching for pros and cons of this situation. “Sure they are big and tall, and I am very small, but I will only be playing in goal. Maybe I could make some decent saves, and if I said no I’d be passing up an exciting opportunity.” Since that was the position I liked to play and that is what I wanted to play, my final answer was yes. Everyone on the field is waiting as I build up the courage to walk on to that field and join the team. I could feel the excitement in me bubbling, rising through my body and I step over the side line of the field. I jog across, the blood pumping through my veins. My heart starts beating just a little bit faster as my feet lead me closer to my position. I stop on the goal line right between two red flags. We unfortunately did not have full sized goals. The game begins. I am ready, I am hopeful, I am going to do well, but nothing happens. The ball doesn’t come anywhere near me, and to be honest I am bored. This is definitely something that goalkeepers have to deal with, standing in front of the goal and just watching the field is what you have to do.

All of the sudden, the other team stole possession of the ball. I feel a surge of energy and excitement rush through me this was going to be my big moment. I was not sure what would happen and I was definitely nervous, but there was no way I was going to let this breakaway frighten me. This is what I trained for. The player advances on me and I was ready to block the shot. My eyes were training on her like a hawk hunting for it’s next meal. Every little move of her body was a hint to me of what would happen to the ball when she kicks it. I see the shot coming and I jump into position, my bare hands extend out ready to block the shot no matter how much pain they would feel. Out of nowhere, I saw my teammate charge. Her only objective was to get herself between the shot and me. She raced for the attacking player about to shoot. She fought for the ball trying to get possession and I glimpsed my teammate trying to clear the ball, but nothing could have prepared me for what happened next.

Without warning, I felt the ball slam hard into my face. I felt as if my face was permanently dented. I was thrown down on to my back by the force of the ball. The pain surged through my body and my injured head. I felt myself about to let out a scream that could not be contained any longer. I cried out desperately in pain. I couldn’t see, in fact I didn’t want to try, for fear that it might hurt my head even more. I decided just to lay down and cry for help. I heard voices, people worrying if I was okay. And I heard my own teammate keep saying “I’m so sorry I’m so so sorry!” Turns out, instead of actually clearing it, like she wanted to do, she accidentally booted the ball right into my face. It took quite a lot of coaxing and care to actually get me up and standing again. I slowly start to walk off the field with help. I feel drowsy. I was sure that without help, I wasn’t going to be able to stand up by myself. I would have fallen down without the team's support. They help me walk off the field and sit me down. I need rest. I need sleep, I need to lie down. My mom decides I should probably not play with the team until I was older. Showing up to their games and cheering them on their games, we agreed, was the best thing I could do to support them.

I will have to wait nine years before I can officially join their soccer club, and I don’t mind waiting. Now nine years later, joining the soccer club that my parents have been apart of since I was six months, is something that I was ready for. This summer I played with some of the same women in Summer League, as back then. But now, I’m a lot taller than them. I can certainly say it was worth the wait.