Kenaston’s Veterans’ park is an important memorial spot in our town that has fallen into disrepair. What was once used for gatherings and frolicking is now a place that everyone walks by. Some of the reasons for this are: the overgrown trees, the memorial falling apart, the grass not cut, Christmas lights up year round, no flowers, and old benches and picnic tables. Not to mention, our sign is spelled wrong; the apostrophe is before the s when it should be behind it, signifying all veterans, not just one. This all became a noticeable problem to me when my class went in there to take a picture, it was a gloomy place to be in and everything looked messy. I could not imagine wanting to go there, and that is a problem. If and when the Veterans’ park gets the help needed: events could return to being held there, barbecues, family reunions, picnics, could all be held in a beautiful place commemorating our veterans! It could be a place that you would want to go and enjoy being in. We have to fix it!!!!
I have two plausible ways of fixing our Veterans’ park. The first involves people taking the initiative upon themselves to: trim trees, paint benches, care for flowers, and do other general upkeep. It would cost no money, only time and effort, but whoever helps could fix what they believed needs to be fixed. However, the problem with this solution is, while this may work for the moment, down the road a couple of months or years the same problem will again arise. The next option takes the long term effects into account, I would go to the Veterans’ Park committee with my problem. I could still offer mine and others volunteer service, but by bring the problem to them they will have the means to hire people year round for upkeep, contact the Hanley legion branch about the memorial, and get the sign fixed. There is one possible road block with this though, the committee may not see any of this as a problem that needs to be addressed so they could just ignore the request. That slim chance of rejection is one I am willing to take for the betterment of the park, and the community.
I can repair our Veterans’ park in three manageable steps, but I will need some help along the way. To start I will take my plan to the Veterans’ park committee for more help. They will be the ones in charge of hiring people and building upkeep. After getting their support, the volunteers and I will start on the job of fixing the smaller things in the park (trees, flowers, benches, lawns, lights, path). Only once both of these steps have been completed can the next step begin to take action. I am going to hold a summer barbecue/fundraiser, so people will recognize the park has been cleaned up and to raise money for even more improvements. By cleaning up the park so many things will benefit: people will have someplace to go and enjoy, they will not have to avoid it, it won’t be an eyesore, and we can remember our Veterans’ respectfully. I honestly believe that those benefits will change things in the community. Events can now return to being held there, people can honour the veterans, and things like the Terry Fox Walk picnic can be hosted there. All in all, things in the park that were once messy, overgrown, or falling apart will be fixed and uplifted by the Veterans’ Park committee and some community members. People will then be able to enjoy Veterans’ Park, and that is something to be proud of. A job well done!
My English class has been given the assignment to write three journal entries from the point of view of a fictional character in response to the story The Michelle I Know. All of the following is completely imaginary.
November 5th, 2011
It shouldn’t have happened to me
I’m still young, I have a life too
This isn’t supposed to happen to kids like me
I never should have told Mom about the pains I was having over the past few weeks
I would have been able to then I could have died quickly
And not have to go through all the pain, shame, and loneness I now have to endure
I didn’t do anything to deserve it
The doctors have done every test they can, but it must be a mistake, they have to have got it wrong
If they haven’t made a mistake
I won’t make it
I won’t be able to last all the pain, treatments, needles…
What about rob? I just met him; we’ve only gone out once. Now he’s going to leave me. All my friends will too.
Even if they do come it won’t be worth it
Nobody in their right mind stays with someone who has cancer; they know it’s a death sentence.
My life is over
I’m 16 and I’ll only probably live for a few more months, a year tops
I’m going to have to shave my head, cause it all fall out eventually
My hair is the only attractive part about me
Without it I’m bald, sick, dying, and ugly
Nobody will ever like me
Or even look twice
Then I’ll get ugly scars, and bruises, and marks
I can’t get any worse
The treatments start tomorrow
I wonder if it’s as bad as they say it is
The throwing up, constant pain
Will it change me?
They say some people react badly to the drugs
That’ll probably be me
What if I hallucinate start seeing things?
Or forget stuff?
Slowly I’ll get worse and worse
My family will eventually just stop visiting
I won’t blame them, cause who like hospitals?
Right now they say they won’t
But I know the truth
Everyone, even the doctors, say it’s not that bad
That I can fight it
I see the truth in their eyes
There is no hope
I might as well not even try
I mean what hope is there of having a normal life if you have cancer
I won’t go to school again
I won’t play sports again
I won’t go to college
I won’t get a boyfriend
I won’t get married
I won’t have kids
I’ll die alone
I’d rather die now
Everything will go down from here
Why should I even try?
I just tell them I quit
And they should leave me at home
That way I can at least wither away in the comfort of my own home
Away from prying eyes, jabbing needles, and lying faces
They say they know what it’s like
They have no idea
They say I’ll it’ll get better
They are wrong
They say they’ll visit
But I’ll be alone
They say they care
But I don’t
January 18th, 2013
A lot has happened since I last wrote in here. And I’ve changed a lot too. I can’t believe I used to write like that all dark and gloomy, but I guess I didn’t understand my situation and I thought I was just going to die. I’m better now! Especially because…
My cancer has started going into remission!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The doctors brought the good news this morning. I’ll be able to go home in a few hours!!!! If all goes well… but I’m sure it will, cause they don’t lie to you, I’m sure. What am I worrying about I’ve even been feeling better and the doctors look happier, of course I’m going to be all right.
I have so many people to tell, who should I start with. My family. But the doctors have probably already told them. So rob. Nah I’ll surprise him tonight by going over. Brenda that’s who I’ll tell, Brenda. But she will probably find out soon enough anyways. Well that leaves Claude. Yah, I’ll start with Claude, cause he’s helped me so much through all of this crap stuff. I’m going to go over to his room now.
* * *
Claude had a surprise for me!!! When I walked into his room he started talking about him and Brenda before I even had a chance to say anything!! They obviously were talking in the hallway and they started to realize how much they have in common. So of course I had to start bugging him! He turned all red and murmured it wouldn’t work. And I was like, sure Claude sure. They’d be so cute together. I know that he is like ten years older but they’d be perfect, besides age is just a number. Then he told me had another surprise. He pulled out a guitar from behind his bed and told me it was mine. I said thank you and told him about me going into remission. He was soooo happy. I asked him to play for me one more time. And he did. We talked for a while and then just before I left, Claude said that every time I come back to visit him he will teach me a little more on the guitar.
So I am, trying to play a little on the guitar. I’m not very good thought. But I can do more now that Claude taught me some. Oops, Nurse has just arrived with my meds saying I can leave now. Hooray!!!!
I am finally back in my own bedroom after almost two years. It’s like heaven! I will be able to eat normal cooking. Do what I want, when I want. Go back to school, and best of all no more needles, no more tests, no more doctors, no more treatments, just me! I hope I can stay here for a while and get back to my normal life. If the medication keeps working like it is now, I’ll be fine.
Looks my life is getting better every time. Now off to surprise Rob!!!!
February 22, 2014
The leukemia has come back. I’m going to the hospital now. I don’t think it will be as bad as before. Especially since I have medication and have done chemo before. The doctors also said that it wasn’t as strong as before. Plus I’ll have Rob, Brenda, Claude and my family. IT shouldn’t be that bad. I mean I survived it before when I fought back. Now I’m older stronger and prepared. I can do this.
On the way to the hospital I went over to Rob’s to let him know that the cancer has returned. When he told me things wouldn’t work out. Let’s just say I was a little shocked and a little hurt especially since I wasn’t expecting it. I thought we had something good. I thought he loved me. I loved him. I didn’t even tell him the news. It’s not like he cares anymore. Plus I wouldn’t want him to stay with me out of pity. I’ll be fine without him. Oh who am I kidding? I loved him. I feel weak and worthless now. Why bother even trying to fight cancer if you can’t hold down a boyfriend when you’re in remission, let alone when you’re doing treatment!
So now I am ion the hospital waiting for my new meds. I am going to go look for Brenda. At least she’s always here for me.
I have just found out that Brenda and Claude are on their honeymoon. Yes that’s right – they got married. I wasn’t told, I wasn’t invited, I knew nothing!!! Now I am all alone in this dreadful hospital. Before I had people to talk to, friends to come visit and a dream. Now I have nothing. I feel betrayed! Everyone has left me but my family. And the only reason they still come id because they have to. Why me?! I don’t deserve this!! I can handle the cancer, but not all alone. I guess there is always the guitar, it got me through last time.
I was just interrupted by a little girl who walked into my room and told me she was going to die. She said her name is Isabella. She is 6 years old and she was just diagnosed with leukemia. I explained to her that she is not going to die. She just has to keep fighting. I asked her about her friends and family. She talked for a long time about all of them. I told her those people will support her and help her win the battle. And then all the dancing, toys, swimming, and artwork. She is one busy little girl! After all that she said she was scared. When I asked her why she told me she didn’t want to miss all those things. I told her all she has to do is fight really hard and she’ll be better in no time. She asked me to be her friend and I said yes. I told her she could visit anytime she wanted. She said she had to go because her family was coming. She said she would show them to me later. I guess she taught me something, I have to keep fighting. Cause if I give up then what does that show kids like her? She said she will come back often and I am looking forward to it.
Isabella brought her family with her and both her parents thanked me very much for what I said. They said Isabella won’t stop talking about me. They were talking for a while after that but I really wasn’t listening because I was watching Isabella’s older brother. And he was watching me!!!! He’s a real hottie and I think I may have gotten over rob. Right before the Kimsin family he walked over to be and slipped me a piece of paper. It was his number!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! His name is Dan Kimsin!!!!! I called him later on and we talked for a long time. Turns out he’s my age and he’s coming to visit me tomorrow. I can’t wait. Oh I forgot to mention the Isabella was there too and she brought me a picture of us together when we are both cancer free. That girl is a really good drawer. I’ve learned a lot today and made some new friends.
I guess all things are meant to be. And today proved that.
My English class was learning about race for a few weeks when our teacher gave us the assignment of an informal talk. We were supposed to decide whether we would rather be a visual or non-visual minority. We had to have an attention grabber, three supporting points, one reason the other would be better, and a conclusion. All of this had to be convincing. We presented them a week and a half later and the result was pretty good. Now because of our success I am going to share my talk with you!
To be or not to be? That is the question. When picking between visual and non-visual minority it’s not as simple as that. It really depends on who you are as a person and what your personality is. Me, I would rather be a visual minority because I am not the type of person to hide something to avoid a confrontation, I am naturally a louder person so it would be easier for people to make a decision about me sooner rather than later.
There are a few reason that visual minority really was the one for me other that because of my personality. I would rather have someone judge me in the beginning and either be my friend or not, then hiding my true self, them being my friend, and then when they find out leaving. It would avoid those awkward moments. When we listened to the podcast there was a black guy, who wasn’t really black. His wife left her family because of this, and if he would have known earlier and shared that then that wouldn’t have happened and she would still have her family.
Another reason is that it gives you no opportunity to shirk, hide-away, or forget. You have to stick to your heritage, accept it, and be proud. It’s a part of you and being a visual minority gives you no chance of changing that. In the movie School Ties* David Green hides his religion (non-visual minority) and then later when his friends find out they desert him. If he would have just stood proud an accepted it then maybe things would have been different, but even if they weren’t he would still be the real David Greene, not some different person.
The third reason is so that you could be a mentor for others. I’m not saying those with non-visual minorities can’t be, but it’s easier for people to look up to someone who they can see is like them. I could talk about the truth of race and how to stand up for yourself and who you are because of your different background. I could change how race affects people lives and maybe even end the idea of it altogether.
One thing that is a down fall would be safety. If you were ever held by someone who would harm you because of you race, like the Arian Nation, then being a non-visual minority could save your life.
There is one thing that really bugs me, the fact that we even have to do a talk on minorities and race. We are all basically the same; we came from the same place at least. We may look, act, or talk different but really we are all the same. Race shouldn’t even exist, nor minorities, we should just all treat each other equal and not worry about little things like skin colour and religion, but I guess it does and until that stops kids will be doing informal talks like this one.
So really when I look at everything, I would rather be a visual minority, cause it suits me. I’m not saying it’s the best, or the right one, but it is for me. Each person may be different and that’s up to them. But, if I had to pick, I would be a visual minority.
So that was my informal talk, as close as I can remember it. I did not actually remember to talk about the second last paragraph but it was on my paper. For you information School Ties is a movie about a Jewish boy, David Greene, going to a Catholic school to play football. He hides his religion and later when his ‘friends’ find out they accuse him of cheating on a test and no longer are his friends. I liked the assignment quite a bit and think that race and minorities is an issue that needs to be learned about and addressed more frequently.
You know Matt Damon, actor, sexiest man of 2010, activist? Ok, so you probably haven’t heard about the activist part, but he is one. Matt is trying to solve the water problems that are going on in third-world and developing countries, with sewage and drinking. It pretty amazing what he has accomplished so far! He’s started, well I guess co-created, a company call water.org. You should really check it out. It talks about their goals, what they’ve done, who is involved, how it works, and how you can help. People from all over the world, just like you, donate money, by buying memorabilia or just giving, and majority is used to create or fix wells and sewage systems. I went on the website and was shocked on how bad the situation really is, and even after they help out its NOTHING compared to what we have. Matt has been a big push to help solve the water problems and because of him they’ve accomplished soooooo much. We need to help, that’s all there is to it. Even if you just spread the word, like I hope this entry is doing, it will eventually reach other people who will help. So please, pretty please, visit the website.
I’m going to pretend that I have unlimited money, time, and resources, but I had to do something with it. I would spend a lot of it in third-world and developing countries trying to make their lives better and give them things we take for granted, like food, shelter, health care, water, sewage, and education. I know it sounds like something big and complicated, but really, if I have everything, why not?
Obviously I can’t do all of those things at once, so I start with the shelter, because if they had shelter then their health would get better, and in those shelters would be better water and sewage systems along with showers. Really, that’s like killing three birds with one stone. After that, I would work on proper food for the people, they could start to grow their own food or work for it, this would feed them, give them jobs, and hopefully make them healthier. Again, killing three birds with one stone. If I could achieve even that it would make a HUGE difference in their lives. Education would definitely come next so that they can start to better help themselves and give them a better chance at life. The last thing I would work on would be health care; I know some would say it’s the most important because if you don’t have live people then there is no point changing the other things. My opinion is if I fix all those things there will be less of a need for health care because many of the things that cause the problems: inadequate food, shelter, water, lack of education, and sanitation, will already be fixed. If that was all finally done it would be from the work of me, volunteers, the people in need of help, and maybe you.
I know I said I was just pretending before, but I shouldn’t have to pretend that something like I said will happen. It should already be happening. I mean obviously I won’t have unlimited time money and resources, but if we work together we can. That is what we should be doing, helping to fix problems like that, however the reality is we are waiting for people, like Matt Damon, to take charge. Ric O’Berry once said “You can either be an activist or an inactivist” and if we want to see anychange in the world we have to be activists, and we have to right now.
If you ever want to read a story that you’ll have trouble putting down and won’t ever expect the ending, I have a story for you. “The Death Trap” by Paul Gallico is a short story that will have you entrapped. The Great Armando is a magician who has never met a trap he cannot get out of. One day he is challenged by a Sheriff who is holding a grudge. The Sheriff’s challenge for Armando was something he had done before, get out of a strait jacket while in a mail bag and a crate at the bottom of a river. Armando was all prepared until he met the Sheriff and his wife Tina. It was love at first sight for Armando and Tina but there was nothing they could do. When Armando and the Sheriff went over the trick it seemed as though nothing was wrong. However that would all change by the following morning. And that’s all I’m going to tell you. 😀
Paul Gallico has an amazing writing technique; he keeps adding more and more excitement and turns in the plot until you hit the climax of the story. And even then as the story is ending he throws one more turn that has you going “what just happened?!” It makes you think that you have everything figured out, but in reality you don’t. Another thing Paul does that adds to the story is he keeps many things secret until the very end. This causes a different type of climax line. When most slowly build to the top and then descend, “The Death Trap” had a more twisted plot line with many ups and downs.
My class had a really BIG debate on the spot of climax in the story. It took us a class and a half and even then the class was split. Something funny, in my opinion, the two placements of climaxes were not even that close to one another. The real kicker was that we never found out what the real climax was. My idea of the climax still is, and will remain, “Bu there was not a chance in the world that the Great Armando was still alive. The Sheriff had won.” Because at that point we think he is dead, and what actually happens is not that. So, everything after that is resolving what the highest point of excitement led us to believe. And that is the definition of a climax.
Overall the story was iffy. At the beginning I felt that it took a long time to start and there was quite a bit of extra information. But, at the end of the story I was into it, like really into it. I didn’t want to stop reading, I had no idea what was coming next, and I was satisfied with the conclusion. So, parts were god and parts were B-O-R-I-N-G.
I feel I’ve grown as a writer over the past few weeks. I had never written an essay before in my life, and then three weeks ago I was told that I would have to write an essay on the novel we were reading. I was scared. My teacher started the class on the format of the essay: an intro, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. All these followed her seven sentence structure. After learning all this I was still scared because I thought she was going to make us start writing that day. She didn’t. Over the next few weeks we would learn how to write all the different paragraphs, write them as a group, and finally write our own. This gave me an opportunity to learn about it then work with others to better understand, and by the time I had to write my own paragraph, I was ready.
The first time I wrote a body paragraph it followed all the steps but I wasn’t happy with it. It didn’t seem to flow and the reference didn’t quite fit, but I left it and moved on anyway. As I was writing my second paragraph I suddenly change my whole essay outline. I didn’t like the path in which I was going so I scrapped it. That meant I had to completely re write everything, which I thought would be better. Once I had changed my ideas the writing was much simpler, the sentences made more sense, the transitions fit, and my ideas were flowing better. I compared the two paragraphs and the difference was amazing. I could tell that I had grown and learnt more during class time.
After writing those paragraphs I continued onto the other ones and they were much easier. However, with everyone I had quite a bit of trouble with sentences six and seven, not sure why, but I believe they slowly got better as I practiced them more. Along with that, my most difficult task over the wholes essay was finding a title. There were many that would have worked but none to my complete satisfaction. I finally found my title when I was just randomly saying cliché phrases and the rolling with the punches came out. I knew that was the one, but it must have taken me like fifteen minutes at the least.
In my essay I know that I made quite a few mistakes using past and present tense, because I spent some time going through editing it but I could have spent way more time, in my opinion. With help from my teacher recently I now know how to better pick those things out and be able to correct them.
The next time I write an essay I hope to improve my mark by doing the new things I have learned: references, editing for past tense, and commas. I feel I’ve grown over all and learned a whole lot more, but I guess I’ll see how much I really learned the next time I write an essay. Nonetheless, I do not like writing them as they take a very long time, and frankly, I don’t like editing, but I make myself.
It’s been six years since I last saw you. And I miss you greatly. I heard you got captured by a wandering patrol. Where did they take you? Did they do anything to you or your family? Since it has been such a long time I have assumed that you are in the Fringes as that is where I am sending the letter. I hope you receive this and maybe, if you still remember me and want to talk you’ll reply. I know it is late but I couldn’t send it till I knew people had forgotten about me keeping you a secret and they finally have.
I am ashamed to say that six years ago my father got me to confess about you, by beating me. I tried to keep it a secret but eventually I could bear it no longer. When I heard you were captured I moped for days and blamed myself. Several days later I was told that it was not my fault and you were picked up by accident.
If you are in the Fringes would you tell me what it is like? Is it like people said? What are the people like? Do they accept you? I am almost afraid to ask, but I will anyway, how are your parents? Did they release them with you? Can you tell them that I am sorry, and they were right to doubt me as I caved under pressure. If they are still mad then tell them what really happened.
Since you have left many things have changed in Waknuk and in my family. For starters I have a new sister. Her name is Petra and she is six years old. One of my aunties also just died. However, my family did not mourn her death as usual because she killed herself. In Waknuk there have been many blasphemies this year. So many in fact that countless are wondering if God is sending tribulation on us again. I don’t know what to believe. I miss you a lot. And wish you the best of luck surviving. Please respond, and maybe we can exchange letters on a regular basis. I would like that a lot.
From your concerned friend,
If you would like to see the response to this letter go here…
Poetry was never a thing I really liked. Every year in school we would do the same thing: create a poem, learn different types of poems, analyze poems, and finally pick a poem, memorize it, and then recite it to the class. Boring right? When my teacher this year told us we were going to be looking at poetry I was not happy, to say the least, but then we heard our assignment. We were to make groups and perform a creepy poem. There were no restrictions as to how we did it, as long as it was appropriate, had the right mood, and voices were used to emphasize that. Later, we actually found out it was supposed to be done alone, not in groups, but that’s beside the point. In the end, it was amazing how different they all were: one group had us in the center and then chanted around us, another had each person talking standing up and holding a candle, once they finished their part they crouched down and shut off the light,and my group used puppets and created a shadow show. The poems were all so different, especially compared to if we had just stood alone and one by one read a poem off a sheet of paper. Another thing that added to the mood was, we went into a change room, shut the doors, shut off the lights, and lit candles all around.
After that I realized poetry is not just about making something up that rhymes and then reading it out loud in a boring, monotone voice. It is so much more than that! You use things called figurative language: similes, metaphors, personification, hyperboles, mood, juxtaposition, imagery, euphony, cacophony, assonance, alliteration, consonance, onomatopoeia, rhyme, rhythm, and repetition, along with different voices and acting. All these things change the way poetry is interpreted and expressed. Not to mention, if you didn’t have any of the things mentioned above it really wouldn’t be a poem, or a very bad one at that. Figurative language makes poetry and writing enjoyable, and we sometimes don’t even realize we are using it. The more we write the easier it will come to us, and maybe someday we won’t need to think about using it at all.