Birds of a Feather

Chapter 1: Flamingos

What makes flamingos special?

Flamingos can stand on one leg, did you know that it’s easier for them but it’s harder for humans? Since flamingos are pink, they don’t do it on their own. There’s pink plankton stuff in the water and they eat it and that’s what makes flamingos pink. Baby flamingos don’t start out pink, they start out gray. They start out puffy and they look like penguin babies because they are gray and puffy.

Where do flamingos live?

Flamingos usually live in mangrove swamps. Did you know that flamingos are a relative to dodo birds? They have the same beaks.

What do flamingo eggs look like?

Flamingo eggs are not the same as chicken eggs. They are like an oval, but no arch on the top. It kind of comes in on the side. Did you know that flamingos fly? Mostly only swamp flamingos fly because the swamp gives them much more cool and they can sense when something is coming. There’s not that much danger in lakes though. Flamingo packs are called flamboyances. A flamingo is 3 and a half to 5 feet tall. And did you know that lake flamingos make mud and stick nests?

Chapter 2: Golden Pheasants

Did you know that golden pheasants live in Western China? 

Did you know that golden pheasant eggs are the exact same size and shape of chicken eggs? But they don’t have spots on them.

What do female golden pheasants look like?

They look more brownish blackish. And the males look; blue, red, a little black, yellow, gold, and there’s some grayish on the tail. Golden pheasants can fly but only a few feet in the air and they prefer to stay on the ground. Golden pheasants eat berries, bugs, and leaves. In the wild, golden pheasants live 5 to 6 years. But in people’s homes they can live 15 to 20 years. I think that’s because they get more treatment in houses. And I don’t think they live long in the wild because there are predators coming out to eat them. 

What are golden pheasants’ predators? 

Their predators are foxes and wild cats. 

Chapter 3: Toucans 

Where do Toucans live? 

They live in the Amazon Rainforest. 

What is a flock of Toucans called?

It is called a durante of Toucans. I thought durante means together, but it is Portuguese for during. It makes sense because durante and during kind of sound similar. 

What do males look like? Male and females look the same, except male beaks are longer and narrower. 

How many years do they live?

They live 12 to 20 years. 

Did you know that there are different types of Toucans? 

There are over 40 different species of Toucan. I would guess there are 60 because they are one of the most popular kinds of birds. All the different types of Toucan species have a big beak. 

Chapter 4: Owls

Did you know that owls are nocturnal? 

What does nocturnal mean? 

Nocturnal means you stay awake all night and go to sleep all day. 

What is a flock of owls called? 

A flock of owls is called a parliament. A parliament is how people make laws in England. 

What are owls’ ancestors? 

Owls are closely related to Toucans and Hornbills. 

What do owl eggs look like? 

They are very round and they are white. 

How many species of owl are there? 

There were 250 species of owl. I knew there would be more than 100 species of owl because they are so smart and cunning like foxes! Here are some types of owls: the snowy owl, the elf owl, the barn owl. 

Chapter 5:  Eagles

Eagles are one of the most interesting birds on the planet. Eagle flocks have many names but the top three are: convocation, congregation, and aerie. 

My favorite, personally, is definitely convocation. They are almost as fast as peregrine falcons. Peregrine falcons can go at almost 100 miles per hour while eagles can go 90 miles per hour. 

I think that the females are more attractive because the males don’t really have any color. The female’s wingspan is just huge! 

When eagles go out hunting it depends on where they live for what they eat. If they live on land they mostly eat snakes, rabbits, and squirrels. If they live near the sea, they usually eat fish.

GLaDOS Might Not Be the “Bad Guy”

In Valve’s two-part video game, Portal, GLaDOS certainly seems like a villain at first. The premise of the video game is that you are a “tester” in a science lab called Aperture Science, progressing through more and more difficult and dangerous test chambers. GLaDOS is the game’s villain, but her bad behavior is not her fault. In the course of gameplay, we learn that GLaDOS, who we meet as a big robot, was once a human before her power-heavy transformation into a robot drove her insane. First, this essay will establish evidence of GLaDOS the big robot’s evil deeds. Then, it will prove the central claim that it is not possible for a being transforming into a giant robot in the world of Portal to retain sanity. Finally, it will prove that it is the scientists, not GLaDOS, who are the true villains of the videogame.

There are many good reasons why you’d think GLaDOS is the central villain when you first start playing. In Portal, you have to go through many tests with only the false hope of cake. Right before you reach her chamber, you have to think quickly and use your teleportation device (the portal gun) to get out of a conveyor leading into a pit of fire. Along with the fire chamber, she tries to kill you with neurotoxin in a timed battle, eventually leading to her explosion. But the picture becomes more complicated in Portal 2. After you accidentally awaken GLaDOS again, she tells you why she was so unhappy when she woke up. She had to relive the moment of her death when you exploded her over and over and over again, thinking of what she could have done better. 

Still, we learn something else about transforming into a “super bot” that excuses Glados’s behavior even further. When the player puts Wheatley, your original friend at the start of Portal 2, into the big robot, you learn that when you become a robot, you become insane with power. This same fate befalls Glados when it happens to her. In the official Portal comic, LAB RAT, soon after Glados becomes the super robot, we see an example of how power-mad her transformation makes her.

As we walk through the details of this example, the Neurotoxin Incident, we will see that  it is actually the fault of the scientists that Glados found herself armed with such a dangerous substance. The scientists allowed her to be equipped with neurotoxin before she was stable. They failed to even check that she was partially stable before they gave her access to said neurotoxin—a very dangerous gas. 

Here’s how the sequence unfolds in gameplay. Right before you are let out of the lab, you actually fall into Old Aperture. Here, you learn about two new characters, the second of whom is important to the central storyline. These characters are Cave Johnson, and Cave Johnson’s assistant, Caroline. Since Cave Johnson got sick, Caroline was made into a robot to keep Aperture Science running and uphold the place for many more years than she would as a human, but the robot version of Caroline went crazy, killing almost all the workers. Another thing you learn is that you feel the need to “test” when you are in the GLaDOS robot body. Wheatley talks about how he feels this “itch” to test – as though he would not be able to live happily without testing. Essentially, he has to conduct tests even if he doesn’t want to, because it would otherwise result in major discomfort. This helps GLaDOS’s weird forceful testing that we saw back in the comic: another major reason why it’s not GLaDOS’s fault for seeming crazy. 

“Do you know what doesn’t rhyme with compliance? Neurotoxin,” GLaDOS says in the panel. Arguably, the fact that she is forcing the workers to do what she wants by threat of death is such an extreme course of action that it is a sign of her going power-mad in and of itself. But more importantly, this extreme behavior is a departure from the way GLaDOS acts prior to her transformation. Before, she was a seemingly average woman working as Cave Johnson’s assistant. We see this when GLaDOS repeats the phrases in one of the prerecorded messages before they were actually said, shown in chapter 7 of Portal 2, titled “The Reunion”, to be perfectly normal statements like “yes, sir.” One YouTuber describes the way the next sequence unfolds: GLaDOS hears Cave’s and Caroline’s voices for the first time in her life. She repeats ‘Yes sir, Mr. Johnson,’ and is terrified. In other words, we see GLaDOS awaken again after a panic, and when Mr. Johnson asks a question, GLaDOS repeats after Caroline before even hearing the voice line, sending her back into a panic. Her dialogue matches exactly with her former self, Caroline, revealing: GLaDOS used to be Caroline. The transformation was responsible for the change in her attitude.

The evidence is clear that GLaDOS, the video game character from Portal, is not the villain of her game. This is an important thing for the Portal community because it would give a very different view of the story, one where we find that the scientists were the bad guys. This topic is important to the world because we should first look at what makes people the way they are, instead of just judging them by how they are now. It also gives a more reasonable view of people in a grumpy mood. Someone might generally be happy and kind, but just be having a bad day. If we judge them based on their background, they are a good person, but if we only looked at how they act, then they would look like a very mean person who never is kind to people.


“Lab Rat.” Lab Rat, Valve, 2011, 

(youtuber), oliviacat01. “Portal 2: Glados Finds out She’s Caroline.” YouTube, YouTube, 27 July 2015, 

“Caroline Voice Lines.” Caroline Voice Lines – Portal Wiki, Wikimedia Commons, 24 Jan. 2021, 

          Portal. Windows PC, Mac, and Linux, 2007.

          Portal 2. Windows PC, Mac, and Linux, 2011.

Why Standardized Testing Is Unfair

I always knew that standardized testing wasn’t fair to people who did not have as much knowledge as me from doing after-school activities. I recently turned ten, and when we did the state tests in school, I was already doing sets and operations on sets, which is a sixth-grade level. But I did not realize how super unfair it was until I did my math test. It was too easy for me, but I saw people around me struggling with the questions. I think that standardized testing should be abolished. It is stressful, helps only certain types of students, and there are much fairer ways to measure teacher effectiveness and student achievement.

First of all, testing puts kids through a lot of unnecessary stress. Every time we have a test in our ELA class, everyone gets upset. Some might say that this test-related stress is a necessary evil, but that isn’t true. Sure, tests are important: Testing shows what you know. According to Scientific American, it is the case at every grade level that frequent tests boost learning. If you don’t, you won’t show what you know, and the next grade would be too hard. But there are other ways that we could measure a teacher’s performance with students other than tests, or in other words, how students have improved since they started school. For example, there could be an art project reflecting on what they learned in math, or a science project about physics-related math.

Secondly, standardized tests only help certain types of students, which means that they can be biased. Multiple academic papers and analyses have found that standardized tests reinforce racism and classism. According to op-ed writer Jamie Palladino, who cites a finding from Inside Higher Ed that on the reading section of the SAT, “[s]tudents in families making less than $20,000 averaged a score of 433 while students from families making $200,000 had an average score of 570.” This shows that standardized tests are not fair to students who don’t have rich families. To be clear, even if you know this, there is not a high chance for a student to be born into a rich family. But not everyone agrees that this is a cause for concern. 

Sean-Michael Pigeon, a student who claims that tests elevated his opportunities even though he lacked the wealth of his classmates, rejects the idea that they are classist, writing “Testing and academic performance were the best way for someone like me to succeed.” Even though he says that testing was his way to get to the Ivy League, and receive its financial aid, there is not a way to know if his admission was really based on his test scores, because there are too many other factors in the decision of admitting or not admitting someone into the school. Furthermore, the financial aid would have come if he got admitted, regardless of his test scores.

Even though testing is measured, it is not always fair. There are different ways we could measure a student’s academic score. As the website Otus shows, there are at least four ways to measure a student’s performance. Sampling, Stealth or Game-based assessments, Multiple Measures, or Portfolio-based assessments. Sampling is a semi-alternative to standardized testing. Sampling is taking a smaller part of the population, making a test for that group, and sending it to them. It isn’t completely perfect, but it is better than a test for everyone. Stealth or Game-based assessments are when a test is like a game, making it more fun. Portfolio-based assessments are when you measure student progress based on projects, presentations, reports, and papers collected over time. Multiple Measures is basically all of the above.

So what? You might be thinking. Well if you are thinking, What about kids who do know the material but they are anxious testers? Well, if we get rid of standardized testing, they might not be as stressed, but as long as standardized tests exist, there isn’t much you can do about it other than say some supporting words. You might also be thinking, Standardized tests are said to be “standard,” but this also means that they can be biased toward people who learned specific topics in specific ways, which is going to be more beneficial to kids of some backgrounds than others. Is this fair? And really the sad answer is no, no it is not fair for people who don’t have the same background as others. You can try to do extracurricular material out of or in school, but for now, it is just not fair. With all these possible better alternatives, abolishing standardized testing makes the most sense.

Works Cited:

Pigeon, Sean-Michael. “Standardized tests help poor students like me.”


Palladino, Jamie. “Op-Ed: Abolish standardized testing.” <>

Walker, Jordan. “How to Measure Student Progress Without Standardized Tests.”


Child Writing Concerns

Essays are difficult for kids, but we can conquer them. I am a ten-year-old student, and whenever I try, I always have a hard time getting an idea. I will think for hours upon hours, but nothing comes to mind. Even if I try again the next day, sometimes, nothing still happens. My brain is like a computer with an error not being able to run a program. I always thought of it as writer’s block, but it really should be known as “essay block”! I don’t have it when I write my stories or at school. But when it comes to essays, I am stumped about what to do.

However, I have found a solution for myself. It’s called a partner. They help you through the day. My partner changes all the time. I can have a little stuffy or even my brother as my guide. I had to come up with my own solution for my own essay block, so as not to take the advice of an adult who is not in a position to remember what writing as a kid is like. 

Adults sometimes can have an “illness” per se, called Grown-Ideas. They have a more fixed mindset and less imagination than when they were a kid because they grow a more danger-mind. This is where they can’t imagine anything, only the bluntness. When you are a child your mindscape is endless so you truly understand the problems grownups don’t. 

This brings me to something I found to further suggest this, an article by Kim Kautzer called “How to Help a Child with Writer’s Block.” Kautzer, who wrote the article, simply doesn’t understand children at all. She kept referring to the learner as “he,” and not “she” or “they.”  As an example, she would write “Later, he can ask,” or “[f]or example, he can” or even “gives him,” but never use other pronouns. It’s as though only boys can learn and use this advice. I feel a little as though this sexist wording is from the past.

It’s probably careless wording that accounts for most mistakes, but her other overgeneralization is more serious. It concerns age and expectations of what kids should achieve at certain ages. She kept saying that a person has a duty to meet certain standards by a set birthdate. For example, she says that “Younger children shouldn’t labor over a revision. It’s enough to add a few details, substitute stronger words, and polish up spelling and punctuation.” So, in other words, she is suggesting that the minute the kid turns a new age, they are somehow supposed to be wonderful with no whatsoever real preparation. Just because that is true for some people, it’s not like you can magically blow out your birthday candles and then write cleanly and perfectly. Everyone is different, therefore, it is an unrealistic standard to change so quickly from easy to hard expectations in one day. For example, in the article Kautzer says, “Teens, however, should expect to rewrite a draft several times before it passes muster, beefing up arguments, supporting with additional facts, embellishing with description, and improving both word choice and mechanics.” This quote is the opposite of the claim that writing is hard since it is saying that you have to be like this at one age or another. Making these claims can be pressuring, and create shame since she makes seeming to fall short of “age-appropriate” goals a stressful situation. 

You can decide for yourself with the link at the end. If you are an adult, you probably won’t understand. So, I feel you should listen to kids like me, the people who are affected by these bad pedagogical choices, first.

The Spider Tree

It was the Christmas season, and I was in my cozy apartment building where nothing exciting happened. We had several traditions, like watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas and doing secret Amazon shopping for everybody. We had bought our Christmas tree from a different Christmas farm this year, but it was perfect, and we had decorated it with Christmas ornaments the night before while blaring Christmas music. It was December 21st, and I was watering the Christmas tree, my favorite job. Little did I know, enemies were making their way into my hair. I didn’t suspect anything until that night. It was pitch-black in the hallway as I stepped into my parents’ bedroom. Suddenly, I felt something tickling me. 

“Indi, this better not be one of your games!”

No response. Taking a deep breath, I groped for the light, and as it flickered on, I turned suddenly. Staring at the floor, I was petrified at the sight of a spider! A large midnight one about the size of my thumbnail crawled along the floor. With an ear-splitting scream, I alerted my parents. I don’t have a phobia of spiders like my dramatic older sister, Indira, or Indi for short. They were just annoying, but once they climb out of your hair, you might have a change of heart. I did, and I was now deathly afraid. Luckily for me, my scream made my mother jump out of bed and race to the doorway. Thankfully, the only thing she was frightened of were waterbugs, so she could be my exterminator. As she stomped it dead, I huddled next to my snoring father, trying to comprehend how the spider had found its way into my hair. The most obvious thought never occurred… the innocent Christmas tree. Shaking my hair, no spiders fell. I was in the clear… for now, until the spiders found me again.


I was still shaken by my spider incident, but I put it behind me. I needed to continue with my life. Easier said than done when the spiders are lurking nearby. My daily job of watering the tree had been completed at 3:15 PM precisely. It was midnight, and I was settled in a chair, reading a book, until my “friend” decided to come out and play. As I flipped the page, an orange spider stuck out on my hair’s strands, which hung from my face. 

“You’re hallucinating,” I tried to convince myself, but fear won that round.

As my sister and mother chatted rapidly in the hallway, I let out my famous ear-splitting scream. 

Moments later, they suddenly stopped their conversation and arrived at the end of the hallway, where I was trembling. 

Stuttering, I started, “SPIDER, in — in my hair!”

I shook as the real message arrived to me: two spiders in my hair in two days. The spiders were trying to send a message, and the worst part was, my sister and mother didn’t believe me! They thought I was making it up! With determination, I searched the wooden floor and found the culprit. As my mother exterminated it, I decided to huddle next to my sister. After my mother exterminated it, she researched and discovered that the new type of tree we had bought this year was one spiders liked. Then the pieces of the puzzle fell into place. Every time I put my head UNDER the tree to water it, guess what crawled into my hair at 3:15 PM, then waited for seven to nine hours to scare me at night? Spiders! We decided that right after Christmas we would throw the tree out, and NOBODY would be watering it!

Interesting Topics

Table of Contents:

  1. Ortho-K Lenses
  2. Gardening Tips
  3. Michael Phelps Facts

Ortho-K Lenses  

What are Ortho-K lenses? They are lenses that you wear at night. Every night, the lenses correct your eyesight, and in the morning you have the best eyesight possible. Although they’re expensive (about $2,000 – $4,000 dollars, plus the cost of equipment), kids should definitely wear these lenses. If your eyesight is growing worse, you should immediately wear these lenses. If you have good eyesight, you should still prepare to wear these lenses, because your eyesight will grow worse in the future. Plus, wearing Ortho-K lenses can help remove your eye problems. 

So when should kids wear the lenses? Ortho-K is recommended for kids and teenagers, because that’s when people’s eyesight grows the most. By the time you are 22, your eyesight slowly stops growing, and you can decide if you want to continue wearing lenses, wear glasses, wear contact lenses, or have laser surgery. When you turn 24, the age when your eyesight stops growing, you can do what you decided to do.

Let’s learn some science behind Ortho-K lenses. Part of your eyeball is your cornea. If your cornea is attached to your eyeball, then you have great eyesight. If it’s far away from you eyeball, then it will be hard for you to see. During the night, when you are sleeping, the lens pushes your cornea closer to your eyeball. In conclusion, the lenses improve your eyesight. Remember, it will take a few days, about 3, before it will be completely good.

Author’s note: If you are planning to wear Ortho-K lenses, you can go to two places. One is in the Golden Horseshoe in Scarsdale. Although the place is less expensive than the other one (it’s around $2,000 dollars), it isn’t customized, making it not as safe. Ortho-K Specialty in Bayside, Flushing is more expensive ($4,000 dollars), since it has customized lenses. My doctor, Dr. Cho, told me the information in the first section. 

Gardening Tips

Are your garden plants being eaten by bunnies? One way to get rid of them is to put powder, such as red pepper powder, around the plants or anywhere you feel like will be most effective. For more complicated experiments, check the resources at the end of this article. 

Birds can eat some of your plants, too. Shiny objects scare them away. You can place DVDs, aluminum foil, or any other shiny objects around the plants. It can be dangling from a string, or just lying around. Getting a scarecrow might be another good idea. 

Sources: (Gardening tips to keep birds away) (Gardening tips to keep bunnies away)

Things You Might Want To See: (More information about keeping animals away from you garden)

Michael Phelps Facts

Michael Phelps has won 28 medals in his life: 23 gold medals, 3 silver medals, and 2 bronze medals. 13 of the gold medals he won individually, and the other 10 were relays. During his career, Michael Phelps also set 39 world records — more than any other person.

Does anyone know what Michael Phelps’ best strokes are? Butterfly and freestyle. Although Micheal is very good at butterfly, he first learned how to do backstroke because, when he was young, he didn’t like putting his head in the water, so he just floated on his back.

Want to hear a really surprising fact? Michael Phelps can do 34 pullups!

You can also check out the video I put at the bottom of this article.

Sources: (Biography of Michael Phelps)

Things You Might Want To See: (MIchael Phelps 8 gold medals in Beijing, 2008)

Adapting to Life

The autumn leaves are twirling in the air from nearby trees. I walk to a bench with a book tucked under my arm. The breeze swirls in the air, blending in with the laughter of children. On the bench, I observe everything around me. Children are playing tag, adults are supervising, and there is the smell of coffee from the teacher’s lounge.

I set my book on my lap. The cover has images of foxes chasing after each other, insects hanging to leaves, monkeys and exotic animals staring back at me. In the center of the cover, it says: On The Origin Of Species in big, blocky letters. Underneath it says: by Charles Darwin, adapted by Rebecca Steffof. Flipping through the pages, I reach my favorite one. The one with Darwin’s thoughts on survival of the fittest.

My mom borrowed it from the library because of my interest in science. I continued reading it because of my thirst for knowledge. Even though it wasn’t a school assignment, I used my spare recess time to reach the end of it. I wanted to know how everything started, who Charles Darwin was, and what he had to say in this book. Before I even started reading it, I knew it was a discovery of a hidden want for science.

I’ve never really dug very deep into science, I used to be confused on what my job would be as I grew up. In the end, I narrowed my interests. With new goals, I decided to find out even more about my passions and had my mom borrow any science-related books. However, my school doesn’t teach many science lessons or explain the math or people behind these ideas. As a result, I haven’t figured out what field of science I would like to study. There are many topics that I need to be introduced to.

It made me feel more knowledgeable to learn more about past scientists and their theories. It showed me that many things have adapted to new things, just like me. I adapted to my new interest in science. My passions were like species, just as Darwin said, survival of the fittest. There was only that much space for life on Earth. Either they went extinct, were endangered, or brought new strategies to their lives. Piano, in my world for passions, was an extinct species, replaced by a better descendant, drumming. Science was a new species that had been unearthed. Shading was a species merely surviving. Just like mammals during the Triassic period. It taught me that our own lives held fields of competition whether visible or not, humans were always adapting.

I have learned that the world around us is constantly changing. It may take a long time to realize, but we’ll still recognize it at some point. We can start by noticing how we change, on the outside and on the inside. Then, like Charles Darwin, we look to the world, animals, and others. Survival of the fittest has appeared many times in history, from cells to dinosaurs to humans. We are always adapting.

The Importance of Art

Many people in this world do not have the privilege to make and create types of art at school. When you are doing art, time may fly by, but during the time that you are creating the art, your head can relax and calm down. During that time, nothing matters more than you and creating the art. Art may take up a lot of time, but when you get good at art, it is fun for you and will make you happy. Today, I am going to be talking about art, and how it helps people with their mental health, and why principals should provide fun art-related programs for their students to help them learn.

One reason why schools should have art programs is because art lets people be as creative as they want. Everybody’s artwork will be different, for art is one of the only classes that has a special feature. Even if you are following a set of steps, when you are coloring, or decorating your drawing, they will be different. Also, art is no competition, you can take as long as you want to finish a piece of artwork. It may take a few weeks, and those weeks may turn into months, and maybe even into years! It doesn’t matter how long it took you to draw your artwork, all that matters is what it turned into, and how much you like it. It is scientifically proven that when you are creating art, it makes you happier, and who doesn’t want to be happy?

The next reason why is because most people get stressed out after classes. If you are in a class that is very challenging for you, then you have to have a break, even if you don’t have art classes, you can bring a notepad and pencil to school, and even if you’re not good at drawing, you can still just start drawing random lines and let all you tension out. 5th grader Anna states, “Art is important in school because you have time to let your creative self shine out, it is also very fun to do art because most kids enjoy art. Lastly, you need to have a break from your brain because most classes there is a procedure you need to follow but in art, there is no specific rule, basically, you can do anything you want.” I 100% agree with Anna.

The last reason is that art makes you persevere. When you mess up, you have to restart and try a new tactic. This may help you with other work, like math, if you are trying a math problem, but you get the answer wrong, art may encourage you to retry and be patient. 4th Grader Sarah says, “I love to do art, and sometimes if I am doing homework and it gets kinda hard and I get stuck, I take a little break and do some sketching for art. It helps me relax and after ten minutes I try and go back to do my homework, and it makes me feel better doing it.” And once again, I agree with you, Sarah.

Art makes you persevere, be as creative as you want, and makes you happier. These are three out of the many reasons why you should create art. Even if you’re not good at it, try art if you have these problems. Art will make you proud of your artwork, just wait until you see it!

Why We Shouldn’t Have Borders

See any borders? You don’t and it’s still our world

“All the borders in the world are man-made. There are no borders, we are all hooked together. Everything is connected. There is no line of demarcation. We are hooked together like the colors of a rainbow, our problem is ignorance, we don’t understand that.”-Bob Proctor. Borders can spark wars and cause deaths, borders can make nationality which can pinpoint people against other people and make people say and do mean things to other people.

According to Wikipedia, 56 wars from 1846-2020 have been partially if not 100% caused by borders. From the start of time, wars, battles, and deaths have been caused by borders. Over 100,000,000 deaths have happened because of borders. Without borders, the number of deaths would have fallen and wars would fade. WW1 was started because of borders and WW2 happened because of WW1. World War 1 was caused by the Austrian annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina which caused Serbian nationalist, Gavrilo Princip, to shoot the Austrian Archduke and his wife. This caused WW1 and eventually caused WW2, plus a total of 63,000,000 deaths. Without borders, this never would have happened. Also, with Covid, the U.S is still working on evaluating their testing, but countries like Rwanda have testing ready in up to three days. Without borders and nationality, countries could share their testing and it would save many lives. 

Borders also translate large feelings of nationality. This was another cause of World War I. And nationality is caused by borders! Nationality also causes problems with immigration. Also, without borders, immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers would be able to travel through countries freely without being pursued and assaulted by the local police, military, and regular passersby. Nationality also causes the people in these countries to do what they do. And without borders there would be no nationality and then nobody would do any of these horrible things. 

Thirdly, if you have no borders, countries wouldn’t need such powerful militaries. For example, the U.S. spent 718.69 billion dollars on the military in 2019. This is a drastic amount of money spent on the military when the country could be using this money for other things like healthcare and helping the homeless, both of which would help the population. Without borders, the U.S. would lower its military budget because there’d be no U.S., just the Earth as we know it. If this happened, millions of people’s lives would be saved. For example, Belgium, which is part of the EU, spends only 4614 million in U.S dollars for their military. The EU uses the same currency, and if you’re a French citizen and have a passport, you can easily travel to any country that is part of the EU. As a summary, the EU makes some parts of Europe borderless, and see how countries are able to cut down on military spending?

Finally, the world should have no borders because many wars have been caused by borders, borders give people a feeling of nationality which can make them hate other people from other countries, and without borders, countries wouldn’t have to spend so much money on the military. It could be used for other things like healthcare which can save millions of lives. This is why we should have no borders. 

“I am a Citizen of the World, and my Nationality is Goodwill.” –Socrates


My first memories of playing chess are a little fuzzy, but I do remember I wanted to beat my brother Shepherd at something he was in a club for and I wasn’t. I had a really competitive spirit and I still do now. I wanted my brother to show me how to play chess and finally my brother was forced to by my mother. Luckily, my kindergarten school had a chess club which is where I met my best friend of five years. After playing with my friends and winning, my competitive spirit slowly turned into a love for chess and finally at my first rated tournament I got to put my skills to the test. I was in the lowest section and there were five rounds (it was a city tournament). The section was K-1.  Everyone had an under 400 rating. I won each of the 5 rounds and I got first place. I shot up my rating to 925 and got kicked out of the section because my rating was too high. I helped my team to get first place with 4 people (top 4 add their points together for the team points).  In total, we had 16 points (my brother – 3, a 1st grader named Joshua – 4, my best friend Avaan – 4, me – 5). I played in many tournaments, finally reaching a rating of 1000 at age 6. 

Skip forward a few years to 3rd grade. My parents made me stop playing chess tournaments because my schedule was full. I adapted and for two years I didn’t play chess.

Skip forward a couple more years. In 5th grade, because of Covid, all the chess was online. There are differences between online chess and real chess. One difference is that there are distractions at home. Siblings can be very annoying when you are trying to focus. When we are playing in person, everyone has to be quiet. I started to play online chess and broke 1500, hurraay! My rating started bouncing around between 1475 and 1525, finally settling around 1510-1530. 

However, then my rating jumped down to 1488. WAAAAAH. At a tournament in April 2021, I won two out of two games. I thought I could win all 4 rounds. Unfortunately there was someone who is higher rated who I hadn’t beaten in the last 5 games we played. I beat him a long time ago, but I thought, It probably won’t be today… UUUUUUUUUHHHHHHHHHHHH! His name is… Elliot Goodrich. He is only in 2nd grade and has a rating of over 1500!  

First round, I played a guy named Andrew Plasse. 20 moves later, it was still even. Finally, I thought of a tactic. Win a pawn. Then, I was up 1 point. I won another pawn. I was winning when we got to the end game.  I was up 2 pawns. Me- King, Bishop, Rook, and 2 more pawns than him. Him- King, Knight, Rook, and 2 less pawns than me. He resigned. Victory for me! I checked his rating after the match, 800. Cue the groan of disappointment. 

Note: I could only see his name when I was playing. His name allows me to know where to search for his rating, but I didn’t look him up. 

In the second round, I won again. Then I played Elliot… And I won! I was so happy!

Just to mention, there is a timer in chess that ticks per second. There is sometimes a delay which means if you don’t move in a certain amount of time, your clock starts ticking. After each move, you get time back on the clock. But the increment isn’t used for every chess game. In person, every time you move, you are supposed to hit the clock switching which side is ticking. If someone’s timer reaches zero and the other person can win if they continue, it is a loss for the person out of time. If the other person cannot win if they continue playing, then it is a draw.

Chess can be very frustrating for me at times. There are two specific times when I got really mad. I was winning at the game when I put my opponent in a stalemate, when he cannot move his king or any piece anywhere. This means it is a draw. At the first game I was in the last game of the tournament at board 2. My friend and I were the top two players, both at 3/3. My friend beat his opponent and won the section, but I drew to my opponent by stalemate even though I was winning and I got second. He got 4/4 but I got 3.5/4. And no, it was not on tiebreaks. I was the only one with 3.5 as my opponent went 3/4. Stalemate means that the opponent cannot move or you cannot move, therefore resulting in a draw. This is different from Chinese chess though.

Even with all my troubles and frustrations, I still continued playing chess. I actually started writing this paragraph on the 2nd day of the New York State Chess Championship. It was between rounds 4 and 5 on April 17-18, 2021. There were two days and three rounds per day. 

The first game, I was winning by a bishop and a pawn. Then, I dreadfully lost a rook by a simple tactic that I found immediately after I moved. Then. I lost. I was so mad and so sad. I was playing a 1000 which was not even that good. The word STUPID ricocheted across my mind. Then, I got over it in an hour by telling myself that the next round would be easier. 

2nd game, also against a 1000. I got his bishop in the first 10 moves. I took everything from him then I mated him. Easy enough. 1/2 points is my score.

3rd game, last game of the day, and the most insane. Lost the exchange. Then I won a bishop for a pawn. The game was tied. Then, I lost a knight. Then I lost the game. I was playing 1200. I won ⅓ of the games.

In the 4th game, I played another 1000. I won a bishop. I went to the endgame and was victorious. Yay! Return to the present.

In the 5th and 6th game I beat a 1000 and 1200 respectively. I got a score of 4/6, 27 out of over 100. Not really impressive. My friend though, got a score ⅚, and got 3rd place! Considering this is the championship for elementary players, he is basically #3 elementary school chess player in the whole city. Interestingly enough, when we were in the K-1st grade we played each other infinitely and beat each other around the same amount. Like, 10 times each.

I don’t really know why I like chess so much. It’s hard for me to explain my feelings. I just like it, no need to push, that’s it. So, you people can try it and see how you like it. I am still going to play, not planning to stop. But I think this essay is lengthy enough. But just so you know, if you challenge me, I won’t go easy: I like to win.

*P.s- You may be asking yourself what the title is. The letters start a word. The letters are the first letter in the word. The numbers are what number the letter is in the alphabet, for example, 1=a, 2=b, 3=c, 4=d, 5=e.  The title is a puzzle just like chess!

P.s.s- This was written over a period of time (you’re probably thinking DUH).

Crabby the Crab

It began silently when my mom’s friend bought a box full of live crabs. My mom went downstairs to get the box of live crabs since my mom’s friend was not able to go inside my home. My sister and my whole entire family were waiting for that box for a long time.

I was practicing piano at the time when my mom came home in a hurry. I closed my piano and went to see her. I didn’t see a box of live crabs but I saw one huge black bag. So I went to play with my sister for a while.

Then my mom screamed, “I will now show you what is called big crabs.”

Then she carefully placed a box in front of me and she told me to back off. Suddenly, something came to my mind! That was the box full of live crabs!

The box was yellow-brownish and it seemed like it was made out of bamboo. She opened up the box and then… there were live crabs! I was right. There were live crabs. They were blue female crabs. Their shells were brown. I knew they were female crabs because their backs are not a T shape like male crabs.

After my mom opened the box full of female crabs, I asked her if I could have the most active one. I said that because we were going to eat half of the crabs. We were going to boil them and eat their claws and bodies and mouths. Then I asked my mom if I could have a bowl. She gave me a big silver bowl and then she put the most active female crab in it. I immediately told my sister to give me a chopstick and a cup that was filled with water, but not drinking water. After that, I told my sister to give me the cup and the chopstick. She gave it to me and I started to play with the crab! But before I played with the crab, I poured the cup of water into the silver bowl and the crab was swimming in it!

The game we played was called Try to Catch My Chopstick. The crab was trying to get the chopstick and if the crab got the chopstick, then the crab got one point. If the crab didn’t get the chopstick, then the chopstick got one point. If the crab did a sudden attack and almost got the chopstick, then she won ten points! She did ten sudden attacks so she got 100 points.

We were amazed by how active she was! We went to the sink and told her how to dance! She started to dance! She jumped out of the water! She was beginning to be too wild! I noticed it and I took the chopstick that my sister gave me and I rubbed it against the crab’s shell and she calmed down. This was the time when I knew what to call her. The perfect name for her was… Crabby!


Night came and we knew where to put her bowl. We put her in the window because there was a lot of space and she could suntan. Before we put her in her new home, we moved her into a blue bowl. It was big so that Crabby could do anything in it. We made her a sun cover so that she would not become too hot. We looked at her for the last time of the day and went to sleep.

The next day came and we visited her. We fed her salt and day by day went and every morning we checked on her because we were worried that she was going to die. The third day came and we thought that she died, but surprisingly, she was still alive. The fourth day came. In the morning we looked at her for the last time. In the afternoon… she died.

From that day on, I would always remember Crabby. She was active, kind, sweet, and a survivor. I will never forget her, and even though she died, she will never forget me too.

My Most Important Object

One object that means a lot to me is a plush toy that a father from my church gave me once. It means a lot to me because it is a little Jesus and he gave it to me when I was five years old. It has sandals. They are little brown sandals (my brother ripped one off) and it also has a little white crown. It also reminds me of the father because he is in Europe. The toy feels fluffy. The toy smells great (obviously when you wash it it smells like soap). Right now, I have it in my bed and I don’t let anyone touch it.

Treating Things with Respect

My Black Wii U could hold 32 GB of space. It cost $300 plus the tax, which I know was about $326. It felt very smooth and looked like a box that you put the disk in and a pad that looked like a switch. When you played with it a lot, it would overheat and smell like fire. You could also hear a whirring sound when you used it too much. I never tasted it, but it must taste like Japanese plastic since the Wii U was made in Japan.

I distinctly remember that bleak December. December of 2014. I told my dad I wanted the Wii U in the past few months. Then, a few days before Christmas, my dad showed me what he got me for Christmas. You guessed it, a black Wii U. I had not opened it yet because it was for Christmas. He did not open the box, but it did not have any Christmas wrapping, so I saw the big letters that spelled Wii U on the box. I thanked my dad for the gift that has not been forgotten, even now. Sometimes on the weekends, I use it in the morning. It is my first ever gaming console I ever got. Therefore it must not be trashed like most people did when they got a Nintendo Switch. The reason I say this is because there was this YouTube video.

People say that the Wii U was one of Nintendo’s biggest failures, but I consider this a lie. It is honestly one of the best consoles in history and is considered great.

I still use it to play Mario games from the 80’s, 90’s, and one from 2014. I did not just trash it when I got my Switch. I just stopped using it for a while. It is not lost, or framed, or squished behind something, and of course, not lost. It is right next to the TV in the living room. Every time you are watching TV in the living room, you can see it right next to the TV plugged into the power outlet there. It still looks brand new, because I clean it to take off the dust. I had also taken much care of it when I got it up until now because it is not damaged. So, concluding this piece, my Wii U is a cherished item in my home. People treat it with care, I treat it with care, and it will stay right next to the TV for as long as… who knows? It is the best console I own. Then goes the Switch, then the PS4, and last is something that is not mentioned, which is the PS3. That is a completely different story to be told, but the Wii U is the best. 10/10 object. 

Elijah’s Memoir

I remember I had a snow globe. It was from Canada, and it said Niagara Falls, and it had a waterfall. Every time I shook it, it was like sparkly confetti falling inside. On the letters, there were sharp corners but a smooth ball shaped surface. There were buildings and boats. It doesn’t smell or sound like anything, but it is glass, so if you drop, it will make a pretty loud sound like shattering ice.

I was on the plane with my mom and sister on our way to Canada. When we got off, the first thing I did was beg my mom to take me to the gift shop. So she did, and the whole time my eyes were planted on the snow globe. I didn’t have to say anything. My mom already caught on to what I was looking at. After the gift shop, my sister and I went up this tall building in an elevator, and there was a glass part of the floor where you could see the city. My mom didn’t come because she had claustrophobia.

When we got to the glass floor, I was scared to go on it, so I was clenching my globe so it wouldn’t fall, and my sister was there right beside me.

My snow globe said Niagara Falls, and I asked my mom, “Is that a place?”

She said, “Yes.”

I said, “Well, can we go there?”

“Yes,” she replied. “But change into your swim trunks.”

We got there. It was a beautiful sight to see. I looked back at the buildings, and they were the same as the ones in the snow globe. The sun was beaming on my face while I was in cool water. The sun was setting, so it was time to go to our hotel room, although my sister stayed a couple of minutes because she wanted to take pictures with the setting sun.

When we got to the room, I put my globe in a safe place where I could see it every time I woke up. It was like my energy source. When I see it, I feel like I can do anything. If I feel like it could be a bad day, I would put the snow globe in my bag like a good luck charm. I thought the only way the luck would work is if I shook it three times. 

My Bracelet

My bracelet is light, colorful, bright, round, and the colors are like mountains going around and around. This bracelet brings up a lot of memories that will always stay in my heart and will always be remembered.

When I got my bracelet, it was unexpected, so I asked my mom, “What is this?” ¿Qué es esto?

She responded, “It’s something your dad left for you.” Es algo que tu papa dejo para ti.

I was in shock and didn’t know what to do. I loved it for who it was from, what it looked like, and because it would make me feel closer to my dad.

    The emotional feeling could be sadness because it reminded me of my dad because he had passed away when I was only five.

 The bracelet is on my arm right now, and it will always be there no matter what. I like that I will never feel like my dad is not still there with me.

The Tundra Rulers

The tundra is a place where two predators rule. The gray wolf and the wolverine. Although gray wolves eat wolverines, scientists have found out new things about gray wolves’ strategies to catch wolverines — they are called offenses. An offense is like a defense to catch your prey. 

Wolverines eat berries, moose, and elk. Wolverines sometimes hide in the snowy thicket. So when the predator comes near, the wolverine pounces, and then if the prey is taken by surprise, it will run away. 

Gray wolves eat wolverines, elk, and moose. The gray wolf’s predators are brown bears, polar bears, and cougars. Gray wolf pups are the size of fennec foxes. Wolverine pups are the size of baby kit foxes. The gray wolf is vulnerable because it is endangered. The wolverine has a close predator/prey relationship to the gray wolf. 

Sometimes gray wolves and wolverines have fights for prey. When a gray wolf sees a wolverine hunting, for example running towards an elk, it will also run to the elk, and whoever snatches it first gets to take it back to its den or burrow. 

Wolverines dig burrows underground. Gray wolves, on the other hand, have their babies in dark dens where predators can’t see anything — even if they have good night vision. But the wolves make their way around by sniffing. A gray wolf can recognize its den by its paw prints, which are unique and different from wolverine prints. Wolverine prints are the size of flat fossils. Gray wolf prints are the size of large stones or rocks, bigger than a flat fossil.

Gray wolves hunt in cold areas because they’re built for the cold and have a lot of fur and big paws to walk in deep snow. But wolverines prefer warm places and have small paws and light fur.  A wolverine’s fur is orange-ish and black. Wolverines are solitary. Gray wolves are not. They hunt in packs. Wolverines and gray wolves live in Canada.

The wolverine is a relative of the gray wolf and also its prey because gray wolves eat wolverines. They are both rulers of the tundra!

Endangered Turtles

Turtles have been around for more than 100 million years, making them some of the most ancient creatures on earth. They even survived the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Though turtles can live for 80 years or more, they are still in trouble in terms of population in current times. Turtles are endangered, and that fact could affect the entire ecosystem if they go extinct. Though many of the problems for turtles are caused by other species, most are caused by humans.

Turtles face many kinds of danger from the time that they are born to the time of their deaths. Every year, thousands and thousands of hatchling turtles appear from their nests along the US South Shore and follow the Atlantic sea. Sadly, scientists estimated that only 1,000 to 10,000 of these turtles live to adulthood. The physical obstacles encountered by turtles are astounding. Nowadays, four of the seven kinds of turtles are endangered, one is critically endangered, and two are vulnerable. Throughout their life, sea turtles face many challenges that are made by both animals and humans. Predators such as raccoons, shellfish, and ants attack eggs and hatchlings, even at the nest. Once they grow, hatchlings create bite-sized meals for birds, shellfish, and many other predators in the sea. After growing to maturity, however, sea turtles are not faced with as many predator attacks except for the occasional shark attack. Yet, these predators are not the largest cause for sea turtle populations plummeting toward extinction.

Several different humans actions are responsible for turtle endangerment. Commercial fishing is one of the many things that humans are doing to cause turtles to be endangered. According to, 250,000 sea turtles are accidentally captured, injured, or killed by US fishermen each year. Many of these injuries and deaths take place while turtles are migrating through fishing areas. The turtles either get caught on the hooks because they are attracted to the bait, or they get caught in fishermen’s nets. Another thing that people are doing to affect turtle endangerment is that sometimes people kill turtles to eat their meat. says that, “in many coastal communities, especially in Central America and Asia, sea turtles have provided a source of food.” During turtles’ nesting seasons, turtle hunters watch the beaches at night to look for female turtles looking to lay their eggs. These people will often wait until the female has laid her eggs, and then they will kill her and take the eggs.

Even less direct human actions can affect the turtles. For example, sea turtles mistake plastics and other garbage as food, (such as jellyfish) and ingest it. According to, “hundreds of thousands of sea turtles, whales, and other marine mammals, and more than 1 million seabirds die each year from ocean pollution and ingestion or entanglement in marine debris.” Marine debris is man-made waste that is directly or indirectly disposed of in oceans, rivers, and other waterways. This mistake causes blockages within the turtles digestive system and eventual death. The waste that is dropped into the ocean tends to accumulate in something called a gyre. A gyre is an area of slow spiraling water and low winds. In the Pacific Ocean, there is a gyre called the North Pacific Gyre. Within this gyre, there is something called “The Great Garbage Patch.” This “garbage patch” is approximately the size of Texas with plastic debris extending about six meters under the water. It’s estimated that this “plastic island” contains 3.5 million tons of trash. This island shows how much plastic is collecting in the ocean and the amount of plastic going into the ocean is rising each year.

Though turtle extinction is a major problem, there are many things that we can do to save the turtles. The first thing that the average person can do is to reduce the amount of garbage you produce and clean up trash you see on the beach. By doing this there will be a lot less garbage in the ocean and a lot fewer turtles who die from a mistake of thinking a plastic bag is a jellyfish. Another thing that can be done for the turtles is to remove recreational equipment like chairs and umbrellas and to fill in holes and knock down sea castles in the sand ( When these things are on the sand, they become obstacles for the nesting turtles and for the baby turtles to get to the ocean. A third thing that can be done to help turtles is to turn out all visible lights from the beach and avoid beach bonfires. According to, “sea turtle hatchlings use light and reflections from the moon to find their way to the water at night.” That means that if they see the artificial light or the light from the fire, they will go toward it thinking it is the ocean. Finally, a chemical reduction can be used to help turtles. Even if you don’t know it, the chemicals you use on your lawn and in your home can somehow wash away into the ocean, killing plants and animals. Instead, use alternate products like biodegradable solutions.

It is important for people to know about the problem of endangered sea turtles and learn how to fix it. If people don’t help turtles soon, they will go extinct. If sea turtles go extinct, it will damage the ocean’s ecosystem. For example, sea turtles play an important role in keeping the seagrass bed healthy. When green sea turtles graze, they increase the productivity and nutrient content of seagrass blades. Without constant grazing, seagrass beds become overgrown and decompose and provide a good habitat for the growth of slime molds. Finally, if turtles went extinct, this would also affect humans. If there were no more turtles, then the jellyfish population would grow because sea turtles eat jellyfish. If this population grows, these jellyfish will travel in swarms across the ocean and do many things to affect us. For example, jellyfish may go to areas where there are a lot of fish and sting all of the fish, affecting what people eat and the fisherman’s catch. Therefore, the fishermen will not have any fish to sell, and they will lose a lot of money. Another thing that would happen if jellyfish population grows is that jellyfish may clog nuclear plant cooling water systems all over the world. This shows that our ecosystem is fragile, and we need to protect it. 


“Information About Sea Turtles: Threats to Sea Turtles.” Sea Turtle Conservancy,

Noaa. “What Can You Do to Save Sea Turtles?” NOAA Fisheries, 6 June 2016,

“Ocean Plastic.” SEE Turtles,

Pattavina, Peter. “Sea Turtles.” Defenders of Wildlife,
“Tour De Turtles Spotlight on the Race’s Biggest Competitors: The Leatherbacks.” Sea Turtle Conservancy, 13 Sept. 2016,

Save Natural Resources – Before It Is Too Late!

Some people may think we have tons of resources on this planet, so we don’t really need to save them. Actually, we do need to save and wisely use our natural resources before we run out of them. Some resources, like oil and water, are re-generated, while others, like vegetables, organic meat, and sugars are being depleted. Some people are too optimistic, believing that new technology, such as 3D printing, may save our lives, and artificial food may replace our real food. I have a different opinion: saving natural resources is a must for now and also for the future even though technology develops rapidly.

Per Google research, one of the most important natural resources, oil, will only last 47.3 more years! Oil is needed for many applications, such as making plastics and lubrication. Oil, gas, and gas condensate are among the most important energy sources in the world. One thing we know for sure is that we need oil — currently around 90 million barrels of crude oil are used a day. Oil is used for many other purposes other than fuel for energy or transport. If we don’t save oil, our lives will be much less convenient and after 47.3 years we will have to use other resources to replace it, which will be difficult to adapt to.

Natural food is another natural resource that we need to save before it’s too late. In the future, our daily food may taste different than it does now; this is also one reason why we should save it, not only for human survival, but also to keep the original taste of food. Small things, like chocolate, to big things, like water, all need to be saved, since they are becoming more and more expensive and the demands are rising! Research estimated that in 2039, chocolate will be very rare and very expensive! Keeping in mind, everything needs water to survive —  how can we cook without water? If we don’t save water, how can we farm? Without crops, there will be no food left. Just imagine the life of kids without chocolate! Save chocolate for you and also for your children!

Some people are thinking technology can save our lives, which is true, but if we don’t save natural resources, technology like 3D printing will not really help. Technology created a digital food database that stores information about the flavor, color, shape, texture, and nutrients of different kinds of foodstuffs. The user can select the type of food they want from the database and their 3D printer can create small cubes in the shape of that food, which is then injected with the corresponding flavors, colors, and nutrients. For a long period of time, the 3D printed food won’t last long and the taste will be odd, not like real food that people have been enjoying for centuries!

Industrial-scale bug farming is not yet a reality, though we can later use it as food. Even some Israeli companies have recently started to produce insect-based foods commercially. We can’t really feed our ever-growing population with these kinds of artificial food; we have to save and wisely use our natural resources so that we can really survive comfortably — people in Africa and the Far East can keep eating their favorite kinds of bugs whole and Westerners can continue to use insect powders which they add to their traditional items like steak, burgers, mashed potatoes, etc.

Scientists predict that in the year 2038, sugar will be the new drug; we miss it so much that we are addicted to it, especially as kids. Let’s think of the following situation: we live in a society where we eat fruit grown using genetics; we drink synthetic wine. Scrambled eggs do not come from chickens; grilled meat was not taken from animals; roast fish never saw the sea. If we don’t save our resources, our world in the future will be exactly like the situation described above.

Now you see, other than wisely utilizing technology, we definitely need to save the natural resources as we have proved here. According to the UN, if the amount of food wasted around the world were reduced by just 25% there would be enough food to feed all the people who are malnourished. Even one small group of people can make a difference. Join us now to save instead of wasting our Natural Resources!

Help the Animals

In this article, I will be talking about a couple animals: a horse, an elephant, and a dog. These are some of the many abused animals in the world. If we do not help these animals, they will die and go extinct. On the surface, these animals seem different. Horses are more farm animals, elephants are wild animals, and dogs are mostly pets. But they all share something in common: they are getting threatened and mistreated.  


Did you know that out of the 9.2 million horses in the U.S., 100,000 horses in the U.S. get killed every year? When horses get killed, people use them to make baseballs, gelatine, glue, dog food, and beer. They get sent to slaughter houses and get crammed in dangerous trails. 92.3% of the horses sent to slaughter are in good condition and should not be sent to slaughter since they are healthy and could still last you a while. The bipartisan bill was introduced to Congress on January 3, 2019 and is trying to end horse slaughter. We need to speak for horses since they cannot speak for themselves.

Fun Facts About Horses:

  • Horse meat is not safe for human consumption.
  • Taco Bell and Burger King in England used horse meat pretending it was cow meat.
  • The end of domestic horse slaughter will not damage the US market.


Elephants are treated very poorly by humans so we need to help them. The world is losing more elephants than their population can reproduce. Captive elephants are used for tourism. They are kept in horrible conditions. Elephants with big tusks are the most endangered. Less than half of the female population survives, creating lots of orphaned elephants. 100 African Elephants are killed every day by poachers, leaving only 100,000 remaining. The number of elephants in the world dropped 62% over the last decade. Poachers are after ivory, meat, and body parts. Ivory tusks are carved into jewelry and ornaments. We can take them in to protect them so they are not let out in the wild and killed.

Fun Facts About Elephants:

  • Elephants have the biggest brains of all the land animals.
  • There is only 40,000 Asian elephants remaining


We need to inform more people that dogs are being abused and treated badly. Dogs are the most abused animals with the highest reports of animal abuse. Two million dogs are killed each year (mostly in Eastern Europe) for their fur to make dog fur coats. The puppies are kept in horrible conditions and are bred purely for profit. Even though it’s illegal, there’s still dog fighting going on in the US. Dogs are hurt, often killed, and kept in isolation. Some have their ears and tails cut. Puppy mills are places where purebred dogs are churned out and ripped away from their mothers. Dogs are in need of help from humans.

Fun Facts about Dogs:

  • There are about 100 dog breeds in the world.
  • A one year old pup is as physically mature as a fifteen year old human. (Caesar’s Way)

This article was about the abuse of animals, but now we have to not just talk about how they are mistreated, but how to resolve this situation. We can donate to companies that help these animals or we can spread the word that we should respect and help these animals. This topic really interested me because I love animals, and I love researching about them.  Overall, all of these animals are treated badly and this is not how they should be treated.


Elephants Sources:

Online article: “Why Care?” World Elephant Day.

Horses Sources:

Online article: “A Humane World.” The Humane Society of the United States.

Dogs Sources:

Online article: “10 FactsYou May Not Know About Dogs.” Cesarsway.

Online Article: “Animal Cruelty Facts and Stats.” The Humane Society of the United States.

Little Short Nuggets of Life

Little Short Nuggets of Life is an ongoing collection of vignettes about events in the author’s life. The stories below are highlights from the seven snippets that have been written so far. Enjoy!

Some guy died on the freeway, and my dad was late picking me up. I think it was some biker who got hit. My dad says he drove past a bike and a white sheet with a person-shaped lump under it on Highway 24. Anyway, I got dropped off at the bus stop at 3:20 in the afternoon. And after waiting for about five minutes, I began to become restless. I know that sounds lame, but first, I usually get picked up within at least the first two minutes. And second, five minutes is so long when you’re just sitting there. Like, seriously. Have somebody set a timer for five minutes and just sit there and try to guess when five minutes have passed. I’ll bet you say, “Stop,” around three minutes. A minute is a long time! And then when you put five of them together, it’s like, six times as long a time. Around minute seven, I started practicing jumping up and clicking my heels twice. I only got it twice. Again, it sounds easy, but it really isn’t! Then I started trying to teach myself Patty Cake. I am an expert now. Then, I just sat there a bit more. The bus and everyone else had left by now. Then I counted how many birds I could spot in a minute. It was eight. Then I practiced what I would say to my mom when she finally came. I started talking to myself. Not because I was going insane, but because that’s what I do when there’s nothing else to do. There was a car this whole time that would circle the block with a woman in it with AirPods. She went around four times. I think she was lost. Everytime she came back, I was like, “Oh it’s you again!” There was a pea plant and I would pick a pea pod and squeeze it to see how far I could shoot the peas. Turns out, not all that far.  So I just waited. A bit more.

A random thought I had today, “What if there was a store that was filled with people and mosquitos could just come along and be like, ‘O negative, please.’ And the cashier would say ‘Oh, try aisle four on the right side.’ And then the mosquito would go to aisle four and pick out the human they wanted and take it home to drink the person’s blood.

Then what would happen is when a mosquito bought a bunch of humans, they would get to the exit and see one of those huge bins for food that gets donated to the food bank and stick in a baby or two. How would a mosquito check if a human was good? By how long their hair is? Or how soft the bottom of their feet are? And there would be farms for humans that are B+ and farms for humans that are A-. How would they pay for the humans? What do mosquitoes use for currency? What do ants use for currency? Ants are so advanced and have such complicated ant hills that maybe they use money, too. I wonder if bees know that they will die if they sting somebody. I heard that all bees are female except for the workers, who basically get treated like slaves. They just work until they aren’t needed anymore. Then the queen just pushes them out the door and leaves them to die. That’s so sad! Imagine if humans did that. “Oh, little Billy. We don’t have a use for you anymore! Well, you’re on your own now!” While writing this I thought, “What are some other insects I could talk about?” So I Googled, “Cool Insect Facts.” And here’s what popped up: Did you know that 90% of species on Earth are insects? I mean, that’s just so many. And I learned that 290 million years ago there was this dragonfly that had a wingspan of three feet! It went around terrorizing lizards and being a jerk to everybody. Do insects name their babies? I also found out that termite queens can lay 7,000 eggs in a day. Imagine how painful that would be. Just laying eggs all day long. You would never get to just relax. Just eggs and eggs and eggs and eggs and eggs upon eggs upon eggs. Anyway, that’s what I have to say about insects. I guess insect life will just remain a mystery. 

So in Berkeley around this time it’s been getting really hot. And everyone is rejoicing. For the past two months, we have had rain almost every single day, and when it’s not raining, it’s overcast. But recently I have been able to wear short sleeve shirts and shorts. At the same time, I am melting onto the sidewalk practically, but it’s a small price to pay for all this glorious sunshine. I just constantly want to be outside. Sometimes, in the middle of class, I just feel a strong, burning desire to go run in a meadow or jump in a pool somewhere. Although today might have been an exception. We have this thing at school called Endurance Day and it was today. We ran the 800-meter dash. And everyone was so slow. One kid took seven minutes. It was so boiling, like somewhere someone had dropped an atom bomb. But instead of, you know, leveling a whole city, it released an insane flood of sunshine. The quickest time was four minutes, sixteen seconds. To put that in perspective, the average 800-meter time is from 3:16 all the way to 3:30. That’s around a minute slower than what your time should be. At the end, I was so tired that I rubbed my face against a cool pole that was in the shade. And by the way, it felt wonderful. This afternoon, I am going to take full and complete advantage of the heat and throw a backyard dance party. Maybe I’ll invite the really weird recluse tenant in our backyard. She works at the lace museum and spends her weekends going to Renaissance fairs and jousting in actual chainmail on actual horses. And when you look up “awkward” in the dictionary, a picture of her comes up. She seems to not really participate in the normal hobbies people in society participate in. What’s the morale? I don’t know. Maybe rub a pole to cool down. Anyway, that’s the end I suppose.

Leg Breaking

Once I was with my mom, sister, and dad. My sister and dad were ahead a lot. My mom and I were behind. I told my mom that I was going to run to my sister, so I waited until we were on a road, and then I ran to them. I was almost there, but I slipped and banged my knee on the bricks. There were three puddles of blood on my right knee. I started to cry. My mom hurried over. She told me that we would be home soon.

She said, “I’ll get you a Band-Aid when we get home.”

I stumbled home. I plopped on the bed and said, “Owwww!”

My mom gave me three Band-Aids because the bruise was very big and bloody. My sister gave me a Danimals drink. I felt scared. I started to cry. 

The next few days, I went to summer camp, and we had a field trip to the playground. I climbed, but fell down, and then there was a bruise on my left knee and big bloody puddles. The instructors gave me an enormous Band-Aid.

Then it was snack time. So, I sat down on a bench. There, I rested my foot and ate some pretzels and Goldfish. After we went back home, I had to go to shower, and I had two plastic bags around my knees. When I slept, I was very, very, very scared because my knee was bloody. When I touched it, it felt like I was dying, so I didn’t touch it.

Air France 447

It was 7:30 P.M. on June 1, 2009. No one on board thought anything could go wrong on this Rio to Paris flight.

However, things did not go to plan.

In a few hours, the A330 would be part of a three year-long investigation. It was four hours later when a gauge indicated that there was a rise in temperature. That was nothing that pilots Marc Dubois and David Robert were worried about. But that was only the beginning of the disaster.

An alarm lit up. Suddenly, autopilot and several instruments shut down by themselves. The pilot in control pulled up. The plane stalled and started a descent in a level position.

At 9:10 A.M. local time, the expected time of arrival, Flight 447 was nowhere in sight. The plane, Air France Flight 447, crashed.

There are two questions: Where is it? And what happened to Airbus A330?

Answers seemed to be gone with the plane.



The Drawing Book

The most important object to me is the drawing book my old art teacher gave me when I was in second grade. The book is kind of ripped on the cover. It’s all black, and when you touch the cover it’s kind of rough. But in the inside there’s smooth white paper. The inside is filled with drawings I drew when I was little. The smell just smells like regular old paper.

The first thing I remember was when they were handing it out to all the art club kids, since it was the last day of art club. It was really sweet that he handed me that book because it was directly from him. He didn’t tell us what we had to draw. He let us be creative. My sister was also happy because it was her last year there. After that, I knew it would be different with the new teacher. She wasn’t that good of a teacher. He was. It was just so special because they only accepted kids from third grade and up. So, I was the first kid to enter that was in second grade. And it’s not just special because of that, but that art teacher left the school, so I never saw him again. He taught me that it doesn’t matter if you mess up, it’s art. When I heard he was leaving, it was really sad for me and my sister. We really missed him when he left. But that never stopped me from drawing. I don’t use it that often like I used to. I just found it again, and I began drawing again. And it reminds me of my teacher. What I’m filling the pages with now looks different than what I used to. But right now, it’s in my backpack.


Memories in My Year Book

My fifth grade yearbook is a book with a picture of the entire fifth grade in the auditorium, and everyone is wearing a black shirt on the cover. Inside are all the memories and photos of all the trips. For example, there is a picture of the time we went to the park. It is a picture of me and my friends near the swings. We are standing near the grass, but we are actually standing on gray tiles. The yearbook’s cover is very smooth and soft. The cover is also bendy and wavy.


When the class first got it, we all (including me) screamed and dashed to our desks, and we all flipped through the pages, remembering all the memories in the photos of the book.


“Oh, I remember that time we went to the movie theater!” said one of my friends. We were all jumping up and down. I remember when we were walking all around the room asking each other for signatures and writing messages for each other.


Some messages I remember in my yearbook are, Stay positive, Good luck in middle school, and Don’t forget about us.


I love my yearbook, and it is important to me because it reminds me of all the memories I had with the class in fifth grade. I know that I can never see them again. It makes me sad because I can’t spend time with them anymore. But I could just look at the yearbook, and I see them. And I can remember the memories we had at school, in class parties, and on trips.


Right now as I type, I keep it on a shelf, and sometimes I look through it and read the messages that my classmates wrote because the messages help me think I’m special like I think they are special.


Christmas is My Favorite Holiday

Christmas is my favorite holiday. This is what we do on Christmas. When my younger brother and I (my older sister sleeps in much later than me and my brother) wake up, the same as we always do, we change our clothes, brush our teeth, and go down to eat breakfast. After we eat breakfast, we wait for our parents. (My dad sometimes is down before me and my brother, but my mom sleeps in late.) After my mom and my sister come down, the hard work begins. My family and I clean, and clean, and clean, and clean, and clean, and clean. After we clean, we all make cookies. After we make cookies, we all take baths. When we are done taking baths, we all put on nice clothes and go downstairs. Then, we wrap our presents that are for the family. After that, we put our presents under the Christmas tree. Then, we do something while we wait. After a little waiting, my sister, my brother, and I have to lock ourselves in a room, while my parents put the kids’ presents under the Christmas tree. They also put the cookies on a table. Then, my older sister, my younger brother, and I can finally come downstairs. Then, we take a lot of pictures. After taking pictures, we… open our presents! Then, we eat chocolate and candy and whatever we want, in front of a fire. We also get to stay up as long as we want. That’s our fantastic Christmas!


The 100 Awesome Rules of How Not to Be Stupid




  1. Don’t die on purpose!


  1. Don’t throw knives!


  1. Don’t juggle more than zero knives!


  1. Don’t look into a hose if the water suddenly turns off!


  1. Don’t throw around money!


  1. Don’t hug a famous guy or girl if they have bodyguards!


  1. Don’t bleed!


  1. Don’t peel off your scabs!


  1. Don’t play tag on a bridge!


  1. Don’t pass a ball to a stranger who is not looking at you!


  1. Don’t punch someone for no reason!


  1. Don’t punch someone that you have never seen before and have never talked to!


  1. Don’t tell a kidnapper that has kidnapped you that you’re gonna run away if you can!


  1. Don’t kick a TV!


  1. Don’t kick an iPad!


  1. Don’t kick a computer!


  1. Don’t punch a TV!


  1. Don’t punch an iPad!


  1. Don’t punch a computer!


  1. Don’t kick a cat!


  1. Don’t rob a bank if you already have a lot of money!


  1. Don’t rob a bank at all!


  1. Don’t think you will get good grades without studying!


  1. Don’t walk into the president’s bathroom!


  1. Don’t use the president’s bathroom!


  1. Don’t call this book stupid.


  1. Don’t call the awesome guy who wrote this book stupid!


  1. Don’t drink all the liquids at someone’s house if you’re visiting!


  1. Don’t eat all the food at someone’s house if you’re visiting!


  1. Don’t sell a car that has three wheels!


  1. Don’t sell a car that has two wheels!


  1. Don’t sell a car that has one wheel!


  1. Don’t sell a car that has zero wheels!


  1. Don’t drive a car under age!


  1. Don’t drive a car that has zero wheels!


  1. Don’t drive a car that has one wheel!


  1. Don’t drive a car that has two wheels!


  1. Don’t drive a car that has three wheels!


  1. Don’t trick or treat when it’s not Halloween!


  1. Don’t shake your booty in public!


  1. Don’t give away your money!


  1. Don’t change your name to “Butt.”


  1. Don’t change your name to “Fart!”


  1. Don’t change your name to “Stupid Guy!”


  1. Don’t take off your clothes in public!


  1. Don’t change your name to “Better-than-you” just so that when you introduce yourself, you can say “Hi, I’m ‘Better-than-you’”!


  1. Don’t name your kid “Butt!”


  1. Don’t name your kid “Fart!”


  1. Don’t name your kid “Stupid Guy!”


  1. Don’t be stupid!


  1. Never say, “I’m a potato, a Kawaii Potato!”


  1. Don’t say everything backwards on Backwards Day!


  1. Don’t poop on the side of the toilet!


  1. Don’t poop on the floor!


  1. Don’t eat stuff you find inside a toilet!


  1. Don’t eat stuff you find on the side of a toilet!


  1. Don’t eat stuff you find in a bathroom!


  1. Don’t step on a snake!


  1. Don’t feed your finger to a bunny!


  1. Don’t feed your finger to a squirrel!


  1. Don’t throw a pencil!


  1. Don’t look up at birds when they are making turds!


  1. Don’t juggle more than zero sticks of dynamite!


  1. Don’t throw dynamite at your pets!


  1. Don’t vote for You-Know-Who!


  1. Don’t throw sharp stuff at strangers!


  1. Don’t throw stuff at strangers!


  1. Don’t throw sharp stuff at people for no reason!


  1. Don’t jump out of an airplane thinking you can walk on clouds!


  1. Don’t walk around in your underpants!


  1. Don’t throw underpants at people!


  1. Don’t throw toilet paper at people!


  1. Don’t break everything in sight!


  1. Don’t make promises you can’t keep!   


  1. Don’t jump into wet cement!


  1. Don’t jump into cement!


  1. Don’t jump out of the window!
  2. Don’t jump out of window onto a person!


  1. Don’t pick your nose while you’re making a sandwich!


  1. Don’t throw full diapers at people!


  1. Don’t throw diapers at people!


  1. Don’t lie to a cop!


  1. Don’t go to school sick!


  1. Don’t tell cheesy jokes!


  1. Don’t go to work sick!


  1. Don’t say the exact thing that someone just said to you if you’re trying to make a comeback!


  1. Don’t say this book only has 100 rules because 100 rules is a lot!


  1. Don’t keep a light on in a house when he don’t need it!


  1. Don’t not buy this book!


  1. Don’t throw scissors!


  1. Don’t run with scissors!


  1. Don’t not call this book awesome!


  1. Don’t not dare your friends to do some of these rules!


  1. Don’t say to a liar that his/her nose is growing like Pinocchio’s!


  1. Don’t break something on purpose if it’s expensive!


  1. Don’t pour water on someone when they’re sleeping!


  1. Don’t play a prank on someone if the prank will make that her/him really mad!


  1. Don’t be stupid!


  1. Don’t pull the trigger of a gun without looking at where you’re pointing the gun!


  1. Don’t go places screaming and making weird noises!!!


From Wolf to Dog

How has “the dog” become “man’s best friend”? Today, we see dogs as a very important part of most people’s lives. They are treated like other humans, almost as equals, and sometimes even better than most humans in the world. People used to think that animals were just for guarding and hunting, and they treated them like regular animals. However, this change of public opinion about dogs was caused when people started having them as pets.

Dogs are the oldest pets. People and wolves became close, and humans bred the different types and created dogs. People are so close to dogs because they have been so close for such a long time. They were domesticated at least 30,000 years ago, but it could have been earlier. The species of dogs are estimated to be around 15,000-20,000 years old. Later pets would be sheep and goats, 11,000 years ago, and cats around 10,000 years ago. Humans first began taking in wolf pups, which tamed the wolves because they had taken them in when they were puppies. They first started domesticating them for hunting. Humans gave the wolves food, and the wolves told the humans when strangers or predators approached. When wolves became dogs, they evolved to have smaller skulls, brains, teeth, and paws. They like having a job to do, like herding. The evolutionary advantages of wolves was that they got smaller teeth, paws, etc. Dogs have evolved to eat other stuff besides raw meat. They are omnivores now. There are different kinds of dogs in different cultures. For example, in Alaska, dog sleds are pulled by Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes. Afghan hounds are from Afghanistan. There are also many breeds of English dogs. When you take a dog and breed it in a certain place, it may evolve to fit the environment, creating a new breed of dog.

The historical and cultural evolution of the dog in public opinion has changed how people like and view dogs. There have been many famous dogs throughout history that have changed people’s views about dogs. For example, many presidents had dogs like Fala, Franklin Roosevelt’s dog, Bo, Obama’s dog, and Buddy, Bill Clinton’s dog. Fala even has a statue at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. There are also dogs from TV and comics like Snoopy, Scooby Doo, and Pluto.

People have seen dogs as pets for a long time. In different parts of the world, humans have created 339 different dog breeds, not including mixed breeds. Even if someone does not like dogs, there is practically a dog breed for everyone. Short ones, tall ones, big ones, little ones. The 339 breeds are sorted into seven groups, Terrier, Working, Toy, Sporting, Hound, Herding and Non-Sporting. The breeds in the Herding group, for example, are bred to herd. If someone is looking for a certain dog to be a gift, they might pick a Toy dog like a Pug or Pomeranian. When people first started domesticating dogs, it was usually for hunting or as guard dogs. Nowadays, a lot of dogs are for pets and police dogs and for herding on farms. People have dogs as pets today because it makes them happier, and some people just really like dogs. They think that dogs are cute, cool, and most dogs have very good personalities. Most dogs follow their owner around everywhere, and having a dog prevents loneliness. In the past, people may have just thought of dogs as working animals, like they might think about farm animals like horses. People use dogs for other domestic things like therapy and guiding the blind. People started treating dogs better because they were helping them more. They started treating them better and better, until they began to think of them as man’s best friend.

Dogs are arguably the most popular pet. However, in the past, dogs weren’t the most popular pet; they were just working animals. Public opinion has changed because there have become even more types of dogs, and they now are celebrated in pop culture. Now, we love dogs more because they have done more stuff for us, like protecting us, helping us, and just making us feel better. We celebrate them because we have had them for such a long time, and they have been very useful.



List of oldest dogs

  • Saluki
  • Pekingese
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Chow Chow
  • Basenji
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Akita Inu
  • Afghan Hound


Works Cited


Why Paintball Wars Should Be a National Sport

Dear horrible President Donald Trump,

I, Jasper S. Hirt, student of P.S. 58, think that the sport paintball wars should be a national sport or a sport that you can tune into when you’re watching TV. If it were up to me, paintball would have a chance to be in the Olympics. Imagine tuning into a paintball channel, then liking the sport, so you would want to watch more of it, but you can’t because paintball is not a national sport. People who like action stuff, like me and some of my friends, would also like paintball. A couple examples for why paintball fighting should be a national sport are that it can have lots of action, it can be very interesting, and can be very good exercise for you if you want to join.

Paintball fighting has lots of action which is good because action is one of the most watched type of movies. That is important because football, for example, has lots of action and violence just like paintball fighting, so that means that it might get the same amount of attention just as football. My second reason for why paintball should be a national sport is that a lot of people like to see and do action, like me and a couple of my friends. Action movies have a lot of shooting, jumping, running, and hiding, and paintball has all of those things. Last but not least, I have my third reason. Not many sports include action like paintball fighting, so that means that there would be more sports that include action, so people who like action sports have more to watch.

My second reason on why paintball should be a national sport is that it can be very interesting. Paintball can be very interesting because your kids could join, and you really want to see your kid become a champion, don’t you? Plus, you want to vote for your country’s or state’s paintball team. Paintball could represent a country like the U.S., and then you can have it in the Olympics. It could be interesting to watch country fight country, instead of city vs. city or state vs. state. Another reason paintball can be interesting is that if your husband or wife likes to play paintball and gets really good and decides to join the country’s or state’s national team. Paintball fighting is also basically war. Here is the fact that for me, personally, is most important, and it’s that you use weapons. You don’t use weapons in any sport except fencing and archery, but you use practically guns! Well, they’re not real guns. They’re like guns that shoot balls of paint. The paintball guns are actually safer than a compound bow or a recurve bow because paintball guns are not lethal.

My third and last reason on why paintball should be a national sport is that it can be super healthy for you. My first reason why paintball fighting can be good exercise is that if you imagine that your life depends on it, because wouldn’t you do anything for your life, because I totally would. Plus, you have to do a ton of running, and we all know that running is good exercise. Plus, in paintball you can get really stressed and sometimes when you’re stressed out you sweat, and my opinion is that whenever you sweat it’s good for you.

Before the conclusion, I would like to say that my very strong reason on why paintball should be a national sport is that that no other sports include trying to shoot someone. Don’t get me wrong or anything, because that could be positive because shooting and war is one of the most watched type of movie genres so why won’t it be a game. If you don’t get it, what I am trying to say is that people would want to feel like they’re in danger, but they really aren’t. Like seriously, name one sport where you try and shoot someone. Because in archery you shoot at a target and same with BB gun shooting you also shoot a target, but in paintball you are actually trying to shoot someone and try to not get shot yourself. That is my ultimate reason on why paintball should be a national sport, because it would be the only very aggressive sport.

In conclusion, that was why paintball should be a national sport, because it can have lots of action, it can be very interesting, and can be very good exercise for you if you want to join. Plus, like I said earlier, it could be very interesting to watch and tune into on a Sunday morning or something like that. If you don’t like action, then you could think of paintball as a suspenseful game, not as an action sport, and see if that will fit you better.


The reader should read…

I’m writing this because I believe that paintball fighting should be a national sport. Imagine tuning into a paintball channel, then liking the sport you would want to see more of, but you can’t because paintball is not a national sport. Since it’s not a national sport, you can only see it once a year which is not a lot of times in your life. Paintball could represent a country like the U.S., and then you can have it in the Olympics. It could be interesting to watch country fight country instead of city vs. city or state vs. state. Paintball is also very good exercise because you are running around with a fake gun in your hand trying not to get shot or trying to shoot another person, but that person could be better than you. Let’s not forget that running around, hiding, and jumping up and down takes a lot of energy. Can we not forget that paintball fighting has a lot of action. Action is one of the most watched movie genres out of sci-fi, drama, and horror (comedy is first). Action movies have a lot of shooting, jumping, running, and hiding, and paintball has all of those things. Am I right, because paintball is kind of fake war.

P.S. When you finish reading this, I want you to say to yourself and friends, do you like action and want good exercise or even want paintball on TV. Write your own essay, and send it to the president, saying that paintball should be a national sport. Because I think it’s a great idea, and I hope that other people think so too, just like me.


Lessons from Harry Potter


Harry Potter is one of the most inspiring series in recent history, written by J.K. Rowling, and first published in 1997. This series is significant because it has a lot of life lessons. The life lessons I chose influenced me and the world. This series teaches everyone to not judge a book by its cover, and to never be afraid.


Lesson One

My first lesson is to not judge a book by its cover. I learned this lesson when Snape, the dark, bitter, potions professor, turns out to be protecting Harry Potter. When Harry looks into Snape’s memories, he sees that Snape loved Harry’s mother, Lily, and would do anything to regain Lily’s trust. This shows that Harry shouldn’t have judged Snape by who he appears to be. This lesson is important to me because I have a friend in my class. The first time I saw her, she was shy and quiet. But as I got to know her, I learned that she gets into fights with her parents and siblings. Not only does this lesson affect me, but it also affects the world.  This lesson influenced the world because, in American history, everyone thought that Aaron Burr (the third U.S. Vice President) was great and all. However, he got into a fight with Alexander Hamilton, and unfortunately killed him. Instead of being honest and telling the current President, he fled to a different colony. This shows that even though someone appears to be kind and helpful, they could still do the wrong thing.


Lesson Two

My second lesson is to never be afraid. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallow, Harry Potter finds courage to face Voldemort and die for his friends. This lesson influences me because, in fourth grade, I was really shy at school. I never spoke or answered questions, but when I started to read the Harry Potter series, I started to realize that if you don’t have courage, you won’t be able to accomplish things. Also, in real life, if you don’t speak up, you won’t get your thoughts through. However, this doesn’t just affect me. It also affects the world. If Martin Luther King Jr. was afraid to protest and make a speech about human rights, the United States would still have black and white segregation today. This shows that you can only make a change if you speak up and say your opinion about things like Martin Luther King Jr. and other powerful leaders did.



To sum up, I think the Harry Potter series is an influence to me and the world in different ways, and it helped me become more mature. The Harry Potter series is great for kids and teens who are into fantasy and adventure. In fact, this series is for everyone. In July 21 2007, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released, one month before my birthday.


A Book About Space


Table of Contents

Solar System………………………….1

Greek Forms…………………………..2

The Milky Way Galaxy……………….3


Earth’s History……………….………..5

Interesting Facts………………………6

The Solar System

Our Solar System has:

  • One star
  • Eight planets
  • Five dwarf planets
  • 181 moons
  • 566,000 asteroids
  • 3,100 comets

The one star in our solar system is called the sun. It’s a big ball of fire, and if you come too close, it can burn you. It is very hot because there is a gas in it which makes it burn. 1.3 million Earths can fit in it! Woah! That’s a lot.

The eight planets in our solar system include Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. The temperature of Mercury is 800 degrees Fahrenheit or 430 degrees Celsius. The temperature of Venus is 864 degrees Fahrenheit or  462 degrees Celsius. The temperature of Earth is about 61 degrees Fahrenheit or 16 degrees Celsius. The temperature of Mars is -67 degrees Fahrenheit or -55 degrees Celsius. The temperature of Jupiter is -234 degrees Fahrenheit or -145 degrees Celsius. The temperature of Saturn is -288 degrees Fahrenheit or -178 degrees Celsius. The temperature of Uranus is -357 degrees Fahrenheit or -216 degrees Celsius. The temperature of Neptune is -353 degrees Fahrenheit or -214 degrees Celsius.

There are five dwarf planets in our solar system known to us. A dwarf planet is a space object which looks like a small planet but doesn’t have all the requirements. The five dwarf planets that we know today include Haumea, Makemake, Eris, Pluto, and Ceres.

Pluto used to be a planet, but then astronauts thought that it was too small and that it did not have all the requirements of a planet. It does not “clear the neighborhood” of its orbit, which means it bumps into things while it’s orbiting, and the rule is that a planet cannot bump into anything while it’s orbiting.

Mercury and Venus don’t have any moons. Earth has one, and Mars has two. Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune have many moons. The Earth’s moon is 2,158 miles. The Earth’s moon affects Earth, because the moon’s gravity pulls up water from the ocean, causing tides to form. Some planets have moons because huge rocks bumped into them, which caused a little part of them to come out and make a moon. But some planets don’t have a moon, because it didn’t happen to them.

Asteroids are basically big rocks that float all around space and sometimes come crashing into planets and stars. Asteroids are formed when two planets bump into each other. The parts that come out become asteroids. They look like huge rocks floating in the air. They go from floating to crashing when they bump into planets. About once a year, a huge asteroid hits Earth. When an asteroid comes crashing into Earth, it crashes above the sky called the atmosphere. We don’t notice it, because it’s so far above us, and it doesn’t have time to hit us.

A comet is basically a big, ball of fire in the front with a tail following behind it like a plane. It’s very colorful. When comets come crashing into Earth, they set on fire. This causes it to become a shooting star. It’s always moving. It looks sparkly and tie-dye.


Greek Forms

  • The Greek form of Mercury is Hermes.
  • The Greek form of Venus is Aphrodite.
  • Earth is the only planet in our solar system which does not have a Greek form.
  • The Greek form of Mars is Ares.
  • The Greek form of Jupiter is Zeus.
  • The Greek form of Saturn is Kronos.
  • Uranus is already named by a Greek.
  • The Greek form of Neptune is Poseidon.

A Greek form is, in this case, a planet but in another language. The planets we have, when they’re in their Roman form, is the name that we usually call them. Planets were given their names thousands of years ago. The Roman people who discovered them are the ones who named them. The Roman forms and Greek forms are alike, because Jupiter is Zeus, and Zeus is the head of all the gods and goddesses, and Jupiter is the biggest planet. So, Jupiter is basically the head of all the planets.

The Milky Way Galaxy

It travels at approximately 515,000 miles per hour — that’s really fast! It is made up of gas and dust called nebula, planets, stars, asteroids, comets, and meteors. It was made around 14 billion years ago. It looks sort of like a spiral with lots of sparkles on it. New stars are pretty much always forming inside the galaxy. In the center of the MIlky Way, there is something called a black hole, which is pretty much a black hole that can suck you in, even if you are far away. There are many black holes. This might be hard to believe, but it is a lot bigger than our sun. This black hole started off really small, but then, by the amount of gas that came into it, it became huge, and now it’s like a giant! It swallows up all of the stars it can get.

The measurements recently taken say that it is 400 billion to 780 billion times the sun’s mass. That is so much! The Milky Way is 100,000 light years wide (1 light year is 600 trillion miles). The Milky Way has many temperatures, since the Sun is really hot and Neptune is really cold. Since they’re both in it, that means that it has different temperatures. The Milky Way orbits super, super, super fast, so even the fastest thing in the world can’t keep up! In the city, you wouldn’t really see as many stars in the sky, but if you go to some places like the mountains or the country, you would see part of the Milky Way. We are in it, so you would see other parts. At the center of the Milky Way is a huge bulge. The Milky Way is filled with gas, stars, dust, other planets, and dwarf planets. The bulge is why you can only see small parts of the galaxy. Dust and gas inside are too thick, so you cannot even see the bulge.

Scientists think that 90% of our Milky Way’s weight has dark matter, which we can’t even see. The Milky Way is so big that it has over 200 billion stars! But it’s not exactly 200 billion, because like humans, stars form every second and die every second. The galaxy has grown so big, because it’s taking in other galaxies to grow to its formal size, and it’s doing so right now. All the pictures that you’ve seen of the Milky Way on the internet aren’t really the Milky Way. It’s either a photograph of another galaxy or a painting. We can’t take a picture of our own galaxy, because we’re already in it.



NASA stands for National Aeronautics and Space Administration. It is a company which launches rocketships into space to get information about space. The head of NASA is named Charles Bolden. NASA works for America and has launched a total of 166 rockets, and has gotten a lot, a lot, a lot of information. Two of the names of rockets that NASA have launched recently include Falcon 9 and Antares. The first rocket that NASA ever launched to the moon was Apollo 11. The people in the rocket were Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. They took a trip to the moon to get some material from it and bring it back to Earth. It took about three days to get there. They stayed on the moon for about two hours and 15 minutes outside of the rocket.

On the moon, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin ate fruit strips, corn chowder, ham-salad sandwiches, tuna salad, and all of this food was dry dehydrated. The lunar spacesuits were made to make the astronauts be safe and healthy. They could wear it for about 115 hours.


Earth’s History

Before the Solar System was created, it was just a bunch of rocks, gas, air, and dust. Then, it started to rotate really fast and started to come together and form comets and asteroids. The asteroids and comets started to spin more and more and turned into eight planets and a sun. Then, a part broke off of the Earth and became our moon. All of the lighter stuff came to the outside of Earth, and all the heavier stuff came to the inside of Earth. When two rocks banged together, it formed a mountain. Volcanoes happened because lava came through the mountains.

When Earth was just created, any plants, animals, or people were not able to survive. When Earth was still young, instead of having seven little continents (North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and Antarctica), there was one big continent called Pangea. One hundred eighty million years ago, Pangea broke up into the seven continents that we have today. If we lived back then, we wouldn’t be able to feel it moving or see it, because it was happening so slowly. Then, when little pieces of bacteria and chemicals formed, they helped plants stay alive, which helped plants and animals live.

The first dinosaurs were born 225 million years ago. Sixty-five million years ago, dinosaurs went extinct.

Many years after that, humans came. They’re the smartest species to exist, even now. They didn’t have all the stuff back then that we have now, such as chairs, tables, phones, electricity, paper, pens, and other things like that. Early humans lived at the same time as mammoths and other things like that.


Interesting Facts

  • If you were out in space, and no one was talking and you didn’t have a speaker, everything would be silent, which means you wouldn’t hear anything!
  • No one can possibly know how many stars are in the universe. There are over billions, and billions, and billions, and billions (which means there are a lot).
  • The footprints of the Apollo astronauts will probably stay on the moon for 100 million years.
  • 99% of our solar system is made out of the sun. That means the sun is really, really big.
  • When two pieces of the same kind of metal touch in space, they will be stuck together forever.
  • A day on Venus is a year on Earth. That means that Venus’s days are really long.
  • You become taller when you’re in space, because of microgravity. Microgravity means a very small amount of gravity, and that’s what stretches people’s spines out.
  • Neptune’s wind moves the fastest than any other planet. It moves 1600 mph!
  • The hottest planet isn’t the closest one to the sun. Even though Mercury is the closest to the sun, Venus is the hottest planet. This is because Venus has a lot of gases in its atmosphere, which causes the “Greenhouse Effect”.
  • The word “astronaut” comes from the Greek word “astron” which means “star” and “nautes” which means “sailor”. So, the word “astronaut” actually means “star sailor”.
  • You can’t cry in space, because the tears won’t come out.
  • Nebula is a cloud where stars are created. It can come in all shapes and sizes.
  • If a star comes too close to a black hole, it will be broken apart.
  • The Solar System has been here for about 4.6 billion years Scientists think that it going to last another five billion years.
  • Enceladus is one of Saturn’s smallest moons. It reflects about 90% of sunlight, making it more reflective than snow.
  • NASA’s Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) have found evidence that there is water on Earth’s moon.
  • The sun makes a full rotation every 25 – 35 days.


Pollution Stoppers

Pollution does not look pretty, if you do know what I am talking about, because it looks like a bunch of garbage and chemicals mixed together. It builds up with a smell of raw fish, chemicals, and the worst smell you could ever imagine. So, I think that people should be more mindful of where they throw their garbage. People most often think that some other person will pick it up. However, I know that this is not so true. For example, when people throw garbage on the floor, the garbage builds up higher and higher. This creates pollution. And I know pollution is not good at all. When people cause pollution, it gets worse and worse instead of better and better. So, now just imagine: if you can help out, it will make a big difference, and you can be rewarded, because it will be a cleaner place around you. Finally, you can help by picking up after yourself,  recycling and composting, and getting only what you need, not what you want.

Pollution is harmful to humans and nature (everything, really). One of the main reasons for pollution is when people don’t pick up after themselves, like when people drop their cigarettes on the floor. I do not like this, because then other people will have to pick up for other people, and it still just does not make the people mindful. You can always help out, and it is never too late to help the world become a better place. And if others clean up for you, then that means that you will never learn. You have to remember this, or at least try. So be mindful, and clean up for yourself. What if no one picked up your garbage today? It would become litter, and then an animal might come to eat it, and then the animal would get sick, and maybe even die. Now, imagine if you are barefoot. You could get super hurt and your cut could be deep and infected. That is why you should not throw your garbage on the floor. In Germany, two whales were found dead with plastic inside their stomachs instead of fish and krill. It already happened, and you do not want to make a repeat of it again. So you can help out to make your world a better place!

You can always help out by recycling. When you help out, you make the world a better place. You can help and start out in your own garden. You can start by composting. When you compost, it makes your place less dirty, and more clean. As you help out, you save oceans and lakes, because that is where most of the garbage ends up. And water is a precious thing, because you do not want your water to become dirty. Or, you do not want the fish to be sick, because when fishermen do actually catch them, garbage could end up in their tummies. No one would be able to eat them, because if they do then they would probably end up getting poisoned, and then that would not be good. So, you can recycle everything that is reusable, so you can reuse it over and over again. You can start out plain and simple. You can help save the world. There are some recycling centers that do have recycling programs. So now you can start  one of your own. Just taking a step further makes it better.

Factories also are dangerous and harmful to the environment. You can always help out by only getting things you need, and not things you want that are made from factories. If you only get things you need, factories will close down, and then you will find less garbage in the landfills than before. Not only will it be cleaner, but it will be a safer place for animals and you. Like, from my experiences at the beach, I can see glass bottles sticking out of the sand. A few years ago, in China, there happened to be a smog. This was because the chemicals mixed in the air to make the smog in the first place. And I don’t think that anyone wants that in New York. That is why we have to take care of our city.

As you can see, you know that pollution is very bad for you, because you are destroying these precious resources, and you can help fix pollution. And this is how you can help: by recycling, and by composting. These are easy steps that can lead the world to a better place (and it will make you become a better person.) So you can start it right in your own house. And spread the word! The more people we have in this, the more ways the world can become a better place! Calling your friends or relatives could help, so you can get everyone in this!


Bill Gates: A Biography

On October 28, 1955, William Henry (Bill) Gates, the richest man in the world, was born.

He was born in Seattle, Washington. As a young kid at Lakeside Prep School, Bill Gates wrote his first computer program on a General Electric computer.

Bill Gates’s house, Xanadu 2.0, is a giant mansion that overlooks Lake Washington in Medina, Washington. The 66,000-square foot mansion is noted for its design, and the giant percentage of technology it incorporates.

Bill Gates’ father was a lawyer, writer, and philanthropist. His father made a lot of money for all his different jobs.That’s how he started getting rich: using some of his father’s money.

As you know, Bill Gates is the founder of the leading software company, Microsoft. Microsoft is a multinational computer technology corporation. The history of Microsoft began on April 4, 1975. It was founded when Bill Gates and Paul Allen dropped out of Harvard and went to Albuquerque.

In 1995, Bill Gates became the richest man in the world, with 12.6 billion dollars. After that, Microsoft became the world’s largest software company.

Bill Gates was arrested in New Mexico twice: once in 1975 and once in 1997. He was arrested both times because he was speeding without a license plate. This was very surprising.

On April 29th, 2017, Bill Gates and Roger Federer played tennis against John Isner and  Mike McCready. They were doing it to raise money for kids in Africa.

While he might be the richest man in the world, he has done many things in his life, like creating the ultimate software company, playing tennis, and getting into the leading college, Harvard University. My uncle actually said he used to work on a poor island (near Florida) called Haiti, and Bill Gates has been helping to fund a cure for Malaria. Lots of people have it there. Bill Gates pays scientists and researchers (with his money) to help find a cure for Malaria. As you can see, Bill Gates is a very interesting person.


Three Long Reasons Why Sahara Should Have a Puppy

Sahara should have a puppy. Deal with it. There are many reasons a dog will be good for her. Dogs are fun, but that’s not the only reason she wants one. Dogs teach maturity and devotion. And your daughter, Sahara, really, really wants one. Sahara deserves a dog because dogs are good for kids. She has a plan to help pay for the dog, and a dog will help her be responsible.

Dogs are awesome because they are good for kids. It is a scientific fact that when you touch a dog, a chemical comes and makes you happy. If you want Sahara to jog, she has to jog with a dog. It’s common rhyming. She will be outside all the time. She will take it to the park every day after school. Sahara will do more swimming with a dog. And she’ll ride her bike with her dog in her mom’s basket. You will not have to do any work because Sahara knows that it is her responsibility. Sahara promises to pay the dog sitter if she is going on vacation. Or if she is going to Virginia or Philadelphia, etc., she will pay to take it with her. She will care for it until it dies.

Even though dogs are expensive, Sahara has a plan to get money. Okay, yes, she knows that puppies are not necessarily cheap. Don’t worry. She has a plan. She already has Xavier paying $20. She has been saving her money for about a month now, so that is about $10. Her mom owes her $30. She is trading her $20 Target gift card with her mom for $20 in cash or on her card. Altogether, that’s $80, and she is trying to raise $20 before her Christmas deadline.

Uncle Carl will give Sahara tips on managing the dog, since he has done so successfully for five years, and he will donate $50 for the upkeep/maintenance of the dog. So now, that is $130, not including the $20 she wants to earn. As you can see, Sahara has a plan for paying for the puppy.

There are daily things she will have to do, and that will help her be more responsible. As soon as she gets home with the puppy, it is going to have a look around, and then she is going to teach it to sit. Over the next few weeks, she is going to potty train it and teach it to come when called. She is also going to have it learn how to walk properly on a leash. She will teach it that when it is alone, it should just play in its playpen and not break anything. Sahara would have to walk Bella/Blue — the name will be Bella if it’s a girl, and Blue if it’s a boy — the maltipoo every day. She would have to feed Bella/Blue every day. She would brush Bella’s/Blue’s teeth every day. And every week, she would have to wash him/her. It would help her do her chores daily. She will have to take care of a dog, and when she’s older, it will help her take care of her children.  

So now you know a few things. One: Sahara has plans for a puppy. Two: a puppy teaches responsibility. And there are many daily jobs to do and lots of things for her to clean. But she will do them everyday.


The reason chores are not always done every day is because they aren’t living things that would make any noise or move on their own. But she also has a plan for that. She is going to make a sign that says, “Do your chores!” and put it somewhere that she will see it every day.


Calling All Teachers

Dear teachers and administrators,

Thank you all for being gathered here. My name is Emily Birman, and I’m a 6th grader in M.S. 54. Throughout my seven years in public school, I have written quite a few essays and also quite a few creative writing stories. I’ve written persuasive essays, reading responses formed like essays, and at the same time, a few stories just based on what I think about a topic that I made up.

I think that essay writing may be pushing kids, and that’s why a lot of students prefer just writing their own stories instead of listening to a teacher give them a certain point that they have to write about.

In 4th grade, I remember having to write an essay about what I think about zoos: should we keep zoos or shut them down? Even though in this essay that I had to write, I was able to choose what side I wanted, there was still something that I needed to write about. Yes or no, but I couldn’t choose the topic. I had to write about zoos. I learned about the advantages and disadvantage of zoos. I could have done the same thing by writing creatively. Kids could have researched about it, but interpreted it with their own creativity instead of being forced by their teacher to write about a topic that they might not want to. While writing a creative story, I enjoy spilling out all of the ideas, and I can’t stop, or else I find myself in the situation of being stuck, not knowing what to write next.

But when I, or other students, hear the word “essay,” we all groan. We know that right now, we are going to get a prompt that we have to answer, and we don’t have a choice how we want to structure or form it.

This reaches to another point. In creative writing, there isn’t any certain structure that you  must follow, unlike essays where there is a formula that you have to follow. A type of paragraph in a essay, as many of you may know, is “RACER.” My class just learned this, and for the past couple weeks, that is the only type of paragraphs we have been writing. “R” is restate, “A” is answer, “C” is cite, “E” is explain, and “R” is revise. We can’t write freely in whatever kind of way we want. We can only do so much with this format. We only have a limited amount of sentences within a paragraph.

I remember one time in class, a girl brought in a paragraph that was about ten sentences long, and there were four sentences that didn’t exactly follow the RACER structure. My teacher said to delete those sentences. They were not “needed.” This way, people will start limiting themselves, and soon, I predict that people will start writing just a few sentences instead of a paragraph, which is five to seven sentences. Another way that people could be limiting themselves is in creativity. As soon as the structure gets stuck, it will be hard to add their creativity in while still using the form or structure. This doesn’t only go with the RACER structure, but with every structure, and it may also be hard for students learning it while they want to be creative and to include creativity.

Some of you may not agree with me though. Using help from a few friends, I came up with a few counter arguments. One thing that some of you may be thinking is, “But we need more structures, not less, because then, it won’t be organized.” But that’s not true because it really matters what you’re writing. In creative writing, there’s really no certain structure or structures that you have to follow, so there’s really no way that it can sound unorganized or messy.  

There can obviously be multiple more reasons why any of you might disagree, but one reason is because then it might seem as if the teacher is teaching different structures to everyone. But even people who haven’t learned the structure can see how the structure is the same for each person, so it would be boring reading it for them. In creative writing, there isn’t any form that you must follow, so that way, it wouldn’t sound repetitive.

What I really want to improve in classes when it comes to writing is to have as many essays as creative stories. In each grade, we always wrote more essays than stories. I don’t see why. Creative writing also helps. All of my teachers said that creativity and imagination are very important, so why don’t we use it? I hope all of you take this in mind and hopefully make a change. Thank you.


Expectations and Results of the 2016 Presidential Election

The United States of America is a country based on freedom of speech, so people can share their views on certain ideas. Usually, people, such as Michelle Obama, share political views through speeches. However, Hamilton actor Brandon Victor Dixon showed that political views could also be expressed in art, such as a play.

The First Lady, Michelle Obama, believes that the future President of the United States (POTUS) will shape a kid’s future. She has two girls, Malia Obama and Sasha Obama, and wants the future POTUS to know how to take the job seriously and to show children that everyone matters. Children must understand that they should not only chase their own fame, but also fight to give others the chance to succeed. As the First Lady speaks, she evidently convinces the audience to make them support these beliefs. She uses many literary devices to do so.

Michelle Obama often relates to her own personal experiences. She speaks a lot about her two daughters, and how her decisions have impacted their life. By using her own experiences, Michelle implies the fact that what she is saying actually matters to not only herself and her family, but many other families across the United States of America. Michelle Obama also repeatedly uses the terms “you” and “we.” By doing this, she makes the audience believe that they are a part of a team and that they really matter to her. When the audience feels like they are a part of a team, they feel special and therefore, they are convinced. Michelle Obama gave this speech at the Democratic Convention, where she and many others endorsed Hillary Clinton. I do not think these people like the future POTUS.

The new President of the United States is Donald Trump. This had really shocked me, considering that Hillary had way higher chances of winning. Maybe Hillary’s higher chance of winning made her supporters not feel the need to vote, and it made Trump supporters really want to make a change by voting for him. After Trump won, the stock market dropped four percent. However, after he gave his acceptance speech, the stock market rose, making the total drop of 1.5 percent. I think that at first, many people thought that Donald Trump would only do bad for the United States of America. However, after his speech, people started thinking he wouldn’t be the worst. Maybe he would actually take the job seriously, a quality that Michelle Obama wanted the future POTUS to have.

I think that Michelle Obama, despite that fact, still does not accept Donald Trump. Trump has said many things that convinced people to believe that he is very self-centered. Michelle Obama wanted to have a president who would teach kids that everyone is important. Overall, Trump has not received much respect from Democratic States.

Mike Pence has also not received much respect from these States. Mike Pence, the new Vice President, recently went to see the Hamilton Broadway show in New York City. However, he got an unexpected message at the end. One of the Hamilton cast members gave Mike Pence his thoughts.

He said, “We hope you will hear us out. We, sir — we — are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, We truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us.”

Later, Mike Pence responded to this by saying, “I wasn’t offended.” He also said, “This is what freedom sounds like.”

Donald Trump tweeted, “Our wonderful future V.P. Mike Pence was harassed last night at the theater by the cast of Hamilton, cameras blazing. This should not happen!…Apologize!”

The cast member who made these remarks, Brandon Victor Dixon, refuses to apologize.

I have recently heard some very good opinions on Brandon Victor Dixon’s statements. I have heard from people who did, and did not support these statements.

From people who did support his statements, they believe the courage and confidence this cast member had was truly amazing. After hearing it was not right to do such a thing from many people, I have heard counter-arguments, saying it is freedom of speech, which is a right given to all members of the United States of America.

From people who did not support his statements, they have said Brandon was taking advantage of the fact that the cast had the stage and social power (the ability not to make certain decisions/laws, but to have an influence on people). Therefore, they should’ve privately done such a thing. They also believe Mike Pence has not done anything as Vice President, to show that he will not protect America. These people did not support Trump, but believe that we all must give him and his administration a chance and respect the fact that he won fair and square and that he is the President of the United States. In short, it was the right idea, but the wrong platform.

Personally, I agree with both sides. I think that it was not fair to insult Mike Pence when he came to the show for entertainment. However, this might have an impact on the Trump administration and change some of their negative policies. I think Brandon Dixon should have posted something on social media, considering Mike Pence went to Hamilton with his daughter, and she could have felt sad or embarrassed that her father was being booed and insulted at what was supposed to be a social entertainment event.

I think Michelle Obama favors Brandon Victor Dixon’s statements. I think she likes the way he spoke up and said what he believed. Michelle Obama implied she did not want Trump to win. However, Brandon stated the fact that he wanted to see a change in the Trump Administration. I think Michelle Obama respected his self-advocacy and his courage to give Mike Pence this message.

Overall, this Presidential Election has been a wild one. Both candidates were very determined and wanted the job. It was Hillary versus Trump, and Trump won being President of the United States. Michelle Obama and Brandon Victor Dixon have both portrayed the fact that they don’t like Trump and his administration. I think we must give the Trump Administration a chance and see what they have to offer the United States of America.


What Makes A Hero?

What makes a hero? A hero is someone who is influential, determined, and life-changing in a positive way for people. I think Christopher Columbus should be seen as a hero because he has all of those characteristics. Other people believe Christopher Columbus should not be seen as a hero but I think he should be thought of as one.

Columbus is influential because he found America. Many historians believe that he should not be considered a hero because he was supposed to find Asia but failed to do so. But, not finding Asia turned out to be a positive thing because he found America instead. People also say that Columbus was not the first person to find North America. Some people argue that the vikings were the first to find America. But, Christopher Columbus was the first person to build a settlement there and trade with the Americas, so he gets the credit. Actually, the Native Americans were the first people to settle there, but Columbus was the first person from another country to interact and trade with them. Even though the Native Americans were the first people to settle there, Columbus introduced the Americas to the rest of the world and influenced other explorers.

Many people also believe that he disturbed the lives of the Native Americans that were living there. Christopher Columbus and the Europeans brought diseases to the Americas that          the Natives didn’t have cures for, which caused many of the Natives to die. He also brought some Natives back to Europe to make them servants for the king and queen. Even though he did that and it was wrong, it does not take away from all the good things he accomplished.    

The second characteristic that a hero needs to have is determination. Christopher Columbus was determined because he wanted to find Asia no matter what happened. He wanted to find Asia because they had many silks and spices. He went to many different rulers until he found one to sponsor his voyage. First he asked the king of Portugal. The king said that he would not sponsor Columbus because he didn’t think it was possible for him to make it to Asia from there. But Columbus did not give up. He then went to Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand, the king and queen of Spain. They said that they would help pay for the voyage as long as Columbus shared the wealth, and then Columbus was on his way.

Another place where he showed determination was on the ship. When other people on the ship were convincing him to go back to Europe because there was no land in sight, he didn’t listen to them and he eventually found land. Some people think that Christopher Columbus should not be seen as a hero regardless of how hard he worked because he failed to find Asia. I think that being determined is one of the most important characteristics to have because no matter what you accomplish you should never give up.   

The final characteristic of a hero is being life-changing in a positive way for people.  Christopher Columbus has that characteristic because he was life-changing to the Europeans.  He brought crops to Europe such as corn and potatoes which were healthier crops that changed the diet of many Europeans. He brought back tomatoes, avocados, turkeys, and pineapples to show the queen and king. They were amazed at what he had found, so the country started trading with the Americas. He also changed the life of the people in America by bringing new items to them. He is put down for bringing diseases to the Americas that the Natives died from, but he also brought horses which changed people’s lives and had never been seen in the Americas before.

The things that Columbus did wrong should be acknowledged too because he did make mistakes, but they are not as important as the good things he did. Regardless, he was influential, determined, and life-changing. Those are the characteristics that make a perfect hero. Although Christopher Columbus was not perfect, he had all the characteristics of a hero, so he deserves to be called one.

My Chicken Experiences

Part 1

Many people thought that my family was crazy for owning chickens, but believe it or not, raising chickens shaped my life in a healthy way. My mom first had the idea to raise chickens about two and a half years ago. She thought it would be a fun learning experience for me and my sisters, but wasn’t sure it was practical. My dad never really loved the idea of farm life, but he loved seeing us happy, so he was willing to put up with it. At that time, my two younger sisters, Brynnley and Ainsley, were sleeping in the same room, and never really cleaned it that often. My mom proposed that if Ainsley could keep her shared room clean at all times, for eight months, we could try owning chickens.  Ainsley was determined to have chickens; she was insistent that she would help all three of us get chickens. Every day she went over her room, making sure it was clean and tidy. Eight months went by quickly, and soon we had ordered chicks.

We got three plymouth rock chicks and six silkie chickens through the mail. They took about a week to get to my house, but it seemed like forever, because we were eager to see the babies. It might sound crazy that you could buy chicks through the mail, but it was true. And to make things even better, they were only five dollars, and they were born on Ainsley’s birthday, April 20th!

It was love at first sight. When we came home from school, we were excited to see what the baby chicks looked like. We ran downstairs to the basement and heard small peeps, smelled the faint scent of wood shavings, and saw my mom reaching into a small box with a heating lamp over it.

We peeked over the edge of the box and saw nine tiny miracles, one of which my mom was holding and teaching how to eat.  To teach a chicken how to eat, you only need one chicken to eat, and that chicken will teach the rest of the flock how to eat.  She led the little head down to the small pebbles of food, and slowly it started to peck. Soon, the whole flock was doing it.   

It was the best feeling to hold a baby chick, nice and warm up to your chest so it could hear your heartbeat.  When we wanted them to sleep, all we had to do was turn off the basement light, and  all the happy chicks’ peeping stopped. When we returned to the chicks in the morning, they would all be on top of each other in a bundle of warmth.  

Part 2

Weeks went by, and the chicks grew faster than the blink of an eye.  Before I knew it, they were big enough to be outside in a giant wooden pen.  My mom had bought a chunnel, or a chicken tunnel, for the chicks to exercise. She also got a smaller pen for broody chickens. When a chicken is broody, it means that it won’t get up to eat, or drink, or exercise. It will only sit on the other chickens’ eggs.  

We raised our chickens free range, and taught them to return to their warm safe pen every night. Soon, we started giving our chickens some names, so we could keep track of them.  We knew in an instant that the name of the chicken that had the biggest hair and attitude would be Bruno, after Bruno Mars. The three Plymouth Rock chickens would be named Max, Fama, and Wicked.  We named the twin silkies Oodles and Doodles, because they stuck together at all times.  Finally, there was Chubbs, the runt of the flock, who could fit a grape in his cheek. We had a few others, but we never truly decided names for them.  

Did you know that chickens like to take dirt baths?  They will rub themselves in the dirt in the garden as protection from the sun, and when they are done, they will shake all of it out and look as clean as ever.  Then, they do it all over again. Did you know that chickens eat very messily?  Well it’s true.  If you put raspberries in your hand, they will take a piece, shake it, and then gulp it down.  It is the silliest thing to watch.  

Often, we snuck the chickens in the house without my dad noticing, just to surprise my mom with a chicken snuggle. She held the chickens close to her chest, in pure happiness. Soon the chickens fell asleep in her arms, and she let it rest until it would be time for her to go. We did this frequently with different chickens, but we always knew that Bruno was my mom’s favorite. After all, silkies were called the best lap chickens and were the most kid-friendly.

Everything and everyone seemed happy on the McKee Farm. Nothing could go wrong.  

Unfortunately, our first loss came early in the process. One of our chickens never returned to the pen.  We went looking for it until late in the night, but we had to give up trying to find it.  

A few weeks went by, and we realized that only one chicken was beginning to lay eggs, even though all of them should have been. Another peculiar thing was going on: we had a garden in the backyard, and we could see almost every part of  the garden from our kitchen window.  We loved that view, but Max seemed to want the window all to herself, and blocked it, looking inside at us!  

We thought it was adorable that Max wanted to see us, and we didn’t mind her blocking  the view, but we didn’t really know why Max was doing it until later that summer month. One hot summer day, my sisters and I were working in the garden and we found a huge bunch of eggs right under the window! We quickly rushed over and counted the eggs. There were 15 of them.  We gathered all of them and told my mom what we found. That had to be the reason that Max had been blocking the window, to guard the eggs and keep close watch over them, careful that we didn’t take them.

Every morning we looked for changes in the attitude and look of the chickens. Once, I noticed there were a fair amount of feathers in the coop, and a small amount of blood.  

I was frightened that something might have hurt our chickens, and asked my mom what was happening to them. My mom immediately realized what was going on, and told me that they were figuring out the “pecking order,” to see who was in charge so that they could assign different jobs, like which chicken sat on the eggs. The pecking order was determined pretty quickly. Max was the leader but would let Bruno sleep on her. Wicked and Fama were Max’s sidekicks, and the rest of the flock were her royal subjects. Although Max was not supposed to favor any one member of the flock, she loved Bruno the most; they would even sleep together.

Though Max was at the top, she didn’t have an easy life. Fama and Wicked sometimes gave another shot at becoming the top chicken, but they never won. Max also had to protect the flock if they were in trouble, because the silkies could not fight very well — since they had  so much hair on their heads, they couldn’t see predators very well.

Part 3  

About three months after getting the chicks, our new babysitter brought her puppy to the house and let him play outside. He started chasing one of our silkies, one of the ones we hadn’t named yet.  

I was so scared.  I ran inside told my mom what was happening and she ran outside.  

Ainsley was trying to stop the dog but couldn’t. She started crying and went inside, and so did Brynnley and my mom, because the dog had come out with the chicken’s fuzz in its mouth and blood on it. I cried, ran inside, and went to my room. I couldn’t believe what had just happened, and I was scared half to death, replaying and replaying that picture of the dog over and over again inside my head. I had never seen my mom cry before, but that day she did.

We were upset and angry over the loss we had experienced. That loss was the hardest,  because it came unexpectedly, and because we had never experienced death before. Though the first death was hard, it did get easier.

After a while of peacefulness, darkness struck again in the henhouse. Another silkie, Oodles, had died because a raccoon got into the coop. It was another hard death, because we didn’t realize that raccoons could unlock and lift things. There was a small latch that we used to close the laying box every night. Somehow, the raccoon had unlatched it, opened the laying box, and killed the chicken right there, while it was sleeping. Luckily, the other chickens were able to get away in time, and none of them were killed that night. If that raccoon had gotten hold of any others, it would have surely killed them too. I would never underestimate the skills of a very hungry raccoon again.

Unfortunately, my mom was the first to see the bloody masterpiece. She was going out to feed and water the chickens, and collect any eggs they might have laid that night. She saw a ripped open, half-eaten silkie with no head.  She was heartbroken and again, couldn’t restrain herself from crying. I went out to see it for myself, and I was scarred from that picture in my head, where it will be forever. After that, Doodles didn’t have that bounce in her feathery feet any more.

We didn’t have enough time to recover from that until we were introduced to the HAWK HORROR.  

We had seen hawks flying around our house, spying on our chickens, and got protective. But we didn’t realize how bold the hawks were, or how they weren’t that scared of humans. It would take a lot of time to drag a hawk away from a chicken.  

Sometimes, my mom thought about having me take out my bow and arrows and shoot him down — that was, until we figured out that it was illegal.  

One autumn afternoon, while my sisters and I were at school and my mom was at home, some men came to mow the lawn. We had moved the chickens and the coop into the garage so that they could mow the lawn. The garage door was left ajar, and the chickens were clucking just like before, until…everything went silent. It was like you could hear a pin drop. My mom was used to the peeping of the chickens, and hearing this silence, she knew that something was wrong.  

She dashed to the garage, just as a vicious hawk snapped its beak shut on little Chubbs’ body. I don’t know how she reacted because I wasn’t there, but she told me that she cleaned up the bloody and feathery mess alone. She told us what happened when we came home from school, but she didn’t know that Chubbs had been killed.  

Ainsley ran into the garage immediately after we parked the car, only to melt into tears like a candlestick over her dead chicken.

She counted the chickens. “Oodles… Doodles… Bruno… Fama… Max… Chubbs is dead!” she wailed.  

It was something she would never forget. We comforted her, and tried to calm her down.  She never did fully recover, and still to this day talks about Chubbs with a tear in her eye.  

At that time, on top of everything else, Bruno was broody. Every day, we had to make Bruno get up, eat, drink, and run around. Sometimes we put her in the exercise chunnel. Doodles was still depressed that Oodles was dead, so once in awhile, we took the two hens and gave them a bath, then dried and brushed their long silky feathers.  

Part 4

Soon, it was time for Ainsley’s birthday again, and we would celebrate not only her birthday, but the first birthday of our now well-grown chickens.

The morning of, we had a great time, until I went to feed the chickens. I counted all of the chickens on the bottom half of the pen, and realized that one was gone, when it hit me that Bruno was still broody.  

Yet again, another attack — except this time I was the first to see it dead. It was my mom’s favorite chicken, Bruno, and her death was on my sister’s birthday. I became stiff. I was angry, sad, and sorry all at the same time. I went inside, and instantaneously, my mom recognized my pale face and sad eyes.  I told her that Bruno was gone, and that was the start of my sister’s birthday.  I realized that day, that the deaths were never going to get any easier, but I knew that there was a price to pay for such dear love, and that was it.  

Part 5

As spring went by, and days became longer and hotter, the chickens started to have the same happy bounce that they’d had when we first got them. They were energetic and happy chickens once more.

One day, while I was playing softball, my mom and littlest sister Brynnley went to a chicken fair where people showed off their chickens and won prizes. There were contests for the fattest, biggest, and most beautiful chickens, and there were also chickens available for purchase and rent.  

While my mom and Brynnley were there, they spotted two identical, adorable chickens who reminded them of Bruno. They quickly bought them in a small cage, without telling my dad, Ainsley, or myself. My mom had already named the two Olive and Teeny. On their way back home they stopped by my softball game and told me about the chickens. They opened the trunk, and there they were, two beautiful silkies: fat, cute, and very huggable. They were the central attraction of the game.  

When I came home, I was especially excited because I wanted to see how my old chickens would react to the new ones. They would probably have to go over the pecking order all over again, and I didn’t want to see that happen. To my surprise, instead of putting Olive and Teeny outside with the rest of the chickens, my mom put them in the chunnel so that Fama, Max, Wicked, and Doodles could get used to having them around. Once in awhile, one of the chickens would visit Olive and Teeny to check them out, but Olive and Teeny would just act like they weren’t there.  

It was a while before Olive and Teeny passed, or so it seemed. It was late August, and one day when we came home from the supermarket, we went out to check on the chickens and play with them. When we did, we saw that Olive was in her small cage, not moving. We thought that she might be sitting on an egg, because she looked unharmed; there was no blood, and she looked like she was sleeping. But we got closer and couldn’t hear any peeps from her. When we tapped her, she didn’t move. I called my mom over, and she came to see what was happening.  She knelt down, lifted her, and told me that she must have had a heat stroke or a sun stroke, and that there was nothing we could do now.  

Later that day, Brynnley decided that we should make a grave for Olive. My mom helped her make one. It still stands there in my old backyard with a large stone over it, and I bet that if you spread the dirt around, you would find the small piece of paper, in bad handwriting, marking Olive’s place in the small grave and stone.  

Unfortunately, Teeny went quickly after Olive because of an unknown disease. We guessed that she was exposed to diseases in the chicken show and might have had it for a while, but by the time Olive died, the disease had taken over. We mourned our twins, and considered not owning chickens anymore, because so many were dying in our hands, but we couldn’t give up, and we didn’t.

Part 6

Soon it was fall, and the chickens had to prepare for the winter ahead of them. We refurbished their henquarters (headquarters) with new wood shavings and moved their pen to a patch of nicely cut grass.  

Doodles had become broody, so we moved her into the smaller pen. The first night she stayed in that pen she was fine, but the second night she was in for a fight.

That night, a raccoon lifted the roof of Doodles’s pen, and we guessed that he was trying to grab her, but she fought back and eventually won the battle. She hadn’t been killed, but had been badly wounded. She had lost many feathers, and it was wintertime then, so she was exposed to the cold weather. Without feathers, she might freeze or get frostbite.

That winter, we nursed her back to health and kept her inside the house for a while.  When spring returned, Doodles was much better, and was allowed to free range once again, but only for a matter of time…

Soon after, the raccoon attacked the small pen again, and this time the raccoon succeeded in killing and eating Doodles. That morning, my mom had gone out to check on Doodles and the other chickens.  The small door that let the chickens into the small pen was unlatched and open.  The raccoon had unlatched the door and eaten Doodles. This loss was especially hard because she was the last silkie, and she had been through so much. I loved Doodles so much, and this story always makes me teary.

Part 7

After Doodles’ death, it was hard to think about owning chickens… until my school saved the day. They had a school auction, and my mom was assigned to auction off something. She came up with chicken rentals. She loved the idea so much that she decided to try it herself.  Before we knew it, we had a small rental pen and three beautiful chickens. They were so sweet, and got along well with Max, Fama, and Wicked. They were soft and looked a lot like our Plymouth rock chickens, except with different patterns. One was white, one was orange, and one was black with white spots. The one with white spots was named Dotty, and she was the friendliest out of the rentals. Even when it came time to let the chickens go, my mom asked if she could keep Dotty and pay for her.  The company didn’t agree, and she was taken away from us.  

Part 8

After the rental chickens were taken back, tragedy struck again. One Sunday afternoon, after returning from running errands, we went outside to see if our chickens had laid any eggs while we were gone. My mom went outside to look for Max, Fama, and Wicked. She only found Wicked and Max. She looked in the front and back of the house, and then in the garden.

There she saw what was left of Fama: a carcass and blood everywhere. I went outside to see, and the second I did, I wished I hadn’t. That night, we made a grave for her in honor of her long life.

Part 9

Right after Fama died, we moved. I am still not completely settled, but when I did move, we moved the chicken coop to the back of the house, and my mom set up a security camera, so that she could tell if anything was trying to get into the chickens’ pen.  

Later that week, one night at midnight, my mom woke up and checked her phone for notices of anything breaking into the chicken pen, and she saw nothing. She woke up again early in the morning, and checked her phone for any signs of the chickens being attacked.  She found three video clips.  One of a raccoonlike badger sneaking through a small crack of the chicken pen.  The second video clip was of a fox, who somehow broke into the pen at night. The third just seemed like a blanket of snow, until my mom figured out that it wasn’t snow … it was feathers.  

That morning, as I hopped downstairs for breakfast, my mom looked uneasy. She told me what happened, and I was both sad and shocked. My mom told me not to tell my sisters, but eventually they figured it out. The morning dragged on slowly, until my mom realized one of the chickens wasn’t dead. She thought she saw it slightly moving, so she told me to go check and see if it was still alive.

My littlest sister, Brynnley, came with me, and she got closer than I did. She was too scared to speak, but cried and ran off into the house before I could stop her. I inched closer, to take a peek at whether the chicken was alive or dead, and I saw it move its demented head.

I rushed into the house, and told my mom that the chicken was alive, but I couldn’t tell what chicken it was. It had blood all over its head, and had lost many of its feathers.

My mom ran out and took a look at the chicken. Tears ran down her face as she carried it back to the porch. I couldn’t look at the chicken — it was in too much pain. It was painful to watch.  

The chicken survived for two more days, until my mom decided it was time for the vet to put her down. I wasn’t there when the vet put her down, but my mom told me all about it. The vet said that it was a miracle that she survived, because she had been impaled in the head by a raccoon tooth, and was very sick. To prove it, as he put the sweet chicken’s body to rest, maggots came crawling out of her body, because they had been eating her alive already.  

Part 10

That day I was sad, astonished, confused, and my life was impacted in a way both good and bad, and everything in between. Although my chicken experience was filled with sadness, if I had to I’d do it all over again.

Awkward Family Reunions

Time after time, day after day, people have family reunions. I don’t think anyone really likes them that much. Well, at least, I don’t. So why do we have them? They’re so awkward. We ask our parents countless times, “Why are they so important? Do we have to go?” and honestly, they don’t give a good enough reason for me. I think that is my parents’ way of saying, “I don’t want to go either.” Back to the point: why are family reunions so awkward, and what can we do make them less awkward?

“What makes family reunions so awkward?” you might ask. Well, here you go. One time, a middle-aged woman who was a stranger came up to me and said, “Oh my, Sey, you’ve grown so much. I remember when you were a little baby.” I was asking myself who she was. I asked my dad, and he didn’t give me an answer, so to this day I still wonder who she was.

Other times, I have no one to talk to, and I’m just at a table with some adults discussing politics. And there is always that aunt or uncle who you just can’t stand, who will ask you so enthusiastically the same boring questions that kids just don’t want to hear, like, “How’s your school year going?” or, “Are you getting good grades?” Seriously? Don’t you remember your childhood? NO kid wants those questions asked. These adults just make everything awkward. Even for my dad; he has that cousin who just talks too much, and when he saw him, he said to the whole family, “Rush by.” I kept on asking why he said it, and finally my mom said, “Daddy doesn’t want to talk to him; Daddy doesn’t want to start a whole conversation.” Then, I realized my dad thought my second cousin was annoying as heck. Honestly, once I met him, I realized I’d been standing there for longer than I meant to. By that point, I ran off to talk to my cousin about how I just had the longest conversation about my school year. Point is, avoid these people, because once you are sucked in, it’s very hard to get out again.  

So now I will give you some tricks for making family reunions less awkward for you (but maybe not for others). One, arrive at least one hour later than you are supposed to. You avoid the awkwardness of standing around making small talk with the other early arrivers (who are the absolute worst), and then, your family reunion is only half as long and half as painful. Secondly, pack your own food. Unless you are lucky enough to have your own private chef, you are going to have to eat that lousy, inexpensive, catered food. Take preventative measures and sneak off into the corner with a bag of num-nums. Do not share, unless you dare. Lastly, lie about your life. Before you head into the batcave, create a fictional story and memorize it. Here’s an example: say you live in some exotic place and have a huge house with a private chef, and that you have to call your private cricket instructor to say that you’ll be missing your appointment. I know these tips might sound overly rude, but really, don’t you want to test them out? Pass these tips on. They are sacred. But choose wisely, or everything could go wrong.

So now you know that family reunions are not only your most horrific moment of existence, but also others feel the same way, so you will never be alone on that note. Although you now know some ways to make family reunions less awkward, family reunions will still be that event that no one can say they had fun afterwards. So don’t feel alone, feel awkward. Just kidding. Let’s make these events less awkward and less painful!


Man’s Best Friend

A bouncing ball of fluff hops your way, and comes to keep company. Although the day has been long and hard; tedious and boring, you feel a surge of energy rush through you, and immediately you feel joyous. Although a human can make your day better, you may have had undesirable memories of that person, and you may feel even more depressed or infuriated. On the contrary, a dog gives you joyous memories, for it respects you as its master. A dog is more suitable as a friend than a human in numerous ways.

Many years ago, dogs proved to be of great help to humankind. One example is a hunting dog. Dogs are said to have been evolved from wolves, so they have very sharp teeth like a predator, and an extraordinary sense of smell. Men soon found it imperative to take dogs hunting with them. If dogs hadn’t been loyal to their owners, meat would be hard to find, and the early humans could have died out. In other words, who knows if we would even be here on this planet if it weren’t for dogs?

Dogs are loyal to their humans today, too. On a cold and stormy night, Max the dog roamed around the house, going about his own business. All of a sudden, he perked up. A pungent smell filled the air. The smell was Carbon Monoxide! He raced to the room where his owners were sleeping, and would not stop barking and whining until everyone safely evacuated*. Carbon Monoxide is tasteless, odorless, and colorless to the human’s senses. However, a dog has an extremely sensitive sense of smell, so they are able to sniff out dangerous chemicals and substances.

Dogs also have very sensitive hearing. According to, Nellie, a four year old dog, lived with her severely deaf owner. One day, Nellie heard quiet footsteps coming toward them, advancing very slowly. Nellie sprinted to her owner, and pawed and scratched at her until she was alerted of the intruder. As Nellie’s owner got him away from the house, Nellie stood between the man and the children, letting no one get to the 10 year-old and 15 month-old baby. Luckily, no one was hurt. I too have a dog; in fact, I have two of them. I sense their loyalty to the family, and they will try to protect the household (even though they are too small to do anything about it.) When I was about seven, one of my dogs jumped off the couch to try to protect us when someone knocked on the door, but ended up spraining his leg instead. This moment in time proved the fact that dogs would go to extreme measures to protect their family, no matter what.

Humans can also be loyal and trusting friends too. Barbara Bush said, “Cherish your human connections – your relationships with friends and family.” It is important to have human relationships too, so that you can connect with other people just like you, and not just shy away from the outside world. Additionally, humans can speak to their friends in an easier way to understand, unlike a dog’s barking and yipping at you. Many people have had the special experience of a friend or a loved one caring for them when they are sick, feel depressed or angry, or just in pain. Even siblings can be a friend (which is a little hard to believe for me.) Recently, I had a severe stomach ache, and each time I tried to walk I would crumple to the floor again. My sister cared for me through the whole thing, staying by my side and comforting me when I would start bawling my eyes out. However, once I healed, she wasn’t as nice to me as before. A dog would never do that, it would love me just the same.

Ultimately, a dog is the best friend that a person can have. In general, a dog is loyal to whomever it loves, and will always try to take extreme measures to protect everyone in its family. Through fear and tumult, pain and suffering, sadness and grieving, a dog is the best “medicine” that you can have. A dog will always remain loyal to its loved ones, and is the best acquaintance that one can have in life, even better than our fellow humans.

*Based on a true story



My family is almost all made up of immigrants. My mom is an immigrant, and my dad’s grandma is too. Everyone in my family came here to find a better life. Some people are against immigration and think that immigrants are drug dealers or terrorists, but this is not true. Every family has an ancestor who was once an immigrant, so everyone should respect immigration and realize that immigrants help build community in a positive way.

It started when my great-great-great-great-grandma came from Spain to Colombia. She married a Native American, and they created a home in Colombia. Generations later, my grandma was born and had my mom, who immigrated from Colombia to the United States. My mom went to college in Bogota and got her degree in engineering. After college, my mom was going to move to Germany in order to be an engineer, but my grandma said that Germany was too far from home. So my mom moved to the U.S. instead, in order to be an electrical engineer and get a better job. Her arrival the U.S. was a step toward building our family.

My dad’s great-grandma came from Italy to Ellis Island and then moved to Oregon. For college, my dad moved to New York. He met my mom in New York, but then left for Paris. He came back from Paris to be with my mom in New York. Eventually, I was born in New York with dual citizenship in Colombia and the United States.

My mom and dad are only two of millions of immigrants in the world. Many immigrants come from Mexico to the U.S through the border into El Paso. Some immigrants go through illegally and others legally. The legal immigrants get through the border with a passport.

Illegal immigrants who escape from Mexico to find a better life in the U.S. shouldn’t be kicked out of the country just for crossing the border. The majority of illegal immigrants are not harmful to society; rather, they get jobs and work hard. Some illegal immigrants commit crimes, but so do some citizens of the U.S.

A lot of people are against immigrants coming from Mexico and the Middle East, like Donald Drumpf. Drumpf insults Mexicans and Muslims. However, most Mexicans and Muslims really help the U.S.; some help by working at restaurants, others are painters, doctors, construction workers, etc. Furthermore, a big percentage of the U.S. population is Mexican and Muslim.

All in all, we should think about immigration optimistically, because everyone’s family is made of at least some immigrants. Without immigration, most of our families wouldn’t exist. At their core, everyone is an immigrant –– including myself.


My dog is really important to me. He smells really bad sometimes though. He is a Tibetan Terrier. He is white with a big brown spot in the middle. He is very cute. I can’t imagine my life without my dog. He is a bad dog sometimes too though. He is sooo cute that mom says, “it’s okay Rusty” (Rusty is his name).


I first saw Rusty in a parking lot with his breeders. We took him to our house for a trial. The trial was supposed to be for 1 week, but on wednesday (the trial started on Sunday) my sister and I found out that mommy had already called to say that it was working out really well, and that we were going to keep him. I couldn’t believe it. I was so happy that I sat down with Rusty and sat talking to mom for at least 30 minutes.


Rusty is really important to me because he’s the only dog that didn’t die or had to be given away. My sister says that he’s important because he listens when you talk to him and he’s really cute. My mommy says that he is important to her because he is around for us to snuggle with when we are feeling down. My daddy says that he is important to him because he makes us happy. Rusty is also very important to me because he makes me laugh and I love him more every day.

Video Games: Not Just Fun

Did you know that video games are not just for fun? Actually, video games can be used to heal mental and physical illnesses, solve important problems relevant to the development of technology and medicine, and video game experts (gamers) can actually learn new things faster than others! Video games also strengthen connections between different areas of the brain, which is helpful and beneficial towards memory and reflexes like hand-eye coordination.

For example, some video games are helpful for the brain and help children get a ‘head start’ on learning (Playkids app, ABCmouse, et cetera…). Also, according to a recent scientific study conducted by scientists at Nature, people who are video game experts have an ‘increase of grey matter and increased functional connectivity between the attentional and sensorimotor networks’, which means that gamers can learn new things faster than other people who don’t play as much. Additionally, gamers can take out stress on fictional and made up characters, leading to a better emotional state. This demonstrates that people who play video games can lead a better lifestyle and can be in better mental health.

Video games can be used for development of medicine, technology, and other sciences. Recently, players of a video game called Foldit unraveled the structure of a complex retroviral protease, an enzyme that cuts apart proteins of different kinds, allowing scientists to create a cure for the virus it was a part of. This kind of video game use is known as citizen science, where people solve puzzles that cannot be solved by computers, but they think they are playing a game. This has been used to identify different wildlife calls, measure light pollution, and more! This improves the state of the world overall and is done through video games.

Likewise, video games can be therapeutic, treating mental and physical illnesses. One team of developers created a ‘Patient Empowerment Exercise Video Game’ designed to improve resilience, self-esteem, and confidence. Another way video games can be therapeutic is that developers can channel their emotions into their games, relieving problems.

As demonstrated, with further research, video games have the potential to help the world and individuals in many ways. As shown in the second paragraph, they already are, albeit in unexpected ways. Video games have the potential to unlock new discoveries, but they also can degrade the brain.

There are some games that are bad for mental health. In FPS (first-person shooter) games, players begin to develop violent tendencies the longer they play, and can become addicted, only worsening this problem. There is no way to fix this besides simply avoiding these games entirely, although they can be addictive.

As has been shown previously, video games are not just for fun, but can be used to help individuals and the world in many different ways. Also, video games have been used to cure mental and physical illnesses. In the future, we may see that video games are used to solve problems with civilization before they become serious.


Schools Should Expand Their History Focuses


Schools should expand their history focuses. They shouldn’t concentrate only on one area of the world. Students will only know about the countries the teachers taught about. It’s also not fair to the students from the places they excluded in their teaching. These students feel excluded as well. I think it’s important to expand our history focuses so I want this to change.

The teacher’s job is supposed to be giving students knowledge about the whole world. But if they don’t include all the important places in the world, the parents will end up teaching about it instead of the teachers. And they still are paying money for the teachers to teach their children. My school studied World War II in history class once and the teacher talked only about what happened in the Western countries. When I learned about it, the teacher talked about the Jews and the Europeans but not about places in Asia where I was from, even though the events that happened between Japan and China were equally important. Because of their choice, I had to ask my parents about World War II in my country instead of the teachers teaching it. My parents ended up doing a job that the teachers were supposed to do. This problem existed despite the fact that my school was the United Nations International School. If the issue happened there, I can only imagine how much worse it would be in other schools.

Studying all the countries in the world is a great thing for all students. By studying some particular culture, society or region of the non-Western world (such as those of Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and Oceania), students will be able to broaden their understanding of human achievements and qualities beyond the Western countries. As the world becomes more connected, and at the same time more diverse, understanding all this is very helpful.

Lastly, if we only talk about Western history, students will only understand the western side of things and think that Western countries are always right. We need to see all points of views in order to let students decide what they want to think. It’s just not fair to the other countries to ignore their points of views. Ted Dickson, a high school teacher, thinks U.S. history talks mainly about all the great things about the country: “Do you encourage citizenship and patriotism by only talking about what’s great about the U.S.? Or do you encourage citizenship and patriotism by talking about not just the positives aspects of our history but also the parts that are negative and how we as a country strive to overcome those?”

This is why schools should expand their history focuses. It’s good for the students. It tells people they are respected so they won’t feel excluded. It also fulfills the reason kids are even brought to schools and gives parents a lot more free time and trust in the school.


Plants and trees are very important to the world, because if we did not have plants and trees, then we would not have flowers. If we did not have flowers, then we would not have colors. Well, trees would have green and brown, but we would need more color, because it makes people happier. Also, plants and trees help the world by making oxygen for people and animals.


We need color because some people would not be that happy. If we did not have color, then gardens would not be colorful. I LOVE marigolds, and when Mom gets some for the garden I feel SO happy. This one year, Mom did not get marigolds and I was not that happy with the garden.


If we just had trees the world would probably be 48% carbon dioxide. The good thing about plants are how plants produce oxygen just like trees. You need trees for wood, but plants have no wood on them so people don’t need to chop them down! Which is awesome! But if we did not have any trees in the world then we will all DIE! Plants can not produce enough oxygen for the world. That is why cutting down trees is bad for the world.


However, it would be good if people would chop down a little amount of trees, because if people did not chop down trees then it would be overpopulated with trees. But people are chopping down too many trees.


This is  why we need plants and trees.


The End


More schools should have students wear uniforms because fashion is bothering kids in school academically. People say they want to go to Yale and Harvard, but meanwhile their grades are like B’s or C’s and that is because they are so worried about what to wear in the morning and how much makeup to put on. I think that people should be more worried about how their grades are not how much makeup they are going to wear. This mostly happens to girls not boys and that is why people say that girls don’t get far in school, but I want to prove that wrong because if more schools start wearing uniforms then more girls will have opportunity to be a better student in school.


If you ask most parents, they will say that if you want to get into a good college than do not fall into the fashion trap. In fact, my mom did not fall into the fashion trap and ended up going to Yale. Some girls are so caught up in putting a bow in their hair and they are never really caring about what they really should be caring about. Most people think that a lot of people will like you if you are fashionable and beautiful. You might also think that you will be the most popular girl in school because of beauty and by that you will be the only one in your grade that gets a scholarship to whatever college that you want to go to. But that is not true. Go ask ten different moms if you will get a scholarship to to a college by being the most popular and fashionable girl in school and all of them will say no.


Some girls might not like to dress up and that is fine. Putting on a uniform might not magically get you good grades but putting on a uniform might stop you from worrying about fashion. You might be thinking that you don’t worry about fashion in the school day, but that is also fine.


If you are a girl, believe in yourself. The thought that boys are smarter than girls is not true and I believe that we can change that thought and turn it the other way around. If you are a school that has a no uniform policy, than maybe go ask your principal if you can put in a uniform policy and then she might say yes. You might be uncomfortable with that policy for the first five days but when you are getting straight A’s and being the smartest kid in your grade then you will thank me. You might not like this, but you may love it in a couple of years. You might actually surprise yourself in a very good way. You go ask your principal if you can have a uniform policy if you don’t already have one.

Do Calculators Have a Negative or Positive Effect on People’s Brains?

I have seen many kids use calculators who don’t understand what they are doing. They don’t understand the consequence of their actions. The handheld calculator was invented in 1967. Even by 1986 (29 years ago), calculators represented an estimated 41% of the world’s general-purpose hardware capacity to compute information. Calculators have a negative effect on people’s brains. It causes kids to not know basic math facts.

Calculators were invented as a tool for adults to use in their jobs. Adults use calculators to figure out their rent and issues like that. It is used to calculate money so they don’t pay too much or too little money. Calculators are not supposed to be used by kids who just want to get their math homework done quickly. It is better to take time and learn the basic facts. It is important for kids to have a base in math just like a building that needs to grow bigger and bigger, just like how the math is going to get harder and harder when you get older and older. Math is hard enough. Not learning basic math facts would make it even harder. Adults are supposed to use calculators because they have already learned how to do their basic math facts. They also need a calculator for their jobs, unlike kids.

The consequence of calculator use is that kids do not get to learn their basic math facts in calculator use. The USA is under average at math and science. This is because of calculator use. The USA also gives less school hours and days in the year.  The USA has less than 180 days in a school year. People in the Singapore curriculum can use calculators because they know how to do the basic math facts. What is the point of teaching someone how to do math if they forget how to do it later? It is like the story where the guy catches fish for the man, but the man still doesn’t learn how to catch fish. Christina L. Sheets Wallace, in her NE Math in the Middle Institute Partnership Action Research Project Report in partial fulfillment of the MAT Degree Department of Mathematics University of Nebraska-Lincoln July, said that her students between 7th and 12th grades had lowered their grades on tests because of excessive calculator use.

Calculators have a negative effect on kids who don’t know their basic math facts.  It makes math harder than it needs to be. Calculators are mostly for adults to use in their jobs. Next time you see a kid use a calculator to do their homework, stop them.

Story Told Backwards

My name is Neal Bhasin and I’m 10 years old and I am going to tell you a different kind of story. At my 10th birthday party, we had a game truck and a laser tag game at my house. After that, we went to have some cake, then we went to play dodgeball. Reader, before we move forward, we have to go backwards.

A couple days before that, we had to buy the dodgeballs from the store for the dodgeball game. The problem was we had to find out where we could find the dodgeballs. But all the sports stores didn’t have them. I was really nervous that we couldn’t get the dodgeballs for the party, and it would be a total disaster for the party. Luckily my mom had one of my school’s coach’s number, and she called him up to get the dodgeballs from the school. Finally we got the dodgeballs from my school then took them to my house. Now I’m here writing for you about my life.

I’m going to go back to my 9th birthday. We had a party at Lazer Tag and this time it was actually at the building instead of at my house. It was a fun party with all my friends and my family members. The next school year I was scared for my first day of school. Then I found out that I was in Miss Asker’s homeroom, Miss Ochoa’s reading, and Miss Roth’s math class. During that school year’s winter break and last year’s spring break, my family and I went to Mammoth and we skied. It was fun skiing in Mammoth, but after 11:30 the slopes got really slushy. Then during spring break we went to Snow Park, Salt Lake City, Utah. We skied there and I did a jump that was there. It was really fun going through the air. Later that year during the summer we went to Australia and New Zealand. We went to many different types of places like Auckland, Queensland, Queenstown, New South Wales, Sydney, Cairns, and Rotorua. We had a lot of fun during our trip seeing all the ways that our culture is different than Australia’s.

Now I’m going to go back to my 8th birthday. Reader, I’m going to put in some spice in the story to change it up a little. I was scared for the first day of third grade, until I found out I was in Miss Kaplan’s homeroom and reading and Miss Roth’s math class again. During the school year it was very fun and one of my friends came to me for advice about his girlfriend. Because he didn’t know what to do, I told him to back off a little bit and he did and it’s working out fine with him and his girl. That same year, I kept on getting injured and so I kept on going to my school’s nurse’s office. When my mom got all of these nurse’s slips back she thought that I really liked one of the nurses there, but no, I didn’t. It was just what they gave us crackers and the best flavored Gatorade — fruit punch.

During winter break we went to India and I met the rest of my family. We went to different parts of India like New Delhi and Mumbai. We went and watched a cricket game: India versus Pakistan. We went to my mom’s and her brother’s school and met one of her college friends. The friend had a daughter that was about my age.

During the summer of 2011, when I was 6, we went to Peru so my brother could show off his Spanish skills to my mom. We went to do some shopping and my brother was able to bargain and translate. We were getting ready to go on a hike up the side of a mountain to this thing called The Sun Gate. We started off like it was a nice smooth trail and me and my dad went farther and farther up the hill and people going down were so impressed by this little kid going up the hill. And so many people asked me how old I was and I said, “Six,” and they said, “Wow, how young you are and you’re going up this hill.”

We went up this trail farther to The Sun Gate and my dad took some photos standing in front of The Sun Gate.The Sun Gate was so beautiful I cannot describe it. I can’t even remember it, just it was beautiful. We decided to go back down around 12:30. We started heading down and it was a lot harder going down than coming up. The sun was going farther and farther and farther down. Finally, we reached the end of the trail around 7:50 while the sun was setting. Reader, that is all I want to say to you this time.


To be continued…


More schools should have students wear uniforms because fashion is bothering kids in school academically. People say they want to go to Yale and Harvard but meanwhile their grades are like B’s or C’s and that is because they are so worried about what to wear in the morning and how much makeup to put on. I think that people should be more worried about how their grades are not how much makeup they are going to wear. This mostly happens to girls not boys and that is why people say that girls don’t get far in school, but I want to prove that wrong because if more schools start wearing uniforms then more girls will have opportunity to be a better student in school.

If you ask most parents, they will say that if you want to get into a good college than do not fall into the fashion trap. In fact, my mom did not fall into the fashion trap and ended up going to Yale. Some girls are so caught up in putting a bow in their hair and they are never really caring about what they really should be caring about. Most people think that a lot of people will like you if you are fashionable and beautiful. You might also think that you will be the most popular girl in school because of beauty and by that you will be the only one in your grade that gets a scholarship to whatever college that you want to go to. But that is not true. Go ask ten different moms if you will get a scholarship to to a college by being the most popular and fashionable girl in school and all of them will say no.

Some girls might not like to dress up and that is fine. Putting on a uniform might not magically get you good grades but putting on a uniform might stop you from worrying about fashion. You might be thinking that you don’t worry about fashion in the school day, but that is also fine.

If you are a girl, believe in yourself. The thought that boys are smarter than girls is not true and I believe that we can change that thought and turn it the other way around. If you are a school that has a no uniform policy, than maybe go ask your principal if you can put in a uniform policy and then she might say yes. You might be uncomfortable with that policy for the first five days but when you are getting straight A’s and being the smartest kid in your grade then you will thank me. You might not like this, but you may love it in a couple of years. You might actually surprise yourself in a very good way. You go ask your principal if you can have a uniform policy if you don’t already have one.

The Importance of Space Exploration

Space exploration, just flashy photos and flags? If you look closer than your or your parents’ black and white autographed photo, you will see that it has a much more purposeful purpose. Space exploration actually benefits the environment and the population, and it allows important new scientific discoveries to be made.

Space exploration would benefit the environment. If we moved our dirty factories to another planet, this would reduce Earth pollution and provide a lower-cost alternative to building completely non-polluting factories. Also, space exploration may allow for better sites for greener living. For example, we could find a planet with more direct sunlight and a heat-only ozone layer. Or we could find a planet with natural cave tunnels for transit systems and cities so that no machinery would have to be brought to delve the cities. Space exploration might allow for environmental supplements to be pumped through to Earth so that we could still enjoy the environment but with less maintenance.

Space exploration could help the population. Space exploration could do this by finding new planets for the world to go to in an emergency or if the population gets too large for Earth to handle. There are probably dozens of planets with all the essentials of what we need — water, air, sunlight, and oxygen. In this way, space exploration could help the population. Finally, if you’re just ever yearning to go on a vacation, space exploration is very important to find new vacay destinations to get to if ever they are needed.

Space exploration could lead to important new scientific discoveries. For example, it could lead to the discovery of a new alien nation to be represented in the United Nations, or another tribe/nation of humans for us to connect with on a new Earth, or maybe one that is in need of our aid for creating a better government with freer rights. This would create the “United Intersolar Nations (UIN)” or, with the proper advancements the “United Republic Of Galactic Nations (URGN). Also, we could find planets that are empty, on which we could perform potentially harmful new science experiments with no casualties. This is how space exploration could lead to critical scientific discoveries.

Overall, space exploration is one of those things that just popped up, took hold and led the way to new greatness – the greatness of better science, more sustainable living, and happier lives. That’s why we should all promote space exploration. All of us should be those annoying salesmen we shoo from our doors in the morning. A number of people have come to agree with this fact, and in 2013 applications to live on Mars began. Even now we are developing those ships, for in all of our hearts there lies a simple yearning for the stars. So take action! Move! And send in your application today!