While this was probably the best year in school I have had I’m still very excited for a break and lots of free time this summer after we return from the Europe trip. This last Thursday was a kind of high point of the school year in terms of work and stress. From now until the last day of school (in two weeks) all my classes are wrapping up and we are preparing for some final exams. After that is the trip to Europe which is sneaking up on me. I’m very excited to see unique cities and have unforgettable experiences in those 3 weeks. Once I get get, I have so many things and hobbies I want to pursue. I am going to get my driver’s license in the couple weeks after we get back, I want to continue practicing guitar and getting better which I haven’t had time for lately. In addition I want to do some juggling, Rubik’s cube, handwriting, language learning, shorthand, maybe a job etc. There are just so many things I wish to do… I’m hopefully going to have a busy summer.
I’m really excited because I just got my GA Learner’s Permit today, so I can start learning to drive! The test was actually a lot less complicated then I thought it would be and I
passed with flying colors. But it also help that over the past two weekends, I took a driver’s ed course which helped me quite a bit with getting my permit. I also have 6 hours of driving with an instructor that I can use through the driver’s ed company. I’m so pumped to be able to drive and can’t wait to start learning.
In other news, my first year of high school is coming to an end and things are looking pretty good. I just took my AP Human Geography exam yesterday, and I felt like I did really well on it. I’m kind of sad that school is ending soon because I made so many friends this year and enjoy hanging out with them everyday. Even if that means writing an endless number of papers. But overall, my experience at Milton High School this year was amazing and I can’t wait for three more years of supposedly the best time in my life.
Last weekend has got to be on of the most exciting and fun weekend I’ve ever had. I attended my first Latin State Convention at Rock Eagle. Ever since I started Latin this year, I’ve been looking forward to LatinCon and I definitely wasn’t disappointed. There were so many things to do that I kind of felt overwhelmed at first, but once I got my schedule down I tried to figure out how to get the most out of my three days there. My days consisted of exams, certamen, chariot races, roman processions, suspicious-looking cafeteria food, going to a dance, ending up stealing all the cookies at the dance and leaving to watch Japanese pro wrestling, playing Cards Against Humanity with Latin nerds, and chilling out by the lake at night. My time there was packed full of activities but looking back it seems like it went by so fast.
While I was there, I put my knowledge and weird facts of Latin to use in exams and certamen. Certamen, meaning contest or battle in Latin, is a quiz-bowl type game where teams of four compete for points by answering questions related to the Latin language, mythology, history, daily life, etc. The game combines knowledge with reaction time, as the first person to buzz in with the correct answer earns the points and gives their team an opportunity to earn even more points in bonus questions. (kind of like Jeopardy!) I’m on the novice team at my school and focus more in the language category, which comes easiest to me. My team and I do certamen mostly for fun, so when we face off with hardcore teams like Northview or Walton, we don’t really have much of a chance. We did, however, get to the semi-finals and manage to score a few points, so I’m pretty happy.
Overall, I really loved this trip and it gave me a chance to explore what I love about Latin. I will definitely go back next year and maybe in my upperclassmen years attend National Convention. Unfortunately, I did not win any awards this year, but I’ll be prepared next year and bring home those ribbons!
Last weekend was the Georgia Junior Classical League Convention and I along with 23 other Latin students (including Nicholas) went to represent our school among 2000 other students. I went last year and this convention was just as fun. There were lots of activities, exams, and overall Latin fun. I won 4th place on the Ancient Geography exam and 3rd place in Modern Myth Creative Writing. I was hoping for the geography award yet the Modern Myth award was a total shock. I almost didn’t even enter the writing (Pollena’s Tears from a previous post) into the competition because I didn’t think it was any good. Apparently there weren’t many submissions. Anyways, it was fun and a great experience and I can’t wait for next year.
Next, I was giving another award! Yeah! This time… it was still for Latin but I don’t mind. The award was a Milton Honors Award for Latin 2 Honors. Last night, I went to a ceremony for these awards. It was pretty fun, we got some Mexican food afterwards…
That’s about it! I went to LatinCon and got a couple awards, then I came home and got an award.
In my literature class, I got to research and write a letter to any non-fiction author of my choice. I chose Noam Chomsky, a linguistics professor at MIT. I enjoyed writing this letter a lot and can’t wait to see if I get a response.
Dear Prof. Chomsky,
I’m a freshman at Milton High School and a fan of your work. In my literature class, I was assigned to study a non-fiction author of my choice and review four of their published works. Being a fan of yours prior to this assignment, I chose you as my author and found a number of articles by you that I found interesting. Out of the four articles, your article “Saving the Commons” in The Nation interested me the most. The timing of the article with the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta was perfect, and your explanation of the Charter of the Forest was very concise and easy to understand. I would also like to compliment you specifically on your inclusion of current events into almost all of the articles that I have read. I’m a member of my school’s Model United Nations team, so this gives me a more personal connection to the topics that you discuss and also helps me understand them on a deeper level.
One of the things I find appealing about your work is your abundant use of details when providing background on the topic. A clear depiction of the issue being discussed allows the reader to really appreciate the message being portrayed. For example, in the article “On Israel-Palestine and BDS”, you educated the reader with a brief but in-depth history of the relationship between the United States and Israel before making your main argument that they should be condemned for the crimes committed against the stateless peoples residing in Israel. This way, a reader who knows nothing on the subject will be able to grasp the message you are trying to carry. You also use this same format in “Saving the Commons” when you explain the different charters within the Magna Carta (Great Charter, Charter of the Forest) and how they influenced modern legislation.
Another thing I admire while reading your work is your compassionate tone of voice. It lets the audience get involved and form their own opinion on the subject rather than just read yours. For example, when you are developing your argument in “On Israel-Palestine and BDS”, you get down to a personal level with the major actors in the BDS movement; this level of coverage provides a point on which the reader can base their own opinion. Again, in your article “The Responsibility of Intellectuals, Redux.” your compassionate tone really takes precedence as you explain your concept of intellectuals as the defenders of justice. In my honest opinion, the compassion in your argument makes your articles so much more interesting from a reader’s point of view.
I know you are a very busy man, so I would like to thank you for reading this letter. I’m looking forward to reading more of your work and catching up on some of the books you wrote that I have not gotten around to reading yet. If you don’t mind answering a question, in all of your years of writing and teaching, what was the moment when you realized you love what you do? Thank you again for taking the time to read this letter.
Most classical myths either contain a lesson for how to act or a creation story for some aspect of nature. When I created this modern myth for Latin class, I decided to choose something relevant to me and modern humanity. The great terror and plight that is pollen…
Pollena was a beautiful and compassionate tree nymph of the forests of Italy, who was loved to wander through the woods and care for her plants, especially the flowers. One spring, while she was sleeping in the grass, she was startled by a group a men coming from a nearby town, trying to take a shortcut through the small forest. These men carelessly stomped over the flowers which Pollena had planted and watered just days before. When Pollena, who was watching these men from behind some nearby bushes, saw her poor flowers being trampled over, she froze. Because the flowers were so important to her and she was too shy to approach the men who unknowingly destroyed them, Pollena started crying yellow nymph tears, which also happen to carry magical powers of life-giving. Her cries were so loud and piercing that the men who crushed her flowers heard and went to look for her. When they found and approached her the men tried to calm her but to no avail. They soon grew tired as their attempts failed, and left quickly from the forest, becoming increasingly annoyed.
For many weeks Pollena cried and cried, and eventually the Olympians and all the nearby humans noticed the annoying and deafening screams as well as a more pressing matter. The flowers and plants which Pollena greatly cared for had gone untended and began to wilter. The gods and goddesses quickly brought together a meeting to find a solution to this problem. After much discussion and debate, Ceres volunteered to fix the issue, because is the one most affected by the damaged done to the plants in the world. She travelled to the forest and approached the young nymph, who continued to cry and shed millions of tears. Ceres then inquired about why she was crying but like the men before her, she got no response other than the waterfall of yellow tears. After a lot of frustration and desperation, Ceres decided to turn Pollena into a tree in order to end the cries in a respectful and peaceful manner. The people and gods alike rejoiced at the peace and quiet.
Pollena, now in tree form, ceased to scream and yell because she was unable, but she was still very sad about her flowers, and was still able to cry which also annoyed the goddess and the citizens of the nearby town. So Ceres made of deal with the tree nymph, she was not allowed to cry, except during the season of spring, in which this whole ordeal took place, when she could let out her emotions without interference. Now, every spring, as Pollena remembers that traumatic time in her life, she cries floods of yellow tears, healing her flowers and bringing new plant life into the world, due to her magical tears flying throughout the Earth spreading her care. However, humanity, not caring about the good her tears do for nature, become irritated, remembering her cries and the great annoyance she caused the world.
Done. No more. This is the last you will be hearing of this Scipio Africanus guy. This last project was a video in which we had to write a script, and create a film with pictures and music. This was not very fun and I found out I’m not great at voice recording. The video is not great but here it is…
In Literature class, we just finished our Shakespeare unit as well as reading Romeo and Juliet. This week and the one before have been pretty hectic with tests, projects, and papers due. But at last, its over and I get to start the next literature project. I did, however, enjoy this unit a lot and I’m pretty proud of some of the stuff I made. The paper below was a assignment we received in which we had to choose one character from Romeo and Juliet and determine if they were connected to the deaths throughout the story. We also compare fate and the character’s free-will in the story and how that influenced their decisions. Enjoy!
Oh, and the picture below is the movie poster I made as a part of my Romeo and Juliet project. I tried to include major thematic elements in the poster to show my understanding of the play.
Fate or Free Will?
In William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, Lord Montague, Romeo’s father, is directly related to the deaths of Romeo, Juliet, Tybalt, Mercutio, and Lady Montague through his neglectful parenting and nonsensical feud with the Capulets. However, evidence of fate’s “helping hand” can still be found throughout this Shakespearean tragedy. When Shakespeare writes “Many a morning hath he there been seen,/ With tears augmenting the fresh morning dew…/ I neither know it nor can learn of him,” he illustrates Lord Montague as being unaware of what causes his son to lock himself away and become depressed (I.i.151-164). This response to Romeo’s depression shows that Lord Montague acknowledges there is something wrong, but he decides to leave his son alone rather than actively pursue the cause and a possible solution to his son’s sorrow. Lord Montague portrays his idea that Romeo must be strong enough to handle his own problems if he does not seek helps when he says “But he, his own affections’ counsellor,/ is to himself…/ But to himself so secret and so close” (I.i.166-169). Some people may view Lord Montague’s thought process as neglectful to his son’s well-being, and they are correct in the terms that Romeo’s desperation ultimately leads to his love or infatuation with Juliet and his tragic demise. However, it is possible to blame fate in the case that in Romeo’s dreadful state of mind, he just happened to fall in love with the first girl he set his eyes on, who later turned out to be his mortal enemy. In the play, Prince Escalus blames Lord Montague and Lord Capulet for the deaths of Romeo, Juliet, and many of his own kinsmen when he states “Where be these enemies? Capulet! Montague!/ See what a scourge is laid upon your hate,/ That heaven finds means to kill yours joys with love” (V.iii.296-298). The Prince calls upon the feud as a major factor in all of these deaths and holds the Lords responsible for not putting an end to this impractical quarrel. With some interpretation, the feud can be linked to all of the deaths in the play. Romeo and Juliet were forced to keep their marriage quiet because of their conflicting heritages, which lead to them to commit suicide in order to avoid separation. Tybalt and Mercutio were killed in a fight over foolish prejudices between the two families. Lady Montague died from grief of her son being banished for avenging Mercutio’s death by killing Tybalt. An agreement of peace between the Montagues and Capulets would avert most if not all the deaths in the play. However, Lord Montague and Lord Capulet do not come to a consensus to end the feud until much blood has already been shed. For this reason and Lord Montague’s neglect towards Romeo’s despair, Lord Montague is connected to all of the deaths in Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet.
This last week was a long one, not much going on with Testing or Project but as we are starting new units there is a lot of new information. I’m so happy it is finally the weekend and my mood improved even more when I was told next Wednesday would be a half-day which is always awesome. Here is some stuff that’s been going on…
Lately I’ve been getting very excited and interested in furthering my Japanese studies and have learned quite a bit of new and useful things. I seem to go through month-long phases of “favorite subject” switching between Japanese (usually) and Latin (sometimes), and now I feel like if I were to only choose one, I would definitely pick Japanese. Last week students from Hokuzan High School in Okinawa came for a 10 day stay in Milton as part of our sister-school partnership. It was neat to talk to and interact with these Japanese students as last year when another group stayed my Japanese skills were not sufficient.
All my other subjects have been going along fairly well, World History is interesting and very easy at times, but sometimes is draining and boring. Latin is going great, still doing more projects… In a couple weeks we will be going to the Georgia Latin Convention one weekend and I’m pretty excited for that. Chemistry is interesting and more applicable to real life during this unit so it’s far more engaging as we are learning about heat energy and heat transfer with problems relating to calories and calorimetry. Math is not my favorite class and this unit hasn’t changed this but its still fine. At last, there is Literature where we are starting to read Catcher in the Rye which many students seem to like but I find kind of off-putting as it seems the whole book is just Holden complaining about the things he doesn’t like. Anyways, school’s been good and my hobbies have been fun but I’m just so glad I can take a break from all that these two days.
Along side Jane Eyre, in Literature class during the past couple of weeks we read a more contemporary novel, Another Place at the Table, which is a collection of stories from a foster mother. At the end we had to do a project relating to the book and I put together a soundtrack for a possible movie adaptation that could be created for the book.
The Beatles – Eleanor Rigby
This song’s main theme is loneliness and despair among other things and often references churches, which reminds me of Gracie and her abandonment and early life before being taken into the foster care system.
Andrew Jackson Jihad – Who Are You?
The song’s lyrics are all about the theme of child abuse and abandonment, a theme at the center of Another Place at the Table. The song discusses neglect and as well regret and loathing of an absent or unqualified parent.
Noah and the Whale – Shape Of My Heart
The lyrics are about the emotional scarring that stays even after the physical damage is healed and how pushing down those feeling only worsens it. This is similar to how every foster child that Kathy took in had problems that maintained years after they were removed from the terrible situation that harmed them.
Tears for Fears – Mad World
I think these lyrics would really resonate with foster kids in general, and can also be applied to those helped by Kathy as well. The words make remind me of the constant changing and moving around of the children and their feelings of hopelessness and sorrow in their chaotic lives.
Muse – Guiding Light
Kathy Harrison brought in the most poorly treated and abused children and was there for them whenever she was needed. She acted as an anchor in their chaotic lives. Guiding Light is about being someone who is always by your side when things are at their worst.
The Shins – Nothing at All
My idea for these lyrics are that they are describing a change of location or belief and the realization that we shouldn’t be bond by our past and instead we should be content with where we are now. It relates quite a bit to the change of lifestyle of each foster kid and their problems associated with their pasts.
Broken Bells – The High Road
This song is about the things that happen in our lives that are terrible (death, abuse, abandonment, drug addiction, etc.) and how we shouldn’t let these things take hold of us, which is good advice to both the foster children (for their abuse and hard life) and Kathy (for her difficult time caring for some of the kids such as Audrey, and her remorse when David’s brother died).
Phoenix – Everything Is Everything
In my opinion, the lyrics are stating everything counts, even the harmful and terrible events. One can’t just erase these memories and move on, they are terrible and shouldn’t have happen but they shape who that person is and it’s part of who they are. Again, this is relating to the foster kids, as they are the focal point of the book, and what they may be feeling about their situation.
And here a link to a YouTube playlist of the songs I used in the Project.