About Nick

hi.

A Quick Recap of the Week

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

Crazy hair 10/10

Crazy hair 10/10

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. :P 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.

LatinCon 2016

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 latin onewere 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 certamenfirst 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!

Letter to the Author

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. 

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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.

Sincerely,

Nicholas Kreitz

Forbidden Love

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.

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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-r and jbeing, 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.

 

The Cocoa Coast

One of the classes that I am currently taking this year is AP Human Geography. I’ve enjoyed this class a lot so far and am looking forward to continue learning so much from it. Recently, we started our agricultural unit, so we will be learning about how agriculture developed and how people shaped around it. To kick off the unit, we watched a short video in class about how cocoa affected the development of the Ivory Coast, and then we were told to write a small summary about the video. This summary is, however, in no way a complete summary of the relationship between cocoa and the Ivory Coast, but it still portrays the major points of the history of cocoa in this nation. Hopefully you learn something new, enjoy!

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Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) is the largest cocoa producer in the world, and cocoa has served as a huge factor in their recent development. The income from cocoa exports stimulated the development of infrastructure and international industry in the Ivory Coast. For this reason, the cocoa crisis in 1986 severely affected the economy of the Ivory Coast, as well as causing political and social turmoil. Because the economy was in shambles, most of what individual farmers produced had to be sold to pay for necessities, but people were still challenged to find enough food to feed their families.

Jobs are not an abundant thing in the Ivory Coast and when the global economic depression set into place many people were unable to find sufficient jobs to provide for their families. One of the main factors limiting the job market was the massive influx of immigrants, who occupied a large portion of local jobs in the Ivory Coast. The creation of new services lead to about 100,000 more immigrants coming to the Ivory Coast. Which of these immigrants, 80% of them were Muslim. And to add to the chaos, these immigrants brought conflict with them.

In 1999, the Ivory Coast had its first civil war, which centered around religious differences between the current population and new immigrants. The conflict continued throughout the next few years and when things finally started to settle down the country remained split in two. The rebel-based Muslims held the north and the government-centered Christians held the south. This conflict has since been quelled and the country remains one for now, but tension still remains between theses two differing populations. And in recent years, the situations of families has improved, as parents can now afford to send their children to receive an education abroad and live a better life than their parents had to endure.

Kosovo je Kosovo

Last week in my AP Human Geography class, we were assigned a project to research a known conflict zone and create a presentation to show to the class. We were given a list of about 40 different conflict zones to choose from and my group and I chose to research Kosovo. I’m fairly certain you are but if you aren’t aware where Kosovo is, it is the disputed territory of southern Serbia. There is, however, a lot more to Kosovo than just being a disputed territory, but I’ll leave the rest to my paper below. Enjoy!

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The Kosovo Conflict has mainly centered around the religious differences of the Serbs and Albanians. The largely Christian-Serbian community believe that the Muslim-Albanian community evicted them from Kosovo, which the Serbs view as the heartland of Serbia. Ever since Kosovo was declared a province under Yugoslavia in 1974, it has been referred to as the “cradle of the Serbian nation” as there are many Orthodox monasteries found in Kosovo as well as the blood of ancestors who died fighting for Serbia there, which gives the Serbs basis for their “ancestral” claims on Kosovo. However, at current times a majority of the population of Kosovo is Albanian, which is problematic as the actual province of Kosovo is found in Serbia.

The conflict itself has been around for quite awhile, but it has taken many different forms. For the longest time, the Kosovo Conflict has largely taken the form of tension between the Serbian and Albanian communities, which still continues to this day. However, near the beginning of the 20th century, the First Balkan War (1912-1913) marked the beginning of open violence involving these two communities, along with the creation of the independent Albanian state. More conflict later followed, such as World War I (1914-1918) and World War II (1939-1945), which eventually lead up to the Kosovo War (February 28, 1998 – June 11, 1999) in the form of direct violence between the Serbs and Albanians. The Kosovo War took place in the Serbian-Albanian area, and the surrounding areas (Macedonia, Montenegro, Belgrade, etc.) as well as NATO were involved.

On February 17, 2008, Kosovo declared independence and has since been recognized as a sovereign state by 108 member states of the UN, but Serbia still refuses to recognize Kosovo as an independent state. The declaration of independence for the Kosovo people is a centripetal force that brings the Kosovo people together. However, the conflict of whom Kosovo belongs to still continues to this day. A common Serbian phrase “Kosovo je Srbija” meaning “Kosovo is Serbia” rallies support for the Serbian claim on Kosovo, while the Albanian and Kosovo communities entertain similar phrases, such as “Kosovo je Albanija” and “Kosovo je Kosovo.” These conflicting beliefs and ideals are centrifugal forces that create distance between these communities and are usually found at the root of conflict involving Kosovo.

This conflict is something that the Serbian, Albanian, and Kosovan people feel very strongly about and it affects them all in many ways. One of the most impactful actions that has been taken by the Serbian community was the massive deportation of Kosovan and Albanian immigrants that had come to the province of Kosovo. This deportation not only affected the immediate areas and relations between these communities, but it also affected many western European countries, as many asylum seekers from Kosovo have illegally crossed into these countries as they have been removed from the place they call home.

UGAMUNC 2016

Last week, it finally happened. The UGA Model UN Conference took place on the days of Feb. 5th – 7th and it was amazing. Unfortunately my partner and I did not win an award during this conference and actually only one freshmen from all the competing high schools won an award at all! I was a little disappointed that we didn’t win an award but that did not stop me from having an amazing time at this conference. It was an experience in itself to imagesdebate the unusual topics of: prison reform, cigarette smuggling, and the illicit trade and use of legal drugs, which are not usually discussed on an international level, with students around the state that share this interest of Model UN with me. I also got to spend some quality time with my fellow Model UN teammates in the hotel lobby at 2 am and then have to wake up 4 hours later in order to make it to the conference on time. So I’d say overall this conference was a success and I can’t wait till the next one! 

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(This was the position paper that my partner and I were required to write from Kazakhstan’s point of view in order to inform ourselves on the topics)

Topic I: Medication Fraud and Illicit Use of Legal Drugs

The illicit trade and use of legal drugs and counterfeit medications is not often discussed on a global level as it is usually overshadowed by the sale of illegal drugs and medications. The Republic of Kazakhstan is greatly affected by the sale of counterfeit medications as roughly 30% of all medications in Asia are counterfeit. As well as counterfeit medications, the issue of the illicit use of legal drugs is very prevalent because of high cost of illicit drugs like cocaine, amphetamines and methamphetamines in Kazakhstan. The cost of these substances severely limits their spread in Kazakhstan. This does, however, open up a larger market for the emergence of homemade products like Desomorphine, which is made from more common codeine medications, or the use of drugs like tropicamide, which is a drug used by opticians to dilate the pupils.

With the illicit use of legal drugs at large on an international level, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) was established to address this issue. The creation of the INCB led to the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988, which provided the legal basis behind the actions of governments to effectively identify and prevent the dispersion of counterfeit medications and legal drug shipments used for illicit purposes. It is also required under the Convention of 1988 that a report be published that contains recommendations and observations about the weaknesses of the Conventions’ efforts. Since the creation of the INCB, significant advancements has been made to lessen the dispersion of precursors (chemicals uses to create illicit drugs) on an international level; however, the drug problem still poses a very serious threat to well-being of the international community.

Even after all the progress made by the INCB and United Nations to help resolve this problem, the Republic of Kazakhstan still views this issue as a severe threat to the Kazakhstani people and see it vital for international community to increase efforts to effectively intercept and contain counterfeit medications and precursors within their state to bring a halt to the illicit trade of these products overseas.

Topic II: Cigarette Smuggling

Cigarettes are ranked as the most internationally smuggled legal substance, yet surprisingly it receives very little attention from the international community. This multibillion-dollar business is traced back to the roots of corruption and organized crime. In addition to costing the international community approximately 40 billion dollars a year, cigarette smuggling is a huge contributor to the growing threat of cigarettes on public health and well-being. As of now, more than 10% of adults die early deaths from cancer caused by active smoking and it is estimated that one billion people, if not more, could die from tobacco use in the 21st century. The large influx of cigarettes through smuggling is the root of this issue and it is very concerning that some of the biggest culprits of the illicit cigarette trade are actually the cigarette companies themselves. Companies like Philip Morris International, Imperial Tobacco, and British American Tobacco produce a huge surplus of cigarettes which inevitably leads to the creation of a many billion dollar black market for the product, which in turn funds organized crime and terrorist groups that pose a threat to international security. It is even more shocking that these companies are able to pay off any country that questions their motives in the form of millions of dollars in settlements.

Despite the huge scale of international cigarette smuggling occurring, there has been surprisingly little action taken by the international community to prevent this. The UN has acknowledged it as in issue in the past, as in their prosecution of the Tribert Rujugiro Avabatwa, an African tobacco magnate found to be funding a guerilla insurgency and committing numerous human rights breaches. In 2005, the World Health Organization drafted the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), a worldwide initiative to curb tobacco use. It was one of the most popular adopted UN initiatives, ratified by 40 different states, but many countries show little concern over the issue and refuse to ratify it, such as the United States. While they have performed a few crackdowns on specific large-scale smuggling operations like this and made feeble attempts to curb global tobacco smuggling, further action is required by the UN to solve this massive problem.

Topic III: Prison Reform

The issue of reforming prison systems is highly complex, as it involves human rights, the conditions of the prisons, health, and many more issues. The nation of Kazakhstan has been a large center for changes in this area, as the country decreased its prison population from over 78,000 prisoners in 2000, to a mere 49,000 in 2014, with only 284 prisoners per prison. Human rights abuses have occurred at some point in nearly every country on earth, and there is no shortage of examples of these. However, it was not until the events of WWI and WWII that international law involving the denial of human rights and political, racial, and religious discrimination came about. For the next several decades, huge changes were made to protect against mistreatment of prisoners and basic human rights, but there were still many breaches of these, including abuses in North Korea, Russia, China, and even in the United States. Today, there is still much need for reform, in areas such as overcrowding, disease, and special populations of prisoners.

As the need for prison reform at the international has risen, the UN has increased their effort to bring to pass these changes by passing several resolutions including the “Compendium of United Nations standards and norms in crime prevention and criminal justice”, passed in 1992, which was updated in 1992 to respond to emerging threats and to stay on top of the ever-changing international community. Within this, four themes for future interventions regarding prison reform were created: prison management, alternative measures and sanctions, social reintegration, and pretrial detention. More recently, the UNODC created the Handbook on Prisoners with Special Needs in 2009, outlining protections and rights for the proper treatment and maintenance of prisoners with a vulnerable status in prison, such as: prisoners with mental health care needs, ethnic and racial minorities and indigenous peoples, prisoners with disabilities, older prisoners, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender prisoners, prisoners with terminal illness, and prisoners under sentence of death. The creation of these many regulations has greatly bettered the global prison situation; but reform is still required in many countries.

The actions of the UN in the past have been highly successful in reforming worldwide prisons; however, the Republic of Kazakhstan believes that prisons should be more secure in order to insure international safety. Not only that, they view prisons as a responsibility of the government, and should thus be handled by the government, instead of being privatized, so that human rights issues may be avoided.

Model United Nations

Ever since I joined the Northwestern Model United Nations club in 8th grade, it has been one of my favorite things to do and it has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. And when I say it is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, I’m not joking. Participating in Model United Nations has helped me progress my problem solving, speaking, and most of all my interpersonal skills. The experience of representing a country, that I might start off knowing absolutely nothing about, and then becoming a player in resolving issues that affect everyone around the world is something that is unmatched to anything that I’ve done before.

But maybe I should start off with a little background on what Model UN really is. The whole basis around this activity is to create an exact simulation of the United Nations with students representing the countries involved. Like the real United Nations, Model UN conferences are split up in many different committees that discuss current topics in the real world. e.g. Security Council, General Assembly (and the different partitions of the General Assembly), Human Rights Council, etc. These committees (again like in the real downloadUN) only work to resolve the parts of these current issues that pertain to that specific committee. So let’s take the topic of cyber security for example as that is a largely debated topic in the UN in recent years. The Human Rights Council would focus more on the humanitarian related issues about this topic, while the Security Council would focus more on international conflicts and related issues. This adds an extra layer of variety to the Model UN conferences as you can choose a committee depending on what perspective you want to debate this topic on. And last but most definitely not least, every conference, you are assigned a country to represent in committee and you must see the topic from the viewpoint of that country. And this is what I think really makes Model UN amazing. You must research the topic and learn enough to be able to discuss it effectively, but you also have to research that topic as viewed by YOUR country not just the United States or first world countries. Then you have to represent your country accurately by what they believe, not just by what your own morals are. For example, if you are representing a highly censored country on the topic of Internet censorship, you would want to try to convince others for more restricted censorship because that is what your country wants not because that is what you personally want. This allows you to view some of the topics you might feel strongly about from different perspectives. This is also helps further your speaking skills as you have to persuade other delegates to see the issue from your viewpoint.

So now that I’m done with that little rant there :P , what I’ve been meaning to say is that next weekend I am going to UGA for my last (and largest) conference of the year. I’ll be representing the country of Kazakhstan in the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime. I’m really pumped for this conference as it is three days long and I’ll be doing something I love from sunrise to midnight almost everyday. I plan to win an award this time, so I’m coming prepared! I’ll let you know how it goes!

 

The Light of the Unknown

As we advance further into our poem unit in Literature class, we have learned more about the types of form poetry. One of the most recent types of poems we learned about was the villanelle poem. This type of poem employs the use of repetition of lines 1 and 3 in the poem to form a structured thought. We were tasked to write one of our own villanelles in class and I have enjoyed writing this poem very much. Enjoy!

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The Light of the Unknown

Don’t fear what lies inside deep space

And miss a chance, you could explore.

All that may be unknown, embrace.

 

Confront the dark with a straight face,

And let her guide, as your mentor.

Don’t fear what lies inside deep space.

 

Don’t be dismayed by false disgrace.

And times of which you ask, “what for?”

All that may be unknown, embrace.

 

And once you feel at your birthplace,

You’ll find the key for that stage door.

Don’t fear what lies inside deep space.

 

And as you enact that coup de grace,

They call your name and cheer, “encore!”

Don’t fear what lies inside deep space.

All that may be unknown, embrace.

 

A Slick Limerick

For the past week in my Literature class, we have been learning the ins and outs of poems. That being the different types of poems, interpreting what they mean, and how they are structured. We just recently learned about meters and stresses and how they are used in structuring a line for a poem. Then after we crammed our heads full of all this knowledge, we put it to use by writing our first poem. We were tasked to write a limerick style poem on any topic we wanted to. This is what I came up with. Enjoy! 

(Disclaimer: I don’t actually hate writing limericks. It just worked with the rhyme.)

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There once was a fellow named Nick,

who hated writing limerick.

He worked through the night

and to his delight,

he thought what he wrote was quite slick.