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Advanced Essay #1: My Role Model

Intro: My goal in writing this essay was to teach someone/people that it's okay to have a role model. However, people shouldn't judge you because they think you have a "crazy obsession". I think that I did well in my essay by showing how my role model became my role model and her story. For an improvement, I should've added more scenes in the essay.

My Role Model:

For people who has a role model or someone/celebrity that they look up to, that’s completely fine. People don’t understand where we are coming from. They think about how we have a such “crazy obsession”. There’s so much back stories to as how they have that role model. That role model could have helped the person throughout their life. Throughout the essay I will be talking about how it feels/how I have a role model.

While, I don’t think I have a crazy obsession but I have a role model. This role model has helped me so much and she inspires me everyday. My role model is Tori Kelly. She’s a singer that has been denied and was told “no” so many times but she never gave up on doing the number one thing that made her happy, which was continuing to sing.

Tori is the type of singer that writes about things that happened in her personal life. She takes the event that happened and turns it into a song. The songs are usually a deep song that you can connect to.

Having a person you look up to is really important because each person has a different story as to how that person is their role model or the person they look up to. In my opinion, I can connect to every one of her song. The first song that I listened to was “Dear No One”. The song is basically about how a girl is done giving up on looking for their “future someone” but she’ll wait for the right guy because she knows that there is someone better out there for her. A friend kept singing and playing it over and over when I was in 6th grade. That’s when I instantly had a connection. I’ve never felt as if one song can change my point of views on things. I was not the type of person, who needed to feel like she’s loved by just one person. I knew that I had that type of love and support from my family. However, I did feel as if I will need to feel this feeling later on in life.

Tori has taught me a lot of things about life. I learned so many things from listening to her songs but most importantly, she released her first debut album this year. Each of the songs on the album is a stage of my life. Not to mention, but she cowritted every one of the song. She has spoken about this so many times in interviews, she likes it when fans goes up to her and tells her that she helped them get through this experience or how they connected with a song or two. After listening to her live performances of her singing “Unbreakable Smile”, which is a song about how the music industry once pressured her to basically do “sex sells”. At that time, she was at a really young age, around 12. Her parents and family always had her back and they eventually stopped being signed with that label. When hearing this song for the first time, it was really deep. She talked about the experiences that she went through as a kid. Now, that she’s older, she’s going to be her for her, not changing who she is for the music industry. This opened up my eyes about the music industry. After listening to this song, I started to see how “sex sells” in the music industry.

There are so many reasons as to why she’s my role model. First thing, as I mention, she’s very hardworking and she never gave up. After all of the denies and no, she still strived to do her best because she believed that there was never a plan b for her when it came to singing. This has taught me to be more committed and to believe that everything happens for a reason. Even if you think it’s meant to be, there’s better opportunities out there.

Having a role model is different for most people. That role model has affected their life in some way. So, don’t judge someone for having a role model because it’s not a “crazy obsession”. It just means that, that person has a lot of strength because of one person that they look up to. There’s a lot back stories as to why or how their role model became their role model. This is about my role model and how she became my role model. I have a lot of more wisdom and better points of views because of her.

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Advanced Essay 1: Kobe Nabried

Days By the Water

Kobe Nabried

Water Stream

[The goal of this paper was to polish and publish a collection of my summer journal entries. In this essay I’m confident that I successfully expressed the way that I felt in a vivid and relatable manner. An aspect of this essay that could be improved is the vocabulary that was used. The essay becomes somewhat monotonous at certain points. ]

The water was clear and calm, as it always was. The few usual patrons mingled with each other underneath of the awning that sat across the pool from the lifeguard station. The shaded area where they sat would soon be compromised by the setting sun. The midday guard had just departed as 6 O’cock rolled around, signaling the end of her shift. The opening guard took it upon himself to become relieved of his responsibilities and left an hour before he was scheduled to. That was the regular routine between the two of them. The midday often did her job as it was to be done. He had apparently become jaded half way through the summer and decided that once another guard had arrived he was not obligated to complete his job.

That was business as usual at this place though. I rarely minded if either of them had left early. It was a slow pool anyway; everyday was basically the same. The midday guards departure marked the beginning of the two hours that I would spend guarding alone until closing time,y favorite two hours of every day. I could finally relax and retreat into my mind to sort my thoughts.

As the last two regular patrons start back to their apartments, I put my earbuds in and let the music bring life and color to the dull world that I live in while on guard. “Don’t want to be an American Idiot!” are the first lyrics that I hear as Green Day’s explosive energy and high speed tempo make their way into my thoughts. The music was rarely on the forefront of my mind though. It had always served as a background for the things that went on in my mind, a soundtrack of sorts.

I sat, thinking and humming along to the next track on the album. “I’m the son of rage and love.” I said to myself. It was as if I needed to be reminded of who I was, and this album always did the job. With all the time I spent alone here at that place, you would think that I’d know that by now, but there are just too many days when the thoughts fail to form inside of my mind, days when everything seems just out of my mental reach. It’s been like this for so long that I have given up on trying to snap myself out of it.

I stood to gather the water testing materials. Guards are often required to test the chlorine and Ph levels of the pools that we are stationed at. It had become a mindless task, like taking a shower, or brushing my teeth. As I dipped my left hand into the cool water I began to question whether or not this job was actually worth it. Yes, it may have been the easiest job that I’ve ever done, but it felt like a waste of time. Eight dollars and twenty five cents an hour never felt so pointless. I reminded myself that I’m just there to make money. That’s what I tell myself every time I question my . But now it just seems like the money isn’t worth it. Forty hours a week, plus overtime. No, it wasn’t worth it. I should be off somewhere with my friends, enjoying the beautiful season of summer, but no, I had become a slave to money. As time slowly crept past 7pm, the thoughts of everything I would rather be doing found their way into my mind: sleeping, enjoying friends, running, my guitar. I could have spent the summer playing guitar, feeling elated the way I did when I played my way through my first chord progression. I vowed to myself that I would not let next summer be as much of a waste as this one had been. After next summer, I want to have fun memories and good times to nostalgically look back on. I think back to the times of excitement and joy. Two feelings that I wish that I had right now.

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Advanced Essay #1: The Beauty in an Imperfect Life

In this piece, my goal was to portray the beauty behind living an imperfect life. Everyone has times where they feel like life gets hard. What separates people is how they react to these set-backs. My main character, Lewis, writes in his journal about his everyday struggles in an attempt to turn them into fuel which ignites him to keep pushing forward in life.

                                                            Reflection on December 31st, 1999

       Current date: January 12th, 2000                                                                        Journal #1        

As I sat in the backyard, I couldn’t fathom what I was reading. My eyes were glued to the hero-like photo of me in the daily newspaper. “Wow” was the only complete english word I could form my lips to say. Was my hard work and dedication beginning to catapult my family and I directly into a life of endless luxury?I felt that the universe was finally speaking back to me with this news article. Those expressive journalist inked the newspaper beside my picture with phrases like “athletically gifted” and “tenacious on both sides of the ball” . In response to this, I felt that I needed to concentrate on living a more focused and positive lifestyle! I decided to start a journal to record my eating habits and things that were constantly on my mind. This happens to be my first entry. My ambitious goal included drinking all water and staying on a strict diet! No candy, chips, soda, or life-shortening fast food!  After an hour of giving the newspaper undisrupted attention, I  laid back on my mattress and plastered my eyes on the walls. The walls were filled with photos of Allen Iverson and Yao Ming. Soon my picture would be up on millions of kids walls too.


                                                                                    To new beginnings...

                                                                                Update on my current life

                                    June 25th, 2000

                                                                                     Journal #2

It’s been awhile since I’ve written… I haven’t been being discipline lately. Just this past week, I’ve indulged in two cheesesteaks, four sodas, three cakes and three bag of chips… I haven’t been feeling too good mentally as of lately. Consistency is something I’m having a hard time becoming associated with. It’s almost like a butterfly. It always seems so easy to catch but as soon as I reach out to touch it, it flutters away slowly giving me enough time to reminisce on the opportunities it would’ve presented for me. The far-fetched “no candy, chips, or soda” mentality lasted two days. On top of that, my brother got shot. I told him to stay out of the streets! It’s a trap! The streets are a black hole. It’ll suck you in if you get too close to it!  I know he takes our dad not being in our life hard and feels as if he has to take desperate measures to provide but damn! He can’t use that as an excuse. I hope this is enough for him to leave this relationship he has formed…It’s a disease that I could see was starting to affect his thought process. As for me, I have to focus on my craft more! I’m slacking terribly. Devastatingly enough, I am only averaging 15 points when I was averaging 23 during last season. College scouts have stopped showing interest in attending my games. Oh yeah, and that melanin goddess, Keisha! Lord have mercy she is beautiful. But I know she’s only here for the ride and a chance to get a piece of the pie. But this pie I had in mind was strictly for my mom and brother to eat. It’s time to get focused! As of right now, I’m going to go sit in the ICU room with my brother. It’s so quiet in there but the air is thick because it’s filled with thoughts of my brother possibly not making it...


                                                                   Be more than exceptional, Lewis.

                                                                   The copying of my father’s letter

   August 13th, 2000

                                                                                                      Journal #3

Hey kid. I don’t really know how to start this letter. I know we’ve never met but I don’t want that to stop us from bonding and building now. I’ve seen you in newspapers lately. I’m really proud of you. I know you’re probably wondering why I have never been in you or your brothers life. I… I… I had other things to focus on. My life was a broken jigsaw puzzle that I didn’t want to piece together. I wasn’t fit to be a father. I didn’t want to risk not being able to provide for you guys. I thought it’d be better for me to just leave instead of adding two more jigsaw pieces to my life that wouldn’t fit in. I know now that that was a parsimonious decision. That’s why I’m writing you now. I hope to hear from you soon kid. I love you…

                                                                 Your dad.

                     Response to my dad’s letter

      August 27th, 2000

                                                                                                         Journal #4

You have some nerve. You write me asking if we could BUILD a relationship between us?! I guess you read about the sneaker deal I signed with Under Armour and that I committed to the University of Kentucky too. Now all of a sudden, you want to be a dad. You’re pathetic. Catch me on T.V.  putting on for my mom and brother.

                                     Enjoy your life.


                                                                                                              Reflection on Life

                                                                                 September 4th, 2000

                                                                                                   Journal #5

My growth has been tremendous. I’ve been meditating, eating well and helping my mom out with the bills. My brother broke off his relationship with the streets. Now he’s my manager.  Life is going great. I leave for college tomorrow morning. I’m so excited! Over the past 9 months, life has taught me that no matter how hard punches are thrown at you, you always bounce back with a stronger game plan to lessen the impact of those blows. This is the cycle of life. Laurie Notaro, an American writer, once saidIf you really believe in what you're doing, work hard, take nothing personally and if something blocks one route, find another. Never give up.” Once I realized that my problems were actually greater than just a road block, I started to connect them to my success today.This is the simple formula for flourishing in life. Despite my brother having history with drug dealing, us growing up in poverty, my dad not being in my life and me struggling with consistency, I still push forward in life to better my families future.

                                                       Thank you for the motivation, Universe!
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Advanced Essay #1: Living a Meaningful Life

​My goals while writing this essay was to convey my desire to do something amazing and my wish to change the world. I also wanted to explain my opinion on the need to leave behind a legacy. I think the beginning of my essay with the memory of the Colosseum was done well. I also think I did a good job of wrapping up my ideas and my essay in the conclusion. I wish I had used more personal memories and scenes of memories. I wish I could add more about how the larger ideas connected to myself.

I looked in excitement all around me as I walked through the Colosseum. After waiting outside in the sun for what seemed like forever being able to finally see the inside of this magnificent structure and touch its ancient stone walls was exhilarating. I knew that thousands of years ago this arena was standing almost exactly like it was standing today, except much newer and less crumbly, but it was almost impossible to truly believe. I imagined that maybe once when there still were Roman events in this colosseum a girl my age stood right where I stood, touched the same spots that I touched, and marveled at this incredible creation. Knowing that this building had been in contact with so many millions of lives before mine and probably millions of lives after mine made me feel amazed but at the same time a little overwhelmed. Seeing something thousands of years old is thrilling and disheartening. You feel wonder and excitement at seeing something so ancient, so important, and so magnificent but at the same time you feel saddened at the thought that although people remember the name of this thing that is thousands of years old, in less that two hundred years it is very likely no one will remember your name.

During my travels I have seen many things that will be remembered for hundreds, thousands of years to come; including the Mona Lisa, the Sistine Chapel, the Eiffel Tower and the David. All of these things will forever ensure that people recognize the names of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Alexandre Gustave Eiffel. Not only will their names be remembered and revered but their work will impact people for thousands of years; their work will amaze people for thousands of years. Maybe sometime in the future their names will be forgotten but if the people of the future ever come across the beautiful things these people left behind they will know that they have discovered not just something beautiful and aesthetically pleasing but also something meaningful. Michaelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Alexandre Eiffel all did something that impacted the entire world. They did things that mattered.

Almost my entire life I’ve wanted to do something that mattered. Not something that just matters to me or just me but something that affects the entire world or nearly the entire world. I want to do something that ensures my name and actions are remembered for thousands of years or at least the next hundred years. When you’re young it’s easy to have big goals and boundless ambition. It’s easy to delude yourself into thinking that you could be someone who changes the world. The reality is that most people go through their entire lives without ever doing something special or unique. After thousands of years it’s hard for someone to think of an original, unique thought and it’s hard to be someone who hasn’t already existed before. Most things worth saying have already been said and most ideas worth thinking of have already been thought of. So, it becomes increasingly difficult for one to do something that is new and important, much less change the world forever. Most people live ordinary lives doing the same jobs that others have done millions of times before and having the same conversations others have had thousands of times before. Sometimes we like to pretend that we are all unique and different but we are lying to ourselves. Most likely there have been others almost exactly like us in the past or maybe in the present. This just makes me want to do something amazing and unforgettable even more. It’s hard to do something original and important but that doesn’t mean we should stop trying. We should never stop helping others and we should never stop trying to do what we love because that is how we can change the world and make an impact.

Sometimes I feel like it’s silly to want to do something more than the ordinary. Sometimes I feel guilty for not being satisfied with my life. I wonder if I should just be happy with what I have instead of constantly wishing for and wanting more. But then I realize that if people were always just satisfied with what they already had the world wouldn’t get anywhere. If Leonardo da Vinci had just been satisfied with a simple life instead of an ambitious life where he got to do what he loved the world would be much different today. Ambition and goals are essential not only to the advancement of ourselves but also to the advancement of the world. So I will never give up on trying to do something special because that is the only way the world will get better. Not only is ambition and the desire to leave behind a legacy essential to the advancement of the world but necessary for people need to feel happy. Working to leave a legacy gives us a sense of meaning and purpose which is something urgently need. We have spent thousands of years trying to find a reason for our existence and find validation for ourselves. We have religions and different beliefs that we have created in an attempt to find meaning but it is not enough. That is why we desperately want to leave behind a legacy and be admired by those who will come after us, to validate ourselves and our existence and to find a purpose in a meaningless and purposeless universe.

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Advanced Essay #1: A Willing Atom

Going into this paper, I had no ideas about goals. I've always struggled with the personal essay, so I began by describing the outlandish porch and front lawn of my grandmother's house. I wanted to convey the strange accumulation of objects that really gives character to her two-story small-town house. I feel that, of all the parts of my essay, that was my strongest piece. I hope that the reader will be able to visualize the house as vividly as I can in my mind. I'd have liked to expand more on my respect for my grandmother and her strange passions.

A myriad of glittering thrift-store finds litters the front yard of 407 E. School Street. Crystal orbs catch the sun and reflect rainbows onto unsuspecting fairy figurines as faded gnomes topple over one another in attempts to reach the safety of the darkness under the porch. A hazard to the inattentive intruder, rocklike plastic flowers sit hidden amongst Buddhas and Vishnus in the 6-inch grass. New age posters sporadically pasted on the front door are visible from the low chain fence surrounding the house. When standing on the doorstep, a woman’s glowing eye watches from above the decorated doorknob, “The World is Waking Up” written on a tarp reaching across her face. Wind Chimes ring dissonantly from the right hand corner of the porch though there isn’t any wind, lending a magical, ethereal air to my grandmother’s house.

There’s no need to ring the doorbell; she leaves her keys at home enough to leave the door unlocked. However, she enjoys greeting visitors as they traverse the maze of objects scattered across the entranceway to the dimly lit living room. To the unaccustomed eye, the cluttered room seems bigger than it should be, given the house’s modest exterior. A cacophony of crystals are tucked between East Asian wall hangings and bowls full of rings, rocks, and beads. Two crystal skulls, one perfect, one slightly cracked at the base, peek their hollow eyes from the crowded coffee table in eerie greeting, offset by the joyous sheen of the large, iridescent crystal balanced atop a silver candlestick beside them.

To question the purpose of this queer collection is to put oneself in danger of an hour-long lecture about the Priesthood of Melchizedek or the awesome experiences she encountered while traveling through sacred ruins in Ireland. Some find it unwise to press her about the labyrinth she attempted to build at the local Unitarian church, or her humanitarian adventures in the Amazon. They dread getting sucked into the world of her new age travels. It’s tough to digest, the multitude of chakras, healers, and lightworkers, and for many, it’s too onerous a task. Understanding my grandmother requires listening and patience beyond the will of most people, but the payoff is worth the time.

Though the shameful superiority that characterizes the spoiled oldest grandchild imbues my connection to her fantastical tales, the beauty that I see in her unfiltered storytelling and new-age ideas is no less genuine. The simple, innocent belief in goodness that emanates from her being is so infectious that her adventures become my own; my dabblings in the strange, spiritual worlds of astrology and wicca are infused with her spirit. When walking along her labyrinth, or watching intricate interlacing spirographs of color float across her TV screen to the tune of sitars and wind chimes, I’ve thought, for fleeting seconds, that I was at peace. It may have been a placebo, but whether or not I actually felt anything was irrelevant. She felt it and wanted me to feel it, and her contagious attitude made me feel it too.

I have been open enough to face my prejudices towards the strange and mystical and learn from new age teachings. In fact, much of my personal interpretation of spirituality and religion comes from the teachings of Grandma Pilar. She claims to be all religions, and to an extent, that I am too. My personal views treat religion as more of a moral compass, allowing me an open minded perspective that exposes me to the diverse disciplines of multiple faiths. Too often are people caught up in the literal meaning of religious texts, and in doing so ignore greater messages of love, compassion, and tolerance. The abnormal represents the sinful; the new is damned. Since our society’s morals are so influenced by religion, this intolerance has become intrinsic to our daily lives. There is no room for empathy and collaboration when people are unwilling to put aside their dogmas and animosity.

Grandma Pilar’s charm hinges on her reluctance to be anything other than herself: her childlike joy, her unquenchable curiosity, and her wacky “eyeglashes” (fake eyelashes stuck onto the rim of her glasses). To accept her requires casting away one’s ideas of normalcy. One must become, as stated in an 8-part audio series about herself, a “willing atom”. It is when we are willing that we can truly appreciate the ordinary beauty of life.
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Advanced Essay #1: Just My Memories

In this essay my goals were to put in words the relationship I have with my mom. I think I did well in putting my memories down and reflecting on each of them. I would like to improve the way I express myself.

The flowers that had no scent, and yet they amused me every morning. Their petals were not perfect, all different sizes and most covered with holes from bug bites. They were taller then me, then up to my waist, and that was a way I remember growing taller. To other people they weren't really pretty, but to me they were special. Every day I would look at them when I came to visit my grandparents. Every time I played in the yard, I would glance at the flowers every once in awhile. There was no special reason, it was more like they were magnets to my eyes. One day when I came the flowers were all gone. When I asked my grandma about them she said: “Oh those, I had no time to take care of them so they all died. Plus it’s not like anyone liked them anyway. ” And it was true, not even I could say that I particularly liked them. They were there and I was comfortable with that. They blocked the sunlight from getting in my eyes when I sat on the front steps. They made fun looking shadows in the moonlight.

I looked at the dirt that was piled where they used to be, and accepted them as a good childhood memory. It’s funny how we remember small things like that, but will never be able to remember all the important things. Not because we don’t want to, but our minds play tricks with our memory. I remember my first day of school, but not my last day of kindergarten. I remember the first time I went to a dance class, but not my first competition. But not all the things I remember from that time were good.

It was the night before Christmas and my mom was making a special dinner. I was in my room, I was 9 at the time, on the phone with a family friend. Then, out of nowhere I heard a loud bang sound. I tell the friend that I have to go and run out of my room. I walk through the living room and see a giant burn on the open door of the kitchen. When I walked in I say my mum on the floor crying with completely burnt hands. They were completely black and to relieve her of the pain she put them in a pot of cold milk, as told to by my grandma over the phone. They then went to the hospital and left me at the house to eat. I couldn’t sleep later, my mom’s pained expression circling my mind. My mom had to get most of the skin that got burned removed and wore a cast for a few months.

It hurt me seeing my mom's pain through my childhood, but that night, I matured a little more then I realized at the time. I realized that I began to feel her pain. The look she gave me, trying to assure me that she will be fine, I could see through that act. Her eyes, as blue as the sky, my favorite color, the color I always wanted mine to be. I think we had those moments because I was her only child at the time, these looks were passed back and forth before. She got surgery on her left ear when I was 7, hit by  a motorcycle when I was ten and 5 miscarriages through a few years. These made me even more mature for my age. That is probably the reason I took care of her and she took care of me. We always told each other everything, so we understood each other better than anyone else.   

I remember that when I found out I had dyslexia and dysgraphia, she was one of the only people who didn’t judge me, even tough learning disabilities are very rare in Serbia, and most times looked down on. When I was little I had bad asthma, for almost 2 years I was constantly sick. I would go to the doctors and lay in bed most of the time. She worked every weekday, from morning to night and still found time to take care of me. I even remember her buying me little presents, to help me stop my bad habits of biting my nails. Every week I went without biting them, I would get a cute bag with a present inside.

My childhood is a braid of memories, all that tangle into who I am, and my mom is the biggest part of that. Just like those flowers with no scent, she is not perfect, but she is special and dear to me. I think she is the best mom ever.

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Advanced Essay #1: Stuck In The System

The purpose of this paper is to tell the world my story about one of the things I love most. There is also a deeper message though. My message to this world is that if you put all your effort into something, it will happen because in a career, you only get out as much as you put in. I believe that in this piece, I did well with making my stories relevant and connecting them with my main message. That was my main goal, to give my message to the world through my stories. I want people to feel motivated to do something after reading this. If I could improve it any way, I would try and make the reader feel emotionally connected with my piece.

  Stuck In The System

Success is something that is earned, it not given, nor is it something that you can take. Since I could remember, I’ve wondered what I would become in the future. It scared me to think about myself having no success, no money, no life. The people of this forsaken planet are stuck in a system put in effect by all major governments. People are supposed to work their lives away but they don’t. Instead, in this generation, they would rather spend their time judging others, judging the ones who decide to work hard and not live in this system...judging the ones who are different and not afraid to be themselves. I call these people with no fear “creatives”.

For half of my life, I was the kid who was consumed by fear. “Gay.” That’s what people used to call me for having a passion for the thing I love most, fashion. I was so badly eaten alive by this fear and shyness that I let people around me stop me from being myself. There were so many hateful comments and phrases that people used to tell just because of what I loved. All the comments started to catch up to me, they began to mess with my mind. To this day I still cannot believe that I let the comments of other people stop me from being connected with one of things I love most in this world. “You’re gay as f*ck for that” they said as my fear was holding me back from replying. I’m not gay and I felt like I had to prove that to them. That day I decided that I would “stop loving fashion”. Instead I would do all the wrong things. I decided that I would dress like the drug dealers because that’s what “my friends” were doing...that is what all the promiscuous young females (who honestly were just hood rats) loved. I would start getting into trouble because that’s what “my friends” were doing and we can’t forget that the females loved the bad boys. When I look back at this, I realize how stupid and immature I was for letting them control my mind with their opinions. Today in society people are bound by a curse called acceptance and it is something I despise more than anything. Everyone is scared to be themselves because they are scared of others will think and I actually used to be one of those people. After five minutes of sitting at the lunch table thinking about what just happened and I turned towards all the kids who called me gay for loving fashion and the industry. I remember this perfectly... “I have nothing against gay people but I’m not gay so don’t call me that. And I love fashion and there’s nothing that you can do about it. Just because I walk in with expensive clothing designed by people whose names you can’t pronounce does not mean you can call me gay. I am my own person and no one is going to change that so why don’t you go somewhere and follow the path that Tone followed and you’ll end up a broke piece of sh*t like him, living with your grandma and selling ‘bud’ on the corner.” Their facial expressions were priceless, and they were as speechless as the teacher standing right behind me who later called my mother telling her that I was cursing at other students.

That day was so very rewarding for me. In the years that came I started letting go of all the fear that was locked inside me. I became a person who was not afraid to be themselves and once that happened I was able to focus on the thing I love most. I put 100% of my time into perfecting my craft and networking in order to begin my career. Finally, everything in my life began to go down a good path after I met Justin Carson. Justin is a creative director for the well known pop culture channel, BET! With him mentoring me I was able to meet famous stylists in the industry and I was able to network with the directors of Philadelphia and New York Fashion Week. I thought about how big this was and how I ran with all the opportunities I received. Philadelphia Fashion Week was one of the more memorable experiences. I could not remember what time I left the house. This was all new to me, I was a shy sixteen year old boy from Northeast Philadelphia. Always working on my grades, that was the top priority for me at the time. But Fashion Week was different, that was my time. I remember getting into my Lyft at 3:30 in the morning. I stood waiting for him for a while but when he was near I knew it was him because he was the only person driving on the road at that time. “Yo man, what’s up?” he said in his Indian accent. “Yo D, I’m cool man how about you?” I replied. D had serviced me throughout Fashion Week, we were practically best friends. “Same place?” he asked. I replied with an excited “Yeah man!” “Kanye West right?” he asked. I laughed and replied with a simple “Yes.”  Kanye West is my role model...he is one of the main reasons why I was inspired to just be myself and put one hundred percent of my time on what I loved. As we made our way to the city, I thought to myself…about my past and how far I advanced throughout my life. Then I could do nothing but smirk when I thought about myself, a boy who turned sixteen less than four months ago is working with the directors of Fashion Week and less than a two months ago was working with a creative director of BET. I thought about how precious of a thing life is and all the opportunities that people get and don’t take. I love those type of people, they make my life easier. At that moment I knew how dedicated I was to the fashion industry. I was going to take all these opportunities and run with them until I am making $10,000+ a month, until I am living a carefree life with a job that I love doing so much that I don’t even consider it a job, but more of a lifestyle. I understood at that moment that my life was going to change and there was no one in the world who could crush my ambition. I became a new person, I became the rockstar that I imagined I would become all of my life and best part of all, I knew that I was an ambitious creative that was no longer ‘stuck in the system’. I was free.

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Advanced Essay: A bad Memory

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

A Bad Memory.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Me- Dad?

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

Lover- Please sir, try to understand.  

Father- There is nothing to understand, please leave.

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

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Advance essay 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Advanced Essay #1: Adults vs. Kids

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Advanced Essay - Matthew Willson

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

Advanced Essay

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Time Flies...

Time Flies…

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

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

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

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

There are six flowers that’s full of sunshine, which all are different colors. The feelings they bring is the order of the colors. The first one is Red which brings the spice out of me, Orange which makes me feel appetising you know like a juicy steak in the hot blazing sun, Green...well green gives me all types of feelings which brings the inner goodness come right on out and don’t think about that as a negative way either because I know you all feel the same way. The next color violet ( is like a light purple)  which contains so many memories which is crazy because of the time being set throughout the times that are just already set around you and for the time being set so slow and pasty we all could/can evolve our memories through this time. The person still went inside my heart for the feelings that I gave her because if it wasn’t for me I would’ve been down to be the greatest there ever was with thoughts and all of that. The flowers, gave them to mom and I let her keep them inside of her big heart and she kept them because she loves me I guess. I went to my grandma’s grave the other day and dropped some flowers off as I was driving away I said to myself why you’d have to go, because I never got to finish my conversation with you. The reasons I feel the way I feel is because I want another chance to talk to her because I didn’t give her all the time I should’ve, I don’t know man I wasn’t expecting anything to happen.
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Advanced Essay#1

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

I feel that I expressed my feelings and emotions well.

I would like to improve the setting a bit.



(Scene 1)

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

(Scene 2)

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

¨Hit him Noah!¨ Shouts mom.

¨Defend yourself!¨ Shouts dad.

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

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Advance Essay #1:Beauty Is Only Skin Deep


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Yeah.” she said.

“That’s all that matters.” I said.

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

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

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

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Advanced Essay #1: Superstitious Sundays

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Advanced Essay #1: Lost and Found

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Advanced Essay #1: All Lives Matter

Zaeem Wallace-Parker                                                                   


English 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Advanced Essay #1: Open Your Ears

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Terrifying. I’ve used that word a lot in this essay. But, I guess that’s a part of getting older and getting more responsibilities. It’s also the part we never see coming. Growing up seems great until you realize your mind skipped some very big, very scary things. Like high school, or realizing that you aren’t the youngest in the family anymore. It’s scary, all of these realizations and experiences, and most of the time, you don’t know what you’re doing. Maybe someday I’ll get the hang of this growing up thing, but until then, just like learning how to deal with little kids, I’m taking it one step at a time.
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Advanced Essay #1 Emotions

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

Advanced Essay #1 Griffin Gallagher

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

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

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

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Advanced Essay #1: Family Interpretations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Family isn’t a word to just describe your sisters, brothers and parents. I use family to also describe my really close friends because, like my actual family, they have been there from the start, failed with me, and most importantly, have succeeded with me.
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Advanced Essay #1: You Can Win The Battle But Never The War of Your Mind

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

“I just feel so numb.”

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

I text back.

Me: Ok

A bubble pops up. She begins to type.

Her: How do you feel?

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

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

The bubble pops back up. She responds.

Her: Oh

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

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

“I don't know."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Advanced Essay #1: Winter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Advanced Essay #1: Invisible Iron Dome

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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