Thursday, June 10, 2010

Money My Motive

by WY

One day I was in my room thinking of a way to make some money to buy some red and black Nike Jordans, because my parents were upset with me and wouldn’t buy them. I called my friend, who had the same problem as me. We were talking and thinking of a way to make some money on our own. My friend kept on telling me that the only way we could make some money without breaking the law was to have a job. I said that we were too young to have a job, but he told me that he knew somebody that would offer us something to do so we could make some money. I asked him if it was for illegal things, and he told me no, so I was like, "All right, man, let's do this."

The man that was about to offer the job came to talk to us and he was he was like, “Are you sure y'all can work hard and fast?" I was like, “Man, I'd do anything for some money right now, because I really want those black and red Jordans. Most of my friends already have them." Then he started laughing at me, but I was really serious about it, because I didn’t want to be the only one around my friends without those Jordans.

A week later we met with the man again and started talking about what we (My friend and I) should do to have the job. He told us that we should talk to our parents first. I already knew it wasn't a problem with my parents, but I didn't know about my friend. He gave us a form that we could bring home to let our parents know that we would be working with him for the next three days. When I got home I showed my Dad the form, and he was like, “Mmm, okay, if you really can do it then you have my permission." My friend had a little trouble convincing his parents, but he did, so we were ready for the man to call so we could start the job.

The man called and said that he changed his plans and we had to finish the job in two days instead of three, because he would be out of town for a couple weeks. The first day we started the job my friend and I were really nervous. The job he gave us was to clean up his garage and put the trash outside. We started cleaning the garage by putting all the stuff that he didn't want anymore in the backyard. We had to take a break every 30 minutes, because we were getting tired and thirsty, but that didn't stop us from getting the work done the first day.

The next day we started working on the stuff that he wanted to keep. We had to put them in the house and make sure they were in the right places. I was working faster than my friend because he was a little younger than me, and he kept stopping all the time to start talking or eat snacks. When we were almost done, the man came and he was watching us finish the work. When we got done cleaning the garage and putting all the unwanted stuff outside, the man gave us 200 dollars each.

I was really happy that I would be able to use my job money to buy my new red and black Jordans that I always wanted, since my parents didn't want to buy them for me. The first day I wore them to school was one of my middle school days when I was really happy.


by PW

Most of my middle school memories aren’t so exciting, but this one is the best! It all started when I was looking in the back of a magazine. An ad caught my eye. It said, “Barbizon modeling and acting.” I went on their website to check them out and find out where they were located. Barbizon is in San Francisco on Sutter St. I sent them my information to get an appointment, and I did!!! When my mom and I got there it was awesome! Oh my Gosh. The first thing I had to do was sign a paper while my mom watched the “welcome” video. After my audition, tour, and materials it was time for the hard part -- the price. It was around $2500…quite a lot. But my experience was worth it.

The first day came and my stomach was tighter than my mom’s wallet. I went through orientation and was told what was expected, what to wear, and how to act. I was so mad that I had to dress like I was going on a job interview. I thought of Barbizon as if it was my job. I always wanted to become an actress because I enjoy it and it’s the easiest thing to me. Before I joined Barbizon I was so shy in front of people I didn’t know. But if I did know you, I’d be crazy. A lot of famous people graduated from different types of Barbizon schools. One of them, Lindsey Fonseca of Desperate Housewives, had graduated from the San Francisco school, and Nicole Anderson from the Disney Channel show JONAS had graduated from Atlanta Barbizon.

The teachers there were so awesome, just like Ms. Thaler. My favorite teachers were Nigel and Sebastian. They were so funny and unique. Sebastian lived in Oakland and went to Claremont! We learned so many different things such as: improv, personalization, conquering stage fright, callback success skills, and script analysis.

I remember when I had my first audition through Barbizon. It was to try and get an agent. It was very fun because I got to talk with my friends that I met on my first day. I felt kind of weird because I was the only black girl in there. Even though I didn’t get picked, I still felt like a winner! Barbizon has taught me a lot since my first day. I’ve learned how to kill my shyness and nervousness. I learned so many new words like: cold read, pantomiming, and go-sees.

When I was there we did so many awesome games like: mirror exercise and sensory work. The monologues were so funny that people in the audience had tears coming in their eyes. As well as my dramatic one from the movie Romeo Must Die. I learned about the Art of Comedy, how to answer hard interview questions, what to do after you get the job, and skills for acting. Going to Barbizon was the best choice of my life!

P.S. Check it out!!!!

A Guide to Two-Faced Creatures in the Middle School Jungle

by CW

Okay, so in middle school, there’s those people who are your friends, and people you’re cool with but don’t really chill with. Then you have those certain people who aren’t your friends. The people who you just don’t associate with. Then you have two-faced people, the people that really piss you off! They talk about you behind and in front of you without caring and they call themselves your friend. Ha! I don’t think so! You might as well write, “I’m fake” on your forehead.

Some people need to learn that being fake and two-faced doesn’t make your life any better. Trust me: it’ll get worse throughout their lives but they just don’t know… they don’t know at all! See, what I’m talking about, they’re fake because they’re absent-minded and malicious, and that doesn’t get people anywhere in life.

A time when someone was being two-faced to me was when this one girl was my friend for like a few weeks. Then she asked me to text her boyfriend and ask why he doesn’t bring her flowers, and so I did, and then he asked me why I was I texting him. So, I told him… well… actually, I lied to him for her and said, “Because I think you should bring her flowers.” So then, he basically yelled at me and told me not to bother him or her. Personally, I think he’s hella dumb for that, but whatever! Two nights later, she texted me saying, “My boyfriend doesn’t want us to be friends anymore.” I was just thinking… What the Hell? Is she serious? But then I thought, You know what? It’s not even worth it. I’m not even gonna waste my time with her. So I said, “All right, bye then.” I was mad about it, but I wasn’t going to let her stop me from living my life. I mean, she’s just a girl, right?

I have other things to worry about. I have to focus on my grades, passing the eighth grade, graduating, making it to high school, and much more. At first I was really upset about it, but then I eventually got over it, I guess because I’m not the type of person to hold a grudge. I feel that middle school is a jungle, and in a jungle you have certain creatures that can bother you in many ways; not just physically, but also mentally. Here’s some advice if you ever encounter these kinds of issues: just try to ignore them as best you can, because if you don’t, things can get bad!!! So be cautious. You never know who your friends are these days. Sometimes even your friends can be mean, but not too mean, just a little a few jokes about you here and there. Just don’t take it too seriously, because you have better things to do.

My Middle School Memories

by BW

My first year at Claremont Middle School was kind of scary because I didn’t know anyone and I did not know what to expect. But then I came to find out that my cousin Jasmine was attending the same school. When I first got there, I was shy, but once I met all of my friends, I became more comfortable. My cousin was in the seventh grade but we still hung together, and at that time we were living right next door to each other, which was very exciting. The main thing I liked about sixth grade was that there was less violence then what there is now. Claremont had a gardening job program that paid $300.00 at the end of the year. Jasmine and I worked together for the gardening program, and then we split the profit. It was a good learning experience for me because now I know what it is like to have a job and get paid for it. Our duties were growing plants, selling products and separating compost, garbage and recycling. That was a fun experience for me.

Going into my seventh grade year, I wasn’t as nervous about meeting new people as I was in the sixth grade, because I was already used to the school and I had a lot of friends. After the first marking period, I unexpectedly ran into my other cousin, Unique. I was shocked because I did not know she was going to be there. I introduced her to some of my friends, we started hanging out, and I ended up having some of the same classes as her, which was pretty cool. A month or two after that, Unique ended up moving in with my mom and me, which was also pretty cool. Seventh grade was a fun year for.

At the beginning of my eighth grade year, I got familiar with my new schedule and noticed that in some of my classes, the boys were separated from girls. Meaning they have an all-boy class and an all-girl class. I personally like the classes better this way, because it seems to me that people are more focused and concentrate more on their work. My eighth grade year is easier than my sixth and seventh grade years, because to me it seems that I am doing better in my classes. My grades are better than what they used to be. The bad thing about this year is that I got suspended too many times, and my attendance is not all that great. That brought my grades down a lot. Another thing that brought my grades down was turning in my work late. Right now I am working very hard to bring my grades up so that I can graduate with the rest of my classmates.

Angelica Walker, 13 Years Old, Finally Going to the 8th Grade!

by AW

Day one, Claremont Middle School, 8th grade:
I feel pathetic because I had to ask for directions to a class that was right in front of my face. Room number 18 is the art room. I was so terrified to walk in that my knees buckled up under pressure and I couldn’t move from where I stood. I remained in awe, thinking about what I was going to do, right in front of the door, for maybe a minute or two, and then the bell rang. I hopped across the borderline of the class. Most people stopped whatever they were doing and watched me walk as fast as my nervous legs would carry me. It’s actually very ironic, you see; when we drove into my granny’s driveway, I was so overjoyed to start school and now that I’m finally in the classroom, I’m cracking under the pressure. Well, anyway, when I sat down across from a girl who appeared to be in middle school, I was offered a seat at a fuller table. (I later found out that the girl who was by herself was a helper of the teacher’s.) A girl at my table and her friend got me acquainted with the rest of their friends. When I got home, I had too much to tell my mother. I guess you could say I was officially excited about school again.

December 18th, 2009, Claremont Middle School, 8th grade:
OMFG!!!! The new kid is just my type and I’m super happy that we go out!!!! I have no idea what is going to happen with me and my other ex but I hope it turns out for the better. Anyway, I think I am going to hang with my new friends today. I’m not sure if I want to or not. They aren’t anything like the other kids I hung out with. I am not sure what to think. Well whatever is happening, I think it’s going well. Even though some people don’t like me at all, I’m still happy about where I stand with people. I have a good feeling about Claremont Middle School. It may not be Hanshew but it’s better than being a loner and everyone hating my guts. And the plus side is that even though I didn’t win the student council president election, I got into the student council anyway! The principal made me vice president!!! Yay!!!

March 11th, 2010, Claremont Middle School, 8th grade:
It’s my birthday!!! Oh, please forgive me. It’s our birthday!!! Julian and I share the same birthday, but I’m 11 hours older than he is. We both turn 14 today!!! Well, even though it’s our birthday, I am definitely not in the celebrating mood. People just have to find a reason to hate my guts. It’s almost as if the world survives to bring down Angelica Walker. Everyone left and right of me are trying to hurt me. I’m not sure what to do because, like I said, I have never had to deal with this and I have no idea how to approach the situation. I think they should disturb me and act really tough like everyone else does. No!!! I’m going to be me and they can just live the rest of their life to hate me until they forget about me or just find someone else to hate and talk about. I’m praying for people, and yea I pray. Just because I curse up a storm doesn’t mean I don’t have a faith or belief in someone.

Today, Claremont Middle School, 8th grade:
Well, it’s official. I stick out in California like a sore thumb. I am nothing like these California girls. I act weird randomly, and they get serious about stuff a lot more than I would unless I got an attitude. They also joke on people more often. I know I’m smart, but I’m too selfish to use it. I can be really cool and impress all my friends but I choose to impress no one but myself. I’m a Yupik 14 year old from the Togiak tribe in Togiak, Alaska. I am Angelica Walker.

My Bad Adventure

by JV

Just because something seems like it is easy to get away with, doesn’t always means it is. Hi, I’m Jorell, and this is the story of how I cut school for three weeks straight. It all started halfway through my 7th grade year at Roosevelt Middle School. I wasn’t doing so well; I had bad grades and always got into trouble. Then one day my cousin almost got into a fight so we cut school and went to San Antonio Park. The next day, we cut again. We were in an alley, and then a crackhead started chasing us with a gun. We ran away and he started cussing at us. We ran to the school and stayed there for five minutes, then left again. After that day we always went to San Antonio Park. We would see my friends and my other cousin (by marriage). It was Diana, Kevin, and Chemrhoun, but we just call him Lucky.

After that day, we all just started cutting school day after day. Diana’s mom owned Lee’s Donuts Shop in High street, so she always came to school with like 300 dollars in quarter rolls-- literally. One day we went downtown and my cousins Nadine and Diana went to the bathroom. Diana said, “Can you hold our back packs?” So I said, “Okay.” We took 100 dollars from Diana’s backpack and took the bus to Chinatown. We went to go eat, then we bought stupid thing just to spend all the money. We got back to San Antonio Park around 2. We saw Diana and Nadine there, and Diana said she didn’t care about us taking her money. I went home that day and thought about whether I was going to cut again.

The next we went to Bayfair Mall. It took like three hours to get there. When we got there, they didn’t let us in. We just bought some Jamba Juice and went back to the park. We went to the aquarium and bought some gold fish, then went back to San Antonio Park. There was a drain and we put our goldfish in there and gave them some food. The next week we went to places like Alameda beach and other parks besides San Antonio.
On Wednesday we went to Diamond Park and we went to the trails. It was my cousin Nadine, Diana, Kevin, Lucky, and a girl named Simone, who we called “Squirrel girl,” and me. We were going through the trails, and we had to hop on rocks and climb over things just to get across. It seemed like forever- we were lost in the trail for hours. Kevin and Lucky had to pee, so they went into the trees, and we waited for 20 minutes and they never came back. So it was just all the girls and me. We started running, and then we saw a noose and a chair, and got scared and ran even faster. Eventually we saw a lady that led us out, well at least to the golf course. Then we saw a man, who drove us back to the park, and we took the bus home.

The next day it was Thursday and Nadine, Diana, and I went to Fruitvale Bart Station where we saw my uncle. He called Nadine’s mom to pick us up. We got yelled at and dropped off at school. We were scared to go in the school because it had been two weeks since we’d been, and it was Friday, so we just stayed at San Antonio Park. After school was over, we went back to Roosevelt and saw Nadine’s dad, who checked our attendance. We ran away and didn’t go home for hours. I eventually went home, and Nadine stayed with Diana. I got in big trouble, then Nadine went home and she got in trouble. After this experience I decided I won’t ever cut school again. I guess you should think ahead about the consequences.

When I Broke My Ankle

by DV

The best thing that happed to me at Claremont was when I broke my foot, because a lot of people were paying attention to me. One cool thing about my ankle being broken was when I got my x –ray, the doctor showed me how I broke my ankle. Then, when I went to the cast room, there were all kinds of colors for casts- any color you can think of! I picked a color that matched the colors in the clothes I was wearing.

When I went back to school, I had no P.E. and I got out of doing the mile run test; that was the best part. I got to be late to all my classes with no consequences, because I had to go slowly on my crutches. Also, I skipped days of school because my mama wanted me to get some rest.

At home, I got special treatment, too. I did not have to clean up my room. My sister had to clean the whole house all by herself. All I had to do was rest and eat healthy. At first, I was really happy that I broke my ankle.

But then I started to miss playing basketball and football and doing other stuff. Those seven weeks of being in a cast were long. When I took my cast off it hurt really bad. I tried to walk, but I could not, because my foot was not used to the ground anymore.

The worst part was when the doctor had to pop my ankle back in place; that really hurt. After I broke my ankle, my aunt broke her ankle in two different places and fractured it in two places. Hers was worse then mine. It must have really hurt. She said she felt really bad, and her foot is not going to heal as fast as mine. Even though I had fun with my broken ankle, I hope it never happens again. It’s a bad feeling.

Ride or Die

by AT

Damn, I've been through so much at this place called Claremont that I don't even know where to start. From good to bad, happy to sad, these last few years I attended this school have been so wonderful, yet so painful all at the same time. To put all the smiles and tears in only 500 words is going to be kind of difficult because I have so many memories from this school. Three years of drama, relationships, friends, fakes... all of the above! I can write every detail of the things that have happened to me at this school over time, but that would be way too much typing.

Anyway, I remember my first day of sixth grade. The reason I said my first day of sixth grade is because I came about two weeks late (I don't even know why). Haha, but as I was sayin', the first day of sixth grade was so excitin'. I wasn't used to going to different classes every period. It was an adventure for me, but I loved it. I saw a lot of new faces and a lot of old faces. I didn’t think it could get any better that day, but if fact, it did. That day I also met Victoria Edwards, who later would become one of my best friends ever.

Summer goes by, then it’s my seventh grade year. I was hella juiced to not be the youngest at school any more. Even though I wasn't the oldest at school, I was still satisfied with being the second oldest. The first day of seventh grade was hella fun. My best friend Angel was at Claremont this year, plus Victoria was there. We hung out a lot and became the bestest of friends. Haha. I called them my “ride or dies,” which to me meant that they were down for whatever, whenever.

We were kinda inseperable by the end of the year. We would meet each other during every passing period, hang out at lunch every day, and chill during the weekends together. We were true bff's. After seventh grade year passed, it was finally summer! Angel and I saw each other almost every day in the summer. Victoria kinda did her own thing in the summer, but we all stayed in contact. Next thing you know, it's eighth grade year!
At last, our time to shine. Man, eighth grade was finally here! I had been waiting for this year since sixth grade. The beginning of this year was so much fun. Finally bein' the highest grade was the best thing ever. But you how it is when you feel on top of the world, there's always the haters that try to bring you down. What I mean by that is all the fights we got in eighth grade year. I mean, we wasn't trippin' off none of that, but it really affected my grades with the suspensions and drama. People were fightin' us just 'cause they wanted to. But we was still handlin' our business. Me and Vikki stuck together at school even though now Angel wasn't at Claremont any more, she had to go to KIPP.

All that happened to us this year over nonsense, but it's good. Now I'm just tryin' to raise my grades up so I can walk the stage for promotion. I'd really remember Claremont after that. I'm going to miss all the good and bad times I've had at this school. I'm going to miss my friends and enemies, teachers and staff, everything. I might front every now and then and say I can't wait to leave, but deep inside I would actually re-live my whole Claremont Middle School Experience! ☺

Middle School Life

by AT

Unlike other middle school students, I didn’t start middle school in the U.S. I started in the middle east of Africa, in a country called Morocco. At first it didn’t feel like middle school in the 6th grade, but when I came back to the U.S in the 7th grade, it did feel like middle school.

I didn’t like 7th grade at all. It was my first time getting suspended, and my first time getting really bad grades. I hated half of the teachers, because they didn’t teach me well, which is why I had bad grades. I told my mom, but she wouldn’t believe me that the teachers weren’t teaching well. I tried as hard as I could, but I still got low grades.
The worst part of 7th grade was when I got suspended because of a fight. I didn’t really want to fight, but a boy got me mad and he grabbed me first, and then I defended myself. When we went to the office, he lied to them, telling them I started it. I told them he started it, but they wouldn’t believe either of us, so they suspended me and the other kid. And that’s 7th grade.

8th grade was a little better. I got suspended for one day because of nothing. Someone thought I was the one who spilled milk in the cafeteria on purpose. My grades improved a little bit.

Then there was this incident about a garbage can on fire. They thought I did it, because I was always over there. I was so mad that I missed a lot of work and my grades went down, and now I have to make them up. I’m still mad about it right now. That’s the 8th grade story. I think 7th and 8th grades were the worst grades yet. I hope they’re the worst, but in high school there might be ups and downs too.

In middle school, I learned three things. First: pay attention to who really is your friend, because they might not really like you. Some people just use you. Also, have at least two very smart friends so that you can get help on something you don’t know, like a math problem. Second: always be respectful to teachers who respect you. Third: never ever ever trust anybody in school, because you will always be disrespected.

I’m telling you this because I went through all these steps, and now I think this will help other students if they follow it. I will, when I get to high school. In the ninth grade I will try my best, and when I say my best I mean the best I have ever done before. So in the ninth grade, I will get good grades, I am sure I will. And when I keep it up all through high school, I will get a scholarship to a good college.

Fresh Meat Sixth Grade

by LT

Ah, the first day of middle school. It was very confusing and embarrassing. It all started off when everybody was in the front of the school looking to see what list they were on. There were advanced and basic classes. I was in 6B ,which was basic, and I thought it was for all the dumb kids.

Once everybody (sixth through eighth graders) got their classes, they went to them. I got lost looking for my first period class, so that was confusing. When I finally got to class, we started on our warm up/do now. I didn’t have a pencil, and when I asked the teacher for a pencil, she yelled at me, which was embarrassing because everybody laughed at me. Then I noticed a girl in my class that I liked. Later on that week I asked her out. We went out for about a month, then I dumped her in Turkish class. After we broke up she held a grudge against me throughout the whole school year.

A week after we broke up, she told all my best friends some dumb lies that I was talking stuff about them, which was very pathetic. So I started to hate that girl a whole lot. Then, in every class, she would talk hecka mess for no reason, and make up dumb lies about me. I just used to not say anything, because it wasn’t worth it, and after a while my friends stopped being mad at me and started to stick up for me. That was very helpful, because I never knew what to say. Every day in P.E. she would always try to punk somebody, so I would just always punk her back.

Then, when I got a new girlfriend, she was hecka jealous, so she would always talk to my girl and tell her lies, like that I was gay and hecka dirty, and she was just a complete hater. So in Turkish class (see the connections?) she broke up with me! Because she thought I was gay! Damn, man, that’s some bull. She basically ruined my 6th grade year. I don’t know what I was thinking when I dated her!! She was the fakest and most two-faced person you can ever meet. She would be your friend one day, and then hate you the next.

Finally, the last day of school, and everybody was outside playing. She called me over toward her, and she was like, “Lawrence, my bad for f^*ing with you this whole year, but you’re still a lil’ b#$*&.” I guess you can say we made up.


by ZS

You know how a dream can help you find a solution in your life? Well, my dream helped me. I was going through a tough time in my life during middle school. I was very depressed. My dream helped me through some of it. It went a little something like this…

I was running from something I could not see. Every time I looked back, whatever it was seemed to be getting closer and closer. I thought that whatever it was was going to get me. I kept running, though. I ran until I almost forgot what I was running for. I started thinking about all the people in my life, good or bad. People who really mean something to me, and people who don’t. I wasn’t thinking about the thing chasing me; at that moment it was like it didn’t even matter. I turned around and saw nothing. I knew that what I was running from, I couldn’t see, but this time was different, I knew that I was okay. I knew it was gone. I was calm. I was at peace.

In the dream, I recognized everything around me. I saw my old music box, the one that every time you open it, a ballerina pops out and it starts to play music. There was my old Barbie house I used to play with as a kid. I never liked Barbies, but my cousin and I would play with them, because she liked them, and I would have fun.

Another thing in the dream, there was fire. The fire made me remember the time my cousin and I almost burned our grandma’s house down when we were younger. My cousin and I were playing with a lighter in one of the rooms, and we were trying to light things up. We went over to the bed and lit it on fire. In the dream, I smiled at the memories I had. Some of my memories were so silly.

In the dream there were also frogs. I remembered that time my cousins and I went to a swamp and got a whole bunch of frogs. We brought the frogs home to my grandma’s, and let them all loose. They went all over our grandma’s house. We tried to catch them, but they were all over the place.

I thought of all the good things that had happened to me, and the good memories I had. I thought of the good times I had as a kid and the good times I’ve had in middle school. My dream started to become blurry. I was coming out of sleep. Then my alarm went off.

I woke up wishing I didn’t. It was time for me to go to school. I hopped in the shower trying to figure out what my dream was about. I came up with this: it’s okay to stop grieving and be at peace. Nothing’s going to happen to you anymore, and no matter what you’re going through now, everything is going to be all right. I went to school with a big smile that day…

My Lesson Learned

by LS

Here I was, back at Claremont in the 8th grade. I had just transferred back to Claremont from a school in San Lorenzo. After coming back from that school, I appreciated Claremont a whole lot more! I had missed the yelling and fighting, and the roasting, but most of all I’d missed my friends.

Back in the 7th grade, I didn’t really appreciate anything. I wasn’t really grateful… I didn’t realize how much I had. Back then, my friends and I would make jokes and just laugh all the time. We would always hang out at the same place at lunch and talk about people. Not in a completely bad way but - well - we didn’t really care, as long as it was funny.

We always had insiders, laughs that you couldn’t understand unless you were in on the joke; people thought we were crazy because all we did was laugh for apparently no reason. All we had to do was look at each other and we would all bust out laughing. We would get high off laughter… I think you get the point.

I can remember the conversation that one of my friends and I had in class one day about wanting to leave Claremont.

“Are you going here next year?” asked my friend, KH.
“ I don’t know, I might not,” I responded.
“Me neither… this school is so… I don’t know,” she broke off. I could tell that whatever she was going to say wasn’t anything positive.
“Yeah, I need to get out of here!”
“I can’t take this school anymore,” she agreed.
“I might go to a school by my house,” I remembered.
“I know, me too! If you see how close that school is to my house you would think I’m stupid for coming here,” she laughed.
“When I first met you, I thought you were stupid,” I joked.
“ Shut up, dang!” she said, but she wasn’t really angry. It was a weird conversation between the two of us.

I didn’t really understand what we ‘couldn’t take anymore.’
Was it the good times we had? Or maybe it was the times when we would laugh so hard we couldn’t breathe and our stomach would hurt?

I think we took things for granted. A couple of months later, after going to our new schools for 8th grade, the only way we could keep in touch was the phone. We didn’t see each other every day anymore; we didn’t see each other at all. We would talk about how much we missed Claremont, and how much we hated the schools that we went to now.

I think I’m the one who missed it the most; I went into a deep depression for about four months. I never thought that this school I couldn’t stand at one point would be the thing that I yearned for most.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that you shouldn’t take things for granted, and be grateful for who and what you have, and how good you have it. Just remember: before you decide you have nothing at all, and no matter how crappy you think your school or friends are, just remember: it could be worse.

Being back at Claremont is a new start for me, I guess. I may not have all the same friends I used to have but I’ve made weird, funny, great new ones. You may think I’m crazy when I say that I’m actually very grateful to be walking among the halls of Claremont Middle School, and I know I’m going to miss everyone when I graduate! I hope I leave a footprint behind…

The Band Experience

by CS

My days at Claremont were stressful. My eighth grade year has been the best of the three, all because I joined band. I learned to play the flute; I’m now good at it, but not that good. I’ve also met new people in band. It was fun because we got to perform at assemblies. They were on Fridays, so we got to miss almost the whole day of school. We would still have to go to 5th or 6th period, but that’s okay because I like 6th period English.

One day- the day before our play-a-thon, which is a big fundraiser concert to raise money for us to go to a contest at Great America- I lost my brand new flute. I was the first person ever to use it. I thought I had left it in one of my classes, but the next day, when I looked for it, I couldn’t find it. None of my teachers had seen it. After school that day I looked all over the school. I could not find it anywhere and I was mad. I was also nervous, because I hadn’t told Ms.Briggs about me losing it. The only reason she didn’t find out during band class was because I borrowed a friend’s flute. Unfortunately, I knew I had to tell her soon, because my brother plays the violin and he would be at the play-a-thon. I couldn’t think of a reason why my brother would be there but I wasn’t, so I knew it would look suspicious.

An hour or so before the concert, I told Ms. Briggs what happened, and she said that someone had come to her and said they found a flute, and she told them to bring to her, but they didn’t. I was wondering if she could remember who it was, or what they looked liked, but I didn’t ask. Ms. Briggs told me to go look for my flute.

My brother said he’d heard that someone had it, so we looked all over the school for that person. We finally found them, but they said someone else had it. I had to go all around the school looking for it again. It was time for the play-a-thon and I still couldn’t find it. So I just went to eat with my friends. Since I couldn’t play in the play-a-thon, I went with some friends who weren’t in band and we went shopping and then to Trader Joe’s to buy some whipped cream. After that, we went back to the play-a-thon to see some of the people in the band and gave them some. The real reason we were there was to pick up my brother at 4:00. Then we had a whipped cream fight. After the fight we went to Dreyer’s for some ice cream and to cool off.

The next day of school, which was a Monday, I didn’t want to go to school because I didn’t want to sit in band doing nothing the whole time. But I went into my class anyway and sat down in my section. When class started, Ms.Briggs told me to go look for my flute again. I was so mad, because I had already looked for it for hours on Friday, with help, but could not find it. I was so mad I was crying. I sat in band with no instrument for a few weeks.

Then I finally got a new flute- at least, it was new to me. I still had a few weeks to learn and practice the songs. Then, one Friday, we had a contest. We played our best and got a good score: an 88. The next week, on Saturday, we went to another contest at Great America, and came in second in both band and orchestra. The orchestra had the highest score they’d gotten in years! They had the same score as the band: an 86. Even though I lost my flute, this year has been a success. Maybe I will continue to play the flute or other instruments.

My Middle School Life

by LS

My middle school life started off well, but I started to slip off my knowledge game by making new friends and not going after school to get extra credit. My mom always says I’m a good kid, but when I get with my friends I act up. I knew what she meant when I got to the 7th grade. But first let me tell you about my 6th grade year.

When I got out of elementary school, I was so happy. During the summer I asked my mom all day everyday what school was I going to. At the end of the summer she finally told what school I was going to. “Candells College Prep Academy.” I liked that school so much, because for some reason at a small school I get stuff explained easier. Every time we had a spelling test in class I studied the day before. Guess what? I got an A+ on every spelling test. I wish I would have kept that habit.

After school ended for the summer, I went to go to a summer camp for this school that I thought would be wack, but turned out to be cool: Oakland Military Institute. The only way you could get into the school is if you passed summer camp without getting five demerits. I didn’t have any. Instead of getting five demerits I got ten merits, which are good. Demerits are like referrals. And merits are like Caught in the Act dollars.

Since I made it through summer camp, I thought that I would have made it through the regular school year. If you had 40 demerits, you got kicked out the school. There was one time when I had 39 demerits, and my mom had to come to school for a meeting because I was close to getting kicked out of the school. After that meeting, I didn’t get a demerit for two whole weeks. At the end of those two weeks, on Saturday, I had to go to this thing called the demerit declamation. What they do there is have you clean up the whole school. So I made through that school year safely thanks to my mom.

My 8th grade year was rocky, because I talked too much and got on most of my teachers’ nerves. I started my school year at the same school, OMI, because I actually wanted to go there again. But the same thing happened as the last year: my grades started to fall, and I had a lot of demerits. My mom couldn’t help me this time, because there was no declamation, now there was detention. I was being lazy and didn’t want to go to detention, because for every demerit you had, it would be 15 minutes of detention, and at the end of a week I would have like three to five demerits. So being lazy got me kicked out, and now I am at Claremont and my grades are still low but my attitude is way better. Now I have to go to summer school. I kept saying I would go after school to make up work for math class and I never went, again being lazy.

Next year I’ll be at Oakland High. I’m going to do all my work and go after school. I learned that being lazy will not get you anywhere.

Cheerleading Memories

by AR

My story begins one day at cheerleading practice, which was held in Antioch, at Deer Valley High School. I liked cheerleading a lot until my coach and I got into an argument. It happened like this: one of the cheerleaders had put a girl up in a stunt at the wrong time, and the coach yelled that the whole cheer squad was going to run around the DVHS field. Their field is huge, about three times the size of Oakland Tech’s. I decided not to run. Then, because I didn’t run the laps, the coach made me sit out for the rest or practice.

The next day, I came to practice again. I followed all the instructions until my coach, Brandi, told me to do the cheer moves full-out. Moments later, we did the stunts, but in a lazy way. So, we had to run laps again, this time in the dark! I started to do it, but soon I stopped running and started to walk. My coach saw me and told me to run, and I just kept walking so then I got into an argument with her. She yelled at me, so I walked away with an angry feeling, feeling like I wanted to slap her in her face.

Brandi turned to her dad and him if she could she kick me off the team. I said under my breath, “I don’t care if you kick me off your stupid team, I never wanted to cheerlead anyway!!!” When it was time to go back to practice she made me sit out on the side. So I sat on the side and was on the phone, as usual. Finally, I ended up apologizing.

The next day, at the game, I apologized again and I still had to run more laps than the other cheerleaders. But, when I ran them it was after the game. The lesson I learned was never to talk back in the middle of a punishment, because it can end up worse than other people. I still talk to Brandi because she's my cousin. Of course I would still be mad if I didn't know her, but since that's family I had to get over it. My other coach, Jovanna, the one who always yells at me, I don't talk to her anymore!

My Birthday in 7th Grade

by AR

Have you ever gone out of the state? I have, and it was so much fun. I went to Seattle, Washington with my auntie over the summer. My birthday is in July. Last year I turned 14 years old, and that was the happiest day of my life at that moment.

First, when I woke up in the morning, I thought that no one had remembered my birthday. Then all of a sudden my aunt walked into the living room and shouted out, “Happy birthday, Sweetheart!” I was happy, but it felt awkward at first, with my aunt calling me sweetheart, but oh well.

Since I was in Seattle, I thought there would be no fun places, like Disneyland and Great America and stuff like that, but I was so wrong. There was this place called Sun Splash. My aunt treated me like an angel. I was so happy.

When I went to Sun Splash, it was awesome. I got on all of the water slides and the water rides. I never wanted to return back to Oakland; I wanted to live and work there forever.

People Talking

by SR

I get tired of people talking about my personal life. Like what happened yesterday was I was tired in class so I left, but then I did not tell my teacher, which made her worried. I be hating when my mom tells teachers my whole life. My mom asks some of my teachers for help, but they do not help me, which makes me mad because it’s a waste of time. Then my mom asked the school for help, like the people that work in the office, and they put me on a contract for turning in my homework. They just kept checking up on me with my teachers, asking things like how I’m doing in class, do I talk a lot, things like that. They kept talking to me and were strict with me and I did pull my grades up. They told me to work then play. I try my best to pay attention in class but I get bored so I fall asleep or I do not listen. For me the hardest things are not talking and getting good grades on my quizzes.

Even though I did not like Mr. Aqeel’s company, he did help me improve my grades. He would approach me at lunch right after class, taking me back into the classroom. We would look for my teachers to find out what homework I needed to complete. Once given, I would be assigned the homework to be finished during lunch. I felt horrible because I could not kick it with my friends, instead I had to go do my homework. My friends thought I was a nerd, but I knew I was a kid trying to graduate! For this reason I kept doing my work with Mr. Aqeel and I started to put more effort in my schoolwork. I am still lazy about doing work, but I do like that I am doing better.

I am in the process of trying to graduate this year. Earlier this year I got distracted and was too talkative to focus on school. Even though I am still getting into trouble for having an attitude and talking back, I have begun to do some homework. I would like to go to Oakland Technical High School next year, but it depends on how I do this semester.

Two Fridays ago there was an award ceremony that I received recognition at. I was awarded three awards including one for English, History, and Physical Education. I was happy because all my work paid off. My friends were jealous because they did not get any awards, and I did. Even though my friends were jealous, my mother and family were proud, including me. I have been through a lot this year, especially in the end, but I am improving. I have found a lot of help this year. A lot of people have spent a lot of time with me, which makes me feel cared about. I have appreciated all my teachers’ help recently, and I really hope I graduate.

Claremont Roosevelt Claremont

by JP

Two schools in one year. How did I ever survive? Going to Claremont to Roosevelt and back to Claremont was very stressful. Roosevelt was Hell for many reasons. I had been getting really comfortable with Claremont, until a situation happened and I was forced to leave.

The first day I went to Roosevelt, I wasn’t really nervous, but my stomach was in knots. New people plus new school all equals a fresh new start. The first thing I was looking at was the boys, and I was really impressed because they were finer than chocolate. I was thinking that the people would act as nice as they looked, but I was wrong. I started hanging with T and D. At first, they were nice, but they would talk about people and act like they were the ones who ruled the school.

I was very quiet at Roosevelt. Everyone would ask me why I was so quiet. I would just respond, “I don’t know, I’m just not that comfortable yet.” I couldn’t be my fun-loving self because of the situation at Claremont. I came home complaining every single day because I hated Roosevelt so much. My dad would always tell me “They were only testing you because you are the new girl.” I would go to school every day saying to myself, “Jae, you only have a few more months, you can do this,” but I would still come home complaining. Finally one day I begged my dad not to make me go to school and he said I could stay home. I was shocked because if I were at Claremont, he would have said no, so I knew something was up. Out of nowhere my step mom yelled, “You’re going back to Claremont!” I was so happy because I had a chance to go back to my old school with my old friends!

After spring break I came back to Claremont. Some people were happy that I was back. Some were mad, but I didn’t really care; as long as I was happy, it was good. I know one thing for sure: I was glad to leave Roosevelt.

Some people at Roosevelt asked me why I left. I always tell them I moved or I just didn’t feel like myself at Roosevelt. I didn’t just leave Roosevelt because I was not comfortable. When Ms. Crockett asked my stepmom to ask me if I wanted to go back to Claremont, I said yeah immediately.


by AP

When I first moved to Oakland, I was only 10 years old. I had just graduated from Cleveland Elementary School, which is in San Francisco. I was born and raised in San Francisco, and everything was there; family, friends, and all that I was used to. I was already making a difficult transition from elementary to middle school, but doing it in a completely different city seemed impossible.

My first day of school was so unreal. Like in the movies, when everyone knows who the new girl is: the outcast, the outsider. Well, I was her, and it was horrible! Everyone was very different from me, their whole lifestyles. The way they dressed, acted, talked was all so advanced. They were dating and going out to parties, while back in San Francisco, my friends and I couldn’t even go to the movies without an adult chaperone. I dressed differently than all of the other girls. They had fake nails, their eyebrows were arched, and their pants were super tight. I just dressed normally, or at least what was normal for a girl my age in San Francisco. I was so different and I didn’t like it. I had never been out of place, ever in my life, and I didn’t really like it. I didn’t know anyone and no one knew me.

Everything was all too overwhelming. I was so overwhelmed that I went to the side of the school and cried. But just like she always has been, my mom was there and let me cry on her shoulder. She told me that everything was all right and that being different from another city was my advantage. She told me that it was okay to be different and I didn’t have to be so mature to fit in, that I could be accepted without being me, or that I didn’t even have to try and fit in. I felt better and went inside.
After that rough start, sixth and seventh grade were a breeze. I made many friends and a few enemies, but hey, that’s middle school. I had two best friends all throughout my two and a half years at MLA. Their names were Juvonna and Eeman. I thought that they were my true best friends, but I soon figured out that they were trying to fit in just as much as I was. One day, all of my friends and I were at second snack having fun and laughing. I don’t exactly remember what happened, but Juvonna’s little sister and I got into an argument, so Juvonna jumped in. Of course she took up for her little sister, so it was those two against me. Even then I didn’t back down, and then Juvonna’s little sister, Jubrille, wanted to fight me. It seemed like everyone traded on me and no one was my friend because everyone was on Jubrilles side; no one wanted to be different and be on my side, because then they would be an outcast too. That’s how things worked at MLA: people did what everyone else was doing, and I can’t even lie, I tried to also. But I was lucky that I had a mom that didn’t let me.

When I got home, I told my mom what had been happening. My mom was so mad that she called Juvonna and Jubrille and told them how mean they were. She wasn’t disrespectful or anything, but she calmly told them not to jump me and that I should fight them individually. I was so mortified. I’d rather be jumped rather than have my mom fight my battles fro me, or at least I thought I would. When I got to school the next morning, everyone was asking me why my mom had yelled at Juvonna and Jubrille. I tried to explain that she hadn’t, but no one believed me and everyone called me scary. I called my mom and told her that Juvonna and Jubrille spread the rumor about her. Even though I refused, my mom ordered me to come home. I was so embarrassed that I went out the back of the school so that no one could see me.

My mom went to the district offices on 21st street and switched my schools. I didn’t go to school for about a month and instead I mainly went to work with my mom. It was fun. I am happy that my mom was there and that she always had my back. I love her for that, and now I see that she was right all along.


by SP

It was March of 8th grade when I head the news: Ms. Thaler, my English teacher, was being fired! This couldn’t happen! Though I would still have her until the end of the year, all my 7th grade friends wouldn’t, and that would be horrible! Ms. Thaler was like the best teacher ever! More than that, she was a friend.

I learned that technically, Ms. Thaler wasn’t being fired; she was being “non-reelected,” which meant that not only was she fired, she couldn’t teach in OUSD in the future, and at job interviews, she’d have to tell her prospective employers that she’d been non-reelected. Plus, the administration, led by our principal, Ms. Crockett, wouldn’t have to even give a reason, because Ms. Thaler was “probationary.”

My friend started a petition to get the non-reelectment rescinded, and I made a Facebook group to help organize it. The petition never got anywhere, but the group members showed how much they loved Ms. Thaler by writing comments on the page and writing touching letters of support. As one of the people said, “She was like my fave teacher last year, she was fun & helped me learn, so why in the hell would she be getting fired?”

In April, me, my mom, quite a few friends, and a whole lot of supportive teachers took the letters of support to a school board meeting. We stood at the stand and poured out our hearts for Ms. Thaler. We talked about how she stood up for us, became our friend, helped us improve, and made school fun. Ms. Williams, the other 8th grade English teacher, explained that, despite being a teacher for a lot longer than Ms. Thaler, she was constantly going to Ms. Thaler for help with her teaching. After the meeting, a journalist from Oakland North, a popular online newspaper centered on North Oakland, interviewed us about our case, and we ended up taking up most of the article on the school board meeting. Things seemed pretty darn hopeful that the school board would supersede the administration and de-non-reelect Ms. Thaler.

A few weeks later, the teacher’s union in Oakland decided to hold a one-day strike for better wages, as the city was spending too much on administration and not enough on teachers and students. Some friends and I skipped school and joined the picket line, then took the BART to the rally in front of City Hall. It was wonderful to be a part of it, and the next day, Ms. Thaler was on the front cover of the SF Chronicle, high fiving a student and wearing her union shirt and skirt that she had tailored out of another union shirt.

However, since that meeting, we hadn’t heard anything. Ms. Thaler told me that, whatever the decision, she would probably be leaving Claremont at the end of the year. Then, in mid-May she gave me the news: the school board had decided to let the administration non-reelect her. But despite that, I’m hopeful for Ms. Thaler.
I’m hopeful because I know that a ban from teaching in OUSD and a black mark on her resume won’t stop Ms. Thaler. No matter what it takes, she will find a way to make somebody, somewhere feel a whole lot better. And hey, their grammar might get a bit gooder too.

There Was A Fire?!?!

by Joey Bagadonuts

When I woke up Wednesday morning, I could feel it in my noggin that it would be an electrifying day. I got out of bed and scarfed down my eggs and toast in a hurry. I ran to school as fast as lightning. I was already down to the last moments before the bell. I was sprinting across the yard and I could see the door closing but I found the last bit of extra energy deep inside me and made it with seconds to spare. I was all set to take my history CST test.

Testing went as I expected. Eyes on your own paper, mark the bubble with a circle, all that jazz. I finished with plenty of time to waste so I decided to take a nap. I awoke to the hustle and bustle of my classmates around me leaving. I figured the test was over. I got up and stretched and went on to my next class. I could still feel that exciting buzz, but I couldn’t figure out why.

When the bell finally rang for lunch, I was going crazy with all that excitement and energy. I mosied on over to the usual hang out to meet Bruno and Stephen like always. Stephen suggested a game of soccer with the seventh graders near the dumpster. It sounded like a good way to release my energy so I accepted. Just before the game began, I could feel the air temperature rising. All of a sudden, someone shouted, “THERE’S A FIRE IN THE DUMPSTER!!” I looked over, and to my amazement, there was! I had no idea what to do. You would think all those fire drills would keep people calm. But can you really expect middle school students to line up and stay quiet while there’s a raging inferno just meters away from them?

When the flames began to grow, I fled the scene like a gazelle running from lions. If I were seen near the blaze, everyone would’ve thought it was me. Meanwhile, others were just starting to notice the fire. People started to run to pull the fire alarm. Once word started spreading, the staff came running over telling people to back up and get out of the way. At this point everyone was going crazy. Everyone was asking the same question, “Who did it?” Somehow still people are asking that question. Who ever it was must have been really slick.

Although that Wednesday was a lot of fun, I still learned something. I learned how important it is to assess the situation around you and decide when it’s a good idea to leave. Even though it was really exciting to see the fire so close, I knew I should get away because things might not turn out very well. If I had stayed and watched the fire and acted immature, I could have gotten injured or in a lot of trouble. I don’t know if this event changed me, but it opened my eyes to what can happen if you’re not careful where you go or what you do during any situation.

My Middle School Years

by AM

It all started in the 6th grade. My first year at Westlake Middle School. On the first day of school, I was so frightened I thought I was going to pass out. I didn’t think I was going to make friends, but I did, thanks to my cousin Aliyah. She helped me make a lot of friends with 8th graders. On the third day of school, I made friends with a girl named Kenyada. She was my best friend. Everyone thought we were sisters. My grades in the 6th grade were good. I always got a 3.0 or higher. My lowest grades were in math. I always got low grades in math, but who cares? I still went on to the next grade.

7th grade was my best year in middle school! I was back at Westlake. I had lots of friends. Kenyada and I weren’t really best friends anymore, because I found out that she had been talking about me behind my back, so I found new friends: Danielle, my 5th grade best friend; Kayla, a girl I just met; and Cartia, my sister. They were my friends for most of the year. As the year slowly went on, my grades went down. I wasn’t doing any work, and I had detentions everyday. [I was BAD!!] The end of the year was the best. I got in a fight with this girl named Alexis. We fought because she didn’t like me, but I really didn’t care. Oh, and a couple weeks before school ended, me and my play sister Jasmyne and my cousin Destiny pulled the fire alarm…hahaha. It was fun at the time, but I took the blame for it and got in trouble. My mom was pissed.

Well, 8th was okay. It’s not my best year in middle school, but whatever. Things started off okay. I thought some people didn’t like me, and I was hearing rumors, but I wasn’t really trippin’. I hung out with the right people, or at least I tried to. I hung out with my best friends Jaeden, Patricia, Jasmin, and Salvador. I could only really trust those people (ohhh, and Tammy!!!) My grades were horrible!! I had mostly good grades but I always got D’s in math. And now I’m ending my essay with a good-bye to my readers.


by MM

You ever have one of those days when everybody at the school gathers in a massive crowd for a simple problem? At Claremont I learned that things like that could happen as frequently as every day or every month. But there are two fights that I will never forget.

So let me start off by telling you that at Claremont, it is always completely chaotic. You see students running down the hallway because they decided to cut class. There are students getting into fights over getting hit with a paper ball. There are people destroying classrooms over lotion. This school is over-the-top crazy. Can you guess what was going to happen next?

The day started out as any other Friday; it was a super long day full of nothing interesting. As I left class I saw everyone start running out to the tree courtyard closest to the school library. I walked out to see everyone in the school in one huge circle. I made my way through the crowd, and next thing I knew, I saw a teacher get slapped. The crowd went into an uproar as three girls got into a fight. One girl took another girl and smashed her head against a bench and immediately everyone went crazy. Then, out of nowhere, someone’s whole head of hair came off and I started to die laughing.

After the fight was broken up, the girl that had lost the fight was extremely angry. I guess it was because she lost a fight in front of the whole school, or maybe it was because her hair was torn off. Then, all of a sudden, Tyrone had picked up the hair cap and started to swing it around like a lasso. My stomach was churning after I was done laughing. Afterwards, Henry did the same thing. My cousin and I heard cop sirens approaching the school. We realized then that it was time to leave. My cousin and I both knew that the memory would last forever. It was a completely unforgettable experience.

After the hype of the huge fight between the eighth graders had settled, it seemed like everything was at peace. Two months later, we got to Ms. Ferrell’s fifth period class. Everything was as usual. A majority of the class was either talking or roasting. Then, out of nowhere, a paper ball flew through the air and hit this girl named Damonea. Damonea was one of those girls that could get set off at any time. So when she got hit, she automatically assumed that it was this girl named Angel. Who, I might add, was sitting right next to me. Damonea got infuriated, and next thing you knew, she and Angel were fighting. The desk tilted and landed on my leg, but I was unharmed. (Thank God!) The fight got wild as it moved from the desk to the front of the room. Everyone was going crazy. Honestly, I was thinking, “Where’s the popcorn?” Then Ms. Ferrell jumped into the ruckus and things got even more chaotic. Somehow she was able to break up the fight but the room looked like a war zone. Everyone in that class had a story to tell.


by HM

Imagine walking onto a stage. There is an enormous flood of light and you are immediately blinded by this immense artificial sun. Then, the second you walk off stage, you run outside and start blowing chunks. That's what it was like for me in my first circus show, "Inspiruption."

When I heard that my circus was going to perform, I was nervous. I had so many anxiety dreams that I started feeling apprehensive about sleeping. I was very nervous.
The weekend of the show came too fast, and we were still making last minute changes. I didn't know what to do. As we sat backstage, my friend Ron would peek out through a small hole in the curtain to tell us the status and size of the audience. The first show went great other then some minor kinks with cues and lighting. Everything went surprisingly smoothly, until the last show.

After our third performance, it was a bright mid-Sunday and just about lunch time. My mom called me to ask if I wanted some food, and I didn't miss my chance. I begged her to go to the Can't Fail Cafe. I ordered my favorite thing off the menu, a chocolate shake, fries, and the mouthwatering, enormous, and cooked to perfection, Mile High Club Sandwich: four stacks of pure awesome piled one on to another.

Without thinking of the show I had to perform in a half an hour, I chowed down and ate the whole thing. Big mistake! As soon as the show started I was already feeling nauseous. I paced in circles trying to calm myself down. I took multiple trips to the restroom in hopes that I'd come back feeling better, but nothing worked. I was in panic. I started to feel a slow rumble in my stomach and my legs started to shake. I ran out the back entrance and puked. Luckily, our second-in-command director, Slater, had some mouthwash. I swished and spit multiple times, and although my mouth was as fresh as a new bar of peppermint soap, my stomach still felt like an acid bath. As much as I didn't want to perform, I knew that the show had to go on. I put on a fake smile and walked onstage just in time for my cue. After the show, when I told everyone what had happened, they completely understood; most of them had been in very similar situations. We went out for gelato, and I even ended up laughing at myself for my nerves. I realized that I always have to be confident. I also realized that I shouldn't eat a monster sandwich with a milkshake and fries right before doing flips in front of an audience.


by JM

It all started on August 31st on a chilly Monday morning: I started my first day of middle school. I really didn’t want to go, but you know I had to go. My first period class was English. The name of my teacher was Ms. Awolana, and she was really mean. I already knew a lot of people that went to the school. My favorite part of the day was lunch, because that’s when I got to play basketball. As you can tell, basketball is my favorite sport. After lunch I had science. My teacher was Ms. Taylor-White, and she was pretty cool. That’s what most of my sixth grade year was like. Then I tried out for the sixth grade basketball team. I made the team, and so did my patnas, Cris and David. That was probably the most exciting thing that happened in the sixth grade.

In the seventh grade, I met more friends and I got a little taller. My teachers were okay; they could’ve have been better, but you know teachers can’t be perfect. I played for the seventh grade basketball team. We were pretty good. My grades were the same as in sixth, and my mom told me that I wasn’t working up to my abilities. My grades were the same the whole year, which was a 2.0. My mom was right; my grades really could’ve been better. My favorite class was science because my teacher taught me a lot about the human functions. 7th grade was an okay year. The most exciting thing that year was that my baseball buddy Henry came to the school. That’s about it for seventh grade.

Eighth grade, which is this year, has been kind of good and kind of bad. My grades haven’t been that good this year. I played for the basketball team yet again, and we did well this year. I like all my teachers. I need to improve by not getting distracted by other people, paying more attention, and doing my homework. This year I had a lot of friends, some good, and some bad, but they were all cool. Now that I’m going to high school, I’m really excited. I’m going to Oakland Tech, and my teachers are preparing me for high school. I want to thank all my teachers: Ms.Thaler, Ms. Negash, Mr. Smith, and finally, Mr. Barish.

Advice With Experience

by JL

James Luckett was a boy with little gloom or glee,
though he was good, his life was long and deep.
His days were boring, long, but true,
he learned his days away and always had a clue.
He stuck to his friends day-to-day like glue.
And he never lied; he always told the truth.
My parents interrogated me
and spoke to me as if I were lazy.
"I was getting good grades,” I told them
but they were still driving me crazy.

James Luckett was and is- of course- me,
who had little glee or gloom
and my 8th grade year seemed to be doomed.
People said I was nice and had good hair, which loomed,
though I had cool grades my conscience ruled.
My school year was pretty cool,
but if you don't fit in, it could be really cruel.
I loved Claremont, all my friends in which I hang,
we never did anything bad or anything to bang.
At the end of the 8th we all gave a sorrow bye.
We were brothers, we were close, but couldn't cry.

So here's a little advice about brothers:
once one leaves, it's law to miss each other.
Never get into any fights that are filled with hate,
just keep your cool and you can graduate.
My friends, family, teachers, and staff,
though they yelled my grades were nothing to laugh.
I've graduated, and I know it's your turn as well.
If you don't ,your life will be a living hell.
You'll be by yourself with nothing but an uncomfortable shell,
and a pit of despair.
Don't end your friend’s relationship, move forward with your life.
Don't back step and end your year with strife.
Enjoy your years, learn, read, write, and remember each step.
Step up to graduate. Don't end your rep.
Don't think of anything as hard, but as a challenge,
see your work as a sign of revenge,
as to doing it well and as your grads last defense.
If I finished in a flash then you should have read this as reference.
As I said before, my time is up
so you take the next step on to a life with love.
Don't get angry when it comes to push and shove,
any type of quarrels will end with leave, no future to love.

This passage I've formed is just a little experience and advice.
Get your life together and put it in a vice.
Someone always told me that we we are all kings,
but we can't be so without marriage or many rings.
Kings rule world round
so as your graduation it is your day to be crowned.
This is the end, we are all kings and queens. But only when failure is an option.
So pick up your life and get your grades together, with A's as the option,
twist them and flip them to end with a caption.

New School to New School and Back to Old School

by ML

6th grade:
In sixth grade I was new to Claremont Middle School. I was nervous and excited at the same time. I didn’t know anybody but my sister Akilah and my neighbor Dequan. I had Ms. Baxter’s math class. We all had to introduce each other and say something about ourselves. Akilah and I were best friends, and then we met a new girl Malieya. We had all the same classes and the same lunch. That year, sixth graders had lunch before the seventh and eighth graders. I was not used to having different classes every period, so sometimes I would get lost. The hallways were so crowded and everyone pushed and shoved each other to get through the hallways, I felt like a pigeon between two crows. I felt like I didn’t matter because the school was so big and everyone just walked past me without acknowledging me. I’m so glad I got through that year.

7th grade:
In the seventh grade I transferred schools. My mom didn’t really like Claremont so she put me in California College Preparatory Academy, also known as Cal Prep. At first I thought it was a school for smart people, but when I got there my thoughts changed. The only thing I was not used to was the uniforms. We had to wear khaki pants and a white collared shirt. I made new friends on the first day. A couple of girls didn’t like me and they didn’t tell me why. I wasn’t going to waste my time worrying about them because they didn’t matter to me. Throughout the year I had been through bad friends and true friends. And I’m glad I had the chance to experience that.

8th grade:
In my eighth grade year I went back to Claremont. I know what you’re thinking, “Why did she switch schools, then go back to Claremont?” Well, that’s the same thing I was thinking. My mom thought it was a good idea for me to leave Cal Prep because there was so much drama. When I came back I saw that a lot of people from my old school went there. I had some of the same friends and I had some new ones. One of my best friends was Aujanee. We were somewhat close and we could tell each other everything. She was one of the only true friends that I had. But now it’s the end of the year, and I’m not really worrying about any friends because I am focusing on my schoolwork. I had some crazy experiences at both of my schools but it was all worth it. I met good friends and bad friends.

Middle School Stories

by JL

7th grade just ended and I am bored. It’s summer and really hot and I don’t know what to do. I have money, so I call my friend Jamar, and he says I can come over his house. So I’m like okay and we invite our other friend, Caelin. So I have to catch BART all the way to Walnut Creek. Then we go to the movies to see something rated R, but I forgot the name. They wouldn’t let us in, so we bought a ticket to a movie rated E, then snuck in.

Toward the end of the movie, my friend’s sister, Latavia, came inside of the theater with her three friends. They were two twins and a girl named Morgan. Morgan was hideous; her nose was gigantic and she was just horrific.

Later on, towards the middle of the summer, the twins did something that I can’t even put on this paper. After that, Caelin, Jamar, and I weren’t even cool with those girls anymore. Then this kid named Nestor started to like one of the twins, and when Jordan told him about what they did, Nestor wanted to fight me, because I’m the one who told Jordan. What I told him was true, though, so I don’t know why Nestor was doing too much. So Nestor said he and his friend were going to jump me, and I said,” Okay then, ya’ll going to jump me, we are going to see about that!” And then I got my friend.

We met by the library, and Nestor had his friend, but his friend was Caelin, and Caelin wasn’t going to jump me. My friend and I were like, “I thought you was gone jump me!” But Caelin was like, “I wasn’t going to jump you.” I was like, “Nestor, I thought you said you and your friend was going to jump me.” Then Nestor started lying, talking about how they were never going to jump me, he was just going to beat me up. So I dropped my stuff, and I was like, “Nestor, if you gone fight me, fight me, but if you aren’t, I don’t got time for you to be wasting with your talking, ‘cause I’m not in the mood right now! So just f***ing f hit me so I can just f**k you up.” He was like, “Dude, can you please just apologize?” I didn’t know why he wanted me to apologize- what I had said was true!

I was like, “No.” He was like, “Whatever, dude.” Then he left. Later, somebody told him that me and some of my friends were going to jump him, but nobody said that, so I don’t know where he got that from, but whatever. His old paranoid self kept his guard. Then we figured out he was trying to bully my cousin, the 6th grader, so we confronted him about that and he stopped. This went all the way until I got into the 8th grade. What I’ve learned from all this is that people can be really nasty. Also, don’t trust everybody you see, because they can be hella fake.

First Fishing Journey

by JL

In November of 2008, I went on a camping trip in Bakersfield, at my uncle’s house. My dad and I got on a train for about a six-hour ride. When we arrived, we stayed at the house for one day, then we loaded up the camper and got ready for the next day. We got to the campsite there were lots of people there, and we started to unload the camper. I was so excited about the fishing trip, because it was my first camping trip.

My uncle is a correctional officer, and he treats me like I’m in the army or something, but I don’t have a problem with that. He says thing like “Move out!”

When my cousins got to the campsite, I had lots of fun. We started fishing, and I discovered that I hate putting bait on the fishing pole because it really stinks.
Later on, we started a fire for the s’mores we were making I wasn’t going to eat them because I didn’t like marshmallows, but I found out they’re good with s’mores. When it got real dark, we lit a lantern that was real bright. I got really bored and just sat in the camper for a while thinking about friends at school, even though it was Thanksgiving break. My dad was talking to me, but I was tired, so I wasn’t listening, and then my uncle yelled at me and almost made me cry, but he was kind of drunk. I was getting very tired so I went in the camper and laid down and thought about the Fishing Derby that was coming up the next day. I couldn’t wait.

At about 3am, my uncle was ready to start up the engine so we could get a spot in a long line of people ready to go down to the river for the derby. There was lots of traffic because so many people were going to try to win the one thousand dollar prize. We were there for about two hours, bored, waiting to start. We were setting up everything: our fishing poles, bait, etc.

Time flew and people started catching big fish, and from that point on I knew it was no challenge for us. Later, I asked if we could go, and then we packed everything up and went back to my uncle’s house. My auntie and my cousin Arian were glad to see us. My dad and uncle started drinking, and then we ate dinner and went to sleep. The next morning we got dressed and ready for our train to come back home. The ride was long and boring, but I was taking pictures of things and thinking back on what I did on my long journey of fun.

April Fools

by JK

It was April 1st and I was walking to school with some friends. We were walking slowly; we didn’t have to be at school for another 20 minutes. Suddenly an idea came to my mind. Why not take a few drinks from Market Hall? It had no cameras that I knew of, and it was always busy enough so that no one would notice, or so I thought. I went in and took a few drinks and went out. It seemed like no one noticed. No one said to stop or to put them back. I quickly crossed the street and gave out the drinks to my friends, saving one for myself. We kept on walking to school, thinking nothing of it.

The first part of the school day went by normally. Then, at the end of P.E., Mr. Lindsay came and talked to me. He said that people from the office were looking for me. I was surprised. I had no idea why they were looking for me. It was as if I forgot everything that happened before school started. I went to my next class thinking about it and wondering why they were looking for me. In my next class, English, we had to do an essay. After the Do Now and a little more explaining about the essay, Ms. Thaler told us to start on it. I had just barely started when Mr. Weekes came in the room and said, “I’m going to need Julian to come with me.” I went numb. I didn’t know what I did to get pulled out of class by the security officer. While we were walking to the office he asked me what I did. I told him that I didn’t do anything. Then he told me that I should just tell the truth to Mr. Taylor and it would all be over with quickly. When I was talking to him it was obvious that he knew I did something, but I was confused because I had no idea what I could have done to have to talk to the vice principal.

This was my first time in the office for doing something wrong. Mr. Taylor asked me if I took some drinks from Market Hall before school started. It was as if he just flipped a switch in my head. I suddenly remembered everything. I told him the truth about what happened while wondering how I could forget all that. He then sent me out of the office and called Ms. Crockett to the office. He also called the owner of Market Hall. When she arrived, she talked with Mr. Taylor and Ms. Crockett. Then I got called back into the office. Ms. Crockett was mad and she told me that I would be suspended for three days and I would have to clean up the storefront for three weeks. I thought that was unfair, because she was suspending me for something that happened outside of school, and she didn’t have the right or the power to try to appoint me to community service without parental consent. Then Ms. Crockett and the owner of Market Hall left the office. Mr. Taylor called my parents. He left a message saying I was suspended and to call him back as soon as they could. They didn’t call back, though, and I spent the rest of the day in Ms. Thaler’s class and left the school. I had no idea what I would tell my mom. For the first time in my life, I didn’t want to go home.