Saturday, May 30, 2009

My Name is Not Jackie Chan

by CJ

When I started sixth grade, I had lived in the U.S. for one year. When I arrived, I spoke only Chinese. I had no idea what anyone was talking about. In sixth grade I cussed everybody out, because they were all talking about me, and I thought they were racist. They called me Jackie Chan for no reason, even though my name is Cheng. I felt mad,and upset.

One day, I could not contain myself. One person was calling my name and making fun of me. I said “What's up?” and other words I don't want to repeat. “Why are you making fun of my name when I didn't even do nothing to you? You think this is funny?”

“Yeah, I think it is funny,” he replied.

I said, “What you wanna do?” We were face to face, and he repeated what I had said, mocking my accent. I felt so mad and embarrassed, because a lot of people were around, and I was different from everyone else. I could not wait to feel my hand slam into his face. I didn't expect myself to fight, but it happened so fast. Before I knew what I was doing, my hand was already on his face, and he came right back at me. Students started to gather around us, and then the principal arrived to break it up.

When we got to the office, we had to talk about how the fight started. Of course, I was the one who started the fight, but I didn't want to admit it. I told the principal how he had talked to me. I felt like I had no choice but to say I had put my hands on him. We both got suspended for five days, and had to call our parents to come pick us up. My dad only has one day off a week, and my mom is always busy. And I knew my dad would be mad.

As time passed, I started to change. I never wanted my mom and dad to come to school again, so I avoided fighting, even when people made fun of me. I would just walk away like nothing had happened.

Now that I'm in eighth grade I'm more mature, and people also make fun of me less. I've made friends who stand up for me, and I can totally control my anger. I think in high school, I'll be normal like everyone else. I don't want to be special, I just want to be a normal teenager.


by noname

Wow what can I say... Three years passed quickly. I’ve done a lot and made many mistakes, but the happy part about it was I made a lot of friends and had some favorite teachers like Ms. Awolana, because she was the one that made a recommendation to get to the summer program at college prep. I had some downfalls with different people because they did not like my attitude. The funny thing about it is that I had tried to change myself into someone I’m not, but I learned that I didn’t have to do that.

Through elementary and the start of middle school I was a good girl. I didn’t cuss, disrespect the teachers, or get lower than a C on my test. I thought that if I tried to juggle both being a good girl and a bad one than it would work out, but it didn’t. I started to cuss a lot and be disrespectful and I started to lie to my parents. I was going downhill because I was trying to be someone that I wasn’t.

My mom especially caught on and saw the true colors of me and she gave me the talk. I started to realize that my mom was telling the truth. I tried my hardest to stay focused and I was doing well for a while but then I started slipping and hanging with the wrong crowd again. Every time that I got my report card my citizenship grade was very low. This time my dad gave me the talk, except it was more yelling than talking. I felt really bad because I didn’t want my parents to feel ashamed of my judgment towards school.

I tried again, and this time I succeeded. I’m going to walk the stage because I have a 3.5. All this stuff that I had to go through made me realize that it’s not about who you hang with, it’s all about if you stay on top of your game and know that your parents are going to tell you the truth regardless. I felt bad that I had to start over and over just to figure out that it’s my education that I’m wasting.

The bright side is that my parents feel proud of me and I feel that I overcame many obstacles that I had to go through. I feel bad for my friends that say that they are not going to walk the stage cause they have a low G.P.A score, and I feel like, wow, that kind of used to be me but not anymore. Sometimes I want to go back to my old days but that’s not going to happen. I’m going to stay focused and do big things.

Soccer Through School

by Jure

Ever since arriving in middle school I have changed. Most of the change I owe to the world’s favorite sport, soccer. When I first got to this school I played on a local recreational team (class 4), had no game and was pretty much a loser. Since then in 6th grade I have grown so much that I now play on a class 1 traveling soccer club known as Bay Oaks United ‘95.

My first year at Claremont (6th grade), looking back on it, I can safely rip on myself in several ways. For example, I was a sucker for grades, I couldn’t get a new friend if I tried and… I’m going to stop there. My soccer team (rec) was terrible, yet I was the star player so I felt somewhat good about it. It was easy enough to realize that I had no chance for advancement on the team. None of the kids took the sport seriously or had the urge and determination to win, not to mention no coaches looking for star players looked in terrible leagues like this. I knew my options and they were Bay Oaks or Rockridge Sting.

I decided to go for Sting. Sting was a small step up from my recreational team because to make the team you had to try out. The team was great for a short period; I was playing great and continuing to rise to the top of the team. However after a while, the team started to get old for one key reason: my coach was getting annoying. He would always take me and other key players out in important situations in the game. So after losing one game where we could have come extremely close to winning I decided right then and there to go to the highest level, Bay Oaks.
That was 7th grade, which was a great year for me. It was when I first realized how to not sound like a total geek/loser. School stayed the same for me, I just got less grade crazy. I was starting to realize that I had a passion for the sport.

I knew that Bay Oaks would be one of the hardest teams to make. It was one of the best teams around and since it was my first time trying out I had no idea what to expect. When I got there, there were tons of scouts all hired to scout us. I was shocked at how we were getting judged by scouts that I was told judged professional teams. After three long tryouts sessions I made the team. I was going to be a player on Bay Oaks United and I couldn’t be happier.

Today my life couldn’t be better. After winning two out of three games in a tournament in LA and still on a two game winning streak I looked back and realized that I had played every minute of every game, I was never subbed out once. I was starting all my games and playing great. At school, life was easy. I never had anything to complain about and I was growing in my skill, love, and passion for the game and in life.


by SH

I can still remember the summer before seventh grade. My friends and I were bored, so we decided to go to Dublin, where we had lunch together and window-shopped.

When we got to the Bart station, my friends told me that they were completely out of money. We came up with a plan to get the money from various people entering and leaving the Bart station. To our surprise, the Bart police came to arrest us. When we explained our situation, they allowed us to call home. Naturally, my parents were very upset with my actions.

On the way home, I became very scared of the consequences I knew I would have to endure. My punishment was much worse than I expected: a whooping. In my anger, I began to scream. That’s when my neighbors decided to call the police. My parents had to go to jail, so I was moved to a foster home for three days. I was then moved to my grandmother’s house. It was a wakeup call to my family.

This affected me in a very big way. It made me realize that it’s very important to think before you act. Now, this event can remind me of the consequences of not planning ahead.

The Olympics

by BH

It all started when I wanted to start playing sports. My dad went to go look around for a sport that I want to play, and out of the blue the next day he asked me if I wanted to play track and field. I said I was interested in the field part of track, where you have to throw stuff, like the shot put and the discus and javelin. So I tried it out, and I liked it.

First had to get conditioned, and that’s the worst part, because we had to run four miles everyday and that was it. Finally, my coach led me over to the pit and said it was time to start throwing.
After that there was a track meet on a Saturday. It was my first meet and I came in first place. When I got home, my dad gave me money for getting in first place! Then I really started to like it. I kept going on and on, winning.

Then I made it to the nationals. The nationals were very hard because there were lots of people there, and they were good, like me. So I had to try to take that extra step of effort if I wanted to win very badly, and I did. When I got back to the track they announced that I made it to the Jr. Olympics. I was so excited!

I got the information and it was located in Florida, so I went with my mom. It was very hot and misty, and there was lightning, but I still won! And that’s the story of how I won the Olympics!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This experience taught me a lot. It showed me that you won’t know if you like something until you try it. I went from just thinking track and field might be fun to becoming an Olypmic gold medalist!

My Years At Claremont Middle School!!!!!!!

by CH

It was my 7th grade year. It was just a regular day in Ms. Ferrell’s class, with me always hiding in the background, hoping that no one would ever notice me, but all that changed when Ms. Ferrell told us that we were going to do a play based on King Lear. When I heard that, I was shocked! I didn't like people to look at me because I didn't feel like I belonged. I felt like I had no friends, and the only time I could talk to people is when I had something they wanted, like gum.

Then Ms. Ferrell told us that we had to do a scene with a partner. I didn't want to because I didn't like the feeling when somebody doesn't like you so they say things like, ''I don't want to work with her.” After a few days, though, I noticed that the person I was working with was nice and she wanted to be my friend. At that moment I was so happy. I felt like I belonged and I wasn't scared to do things that involved me standing in front of the class. In the end I learned that not everyone is how I might judge them to be.

In my 8th grade year, things really changed for me. Some of the reasons were friends, grades and confidence. For example, because of my newfound confidence I have been able to make more friends, which helped me a lot, especially when it came to my grades. All of my friends help me when I miss or even don't understand something. They are always there to pick up my mistakes and help me solve them. One of the things that they've helped me with is my English class, because I had the same class as them, so I was able to get work that I forgot. Because of that I got a B instead of an F, and I got a Most Improved Award. It was a great experience to know that I will always be helped when I need it, and that I raised my grade up with the help of my friends.

Even though I have been here for only two years, I have noticed that all the challenges that have happened helped me to change into a better me. It showed me that things work in a lot of strange ways, because who knew that I could make a friend from a play or have good friends that would help me a lot? I have had fun over my two years and I know I am now ready to face more and accept bigger challenges.

A Brother's Struggle

by DH

Claremont Middle School. I've been here for two years now, and I’m finally leaving in 2009. I've awaited this for so long now, I even kept track of the passing days up until now on my personal calendar. I've been through a lot of exciting stuff in my middle school years but I wonder what it would have been like if I never had came to Claremont Middle School.

Through days, days and days I've awoken in the mornings having a sense of unfinished business, never being able to figure out what it’s about. But I do know one thing, and that is: it has something to do with school. 7th grade was a drag, I got sick a lot and I had a lot of stomach pains so I missed a couple of days from that. I also had severe headaches almost every day and had to go to the doctor for that about four to five times in half a year, but I got the problem fixed with some stronger medicine. Soon I got back in school but then a new problem surfaced: my brother got badly sick.

My brother Simon had to be rushed to the hospital because of his neck pains, which turned out to be worse than I had thought. He was eventually diagnosed with pneumonia, and it was severe, too. I had to miss a couple of days because of this, too. Finally he got better, I was glad for him. Just about one or two months later, just when I thought it was over, my brother got sick again with pneumonia. In fact, he got it seven freaking times all together, all at the age of eight. It’s really unbelievable. So for that I missed a huge amount of days of school, because my dad had to work and my mom had to take the other car and go to the hospital and spend nights with my brother Simon. My older brother and I went there too, but we were not allowed to stay past 8:00 because we were too young.

On the final time my brother got sick, they also had a specialist come in and see him. Since he’d had the pneumonia seven times, the doctors didn’t know what was wrong with him. The doctor told us that a fluid had entered Simon’s left lung and that was giving him beyond severe chest and neck problems. My brother has been through a bunch of things but this is the one that scares me the most. When he born doctors determined that he needed heart surgery immediately because it turned out he had a heart defect. He had the surgery in Spain, because he was born in Portugal, but they didn’t have the technology there. The surgery was a success, but then just about one year later he got some sort of eye infection and he couldn’t open his eyes for months. My older brother, my dad and I picked out a stuffed animal for Simon that he still has to date. He’s a lot better now from that.

So now the doctors are testing him for TB to see if he has it, and they tested him for a bunch of other stuff. A few days later the doctors gave us their final report, stating that the fluid never left Simon’s lung, so they put him in intensive care awaiting surgery. I told him to “Be brave and just relax, we’ll be by your side every step of the way,” just before he went into surgery. The surgery was a complete success. They connected pipes to his side to drain the fluid for a couple of days. People from my school sent him get well cards, and I even think a few teachers did, too. A lot came from his school, also. Days later he was better, up and around walking, playing, and talking. Even one doctor came and brought him a free Nintendo DS and a game. Another let us make a movie together, and while we were filming it Pixar sketch artists and movie directors came and did drawings for us, and autographed them. We also got this really good sketch that’s in a picture frame, and autographed. We already know that its worth a lot of money, but we’re not going to sell it. Simon was getting better than ever, walking, playing and laughing. We got to go to a party and present our movie with other kids who had movies and documentaries. I finally got back in school, but there weren’t really that many school days left anymore.

8th grade went by fast and boring. I was so glad to get back in school to after school P.E.- it’s my favorite class, and I have it this year, too. I am going to miss it, but I can’t wait for high school. All the stuff that happened to my brother over the last few years has really affected me in middle school. I hope he never gets sick like that again. It also taught me that you should love your brother every second you get, because you never know when you’ll lose them.

My Claremont Experience

by Mimi

My years at Claremont middle have been very unusual. I've meet a lot of nice people who became close friends, like Monica Torres, Maalik Evans, Briana Alcorn, Kabrina Woods, etc... My grades have not been so nice. I’ve had bad grades for my whole middle school years and I’m going to try to turn that around. Like I said, it has been very unusual, but a fun experience because the teachers care about my future and I really appreciate that.

I hope I walk the stage because I want my family to be proud of my success. I really want them to be proud because they never gave up on me, when they saw I was failing in school. I especially love family & friends because they have been there for me through ups and downs. I will never forget my experience at that school. I am not sure what school I’m going to next year, but I am hoping I go to a school where I know people so I won’t feel alone. But it really doesn't matter because I’m a very nice person, and I’m very easy to get along with. I hope there are cool teachers like there are at Claremont. My Mom & Sister want to send me to military school, but I don’t want to, because I dress very pretty and they wear uniforms.

I’ve learned that I can’t always do things at the last minute and expect to get rewarded if I don't do what I have to do! I am becoming more responsible, smarter, wiser, and happier because of Claremont. I really don't want the year to be over but it has to end. I’m even going to miss the progress reports, homework, and classwork. I have learned I can’t expect anyone to do everything for me, I got to do it for myself.

Music and Middle School

by Jimothy

Throughout the course of middle school I have changed in several areas of my life. One of the areas that stands out the most for me is music. I have improved as a guitarist, my taste in music has changed, and my involvement with music has changed as well. All three years in middle school came with changes for my music career and me.

Sixth grade wasn't a very active year for me as far as music goes. However, it was the first time I ever played with a large group of musicians (the Claremont Middle School Band). My experience with the band was helpful because I learned how to read music, play with a band, and play in front of a crowd, all essential skills for a professional musician. Sixth grade was also my third year playing guitar.

Seventh grade was the year when music changed the most dramatically for me. My taste in music, involvement in music, and musical skill all changed. Seventh grade was my last year of involvement with the Claremont Middle School Band but was the beginning of my involvement with my own band, The Uncomfortables (previously called Fire the Manager and Bobby and the Uncomfortables, respectively). Also, my taste in music changed drastically during the year. I started seventh grade liking bands like The Red Hot Chili Peppers (light rock) and ended the year liking bands like Avenged Sevenfold and Atreyu (metal). Throughout the year my taste started leaning towards heavier and heavier music.

My final year in middle school was my most successful year as far as music is concerned. My taste in music changed even more and my band began to become more public. Concerning my taste in music, I started listening to even heavier music than before, but I also listened to a lot of reggae type bands like Sublime, Slightly Stoopid, and Bob Marley. My band also played several shows including: Rockridge Out and About, the Chabot Carnival, Ashkenaz, Redwood Day School, the Claremont Spring Fling, and Battle of the Bands. Although none of the shows were paying gigs, we were happy to gain more publicity.

Middle school is a tough transition for everyone, but music was one of the better parts for me. I hope to continue with my band through high school and keep on improving on guitar through the years. Middle school was good overall, but I’m glad it’s over.

Girls, Grades, and Goals

by dcgfour

6th Grade

The first year at middle school was wild. It was stressful with the schoolwork, teachers, and girls- mostly the girls. 6th grade, my first love. She was perfect, practically a goddess. We got together and hit it off, until after the six month anniversary. A week later I tried calling her. She answered but she said she had to call me back. So I waited very desperately for her phone call, but there was no ring on the phone. Next day came, we hugged, and I asked her, “What happened last night?” She said, “I’ll talk to you at lunch”. Lunch came around and she told me she couldn’t do this anymore. It broke my little 6th grade heart. I couldn’t contain myself. I started crying. Yeah, me, I started crying. I was heartbroken. I think it took me about a month to get over her. It changed my perspective about making commitments to girls. It taught me not to jump into a relationship that fast until I already knew a lot about the girl. But hey, that’s middle school. On to the next grade…7th grade!!!

7th Grade
Well, there are plenty of ways to explain the whole vibe of 7th grade. First off, there were a lot of new students that became my friends, such as Mike, Damario, Alphonzo, Michael and many more. There was so much that went on in the 7th grade that I can’t reveal because I’ll probably get in trouble. But what changed my life the most was the fact that I had to do more work, and it helped me realize that even when things get tough, I have to stick it out. My old math teacher, Ms. Chalk, really opened my eyes. She explained that everything that I worked on in the 7th grade is the same thing that’s going to be on the CAHSEE (California High School Exit Exam). And when she told me that, it made me open my eyes and work harder and act more intelligent. And that’s what really put me through the 7th grade. I didn’t really focus on girls that much. I mostly focused on my schoolwork. 7th grade was hard work but there was still much to come in the 8th grade!!!!

8th Grade
Wow. All I can say is: wow. In the 8th grade I was introduced to a very special lady. She goes by the name of Jasmine West. She also attends my school of Claremont Middle School. We hit it off September 12, 2008, and had been going until May but I broke her heart in a million little pieces and I can’t put it back together again. I was thinking of breaking up with her, and my mom gave me some advice. She told me, “If you’re with someone for that long, you won’t know what else is out there. I thought long and hard about that, and then I made my decision.
8th grade also changed my life in the way of responsibility. I discovered that if you don’t keep up your grades, you will feel remorse. Also in the 8th grade I have experienced the greatest teacher on this whole planet and she goes by the name of Ms.Thaler. She has been a really good teacher this year. Even though this is her first year at Claremont it seems likes she has been here for more. So in closing, I would like to thank Ms. Thaler for the best year of middle school!!!

Unneeded Stuff

by LittleBoy5_0

One year ago, during the second to last week of April, I had to switch schools because of what happened one day at a library. What happened that day was something that I will not forget. One day after school, I went with my friend Guadalupe to the Diamond District's public library, and that’s when it happened. I was just walking down the street toward the library with Guadalupe and I saw two girls and one guy. I knew the girls from my algebra class. I didn't see who the guy was because he was wearing a black sweatshirt.

I saw the guy turn to the two girls and I heard him say, “Watch this.” Then he ran up to me, started patting all my pockets, and said, “What you got?” I didn’t have any money or anything valuable on me, so he wasn’t going to get anything off of me. So I just kept walking toward the library, with him following me (Guadalupe was still standing where I had been before).

At first the two girls were just standing and laughing, but then he yelled at me, “B**ch, where you think you going!?” and started following me. Then the girls started yelling, “STOP! LEAVE HIM ALONE!” But that didn’t stop him from doing what he did. He ran up behind me and punched me in my head! My vision blurred and everything went black for a minute, but it didn’t hurt. I almost fell, but I just kept walking to the library.

Some other girls had seen what happened and they kept asking me, “Are you okay?” Of course I was physically okay - it didn’t hurt - but what had hurt me was why the kid hit me. I believe it was because I look white. I get picked on a lot in school because I am part white, and people think I’m weak because I’m mixed race. But I’m not weak; I am a strong person in my perspective. I don’t claim my white side because of those reasons.

An hour after what happened I went back home, and I told my sister what happened. She got really mad, called her friends and our mom. She told her friends that they were going to kick the kid’s a**. My mom called the police. I went with my sister and her friends to the library, but the kid was already gone. They became even madder than before, and we went back to my house, where the police were waiting. I got asked a lot of questions and people driving by were staring at me, which made me uncomfortable. I yelled “Keep your eyes on the road!” which made them all look away.

Then I felt relaxed. The police asked me if I knew any of the people who were at the library. I told them I knew the two girls, and that I didn't know the boy. They asked me if I wanted to go to court but I refused. I just wanted to forget about all that.

Then the police left. Finally the day was over. I couldn't go back to school; my mom wouldn't let me, and I wasn't arguing. I called a friend around 5:00 and he told me police came to school and were questioning some girls (the girls at the library). I said it was not my problem.

I didn't go back to school for a month. My mom was looking for a good school for me to go to. She found Claremont, and now I'm here. I've put the past behind me and I've met new people like Jackie, Kinshasa, and Julian, and I have been enjoying life ever since!

My First Big Class At Claremont Middle School!!

It started at Westlake Middle School. At first I was put in the big classes, but when I started going a teacher told me that I was in the wrong class. They put me in the right class, so I was in the smallest class, but I didn't like it. Then I transferred to this school called Claremont Middle School. I was put in the small class there, too. I didn't like Claremont at first, but then I met this girl named Kenyonna Scott. She was calling me her BFF, which means Best Friend Forever.

My first big class was great because I thought I would never be in any big classes at Claremont Middle School. I got to switch into one cause in the small class I was smarter than that. In the small class there was easy work to do, like math that was so easy. I thought the spelling and reading was easy, too. My mama said that I read really well. My mama’s boyfriend told me that I can read better then him. I'm all like, ok, that's good. At first, the big class was hard because I wasn’t used to that kind of work, but then I got used to it.
by MF

Kenyonna, that girl that I told you about, she is just a ''drama queen.” But she is a good friend, she tells me everything and I tell her everything. We’re supposed to have an 8th grade Dinner Dance, but one of my other friends said she might not go. I was like, “You better go, ‘cause it’s your first dinner dance!” She might go.

Now that I'm an 8th grader I'm thinking a lot about going to high school. I'm scared, I don't know why, I just am. I don't know what high school I'm going to. I might go to Oakland High School, but my other friends might go to a different school, but my BFF is going to the same school I'm going to, so that's good. My mama wanted me to go to this school in Alameda. I was thinking of going, but I would be by myself. So yeah, our graduation is coming up, then summer. So that's it about my 8th grade life and my first big class.

An Ant and Now a Graduate

by Sugar TumTum

When I first came to Claremont Middle School I was a 6th grader. I really didn’t like middle school that much because we had to go to hella different classes, and people were always pushing and playing in the hallway. But even though I was scared and nervous at the same time, I got over it after the beginning of the year.

Then I became a 7th grader, I was kind of bad in the beginning of the year because I didn’t care about doing any homework or going to all my classes. But then my mother told me that the only reason why my teachers were passing me was because I learn differently and slower than everybody else. The reason why I learn slower is because sometimes I don’t get what they are talking about. I’m something like a special kid, kind of, but my mom was telling me, “You need to step it up because I don’t want you to just get passed. I want you to succeed and go to college.”

So when I got back to school for 8th grade, I started trying to get my get my grades up and turn in all my homework. I started trying to get A’s and B’s on my report card for my 8th grade year. It’s not because I wanted to pass the 8th grade- I knew I would pass no matter what, because of what my mom had told me. Instead, I was motivated by my mom’s high expectations for me.

I didn’t do so well in the beginning of the year, or as we say, the 1st marking period. My grades were bad, I had a C- History, D in P.E., F in Science, C in English, and a B- in Algebra 1. My mother was disappointed, so I sat in my room thinking about what I should do to get my grades up.

The next day I was in my classes saying, “I’m going to do all my homework now.” I started doing my homework and handing it in on time, went to all my classes, and went after school for help and stuff. And now I have a B in History, A- in P.E., A in Science, B+ in English, and a C in math. My mom said she was so proud of me. Now that I’m on the honor role, my whole family is proud of me. Now I can go to the dinner dance, the 8th grade field trip, and now I can walk the stage.

My conversation with my mom showed me that instead of just sitting in school, I needed to pay attention and do my work. Her belief that I could do well if I tried made me believe in myself more.

Does Learning Go On At Claremont?

by DD

Have I learned anything in my three years here at Claremont? Well, let’s see … in Math I learned to do quadratic equations, in History I learned about the Constitution, in Science I learned about Quarks, protons and neutrons and in English I read about the Holocaust – all very important and interesting and I appreciate the knowledge, but there are three things that I’ve learned here at Claremont that I think are even more important than reading, writing and arithmetic.

For starters, I’ve learned about empathy. I was in band class a couple weeks ago, a day or so after Ms. Briggs got her wheelchair, and I noticed that Ms. Briggs was having great difficulty controlling the class. As I watched this go on for 10-15 minutes, I suddenly came to the realization that it must be really tough trying to control a class of kids who not only barley ever do as they’re told, but basically don’t care about what you have to say. Because I came to this realization, I wrote a letter to Ms. Briggs to let her know that I think I understand how she must feel when people act up in her class. Ms. Briggs, like many teachers at Claremont, is frustrated because she’s working so hard so that her students will be ready to go on to high school, and what she gets in return is oftentimes inattention, disrespect and apathy. Because of what goes on in the classroom, I have empathy for Ms. Briggs. I wish I’d understood this concept earlier, but I will take it with me to high school and hopefully be a better person for it.

I’ve also learned about compassion. I really feel sorry for many of the teachers here at Claremont because they have to deal with so much every day. I’m embarrassed to say that sometimes I’ve been a part of the poor behavior that goes on in their classrooms daily, but I really hope I’ve learned from the past. I know how hard teachers work – my dad’s a teacher – and I just want all my teachers to know that their hard work is appreciated. My eighth grade teachers – Ms. Cristancho, Mr. Smith, Ms. Negash, Ms. Thaler, Mr.W, Ms. Briggs – they all want to make a better life for their students and it’s just not fair how poorly some of their students treat them. Teachers only want their students to become better people in the end.

And finally, I’ve learned about respect. Many students don’t care about anything and treat their teachers like they would treat a fellow student rather than a figure of authority. Each and every teacher deserves respect because they work so hard for all their students. Not only are most teachers these days underpaid and underappreciated, but they never get a break. It’s always something – poorly behaved students, pay cuts and layoffs. Nobody gives them even close to the amount of respect that they deserve.

Because of the teachers here at Claremont, I’ve learned three very important concepts. If middle school has taught me nothing else, what I have learned is that I need to have respect, compassion, and empathy for all my teachers. I truly think I’m ready for high school now and I have the teachers here at Claremont to thank.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Wake Up

by Jack Cartier

Going to Claremont has served to make me more aware of what goes on around me. At the beginning of sixth grade, I was under the impression that every little boy and girl had a nice mommy and daddy to go home to every night. Obviously, I was very sheltered. I was severely antisocial, so I didn’t really have many interactions with people. When my friend told me in sixth grade that his dad had just gone to jail, I was skeptical. After all, doesn’t that stuff only happen to people you don’t know? Isn’t it only the “bad guys” that go to jail? That was when I first learned about courtrooms and people telling lies on the witness stand.

Then one day in seventh grade, my friend Jacob was looking very upset. When I asked him what the matter was, he told me that his brother had just been killed. It was the first time I had ever heard of someone I had connections with dying. This was new. Now I knew that killing wasn’t something you only read about in the newspapers. I began to rethink the whole nice mommy and daddy idea.

In eighth grade, I got Ms. Thaler for English. After I finished my Literature Circles book, The Book Thief, she recommended the Freedom Writers book to me. There were lots of stories of kids in trouble, abusive parents, alcoholism, addiction issues, and other stories of hardship. It made a huge impact on me. I know those kids were in Los Angeles, but it still made me think about what might be happening to some of my friends. I know for a fact at least some of them have serious issues at home. It’s what people don’t tell that can be the worst.

A few weeks ago, my family and I went to dinner with my friend, Malek, and one of our old classmates that I hadn’t seen in five years. During the conversation, I realized that staying with the same thirty people for nine years had not done much for their social awareness. I gradually realized that, before that night, they had never heard the word “bruh!” Apparently, all the things that I now considered normal hadn’t caught on at the French school. In the conversation, Lauren told me that Zoe, another classmate, would be the one person from my old school going to Oakland Tech. Malek and Lauren told me she was even more “innocent” than they were. Thanks to the Freedom Writers and the dinner, I now understand a lot about what goes on around me.


by PE09

Playing basketball is one of the best feelings I’ve ever had. When I’m out on the court I feel like all my problems are gone and no one can stop me. Since I have been on my school’s basketball team and played in real games there are no words that can express my feelings for the game. My first year playing for my school’s basketball team, I was kind of nervous because I didn’t know what to expect. The first game I felt like throwing up, because I had never played in an actual league game. That game I had six points, six assists, and four rebounds. We finished that season 8-1 and it taught me to be dedicated to basketball because I could have a future in hoop. That year our leading scorers were Josh, Jeremiah and me.

Seventh grade was a mediocre year basketball wise. I had a new career high of eleven points. During that season our worst record was 2-3 but we managed to bounce back and forge a 5-3 record. That season taught me teamwork because I had a career high in assists. Plus it was my first season without my co-stars Josh, whose grades were bad, and Jeremiah, who broke his leg playing football right before the basketball season started. However, we got some acquisitions by the names of De’Markus Williams, Mike Lusk, Derian Higginbotham and Brennan Mauchline. They helped us keep the dream alive for winning a championship.

Our eighth grade campaign was not so great. We started off the season in the Christmas tournament, where we played Elmhurst. They weren’t much of a challenge. Our next game was against Bret Harte and we demolished them in four quarters of non-stop pressure defense. Our last tournament game was against Montera and they murdered us 69-33. I was mad but we won our first game in a fourth quarter comeback against DBC. After that we lost six of our last seven games. This season taught me perseverance because as much as that hurt I kept going on.

This year we had a dream team of players. We had Jeremiah, De’Markus, Clarence, Brandon Slaughter, Kyle, Mike Lusk, Devin, Brennan, Bobby, Derian, and me. Yet we were unable to win more than two games. I cannot believe that bull. We should have won every game this year! I’m highly disappointed in the team because we had the talent, yet we lost. This season taught me that you can’t predict the outcome of everything. There is much room for improvement and if we want to get better we need to train a lot more. Even though we won’t be a team anymore, I hope we can improve and get better as individuals as time goes on. But only time will tell….

All About Me

by AC, as told to mylife_247 and MS

Hi, my name is Adrian Carbajal, I am 15 years old. I have two younger sisters named Sabrina and Elexis. My sisters get on my nerves sometimes. I am from east Oakland in California. I like Claremont Middle School, it is awesome. I have been to Six Flags, it is fun. I am going to Oakland High School, I am not excited about it though.

I have changed a lot, I have made new friends. I don’t like P.E. but I love to go shopping for new clothes, but not for shoes because I have cerebral palsy and I don’t like to wear them. I like Sean John shirts and I like Ed Hardy. I like listening to hip-hop and rap. I’m a gangsta at heart. I wanna be a rapper.

I like all types of girls. I want to go to college. I want to take a vacation to Mexico. I like playing on the computer and listening to my iPod.

My Life at Claremont

by Tu-tuBabie

My life in middle school obviously starts in the 6th grade at Claremont Middle School. This experience that I am going to tell you about is how my life changed and how it turned out the way I am now. It all started in May of 2006, a month after my niece was born. My closest brother went to jail. When I found this out I was heartbroken and angry. I felt that there was no one there for me. Everybody was angry at anybody who asked how it happened.

My 7th grade year, after that incident happened, I was building up a lot of anger. This anger affected my grades because I was getting F's and D's. Then, towards the end of the year, in October, I got tired of people talking to me the way they wanted to, so one day I had a fight with this girl. This girl was playing around with my friend and he told me to go get his hat back for him. So I ran after her and got the hat back. The next thing you know she was talking about me behind my back so I confronted her. Then she started calling me out of my name and she said she wanted to fight me. We had fought after school, then we got suspended, and when I told my mom she was very disappointed. My mom told my brother that was in jail and he laughed, but I didn't want him to know because I didn't want him to get mad or worry about me that much in a bad way. After all of that I just started getting an attitude with everybody.

This year my grades have been high and low, and I've been having a lot of arguments with a lot of girls. For the whole school year I’ve been working on learning how to hold my temper and control my attitude and anger. I also learned that I shouldn't listen to what anybody says except the people I am very close with. My brother affected me because we are really close. I feel like if he goes through something I also have to go through the same thing. Like now, when I go home, I can't stay home for that long because I'm used to my brother being there. We always used to have a lot of fun together. I try my best to stay at home with my mom, but I always start to cry because he isn't there. This fall when I go to the 9th grade, I know there is going to be a lot of girl drama and boy trouble. I know what I have to go through will be much worse than middle school, and my goal is not to listen to what other people say.

Life Playing Basketball

by Ary

In the beginning of 8th grade I got into basketball, because all my friends told me to. I didn't want to because last year I got hurt and couldn't play. So this year I tried out and I was happy I made it. I played three games and then got benched because I was ineligible. When my coach, Ms. Doubley, told me that I was so mad at myself, because I had a 1.75, so close to the 2.0 I needed in order to play. The next game my team lost, and at that point in time I got myself and my grades together. I never wanted to get benched again, but that didn't seem to work out.

The third marking period I got benched again... I got in so much trouble! My mom was so worried. She asked me, “Do you care if you graduate or not?” Right then and there I had a lot of things on my shoulders, but I knew the first step was doing well on my tests and turning in my homework. So what I did was try to get a C+ in almost all my classes. I almost got a 3.00 but didn’t quite.

Basketball has had a major impact on my life, I never thought that I was going to get good grades, because a lot of people said that I was going to fail in most of my classes, but I didn’t listen to them and I got a 2.75. I’ve had a great year mainly because of basketball, because it’s taught me so many things, like responsibility, and organization.

I play basketball every day now, and I will never forget how not caring about my grades can affect what I want to do and what I need to do. The reason why I play basketball now is because it will keep me on track. My friends, mom, and basketball coach are happy because I did well on my studies.

Now I need to make sure that I am organized and turn in all of my work. My goal for high school is to have a 3.50 and higher, because I don’t want to stop playing basketball. I love the sport and I’m good at it so I just need to make sure I get into a great high school that will keep me on track and help me with my studies.

A Stroll Down Memory Lane

by Super B@d

I have many middle school memories. It all started on the day of August 28, 2006, the first day of 6th grade. That was the day I met my three best friends, Madi, Andria, and Kareema. Madi and I met in Ms.Taylor-White's class. I knew Madi and I were going to be best friends because we always hung out at school. Kareema and I met in math class. At first we didn't really get along but then we worked out our differences. I also met Andria in math class and I knew immediately that we would be very good friends. All of us have been best friends since that day and I believe we will always be best friends.

In middle school I have had many experiences that have made me more mature. The first is when my sister first started school, because I had to pick her up from school and help her with her homework when my mom was busy. It was hard because she wasn’t really listening. She didn’t want to do her work at times too. This helped me to see how my mom felt and how hard it is to multi-task.

At first when I started middle school, my GPA was very low. I was worried I wouldn't get to go to the next grade, but I just barely got promoted each year. When I got to eighth grade, I got to take a new class called AVID. I chose to take AVID because Mr. Smith, the AVID teacher, said it would help us do better in our other classes. I'm glad I did that because it helped me to bring my GPA up. Another thing I've enjoyed about being in eighth grade is that I get to graduate and go to a new school next year, and since I've been taking AVID, my GPA has been higher and I haven't had to worry about whether I'll pass or not.

Overall, middle school has helped me make new friends. It's also made me more mature and made me focus more on my grades. I am glad that I got to spend the last three years at Claremont and I am also happy I made a lot of lifelong friends.


by MB

All of my middle school life I’ve always had a title. I have been known as The Jerk, The Bully, The Weirdo, The Gross Guy, The Emo Period Guy, and/or The Fat A**hole. Some of my names weren’t all bad though. Some people call me The Laf, MB, BiggMike, MikeB., and/or The Brownie.

In sixth grade I was always known as The Boy Who Will Eat Anything. It really hurt me because I liked to try different food combos and experiments. That followed me into seventh and eighth grade. I tried to be funny and got named.

I’ve always gotten in trouble for my attitude and behavior towards others. I admit I’m not the perfect guy, but every time I try to change my ways and be nice to people I get turned into the bad guy and I can’t help but be mean to everyone.

I try to be nice but sometimes it doesn’t happen. Sometimes I don’t mean to be a troublemaker. When people are disrespectful to me, I’m not nice to them. If people don’t give me respect, I won’t give them any respect! I’m a person who needs to get respect in order to give respect.

When I get a new name, I decide whether I’ll put it in the GOOD names list or the BAD names list. Sometimes the name will go in both lists, but that’s rare. Like the name The Brownie, sometimes it’s funny but sometimes it’s not. Or the name Weirdo. I like it when I’m in a good mood, just not when not when I’m upset. The nickname BiggMike I got from my sister’s boyfriend when we were comparing muscles and strength. I use my initials MB as my signature sometimes. My favorite way to use my initials is: MB IZ NEAR!

So in the future, I hope people will get to know me before they title me!!


by JB

Middle school for me is like a roller coaster. Sometimes you can be terrified, and sometimes you can be having the best time of your life. Throughout my middle school experience I have been to three different middle schools. For my sixth grade year I went to Bay Area Technology School, or Baytech. For seventh grade, I attended American Indian Public Charter School, or AIPCS2. Then for my final middle school experience I went to Claremont Middle School, or Claremont.

If you're wondering why I went to three different schools, then let me put it this way: finding a good school is like finding a delightful piece of candy in a box of See’s. Sometimes you get a strawberry-filled nightmare and sometimes you get a caramel-filled dream. You’re just reaching in to OUSD hoping for something good. I got strawberry-filled. But I made do.

My first middle school experience was at Baytech. Even though the school claimed to be a technology school, it was just a charter school with two computer labs. But if you wanted to do the tetchy part you'd need to stay after school and play with Lego robots. The classes were a lot like the ones you'd find in a normal school, like English, math, social studies, and PE. But for 45 minutes you got to go to the computer lab and learn how to type! So it wasn't really a tech school where you can take apart computers and learn how to build them, you just got to sit in a cold room and play typing games. The reason I don't go to Baytech now is that my father was unhappy with the behavior of most of the kids. This led me to AIPCS2.

AIPCS2 was a charter school, so they could get away with whatever. The discipline was on a zero tolerance basis; speak out of turn and it's a 60-minute detention after school the next day, and if you dare not get the detention slip signed it's another detention for you. But when the parents stop signing and the detentions keep coming, what am I to do? If you did not do your homework you'd lose your desk and stand up in a corner of the classroom and copy a novel (good thing I had a clipboard). The whole man behind this school was Dr. Ben Chavis. But one day he met his match when a student in my class had enough and cursed out the dean and Mr. Chavis. It was epic! ...until she got expelled.

AIPCS2 didn't have a janitor, or if it did we made their job very easy. One time I had to mop the lobby of the school because I skipped Saturday school because my basement was flooded, so I had stayed home to help. The room that I had to mop was a 240 square foot room. The dean made me clean it and when he left he said, "I want to see you sweating when I come back." But the joke was on him, because I went out and changed the water and just tipped the mop bucket over and spread out the water. The reason that I don't attend AIPCS2 any longer is that my mother and I thought that the discipline and the workload were at an unneeded level.

Currently I attend Claremont Middle School. At the beginning of the school year, I thought these kids were f-ing crazy. On my first day, kids were breaking windows! I just said to myself, this is what you have to work with. AIPCS2 was an experience that you don't want to go through again, so make this work. When I first came to the school I was very observant. I saw what the in-crowd wore and I said, Good! Now I know exactly what not to buy and/ or wear. The funny thing is, if I wanted to I could have been one of them. I had the right friends, my closet was filled with what the popular kids wear, but I didn't see the point. At first I was a lone wolf, and proud of it, but I felt like I was missing something... A friend/s.

So I started to observe. I knew all of these kids didn't want to be here, but the kids that just put up with it and let the school year pass with as few problems as possible were the kids that I knew would be good friends. It took me a month and a half to build my friends list, but I befriended some of the best people that I have ever known. The only one that I'll name is Jackie. I hope she doesn't read this, but at first I thought she was weird. Every day she was a new character, one day a pirate, the next a hippie. It was when Ms. Thaler sat me at a table with her that I found out she was a friend in the making. But it's like I said: none of these kids want to be here, but those who fight it will just keep passing through the system until they hopefully wake the (expletive) up and try to get on the good foot before their life is over.

One of the people that helped me through the year was Ms. Susan Cristancho. When I first met her it was 9:43 A.M. Even though I thought I had this school wrapped up and I knew what was going on, Ms. Cristancho blew my mind with the history of the school and showed me the ugly face behind the china mask. I don't want to say much more- I said too much already. But Ms. C is the best teacher that I have ever known, and I'm sure she will stay the best.

To wrap it all up, Baytech was the chocolate-covered strawberry-filled school (the school boasts a technological environment but is just another way for kids to go on Myspace). AIPCS2 was like the coconut-filled because it seems to be a sweet deal with the high education standard, but as you get into it you notice it isn't so sweet, so you put that piece back. Claremont was a box of candy on its own. The school is so diverse that I'm not sure which single chocolate it is. Now that my middle school roller coaster is coming to the end, I can’t wait to get in line for high school's ride.

Making a Run For it

by Shadow

Anticipation grew as I dressed for class and headed out with my friends to line up and stretch. Mr. Lee gave us a break with the exercises and, of course, made the girls go first. I expected such, but I still felt surprised to hear it was finally time to run. He lined us up with the number fifty-six, making an invisible line with his hand and giving us last minute pointers. I couldn’t pay attention to his voice, though; all I could hear was the hurried beating of my heart. It was scarily loud and pressured against my chest like a hundred pounds of uneasy quivering.

He gave the okay to start running and I started my normal jog, not trying to overpass some of the girls that had already gotten in front of me. It made me feel unsure if I could even beat them anymore. After all, they had already gotten a strong quarter lap in front. My hopes fell for a moment, but rose once again when I finished my first lap and heard the encouraging words from my peers. I barely even heard Mr. Lee call out my time, because it didn’t matter as much. I knew I was doing the best I could. It seemed to work, too. By the third lap, I had caught up to the other girls that had ran ahead of me and soon after, passed them. Triumphant; I felt triumphant.

I ran my heart out on the ten laps, now listening carefully to every minute and second Mr. Lee shouted out when I passed him. I was getting good time, but still, Mr. Lee cheered me on. Just beating the 7:32 time wasn’t enough for him. He wanted me to do the best I could, not just beat an arbitrary time. On that 10th lap I sprinted the last half of the lap to the fastest finish I ever made. My time was 7:37, five seconds behind the fastest girl Mr. Lee had ever taught. I was disappointed and out of breath, feeling like I could have subtracted those seconds just by starting my sprint a few yards before I had. Still, I wasn’t totally mad at myself. It was a great time and I wasn’t too upset about it. My friends congratulated me even though I hadn’t made the time and Mr. Lee was still proud of me. Their support made my proud of myself as well. Then, the girls watched the guys run...

Ever since 7th grade, I’ve been taking PE after school to make up for doing two electives during the regular school day. At first when I started the after school class, I was afraid it might not be fun like regular PE was in 6th grade, but then I found out that it was much more exciting than I gave it credit for. Now I’m in 8th grade and I still take two electives, partially because I WANT to have after school PE. This class helped me improve social skills and reach my goals without much hesitation or second thoughts.

I still don’t really know why the time of my PE class has made such a big difference on me, but it has. In 6th grade, I was the fastest girl in my grade to run three laps around the school, but it didn’t mean much to me since I didn’t find running very fun. When I took after school PE in 7th grade though, I found more joy in competing against friends rather than just random students. Once I got into after-school PE, I started to make friends. The awesome threesome of Dana, Kaitlyn, and me became closer even with new friends in my life. Most of the people were really friendly and were willing to include me in the activities. I finally decided guys didn’t have cooties after all and I could finally become friends with them. I became more open to new challenges in both academics and friends. In short, it was awesome.

Claremont <3

by Llover

These last three years have changed my life in a lot of ways. In the beginning of 6th grade I was pretty nervous about entering middle school. I would be going from the top to the bottom (as in 5th grade top to 6th grade bottom), plus we had more than one class, AND we were expected to memorize our whole schedule. I was somewhat reassured by the fact that a bunch of my friends from elementary school were going to CMS, too. That year I made a couple of new best friends. We would all hang out and have lots of fun! I also was introduced to issues such as drug use and gang rivalry. Usually that would be bad, but it opened my eyes to the things some kids my age have to go through.

In 6th grade I had my first overnight school trip—to Point Bonita. I was really excited because a lot of my friends were going, too. The trip was kind of a letdown. The cabins weren’t that nice and the food was mediocre. The activities we did on the beach were pretty fun though! At the end of the year I was super excited for 7th grade. I would see all my friends again and we would have twice as much fun! Then, I found out some of my close friends weren’t going to CMS next year. I was going to miss them so much.

In 7th grade, it was even better than 6th grade. Gradually I became friends with almost the whole 7th grade. That was the fun part, saying “HI!” and hugging everyone during passing period and just knowing almost everyone. In the middle of the year I got into a humongous fight with one of my best friends. We just didn’t agree on anything anymore and the more we fought, the more we split apart. All this fighting made me so tired, but if I backed down it would make it seem like I was agreeing with her and (at the time), of course, that could not be allowed!!! Eventually that “friend” transferred to a different middle school.

What finally got my mind off all that fighting was the 7th grade Yosemite field trip. We went to Yosemite for a whole week! During that one week, I got close to some of my classmates and even closer to my other friends who went. At the end of the year, I found out that one of my best friends who had left CMS last year was coming back in 8th grade and that another one of my friends from a different school was also transferring over for 8th grade year. I couldn’t wait!
My 8th grade year is the best school year I have had so far. I was way more social with the 7th and 8th graders. I had a lot more friends than before and my grades weren’t that bad either. I even went out with this really awesome guy (though that didn’t end well). I’m also excited about graduating and going on to Tech, though I’m going to miss my 7th grade friends and my 8th grade friends who are going to other high schools.

I know I am fortunate that my memories of middle school are mostly of friends and good times. Other kids my age have been through a lot more. I hope I remember all of them because they made my middle school experience really special.

My Life as a Middle School Kid

by mylife_247

My middle school years were very normal. Not that many things happened to me, except this one year which was the 8th grade. In my advisory we go to a special ed class and help the special ed kids with their classwork. I think those kids are very nice and they are way more than what other people think. They are very smart and also helpful for many things.

There is also one special ed kid named Adrian who comes to our English class. I really didn't know Adrian so at first I felt sorry for him. Adrian has cerebral palsy. I learned a lot about him from his one-on-one aide, Ms. Shante. Now I know he uses a device to talk to us. He uses a wheelchair to get around or go places. He is like a normal person but is just different from the outside but the same in the inside.

Just seeing the everyday life of people with disabilities is very awesome. I see other people get mad at the littlest things, but if they put themselves in the shoes of people with special needs they would see how easy they have it. Also I see people act extra nice to them just because of their disability. I think it is wrong because they want to be treated the same way as you would want to be treated.

I think I have changed because when I was in the 6th or 7th grade I would laugh at kids with special needs but now I know how hard they have it. Sometimes I feel bad when I remember how I used to laugh at them but I can't change it. So, so far that is what I have learned and it also changed my life in many ways.

The Adventures of Briana

by BA

My middle school experience at Claremont Middle School was fun, colorful and hard at the same time. I met a lot of good friends. We talk on the phone a lot outside of school and some of us hang out when we can. Although I have to admit that it has not always been good, I have had a rough time trying to catch up on missed work, but I think I’m doing well so far. That only makes me wish that I would have been more focused on my work, so I wouldn’t have to work so hard at the last minute.

Claremont is a good school, but some of the teacher and the Peacemakers can get on your nerves because they do too much. They don’t let you talk on your cell phone during passing periods and I don’t see what the problem is, as long as you’re not in class. I have to admit that my cell phone has been taken by the teachers for texting in class, and I know that was wrong but sometimes it isn’t my fault!!!! I just text back to people who text me, and end up getting caught. But it’s okay because they give me my phone back after school, because God knows I can’t be without my phone.

We also get the latest fashion tips from school. Everyone has their own style, and if we think its cute then we bite (that means copy each other) and go out and buy an outfit just like it or similar to it. The big fashion trends at Claremont this year are skinny jeans, bright colors, cute bags, and flashy jewelry.

There are some cool teachers that I like a lot because they don’t be tripping. You have a little more freedom in their class as long as you get your work done. But I have one teacher (I won’t say no names) who stays on my headache. It seem like she is always watching me. Everything that I do, I get in trouble in her class. She calls my mom almost everyday. If I laugh in her class she calls my mom, and that is so stupid! I don’t like teachers like that because they make their students not care about being in their class when they act like that.

My favorite subject is P.E. because after you are done doing your exercises you can play games with your friends and chill. It’s a break away from sitting in the classroom and doing a bunch of paperwork.

There have been a few fights that we may never forget at Claremont, and I’m not going to lie, some of the fights are fun to watch. Overall I must sat that my experience in Claremont Middle School has been a good one. But if I could change anything, I would allow the students to talk on their cell phones during passing period and at lunch time. I will never forget my experience at Claremont middle school. I really had a fun and unforgettable time.

No More Fighting


I remember the first time I got suspended for fighting. It wasn't even worth it. I should have gone to a teacher or a counselor to solve it. I was thinking about the fight for a while, trying to figure out why I fought her. Then when we came back to school we talked about it and now we’re cool with each other. But even though that conflict was squashed, I still had problems with other people at school.

I will never forget when I fought a person that I thought was my friend. It happened this year actually, we fought over something stupid. I really didn’t care though, I was so mad at her. So in the morning I asked her, “Do you want to fight me?” She said, “Yeah.” So I was like, "Okay, after school.”

When after school came I walked up to her and took off on her. Then her sister tired to jump in, and all I heard was, “Get off my sister!” In my head I was thinking, What she talking about? I am not about to do nothing. So my friend had to jump in, then they started to fight. I had left and went into the hallways, and then Ms. Lord-Walker had stopped me. She had asked me if I was involved in the fight, so I didn’t say anything. So she had to ask the security guard who was involved in the fight, and he said my name. Then she said, “Go into the office.” A lot of other incidents had happened as a result of the fight. I ended up getting suspended for five days. I was disappointed at myself because I missed out on a lot of school. My grades went down because I got suspended.

From all that I realized that it is not okay to be fighting. I have changed a lot, and my grades went up, so now I get to walk the stage. I am so proud of myself. I changed for good.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Stay tuned...

All the ThalerScholars are writing autobiographical narratives as our final writing project. We'll be publishing them here, as well as in a book, so watch this space as our masterpieces start appearing!

Thanks for reading!

- Ms. Thaler

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Shadow Walker, Part III

As previously mentioned, it's dark. So dark that you forget whether or not your eyes are open. The Shadow Walker can side-step almost anything, including this darkness, but he chooses not to. He quiets the hunger for change that he was born with.
Just for now, he imagines he is nothing but normal. His fingers dance forward, gently brushing the edge of something flat. Splintery. Rough. Wood; a shelf, maybe. Yes, a shelf. There are several cold, smooth objects on it. Vials. The smallest finger-tap fills the room with a high-pitched noise. This vial is definitely full.
“Hello? Who’s there?” A suspicious, deep voice fills the silence.
“I,” the Shadow Walker says easily, smoothly. He has awaited this moment for years. He has played this moment through his mind a thousand times.
There is an uneasy silence.
“You gave me a lock of your hair a long, long time ago,” the Shadow Walker continues.
“As you gave me a lock of yours. To remember you by,” the man says in a breathy voice. It is barely a whisper. “Brother, is it really you?”
There is a shuffling noise.
“I- I don’t know. I’ve forgotten,” the Shadow Walker says, surprising even himself with his honesty.
There is more shuffling. The Shadow Walker can hear the man’s heart beat. He puts one hand one hand on the boy’s face, then reaches for the top of his head.
The man gasps. “Zyruxy! You haven’t grown at all!”
“So that’s what my name is? Zyruxy?”
The man tsks his tongue. “You always forgot things, before, but I didn’t know it had gotten this bad… you don’t even remember me, your same-face?” He sounds hurt.
“No, no. I never forgot you.” All the same, the Shadow Walker’s voice sounds unsure.
The man gives a small chuckle. He moves his hands to the boy’s cheeks, his chin, and upper lip. Then his shoulders. “Of course, we’re not much of same-faces anymore. You are hardly more than a boy, and I- and I am a man! A fairly old man, at that.”
“I’m sorry. Time passed quickly for me.”
“And slowly for me. You live a thousand lives, my brother. It’s how you live. It’s nothing to apologize for.” More shuffling as the man turns away. “Come, sit. You didn’t just come to talk to your twin, did you? Something else is going on… something that involves this tribe- my tribe?”
The Shadow Walker’s eyes open up to the darkness as they become more rounded and owl-like. To only the Shadow Walker, the room becomes more visible.
The walls are crammed with shelves, drawers, and cabinets, filled with jars and vials. There are three roughly built chairs in the center of the room. One is where Cimarron, the Shadow Walker’s twin, sits.
He looks nothing like what the Shadow Walker remembers. Cimarron certainly looks nothing like the Shadow Walker. His hair has stripes of gray. There are shadows of wrinkles on his face.

The Shadow Walker, Part II

They arrange themselves so that they surround the Shadow Walker, each holding a spear in the hand closest to him. The most colorful man is always a step ahead of the others, clearly more in charge.
The village is not a long distance away, and in less then a few minutes they are entering through a gate made a dead trees, propped straight up with mud and boulders at its base. The branches, long dead, have been left on the trees, in an almost lazy manner.
Two bonfires are a safe distance away from the outer fence, and light the village with a wild, living light.
“Who would you like to talk to?” One of the men ask him. The villagers sit in circles around the fire. As they notice the Shadow Walker, their lively chatter drops to silence, a few mouths hanging open, having stopped speaking in mid-sentence. All of them are dressed similarly to the warriors- covered almost completely by animal skins, although none of them have much face paint, except for maybe a few dots of green or blue on a handful of faces.
“Your leader, first,” the Shadow Walker says in a whisper, aware of the people that watch.
The heaviest man turns to look the Shadow Walker in the eye. “Our village has many leaders. And as it happens to be, I am one of them. I give you permission to talk to whomever you want, as long as you are accompanied by one warrior.”
The Shadow Walker nods. He has seen many tribes of humans, and is quite impressed by this one. They seem to be organized, and there are quite a few of them that are healthy- not too little as to break the tribe all together, but not too big as to be overly disruptive or powerful.
“I don’t know him by name, as I used to know him long ago. He would be old by now, but he used to have chestnut colored hair, and tanned skin,” the villagers look back at him blankly, even though he addresses the leader. “He has gray eyes.”
“Good old Cimarron!” A few people from the crowd call out with recognition. The leader turns to the Shadow Walker. “You may be talking of Cimarron, our healer. But-”
“That would be him.”
The large man hesitates, then relents. He points to the tallest of the three warriors. “Bring him to Cimarron’s sleeping place. If any trouble arises, bring him directly to me.” The tallest warrior bows his head politely to his leader, then turns to the boy, the Shadow Walker.
“Hurry. Follow me.” He walks in a long, quick strides that the Shadow Walker can just barely keep up with. The different sleeping structures they pass are all empty and dark, as all the people sit by the fire. Any amount of warmth is treasured in such a cold climate.
“Now, boy.” The tall man slows his stride as they loose sight of the bonfires. He looks down on the Shadow Walker, his eyes dark with suspicion and seriousness. “You better not be here to pull any pranks, you hear?”
The Shadow Walker only frowns, and ignores the man’s warning. He knows much more than this man will ever know.
“As long as you follow my rules, I’ll give the same respect to you. You can talk in privacy with the old man, if you’d like, even.” The Shadow Walker remains silent, staring into the dark, concentrating on keeping his stride consistent. “Would you like to know my rules?” He doesn’t wait for a response.
“One; no pranks or funny business. That’s the only rule I got, really. But I’d also like you to get me some paint while you’re there. As much red as you can get. That’s all. We got a deal?” He stops walking in front of a hut that is larger than most of the other sleeping places. They’ve reached the other side of the fence of dead trees; the farthest side of the village. A stream of water gurgles under this side of the fence, and disappears into the hut they’ve stopped at.
“Sure,” the Shadow Walker says, and feels stupid acting so innocent. He does want to talk to this man alone, though, and would rather like to keep everyone alive. He holds his hand out for the tall man with an exotically colored face.
The man gives the Shadow Walker a smile, then turns and leaves. In the distance, the Shadow Walker can hear a faint laughter in the direction of which he has just come in. A breeze gently tumbles through the sky, ruffling the Shadow Walker’s messy chestnut colored hair.
No one is watching him now, he is sure. He shivers, and for a second, allows tiny white feathers to sprout from his spine. They are gone almost as quickly as they came.
In front of him, in the large hut, there is darkness. He takes a step forward, and becomes one with the darkness. He disappears.

The Shadow Walker, Part I

by NeverFlyte

“Hello? Is someone there?” A group of people stand alone in a forest. They wear heavily layered animal skins, war paint on their faces, and feathers in their hair. They are all men. Spears, long and sharp, are held firmly in their hands, daggers and poison hidden under their thick clothing.
None of this means anything to him. He has no single name, but has been called many. The Traveler. The Peaceful One. The Thief. The Trader. Even the Killer, but that one never lasts long because usually the ones that call him that are gasping their last words. He sits in the bushes this very second, not more than ten feet away, waiting for the right moment to emerge to give them a friendly entrance.
“I heard something,” the shortest of the men says. He glances wildly over the bushes, spear raised.
“Must've been another rabbit, Two-face, like last time,” the broadest of the four says. His face is the most intricately colored.
He, as we shall call the Shadow Walker, for now, shifts purposely in the bushes. They rustle loudly, unmistakably.
“Hey, I heard something too.” The tallest says.
“Me too.” Two-face, the shortest, says. “Over there.”
He points in the opposite direction of where he sits, and the Shadow Walker is beginning to wonder about the intelligence of these people. He has made many entrances, some wild and fatal, some deceiving and false-smiled, but the truthful, even faced ones are the hardest. He takes a step forward this time, and raises himself slightly from the bushes.
“Over there,” corrects the one who has not spoken yet . You can see the bones more clearly in the sharp angles of his face. He wears less layers of clothes than the others, and shivers every once in awhile.
He doesn’t shiver now, standing at his full height, with his shoulders squared. His poised spear is less than half a foot from the Shadow Walker’s nose.
The Shadow Walker’s eyes glint for a second like a cat’s in the dark, then are normal. He lifts himself to his full height.
“It’s only a boy,” Two-face says, and strides forward confidently to poke him gently in the stomach with his spear. The Shadow Walker doesn‘t flinch. “Just a boy.”
The other three men look more suspicious, but all of them lower their spears. It’s only a boy, after all.
“I come in peace,” the Shadow Walker announces in a steady voice. Two-face laughs, but the other three remain silent, seeing a small bit of what the Shadow Walker really is from his voice. Though high with youth, it expresses a large amount of knowing. “I wish to speak with someone from your tribe.”
Two-face has gone silent now, as well, stricken with the small boy’s seriousness. They cannot refuse his request, the Shadow Walker knows, for he has done everything possible to himself not look like a threat. He only wears a few layers of clothes, all of which are ripped and dirty. Its much too cool to be wearing close to nothing, but the Shadow Walker has felt worse. And this is possibly his most important mission yet, so no matter what lengths he goes to, he could still go farther.
As predicted, the heaviest, most colorful man nods, “We’ll escort you.”