Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Introduction to the Autobiographical Narratives

by Ms. Thaler

As one of my students writes, middle school is a lot like a roller coaster. While he was referring to the student experience, I can vouch for the fact that teaching in middle school has its ups, downs, and loop-de-loops as well. For me, this year has included many joys. I’ve seen students’ faces light up as they mastered a new vocabulary word or saw their own improvement as readers and writers. I’ve guided students who previously hadn’t had any classes together in collaborating successfully on projects. Meanwhile, I’ve gotten to know my bright and talented students during spirited class discussions, after-school conversations, and even a small group foray to see the premiere of Twilight. I celebrated my birthday at school, and was completely amazed by the outpouring of birthday wishes, cards, and even treats I received from my students.

My year has also included its share of sorrows. I’ve had to bid farewell to students I cared deeply about, who were leaving to attend other schools. I’ve seen my students endure many hardships, both in and out of school. And along with parents, other teachers, and community members, I’ve struggled to understand and cope with the upcoming budget cuts that will deeply affect the Claremont community.

Those are just some of my memories of this, my first year teaching at Claremont. The essays that follow describe, in their own words, experiences that my students have had over their middle school years that have taught them something, changed them in some fundamental way, or made them who they are today. Their experiences and voices are as diverse and unique as they are, and I feel honored to have been able to glimpse these snapshots of each of their roller coaster rides. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

My Story

by DW

August 28th, the first day of my first day of 6th grade at Claremont Middle
School, and I was kinda shy when I steped on campus. It was kinda different from
elementary, and when I got to my first class I was happy because I made a lot of
patnas and we had some good times that fist day at school. I wanted to go back to
school really bad because it was so fun. The next day I had gotten more confident to
talk to other people to make friends and luckily I had a lot of cousins that went
here in my first year at Claremont, so I had nothing to worry about, because they
had my back and I had theirs, because we were close like that. When I used to get
into fights they made sure I didn't get jumped. That's why I liked my first year in
middle school and I never wanted to leave Claremont.

The summer of '06, before 7th grade, was the best summer ever, because
that was the last months I spent with my uncle before he died on December 23,
2006. The day he died was one of the worst days of my life, because he was always
there for me all the time. Back then I really didn't have a Dad, so he was like a Dad
to me. When he died I was so sad and angry. I didn't get over that until my 8th grade
year, so that really messed up my life. Back then, when I would think about him I
felt like I just wanted to kill myself, because he was a dad, friend, and uncle to me.
I started getting worse in my classwork, and that's what really messed me up in my
7th grade year at Claremont.

Now I can think about my uncle and not get mad, because I know he's in a
better place, so I feel better about it. Now I'm in my last two weeks at Claremont. I
might not graduate from middle school. I learned that you should always think
about your class work before anything so you can graduate. I also learned that
getting over death takes time.

My Middle School Lifestyle

by KW

It all started in middle school in 6th grade. I have been changing a lot ever since I can remember. The people I hung with were bad. They skipped school, skipped class and even were disrespectful to their elders. I was getting so many bad grades, it wasn’t even pretty. I started skipping school in 7th grade. I was disrespectful to my teachers…I don’t know why but I was. When I was in 7th grade I was even worse, I was staying out late and was coming to school late. But when I got in 8th grade I couldn’t trust nobody. I had to keep to myself. I was starting to get good grades. I was in so much stuff this year because females were hating on me, but I got over that.

So now I’m trying to get these good grades because I’m stressing so much because all the stuff I’m going through outside of school and inside of school. It’s affecting me in school because of all the stress, but I just have to leave that alone. I have to focus in school more now cause I only have one more week to get this 2.0. I’m not trying to repeat this grade over. It’s not going to happen. And it’s like my teachers are failing me on purpose. But I don’t know. So now I’m in danger because I only have 1 more week until this marking period ends. So I’m counting on myself to get this done, and my teacher, Ms.Thaler, is too. So now I’m so mad because people keep talking mess about me and my sis but there’s nothing I could do about it, and if that really gets on my nerves then I’m going to have to do something about that, but I’m not going to even trip off that.

Now I only have one week left to bring up my grades. I’m starting to do pretty good on my work so my grades could come up. The only thing I have to do is do my math project, and I think that’s about it. I need to come to school on time and do all my work for my A day and B day classes. When I accomplish this I will really be proud of myself and I will be able to move on to high school.

From Friends to Fights

by YungAce

My life in middle school obviously starts in the sixth grade, but not at Claremont. It was at Sankofa. My first day was cool because that's when I met my first middle school friends. Troy and Hosea were their names. We were real cool and we found out we all like basketball. The end of the school year came along and it came to be that Sankofa was getting dropped to just an elementary school, so we all made a big choice to go to Claremont.

It was a new year for new beginnings and it started at Claremont Middle School. First me, Troy, and Hosea saw each other waiting in line for enrollment, but what I didn't tell you was two other dudes went to sixth grade with me, too: Leon and Alphonso. We ended up seeing them too, and Troy, Hosea, Leon, and Alphonso had another patna by the name of De'Markus. We all ended up having either most or all of our classes together, and that changed a lot of stuff about me. I became a comedian, in a way, but also I learned how life can be like real and fake people. Some of them started to act differently than they had before, and I saw that people are different around their friends. Also, I saw my cousin Mike Lusk and I met Kelman, Jeremiah, and my cousin Kyle. We all played on the seventh grade basketball team all last year. The only thing we did was go around having fun, messing with people and stuff. The end of the school year came and we went swimming, had water fights, the whole nine.

So now we have our 8th grade year. This year has been up and down, from friends to fights. I lost friends from moving away, and also from homicide, but when football and basketball season came it was their lives I dedicated it to. Although I had a great season in both sports I still had school and home to deal with. School was cool in the beginning but just because I did well I started to fall off. The end of the year is near and I messed up twice. I have one more chance to do good, and I have no other choice but to do good so I can finish my athletic career.

This has been my life story in middle school and it has been a bumpy ride. Hopefully from now on my school life will be way smoother.

Memorial Day Weekend

by nascar11

My four day weekend was really fun. Friday I went to my cousin's house. We went to the "Louisiana Chicken" on 38th Ave. That's the best food place in the 30's, almost. I got something new this time, the shrimp dinner: six pieces of shrimp and fries, with a suicide soda (mixed flavors). I always get that kind of soda though. That day was funny, my friend drank the rest of my soda and just like NuNu on ATL (the movie) I said "C you drank all my soda!” After that we had a water fight. That day my goal was to wet his face with water and ice!

Saturday I went back to my cousin’s house. We didn't really have anything planned until later that day, when we were going bowling. Earlier we just played outside with each other, ate, and then went to the T-Mobile store. I saw a bunch of phones that I liked. One really "different" one that looked like a digital camera but it was a phone, really cool. Later, like around 8:30pm, we went bowling, laugh out loud. How cute, everybody really thought they could beat me. We made bets, so as long as I live I will never be broke because someone always owes me.

Sunday I went back over there but only for like two hours. Before 5pm my sister came and got me and we headed to her house, well, my god mom’s house. Before we went home we went to the Concord mall, then to Forever 21. After that we went to Popeye’s, my first time ever going there. Mmh hmm it was good, I got the kids meal nuggets and my sister got "naked" chicken. We ate on the way to the house. When we got there we left right back out to meet my god mom at Target. We played around in there for a little while, then we went to the second greatest grocery store ever...Win.Co! My sister and I were "Jerkin'"(the dance), eating candy, having races, and everything. We headed home after about 30-45 minutes. Basically the whole night we were running in and out, but having fun. I went to bed at 1:05am, exactly.

9:20am Monday morning I woke up to a phone call from my cousin saying "Zaayyy...what are you doing." I said in a groggy tone, "Nothing, I'ma call you when I wake up." That lasted for about 37 seconds. From there on my Memorial Day begun. My god mom, two god sisters and I started the process of getting dressed. With packaged up meat we headed out to Oakland.

After we arrived and chilled at my grandma's for a couple hours, we started eating. Dirty rice, ribs, chicken, potato salad, and beans. Of course we had the desserts: banana pudding, seven up cake, and whatever we went to the store to buy. Anywho, Monday 5/25/09 was a really fun day. Oh yeah, and it was my brother's 18th birthday.

I think this whole weekend changed my life for the better. Well, at least opened my mind up more. It showed me I could always count and depend on family for anything, no matter if they get mad or not- especially now that I'm getting older. It showed me to not be shy in front of my female family members. Be myself, the real me!

The Pass of the Past!

by Sparkus

My middle school years have been weird, interesting, and crazy all in one. But one aspect changed the rest of my life. When I first got to middle school I wanted to be on the basketball team like hell! So I waited and waited for tryouts but they didn't come. I was hella mad. Finally, one day the basketball coach, Coach D, announced that he was going to hold tryouts. Tryout day came, I went, and I tried my best. ‘’But not hard enough’’ coach D said. ‘’You didn't pass the ball enough,’’ he told me. I didn't make the team, I was hella mad, and I almost gave up on basketball.

The next year I moved from my old house into a new one, so I transferred schools into Claremont; I was juiced that I was at a new school. I only got in trouble one time, but it was a real big mistake. I was on DHP and couldn't come back until after a court date. Then, in late November, I was able to come back right in time for basketball season. I went to tryouts where I met Coach Finch, excellent coach! I gave it my all and passed the ball more, and I made it too! I was so hella excited, I called my mom at lunch and told her about it. Everything was going great for the season, but at the end of the season we didn't come home with a championship. I was hella upset!

Then my house caught on fire, less than a week before school got out, so I had relocate again. So over the summer I had to move to a new house in east Oakland, but I still attended Claremont for my last year in middle school. I couldn’t wait to start school over again.The school year came real fast, I was ready for basketball season, but it seemed like it took forever to come. Finally the principal announced one day that tryouts would be held in the gym. I was so juiced! So I went to the tryouts that day and gave it my all. I felt greater than ever!

The next week coach Finch announced who was on the team, and I made it! I wasn’t starting because of my grades, but I still made it. My skills this year were better than last year’s. So I was very confident in myself that I would be able to start. In December was the Christmas tournament. I started and we won our first two games aginst Elmhurst and Bret Hart. Then we played in the championship and lost to Montera. It was very upsetting but we played our best, but they played better.

As my mom told me, sometimes you win some, and sometimes you lose some, but next time try harder then you did the first time. Since then every game I play I put everything I got into that game, whether I win or lose. I still try my best to win every game. My middle school experiences changed my life, since then everything I do, I try my best and and I’m determined to win. People often tell me that I’m good at almost everything I do, but I say I want to be the best at almost everything I do!!

My Florida Trip

by JW

When I first started playing football I thought it would be about just about winning. I play for the East Bay Warriors. We went undefeated this whole year and for that we got invited to play in a football tournament in Florida. We were going to be out there for about a week and a half. There were two teams that made it that played for East Bay Warriors: my team, the Wolf Pack, and the younger team, the Wolverines. This was a great experience for me because I hadn’t been on a plane ever in my life. (Well, one time I had, but it was when I was little and I don’t really remember so I don’t count it.) To get there we had to take a couple of planes. It was very fun because me and other friends were throwing napkins at people. Each plane ride took about 45 minutes, but the longest plane ride was five hours. After the plane ride we had to take a bus to the Disney resort. It took about 45 minutes to get there, by that time it was about 6:00 and it was starting to get dark. Out in Florida they are three hours ahead of us out here in California.
When I first got to the Disney resort we had to go in this tent and wait for the other buses to get there. I was in the first bus that got there, so my teammates and I were playing ping-pong in the tent. It took the other buses about an hour to get to the rendezvous spot in front of the resort. When the rest of the team got there we had to be put in groups. My group was my cousin Marjani, Six Footer, and Coach Troy. In Florida there are a lot of things to do, like the food court, arcade room, and a lot of pools. For me I couldn’t eat a lot like I wanted to because I’m an “Older lighter.” An older lighter is when you are over the age limit for a team, but your weight is accepted. I was disappointed because they had a lot of food I wanted to eat. The weight limit was 109, so I had to lose three pounds to be certified to play in the game. The good thing about it was we only had to weigh in one time, so once we made weight that time we were clear for all the games. I learned how to set a goal for myself (to make weight), and that changed my life.

Our third day there we had practice. We had to practice our plays and work on our football positions. For practice we also had to watch the other team’s films so we would know what we were going up against. We didn’t have a fully padded practice; we only had our jerseys and our East Bay shorts. We practiced for about two hours learning plays and working out. Everyone besides me and a couple of other players had to practice extra hard to lose a few pounds so we could be eligible to play. After all our practices the coaches give us an important speech about the game we were getting ready for.

The very next day we had our first game. I made weight that day so I was certified to play in the game. We had to play this team from Hawaii. They were bigger than all of us but not faster or smarter. Even though they were bigger than us we were not intimidated. All of my teammates were ready to win and blow them out.

We had to kick off first and our kicker is good, so he launched it about 80 yards. We rushed down the field and stopped them at the 35 yard line. We were on defense and we did not let them get the first down. We stopped them, so it was a turnover on downs. My team is dominant on offense so we ran them all around the field. They were too big and to sluggish to keep up with us. I scored and a bunch of other kids on my team scored and the game was eventually over.

After the game we went out to eat at this all-the-lobster-you-can-eat restaurant. I was so happy because I didn’t have to worry about my weight or anything. The next day we had to play this team from Seattle. This was the hardest game we ever played in our whole life. We played four whole quarters without scoring. Then we had to go into overtime and we still didn’t score. So we had to go into overtime again, and we finally scored! But then as soon as we scored, they scored, and that just dropped our spirits very low. So it was a tie game, both teams we both tired, and there were a few minutes on the clock. We held them down for a very long time but then they found a flaw in our defense and scored. The game was over and our team walked away in shame to our bus and on our way to the Disney Resort.

The rest of the stay there was so shameful because we had to think of our great loss, but we also had more time to talk to girls, get on roller coasters at Disneyworld, and buy new souvenirs to bring back to Oakland. I learned from this experience because that was my first time playing in a national championship and having a long plane ride with my good friends without having parent supervision. Playing with a championship team made me a better football player and a more independent and self-sufficient young man.

Over the Years

by sk8rboi

For me, middle school has been the most difficult situation I have had to overcome. During my 6th grade year, I moved to Walnut Creek. The reason my family had to move was because my mom and dad were getting a divorce and my mom couldn’t afford the house we were living in. So we decided to move to Walnut Creek to be closer to family.

At my old school, hardly anyone did anything right. Everyone was tardy to class, cutting, smoking all the time. Out of all the people I hung around, hardly anyone had good grades, so I fell into the trend of being tardy to almost every class and even skipping some days. The only thing that kept me on track there was skating. When my mom and brother and I moved to Walnut Creek, we stayed in my auntie’s two-bedroom apartment with her son because our place wasn’t done yet. This was all right because my cousin was my age, and he was the reason I was going to the school.
For the first few days at my new school, I was in shock. I had never seen so many white people in one place before. Right at the beginning of the year, I got into a fight in my P.E. class. Some girl tried to hit me with a hockey stick; I have no idea why. So then, being the smart boy that I am, I pushed her, and she went to the side to cry. I watched her boyfriend walk up to her, and I just knew I was going to get in trouble. Next thing you know, he was in my face, and I didn’t like that too much, so I knocked him out.

The same day I came back from suspension, I got into another altercation. I was walking to my first period class when someone bumped into me so hard I almost fell. Guess who it was? It was the guy’s friend. Now I was thinking to myself, I came to school to stay out of trouble, but it doesn’t seem to be working. When I got in the office, this time they were already talking about kicking me out of school, but they gave me one more chance to get it together.

My 7th grade year, I didn’t get into any fights. My only problem was my grades. I was sitting in class almost every day, not knowing what they were talking about. I felt like they were already on a college level, and it made me feel three years behind. I slowly got back to my old ways of being tardy and skipping class because I felt so out of place. There was one class I went to faithfully, and that was acting. Yes, because it was easy, but because of my teacher also. I guess I could say she made acting fun.

My main problem was English class. I failed the first three quarters of the course. If I didn’t pass the last quarter, I wouldn’t graduate the 7th grade on time. I had never failed a class in my life. I found out I failed the last quarter of English with about one week left in school. I don’t think I’ve ever been that mad before in my life. A few weeks after school ended, I took an English class in summer school so I could go to the next grade. I passed the class with an A, and boy, did it feel good.

Middle school was a big challenge for me, but it helped me to see all the things I needed to fix for the next level. I’m doing better in my 8th grade year- I’m not skipping school anymore, I don’t get in fights anymore, I do my work, and I’ve noticed some improvement in myself as an English student. I don’t know what the future holds for me… I’ll get there when I get there.

Middle School Years

by nonfiction

My first day of middle school in the 6th grade was scary! As soon as I stepped a foot on the Alvarado Middle school campus I was nervous. My mom and I went to the office of the school and sat there waiting for them to give me my schedule. While we were sitting there waiting, my heart felt as if it was going to jump out of my chest. Once they gave me my schedule it was time for my mom to leave, and after she left I felt alone and lost. It’s funny now, looking back on my sixth grade self.

The first class I had to go to was math. When I first walked in the classroom I felt like I didn’t belong. Everybody was staring at me like I was an alien from outer space, which made matters worse. When I sat down in my seat the teacher handed me a paper. I read the paper, and what do you know- it was a POP QUIZ!!! I was a little upset because here I am just coming out of summer vacation and a teacher gives me a pop quiz. I didn’t really remember anything on the paper so I felt I wasn’t going to do very well. Once that class was over I felt relieved and was ready to go to my next class, still feeling a little nervous.

The next class I had was pm core, a Language Arts and Social Studies class. Once that class was over I thought to myself that class was probably going to end up being my favorite class, because even though we did work, it was more relaxing.

After pm core we had lunch. During lunchtime I felt alone until I met up with my friends from the 4th and 5th grade. I was so happy when I saw them because they were people I knew and I no longer felt alone.

After lunchtime, the next class I had was art. When I walked in the art classroom I was excited because I liked to do art and couldn’t wait to start. My first day of art class we didn’t really do much and it was kind of boring. Art was my last class, and once it was over I met up with my friends again and we walked to the apartment complex where they lived and my mom worked, where I later lived. There we sat in the office for a minute and I told my mom about my first day of middle school.

Then we went to the park in the apartment complex. My friends introduced me to some other girls that went to Alvarado Middle School and lived in the apartment complex. One of the girls became my best friend later in the school year. My most memorable memories from the 6th grade are moving to Union City, going to my first dance, seeing my friends from the 4th and 5th grade, being on the step team at my school, our step performance, my best friend, and hanging out at the teen center with friends!

My 7th grade year at Claremont was fun. My cousin and I were excited because we finally went to the same school and lived next door to each other. The first day I was a little nervous, because once again I was going into a new school not knowing anyone besides my cousin, who was in a lower grade than I was. But as the school year went on I met new friends and experienced new things. My most memorable memories were meeting new people\friends, being on the honor roll with a grade point average of 3.25, doing my cell project that I made out of a cake, doing the math project that I made with a hanger, being in Avid, the field trips for Avid and being a farming intern.

Being a farming intern was super fun and knowing that you were going to get paid $250 made it even better and more exciting! Every day after school we would first do our homework and then begin farming. My favorite days were Thursdays, because we had a store in front of the school where we sold things we picked from our garden like parsley, tea, greens and seeds to grow things. Each day, we made at least $10-$15. Being a farming intern was also good for my speaking skills, because it taught us how to speak with others and persuade them to buy our products. When farming was over I was happy, but really sad at the same time. I was happy because I got paid and it was a great experience. I was sad because it was fun and I knew that I was going to miss everything. Once the 7th grade was over I felt sad, but I was excited because I was finally going to the 8th!

Before I went to the 8th grade I experienced something that was very different and a little scary. It was the first time I got strep throat. The night before I just washed my hair but I guess I made the mistake of going to bed with it wet, which I have done before. In the morning I was not feeling well at all, but I thought it was just a simple sore throat. So I thought everything was fine and went swimming with Shaliah (I was forced to go, hahaha).

The next few days I felt horrible. My throat felt as if it was swollen, I felt super dizzy, I had no appetite and my throat was hurting so bad that I couldn’t sleep and even cried. My mom gave me some medicine because we thought it wasn’t something I needed to go to the hospital. After about 30 minutes I began to break out into little bumps all over my neck and arms. The next morning my mom and I knew it wasn’t just a sore throat, so she took me to Children’s Hospital. We waited in the waiting room for like an hour, then finally we saw the doctor and he told us that I had a slight fever (101) and had strep throat. It took about a week and a half for me to get fully over it, but luckily I was over it before my family reunion.

There are a lot of memories from my 8th grade school year. My first is finally getting a grade point average of 3.86. The way I found out made it even more exciting. I got a letter inviting me to an award ceremony where they acknowledged all the African American students who earned a grade point average of 3.0 and higher. My second memory is playing on the Claremont girl’s basketball team. Playing on the basketball team was super fun! I was so nervous when we played our first game, but there was no need because we beat Piedmont. We won four games and lost three. My favorite game was when we played OMI and I scored 10 points! I even got a buzzer shot. The last game was really sad, because I loved playing in the basketball games. I was also happy though, because at least we won our last game.

My third memory from the 8th grade is having a boyfriend. I experienced things that were new, like kissing, hugging and falling in “love.” These experiences changed me though the 8th grade because now I know how it feels to have a boyfriend, I’m better at playing basketball (lay ups), I feel like I am more outgoing and I know how it feels to have strep throat. I am excited for high school but sad at the same time because I am going to miss certain things. Well, that’s all for now! =]

My Worst School Year Yet

by KW

In 6th grade I always got suspended, if I did do something and if I didn't. Since I got suspended so often, when I did come back to school I got suspended again, even though I hadn't done anything that time. Kind of like the boy who cried wolf. Even if I did get in trouble for something I didn't do, I wasn't gonna tell who did it. I knew no one would believe me- they would think I was just making something up so I wouldn't get in trouble.

You might find this amusing, but I spent more of my school year at home than I did at school. The good thing about it was I always got my work when I got suspended. I got suspended for throwing a few milk cartons over the fence, throwing rocks at cars, and getting into many fights. Once with one person, and about twice with another person. The second time I fought him I didn't get suspended, I just spent about the last 30 minutes of class in the office. When our English and history teacher left (or thats what he said- we all thought he got fired), we got two new teachers, Ms. Summerwill and Mr. Reese. The good part about that was they gave the class one assignment each day and we always got an A just for doing it I passed even after everything I did; I think I got lucky

In 7th grade I didn't do the same thing I did in 6th grade- I did way better. My grades improved and I didn't get suspended. I didn't always turn in my work or projects, but I did better than before. When I got home every day my mom would tell me I could do better, and I promised her I would and guess what, she thought I was lying. My classes were good, nothing wrong with them, just the work was the problem. The way the teachers taught kinda made the classes not that good. They never really taught you anything but the same thing over and over and over, and that kinda got me confused to the point were I felt like I didn't need to do the work anymore. Even though I kind of stopped my work, I still made it to the 8th grade.

Now, the time we've all been waiting for. 8th grade, my worst school year yet. All my grades were bad, I was always goofing around, and this year was the most important, too. You wouldn't believe me, and my mom doesn't believe me either, but I'm getting my grades up and I'm going to graduate. That makes me a bit happy.

Overall, my middle school years have been up and down. I've learned that I can't tell teachers how to teach their classes, because I'm just one person, and everyone needs something different in a class. I've also learned that it doesn't take that much effort to go home and do some homework, and it's worth it to get good grades. In high school, I'm going to do what I didn't do in 8th grade: my work.

A Broken Leg and a Realization

by JV

When I was in the 7th grade I broke my leg playing football for the East Bay Warriors, so I missed more than half the year. I was getting home-schooled because I wasn’t able to walk. Teachers would come out to my house just to help me get caught up with my work that I missed at school. When I came back to school I had a 3.0, so I got an award for being on the honor roll. When I was out for those seven months I missed basketball season and I wasn’t a captain any more. When I realized I wasn’t a captain I worked twice as hard as the other people so I could get better and strengthen my leg.

After I healed, the doctor said I would not grow much more because growth plate was messed up. The doctor said that they might have to break my other leg so I could grow equally, but there was no need to do that because my leg healed correctly. When I went back to the doctor they said I would be 6’5’’ or 6’6’’ when I’m older.

When the doctor said I was eligible to play sports again I immediately got involved. But if I break my leg like that again I will not be able to play sports anymore. Hopefully I will go pro, and when I do I will give all my teachers season passes. Ms. Thaler will get a special seat for giving me a good grade on this essay. My backup plan is to be an engineer. You have to be good in math to do that, and math is my strongest subject.

This experience changed me because I realized that if I break my leg again I wouldn’t be able to play sports. That’s why you have to go to school just in case you have an injury. That why you can have a backup plan if you have an education. A good education can help you in the job market. Business owners and mangers are not interested in uneducated drop outs, the truth hurts but this is reality. Athletic abilities can get you to some great places in life but you should always have a backup plan.

Unheard Story

by ST

It was my first year at Claremont Middle School. I was going to 6th grade- in fact everyone was new. I was really scared and excited. My mom said that it was time for me to be confident, that I could make it, and for me to become a little bit more mature. Of course I listened to my mom, and she gave me the confidence to step into my first class. It was an English and history class. The teacher’s name was Mr. Traylor. He was a cool guy and a nice man, too! We all introduced ourselves and everything went pretty smoothly and I liked my classes a lot, especially Mrs. Baxter’s math and science class!

Soon I met some really nice people. Their names were Ada, Angelic and Nichelle. They were really nice and they actually helped me through my problems. Sometimes (only four times) we skipped class. It was really fun. We had this really irritating teacher, She was sort of ratty looking and she just yelled at everybody even though our work was always done and we were all passing. Back then we never got an F we always got a B in all our classes and we only had 5 classes, so it was easy. When we used to skip we would eat hot fries and drink juices and listen to music. Unfortunately, we eventually got in trouble. After that we didn’t skip any more!

Things were going well for all of us until one day Angelic was crying in front of me! She me told somebody was messing with her! No one would take it seriously even though she kept telling everybody. I was the only one who took it seriously. One day, in P.E., we were changing in the bathroom. When I left, Nichelle and Angelic were still inside, and some sixth grade girls locked them in the bathroom. They just wanted to lock in Angelic, but Nichelle was in there also. I tried to ask them to stop, but they wouldn’t let the door go. I was so angry. While Angelic was crying in the bathroom I tried to console her but she was too upset. I got out of class when the period ended and I took Angelic to the main office. We told them what happened, but no one did anything about it. That day I wanted to say something. I wanted to raise my voice, I wanted to tell them a thing or two, but Angelic told me to be quiet. On top of it, Nichelle didn’t have the guts to say anything.

This was getting out of hand. I don’t know why they wouldn’t just leave Angelic alone. She wouldn’t say anything, even when they said nasty things about her and her mom! I didn’t understand why she was so scared when I was supporting her. I wanted to cry. Finally, Angelic couldn’t take it anymore, so she told the other girl to shut up! What happened to Angelic next was the worst thing I could imagine. She beat her up and took her t-shirt off. Angelic broke down. The next day she didn’t come, and she left the school quietly. I never heard of her ever again.
This is dedicated to Angelic and her unheard story. Now I have the best of friends: Nichelle, Crystal, and Stephon. At Claremont, I’ve truly learned the importance of good friends.

What I Learned in Middle School

by PrincessReema

In 6th grade, this boy whose name was Josh wanted to go out with me. I told him I needed to get to know him better before I started a relationship with someone I don’t know well. So I got to know him better and started liking him, so of course I started going out with him. When we first started going out our relationship was pretty good, but then he started getting very annoying, being very immature and childish. So I talked to him about it and told him I didn’t like the way he was acting. I said, “Could you please stop acting like that, or I’m going to break up with you.” He said, “Yeah I can do that,” and I was like, “Thanks.” The next week he started changing back to his old ways, so I broke up with him. Two weeks later we started going back out because I still liked him. First it was cool, but then he started doing too much and getting on my nerves. So of course he had to go, because it wasn’t working. Through the whole school year Josh and I were on and off, until finally I got tired of him after six or seven times and broke up with him forever. That relationship taught me that when someone says they’re going to change they don’t always mean it.

In the 7th grade there was this new boy at the school and his name was Kevari. He was very cute and he was light skinned, just how I like them. So Kevari and I started talking more and more each day and we finally exchanged numbers. Soon as the school day was over I texted him, and we were texting for like the whole day. I told him I liked him a lot and he said he liked me too. I asked him if he had a girlfriend and he said no. I was like, “Good, that’s cool.” He asked me the same and I was like, “Nope.” He asked me out that same night and of course I said yes, because I really liked him.

The next weekend we went to the movies and he got mad at me because when he walked away some boys tried to get my number but I told them no. So Kevari came back and said, “I know you just gave those boys your number.” And I’m like, “No, they asked for Deonna’s number and she doesn’t have her phone so I gave them my number to call her.” I guess he didn’t believe me, so he got mad and walked away from me and went somewhere. My friends and I were walking and saw these really cute guys, so I was like, “They hecka cute, let’s go get their numbers,” so I did because I knew Kevari had left. The next day he called me and was really mad at me and was like, “I know you gave them boys your number because I saw you.” I tried to play it off so I said, “What you talking about? I didn’t give anyone my number yesterday but that boy that tried to get at Deonna.” We kept arguing over the phone so I was like, “Since you have trust issues it’s over, sorry.” Monday when we went back to school he kept trying to get back with me, but I was like, “No.” I sort of wanted to, but I liked someone else so I kept saying no to him.

A couple of days later I started having eyes for this boy named Derell. I thought he was cute in the sixth grade but I never said anything to him. This year he was in my history class, so I was able to get to know him. I was really shy to talk to him so I had my friends ask him out for me, but he told them I had to ask him out myself. So a couple of days later I asked him out and he said yes. Our relationship was really boring. We hardly ever talked. I was really shy in front of him, so I hardly ever started a conversation with him. In the summertime he broke up with me because I never called him, and I never called him because I didn’t have his new cell phone number. At first I was sad a little bit, but then after like five minutes I didn’t care.

After we broke up we started talking every day now that I had his number. I was no longer shy in front of him. I started growing feelings for him when we started talking again. In just a couple of weeks school was going to be starting again. When school started back, Derell and I started hanging out at school. After a month of school Derell and I started our relationship again, and it was going great. We were unbreakable for a couple of months, but then I started getting bored with him and he started getting on my nerves. So, like my other relationship, I told him what he needed to change or I would break up with him. He did, but the next week he went back to his old ways so like I said I would do I broke up with him. My relationship with Derell started being on and off for the whole year. At the end of April I finally got tired of being with him, so I broke up with him for good this time. On April 25th Kevari and I got back together, and ever since then we’ve been going out. I hope this time we last for a long time, unlike before.

My middle school relationships have taught me a lot. Mostly they’ve taught me that you can’t always think about yourself- sometimes you have to think about others.

:)Taking a stand!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:)

by MS

My first time taking a stand towards a teacher was when I was in the seventh grade. I was taking a multimedia class at Glick Middle School and my teacher was out for the day. So the assistant, Matt, was in charge of all the news broadcasting that we did. I was done with my news broadcast so I started a new project and the sub got mad. I was trying to explain to her that I was finished with my work, but she kept talking over me. I needed to explain to her what was going on, but she kept talking on and running her mouth like she knew what I was about to say. She kept talking about things that didn't even have to do with me, like, “Why don’t you do what Matt’s doing instead of being obnoxious?”

So I told her, “You need to stop running your mouth at me like I am your child. Just because you’re a so-called teacher doesn't mean that you have to disrespect me and yell at me me over nothing. That wasn't even necessary!”

She got all quiet and wrote me a referral to the office, so I went with out with no problems. And the principal had to suspend me just because if you get into a conflict with a sub at school it’s an automatic suspension. But I took it without a problem.

When I got home, my grandmother was questioning me about what had happened. I was kind of scared at first cause I have never been suspended before, but I just sucked it up and told her everything that happened. My grandmother said, “As long as you did what you did because you thought it was right its okay. But if you know what you did was wrong, it’s not okay.”

I took that into consideration and thought about it all day. I wondered what would have happened if I didn’t do what I did. Ultimately, this incident taught me that some bad consequences are worth it if you really think what you were doing was right.

The Year Before High School

by KS

8th grade was a good year. I met a lot of new friends like Julian, Manuel and a couple others. My favorite part was the end because I’m leaving to go to high school. Also, I was on the honor roll the whole year. I found out I’m getting an iTouch for my graduation, hopefully.

This year has been awesome. In the first week of 8th grade I was a little scared- I don’t know why, it just felt weird. After about a month or so I got used to it. My very favorite part was around January, because that’s when I got my first phone. I had a lot of fun with it. I gave my number to all my friends. Sadly, after three weeks I lost it. I had taken it out of my jacket to put it in my pants but it had fallen out of my jacket. I would have heard it, but we were moving our desks in class, so I couldn’t.

I was so mad at myself, I didn’t do any more work that day. I walked out of the school crying. I went to my nana and told her what happened and she helped me go look for it, but we couldn’t find it. After I stopped crying I thought, oh geez, I’m going to have to tell my mom, she’s going to be so angry at me. Then when I got home I told her and she just said, “Okay, that’s your fault.” I was so relieved. Then about two months later she got me a new one.

After all the phone drama was over school, went normally. One amazing thing that happened was that the band, yes I’m in it, won first place in the band competition at Great America. We also won a trophy for being the best band out of all the ones that played.

Otherwise, I’m happy to be leaving because this school is kind of bad. It’s disorganized, and half the people here get suspended so much they should just stay home. I just want to get out. Another reason I’m glad to be leaving is because of some of the teachers. They can teach, it’s just some of them are disorganized.

I’ve always wondered, is freshmen Friday real or not? If it is I’m just not going to school that day. One thing I’m looking forward to is biology. It sounds interesting and fun and you get to dissect stuff, I think, but either way it will be exiting. Also there are more electives in high school compared to middle school, like ice-skating and, I think hockey. Anyway, high school sounds awesome. I don’t know if it will be the best, but I do know it will be cool.

So, that’s what my last year at Claremont has been like, all the reasons I want to leave, and what I’ve been thinking of. Thank you, Ms.Thaler for all I have learned this year. Glad you came to Claremont.


by involuntary branslaughter

It was lunchtime and I went to get lunch. After I was done eating I went to the back of the school to play basketball with my friends. We were going to get a game to 32 points. We had teams of three. It was Josh, Jeremiah, and me vs. Cash, Lil Ron, and Kelman. We started playing and my team was winning. I was giving them very good passes and they were making the basket. I was happy because usually when I give my teammates good passes they always mess the passes up by not making the basket. Back to what I was saying. So when we started winning, Cash got mad and threw the ball all the way to the portables. I ran to go get it. Then I threw it back and ran full speed back to the courts. As I was running, I looked up and thought to myself, is this seagull going to booboo on me, or is it just flying?

Next thing I knew, I was lying on the blacktop. I don't really remember the details of who was there or what happened next. I guess my friends Josh and Kelman helped me up, and I could barely walk. Some people said I went head up with Cash and some people said I ran into a pole. I went to get my jacket so I could go to the office and call my dad. When I called my dad he answered and said, ''Hello,” of course, and then I said ''Dad, can you come pick me up? Because I knocked myself unconscious.” He said, ''What do you mean?'' I said, ''I can't remember anything.'' Then he said, ''I'm on my way.'' I sat and waited for him in the office. It took him about 15 minutes to get there. When I got in the car with him he asked me what had happened. I told him everything that happened as we went home.

This incident taught me a lot of things. It taught me stuff like not to run and look up at the same time because you can't see where you are going. It taught me to always pay attention while you're running because you never know what might happen next. This was the first time this had happened. I was really scared when I first woke up because I didn't know what was going to happen. What I thought was going to happen was, that I had to go to the hospital to get my brain scanned to see if I was going to need any surgery. But then everybody including my dad said I was going to be all right. Then I knew I was going to be okay.

I've changed a lot from this. I've changed by not running as much, and only running when I'm playing a basketball game with my AAU. I'm now only going to run with my team, because when we play basketball we play inside a gym, so it's safer. I have became a better friend, too, because when people are running I can warn them to slow down so they won't hurt themselves. My friends respect me and I respect them because we always look out for each other so we won't get hurt. To this day I always talk to my friends about this incident because I want everyone to know all the details of what happened to me.

Finding My Way

by long legs

Over my middle school years my cousin taught me how to do hair, because I told her I wanted to do hair when I grew up. She said, “Oh, that’s cool, do you want me to show you the steps of doing hair? Because I do hair and I taught myself, with help from my sister.” Then she showed me on my baby doll hair. I was like, “That’s tight! How you do that?” Then she showed me, and I tried and I didn't get it so I was mad. But I kept trying until I got it. Days later... I did it and I was too happy because first I tried and gave up. But then I thought about it, kept trying, and didn’t give up.

On February 23, 2009, I got my first fake nails from the nail shop for my birthday. I had really been wanting them because they are cute and every time I see somebody with them, like my sister, I be like “Them too cute! I can't wait until I get mine.” So I asked my mama. First she said no, but then she was like, “You’re growing up, so yeah, I guess.” And I was too happy. I was like, “Hey, go me!” So then I went to the nail shop and got them, I got blue and white tiger stripes. Too cute! So now I’m still getting my nails and feet done and it’s fun, and girly, which I am.

Being in middle school has changed me because when I first started I was nervous, because this was my first time going to middle school. And then I meet new people and teachers, so a few days later I wasn’t so nervous. I was happy I was in the 6th grade even though I was nervous at first but then got over it. In 7th grade I was happy I was in the grade because I want to see how the 7th grade was and it was cool! Now, in the 8th grade I sometimes wish I were back in the 6th or 7th. But yeah, the 8th is fun and a good experience because in the 8th grade you do a lot of things also.

These experiences taught me that to get what you want you have to keep trying. You can’t give up the first time something is hard or doesn’t work out.

Just the Beginning of Dance

by ER

The most memorable moment that changed my life was in the sixth grade at Westlake Middle School. I was just getting out of my math class and started looking for my sister in the crowded halls of W.M.S. I was thinking of all the places that she could be and asking everyone that she knew. Finally!! I ran across somebody who had spotted my sister. She was in the exact spot that I had looked before. I was very angry. I started yelling as if I was her mother. I said, “Where were you, little girl?”(Knowing that she is older than me). She started shushing me as a warning that I had to be quiet because there was a dance class going on, and knowing my bad attitude I refused to quiet down and there were consequences. The dance instructor and I got into an argument. They say that bad things happen for good reasons.

As the day went by, we had to attend an assembly to see what the after school programs had come up with midyear. Me, trying to be the bad girl, I sat there and talked amongst my friends about how bad this assembly would be, and it was- until it got to the action part of the program. There was Capoeira, African dance, Modern, and Hip-hop. All of a sudden the talking amongst my friend stopped and I got interested in Modern and Hip-hop dance (not African dance because I’ve already tried that). After the assembly they gave the students the chance to sign up for the after school program. So I did! A week after I got my paper signed I was able to join the dance class. I knew that this was my time to change.

Whooo! My first day of change. As I walked into class the dance teacher immediately noticed me, “the problem child.” She said, “Didn’t I have to put you of my class?” I slowly responded, “…Yeah.” Then she gave me a long lecture about her dance group and how they respect her and she’s never had a problem with them. It seemed like all that talking went in one ear and out the other. As time want by I got a chance to change and a chance to do a lot, until I met this girl and my old ways started to reappear. Her name was Simona, and she was my competition: the big fish to fry. We were always competing, and she knew that we both were good and we both wanted the spotlight. The biggest competition was trying to get solos. But as time went by we kind of got over it, and I started to call her Opposite (because when our instructor gave us our formations, I was always opposite to her). Even today I still argue with her, but the arguing is more like sisters arguing.

Today I still dance with the same dance instructor, and now I call her Mom. I dance with her in her dance ensemble and we are very close. Without the initial argument, I don’t think that the relationship between us would be as strong as it is now .I’m so glad that I stayed with her because we (the group and I) are doing big things. We have done big shows like parades, the ethnic dance festival, the art and soul festival and others. Now we are shooting for the best goal of all: to have our own rehearsal space and to have our own show. In my opinion, that won’t be too far from now.

I’ve really learned that first impressions aren’t the lasting impression. People who you don’t get along with at first can become your best friend or your mentor.

Amazin' Trips

by ~Dr3@m$~

In my past three years, my middle school years (6th-8th grades), I’ve gone on multiple trips (with classes from school), but I’m going to talk about two, plus trips that have happened with band. The trips have showed me…how fun, educating, and interesting it can be to go on trips with classes and friends.

Point Bonita was very pretty indeed. We were there for three days, a Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. We went when I was in 6th grade. Once you’re there it seems like you’re so far away from the city, but really you’re not too far away at all. We stayed in these two buildings, the boys in one, the girls in the other. There were multiple schools there. The buildings had separate rooms; some rooms had about four beds, bunks. I’m pretty sure there was a building to eat in, and when we were done eating, if there were leftovers, then we had to put the food into like buckets I think, to compost it. We had to wake up fairly early and go to bed at a reasonable time. To get there we rode in people’s cars, we had to get to school early, I think before 7:45am but that’s just a guess. Don’t expect me to remember everything, it was two years ago.

I remember that we hiked/walked to a part that had a pretty high cliff/drop off, the person my group had had us link arms and walk slowly, not go too close, but to look over the edge of the cliff. It was kind of scary, but fun. We, well I, saw a few deer one day pretty close by. I like deer, they’re cute/pretty. I also slightly remember a small part of a day, we had went to a spot to sit in a circle, then we got read a story by Dr. Seuss. After the story was finished we all wrote on the back of a pretty postcard like a vow or promise of something we would do differently to help the environment. I think I wrote that I would turn off the lights when I leave the room. I also remember one thing that I’m sorry I did when we were on our free time, I accidentally poked my good friend in the eye and a blood vessel had popped. Then one night some of the girls (from our school) went into the room with the women chaperones and played some M.A.S.H., I don’t remember how to play, but I want to know again, it was fun even if it was parents and the school counselor. Well, if I’m going to write about any other trips then I should.

So, in 7th grade I went to Yosemite with some 7th graders and some 8th graders and some teachers and parents. To get the money to go to Yosemite we went on a hike-a-thon one day after school, we got sponsors to give us money, I think we had a few bake sales too, and our parents paid some too. We stayed there for a week. Even if we went on few hour hikes every day, I thought it was very fun and worth the time and energy. We went during the last few days of March and the first few days of April, and there was snow on the ground still. We had to get to the train station early, at 6:30am on Saturday, but I think the train got there at 7:30am. After the train ride a bus came to the station and we all had gotten on that for a few hours. Even if we were probably all tired on the bus, it was fun anyway.

We ended up staying in cabins with heaters and nice beds. There was a dinning hall, nice enough bathrooms, a building where we went to watch something, a museum with a store, a store, food places, main building, etc. I don’t remember what time we got there. We had to get up, out of bed, dressed, and out of the cabin by 7, I’m pretty sure, to get breakfast. It is so pretty at Yosemite, we stayed at Curry Village. My group leader person’s name was Mindy, and we also had Mr. Finch help. We had to come up with a name for our group so we came up with “power puff people” (PPP), our group even has ‘gang/group’ sign. Now Mr. Finch and I have a handshake thing for it. Some of the hikes had some really steep parts, but we lasted. We went on hikes to waterfalls, the view, just to hike, and just see the sights that were there. Our groups even got to touch the bottom of “El Capitan”. We had one snowball fight with everyone, and then part of my group had our own secret snowball fight. At the secret one my pants got soaked, my face pegged a few times by Mr. Finch, but it was also fun anyway. On our free time we mostly stayed by our cabins, we hung out and talked and played. We didn’t eat lunch in the dinning hall, we ate it on the hike. On the last day or second to last or something like that at least my group wrote letters about our week. Mine was amazing and very well done, Mr. Finch really liked it too and I wanted it back after but a week later Mr. Finch’s car got broken into and random stuff got taken including the letters. Which really sucks but it happened anyway. I wish I could write more about my week there, but I need to finish up and I still have more to say.

Alrighty, so band…I have been playing clarinet since fourth grade, and I started playing tenor sax in 7th grade on top of clarinet. I play tenor especially for jazz things. This band that we have right now with Mrs. Briggs as the teacher started when I was in 5th grade. It started at about 6-8 students and grew to, now, a hundred and something students. Our band has gone on, I’ll just say many, trips. We have gone to contests, other concerts, and Great America, etc. We’ve played at assemblies, graduations/promotions, for street fairs, CMS Spring Flings, and contests. We have won 7 trophies in total between the orchestra and symphonic band. So, I have learned that hanging out with friends, going on trips with classes at school can be super fun, exciting, interesting, and educational. I hope in high school I can go on more school trips.

Cantare Con Vivo: My Key of Life

by: DR

Unlike most kids', my middle school years were easy. I think they were easy because I had a lot of experience with kids that age, so I guess I was used to the kind of behavior of these kind of students. I think it was also easy because the year before I had just attended my first few months of choir (Cantare Con Vivo) with teens that were at least two to three years older than me. I guess my experiences with choir have prepared me for my years of middle school.

When I first started choir I thought that the kids were going to be mean. Instead of trying to get to know them, I made a fool of myself acting out. This made it hard to get along with some of the kids in my choir. It took me three and a half months just to get along with them because of the way I acted in my first week. I realized that the people in my choir were not as mean as I thought they would be, so I guess I was judging a book by its cover.

When I started going to Claremont I acted the same so I guess I had not yet learned from my mistakes. I was acting as if I was better than everyone so I had problems with my first days of school. I had to ask my choir director for advice about fitting in, and she told me, “Don't act out. Just be yourself.” These experiences with choir have helped me improve in 6th and 7th grade.

Everything changed that summer, because I was being careless and irresponsible and got myself hit by a car. I had very few physical injuries, but I was diagnosed with amnesia. My mom took me home and I didn't remember anything, so I was afraid of everything around me. This all went away after a week because I started to remember my siblings that came to visit to help jog my memories. After that summer my life meant nothing to me because I felt like everything was going to fast so I just stopped trying. My life felt like it was going too fast so I stopped working in school.

Then I started choir again and it got easier. They helped me understand that life is going fast but that does not mean that I have to stop working hard just because I'm growing up. So now, in the end of the year I am trying my hardest just to succeed so that I don't have to stay in the 8th grade for another year. My choir has helped me a lot as a person and as a singer. Cantare Con Vivo's motto is “Cantare Con Vivo: In the key of life.” It turns out that it really was the key to life for me.

Middle School

by GQ

The years in middle school have changed my life. I’ve learned all kinds of different things about different subjects in school, boring as it was. I’ve met many friends in middle school. There’s the trip to Point Bonita in the 6th grade, the week in Yosemite in 7th grade, and getting to go to Cazadero Music Camp for two weeks in the summer before the 8th grade, just to name a few.

The trip to Point Bonita was somewhat fun, but also a little disappointing. The reason it was disappointing was that I had been there in the 5th grade, and we stayed at a hostel, which had really good service. The food was delicious, the activities were very enjoyable, and the cabins were comfortable. The trip in the 6th grade, however, was not as enjoyable. We stayed in a YMCA-owned building that was crowded and noisy. The food was mediocre, the activities weren’t as fun to do, but the cabins were still pretty comfortable. I actually had mixed feelings when I left it, as opposed to the 5th grade, when I despised leaving the hostel.

The five-day trip to Yosemite was really enjoyable. It was probably the most fun I had in all of middle school. We hiked a lot, and I started to develop a faster walking pace as a result. One place I remember hiking through was Yosemite falls. It was a very steep hill, and we had trouble going up without resting every 50 yards or so. Another experience I remember well was going through Spider Cave (or was it Tunnel?). It was formed when huge boulders fell off the mountains above, and coincidentally forming a natural tunnel underneath. It was cold and dark, and we weren’t allowed to use flashlights. I remember squeezing through this small hole in the beginning, and I wondered how the bigger people were able to do the same thing. I remember participating in a snowball fight for the first time in my life, even though there wasn’t much snow there. Even the ride back to Oakland was fun. I found myself resenting the moment we arrived back to Oakland greatly.

When I arrived at Cazadero Music Camp for the third time, I saw that everything was the same way it was when I first came, except I knew I was going to stay longer than the other times. I signed up for 2 weeks in the summer. I was only there because the Oakland Youth Symphony was able to give me a full scholarship. The food served in the cafeteria was delicious. I remember the many hours of rehearsals we had each day. I ended up with many blisters on my hand. We also had a free day of carnival games on the Monday of the 2nd week. It was very fun and enjoyable, and I hoped I could come back the next summer.

The trips I went on have taught me many things. I learned how to build a campfire, how to identify blackberry bushes from poison oak, how to play music better, etc. I look forward to other fun activities next year in high school.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Broken Bonds

by Arracutie

I saw the packed suitcases on her bedroom floor. I saw the empty bureau, the blue drawers no longer containing the knickknacks I had come to expect there. I saw these, but I didn’t accept them, didn’t understand. I scanned the room for an explanation, but there was no note. Then I felt a gentle pat on my back, and turned around to find Ana standing next to me, smiling a sad smile. She must have noticed the tears forming in my eyes, for she immediately began to comfort me. “I’ll never abandon you,” she said. And because she had been my stepmom for as long as I could remember, I believed her.

I had only been stopping by the house for clothes for my visit with my biological mother, so I wiped my eyes and shut the door behind me. When my mom and I arrived at our apartment, I called my dad, who was on a business trip at the time, and told him what I had seen at the house. He told me not to worry, and that Ana was probably just cleaning out her room. The confidence in my dad’s voice calmed me. How could I have been so stupid? I thought. Ana would never leave us. My dad was right.

I reprimanded myself for thinking such things about her. All the times she had been there to comfort me, to console me; I couldn’t forget that. She was the one who hugged me after a bad visit with my mom, the one who drove me to school each morning and picked me up afterwards asking, “How was school today, honey?” She wove French braids into my long hair before concerts, making sure to brush away any knots or tangles from my hair beforehand. We would stay up late laughing in bed with popcorn kernels lost in our sheets and candy wrappers surrounding us. She was my role model, but most importantly, she was my mom.

That night I slept peacefully. In the morning I was awakened by the sound of my cell phone announcing a missed voicemail. I flipped the pink cover open and pressed the speaker to my ear. “One missed call from Dad, received at 9:45 am,” the robotic voice informed me. Then my dad’s voice began. “Hey Hun. I…I got Ana’s lawsuit in the mail today. I…guess I was wrong. I’m sorry. Call me, ok? I love you.” “End of voice mail. To replay press-,” I cut the voice off, and threw my phone.

“How could she?!” I screamed. I hurled my striped pillows across the room with the most force I could muster, knocking over a framed picture of me as a toddler in the process. And then, almost as quickly as I had become angry, I began to cry. I sobbed for what seemed like an hour, clinging onto my mom for dear life. Eventually, I became quiet, and my rapid breathing slowed. Ana was leaving. It was final.

That day I had a revelation. I could no longer see myself happily married with children crawling onto my lap. Instead, I envisioned myself as a single, yet successful woman. Never would I trust another. Ana had taught me the danger in that.

My Family Picnic

by KP

Last year my family threw a picnic party in the hills. Everybody was listening to R&B music, eating BBQ, and having a good time. My uncle Damon was asking all the teenagers if they wanted to walk through the hills. He finally got all of us to go and we all walked far away from the family picnic. We didn’t tell our mommas that we were leaving so they didn’t know where we had gone.

It was so hot and I couldn’t really breathe. We didn’t bring any water or any food. We were walking on rocks and some people fell and if you would fall everybody would laugh at you. We started walking through these trees and it looked like something knocked the trees over because they were just lying on the ground. There were sticks and dirt everywhere, so you had to watch your step.

We all kept walking to this desert part of the hills and we had to walk down a steep rock and my cousin fell down the rock but she caught herself. Everybody was laughing but she was okay. I told my uncle it was getting dark and we needed to head back to the picnic. Everyone started walking back but we couldn’t find the picnic so we all were lost. I was so scared because it started to get pitch black and I couldn’t really see that well. I heard there were mountain lions in the hills. We heard a helicopter above our heads but they couldn’t see us.

After about an hour and a half we finally made it back to the picnic, only to find the police waiting for us. My auntie cussed all of us out, saying something could have happened to us because there are mountain lions and all types of animals out there. My momma said a helicopter was looking for us and I told her we saw it but it didn’t see us. I learned never to walk through the hills without water or food.


by Lucky

It was 6:00am on a Sunday morning when I had to get out of my nice warm bed and get dressed and head off to the train station to leave for Yosemite. The train ride was long and some of us fell asleep. Little did I know the worst part was yet to come. After the train ride, we were on a bus for three more hours riding to Curry Village on a windy road. On the bus ride I talked to people I normally would not talk to. However, it was all worth it because when we got to Curry Village the fun began.

The first thing we did was take a walk around to better understand our new environment. This ended with a big snowball fight (FUN!), which we had to cooperate to win. Later we were told the rules of camp and the first one was no snowball fights (not fun). We were then split into three groups and met our group leaders. Mine was really boring and no fun.

The next day we were told the hiking schedule. Every day we hiked for four hours and got three hours of free time. We had a 10:00pm curfew. Each morning we had to wake up at 7:00am and eat breakfast, but the food there was not that good. I also woke up the other people of my group so we could get to breakfast in time. The hikes, however, were a pretty good workout.

The best part of the trip for me was when we got to look at the views from the top of the hills we were on. I also liked that we learned many games that tested our trust in one another and helped us cooperate as a team. We also learned games that were just plain fun. That one week in Yosemite taught me about my friends and how important it is to cooperate in order to complete a task. Going to Yosemite with my classmates will be something I’ll always remember.

Moving Back and Forth

by KO

When I came to Arizona it was kind of hard for me to make new friends because I had already made friends in California. Right before I was leaving from Cali we were going to go to Great America, and I was going to take this girl who I called my best friend Jasmine, but my mom said we couldn’t go anymore because we had to get on a Greyhound. I was like, Greyhound? Isn’t a hound a dog?, and I didn’t understand.

I was really sad packing my suitcase. I made believe I folded my clothes and just threw them in the suitcase. When my mom came into the room she didn’t say anything, she just looked around and noticed I hadn’t really done anything. I just said, “Okay.” And started to really pack my clothes like she wanted me to do, because I already knew she was going to try and give me a lecture on why I should just listen and finish so we wouldn’t miss our greyhound, which she still didn’t tell me what a greyhound was.

When I finished bunching all my clothes into my suitcase I went down stairs and I was looking at most of my things that entertain me, like my scooter, my bike, my magic eight ball, and some other things, and people were coming over and they were picking up things and looking. Then my mom came around the corner with another box and I said, “Mom, what are all these people doing here and why are my things outside?” Then she said, “Baby, it’s called a garage sale.” I said, “Well, you don’t have to sell any of my things.” And then she went on and on and on and on, you have too many toys, why can’t you share, stop being so selfish. I said, “They’re not toys!” And then she said, “So what are they?” And my response was, “They’re my personal things to keep me busy.”

I took a couple of my things and stuffed them in my suitcase, and finally I got them inside the suitcase. The next thing you know, my mom closed the garage door and my suitcase shot open right when she got in the room, and in my mind I’m thinking, oh no what’s about to happen now? And she said “WHAT THE? TAMARASHAUN KIYREEAUNA OVERALL!!!!!! What is going on?” I said, “I just wanted to take some of my valuable things I play with…” She said, “If you don’t get these clothes and stuff up so we can go you’re gonna be left in this house by yourself.” And I said, “Well that’s better for me.” And she said, “I am not playing, you got 2.5 seconds to get this mess up and don’t make me have to speak to you again!!!” So finally after all the yelling we got in the car and then my mom started yelling at me some more and I just looked out the window and ignored her. I think she’s just gonna miss California, I thought.

We rode up to this parking lot, and I’m like what are we doing here??? We got out of the car. The trunk popped open and we got our bags. We walked inside the building in front of the parking lot, and there were a lot of people and all I could do was look around the gigantic room. There were chairs, video games, and vending machines with M&M’s which were, and still are, my favorite candy. For a minute I was begging my mom for a dollar so I could get my favorite candy, but for some reason she kept telling me NO and I was getting mad because I really wanted that candy.
Then a big bus pulled up and I was amazed by it so much that I forgot about the candy and I went to the window and stared in amazement. My mom asked me if I wanted the candy still and I just ignored her and said, “I want to get on that!” She said, “We are in a minute, after all the people get off, and the driver says we can get on.” We took that bus to Arizona, and lived there for five years. That day when we had to get on the bus and leave California still seems like it was yesterday, because all I could think about was my old friends in California and how much I would miss them.

This past July, the week before my birthday and the summer before 8th grade, we moved back to California. I was happy to move back, but when I got here, I didn’t get to see that many of my old friends. Instead, I made a lot of new friends. I’ve learned not to get too attached to a place, because then you’ll want to move back.

A Smile Comes With a Tear

by Red Violet

There are many people in your middle school experience. You’ve got your teachers, your friends, and then there’s your parents. Your parents are supposed to be there for you when your world is falling apart all around you, but what if they’re the reason your world is falling apart?

Before I start off you should know that my parents are divorced, and my mom is remarried to a man named George, and they live in Walnut Creek together. It all started in the 6th grade, but to me this story really began last summer. The custody case was in the middle of August. I would either go to a Walnut Creek school and alternate weeks between my dad and mom, or I would go to Claremont and live with my dad and go to my mom’s every other weekend.

I had been talking to my dad a lot about the whole thing, but with my mom... not so much. It’s not like I couldn’t talk to my mom or something, it’s just that it’s easier to talk to the parent who you want to live with more. The only problem about this was that I had a two week vacation in Greece with my mom and George.

When we first started the trip things were fine, but about a week in they started getting a little irritating. We all got frustrated with each other more and we got in more arguments. Then one day while George was swimming with my mom’s best friend and her boyfriend Dick my mom asked me about it. I was so scared that I would hurt her feelings, I just did not want to talk about it. I basically refused, but then after a huge fight I did. And as I had feared my mom started crying, then of course since she was crying, I started crying. I remember she looked at me with eyes full of tears and said, “Why didn't you tell me about this until two weeks before the court date?” I answered simply, “Because you never asked.” Then she started getting really angry. I could see the anger as she yelled at me, “DO I HAVE TO ASK? I am your mother and I deserve to see you at least half the time and I will take you and your father to court until I can. I will fight!” I remember, “I WILL FIGHT!”

After that my mom didn’t say a word about the custody case the whole trip. When we got home I went to my dad’s house and wouldn’t be seeing my mom until after the case was over. In the meantime I just relaxed at my home with my dad, just kinda chilling. A week went by and it was time for the court case, that day I woke up and my dad was already out of the house. So to pass time I watched some TV, but an hour passed and he wasn't home yet. So then I spent a little while just watching the minutes go by and suddenly I heard a car pull up in to the driveway. HE WAS HOME! I walked outside and saw his face.... He opened the door smiling more brightly than he ever had and ran over to me. He swooped me up in his arms and gave me a spinning hug.

Even though there was still stress for the next year with my mom crying and making me feel guilty all the time, life was okay. For once it didn't completely suck. And that’s how I got where I am today, writing this report, sitting in this chair, in Ms. Thaler’s portable, at Claremont Middle School, in Oakland.

Love, Hate & Change

by azn

When I first met my love my life was simple and easy, but little did I know that that was all about to change. Fate was about to make a drastic change in my life. Love was about to enter my world and change me forever.

On about the third day of the seventh grade, at my new school, I met the most beautiful person in the world. The first days of school I did not even notice them, which is weird, because they were so cute. But when I did notice them it was like seeing an angel. The sun was beaming down on them and the birds were singing and their wings sent a worldly stillness that came over the earth and brought peace to all living things.

But then that’s where it all went wrong; I told my friend that I liked this person and my friend told them, but I denied it of course, because I didn’t want anyone to know that I liked them. But as time went on I wasn’t able to hide the truth anymore. My secret was out and there was no way for me to stop it from spreading. Thus my second chance at middle school was ruined already.
For some strange reason I felt the urge to stare at them in class, but that was a bad idea. Staring at them was nice at first, until they started to look back at me. Then I just put my head down, but that gave me awful whiplash. If I couldn’t look at them during the only class that I had with them then I would have to follow them to their other classes and their home if I wanted to see them, so I did.

Well, one day I was following them home, just like every other day, but this day was about to be different. I thought that I was going to be unseen or ignored, but they turned around facing me while I stood in the middle of the street. They reached into their backpack, pulled out a gun, and shot me in the chest.

After that happened I loved them more than ever, but ever since that day I never thought of relationships, love, or sex the same way. I started to think of love as seriously as anyone could think about anything.

Fake People

by RN

Over my middle school years I have experienced same fake people. However, I have experienced good things too. Like when I first started the sixth grade, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I made friends on the first day, but most the excitement was in music class.

Seventh grade was an okay year, continuing at the same school was helpful, but it has some bad moments. In the beginning of the year everyone started off being cool and friends and stuff, but in the middle and towards the end of the year people started to change. That’s when I started to realize that a lot of people were fake and everyone is not your friend.

Eighth grade year was one of the most funniest, craziest, best years ever. The beginning of the year started off cool like any other beginning of the year. Everyone started off friends as usual. Towards the middle and the end of the year people started to fight, even friends fought each other. Then I heard around the school that my own friends where talking about me. That’s how I realized that people are duplicitous (two-faced) and messy.

I can take this advice to high school because it teaches me that you can’t treat everyone like a friend because they can turn around and stab you in the back.


by blue star

It was the middle of my 8th grade school year. Report cards were coming out and I already knew I would get good grades just like always. Somehow my prediction turned out wrong and I got an A, B, C, and two D’s. I didn’t it was that bad; actually, I thought I did pretty great!

My mom didn’t think so; she was so upset she made me wear a skirt to school. I think she did it because she knew I hated skirts, especially this one. It was army print and it had big ugly rhinestones on it. I thought I could be sneaky and not wear it, so early the next morning I decided to sneak a pair of pants in my backpack. After I accomplished that, I quickly ran out and changed by my house. Then all of a sudden my annoying neighbor Roderick who always has something to say, he wanted to talk to me. Out of all people, why him?!

While talking to him I didn’t realize my grandmother was looking at me out of the window like a stalker. She could’ve called me back in the house to keep me from getting in more trouble when I got home. When I spotted her I acted like I didn’t see her and ran toward the bus stop. When I got to school I was so nervous that by the end of the day I had no finger nails . All I could think about was school being over so I could put the hideous skirt back on. When school was over I quickly gathered my stuff and got on the bus, I was so relieved to get through the day without my mom coming by.

When I got home I thought I was safe, by the side of my house I slipped the skirt on. I walked in the house like nothing was wrong. My mom took one looked at me and said, “You didn’t wear that skirt.

"I said “How do you know? Yes I did.” I knew my grandma had already ratted me out to my mom.

The next day I was in a skirt at school. Nobody really laughed at me because most of the girls were wearing skirts anyway because it was hot outside. However it taught me a very good lesson: to not let your grades get low. Also, to not be sneaky and a liar, because you won’t get far!

Science and Me

by yungzero27

When I first arrived at Claremont in the 8th grade I had no idea what I wanted to do for the future. I hated science and never thought I would want to be taking physics, but someone changed that. Ms. Cristancho changed all those thoughts. She made me love science; she made it something I wanted to look forward to everyday. She made the lessons fun and kept the warm-ups fresh out of her head. That’s what a good teacher does: makes the lesson fun and most of all, makes sure you learn. She changed my whole perspective on science. I never would have dreamed of liking science. Science is now my favorite subject and something that I not only do at school, but at home. Everything, from the moment I wake up to the moment I fall asleep, is science!!

Now, for my future, I want to work in some field of science. Maybe I’ll become a doctor or a biologist. I love science more than I love any other subject in the world. I don’t know what I would do if science didn’t exist. I think Ms. Cristancho positively influenced me in the right direction. I never got anything lower than an A in science and I hope my high school teachers will look at that and place me in an advanced science class. I think everything from cells to atoms is cool, and I want to study more about it. Science is what keeps me living (literally).

I think if I had gone to another middle school I would not have had the same experienced with science as I did at Claremont with ms. Cristancho. I think science is amazing, and if you are willing to let it, it can change you. Who doesn’t want to learn about sound, molecules, light, and fire? I think one of the reasons I like science is because it helps you figure out how stuff works. It makes your imagination expand. Science has really changed me because now when I look at something or explain something there is always a scientific reason behind it. Ms. Cristancho has really changed my life with her stories and because of her, I’m happy that I came to this school.

My Best Years

by exb11

There are many things that I have experienced that I could write in this essay. I am choosing to tell you about two things that are most important in my life. First I am going to talk about sixth grade.

In sixth grade I was introduced to Claremont Middle School. At first the school was hard to get used too, but because I had so many friends from my previous school I was okay. In sixth grade I started to play basketball. I always knew about basketball, but since my mom played in college (way back when) she wanted me to follow in her footsteps. I tried out for my first AAU team when I was about 11. Luckily I made it, and my mom was really proud of me, as was I. Once I started going to practices and getting to know the coaches I started to get more comfortable with the team and the overall EBX organization. I wasn’t the best player but I soon began playing in camps and working on my game.

Then, in the seventh grade I was one of the starters and I got really good. Almost every weekend I would go to a two-hour clinic that was called Triple Threat Academy. The coaches were Tony and Lou. They were probably the two best players I have ever seen play in person. They really inspired to me to get better. I remember the first time I ever went to the clinic I thought to myself “I wish I was as good as them.” Soon enough my coach picked up on my improvement in basketball and called my mom. He told her about my good effort and hard work in practice. I was really happy because in the seventh grade my team started traveling to Reno, L.A, and Oregon. I earned my starting position and became great friends with one of my teammates, Taylor Norman.

During the eighth grade is when everything happened. I applied for two high schools and the process was really expensive and long but it all came out great in the end. I got into both of the high schools, and I was really proud of myself because I knew a lot of kids applied. The schools I applied to were Bishop O’Dowd and Saint Mary’s College High school. Because I got into both, I had to pick one. In the end I picked BOD, mostly because they have both a better academic program and basketball team. My mom was okay with my decision either way, but she was especially happy because my brother also goes to BOD and she said she wouldn’t have to waste any gas going to and from both schools.

These three years of my life have changed me a lot. I have gotten more mature (which is probably hard to believe for some) and I know I have become a better person through school and basketball. I am really glad I got to spend my middle school days at Claremont. I met a lot of life long friends, and I became a more aware person.

The Reality

by KM

I was 12 when I was robbed. I was home alone with my little brother. In movies, they usually say it was a dark and rainy night. It wasn’t. It was 11 o’clock on a sunny Sunday morning. My mom was at the gym and my dad was on a bike ride.

I was up in my room when the doorbell rang. Our doorbell trills, it’s loud. There was no way to just ignore it. I went downstairs to check the window, to see if I knew the person at the door. I checked, but I didn’t. I went back into the living room, about to go upstairs when I heard a tinkling of glass. My brother had come downstairs so I whispered to him, “He’s breaking in,”

It wasn’t that I had to whisper, it was more like I had lost the ability to speak louder. We ran upstairs to the first room on the landing, my own. I had a phone, and I was using it to frantically dial numbers. My mom’s cell, I got voicemail. My dad’s cell, voicemail. And at last, 911, but by that time I heard heavy footsteps coming from downstairs. I hung up the phone.

I was in denial, I thought that maybe my dad had sent someone to check on us. It was naïve, but I was desperate. I didn’t want this to be happening. My brother had stolen the only hiding spot that was protected by the door. My breathing became faster and faster. Finding no better hiding spot, I just stood behind the door waiting for him to come in. Once he was on the landing he choose a different tactic than my brother and I, starting with my younger brother’s room first. When he moved on to my room, reality crashed on me.

The denial ended. This was really happening and I needed to deal with it. I opened the door and started screaming words I can’t remember. He rushed to get out of the house (he didn’t know that anyone was in there) and I chased after him to make sure he actually left. I remember leaping over shattered glass, then running down the stairs two steps at a time. After that he leaped on a bike and I suddenly became aware of what I was saying. I was calling for help. The neighbors called the police and they arrived an hour later when there was no chance of catching him.

Two years ago, I believed that this experience didn’t change me. Now I’m not so sure. I think I’ve matured from it, I’ve taken things more seriously. The police never found the robber, or the minimal amount of stuff he stole, but it raised my awareness. That things like this do happen, and not just to other people. It didn’t begin like in the movies, but it ended like it. The happy sort of ending where that family feels lucky that everyone is okay and healthy. There is fear hanging over the household, but not as much as the relief. The relief, and the awareness. Two things that benefited me from this experience, even when I didn’t think it would. At the end, the whole family is together feeling lucky.


by Artsy Barbie

You begin.

You're not quite as bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as you were before this summer. In fact, you're a bit scared and nervous. But you're meeting new people – nice new people, fun new people – and you're surviving your schooling, so there's soft, warm contentment in you, like a soothing cup of tea and a gentle nap.

Then you start missing school. You move up in the world – as big a world as school can be – and the shine in your eyes dulls all the more, leaving you even less optimistic than you were before you started this period of your life. As the months dredge by slowly and painfully, your world grows darker and darker. Getting out of bed is like climbing a mountain. Interacting with friends, family and classmates might as well be punishment. You miss more school.

But you get better.

You're able to smile again, and perhaps because of this you throw yourself into evolving your personal style. It becomes your mantra and philosophy to look good and feel good. You pierce your ears multiple times and dye your hair – skirts get shorter and boots get taller. As you laugh and enjoy life again, you remember how much you like to pretend.

So you act.

And you laugh, and you love it, but just as quickly you cry. One of the people you love the most has cancer, and as cavalier as she is about it – it isn’t that serious, after all, something that can be removed – you die a little inside when you hear. After it's all over and she's all right, you realize how immensely lucky you are to not have to suffer that same extreme pain as so many others your age who have lost a parent.

You cry some more.

But you continue your pretending and do a damn good job at it, which takes up most of your summer. You meet more fantastic, like-minded people and are absolutely sure that this is one of those great turning points in life that you've heard about. You decide you like it.

Unfortunately, it's over just as soon. School is in session again and for a few moments you feel yourself falling back into darkness. It scares half the life out of you, but this time you can feel it coming and refuse to give in to it. You smirk victoriously, utterly unabashed, at this beautiful win.

The year goes on and you are given your options of escape. You're missing school again, but this time it’s for a noble reason, as you have found a whole new motivation to get up in the morning. It invigorates you and breathes a new life into your lungs and veins and bones, albeit a sad one. You're discovering for the first time that the escape you yearn for means separation from most of the amazing people you've met. Your belly laugh grows somber at best, forced at worst, and several things are suddenly off the table to discuss among friends. Not being able to talk about it feels like the saddest thing of all.

You're lonely.

You ask yourself what happened to your excitement and happiness, but come up with no answer. It isn't that you're depressed again, just that you feel much too old and weary for your thirteen-going-on-fourteen-going-on-forty years. You and your friends eventually come to a vague mutual agreement about staying together next year, but it feels a bit half-hearted. Over time, it feels better – you feel better – but at the time it seems all but hopeless.

Still, you cheer up.

Deciding your future high school is a difficult choice, but you finally choose one that must be Artsy Barbie's Dream School, a happy echo of Fame. You're anxious and excited for next fall, although still a bit sad. You have higher hopes for your Dream School than you did for This One.

Graduation is less than a month away, holding summer and more pretending hostage in its cloudy and ominous grasp. You don't know what the future plans on hurling at you, but you've learned the cliché and accurate Life Lesson that the only thing you can do is go with it. You're still evolving, after all.

Life goes on.

You go on.

Middle School and Baseball

by BM

I’ve changed numerous ways since the beginning of 6th grade. I remember when I first came to Claremont, I didn’t know what to expect of middle school. I was small and naive. I came from an elementary school that was all perfect into a middle school that was much different. When I got here in 6th grade I remember how kids would pick on me and my friends, the “little white kids,” and try to mess with us. Once they saw that it didn’t really bother us, they didn’t really do it anymore. Because I didn’t get scared when they tried to mess with me, they treated me differently and just left me alone ever since.

Once I got into the 7th grade, I was pretty much comfortable with middle school and was used to it. I got to know most of the people and got familiar with the routine. Unlike the 6th grade, I was no longer a “New Kid”.

8th grade has been the most difficult because I didn’t focus on schoolwork the way I should have, like I did in 6th and 7th grade. I kind of got distracted a lot in my classes. I did all right on my report cards this year but could have done a lot better. I plan to do much better all through high school and college. Unfortunately, middle school went by very slowly. I have been waiting to get out of here and finally go to high school since the beginning of the year.

The one area that I have improved dramatically in is baseball. I have been playing since I can remember and have become more serious and skilled each year I played. I would start out just playing during spring, then spring and fall, and eventually I started playing baseball all year round. It has become my favorite thing to do, and I play whenever I get the chance.

In 6th and 7th grade, I played just regular little league baseball and played on teams that weren’t really advanced. Once I got into 8th grade I wanted to play at a higher level so I tried out for a traveling team. A traveling team is a highly skilled team with players that the coaches pick out from all over, not just Oakland. There was one spot left on the team when I tried out. The coach of the team told me I had made the team after he saw me play. He said I was one of 70 plus people that had tried out for that spot on the team. I was happy that I had made the team. I look forward to playing all summer and hope to play for a long time to come and one day be in the majors.

Advice From Aijinae

by Asia-Amani101

Boys, boys, boys!!!
Being in a 6 month relationship has taught me so much this year. During my relationship I learned that in order to really have a relationship you have to be able to trust the person you're with and be able to forgive them. As easy as it sounds it's really hard. Relationships are like roller-coasters and after being on it with all the ups and downs, and loop 'd' loops you have no choice but to get off. I was on a big Relationship Roller-Coaster with lots of ups and downs, and most of the time I just got off.

It all started one October night. We were talking on the phone, and since we were already friends it wasn't hard to start a conversation and get straight to the point. He liked me, and I liked him- why not get together? The beginning of everything is always fun and cute, but then as time goes by you have disagreements and that's how it all falls apart. Take it from someone who knows, I have been there done that. Here's my story.

Trust: I never had a problem with trusting him before. I was able to tell him everything and he could do the same, but after our first breakup that changed. I could still trust him, but not as much as before. After we broke up there were all these rumors about how he was going with another girl while with me. I didn't know who to believe. Him because he's my boyfriend, my sister because she's been through the same thing, my friends because they know and they might be right, or myself because at the end of the day it's me who decides what I'm going to do.
Well, unfortunately I believed everyone but him, and we ended up breaking up.

At the beginning I didn't feel so bad, I found someone else, and wished him the best of luck with the "new"girl. As time went on I felt that I was missing something that I really cared about. Did I make the wrong decision and move on too quick, or was I just sprung? Sprung, never will that happen, but missing someone, yes, that's what it was. We went to mediation, and talked about what happened, and how we really felt about each other. Even though we were back together and had settled our disagreements and put our differences aside, I still wasn't really over the whole conflict. I did trust him and everything he said, but was what he was telling me the actual truth??

The Difference Between Need & Want: As a girl you never need a boy to be with you, you might want him there every step of the way, but you don't need him. When you need a boy it's like you can't live without him, he's what makes you function. If a boy ever says you need him, tell him to think twice, you didn't need him in the past, you won't need him in the future, and in the present you’re both together and you want him with you. Needing and wanting are two different things in my eyes. Like a phone for example, you really want the phone because you like it, whereas for food you need it to survive. See the difference? Most girls think they need a boy because they are in love, but if you really think about it as long as you have your family and God you don't need anyone- especially a boy.

Love: To most people love is just a four letter word, and others have a whole different meaning. What is love to me? Well, to me I see it as either you love someone like you care about them a lot, or you’re in love with someone and you want to be with them forever, and you’re ready to be committed to that person. There’s more to love than you and I both know. When you think you’re falling in love something happens and that all changes. To me if you love someone and you want to be with them, then you should really mean it, and no matter if you break up or not you will still love them. You can love your best friend, but that doesn't mean you’re in love with them and you want to be committed to them, that just means you care a lot.

What I’ve Learned: Most people might think differently about what I'm saying but from my experience, and how I feel about relationships and boys, this is how I look at it. I have learned so much in six months, and it all has made me open my eyes and look into the real world and realize that there is more to come, and the older I get the harder it's going to be. This is only my opinion; I can't speak for everyone, and everyone might not agree, But it's how I feel. Each of those topics taught me something different, and affected a different part of me, but they all showed me to believe in myself, and aim for my goals. I know that no matter how much I'm going through I can still succeed, and have a good relationship.