Reflection on WW Fenn Choice

AliJah Clark

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     When Fitz told me to choose a W.W. Fenn piece, he told me that it had to be the most powerful thing you ever memorize. He told us that when you’re on your death bed on your last moments, the words of your WW Fenn speech should just flow out of your mouth like a mid-summer night stream. When I heard this, I knew I had to choose a piece that had a strong message and resonate with whoever heard it. Who other to do this then one of the greatest and most powerful public speakers of all time— Malcolm X. When I found the right Malcolm X speech, I read The entire thing about 3 times before I started to memorize it just because it was that good. I knew that I could mess this speech up if it was the last thing I did. The length of the speech was a bit too long so I had to shorten to a length that would still give it justice. I also had to find the right ending that would still be able to end off the right way. The ending is the part that everybody remembers so this was a difficult and challenging experience. Malcolm X was and still is a prominent face in the civil rights movement so who better to recite in black history month besides one of the best? Hopefully moving forward, I’m able to develop a stronger and better understanding of the piece which will hopefully allow to present with more passion


Herman Melville Style

9th Grade Experiences

 

AliJah Clark

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Toward the cusp of my eighth grade year, once I had fathomed I’d be staying for ninth grade, I wasn’t the most cognizant person as to what was to come. Although the previous boisterous ninth graders told me about the amusements of being a senior, I also became aware as to the lump of workload that would be deposited upon us. The year embarked on a high note with the joyous expedition to Camp Belknap. Beside the endless epilogues about leadership, the trip was a satisfactory way to start off our senior years. 

 

On an honest note, the beginning of the year was definitely not the most enjoyable experience for me. There was surely a lot more work than I was used to in all of my classes. Another difference from last year was that there wasn’t a model grade above me that I could look up to and be aspired as to what the precise ninth grader is supposed to look like. This time we were the models that would be paving the way for the young scholars that parade the Fenn halls these days. The pressure that was put on us was bearable but started to enumerate once the year advanced. Throwing in applications for schools, SSAT’s and the endless homework from teachers all into the mix became a weight that became unwieldy after some time. 

 

A couple of weeks after the new year, things changed... shifted if you will. Like Applications were winding down, the homework was becoming more doable, and ninth grade was beginning to look more like the ninth grade we were all hoping for. The individuals that made up our grade transformed into one. We got along more often which made the entire senior process much more manageable. 

 

My ninth grade experience has been like life; if you work hard enough, good things will eventually come. 


Experiences

New Experiences

AliJah Clark

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“The whaling voyage was welcome; the great flood-gates of the wonder-world swung open, and in the wild conceits that swayed me to my purpose, two and two there floated into my inmost soul, endless procession of the whale, and, mid most of them all, one grand hooded phantom, like a snow hill in the air.”

 

~ Herman Melville

 

    No matter where you go in life, there will be new experiences waiting for you around the corner. Along with those experiences come new people that may change your life forever—But it’s whether or not you accept these experiences and make the most of them that really matters in life. There have been a lot of moments in my life where a major change was made and I had to adjust to my new environment with new classmates, teachers, coaches, and learning in new styles. When I came to Fenn, I didn’t think I’d fit it because I had never experienced the private school life and I was clearly in the minority. I was being introduced to new people and having new experiences everyday and continue to have them. But that’s what makes life so special— knowing that no matter where you turn in life, no matter what path you follow, your life will always be forever changing. That’s why I’m so comfortable in new experiences; I know that once I have learned everything I need to learn, my life will change for the better no matter what. Even if it’s not the most enjoyable time of my life. Be adventurous, be confident, and never turn down a good opportunity. 


Life

Purpose

AliJah Clark

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As years come and go, one of the main purposes of life is happiness. But happiness can come in so many different ways and forms that we don’t always know if it’s the right way. If I had to choose whether to be happy and ignorant, or wise, I would choose to be wise. Meeting knew people, and living new experiences everyday, everybody knows those annoying and snobby ignorant people who are completely clueless as to how ignorant they are being. Even though I would be happy, I would unknowingly be making the lives of others worse which is something I would never want to do. If I were wise, life would come to me much easier and I would successfully go through so many experiences that life throws at me. As I’ve learned in my 14 years of life, knowledge and wise ness are two completely different things. Although they both have to do with knowing things, wiseness can take you so much farther in life because you have the ability to make so many better choices with the right ways to apply the knowledge you have. Wiseness allows you to not only understand more in life, but teach the less educated and advise the knowledge seeking. 

 

In the long run, being wise will bring you happiness. 


Literary Analysis Christmas in Wales

A Wales Christmas

The Imagaination of a Child

AliJah Clark

Imagination
The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.
~Albert Einstein 

    

    Every Christmas, Dylan Thomas and his friends get their puffer fish hooded coats and explore their neighborhood to the highest extent. The stories that were told and the adventures that were embarked on in this story have one main theme and two main techniques that made the story great. The unifying/broad theme of the entire piece was imagination which was expressed very clearly in the story. The two main sentence building techniques that made this piece more magical than a unicorn were Images and Actions and Similes and Metaphors. It really makes you wonder, what actually happened during this memory and what was just a figure of Thomas’ imagination.

    When imagination takes over, there’s no stopping it. In this story, A Child’s Christmas in Wales, by Dylan Thomas, Dylan remembers the endless fun he and his friends, Jim and Dan, had during their childhood in Wales. The three allies live Christmas Day to the absolute fullest and make the most out of any little experience by exaggerating it as much as possible. Dylan Thomas makes it very clear that imagination can make any memory more exciting. It was the afternoon of Christmas Day and when Dylan Thomas and his friends run around the neighborhood. Seeing whiskered jaguars, fires, and dolphins, Dylan, Jim, and Dan live the greatest Christmas a child could ask for. Thomas wrote:


Bring out the tall tales now that we told by the fire as the gaslight bubbled like a diver. Ghosts whooed like owls in the long nights when I dared not look over my shoulder; animals lurked in the cubbyhole under the stairs and the gas meter ticked. And I remember that we went singing carols once, when there wasn't the shaving of a moon to light the flying streets.

    Imagination is so important in this piece of literature because it allows the reader to have a more vivid image of the memories Dylan Thomas has. The short story was detailed and profound but wouldn’t have been that way if it weren’t the endless sentence building techniques used in the story.
When imagery and stories come together, the possibilities are endless. In this short story, Dylan Thomas mainly uses two sentence buildings techniques that add a certain magic to the piece. The main building techniques used in this story are Imagery and Action and Similes and Metaphors. Imagery and Action and Similes and Metaphors made the entire story more alluring and compelling. The memories and imagination of Thomas came alive with the techniques that were used. He wrote:


Now we were snow-blind travelers lost on the north hills, and vast dewlapped dogs, with flasks round their necks, ambled and shambled up to us, baying "Excelsior.”

    These sentence buildings techniques are important to the piece of literature because they specify the experience to make it more relatable for the reader. The pictures the reader generate in their head is the most important thing when telling or reading a story. Thomas makes this task undoubtedly easier. When the reader of a story is able to paint a portrait of what their reading, the writer has done their best job.

    Maybe it doesn’t matter what actually took place on this Christmas Day in Wales, as long as it was lived to the fullest.


Power of Tradition

Power of Tradition

Traditions of A Generation

AliJah Clark

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“Teaching is not a lost art, but the regard for it is a lost tradition.”

~ Unknown

Stories come and go, but tradition is forever. Growing up, I was accustomed to regular and familiar practices. But it took me a while to recognize that these practices weren’t going anywhere when I grew up; that’s when I learned what tradition was all about. From waking up every Sunday to the smell of stew chicken and corn, to the late nights talking to my mom with a cup of hot cocoa in hand. We do things like this so habitually that we take it for granted and don’t realize that so many families don’t have these nice traditions to get to know each other better. Family, friends, even your own actions define who you are; and who you are slowly shapes the traditions you or a group of people have. This is because creating traditions is a natural makeup of our DNA as human beings. We may not realize it right away, but eventually, they become more clear to us. One of the traditions my family has is one that we’ve been doing ever since I can remember. On Christmas Eve, everybody, usually only my little brother and I, are allowed to open either one gift from under the tree, or open our stockings. We usually choose a gift that we think is a new video game which leads to us in front of a screen until a Christmas morning. Another tradition my crazy family has is visiting somewhere new during the summer. Whether it’s out of the country or in the next state over, we always make sure we explore the rest of the world in one way, shape, or form. These traditions have shaped the man I am today because I will most likely pass on these traditions to my kids in the future. Reflecting on them, it is easy to tell that the little things really matter in life, especially if you’re doing it with your family. When we can recognize and appreciate traditions, the meaning of life is revealed.

 


A Waste of Time

Distractions

AliJah Clark

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“Work is hard. Distractions are plentiful. And time is short.”

    Adam Hochschild

    Sometimes we do things in life that we think we need, but only hurts us in the long run. That is exactly what Fortnite does to so many of our young scholars these days. Wake up, play Fortnite, go home, play Fortnite. It’s all kids think about. We do it for so long and have so much fun doing it that we don’t even realize how much it’s ruining our lives. It shortens family time, reduces homework availability and ruins our brain with all of the screen time. Video games are like the Philly cheese steak to our hunger of procrastination. Minutes turn into hours, turn into days upon days of the constant distractions that prevent us from completing necessary tasks such as homework and studying. If only we could turn off the part of our brain that craves the addictions we have so we are much better off when it comes to taking care of our responsibilities. It’s so important to remember that procrastination is one our worst enemies and the only way to defeat it is by remembering we insert the danger of the beast. All in all, there are many cravings such as Fortnite in our lives that suck all our energy away from what matters. We think we need to do them, but don’t realize the damage it’s doing. 


Thanksgiving Poem

The Meaning

AliJah Clark

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As the years come and go

With family sitting around the dinner table

Only with the fourteen years I’ve been alive

It is clear to see that one Thanksgiving

Will never be the same as the last.



Friendships will be long outgrown,

Family bonds will fall off

Just as leaves fall off trees

And with a twenty pound turkey in front of you

You’re left sitting there wondering…

What is Thanksgiving really all about?



Is it about the food

the occasional presents from distant relatives

even the smooches from Grandma she bombards you with every time you see her

Or maybe it’s about all of it

From the food to the smooches

Maybe it doesn’t even matter if you eat turkey or not

As long as family and loved ones are right there by your side



Reflecting on all of the accomplishments and downfalls you’ve had all year

Remembering the loved ones you’ve lost

And the loved ones that have grown closer by the passing minute

What if it all mattered so much that we just take it all for granted

We don’t realize the privileges that we are blessed with every minute of the day

From where you go to school

To where you lay your head at night

It’s all just our normal…

 

Thanksgiving is the time to be with loved ones

It’s the time to reflect

It’s the time to reflect

It’s the time to reflect

on all of the memories and blessings we’ve experienced throughout our lives

That

Is what Thanksgiving is all about.


Power of Hardship

Heartbreakers

AliJah Clark

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Hardships often prepare ordinary people, for an extraordinary destiny.
- C.S. Lewis

    Hardships are just tests, waiting to be passed. That’s exactly what I realized when I didn’t get in to any of the schools I applied to. When I was in 8th grade, I planned on leaving Fenn and moving on to an independent high school. The applications were completed, tests were taken, schools explored, and interviewers met. Everything was done... for nothing. The date of acceptance letters was getting closer and my family and I were all waiting to be filled with joy after reading the acceptance letters we would soon open. My grades were good, test scores were good, and everything was handed in on time. With all of this in mind, there was no reason for me to think I would open all seven school letters and be waitlisted for every single one of them. I’ll never forget, the car ride home in my mom’s all red Chevrolet; St. Mark’s letter in my hand, family surrounding me while breathing down my neck. The excitement and anxiety filled the space, only to be completely and utterly heartbroken. The words that kick you to the ground only to slap you in the face as soon as you stand back up. My mom told me everything was going to be okay just like she always does and reminded me that there is always next year. Now, with that in mind, I will do anything I can to not let what happened last year happened again. It’s not about what knocks you down, but what it takes to get back up that really matters in life. 

    “After careful consideration, we are sorry to inform you that we were unable to find a spot for you on the upcoming class of 2022 here at St. Mark’s.”

 


Power of Place

Tradition

AliJah Clark

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 “Home is not a place... it’s a feeling.”

- Cecilia Ahern

   The power of a place is only what you make it. Over the years, my family and I have made our home a special place filled with Some special memories. My house consists of me, my brother Malcolm, my mom, and my grandmother. Whenever something memorable happens at my house, it becomes imbedded in who we are as a family. Such as the time my grandmother got sick during New Years Eve and my entire family stayed overnight with my grandmother in the hospital to make sure she wasn’t alone. This moment strengthened our bond as a family which made the home we live in a much more special place where we all feel comfortable in. A tradition my household has is sitting around our kitchen every Sunday eating the traditional Caribbean food my grandmother makes while talking about how our week was. I sit on the counter, my grandma on the couch, brother on the stairs and my in a chair. This is the same formation we sit in every single week and it’s been like that for as long as I can remember. The memories created in a place special to you, only last so long; like a cold ice cream cone on a hot summer day.

 

    The conversations we’ve had, the bonds we’ve strengthened, all make home...home.