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. 


Power Of Passion

AliJah Clark

Fitz English 

Power of Passion

November 2, 2018

 

Power of Passion

Doing what you love

D449E5F2-55EE-4857-8C45-DDE3A82DEE1FMy mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style. - Unknown

 

    “Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.” It was when I came to Fenn, that I realized how much I love the game of basketball. When I came here in sixth grade and into the new gym for the first time, I had no idea what was to come and how quickly I would fall in love with basketball. I didn’t know that this sport would later be my safe haven of all worries that I have during the day. At no other time in my life was it more obvious that this game wouldn’t be something I would give up on. I went to the gym early before school every single day to practice my shot, dribbling, and defense when I played pickup games with my classmates. Dribble, shoot, steal, block; just the typical terms I got used to hearing while playing basketball everyday. I can still remember when Mr. Romero told me I made JV Basketball- it was the best day of my life. It reminded me why I love playing basketball. When I play, all of my worries and stressors that are happening at school just disappear and my mind only thinks about playing. I always knew that if I had basketball to turn to when I wasn’t feeling my best, that everything would be okay. Playing the game that lights my fire with ease, only gets better when I’m able to share the same passion with my friends. Being in the presence of my friends and doing what I love is the dream of a lifetime. 

 

For me, doing something I love is the only thing that really matter in life. 


Call Of the Wild Essay

AliJah Clark

Fitz English 

Literary Analysis Essay

October 23, 2018

 

The Beast Within

Adaptation and Loyalty

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“Spitz was untouched, while Buck was streaming with blood and panting hard. The fight was growing desperate...

[Chapter III, The Call of the Wild, Jack London]

 

    spitz sneaks up on Buck, waits for the right moment to attack, and finds the exact and right moment to lunge all 200 pounds of meat and flesh at the slumbering dog and rips him apart. Buck quickly rises and defends himself making it clear to Spitz, and the rest of the sled dogs watching, that he means business. Buck later sunk his piercing teeth into the white meat of Spitz and tasted blood for the first time. This moment was just the beginning of the realization that Buck wasn’t a domesticated puppy anymore. There is nothing more important to survival than adaptation. In the book, The Call of the Wild, by Jack London, Buck has to learn how to be loyal and adapt to his new environment if he want to come in contact with the primordial beast within him. 

 

    After being captured, Buck soon realizes that he’s not in his usual environment where he’s treaded like an actual pet. He is soon introduced to ‘the man in the red sweater’. The man in the red sweater has one job, and one job only - to teach Buck some manners. While Buck is escaping from the cage he was forced in to, he launches at the man in the red sweater only to be struck by the forceful and fierce blow of a club. Buck, not understanding why he’s in so much pain tries again, and again, and again. Only to be struck down every single time with the electric and heart stopping shock of the club being beaten into him. Blood oozing, foam accumulating, and desperation growing strong. Buck doesn’t even have the slightest idea of what’s to come.

 

    After a particularly fierce blow, he crawled to his feet, too dazed to rush. He staggered limply about, the blood flowing from nose and mouth and ears, his beautiful coat sprayed and flecked with bloody slaver. Then the man advanced and deliberately dealt him a frightful blow on the nose. All the pain he had endured was as nothing compared with the exquisite agony of this... Buck described a complete circle in the air, and half of another, then crashed to the ground on his head and chest. [The Call of the Wild, Chapter I]

 

    This quote is important to the text because this is the moment Buck Realized that his life was about to flip upside down. Buck didn’t know what it was like to get beaten after coming from an environment where he was treasured and taken care of. This scene defined the primordial beast within Buck and the real animal inside him he would soon become. 

 

    Loyalty is one of the major keys when it comes to surviving in a new environment. In The Call of the Wild, Jack London re-creates the bond between a man and a dog when he introduces the heroic and protagonist character,  John Thornton. Buck’s connection with man is significantly strengthened when he meets and interacts with his new owner,  John Thornton. John Thornton has a fond sense of trust and loyalty in Buck. This is proven when Buck’s trustful owner gets an extremely large sum of money after placing a risky bet with other dog owners and bets that Buck can pull a massive load that the rest of the dog owners doubt he can pull. John Thornton’s trust in Buck and the loyalty that Buck feels for his master end up strengthening him enough to allow him to pull the sled. After a long and hard struggle and Buck winning the money for John Thornton, John shows his gratitude to Buck and creates the bond between a man and a dog that can last a lifetime.

 

    Thornton's command cracked out like a pistol-shot. Buck threw himself forward, tightening the traces with a jarring lunge. His whole body was gathered compactly together in the tremendous effort, the muscles writhing and knotting like live things under the silky fur. His great chest was low to the ground, his head forward and down, while his feet were flying like mad, the claws scarring the hard-packed snow in parallel grooves...the sled lurched ahead in what appeared a rapid succession of jerks, though it never really came to a dead stop again...half an inch...an inch... two...[The Call of the Wild, Chapter VI]

 

    This quote is important to the book because it proves Buck’s loyalty to John Thornton. Buck has to work extremely hard and push his body to the limits on order to drag the sled. In doing so, he proves to not only strangers, but his master that he is worthy of being loved. 

 

    While reading this book, there were many words and phrases that were new to me and didn’t make sense to me. But as the book went on, and I read more of the old and classic language, the references and vocabulary became much more clear to me. I felt that Jack London wanted us to realize that we won’t always be put into comfortable positions but it’s how we are able to overcome these challenges that really matters. He wants us to remember that even if life throws adversity at us and it reveals a “beast” like character within us, we must be able to cope with that beast and adapt to your surroundings and the situation you’re in. I think that this is definitely a good book and should be read in every school around America. This book teaches you that connecting with your inner beast can set free the best you, you can possibly be.  

 

    Maybe something old, can teach us something new. The Call of the Wild is that kind of book.


Bonds of a Lifetime

AliJah Clark

Fitz English

Narrative Paragraph

October 29, 2018

 

Bonds of a Lifetime

Family is Forever

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You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you as you are to them. - Desmond Tutu

 

    Friends come and go, but family is forever. My family is always there for me, especially when I need them most. When I was in sixth grade and I had my first ever play coming up, my family was there helping me practice my lines and giving me tips to help remember them also. I was extremely nervous going into this because I never acted before and I was given the lead role in an entire different language: Shakespeare!  I was brand new to the whole “acting” thing and I had a bunch of school work to try and balance along with memorizing my lines. Confused, annoyed, and stressed, I went home everyday and pleaded for mercy from my teachers and all of the work I was receiving. My mom was always there to calm me down and remind me to breath. My grandmother was always there to comfort me and make me feel safe. And last but not least, my knucklehead brother always there to make me laugh. To prevent me from getting stressed as much as possible, my family helped make sure that I had all of my school work done and was still able to practice my lines with enough time to sleep. Thinking back on all of the things that my family has done for me; especially calming my anxiety, I realize how lucky I am to have the family I have. I wouldn’t think anything of it, but knowing that I can always count on my family members to remind me that everything is gong to be okay just makes me feel like the luckiest person alive. 

 

    For me, it only matters that I will always help my family in return for all they have done for me because when I’m down and need to look at the bright side of things, my family is right by my side guiding me through it all. 


Summer Narative

Experience Worth a Lifetime

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AliJah Clark

 

One door closed, another one opened.” - Ed Hardiman (St John’s Prep headmaster) 

 

Waves rushing, boat engines turning, teenagers screaming to the person sitting right next to them because of how loud it is. The ferry that took me and 1000 other inner city kids to an island of fun everyday was about to pull off into a whole new world of opportunity. Camp Harborview, the greatest camp I’ve ever been to. Waking up every morning at 7:00 AM and going to the bus stop at the boys and girls club. This time may seem early to some people especially in the summer but once you experience Camp Harborview for yourself, you would agree that it’s all worth it. 

 

 

 

Arriving every morning to the foggy field where teenagers play multiple tournaments. Connecting with your friends in morning while raging over losing in the very popular game UNO®.  All a part of the amazing Camp Harborview experience. Besides video games, there’s no better place to be except playing basketball with your friends, tossing around a football, and climbing the rock wall to have a breath taking view of Boston. 

 

 

 

You never really think you’ll go to a place full of kids and be able to be yourself without somebody governing you every second of the day, but at Camp Harborview, that’s exactly what you can do. Everyday, I was talking to my friends and running around with them without a teacher or staff member telling us that we needed to “calm down”, or “stop running”, or “stay with your group.” They let kids be kids which is why I enjoyed my summer so much.

 

 

 

At camp, we played tournaments every Friday for different sports such as Basketball, flag football, and Rugby which I never played before I went to camp. They made the teams based on the lighthouse that you were in. There were five different lighthouse groups named Mohegan (my group), Sandy Nook (the trash talkers), M-Dot (the underdogs), Heronook (the loudest), and GPL (the cheaters).  It’s pretty clear that Mohegan was the best lighthouse. Each lighthouse also has their own chants that absolutely pierce your ears if you try to listen to them all at the same time. But that’s just part of the Camp Harborview Experience. Making connections with different people every single day is one of the most comfortable and memorable moments of your life. You can’t get those moments at a lot of places.

 

 

 

Friendships were made, handshakes were created, and bonds were strengthened.  Another... door...opened.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Journal Entry #2

“Down with Fay!”

 ~AliJah Clark

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Get out there, and kick some Fay a**!

- Matt Ward

       Sun shining, wind blowing, crowd screaming. The quarterback yells the three commands that changed the game. “Red! Set, Go!!” The ball is hiked, number 5 rushes down the left side of the field with no one around him. Can he make it all the way? Looks like number 88 is gaining on him. “He’s on the 40, the 30, the 20, the 10, touchdown Fenn!!” When you work hard to get something done, the possibilities are endless. 

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Belknap Essay

Growing Up, Not Old

 

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by AliJah Clark  

 

 

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”

- Soren Kierkegaard

 

The thoughts of becoming the champion of one of the most fun games in the world absolutely boggled my mind. My dodgeball team was ready to win it all and there was nothing that could stand in our way. Working together as a team to accomplish a goal that we all had. The wind I felt on the bottom of my ear from the foam balls my teammates were whipping across the court. It was all part of the grind— the grind to find our true potential as leaders, and as a team. 

 

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A Slice Of Life

A Slice of Life

 

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The idea is not to block every shot. The idea is to make your opponent believe that you might block every shot” - Bill Russel

 

Before tryouts started, Coach Bradley told us that it’s extremely hard to make it onto the Varsity team. Most students were extremely nervous. Others were anxious. But not me, I was as confident as I had ever been in my life. I knew that this opportunity was mine for the taking and nothing was going to stop me from achieving this goal I had.

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Journal Entry

Onto Number Three

The Experiences of Sports

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“Winning isn’t every thing, it’s the only thing.” - Vince Lombardi

 

The date is February 1st, 2004 and the Patriots had just won the Super Bowl against the Carolina Panthers. The streets are full of drunk and diehard Pats fans that have just witnessed the most watched Super Bowl in NFL History. My mom was going crazy and I had no idea what was going on because I was less than a month old. That’s when it all started.

 

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