The Power of Hard Times

Matthew Nicholas
The Power of Hard Times
Freshman English

The Way Out is Through


“Positivity, confidence, and persistence are key in life, so never give up on yourself.”
- Khalid

    The most helpful lessons are learned from hard times, and I learned some important life lessons when I learned that my Grandfather needed battle lung cancer unrelated smoking. I learned from Grandaddy that you can’t give up on life when facing death; I learned that staying positive is the best way through hard times. Late last year my family found out that my Grandfather had cancer that was diagnosed at Massachusetts General Hospital. What possible good reason could there be for my Grandfather to find out that he had lung cancer right before Christmas. The worst Christmas present he could get. One of the things that I most admire about my Grandfather is that he stayed so positive since diagnosing and through he 10 months of treatment. There were countless times where rather than being sad he was positive and made it possible for us to truly enjoy our time with him because he remained confident that everything would work out. He has been showing positivity is throughout this whole process even when he has been uncomfortable. Not once has he complained. He stays positive and does not focus on what is not optimal but he focus on his family and positivity. At the beginning of the process he became extremely thirsty all the time and he was drinking massive amounts of water and sodas. He did not complain. He said positive and he was present for his family during a get together. His trait of positivity has been passed to me and I aspire to be as positive as him. I would describe myself as a positive person but I believe that I can be even more positive like him. Positivity can help anyone in any part of life. Whether it is working out a conflict or just complementing someone. Positivity is one of the most important aspects of life and if one does not have positivity, they can not live a full life.

Power of Place

Matthew Nicholas
Power of Place
Freshman English

Independence is Power


“Find a place inside where there's joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.”
- Joesph Campbell

    The excitement of independence can make a place powerful. Personal responsibility and freedom create a independence for me that makes me love Chapoquoit Island. Riding my bike where ever and when ever I want, sailing by my self in the harbor, being with friends without parents around running to the beach on my skim board at sunset are just a few of the things that make me feel as grown up as I can feel as a fourteen year old kid. Of all of these things riding my bicycle makes me feel the most free. In the summer, my friends and I use bikes to get around everywhere around Chapoquoit. We use them, whether day or night, to go to the store, the beach club, each other’s houses or where ever we need to go. Being able to pedal off to the beach, whenever I want, without needing my parents help, fills my heart with freedom. When my friends and I text to meet at the bridge at tide and we all ride our bikes to meet there, we are able to jump off into the harbor as many times we wish. Independence is extremely important in learning some important lessons in life. Independence can also just give someone space to think. I only wish that Fall, Winter and Spring had the same level of independence imbedded in them as my summers at Chapoquoit do.

Leader of the Pack

Matthew Nicholas
Freshman English
The Call of the Wild Analysis

Perseverance on the Sled Trail


“He was beaten (he knew that); but he was not broken”
(Chapter I, Call of the Wild By Jack London)

    Buck rushed in and at the last moment came low to the ground and crunched down on the snow white left fore leg. Again Buck rushed and took out Spitz’s right fore leg. While Spitz was in agony he struggled to keep up. Spitz looked around and saw the hungry circle of dogs closing in on him. The tongues of the dogs were out and the teeth were showing like they were ready to bite. Buck finally takes down his rival Spitz in a fight to the death that required great patience and determination. In the book, The Call of the Wild, Buck is a sled dog who came from domestic upbringing. Buck would not give up even when it seemed impossible that he would succeed. He developed determination and resilience in situations such as the fight with Spitz and the killing of the moose. Buck was born a domesticated dog but through his journey as a sled dog he gets in touch with his wild dog roots which include the trait to preserve and be a leader.


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The Power of Passion

Matthew Nicholas

Narritive Paragraph #2 - Power of Passion



Surfing in Nicaragua

E1D1E1BB-6948-441A-A8A5-035371EF5CB0You can do anything as long as you have the passion, the drive, the focus, and the support.” Sabrina Bryan


    Passion gives one the drive to learn and persevere. My passion of surfing made me want to get better and to stick with it even when I fell off the board again and again. My family decided to go on a Christmas vacation in Nicaragua three years ago. We were excited that one of the main activities was surfing. Our family has tried surfing in Nantucket but the waves were small and the water was freezing. We decided we wanted to try learn how to surf and we needed at least 5 days in row to get the technique down. When we got to Nicaragua, the first few days the lessons were in the late morning and early afternoon. The water was warm and the waves were good due to the tides and weather. The last two days we had to get up early to be able to surf. On the final day, we had to get up before sunrise in order to have any waves due to the tidal shift and our flight home. It was dark and cold before the sun came up. However, I didn’t care because I wanted to surf as much as I could. I was starting to get long rides and my instructor, Riley, was letting me use his small board for doing tricks. I still remember that morning and the sun coming up as we paddled out to the surf break. I couldn’t have gotten out of bed early on vacation for anything less that my passion, surfing. When I was on my board there were times that I got discouraged. Yet I loved the feeling of riding the waves when I got it right. In the end, my passion for surfing was what made me want to continue in the tough times.

The Power of Family

Matthew Nicholas

Narritive Paragraph #1 - Power of Passion



Supporting Each Other


“Lean on me, when you're not strong and I'll be your friend I'll help you carry on” Bill Withers

    A large family means help is always there. The benefit of having a large extended family is that I have many trusted people who love and care for me. When I have had challenges, my larger family has been there to support me. When I had my knee injury I was not able to participate in sports so I did the musical at school. Some of my extended family came to support me and watch the musical. Scared, nervous, and excited, I was standing on a block in the middle of the stage for the opening scene. I knew when the curtain opened that my family would be in the seats and they would love me no matter how I did. The tech crew pulled the ropes and the curtain opened. I saw my family clapping and smiling. I immediately felt comfortable and happy on stage. My family has been there for me in big and small ways. I feel lucky to have a lot of cousins, aunts and uncles who care for me. Also I have some cousins that live close to me. Sometimes I invite my cousin Max who lives down the street over to play pool, video games or just catch up. For the cousins that live far away I am able to talk and connect with them during reunions or via text. Sometimes I’m having a bad day and I get a funny SnapChat from one of my cousins that makes me smile. At reunions or family vacations I feel safe to share my struggles with my cousins or other family members. My grandparents have been especially supportive of me. I want to always have my family here for me and I will always be there for them. 

A Shift

The Chance to Desire Life Again


“It is not the bruises on the body that hurt. It is the wounds of the heart and the scars on the mind.” Aisha Mirza

    Ones very will to live can be corrected by being with others that truly care for your well being. In the novella Call of the Wild by Jack London, Buck was blessed to run into John Thornton and his dogs to forever change his desire for life. Buck endured a series of masters before John Thornton who used him, beat him and slowly decreased his desire to live. Buck was harshly treated by many men who tried to break him and make him a hard working sled dog. Ironically it was during in the middle of one of his worst beating that John Thornton appeared to intervene and change the course of Buck’s life. John Thornton was a different type of master. By treating Buck as a valued friend, almost like a child to be cared for, John earned the trust of Buck and Buck began to become excited about living.

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Primitive Dialogue

It Doesn’t Work

By Matthew, Luke and Tim

“It’s not working?”

“How many times do I have to tell you, it’s out of power. Maybe you shouldn’t have taken that joyride to steal George Washington’s cherry tree!

“Well it’s not my fault that those cherries are so good.”

“What year is it anyway, John?”

“Ummm.. about 300 million years B.C., the Jurassic period.”

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Summer Narrative

Exploring the Deep Blue


“I'm still a kid inside, and adventure is adventure wherever you find it.” Jim Dale

    After 14 hours on a plane, 8 hours in Turkey, 1 hour in Male, my Dad and I was almost at COMO Maalifushi Resort in the Thaa Atoll of the Maldives. I was in the same sweatpants and sweatshirt I been wearing for over 24 hours. I stepped off the sea plane and was confronted by the heat and humidity. I grabbed my luggage and jumped onto the boat. I had one last leg of the trip to go. We put our life jackets on and motored towards the resort. It was a quick boat ride. It was less than 5 minutes. Finally we arrived! We stepped off the boat and we were greeted by the staff who were super nice. But I just wanted to get in the water and start my adventure.


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Enjoying My Last One as a Student


 “Every traveler has a home of his own, and he learns to appreciate it more from his wandering.” Charles Dickens 

    Alijah is sprinting down the sideline for the touchdown. He is at the 30, 20, 10, TOUCHDOWN!! The crowd is going wild! All the students sprint out onto the field to congratulate the team. It’s a perfect fall day for football and Homecoming. My grandparents were visiting for the weekend and we all were enjoying the special events. There were people everywhere dressed in blue and gold. The smell of hotdogs and burgers on the grill wafted down to the spectators on the field. It was fun but I was also there to volunteer and help staff the events.

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Camp Belknap Trip

 Stepping Up


“Leadership is practiced not so much in words as in attitude and in actions.” Harold S. Geneen

    Buck and I pushed off our team’s duct taped covered cardboard vessel covered from the starting line and into the water. It was a race around the first mooring and back to the beach. The boat had two pool noodles cut into six pieces on the bottom to keep it afloat. Almost immediately the boats were soaked, soggy and sinking. The captains, Tucker and Peter, were out of the boats and pulling them through the shallow water. The captains were neck and neck but Peter turned and went to the wrong beach so Tucker won. Our team was on the beach cheering like crazy when Tucker won. The experience of building and racing the cardboard boat as a team helped us learn that the secret to our big win was valuing the strengths that each member of the team brought to the activity. Throughout my time at Belknap, I realized that for our ninth grade year to be successful we had to lean on each other, step up as leaders and be good friends.


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