8th grade reflection

The thing I will remember most about my 8th grade year was all the fun times I had with my friends, all the new experiences and all the lessons I learned. I believe that this year I learned a lot more about myself and the people around me. When I look back on the beginning of the year, I think I have become more appreciative of the value of my experience at Fenn, and have made it my goal to live in the moment and enjoy everyday. I would say that in September I was sad that this is my last year, and while that is still a little bit true, I feel truly satisfied with my time at Fenn and feel no regret. Another way I believe that I grew this year was in my friendships. Over the course of the year I learned the true meaning of friendship. I now know that true friends are loyal and always want the best for you. I developed a much deeper appreciation for my true friends, and developed deeper connections with them as a result. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is how to be a good friend to others, and that makes the challenges I faced this year worthwhile.I am looking forward to making new friends and experiencing new things at Rivers next year, as well as keeping my friendships from Fenn. I hope that my experience in high school will be just as fun, exciting, challenging and amazing as my Fenn experience was. 


Nature poem 3

step,step,step,

 

The leaves “crunch” under the sole of my shoe

The clouds above are a few,

The colors of nature around me make a lively stew,

And the beautiful sunlight to walk through,

 

step,step,step,

 

Taking a walk is a peaceful thing to do,

Not a worry to think through,

Not a struggle to pull through, 

Not an assignment overdue,

Or a problem to give any thought to,

 

step,step,step,

 

The beautiful flowers bursting through, 

The cold and harsh ground they have become accustomed to, 

The beautiful trees in which there leaves have grew, 

And the beautiful birds that take their song wherever they flew,

 

step,step,step,






Nature poem 2

The light breeze is relaxes me, 

As the trees leaves dance on the branches, 

 

All around me there is vibrant shades of greens,

And dull shades of various browns

 

Birds chirp in various tones, 

Upon their high above branches 

 

Sunlight beams down on the grassy expanse, 

As the clouds are sparsely scattered across the sky, 

 

I hope everyday is like this, 

As relaxation and happiness always come with the clear skies 


Nature Poem

I have awoken early, 

to sit amongst the array of colors, 

to admire the beautiful green of the trees and bushes, 

to sit in the soft grass, 

to feel the sun shine on me, 

 

Embracing the warmth of the sun on my skin

And hearing chirping of the birds, 

That hide in the trees above, 

The crackling of the leaves as a gust of wind intrudes the calm landscape 

Those things are beautiful 

 

I go outside often,

To shoot and bounce my worn down basketball,

To escape these confusing times, 

To feel calm and comfortable, 

To do the thing I love, 

But never once have I realized,

The endless beauty of the scenery around me 

 


Writing Prompt #3

If I could have any zoo animal as a pet 

    If I could have any zoo animal as a pet, I would want a monkey. Originally, I considered having an elephant, but that would be too boring. Then I pondered about having a penguin, and once again, it was not exciting enough. All of a sudden, it dawned on me. A monkey would be perfect. With the lack of human connection myself and everyone has had in the last month, I believe a monkey is as close as I could get to having another human around. It would make my daily life in quarantine much more interesting. There are a plethora of skills and tricks I would love to teach the monkey. First things first, I would teach it how to take care of all my responsibilities. Although it may take awhile, I would teach the monkey to do my homework, and do things like make my bed. After I taught it those skills, I would teach the monkey how to play basketball. I believe that with enough training and hardwork, this monkey could be worthy of a couple competitive games of 1v1. Additionally, he could play video games with me and my friends. Despite the obvious troubles of having a monkey jump around and terrorize the inside of my room, I believe that having a monkey would be very beneficial to my quarantine experience.


Writing prompt #2

 

Besides school, what cancellation or closure has been the hardest for you so far?

Just like everyone else in the world, I miss the way life used to be. I truly have taken for granted the things I love to do, which have pretty much all been cancelled. School being almost undoubtedly done for the year has been pretty tough to deal with, especially since it is my last year at Fenn. Other than school, the toughest cancellation for me has been the cancellation of basketball in general. Especially my AAU season. I was very excited to be joining a new team with a coach and teammates I really like, and now the season has been postponed until at least May 4th, and most likely cancelled. Many of the camps and leagues I was supposed to play in during the summer also do not look like they will be able to go on, which is quite disappointing. Although I am lucky to have a hoop at my house, and it has been nice to get shots up everyday, it is just not the same. I really miss being able to play with all my friends and teammates and I am looking forward to the day that we can play together again. We have been able to FaceTime and do zoom workouts together, but it really just isn’t the same as getting on the court together. Additionally, the NBA season has been at least postponed, and my entertainment has been heavily affected. I have been watching lots of old games and highlights on YouTube or ESPN, but I am still craving some new basketball to watch. I have resorted to watching my favorite movie, The Dark Knight, and watching old episodes of The Office, but even that’s starting to get old. It has gotten to the point where me and my sisters can recite almost every Michael Scott line, and we are not very proud of it. Anyways, I hope life will be back to normal some time soon, and basketball will return. 


Writing prompt #1

A guide for undercover deputies trying to fit in at the Fenn school.

 

    The Fenn School is oftentimes a very confusing place, with many strange things you must learn to fit in and successfully go undercover. Let’s start with the most simple aspect, which is the dress code. Each day you must wear khaki pants and a collared shirt. Despite the very clear instructions to keep this shirt tucked in, you must do everything you can to keep this shirt untucked. Additionally, you must ignore any instruction to take your hat or hood off inside the building, until you have been threatened with a recess recall. You also must carry around a backpack, and throw it specifically in a spot where lots of people will be walking. One of the most valuable skills of the Fenn experience is learning how to walk around the backpacks in the gym lobby. Speaking of the gym lobby, this is where everyone eats snacks, and leaves it there. It is vital that you ignore the urge to clean up your mess, and allow the couch to be stained with artificial cheese and wrappers to the junk food that Fenn boys consume on a daily basis. Food plays a big part in the average Fenn day, and is almost more valuable than money itself. You must understand that the hunger for high-chew, a rubbery artificially flavored candy, trumps any natural human instinct or urge. If you want to have power, you must have high-chew. Although food will be a great key to success in fitting in at the Fenn school, you must develop a whole new way of speaking as well. There are many words and sayings that the outside world would be completely unable to understand. A perfect example of this comes from one of the Fenn schools language visionaries, Harry Nerrow. Harry has developed three main words, “steech, stitch and stooch”. To someone who is not a member of the Fenn community, this may seem like gibberish, but to us, these are words to perfectly describe any situation. Another commonly used word is “dust”, which is often used to describe something bad. Although the Fenn language is very deep and complex, these words will give you a good start in the new lingo you must develop. This leads me to possibly the most influential factor of fitting in at Fenn, the recess recall. Although others are more experienced in this field than I, I am quite aware how daunting a recess recall can be. The words “go sign up”, are the last three words you want to hear while on the Fenn campus, and you must avoid it at all costs. Common offenses worth of a recess recall include, wearing a hat inside, talking out of turn, gaming and watching YouTube. Although you may think it would be easy to avoid a recess recall, it is vital to remember that common sense isn’t always present in the average Fenn 8th grader. Although there is much more to elaborate on, I believe this guide will give you nearly everything you need to go undercover at the Fenn school. Good luck. 


My Life during the Coronavirus

    As I’m sure it has been for most people, the last 3 weeks of my life have been very strange and somewhat stressful. Although it has nice to be home with my family, the uncertainty of the virus and how long we will be stuck inside is somewhat scary. Over the past 3 weeks I’ve been doing my best to keep contact with my friends from school and sports and other places, and I’ve done this mainly through FaceTime. I have also spent a lot of my time playing video games with my friends. Additionally I have tried to stay as active as possible while all my in school and outside of school sports commitments have been canceled. Two of the main ways I’ve been doing this have been playing basketball outside, and running on the treadmill. Other than that, I have been doing a lot of sleeping, which has been one of my favorite parts of this quarantine. One of the most frustrating aspects of this is how there is almost no sports to watch, especially basketball. I never realized how much I depended on the NBA for entertainment, and now that it’s never on TV, I have gotten very bored. Although it has taken some getting used to, I have fallen into a new routine and this way of life has become somewhat normal. With that being said, I hope we can return to school and our lives have been back to normal as soon as possible. 


Reflection

As I look back on this unit of writing, I believe I have become a better and more precise writer. With such an interesting and engaging book, my writing has become more detailed and I have taken a deeper dive into trying to understand what we are reading. This has improved my writing and I hope that this will help me when writing in other books. In my future writing, I will aim to get my point across better. Sometimes I feel as though I am unable to fully represent what I am trying to say in my writing. Additionally, I will try and use more diverse adjectives and verbs. I often use the same set of bland words in my writing, and only catch this when I look back at my writing. Lastly, I will continue to apply the comma rules that we have learned in class, in my writing. I have gotten better at applying these rules, but I still have work to do and not have to think about it when applying them. Overall, I think I had a very good unit in writing but there is still many things I can improve on. 


The Art of Racing in the Rain Assignments and Essays

Assignment 3 

       

  1. Enzo refers to Eve as his “rain” because she is an obstacle in his journey. For example, you could say that Enzo and Denny’s relationship is “the race” and Eve is “the rain” because she is the obstacle that is interfering with completing the race. Enzo cannot get rid of Eve, so he has to react and adapt to the situation he is in. Additionally, Denny has become very comfortable with racing in the rain and actually really loves it. This is similar to how Denny is comfortable with Eve and loves her.
  2. After the tension in the house cools down, Denny and Enzo go to the yard and Denny begins reflecting on the situation. Although Denny knows that Eves decision making was not very sharp because of her sickness, he is still disappointed that she would leave Enzo like that. Denny keeps repeating to himself that she was sick and she wasn’t thinking right. But it is clear to Enzo and the reader that he is trying to make himself believe this. Deep down he believes that she still should’ve brought Enzo even though she was sick. Denny doesn’t want to believe that the person he loves most would make such a bad decision and not be concerned about the dog he loves.
  3. For Enzo, the zebra represents all the bad in him and the bad side of everything in life. Specifically for Enzo, the zebra represents his “bad side” which is his natural dog instincts. Enzo was not conscious that he was the one ripping apart all of the stuffed animals, but he was in such a desperate time that his natural instincts took over. Enzo describes the zebra as a demon or a devil and how people “clench their eyes shut so they see no evil”.

 

Assignment 9

 

  1. Garth Stein includes chapter 47 in this book because it is a deeper dive into the way that Enzo makes sense of the world and himself. This chapter takes place immediately after Enzo gets hit by a car and it takes us through his thought process. Enzo mentions the race car driver Ayrton Senna and tells the story of how he died in a car crash at a young age after almost quitting earlier that day. Aryton didn’t have to die that day, but fate guided him to this situation and he died because he had served his purpose in life. Enzo relates this to himself because he did not die from getting hit by the car. If he had stepped off that curb even one second earlier, he would’ve been killed. There was something still left for him in life. Enzo hadn’t achieved his full purpose. A quote that sums this situation up perfectly is on page 257, “But I was not killed. Because I was not finished. I still had work to do.”

 

Assignment 10

 

“The race is long. It is better to drive within oneself and finish the race behind the others than it is to drive too hard and crash" (291).

 

​This quote from Enzo very much applies to this book and is a common theme that can be seen throughout the reading. What Enzo is inferring is that it is important to live your life the way you want to, and not worry about what other people think of you. If you decide to listen to what other people say, or try and copy them, bad things can happen. You need to live your life the way that you believe you should live it and have confidence in your own decisions. For example, instead of giving in and listening to the Twins, Denny kept fighting for custody of Zoe for many years. In the end, Denny “finished the race”, by getting custody of his daughter. Denny also “finished behind the others” in this situation. He lost all his money, lost his job and lost years of his life, and although it was a very rocky road, he is happy that he now has custody of Zoe. If he listened to the Twins or Mark Fein when they told him to give up the case, he wouldn’t have custody of his daughter and he would be very unhappy.

 

Essay 

The Engaging Adventure of a Dog, his Owner, and an Evil Stuffed Zebra 

Ben Paradis 

12/20/19

    Through the innocent and exciting view of man’s best friend, we can achieve a new perspective on the world. The Art of Racing in The Rain, by Garth Stein is a novel told through the perspective of a dog, Enzo, and his life with his owner, Denny, who is a professional race car driver. Throughout his life, Enzo experiences ups and downs, loses people close to him, learns countless lessons, and develops a love for racing. Despite several complex and interesting lessons that are present in The Art of Racing in The Rain, the most engaging situations arise while Enzo is making sense of the world, himself, and the human experience. Throughout our journey with Enzo, he demonstrates the role that destiny and control have in our lives.

   

    Through the lessons that Enzo learns from Denny about racing, the readers learn the role of destiny in their lives. While Denny, Eve and Enzo are sitting in front of the TV watching one of Denny’s races, Eve is fascinated and stunned by Denny’s racing ability. As she asks numerous questions, and tries to understand how Denny was able to race so well in the rain, Enzo recalls something that Denny has told him various times, “That which we manifest is before us;we are the creators of our own destiny” (43). This situation teaches Enzo that that he is in control of his future. Enzo directly applies this to his relationship with Eve, and causes him to have a change in mindset. Although Enzo is not particularly fond of Eve, he realizes that she will be in his life forever, she is his “rain.” Enzo decides to embrace the rain and manifest a change in their relationship. This role of destiny is also seen after Enzo gets hit by a car.  He falls into a dream-like state and remembers the story of the professional race car driver, Ayrton Senna. Senna made a last second decision to drive on a dangerous course, and ended up dying that day on the track. As Enzo reflects on this story while being driven to the hospital, Enzo says, “He died that day because his body had served its purpose” (257). If Enzo stepped off the curb 1 second earlier, he would’ve been killed. But destiny causes him to make the decisions he does. It was no coincidence. Senna had made a last second decision to race, and was ultimately killed. Enzo makes the last second decision of running into the road, unaware of what was going to happen. Unlike Senna, who had died because he had served his purpose, Enzo survives because he still had work to do. He hasn't achieved his full purpose in life, or fulfilled his destiny. While destiny plays a pivotal role in the human experience, Enzo leaves plenty aspects of life for the readers to analyze throughout the text. 

   

    In this novel, Enzo often speaks about control of the car, control in life, and the control that he craves. In chapter 10, Enzos teaches the readers another lesson from racing that applies to life, control of the car. Ideally, a driver should be able to correct his mistakes before they even happen, and anticipate everything. Enzo says that Denny once told him, “Ideally, a driver controls the car so completely, that he corrects a spin before it happens, he anticipates all possibilities” (48). Although this applies to directly racing, it is very present in the human experience. Ideally, people should be able to correct every problem before it happens and always be able to anticipate the future. But this ideal world does not exist. Life doesn't always go as planned and it is important to react accordingly. Incidents and problems will happen to everyone, but the strongest and most impressive people are the ones who adapt to the situation they are in and never give up. For example, when Denny deals with the custody case, the allegations from Anika, and losing his job, he stays strong and adapts to his situation. In the end, everything works out for Denny. Another point in the book where control is displayed is during Enzo’s final moments with Eve. Eve speaks to Enzo about how she is no longer afraid, and has finally accepted the diagnosis and the situation she is in. There was nothing she could do to prevent her death at this point. Enzo reminds himself of a lesson that Denny taught him earlier in his life, “The visible becomes inevitable; the car goes where your eyes go” (162). Enzo realizes that Eve has been in control the whole time. Once she accepted her diagnosis, she had accepted her death. There was nothing she could do to stop it now, the visible had now become inevitable. Eve decides and accepts she is going to die, and that is exactly what happens. Eve passed away later that night. Although destiny plays an important role in our lives, we are also in control of a tremendous amount of what happens to us. 

   

    Destiny and control are incredibly critical parts of the novel that give the reader a deeper understanding of the human experience. From watching tapes of Denny’s races and recalling the stories of the legendary racer, Ayrton Senna, Enzo realizes that he has control of his own destiny and that he still has work left to do in his life. Additionally, Enzo explains to the readers that it is important to react accordingly to your situation, and you have complete control of what happens to you. Often times the most important lessons in life can be learned from the most unexpected people, or pets.