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The Heroic Journey
No All Hero’s Wear Capes
This summer I wanted to see more, and I saw more during my summer trip to Jordan. When I was at my grandparents’ house alone, I knew I had a gifted life although I haven’t fully discovered what the real world is like. Discovering new communities might be a bit awkward but I was up for it. To explore a new community, I visited a refugee camp. The refugee camp I volunteered at is called Jerash. This camp is called Jerash because that is the location where a large number of Palestinian refugees from Gaza settled after the 1967 war. It started as an emergency camp, but Palestinian refugees still live there and are regarded as the poorest among the ten Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan.
I spent the day at the camp volunteering. I was excited to go because I was going to meet some kids my age known as Mohammed, Kareem, and Yousef. They are all 13 years old. I spent the day at the camp volunteering. As I was being driven to the camp I realized how all the homes were in horrible condition. They had flimsy metal roofs, and none of the kids were wearing shoes. I set up games, lunch and socialized with some of the kids my age.
I saw Mohammed, Kareem, and Yousef and hung out with them. With Mohammed I chatted about the Euro Cup and how he loves soccer. With Kareem, I chatted about life in America and how he likes The Weekend. And With Yousef I chatted about how he wants to be an engineer. I played a little soccer, but instead with a small bouncy ball, I ate lunch. Instead of the meal being homemade we ate from a refugee program.
My critical moment in the camp was when I was playing a little soccer, but instead with a small bouncy ball, I ate lunch. Instead of the meal being homemade we ate from a refugee program. The kids and I were having a blast while doing the activities I set up for them. This is when I knew I had to say goodbye to the camp which was difficult, but there is always a goodbye in life.
My heroic journey that day was not fighting a monster or wizard, but putting a smile on peoples faces. Mr. G once said “You have 24 hours in one day and do the best you can, yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery.” As I was being driven back to the city Amman, something clicked in my heart saying it's unfair that not everyone has opportunities to reach their full potential. My time at Jersah helps me realize the potential I am given as Amir Shalabi.
Nine months later, I got a new opportunity to volunteer. April 16th, 1:30-3:30, The Tough Rock.
November 21, 2021, Concord, Massachusetts. The finale of football games in the Fenn 2021 season, 4-0; if won, an undefeated Fenn football team will exist. The one and only Dexter Southfield made its way over to Reynolds Turf Field to play us, known as, The Fenn School Football Team. We went against Dexter around three weeks ago from this game. That game three weeks ago we went over to Dexter Southfield and played there on a stunning Football field donated by Robert Kraft, The New England Patriots owner, and as a result, ended up going back to the bus with a victory (36 to 14). The aftermath of that game ended up being a tremendous amount of ego towards Dexter Southfield and we would sweep out of the park without much effort. Well, after the first five minutes of the game we immediately realized that Dexter had a different roster with some new starters. They installed some new plays to counter our strengths. If something didn’t change soon our undefeated title could’ve been taken out of our hands.
Football is a game where minor mistakes can make a huge impact. Well, we made a minor mistake, and make a solid guess on what happened. An interception. This caused an ego switch from our team having a high ego to a low ego. This has caused a severe downhill of performance from us. They ended up scoring a touchdown on that drive. Dexter was able to carry their momentum and scored another touchdown the drive after. The timer that indicated the second half left our team down fourteen points (14-0).
Coach Ward, Coach Burgess, and Coach Ryan looked at our team with shock and some mild disappointment. The coaches started to talk deeply about how this game was one of the most important games in Fenn football history. We all had our heads down, with disappointments to ourselves; however, you hear from one of the coaches “LETS FREAKING GO, WHO ABOUT TO KICK DEXTERS BUTT IN THIS HALF.” The team's energy went from 0 all the way to 10 and we went into the second half with the eye of the tiger.
The third quarter was not how we wanted it to go through, I seriously mean this. We weren’t able to get yards on our drives, but our defense stepped up and started to make better plays, which stopped them from scoring. Well, we still weren’t able to score. Our final quarter as a team together. We went in that (14 to nothing). All of us didn’t know what to expect. Luckily, in the very first play of the fourth quarter, Murdy ran an 80-yard touchdown which ended up giving us six points. Around the two-minute mark, it was fourteen to six and we had possession of the ball. Matt made a clutch play during his jet sweep and pulled off an insane spin move in order to get a touchdown. It was around 30 seconds and if we didn’t get this two-point conversion then we would lose the game. We called a timeout and thought very thoroughly about a play that could hopefully tie the game for us. The coaches were scared, the fans were scared, and the whole team was scared.
The ball got snapped, everyone blocked their man on the line, and all the wide receivers ran their routes, but the savior of the team el murds was wide open in order to get us the two-point conversion. We all went into this game thinking there was going to be overtime but the refs, unfortunately, stopped the game. This was really disappointing for us and our whole team and the coaches were sad. I remember in the end Coach Ryan said “Football is such a great game because it teaches you about life.”
As the team and I with lots of frustration stomped our feet on the wet soggy grass to the locker room, steam with tears started coming out of our faces. There was a mixture of frustration on the tie, sadness of the season being over, and being upset about leaving this amazing group of teammates.
While walking out to my parents, all the Fenn families would always say the same thing. “Great comeback, great comeback, great comeback guys”; however, I was still wondering why didn’t the refs give overtime to the game. Football is a sport that you can for the most part only play during the season, not the off-season. When I approached my parents, they realized I was a little frustrated from the game, but I acted like nothing was wrong.
When I got in the car, I started to explain how we played this team many weeks ago and we annihilated them. Then started to explain how the refs would not give overtime to us. And I just started to complain and complain, while my dad gave me one of the biggest life I know,
“Life is not fair,”
Why Should Income Tax be Lowered?
Lower taxes will stimulate your own personal economy by leaving more money in your pocket to do what you want
~ Fred Pesce
No one likes to pay taxes, yet they are required in order to live our everyday lives, so we can drive on roads, have police service, and even go to school. We currently live where the lower incomes pay less tax and higher incomes pay more tax; however, there has been this idea floating around for a while known as a flat tax rate. This lies into the question equity vs equality. Some of us fall into this question “What should we do?” Lowering income tax generates less tax revenue while creating more disposable income. With this new income people can invest more, generating capital gains tax; can spend more, generating more corporate and sales tax; and enable businesses to hire more, creating more taxable income.
Fenn vs Dexter Pt.2
It was my final football game playing for Fenn. We were 4-0 and if we won this game we would be the first undefeated football team for Fenn. We were playing Dexter and we played them three weeks ago before that game. We beat them 36 to 14 so we thought this was gonna be an easy game that we would sweep out of the park. However, Dexter put in some new plays that counted our strengths and they brought in ninth graders.
This game ended up being much more competitive than expected. As soon as you know it from one bad play they got an interception. From there the game went downhill for us. They ended up scoring a touchdown on that drive. The drive after they scored another touchdown. It was the second half and we were down 14 nothing. Coach Ward, Coach Burgess, and Coach Ryan were quite disappointed. We talked deeply about how this game means everything to Fenn football. So later they pump us up for the second half.
The third quarter was not how we wanted it to go through. We weren’t getting any yards from our drives but we were playing all right on defense. We went into the fourth quarter still 14 nothing. In the first play of the fourth quarter, Murdy ran an 80-yard touchdown that gave us 6 points. Around the two-minute mark, it was 14 to 6 and we had the ball. Matt got a jet sweep and did an insane spin move in order to get a touchdown. It was around 30 seconds and if we didn’t get this two-point conversion then we would lose the game. We called a timeout and figured out a play. The coaches were scared, the fans were scared, the whole team was scared. The ball got snapped, everyone blocked their man on the line, all the wide receivers ran their routes but the savior of the team Murdy was wide open in order to get us the two-point conversion.
We all went into this game thinking there’s going to be overtime but the refs, unfortunately, stopped the game. This was really disappointing for us and our whole team and the coaches were sad. I remember in the end Coach Ryan said “Football is such a great game because it teaches you about life.”
And When My Sorrow was Born
By: Kahlil Gibran
And when my Joy was born, I held it in my arms and stood on the
house-top shouting, “Come ye, my neighbours, come and see, for Joy
this day is born unto me. Come and behold this gladsome thing that
laugheth in the sun.”
But none of my neighbours came to look upon my Joy, and great was
And every day for seven moons I proclaimed my Joy from the
house-top—and yet no one heeded me. And my Joy and I were alone,
unsought and unvisited.
Then my Joy grew pale and weary because no other heart but mine
held its loveliness and no other lips kissed its lips.
Then my Joy died of isolation.
And now I only remember my dead Joy in remembering my dead Sorrow.
But memory is an autumn leaf that murmurs a while in the wind and
then is heard no more.
When choosing a WW Fenn poem I prefer a poem that has profound meaning. And When My Sorrow was Born by Kahlil Gibran, is a poem that taught me, a poem doesn’t need to be lengthy to have deep meaning. I had to re-read this poem many times to finally understand the profound message Kahlil Gibran was trying to give. This poem brings me back to March 2020. My friends and I were thrilled for the seventh grade Washington D.C. until the Coronavirus hit the world. From my isolation, during quarantine, my Joy during seventh grade has gone into sorrow. I sense I have made a great decision on my poem. The powerful message in this poem can relate to my life, which makes it a poem I’m excited to start memorizing.
Alright it feels great to be done! This experience of memorizing And When My Sorrow was Born by Kahlil Gibran, wasn’t as bad as I thought. I didn’t memorize last minute; however, I spent a little bit of time each night. This strategy made my performance less stressful and more relaxing. Through the years I have done WW Fenn, I will take forward many strategy’s to memorization in the future.
Joy in this world can’t last forever. In the poem And When My Sorrow was Born by Kahlil Gibran, we are shown that having Joy can turn into sorrow by Isolation. Kahlil Gibran uses strong and descriptive language to paint a picture in our mind that Joy doesn’t last. Kahlil uses examples of the protagonist going to the house-top and expressing his joy, “And when my Joy was born, I held it in my arms and stood on the house-top shouting.” However Kahlil makes a plot twist which changes the theme of the poem:
“I proclaimed my Joy from the house-top—and yet no one heeded me. And my Joy and I were alone, unsought and unvisited. Then my Joy grew pale and weary… Then my Joy died of isolation.”
With a couple of sentences Kahlil unlocked a profound message to the poem. No matter how many times the protagonist went to express his Joy from the house-top,“none of my neighbours came to look upon my Joy.” Slowly as the “seven moons” were passing on his Joy has been fading and fading away.
Kahlil tries to warn us of the danger of isolation, which can erode Joy.
“Never regard study as a duty, but as the enviable opportunity to learn”
Studying for exams was a very new and unique experience. From the previous years our exams were canceled because of COVID. So, I came into this experience not knowing how to study for a big exam. Mr. Irwin, a week before the exams, gave us a paper to manage our time for our exams. This paper was very useful to me. Every day I was studying for 20 minutes on each subject so I didn’t have to cram the day before. Mr. Sharon gave me and my advisory advice, to get sleep and have a good breakfast every day. This made me try to get good sleep and have breakfast every morning. The day before my Spanish exam I slept at 2:00 AM because I was stressed about the exam when I was trying to sleep. The morning before my first exam, which was Spanish, I felt extremely stressed out while going to school. Spanish was my most challenging class so there was a chance that I would not get a score I wanted. However, when that exam came I felt more prepared than I ever had been for any Spanish test or quiz. I realized the effect of not cramming the night before and to manage your time well. This was pretty much the same case for my other exams. I was stressed out in the morning, but when the exam came I felt prepared. Now for the end of the year exams, I will manage my time well, get my sleep in, and eat a big breakfast. Exams might have been a pain, but prepares us for our future.
Nothing is better than connecting with a book you can relate to. Reading Old Man and The Sea was a big challenge to me but what gave me that extra fire to read is how it was relatable in many ways. At the beginning of the book, Santiago was unable to catch a fish for 84 days. Santiago however pushed this misfortune away and went above and beyond and sailed deep into the ocean. This brought me back to my childhood where I couldn't ride my bike without training wheels for a number of days. Then, one day I also went above and beyond and spent most of my day fixing my misfortune, in order to gain the skill of riding a bike with two wheels.
I came into this thinking it would be an unenjoyable classic book that was assigned by Mr. Fitz in order to help our vocabulary. For the first week, I faced one of my biggest bad habits: procrastination. I wasn’t excited to read this book; however, after a couple of pages and days, a connection happened with me and this book. Reading didn’t feel like an assignment but something to do for fun. I figured that in order to be successful with English books you need to enjoy them. I know that some of them are hard to get into, but from experience, the ones I enjoyed came well to me.
As I researched this learning experience there were many takeaways. First, don’t go into an English book predicting it’s going to be a chore. Second, do your best to find connections with books. Now after reading this, I know what attitude to bring to my next obstacle The Odyssey. Many weeks ago, I might have been procrastinating on the homework assignments to read this book. There are many scenes that misrepresent my life; however, I did my best to find a connection with me and the book.
Old Man and the Sea might have been a big pain, but it was well worth the read.
“The most important things in life are the connections you make with others.”
In the book, The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway, the main character Santiago goes fishing on a long journey on the water and uses the power of connection to keep him going throughout his adventure. Santiago makes many connections throughout his life and especially while searching for his first big catch in 84 days. He connects not only with his friend Manolin but also with the creatures of the sea.
When Santiago catches the Marlin, he slowly bonds with the fish. After spending a lot of time with the fish and both of them struggling, he finally admits his feelings to the fish “I love you and respect you very much.”(Page 44) When Santiago said this, he realized his true feelings for the fish he captured. In the tiny amount of time they spent together, they both bonded over struggling, and Santiago made a connection with the Marlin. This new bond between them proves that bonding over a shared experience is a great way to make a connection.
Manolin is a Cuban boy who has fished with Santiago ever since he was a child. Now, he takes care of Santiago and looks up to him as a father. “The boy loved him.” Manolin is Santiago’s only human friend which makes a big connection between them:
It made the boy sad to see the old man come in each day with his skiff empty and he always went down to help him carry either the coiled lines or the gaff and harpoon and the sail that was furled around the mast.
When Santiago didn’t catch a fish for 84 days, Manolin wished Santiago the best because he loved him. It breaks his heart to see Santiago not catch a fish. It makes his parents think Santiago is salao, which is the worst form of unlucky. Manolin grew up knowing Santiago and hopes he will have the luck to catch a fish soon and hopes he has “faith”.
Manolin grew up with Santiago when he was a kid. One of the things they loved to do together is fishing. “The old man had taught the boy to fish.” As they age and grow up they talk about their moments when they first met each other and how “I will remember” our memories. Manolin says to Santiago:
Remember everything from when we first went together.
The old man looked at him with his “sun-burned, confident,
This scene is important because they are talking about the moment where they made the first connection with each other. Now, they both understand each other remarkably well and have bonded over the many hours they spent together and in the end they hope to“ fish together again”.
When Santiago comes back in poor condition from his trip —Manolin takes care of him. “Get well too," the boy said. “Lie down, old man, and I will bring you your clean shirt. And something to eat.”Manolin and Santiago bonded over fishing and when Santiago came back in poor condition Manolin took care of him by getting him food and helping him out. It shows he “did not leave” him and the true caring side of friendship.
Santiago shows us not only how important connections are, but how we utilize them to our advantage in life.
Dear Admissions Committee,
When someone asks a fifteen year old to give me three values that you live up to, most will be unsure or need time to think about it. However, when Fitz asked me this question I was given the time to think about these values. I chose empathy, curiosity, and respect. Not too bad eh. These values interpret the way I live life everyday. Socialllably, fashionably, athletically, artistically. Self values may be something not everyone can name but owns to themself.