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The Teachers Improvements
What Teachers Can Do To Make The Year Better
“The unfortunate, yet truly exciting thing about your life, is that there is no core curriculum. The entire place is an elective.”
– Jon Stewart
A teacher can make the difference between a good year and a bad one. They choose what you have to do, and they choose what work you have to complete. Teachers have a responsibility to make the year better, and they have the ability to accomplish that. The ninth grade program at Fenn is exceptional, but there are still vast improvements that can be made.
The Power of Hard Times
Growing up in New York
Sometimes you have a bad day, and sometimes you have an even worse one. My grandfather has lived through hard times in his life, and has learned from them. Going through a hard time can teach you many things, such as how to change to combat it, and how to better yourself. Going to a different place can cause you to go through a difficult experience.
When my grandfather was 11 he moved from a displaced persons camp in the Ukraine, to New York City. My grandfather barely had anything when he left the camp, and he barely knew any English or had any knowledge of what cities were like. His small group of friends he met in New York was most of what he had.
It was late in the afternoon and my grandfather was kicking a soccer ball down the field with his friends. As they finished the game my grandfather walked off the field to find the man who was supposed to take him home, mr. Popyk, only for him to be nowhere in sight. My grandfather was calling for him, shouting in Ukrainian, “mr. Popyk, mr. Popyk, where are you?” My grandfather, not knowing his address, immediately panicked, heading out to find his way home and only getting more lost in the process. Eventually he found his way back to the field and came up to his friends, pleading “please help me find my home, I don’t know where it is, please.” His friends helped him look for it, and after an hour they were eventually able to find it. My grandfather thanked the other boys profusely, thanking them even as he walked inside the house.
My grandfather had to deal with not knowing where he lived, and the fear that he may never find it. From his story I learned the importance of planning ahead. I learned the importance of friends when you are in trouble, and that they will be there for you. Friends are an essential thing to make it through hard times, and they are the key to a good life.
Going through a harsh experience can teach you many lessons, and can give you the ability to alleviate the difficulties that time will inevitably bring.
The Changing of Pop Music
“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.”
― Aldous Huxley
At this point in time pop music is, in my opinion, is far from being as good as what it used to be. Pop music has had a very wide range of music, from bands like the beatles to artists like Camila Cabello. The 60’s had a lot of influence from people like the Beatles, while the 70‘s overall had a more relaxed tone. In my opinion the 80’s had some of the best music, with ridiculous variety from artists and bands like INXS, The Eurythmics, The Police, Aerosmith, AC/DC, Michael Jackson, Prince, and Guns N’ Roses, Rick Astley, Culture Club, Dexy’s Midnight Runners, and also one of my favorites, Fine Young Cannibals, just to name a few. You had iconic songs like Take On Me, Thriller, Sweet Child O’ Mine, and many more in different styles. As you got to the 90’s grunge began to become a staple genre, and it was everywhere with bands lie Nirvana, as well as having some good alternative rock. As you got to the 2000’s you had more party like music, while also having a range of mainstream options.
At the beginning of the 2010’s it stayed similar to the previous decade, but became more upbeat and more intent on slower melodies, while still having many more song that were faster. As it started getting into 2017 I think thats when pop hit its lowest, as for pop most of the music was one genre, with talented artists like ED Sheeran, Shawn Mendes, and others taking over. While the songs weren’t bad per se, but all songs on pop radios became a very similar style, with the exception of Imagine Dragons bringing in some much needed diversity, but they were the only ones. As 2018 rolled around pop music became more diversified, but nothing like before. It was also starred by artists like Camila Cabello, who I honestly cannot listen to anymore (rant time: I find Camila Cabello’s music to be interesting for the first few times, but by the 4th time you’ve heard, Havanna ooh na-na at least 36 times, and that or something that rhymes with it 68 times. I don’t get how people stand it, it drives me insane, although most rap I find a similar problem with). The rest of 2018 went decent, but nothing interesting. As we got to 2019 we got some more variety, songs like Old Town Road and Sucker, finally adding some more variety, even though they still have a repetitive nature. I think pop music is getting better and I have hope for the future of it. We may never get back what used to be, but maybe the future could be better.
“Things change. And friends leave. Life doesn't stop for anybody.”
A place has the power to shape who you are. A small location can be vitally important to your growth and can change you just like it did to me. For me the place that influenced me the most was the Westford Swim and Tennis club.
I have been going there since I was 6, and always had fun, coming back every year. It was the middle of the afternoon, I was by the pool at the club, in the locker room helping a 6 year old kid named Blake who could not figure out how to put his shirt, socks, and shoes on. I had to help out because there were no other male councilors at the time. Outside waiting by the picnic table were my friends, Ethan, Cathrine, and jamie, waiting for Blake to be finished so they could go back to the main camp area.
As I got Blake’s last foot into his shoe I led him outside, victoriously returning to my friends. Suddenly Dan appears behind me, a sophomore in high school, and says, “hey Bobby, how are you doing.” I turn around and see him for the first time since last year, as he didn’t come back to camp this year. “It’s been a while, hasn’t it,” I responded, “I’m doing great, so what have you have you been up to all summer.” We continue to chat and in that moment I realized that even though he has gotten “too old” for camp he still is my friend.
In that place I grew up with my friends, and while some moved on I know they will not forget what that place has done for them. That simple place is an essential part of them and it is for me too. While we may change, we will never forget the fun we had.
A simple location can bring people together, create memories, and impact you in such a way for it to become a part of you.
What I Kept From Camp Belknap
~John C. Maxwell
The value of an experience is priceless. At Camp Belknap I learned that I have the opportunity to become friends with kids I never would’ve considered before. I got to do activities with them and sleep in the same room as them. I got to bond with kids I never thought I could. I learned that often times people are different if you get to know them. Some of the kids I was with I previously disliked, and while I wouldn’t consider them good friends, I do consider them as someone I could talk to. I think that our whole cabin group is closer together then before, and I think I have the opportunity to make friends with other kids in the grade I had never considered before. I can say is that I have enjoyed my time with these new friends and I would like to make more. The time left with the current grade is short, and I should get to know everyone and have fun with them before I have to move on.
I learned that I have to try to take charge of situations, and have more confidence in myself. I learned that I have to try lead the school and do my part. The lower grades look up to the 9th grade, and I have to set a good example. With the absence of kids like Theo Randall and Liam Brown someone has to step up and take their place. I need to try and do better. With the loss of many of my friends I need to step up and fill in their place at the school, and I learned I have a long way to go. The road ahead is difficult, but someone has to take it. I really do miss all of them, but they aren’t coming back and the campfire at Belknap reminded me of that. The leadership activities also worked to show that I have a long way to go to become a speaker like them, and that it will take a lot of effort to get there, but I will work on it. With all that was lost between 8th and 9th grade, there is much to be gained.
Lastly I learned that I already have a great pool of friends and that we will only grow closer from this point on. I learned that this year has a lot of potential for growth and that my options are vast. I realized I shouldn’t spend my time worrying about things that are not relevant at the moment. If there is nothing you can do about it why should you worry? I realized that I have the ability to shape the year how I want it, and I need to take that opportunity and use it to my full advantage. The year has only just started and I am already nervous about the future, I need to take my time in the moment. This year may be one of the best, and I have to make it count.
The Essence of Community, the Power of Place, and the Value of Stewardship
Stewardship is leaving a system better than you found it.
As I walk into the my Advisor I sit down, and talk to my friends. Other people come in and join the conversation. We talk and enjoy the moment, in our community.
At Fenn there is a power of place and a strong essence of community. The faculty take care of us students and help us through our day. They keep the peace and help foster the community. The community is made up of many students, that are made up from many different ages. There is a special thing about going to fenn because of the community that exists. Its brightens your day and helps you have fun, while also allowing you to learn. The community is one of good people going through the day together, making the community stronger the longer it exists. It is essential to have a community to make a place where you feel a sense of belonging. Fenn does this, and because of the community that exists it is a great place.
The power of place is to create a space where cherished memories are remembered. When a community has been established in a place it gains a sense of value and power. It creates a powerful environment that evokes certain feelings and inspires action. It makes people happy to be their and allows them to have fun. Going to that place should evoke comfort to you, and should be enjoyable. The place should have immense meaning to you. A place where you once had a great time and have left, even without the community, should bring back memories and emotions when you visit. The power of place is one of bringing back memories and creating a feeling of comfort, Fenn does this. It holds many memories of mine and has been a place of great fun. It is where many people have made friends and where they had fun with them.
Stewardship is the action of taking care of something. The value of stewardship comes in when a place gains a community, which gives that place power. Stewardship happens when you care about a place and wish to take care of it, because you enjoy being there. Stewardship is essential to keep the essence of community and the power of place.
The importance of stewardship is it allows everything to be sustained and continued through the years. It is a loop, it starts out with a community, then that place gains a power of place, which fosters stewardship, which sustains the community. Stewardship is brought on by the emotions that the place brings, and allows you to sustain those emotions. Fenn has this because of the community and the power it has. You wish to take care of the school because it is where you had so much fun, and did so much. Fenn is a great place, which is why it has a community, has power, and people willing to take care of it.
The Belknap Experience
Learning The Potential Of The Year
“Opportunities are like sunrises. If you wait too long you miss them.”
~William Arthur Ward
My classmates and I were in the middle of a field by Lake Winnipesauke at Camp Belknap on our ninth grade trip with some teachers and counselors around us. I told my group to get into position, resulting with me being held up by Hudson, my hands forward, and my legs pulled behind me by Connor. Mr. Duane was off to the right, one leg outstretched and the other underneath him. Jack is posing like he is holding a hockey stick to my left. Seth the director walks up to us, proclaiming us the victors of the best recreation of the game winning goal by Bobby Orr. During this three day trip at the beginning of my freshman year to Camp Belknap, I discovered that I have friends I never knew I had; I learned that I have an opportunity this year for leadership, and if I pull everything together with my current friends it may be my best year yet.
Potential friends are everywhere: you just have to give them the opportunity, and an experience can help you realize that. At Camp Belknap I embraced the idea that I have the opportunity to become friends with kids I would never have considered before—people like Jack Moskow and Will Hickey. Talking in the cabin, shouting back and forth, Jack would jest“how did you get to that conclusion,” We would ask random questions to each-other, some which should not be repeated, and talking through them, laughing at the stupidity of both the question and the answer. Some of the other kids I previously disliked, and while I still wouldn’t consider them good friends, I do consider them as friendly faces. I found out that often people are different if you get to know them. What I can say is that I have enjoyed my time with these new friends and I would like to make more, and I should use this opportunity. The time left with the current grade is short, and I should get to know everyone and have fun with them before I am forced to move on and regret not taking this opportunity. People are everywhere, and you just need to give them a chance to be your friend.
Making new friends is a great thing, but having fun with old friends is just as important. When me and my friends, Garrett and Hudson were hanging out on the tennis courts, we were just having fun, talking and playing tennis. Running back and fourth, crushing tennis balls into space, and trying to return those balls back to the other side. We were laughing and having fun, shouting to the other side, “You can’t get it this time,” only for the them to return it back the same way almost every time. I learned on the trip that I already have a great pool of friends, and that we will only grow closer after this experience. My interactions with them will shape how my year goes, and they are the limit of how much fun I can have. Friends are an amazing resource, and you shouldn’t waste you time with them, you should use it to have fun with them and create memories. I learned I should spend my time in the moment with my friends, and enjoy it. Interacting with them has made this clear, that I have a great year ahead of me. This year may be one of the best, and I have to make it count.
Opportunities for leadership are everywhere this year. With the absence of speakers and leaders like Theo Randall and Liam Brown, someone has to step up and take their place. Last year I spoke at the 8th grade graduation night as one of the 4 speakers. I was incredibly nervous, missing lines, but I pulled through and ended it strong. “Good luck to all those that are leaving,” I said with finality, “and I hope you enjoy your time at your next school.” Despite my nervousness I spoke well enough and was applauded at the end. It was a necessary experience to prove to myself that I could speak in front of others, and take a leading role in something. The leadership activities at the camp drove home the message that I still have a long way to go to become a leader like Theo and Liam were, and that it will take a lot of effort to get there. It showed that I have a different way of leading, and will need to adapt my style to continue on that path. With the loss of many of my 8th grade classmates someone needs to step up and fill in their place at the school, and I want to be that person. The path leading there may bring me way out of my comfort zone, but I know if I can achieve my goal the experience will have been worth it. Taking opportunities in front of you is important, and leadership is a valuable skill. With all that was lost between 8th and 9th grade there more to be gained this year, and even more to be discovered about myself.
I have an opportunity for leadership this year and the opportunity to make this a great year. My friends are around me and are there for me. This year shows potential unlike any other, and I must use it. While it is sad that so many people are missing from last year, their disappearance leaves new opportunities. As you get older you are shown more and more opportunities. The use of them shapes who you become. Opportunities are great, but they must be used to appreciate them. The path ahead is made by these choices, and no one knows where it will go.