Academy of Palumbo

A school community can be anything you want it to be. To me, it is a place that I can show my inner colors and be myself. It is a place that I cannot be harassed. At Palumbo, I would not be embarrassed to ask for help. In some schools, you would be made fun of for asking for help. That would bring a person down- they would not be able to learn because of the fear that they would get bullied. 

We should encourage people who ask for help. In my ideal school community, there would be culture, social people, and sports I can play. 

At Palumbo, there are a bunch of sports available that I never had the opportunity to play in middle school. Time spent on athletics at Palumbo could lead me to have a career in sports; most of all, I would love to play basketball professionally.  

My ideal school community is one where I can be in a competitive environment because I enjoy having to work hard to get better.  This is because of my work ethic.  I tend to show the most growth when in a group that has to fight to get a spot. When there is a problem I need to overcome, I put more effort to overcome the problem. 

A school community should have people that support each other, but most importantly they should do so when times are hard. If other people thought about how their actions might affect others, it would greatly improve the community. We should also realize when someone needs assistance, We should provide it to them. 

Most importantly I feel like everyone should have a voice. Many people assume that students don’t have good ideas; however, I firmly believe that students are just as capable.

The biggest conflict I face is myself. I tend to overthink things that occur. This holds me back, because I can get stuck thinking about something so much that it can delay my completion of a task. 

In order to deal with this challenge, I look for ways to balance work and play. This way, I am reminded that if I work when I should, like on an essay or project, then I will be able to relax fully later knowing I did my best. 

Sometimes conflict leads to more conflict. I might be mad at someone and put some else in it, making them mad at the person. Like triangulation. 

For example, you are person X, you argue with person Y, and you tell person Z about it which drags person Z into that conflict. I get over this by admitting I was wrong and trying to do better. 

The conflict I am dealing with now is the pandemic. It is keeping me from talking to my friends and having the social part of a school I was missing.

I missed out on that part of a school for a long time. Being social is really important to me because that is how I show who I am. 

How I overcome the pandemic Is by wearing a face mask, washing my hands frequently, and social distance when I go out in public. 

The conflict that keeps coming back to me is the pressure of a lot of school work. It gets really hard to get a lot of assignments done in good timing. How I get over this conflict is by trying my best to lay out my schedule for the week so I can properly turn in all the assignments. 

When I use my schedule, I get my work in on time and I don’t have to stress about the due date and which work is more important than another.

Sometimes that doesn’t work and then I go and ask for help so I could get my work done properly and on time. Asking for help makes it easier to get what I need in an efficient manner. 

Throughout my education, I was always put to high standards. Due to that, I feel like in a community of learners like Palumbo I can shine. Palumbo has all the things I want in a school. I really love playing sports Like basketball and baseball. In my school now I really did not get a chance to be on a sports team to show my skills. 

In Palumbo, I would be able to play on a team. Lastly I want to go to a place where my ideas can be shared with my peers and become a better learner. Not only that, Palumbo Palumbois a really competitive school with a lot of smart people around it. That is why Palumbo is the perfect school for me. 


Musa Kane is a 8th grader at Science Leadership Academy Middle School.

The Injury

I was on the ground and I felt a sharp pain in my right leg. The excruciating pain continued to spread through my body. The coach ran on the field… 

It was just like any other Saturday morning. I had begun to get ready. I had put my gameday clothes on and drank lots of water like my mom had kept nagging me to do. I got my Gatorade, my bottle of water, and began to walk to the soccer field.  Before I was able to reach the door, my dog ran up to me and started to play with me. For a good minute I played with him but I knew I had a game, so I kept it short. When I got to the soccer field I greeted my friends and we joked around for a little. After that I drank my bottle of water and  started to warm up for the game. I did my normal stretches, then I took some shots up on the goal. 

After our stretch the captain walked over and said, “Yo coach!”

 “They have first ball,” Coach responded, 

“Alright good job; 3-4-3-1 formation The back three are Bryce, Garret, Amadu This is gonna be a tough game, Play your hardest and have some fun.” 

We walked on the field and readied ourselves for what our coach said would be a hard game. Right off the bat, their offense demolished our midfield and as I went to close in on the player with the ball, he gave a good cross to his teammate who finished it with a great goal. We kept trying to even the field with a goal of our own but struggled. Our coach called a timeout and switched us around moving me from defense to offense. I was nervous when he switched me because I usually stay on defense but when I switch to offense, it usually means he needs me to kick the ball upfield. At the time I was happy because offense was more fun but it was also way more work. Soon after he moved me up, we were able to tie the game up.

At halftime we took our time hydrating while our coach told us the game plan going forward. It wasn’t too different from what we were just doing but it had worked. After the halftime kickoff JR, our striker, got a beautiful goal that the goalie just couldn’t get to. I walked over to him, “dapped” him up, and said, 

“Good shot! Let’s keep that going.” He smiled and said,

“Just keep giving me the ball.”

After that we saw that the other team was frustrated because they didn’t like that we broke ahead and they came back with another goal. There were almost 10 minutes left in the game and we  were thinking about how we were going to get the ball and score. We were all focused on winning and as we looked for an opening to grab the lead, I saw the opponent make a bad pass. I intercepted the pass and “burned” one kid. That’s when I saw another player from the opposing team come at me trying to kick the ball but he hit me directly on the leg. 

For a second I didn’t know what was going on. I just laid there as the pain got worse. I couldn’t think straight and I just squirmed holding my leg. My coach walked over and asked if I was ok. I just nodded, got up, and continued playing. I assumed if I kept playing the pain would go away. But as the game continued I lost focus and the pain began to get worse. After my injury the ref decided to give us a free kick. JR. took it and it was a beautiful shot in the top left corner and, after that my coach decided to sub me out. 

I still wanted to play but waited until the final whistle when we came out with the win. My parents went home and I walked back with my friends. On the walk, we made jokes and played around as usual. We were very happy after the win and still had a lot of energy. Jalen said 

“Y’all tryna come over for a lil?” 

As much as I wanted to go, I really just wanted to go home and take a nap. I said no and he understood. When walking back home I realized that just walking off this injury wasn’t going to work. With every step, the pain continued to get worse and worse and finally, the agonizing pain was just too much. My friend Jalen saw me struggling and pulled me over and let me lean on him to help me out . Finally, when I got home I decided the best thing for me to do was ice it a little because this usually helped me when i got hurt. After the ice melted, I took a shower then got in the bed to take a short nap. I was exhausted, and with the pain getting worse, I thought resting would make it better.I woke up to my mother shaking me and saying 

“Clean this room! We’re still going to the movies with Aiden but if you don’t clean this room you won’t be going.” 

As I got out of bed, I bent my leg to get up. I felt a shock of pain and laid back down. I told my mother how my leg felt and she was mad I didn’t tell her and my dad sooner. 

“I’m so disappointed in you! What were you thinking? You should’ve told us earlier you could’ve made the injury worse!” 

I was disappointed in myself. I shouldn’t have tried to hide an injury just so I could play in the game. My dad and mom drove me to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and had me checked out. The doctors X-rayed me and made sure I was ok. The doctor told my parents I had fractured something in my leg and I couldn’t play for a while. I love sports, but not being able to play for a while really taught me something. I was never injured like that before, and even though I still play, I always make sure to be careful. Winning is awesome, but it isn’t the most important thing. Always play hard, but play smart.


Bryce Ford is 15 years old and in the 10th grade at The Haverford School.

 

Introverts Unite!…Separately

I went home after spending two whole days at preschool for the week. When I walked into the house, I stopped in the doorway and stared at my mom. She turned around from the kitchen and asked what’s wrong. I looked at her with eyebrows furrowed, dropped all my things wearily, and said, “Mommy, I need to be alone”

My mom smiled and said I could be, understanding that children, real children, were beings that came straight from Hell.

Since my parents understand what it’s like being introverted, especially at my age, I never thought of it as a bad thing. It wasn’t until I reached middle school I realized that introversion is, according to stuck-up idiots of society, seen as a negative thing. Apparently, they think that wanting to be alone for at least fifteen minutes and not befriending everyone that’s in a five-to ten-mile radius are the two major signs of an extreme antisocial disorder.

One of my best friends happens to be one of these idiots and confronted someone in our class about his said “disorder.” She kept going on and on about how he needs to stop being antisocial, depressed, and negative. I cut in and told her she could just ask why he’s an introvert. She looked at me with pure disgust and said, “Yeah. Exactly.”

I remember giving her a look of disgust back, and I may have been thinking something along the lines of, Ya big-mouthed socialite. I’m an introvert.

Being that people thought that being an extrovert was the greatest thing in the world, I decided to see what’s just so great about it. And before I tell you about my first experience, let me say there’s ABSOLUTELY NOTHING SO FAN-FRIGGIN-TASTIC ABOUT IT. Anyways…

After standing in the lunch line and paying, I sat down at my table and started eating. It was nice outside, where my real friends were hanging out, but all the talkative people at our table were sitting inside. And being that extroverts just have to know everyone in existence, I decided to force myself to sit with the people I kinda know.

For a couple minutes, I told myself to jump into a conversation that involves me or to just start one. When I finally thought of a topic to talk about, I sat up and opened my mouth until a cursed extrovert sat down, said my name in a stupid, high-pitched and cheery voice, and started loudly conversing with others.

I looked outside and yearned to be with my fellow introverts. At the same time I didn’t want to be rude, so I desperately stared off into the distance, praying that the right moment to leave would soon come.

And it did.

When Stupid, High-Pitched and Cheery Voice sat down, she sighed, rolled her eyes, and said, “I need a fork. Lisa can you come up and get one with me?”

Once she left, I quickly grabbed my things and went outside. When I saw my group of my friends, I shouted, “I can’t do it!”

A week passed, and I didn’t try my experiment again. I weighed out some of my options, and here were my answers: there’s no way I’ll try talking to people at lunch again, and there’s no chance I’ll ever play along with the incoherent babble that occurs on the bus.

Though after I made that conclusion, I got a text from one of my friends from my old school, asking if I would be coming to their prom.

“Force me to be social and talkative and nice to the others,” I reminded my friend when we pulled up to the banquet hall.

“Will do.”

As I walked into the lobby, I was greeted with fanatic screams (okay, maybe just two), surprised yet (slightly? somewhat?) happy faces, and hugs. A lot of people were saying they didn’t know I was coming and how beautiful I looked and so on and so on.

After getting away from spending a whole two to three minutes with my adoring fans, we walked into the room the dance was being held and sat down at an almost empty table. My two friends were listening to me gabbing away about my new school and how much I loved it while the three people we were sharing a table with got up and moved, once again hindering me from going through with the experiment.

However, throughout the night, I was surprised to see how outgoing I was, dancing for over an hour, catching up with people I didn’t even know would’ve missed me. People who were new to the school that I’ve never met knew who I was.

Even after that, I didn’t see why being an extrovert was so great, and I spent the next two days in solitude. To me, you just put yourself in situations where everyone wants you to come to their social event and will be eternally upset if you say no. Meanwhile, introverts have it good. Unless they’re invited to a party from one of their close friends, then they’ll either A: won’t hurt the host’s feelings if they say they had other plans (and those plans were curling up with a book, laptop, or furry animal and watching Netflix) or B: not get invited at all which would only make them happy. You know why? Because it’s one less person an extrovert has to worry about.

Around Christmas time, I went shopping with my friend (the same friend who called us introverts all those nasty names, mind you), and our first stop was Macy’s. There, she was looking for gifts to give each of her friends in their Secret Santa game (but if everyone’s getting everyone a gift, how is it a secret?). I was told it’d be a little, short trip there, then we’d go to Target, which was where I needed to go.

Well, a short trip to my friend and her mom means an hour and a half to two and half hours all because my friend couldn’t find good gifts. She found a couple things they’d like, but she was nervous they wouldn’t really like it.

Let me just interrupt my own story really quick: so, if you can’t quickly find at least one gift for each of your friends that you’d know they’d like, then do you really know them enough to call them your friend? Yeah, just further proves my point on introversion.

“I have too many friends,” she finally admitted.

I stopped walking and stared at her. This girl had to be friends with every single person in her school ever since Kindergarten, and she’s just now admitting she has too many friends?

“I don’t even know what they really like all that well, and I have to buy gifts for every single one of them. Why do I have to be so social?”

“I’ve been telling you all these years that you should be like me,” which was my verbal way of my thoughts being, Yeah, having eight plus “best” friends is a pain in the ass.

Maybe I’ll try this experiment again, but I doubt that I’ll ever convince myself that being an introvert is a bad thing. You know why? Because it isn’t, and you can be feared by most and loved by few which, to me, is a great gift, especially during the holidays.


Erin Brody is a writer from the Pittsburgh area who attends Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter school for their Writing and Publishing program. She has been published in pulp. for creative nonfiction, Hot Dish Magazine for short fiction, Dime Show Review for poetry, and she will soon be featured in Variant Literature for creative nonfiction. She is also the managing editor of The SIREN newspaper and could often be found watching or participating in theatre.

Empowerment

Once upon a time, there lived two powerful girls, Khadija and Janice. They came from two different backgrounds. Khadija was from Saudi Arabia and Janice was from Pennsylvania in the United States.

Kahdija went through a lot of trauma in her life, like terrorist attacks, war from America, loss of food, destruction, no education, and more.

Janice was hurt by a broken family, 9/11, police brutality, bullying, racism, and even more.These girls had been through so much pain and fright.

They thought that maybe, if they stood up, maybe they could make a change. So, these young teens made their communities a little bit better by hosting religious ceremonies and meetings, daycares, protests and other forms of community activism.

A couple years go by and it’s now 2027. The world got better, but there were still flaws that the world thought couldn’t be healed.  That was all going to be changed soon!

Khadija was finally able to go to college but not in Saudi Arabia. She became a college exchange student at Temple University in Philadelphia. She didn’t know much English, but it was a good thing colleges teach ESL.

The catch was that Janice was a tutor for foreign exchange students,and she spoke Arabic because because she had lived in Mecca for two years as a child; due to her dad being in the Army. Throughout her two years there,  she  did not learn much because her family was so determined that Muslims were bad.

When they met, Janice wasn’t very excited to see that Khadijah was Muslim. Janice automatically said no to teaching her.

Over time, they both learned that Janice was the only one that could teach Khadijah so Janice decided maybe she could get to know her.

Khadijah and Janice started to get to know each other. Janice realized that both she and Khadijah were very alike and they both loved to help their community.  They decided they wanted to make a change in the world. It took awhile but they came up with many ideas.

They did food drives for the community and classes for how people could help. Then, they finally came up with something really unique: an app!

This app would allow people to put out information on helping out the community and include events such as concerts,prayer meetings, fun things for kids and cleaning the city. It started small but it soon got bigger, the whole campus knew!

Two powerful girls from very different environments managed to create something so beautiful. It soon got all over the country and everyone played a part in saving their communities.

It’s now  2034, and the world managed to become so great, with many people around the world supporting their communities through food, religion, fun, safety, and happiness.Khadijah and Janice are still best friends. Their kids are growing up together.  and they both are beside each other as members of the United Nations.

The world needs you. It always starts with community activism, but it will get bigger. Look what the Black Lives Matter protest did. It started off in just some community and it traveled nationwide and now we have the whole world able to protest for a cause so big. If you never give up, you will have a revolution…

 

 

Adventure in the Shed

One day I went exploring in the shed and found an orange and black tarantula. One of its legs was as long as my middle finger. It was eating a cricket.  But then it moved because I poked it with a stick. I poked its abdomen and it ran away from me.

At first I saw a lot of crickets. Then I saw about five crickets. There are spiders in the shed too. The shed smells like rotten cheese. It was not totally dark.

There were cracks that let in light. The tarantula might have ran away through the cracks and now lives happily in the forest.


Leo is 7 years old. He is a 2nd grader at Sharp Elementary School in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

 

Doors of My Future

I move into another apartment. This one is made of crumbling bricks and tall windows. It smells of stale bread and moldy floors. It looks like forgotten pasts and abandoned futures. This is my home now.

We get out of the taxi, my mother gives the driver some cash, then we walk through a rotting wooden door that is almost as tall as my father. The entryway is a small lounge on the ground floor which has nothing but a desk, an empty chair, and a single ringing bell. I reach to ring the bell but my mother puts her arm in front of me. Anyway, I can’t even reach the top of the desk.

As we begin to leave the room with the desk and empty chair, we go to a door with a long red handle. The door refuses to open for us the first four tries, but then finally gives in and lets us through. It leads to cement stairs and metal railings that smell of cigarettes on a Tuesday afternoon. The stairs are tall and many, the top of this flight seeming further away than my old house. Before I can say anything, my mother yanks me by my arm and pulls me up the stairs. I float away with her only being ever so slightly held back by the wind.

We climb up the large stairs for what seems like hours before we reach the hallway with many doors of which one is ours. The doors are all identical, some with more stains than others, all with the same metal handle, thin plywood, and rusty deadbolt lock. The carpeting has the same dizzying pattern that I quickly get lost in all the way down to the metallic door labeled: EXIT at the end of the hallway.  About three doors away from that one, we finally reach the one we want.

The door handle is messy and rough, and it doesn’t open until my father pulls on it with all his might. The door then violently shakes, and a few more punches and pushes make it swing open to reveal the inside like a salesman on the television saying, “but wait, there’s more!” “More,” is one bedroom and a bathroom with a sofa, an old box television, and a bed large enough for my parents to sleep with each other. They still choose not to.

This isn’t what I thought it would look like. In the magazines and television movies, the people always have a home with lots of floors and sofas and tables. They always have funny looking chandeliers and TVs that are too big, with lots of stairs and tall ceilings. This one is nothing like those, the ceilings are low and drip slimy fluids on to the floor, the sofa is dirty and stained, and the TV doesn’t work unless you punch it.

I sit on the sofa where I will be sleeping and stare at that blank television. My father sets up his sleeping bag next to my mother’s bed, where she shifts her pillows around and tosses one to him. It’s not my bedtime yet so I ask to roam the hallways and my mother says I can with a mutter. My father gives her a quick glance but then quickly looks back to his book.

My father opens the door for me because I can’t seem to figure it out, then I go outside the door and begin walking. As I walk down the hallway, I put the fingertips of my right hand on the seams of the wallpaper, lifting them back up whenever there is graffiti or dead termites. I walk like this for a while, my fingers grazing all the bumps and scratches picking up all sorts of dirt and grease along the way until I reach the end of the hallway. By then my fingers are browner, so I decide I have done enough walking for today and turn around.

On the way back I see the faint figure of a white boy playing with his trucks by my room. He is small and plump with a t-shirt that doesn’t fit him, pants that are too big for him, and messy hair that almost cover his dirty brown eyes. I get closer and see that he blocks the way to my door, so I start to talk to him, hoping I could eventually kindly tell him to move.

I ask him about his trucks. He tells me what kind they are and how much each weighs. I don’t understand most of what he says but I appreciate the toys. I sit down to play with him and his replicas and reach for one of his trucks, but he grabs it and violently pulls it to his chest. He tells me I cannot touch his trucks because I am too dirty. I look at my hands in response and he reacts before I can even say anything, and tells me that it’s not just my hands. My body is dirty and so is my inside and he doesn’t spend time with dirty girls. He opens the door to his room and takes his trucks with him.

I go to sleep that night with empty thoughts. I lay my head against my pillow on the sofa and only think about sleep. The room is so dark I don’t even have to close my eyes.


Wesley Bozman is  a 14-year-old freshman and Friends’ Central School. He loves writing creative fiction and music. This sample is a vignette he wrote inspired by the book, “The House on Mango Street,” as well as wanting to tell a story of a relatively small and normalized act of racism which happens much more frequently to people of color than most people would think.

 

 

 

Nighttime Stroll

It is one in the morning, as I aimlessly wander through a hallway looking at its dull grey walls, and I’m confused as to why there aren’t any doors or corners! The hallway just goes on and on, never ending in an endless line. And why am I even awake anyway?. It’s like I’m floating, and unable to feel anything. Not the floor, not the air… NOTHING. I can’t even hear anything.  There are no cars, nor crickets, not even my heart beat, only eerie silence. It is strange. I don’t even remember waking up, why I’m not resting or where I even am. I only know that it is one am and I am pacing the halls because there is nothing better to do. 

It’s now two in the morning. There are now doors in the hall. They are the same shade of gray that the walls were and they are all exactly 10 ft apart. I still can’t feel my surroundings, but there is a slight ringing in my ears and a sharp searing pain in my chest. I don’t know why it is there, or where it even came from, but it hurts! It burns and I’m crying non-stop, but the pain won’t go away. I’m begging for someone… ANYONE… to help me! This agonizing isolation, these hallways empty, this unbearable pain that won’t cease… and nobody is coming to help me either?!?  The hallway is just empty, like always. I… I am alone.

It is now three in the morning. The doors are now red, but still wet like they were just freshly painted. It doesn’t smell like fresh paint though. I know it isn’t fresh paint. The pain has now spread from my chest to my entire body. The pain!  This searing intense pain!  I try to put my hands on the wall but I almost fall through. I start to cry even harder. I can’t touch anything. Everything hurts and I am still all alone. 

Four in the morning… all I feel in this throbbing torture, and it is awful! The doors have now gathered pools of blood underneath them. I wonder if that means that I am getting closer to freedom? The pain has doubled and I wonder if I have almost made it this time. I place my hand on the blood-soaked door before deciding against it and continuing on the path down the hall. I only make it to the next door before I stop again. Everything hurts. I trace “help me” on the wall and almost give up right there but I have never made it this far before. I will find a way out. I finally will move on. I keep moving forwards. 

It was five in the morning. Almost there!  I can make it! I will finally beat this stupid curse where I am forced to relive the pain of my death, over and over again. If I can make it to sunlight I can be free! The entire floor is coated in blood now. I am so close but it all burns and when I finally think that I won’t give up, the pain tripled. I cry out in agony. I am so close… I am almost free, but I can’t do it!  I am going to die!  

It was almost six in the morning, and I have almost made it. I am almost free! But the pain is just too much. I simply can’t handle it. I grab the blood-covered door, and write “I’m sorry” on the wall before opening it. Just like last time, and the time before that. Over and over again I give up and I cry because I will never be free. It will always be too much!  But I open the door and everything goes dark. And when I open my eyes again?

It was one am.

 

 

The Tiger

Silently and softly, the striped predator creeps along the edges of the marshy mangrove while watching an animal leave the safety of its home. When the unsuspecting prey comes closer to the meat-eater’s hideout, the brutish feline pounces. 

As amazing as it is, this monstrous creature can strike with an impassive face and won’t give its prey any mercy. This deadly feline is known as the tiger. Their deadly physical features,  found all around the world and amazing ability to fascinate others is what makes tigers beasts.

Easily the biggest cat in the world, tigers are predators due to their physical features. Their bright orange and dark black stripes can easily help them camouflage into their surroundings.     

This helps them locate prey without their food knowing that they’re there. 

Their sharp teeth can rip up any tough meat so it’s easier for them to swallow and not choke on it. 

Their claws are probably the most prized thing on their body, as the stealthy cat scratches its claws against the bark of a tree to make them very sharp.  

When it’s time to hunt, they attack with their claws and forceful front legs. These muscular front legs are usually what knocks the attacker or prey down. 

It also has great eyesight, which is helpful for seeing in the night when food is scarce. Amazing body features may be what keeps this cat alive!

This carnivore lives in many different regions across the globe and each has its own variety of food sources. The Bengal Tiger lives in India, and there it can feed on many different animals, such as beef, chicken, buffalo, and goat.  Likewise, the Siberian Tiger has a diet of many types of meat including elk, deer, and boars. There are many different types of tigers all over the world, each with a diet that suits them. 

The reason tigers are so fascinating is because all of their traits, both inside and outside, are unique.  Their bright orange swirls and dark black stripes are probably what makes this scary creature so beautiful.  

The silent and swift way it moves is what makes them so agile. Even being a solitary animal, these monsters can take down animals such as wild buffalo! 

Most tigers are also very protective. They will not let other animals get near their family and will also put up a fight to let the other tiger escape. 

They are loyal to each other, only when the other is loyal back. Tigers can have many different ways to astonish others unlike themselves.

All in all, tiger’s physical features, their population across the globe, and their personality may be what fascinates. Those outstanding traits will cause anyone to be in awe !  Tigers are sometimes considered the world’s most threatening creature, even more than lions! 

Though  tigers are ferocious, they are an endangered species. 

Many different reasons are making their number decline such as hunting and habitat loss.

With the tiger population decreasing  , the world  will be different. Tigers are a massive part in the Earth’s making, helping the diversity of species and other animal populations be under control, so we have to make sure they stay. 


Anushka Dhar is a 6th grader at John Adams Middle School.

 

Change Our Ways

It was a cool summer evening when our family was watching the U.S. Open Round 1. The Arthur Ashe Stadium filled with excitement, watching the game with the young prodigy, Karolina Muchova, who was going to challenge Venus Williams. When we asked my little sister which of those players was her favorite without any doubt she quickly responded “Venus Williams.”

We wanted to see whether or not she could correctly identify Venus, so we asked her to spot the difference between the two players. She responded by addressing Venus WIlliams as “the woman in the pink shirt.” What surprised us though, is the fact that the contrast in both of the player’s skin color never occurred to her.

She did not single Venus Williams out as the woman who had black skin. Why is it that older people tend to differentiate people by the color of their skin when the only difference a little girl can manage to find is the difference between their outfits?

Right now, America is not only facing a medical crisis, but a social crisis too. Racial injustice is a massive problem with thousands of people currently being victimized due to the color of their skin. This has been occurring in the US.for centuries, and it has to change –  now.

America has already gone through many controversies involving racial injustice including the breakaway Confederacy, the Civil War, and the Civil Rights Movement. We should not aim to make this situation any worse than it already is. Unless we want to go through another 600,000 deaths with another Civil War, we should stop and take a moment to absorb what is happening in the real world.

Just standing there and watching people get hurt does not help at all! Show people that you care, by talking to your close relatives and friends not just about the problem, but also about solutions to mitigate the problem. Make sure there are social outreach programs in your schools and neighborhoods that focus on helping disadvantaged communities.

Thomas Jefferson once wrote “all men are created equal.” Let us ensure that we take the words of our founding fathers and incorporate them into the DNA of our country. That means no man or woman is better than any other man or woman. No race is better than any other race. No religion is better than any other religion.

A rainbow has many different colors. Without one color, it wouldn’t be as beautiful as it is. Just like that, every race is important. Without one race, the world wouldn’t be as great as it is. Stop discriminating against people by the color of their skin, and start appreciating who they really are. Stop racial injustice now!


Anirudh Venkatesh is 11 years old. He is in 6th grade and attends Great Valley Middle School in Malvern.

 

 

Time Brings Change

The comfort and riches of the wealthy are unimaginable to some. But at the start of my life, this was only normal. Designer clothes, personal chef, and a Ferrari were just the top of the bundle. I couldn’t imagine anything that I wanted that I didn’t have. Indeed, I was rich. And spoiled. If something wasn’t up to my standards, it had to be. And sometimes for the sake of it, I would pretend to hate something I actually loved. But that one day when things started to go downhill, everything changed…for better or for worse.

“GET PACKING!” he yelled. My dad shook me awake and said we were going on a road trip. I kept sleeping. I was startled, as my parents wouldn’t even complain about me. I was their precious angel of course! With a grumble, I started packing all my fancy outfits, but the ones that were worth $100 to $300 I left. My dad grumbled that he would wait for me downstairs. “I used to wear these…these rags?!?” I thought in outrage. Then I loaded my heavy suitcase and called my butler.

After waiting for 10 minutes for my butler, I was ready to pout and throw a fit when the door opened. But when it did, I saw my dad. “WHY ARE YOU WAITING FOR YOUR BUTLER?” he bellowed.

My eyes were wide open. He opened my suitcase and threw my fabulous clothes aside. Then, he grabbed the cheapest clothes I had, the ones that were $100 and less which were in the trash can, and shoved them in a ratty old backpack he was holding. He shoved it on me and dragged me to the car. Where I expected a shiny blue, red, or white Ferrari, there stood a brand I had never even laid my eyes on.

“Get in!” growled my dad.

I put my nose in the air and looked in the other direction. What would the students at St. Carl’s Private School say if they saw me sitting in the back of a beat up four-seater? When I looked to see why my parents weren’t coaxing me in, I saw my dad’s ears get pink, then red, then almost purple. Apparently, my mom sensed this too, and she jerked me inside and shut the door. There was the start of the 29 hour road trip, aka the worst hours of my life.

The road trip was quiet except for my mom’s mild coughs and sneezes, and my complaints. My dad finally stopped on the side of the road so we could eat. He probably also stopped to get the food because he was annoyed with my constant complaints. We hadn’t had anything except a pack of gum. When my dad went to the rest area to get us some proper food, I went to my mom for answers.

“Why are we sitting in this piece of trash, where are we going, and why can’t I have my clothes back!?!” I yelled.

“Milan, I know this is a big change. The truth is, your father lost his job at the bank.”

“So?”

“So, well, we can’t live in a grand house. There are taxes, education fees, medical bills,” I stopped her.

“Medical bills?” I inquired.

My mother’s face got very pale. “No, no, I meant your grandpa’s medical bills, not ours,”

“Mom. Grandpa has enough money to pay for his own medications. What’s going on?” I looked at her. She took a deep breath and looked me straight in the eye.

“The truth is…the medical bills are for me. That new virus that everybody’s talking about? That coronavirus? I actually have it.”

I was outraged. I had given up my life, my belongings, my amazing house just because my mom had that virus? When my dad came back, I grumpily sat in the car, and my dad looked impressed with my sudden change in behavior. The rest of the trip went in silence.

When we arrived, I fainted. Here I was, after a one-and-a-half day road trip, expecting at least a million dollar mansion, but what I got was a broken down apartment. Instead of grand staircases, there were broken steps, and in substitute for chandeliers, there was a leaky roof.

“You cannot expect me to go into this piece of filth!” I yelled, causing the residents living there to peer out of their windows.

“No, I don’t expect you to go in; I expect you to live here.” My dad said flatly.

I was shocked at the way my parents were treating me. How could they do this horror to their darling little boy? With a “Hmph!” and my nose in the air, I trotted in behind them. But when we reached our apartment, I screamed. The carpet looked ancient, the walls were scribbled on, there were weird stains on the ceiling, and the bathroom smelled of… whatever happens in them. To top it all off, I didn’t even have my own room. I had to sleep on the floor of the living room, which had those foldable chairs as the sofa, and a cardboard box (it was pretty sturdy) to be our dining table.

“No! Just because of her,” I pointed at my mom accusingly, “carainavirus or whatever it is, I’m not going to live here! I refuse to stay here!”

“MILAN YOU WILL-”

“No Father! I am too posh for this! I won’t! I won’t, I won’t, I won’t!” I screamed.

My dad grabbed me by the collar and said, “Listen here, rich boy! You aren’t the only one whose life changed dramatically. We aren’t rich, so don’t go around strutting off your new clothes and expensive watch. You will be disciplined. Got it?”

I tore away from his grip and ran, bursting through the stained doors of the apartment. I sprinted down the street and into a quiet neighborhood. Then I fell down against a wall and started crying. How could my life have changed to this? This was beneath what I deserved.

As I was crying, I heard a sound of coins rattling. “Money, please. Please, please, money?” I looked up to see a girl, about my age, shaking a can of soda, filled with a few coins. She turned toward me and I saw that her face was grimy, and her nails were black. The girls at St. Carl’s Private School had their nails manicured three times everyday. She looked at me, and looked at her feet. They were blistered from wearing no shoes or socks, and walking on the roads. Her eyes were wide and then she got up to go somewhere else. She unknowingly led me to a fenced-up piece of land, and went to a small hut made of discarded items. I gasped, and she turned to find me.

Her eyes went wide, and she said, “No please! No say, no say gov-men! No say!” She was telling me not to tell the government.

“Okay, okay. I’m Milan. What is your name?” Something inside of me told me to help her. I realized what a spoiled brat I had been, and that there were many less fortunate than me.

She bit her lip and said, “Araceli. I Araceli.” She needed help.

 

I thought about it and everyday since then, I went to her hut, and helped her learn a few words. In two years, she learned a lot, and was able to get her parents jobs, who I met on an alphabet ‘expedition’. They moved in next to my apartment, and we were great friends. A little help can go a long way.

Now, as I stand here today on this stage receiving my diploma from this university, I have recognized that there are less fortunate in the world. The comfort and status the rich hold, some will never possess. But out of many of those unfortunate, one such person has taught me a lot. My dear friend Araceli, sitting there in the third row, tenth seat, yes, the one who encouraged me to try the world of Chipotle. She was homeless, but look at her now. She’s graduating from Harvard! We have planned to start a new organization, one that educates children. Caste, money, and luxuries may separate us, but education brings us together. That is one of the most important,  life-changing parts of life. And we all know that the comfort and riches of the wealthy are unimaginable. But with one tiny step at a time, we can climb this staircase that separates us.