Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Glendale Secondary School

Glendale Secondary School
145 Rainbow Drive

Principal: J. Whitwell
Vice-Principal: B. Woof, T. Nieuwenhuis
Pulse Page Coordinator: J. McGilchrist

Issues of Human Rights Struck Me
Carissa Borowitz, Grade 12

The issue of human rights struck me for the first time at the age of thirteen and it started to torment my way of thinking. The story of children in Kenya, who did not live a life of peace or equality, was the beginning of my passion for change and commitment for those in need. During the last four years, I have been working with an organization called Connecting Countries: Adopt-A-School, as a youth speaker and ambassador, an organization Zarwa Zarifi and I helped create at the age of thirteen. This is when I made the decision to travel to Ecuador to volunteer with Leaders Today, an organization through Free the Children.

After months of working and fundraising for my trip, which was close to $4,000 with all expenses included, the end of July had come. I thought it would have been hard for me to leave everything behind and be selfless for two weeks of my life. I had plenty of nerves, but it didn’t stop me from getting on the plane.

I left my family, friends, technology and the warm weather all behind me. All my connection to people and technology was turned off and stored away before leaving my house. For most teenagers, this is the not the way they would picture their summer, which confused me. Other than myself I brought my hiking backpack, which included about four sets of clothes and other necessities. Only the simplest things were needed to create the most memorable moments in my life.

As my excitement grew, I met amazing people at the Toronto Airport before departure. Although, we were delayed one night in Miami, California because a volcano had erupted in Ecuador, we eventually arrived.

A few days was spent in Quito, Ecuador, a very populated city and could have been compared to Hamilton in certain ways. It was not until we drove eight hours, to where we would be working, that the culture started to stand out. We were situated at the top of a mountain where we stayed in cabins, and ate together in a main hall. The rural area was very basic and extremely cold because we were in the mountains. Throughout the day, we would travel about forty-five more minutes to school, called Huacona La Merced, an indigenous community that housed about 240 people and they lived on less than two dollars a day.

The 26 of us were made up of teenagers from all over the world, who all had the same intentions and goals. We worked for 10 days straight, about 5-6 hours a day. This included the renovation of school classrooms, playing with the local children, and starting a water project for the community.

Our group played hard, and worked even harder. In 10 days we were impressed with our accomplishments, and left our mark with a designed and painted mural on the school’s wall. Together, we tasted new foods, became close friends, toured, discussed issues, took pictures, and laughed like crazy.

During my whole trip, it was like I was living a life of pure happiness. It made me think about the choices I make in my life and how I could help myself live happier. The two weeks that I was gone, I did not miss texting, talking on the phone, or surfing the web; although, I will admit that I was slightly craving a Carmel Macchiato from Starbucks.

The attitude of those living in Ecuador, with next to nothing, is incredibly positive. What I was not used to was how welcoming, polite and respectful the people in Ecuador are. If you did not wave or smile at the person walking by, that was offensive. I think this is why it was so easy to adapt to Ecuador culture, and so simple for me to forget my life style in Canada. It made me realize the things I take for granted, and things that I used to stress over are actually not important at all. It is difficult for some people to understand this concept, because we do live in a materialistic world.

For the first month after returning home, it was a culture shock. I would sometimes say to myself or others, “I wish I was still in Ecuador.” I found myself smiling at people on the streets in Hamilton to only get a disgusted look in return. It was difficult for me to adapt back to North American culture once again, I didn’t look at that fact negatively, but as motivation to help us create attitudes like the people that I met there.

My view of the world has changed dramatically. During my trip, I educated myself about a third world country, and now it is my plan to educate others on the issues in Ecuador and other countries in need. Ecuador was another step in my life, to educate myself and stay involved. I would recommend this trip to anyone looking for a life changing experience and is up for a challenge. I know I am only one person, taking small steps to help others, but it really only takes one person for others to follow.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears – A Feminist Perspective
Natasha Germana, Grade 12

Once upon a time, in a forest of corruption and turmoil, there was a young, successful female officer named Goldilocks, whose accomplishments did not come from her beauty. She sought out the home of Mama and Papa Bear, in search of 30Ibs of smuggled honey.

Goldilocks came upon the cottage with a search warrant in hand. When she knocked, no one answered, but the door was ajar. The home seemed normal enough; however, it was empty of any creature. At the table in the kitchen, there were three bowls of steaming porridge.

Goldilocks remembered her assignment: find the honey. No honey- smuggling bear could resist adding a little honey to their porridge, so she decided to taste each one.

She tasted the porridge from the first bowl and grimaced, “Too spicy!” Next, she tasted the porridge from the second bowl. “Blech!” she spat, “Too salty!” Finally, she tasted the last bowl of porridge and sighed, “Ah, this porridge is just right. Sweet, sweet honey!” Goldilocks exclaimed, “but where would they hide it?”

Once she searched all the kitchen cupboards, she decided to try the living room. She thoroughly examined the bookshelf containing trophies and pictures with political icons belonging to Mama Bear. In a rush, Goldilocks needed to search the top of the shelf, but could not reach. There were chairs she could use though. She tried the first chair and muttered, “This chair is too big.” Then, she tried the second chair and, exasperated, said, “This chair is too big, too!”

When she tried to climb the last chair, it broke beneath her weight. As a responsible female who knew the hassle of household maintenance, she kindly placed the pieces on the coffee table and out of the way. The last place she checked was on the second level of the cottage.

On the second level she found three beds. This was the last place the bears could hide the honey within the cottage. Goldilocks searched the first bed. It was too hard. The honey jars would have cracked. Moving carefully, she searched the second bed, but it was too soft. It would not be able to conceal 30Ibs of honey. When she tried the third bed, she discovered the half-filled jars of honey and signaled for backup.

It was then that the Bears returned home for their porridge and they did not seem pleased.

“Someone’s been eating my porridge,” growled Papa Bear.

“Papa, I want a divorce,” said Mama Bear.

“Someone ate all my porridge!” cried Baby Bear.

“Someone scuffed my chair,” growled Papa.

“Papa, I’m taking Baby Bear with me,” said Mama.

“Someone broke my chair!” cried Baby.

They proceeded upstairs.

“Someone’s been rifling in my bed,” growled Papa.

“I’m an independent woman. I don’t need you to support me anymore,” declared Mama.

“There’s someone in my bed with our honey!” screamed Baby.

Goldilocks braced her weapon and shouted, “You are under arrest for the smuggling of honey from Wal-Hive!”

Goldilocks’ conclusion and success of the case came from years of hard education, wits, and uncanny ability, not from her appearance or simple-minded luck. Mama and Papa Bear served equal amount of time in the County Forest Jail for being collaborators in the honey heist. Baby Bear moved into a new home where two independent and accomplished women adopted him.

And that was their happily-and-female-approved ending.

War and Peace
Ena Karadza, Grade 12

During my early childhood I did not possess the privilege of growing up in a calm and systematic country like Canada. I spent the first six years of my life in Bugojno, Bosnia all through the catastrophic, heart-breaking, and distressing Bosnian War. The war lasted three long years from March 1992 until November 1995, but felt like a century for most of its inhabitants. Many Serbian army leaders conducted widespread killings, mass rapes, and ethnic cleansing through the use of concentration camps. My dad, Nihad, at the age of thirty-one was among one of the soldiers fighting for Bosnia and their human rights. The moment I was born I had my dad wrapped around my little finger. We would go everywhere together, from the market to buy fresh chicken to the park around the corner. Once he entered the army I barely saw him due to its rigorous and excessive training, which took place from early in the morning to late at night. Whenever he came home my spirits rose to the roof and a grin spread from ear to ear. A memory that I will never forget is the fact that the soldiers were served only one snack for the entire day, besides their meager lunch, consisting of a piece of bread and some soup. The snack was a little package of peanut butter that I found scrumptious when my dad brought it to me the first time. From then on, he saved his little snack for me every day and brought it home to me after a long and tiring day, smiling mischievously as he hid it behind his back pretending that he had eaten it. Every night I would stay up however late it was and wait for him, sitting anxiously on the couch. It never mattered to me whether or not he had brought the peanut butter for me; just to know that he had made it another day was more than enough. I was his right hand man when I was little. If you saw my dad walking down the street and bothered to look a couple feet down I would be there gripping his hand in mine. On one occasion, during the war, we went out to buy bread and he was carrying me on his shoulders singing a song that I loved. Suddenly, gun shots broke out from the hills surrounding the little city and my dad began running to a building for cover like a true soldier. As he was running, with me on his shoulders, I recall looking around at the people around me scampering and panic driven. I did not cry or scream. I simply took my two-year-old hands and covered my dad’s eyes with them as if I was protecting him from the brutality of the world we lived in. We safely returned home to my distraught mother that day without any physical injuries, but emotionally we had wounds that could never be healed. That very night my parents decided that they could no longer raise me and my yet to be born brother, Enad, in a war crazed country. As the war drew to a conclusion, the blood stained curtains had finally been lifted only to reveal its remaining two characters – loss and heartbreak. However, even with the war and its bombs, fires, deaths, shots, and tears, my memories will always stay in the time that my dad and I shared linking hands and whistling a good tune.

Art Gallery

Alex Orm, Grade 11 Media Arts, Ms. Middleton’s
This artwork represents my other self which I do not show the world. It shows that I feel trapped and that I have no where to go.

Alter Ego
Caitlynd Trowbridge, Grade 11
My alter-ego montage shows me in a mood that I don’t normally show. In my montage, I am trying to express that I feel very alone, like I don’t belong to anything and that I can’t get out of that situation.

Rehab Sadeq, Grade 11

For my surrealism class assignment, I made a guy on a boat on half land and half water with a Pegasus with wings above. Breaking Dawn was designed at the bottom of the picture because it influenced me by showing that nothing looks as you think it does. The book, Breaking Dawn, also inspired me by teaching me that anything is possible and imagination can take a toll on you at times.

Self Portrait
Isabella Khau, Grade 11, Pencil and Wallpaper

No comments: