31 Parkside Avenue
Principal: P. Barwinski
Vice-Principal(s): G. Malhotra
Pulse Page Coordinator(s): J. Nicol, C. Collins
Historical Fiction at its Finest
Tracy Chevalier’s excellent adaptation entitled Girl with a Pearl Earring
Shelley Bowen, Grade 12
Tracy Chevalier’s Girl with a Pearl Earring is a thoroughly engaging novel about the life-changing experiences of a quiet girl named Griet over the two years that she serves the famous Delft painter, Johannes Vermeer. It is hard not to like this obedient and kind soul, for she struggles with yearnings such as love and an escape from poverty. Her life is a fairly lonely one as she slowly finds herself growing apart from her family whilst living as an outsider in the Vermeer’s home.
With the exception of the painter himself, the rest of the Vermeer’s don’t take kindly to this strange Protestant girl living amongst the Catholic faith. Even fellow servants think that Griet is trouble as they watch and judge her every move. The real trouble begins, however, when the artist takes a liking to the new young servant, allowing her to assist him in his work.
Griet is granted a privilege that no other family member has – helping Vermeer in his studio. As he will not even allow his wife Catharina to enter the studio, this causes a great amount of tension within the household. Griet first begins her work by cleaning the various still-life objects that Vermeer will paint later in the day. As she gains his trust, Vermeer then allows her to grind his paints and even the immense responsibility of purchasing the colour from the apothecary. As if these “privileges” haven’t caused enough tension amongst the family, matters only get worse when Vermeer agrees, at a friend’s request, to paint Griet.
These moments in which Vermeer paints Griet are the most spellbinding of the book. Chevalier’s descriptions are so acute that the reader can feel Griet’s nervous emotions as she sits as still as possible under the close eye of the awe-inspiring man that she has grown to love. Her inner struggle is then augmented by jealous Pieter, the butcher’s son, who has made it known his intentions to marry Griet. The young maid, however, is devoted to her master, obeying his every wish. She is so obedient that she agrees to wear his wife’s pearl earring for the painting, despite the fact that she knows it will lead to her downfall.
Chevalier writes with the same extreme care that Griet takes when cleaning Vermeer’s studio. While she is very quiet and obedient, the reader can see how full and confused Griet’s heart is; her emotions are magnificently conveyed across each page. Readers also have a clear image of what Vermeer himself may have been like, and his remarkable character draws the audience further into the book. There is no doubt that Chevalier’s charming adaptation of this famous painting is wonderfully told, encouraging the reader to delve further into the mystery behind Vermeer’s work.
Beth Austerberry, Grade 12
I lay my hands down on the sticky linoleum of the counter where I sit. It is 1:14, and with nothing to do but wait, my eyes fall downwards towards them. The table is coated with something, juice; carelessly wiped away leaving a thin adhesive residue that glues my hands to the table. I pull them away, watching intently as the dark skin stretches away, peeling off like gum scraped from a shoe. My hands are those of a labourer. Their cancerous brown colour hints at the hours spent toasting in the sun, creating the coffee coloured spots that dapple the back of my hand. Age has creased the skin, creating deep grooves that ripple the supple skin as I clutch my coffee mug. It’s but a membrane, thin and diaphanous, exposing narrow canals of indigo beneath the surface: the veins. Weaving together like the fibre of a rug, they are faintly visible beneath the loose sheath of tanned skin.
I begin to tap the fingers of my left hand, creating a slow beat on the counter, a hollow, nearly inaudible sound resonating through my body. The fingers that strike the table are my fathers. The broad nails, translucent, hiding a raw pink beneath, are short. Each one chewed away until the soft fleshiness underneath becomes nearly visible at their chipped edges. The calluses that personify the hard dry tips of my fingers are the same ones my grandfather had. Calluses created from long hours in his shop, teaching his son the craft that he would eventually teach me. My knuckles are knotted pine, extending from the joints into the gnarled boughs of my fingers. As they rap against the table, my fingers lead my eyes to the back of my hand. Three sinews bulge forward routinely, shockwaves passing through each as the fingers come into contact with the hard surface. The tendons move in circuit, stark and terse against nude skin. A magnificent machine of muscle and ligament, the years have done no damage to my hands. The joints still move like a well oiled contraption, the outer tendons reaching in, grasping for the center before returning to their place and restarting the course.
I silence the beat and let my hands turn lazily, exposing wan palms. Their surfaces appear mottled from the passage of blood, flushed at the points where they’ve rested on the hard linoleum. My palms are traced with three major lines, great crevices intersected by the mess of smaller lines that create a road map at the end of my arm. My eyes move to my fingertips, each with a unique pattern of lines and shapes; the abundant loops and swirls that create my individuality. These contours, twisting simply into loops and spirals are only mine. It’s like the tale they tell you in the forest as a child; the rings of the tree tell you its story. The rings of your palms and your finger can tell an entire history. Hands that have spent their whole life working, characterized by a roughness, abrasive as they brush against your cheek. That is what I am staring down at. I am staring down at my life. I turn my hand back over, poised upon the table, a slight bend in each finger. I count the joints, starting at my thumb, 1, 2, 3… until I reach my wrist. …15. 15 conveyors of motion. The gears that twist and turn, a system of cogs that allow these hands to create and build. I lace my fingers together, the digits curling intertwining without effort, hinges conditioned by years of use. The digits drop into the dimples between the knuckles like pieces into a puzzle. I can’t stop staring.
A pale white hand falls on top of mine, slender white fingers and perfectly manicured nails mock my dark leathery fists. A lean wrist bears a shining gold watch .It is 1:30, I want to look up, to stare into my daughters eyes, but right now, I need a moment with her hands.
Parkside DECA Chapter does it Again!
Olivia Hoskin, Grade 11
Now what exactly is “it”? Well, “it” would be not only competing, but also succeeding, at the 30th Annual DECA Ontario Provincial Competition, held last week in Toronto. On Thursday, February 5th, the Sheraton hotel downtown became a temporary home for close to 6000 business and marketing students, 50 of whom were from Parkside High School. Students from all over Ontario came together for a two-day conference, with the common goal of competing to qualify for the International Career Development Conference (ICDC) in Anaheim, California.
Parkside is proud to be sending seven students to ICDC, which will be held from April 27th to May 4th. Here the students will attend a conference with over 15,000 DECA members from across the United States, Mexico, Germany and various other countries. They will either be competing, or attending leadership conferences such as the Leadership Development Academy (LDA), the Senior Management Institute (SMI) or the Chapter Management Academy (CMA). With approximately one sixth of Parkside’s student population as current DECA members, it’s no surprise the chapter continues to be successful in landing qualifiers for this prestigious International Conference and Competition.
The qualifiers as well as the whole chapter worked tirelessly through days of dynamic competition. This included role-plays, multiple choice tests and presentations entailing anything from pitching sales ideas, giving input on our current economic state, or knowing in exactly what order stock rotation happens. Whatever the task, Parkside students jumped right on it. Along with the seven students who will be attending ICDC, 12 members were awarded for placing an honourable top 20 in their competitive events. Parkside congratulates its DECA members! Whether a top 5 placing was won, a top 20 or anything else, you have truly proven your Parkside PRIDE!
Hayley Elliott, Grade 11
Hayley Elliott is seventeen years old and is currently enrolled in grade eleven. In grade eleven Hayley will be taking yearbook, physical education, co-op, math, English, civics and parenting. Hayley is taking yearbook to help her towards one of her dreams photography. She is also taking parenting to learn all the things you need to know to be a great parent. Hayley took physical education, math, English and civics because they are compulsory courses. She took co-op to gain work experience and realized that she wouldn’t like to work at Tim Horton’s because of smelling like coffee all day. Hayley’s dream is to have a family and be the best parent possible. When Hayley was in grade ten she was interested in fashion and took the fashion course. She is a hard worker and makes the grades she deserves. At the moment, Hayley’s goal is to pass all her classes and graduate from high school. She has a wave line of peers, and she is happy.
In grade twelve Hayley plans on taking fashion arts, art, English, food and nutrition, and a four credit co-op; also if there is a course on photography she would most likely take that instead of fashion arts.
Outside of school, one of Hayley’s favourite hobbies is scrapbooking; she does layouts on just about everything. One of her favorite scrapbooking books she has done is the one about her and Kyle because it’s a memory of all the good times and stupid things they did together. Hayley loves to watch movies; you could say it is a hobby too. Three of Hayley’s favourite movies are Step Up 2, Cinderella story and Another Cinderella story because they’re about making your dreams come true and fighting for what you believe. Hayley loves to watch One Tree Hill. One Tree Hill is a show about teenagers and the good things and bad things they have to go through. It’s a show Hayley can relate to because she has been through the same things. One thing that is on the show is that two friends are in love with the same boy, or another one is when one of the characters proves to her best friend that people can change. Another hobby of Hayley’s is going quadding, dirt biking or snowmobiling with her boyfriend Kyle. When doing this she gets to spend time with Kyle and it’s exciting to see how fast you can go.
Kyle Krilyk has been dating Hayley for two years now, and even though they have had a twister of times, they are still together. Hayley and Kyle try to spend as much time together as possible but sometimes it’s hard. Kyle and Hayley’s relationship is very strong and they help each other through everything and they’re there for each other no matter what. Hayley’s one major dream is to marry Kyle and have a loving, caring family with him.
Now when it comes to her life ten years from now, it’s up in the air. After graduating from high school, she intends to go to college. Now that she is scrapbooking and taking pictures, she would like to take photography and explore the joy of it. Although she knows that photography isn’t just like looking at something and “snap” you’re done, she knows there is more to it than that. If Hayley attends college but fails in the direction of photography, then her next choice would be to take courses to do with clothing and hopefully to work in a store or in the fashion industry. She is undecided at this moment about which one she will take, but one thing for sure she knows she wants to be a graduate from college. In addition to finishing college, she would like to hopefully have a good job and have a loving, caring family.
Hayley is a country girl and would like to continue down that road, once she marries Kyle. She would like to stay living in the area she live now to be close to her family. She would never live in an apartment because it is just too small. Her dream is to live in a big house with a pool, hot tub, big backyard, and a big garage for her car and Kyle’s dirt bike and stuff. She wants a truck and a baby blue convertible. She has no idea how she will afford this kind of house but it’s nice to dream. Hayley and Kyle will split the responsibilities equally. Her aim is to have two kids, one boy and one girl. She and Kyle would definitely make good parents because they both are very observant, outgoing, willing to try new things. Their daughter they say will be more like Hayley as it is in most cases and their son will be like Kyle. Kyle is kind of worried but having a son because they’re usually like their father and Kyle does some crazy things and doesn’t really want his son to do them as well, where Hayley think it’s all good as long as he’s safe. Their daughter would not be a big worry; she’ll turn out fine just like her mom, but her dad will be very protective when it comes to boys.
Yes, this is Hayley’s dream and where she sees herself. It could change but that is a risk she is willing to take. For now Hayley is having fun with her life, and is excited for more adventures and experiences to come.
Maddison O’Connor, Grade 10
The words are flowing silently,
The world fights back so violently,
When did it start?
When will it end?
How many soldiers will we send?
The sorrow in their eyes,
Their deafening cold cries,
All because of greed, anger, revenge
The Common Journalist
Caitlin Teed, Grade 12
The 2008 U.S. Presidential election had me completely immersed in all the pre-election buzz that was circulating around the world. As I was reviewing election articles, I stumbled upon an intriguing piece in the Times Online. It not only talked about the forthcoming election but also focused on the impact of this event on the arts and the current economic turmoil. This article really appealed to me because of my own connection to the Arts - a reflection of my work with the Theatre Arts and Instrumental practice.
The article was titled: “What Will a New President Do for the Arts?”, a simple question, but with a variety of answers. This piece caught my interest and it really inspired me to pursue a career in journalism. My initial response to this article was one of astonishment; I could not believe that so many variables could influence this one aspect. The author continued to make connections to other elections, as well as to popular culture. I realized that this was what a journalist must do every day: make connections, explore possible outcomes and ask the right questions.
The ability to relate a number of issues all to one significant event was, in my opinion, the strength of this article. The author’s purpose is diverse: he entertains, educates and influences readers regarding the topics, situations or environments that affect their lives. I enjoyed his assumptions and comparisons. The article showed me that you can look at things from a larger scope, taking a look at the political world and incorporating other topics into it.
I am fascinated by the way those journalists can write their articles to inform and even persuade an audience. I am interested in the issues that we are faced with today and intrigued by the hidden truth that is yet to be uncovered. This article showed me that journalists don’t look at only one answer. They question everything. Like a domino effect, one event will trigger another. It not only influenced me but inspired me to think outside the box and to look at things from multiple perspectives: to view the world with not just one question, but many.
Students were asked to discuss their ideas about the texts selected for study in the high school English curriculum. Here is a sample of their responses:
“I think more modern, recent novels should be read and analyzed. An example of this is Life of Pi, or other books that have won such prestigious awards such as the Mann Booker Prize. These novels are obviously ingenious and could become the classics of the twenty-first century.”
Sophie Lee, Grade 12
“It is still important for our generation to have an understanding of why the classics are called masterpieces, but the emphasis the high school curriculum puts on them is insane. With a handful of important projects riding on novels teenagers can’t focus on, or find interest in, I for one, have more trouble trying to even pass the class.”
Emma Spears, Grade 12
“One thing is very certain – students need a choice. They should not have to read out-dated crusty, dusty old scrolls in school, but rather some novels to which they themselves can relate and are interested in.”
Ruan Beukes, Grade 12
“I’m sure that most of our parents read many of the same books we study when they were in high school thirty years ago. Maybe some cult writers like Hunter S. Thompson, Chuck Palahniuk and Irvine Welsh should get a bit more exposure. There are a lot of really great and intriguing books out there that whoever’s making the decisions can’t seem to find.”
Joel Blanken, Grade 12
“There are numerous genres from the last century that have shaped generations, yet the youth of today are never exposed to these works. For example, beat literature is completely overlooked in the curriculum, yet, for its time, it was a seriously influential movement that paved the way for contemporary authors. The classics can still be taught, but there should be a stronger focus on how they related directly to contemporary novels instead of being featured on their own.”
Nicole Levaque, Grade 12
Caitlin Teed, Grade 12
Who put me here in this cliché?
A plastic world is all I see.
It hurts me to remain this way,
And I despise not being free.
This flawless body is not me.
I dream to run and hide away
And live among humanity.
It hurts me to remain this way.
They move me so that I obey.
I want to tell them that I see
Beyond their foolish acts of play;
And I despise not being free.
I yearn for my identity,
As I remain the same each day
Here in this shroud of fallacy.
Who put me here in this cliché?
Alone I am in my dismay.
Enough of this soliloquy!
You cannot hear me when I say
A plastic world is all I see.
Who put me here?
“Wolves Running in the Sunset”
Jacob Hutchinson, Grade 11
How I did this on the computer:
I found an anime sunset with nothing else on the picture.
I then used the paint program to draw the wolves one by one and tried to make it look cool when you could see their shadows and their side that was black from the sun.