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Class of 2015

 

“Mrs. Larraby is ready to see you.”

I rose from my seat and hoisted up the animal carrier I had stashed underneath it. I was part of a program that brought shelter animals to nursing homes to comfort and entertain the occupants. Jellybean, the black fluffy kitten I brought meowed excitedly. He loved new places!

I followed the nurse down the hall and wrinkled my nose. I hated the musty smell of the place. I instantly felt badly for the residents.

“She’s right here.” The nurse stopped in front of one of the numbered doors. “Just buzz if you need anything. Mrs. Larraby can be a bit...difficult.”

“Oh, I’m sure it’s nothing Jellybean and I can't handle. If you can bathe an angry cat you can do anything!” I joked light-heartedly. The nurse smiled and opened the heavy door.

“Mrs. Larraby? Mrs. Larraby, someone is here to see you!”

The nurse spoke with a loud and borderline obnoxious tone. I saw the silhouette of the elderly woman in the large window. Her room was dark and the light had a dingy quality.

“Hello? I’m Clare. From the Humane Society.”

“And I suppose you would like a donation?” She had a commanding quality to her voice. As she turned I saw her features for the first time. Her face was wrinkled and worn, but her strikingly blue eyes shone out from beneath her creased lids. She had a regal nose and high cheekbones. She gave me a look of bored disdain.

“No, your doctor signed you up for my program. I take animals to people who need cheering up.”

She continued to pierce me with her gaze.

“And who said I need any cheering up.”

I switched on a lamp and unhooked the carrier door. Jellybean sprang out and began batting at the tassels on the hem of her long woolen shawl.

“Oh my.”

She raised her white eyebrows, partly in shock and partly in amusement. She reached down and picked up the little ball of fur. He began purring happily and kneaded her thigh with his sharp little claws.

“I have not held a cat in years...” She trailed off and scruffed the little cat’s ears. “They can be surprisingly comforting. At least that is what I have found.”

I smiled and rubbed the cat’s fluffy little tummy, as he was now rolling on her lap.

“I used to have two cats when I was your age. Both Persians. My father brought them back to the United States from Egypt. He dealt in cotton.” There was a look of reminiscence in her sapphire eyes. “Oh I loved them so much. I named them...”

She looked to the ceiling. “Ah yes. Amir and Bibi.”

“They were so playful.” I saw her brilliant smile for the first time. The conversation continued on like this for a good hour. I glanced at my watch.

“Oh goodness! It is almost four o’clock.” Mrs. Larraby’s forehead creased. “Do you have to leave?” She asked, with a sad lilt to her voice.

“Yes. I’m so sorry.”

She gave the little kitten one last stroke and then lifted him off of her lap and onto the floor, where I scooped him up and tucked him into the carrier.

“Will you come again?” Mrs. Larraby asked hopefully.

“Every afternoon at three!”

She smiled genuinely. “It was so nice meeting both you and Jellybean. I hope he finds a good home.”

I waved goodbye and walked out into the hallway. As I was walking, I noticed that the musty smell of the nursing home was gone. Sometimes the smallest things can make a huge difference.

Class of 2014

Summer vacation is something I love,
I wish it would never end.
Summer year round is what I dream of,
On the beach is where I would spend.
Vacation is over,
School has begun.
With no luck from a clover,
This year shall be fun!

Tonight is the night, strap up tight.
We're in for a fight.
Now everyone is here.
You can already hear their cheer.
So we're gonna win the game.
Go out there and put them to shame.
Working hard all night.
While using all our might.
If you look over there.
You can see their fear.
Marching through the rain.
Our boys will not be tamed.
No we will never stop.
Until we come out on top.
We are the real boys of fall. This is how the dogs play football.

Books don't care if you're fat or skinny.
They don't care if you're ugly or pretty.
Books won't judge you for who you are,
And that's why I love to read.

Books don't care if you're quiet or loud.
They don't care if you stand out in a crowd.
Books don't care about your social status,
And that's why I love to read.

Books don't care if you're gifted or not,
They don't care about the talents that you have got.
Books don't care about what you can't do,
And that is why I love to read.

Books can show you worlds that you may never have seen.
Places unsightly or places serene.
Books can help you forget your life for a while.
And that is why I love to read.

Class of 2013

The paper below, by Jordan Luecke, class of 2013, was the second place finalist for the Union Dairy Ice Cream writing competition last spring.  In addition to winning 2nd place, Jordan received a cash award and certificates for ice cream.

Congratulations, Jordan.
 
The Flag

The flag to me is more than the stars and stripes. Our flag represents who we are as citizens of the United States. The history of our country is embedded into the flag. When we look at the flag it reminds us of our freedom, that was fought for by our founding fathers.

The flag to me is not just a symbol. Its a universal recognition of our freedom. When we say the Pledge of Allegiance, we are saying a vow of respect to the flag. The flag is more than the cloth by which it is made. Without the flag our nation would not be represented.

Our flag, in a nutshell, is the historic representation of the United States and the history of what it took to achieve 50 United States. We as citizens should respect the flag. It is almost sacred to me . The flag might not seem important to some; however to me it is who I am.

Class of 2011

 

We all know what it means to be alive, but when does life begin?  Some say life begins at birth when a child takes his or her first breath.  Others say life begins when a fetus is viable outside of the womb.  But what does the unborn fetus or embryo say?  If he or she had a voice what might you hear?  Listen closely to the embryo’s whisper; you might just hear life begins at conception.


Wow, I have accomplished so much in my first ten weeks of life!  My vital organs have formed and my brain is functioning, I am about an inch in size, I weigh less than a quarter, I have finger nails, my limbs can now bend, hair is growing all over my body, and I love to kick (Gerber). Everything seems to be going well yet I can feel distress in my mother; something isn’t exactly right.  I don’t know why she is so worried.  I am growing perfectly, but she is going to a doctor’s office. I can tell it is about something serious. There is talk about abortion?  I thought I was alive...

The O.E.D., The Declaration of Independence, and a variety of other sources all state what it means to be alive or dead, but no one clearly states when life begins.  Even with our advancements in the field of science there is conflicting evidence and everyone has their own idea and opinion on the topic of life. Even our own legal system contradicts itself with late term abortion laws.

According to the O.E.D. life is, “The condition or attribute of living or being alive; animate existence. Opposed to death or inanimate existence” you can see from this definition it is clearly not defined as when life begins, but rather states life is when you are alive, which seems quite obvious (O.E.D.).  In light of ultrasounds and other budding technology used in pregnancies we have tried to establish laws.  One of the most basic and original laws comes from The Declaration of Independence.  According to The Declaration of Independence we are given laws of unalienable rights, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, which among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” (Wikipedia). Both examples talk about life, but neither defines when life begins.  
       
I am only ten weeks old, but I thought I had rights.  Shouldn’t I be given a chance at life? I thought this was a progressive society within a free country… What makes me so different that I do not deserve a chance? I can move, I can kick, but yet my voice still isn’t being heard. My mommy says she is too young.  She is only 18.  I don’t think she even knows who my daddy is, well they are not together at least. She says she can’t deal with a baby. It is too late for that decision… I’m already here, aren’t I?

In the famous U.S. Supreme Court case of 1973, Roe vs. Wade, legalized abortion in the United States according to the stance of the ninth amendment stating, “…certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people” (Wikipedia). Since this 1973 court case, States have added precautionary laws to monitor abortions such as: requiring counseling before an abortion, requiring permission of an adult or spousal consent for the procedure, outlawing partial birth abortions, or requiring an ultrasound before an abortion, just to name a few (religious tolerance). Still, no one has “defined” when life begins.  We have simply skirted around the tough topic by placing law after law without pinpointing exactly when life begins. Take for example a car crash of a pregnant woman that results in death.  In most all cases the law would hold the responsible driver liable for two deaths no matter what the gestational period of the woman was due to feticide bills held in most states (stateline). Why is it that you can have an abortion in these states without any penalties, but if a pregnant woman or her fetus is killed it is considered as a punishable crime of 2 deaths?   Wouldn’t you say if it counts as a death that must mean that the fetus in the womb was alive? In our society there is no definite answer to that question and until life has been defined there will be no clear right or wrong in our society and people will always have conflicting views on the topic.
In our current society abortion is definitely not black or white, meaning considered right or wrong one way or another; rather the topic is grey because there are always going to be exceptions to the rule due to ill-defined laws, circumstances with the mother’s health or in situations dealing with rape.  In one year, 6 million people will become pregnant and 1.5 million of these babies will be aborted. The statistics also show that 43% of Americans will have an abortion at some point in their life (fox news). What if your mother just hadn’t wanted you? Think about your life and what great accomplishments and friendships would not have been completed if not for you and your mother’s decision of life. Abortion is an illogical and seemingly easy solution to a difficult problem.

When exactly am I viable? When do my rights begin? I know my mother is young, but that doesn’t mean I should die. Children like me are killed every day. It is so sad... I should not have to die due to my parent’s carelessness. I will never get the chance to run and play, talk, go to prom, fall in love, go to college, or create my own family if my mommy chooses abortion. No one even knows about me.  I don’t have a voice, if I did my mommy wouldn’t do this to me.

If you ask me, “When does life begin?” I would say conception. Listen to the embryo because these lives we have killed may have been our future President of the United States, a Nobel Prize winner who finds the cure for cancer or your child’s soul mate. We will never know because their stories can never be told. They do not have a voice to speak for themselves. Their lives were cut short due to abortion.  The grey holds stories and truths from both sides of the spectrum and unfortunately this grey guards the definition of life as its own secret.

Please speak up for me... I may only be the size of a plum, but give me time and I can grow up to be someone special. “Every child deserves a chance to change the world”. Don’t cut my chance due to abortion.  I have life within me.  I am alive. Don’t silence me any more.

Works Cited
"FOXNews.com - Fast Facts: U.S. Abortion Statistics - U.S. & World." Fox News – Breaking News Updates | Latest News Headlines | Photos & News Videos. Web. 06 Oct. 2011.
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Home : Oxford English Dictionary. Web. 28 Sept. 2011. .
"Ninth Amendment to the United States Constitution." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 29 Sept. 2011. .
"United States Declaration of Independence." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 29 Sept. 2011. .
"U.S. LAWS RESTRICTING ABORTION." Web. 30 Sept. 2011. .
Vestal, Christine. "States Expand Fetal Homicide Laws." Stateline. Web. 6 Oct. 2011. .
"Week 10: Your Pregnancy | All Stages | Gerber." Pregnancy, Breastfeeding and Baby Food | All Stages | Gerber. Web. 28 Sept. 2011.