By: Brandon G.
Christmas is very popular around the world but is celebrated differently depending on where you are. Americans and Latin Americans both celebrate Christmas in different ways. In America most Americans celebrate Christmas. In Spanish class, we learned that Latin Americans celebrate Christmas and they also talk about the journey of the 9 days of Mary and Joseph traveling to Jerusalem. Latin Americans also celebrate how Jesus was born. Lastly, they celebrate the Epiphany. The Epiphany is when the three kings who may also be recognized as the Three Wise Men, presented the gits to the baby Jesus. Latin Americans and Americans both celebrate Christmas which means they celebrate the birth of baby Jesus, and also the tradition of Santa Claus bringing gifts to kids. In the class, we did secret Santa, which is when students are secretly assigned a classmate to buy a gift for. Then, in class we exchanged gifts on the last day before Christmas break, and it was very fun to do. Overall, Christmas in both cultures involves the gathering of family and friends to celebrate this time of year!
By: Alanna G-K and Diana F.
Halloween is a holiday on October 31 where children trick or treat from door to door and get candy. Children can dress up as whatever they want like princesses, zombies, or their favorite movie characters. People also carve jack 'o lanterns put up spooky decorations and throw Halloween parties to celebrate Halloween. But how did this holiday start?
Halloween started as the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain where they would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off the bad dead spirits. They would do this because the next day is All Saints' Day and it was believed that ghosts came back from the dead. To the Celtic people, this day was known as All Hallows' Eve. This day also marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death.
By: Alanna G-K
Bullying. What is it and why do people do it? Bullying is the constant harassment someone does that makes someone else upset or depressed. Many people bully others because they feel upset and they want others to feel their pain. Bullying is linked to many negative outcomes including impacts on mental health, substance use, and suicide. Bullying not only affects the kids who are bullied but the kids who bully others too.
Kids who are bullied can experience many physical, mental, emotional and school issues. Some physical issues are eating disorders such as anorexia or obesity. Many people starve themselves to fit into the image that the person who is bullying thinks of them to an extreme measure (anorexia). Many people eat to much because they have no other way to cope with their feelings and the mean things people are saying to them (obesity). Some mental issues bullying can cause is depression and anxiety. Many people who are bullied bottle up their feelings until it explodes. Sometimes bullying can make others so upset and depressed that the person will take their own life. Bullying can also cause issues at school. Many people who are bullied stop caring about school and skip it to not see the bully.
Many people that bully others have other issues too. People who bully others could have a bad household situation, poor self esteem and could have been bullied themselves in the past. Bullies sometimes harm others to make them feel the anger that they experience themselves. People who bully others can abuse alcohol and other drugs in adolescence and as adults, get into fights and drop out of school. Some can even get involved into criminal activity like vandalize property or be abusive towards partners or children.
Bullying is bad for both sides of the story, victims and the bullies, so don’t do it. There are better ways to deal with your anger and emotional issues. Every life matters.
Remember, if you are being bullied or if you see someone else being bullied be sure to tell a teacher, guidance counselor, or parent!
By: R. Lin
King Tutankhamen or, as every knows him, King Tut, was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh. When he was only 9 years old he inherited the throne after his father died. When he died at the young age of 19, he was neglected of his achievements by his successor of the throne. He was forgotten quickly after his death and the modernized world possibly would not have known of his existence until 1922 when his tomb was founded by Howard Carter. This is where the theory of the Curse of the Pharaoh originates.
When Carter excavated the tomb he found many artifacts and treasure, which in ancient Egypt was believed to be helpful in the afterlife. Four months after the excavation Carter died of a banal disease. Soon after, other founders of the tomb died and the theory of “the curse of the Pharaoh” begin to infiltrate people’s minds. Many people say that the hieroglyphs on the walls of King Tut’s tomb translate to “whoever disturbs the rest of the king boy will receive the consequences of death.” On the other hand, many people say the the Curse of the Pharaoh is not true and is just a made up story by Carter to sustain his legacy of finding the tomb. Many theories rebut the idea the of King Tut’s tomb being haunted. For example, others who have contributed in finding the tomb had normal lifespans.
The death of King Tut also remains a mystery to many people. They say that he was assassinated because of the discovery of a hole in the back of his skull. That, however, was proven incorrect because the hole in his skill was probably a consequence of mummification. Some people say that he died from an infected broken leg along with malaria, which also contributed to his death. Others argue that it may be because of his heritage or genes passed on by family members. There was a tradition of inbreeding in his family and inbreeding typically leads to many health defects of a person. King Tut was born a very fragile and unhealthy boy he had many disorders and because it was ancient times no one knew about the problems of inbreeding. It was believed that his mother and father were brother and sister which strongly contributed to his early death and crippling bone disease. Additionally DNA testings show that his wife was his half sister which led to the birth of his stillborn daughters.
All of these theories surrounding the life, death, and afterlife of King Tut still make him a mystery today. The mystery of King Tutankhamun still perplexes many people to this day, we all hope that one day with more research his secrets will be revealed to everyone.
By: Rita L.
Recently in Mosul, Iraq there was a chemical attack resulting in the injuries of twelve residents. The victims, five children, three women, and four men were experiencing symptoms from exposure to the chemicals including blisters, coughing, redness of the eyes, irritation, and vomiting.
A worker for the International Committee of the Red Cross, Mardini says, “The use of chemical weapons is absolutely prohibited under international humanitarian law.” This ruthless use of chemicals towards innocent people alarmed and infuriated many people and many want to continue the support of prohibiting the use of chemicals.
CNN interviewed two residents of east Mosul and they reported smelling “something strange” which was followed by mortar attacks said to be coming from the Tigris River from western Mosul. The chemical was believed to be mustard gas, a chemical already restricted of use ever since World War I.
The World Health Organization responded to this attack by activating a plan to prevent others in the area from being exposed to this chemical. On Friday more than 46,000 inhabitants have fled the area to prevent exposure. Many residents barely had any time to gather their possessions before escaping the area. The Iraqi government set up refugee camps for those who escaped, which by Saturday was estimated to be over 50,000. "All we've had for the last month is bread and water", said a Mosul resident named Ahmed. The conditions at the refugee camps are not ideal and with the accumulation of people, the trouble of food and shelter has become a problem. "We left when mortar rounds started hitting around our house. We couldn't stay any longer", said his wife, Mariam. Another reason for the fleeing from their homes was because of the fatal mortar attacks that were destroying homes and injuring many people. "We are only 13 days in and the numbers have exceeded our expectations," Sabah said.
A number of escapees are already out of control; the Iraqi government needs to formulate a plan to regulate the influx of people continuing to come to the refugee camps. This use of illegal chemicals as warfare has created my problems in Iraq.
“The key to surviving both middle school and the real world is to be able to decipher whether or not the news you are reading or listening to is fake or real.”
By: M. Buffolino
Picture this: you open your phone one morning, log in to Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, or any social media website, and you see that there has been a post being spread about you. The post shows a picture of you speaking to a teacher and the caption for the image is describing how you are a teacher’s pet and that you will snitch about anyone to the teacher if you find out any negative information. A girl/boy in your grade that you are not too fond of is spreading the post around the internet. You look at the post and realize that everything in the post is untrue; you were really talking to a teacher apologizing for being absent so frequently due to a sickness. After seeing the offensive post you look to see who has viewed it, liked/retweeted it. You see that almost half of your grade has seen the post. You automatically feel humiliated that someone would ruin your reputation.
That same day you decide to go to school. You can’t help but notice everyone whispering things about you to their friends after you pass by them. The only way to resolve this problem is if you go on to social media yourself and clear your name. You create a post saying the real story and explaining how everything said about you untrue. The relief you feel for having the real information out is short lived because no one seems to be viewing it or liking/retweeting the real information. Nearly a quarter of the people who saw the fake news have access to the real news. While this may happen to any one person, this can happen on a larger scale.
There are many times in government when people have created fake news and spread it through social media. There are many cases where people purposely create the fake news and there are also many cases where people take their misinformation and publicize it to make it seem true. The news is most easily spread through social media. Why is news easiest spread through social media? There are millions of people who are active through social media and there are thousands of news stories each day that spread among those people. When misinformation is spread through social media, it is difficult to take back the misinformation and educate the public on the true facts. Most of the time when there is fake news, the real news outlets try to correct it but ultimately the real news will never surpass the fake news.
While fake news can be spread through a middle school, it can also be shown on a larger scale in the real world today. Take for example our last presidential election. There have been many social media accounts that misinterpret what a candidate like Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton might say and thorough their misinterpretations they start to influence others to believe in their fake news. There also might be people making up stories that might seem true, but are untrue. For example, there was a fake news story that spread amongst the internet and it lead a North Carolina man to show up at the local pizzeria with an assault rifle because he believed false news reports about the restaurant operating a child sex ring orchestrated by Clinton. While the story itself might seem farfetched, there is no doubt that some people will fall victim to fraudulent news stories. Millions of people are connected to each other and news stories can spread like wildfire.
The key to surviving both middle school and the real world is to be able to decipher whether or not the news you are reading or listening to is fake or real. If you feel skeptical about a story, the best thing you can do is look up the same story and find other people who have reported on it, and from your vast interpretations you can then decide on its validity. Some useful websites that you can use are factcheck.com, snopes.com, or politifact.com. So, social media is in fact very dangerous. It can be an outlet for rumors that are false and it can be very dangerous to many people since the fake news can spread so quickly.
Ms. Vasilakopoulos and Mr. Krummenacker's 8th grade social studies classes hosted a pop-up museum titled, “The Melting Pot: The Immigrant Experience.” The museum was an extension of the trip the classes took to the the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. The museum was our student’s way of showing their appreciation and thanks for the contributions of Americans and immigrants in the early 19th century. At the museum, exhibits included authentic immigrant recipes and dishes, documentaries and music videos depicting the immigrant experience, newspaper articles detailing immigrant interviews, and informational presentations regarding immigration in the early 19th century. Students were able to grapple with the motto of America, “E Pluribus Unum,” and assess to what extent America is “Out of Many, One” united society and culture. Students were able to make real-life connections between their experience in the classroom and the experience of immigrants. Both the teachers and the students had a wonderful, fun, and memorable experience!
Read an 8th grader's immigrant interview below:
An Immigrant's Story
By: Thomas T.
1978- Hoomayen, or Benny, came from Iran in the late 1978’s to America because the Muslim revolution was about to happen and it was not safe for a non-Muslims to be in the country. There were many riots, buildings were being looted and burned. and there were also threats against Jews. He was 16 years old when he left the country in 1978. He came with his aunt and cousins when he came to America. He left his family behind except his aunt and cousin and he left all of his friends behind. He got to America by plane, and had to stop in London first before landing in America. He chose to come to America because of the opportunity America had to offer and the freedom America had. His grandfather decided he had to leave Iran because it was too dangerous. When he was in Iran he told no one that he was leaving because it was too dangerous, and he was worried that him and his family would get in trouble.
When he came to America the one change was that he had to learn the American culture and the American language. His claims that his first impressions of America were very good; he liked everything including the culture and the people. Some differences are the culture, the language, and the people have more freedoms in America than the limited freedoms offered in Iran. His hopes and dreams were for him to have a job and a family and a happy life. Luckily, his hopes were all met and achieved. When he came to America he was treated very well and he was not discriminated because of his culture or color.
America did live up to its founding ideals for him because he had opportunity, freedom, a job, and a happy life.
Privacy is a big problem, especially over the internet.
By: Alex Z
People in everyday life have a lack of privacy. Now, with social media, everything is being tracked. Every send on Facebook or Twitter goes into the companies’ system and is saved forever, including your information and location. People are now scared and upset because of hackers that could get into the system and see where they are and what they are sending. Along with this, the government has worked with companies to have access into people's phones and cameras as well.
The access of such things as people's phones an cameras is for safety precautions. So many acts and forms of terrorism and evil are occurring today in life. To know and be prepared for anything that is going to occur, these ways of seeing people's phones and other devices have been implemented. The part that could be upsetting and scary is that people are watching you and you do not even know it. For example, say you are cruising on Instagram, swiping up and down through some funny videos, and "liking" some of the content that you see. The government could be actually watching you, seeing if you are going to be doing harm to anybody or just seeing what you are "liking" or looking at in general. Your phone can even be off, and the government can still see what the camera sees. This is honestly creepy to me, let us see what other people think.
To see how other people felt about this, I went to my mom and asked her some questions. I first asked, “how do you feel about the government or anybody else having the ability to track you wherever you go and what you send on the internet?” She responded, “to be honest, I think it is necessary for the government to use it (spying technology). Even though it is private information it should be able to be seen for protection uses only. In case of something is going to happen, like a terrorist attack, we can be prepared. For the hackers that will be able to get in (and see our private information), this is not good. The system should be protected more so nobody can get in but the proper people.” After listening to her response, I asked her then, “what about the fact that people are watching you when you are not even using that device or while you are simply just minding your own business?” She replied, “I do have to admit it is actually creepy, but going with my earlier response, it all goes with the necessity for the safety and protection of the people around us.”
Source: Evgeny Morozov. MIT Technology Review. October 22, 2013