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Sunday, October 17, 2021

Going Through The Motions by :Ria Purohit

 Going Through The Motions

Ria Purohit 

11th Grade 


Good morning.

Wake up. Brush teeth. Take a shower. Wear clothes. 

Pack bag. Eat breakfast. Put on shoes. 

Get in the car. Go to school. Walk.

Walk and climb the stairs to class. 

Catch breath. Wait. 

Wait some more. So many voices. Loud.
Ear piercing reminder of the school day starting. 


Work. Work some more. You’re not done working. 

Walk and climb. Walking and climbing. 

Laughter and conversations fueling the need to get through the day. 

Excitement. Gut-busting laughter. Beautiful, singing laughter.

Still constant ear piercing sounds. Still not done working. 


Walk. Walk faster! You’re gonna be late! 

Yes! Made the bus. Sit down. 

Then wait. 

Wait. 

Wait.

Be patient and wait. 

You have your music, so just be patient and wait. 

Rumbles of the engine and voices joining together. Loud.

And we’re on the move. 


Got home. Unpack. Relax. What to do? 

Ah yes. Not done working. 

Work. Work some more.Don’t understand,have to work some more. 

Need a break. Do something fun! 

Turned on the phone. Watching characters have fun.


Time for dinner, seemingly endless. 

Dinner’s done!

Rest. Time feels calmer. 

School seems far away. 

Work seems far away. 

Enjoy the entertainment created from the brain.

 Mind movies are always entertaining. 

So much depth! So much emotion! Critically acclaimed! 


Brush teeth. Change clothes. Go to bed. 

Try to sleep. You’re not done worrying. Your movies have a sequel.

Swirling thoughts, knots in stomach, headaches, fear, grades, friends, family. 

Swirling thoughts. Loud.

Good night.


Movie Recommendation: Knives Out by Ria Purohit

 Movie Recommendation: Knives Out 

Ria Purohit

11th Grade


I have fallen out of watching movies in my free time, opting to put on music or watch some random videos on YouTube. But, when I do watch movies, it makes the experience all the more memorable, especially if the movie is entertaining. However there are times where I come across an extremely well-written and well-directed film, making that film etched into my memory and on the top of my list when people ask what my favorite movie is. That film is Knives Out, released in 2019. 

The plot is about the strange death of a crime novelist named Harlan Thrombey, and Detective Benoit Blanc has to connect the dots and figure out what happened. It’s a relatively simple plot, but the writers twist the murder-mystery cliché instead of using the same cookie-cutter script for that kind of movie. Each character is dynamic, and has a certain presence when they’re on screen. The movie is not afraid to use a colorful color palette, instead of the usual muted tones of a murder-mystery movie. Each actor in the movie does an amazing job of bringing their characters to life, that you feel invested in what the characters think of each other, the relationships within the family, and the relationships the family has with others. 

While I watched the movie I felt more invested than I usually do when watching long movies. Usually I scroll on my phone or zone out due to boredom. But this movie had so many little details and engaging dialogue and story, it was hard to peel my eyes away from the screen. I kept thinking the murderer was this character, and kept second-guessing myself. The characters speak about real-world issues, as one would when having dinner with your family at the table. It brought an element of reality to the film, despite the family being almost fantastically rich. I felt I was there, in the house, trying to combine the puzzle pieces together along with the detective. The creators of the movie did a good job of creating an interesting and unique murder-mystery story, especially since the genre can feel a bit repetitive.

If you have a couple of hours of free time, I would suggest watching Knives Out. Though the length of the movie might seem intimidating, it’s worth watching it all the way through. The themes of family and greed are prominent throughout the film, maybe even relatable to some viewers. If violence or graphic content is a worry for you, there is only a limited amount of scenes that involve anything violent or gross; limited enough to skip a few seconds of those scenes (again, only if you’re really squeamish). I am relatively squeamish, and I did not have a hard time watching the movie. Also, there is some strong language in the movie, suitable for teenagers and up (probably not for the younger ones). With these discretions in mind, I hope you check out the film and enjoy an amazing film! 


The 1918 Pandemic in Philadelphia by: Saanvi Kunisetty

 The 1918 Pandemic in Philadelphia

Saanvi Kunisetty

The epidemic of 1918 first began in Philadelphia in late August. People (including officials) weren’t very concerned by this. Dr. Wilmer Krusen assured the people that there was nothing to worry about. He insisted that “they had nothing to fear so long as influenza cases were strictly isolated.” But, cases began to rise drastically the next day, spreading uncontrollably. Krusen still maintained the stance that it wasn’t a big deal. These people didn’t have knowledge that a common flu could turn into something so deadly.

At first, the epidemic appeared to have slowed for a bit. But then, the city did not bother to cancel the Liberty Loan Parade. With the huge crowds, the virus spread quickly and easily, and cases began to rise again.

At first, officials were hesitant to take immediate action. On September 30th, a conference was held. A Circular was to be sent to state health officials explaining prevention and treatment of influenza. The mayor gave a $100,000 emergency fund to Krusen in case it was needed. On October 3rd, a state-wide closure at midnight was implemented. Liberty Loan meetings were halted, stores and restaurants were closed, influenza funerals were privatized, closure of schools and churches were optional. Some people were appalled by the strict rules instilled, while others supported the closures, thinking that avoiding the spread would let influenza run its course

Finally, after a stabilization, and yet another increase, the epidemic began to subside. This was mostly due to the fact that the people had become immune to the virus strain after being exposed to it. Looking back in our history to similar situations can help us in assessing what steps to take in the present, with the pandemic at hand. 


Sources:

http://www.influenzaarchive.org/cities/city-philadelphia.html

German Americans in WW1 by: Saanvi Kunisetty

 German Americans in WW1

Saanvi Kunisetty


German Americans claimed their loyalty to the United States once the country got involved. An anti-German propaganda campaign was formed against those who had originally declared support in favor of their home country. German culture and language was subdued, and Germans were sometimes regarded with hate and hostility, facing violence from Americans. Businesses and homes were vandalized, schools shut down, and local acts of violence occurred (such as tarring and feathering).

Still, the Americans had reason for showing hostility toward Germans. German Americans first supported their home country, so the Americans were worried about loyalty. Germans reacted with hate toward America when it remained neutral at the start of the War. One specific German-American ambassador threatened to rise up against the country if it entered the war, as it would hurt Germany’s performance. Germans’ attitude on the war was that if they could keep America occupied by worrying about itself, it wouldn’t worry about what was going on in Europe, so they took to damaging factories, subways, and bridges. At first, Woodrow Wilson remains calm and composed in response to the Germans’ actions when America remained neutral, but when Germany attempts to push Mexico into war with America, he says this. “I never expected that the people we had taken into our country, our friends and neighbors, would act this way.” The German-Americans were provocative of Americans, and left them feeling unsafe.

Sources:

“German Americans - Document - Gale in Context: U.S. History.” Gale.com, 2021, go.gale.com/ps/retrieve.do?tabID=Reference&resultListType=RESULT_LIST&searchResultsType=MultiTab&hitCount=143&searchType=BasicSearchForm¤tPosition=2&docId=GALE%7CBT2350011161&docType=Topic+overview&sort=Relevance&contentSegment=ZXAA-MOD1&prodId=UHIC&pageNum=1&contentSet=GALE%7CBT2350011161&searchId=R1&userGroupName=monm93287&inPS=true. Accessed 4 Oct. 2021.


Fresh Air. “During World War I, Germany Unleashed ‘Terrorist Cell in America.’” NPR.org, Fresh Air, 25 Feb. 2014, www.npr.org/2014/02/25/282439233/during-world-war-i-germany-unleashed-terrorist-cell-in-america. Accessed 4 Oct. 2021.


African Americans During WW1 by: Saanvi Kunisetty

 African Americans During WW1


Saanvi Kunisetty


African Americans were eager to demonstrate their patriotism toward America and show that they could contribute when it entered the Great War. Only four months after America entered the war, over 700,000 African Americans had enlisted. They were unfortunately discriminated against, prevented from serving certain roles in the Navy and Air Force. The government created segregated training camps and military units, causing blacks to protest.

Still, the Great War brought benefits to African Americans. They earned name “Harlem Hell Fighters” by the Germans because they were said to have never lost a man, or any ground, to the enemy. African doctors further developed global connections and positive impressions of America. When blacks returned home after fighting for democracy in Europe, they were urged to demand the same back home. In fact, the NAACP (National Association for Advancement of Colored People) defeated the Grandfather Clause and segregative housing. Finally, African American culture was spread across the world, as their regiments generally included bands as well. They introduced European countries to jazz, blues, and ragtime rhythm, as well as unique performance styles.


Sources:

“African-American Participation during World War I - Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs - State of Delaware.” Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs - State of Delaware, 13 Apr. 2021, history.delaware.gov/world-war-i/african-americans-ww1/. Accessed 6 Oct. 2021.

“African American Odyssey: World War I and Postwar Society (Part 1).” Loc.gov, 2021, memory.loc.gov/ammem/aaohtml/exhibit/aopart7.html. Accessed 6 Oct. 2021.

Friday, October 15, 2021

The Importance of Hobbies by Ria Purohit

 The Importance of Hobbies

Ria Purohit 

11th Grade

Every now and then life comes to pile everything on top of you. School, work, extracurriculars, friends, family, and anything else can feel overwhelming at points. But to escape that, when stress gets a bit too much for me, I turn to things that make me happy.

It’s not a unique argument, but it’s an important one. Doing things that I want to do for myself, instead of as an assignment or an obligation feels great. For example, over the past year, I have taken up painting as a hobby. Though I haven’t been painting as much as before, painting helps me relax, and I get to create something new to feel proud about. I have painted a rose that I believe is some of my best work (if I do say so myself) and since then, I’ve painted lions, people, birds, more flowers, and anything I find interesting. Though it takes an hour or so to complete a painting, it’s always worth it at the end to see what I made. 

Hobbies, to some, seem like a time-waster; why would you spend time on something seemingly useless when you can use that extra time to work or study? But taking time for yourself is not a waste of time, it’s crucial. It’s crucial in order to get motivated to complete whatever you need to do to the best of your abilities. Doing things for your own satisfaction helps boost your morale, makes you feel accomplished, and lets you have fun for yourself for some time. 

I know that whenever I indulge in my hobbies, whether it be painting, playing music, watching TV, or anything else, I feel like I am wasting time. I feel like I should be doing a million other things that are on my long term checklist instead of watching an episode of Bob’s Burgers or creating a small mess with my paint supplies. But I enjoy doing those things, and after I have done those things, I feel better. I feel mentally relaxed and/or entertained, so I end up working harder on the things I have to do. 

This past year or so has been unprecedentedly scary and tiresome, but it also gave many people more time to figure out what they like to do in their free time. Maybe you’ve discovered some new hobbies over quarantine, and haven’t gotten the chance to indulge in any of them again. I would encourage you, if you have free time, try and get back into those hobbies again, if possible. Maybe you would feel more encouraged to complete the things you have to do. Remember, if you enjoyed the time you spent, then you didn’t waste your time. You did it for you.


Remote Learning, In-Person Learning, and the Pandemic by Ria Purohit

 Remote Learning, In-Person Learning, and the Pandemic 

Ria Purohit 

11th Grade

This past year and a half have been confusing and tumultuous, and this pandemic seems like it’ll never end. When the pandemic initially started in March 2020, we expected to stay out of school for a couple of weeks, but it instead turned into a year. Remote learning in the 2020-21 school year was a new and difficult experience. Trying to learn new topics while in the comfort of my home is very convenient, but doesn’t allow for maximum focus on the topic at hand. I found myself looking at my phone during class multiple times out of boredom. My grades were okay, but my mental state wasn’t great. The constant staring at the screens while barely getting any social interaction was wearing away at my patience. But it did keep us safe. 

In-person learning started up in the 2021-22 school year. We are currently at the beginning part of this school year, and I don’t know how 2022 will look like for the pandemic (hoping it’s over). In-person learning is better to me in the sense that I get to see and converse with my classmates, and can complete the activities and labs the way they were meant to be. My grades are not as good as they can be right now though, and I am determined to keep my grades up. The only qualms I have about in-person learning is that it really doesn’t feel safe. How is social distancing possible when there are thousands of kids in the halls transitioning from classes, some who are not even vaccinated and some who could be asymptomatic? We have to wear masks during the school day, except during lunch. We can use the bathroom relatively freely. The only difference is during lunch and bathroom breaks, you have to sign in at your table/when you enter the bathroom, for contact tracing. I don’t know how well that system is working though. I can only imagine the frustration elementary schoolers and teachers are going through right now. 

People are borderline desperate for this pandemic to be over, for everything to go back to normal. I am too. But I am just worried about safety and whether or not the current system of in-person learning works, but if it doesn’t, what is the alternative? Are there going to be fundamental changes to how we learn and participate in class within the next year? Is there ever going to be another pre-pandemic normalcy after this pandemic? All of these are great questions that no one really knows the answers to. I hope it looks up from here, but until then, we all just have to power through and wait till we see the finish line.