Sharks are just gross, no one can change my mind. Everytime I hear about or think of sharks, my skin crawls with disgust.  I have been told countless times that this is an irrational fear, but that cannot be further from the truth. Their rough skin with the feeling of coarse sandpaper, their three rows of razor sharp teeth, and their relentless attitude along with the ability to tear a human in half makes me question how anybody could even tolerate them.  I’ve always wondered how “Shark Week” got approved to be broadcasted to the general public. I don’t know about you, but my ideal Friday night does not consist of getting up close and personal with those gigantic mummified fish, even from the comfort of my couch. My fear of sharks has always been apparent, but one experience of mine turned that fear into a full blown phobia.  When I was younger, my family moved to Japan for my dad’s work, and one day my kindergarten class took a field trip to the local aquarium; the main attraction there was, you guessed it, sharks. My four year old self was anxious the whole bus ride to the aquarium; who thought it was a good idea to take small children to see these scary animals? When we arrived, everyone in my class immediately rushed to the low-rise pool full of nurse sharks.  However, wanting to stall seeing them up close for as long as I could, I ran away and hid in the nearby playground. Unfortunately, after 10 minutes of hiding, my teacher dragged me out from under the slide. It was my turn to pet the “friendly sharks”, as my teacher had described them. So, I finally mustered up enough courage to walk up to the kiddy pool full of these unearthly creatures to get it over with. I hesitantly reached my hand in the pool, and what do you know, one of the baby sharks BITES me! Hysterically screaming and in utter shock, I start running away with the baby shark still hanging onto my hand. Luckily, one of the keepers quickly got it off of me, but my whole day was ruined.  From that day on, I told myself that I will never get near one again, and I’ve completely avoided them since.  

 

The End of a Decade

As of this very moment, there are exactly sixty-one days, one thousand four hundred sixty-eight hours, and eighty-eight thousand one hundred thirty-six minutes until January 1, 2020.  Only 61 days until the entire span of our childhoods is packed away and we’re put into a new time in our lives. It’s funny how each day seems to be getting shorter and shorter as I get older.  Taking the time to think about this inevitably led me to reminisce on some of the highlights of my childhood of growing up in the 2000’s, whether it be the classic Disney Channel movies we all grew up loving, the excitement of coming home and playing outside with friends for hours on end, or  just the simplicity of it all before we knew what an iPhone was, or the fast paced schedule of high school. I will surely miss them all. Although pondering upon old memories can definitely make me somewhat sad, I also know that as I move into the next chapter of life and go to college and then eventually get my first “real world” job that I will only grow from these experiences. Just because my mindset and way of life will  be moving away from this previous era, that does not mean that those things that brought us joy for all those years will merely vanish. Yes, moving on from the things that we all held on to our whole childhoods may appear to be difficult, but the realization that only greater moments and experiences lie ahead in this confusing journey we call growing up allows me to be okay with leaving some things behind.  

 

Holiday Happiness

Okay. Maybe I’m a little obsessed, but isn’t everyone?  The songs we have had engraved into our minds since childhood, the cool weather, the warm, snuggly feeling you get as that magical day (or in my case, the entire season) approaches. What am I talking about? The Christmas season of course!  As I type out this blog post, I am in the process of hanging up the last box of fairy lights around my room. Throughout the last two days, my room has quite literally become the spitting image of a Hallmark holiday movie as I have moved every last bin of  Christmas decorations from my closet and arranged all of it. From my red reindeer and wreath filled bedspread and fluffy, white pillows to the permeating smell of the constantly lit sugar cookie candle on my nightstand, I have officially declared it the beginning of the  holidays. Although the rest of my family may see my decision to decorate at the end of October as premature (they’re all Scrooges anyway), I view it as getting a head start. I mean, who wouldn’t want to extend the holidays? Apart from all of the excitement that comes with this time of year, the holiday season means so much to me as I know I will have more time to spend with  my friends and family than any other time in the school year. Nevertheless, as each day of the quickly ending year goes on, I can only think of the sheer joy that fills my spirit when I check the Weather app on my phone and see that the air is getting cooler by the degree.  

 

Revision in Writing

      The concept of writing is one we are presented with starting from our first days in school. First, we are taught basic alphabet tracing skills, and we later learn how to properly construct an essay.  The years upon years I have spent writing, I used to only write in order to complete the assignments I was given by my teachers; however, I eventually realized that writing can hold a certain beauty to it, you can get lost in your own story world if you allow yourself.   That being said, how can we expect to produce a great piece of writing in just one session? Well, behold the great tool of revision! I view revision as one of the most crucial aspects that one can have in their writing process. Personally, I am not one to plan ahead when it comes to writing, yet I always make sure to retrace my steps in my work and take a second (or even a third) look at my writing.  By going back to view your work, whether it be 30 minutes, an hour, or a day after your initial writing, you are in a different mindset from when you wrote first. Therefore, this renewed headspace allows new ideas and edits to make their way onto your writing, which I think is so important. In terms of revising with a deadline, revision can be done pertaining to virtually any deadline, as you could edit your work shortly after you write.  However, I prefer having a longer deadline because, as mentioned before, I like being in a differing headspace from when I wrote first.  

 

Renoir vs Cafeteria Paintings

Jessica Hargis

Stephens 

English DE

27 September 2019

Renoir vs Cafeteria Paintings

             Located in the school’s cafeteria, a prior student project, a rendition of Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s artwork: Luncheon at the Boating Party (1881), can be seen displayed on the side wall.  The original painting shows a group of people enjoying lunch on a boat, including a lady’s dog. However, the version in the school cafeteria has been modified in ways that can better depict life at Heritage.  In explanation, the guests were painted to look like Heritage students, alcoholic beverages were changed to soft drinks, the puppy shown in the original picture is now a lion (to represent the pride), and the new painting has an overall more modernized look.   Despite these rather stark differences between Renoir’s painting and the remake seen at school, I view them both as having a central theme of congregation and acceptance. As students and teachers see this painting, the theme is a reminder of togetherness and being a part of a group, which I think is something that is becoming increasingly needed in a time where more and more people are divided.  Additionally, I think that placing this painting in the cafeteria rather than somewhere else (in a hallway, library, etc.) was a great choice that further elevates the theme of congregation; it provides a positive tone and somewhat subconsciously suggests that including people by eating lunch with them is encouraged at Heritage.  

              Before I knew the backstory behind the cafeteria painting, I merely thought it was meant to fill in a blank wall; yet, I now see the painting for the art itself, as well as the truly important message that is being spread.  I definitely do like the mural as it was completely student done, adding originality to the school, but also as it is a constant reminder to everyone who sees it to spread kindness to others in all the ways you can. 

 

Organic Object

The patty pan squash is a rather striking vegetable. Its shape resembles a flattened cone, similar to a top, although, you won’t have much luck spinning it. But a squash isn’t meant for spinning anyways, right? Even though it won’t make that good of a physical toy, the patty pan squash does do well in playing with the eyes.  The lightning strike shade of yellow captures my visual sense, and as I trail the way down the gourd, its vibrant, forest green iris stops me in my tracks. 

My best friend went away to college this past month.  I hugged him goodbye on a warm August morning. I watched him leave the driveway, countless bags in the trunk of his car. I saw his lively, emerald eyes for the last time. I often wonder how he’s doing at college. Has he adjusted to campus life? Or does he feel lost, spinning in confusion? 

The green spot, nestled in the very center of the squash, is a birthmark left by the flower from which the vegetable was bloomed. Its previous source of nutrients and life and connection to the earth has since been truncated.  Yet, I think the patty pan squash now holds more potential than ever before; it now has the power to provide sustenance to someone else. 

I know my friend will find his way through newly becoming an “adult”, whatever that means.  I would tell him that even though he was somewhat cut off from the comforts of high school and living with his parents and seeing his friends everyday, with his knowledge I know he can branch out from the “patch” that was his safe zone and apply himself in foreign areas where he’ll be needed by others.