War Requiem (Benjamin Britten)

Since the beginning of October, 32 students from the SMUS Middle School have thoroughly rehearsed Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem for the children’s choir. It involved singing in Latin, having weird time signatures, having to keep our eyes on the conductor at all times, having to behave ourselves in concert for 2 hours each night, but we did it.

Singing the War Requiem was a great experience. We got to watch the Victoria Symphony rehearse (AMAZING), and we got to meet the conductor (Tania Miller), and got to be congratulated by the musicians in the Symphony. I felt very special when the first violinist came up to my friends and I after the performance and said “Great job you guys, it sounded amazing.”. I have seen the Victoria Symphony play before, but I never have once imagined that I would ever be performing with them.

The rehearsals were very intense. We had to pronounce vowels very differently and have perfect pronunciation and say ends of words (D’s, T’s, C/K’s…). We had to memorize our parts because looking up at our choir conductor (Mr. Frater) was crucial. I am glad that we have Mr. Frater as our music conductor because he makes everything fun, and enjoyable even when we have to rehearse something ten times (and he brought food at the rehearsals ). Having long rehearsals and late nights has been worth it this past week, because nothing feels better than getting standing ovations and tons of compliments.

I have learned so much from this amazing experience such as appreciating music more than I already do, keeping my eyes on the conductor at all times, understanding the pronunciation of Latin vowels, standing for long periods of time, and what it is like to sing with famous musicians. I will always remember this amazing experience. I am thankful that I am able to experience things like this. Thank you to the Victoria Symphony and to you Mr. Frater!

My Personal Narrative

At school, in Humanities we have been writing short personal narratives. We each chose a story that has happened in our lives, and started to organize how it will be told. Mine is called “Dark and Scary”. It’s about when Cole (my little brother) locked me in a laundry dryer. I think he has grown out of locking people in things so don’t think any less of him! I hope you enjoy my story!

“Ding Dong” Becca arrives. I take a huge bite of the delicious chicken pot pie before I go to greet her.
“Hi Becca,” my siblings and I say in unison. I watch Becca take off her shoes and follow her to the kitchen.
“Remember, no candy and be in bed by 8:30. If you behave yourselves, you might get a treat tomorrow! Becca is the babysitter so listen to her,” my parents say sternly.
“8:30?! That’s so not fair!” my annoying 3 year old sister whines.
“You never stay awake past 7:30!” my 5 year-old brother argues.
“Cole! Cate! Stop arguing. After you finish dinner you can play a game and then you can watch a movie,” I hear my mom tell Becca as I slurp down some lemonade.
“Ok, Thanks Denise! Have a nice evening!” Becca replies as I hear my parents go out the front door. “So, what do you guys want to do?” Becca asks as I savour my last piece of chicken pot pie.
“Hide go seek” Cate shouts.
“It’s Hide AND go seek” My brother antagonizes once again.
“Ya! Lets play Hide and go seek” I reply.
“Ok, Hide And Go Seek it is!” Becca says with enthusiasm while she wipes the counter. “I will count first”. I hop off of the bar stool and sprint upstair’s with my brother close behind me. “6,7,8,9…”I hear Becca counting. I rush into the laundry room and look around for a spot to hide. ‘The laundry dryer!’ I think to myself. I slide into the laundry dryer, feet first. I keep the door open so that I don’t get stuck in it. “20,21,22,23…” Cole appears and looks at me with an evil look in his eyes.
“Go hide!” I whisper with a harsh tone. He keeps staring at me, the light bulb above his head getting brighter and brighter.
“37, 38, 39…”
“COLE GO HIDE!”. He keeps staring at me until finally he makes his move. He steps toward me and slowly, moves his hand toward the laundry drier door. ‘No’ Is all I can think. I open my mouth to shout something at him but before I have time to arrange the words in my head he slams the door shut and I am left in complete darkness, in a laundry dryer. My first instinct is to try to open the door. No matter how hard I try, it won’t budge.
“48, 49, 50! Ready or not, here I come!”. I try screaming but it feels like all the air around me has been sucked out of the darkness. I make out enough air to scream for help. My eyes and cheeks begin to feel wet with tears. I can hear my heartbeat in my whole body. I continue to scream, knowing my brother is 2 metres away from me, probably laughing. I feel like I am in my own, tiny, pitch black, terrifying little world. I continue to sob and scream, for what feels like hours. I try to focus on the fresh smell of cotton that makes me want to sneeze. Still sobbing, I try one more time to open the door. My eyes feel red and swollen from crying so much. Suddenly, I hear a sound.
“Claire?” It is quiet but enough to know that I will be okay. I start banging as hard as I possibly can, every time my hand throbs more. I see light that is blinding compared to the darkness that I have been in. “Claire! Are you okay?!” I look at Becca and start to sob again. Cole looks to the ground with a evil grin.
“Come on Claire, Let’s make some hot chocolate. Cole! Go down stairs and sit in your time out chair. I will talk to you later.” I follow Becca downstairs and sit down in the same spot where I ate dinner, which felt like hours ago. I sip on my hot chocolate, it’s delicious taste filling me with warmth. I take deep breaths and try to lower my heart rate.
“That was very naughty of you Cole! You have to tell your parents what you did!” I hear a faint moan, but it’s enough for me to know that I have won this battle. Becca comes back into the room, looking sort of annoyed. “Come on Claire and Cate, lets watch a movie while Cole stays in his time out chair. I pass Cole’s purple time out chair, and make my way to the couch, still a little shocked, but having a slight grin of pride, knowing that I get to watch a movie while Cole has to sit in his tiny purple time out chair. I relax into the fluffy brown blanket, ‘what a night’ I think to myself.

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Marine Land?

I’m sure everyone has heard that Marine Land commercial that gets stuck In your head all day “Everyone loves Marine Land!”. Well, I don’t. I think that Marine Land is basically forcing animals to put on a show and they are stuck in a tiny little tank when they should be exploring the ocean. Unlike aquariums, places like Marine Land take healthy animals out of the ocean and stuff them in tanks. Aquariums help injured or sick animals and try to make their tank as much as their home would look like and release them into the ocean when they are better and healthier.

Their are a lot of movies that were made to show you how bad it is for animals to be in captivity. One movie is Free Willy. It is about an Orca Whale that got captured to be in shows like the ones at Marine Land. A young boy who is an orphan gets in trouble by doing graffiti and has to clean up his mess that was at the aquarium. He meets the Orca (Willy) and the boy immediately falls in love with him. He realizes that Willy needs to be freed so he gets some of the people that work their to free Willy. There are 3 movies each based on animal captivity.

I think that Marine Land and all those other places like them should release their animals into the wild. Imagine being cooped up in a room with nothing to do except stare through a window and be forced to do a show for food. That’s what the animals have to suffer through. The animals get fed so they can’t learn the skills they should know about surviving on their own.

In conclusion, in think that Marine Land should release their animals or turn Into an aquarium like the one my family loves, The Vancouver Aquarium. Animals deserve to be free. Thanks for reading!

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School is starting!

On Wednesday, September 3, I will finally be back at school! I feel very lucky that I go to a private school because we don’t have to deal with the strike. I studied politics in school last year and I was the Minister of Education so I know about the issues that are going on. Wherever we drive we always see teachers, parents, students, and sometime dogs, trying to help.

I am going into Grade 6 which means transferring from the Junior School to the Middle School! It seems so incredibly big. I am very happy about all the teachers I got, and the friends that are in my classes. We have around 45 new kids coming, I can’t wait to meet them. I met a few of them already and they are very nice.

Some of the things I am looking forward to: grade 6/7 soccer team, lockers, over night trips, performing The Wizard of Oz, learning Mandarin, having P.E on a HUGE field, bigger school, going to different classrooms for each class, more freedom, exams, new teachers, and more clubs.

I think that this year will be an amazing year! I can’t wait for all the memories to be made.

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Summer 2014

As you may know, my family has just returned from a fabulous 4 week long trip. Unlike last year’s summer vacation, we were always doing something.

On the day of our flight to Montreal, we had to wake up at 4:00 am to catch a 6:30 am flight to Toronto and then catch a connecting flight to Montreal. That was an interesting day. In Montreal, we saw where my parents went to University at McGill, went to Schwartz’s (they are famous for their Smoked Meat Sandwiches and my parents went there a lot when they lived in Montreal), saw some friends, and went to Old Montreal. I really like Montreal because of how much history is behind it. I really like learning about things of the past.

After 3 days in Montreal, we drove to Quebec City. Wow. I loved it there. The old cobble stone walls, the Funiculaire, Cabane à Sucre, I love Quebec City. One day we rented bikes and biked to the market, some mini bridges, went in a tunnel, and went to eat lunch. During our fantastic lunch, it started raining. And I mean raining as in you can’t see a thing. My mom bought a rain poncho and when she biked with it on, it looked like she was in a tornado! On the day we drove back to Montreal to go to New York, we stopped to see the Plains of Abraham. That is where a lot of wars happened and decisions got made. The view of the St. Lawrence River from up there was amazing!

I knew that New York was busy but I never knew it was so busy that you barely have any breathing space. We stayed at the Westin in Times Square and now I totally understand the saying, it’s the city that never sleeps. I really enjoyed when we went to see John Lennon’s memorial because you could tell how much people loved and cared about him. The memorial had beautiful flowers around it and there was a man singing Imagine.

We also went to see the 9/11 (Twin Towers) memorial and that really touched my heart. I had always known what had happened but I didn’t know the actual details like what were the reactions of tourists, residents, business workers and even kids! Imagine walking up a street, going to lunch and all of a sudden you notice a really loud noise and all of a sudden one of the World Trade centres are missing and then before you know it, the second one is gone. The memorial is a giant waterfall fountain that has the names of all the people who lost there lives in that tragic event. We saw memorials for 9/11 everywhere. Especially in fire halls. My grand dad was in a plane when it happened and he said he was very suspicious because the flight attendants seemed nervous and nobody was on the highway. He said the airports were all full. That experience made me really feel for that tragic event.

I really liked seeing the Statue of Liberty. It really is beautiful and much bigger than I expected. We didn’t stop at Liberty Island because we went to Wall Street instead. The day my mom was sick, the rest of us went bike riding in Central Park. It is huge but we did the whole thing. I have seen it in so many movies but not in real life. You can tell that everyone does their share to keep the park as pretty as it is. I ❤️NYC!!!

We decided to stop for three days in Toronto because none of us kids have actually toured around there as many times as we have been to the airport. It was very interesting because there was a One Direction concert. Cate and I really wanted to go.

The next stop was Sarnia to visit my mom’s side of the family. I think their house might turn into an animal sanctuary! The first day we were there, they were dog sitting two Jack Russell’s, then another dog that is kept in a cage all day snook out of her cage and came to the house. Then some stray cats kept visiting us and they already have a Golden Retriever so, there were a lot of animals! We saw where my mom went to school, lived, babysat, let her brother jump of a roof into a pool, and just where she grew up in general. That week was so much fun!

On our last and final week (Gasp!) we went to see my dad’s side of the family. First we went to their house in Dundas. I finally got to meet my baby cousin Zoe! She is turning 2 in November. She is so adorable! My grandad wrote a story about his child hood and it was very interesting. My aunt Michelle just had surgery because she had a tumour and I think she is doing very well because it is hard to recover after surgery.

After a few days in Dundas, we drove up to Collingwood to go to the Chalet. I love the Chalet because of all the nature around it and having fires and just being with my beloved family. On our last day, some of our friends came over and my friends, Brynn and Makayla slept over! We had so much fun.

I really loved this vacation because not only did we get to see amazing sights, we got to see friends and family we haven’t seen in years. We had parties, swims, dinners, late nights, with our loved ones. Love you all! See you next year!

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My Awesome Parents

I have the best, most awesome, coolest, nicest, kindest, and smartest parents you will ever find. They take us on trips, let us go to amazing schools like St. Michaels University School, educate us in areas teachers can’t, they write books, and they make me laugh.

I love my parents because they care about me when I am upset or hurt. I feel very grateful to have loving parents because some people don’t have any. When I first got my braces on, my mom gave me ice cream and my dad made me soup for dinner. No matter what the case is, they always care about me.

I love my parents because they come to my sports events, musical events, school events, rehearsals or practices, you name it, they come to it. An example of this is when I went the VISSA regional track meet. My dad took time out of his day to watch me win the 100 m sprints. My mom always dropped me off and picked me up from weekend and afternoon opera rehearsals when I could have just walked home. My parents are very kind to take time out of their busy days for me.

Finally, I love my parents because they help me learn. For example, last year I was having trouble memorizing my timetables so my dad and my mom tried as hard as they could to help me. Now I have them memorized. During the summer, my parents buy us all work books to do. Mine has some grade 6 math in it, so it is a little tricky but I always count on them to help me. My parents love helping me learn.

In conclusion, I love my parents very much because they care about me, come to my events, and help me learn. I could not ask for new parents because I know that nothing is much better than them. I love you mom and dad!

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Grade 5 Reflection

In this post I will be writing a reflection about my amazing year in Grade 5 and final year at the SMUS Junior School because next year I am going up to the middle school!

Term 1
This term went from September to December. At school, we learned about multiplication, division, the fur trade, the gold rush, the human body, soccer, cross country running, gymnastics, French, Japanese, life skills, choir, and strings. We also got kindergarten buddies! My buddy’s name is Sammy, there is never a moment where she isn’t adorable!

I really enjoyed studying the fur trade because it was interesting to see how people in the 1600-1800’s traded. I thought that killing beavers just to use their fur for beaver pelt hats was animal cruelty. In October we took a trip to Fort Langley in Vancouver. We got to school at 7:00 am to leave by 7:10 am. We took the 9:00 am ferry to get there by 11:00 (it took about 2 hours to drive there). Then we left at 3:00 to catch the 5:00 pm ferry, we ate at the buffet! We got back by 8:00. That was a trip I will never forget.

Term 2
This term was the shortest, but one of the greatest! This term went from January to March. We learned about long division, more multiplication, fractions, jet toys and gravity, explorers, the Canadian Pacific Railway, basket ball, badminton, French, Japanese, choir, and strings.

I really enjoyed learning about the Canadian Pacific Railway because I never knew how hard people worked, maybe even losing their lives, to build something that really put Canada together as a country. We split up into groups of 3. I was with 2 of my friends. We were chosen to study the Decision, join USA or Canada? We each chose a person to research and play in a tableu. I chose William Seward, Secretary of State for the Unitied States of America. My friend Tori, who was in my group chose Amor de Cosmos (changed his name from William Smith to Amor de Cosmos) and the third person in my group, Theo chose John Macdonald. It was really fun making the tableau’s, we even made beards out of felt! Now I know not to take life for granted, people had to suffer way more than just having a bad hair day!

Term 3
When we got to this term, I couldn’t believe the year was almost done! This term was my favourite. We learned about Decimals, volume, fractions, our environment, our resources, greek mythology, politics, track and field, French, Japanese, the opera, and strings.

Besides the Opera, my favourite thing that we learned this term was politics. I found it very interesting to learn what the different parties think about class size, pipelines, pine beetles, minimum wage, lunch programs, university fees, programs for special needs, and so on. After we got the basic facts about the different parties. We got put into groups that were different party inspired. I was in a group with Logan, Carson, Tori (again), and Emily. We called our group Echo. We were Green inspired so we tried hard to put a lot of thought into environment. We had a budget of 1 million dollars for each ministry. We had 4 different ministries: Child and Family Development, Environment, Education, and Health. I was in Education. I got 27% of the budget which is $27,000. We had to do some research on our ministry to have a prepared speech.

On Election Day, each group needed to have a song, a slogan, a jingle, a logo, a short commercial, and each person needed a speech. Our leader (Tori) gave an intro at the beginning of our time to present, then health (Emily), then education (me), then child and family development (Carson), then environment (Logan), and finally the conclusion from the leader. Our group came second by only 2 votes! It’s amazing how one single vote can change the whole country. It was really fun and a great learning experience!

Not to sound modest or anything, but I am going to share my achievements. The last four went in my record of achievement that the grade 5’s got at the closing ceremonies!

Always came first in Track and Cross country
Participated in most after school sports
Participated in service club, red cedar book club, tech club, French club, and dance club,
Honour roll (A average)
Alumni Association Award (in honour roll, in sports teams, good sportsman ship, supports school arts programmes, kind and considerate, respectful)
Slegg bowl (in honour roll, responsible, outstanding contribution in class)
M.A.W Bridgman Memorial Award (demonstrated artistic and creative ability in art, strings, choir, and drama)

This year has definitely been one of the greatest and it was so hard to say good bye to the Junior School! I have made some really good friends and met some really nice and funny teachers that have made my learning experience stand out from my other schools. Thank you Junior School teachers!

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