A Chapter Closed

For the past seven years of my life, I have played Violin. The next years of my life may change a bit now.

A couple nights ago, my family and I sat at the dinner table. We were discussing that if I want to quit violin, I have to tell my Violin Teacher, Kathryn tonight.  I was supposed to tell her a month ago, but kept putting it off. I felt like I was letting her down. I felt like I was letting my mom’s parents down because of how much they loved to here me play.  I felt like I was letting my strings teacher down because I was the concert master in our strings class. After a long talk with my parents, I gathered up the courage to make that phone call. When Kathryn answered, I explained. “School isn’t becoming a priority and violin was just making me stressed out.” I said. Kathryn apologized. I felt like I should have been the one apologizing.  

The last two years I have spent with Kathryn were amazing. The lessons were fun! A lot of my friends couldn’t understand how I survived an hour and a half lesson twice a week when they couldn’t stand an hour long strings class. But when exams were coming up, and soccer tournaments, and track races, I lost it. I didn’t practice for the recital. I took my tiredness, frustration, and stress out on violin. It could’ve been soccer or track, but it was violin. 

In the end, I felt like a wight had been lifted off my shoulders. I spent a lot of time thinking of what I was going to say to her. I’m glad I told Kathryn, and not my parents because in my life at some point I will have to let people down, and this was good practice.  IMG_1868IMG_2547IMG_2841IMG_3184

Grade Six Added To My Memories

Grade six. The year that you go from being the oldest, big kids of junior school, to the little babies of middle school. Middle School. Last summer, it seemed like the two scariest words ever. However, I quickly learned that all those stereotypes that “Middle School is the Worst Years of my Life” kind of thing is all a lie. This year was actually one of my best years at school I have ever had. In this post, I will be writing about the highlights of this year.

The first day of school. The day when all my questions I had formed over the summer about this new school were answered. Who are my teachers? What are lockers like? Who is in my homeroom? What happens if you are late to a class? I was very curious, but at the same time more nervous than I every have been. When I took my first step out the car door, and into the pool of uneasy grade sixes, I felt a sensation of home. These are my friends, it will be okay. Then, the WEB leaders showed up. WEB stands for Where Everybody Belongs. Over the course of the year, a group of Grade Eights WEB leaders helped us “Weblings” or “Sixies” feel more welcome. That first day we spent with them, learning our ways around the new campus. That day was the day I first step foot into a place that seemed foreign to me, but now feels like home.

Track. I have always loved to run, but never have taken it seriously, as in joining a track club or train every day. I have always known I am good at running, but never knew I was good enough to come in the top three for every race I ran, qualify for the Island Championships for every event I did, and break two Island records. The events I ran in for the qualifiers were the 400m, 1200m, 800m, and 100m. Overall in the qualifiers, I came first in the 800m, second in the 1200m, third in the 100m, and first in the 400m. Sadly, we were only allowed to choose three events to participate in.  I chose the 400m, 1200m, and the 800m.  Finally, after restless nights, The Island Championships came.  The 1200m race. This is my favourite race.  I ended up winning that race by 50m and broke the record by eight seconds. Next race, the 800m.  I won that one as well. After a lunch break, I had my 400m race. A short one lapper that most people can’t quite sprint the whole way, but I can. I won that race by 100m. This years track season was quite the accomplishment for me, and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my fantastic coach and teacher, Mrs. McQueen.

They always make the students choose a favourite class and teacher at the end of each term in our “Student Survey”. Every single time I chose the same teacher. My Humanities teacher, Mrs. Lee. I don’t exactly know why I like her so much, but she treats us as friends as much as she treats us as students. She always wants our opinion on issues in the world, or even in our classroom. I enjoyed every millisecond I spent in that classroom, even when we were getting scolded for talking when we weren’t supposed to. This is why Mrs. Lee was my favourite teacher this year.

The Wizard of Oz was quite the experience for me this year. I have performed before, such as the opera last year, but this was a whole lot different as there were only 40 kids in the Opera, and over 250 in the musical. If you want to read more about The Wizard of Oz, click here.

This post was pretty difficult to write, as this past year has been really interesting. I can’t wait for Grade Seven!

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Closing Ceremonies!

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Me winning the 400m

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Choir Concert

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Field Hockey

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Soccer Trip to Vancouver!

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Strings Concert! (I’m the Concert Master)

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Me and my munchkin friends, we look a lot happier than we really are, it was hot in the costumes…

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Book Battle!


The Wizard of Oz 2015

As some of you may know, the SMUS Middle School has recently put on a production of “The Wizard of Oz” I’m sure some of you are already thinking, “Oh, its probably just a little play put on in the school gym with cute little costumes..”. Well, you are wrong. We preformed at the McPherson Theatre, had over 200 cast members, 50+ backstage crew members, 30 set painters (including me), 15 foot high sets, amazing costumes, Fog Machines, A full on orchestra, and much more. This production was put on bye the same director as the Gypsy Baron, the opera I did last year.

I was cast as a Munchkin and a Poppy. I know these weren’t very big roles but they both serve a very important part in the play. The Munchkins are the first glimpse of Oz, and the Poppies were a major delay in Dorothy’s hunt for Emerald City.  There were a lot of munchkins (about 60), and some of them were too tall to be on their knees (Dorothy was quite short…) the “too tall” kids were put in the houses that were 6 feet in the air, we popped our heads out and surprised everyone!

What I enjoyed the most, was probably that suspense when I was lying down on the bridge the “too tall” munchkins were during the Munchkin scene, trying as hard as I possibly could to not show any of myself while hiding behind the houses, waiting for the queue to pop my head out and smile the biggest, cheesiest smile ever. I love being on stage, and being able to be myself, through a different character. What I love about acting is that you aren’t judged about who you are, because you aren’t your real self.

What I didn’t enjoy during the production is really difficult to choose, because the whole thing was so much fun! But if i had to choose, it would be the endless repeats of the scenes I was in. It may have been two scenes, but I can recite those two scenes from memory now!

I loved this production. I became friends with people I may never have ever had a conversation with, and met some amazing people that helped make this production receive raving reviews. I learned how to die gracefully. I learned how to smile a really big smile. I am grateful that I go to a school where things like this isn’t only thought of, they happen and we have our Middle School Broadway show. Mr. Frater, the director had quite the courage, brains, and heart to spend five months preparing us, and teaching us our lines and character traits. Arabella, the choreographer spent hours, and hours choreographing the dance routines (especially for the almost professional grade eight dancers), and teaching them to us. These people are amazing. I know that working with teens and tweens is pretty hard, but they make it seem easy.

I really enjoyed this production and can’t wait for two years! (To see more photos click here)

IT'S A TWISTER

IT’S A TWISTER

Glinda and Dorothy

Glinda and Dorothy

Munchkin Land!

Munchkin Land!

Me in my house

Me in my house

Tin Man Scene

Tin Man Scene

Alive Poppies...

Alive Poppies…

Dead Poppies!

Dead Poppies!

What a Wonderful World This Would Be?

Why are we all living on this perfect world, taking away all its resources to make gas for vehicles to get us places because apparently its worth polluting the only place we call home? Why are we taking advantage of all the wonders that the Earth granted us with, and in exchange we give it pollution, green house gases, we strip the Earth clean of forests, and much more? Why isn’t anyone taking a stand? No matter if you are an environmentalist, or work for oil companies, we all know that someday, this wonderful world may be gone because of us. And instead we will be unable to live here. We all hate to admit it, but sometime in the near future, things will start changing, and they already have.

Firstly, the glaciers are melting which is causing the sea level to rise. Some places in the world, like Florida, will soon disappear, and drown in their own beaches. Due to the melting glaciers and the rising sea levels, annual storms, or hurricanes that some places are prone to, are getting more deadly and disastrous. The most recent hurricane in New York, Hurricane Sandy, was very disastrous and the main electrical unit was badly damaged. There were floods in the basements of some very large buildings. Nobody could come outside and if they did, they could risk their own lives. The subways (the main transportation unit in New York) flooded. Everybody learned a great lesson from this disaster. People realized they needed to be way more prepared in case another mega storm happened. After the storm, more flood protections were installed. They made sure people were more educated about what to do in a storm of this magnitude. This is an example of one of the effects of rising water levels due to the melting glaciers.

Secondly, more and more green-house gases are surrounding our atmosphere. Greenhouse gases are the gases that get trapped in the atmosphere. They keep heat from escaping the Earth. These are good because we would otherwise freeze to death at night. However, these gases are building up at higher levels than needed and so the temperature is getting higher and higher. That is the cause of Global Warming, which is the cause of the melting of the glaciers.

Thirdly, We are mining earths natural minerals too fast, and too much at a time. You may not know it, but you use Earth’s natural minerals every day. If you drive a car, or take the bus0630_B31, oil is taken from underground to provide gas for your transportation. There are roughly 1 billion cars on our planet. That is roughly 1 billion cars using oil. That is 85 million barrels of oil used each day. We use so much oil, not only for cars, but to make things such as clothing, agriculture tools and preservatives, office tools, games/sports/hobbies, supplies for infants and children, first aid kits, kitchen and household items, cosmetics, furniture, and much, much more, Imagine our lives without oil. What would we do? Sooner than later, we will have to come up with some other “oil” re-creation that will serve the same purpose of oil, and hopefully last longer.

In conclusion, there are many reasons why we are taking advantage of our perfect little world, and soon, we will have to face that oil is running out, our atmosphere is too full of green-house gases, the glaciers are melting, we are running out of trees, and much more. But for now, lets not worry about the future and take a look outside, beautiful. For now, we have the “just right” planet. Take time to appreciate it, because at some point in a few billion (approximately) years, it may all be gone.

(By the way, if you didn’t understand my title, click here)

Not Everybody Has a Home

In Humanities, we have been studying how to break the  poverty cycle. Our project for this term was to find the charity we think would be the most effective in breaking the poverty cycle, and make a ninety second pitch of why we chose this charity, photo4282_1pros and cons, etc.

In class, we researched tons of different charities, and narrowed it down to five for each student to choose from. The charities were:

  1. K.I.V.A (micro-loans)
  2. Malawi Girls on the Move (supporting girls education in Malawi where boys are the only ones getting an education)
  3. Camfed (similar to Girls on the Move, except in a bigger area, Africa)
  4. World Vision (you donate to this charity and buy (for example)  a cow, or chicken for a family)
  5. Doctors without Borders (pretty self explanatory)

After these five were chosen, each student chose the one they would like to research and all the students wanting to research the same one were in a group. I chose Malawi Girls on the Move because I don’t think its fair that I, a girl goes to a Private School, learning hundreds of things each day, and there are some girls in parts of Africa that need to be married by twelve and pregnant by fifteen. My Humanities teacher showed my group a video called the girl effect. CLICK HERE TO WATCH IT. I will warn you, it is sad. It made my whole group and I break into tears because guess what? We are twelve too and we don’t have to worry about being married soon, or ready to have a baby in three years. This isn’t fair. Twelve year olds are still kids.

After choosing our charity, we had to research a bunch of information about them. After that, we put all the information into some sort of presentation. The best two presentations would be the charities we would raise money for in our Market Place. My group and I were all naturally very loud people, so we decided to do a speech/slideshow. I was sick on presentation day, so I was’t there to see the awesome presentations. My group didn’t win. K.I.V.A and Camfed won. Of course I was a little disappointed, but hey! We are still helping people.

After the presentations were over, we organized our Market Place themed fundraiser. We had to advertise it around the school on posters with the Who, What, Where, When, Why and How.

Who: Mrs. Lee’s Grade Six Humanities Class

Where: The Hallways of the Middle School

Why: To raise money for K.I.V.A and Camfed

When: March 13

What: Market Place

How: By selling items ranged from baked goods to crafts, we will make money and donate to our charities

Well, I think the advertisements worked! We had quite the turnout. I was in a group with my two friends and we baked 30 cookies, 8 large cupcakes  and 4 (might have been store bought…) croissants. We sold all but 12 cookies! We made a total of $42.89! The total amount of money our class made was $320.23! Every item was sold from 50 cents- 2$ so this amount of money is amazing! I am so glad that we will be helping people.

In conclusion, I think poverty is one of the world’s biggest problems right now. The people who can, should donate to help people see the world through a new dimension. Remember the next time you see a homeless person, flash them a smile. Make them feel special. It will make their day. I have added the links in blue for the charities if you needed some ideas for donating! Thanks for reading!

365 Days Ago

365 days ago, my mom took me last minute Christmas shopping. 365 days ago, we decided to get a drink at Starbucks. 365 days ago, we talked about all the fun we had in Maui. 365 days ago, my mom told me we where moving back to Vancouver in the summer. 365 days ago, I didn’t want to lose all friendships I had made.

December 23, 2013, will always leave a neon mark in my memory. After my mom told me that we were going to move, my reactions were unimaginable. First, I stood up and threw out my Hot Chocolate in the trash and ran for the car. I didn’t want to talk to anyone, or be near anyone. Throughout the whole 15 minute car ride, I looked out the window, not saying a single word. When we arrived home, my sister was waiting for me to play with her by the door. I pushed her over and sprinted for my room, holding back what felt like a tsunami of tears. I cover myself in my bed covers, wanting the world to go away. My dad eventually came in. I told him to get out, but before he left, he said that I could tell 3 close friends. I quickly grabbed the closest phone to me and typed in my best friend’s number. When she answered, I was sobbing so I had to explain to her what happened. After 20 minutes, we were both sobbing. I didn’t know what I could do without her. After 60 minutes of sobbing, and dialling phone numbers, it was dinner. My brother and sister had no idea why I was playing with my food, and wore an awful scowl, as they had no clue that we were going to move to Vancouver. I wasn’t hungry so I excused myself and went back into my tissue-filled room. I didn’t sleep that night. Or any nights after that. Those were my first reactions to 365 days ago.

The days passed, Cole and Cate got told, and everyone was mad and upset. It eventually became time to go back to school. I was dreading going to school, as a child dreads getting shots. The day finally came when I had to walk into the classroom while thinking, ‘I’m never going to see these people ever again.’ I sat down at my desk and burst out into tears. Nobody except three people (and my teacher) knew so everyone was worried. My teacher told the class and I burst into tears once more. I didn’t want to be at school. I didn’t want to be at home. I didn’t want to be anywhere, 365 days ago.

I know that Vancouver is only a short ferry ride away, but I made friendships with amazing people that I never wanted to end. I don’t know what I could do without them. I love Vancouver, and I have a few friends there, but leaving my best friend, and all my other friends, would have felt like a a part of me was left behind in Victoria, 365 days ago.

(P.S, you may not know that eventually my parents did change their mind and we stayed in Victoria. I had never felt as much happiness as I felt on that day. The moral to this story, is to never give up in what you think is right. It worked for me, anyway!:) )

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!

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