Category Archives: Student-Writing

Early Christmas Miracle

by Sunayana, Period 7


My family and I stayed at Yosemite National Park for the past few days embracing the mountains, the freezing weather, and nature. It was an experience that I would never forget. Now it was time to say farewell. Everyone was crammed in the car ready for the long drive back down the mountains. I glimpse outside and notice the wind blowing on the trees making them lean to one side. It was another chilly day in California. My dad turned up the heat allowing the warmth to radiate towards the back of the car. The drive was 6 hours so taking a nap was a necessity no doubt. I placed my head on the window and drifted off to sleep.


I awoke to my brother pushing me. I groaned, not ready to wake up, and then retaliated by hitting him on the hand but that didn’t stop my brother. He continued to shove me until I was wide awake. I glared at him but he disregarded me looking outside instead.


“LOOK! SNOW!!!” my brother screamed as he pointed towards the window.


I gaze outside to see snow falling soundlessly. Snow coated the trees as if it was a jacket. Blankets of white covered the rocks and grass leaving nothing of any other color. It was beautiful. The car screeched to a stop next to a cabin which also had snow glistening on it’s roof. As I opened the door the cold gushed in. I ran out the car and twirled around in the snow. My fingers started to feel numb and my nose and cheeks began to turn red, but I didn’t care.


I reached my hand out and the snowflake fell upon it.

It was stunning.

It was an early Christmas miracle.



Go Pats


My dad moved to Boston when he was 17 and got into football very quickly. He is now near 50 years old and has been following the Patriots with a passion for more years than I’ve been alive. He passed this same love down to me.  So, my love for the NFL team, the New England Patriots, is very very deep. VERY deep. I always wear Pats shirts, read about the team, and of course talk trash with my good friends. This trash talk and fire for the team was especially prevalent since we were playing in Super Bowl 51.

“If the Patriots don’t win this game I’m going to cry” I said to my good friend Kris who is a huge giants fan.

“Well Tom Brady is old and going to play like crap, you guys are going to lose.”

“We are totally  going to win this game, we have the better team by far.”

“The Falcon’s offense is too good, Matt Ryan is MVP.”

After this bit of trash talk, I came up with an idea. An awful idea. The Grinch, I mean uh myself, had a wonderful, awful idea.

I thought of a good bet to make with Kris to get him into a Pats jersey, one of my life goals.

“You know what Kris, if the Patriots win this game then you have wear my patriots shirt all day and tell me the Patriots are the best  franchise ever. But if the Falcons win, then I have to wear a Giants jersey and say the Patriots are cheaters.”

“Ok deal, but tell me what size shirt your wear in advance.”

Then came judgement day. For the first half of the game,I really thought I would be wearing that Giants jersey. However, you can never ever count out Tom Brady. One 25 point comeback later, and I asked Kris which shirt he likes more. He said the Patriots are still crap, but I got a hilarious moment out of it it.



Black Eye


It was my first winter season. I, along with the rest of the guard, were excited to be able to perform our show for the very first time in front of our peers. It was my first premiere and I felt the rush of adrenaline flow from my feet all the way through my fingertips the minute we stepped off the bus.

We began with some warming up outside before entering the gym of a forgotten campus. I counted in my head, careful not to disrupt the others, but also focused enough to make sure I was where I needed to be. I followed the step sequence, moved to the clapping, and prepared myself for the most dreaded part of the show: the toss. I was an inexperienced freshman, a novice, who still wasn’t used to throwing a 6 foot pole over my head in the middle of the night, especially since winter competitions occur inside. But I also wasn’t a quitter. I knew I would be better off getting hit on the head rather than completely skipping one of the highlights of the segment. And who knows? Maybe if I used enough power, I’d catch it as if it were a feather, falling straight into my hands.


A gust of powerful wind aided me in lifting the pole high into the air, sending it right above my head. I needed to catch this, even if it wasn’t a strong catch. We needed to move on, and I didn’t want to be the reason why we couldn’t. I lifted my head high, looking for anything to grab, hoping nothing would hit the ground. Well, nothing hit the ground, but something did hit my face.

The glistening metal of the pole headed straight for my nose, and in that moment, I knew I was screwed. I closed my eyes and the tension I felt was gone. Then it slammed into the bridge of my nose and I started bleeding. It wasn’t as bad as I anticipated, but the recovery was ugly. It left me with two swollen eyes that had purple bags underneath them.

From then on, I vowed to move as far away as possible if I knew I wasn’t going to catch what I wanted to catch, even if it meant restarting and going back to the beginning.


The Florida Keys

IMG_0008e       The Florida keys are some of the most biologically unique places in the world. This small stretch of islands is abundant with colorful aquatic life and even its own species of deer. Key deer grow to be almost half the size of a normal deer when fully grown and are a protected species due to their miniscule numbers. A little known fact about the Florida keys is that in 1982, there was a faux secession from the United States by the Keys, they became the Conch Republic, and are “recognized” as a micro-nation to this day.

My family and I have visited the Keys a couple of times and always have a blast. While many people go to Key West and visit the streets those land lubbers are missing out on the types of activities my family partakes in most. Me and my family water ski, tube, and fish. On top of that, we also have a lot of our fun under the water, my father, mother, sister, and I are all avid scuba divers and do so quiet often. I look forward to the vacation I’m soon to be going on. Seafood stomach-ache, here I come.


East and Southeast Asian foods they don’t tell you about

When visiting a country as a foreigner, many trip advisory websites, videos and blogs will suggest the best places to get pho in Vietnam (usually in little food stalls found on the streets) or 5 star restaurants that serve Japanese Kobe beef. (Do not eat Kobe beef from street vendors.) Of course, all of this is a part of the experience. When traveling, you want to see the best and most authentic foods a country has to offer. However, many foods are overlooked in these suggestions, simply because….well, they’re kinda unappetizing, whether it be by their looks, smell, taste or even all of them combined. I have made a short list of East and Southeast Asian foods that need a little more love despite their weird complex.

1. Stuffed Bitter melon soup/ Canh Kho Qua 

Image result for canh kho qua

Unsurprisingly, Bitter melon soup is bitter. The bitterness comes from the tropical gourd fruit itself. I find it to be an acquired taste, much like coffee or some types of cheeses. The fruit is usually stuffed with a type of seasoned meat, to make it more bearable I guess. This dish is really common in most Vietnamese households. You either love this soup or hate it, I actually really enjoy this soup. The bitterness isn’t overwhelming for me and the soft texture is not bad. I’ve also seen bitter melon fried with eggs or cut up and put into soup with plain baby shrimps.


2. Durian


Durian is the combination atrocity I hinted at in the intro. Durian is also a tropical fruit and it’s dubbed as the “King of fruits” in many Southeast Asian countries. (Vietnam, the Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia to name a few.) Not only does this fruit look unappetizing by it’s spiky exterior and slimy consistency, the pungent smell can be described as a skunky rotten garlic milk  and depending on who you ask, it either tastes like a sweet, creamy custard fruit or roadkill on a hot day. I personally agree with the latter description. Growing up in the good ole U.S. of A, I still came across this fruit on a daily basis. I’ve seen it in cake fillings, boba tea and even in innocent ice cream! In all honesty, the taste is OK at best, it’s sweet, creamy and has an original taste.  I can see why some people enjoy this fruit. However, the smell really is awful and I find that there is a slight connection between the smell and taste. Overall,I still encourage anyone reading this to try it, Durian really is an original taste you can’t find anywhere else. You can buy this fruit in the States, it’s probably seasonal but you can always check at your local oriental supermarkets.

3. Balut


Balut is basically a boiled duck embryo that is still in the shell. It’s common across many Southeast Asian countries.This delicacy is usually eaten with salt and pepper. A lot of people get queasy thinking about eating a baby duck but it’s no different than eating a hard boiled egg or a grown duck. I’ve had this a lot growing up but I never ate the embryo until a year ago; I always favored the hard yolk. (I hope I used that semicolon correctly.) The taste itself was forgettable, it was raw and a little salty. On the other hand, the texture is EXACTLY how you would imagine it.

4. Pig blood curd

Yum did someone say congealed blood cubes. Pig blood curd can be described as tofu’s blood cousin. (Get it ha.) The texture of blood curd is almost exactly like tofu, it’s super soft and sort of disintegrates in your mouth. The taste isn’t very strong, it’s a very benign blood taste that goes as quickly as it comes. This delicacy can be eaten with a lot of things.In China, it is eaten with congee (rice porridge) and in Vietnam, you can find these cubes in bun bo hue. (pictured above) I have to admit that pig blood isn’t strictly an Asian delicacy. Black sausage is a common breakfast food in England and it’s made from pig’s blood mixed with oatmeal.

5. Duck blood soup



I sense a reoccurring theme. Duck blood soup is fresh duck blood mixed with fish sauce, peanuts and various (cooked) body parts of the duck. Yes, people actually eat this. It’s more of a “party” food than something you eat for dinner. I have a memory of when I was younger where my friend’s dad took us to a live poultry place on Orange Blossom Trail and bought two live ducks. He requested for the duck’s blood to be drained in a Tupperware container and the guys working there did just that. I can still see their reactions when my friend’s dad decided to try the soup for flavor. I haven’t had this dish in years but from what I remember, it was just another barely thick and lightly salted soup.

We’re done here for now, I hope you guys learned something from this post and hopefully are willing to try some of these dishes if you encounter them in the future. 🙂

Marilyn Nguyen. 3/30/2016


















One Piece

One Piece is my favorite anime. It has lasted for seventeen years! That’s crazy most anime don’t make it that long and it has about seven hundred episodes.

One Piece is about a guy name Luffy D. Monkey, when he was young he ate the Gum-Gum Fruit, which basically turns his whole body into a rubber type. He has the traits of rubber, he is immune to electricity, and he can extend he body or even shrink his body. Since Luffy ate a devils fruit (Gum- Gum Fruit) he can never swim. That is the problem with devils fruits, you can become incredibly strong, but if you fall into the ocean you are dead unless someone saves you. The show is about  Luffy’s goal coming into a reality, which is to become The King of Pirates and to acquire the greatest treasure ever known, One Piece.

Crew Mates and Character Description:

Luffy has eight crew mates, Zoro, Robin, Chopper, Franky, Sanji, Nami, Usopp and, Brook.

  • Zoro is a guy that uses a three sword fighting style. He himself he strong, but he’s lazy and likes to drink a lot. He is very loyal to his friends and if anyone hurts his friends he will harm them back. Though he acts like he doesn’t, he really does.
  • Robin also has eaten a devils fruit called the Flower- Flower Fruit which allows her to sprout any of her own body parts anywhere as long as she can see. For example, she can choke someone by viewing that persons neck and bam extra hands pop out where she saw and strangles that person. She is also an archeologist and incredibly smart. His dream is to become the best swordsman in the entire world.
  • Chopper is another devils fruit eater he ate the fruit called Human – Human Fruit. He was born a reindeer, but he ate the human – human fruit which allowed to speak and turn into some form of a human. He’s the crew doctor and was trained by one of the best doctors in the One Piece world. He is so cute and when push comes to shove he will protect his friends at any cost.
  • Franky was born human, but something happened (not going to spoil it) that he had to change into a human/robot type thing. He likes everyone else is strong and has hidden guns and missiles in his robot body. His robot body is powered by soda and can hold up to three cans of soda. He may seem rude, but he is really soft and kind. He would never harm someone unless they deserved it. He also is the ship wright of the crew and even made the Thousand Sunny which is the Straw Hat Pirates boat. Frank’s wish is to make sure the Thousand Sunny gets to travel the whole Grand Line.
  • Sanji would never ever hurt a lady even if it kills him and that is his weakness. He is really strong and fights using his legs and feet not his hands. He is the ships chef and makes amazing food. He always tries to improve his own cooking and fighting skills. He will fall in love with any girl he meets,but he looks so creepy in doing so. His dream is to go to mythical All Blue, which is said to have every fish in their world.
  • Nami is the navigator for the crew and is incredibly skilled in navigation. She fights with weather and its really cool seeing her fight because she fights differently from everyone else. Name in the beginning seemed horrible, but it was all for her home village. Her dream is to draw a map of the entire world.
  • Usopp is personally my least favorite character in the Straw Hat Pirates. To me he is very useless and the weakest one in their crew. Usopp is the sniper for his crew and is  skilled at aiming and shooting.
  • Brook is another devils fruit eater, he ate the Revive – Revive Fruit. The revive – revive fruit brings him back to life once he dies and he is able to take his soul out of his body. He is also able to make hallucinations using his devils fruit power. Since he’s just bones he’s able to run through water and only needs to drink milk or consume calcium to heal.He is the musician of the pirate crew and plays any instrument as far as I can tell. His dream is to go back to his pet whale and play him his favorite song one more time.

I highly recommend watching this anime. It has everything from laughing to crying and even screaming. This show will definitely give you mix emotions about every character and enemy. I thought I wouldn’t like this anime, but I continued watching and I was hooked on it. The first episodes have bad graphics because it was made in 1999, but as time goes by the graphics get better. If you have seen it please write in the comments below if I missed anything or got anything wrong, thanks!


Pi Day and the Significance of Math

Pi day, a day to celebrate the irrational number and of general mathematics. Many people would eat pie, others would be a part of a pi competition and others wouldn’t do anything at all. With this in mind, I wondered to myself, what will I do for You day? My conclusion to this would be that I will reflect on math and how we use it in a daily basis. Also, I would wonder about Pi and why it has a day to itself.

Pi day reminded me of my use and other persons use of math on a day-to-day basis. For me, I used trigonometric functions for my pre-calc class, but I most likely would not use it on a daily basis when it is summer vacation. There are also other students who use statistics, algebra and geometry within their respective math class. Of those three, algebra would most likely be used on a daily basis since you will be able to make basic  averages and find the area, or surface area of a simplistic two-dimensional or three-dimensional object. With this in mind though, basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division would be the most widely used form of mathematics on a day to day basis for prices on food, how much money you will have left after buying an item, how much everyone should get form an item, and for how much of an item you will need for a certain amount of people.

Pi, the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. It can used to calculate practically anything related to circles, spheres and trigonometric functions. The problem with this is that for the unit circle, there are 2π radians, a confusing choice to describe the number of radians within a circle. That is why there is another circle constant, tau. Tau is just double Pi, so we would be able to describe the circle as having tau radians. Tau could also have its own day on 6/28, so why do people still use pi? I think it is based off of the fact that π has history to it while tau is a recent proposal. So this is what Pi day is about, a historical constant to show the importance of mathematics in our day-to-day lives.




This photo represents how I think school should be, where everyone can live stress free and happy.


Hello to everyone reading this! This slice of life post is about my opinion on school.

School is somewhere to learn and practice new subjects. Then after each lesson taught there should be a quiz/test. After the whole school year there should be an exam to test what you learned throughout the course. That is why I think school was created.

Then it gets complicated and isnt as simple as before. Now we have AP , IB, and Honors classes. These classes are to help us prepare for college. But the problem is the students and teachers. Will students undertsand these subjects quickly? Will the teachers teach it properly and make sure everyone understands? No this isn’t the situation all the time. Students don’t pick up lessons so easily. A lesson will be harder than another. Teachers will not always teach properly and make sure eveyone understands the lesson.

The schools’ cirriculums today are not really teaching us. They prepare us for a final test. Teachers want to make sure all the kids know are what will be on the test. Nothing more should be taught other than that. Luckily I have been blessed with amazing teachers who do love what they do and teach above and beyond what is expected of them. Those same teahers made sure I was fully understanding the lesson if they noticed I was falling behind. If they saw I understood a lesson then they would give me extra problems to enhance my skills.

Unfortunately I have had some bad teachers too. Those teachers didn’t teach above and beyond. They made sure all we knew was what will be on the final test. Also the classes I had these teachers in, I was failing. It was because the teacher didnt care/love what they do and didnt want to help the students who fell Behind in the class.

Also students need to put in their effort too. Students need to get extra help or find other resources.

I think the school system could be better. With teachers who actually care about what they do and students who actually care about their grades, the school enviornment would be way better and less stressful.

Slice of Life-Disney

I am going to write about Disney seeing as I go very often. Disney is the happiest place on Earth is what everyone says and it truly is. I have been thinking about why I love Disney compared to other theme parks I have been to or know about. Here is why, it is a magical place. Every time I go, I feel like there is butterflies in my stomach. I never get tired of Disney because they have so much to offer. They have from Flower and Garden festival at Epcot in Spring to Frozen summer at Hollywood Studios to Food and Wine festival (minus the wine, I only go for the food and concerts series) at Epcot.

There is so much to do! Even without those events, you can still go on a variety of rides at Magic Kingdom to visiting and learning about the world at Epcot to learning the backstage life at Hollywood studios to learning about and having interactions with animals at Animal Kingdom. There is so much to  do just at the theme parks alone.

Then there are the two water parks- Typhoon Lagoon (currently closed until March) and Blizzard Beach (currently open). Both water parks are so unique and fun in their own way. If you want a more relaxed family feel, go to Typhoon Lagoon but if you want more water slides and thrill go to Blizzard Beach. To add onto more fun things to do, there is Disney Springs which has a movie theater, Disney Quest (this will be closing this year so hurry up if you haven’t been!), Cirque Du Soleil, and many shops to go and look around in.

Even though most of these things aren’t free, there is also  a lot to do for free at the Disney World resort. You can take a trip on the monorails for fun and look around in the lobbies of hotels. You can even get a free lei form the Hawaiian themed hotel located near Magic Kingdom.

There is just so much to do and that is one reason why I love Disney. The other reason is they never let you lose the magic of entering and having a special day at the parks. I may just go to see one concert during Food and Wine festival or I may go for a couple of hours to one of the parks for fun. Whatever it is, I always feel fulfilled at the end of the day just because of how the cast members treat everyone, they always want to make your visit one of the best days you have every had.

Also just entering the park is fun because when I enter the parking lot, the people at the pay booth are always so sweet and the people guiding traffic into parking spaces dance or do something silly. When you actually enter the park it is like you are taken into a whole other universe of fun and happiness.

This is why I like Disney the most, they go out of their way to make sure there is a lot to do and that every visit is perfect. Thanks you Disney for making everything a bit more magical.

iPad Pro VS. Microsoft Surface Pro 3

September 9th, 2015; The iPad Pro is unveiled and shown off to the world. As I looked on, one thought kept circling around. “Can’t the Surface do that?” Like Apple’s business investors, I was mostly not impressed by the iPad Pro. That’s not to say that there were some cool and technologically interesting features, it’s just that this didn’t feel new or innovative, like Apple usually is.

Touching upon those new features I mentioned earlier, the iPad Air does have a lot of cool ones. It is fast and powerful, runs the new iOS 9, adds in the Touch ID button, and the ability to run 2 different apps side-by-side. Surprisingly, it still retains the 10 hour battery life of previous iPads and still uses a Retina display, albeit much bigger than before. For the first time, it also comes with a keyboard.

However, there’s another device that is very much like that. That device would be the Surface Pro 3, Microsoft’s tablet offering.  Since it is, in a technical sense, a “computer”, it is able to run Windows 7, 8, and 10. Because of this, the iPad Pro just seems like a ripoff of the Surface. The ability to run 2 different apps at the same time on iOS 9 is rather weak in comparison to being able to open several Chrome tabs, a calculator, a word processor, a spreadsheet maker, and a digital distribution app on Windows 7, 8, or 10. It has been claimed that it can run for 9 hours. It has a screen that is just as big as the iPad Pro’s screen. It can accept USB drives, SD Cards, and has a kickstand built into the device to boot. However, the real kicker here is the price.

The cheapest model of iPad Pro is priced at $799 for the 32 GB memory model. The cheapest model of the Surface Pro 3 is also $799 but has 64 GB of storage memory.

In conclusion, I’d strongly recommend the Surface Pro 3. It’s an iPad Pro. But with USB slots.