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By Abby Peloquin, VI Form
Patriotism Is My Life and Flag: I Support the Troops
Patriotism, to me, is far more than saying “I am an American” or putting a flag on your front porch. To be a patriot is to understand the past and present of this country, both good and bad. It is learning the history of our nation, from the pilgrims to George Washington to WWII, and accepting that even the greatest countries have their faults. It is seeing a veteran in Walmart and, although you’ve never met them, saying thank you. Patriotism is putting your hand on your heart for the Pledge of Allegiance every morning at 8am, even when you don’t quite understand the words yet. Being a patriot is a lifelong journey, and the people who understand that more than most are the members of our armed forces. (more…)
By Steven Li, VI Form
To the 2017 Graduates of Elite High Schools
For seniors, graduation is approaching us faster than we think. In addition to celebrating the payoff of our hard work, our departure from elite schools, particularly independent schools, also means we are about to enter the society that it has sheltered us from. This society is not very friendly and accepting. Truth be told, it has never been this divisive since the Vietnam War and never this irrational since the Red Terror. Disagreement escalates into hatred, frenziness replaces reason, and worst of all, we as a society struggle to find a common moral standard.
In such circumstance, people criticize the elites of our society, blasting them for not caring about voices of general public, being selfish in their decisions, and to sum up, causing all the social disorders from their high ground in Capitol Hill, Wall Street, and Silicon Valley. Secretary Clinton calls “Wall Street Elites” a threat to the “Main Street” for ordinary American people. And, President Trump criticizes the rigged political system since the first day of his campaign. These voices have definitely raised society’s hatred toward elites. And the US is definitely not alone in this case. Back in my hometown, Beijing, it’s impossible to get a taxi ride without hearing the driver complaining how his livelihood is ruined by selfish elites. In my second hometown, Hong Kong, tens of thousands of anti-establishment protesters set up camps on the main street of Hong Kong island, right outside my dad’s office building. Because of that, by the way, he was forced to walk 30 minutes everyday to work. Surrounded by nothing but bad news, he was somewhat reassured by losing some weight. All in all, there are different causes behind these people’s discontent, but the common ground is that they attribute the wrongs of our society to the failure of elite leadership. (more…)
By Grace Gorman, VI Form
Facing the Big Bad Wolf
My mom has always described me as “fearless.” To some extent, when she recounts my fearlessness, she is referring to my willingness to try new, courageous things. However, I also possess another kind of fearlessness – the determination to face whatever comes with strength and bravery. The way she retells it, she first recognized my fearlessness during a family trip to Busch Gardens amusement park.
That day, I was unable to go on many rides with my siblings because I was too small. However, this all changed when we arrived at The Big Bad Wolf. This ride was notorious for being the fastest and most thrilling at the park, and no matter how much my mom tried to convince me that I should not go on it, I was determined. Despite measuring tall enough to ride, right before stepping into the suspended seat, my stomach dropped, filling with fear and uncertainty. Nevertheless, I proceeded and, with my mom sitting next to me, we climbed the long, steep track. As we were hurled through the air, my mom screamed, “Gracie, are you okay?” I joyfully hollered back, “I want to do this again!”
From that moment on, I have been considered the most adventurous child of my family. At four years old I gleefully jumped off the high diving board at a local pool, at eight years old I began riding horses, and last year I snorkeled in the middle of the ocean, where I swam right next to a Barracuda and touched stingrays. While my mom might use these examples to describe my fearlessness, these are not the moments during which I consider myself to have been the most fearless. My most fearless times were after my sister died. (more…)
By Lexi Schumaker, VI Form
The Thin Blue Line of Family
“Cops in the U.S – especially in Texas – are savage animals that will shoot you whenever they please. Now in Dallas is payback time, pigs.”
This tweet, shared to me by a classmate, is what I woke up to the morning after the Dallas shooting. I read it repeatedly until tears swelled up my eyes. I could not comprehend the fact that someone would want my father, a brave cop whom I look up to, dead. I called my father immediately and asked him what I should do and how I should feel. He simply told me to ignore these kinds of comments because not many people view the police force the way my family does. If it does not bother him, it should not bother me either. So, why did it? (more…)
By Charlotte Wood, V Form
A Novel of Reaction: Larsen’t Passing
W.E.B. Dubois wrote that “all Art is propaganda and ever must be…” He thought that artists and writers should try to make the world a better place through their work. Nella Larsen, the author of Passing, would not agree. Her novel centers on two light-skinned black women, Clare Kendry and Irene Redfield, and their respective decisions to pass as white or not. I believe she wrote this novel not to persuade the reader of something or to convince them to enact change, but rather to reflect the world how she sees it. The book is a reaction to society, not something for society to react to. Passing itself is portrayed as something that simply is, not wholly good or wholly bad. Both characters participate in it, and so the reader is not meant to side with one over the other. The relative passivity of its message is reflected in the passivity of its main character, Irene. Because she is not active, the intention of the novel is not active. Lastly, the ambiguity of the ending leaves the reader, like Irene, with more questions than answers. (more…)
By Gabriel Xu, V Form
Make Peace With the Day to Enjoy the Evening: Remains of the Day
There’s an old Chinese idiom that roughly translates to, “The person on the spot is baffled, the onlooker sees clearly”. Surely, this applies to the case of Mr. Stevens. As the aged butler in Remains of the Day travels farther away from the house he has been in service of for decades, he starts to see the truth of his former employer more clearly — a truth so dark and ugly that Stevens has tried very hard to escape. Although Mr. Stevens is forced to learn the tragic truth about his former lord and consequently his own small, yet undeniable contribution as butler to the evildoing his master was conducting, the meeting with Ms. Kenton, a former housekeeper, allows him to see value in his decades of service, to make peace with his past, and eventually to move forward into a hopeful future. (more…)