All Sophomores! 5 Options…

Published on: Author: Ms. Allesandrine 74 Comments

Hello!  This one post is for ALL sophomores (B, D, & G periods).  Your response to ONE of these stories is due by NOON on Sunday, February 3.  Length = 150 words minimum.  PROOFREADING is essential; share your best work.  This requires attention to EACH WORD and EACH SENTENCE.  Your writing will be assessed on how well you develop your ideas (claims) in depth, your use of strong supporting details, and how well you proofread.

DIRECTIONS REVIEW the content of each link; maybe even LISTEN to each story.  The average length of each audio file is 3:30 minutes.  SELECT ONE story that captures your attention and WRITE a detailed response.  Begin with a strong topic sentence.  If you shift to a new topic, begin a new paragraph.  Include great details.  If you include a question you have, explain why you’re wondering about it.  DEPTH matters much more than breadth.  Go a mile DEEP

1) “Killer Kitties? Cats Kill Billions Of Creatures Every Year”

2) “In Paris, A Hunt For Those Who Dodge Dog Duties”

3) “A Single Mom’s Toughness Pays Off”

4) “Decades Later, Student Finds Teacher To Say ‘Thank You'”

5) “To Maximize Weight Loss, Eat Early in The Day, Not Late”

Remember to check back here frequently.  REVIEW the comments from Ms. A.  All students may feel free to share comments with each other.  Use the “Reply” link.  :)



74 Responses to All Sophomores! 5 Options… Comments (RSS) Comments (RSS)

  1. WRITTEN BY KATE M.: “Decades Later, Student Finds Teacher to Say ‘Thank You’” is not just a story about an ordinary teacher. It’s about a teacher that did extraordinary things for a student. It also shows how many teachers are more than someone to teach a class. I chose this article first because I was curious as to why this man came back to the school and he thanked her. This man John Cruitt’s mother died two days before Christmas and felt very alone. At his mother’s wake his teacher, Cecile Doyle, arrived to show support to the family and to John. She did that because she knew what it was like to lose a father at a very young age. At the end of class Cecile pulled John aside and was the first person to say that she was there for him and she understood exactly how he is feeling. He was comforted by his teacher and that was very important to him because he felt like someone was there to comfort him and support him. As John became a teacher he wanted to change someone’s life like she had done for him. He sent her a letter to give his respect and thanks and it was perfect timing for her to be returned with comfort. Her and her husband were having a tough time with health issues and when Cecile came home from the hospital to read Johns letter which comforted her like she did to him 54 years ago.

    This was very relatable because in elementary school I was having a hard time with my parents divorcing and I remember my 4th grade teacher asking me to eat lunch with her so we could talk about life. We became very close and when I moved we didn’t have very much communication. Last year she sent me a letter in the mail and I remember how much it meant to me to hear from her again. I felt as though I had someone that I could trust one hundred percent and I could go to her if I ever needed to. Many people have this belief that teachers are teachers and are there just to teach but these teachers like Cecile and the ones that I have had taught me that teachers are there to be supportive as well. Teachers are not just ordinary people; they’re extraordinary because they are able to teach students while also being able to be supportive of every student.

    • Kate, good job being the first person to write this time! As I read, you’re making me think about the difference between “comfort” and “support.” Of course the concepts are very similar, but there’s a subtle difference, right? Does one last longer? Is one more meaningful? I’m not sure, but I’m going to think about it!

      You mention an important detail in the fact that 54 years have transpired since Cruitt’s mother died and Mrs. Doyle offered her support. The connection you make with your own difficult time reinforces the idea that while many things may change over half a century, human kindness never falls out of fashion.

  2. The article “A single mom’s toughness pays off” is a story that all teenagers should read or even listen to. Even though that it only takes about 3 minutes to listen to it, it has a lot more meaning than that. Especially kids at HK should read this story. This is because all you hear is “We live in the middle of no where”, “Theres nothing to do” on a daily basis in our school. Even today kids were whining that they had no power when they woke and that their life is bad because of that. What they do not realize is that there are people out there that can only dream to come home to a warm house, father and mother home, a bed to sleep on, and no need to be scared. People should be thankful for what they have, and understand that some people never had what they have everyday, and that its not the small things like if you have electricity or not, or if you have a smartphone or not, its about the big things in life like, if you can live your life being yourself and being happy with who you are.

    This story also says that when you are walking through school for example. You do not know what each individual person’s life is like. You do not know if maybe his or her family is having a hard time financially so maybe they cannot afford to buy him or her new clothes. But you might still after they pass whisper to your friend that he or she wore that last week. If you find yourself doing that maybe try to talk to that person and talk to him or her. Maybe he or she wants to talk to someone about the problem they’re having but never got a chance because no one ever gave him or her a chance to talk about it. Sometimes people get too caught up in their own lives and do not realize that every single person is different, and that it is impossible to know what everyones life is like. Sometimes we just have to take a step back and be thankful for what we have and also find ways to help those that are in need of our help.

    • Michal, you’ve done a great job writing in your own genuine voice. This story inspired you to think about the importance of gratitude for what we have in our community, and to remember, of course, that such benefits are far from universal. You share a great deal of wisdom that we would do well to heed each day, especially the fact that it’s hard to know what’s happening in other people’s lives, so it’s best to be considerate rather than judgmental.

      What part of Mason’s own story is most meaningful to you? I wonder what detail you would most want to highlight for H-K students if everyone heard this story.

  3. I think the story “Killer Kitties? Cats Kill Billions Of Creatures Every Year” is both adorable and eye opening. While we think that cats are cute little pets who love snuggling and chasing laser pointers, this new study depicts them the way that nature intended for them to be: hunters. People sometimes forget that that little ball of fluff sleeping in bed with you is in the same family as lions and tigers that get their food stalking and attacking antelope in the safari. There are, according to the article, 47 million pet cats allowed to roam free outside, not including the rough, broad, estimate of 40-80 million cats without owners. There are 1.4-3.7 billion birds killed by these cats, enough to, as the article said, decrease some populations.

    I don’t think cats should be completely to blame for a decrease in population; any animal population naturally fluctuates. But I think this article makes people want to hate cats, especially bird-lovers. It makes cats look like villains to an ecosystem and a menace to birds. But I can tell you that my dog has eaten at least two birds, that we know of, and at least one squirrel. He’s not a cat, but he’s as much responsible for any destruction to a bird population as any cat who doesn’t know any better and is just doing what their nature is telling them to do.

    • Hi, Cristina. Once again, this is an example of the writer’s genuine voice. If I didn’t know that this was your work, you definitely would have been in my top three guesses! You make an important point about the heritage of the house cat, reminding us that when they roam in the backyard, their natural instinct for hunting is likely to take hold. Good job using important details from the story in your response. You also make a relevant comparison to your own dog’s behavior, making me wonder whether research has been conducted as to how pet dogs also contribute to what is happening to bird populations.

  4. My response to this article is that there really are many cats that are killing many animals. It’s a matter of the life. The fact that there are many cats, whether they are pets or strays; you can’t make them stop killing their prey. I know that cats and birds don’t mix well together because of the type of animal they are, but it’s hard to get a cat to not kill what they are seeking for. Yes, there was a lot of searching and calculating but in the end it doesn’t really matter about the number of cats there are or how many cats kill other species. It’s a fact of life and you can’t change it because then the cycle will be off. Cats are not the only ones killing these species. Also, wind turbines can interfere with the birds and care collisions too. Sure you can do all the calculations but all in all you really are just doing it for factual information.

    • Hi, Brittanni. You raise an interesting point about the natural inevitability of cats killing birds. One species will always be prey to another. However, now you’ve also got me thinking about the purpose behind the story itself. Perhaps the writer and researchers are hoping that pet owners will modify their own behavior and keep cats indoors more often. Do you think that this change in behavior would be more helpful to the birds or more frustrating for the cats?

      • I think that the change in behavior would benefit the birds because the population would start to increase. It may upset the cats a bit but it helps to benefit nature and nature is loved by most human beings. By keeping the cats inside and making them house cats, since they are household animals, would benefit the birds in many ways. I’m sure it would be frustrating for the cats because they can’t be outside exploring the wondrous world but it’s very beneficial to these animals. The statics showing the population of birds would slowly increase but in the end it would be better than having very few birds.

  5. I chose the story “Decades Later, Student Finds Teacher to Say ‘Thank You’”. This was a very touching story to me. This story is mainly about how an 11 year old boy, named John Cruitt was going through a hard time in his family. His mother was very ill and she did not have much time left. Two days before Christmas, John’s mother passed away. Not many kids at 11 years old know what death is, so many of John’s friends in school probably didn’t know anything about what he was going through. However, someone who did know what he was going through was his teacher, Mrs. Doyle. Mrs. Doyle’s father had passed away when she was 11 years old also. So when John returned to school, Mrs. Cruitt told him that she knew exactly what he was going through and that everything will be ok. This article is showing that teachers aren’t just there to assign work for you or give you instructions on what to do in class, it shows that teachers care about students feelings and want to show as much support as they can. In this case, Mrs. Doyle is showing John that he is not the only one that this has happened to and that others have been through exactly what he is going through.

    I can relate to this story in a very similar way. When I was in third grade, so about that same age as John, I experienced my first time going through a family member’s death. My grandmother was diagnosed with cancer. I didn’t know what cancer was because I was too young to understand, so I just thought that she was sick. My grandmother lived in New Jersey just like John and Mrs. Doyle did. In third grade, I was really sad one day, so my teacher Mrs. Walton asked me what was wrong, so I told her about my grandmother and how she was sick. Mrs. Walton would check in on how my grandma was doing a couple times a week. Then one day, my parents called me into the room and told me that “Granny has passed away.” The day I went back to school, I told Mrs. Walton what had happened and she talked to me and comforted me and told me that everything will be alright. Just like in the article, Mrs. Doyle did the same thing with John. Mrs. Walton was my Mrs. Doyle.

    • Well done, Emma. You develop your ideas in an organized way and use important details to support your main points. I’m glad that this story has made such an impression on you. Wouldn’t it be great to know for sure that every young child has a “Mrs. Doyle” to offer compassion?

      You write really nicely about your own time of sadness when you were in third grade. The parallels with John Cruitt’s story are clear. I’m grateful that you had Mrs. Walton. Have you ever thought of getting in touch with her?

  6. I chose the story “Decades Later, Student Finds Teacher to Say ‘Thank You’”. I found this story to be very heartfelt. Although I have not lost anyone close to me, I felt saddened but happy at the same time after listening to this story. I felt bad for John Cruitt because of his loss of his mother so young but I felt happy that his teacher, Cecile Doyle, could have such an impact on him to make him feel like life would be okay soon, which to me, it seemed like it was. Since John was so young for such a terrible thing to happen, I understand why he would think life would never be okay, which most people believe is true. I’m glad that Mrs. Doyle could help him in a time of need because someone so young most likely wouldn’t have anyone that understands what he’s going through, and the ones who could understand (adults), an eleven year old wouldn’t want to talk to them about something like this. Most of his friends haven’t lost someone yet at the age of eleven so he would have no one to talk to and understand him. If I lost my mother so young, and even at this age, I would be lost and feel alone since my friends wouldn’t be able to understand what I was going through. I would hope to have someone like Mrs. Doyle to talk to, to show that someone understands and could give me hope soon.

    I was glad that John wrote to Mrs. Doyle and tried his best to find her to thank her for how much she helped him. I was also glad that he could give back to her in her time of need because of her husband’s illness. It was giving back, which I believe people should do to be a good person. I wonder if John Cruitt gave Mrs. Doyle as much as hope as she gave him. As she said, she was “overwhelmed” by the letter and it was at the perfect time because of her and her husband’s hard time. I would like to know this answer because it would mean that the last statement in the story, “I’m just glad that we made a difference in each other’s life” was true, which would mean a lot to both of them. I found this story touching and it made me glad that they could make a difference in each others’ lives and give each other hope.

    • Hi, Christina. I like how you highlight the importance of hope in this story. No doubt Mrs. Doyle feels a sense of hope similar to what she offered, and I can understand how she feels overwhelmed. Good job explaining your thoughts and including your own thoughts.

  7. The article “Decades Later, Student Finds Teacher to Say ‘Thank You’” shows that what goes around truly does come around. Most individuals would relate to this as karma; natures naturally way of praising people for their generosity or punishing them for their cruelty. As it turns out Mrs. Doyle experienced the lighter spectrum of karma through her ex-student, John Cruitt. When John Cruitt was in the third grade his mother was deathly ill with multiple sclerosis. Unfortunately, only days before Christmas John’s mother succumbed to her disease. John, feeling
    confused and most importantly alone, only wanted someone to validate his emotions and to tell him that eventually his predicament was going to get better. Though one would like to believe that one’s family would be the one to offer John the support he needed it wasn’t so. The one who offered John the support and words he needed to hear, was none other than his third grade teacher, Mrs. Doyle. As time went on John Cruitt couldn’t erase those kind words that his lovely teacher Mrs. Doyle had given him. Feeling obligated Cruitt then spent countless hours searching for her address to write her a thank you letter. In Cruitt’s letter he says, “I hope life has been as kind to you as you were to me. God bless you, always. With great fondness, John.” As it turns out Cruitt’s words couldn’t have reached Mrs. Doyle at a better time. During this time Mrs. Doyle’s husband had been struggling with Parkinson disease. As expected, Mrs. Doyle had been struggling with dealing with her husband’s disease and just needed something to brighten her spirits. Upon reading John’s “beautiful letter” Mrs. Doyle clearly states that John’s letter offered her the positive energy she had needed when facing her husband’s disease. Mrs. Doyle and Cruitt’s encounter of bouncing back positive energy truly shows that if you put positive energy out into the world you shall receive it back; even if it takes 54 years later to reach you.

    • Well done, Crystal. Your word choice is especially strong throughout your response, which is a hallmark of your voice in writing. Indeed, there is a great deal of “positive energy” between Cruitt and Mrs. Doyle, and it’s nice to know that such energy does not have an expiration date! Keep up the strong analysis.

  8. ” A single mothers toughness” is something that I can personally relate too. My father left my mother, my sister, and I when I was about 10 years old. It was very tough on all of us especially me because I couldn’t deal with it at that young of an age. But my mother was always someone that was very stable; no matter what happened around her she was always something that was very solid. A couple years later when everything seemed to settle down and I got to middle school I brought my mother many tears because of my bad grades during school and that’s the one thing that she always pushed me to excel in: school. She always told me school comes before anything. It wasn’t until I hit high school that this advice started to hit me more then ever. After my freshmen year I had made honors and just the joy that it brought to her was something thats indescribable. She was always someone that would defend her own morals and standings. My mother didn’t come from much, she came from a fairly poor family. She moved from Peru to the Unitied States of America when she was only 18 so that she could find better work to help support her family back home. It breaks my heart everytime she tells me that when she moved she didn’t see her family for over 10 years. She had to work very hard to provide for her family, and because of that I owe all my success to her. ” A single mothers toughness” is only the tip of the iceberg when someone can relate to this story. There are so many stories like this and all they do is it lets me be grateful that I have a mother and family that supports me and that we have a roof over our heads, something other kids are not as privelleged to have, as in the case with mason and his mom. This story is something that someone should read even if something like this in the article didn’t happen because so many things can be applied such as: being grateful, enjoy the time you have with that person, or be happy in general.

    • Fernando, what a powerful personal connection you’ve made to this story! It’s important to be brave when you write, and you’ve provided a strong example of bravery here. I’m glad you could write about the strong bond you share with your mother. Her own courage to make a life for herself and her family here in the US is impressive.

      Consider which details in this story offer the strongest parallels to your own story? And how might you go far below “the tip of the iceberg” to explain these parallels? Indeed, this story encourages us to be happy. Which part makes this point most clearly? Remember to support your claims!

  9. I chose the story “Decades Later, Student Finds Teacher to Say ‘Thank You’”. This story was very touching to me. I have lost many people in my life. In 2012, three members of my family passed away. This story is about an 11 year old boy named John Cruitt. Cruitt’s mother was very ill with multiple sclerosis and passed away two days before Christmas when he was in 3rd grade. After his mother’s death, his teacher, Mrs. Doyle reassured him that everything was going to be ok. She told John that her father had passed away when she was 11 years old. This article shows that teachers are more just teachers. They are also there to help you and support you. For example, how Mrs. Doyle showed John that there are so many people going through the same thing as him and that he was going to be ok.

    54 years later, Mrs. Doyle’s husband was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. When John sent the letter he didn’t even know if it was going to Mrs. Doyle. When she received the letter, she said it couldn’t have come at a better time and that John’s letter brightened her spirits. The story was very touching that even someone you haven’t talked to in 54 years, can give you so much hope and make a really positive impact on someone’s life.

    • Hi, Amber. Good job using several important details from the story. Doctors and scientists have made a great deal of progress in treating MS in the last 54 years, but it is still a disease that affects far too many people.

      Your statement about how teachers are there to help and support students is important, and you support your point well with the example of Mrs. Doyle. Keep on using “For example” to support your ideas (claims).

  10. I chose the story “Decades Later, Student Finds Teacher to Say ‘Thank you’” because this story was very sincere, and in other ways, very inspiring. John Cruitt was just a young boy when his mother passed away, just days before Christmas, from being very ill. No one understood what he felt at that time except for one specific person, who was Mrs. Doyle, John’s third-grade teacher. Mrs. Doyle experienced her father dying at age 11 so she had a feel to what was going on. So, she helped John recover and be strong through his time of sadness and loneliness. John really appreciated it as he got older and wanted to acknowledge her about it. I was questioning about why did John wait about 50 years to track her down and tell her thank you? He tried tracking her down, but did he try hard enough? He even states, “And I started to think to myself, here I am, with a memory of a teacher who changed my life, and I’ve never told her that”. When he became a teacher, he was reminded each day, more and more about Mrs. Doyle being this astonishing woman who helped him through his sorrows. Yet, he never wrote to her until he was 62.

    I think the most touching part in this story, is towards the ending. After John had sent his letter, it made Mrs. Doyle overwhelmed but in a good way. Mrs. Doyle showed John that even though terrible things happen in life, there are people all around us that can help. For example, Mrs. Doyle came to John’s mother’s funeral. I thought this was odd at first. The thought of one of my teachers coming to one of my family member’s funeral would be awkward for me. But then I realized that she only went because she wanted to assure John that she wasn’t just his teacher, but a friend who understands. She also showed that teachers aren’t just people who teach you, but to guide you and help with your struggles. And maybe just to make you feel better if you’re down. Doyle pulled John over after a class one day and told him she was there for him if he needed her. She explained to him that she understood what he was going through and feeling. It made John feel better and assured himself that everything was going to be OK. I like how John was comfortable with letting Doyle in. I know, from past experiences, that people who have lost someone very close or important in their life don’t tend to let people in. They just want to shut people out for a while and grasp the fact that this person is really gone. The fact that John Cruitt let Mrs. Doyle in, probably helped with his healing.

    • Hi, Julia. “Sincere” and “inspiring” are great words to describe this story. I share your curiosity about why Cruitt waited so many years to contact Mrs. Doyle, however, I understand how such a lengthy delay can happen. So often our good intentions don’t translate into action, and before we know it, years, even decades, have passed.

      Your comment about how teachers can “guide you and help with your struggles” is nice and very relevant to your analysis of this story. Cruitt was able to make this same observation because he accepted Mrs. Doyle’s kindness. Clearly she had an important effect on him, and it’s wonderful that he was able to repay the act of kindness.

  11. The article “Decades Later, Student Finds Teacher to Say ‘Thank you’” is a story that I most definitely identify with, much more so than the other articles that could have been chosen. It is about a man, John Cruitt, who after many years found his third grade teacher in order to thank her for lending her love and support in a time of need. His mother had passed two days prior to Christmas of ’58, and Cecile Doyle, a 3rd grade teacher offered support and a relation of her own to his situation. She provided a safe environment and shoulder for Cruitt. I relate and sympathize with this amazing story because I have had several family members pass in my lifetime and consequently I have attended many wakes and funerals. The first funeral I remember was when I was seven, in honor of a family member I was extremely close to. I remember sitting in a wooden church pew between my mother and brother, and looking overhead at the beautiful angels and biblical figures imprinted on the glass. The way that the sunlight reflected through the colored glass was breathtaking. I was frightened, and I could not imagine my life without this great influence and friend. Luckily, I had the support of my family and family friends surrounding me to get me through. They were just as sad as I, and we carried each other through. At school, I don’t think that I even mentioned it because I felt that no one would understand, which may have been false, yet unknowingly my friends were able to cheer me up just by being themselves. I also noticed that everyone’s lives were still going on, and that the world does not stop for more than a moment when terrible things happen. I knew it was okay to be sad, but that I had to remember this family member for all of the positive things, and find a way to continue with my life. Cruitt most likely had a similar experience; feelings of defeat and not knowing whether his peers would understand, care, or be of much help. He was extremely blessed to have a teacher who cared very much for not only his education but also his private life. Knowing that even just one other person understands and offers not only words but also emotions may be one of the greatest gifts we receive.

    • Hi, Jess. You explain your connection to this story with strong insight and relevant details. The key connection you explain is that both you and Cruitt received the support that enabled you to continue despite the sadness. It’s clear that yoour own memories remain fresh, and it’s likely that Cruitt’s are no less fresh, even though five decades have passed.

      Your closing sentence is especially insightful, and I couldn’t agree more!

  12. Being a wrestler on the H-K wrestling team and wrestling varsity really does teach you a lot about nutrition and healthy ways to eat. I have to say that I agree completely with the girl who is studying nutrition in Spain. What you eat is very important but when you eat it is also very important. In wrestling you want to drop down to as low as you can go (being healthy) and for me it was dropping about 10-15 pounds. The way I did this was, I had to eat about 5-6 small meals a day at a planned time. I couldn’t just eat all my lunch at 11:00 when the school gives you time to eat, I have to have a medium size breakfast, then about around 9:00 my body starts to feel hungry so I feed it, I feed it some fruit or a granola bar or something of that nature. I have learned that when you eat food is really important because your body needs to be feeding off all of the supplements that you are giving it, and if you body is not getting what it needs it will start to eat off your muscle. Which is one of the worst things that can happened to a wrestler.
    It was easy to make such a strong connection with this article because it was right down my ally. I know a lot and have learned a lot about nutrition over the past year. I completely agree with everything that this article has to say because eating at the appropriate time is just as important to what you are actually eating.

    • Bailey, you do a great job making it clear that this article is relevant to your own current habits as a wrestler. It’s interesting that you’ve been learning so much about nutrition through your participation on the wrestling team.

      What new information or idea did the article provide for you? Is there anything that you wish the article could elaborate on?

  13. The story “Decades Later, Student Finds Teacher to Say ‘Thank you’” is a very interesting and moving story. It is about a 62 year old man, named John Cruitt who looked for his third grade teacher, Cecile Doyle. John went to Emerson School in Kearny, New Jersey when he had Doyle as an English teacher. At the time his mother passed away. This happened only a couple days before Christmas, which I think is the most tragic time something like that could happen. Decades after his mother’s death, John became a teacher and thought more and more about Mrs. Doyle. He started to think to himself that he had a great memory of a teacher who changed his life, so he finally wrote a letter to his third grade teacher to say thank you. Once Doyle received the letter, she was very happy and said “His letter, which arrived in February, could have not come at a better time”. This was because her husband was suffering with Parkinson’s disease, and later passed away in August. At the end, Cecile Doyle states, “John, what can I say – I’m just glad that we made a difference in each other’s life.”

    • Alyssa, good job including several details from the story. You note that Cruitt became a teacher. What qualities might he share with Mrs. Doyle in his interactions with students? Also, good job using important quotations from the story. Rmemeber to follow all quotations with your own analysis. Take a look at how you end your response here. What comment of your own could you include to deepen your interpretation of this story? Elaborate on what you think.

  14. As I was reading “In Paris, A Hunt For Those Who Dodge Dog Duties” I thought it seemed like a silly issue. To me it didn’t seem like the most important problem in France that someone should be reporting about. However it goes a lot deeper than just people not cleaning up after there dogs.

    This article is about how some people in Paris still won’t clean up after there dogs. They believe that because they pay taxes the street sweepers should be the ones to pick it up. Street sweepers don’t though. The dogs “remains” just sit in the street for days while people try to play hop-scotch around them. To residents of Paris most are okay with it, but to tourist it’s a disgusting and unappealing site to see.

    This issue not only shows owners not taking responsibility but also how one culture can drive others away from it. Tourist come to Paris to see its lovely site and amazing city. They certainly don’t want to step in “dog remains” while doing it. I feel that this drives many tourist away from the city because it disgust them. I for one wouldn’t want to go to this amazing city only to find I have to play doge the mine as I walk to a cafe in the morning. If they were to clean up after there dogs I believe more tourist would not only come but stay a lot longer.

    One thought I had about the future of this issue is will it change. I believe it will. French culture has changed in many aspects. For example, both French food and cinema is becoming more alike Americans which is more of a modern view to France. Like both food and cinema this tradition of letting street sweepers pick up there “dog remains“, I believe, will change eventually. It won’t be an instant change because most people will prefer to stick with traditional beliefs but sooner or later everyone will see how old this tradition is and change.

    • Conor, nice job noting how your intial response to this article grew deeper as you thought more about the issues it presents. When dog owners don’t take the responsibility to clean up after their dogs, tourism may be affected. And this could lead to a weaker economy and a diminished reputation for Paris. I like the optimistic vision you share at the end. Hopefully people in Paris will embrace new priorities!

  15. “A singles Mom’s Toughness” is a fantastic turn into the real world. As high school kids, we don’t often think about what comes after. Sure we head off to college but what does that mean? It means we are going to need money, and in this case there wasn’t any. A childhood with no lights and almost no food gives you a lot of time to think. This man took life by the reins and headed into the real world earning money. His mother was getting older and her jobs kept getting harder with little earnings, it was his time to shine and utilize what his mother has taught him. All jobs become rough at some point, but this man persevered in the face of adversity. I infer that he also was ahead of his class when it came to preperation, he had little distractions when it came to technology, and the other kids may have had trouble adjusting to the sudden changes after the borders of high school.

    At a later time in a nursing home, a frail, fragile old women lies, when her son becomes present. He explains about his promotion at work and realizes that his mom wasn’t being rough on him, just preparing him for what was yet to come. I believe as kids with many privleges and technology we dont fully understand this concept, and that it can be only up to us to make the right choice.

    • Hi, Sam. You show that you have a good understanding of this man’s personal story. Why haven’t you used his name in your response?!

      It’s interesting how you can see some positive consequences of Mason’s disadvantaged childhood. For example, you note that the lack of food and lighting forced him to adopt different priorities, which served him well as he got older. This is an interesting perspective.

      In your last sentence, you note that young people need to make “the right choice.” What choices in Mason’s life led to his success in adulthood? What choices should teenagers make today to ensure future success?

  16. I chose the story “Decades Later, Student Finds Teacher to Say ‘Thank You’”. I found this story most interesting because even after all these years John Cruitt never forgot his teacher that made him feel better, even at the worst of times. Cecile Doyle, his third grade teacher, she showed her concern and sympathy for him when he felt no one had. I can relate to this story because there are a few people in my life that have helped me through tough times, friends and family I am grateful to have. By reading this it made me realize I should thank them sooner than later. John Cruitt tells us in his story that he has to find his teacher and not knowing if he found the right Cecile Doyle, he still sent the letter. He was lucky to have found the right person but maybe if he had waited longer he would have missed his opportunity to tell her how she feels. When I thought about how he could have missed his chance, I thought maybe it was a good idea to thank the people in my life who have helped me, before it’s too late. His story was relatable for me and opened my eyes about people in my life, who are like Cecile Doyle. After reading this I am going to take the time to talk to those who were there for me and thank them because you never know the next time you will have the chance to do that.

    • Hi, Alyssa. It’s great that this true story has inspired you to express gratitude to the people in your life who have been good to you. Keep in mind, however, that it took Cruitt several decades to follow through with his intentions. Why do you think so much time passed? Is it understandable? This story leaves a lot for us to think about.

  17. The podcast about single moms was about a boy named Mason who grew up with nothing and worked hard for what he had only living with a mom because his dad had passed away when he was eleven. Mason has inspired me because children at his age didn’t have electricity problems and wouldn’t t have to get dressed In the dark. Mason worked with what he had at that moment and overcame his circumstances. At one point Mason had said that his mother even bought candles so he can somewhat see around the house when she couldn’t pay the electric bills. Even though kids made fun of him for it he worked hard to help his mom by getting small jobs to have a little extra money around. A question I have is how did Mason’s father pass away? He doesn’t explain much about it. Was Mason’s father’s death unexpected or was he dying from cancer? From what information Mason gave the listeners about his dad I can infer that they weren’t very close. If one of my family members died I would talk about them and what caused his or her death so that the listener has some background knowledge.

    • Kaitlyn, you raise an interesting topic with Mason’s father. (Note that “Mason” is the last name of the man in this story.) What information is provided about his father? Remember to use specific details!

      I’m glad this story has inspired you. What specific inspiration have you gained? Does the story offer wisdom for how to have a happier life? How to avoid an unhappy life? I wonder if the relationship between Mason and his mother is where much of the inspiration lies.

  18. I chose the article “Killer Kitties? Cats Kill Billions of Creatures Every Year” This article made me step back and think, Are there really 30-80 million stray cats in America? I live in a neighborhood where there are alot of cat owners but only a few cats are allowed to roam around in the outdoors. I never really saw this as an issue because i figured they just liked to be outside in the fresh air like most animals. But this article has shed some light on a dark spot of information that i was previously unaware of. I now know that when cats are out they are killing between 1.4 and 3.7 billion birds a year. This can be a big problem because the bird population will start to decrease if this rate of killing continues. I think that cat owners should start keeping their pet cats in sight at all times or keep them indoors since we can’t do anything about the stray cats that go hunting. I do not want to see the bird population decrease. I have a neighbor that is a bird lover and she would be devastated if birds stopped coming to her bird feders because there aran’t any left. I also know that many other people love birds in this country. Overall, this article made me realize that cats need to be stopped from killing so many birds and other mammals in America.

    • Ryan, I like how this article gave you some new ideas to think about. Go even deeper with this topic. Is it realistic to assume that people will start keeping their cats indoors more in order to preserve the bird population? This would mean a big shift in human and feline behavior, and both are creatures of habit. What are some additional solutions to this problem?

  19. “A Single Mom’s Toughness Pays Off” is a very relatable story. I know what it’s like to come from nothing and being scared of my future because I don’t have a lot. Living in my great-grandmother’s house because of financial issues is really hard. My parents try to do everything they can to support my sister and I. Everything they do is to make sure that we have a good life. It hurts seeing my stepfather being laid off and looking for jobs and my mom not being able to work.

    Hearing this story makes me understand why my mom pushes me to be the best I can. She wants me to do well in school and get good grades. That’s one of the reasons why I stopped doing cheerleading. Doing cheerleading caused my family to use a lot of money that we didn’t have. It also caused me to do poorly in school. I will do anything to make my mom proud of me and if that means giving up something I love to do better in school then I will do it. I want to be able to grow up and go to a nice college. I want to have kids and give them a life that I never had. I know that’s what my mom expects from me too. She always tells me that she’s sorry for having to put me through all of this. She never wanted me to grow up like this and now she wants me to do better so when I have a family I can support them. That’s exactly what Reginald Mason had done. He went to college and he gave himself a better life. Everything he did was because his mother gave him the strength to do it.

    • Dionna, you’ve shared a strong personal connection to this story, and I know that your classmates respect what you have written. You’ve noted parallels between your story and Mason’s, and perhaps the most important of these is how you intend to have a bright future just as he is living now. Education, as you state, is the key!

      What important details from Mason’s story show us his courage? How is his story inspiring?

  20. This article “A single Mom’s Toughness pays off” is not just a normal story it shows strength in people you would least expect. This story takes just over 2 minutes to listen to but those 2 minutes make you think of how love and hope can make you go places you would least expect.

    One question I have about this article is did the mother ever know what her son did to make money as a youth? I wonder this because he even says that his mother would “pin me down”. I wonder that if she knew would she be mad at him or would she be in some way grate full that he wanted to help in any way he could that he never wanted to go back to living off ketchup, water and black bean soup. That he never wanted them to have to eat in the dark room barely lit by cheap candles.

    People should read this story because it shows that you are lucky for what you have. If you have running water electricity and a house you should consider yourself blessed. I think this because there are many people just like this man in the article that have to work hard long days to be able to go home to a house. That people should realize how lucky they are and should appreciate it more.

    This article interests me because even if I didn’t grow up like this I understand the struggle. I have spent countless hours volunteering at soup kitchens, and homeless shelters with my church. I have cooked food to feed the hungry. I have talked and gotten to know the real person inside. This story reminds me of thes people that smile and say a sincere thank you as you give them a meal.

    • Good job, Blair. I’m glad that this story made an impression on you. What qualities best describe Mason? Is “reflective” one? Consider the benefits he gains from reflecting on his past.

      Your own volunteer work at the soup kitchen is especially relevant. To what extent is the gratitude there mutual? I imagine that you are gaining quite a lot from the experience of giving.

  21. I chose the story, “Decades Later, Student Finds Teacher to Say ‘Thank You,’” because I believe teachers should be more than just someone ranting on about school, but to really help guide students’ through life. In this case, both the student and the teacher had similar events happen to one and other. Cecile Doyle stated, “When I found out she died, I could certainly relate to that, because when I was 11, my own father died.” The story continues with Doyle helping out little John Cruitt. When John reached 62 years old, he decided he has to talk to his 3rd grade teacher. I think that this was a brilliant idea because when you’ve reached an age at which you can reflect on the past and accept certain things, it’s a good idea to revisit the old life. In my 3rd grade class at the end of the year every student dipped their hand in paint and pressed it against the wall. Some of my classmates and I have talked about going back to KES to see our handprints, but it hasn’t happened yet. This story has changed my mind, given me the drive to actually go back to see my tiny hand. Also, in advisory last year we were asked if we had a teacher we can vent to, and we are comfortable with. Many kids said they didn’t have that teacher, and if they said they had a favorite teacher, they weren’t that close with them to be able to talk to about certain topics. I love how the bond between the teacher and the student live on for many years. Also, now that Doyle is losing another loved one, Cruitt is now here for her just as she was to him. I think everybody should have a connection with a teacher like this story.

    • Dora, you recount two important experiences that relate to this story. You could head to KES (after calling to let them know you’d like to visit) most anytime to see your tiny hand and reflect on how life was when you were little. It took John Cruitt several decades to follow through with his intention… You shouldn’t wait that long!

      The discussion in your advisory group sounds interestng and important. You’re right about the need for all students to have someone in school to whom they can turn for support.

  22. The recording “A single mom’s toughness pays off” is a very touching story that many people can connect to. It is about a man named Reginald who lived in New York City going through some very tough times. His dad died when he was 11 and his mom had raised him since them. Raising an eleven year old son as a single mom is very hard to do but especially hard to be successful at it. His mom was very tough and strict on him but this was only for his own good. He had to go months without lights and get dressed in candlelight and eat simple foods. Many kids take advantage of what they have today. Many students at HK are very fortunate and do not realize it until they listen to a story like this. Every time I travel through New York city and see places like the Bronx I always think about how happy I should be to have the things I have in life because people are living lives unlike mine and struggling to make ends meet. I see sheets as their curtains and it breaks my heart that I complained about something simple as what I had for breakfast when half of these apartments don’t have air-conditioning. When I heard this story it reminded me of all the times I’ve traveled by New York City. This story has reminded me not to complain about the simple things in life because there are people going through way worse situations. It’s about being appreciative of what you have.

    This story has also made me realize not to judge people because you never know what someone is going through. This man was made fun of because his socks didn’t match but little did people know he didn’t have electricity at his house. He did whatever he had to do to make money so he could have electricity because he was sick of his mom degrading her own body. He was so desperate he started selling drugs to make the ends meet. He knew his mom would be ashamed of him but it was his last option. He ended up getting real jobs and making money to save up for college because he knew he couldn’t keep selling drugs. When he got a successful job and told his mom she was so excited and said it all paid off. What she meant was all the struggling this family went through paid off because now Reginald is going to make it in life and not go through what he once had. All the times without electricity and all the tough times didn’t matter anymore because was now successful. This story portrays hope and to never give up. This man never gave up and did whatever he had to do. He is someone to look up to because he easily could have been a drug dealer all of his life but he decided to chose the better way and go to college. College may have been the tougher choice but it paid off in the end. Reginald took “the road less traveled” and is a success story that people can look up to.

    • Marina, you refer to many important details from this story to support your claims. When Mason notes that he was teased over his socks and that he seldom had enough food to eat, we can appreciate how hard it must have been for him to go to school each day. I feel humble, too, when I listen because it’s often so easy to be frustrated by the little annoyances in life—even in the face of such abundance and security. The goal to attend college was within his reach, and his success is apparent.

  23. “To Maximize Weight Loss, Eat Early in The Day, Not Late” is the article I picked out of the five that were given to us. As I was reading through which article I wanted to pick, I knew it was this one the second I read the title. It captured my attention and curiosity which I knew if it did that, then this would be the article to read. This article is about what time in the day people should eat to maximize weight loss, and also what people should be eating to keep a consistent healthy diet. A study was shown that people, who ate earlier in the day such as eating breakfast, were more responsive to losing weight. This study consisted of around 420 individuals who were each obese. The average age for each volunteer was 42 years old and half were male, the other half female. The study concluded that earlier eaters tended to lose more weight than late eaters. The results showed an average weight loss of 22 pounds for early eaters, and an average loss of 17 pounds. To keep the trials more accurate, they had to include some constants in the study. Some of which were a similar amount of physical activity a day, and around the same amount of sleep per day. So since these factors were both constant, the scientists had to exclude them from a conclusion based statement on a reason why these overweight people were losing weight. Frank Sheer, a scientist who, “directs the Medical Chronobiology Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston”, thought it was possible that eating at different times of the day could get our “body clocks out of whack.” This suggests that by eating at different times during the day, it sends a different message to our brains which then makes our body react to eating in different ways, such as getting our bodies diet off balance. This in turn doesn’t allow peoples bodies to regulate their weight.

    I found this article extremely informational and entertaining to read. It actually made me laugh a couple of times because I actually do exactly what this article tells me not to do. I don’t eat breakfast and I don’t watch what I eat. Also, I didn’t know that there was that much information and science behind what I eat, and when I eat it. The article tells the reader not only that by eating earlier your body can regulate its weight better, but that actual scientific information and data to back it up. It’s not one of those articles where you just read it and it keeps on restating what it said in previous paragraphs. It continued to interest me and allow me to actually learn more about something rather than just telling me something that’s a very broad topic. This article went an inch wide and a mile deep in my opinion, but still seemed like it varied its topics by supporting its hypotheses. I enjoyed reading this greatly and it gave me information about something that I can actually use in my everyday life to not only benefit me, but many others.

    • Luigi, I’m glad this article caught your interest and that you were able to learn some new information. Good job noting that there is a great deal of scientific information here to support the claims the author makes. Notice that I separated your writing into two paragraphs—and notice where I made the break. Be sure to use a new paragraph when you shift topics.

      Indeed, this article goes into depth about the subject of the best times to give your body the nutrition and fuel that it needs. Good observation! Keep on reading with an observant eye.

  24. I chose the story “A Single Mom’s Toughness Pays Off.” In this story it shows how a mom’s determination shaped this child in who he is today. Without another person bringing in some sort of income the mother is left to fend for herself and her son at such a young age. This shows how fortunate we are to have power and many people take that for granted. Also it must be hard growing up without a father figure. The mother makes sure that the son goes to college and in order to do that she is very strict. The mother wants the best for her son so she pushes him to his max in order to have a different life style then that he knows of. Later when he visits his mother at the nursing home it seems that all of the hard work has paid off. The son is doing well for himself and he was able to put his mother in a retirement home. Now the son is the caretaker which makes there bond as a small family even tighter then it would any other.

    I chose the story entitled “Decades Later, Student Finds Teacher To Say ‘Thank You’”. Out of the five options I had to choose from, this one caught my eye more than the others. This story is about a teacher, Cecile Doyle, that really cared for her students, especially her third grade student from the 58-59 school year, John Cruitt. In 1958, only a few days before Christmas, Cruitt’s Mother passed away. He felt completely alone, because no one really understood what he was going through. Most likely, none of his friends have experienced pain like his before. But, his teacher, Mrs.Doyle, did understand what he was going through. She told him that she lost her father when she was 11 and that she didn’t know how she was going to make it through that, but she did. I think this reassured John, and gave him the faith to believe that everything will be okay. He wrote her a letter, stating his gratitude toward her and just thanking her, for giving him the love and hope he needed to fully live his life.

    The article I thought was most touching was “Decades Later, Student Finds Teacher To Say ‘Thank you'”. The article shows how much teachers really do influence their students. It started when John Cruitt was in 3rd grade. A couple nights before Christmas his mother passed away. To his surprise his third grade teacher, Mrs. Cecile Doyle, came to John’s mother’s funeral. Mrs. Doyle told John the next day at school that she could relate to his pain because her father had died when she was 11 years old. She was here for him to talk to but as a third grader John didn’t really understand her compassion or take it to heart. About fifty years later it struck John Cruitt that his third grade teacher really did make him feel better at the time of his mother’s death.

    What really surprised me was that John wrote a letter to Mrs. Doyle thanking her for helping him through his hard time, and that he would really take time out to thank a women who may not even remember him. This really does show how much of an impact a teacher can make on his or her students.

    I did have one question I wish I could have asked John Cruitt. My question is, aside from Mrs. Doyle helping you through your mother’s death, what other memories do you have of her from that year in 3rd grade? Do you remember any other significant acts of kindness or important lessons learned that year? I wonder in what other ways Mrs. Doyle impacted John’s life and his decision to become a teacher. I am curious as to what teachers I have had that have affected my life, and who will I remember when I am fifty years old. Or more importantly, who will remember me in fifty years?

    • Hi, Zoey. I like how your questions for Mr. Cruitt signal that you believe she helped inspire him to become a teacher. I share your belief. No doubt Mr. Cruitt has remembered her influence many times throughout the decades. Granted, most of the specific acts of kindness before and after his mother’s death may be lost to time, but the feelings surely remain. You have a marvelous spirit, Zoey, and I know that I will remember you! One moment that will stay on mind actually comes from our blog. I read something aloud that I had written here, and you said, “That’s very you. It’s very Ms. A.” And you confirmed that you meant that my writing is in my voice as you’ve come to know it. I really liked that moment! Thank you. and keep up the good work!

    The article about John Cruitt and his efforts to find his third grade teacher, Cecile Doyle, is interesting because it shows how two people who might not know each other can have such a tight bond and make such a big impact on each other’s lives. Both Cruitt and Doyle suffered from life changing events and by going to each other for support they were able to make a big impact. When Cruitt was 11 and in 3rd grade his mother passed away. His teacher, Mrs. Doyle, suffered from a similar life changing event when her father passed away when she was 11. The reason Doyle was able to comfort Cruitt is because she was the only person at the time who knew what he was feeling. I think that John most likely felt like he was alone in the world, but Mrs. Doyle was there for him, and they got through John’s hard times together. It must have felt relieving and great for John to know that he wasn’t alone in the world, and to know that there are people out there who know what it feels like to lose someone close to you when you are young.

    What makes the article more interesting is when it tells of how John was able to find Mrs. Doyle decades later and write her a letter. The letter could not have come at a better time because just a few months earlier, Doyle’s husband had died of Parkinson’s disease, and Cruitt helped his teacher, who had once helped him through his hard times, get through this rough patch in her life. In conclusion, the theme of the story is that everyone of us is going to go through tough losses in our lives, but there will always be people around us to get us through them.

    • Hi, Kyle. Good job using several important details from the story in your response. You provide a good summary. Now I want to know even more about what you think about the big ideas in this story. You conclude with your interpretation of the theme—this would be a great way to BEGIN your response!

    I have many thoughts on this article. One of them being that it goes to show how much someone’s education can impact their lives. John Cruitt, a sixty two year old man, has been trying to track down his third grade teacher for years, because he feels the need to share how greatly she impacted his life in a positive way. When he was eleven years old, his mother had passed away just before Christmas. Mrs. Doyle, his teacher, was at his mother’s wake and told him in private that she knew what he was going through and that she was there for him if he needed anything. When John became a teacher later in life, he slowly became more and more bothered by the fact that he had never told her how much she impacted his life. This tells me that a teacher can truly have such positive impacts on a child’s life.

    This reminds me of my first grade teacher Mrs. Viens. She was, to this day, the most supportive teacher I’ve ever had. When I was younger, I was extremely shy to the extent where if someone would speak to me I wouldn’t be responsive. Mrs. Viens taught me that it’s okay to speak my mind and that it’s better to be outgoing because you can achieve so much more. At that time, achieving great things meant making more things on the playground. However, now I have turned out to have a very strong personality and I am never afraid to speak my mind. To this day, I still see Mrs. Viens once and a while. She always tells me how beautiful I have become and makes sure I’m succeeding in high school. Without my teacher’s support in school, and in life, I truly believe that I wouldn’t be as comfortable with myself as I am now.

    • Hi, Haili. It’s great to know that you had your own Mrs. Doyle when you were a little kid. I don’t know Mrs. Viens, but I suspect she’d feel great knowing that you remember her so fondly. Hmm… Why note send her a note, but don’t wait fifty years to follow through!

      Good job using important details from the story to support your claim that a teacher can have a positive impact on a student’s life. Keep up the good work.

  29. In nature birds and other animals die in large amounts because of wind turbines, humans and predators. In the article “killer kitties” it tells me that birds are dying less because of wind turbines and humans and way more because of cats. There are Cats are our pets and wild cats. With all of that it’s hard to really know how many cats in the world there really is. By instinct cats hunt. In studies it shows that cats has been killing more and more birds each year! An estimate of 1.5 billion birds are killed each year just from cats.

    Not all pet cats are out side cats but a majority of pet cats are, and with that a majority of outside cats also hunt while outside. Numerous times in my life I have come home to my doorstep to see a dead bird or rabbit laying on my steps. Cats are built to hunt they’re pray but scientist believe that the amount of birds they kill a year is way over then what it should be. There could be a chance that the population of birds can drop greatly if cats stay at this rate.

    To me what cats are doing to birds is wrong. The amount of birds they kill a year is amazing. Billions of birds just killed. I hate cats already and with them killing so many birds that they could extinct them makes me of like cats anymore

    • Hi, Taylor. I’m sorry to learn that you don’t have a place for cats in your heart. Booooo!!! Cats are wonderful! But as for their widespread destruction of bird populations, I share your frustration. Do you think that cats’ instinct for hunting will be damaged if people permanently start to leave their cats indoors? (PS: Proofread carefully.)

  30. I chose the story “Decades Later, Student Finds Teacher To Say ‘Thank You’”. This story deeply saddens me and I felt bad for John Cruitt. When he was 11 his mother passed away from multiple sclerosis. At such a young age John was overwhelmed with her death. When John’s 3rd grade teacher Mrs. Doyle learned of his mother’s death she could instantly relate to how he was feeling because she had lost her own father when she was 11. Mrs. Doyle instantly reached out to John in school when she told him she was always there if he needed her and that she “knows what you’re feeling” and “what you’re missing.” Decades later John searched for his teacher so that he could finally thank her for being so kind to him when truly needed it.

    I think that Mrs. Doyle wanted to reach out to John because she understood the situation he was going through. Also she realized the importance that having someone care about you in a time like that. Mrs. Doyle was a person that John could talk to if he ever needed to. I think having that security is what impacted John the most. I know from my experience it is tough not having someone going through the same situation as me to relate. Last year when my uncle died of cancer it was difficult for me to really grasp the reality of what had happened. I wish I had had someone like Mrs. Doyle pushing for me. Fortunately, when I went through some tough times this year Ms. A acted as my Mrs. Doyle. So I understand how thankful John was to have Mrs. Doyle’s support.

    I am glad Mr. Cruitt went through the trouble to track down his 3rd grade teacher to thank her. Not only did Mrs. Doyle change John’s life, John also changed hers when she received his letter just after she returned from caring for her sick husband at the hospital. I imagine that reading his letter of gratitude put a much needed smile on her face. I think it was important for John Cruitt and Mrs. Doyle to thank each other for having an impact on each other’s lives.

    • Hi, Julia. Your paragraphs are well organized and you use strong details to support your claims. You make a good point about the “security” that John Cruitt felt with Mrs. Doyle, and it’s relevant to the two personal examples you provide.

      I like your last sentence about the importance of gratitude. What benefit do you think Cruitt has gained from being in touch with Mrs. Doyle after all these years?

  31. After listening to the article “In Paris, A Hunt For Those Who Dodge Dog Duties” I found that Paris is not as glamorous as it’s said to be. In fact the streets are rather revolting, being covered in canine feces. The reporter said that the Parisians also found it disgusting but claimed it wasn’t as bad as it has been in the past.
    After hearing about the issue in Paris I thought “ How could they just leave it sitting on the side walks like that?” But a little longer into the article I found that they have a law that makes people pay a fine if found leaving there beloved pets dropping on the streets. But even then the reporter said it was hard for people to change when so well accustomed to something.
    Trying to get down to the bottom of things the reporter went under cover with a few men who hunted down the litterers. But after a whole days work of following several dog owners they found that they picked up after there canines. When she saw one of owners do so she congratulated her. As a response the owner said that the people who didn’t were disgusting and rude to think that they could leave it there for the street cleaners to pick up.
    But the irony of the day was when after finding no litterers she almost walked into a fresh heap of warm matter. In the end she said she will just have to leave the job up to her spray can and hope people do the right thing.

  32. Option 2
    Gavin M.
    One question I had about the article was why did the author choose to bring this seemingly small issue to the attention of the rest of the world? I believe that the author may have brought this issue to the attention to the people in an effort to try to persuade more people to join in on her fight to try to clean up the streets of Paris. She may have also tried to gain support on the topic. She may have wanted to make people aware that these negligent dog owners were ruining the image of Paris.
    Another question I had about the article was why did the author think that vandalizing the sidewalk with paint that is permanent and not easily cleaned up help the problem? I believe the author may have done this in outrage because she was fed up with all the dog owners that thought it was okay to just leave their dogs poop in the street. I believe that the author painting the sidewalk was a worse thing to do because it cannot be easily removed and does not deture people from hurting the image of the city but further hurts its image and how people think about it.

    This story was about the vicious nature of small domestic and wild cats usually seen as innocent. This story had supported the argument that cats are a menace to the other aspects of nature. The narrator had also supported a statement as such: that cats are like a disease that spreads trough the streets and back yards of America and the rest of the world that kills and destroys innocent animals not even for food but for sport. This has had a negative affect on the global populations of small mammals and birds. The cats spread like a disease and there are almost if not more stray cats rather than domestic and once a cat is stray it will mate with multiple partners and are having a bigger population boom than most animals that are hunted, most of which have less negative affects on the global society. This story would also show that if cats are kept at pets they should be kept to a minimum and should be spade and neutered to halt unintentional breeding and population booms. This story was revealing the actual vicious and deadly nature of domestic cats seen as pets.

  34. I chose the story, “Decades Later, Student Finds Teacher To Say ‘Thank You’. This story, although very sad, shows dedication and true appreciation. When John Cruitt’s mother died when he was just 11, and just 2 days before Christmas, it made the story very sad. When Johns teacher was at the wedding, and said that she was there for him, because it happened to her with her father also, when she was 11 also, that brought the story, and John’s life to a new level. John then had someone, who understood what he was going through, and was there for him.

    John, was extremely dedicated to finding his past teacher, and doing what he never did, which was telling her how he really fell about her. I think the fact the John became a teacher, was not just because he wanted to teach students, but was because he respected his old teacher, and wanted to be a trusted adult in his students lives, if anything were to happen like that. The fact the he took decades to find her, astonishes me. I was wondering, he had took decades to find her, but he wrote a letter, that could not have been more than 50 words long, I would think he would want to say more. This story was very touching and showed true dedication and appreciation.

  35. “A Single Mother’s Toughness” is a story that I believe reflects many people’s lives. At only 11 years old, Reginald’s father’s life came to an end. After his death it was now up to his widowed mother to take care of him along with struggling to take care of herself at the same time. For months at a time Reginald had to live in a home with no electricity which makes me reconsider the simplicities in life that most peers my age take for granite. I have parents that make breakfast for me along with driving me to school every single morning and I haven’t even taken the bus to school since 7th grade. This story made me feel selfish and ungrateful for the things I do have and led me to realize I could have it a whole lot worse. While I am in a warm comfortable bed there are children along with adults lying in the streets.

    When times seem at an all time low for me, i now realize that it’s not actually low at all. For example, if I ran out of my favorite mascara I would think it was the end of the world which reaches a whole other level of pathetic. There are people like Reginald having to get ready in the dark for school with the only source of light being a candle, and I’m complaining about not having my favorite makeup. Other teenagers along with myself do not realize how easy they have it. Most of us have food on the table every night, a tv in our living room, different clothes to wear everyday and this usually sounds like no big deal. We think of this as nothing special, but some kids would look at middleclass family houses as castles. The limit some people would go to get money is off the charts. Whether it be stealing or drug dealing when people are in a time of need they’ll hustle their way into living.

  36. I found the article, “A Single Mom’s Toughness Pays Off” very touching and relatable. In the article, the man, Reginald Mason, describes his childhood as he saw his mom struggle to support a family. He explained that once there were no lights and how he was made fun of but then he would remember that she always made sure that they had food. Mason states that, “She made me and shaped me as a man…which is very difficult for a woman.”

    This reminds me of my dad. In the article’s case, the mother was left to take care of Mason; however, my story is different. When I was very young, my mom and dad separated and I didn’t see my mom for a period of time. As a toddler, a mother is an important necessity. My dad had raise three daughters including myself on his own while working a full time job. He had to take on the role of a mother and a father learning all the ways of the mother. For example, I remember when he had to do our hair; he had to learn how to braid. I remember how he would handle each piece of hair so gently despite his large fingers. I also remember how he had to make sure that each ponytail was perfect and that our outfits were all in place. He then had to send my sisters to school, and then drop me off at daycare. After he would work all day, pick us all back up, make us dinner, help us with our homework, and bathe us and tuck us in everyday. Then there were all the extra things that little girls needed. In the meanwhile, he always made sure that our lives were the same just lacking a mom. I also remember my oldest sister helping out at a very young age. She had also taken on a big role that she shouldn’t have had to do. This is like Mason when he tried to make some money on the streets when it wasn’t his job and he should not have had to worry about that. She also advised my dad on how to do things and always checked in. My sister is now very successful, independent woman. Even though this period of time had a major impact on her life, she is very responsible and wise. I am very proud of my dad just like Mason is very proud of his mom. I admit that there was a lot of struggle but we all made it through together just like Mason and his mom.

    -I thank Fernando. I edited my blog so that I can write as bravely as him.

  37. “A Single Mom’s Toughness Pays Off” is highly relatable on many levels, however many are on the top 10% of the iceberg. Many people have a relatable story in some sense whether it be missing a parent due to divorce or so forth or the father simply not caring, but to truly relate to Mason, one would have to truly go through the pain and suffering of not only losing a parent at this young age, but also having the optimism and perseverance to push and shove through the difficulties life deals you. To deal with having my dad move out of state was hard enough, knowing that I was the only man in my house was a hard load to carry. After the first week I was already breaking down every night, which only made me feel weaker. But like Mason, I dragged myself through that hard time in which I felt like I couldn’t even take one more hypothetical step. In doing so I was able to look back and think if I was able to blow through that horrible time, why wouldn’t I be able to make it through any other. No matter how low a grade, how hard of a practice, or how emotionally painful an argument with my mom could be, I know that I can make it through. This is because those were all easy parts compared to the mess that was poured onto my life before.

    To relate more to the article, although it is not mentioned, I can guarantee that when problems are handed to him to this day, he is able to make it through by referring back to his childhood and realizing that if he has made it this far, why not push it more? Why stop when he’s already in pain? My favorite motivational speaker uses the phrase, “Redefine the grind” in the sense that if you have pushed yourself this far whether it be mentally or physically, why just give up and throw away all of your work? This phrase greatly relates to Mason and his attitude towards the world. Also, I can tell that Mason wants, as my favorite motivational speaker would also say, to “Succeed as bad as you want to breathe.” He had no option to give up and fail in his life because he was so motivated by his mother’s struggle that failure was not even in his dictionary. And that is specifically what you need to succeed; Ambition.

  38. I think the story “Killer Kitties? Cats Kill Billions Of Creatures Every Year” opens a cat lover’s eyes. I am indeed a cat lover. In my own personal opinion, cats are perfect. They’re beautiful creatures, playful, and love to snuggle up in bed. The article is naturally pointing out their biggest flaw. Like any other animal, cats are a predator. Although cats are from the same wild family of lions and tigers, I like to believe they’re not. When I think of lions and tigers I think of a predator that’s made to hunt. Cats are much more innocent and less dependent on their prey.

    Marra claims that cats kill 1.4 and 3.7 million birds per year. As she said, “Cats and birds just don’t mix”. As I mentioned before, cats, like any other animal, are a predator. Have you ever swung a toy bird around a cat? I buy many toys for my seven gorgeous kitties and the bird on string is by far their favorite. Birds are the cats prey and I know there are many bird lovers out there which may cause them to hate on my favorite feline friend. I think cats are star struck by the birds. For example, when I swing around the bird toy my cats become hypnotized. They get into a position where they’re ready to pounce. Like shiny objects catch our eyes, the cats are amazed by flying objects. But who isn’t amazed by things that can fly? After reading this article, I did see the point of view from a bird lover but I don’t see any harm in cats hunting their prey when it’s natural. Birds eat up all the worms, HOW DO YOU THINK WORM LOVERS FEEL?

    Cats should not be completely blamed for the decrease of bird population. I have had up to 30 cats at once, outdoor and indoor. Yes, they did indeed bring the murdered birds and mice to my door every now and then. After my experience with having both indoor and outdoor cats, I think all cats should be indoors; this way they can’t hunt. Another point I want to bring up is cats are not the only ones eating the birds. As Christina V mentioned, her dog has eaten his own share and I know my dogs have done the same. I believe the cat owner should take some of the blame because they choose whether to keep their cat indoors or not. My friend Riley lets her cats wonder outside and she got to experience the bad things that can happen. Cats are not only a predator but they’re also prey. Riley’s cat survived a coyote attack. In conclusion, I think all cats need to be indoors; this protects them and other animals.

  39. I chose the story, “Decades Later, Student Finds Teacher To Say ‘Thank you'”. This shows the relatable struggle that a lot of people have and can show someone to keep their heads up if something is not okay. I can relate personally to this story because when I was three, my father passed away on Christmas. When something like this happens, it’s important to thank those who have helped you in any certain way, and this is exactly what John Cruitt does. It may have been tough at one point for him but the teacher, Mrs. Boyle was there for him and helped him out when he needed it. Who knows how he would have handled it if she hadn’t talked to him? She has changed his life for good, and understands the help that she has given him.

    The story” Killer Kitties” was eye opening to me. I had no clue that by simply opening the screen door to my porch and letting the cat free roam outside was doing so much damage. Of course it’s not just my cat doing the damage e but everyone else has the same attitude, that just one cat can’t do that much damage, and this is why over 15 billion little critters are getting killed each year by these keen hunters.

    This article is all about cats killing billion mammals each year. This is one of those problems that you hear about that is really challenging if not impossible to fix. If you think about it the only way that you can stop the cats from killing is to keep them inside, but as my family found out its very hard to get an outdoor cat to tradition to an indoor, they will tear apart the house and be the meanest cat you have ever seen until you finally give up and let them outside. However as was stated in the article it’s not the owned cats that are the big problem it’s the un-owned cats that are the real predators, so the main problem raises its head showing the ugly truth that animal control officers are already doing all that they can. It’s like mice or others pests you can buy ask many traps or poisons as possible and you might even kill them all but they will end up coming back at one point or another. So now the question is how can we solve this problem of so many stray cats?

  41. I chose the “Killer Kitties” story. I think that it’s weird that people actually research how many birds are killed by cats and how many cats there are. In my opinion I think it’s the birds fault because cats are obviously going to hunt down smaller animals when they are outside, but birds can fly. A cat can only get a few feet of the ground unless they climb a tree. The birds should stay up in the air if they see a cat.
    A question that I have about this news report is how do people know how many birds are killed by cats? I didn’t know that people recorded that kind of stuff.
    I don’t think that cats killing a few birds is going to severely effect the bird population so people should go back to worrying about themselves and not killer cats.

  42. In the article “Decades Later, Student Finds Teacher to Say ‘Thank You”, I chose this article because it seemed to have an emotional background between John and Cecile. When John was younger his mother passed away and didn’t have anyone around who understood what he was going through. When his 3rd grade teacher opened up to him and said that everything was going to be alright, he knew that if she went through the same thing than it was possible for things to get better. It touched me when he went to go and find her just to thank her for being there for him when no one else understood what he was going through. I can personally connect to this because when my parents were going through a divorce I was only 6 years old and I didn’t understand what was going on. My mom had a friend who also went through the same thing I was when she was 5 years old. She talked to me about how she was confused and didn’t understand what was happening but she also told me that things would be alright and may even be better. Just to hear those words relaxed me and made me worry less about what was going on. But it mostly relaxed me because she actually went through the same thing as me at the same age.

  43. I chose the article “A Single Mom’s Toughness Pays Off” which was a touching article and also it’s one of those that other people can connect too and also makes you see things differently. In this article it shares a mom and a son’s story about how this mother had to play both the mom and dad role to get her and her son by in life. It makes you realize that you should be very lucky for what you have and that you shouldn’t take things for granite. Luckily most of us have both our parents in our lives and have food to eat but people never really think about what happens on the “outside world” things that happen in other people’s lives. But just think of it how hard would be to live without both parents in your life? What would you do if you barley had clothes to put on your back every day? How would you feel if people made fun of you just because you’re poor? My heart really goes out to the mom who struggled just to make it by just for her son’s sake so he could make something of himself.


    “A Single Mom’s Toughness Pays Off” is a story about determination, and willingness to push through, that even though the issue that faces us is large and seemingly impassible, we will keep moving. I believe that was what ran through Reginald’s mothers head all those years. From what Reginald tells us, he is extremely grateful for his mother and that she did a good job raising him “despite her toughness”. It is very interesting that he should choose to word the situation that way, as many would think the toughness is what made her so solid in her parenting and in her work. I believe it to be a fact, that softness and effectivity are very often far apart in their means. You need to be firm in your ways to get things done, or else they simply wont get done. If Reginald’s mother was soft and gave up easily, I do not think there would have been an article listed on him in this blog. It is because she took her challenges head on that she could overcome and was able to be the best parent she could for Reginald. So saying that this story is about determination and willingness to push through is a very fair statement to make.

    This was actually very easy to relate in certain ways, yet is difficult in others. While my parents are very tough on me and keep a close watch on my performance over the years, I have never had the inconvenience of not having enough money for a very nice breakfast and plenty of presents at Christmas. I think Reginald had a far more difficult time growing up in near poverty than I currently am with both of my parents working with a very large salary. With money, it is always easier to get your way and to live a good life. But there are those who are without many luxuries, but are still able to live a wholesome life because of the dedication of their parents, and I believe Reginald is very lucky for his mothers toughness.

  45. 0101010001111001011011000110010101110010001000000101001101100001011000010111001001101001 says:

    In the article about John Cruitt and his third grade teacher Cecile Doyale, I found it to be inspiring because of how after so many years, Mr. Cruitt contacted Mrs. Doyale just to thank her for all of the help that she had provided to him. In the letter that he wrote to her he said, “…you told me that you were there if I needed you. I hope life has been as kind to you as you were to me.” The quotation describes the help that she provided him in his time of need.

    This as well captured my attention because of how the two had a common factor; death. He talked about how right before Christmas, his mother passed away from disease and she was there to comfort him. As well, 54 years later when he contacted her, she read the letter and said, “…I read this beautiful letter, and I just was overwhelmed.” She said this because she had just gotten back from the hospital because of her husband who was suffering from Parkinson disease. She can also connect to him because of how when she was only 11, she lost her father. This then later came into play when she was helping him get through his troubles that were occurring at the time in third grade.

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