Monday, March 16, 2020

Man of Copper

by Maddie Berkson, Tenth Grade

Ah, Kentucky-the birthplace of finger-licking-good fried chicken...and President Abraham Lincoln. From his birth in the frontier to two poor parents, Lincoln had to be a strategic fighter in order to climb the social ladder and become the revered president that people know him as today. Like any good president should be, Lincoln was persistent. Lincoln had essentially no formal teachers. Lincoln had to teach himself from what he could gather from his surroundings much like other famous presidents that were mostly self-educated such as George Washington or Andrew Jackson.

Although Lincoln states in his handbill regarding infidelity that he is “not a member of any church,” his parents attended a church that was strongly opposed to slavery. Having grown up in this environment, Lincoln followed in the same line of thinking, which is evident throughout his career. Slavery is a common theme in Lincoln’s speeches. It is almost as if he cannot stop talking about the subject because its very existence irritates him to his core. With so much hatred towards the institution, he pushed for the addition of the 13th amendment to the Constitution, but that still wasn’t enough. Lincoln, as expressed in his “Last Public Address”, wanted the blacks to have the right of suffrage as well.  As he mentions in his “Columbus, Ohio Speech” they too are included in the Declaration of Independence and therefore are entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, as well as living, laughing, and loving.

Despite some things that he said earlier in his presidency, it is clear that he wanted the blacks to be at least politically equal in due time. Others may accuse Lincoln of being a hypocrite and stupidly call him “Liar Lincoln '' as if they are still wearing pull-ups. However, Abe knew that if he broadcasted his true opinion during that day and age, he would have lost all of his necessary supporters to get rid of slavery in the first place. The man was assassinated four days after the first time he mentioned giving the blacks some political power for crying out loud!

Yes, lying is wrong, even if you aren’t a proclaimed Christian, and maybe, “honest Abe” isn’t the best nickname for him. But, is being strategic the same as being evil when you are determined to do/are doing good things? You wouldn’t call Superman evil when he disguises himself as Clark Kent to maintain public appearances but then saves civilians. Lincoln preserved and took down his metaphorical Lex Luthor to establish the 13th amendment in the Constitution, which laid a foundation for future civil rights activists such as Martin Luther King Jr.

Every president should be logical and strategic especially in times of war. They are given an extremely important position in the United States, and if they laid all of their cards flat on the table, our country would have fallen to shreds (like me whenever I lose my agenda or Kathryn finds a white hair on my head). Citizens of America can look to Lincoln and learn how to persevere for the better of the country and how to put other people’s needs before your own life. As the great poet/author, William Shakespeare, writes, “to do a great right do a little wrong.”P.S. This is a very exaggerated version of my actual opinion of Abraham Lincoln for the intended purpose of humor and conciseness. When conversing with me on a daily basis, it is recommended that you take most things I say with a gallon of salt. Also, for those unaware, the title of the paper is a play on words because Superman is also known as the man of steel.
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Friday, March 13, 2020

Lincoln Encomium

by Elijah Pointer, Grade 12

Abraham Lincoln, elected 16th president of the United States and disputably hailed as the Great Emancipator, may or may not have been truly worthy of that laudation he received, but that will be of little significance in this essay. Instead, I’m here to say that he sure could speak goodly.

As a child, Lincoln grew up dirt poor on the frontier. Both of his parents were illiterate, but that did not stop him from teaching himself to read. It is because of this that I believe his rhetorical abilities are so unique; he developed his own elevated style of speaking, combining gravity with wit. With nearly every speech, Lincoln captivates his audience. The educated are amazed at the sheer grandeur of his words, and even the not-so-educated, such as myself, are still mesmerized, yet perhaps unintentionally so, for I am often left staring at the same sentence for several seconds because I failed to understand it the first time.

Instead of channeling this talent into causing mischief and strife, Lincoln used his speaking abilities to slowly gain political prominence to the point where he became the president of the United States, where above all else, he sought to preserve the Union. Regardless of whether he had the right to enact certain things during the Civil War, — he basically started out as a farm boy and then became president, so cut him some slack — he tried to do what he thought was best and use his words for the sake of attaining peace. This is very much unlike the prophet Balaam, who attempted to use his gift of speech to cause discord and curse Israel so the king of Moab could conquer them in battle; it should be no surprise to hear that he was foiled in his maledictive machinations.

Like Lincoln, may we be wary of what we say and use our words to build others up and seek peace rather than furthering strife. “The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood, but the mouth of the upright delivers them. The wicked are overthrown and are no more, but the house of the righteous will stand.” Proverbs 12:6-7
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Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Gilded Age Paper

by Maddie Berkson, Tenth Grade

At last, The Civil War was over. A new century was on the rise and with it came many advancements in technology, new political movements, and crime. 1860-1896, roughly thirty years in American history, of course, is what many refer to as the Gilded Age. Historians share various views surrounding this time period; however, one important detail which no one can deny is the rapid growth in infrastructure. This time period brought forth the Transcontinental Railroad, electrical lighting, the telephone, etc. Due to the exceeding rate of innovation, capitalism in the States was booming, and a significant gap between the classes emerged. Low-income rates and brutal work times led to those in the lower class getting fed up with their state of living. Their solution to enacting change was to give the government more power in order to limit the control of the entrepreneurs thus slowly drawing the Gilded Age to a close.

The question at hand, which divides people’s outlook on the Gilded Age, is whether or not the increased amount of government influence was either good or bad for America. Some believe the intervention paved the way for more economic equality and better living conditions for the average American. In opposition to the growth of government power, others view the Gilded Age as a prime example of the possible prosperity which is achievable under fewer regulations. After analyzing both stances on the topic, I have arrived at the conclusion that both parties are wrong in a sense.

The Populist Party, a party formed during the Gilded Age and whose members are more modernly known as the progressives, promotes their actions by saying how their goal is to give power back to the people by taking influence from corporate heads and shifting the control to the government. But, how can the average American truly be powerful if the government holds all of the power and will try to suppress the full potential of those pursuing the American Dream? Some of the issues which the Populist party claim to solve are still present a century later except they present themselves differently. For example, select corporations, one being Google, still exist today and have more power than the robber barons could ever imagine. This does not mean, however, that I believe America should live under a complete libertarian-style government. The work-environment issues addressed by the Populist Party in the Gilded Age were definitely issues that called for some necessary changes. The method of acquiring specific changes is what I am unsure of.
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Thursday, January 23, 2020

Legend of the Treasury

by Kristi Yu, Tenth Grade

Are you the one? I've been waiting for him, you see. Allow me to explain myself. Although I am old and rusted, small and tarnished, I am idolized and sought after by many for the treasure I can reveal. While some might call me self-important or arrogant, I maintain that I simply know my worth. And while some might call me closed off or exclusive, I'll open up for you if you are willing to meet me. I, a prized possession, hold a magnificent trove, just waiting to be divulged. But I'm waiting for just the right person – the One, you might say. Because of my past, I'm scarred, worn, and mangled, but my purpose has always remained the same. Despite the baggage I bear, I carry with me the promise of great treasure. I am the final piece of a puzzle, fitting perfectly into the jigsaw of your joy and prosperity. Like a legend on a map, I am essential to your success.

I used to be the trusted partner of a plunderer, whom I thought to be the One. But alas, it as not to be. Although I never left his side, I am now utterly alone. I've laid dormant for countless years in this dark, dingy place, always hoping for the time when the One would find me. I have heard nothing but silence in this abandoned wreck for so long that I've even forgotten the chime of my own voice. I know the One, like myself, will evince immense intellect and ambition, and when I find him, I will gladly open up for him. Are you he?

Students were given an object which they had to describe and personify but could not reveal the object directly in their writing. Did you guess this mystery object?
Antique Key
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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Count Your Blessings

by Adrianna Haidar, Ninth Grade
Under the bright and burning sun she sat, basking in its pleasant warmth, distracting herself with the feeling of safety and security. Distracting herself from the fact that she was cursed to stay half-embedded in the ground for all of eternity. No one ever noticed her; after all, she was quite a plain and simple thing to behold, with a gentle, unextraordinary beige coloring blending with light hues of gray. If she was honest with herself, she was filthy, encrusted with dirt and grimy particles of infinitesimal decaying organisms. And of course, she was stuck in the earth. Nothing, not even the beautiful glowing ball of fire in the sky, could make her forget that.

A loud thunderclap sounded overhead, interrupting her lamenting, and rain began pouring down from the heavens. The cool liquid seeped into the very ground she was stuck in, and the dirt around her softened its unrelenting grip on her. Little by little, the water swept away the dirt until—until . . . It took her awhile to understand what had just happened, and when she finally did, her heart completely stopped. She had no words to describe the pure bliss she experienced when she realized she was free. An eternity, she had thought before. The rain had saved her; she could—. As the rain abated, so did her joy when she finally discovered that she still could not move. Sorrow and despair washed over her. Why did God make her like this, some unmoving, insignificant object? All she wanted to do was travel and the world.

Suddenly, something wiggled underneath her. Disgust wormed through her. It was probably some bug wasting the time of its short life hiding underneath her when it could be out exploring. What a waste of life. Beside her, by a small tree, was a horde of ants. Motionless ants. Dead ants. The rain had killed them.

Below her, she could see the ant squirming out from under her, fighting to swim through the puddles of water the shower of rain had left behind and reach the horde of drowned ants. When it saw its dead companions, an almost silent cry of anguish emitted from it. She felt a wave of sympathy for the poor ant, its cry breaking her heart, and she concluded that maybe is was better she was what she was. Perhaps next time those insects, any insects, could take shelter under her. A new sense of hope and purpose swarmed her emotions. Yes, she was important. And she could never let herself forget that again.

Students were given an object which they had to describe and personify but could not reveal the object directly in their writing. Did you guess this mystery object?
A Rock 

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