Ranger’s Apprentice Themes

By: Sage Wang

The unknown lands

The unknown lands

   Loyalty and respect are two themes in this third book of the series.  Unsurprisingly, we see Halt and Horace remain loyal to Will, and making some serious sacrifices to search for him.  Their loyalty to Will is extremely strong. Next, Erak, who captured Will and Evanlyn actually turns out to be the reason they survive.  Erak’s concept of respect and what he risks to aid them forms, strangely, because of Evanlyn and Will themselves. Finally, both Halt and Erak are rather unpredictable and headstrong in their actions because of the two themes in this book- loyalty and respect.

   First of all, Halt and Horace both make terrible sacrifices just to save Will. Halt forced himself to say terrible things about his King in public, which he did to purposely get himself banished from the kingdom for a year. After this, he was automatically banished from the Ranger Corps, which had always been his main pride. He had to leave his life and past behind, just to save his young apprentice, Will. As for Horace, he also risked quite a lot. He left by choice, and before he had finished his training. This was dangerous, since already he was gaining reputation by defeating Morgarath, and if he left the kingdom many jealous or envious of him might attempt to kill him unprotected. He too, was risking his life to just help save Will.

   In addition, Erak was the one who actually captured Will and Evanlyn, thinking they would be useful for money. However, Erak starts to see how brave they both were, and starts to respect them. After they become slaves, Will is introduced to warmweed, which is a drug that causes complete addiction and dependence to the herb and causes the taker to lose memories. Erak felt horrible about how Will had been so brave, and now he was just this empty shell as an obedient slave. He remembered how Will had fought when burning the bridge, and how bravely he had tried to protect Evanlyn. Because of how much Erak respected Will and Evanlyn, he helped to save them, despite the risk of being caught and being put to death for disloyalty.

   Lastly, Halt and Erak are both rather unpredictable. Halt’s actions are driven by loyalty, while Erak’s are driven by respect. Halt went to save Will because he was loyal to him, and after years of learning together and helping each other he was actually willing to get himself banished to save him. Erak, however, saved Will and Evanlyn because he respected them, even though there was a high risk of him being caught helping slaves. Although to others their actions are entirely random, they are headstrong in their actions because of the themes in this book.

   To conclude, this book has a lot about loyalty and respect. Although Halt, Horace, or Erak might appear dangerous, they are genuinely just following their hearts. They sacrificed so much to save their friends even though severe consequences would follow. If it weren’t for these traits, Will and Evanyln might still be trapped as slaves, working for horrible masters and eventually losing their own lives. Loyalty and respect truly did help to save them all, in the end.    

The Real Method to “Help” Someone

By: Sage Wang

A mother helping their child.

A mother helping their child.

     Everyone knows the importance of support from others. Many argue about the boundary from true help to just telling the answers. Today, I’m going to be discussing some common solutions you can implement today to help understand this issue. The main three key points are over and undercompensating, knowing when to stop, and common checks.

     First, one major mistake is over or undercompensation. If you have a child in the sixth grade, helping them by treating them like a 5 year old wastes both your time and doesn’t teach them a single thing anyway. If you try to teach them high level SAT and talk at a rate no one understands, you’re also being unhelpful. Take it at the pace and vocabulary that they belong to, not just randomly trying to get it done with or explaining everything two hundred times. This will save everyone time, effort, and meaningless education.

     Next, there’s the factor of knowing when to stop. If you’re solving a math problem, and you give every step, there was no point in that. However, if you guide them slightly and give them a chance to figure out on their own what they need to do, then you’re giving them much more help. This way, on a real test, when you’re not available to give them insight, they’ll know what to do without needing to be carried there. Make sure not to just leave them stranded there, either. If you just give one small tip and walk away, you’ll just confuse them and get a weird look. Know the balance point of the term helping, so you get the maximum efficiency and advice through possible.

     Finally, there’s the importance of common checks. Common checking is essentially making sure the person you’re helping is grasping the things you’re explaining as you say them. If you run through the whole thing without letting them even ask a question, it’s not going to be beneficial in any way, shape, or form. Even if you just ask at the end, Does that make sense? they might just say yes to get the answer and be done with it. By asking, What’s the next step now? Or do you get how I got from here to here? you’re ensuring that the help you’re giving is genuinely sinking in.

      To conclude, those are some solutions to ensure the line between answers and real help is drawn properly. By using these three things when you give advice, you can double your efficiency and learning experiences, so in the future, the person you’re helping will be ready.

The Melody

By: Rich Wang

Allan Playing the violin


 Allan Tang hadn’t always wanted to be ordinary. He’d once believed he was special, destined to do good in the world, and be the next Thomas Edison, Bill Gates, or Yo-Yo-Ma. All that had changed in second grade. He didn’t think about it much- no one likes thinking about their failures- but Allan had pushed that memory so deeply inside his head so that he could almost never access it, even if he wanted to. From second grade and on, he’d never tried to do anything special. He’d only raise his hand to answer a question if everyone else was doing the same thing. Instead of playing tag with all the “nerds,” as other people called them, he played basketball. Even at home, after he finished all his homework, he simply watched TV until the day ended.

 Without question, he was the most ordinary person in the world, except for one tiny detail – he was extremely nervous. Before the incident in second grade, he’d been easy going, happy, and optimistic, no matter what happened. Now, he was always nervous, worried about what would happen if he was suddenly called out, embarrassed in front of everyone, or if he suddenly became infamous for doing something embarrassing. He knew his nervousness did him no favors, but he couldn’t stop it from happening. It was like the one large imperfection in a world that eventually makes it explode.

 As Allen walked around his room ,getting ready for his first day of middle school, he took a deep breath, and remembered his one rule for middle school :blend in. He said a quick goodbye to his sister and father, hugged his brother and mother, and walked out the door to his new school. As he walked out the door, he felt the nervous part of his brain firing up, and starting to think of all the ways bullies could begin to target him, or ways his teacher could embarrass him. He simply sighed, and walked out the door, while his brain kept on blabbing away to him about all the ways things could go wrong.


 As he walked to middle school, he only had one thought, which almost brought back his traumatic memory in second grade, “Things will never go your way if you try to stand out and be special. The only way to stay safe from embarrassment or injury is to blend in, and be normal.”

 Allan breathed a sigh of relief. It was sixth period, and he’d managed to make it through the day just being ordinary. Luckily, he had a normal schedule, just like everyone else, and he felt lucky that all his teachers seemed to be lenient. He knew that that was another advantage of being normal: teachers would give you second chances as long as you didn’t cause trouble.

  However, as he was walking out of his sixth period class, starting to walk towards his last period, he saw a large poster behind a group of eighth grade boys. He quickly slowed down his pace so he could read the poster without being seen by the eighth grade boys. He knew how quickly and easily innocent bystanders could turn to mean bullies.

 “JOIN THE ORCHESTRA CLUB! Fun with music, open to all, first meeting one week from now, and we meet everyday! Learn to have fun playing a musical instrument, and meet many other fellow instrument players here!” Allan read aloud. Allan thought about joining. He had once loved music, before the incident had happened. https://www.omgphotobooth.com.au/80oo6ay A flash of brown, a bow flying across strings, a tiny Allan trying to get closer to the player, when suddenly…

 “No!” Allan thought, pushing himself out of the memory. He quickly walked to his 7th period class. He knew that the majority of kids arrived two minutes before the tardy bell, so that was when he walked into the classroom. As more and more kids filed into the bright and sunny classroom, Allan pondered the question of whether or not he should join Orchestra club. As his teacher, Mr. Rishy, began to talk, he felt himself beginning to pay closer attention to the teacher than his Orchestra problem.

 “I’ll think about it later,” he promised himself.

 He thought about it- a lot. He thought about it while he was packing up and waiting for the bus. He thought about it when he was on the bus and walking the short distance home. He especially thought about it when he got home. After he finished his homework, he pondered this problem some more. However, at dinner, he still couldn’t reach a conclusion. Because of this, he decided to ask his mother and brother about it.

 “Hey mom, hey Mason,” he called. “Where are dad and Risada?”

 “They’re at a football game tonight,” Mason responded. “How was your first day of middle school?”

 “It was fine, but there’s something nagging at me,” Allan admitted. “So I was just walking through the halls of Leoj Middle School when I saw this poster on the wall. It was about joining the orchestra club. I’ve had a few… incidents in the past with orchestra instruments, but I’ve been wondering… if it’s time to try one more time.” The instant he finished his sentence, the nervous section of his brain instantly started protesting.

 “Not now!” he roared at his brain, but it did no good. From the way his brother and mom were staring at him, he was pretty sure they knew what he was experiencing.

 “Problems with… the thingy… again?” his brother asked awkwardly. Allan simply nodded.

 “Well, anyways, Allan, I think you should! Playing any instrument in general is very beneficial! It helps you with hand-eye coordination, and it helps you with your college and job applications!” his mom exclaimed.

 “Mom, we’ve been through this already. I’m not going to be anyone famous. I’m just a normal kid.” Suddenly Allan fell into his memory, back when he’d never have said that, not even if he was going to be paid to.

  https://www.lacuisinecestsimple.com/2023/03/v053u1ck63.html It was the day of the concert. Joshua Euler, the most famous violinist of all time was performing. Allan’s ears were pricked, and a smile split across his face as the most beautiful music he’d ever heard came calling to his ears. Suddenly it was all over. Allan was sure out of all the people clapping, no one had clapped louder than him. Suddenly, he heard Joshua talking. He heard Joshua asking if anyone wanted to try and play his violin. Alan nearly squealed with delight, and raised his hand. He was barely comprehending the fact that his sister and father, the athletic people in the family, telling him to put his hand down. Then Joshua called on him! Allan’s face lit up like a thousand candles forming a smile. Then, all of a sudden, as he walked up-

 “Allan?” his brother asked. Allan instantly snapped back to the present.

 “Wha-?” Allan muttered. Then he remembered where he was. “Mom, what were you saying again?” His mom repeated what she’d just said.

 Allan nodded. “I think I should go for it.” Allan knew that his sister and father would not approve. Then again, they’d never really cared about anything he did ever since they’d realized he was no good at sports.

 His brother grinned. “Well, at least now I won’t be the only music player in the family!”

 The next day was a Saturday. Allan loved the weekends because he knew there was a much lower probability he’d be the center of attention on those days. He thought about the lesson he always followed, “Things will never go your way if you try to stand out and be special. The only way to stay safe from embarrassment or injury is to blend in, and be normal.” The one time he didn’t have to worry about this was at the end of every week. He breathed a sigh of relief, knowing how on the weekends, he could just stay in the house, and read a book.

 Suddenly his brother walked into his room, smiling. “Allan!” he cried, “I was just on the phone, talking to one of my friends, and he said that he has a spare violin he can lend you!”

 Allan nodded, and said, “OK.” Then the weight of what his brother had just said slammed into him. Go outside… during the weekend? This could lead to many bad things, from seeing a bully at Leoj middle school somewhere, to getting noticed by several grown ups. Allan had read enough stories to know that although most adults wouldn’t really do anything if they saw you, some might think that they saw something special in you and possibly take a picture of you, or possibly even post a story about you on the internet, which could lead to all sorts of teasing at school. Then he remembered that he had agreed with his mom to go to Orchestra Club.

 “Don’t worry Allan, it’ll be fun! Remember how much you used to like classical music?” his brother questioned him. Allan remembered. And he remembered well. His nervousness subsided a little, replaced by the longing to hear that beautiful violin sound again.

 “OK, let’s go.” Allan said.

 Once they were there, Allan gave a simple “Thank you!” to Mason’s friend, whose name turned out to be Kevin. Kevin simply nodded, and told Alan use it wisely.

When Allan got home,he immediately tried it out. He unlocked the violin case, took it out, and tried to play it. All that came out of the violin was a high-pitched squeaking sound. Right then and there, Allan almost believed that his nervous side was right- he’d never be good enough, and if he ever tried to play in public, all that would happen was that he would embarrass himself. However, he fiercely kept on trying.

 “One day,  I’ll be as good as Joshua Euler!” he thought, which was so much like a thought he’d had in second grade that he almost fell into his memories again, but he caught himself just in time.

 Over the next week, things seemed to be normal. Every day, Allan blended into the crowd, and no one noticed him. However, at home, Allan was practicing his violin as much as possible. His brother was so happy that Allan was playing, that Mason even began to teach Allan all the tips and tricks he knew about playing the violin.

 However, when Friday finally came, Allan was shaking from head to toe. He barely heard his mother and brother when they wished him good luck at Orchestra Club, and he didn’t even see his dad and sister scowling as they looked at the violin under his arm.

 First and second period passed in a flash for Allan, and time seemed to speed up for him that day. Before he even realized it, he was standing in front of the doors leading to Orchestra Club. As he walked into the room, he felt as though he were entering another dimension. He nervously walked to a seat at the back of the room. After he sat down, he took a quick look around, and saw everyone else simply practicing playing their instrument. Knowing that to not be noticed, he should do the same as them. He felt his nerves firing up, telling him everything that could go wrong if he played it. However, he knew that he had to, or else he would attract even more attention. As he unpacked his violin, he decided to just play it, and see what would happen. To his surprise, no one laughed at him, or even glanced at him. Allan felt his nervousness ease a little, and he pulled out the piece of music he’d been working on. Even after he made mistakes on the piece, no one began to make fun of him. After the day ended, Allan began to realize perhaps his time at Orchestra Club wouldn’t be so bad after all. As the weeks past by, Allan became better and better, more and more dedicated.

  However, a month after he had first gone to Orchestra club, he found a young boy with blond hair asking him a question. The boy’s name was Tashin, and he turned out to be friendly, and asked Allan if he wanted to come practice at his house with his friends. Allan was so shocked that he declined the invitation, but after Tashin talked to him, he found others talking to him more and more. Another boy named Cire told him he was amazing at playing the violin. A girl named Tage joked with him about the cello players. As more and more days went by, His days at Orchestra Club became more and more fun. For the first time in his life, he felt as though he was finally learning how to have fun.

 Then, one day, about two months since he’d started going to Orchestra Club, he saw another poster on the wall, one the looked a lot like the one that had invited him to come to Orchestra Club, but with different words.

 “Orchestra Competition, for those who wish to try competing in a competition for Orchestra. This is not mandatory, but this competition is open to all who wish to compare themselves to others. We wish every single one of you the best of luck!” Allan read allowed.

 “Hey, are you competing?” he heard a voice next to him ask. Allan turned to see Tage looking quizzically at him.

 “Oh!” Allan said, embarrassed. “Um, I haven’t really thought about it yet. I mean, uh… I probably won’t. I’m terrible at playing anyways. Have you heard me playing?”

 “No you aren’t! You’re one of the best in the class!” Allan turned around to see Tashin looking at him, wide eyed. “You’re amazing! I’d say you’re even better than Cleb Titan, last year’s champion!”

 “Um, who’s that?” Allan asked.

 “That would be me.” A boy with a sneer on his face followed by six other tough-looking boys seemingly appeared out of nowhere. The boy was skinny, with eyes the color of black holes. He was thin and shorter than Allan, but what really surprised Allan was Cleb’s hairstyle. Cleb’s hair was like a cyclone, sticking out in all directions, curving and wavy.

 “So, you think YOU can beat ME? Wow loser, you’ve got spunk. Of course, that’ll never happen, but bad luck trying!” Cleb said with a laugh, and instantly his gang began to chuckle as well.

 “I never said I could beat you!” Allan protested, while Tashin simultaneously exclaimed, “Of course he will!”  

 “See, even the big loser says he won’t beat me. Don’t even bother trying!” Cleb said with a smirk as he and his group of buddies walked away, laughing.

 The instant Cleb left, Tashin and Tage both turned on him in surprise, and Tashin said, “You have to enter, to beat that smug old Cleb Titan!” While Tage said, “I can’t believe you think you’re bad at the violin! The entire class has heard you play, and you’re amazing!”

 Allan rubbed his forehead and quickly ran back to his seat before Tashin and Tage could say anything else about how good he was. He was terrible! Couldn’t anyone see that?

 “Unless, you only think you’re bad so that the nervous side of your brain can be satisfied that you won’t be embarrassed at the competition,” the reasonable side of his brain whispered. Allan tried to play on normally, but all he could see was Cleb’s smirk, and how he knew there was no way he would be able to beat Cleb. Finally, Allan decided that he should leave. After all, he wasn’t doing any good just sitting around in Orchestra Club doing nothing.

 After Orchestra Club, the first thing he did when he got home was ask his mother and brother whether he should join. They both reacted in the same way Tashin and Tage had, by saying that he should join. Allan could only agree. After all, everyone except him had told him to join, and he knew that if he didn’t join, people might suddenly start wondering why he didn’t join the competition, which would make HIM the center of attention. So, the next day at school, Allan went to the Orchestra Club teacher and signed up for the competition.

 However, there was one problem. Allan knew he hadn’t done anything to make Cleb hate him, yet when he was walking to his second period class, Cleb and his gang walked behind him, and he heard them purposely making loud comments about how stupid he was, and how he didn’t even know how to open his locker. As this continued for the next few periods, Allan became more and more confused. Why did Cleb suddenly hate him? However, almost a week after Allan had signed up for the competition, Allan began to feel other people’s eyes on him. The nervous side of his brain instantly began to panick, and Allan wanted to run home and hide there forever. As he walked through the halls, everyone stopped to look at him.

 “STOP STARING AT ME!” Allan wanted to scream, but he didn’t. He knew if he did, he would only attract even more attention. Then, as if he had been hit by a bolt of lightning, he realized why everyone was looking at him. He knew that Cleb was a semi-popular person, from the way that several people looked at him when he walked through the halls of Leoj Middle School. He realized that since Cleb was taunting him, everyone wanted to see why Cleb was after a kid like him.

 To make matters worse, now that his father and sister knew that he played the violin well, they were starting to stress him out more and more. Several times a day, he caught his father glaring at his violin, and he’d also heard his sister mention to several of her friends how she was so embarrassed that she now had two nerdy siblings, Allan and Mason, and how she hated them both for not playing sports.

 The only two things that stopped Allan from quitting Orchestra Club altogether from this pressure were his friends at Orchestra Club, and his brother. Tashin and Tage had convinced many of their friends, who were tired of Cleb’s bragging, to help Allan. At first, Allan had worried they would laugh at his playing, but he soon realized that everyday, they offered him helpful and polite advice and tips on how to perform wonderfully to the judges.

 His brother was the other thing that carried him through the days to the competition.  Everyday when he got home, regardless of his father and sister’s cutting remarks about how dumb they were to play a musical instrument, he taught Allan everything he knew on how to play better, and how to relax during the competition. He also taught Allan how to calm down his nerves before he played, and how to just enjoy himself while playing the violin. Allan got better and better as the days passed, and before he knew it, there were only three days left until the competition.

 “What? Canceled?” Allan exclaimed to Mr. Rishy during his last period before Orchestra Club.

 Mr. Rishy nodded, and said, “Sorry Allan, but you’ll have to walk home today. Your bus driver got sick and is at home.”

 Allan could only gape in astonishment, and after a fun Orchestra Club with his friends, he began the long walk home with his backpack and violin. However, he had only gone a short distance when he was suddenly shoved to the floor, face first. Allan groaned, and when he flipped over, he saw Cleb standing in front of him with a smirk on his face.

 “You know, I’m tired of having everyone say you might beat me in a competition, so I think I can just remove you from it without anyone watching,” Cleb said with a sweet smile. “Boys, grab him and give me his violin.” Instantly, Cleb’s gang grabbed his arms and feet while one of the skinniest boy in Cleb’s gang grabbed his violin and handed it to Cleb. Alan cried out in terror, but Cleb only laughed and smashed his violin to pieces on the floor. Suddenly Allan began to fall back into his memories, where something just as terrible as this had happened. Another broken violin… only…

  https://urbanresearchnetwork.org/0vvfjdioe As eight-year-old Allan walked up to the stage where Joshua Euler looked at him, smiling.

 “What’s your name?” Joshua asked him with a smile.

 “Allan!” Allan said through his chattering teeth and shaking hands.

 “Well Allan, this is a violin! Have you ever played one before?” Joshua asked Allan.

 “No, I haven’t, Mr. Euler!” Allan replied.

 “Well, I’m going to teach you how to play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, by Mozart!” Joshua said, grinning. “Just play these strings in the order I tell you: Play this one, then that one, then this one…”

 As they played the song, Allan trembled with excitement. He was playing the violin with Joshua! This was amazing!

 Suddenly, as they approached the end of the song, Allan’s fingers started to get sweaty, he felt his grip on the violin slipping. Allan started to call out to Joshua, but before a sound even came out of his throat, the violin began to fall to the marble floor. The world seemed to move in slow motion to Allan as the violin went splat on the floor. And then, as though struck by lightning, the violin shattered, pieces of it flying this way and that, some landing on Allan himself, other falling onto Joshua.

 Allan heard a gasp from the crowd, and saw everyone’s eyes on him. Allan bolted out of the theatre room, and from that day on, he never tried to be special again, only ordinary…

 Allan opened his eyes, and for a moment he didn’t realize where he was. Then he remembered: Cleb Titan and his gang, his broken violin, himself falling into his memories. Cleb looked to his right and saw that his violin was shattered into a thousand pieces, the same way Joshua Euler’s had. Allan felt tears coming into his eyes. How would he ever get another violin in time for the competition? Allan grabbed his backpack, and ran home with a sob, not even paying attention to throbbing in his head, telling him how he should never have tried to stand out.

 When he got home, the first thing he did was tell his mother and brother what had happened. Then he locked himself in his room and simply cried. He would never again hear the sound of Orchestra music again. He was no one, and trying to be special had only gotten him in trouble. He cried his heart out, until he finally drifted off into an uncomfortable sleep.

 Allan didn’t know how he had managed to drag himself out of bed and eat breakfast with his family. Everyone was quiet that day while they ate, except for his Mason’s one comment: “Mom has informed the principal of what happened.” At school that day, Allan didn’t know what he was going to do about Orchestra Club anymore. He lowered his head, thinking about it, when suddenly, he bumped into someone in front of him.  


 Allan looked up and saw Cleb and his gang growling at him. Allan stood, frozen in fear even while the nervous part of his brain yelled at him to run away. He only stood there, petrified, as Cleb glowered at him.


 “So you told the principal about what happened, huh? Thanks a lot loser, cause now I’m in trouble, and it’s ALL YOUR FAULT!” Cleb was spitting mad, and Allan realized just how angry he was by the way he could barely form sentences and was gasping with rage. Cleb growled, and exclaimed, “You know, I think you’ve caused enough trouble today. I’m going to-”

 “You’re not going to do anything!” Allan turned around and saw Tashin, Tage, Cire, and their friends coming up behind him. Allan’s body filled with relief at the sight of his friends, but nervous at what they would think when he told them he couldn’t compete in the competition before.

Cleb’s buddies came up to Cleb’s shoulder, growling. Cleb assessed the situation, looking outraged, but he knew it would do no good to attack Allan, not while he had his friends at his back.

 “It doesn’t matter. See you never at the competition!” Cleb muttered under his breath to Allan, and he and his buddies left.

 “Are you OK?” Cire asked him. “Come on, we’d better all get to our next class, or we’ll be late.” His group of friends dispersed. However, the only thing he could think about was what he was going to tell his friends, who had been so hopeful at the fact that he was finally going to defeat Cleb Titan.

 Allan skipped Orchestra Club that day, and the nervous part of his brain still wouldn’t stop worrying, even though he’d delayed telling his fellow Orchestra Club members the truth about what was going to happen for one day. He rode home in silence, and was surprised when he saw that the lights were off. Usually, his brother and mother got home before him. Suddenly, the lights were flicked on and he saw Mason and his mom jump from behind a sofa cushion, shouting, “Surprise!” Allan couldn’t believe his eyes. Not because his mom and brother had surprised him, but because in Mason’s arms was a new violin, that said, “For Allan.” Allan couldn’t believe his eyes. He jumped for joy, feeling as though he could touch the sky.

 “Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you!” Allan yelled. He didn’t have to tell his friends that he couldn’t compete anymore! He still had a chance to win. A small part of him buzzed back to the first time he had seen Joshua Euler play, and how now, he could do the same, with his brand new violin.

 The next two days past in a blur, with him joking with Tashin, and ignoring Cleb’s murderous stares. Only a minute seemed to pass before there was only one day left until the competition, and then time seemed to run so fast that Allan felt as though he’d suddenly teleported into the building where the competition was going to take place. Allan nervously awaited his turn. Time had passed so fast, but now it seemed to slow down, making him more and more nervous with each passing second. His stomach had butterflies flying in it when he became the first in line. Suddenly, he saw Cleb playing in a different room. His music was faint, but Allan could just make it out. As he continued listening, he felt more and more light-headed. He couldn’t believe how well Cleb was playing! When his rival finished, Allan thought, “I’ll never be able to play as good as him. I can’t, I CAN’T!” He felt his old paranoia rising up again. Suddenly, he heard his mom, brother, and all his friends’ voice telling him to just calm down.

 He heard Tashin’s voice in his head, telling him, “You’re one of the best in the class!” He remembered the way his brother and mother had given him his new violin after Cleb broke his old one. He thought about all the people who believed in him, and slowly, his nervousness subsided

He took deep breaths and calmed down. As Cleb walked out of his room, grinning confidently, he shoved Allan out of the way and whispered “You’ll never be as good as me,” at Allan. Allan’s paranoia came up again, but with his friend Tashin’s words in his mind, “You’re amazing! I’d say you’re even better than Cleb Titan, last year’s champion!” Allan stepped into the room.

 As he walked into the room, he saw the judge looking at him expectantly. He slowly unpacked his stuff and set up his stand. Then he began to play. He tried as hard as he could, and he could feel his fingers flying across the strings, his bow a blur. He played and simply listened to his beautiful music. It motivated Allan, and he truly realized what his brother meant by, “enjoy the moments you play.” However, as he went into the middle section of his music, he started to panic. Had he played his E sharp too flat? Had he overdone that accent? Had he forgotten to play the trill on G? Then he almost heard the voices inside his head. He heard every encouraging word his family and friends had told him. He saw Risada, Cire, Tage, and everyone else who believed in him. With them in his mind, cooling him down, he stopped worrying. He played as well as he could, and when he finished, Allan’s mind was reeling from shock. Was it really over? As he turned around to look at the judge, the judge simply smiled and nodded at him. As he walked out of the room, his saw his his family standing outside.

 “How did you do?” his father asked.

 “I don’t know, but I hope I did well!” Allan answered. Then he realized something.

 “Wait, dad, Risada, I thought you didn’t want me to play the violin!” Allan yelped in surprise.

His dad and sister then grunted, and his sister told him his mom had somehow managed to convince them to support him playing music. Allan only nodded, when suddenly his father and sister enveloped him in a fierce hug.

 “We’ve never actually hated you, no matter what you’ve heard us say. It’s just that we wanted you to be athletic. But we love you no matter what you do,” Risada told him. “And we hope you win!”

 Allan’s head spun as they walked together, as a family, to the auditorium.

 Allan went to his seat, and saw several people already seated. He wondered what chance he had at winning, out of all these amazing violin players.

 “All these people have practiced extremely hard for the competition. What chance do I have?” His brain whispered to him. He squashed down his feelings of doubt. Being nervous would only make the feelings of defeat worse if he lost. Then he saw an official-looking lady walk onto the stage.

 He and his family watched the lady on stage tell the audience listening how every performer had done a good job, and thanked several people for helping them. Allan felt his stomach jump around nervously, and hoped he had beat Cleb with all his might.

 The lady on stage suddenly announced, “Thank you to everyone for coming, and congratulations to all of you for playing so well!” Allan heard many people clapping and did the same.

 After the audience had calmed down, the lady apologized for the fact that not everyone could win. “It was a tough decision,” she announced. “But we have our winners! In 20th place, we have Andreas Elliot, from Thes Middle School!” Allan watched Andreas go up to the stage, smiling. However, Allan could tell by the stillness of his hands that he had been disappointed he hadn’t ranked higher.

 The next few people were from schools he didn’t know. Fifteenth was Govind Vikram from Rooster Middle School, and tenth was Walter Wahtbar, who was homeschooled. Then fifth place was called, and fourth place, and third place, taken by someone named Thokozani Mauro, from Besterly Junior High. Allan’s hands were shaking, and he wasn’t sure whether he was happy that he hadn’t been called, for that gave him a chance to be first, or sad that he hadn’t been called, since the nervous side of his brain thought he wouldn’t place.

 Suddenly, the lady announced, “and for first two places, we nearly had a tie. Cleb and Allan, come up here!” Cleb and Allan walked onto the stage. The lady congratulated both of them for making it so far, and told them how proud South Carolina was of them both.


 “However, as you know, we can only have one victor!” The lady announced. Cleb gave Allan a deadly smile, which Allan could see several emotions in: rage, anger, nervousness, and uncertainty.

“And our winner is….” The woman yelled, “ALLAN!”

The woman walked over and gave Allan the first place trophy, and then gave Cleb the second place trophy, whose face now contained a look of such shock and rage that Allan thought it might blow him across the Earth. However, Cleb didn’t move, and simply stood there, staring at Allan.

 “Let’s all congratulate ALLAN!” The woman shouted, and in the audiences fierce clapping, Allan realized he felt just like Joshua Euler. Allan searched the crowd and saw his family, standing there, and he could imagine the overjoyed faces of Tashin, Cire, Tage, and all his other friends when they heard he’d won. He had done it! He had somehow won! He had finally overcome his nervous feelings since his worst failure. This was what he had once dreamed of becoming, and what he had finally become.



Gibraltar and the Exploding Mountains

By: Rich Wang



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The True Meaning of an Amazing Book

By: Sage Wang



There are thousands, probably millions of books out there. But the books that become bestselling all have some things in common that set them apart from the others and make them appealing to the audience. Here are my thoughts and opinions on what makes an outstanding novel.

First of all, amazing characters. This may sound simple, but uninteresting and boring characters are a main cause of disappointed readers. To have a character that really stands out, you need it to have two major things; a flaw, and something special about them that appeals to the reader or is relatable to them. Characters having a flaw is important because usually it leads to a conflict in the story, which is entertaining and suspenseful for the audience to read. Also, it creates a lot of tension in the climax, when the character must learn to fix their flaw and learn from it. Lastly, a flaw is important because it helps ensure your character is never completely perfect, which would bore the reader. Next, the special part about the character is important for a few reasons. First, it keeps the audience engaged because of the special talent or thing about them, making them want to know more and ask more questions. And also, it gives your character a spark that usually helps create a lot of action and drama during build up scenes towards the main climax.

In addition, the other part of making a great book is an interesting plot and storyline. Again, this is very simple, but is an important part too. Plots should have a lot of interesting little surprises along the way that keep the reader engaged and wanting to know more. Also, there should be something that the characters are working towards at the end, but you need to make sure it is very difficult to achieve, with lots of twists and turns, so that the book remains suspenseful and entertaining the whole way through. It’s also very important to have a memorable ending. By having a loving and tender ending, you create a better ending touch for the reader, and they are more likely to have remembered the book better and thought of it as a great book. After all, the ending is the last thing that the reader will see, so it should be well written, or suspenseful, if the book has a series, to get the reader excited and wanting to read the next book. Also, be sure to have a great beginning to lure the reader in. Action sequences or intense dialogue usually are common choices among popular best-selling authors, because it starts the novel off with a bang. Make sure not to overexplain, too. By just doing description over and over, the reader will become bored and will be more likely to dislike the book. Instead, use a action scene or a conversation to show the character’s personality traits and whatnot. This will paint a clearer and more interesting picture of the character in the reader’s mind.

In conclusion, these are my main tips and opinions on the true makeup of a great story. These tricks may seem simple, but they can really set apart an average book from a popular, outstanding one. I hope this helps and inspires you to write using some of these techniques to get your own writing to the top, not just popular authors and editors. No matter who you are, using the right writing tools can make you a star writer and really boost your skills! To conclude, having amazing characters and action filled plot lines really can set apart your writing.

How To Win An Argument

By: Sage Wang

Two people having a debate.

Two people having a debate.

Winning an argument can be very difficult, depending on the person you argue against. But there are many tricks and tips I can offer to help the chances of winning and argument increase. Before I begin, however, I would like to throw out this disclaimer that the best solution is always peace. It is better for you to avoid an argument in the first place than to have to fight with someone. Always try to avoid confrontations when possible.

My first tip is very basic, yet many people still don’t follow the simple trick to be logical and understanding. If you make wild claims about your beliefs and don’t expand on them or logically explain them, chances are your ideas and arguments will seem flawed and contradictory. Always make sure to explain every point you make and reinforce your statements with factual evidence or personal experiences. For example, if you are arguing that you want to go to a summer camp, if you make the claim that you will have to make new friends which will help your people skills, reinforce the claim by pointing out that learning to talk to others and understand friends is an important public speaking skill that is necessary to have.

Secondly, stay calm. If you are visibly showing anger and frustration, you are more likely to have flawed logic and show weakness to your opponent. And don’t forget about body language, either. Even if you seem calm by your speech, angry gestures and expressions can still make it crystal clear that you are upset, which again, leads to mistakes on your claims. By having a neutral expression and calm body language, you can more easily get points across to your opponent and prove your side of the round.

Finally, make sure to be a good sport. If you win or lose the argument, don’t show strong emotion. By being a sore winner, for instance, you may be less likely to convince that person of something again because of the arrogant and immature way you act now. The same thing goes for being a sore loser. If you act upset and flustered if you lose, chances are that person will also be less likely to want to argue with you and give you a chance to make your points, because of the past experiences. By being a good person no matter the outcome, you are more likely to be able to deal with future arguments and avoid fights altogether!

To conclude, these are my thoughts on how to win arguments. In summary, make sure to be logical and reinforce your points, stay calm and have peaceful body language, and always be a good sport, no matter the results. These key points will help you on your way to being a skilled debater and having amazing talent in public speaking and people skills as well, so I hope this helps you! Remember that no matter how simple any of these tips may seem, that can help a lot in the long run.

What Makes Up An Amazing Friend

By: Sage Wang

Two great friends having fun together. :)

Two great friends having fun together. 🙂

Great friends are vital to success in life. You may think you can accomplish everything alone, but friends really help push us to our limits. Without my friends, I wouldn’t be the way I am today. These are my opinions on what great friends truly mean.

First off, a great personality. I choose my friends most primarily on a few criterion of personality. They should be able to laugh when it’s all right to, but work hard and be diligent and serious when need be. A friend who is always downcast and moody isn’t one I would be able to bond with and understand. A great personality is always a great start to an amazing friendship.

Second, they should be relatable. If you and your new friend have no interests that match up whatsoever, don’t get me wrong, you could still be great besties, but having similar strengths helps people understand each other and like each other more. This is a key factor in starting a great friendship, since it will give you things to talk about or do together in the future.

Lastly, it’s important for them to be special, and to have some kind of spark and talent. For instance, you might have a friend who is always been a math genius, and or friend who can do gymnastics like no other. Any unique thing can really help boost your bond and make a good friend an AMAZING one. Believe me, a spark in a person’s heart is what really sets them apart from other people.

I hope you have really enjoyed this opinion article. These are my three ideas on what really makes up a best friend!

Different Kinds Of Friends

By: Sage Wang



First of all, I’d like to talk about great friends. These are the kind you really enjoy being around, no matter what time or what place. (Of course, this isn’t counting that you really want to talk to your best friend at 6:35 AM while being in the shower.) They usually have a perfect mix of good qualities. Most likely this kind of friend knows when to be funny and when to be serious, and when to spend time with you and when they need to work on their own things. They are most likely dependable, compassionate, understanding, and unfortunately, sometimes hard to find. They also probably share your interests and enjoy your company a lot.

Next, I’d like to discuss half-friends. These are the people you know relatively well but have a quality you don’t like, or they have completely different ideas than you do. In school it is relatively common to have several half-friends, as it may take a while for you to adapt to odd traits that other people have. Sometimes half-friends gradually become great friends, but it is equally likely for you and them to sort of just fall apart eventually, which is likely if you don’t really enjoy working with them.

In addition, sometimes you have rival friends. Rival friends tend to be slightly different to talk to, since there is a history of competition between you and that friend that can at times make talking with them slightly stranger. For instance, if one of your best friends just beat you in a competition and you didn’t do well at all, interacting and working with them wouldn’t necessarily be harder, but it would make tensions around that topic increase. It is also likely you look up to a rival friend. Sometimes, a rival friend is a role model for you, if they are extremely good at a subject and compete regularly in competitions with you, and they consistently beat you. Other times, you are both the same level at a subject, and you both strive to beat each other and discuss competition things regularly.

Finally, there are perfect friends. These are friends that are like family to you. You’ve probably known them for a very long time, and understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Also, you have most likely been through a lot of things together and have spent a lot of time helping and talking with one another. Most likely, with these kind of friends, even if you end up having to go to separate schools or even move away from each other, you still keep in touch and find a way to visit each other. These friends are extremely rare to find, and usually when you meet you immediately get along well.

To conclude, there are many different kinds of friends. Each kind have their own qualities, and can all be helpful and unique in their own ways.

My Opinion on School Subjects

By: Sage Wang

A desk with school supplies

A desk with school supplies

To begin, one of my favorite subjects in school is writing. One of the unique things about writing, unlike any other subject, is that there is no “wrong” in writing. You can’t see an essay and mark it incorrect. This is because writing is very complicated and layered. There may be parts of a writing assignment that could be improved, but generally in writing there is no wrong answers. Writing is also one of the subjects where you have to be creative, and think a lot more. When you answer a basic math fact, like two plus two, you don’t have to work or think hard at all. Your brain simply already knows the answer is five! (Kidding, the answer is four.) This makes it slightly harder to complete assignments, but it also means you can be imaginative and write about many things even with a narrow topic.

Next, I’d like to talk about math. Math is my other favorite subject in school. The reason being, math is easy, in my opinion! You don’t have to put as much effort into knowing how to multiply or add two numbers as you do to, say, memorize state capitals in the US. In addition, math is easier to learn than writing. Learning to write a narrative essay is much, much harder to me than learning my multiplication facts. As I mentioned in the first paragraph, this is partially because multiplying numbers doesn’t require me to think very hard, or come of with interesting and intriguing ideas. Also, assignments are much easier to complete. Finishing fifteen questions on adding four digit numbers is a lot faster than writing a five-paragraph essay. (Unless, I suppose, you are J.K. Rowling or another famous author.)

In addition, my least favorite subject is social studies or history. First, why do we even call history “social studies?” Three-fourths of history isn’t even about social things or communication! Is the Civil War about social things at all? Definitely, right? Anyway, social- you know what, I refuse to say that weird name- history is my least favorite subject because there is a lot of memorization involved. You have to remember many dates and cities and colonies and countries and continents and wars and biographies and a whole lot more! You don’t really have to memorize things when you write an essay, or solve a math problem. The same steps are used to do other subjects, making things much less painful. However, in history, you have to know several things every new lesson, making it really annoying to me!

Finally, I’d like to discuss science. I don’t particularly like or dislike science. It’s just okay. One of the things I do enjoy about this subject, though, is that it is very logical. If you add heat to ice, it becomes a liquid! That makes sense! Even if you don’t know the answer to a question for science, there’s a good chance that if you think logically, you can figure it out. One thing I don’t especially like, however, is that there is a lot more thinking needed to learn science. You have to really use your head to be able to understand things like energy and ecosystems.

In conclusion, these are my opinions on the school subjects writing, math, history, and science. Although many subjects are harder or easier than others, they all have their own faults and merits, and are all helpful in their own way.

Glass Bridge

By: R. Wang

In Look Down If You Dare: 14 of the World’s Most Terrifying (and Beautiful) Glass Skywalks, by Smithsonian.com, the author describes many glass bottom bridges that terrify almost anyone who walks on them. However, many people seek even more extreme thrills than walking on one of these bridges, such as mountain climbing, bungee jumping, and canyon swinging. Also, I personally would love to see a glass bottom bridge, since I could have fun while at the same time staying safe.

To begin, I think that the reason people risk their lives just for thrills is because it’s their way of having fun. Although many people would call things like bungee jumping crazy and too risky, the whole point of people having fun on it is because it’s risky. When you know something high is at stake (in this case your life,) then adrenaline pumps through your veins and makes you feel happy, in a strange way. Your senses are so high and on alert that your nerves start to fire up, and to some people, it’s one of the most wonderful (and crazy fun) experiences in the world.

To continue, there are many other dangerous ways to get thrills other than bungee jumping. Several examples of this are white-water rafting, mountaineering, and wing walking. While there are other ways to have fun, such as playing sports or video games, several people think that taking risks is the best way to have fun. After all, each gives you a different type of thrill. Sports gives you a rewarding type of fun, video games give you instant gratification, and extreme sports (and other activities) gives you adrenaline.

Finally, I would definitely want to visit the glass bridges mentioned in the article. In my opinion, I’m the one who likes to get the most “dangerous” thrills in the family. Walking on a glass bridge with the ground 900 feet below you would be perfect for me. I love safe ways to have lots of fun and adrenaline rushes. While I’m not into things like mountain biking, which is too dangerous, it would be amazing to get to just look down and see the ground way below you, churning like and endless void, while you simply stood on the glass bridge, safe, but shaking with fear.

To conclude, glass bridges are the borderline between having fun safely and extreme activities, such as mountain climbing. While several people seek extreme thrills just for the adrenaline rush, such as bouldering and wind surfing, I simply would like to go on the glass bridge and have a little fun while remaining unharmed. Going on the glass bridge and other very safe yet fun activities are what I dream about doing. It may be difficult to tell which activities are extreme and which are safe, but still, one thing is for certain: glass bridges are an amazing work of art, from both the architectural and thrill seeking perspectives.

A Great Family System

Buy Valium Reviews By: Sage Wang

With this system, your family will be more productive!

With this system, your family will be more productive!

In your house, is everyone always frustrated and arguing? There is a simple solution to solve all of your problems. All you need to do is have everyone learn to understand each other, and communicate well. This way, parents will understand how to help their kids become more successful.

The first step to making a family more productive and happy is to set up a system that works out for everyone. Set each family member in charge of something so everything is fair, and one person doesn’t have all the power. If someone has a suggestion that improves the system, then use that idea to help benefit everyone! For example, if it makes sense to everyone, you can vote a family leader for a month, and rotate the balance of power to someone else after his or her turn has finished. That way, you’ll get a feel for different ways of helping the family and can learn to use the best strategy for helping everyone.

The second step is to fix cracks or small problems from the past. If there is arguing going on, then you or your other family members can help fix it by understanding one another and communicating well. When things are confusing, someone who does know how to solve that particular problem can help you. As the famous quote “Two brains are better than one” states, when others help you, assignments or objectives can be easier. You might be very good at writing, and help your brother or sister on an essay, but he or she might excel in math, so they can help you with projects or homework. This system works especially well when everyone cooperates and helps each other when things are tough or extremely difficult.

If you work through this process, things will be easier and more productive in your house. Everyone will feel happy and no one will argue or yell at each other because of this efficient system. So give this amazing system a try! Help your family by creating a system that everyone can benefit from!

My Opinion on Home Security

https://www.virtual-assembly.org/s40h6tc97 By: Sage Wang

See how lame these new security keypads are these days?

See how lame these new security keypads are these days?

OK, so human security has improved lots throughout the years. But let’s face it; nowadays robbers can easily break into our homes. All they got to do is pick one out of three ways to steal your valuables, which I’ll explain later. But the most important news is, I have a solution! Something that will save you time and money of buying and installing expensive security alarms and keep your family happy.

I’ll start with the ways criminals can sneak into your house! For one, all they have to do is guess your 16-digit passcode, and BAM; they’re in your house with no alarms blaring. See what I mean by, that keypad on the front door is completely insecure and useless? You might think, oh, COME ON, they’ll never guess that complicated code, but with a little math, (and a Internet search for number combination calculator because I was too lazy to do the work myself) I figured out there are ONLY 2,092,278,989,000 (2 trillion, 92 billion, 278 million, 989 thousand) combination possibilities the thieves have to try before breaking in! See how unreliable those “new technology security systems” are? The second way that robbers can get in your house is by jumping through the chimney! (LIKE SANTA!) Unlike that jolly fella, though, robbers don’t dress in boots, hats, and red and white lumpy clothes and run around with jingly butts. Plus they don’t give presents. But don’t worry; this method will never work if you just keep a pot of boiling water at the bottom of your chimney. Of if you’re feeling evil you can put some acid in there too. The last method is known as Utter Failure, because that’s what it is. It’s when the robber knows your security is too advanced, will break down your door and try to persuade you too give them your money while smiling and posing when you ask them if you can get a picture of them to send to the police station. Usually you don’t have to worry about this type of burglary.

All right, now for the moment you’ve been waiting for. I’m going to show you the LEGENDARY security method to keep robbers away FOREVER. All you have to do is… drumroll please… (RATTATATATATATATTTAT!)… put a My Little Pony doll on your front porch. This works because the criminal will flail around in terror, screaming for help that he or she is being abducted by little rainbow ponies, and faint on the ground. If you really want you can add a voice so that when a person comes near your door, it yells really loud, “WELCOME TO PRINCESS PONY LAND! MEET RAINBOW DASH, TWILIGHT, AND PINKIE PIE! PLUS WE HAVE BEAUTIFUL TEA PARTIES AND BULLY FREE CAKE!” If the robber attempts to plug his ears or kill him or herself, you’ll know why.

Now, you know all you need to know about home security! Remember, the key is to use My Little Pony models and put them at the front entrance. Oh, and if a guest comes over and runs away in terror, then too bad. Plus you can do this to your friend’s house when he’s not looking for a April Fools joke. The point is, now you know the secrets of robbery and keeping your home safe. I gotta go now, to refill the batteries on my own screaming Rainbow Dash figurine. Now, you’ll be completely harm free from burglars!

Dogs Rule!

By: Sage Wang

See how helpful and adorable dogs are?

See how helpful and adorable dogs are?

OK, so I know the co-founder of this website made an article saying idiotic CATS are better. But I will prove otherwise! To begin, his “extensive research” was basically HIS OWN THOUGHTS! So ha! Plus, I have been doing REAL extensive research, and around 65% of people would rather have a dog. WHY? BECAUSE THEY CARE ABOUT THE WORLD! Unlike SOME ANIMALS! Cats just sit around licking their butts and coughing up hair balls! NO ONE CARES ABOUT CATS.

Next, dogs actually can be somewhat useful. If a dog hears noises outside, it will bark to get your attention. If a dog knows you are feeling sad, it will come over and lick your face and wag its tail to try and cheer you up. Guess what a CAT does in those situations! Correct! ABSOULUTELY NOTHING! If you don’t REALIZE, most people actually think of their dogs as FAMILY, not some RANDOM THING I didn’t even WANT because I was FORCED to buy it for my SECOND COUSIN!

Everyone knows that dogs are better. CATS suffer from “THE HUMANS HATE YOU” disease. The DOGS, on the other hand, have a strong immune system with antibodies known as “THE HUMANS LOVE YOU OMG OMG YOU’RE SO CUTE!” In addition to this, dogs are cute, fluffy, and adorable, while CATS wear a fake fur skin around their UGLY MUGS to try and SUCK UP to humans! But even WITH their masks, everyone knows they’re still HIDEOUS. BESIDES, no human being wants a STUPID animal that just sits around while you PAY, like, one million dollars for its needs. That’s like paying for a house while you don’t LIVE in it.

Now, if you’re STILL not convinced, you are such a @#$^%^&*!! kind of weird. My last and FINAL argument, which is really good, is that CATS are literally always clueless. Why? WHAT DO YOU MEAN WHY? BECAUSE THEY ARE! You want logical reasoning? SURE! Cats are CLUELESS because they have CLUELESS fur, CLUELESS eyes, CLUELESS bones, CLUELESS muscles, and CLUELESS little BRAINS! They also have CLUELESS ears, CLUELESS noses (and nose hair,) CLUELESS smug little mouths, and CLUELESS FACES in general! GEEEEZZZ! If you are still a “cat believer,” then you are INSANE!

To make a clear statement, right now, CATS SUCK! Again, CATS SUCK! For the third time, CATS SUCK! For the fourth time, CATS SUCK! For the fifth- Okay, you get the idea. CAAATTTSSS SSSSUUUUUUCCCCKKKK!! If you have a cat right now, return it to the animal shelter, throw it off a cliff, or drown it in poison. (OK, maybe not the last one.)

Now, I’m going to conclude this story by citing my sources. Writer: Sage Wang (me!) Editor: Sage Wang (me!) Research Scientist: Sage Wang (me!) Experiment Tester and Analyzer: Sage Wang (me!) All Other Hardworking Employees: Sage Wang (me!), Sage Wang (me!), and Sage Wang (me!). Oh, and a few more people, Sage Wang (me!), Sage Wang (me!), Sage Wang (me!), Sage Wang (me!), Sage Wang (me!), Sage Wang (me!), Sage Wang (me!), Sage Wang (me!), Sage Wang (me!), Sage Wang (me!), Sage Wang (me!), and Sage Wang (me!). Oh, and one website: richsucksandsagewanglies.com. To end this essay, cats suck.


The Oldest Debate Ever (No offense to dogs this is a joke)

The Oldest Debate Ever (No offense to dogs this is a joke)

Hey guys, what’s up, it’s Rich, and today I’m going to be arguing the oldest debate ever: Cats vs. Dogs. After doing extensive research on the ups and downs of both, it was clear that 95% of people wanted Cats, 0% wanted dogs, and 5% didn’t care. So, I’ll be telling you why cats are INFINITELY (∞) better than dogs.

To begin, I’ll start by saying why dogs aren’t that good. I mean, people say stuff like, “OH! MY PUPPY IS SO LOYAL AND CUTE!!!!!” –Kate, age 13. “My puppy licks me every time I get home! He’s so adorable!” – Nada, age 5. I’m sorry, but this is definitely not true. Have you heard of doggy death syndrome? Yeah, me neither, but apparently all dogs have it. This means that they’ll die within 10 years. However, their tongue has a special ability called Sap Sipper. This means every 1000 times they lick you, you get 1 day cut off your life, and they get +1 year for their lives. This proves how annoying, evil, and non-loyal dogs are. That one day that your dog has stolen from you could have been the day you finally killed a pig in Minecraft! Also, I don’t know how the whole cute thing got started. Did you know that dogs wear 50 masks to disguise their true faces? It’s true! I found this out from richwanglies.com, which is the trustworthiest source around! This proves how dumb dogs really are.

To continue, I’ll talk about lies people say about cats that are not true. “My cat shoved me over the edge of the map into the void!” – Steve, ageless. “The stupid cat attacked my dog! That dumb cat yowled its face off and then PEED on my dog! How stupid are dogs anyways?” –iSongs developer. I’m sorry, but the first quote is definitely a lie. I used my lie detector to find out this information. To continue, the next quote is also false. After all, iSongs isn’t even a real company! This proves how awesome cats are.

Finally, I’ll talk about the great upsides of cats. Ok, has anyone ever seen a cute dog video? NOOOOOO NEVER! Also, my YouTube says I’ve spent 100 hours watching cat videos. You hear that? CAT VIDEOS! You know how many views the best dog video has? 500 views! The best cat video has 9324879238493284299293482948293849289894823984923849832948 views! The only downside is after I finished watching the cat videos, my mom started yelling at me for procrastinating, whatever that is. She must have been so proud of me! I mean, procrastinating does start with the word pro! Also, another upside is that cats pee in the litter box, while dogs poop on your face. Did you here that??? POOP ON YOUR FACEEEEE. This is why cats are definitely better than dogs.

To conclude, I <3 cats. These are the reasons why u should definitely buy a cat instead of a dog. Of course, this doesn’t explain why I have 50 dogs, but still…. cats for the win!!!!!

Organization Tips

By Sage Wang

Becoming organized really isn't that difficult!

Becoming organized really isn't that difficult!

These days, life can be complicated and messy, and things don’t get much better with all those wrappers of delicious snacks and candies cluttered around the house. I’m going to explain a few simple ideas to become more organized as a family. This way, you aren’t screaming around at the last minute trying to find that one research paper when you’re already fifteen minutes late.

To begin, you can start by having an organized room. Lots of people say being neat is useless and expensive, but this is simply not the case. In fact, you can be much more productive if you remove cluttered papers in your workspace and have a clean study area. Have a secure table and light, and with a few utensils you’re ready to go! There’s truly no need for random fancy supplies or organization tools! All you really need to do is have a folder or two to hold papers, and ceramic or plastic cups make great office supply holders.

Your living room can easily be cleaned up too. Commonly, books are scattered across the table and it clutters important documents. This can be prevented easily. Simply use old storage boxes to pack books in, and never will they be in the way of things again. It makes them accessible but not annoying at all. Cabinets or shelves also can be used to hold books, or even family pictures or models. When papers are in the way, just like in bedrooms you can sort them by hand and file them in folders or binders. This saves time and effort sifting through thousands of papers and desperately throwing things around.

In addition to this, kitchens can sometimes be very unorganized. Food can be scattered around and sometimes we don’t know what food is where or what’s inside a container. This problem can be solved very easily. For one, it is important as always, to sort things out. Put the dried goods together and all the snacks with each other. Put meal foods where they need to be and prepare picnic supplies. Another key aspect of being neat is labeling things. This way, you always know what goes where and what condiments are inside a box or glass. Confusion can be easily prevented with just paper, pencils, and tape.

It really is that simple! Being organized doesn’t have to include dozens of wasted tools or expensive equipment. Everything you need is actually all right in your very own house. So what are you waiting for? Go help clean your room or tidy the tables. With these helpful tips, neatness will be your new best friend!



Geometry Dash is Educational



  Ok, so, if you looked at the title page of this website, you’ll no that I’m addicted to Geometry Dash. If you don’t know what that is, I’ll explain it to you. It’s literally a game where you try to beat levels by avoiding obstacles which will kill you if you bump into them. Well, what kills you? Pretty much everything! You also change into different game modes, and there’s even a level creator which is probably the best level creator in any game. (There are probably more than a thousand user created levels which are made better than the levels that the developer makes.) This sounds really boring, but if you try out the game, you’ll know why I love to play it. The rage, the excitement, the nervousness!

So anyways, let’s get to the point of this essay. Number one, Geometry Dash teaches you programming. In the level creator, you can use triggers, which you have to edit yourself. It actually takes lots of work overall, and is actually just like the basic type of programming! In the end, if you work hard enough, you’ll have coded A LOT and have an amazing-looking level!

Secondly, Geometry Dash helps your reflexes TREMENDOUSLY. In this amazing game, many times you have to tap based on your reactions and what you see, and many times you’ll be very surprised and if you play enough, you’ll find out that when a hidden obstacle suddenly pops up, you’ll be so used to it that you’ll find out your reactions will save you. All of a sudden you’ll realize just how much your reactions have grown. Suddenly, when the big bully at your school comes and shoots a spitball at your hair, you’ll have such good reflexes that you’ll be able to dodge it! (Ok, maybe you’ll only have good reactions with your hands, but still! It’ll help.)

(Sarcastic Tone For This Whole Paragraph) Finally, Geometry Dash teaches you Geometry. My first and best, most amazing reason is that Geometry Dash has the word Geometry Dash in it. It teaches you about squares, triangles, and how to jump a perfect parabola over spikes. Also, it can teach you science. There’s a hidden swing copter game mode which teaches you that for every reaction, there’s an opposite reaction. Also, one of the most important things it teaches you is a message: “NEVER GIVE UP!” This is taught both through the level “Reanimation” and playing Geometry Dash levels in general. I’m sorry, but Geometry Dash is the most educational game anyone can ever play. It’s even more educational than Minecraft and Pac Man!!!

Anyways, to conclude this essay, I just want to say that you should definitely play Geometry Dash. It might not be the most educational game ever, but it certainly can teach you the fundamentals of coding and improve your reflexes dramatically. It’s also a really fun game, and you should definitely try playing it. Perhaps one day you’ll be even more addicted to the game than I am! 😀

Inventions 2016



While many inventions are presented in this article, the idea of using drone ports truly excels from the other. This invention is believed by 2020 to help save more than a million lives. On the other hand, however, my opinion is that using ground-hover boards are extremely dangerous, especially towards those who are inexperienced with moving vehicles. I think that this invention is something that will not be useful or wanted due to safety hazards.

First of all, the theory of drone technology that is presented is extremely plausible, with a lot of scientific evidence supporting it. However, as this project became more popular, one question was frequently pondered: What kinds of home base would these miniature computer flying machines have? In countries all over the world, this question has been thoroughly thought by many scientists and researchers over the years. The idea was to use drone ports which would sever as a base for drones to input and receive information. There, once collected necessary data, drones would transfer food, medical supplies, electronics, and other goods through the hilly countryside where road travel was difficult, which was found to be much more efficient than a truck or helicopter. The drones small or light weight could carry a lot of necessary goods with helicopters or trucks are slow and unproductive.

On the contrary, ground-hover boards are unsafe and expensive, unlike the miniature drones. Once a rider hops on, the device goes a certain direction based on wherever they shifted the body weight. Shockingly many flaws have been found in this technology which could allow she or he riding the board could severely injure the rider. In fact, Great Britain had outlawed its use on public walks and streets. Not only this, Amazon has refused to sell this product because of safety concern including batteries that could catch potentially fire. Costing around $1,500 dollars, and sometimes even more, the ground-hover board is not safe nor efficient to use.

Finally, while there were several ingenious ideas showcased, the one that showed the most potential to me was the mini-drone theory, due to the fact that it is inexpensive, efficient, and simple. In addition to this, the plan of ground-hoverboards did not appeal to me because it was extremely unsafe and costly. Although some of the ideas in this article had flaws and imperfections, I am positive that one of these innovative inventions could change the world someday.

Swimming Sensation

My heart was racing approximately a million times a second as I dove into the swimming lane, icy water blinding me and the shouts and cheers of the crowd chiming in my ears. Everything seemed to be in slow motion as I stretched for the finish, armstroke after armstroke. As my hand collided with the sensor on the opposite wall, I glanced up at the scoreboard, excited yet nervous, my lungs bursting, my muscles exhausted.

My competitive swimming career started a few years ago when I was five years old, unaware that I would soon be in the most challenging race of my life. For years I practiced for hours on end, ignoring the frosty feeling of the water and the splashes of passing people. Day after day, I waited for the moment when I would be prepared enough to begin my first swimming meet. There were moments of excitement followed by terrible disappointment as I eagerly listened to the selected few children who could enter the upcoming race. Finally, after lots of hard work, I was ready to try my first competition.

Before I knew it, I was on the diving platform, my arms over my head in streamline position. The buzz of the starting sound flashed before me as I plunged into the water, furiously throwing my arms one after another. As I found that I was last place, something in my mind snapped as I remembered all the months of hard work and all the preparation I had to do to get in this moment. Suddenly, my legs whirled around like a motorboat and my hunched, exhausted arms stroked around like a overcharged machine, as I seemed to go back in time to visit all the flashbacks in the past few years.

All of a sudden- WHAM! My shaking fingers slammed against the end sensor and I was able to look up. I caught a glimpse of blue and glanced over, seeing the official handing me a bright turquoise ribbon with the words “First Place” embedded on it neatly in glimmering gold. My heart leaped with joy as I saw the scoreboard with ‘SAGE WANG, LANE 8″ marked as first place. As I ran over to my parents, still soaking wet, I danced and jumped in the air, filled with joy and confidence.

To conclude, ever since then, I have attended many meets and have not always won first place- but still will never give up and keep trying. Going to my very first swimming competition was an exciting clutch situation for me and the memory will always be in my heart.


Future Grandkids Interview Grandma

By Sage Wang

Hello; I am Sage Wang, future scientist, astronomer, and author.  I am currently going to be in 4th grade.

—————————————-70 years later ——————————————–

Me: Hello, Anna and Alex.

Why you’ve grown so much since you were born! Anna – you’re 11, but it feels like you’re 14, and Alex- you’re 13, but I always think you’re 18!

Anna: Grandma, how was your childhood?

Me: Ahh, great question! When I was your age, we didn’t have have automatic pencils that wrote whatever you want, and robots that knew the answer to any question!  We also didn’t have teleporters, for the fastest thing we could use was a plane.

Alex: WHAT???

Me: Grandson, it’s time! So, when we had to write an essay on paper, we couldn’t speak to the pencil and have it write whatever we wanted.  We actually had to USE it.  When we had to type something, we didn’t have the headphones attached to the computer that would allow whatever you read in your head to automatically type things down.  We had to use a keyboard-

Alex: What’s a “Keyboard?”

Me: My, my, I keep forgetting how much, technology you have now! Of course, you don’t’ need keyboards, for you have those fancy headphones called “Mind-Computer Tech TM.”  Anyways, keyboards are boards with small keys with every stroke and letter in the alphabet.  You would press the keys, and the letter/stroke would appear on the computer screen.

Anna: WOW!


Becoming a Mouse

By Sage Wang



THUD! THUD! THUD! Footsteps came closer and closer. The noise was deafening, and I wondered why it was so loud! I ran around, trying to figure out what was going on when I tripped on something gray and fuzzy- a tail.

Confused, I raced out of my bedroom and ran into my brother, who scooped me up in his hands and carried me to his room. I screamed loudly, clearly horrified. He ignored my protests and put me in a glass cage, which he had built.

Everything appeared to be miniature inside the shiny, glass cage. There was a brown, old treehouse, which was definitely handmade, with fragments of wood and nails tucked inside it. A soft, rope ladder dangled down from it, which had been carefully glued and cut. The smell of fresh leaves filled the air, and as I looked around, I saw trees looming up before me in dark, rich soil. There was even a plastic playground inside, with a shiny, turquoise slide, and a ladder to go with it. A yellow swing attached to a pole was right next to it, and a small, fluffy bed lay in the corner.

“Do you like it?” he asked me with a warm smile.

I deeply and truly loved the cage. It had probably taken months to build, and I was amazed at how hard he had worked to build this. However, part of me still ached to explore the outside world, and go on adventures, so I decided to escape.

When my brother left the room, I crept out of the cage and ran into the house bathroom. Suddenly, as I looked around, everything looked so tall. The shower seemed to have grown an impressive ten feet, and the toilet was as large as a baseball stadium! “Surely I’m just dreaming!” I told myself. A moment later, I felt as if something was following me. I spun around and saw that there was a small, furry tail behind me. I pinched myself to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating. Shrugging, I kept looking around, deciding that this was probably a prank that my brother was playing on me. To my surprise, I caught a glimpse of fuzzy wool on my arm. Suddenly, I stopped short. Could it be? Was I the small creature that I had always feared? I slowly and carefully glanced down at myself in horror. I was a mouse!

When I looked in the bathroom mirror, I could see that I had soft, gray fur coating my tiny body, which reminded me of my pillow in my bedroom. My small, brown eyes looked fearful, with a glimmer of determination in the corner. I had a small nose that twitched, with whiskers dangling from it that were thin and sensitive. Walking was quite uncomfortable for me, especially on my four stumpy legs. As I ran around, my tail swished behind me like a snake slithering in the desert.

I scampered out of the bathroom, squeaking loudly when all of a sudden I saw something black and shiny. I sniffed the air, and smelled something that smelled familiarly like cheese! I walked deeper inside the small contraption, when all of a sudden, I froze. “This must be- no it can’t be- it’s a – MOUSETRAP!!” I yelled, running out of the black house-like area. Running out the door, I heard my father say,

“My, this mouse is smart. Hold on a second- where’s my daughter? Sage, where are you? Sweetheart?”

As I raced out the door, the sidewalk felt bumpy under my tiny feet as I ran across the block. HISSSS! I spun around in fear. Was it a snake? A tiger? An elephan-

“AHH! CAT!” I screamed as the cat swiped at me. I ran off, running as fast as I could with my tiny legs. All of a sudden, I felt myself being lifted into the air. The cat had captured me. The animal snarled and opened its mouth, spit slobbering down its face. I did the only thing I could to avoid getting eaten. I spit in the cat’s face, and when the cat loosened its grip in surprise, I managed to escape.

Running as fast as I could, I scampered inside my house and ran past my parents to my room, gasping for breath. Suddenly, I saw a scratched and cut button. Paint was crumbling off it, but I could still see a faint red glow near the edge. I crept towards it, and could see white letters in dim print that read: “DO NOT PUSH.” I could hear a soft humming sound from the button as if warning me not to come closer. Shaking from head to toe, I took another step forward. I cautiously raised my paw, and before I could even brace myself, I pressed the button.

A flash of light enveloped my eyes as I began to grow larger by the instant. Colors flashed everywhere I looked, and my body was changing rapidly. By the time I could see again, I had become human again! It was a miracle. Just then, my mother entered my room, and asked me, “Where have you been, dear?”

Smiling to myself, I replied, “I’ve- well, it’s a long story.”

Laughing, my mother told me, “I’m not really surprised, now that I think about it.”

As my mother left the room, I sighed in relief, thinking how nice it was to be back to human again. “Well,” I thought, “Hopefully next time I get turned into an animal, I’ll be more prepared.” And with that, I went back downstairs, excited for what other adventures would come my way.


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