ANNA QIN

The Magic Bicycle

The Magic Bicycle by John Bibee is a book that I probably would never have picked up to read if it wasn’t assigned. The book had so many ups and downs, twists and turns, and it kept me on my toes every single time I was reading it. When I first picked up the book, I thought that I wasn’t going to like it but by the end of the first sentence, it had my attention.

My favorite character from the book is Horace Grinsby. The reason I liked him so much is because he always surprised you. At the beginning of the book, I thought that Mr. Grinsby was going to be the character who saves the day and becomes the hero. I soon found out that I was dead wrong. No one suspected him to be the person who would try to destroy the Spirit Flyer. 

I loved the scene from the beginning of the book when John flew to Mrs. McCradle’s house to help put out the fire. He used the magic from his bike for good and he wasn’t selfish with the bike. He used it so that he could help out and save property and animals’ lives. John found out that there was a fire at the McCradles’ house and he knew the Sheriff Kramer (Uncle Bill) couldn’t get there in time because of how bad the storm was – the three bridges were swamped out with the flood. John knew he had to do something about it so instead of winning his chess game against Lieutenant George, he snuck out to help put out the fire at the McCradles’.

In every book, movie or show there is always a good guy, a bad guy, and most likely a person the main character hates or is bullied by. John is the good guy/main character, Horace Grinsby is the bad guy, and Barry Smeldowe is the bully. I feel like this book has the structure and guidelines that almost every book or show/movie has and that is what makes it interesting. It keeps your attention with its twists and turns.

In my opinion, at the end of every chapter John Bibee the author left you wanting to keep reading and never stop. For example, at the end of chapter 11, the last sentence was the note telling John to destroy the Spirit Flyer. It didn’t say who it was from so if you were a normal person, obviously, you would need to keep reading. As I mentioned before this book hooks you right from the start.

In conclusion, The Magic Bicycle by John Bibee is a book that I would never have read on my own but I am glad I did read it!



SIMON LIM

Dream Life-Size Chocolate Gingerbread Castle

My dream life-sized gingerbread castle will be 170 feet tall and 150 feet wide. It’s called the chocolate castle. The walls will be made out of dark chocolate. Behind all of the walls there are strong and reliable peppermint blocks. The roof is curved and is made out of milk chocolate. (YUM!)

At the very top of the castle there is a two feet wide and two feet tall Jawbreaker. On Christmas eve the jawbreaker explodes and brings fireworks to the sky. Around the castle is a large moat but instead of water there is milk chocolate!  Giant Hershey kisses that act as mountains protect the castle from invaders. If you want to get in you have to say the password, the password is: “In the beginning there was a word, and the word was chocolate and it was good.”++++

 Lots of animals love to hang out around the castle (they are also made out of chocolate). Right next to the castle there is a chocolate shop that hands out free chocolate. If you want to get some, go to 1449 Chocolate is Awesome Street. And while you’re eating your chocolate you can swim in my cotton candy pool or have fun in my gummy trampoline. There is also a machine that follows you everywhere you go and if you want chocolate it will race to the pantry and gets the chocolate that you want.

And if you don’t like chocolate that’s fine – just north of the castle there is an ice cream cave. It is guarded by an alive actual sized gummy bear.  Giant Hershey kisses that act as mountains protect the castle from invaders. So if you want chocolate and your parents won’t let you then just visit the Chocolate Castle. 



ANNA QIN

Alex Morgan
Born on July 2, 1989, Alex Morgan, a forward for the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team, went to Diamond Bar High School, and University of California, Berkeley. Her hometown is Diamond Bar, California, but her birthplace was San Dimas, California. In her high school days, she scored 45 goals, tying for third in all-time school history. Growing up, Alex Morgan was an athletic person. However, she only began playing soccer with an actual team when she was about 14 years old. At Diamond Bar, she was picked to play in her district’s all star team three times and also was named an NSCAA All-American. At Berkeley, where she went to college, she led the Golden Bears to the NCAA tournament and twice to the second round in all of the four years she was there. Later on, in 2008, she helped the U.S. win the championship by scoring the winning goal. This was named the goal of the game and the second best goal of the whole tournament. Also, in 2011, she scored multiple goals in both the semifinal and finals. In the 2011 Women’s Professional Soccer draft by Western New York Flash, Morgan was drafted first overall. And in the same year she played in the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup on the U.S. Women’s National Team. She scored her first-ever World Cup goal in a semifinal match against France as the youngest person on the team, to lose against Japan in the finals, in a shootout. Morgan dominated in the 2015 FIFA World Cup which led her to becoming the champion of the game. It all comes to show that she has been the star player in many of her games. At home, Morgan practices the way she would act on the field. Even though Morgan is the youngest of three sisters, Jenny (six years older) and Jeri (four years older), she always thought she wasn’t far behind them. “Everything was a competition,” she said. She would race them down the street and make it a competition. “Beating someone to us was just so sweet.” Morgan who is a super-competitive person stated that she doesn’t ever want to lose again after being a witness to her dad’s “champion dance” he did whenever he won. Did you know that Alex Morgan enjoys doing yoga and has a motorcycle license? Guess what?! She even has a cat named Brooklyn with six toes on each of its front feet! She also studied about abroad in Madrid in 2009 and not soon after, in 2010, graduated a semester early with a degree in political economy. Alex Morgan is a very fascinating person right from the start.



ISABELLA WANG

Isabella is the youngest student to ever take my The Art of the Personal Essay (ed. Phillip Lopate) unit, and has just finished reading Virginia Woolf’s “Street Haunting”. Woolf is in need of a pencil one evening in London. It is a wintry evening as she walks across town, and “the champagne brightness of the air” and the “sociability of the streets are grateful.” Working within the stream of consciousness approach, Isabella wrote this amusing personal essay about her pencil. The setting is a regional scholastic competition in Connecticut, and the event happened the same week she read Woolf.

The classroom was cacophonous, the dozen people sharing conversation. I moved around and chatted with a few of my friends, talking about this and that, helping out with some notes or simply asking about how they did on their most recent event. People dropped into the room at times, and others left the room at other times. Most of my friends, though, seemed to be in the room for the majority of the time that I was there. My mechanical pencil, however, did not. The first time that I used my pencil that day was at one of my events, and when I got back I had set it down on the table. Mysteriously, when I decided to go fetch it a few minutes later – from my seat which was but a meter away – it had gone, simply vanished. I looked for it a bit, but had then reluctantly decided that it was a lost cause. It surfaced and showed itself to me around three hours later, when I had all but forgotten about it. By then, I had succumbed to boredom and decided to show my friends a comic ( in a video so that you could hear the characters speaking ), in which at the end, one of two main characters had yelled out the other of the two main character’s name in anger and exasperation – a bit loudly, in fact, so most of the others in the room heard it too and laughed. So I brought my pencil to my next event a while later, where it again decided to evade me. I soon discovered though, I had left it with my partner, and promptly lost it for a third time for around ten seconds, right after I found it. Alas, even that was not the last time that it evaded me. For the fourth time, it disappeared just as it had done the first time, and I had to ask for my friend’s assistance to track it down. And for the fifth time, it hid from me under the bleachers (where I had looked already) during the awards ceremony, but when I checked again, after the ceremony had ended, it was in plain sight. Let me tell you, from all of these happenings, I have gathered some very important information and data – that I should not put down my pencil, for whenever I did, that elusive yellow and black object hid itself away for a random period of time. Right now though, I am keeping track of it, and it is lying innocently on my desk.



Admissions prep for seniors

Hi seniors (and juniors),

 

I thought you may be interested in the student feedback to me, your teacher, as this successful student prepares to enter the Ivy-League world of University of Pennsylvania!  This is Sammy X from Hong Kong:

Dear Mr. Watt,

As high school draws to an end, I have begun to go around the school thanking all my teachers. You too were once my teacher.
One of the greatest “miracles” I’ve experienced as a student has been my path in English. To tell the truth, I struggled at English in middle school and was worried that it would become a problem in high school. Four years later, I can confidently say that I excelled in my high school English classes. Whatever it was, something between middle school and high school drastically changed the trajectory of my English education. My mom and I have always speculated what it may have been. Perhaps I just got smarter? Maybe it was because in high school [my] grades actually counted towards [my] GPA, towards the competitiveness of [my] college application. Maybe I was just more driven? After much reflection, I realise the impetus for this great change may have been your literary service. I did, after all, start in 8th grade [see his portfolio here], right before high school – right before this great change.

[I’m] not gonna lie, four years ago there were times when I wondered why I enrolled in your class. Sometimes, I spent late Friday nights catching up on the work you assigned. I frequently woke up early on Saturday mornings to squeeze in a few more chapters of Tolkien. At some points, it was difficult. As a young and naïve middle school boy, sometimes I wished I could spend my Saturday afternoons playing soccer. Four years later, I’m so glad I didn’t. You influenced me in a way that I did not have the capacity to appreciate as a young boy. Now I do.

The above can help younger students to get an idea of the stakes of early study with MWLS: the earlier you begin study, the better! Thanks Sammy!

 

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