Bags For Hope

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Four weeks ago, a couple of my friends (Alan, Joseph, and Andrew) and I raised money to fund for our project, Bags for Hope. Bags for Hope, a project that was completed in less than a month, was a way for us to give back to our community and help out those in need. You may now be wondering, “What made you choose to do this project?” Well, the backstory as to how this project came into being was kinda surprising.

This whole project came under way when I was watching theDOMINICshow, a comedy channel on Youtube. At the time, I was scrolling through the numerous videos on his channel when I came across a video titled “Iron Man Helps The Homeless Smile.” Since the title of the video intrigued me, I decided to check it out.

Watching this inspirational video on Youtube resulted in finding and watching countless others. I was amazed at how, in a world where some people have begun to lose hope and faith for humanity, there still exist some good-hearted people, who strive to make a difference. At the end of that day, I was inspired to do the same and make a difference in my own community.

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BRAWL (Denotation): a rough or noisy fight or quarrel

B.R.A.W.L. (Theriaultation): Battle Royal All Will Learn; a team-based competitive Socratic Seminar where students learn how to develop their own discussion questions based on purpose/tone/theme and style analysis and then prepare and answer those questions (taken directly from

For the past few weeks, Mr. Theriault, my English teacher, introduced to us a new method to connect to the global conversation. He calls it a BRAWL.

When we first did the BRAWL, it was an experience like no other. People were throwing words back and forth, defending themselves, and countering one another. Numerous stabs were made to the opposing team. In the end, however, only one team will emerge as victorious. IMG_1731

Here is a short clip of what happened to one team:

Honestly, I learned a lot from these BRAWLs. Since the main objective of this assignment was to develop and answer our own discussion questions, the BRAWLs have taught me how to resolve conflicts through a connection in the real world, such as the arts or the sciences. It also helped me to develop my critical thinking, public speaking, and analysis skills due to the fact that I always had to be quick on my feet to answer the various counterblows that were thrown to my team.

Since this assignment was team-based, teamwork played a crucial role in succeeding. Without it, one could not communicate to their fellow teammates, leading to confusion. As a result, I believe that every teammate has an important part to play in order for the team, as a whole, to succeed. Personally, my role in my team was to analyze the discussion questions, and, as a team, figure out an effective solution. In addition, I tried to get my  point across in the most efficient way and support my fellow teammate’s response. I learned that I could help my audience to better understand and relate to my argument by providing relevant real-world examples.

At the end of the day, I enjoyed seeing other people BRAWL. It was a very fun learning experience as I learned a lot. Surely, I will apply what I learned during the BRAWL to my next oral presentation.

Here is an example of a full-length BRAWL for those of you who are interested:

Looking Back

Blogging was something that I did not expect to ever do in my life. To be honest, blogging just never really interested me. I just thought of it as a hobby some people enjoyed doing in their free time. I never imagined myself as a blogger, especially not as one who blogs weekly. However, this all changed when Mr. Theriault, my English teacher, decided to take this approach instead of the traditional method of teaching. He believed that the traditional method of teaching never really taught you anything about the real world other than filling in bubbles on a score sheet.

I mean, seriously, do you see yourself filling in a score sheet and writing essays in your future?

Certainly, I do not.

As a result, he searched for other methods, took risks, tried new things, and finally, came down to the conclusion that blogging was the key to connecting school with the global conversation and the real world.

At the end of my blogging experience, I learned that you should express yourself, your thoughts, and your ideas with no regards to what others think about them. The fear of what others think about your opinions should not hold you back from speaking your mind. Connecting what I learned every day to the global conversation has really helped me to open up and say whatever I wanted to say. If you do not agree with my stance on something, that’s okay. Because I do and that’s good enough for me.

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No ragrets

#noragrets Check out Tran’s blog post on how we should just live life to its fullest and have no ragrets. We shouldn’t just sit there motionlessly, looking back at all of the mistakes we made or all of the goals we failed to succeed. Instead, we should just keep on moving forward, living life and doing whatever we want without a doubt. Only then, will we be able to look back and say that we made progress. YOLO

Intergalactic Imagination

To be honest, the year 2014 wasn’t as I thought it would be. I remember during the beginning of the year, I had so many plans for myself to improve academically, physically, and socially. I wanted new extracurricular activities, friends, and a more determined and working mind set. I realized now that I had far strayed away from my goal. I wasn’t as motivated as I should’ve been to try things I have never experienced. However, It’s not as if all of 2014 was a bust; it really wasn’t. There were some times when I was more than thankful for what I had and how I developed myself as a person. I got to travel to Costa Rica and tropical Latin American countries. I got to try escargot for the first time (it was NASTY) and go ziplining upside down over hundreds of feet. My grades improved academically and I…

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Project Eliminate

Tick…Tock…Tick…Tock… One minute had just passed…

Tick…Tock…Tick…Tock… Two minutes had just passed…

Tick…Tock…Tick…Tock… Three minutes had just passed…

Tick…Tock…Tick…Tock… Nine minutes had just passed.

In nine minutes, a baby’s life had just been ended by neonatal tetanus. In one year, over 60,000 infant deaths had occurred in the world as a result of this disease. However, we can change the fate of these infants and their mothers and eliminate maternal/neonatal tetanus once and for all by getting involved in Project Eliminate. This global campaign, in partnership with UNICEF and Kiwanis International, intends to raise at least 110 million dollars as well as protecting the lives of 129 million mothers and their future babies from tetanus by the end of 2015.

This preventable disease, which enters the body through an open wound as the bacterium Clostridium tetani, infects and poisons the body by producing a toxin that attacks the central nervous system. It attacks relatively quickly and kills newly-born infants soon after birth. Accordingly, infants in poor countries are more prone to being exposed to this disease due to the poor, unhygienic living conditions and insufficient availability of sterile equipments. Likewise, the mothers of these babies can also be infected due to the similar conditions during delivery.

What I find funny about all of this is how preventable this disease is through immunization and clean birth practices. In fact, tetanus toxoid, the vaccine for maternal/neonatal tetanus, has been available in the world for quite some time now (many decades). Yet, there are some countries who do not even have access to one of the most common vaccines in the world.

 The Eliminate Project

Think about it now. With your help, millions of infants and their mothers will be saved. You don’t have even have to donate that much. A few spare pocket change can make the difference in these people’s lives. Not only will your donation eliminate maternal/neonatal tetanus, it will also lead to the availability of clean water, vaccines, and other necessary life-sustaining services. As a matter of fact, to this day, Project Eliminate has successfully decrease the number of infant deaths from tetanus to 25 less than before! Although there were,sadly, 58,000 deaths from tetanus in 2010, the numbers have dramatically dropped down to 49,000 in 2013! By donating to your local Kiwanis organization, which include KIWIN’S and Key Club, you can make a difference.

What Does It Mean To Be Truly Happy In Life?

“Money cannot buy happiness…but somehow it’s much more comfortable crying in a Porsche than on a bicycle.”

“Whoever said that money cannot buy happiness, simply didn’t know where to go shopping.”  – Bo Derek

We have all heard the old saying that “money cannot buy happiness.” Some of the richest people on earth, despite all of the things they have, lack happiness. They cannot buy happiness if that happiness was one of their lost loved ones. They cannot buy happiness if that happiness was a memory of the past. They cannot buy happiness if that happiness was something felt from within. You cannot buy love. Love is a feeling that is felt from within your heart, thus it cannot simply be bought. All in all, money cannot buy happiness.

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Quick and Easy Snack Recipes

There are always those moments in life where we just want to make a snack that is quick and easy. I mean, when your fridge and pantry are fully restocked, the number of snack combinations are endless. Whether it’s just something that we can just grab-and-go or a carving for some late-night snacks, I got you covered.

1. The Classic Fruit Smoothie

Puree the following in a blender until smooth:

  • 1 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/4 cup orange juice

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My Daily Struggle To Wake Up Each Morning


The day was March 16. The alarm clock was buzzing. The alarm was set for 8:00 am. School starts at 8:50 am. Despite all of this, I woke up at 8:25 am.

10 minutes before this, my body was strewn across my bed in a very awkward position. The blanket was thrown down onto the floor. My face was pressed face-down into my pillow and I was drooling.  This was the condition of my room when my mom walked in. The sight was terribly shocking, at least for her. After she had recomposed herself, she calmly walked up to my bed, stood there for a minute or so, and smacked me.

It took me a full minute for me to register the fact that I was smacked, thirty seconds to fully awaken myself, and thirty seconds to respond. At first, I just stared at my mom. Then, I looked at the clock. 8:25 AM. I looked back at my mom. I immediately jumped out of bed, ran to the bathroom, washed my hands, ran back to my room, took out my contact lenses, ran back to the bathroom, and began to brush my teeth furiously.

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You Can Change The World One Step At A Time

When I was younger, I used to jog around my neighborhood every Saturday. There’s a park located near my neighborhood. Each time I jogged by this park, I would always see the same elderly man feeding a strayed dog near the park I lived. I began to notice that he would always stop by to give a treat and some clean water to the dog.

One day, out of curiosity, I decided to stop by and ask why he was doing this. In response, he said that after coming back from the market, he would spend a couple minutes every Saturday to help the dog out. Since dog has been homeless for the past few weeks, the elderly man felt that this was his opportunity to make a difference. Although he would have adopted the dog himself, his age has prevented him from sufficiently providing for the dog 24/7. Although I applauded the man for his kind deeds, I still questioned how he is making a difference since this is only one strayed dog out of hundreds of others. Since there aren’t that many kind people like the elderly man, I thought that his localized efforts surely could not make a difference in the world.

His response to this hit me hard.

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