Black Lives Matter

Before we get to into this, I would just like to clarify one thing that seems to confuse some of my classmates. The Black Lives Matter movement does not mean to say that black lives are the only lives that matter. It is not saying that your life doesn’t matter. In fact, on their website, this is how they describe the movement: “Black Lives Matter is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise.  It is an affirmation of Black folks’ contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.” See, guys? Nothing in there about hating white people or police officers. (In fact, if you’ll click right here, you’ll find nine other debunked myths about Black Lives Matter). I know that it might be shocking to comprehend, but the majority of the human race can tell the difference between one bad apple and every other fruit that grows from the tree.

And frankly, saying “Well, all lives matter, not just black lives” in response to Black Lives Matter isn’t a valid argument. Black Lives Matter isn’t saying that black lives are the only lives that matter. All lives do matter, but not all lives are being threatened at the same rate. Black people are more likely to be victims of police brutality than white people. That’s just a fact. Saying Black Lives Matter is just a way to bring awareness to that fact, not to disregard the lives of poeple who aren’t black.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s take a walk down memory lane, shall we?

On August 18, 1977, anti-apartheid activist Stephen Biko was arrested and taken into police custody. The officers interrogated him for almost 24 hours, and they tortured and beat him over that period. Their attacks sent him into a coma. His injuries included a major head injury. On September 11, police loaded a naked and chained Biko into a Range Rover and took him to Pretoria, because there was a prison there where he could receive treatment. He succumbed to his injuries on September 12, shortly after arriving. Police said that he died as a result of a hunger strike, but his autopsy said that he’d died due to a brain hemorrhage (which was the result of his beatings).

On March 3, 1991, taxi driver Rodney King was beaten by officers of the L.A.P.D. after a high speed chase. Once the chase came to an end, King had been ordered to get out of the car. He initially refused but then complied. He resisted arrest and got physical with one of the officers, and they tased him. After that, King was beaten with a baton and kicked repeatedly. He survived this attack, but he fractured a bone in his face, broke his ankle, and suffered plenty of other bruises and lacerations. Four officers involved were tried. Three of them were acquitted by a grand jury and the jury didn’t reach a decision on the fourth. The officer’s acquittals led to a lot of protests in the LA area.

Those two examples were a long time ago. Things have gotten better, right?

No. Not even close! Come on. We have Donald Trump as our president (although that’s a rant for another time). Things have not gotten better! If anything, things have gotten worse.

On January 1, 2009, Oscar Grant was shot by a BART police officer, Johannes Mehserle. Grant died the morning after the shooting. His death later became the basis of the movie Fruitvale Station, which chronicles his actions on the day that he died (and includes actual footage of the event). Mehserle was convicted of involuntary manslaughter, but was released early.

Six years ago today, on February 26, 2012, seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot by former neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman (who was later acquitted). Martin was walking in his dad’s neighborhood when Zimmerman spotted him and decided Martin looked suspicious. He called 911 to report this, and the dispatcher told him not to get out of his car or to approach Martin. Zimmerman ignored this, and the next thing anyone knew, the neighbors were reporting gunshots. Zimmerman had shot Martin.

On July 17, 2014, Eric Garner was killed after officer Daniel Pantaleo used a prohibited chokehold to restrain Garner. Garner’s last words were “I can’t breathe.” Although he’d been tackled and restrained by several other officers, Pantaleo was the only officer charged. Pantaleo was investigated by a grand jury but he was not charged.

On August 9, 2014, Michael Brown was shot by officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was unarmed, and according to some people, he had his hands up in surrender. His death led to a series of violence and protests in Ferguson. Some time after the shooting, my family and I went to Missouri to visit some other family members in St. Louis, which isn’t very far from Ferguson. A lot of the stores in Ferguson were still boarded up due to tall the protests.

On November 22, 2014, twelve-year-old Tamir Rice was shot by officers in the park as he was playing with a toy gun. A 911 caller had reported that someone was waving a gun around in the park, however, the caller also noted that the person waving the gun was most likely a juvenile and the gun was most likely fake. The officers that were involved claimed that he had reached into his waistband for the gun when the officers asked him to put up his hands. After arriving on the scene, officer Timothy Loehmann fired twice at Rice, without asking Rice to drop his weapon. There were protests in Cleveland after Rice’s death, protests which were made worse on November 25, after the decision not to indict the officer who shot Michael Brown a few months prior.

On April 19, 2015, Freddie Gray died after a week-long coma, the result of a spinal cord injury he’d recieved in police custody. On April 12, 2015, Gray was arrested for possesion of an illegal blade (which actually was legal under Maryland law) and placed in a police van. The van made several stops on the way to the police station. Paramedics treated him at the station for some time before taking him to the hospital, in a coma. He died a week later in the hospital. The detectives were acquitted.

These cases I picked because I remember them all quite vividly (aside from the first two, since, you know, I wasn’t actually alive for them), but there are so many more people of color who have lost their lives in similar ways. There’s Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, Robert Davis, Frank Jude, Akai Gurley, Sean Bell, Timothy Thomas, Abner Louima, and so many more.

Why does this happen so often? The job of the police is to protect and serve. (Note: obviously not all police officers are bad people. A lot of them are great. But some don’t always make the best decisions, and it’s costing people their lives.)  How is using violence to combat violence–that, in some cases, hasn’t even happened yet–protecting anyone? How is using violence serving the citizens of America? By robbing innocent people–in some cases, adolescents–of their lives? By taking people’s loved ones away from them?

And what kind of message does it send to the families of the victims when their loved ones are killed and the perpetrator are not held responsible for their actions? What kind of message does it send when the blame is placed on the victim?

It’s 2018, you guys. America has become more and more progressive throughout the years, but this is still a huge problem for us (and while this is mainly focusing on BLM, I could easily rant for just as long about “the wall” or the lack of gun control in America or the travel ban or women’s rights or LGBT rights or the rights of sexual assault survivors or the fact that Trump signed a bill allowing states to defund Planned Parenthood). Black people shouldn’t be losing their lives at the hands of police at this rate. And when they do, those police officers need to be prosecuted, and they need to do time. They shouldn’t get off scot-free for taking a life and they should not be acquitted. That’s part of the problem.

Things need to change.

We need to change. Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote (in Hamilton’s “My Shot”), “Will the blood we shed begin an endless cycle of vengeance and death with no defendants?”

He was referring, of course, to the American Revolution and the fight for American freedom, but it’s still relevant today.

We don’t want an endless cycle of deaths. We don’t want an endless cycle of unnecessary acquittals. We want change.

What will it take for us to get that?



The Best of 2017

I think that we can all agree that 2017 has been quite the year. It wasn’t the worst year ever, but at the same time, it wasn’t flawless either. Despite the various low points of the year, I still managed to find happiness in certain things, and I hope you all did too. In order to say goodbye to 2017, I’d like to share with you my favorite books, movies, songs, and television shows of 2017.


  1. Without a doubt, my favorite book of 2017 was Angie Thomas’ debut novel The Hate U Give. The novel’s protagonist, Starr Carter, is caught between two worlds: the predominately white prep school she attends and the impoverished neighborhood she lives in. She manages to keep these two parts of herself (she refers to these personas as “Williamson Starr” and “Garden Heights Starr”) separate, but when she witnesses her oldest friend, Khalil, get murdered by the police, everything changes. I honestly can’t find the words to describe how amazing this book was. Thomas is a masterful writer, and the characters she created are dynamic and utterly real, especially Starr. The story offers many different perspectives on police brutality and racism, and I personally think that everyone should read it. The book was sensational and I’ve reread it so many times this year.
  2. Follow Me by Sara Shepard. The second book in The Amateurs series, Follow Me picks up a few months after the first book ends. Helena Ingram’s alleged killer has supposedly been arrested, but Seneca and the Amateurs suspect that the true killer is still on the loose. When a social media star (and Helena lookalike) goes missing, Seneca and the Amateurs must race to find the killer before someone else gets hurt. This book is just as engaging as the first book (read my review of the first book here), and if you’re a fan of murder mysteries, I would recommend both books in The Amateurs series. Be warned: this book ends on a huge cliffhanger, and the next book isn’t due out until late 2018.
  3. The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas. This novel technically didn’t come out in 2017, but it landed in my hands in June of 2017. When she was nine years old, Tessa and her best friend Callie were key witnesses in a trial in their hometown of Fayette, Pennsylvania. Their testimony helped put a man in jail for the murder of Callie’s cousin. Tessa left her hometown shortly after the trial, but the gravity of it never quite left her, and she spent ten years asking questions y.and not getting any answers. At nineteen, she returns to her hometown and finds herself presented with another mystery, and this time, she won’t rest until she has all the answers. This book is very captivating, but it does have sort of a slow start. However, once the questions start to pile up, the story becomes more and more interesting. The story ends with a great twist, and overall, it’s a great psychological thriller.


  1. Get Out, Jordan Peele’s directorial debut, follows a black photographer, Chris Washington, as he goes to visit his (white) girlfriend Rose Armitage’s family for the first time. From the beginning, he is worried about what her parents will think of their relationship, but when he arrives at the Armitages’ house, a series of strange run-ins with both Rose’s parents and the hired help (who are all black) leads him to believe otherwise. This movie was great. It was well-written, well-acted, and expertly paced. I think it’s absolutely ridiculous that this was nominated in the comedy category for the Golden Globes. There’s nothing funny about racism, and at its core, this movie is about racism in a supposedly post-racial country.
  2. Wonder. I reviewed this movie a few weeks ago, and even though it’s the most recently released movie I saw, it’s still my favorite. Wonder is about a fifth-grader named Auggie Pullman, who has Treacher-Collins syndrome. When he’s getting ready to enter fifth grade, his parents decide it’s time for him to enter school for the first time, and the movie chronicles Auggie’s first year in a real school. The book is really true to the source novel, and it’s incredibly moving. I cried so many times while watching, and I loved this movie so much.
  3. Spider-Man: Homecoming. Until I saw this movie, I strongly believed that Tobey Maguire was the best Spider-Man. (I still think he’s pretty great!) However, Tom Holland as Spider-Man is a force to be reckoned with. This movie was comedic and action-packed, and the entire cast is incredible. The movie skips over the traditional origin story as well: from Holland’s first appearance as Peter Parker in Captain America: Civil War, he’s already had his powers. No origin story necessary. Also, the chemistry between the lead actors (particularly Holland and Robert Downey Jr.) is incredible to watch.

TV Shows:

  1. The Bold Type (Freeform) follows three employees for the fictional Scarlet magazine: Sutton, Jane, and Kat. The women juggle personal issues and work problems all while continuing to support each other. Their friendship is really amazing to watch: it’s never toxic and they always build each other up, rather than tearing each other down. On the surface, the show looks like it lacks substance, but once you get to watching, you see that it’s actually quite the opposite. The writing is smart and the characters are three-dimensional. It touches on relevant political and social issues, and it’s been renewed for two more seasons. I can’t wait to see how much it grows when it comes back.
  2. Dear White People (Netflix) is about a supposedly post-racial (and predominately white) Ivy League college that is forced to reevaluate their ideals after a blackface party is thrown on campus. The blackface party and the events following it are the focus of the first five episodes, and each five follows the events from a different characters perspective. There’s a dramatic narrative shift at the end of the fifth episode: each episode is still being told by a different character, but it becomes about more than just the blackface party. The show is comedic and dramatic, and it’s intelligent, too.
  3. Andi Mack (Disney Channel) is about a thirteen-year-old girl (the titular character) who finds out on her birthday that her older sister, Bex, is actually her mother. After this reveal, the Mack family is forced to completely reexamine the dynamics of their family. On top of the news about her mother, Andi is also still dealing with normal middle school problems. It doesn’t sound like a conventional Disney show, but it’s really great. It’s not cheesy or melodramatic, it’s real and relatable. The characters on the show look and act like real teenagers, and they face real problems. A few months ago, the show was in the headlines for featuring the network’s first gay series regular (Cyrus Goodman, portrayed by Joshua Rush). In my opinion, it’s one of the best shows Disney has released in years.

Let me know your favorite books, movies, and shows in the comments! Happy New Year!

‘Wonder’ Review

Mild spoilers ahead. 

Three years ago, I read R.J. Palacio’s novel Wonder, and earlier today, I watched the film adaptation with my family. Not to sound cliché, but it truly was a wonder.Wonder is about Auggie Pullman (portrayed by Jacob Tremblay), a fifth grader with Treacher Collins syndrome (essentially a severe facial deformity). Due to his face, Auggie has never attended a real school, and his mother homeschooled him. The summer before he started fifth grade, his mother, Isabel (Julia Roberts), and father, Nate (Owen Wilson), decided that it’s time for him to start going to a real school. Partly because the longer they waited, the harder it’d be to integrate him into a school, and partly because of Auggie’s mother’s math skills.

Auggie agrees, and it’s off to Beecher Prep he goes. Not all of the students are instantly welcoming, but he finds true friends in his classmates Summer Dawson (Millie Davis) and Jack Will (Noah Jupe).

The school year has ups and downs for the other characters in the story as well: at first glance, Wonder seems to revolve around Auggie, but it doesn’t. By the time the novel ends, you get a look into the heads of several of the other characters. Aside from Auggie, sections of the novel are narrated by Via (Auggie’s older sister; portrayed by Izabela Vidovic), Jack, Justin (Via’s boyfriend; portrayed by Nadji Jeter), and Miranda (Via’s former best friend; portrayed by Danielle Rose Russel). Each of the characters has their own connection to Auggie, and they all have their own distinctive narrative voices.

All of that transferred beautifully into the screenplay, which was written by Stephen Chbosky (who wrote the The Perks of Being a Wallflower and the screenplay for this year’s reboot of Beauty and the Beast). Both the film and the novel were heartwarming, emotional, and humorous, and it was wondrous seeing the novel come to life.

Auggie’s story is a story that anyone can relate to, no matter how old or how young. Everyone has some experience with dealing with bullying, whether they were the target or a bystander (or even, God forbid, the instigator). Each of the supporting characters has a storyline that is relatable as well.

I found myself relating to Via’s storyline: at the beginning of the school year, she discovers that one of her closest friends, Miranda, has changed entirely. Miranda stops talking to Via entirely after a series of awkward interactions, and Via is hurt by the collapse of their friendship. I had a similar experience with a former friend, and seeing it play out on screen was incredible to watch. Vidovic’s performance was outstanding, and she was truly the perfect actress for Via.

Overall, reading the book and seeing the movie was a wonderful experience. The movie packed plenty of emotional punches (I normally don’t cry at movies, but I shed tears three times during this movie) but it was also funny and real when it needed to be. The novel is great to read when you need a pick-me-up, and the movie is sure to be fun for the whole family.

If you haven’t seen the movie or read the book, I recommend you do so immediately!


At 6:54 this morning, I walked into my school. Around 10:00, I (along with thousands of other students across the country) I walked out of the building for the National School Walkout, returning a few minutes before 11:00. I left school at 2:26 and returned home roughly thirty minutes later.

On February 14, 2018, a gunman killed three administrators and fourteen students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Seventeen people who walked into their school in the morning, expecting to have a normal day, but didn’t walk out at the end of the day. Instead, they were killed in a senseless act of violence, one that unfortunately is not a rare occurrence in this country. I was lucky enough to go to school this morning, have a (relatively) normal day, and go home at the end of the day.

That won’t be the reality for all students in the United States. It hasn’t been the reality for all students in the United States. It wasn’t the reality for the students and teachers at Sandy Hook, at Columbine, at Virginia Tech, at West Nickel Mines, at Frontier Middle School, at Marshall County High School, and so many other schools in the United States.

The reality that we live in is one that no student should ever have to face. The only thing a student should actually be afraid of at school is whether or not they did their homework or studied for a test. They shouldn’t be afraid for their safety and the safety of those around them.

But that is our reality. It will continue to be our reality unless we do something about it. 

That is why I walked out today. That is why I’m currently decked out in as much orange as I could find. That’s why I plan on marching on March 24th and walking out again on April 20th.

After school shootings, there’s a lot of talk and debate about gun control. Everyone offers their opinions, and they offer thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families.

But talking, debating, thinking, and praying haven’t worked for us so far. Talking and debating about gun control won’t take guns out of the hands of people who don’t need to have them. Thinking about the victims and praying for them won’t bring them back.

Most students who are affected by school shootings and fighting for gun control aren’t old enough to vote. We’re children in a legal and emotional sense. While we may be children, we are not helpless. And we will not be silenced. We will continue to fight until our voices are heard and changes are made.

Enough is enough.

WWW (Well-Written Women)

Every year, we celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8. The theme for this year is Press for Progress, and there’s a lot of room for progress when it comes to women everywhere. If I named every single way that we could have progress for women, we’d be here all day, so I’ll just focus on one: representation in the media, specifically for women of color and LGBTQ+ women.

In recent years, there’s been more diversity in television and movies, but with that said, we could still do a lot better. The success of movies like Get Out and Black Panther should be viewed as signs that we want to view media that actually reflects what the world looks like.

With that said, I’d like to share with you a few of my favorite “strong female leads“, so to speak.

  1. Jane Villanueva (portrayed by Gina Rodriguez), the protagonist of Jane the Virgin. Jane has been through so much in the few years that the show has been on the air, starting with being accidentally artificially inseminated. She has dreams of becoming a writer, but she never let anything that life threw at her get in the way of that dream. Not only is Jane positive and intelligent, she is like the human embodiment of the quote, “It’s always darkest before the dawn.”
  2. Tiana (voiced by Anika Noni Rose), Disney’s first African American princess and main character of The Princess and the Frog. Tiana is intelligent and hard-working. She dreams of opening her own restaurant, but she doesn’t just sit around singing about it. Yes, Tiana does sing about her dreams, but that’s accompanied by her working hard to achieve those dreams. I think one of the most unique things about her is that she didn’t need Naveen, her prince, to reach her goals. She doesn’t need a savior, and that’s something that needs to be replicated in more Disney princesses
  3. Stella Yamada (portrayed by Hayley Kiyoko), one of the main characters of Lemonade Mouth. In a lot of ways, Stella is the driving force behind Lemonade Mouth. She’s the one who brings the band back together whenever they fight, and she’s the one who convinced them to go ahead with starting the band in the first place. She is extremely outspoken about what she believes in (and she’s even more so in the book), and does not hesitate to stand up for herself or for her friends. She’s determined to the point of being stubborn, but even so, Stella is strong.
  4. Starr Carter (to be portrayed by Amandla Stenberg), the main character of The Hate U Give. Technically, this movie hasn’t been released, but I’ve read the book several times, and there was no way I couldn’t include her. Starr sees her best friend, Khalil Harris, get shot by police during her junior year of high school. She struggles with how to use her voice in the beginning, but by the end of the novel, she finds out how to speak up for Khalil–and for herself.
  5. Adena El-Amin (portrayed by Nikohl Boosheri), a recurring character on The Bold Type. Adena is unlike any character I’ve seen on TV before. An openly lesbian, Muslim photographer, she is poised, assertive, and skilled at what she does.  She first stood out to me when she explained to one of the protagonists why she chooses to wear a hijab: Adena explained that she feels that wearing the hijab frees her from the Western expectations of what women should look like. Adena was only a recurring character in season one of The Bold Type, and I can’t wait to see what she does in the upcoming season.

There’s so many more amazing female fictional characters out there, including Callie Torres, April Kepner, Emily Fields, Olivia Benson, Isabelle Lightwood. Honestly, we’d be here all day if I went through and named all of them. And for every great fictional character, there’s a great actor behind them: of the actors on this list, Gina Rodriguez and Amandla Stenberg are two of my personal favorites.

Who are your favorite female fictional characters? Let me know in the comments!

Policy and Change

Columbine. Las Vegas. Sandy Hook. Orlando. Virginia Tech. And now, Parkland.

In 2018 alone, there have been 18 school shootings. Since the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook, almost 500 people have died in school shootings.

How many more students and teachers will have to die before we start to do something about gun control? Are we desensitized to these tragedies already?

I hate to say it, but it feels like we are getting desensitized, which should not be the case. Gun violence has taken the lives of 1,876 Americans in 2018 alone. Every time an incident like this happens, two things happen: people offer their thoughts and prayers to the victims’ families and people debate gun control.

But thoughts and prayers will not bring the dead back. Thoughts and prayers will not turn back time, and prevent these tragedies from happening. Neither will debates about gun control.

We need to do something about gun control. Compared to other countries, United States has the highest rates of gun violence. Maybe if we spent more time keeping guns out of the hands of people who can’t be trusted with them instead of debating the merits of gun control, those numbers would be a lot lower.

That’s because gun control actually works. Say, did you hear about that mass shooting last year in Australia? No? That’s because they enacted gun control laws in 1996 following a tragic mass shooting, and they haven’t had once since. Other countries with strict gun control laws have seen similar results.

So why can’t we learn from them? Why do we continue to let our citizens die?

I don’t want to continue to see this happening. Mass shootings have been a part of my life for as long as I remember, something no child should ever have to say. I remember having to do lockdown drills more frequently after the Sandy Hook shooting, when I was in fourth grade. Shortly before the Parkland shooting (and just after the Kentucky shooting), my high school implemented a policy where teachers have to wear ID badges at all times and all classroom doors shall remain locked. On Friday afternoon, the dean of our school sent out an email saying that we’ll no longer have lockdown drills, because we’re now expected to run, hide, or fight the shooter.

I don’t want to live like this. School shootings shouldn’t be treated as if they’re just as likely as a fire. They shouldn’t be this likely to begin with. No one should have to live in fear that someone is going to kill them in one of the few places that they’re supposed to be safe. People should be able to enjoy going to clubs and festivals without having to fear for their lives.

Gun control is not a bad thing. Gun control isn’t going to ruin this country. Sitting back and letting our citizens die is going to ruin this country.

So call your representatives, tweet at Congress, tweet at the president, do whatever it is you need to do to bring awareness to this. Just don’t sit back and do nothing.

That hasn’t worked too well for us yet.

Spirit Week and Homecoming

My school celebrated Spirit Week from October 2 to October 5 of this year. I’d gotten the chance to dress up for Spirit Week at my previous school, but let me tell you something: Spirit Week at an arts school is truly amazing to witness. The students either go all out, or they do the bare minimum. (Most kids go all out.)

Monday was Maui Monday, and most of the students dressed in leis, flower crowns, and grass skirts. Each grade was judged on participation. On Monday, our class actually beat the sophomores! We got third place, which was a complete shock: we all thought we were going to be in last place. Tuesday was Twin Tuesday, and I twinned with one of my new friends: we wore black leggings, black tops, bright green tutus, and pink and white flower crowns. On Tuesday, the sophomores beat us.

Wednesday was Walt Disney Wednesday, and I dressed as Mary Poppins. My friends dressed as Belle, Elsa, Esmeralda, Lumiére (one of my favorite Disney characters!), Bill Cypher, and more. All the costumes were really creative, and they all ranged from Disney Channel costumes to Disney XD costumes to Marvel and Star Wars costumes. On Wednesday, we beat the sophomores again!

Wednesday was also the day of hallway decorating. Our class had chosen a red carpet theme, the sophomores had chosen a Broadway theme, the juniors had chosen a Wizard of Oz theme, and the seniors had chosen a Star Wars theme. As part of the decorating, we rolled out the red carpet, painted and labeled the stars for the celebrities, made the velvet ropes, and covered up the bulletin boards in the hallway with black paper.

Thursday was Color Wars Thursday, and also the day day of hallway judging, the pep rally, and the homecoming dance. Hallway judging was first thing in the morning, and before the judging occured, we put the final touches on our hallway. Since we’d selected a red carpet theme, fifteen of my classmates dressed up as celebrities from both the past and the present, ranging from Audrey Hepburn to Kodak Black. I signed up to be a paparazzo, and I interviewed both the celebrities and passing students and teachers. Our hallway turned out much better than I anticpated. We had the shortest length of hallway space (since we’re freshman) but we made the most of it. On the right side of the hallway, the celebrites were lined up, and on the right side, the paparazzi were lined up. Some of our other classmates stood on the paparazzi side, too, and acted as cheering fans. It was so much fun to do (even though it got really hot, sweaty, and loud) and it felt like it was over too soon, and I had to go to class. The officers were the only students allowed to stay and clean up.

However, when I got to Digital Media, my teacher announced that we wouldn’t start class until eight o’clock (it was seven forty at the time) so I took the opportunity to head to the bathroom and change into my class shirt for Color Wars. I was really excited for the pep rally, so it was kind of hard to sit still through Digital Media and math (my fifth period/second class that day). Luckily, due to the pep rally, we ate middle school lunch at 10:30 and our seventh period classes were cut down to forty-five minutes. I have English for seventh period, and since we’re reading Romeo and Juliet, we just continued to watch the movie, since we started that last week. Since our English teacher is also our class advisor, we briefly went over the plans for the rest of the pep rally.

We left straight from English to go to the pep rally, and I sat with my friends from class. We were all separated by class in the bleachers, and it was really cool to see all of the blocks of color. Our class color is blue, the sophomore color is green, the junior color is pink, and the senior color is orange. Almost everyone was wearing multiple accessories of their class color, and there was also a lot of face paint. I sported a dark blue “2021” across my face.

The pep rally was so much fun, but by the end of it, I thought I’d go hoarse. The first activity was Hungry Hippos, and unfortunately, our team was eliminated after the first round. But we’re not poor sports (unlike the sophomores, who were kind of obnoxious after our wins on Monday and Wednesday) so we started cheering for the juniors! (This continued for the rest of the pep rally) They cheered back in the end, and it was so cool to be a part of that. We also did Family Feud, dodgeball, an eating contest, a mini-scavenger hunt (a randomly selected student had to seek out and select students from their class without talking), and a Glee competiton. The school’s dance company performed at the very end, but they got cut off with two minutes left of their performance because we were almost out of time and they still needed to announe the results of the various competitions.

As it turned out, we tied with the sophomores for third place for hallways, which was really cool. Our red carpet (which wasn’t a literal red carpet) was totally shredded by the end of the judging, but I still thought everything looked really good. The juniors came in first place, and I totally agreed. Their hallway was really well-crafted, and they even had a dog to play Toto!

As for Glee, we came in fourth place (the sophomores beat us), but most of us thought that decision was unfair. The sophomores were really good, but their songs didn’t tie into their theme at all, and literally everyone else’s did. There are so many great Broadway songs they could’ve chosen, and they mainly just did pop songs. Our songs included “Billionaire”, “Imma Be”, “Applause”, “Papparazzi”, and “Hall of Fame”, the juniors included “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” in their performance (and most of their songs had a recurring theme of going home), and the seniors kicked off their performace with David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”. The seniors won overall, and I definitely agree. Their performance was great.

After the pep rally, I went back to my English classroom to get my things, told my friends goodbye, and went home to get ready for the homecoming dance. When I got to the dance, a few of my friends were waiting for me already. We waited a few minutes for two of our other friends to arrive, but the line started to get long and we decided to go inside. Eventually everyone else showed up, and we all went inside together. Everyone looked really great, and it was so fun getting to hang out with everyone. Time really flew by, too: before I knew it, it was almost eight o’clock.

Around nine-thirty, the dance started winding down, and two of my friends left. About fifteen minutes later, a friend announced that her mom was on the way, and I went outside to wait with her, and I left a few minutes later. It was the first time I hadn’t stayed at a dance until the very end, but it felt right. The night was amazing, but all good things must come to an end. All in all, I’d say that my first homecoming and Spirit Week was a success.