Hello everyone. We have another batch of pieces for you to read. For the last couple of weeks, the sophomore classes have been learning about the Holocaust and many of our class are giving feedback on that topic. We are writing personal opinions and feelings about that topic; after looking through all of the pieces, I really liked Gail Herman’s piece. Having learned about the subject myself, I feel I can relate to what she says. The quote she uses that we can bomb the world into pieces, but not into peace, is powerful and says it all for us. We also have students talking about their trip to Austria, disappointing role models such as Britney Spears and natural disasters in Myanmar and China. See you again in two weeks.
— Troy (85) Small
When the World Will Know Peace
By Gail Herman>
Throughout our sophomore class, kids are learning daily about the Holocaust. We had Dr. Maurice Vanderpol, a Holocaust survivor, as a guest speaker. My English class is currently reading Night, a book about the Holocaust, and my global studies class is also learning about it. Hearing about people who would have the animosity to throw babies into a gas chamber has affected all of us. During World War II people experienced many atrocities similar to the atrocities in the Mideast now, but still beyond anything anyone can imagine.
I never really understood how people could hate each other so greatly. Whether we are of a different ethnicity, have different religious views or even different views on sexuality, we’re all human. In my softball practice today, a teammate was wearing a shirt that said, “Anything war can do, peace can do better.” With such a simple phrase many lives can be changed. Instead of living a life based on constant wars with each other, why don’t we all come together to make peace, because in the end, peace is what matters. Peace is our country’s goal and without each and every individual’s contribution, it will never be reached. So remember: “We can bomb our world into pieces, but we can’t bomb it into peace.”
Gumption, Not Ignorance
By Solvig Sayer>
We learn about the Holocaust so that we are faced with our mistakes. The mistakes we have made of ignoring all the signs of discrimination and criminal offenses to human rights are inexcusable. Open up to the big picture; those horrifying accounts, pictures, and ideas are there to warn you to speak up for those who need a voice. We need to face all the facts so that we will never overlook such a crime again. Unfortunately our current government missed the lesson so we are again overlooking genocide in Darfur, and many other places. I hope that the next administration will have enough gumption to speak for those feelings that we, as living, breathing, fully functioning humans, possess. That we all deserve a chance of survival in the world and murderous groups such as the Janjaweed in Darfur need to be stopped.
Does Human Life Have a Price?
By Hayley Pierce>
There is so much hurt in the world right now that we are unaware of, especially high school students. Without my global studies class, I would know nothing about the tragedy occurring in Tibet. Tibet is being oppressed and people are dying every day because of China’s invasion, and China is, sadly, doing a good job of being inconspicuous. The Tibetan people must live in fear every day, therefore leading most of them to either flee or try to rebel, which can lead to public beatings and murder. As if China is not causing enough pain and creating enough evil in Tibet, they are also one of the main suppliers of arms for the Darfur genocide. Millions of Africans have already died because of the Janjaweed militia. China supplies this group with all of their weapons in exchange for their oil and the majority of the income. China is willing to exchange millions of lives for billions of dollars. I don’t know about you but I don’t think any life has a price.
Haunting Stories from the Past
By Anna Hayes>
Everyone has a different story to tell about the Holocaust, whether they suffered in it themselves, lost someone, knew someone or dealt with all three. It’s something they are reminded of every day whether they were tortured or were a Nazi. It’s something that they can never forget. A man from Austria was just charged with locking his daughter in his basement for 24 years and having seven kids with her. People are saying that he was a Nazi of the Holocaust era because he told her if she or the kids tried to escape, he would flood the basement with gas. Like I said, people are still affected by the Holocaust every day.
Lessons from the Holocaust
By Haley Rossi>
The Holocaust was a terrible time in history when six million Jews and millions of other so-called undesirables were tortured, starved, worked to death and killed. The extreme horrors that these people had to go through are unbelievable. Luckily, there were survivors. I have a great respect for these people because they have gone through and seen things that no one should see and yet many of them are open about their experience and share their stories. Hearing peoples’ accounts of what really happened helps us to understand on a deeper level and it makes it more personal as opposed to when we just read facts out of a book.
Many of the survivors made it due to help from others, often complete strangers, and to the ability to make split-second decisions that worked in their favor. There were those who were hidden, and others who received a gracious helping hand. Dr. Vanderpol, for example, was given an identity card by his Christian friend. That alone could have saved his life at a time when many people had the idea that it was every man for himself. It is even incredible that people risked their own lives to help others. This can, and should, be an example for us today. Even if it’s on a smaller scale, everyone should try to help out their peers and step in to protect someone in a bad situation such as being picked on. We can learn from the Holocaust.
Tragedy in Myanmar
By Jesse Shayne>
A recent cyclone in Yangon, Myanmar has left 22,646 people dead, 41,000 missing and up to one million homeless. Bodies are being dumped into rivers, and survivors have only tiny amounts of rice and eggs left. The area’s rice mills are destroyed, water pumps are ruined. Survivors are forced to live off of what little they have left. “The United States has made an initial aid contribution, but we want to do a lot more,” said President Bush. After Myanmar representatives called on the United Nations for aid, some help has already come through. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said they had released $190,000 to help with the aftermath of the storm; also, the U.S. has pledged $3.25 million, the European Commission $3.1 million, Canada $2 million, China $1 million, and Thailand $100,000.
As of May 6, the area was left with only an estimated five days worth of supplies. The U.S. Navy planned to mobilize, but its nearest ship was four days away. Hopefully something can be done to help relieve the major catastrophe; we should reach out.
Three Months Before the Olympics
By Peter Persson>
On Monday a 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck in central China. The death toll has now reached 12,000 as soldiers are forced to search through the rubble with only their hands. It was reported that 70 per cent of the roads in that area are damaged and almost every bridge fell. The damaged roads and 30 or more after-quakes slowed the rescue teams. They are also saying that over 3.5 million homes were ruined during the quakes. This earthquake showed that China is not ready to help a lot of people in a natural disaster and that their buildings are not as safe as they could be. Any country that can help them through this tragedy should.
Disappointing Role Models
By Olivia Gross>
How annoying is it to turn on the news on a major news organization and hear about the same stupid celebrity incidents or downfalls week after week. Society has allowed this. They broadcast these events as though they were news. Save these topics for the tabloids, and allow the news organizations to inform us of necessary events. Growing up, I idolized many celebrities. I bought their CDs and saw them in concert but never once did I see them on the news. I idolized Britney Spears when I would hear her new song on the radio, not when I heard about her panties, or lack thereof. It is truly sad to think of the little girls growing up now looking up to these celebrities. The more publicity these celebrities get, the more their absurd behavior will continue happening. Publicity is their job. If they can go out and get a DUI for free publicity, why not? Their news coverage is only adding to their self-destruction, but it keeps them in the public eye. Even the most innocent Disney character, Hannah Montana, has recently been seen in some all-too risque photos. The upcoming generation has no one to look up to! Our society is feeding the unattractive habits of the celebrities. You never see a broadcast: “Jennifer Anniston has been lying low and out of the night scene.” But I have seen broadcasts for DUI arrests, custody battles, or drug habits countless times. Our society needs to understand what a negative effect these events are having on the lives of the celebrities and the people who look up to them before we continue even further down this downward spiral.
Someday I Will Go Back to Austria
By Hannah Marlin>
Over April vacation, the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School Minnesingers took an eight-day trip to the beautiful country of Austria. There were 44 people in total, including chaperones, making this long trek, so as you can imagine, there were many great memories to come. We first landed in Amsterdam after a six-hour plane ride; after another hourlong ride into Munich, Germany, we drove three hours to Salzburg, Austria. There we spent the day sightseeing in our luxurious coach bus with our amazing bus driver and tour guide, Igor and Ciaran. Ciaran was an Irish man with a lot of humor who made the trip even more enjoyable. After a day in Salzburg we drove to a nearby town called Seekirchen, where we met our first host families. We spent three nights in these homes with very kind and hospitable people, and left for Krems on the fourth day. There we spent two nights with our second host families, and already had five concerts from the time we got to Austria until we were done staying in Krems. After Krems we made our way to Vienna, my favorite of all the places we saw. Vienna was a huge city with much to do. We spent three days there and had a day off to do whatever we wanted with our host families. While in Austria we visited a few castles, discovered the salt mines under the Alps, sang and danced in front of many hundreds of Austrians, got to eat our own personal large pizzas in a strange Pizzeria and stayed with the kindest people we will ever meet. Ask any Minnesinger how the trip was and they’ll tell you how much fun they had, and how much drama was involved. This was a once in a lifetime trip that nobody will ever forget. One day I hope to go back to Austria to visit the amazing people I met there. But for now, we have our memories to keep us wanting to go back.
Experience of a Lifetime
By Abbey Entner>
After many long nights of rehearsal and traveling to Austria, the Minnesingers spring show was this past weekend. The show went successfully both times and was a blast to perform. Our theme this year was the 70s. Can You Dig It? was the name of the show. It was a change to perform for our friends, family and the community rather than the strangers in Austria. While in Austria we performed the dance show three times, once for a school with a few choral pieces before, next in Kremes for a Folk Dance group, and finally in Vienna for our host families. We had one show in a Castle in Kremes and another on the streets of Vienna outside of Starbucks. The trip was amazing and the show was too. Thank you to everyone who contributed in any way to help make everything such a great experience.
I’m a Minnesingers Fan
By Michael Kendall>
Last Saturday and Sunday “the Minnesingers put on two magnificent and creative shows. The first half of each show is the choral presentation. Each night they sang more than ten songs as part of the choral presentation. This is just the traditional show, but the fun really gets started with the second half, this year called Can You Dig It! Each night the Minnesingers sang and danced to 12 songs, ranging from duets to complete group efforts. Each night started with everyone singing and dancing to Boogie Shoes. Later on a rendition of You Can Keep Your Hat On including the stripping down to boxers amassed a mayhem of laughter and applause. Each act was amazing, along with the whole show. This show will easily be added to the many other great Minnesingers shows of the past.