MLEC Kicks Off the 2016 Key Club Year

This was my first KCKC experience and I loved it. I got to spend the day with friends, volunteer for a wonderful organization, and run around taking pictures and doing interviews like a true journalist.

The Harbinger

By Sabine Joseph

The Key Club Kickoff Conference (KCKC) is the first event on the Key Club calendar and is anticipated and attended by new and old members alike. This year, Miami Lakes Educational Center (MLEC) hosted the event for the second consecutive year on Saturday, September 17 for Zone K, all of the Key Clubs within a specific section of Florida.

“[It was] a really exciting event because we got to host workshops, and activities, and all kinds of things Key Club related for an entire county, it was an honor to be able to host ,” said MLEC’s Key Club sponsor, Mrs. Viada.

There was a great turnout, especially for MLEC’s division, 25A, which had all schools in the division in attendance. On the day of the event, students from throughout Florida enjoyed a day of learning and were able to socialize with students from their school and…

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Roots

Nathalie and I discussed this more than a few hours after it was posted, and though I had no knowledge of the post, its topic was as relevant that day as it is every day for people with these national identity issues. I am one of those people, though I don’t feel that my case is as severe as most’s. I was born in the U.S., but because of my Haitian descent and upbringing, I feel split. I don’t speak the languages (though I do have a high understanding of them), nor have I been to Haiti, but I feel that I am too Haitian to be American and too American to be Haitian. I recently joined the Caribbean Culture Club at my school, and when they asked me to introduce myself I thought that I was going to have to give an awkward explanation of how I’m Haitian, but not really. In reality, I felt accepted, and I think the kids who attended that weren’t Caribbean felt the same way. We may be “Americanized”, but we will forever be drawn to the people and things that remind us of our native culture because of that feeling of home.

The Escape Vision

This week I found myself talking with a friend about children who are part of two ethnic groups but seem to belong to none. This hits home as a was born in Colombia and I lived there for five years, however, I have lived here, in Florida, for the rest of my fifteen years. There is a gray zone where all with the same situation as me stand. I am not considered American but in a sense I am not considered fully Colombian either. Family members joke about me being “gringa” but here I’m Hispanic. Honestly, I am beyond proud of my Hispanic background but I embrace the culture of the place I was raised, to a certain extent.

Cultures in Hispanic countries seem to be more strict and structured in comparison to cultures here, in my opinion. I find myself in the middle of this, having been brought up a…

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#BLM

I wanted to make a post addressing the shootings of the past week – and police brutality cases as a whole – that was emotional rather than factual journalism, but for some reason, the words wouldn’t come. Regardless, I feel the need to address the issue, so I have decided to share a song entitled Water Guns (click title to listen) by Todrick Hall from his original music motion picture, Straight Outta Oz, which expresses an emotional view on the matter.

Additionally, here are some images from protests regarding the shootings of the past week:

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Photo credit: Google Images

Major Racial Controversies on the Big Screen

The Harbinger

By Sabine Joseph

Controversies surrounding the old issue of racism have plagued Hollywood for some time now. This racism has occurred both off and on screen starting with the refusal to hire actors because of race and the lack of diversity at the Oscars to, most recently, the cyberbullying of Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones. Despite what has been done to bring light to these issues, many still feel that Hollywood has turned a blind eye.

The online harassment of Leslie Jones is the most recent instance of discrimination. Several social media platforms have been flooded with negative comments bashing the Ghostbusters reboot for multiple reasons, including its all-female cast, but Jones seemed to be the only actress individually targeted.

Internet trolls bombarded her with tweets that included racial slurs and began a campaign against her, causing Jones to leave twitter for some time despite supporters trying to combat the hate…

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Rainy Day

You’re probably wondering why I posted a picture of feet, and while I know it’s strange, there is a story behind it. As some of you may know, I recently became a staff writer for my school newspaper The Harbinger,  and as I’m sure you all know, journalists are very busy. On this particular Thursday  (yes, I’m quite late with this update, I know) I was very busy running errands, and the weather was not at all on my side. The rain was coming down in heavy sheets and even under the cover provided by the building my top half got sprayed with water, however, my bottom half was worse. As you can see from the photo there is a little pool (the shallowest in the area, it was much deeper further along the path I walked) of water beneath the feet – which belong to myself (left) and Robyn Forbes (right) by the way – and our pants are wet up to the shins. There was enough water in our shoes to fill an aquarium and although it’s not shown, our thighs got pretty wet too.

Though this was towards the end of the day, there was still a bit of the school day left, and I stay after school for hours before going home. This meant that I had to spend another two hours and then some in uncomfortable wet denim, and shoes that squished and squeaked with every step. As I walked out of the building when I was finally able to go home, I was very upset to see this scene:

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Now, don’t get me wrong, I was glad I wouldn’t have to wade in a river again, I was upset because after two hours the area outside had dried up . . . but my pants still hadn’t.

Captured

Although this week was incredibly eventful, I can’t find words to describe it. I think it’s because too much time has passed between the moments and this post. Whatever the reason, I decided to sum up a portion of my week with photos. The photos that follow are from an assignment I was given with Alexandra Reboredo where we captured each other’s essence and moments in time.

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Photo Credit: (top left and bottom right) Alexandra Reboredo, (top right and bottom left) Google images

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Photo Credit: (top and bottom) Sabine Joseph, (middle) Google images

September 11, 2001

On this 15th Anniversary of the atrocious events of September 11th, I’d like to express my condolences to the families of those lost.

“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.”

– Christopher Reeve

To those heroes who took action and did everything in their power to save lives, I thank you.

We will never forget you.

 

 

Photo credit: Google images

Unbroken

Recently, I was assigned to read Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken and I absolutely fell in love with it. The book is outside of my comfort zone so I may not have read it had it not been assigned to me, but it is a truly inspirational story, so I’m assigning all of you to read the book, and if you’ve done so already, re-read it (you know you want to). My teacher told me not to watch the movie – mostly so that I’d actually read the book instead of trying to skate by on only what was in the film – but also because he found it terrible, however, I decided to judge for myself. I was a good student and read the book (though with  little time to spare before my quiz), and watched the movie immediately after. While I thought it was a good movie, I felt that it didn’t quite measure up to the book.

I expected this, as book-to-movie adaptations are almost never satisfying. As an avid reader, I know all too well the excitement one feels when their favorite book is being turned into a movie and the immediate disappointment after seeing that the story was completely changed for the screen (looking at you Percy Jackson). While the movies can be enjoyable, they’re just not the same.  You can see it, but you can’t feel the story because only an author has the power to craft their story in such a way that you get transported to their world  – whether it be magical, dystopian, utopian, their version of the future, or factual accounts of the past – and into the lives of its characters. Images on a screen simply can’t achieve that.

This was my problem with the movie. I’m usually upset about inaccuracies, but this wasn’t the case (though several events were omitted), it was the fact that the movie lacked the emotional depth of the book. As I was reading his story, I felt a connection to Louie, as I do with all beloved characters. Because of this, the book was an emotional rollercoaster.

Sometimes I thought oh my God, he’s going to die. Even though I knew it wasn’t true, my heart pounded in my chest and I almost couldn’t bear to read on because I was convinced, this is it. But of course, it wasn’t, and I was relieved for a fraction of a second until I saw that he had been thrust into another life-threating situation the sentence after.

Most times I was like his mother, constantly worried about his well-being. I wanted to knit him a sweater and send it through the pages to keep him warm, or better yet, reach through the pages and back in time to take him out of the situation entirely.

My concern was like water in a tide, washing over me in waves and then subsiding, but always there. In those moments where the waves had subsided, I was filled with a mother’s sense of pride. I was so happy when Louie became a runner because of how hard he worked to achieve his goal and overcome any obstacles. During the war, he kept pushing beyond the point where his body should have failed him and his spirit should have shattered, and all I could think was that’s my boy. And finally, after the war came his true test of character and strength, and he did not fail. He released himself from his mental prison, found it in his heart to forgive the men who captured and tortured him for so long, started Victory Boys Camp for at-risk boys that were just like him when he was their age, and finally achieved his goal of running at the Olympics is Japan.

Lastly, in rare times, there were happy moments when everything else disappeared, and I smiled. There was no water lingering, waiting to crash into me again, because I was no longer on a rocky shore, I was home. In those times there was no war, it had been melted away by the warmth and coziness of home, love, and family. In his youth, before the war and the ever-present threat of death, Louie was a delinquent, and not only did I find reading about his adolescent exploits thoroughly enjoyable, from the descriptions I saw qualities that I knew would be the reason he survived the war. During the war, despite its ugliness, there were times I smiled and I felt that Louie probably did too, a bright and optimistic smile that shone through the darkness. Of course, Louie and I were both happiest when the war was won. My heart leapt with joy when Louie came home, fell in love with Cynthia (whom I personally thought was perfect for Louie), had kids, and finally achieved inner peace.

No one’s life story can be told in two hours, especially not a story as eventful and inspirational as Louie’s. The best we can do to really understand what he went through and who he was is to read the book, and even that’s not enough.You can’t really know what Louie experienced without having experienced it yourself, and being there for other important times in his life that shaped him that he may not even have remembered, but the use of words to describe his thoughts and feelings throughout his ordeal is far better than a film. The movie was just a series of events in Louie’s life, and the events aren’t what make the story all that it is. The story is so inspirational because Louie suffered through the most atrocious acts of cruelty and endured far more than his body and mind should have been capable of, and after all of it, when he had every reason to be spiteful and set on vengeance, he showed kindness and was able to love. Louis Zamperini is the epitome of resilience and the strength of the human spirit, he was and always will be, unbroken.

 

 

 

Firsts

Today, September 1, 2016, is a first in more terms than the date. It is the day of my first blog post, and also of my first official interview. If you don’t already know, I am a staff writer for my school newspaper, The Harbinger, but as a sophomore, it is my first year on the staff. Even though I felt quite intimidated at first – everyone seemed to know what to do and where they fit in, and there I was, completely lost – I also thought that I knew the basics of what to expect. Today, I learned that I was entirely wrong.

I’d interviewed someone before – recently for another one of my classes and last year due to a slight schedule mishap when I had the Journalism class for a short period – and though they had both been trainwrecks, this one was by far the worst. I was shuffling papers all over the place (most of which were blank), not really prepared in what I would ask, and I didn’t write anything down AT ALL.

Anyone can tell you that I’m  a mess on a normal day, but I’m usually not a nervous wreck. I noticed earlier in the day when I gave a presentation that I was anxious and the same was true during the interview. I found this odd because that only ever happens when I have to speak with people I’m not comfortable with, and for both instances this was not the case. After some reflection I realized what was the matter. The presentation wasn’t just any presentation and the interview wasn’t just any interview, they were firsts.

The presentation was my first of the year, in a new class, with a new teacher, and some new classmates. It also was not the usual PowerPoint on whatever I recently learned in science, it was a written work of mine about the life of one of my classmates. The interview was for my first assigned article in Journalism, which is the only one of my works that currently has the possibility of being published. I think that the pressure I put on myself for these things to be perfect was because they would be an audience’s first impression of my written work, and it made me (even more of) a hot mess.

Before entering Journalism I was able to slide by without sharing my works, but that can’t be anymore. If I’m ever going to be an author I need to improve my writing skills and have confidence in my writing. These are the things I hope to accomplish in my studies in Journalism as well as my other classes. I know that while my peers may not have been as much of a wreck as me, they have all been in a similar position and become successful through experiences like these. Today, my train wreck of a first interview was also my first step on the path to success.

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