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From the Teens of Washington County, MD
Updated: 1 hour 19 min ago

Does “Walking Backwards Mean She Asked for it”?

Thu, 07/18/2019 - 15:41

By M. K. Powell, staff writer


I’ve had this dream where I’m walking backwards and I’m stabbed in the back. I take my apparently clear cut case to court, but no one here understands why. I walked backwards and, as everyone reasoned, my attacker had every right to stab me. The judge didn’t even have to give the verdict; everyone knew the stabber, guilty or not, would go free, while I would go home with a neglected hole in my back. The judge didn’t feel it was bad enough that this man would simply stab someone; no one cared about that. Everyone cared more about the fact that I was walking backwards, which, in their minds, invited him to stab me.

It seems silly, right? It’s the same logic as killing a man for wearing a white shirt. Of course, you get a free pass if you kill him; he was wearing white after July. But isn’t there something off with that reasoning? Placing more emphasis on the irresistibility of stabbing over the fact that it’s wrong? What I have just described is the international approach to “sexual” violence in a nutshell. (As an aside, you may be wondering why I put sexual in quotes. Assault is not sexual; sex is only consensual. Sex is not, and can not, be assault, harassment or violence; violence is violence, and we need to look at it as so.) 

The older I’ve gotten the less right and control I’ve noticed society has decided I have over my body. I have to be a certain weight, I have to dress a certain way, and Lord forbid I was wearing the wrong thing or a man would have the right to assault me because I was asking for it.

But walking backwards shouldn’t be asking for violence. You can walk backwards, sideways or forwards and this man would still have commited a crime. Because no matter what you do, how you look, or how you move, what he has done is illegal and wrong. 

You can wear steel pants, or skirts to your ankles, you can only travel by day or walk home after dark in  a suit of armor, and you are no more at fault for a crime that was committed against you. 

But let’s say maybe you’re like I was and you prided yourself on being prepared. Maybe today you were rewarded by your suit of armor detering the assaulter. But even if it does today, what about when he finds someone else with a big enough chip in their suit to slip into? Maybe you, like I did, and most of society, wonder if it was their fault that he found a way in. Or maybe you, like the people in my dream, ask trivial questions, like, were they walking backwards? 

The seemingly simplistic questions left unasked in this discourse as victims are proven more guilty by public opinion than perpetrators is essentially the same question I opened with: did the perpetrator commit a crime? And does the victim truly deserve to be shamed for it?

Is walking backwards really asking for it?

Compassionate Transactions vs. Compassionate Relationships

Thu, 07/18/2019 - 14:54

By Jay Trovato, adult contributor and librarian


For most people, the sight of a man standing at an intersection with a cardboard sign instantly conjures up strong feelings of ambivalence and indecision. The sign says some version of the following: “I need help. Please help me. Thanks and God bless.” The light is red, the man is standing right outside the car window, and his eyes seem to be looking directly into your soul. As the seconds at the red light tick by, your discomfort grows to the point where you relent and give him a few dollars. He gives you a smile and a word of thanks. You drive on and feel better that you have done something good for someone down on their luck in the world.


In reality, he has just exploited you, and you have just exploited him.


What has just occurred could be called a “compassionate transaction.” A person expresses a need, and someone else responds by meeting the expressed need. There may be some limited situations in which this exchange might be appropriate and even transformative, but in most cases, compassionate transactions only perpetuate the status quo.


Think of it this way. Let’s imagine that you’re hungry and you walk into Domino’s to buy a pizza.  You give Domino’s your money, and Domino’s gives you a pizza. A business transaction has been completed, and both parties are satisfied. You walk out the door with a solution for your hunger during the next few hours, and Domino’s makes a profit on your purchase. There is no further relationship, nor a desire or expectation for one, between you and Domino’s. It is simply a mechanical exchange of money and goods.


Your encounter with the man at the intersection is the same. You’re in the position of Domino’s, offering him a resource that he wants. Money can buy him a pack of cigarettes, a cab ride, or some other item he needs at the moment. In return, he is paying you, although with a different form of currency than regular money.  Remember that feeling you had when you drove away after giving him a few bucks? “I’m a good person who helps the down-and-out of this world.” That’s your payment.


What, however, has concretely changed after this transaction is over? Suppose that tomorrow you see the same man standing in the same place holding the same cardboard sign. Does he still need help? Probably, but will you give it to him? What if you don’t?  Does that mean you’re no longer a decent and compassionate human being? In the final analysis, did either of you really benefit from yesterday’s exchange?


For decades, the model of giving to charity in the United States has been set up this way: people who have resources give money and goods, and people who don’t have resources receive them. The donors receive satisfaction from knowing how kind and good they are for giving, and the recipients continue their steady drumbeat of need. After so many years of following this model of charity, it is fair to ask whether anything has been gained. Have the millions of cans of food that have cycled through food pantries created independence and freedom for people in need? The answer is no. It has only perpetuated dependency and frustration for both sides of the transaction.


What if you had responded differently at the red light? What if you had (safely) pulled your car over and (safely) invited the man to walk to the coffee shop with you? Now the decision rests with the man, not with you. If he refuses, it shows that all he really wanted was to exploit you and get the material goods you offered him. However, if he accepts, and you spend time with him, something else has been created that could benefit both him and you: a relationship. Now you’re not seeing him simply as an object of charity to make you feel good, and he is not seeing you just as a way to get money for a bottle of iced tea.


This second option will be much more costly in terms of time and energy than just slipping a couple bills through a car window. But being intentional in forming a “compassionate relationship” with a person in need is the only way I know of to close the gap that traditional forms of charity cannot bridge. Both parties in a relationship give, and yet both have gained much more than they have given.


Human beings sit down at the table of friendship as equals.


Put simply, compassionate transactions create dependency, while compassionate relationships transform lives.

Give it up

Thu, 07/11/2019 - 11:31

An anonymous submission

Don’t you ever get tired 

Of smiling so big

When you’re so sad?

Does it hurt when you force a laugh

When you still feel that pain in your chest?

Did it hurt to tell your millionth lie

To feed a mythical, unbroken persona?

Doesn’t being so untrue

Really hurt you?

Sometimes I see

your porcelain perfection’s cracks,

when you roll up your sleeve

And I think;

how lonely, how sad, how filled to the brim,

you are with all your silence.

You’re too afraid of what they’ll do.

Because once you were revealed

they shielded their eyes, 

and when they couldn’t ignore you,

they went away.

And you erased

and erased

all that you were.

And you got your eyes

so you can’t see

 it can change

Speak your truth

scream out the sins committed against you

Show them you are unafraid

and know you should be listened to.

Four Things I Learned About Manga

Thu, 07/04/2019 - 15:58

By Jay Trovato, adult contributor and librarian


At the time I began working in the Young Adult Department at Washington County Free Library last year, I knew nothing about manga. From my very first weeks on the job, however, it became clear that manga was a vitally important part of the Young Adult collection. Patrons of all ages seemed to have an endless hunger for these books, and I noticed that some of the titles in our (wildly popular) anime collection were the same as the manga series on our shelves. Not only were our young adult patrons reading these books; they were talking about them, too – sometimes for hours at a time. If I was going to be a knowledgeable young adult librarian, I simply could not afford to remain ignorant about manga.


If you are reading this article and you are a manga and anime fan, please forgive me if what I’m about to share seems extremely basic. But for readers like me who had absolutely no previous knowledge about manga, perhaps the things I’m about to share will be enlightening.


1) Manga is not just about fighting.


The first Japanese franchises which became popular in the United States during the late 1990s and early 2000s included Pokemon, Dragonball Z, and Naruto. All of these early “hits” had plots centered on combat and were set in fantasy worlds. It is still true that many popular manga series involve fighting, but not all of them do. It’s true that there is often a fantasy element mixed into these other manga categories, but the thematic element of fighting in manga is by no means universal. There is plenty of manga to read in the areas of sports, romance, historical fiction, high school, the arts, and more! 


2) Manga-style publications are not only written in Japan.


The majority of the manga in our collection originated in Japan, later to be translated into English (and other languages). One effect of their Japanese origin is that the manga books are read right-to-left instead of left-to-right like we read in English. However, our library’s collection includes several “manwha” series, which means they were written by Korean authors.  We also have manga that were originally written in English (known as “OEL” manga, standing for Original English Language). The OEL manga sometimes break the standard right-to-left reading pattern and include such well-known authors, as James Patterson (Maximum Ride manga) and Batman and the Justice League (new in our library collection as of June 2019).


3) There is a rating system for manga similar to the ratings on movies and video games.


A few of the series in our library’s collection are rated “All Ages,” which means the content is suitable for any reader age 6 and up. Most of our manga is rated “Teen” (13-16) or “Older Teen” (16-18), depending on how graphic the language, artwork, or violence depicted is. (There is also a “Mature” manga rating, denoting highly explicit sexual or violent situations, but we do not have any Mature-rated manga in our library collection.) Some of the manga rating information can be found directly on the cover of the book, while other ratings I could only find on the Internet.


4) Comics and manga have a lot more in common than I first thought.


Besides the obvious differences like the distinctive Japanese art style and the fact that most manga is read right-to-left, comics and manga are very similar in many other ways:


  • They have prominent, stylized main characters and side story arcs (some of which spin off into other series).
  • Their book-length volumes are compilations of smaller, serialized installments that first appeared in another publication.
  • The art is as important as the actual story.
  • Artists of mainline comics/manga often work for a larger publishing company. DC and Marvel rule the U.S. comics universe, whereas manga is dominated by Japanese publishers like Shonen Jump, Viz, and others.
  • This graphic form of storytelling has dedicated fans of all ages!


Our library’s Young Adult Department has a number of regular patrons who love manga and anime, and it’s fascinating to overhear their conversations about the stories they love. It has taken me a while, but now I finally understand at least a little bit of the fictional worlds inhabited by their favorite characters.

9 Facts You May Want to Know About Great Leaders, Good and Bad

Thu, 07/04/2019 - 15:50

By Muhammad Sodagar, contributor.




1. Mikhail Gorbachev was the first and the only Soviet Union Leader that was born after the 1917 Communist Revolution in Russia!






2. Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United State of America, was the Democratic Candidate for the Vice
Presidency in the Election of 1920. After the election, he became ill and was unable to recover from his illness resulting in his inability to walk. As a result of this, at the Tehran Conference of 1943, three world leaders from Great Brian, Russia and the US had to sit for the picture at left. In these sort of conferences, pictures are usually taken while representatives and leaders are standing.




3. William Henry Harrison, 9th president of the US, was in office for only 31 days! He died and became the first U.S president who died in office.





4. Richard Nixon is the only US president who resigned from office.





5. Andrew Johnson was a Democrat, while Abraham Lincoln was a Republican. However, they were on the same ticket for the 1864 Presidential Election. This was because Johnson was one of the only Southern Democrats who did not join the Confederacy, so Lincoln made Johnson his running mate. He divided the remaining Democrats who found it hard to directly oppose his campaign and won the election easily.





6. Fidel Castro was born to a wealthy family but he led the communist revolution and remained as the leader of Cuba for 52 years! He is also the longest-serving communist leader of all time.





7. Grover Cleveland is the only US President who was elected to two nonconsecutive terms as president. He initially won the 1884 election, but lost the 1888 election to Benjamin Harrison, but went to win the 1892 presidential race, this time over Harrison.






8. George H. W. Bush and his son, George W. Bush, both attacked Iraq during their administrations. There was only one president that separated their terms, William Jefferson “Bill” Clinton.





9. out of the 45 presidents of the United States, 26 are from four States: Ohio, New York, Virginia, and

Bittersweet Misery

Thu, 06/27/2019 - 11:40

An anonymous submission

My chest aches,

My stomach is in knots,

My head throbs,

I can’t breathe.

My throat feels like pieces of glass

Are lodged inside

I can feel the walls closing in around me.

It’s okay

It only lasts for ten long minutes


I’m used to the feeling of being 

Impaled right through the chest,

Twist ties on my organs,


And lightheadedness

How else am I supposed to start off my day?

I follow the same ten-minute ritual,

Of chest pain,


Shortness of breath,

And dizziness

Don’t worry

It’s nothing more than a 

Bittersweet Misery

Woman at Dark

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 13:19

An anonymous submission.


Shadows embraced her

On the porch, after dark

Like ghosts of old friends

Caressing her skin.


She whispered, sure as broken,

“Everyone dies,

And everything ends.

Dear, it’s all impermanent.”


Her unlit figure against the night

Seemed a monument to grace,

To beauty,

And quiet self destruction.


Within her deep, black eyes

Swam pain and secrets

Dark as her irises.

“Shout” by Laurie Halse Anderson

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 12:49

By Jay Trovato, adult contributor and librarian.

Shout is a book of free verse poetry that describes the life journey of its author, Laurie Halse Anderson, the bestselling author of the 1999 book Speak.  The vignettes woven throughout Shout show Anderson looking for her self-confidence and identity in spite of the fact that men – both at a personal and institutional level – are constantly attempting to undermine her efforts.

The book’s language is forceful and has a tone of anger and indignation.  Anderson assumes the role of the prophetic female voice declaring the sins of oppression, abuse, and indifference embedded within the male subculture since time immemorial.  As an example, there is a poem called “a boy, priest unholy,” a scathing denunciation of how men in institutionalized religion leverage their power to sexually abuse children.  The poem ends this way:


I don’t go to church anymore,

the man said.  Not many do.

Infected by the angel-cloaked demons

whose hymns condemned us to darkness

with a smile;

we are legion.


Anderson lends her authorial voice to untold numbers of women who, like the author herself, have been raped, belittled, and silenced by men and the sociopolitical structures they inhabit.  Poem after poem launches missiles of rage at all icons of toxic masculinity and the warped, diseased world they have created. With unflinching, blunt words, Shout tells a true story that must be listened to and believed.

The book’s length wore on me a little bit.  Although the poems are carefully crafted, nearly 300 pages of free verse is taxing to read.  Perhaps it would have been possible to mix in some prose for variety, or to be a little more selective about the number of targets she chose to attack (or the number of formative anecdotes she writes in the first part of the book).

One other thing that I felt was unfair was the categorical way in which she characterized men as manipulators, abusers, and power-mongers. I believe this was a rhetorical decision on her part, since it would have weakened her strident prophetic denunciation of her critique if she had spent significant time on positive men in her life. As a man, I was not offended that she blasted men in Shout. (I myself have often been outraged and disgusted at the actions and attitudes of men and the cultural spaces in which those actions and attitudes continue unquestioned.)  Rather, it is simply untrue for her to insinuate that all men as a rule act and think like the men who have hurt her and so many others.

In Shout, Laurie Halse Anderson takes hold of the most powerful weapon to be used against systemic injustice – her voice – and lets the reader listen in as she poetically weaves her case against the indefensible sins of males.

Winter Nocturne

Thu, 06/06/2019 - 15:51

An anonymous submission.


The radiator’s hum and click

Produces a heady, cozy heat

The golden glow of lamplight onto damask sheets

As my pencil scratches away another day into graphite memory

The low grumbled chuckle

Of the solitary gamer

The restless, rhythmic pacing

Of the sleepless thinker

The perfectionist pattering

Of creatures bedding down for the night

Thoughts and dreams tend to keep me awake

As I try to write my soliloquy.

I am intruding on the nocturnals’ territory

As I search in warm darkness

For truths invisible in brash daylight

And so close in this soft monochrome.

What if I fail in an exam such as SAT??!!

Thu, 06/06/2019 - 15:41

In the Name of God:

By Muhammad Sodagar

I know you all had a very bad experience with an exam, whether in the elementary school, junior high or high school; after each bad exam what you would probably do is to cry for a while and then talk to two friends, one of whom is like you, and the other one has taken the exam successfully. Both tell you that: “Hey, it doesn’t matter, don’t be mad. It’s not anything important.!!!” and blah blah!
But what if none of these were available? Probably what you would do in that case is to commit suicide. But it’s absolutely wrong from the start till the end.
The first thing you have to always in mind is to say before and after each exam: “In God I
trust!” Say it even more than one time; even ten times.
After each exam tell yourself: “If I fail, the worst situation is that in the future I would be paid 25 cents less each hour.” and then tell yourself that, if you really care about the 25 cents: “no one becomes rich or poor with 25 cents more for each hour!!!!!!!”
And say: “Hey, the world is NOT over!!!”
Talk to yourself; it’s important. Make yourself calm with whatever thing that can make you comfortable.
Never forget God; never.
These are very popular and often cliche ideas but, sometimes, use these cliches. Talk to God and just talk and then do as much work as you can and don’t care about the result. Do these cliches and see the results. Always say: ” In God I trust.”
So do these cliches and leave the rest to the God. Never give up.
I think I wrote too much cliches, which I do myself.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart”
Bile, Proverbs 3 Verses 5 to 6
“Allah (God) is capable of everything”

Quran, Verse 284

In the Name of God: A review on “the Catcher in the Rye”

Wed, 05/22/2019 - 18:22

By Muhammad Sodagar, Staff Writer.

The point that “THE CATCHER IN THE RYE” is a very
popular, famous and good-selling book is that the book
is about a teenager and everyone would be a teenager.
There is a little possibility that you become a butcher at
all, but you had been, would be or you are a
teenager. Now, there is a very important point about all
teenagers, I know it because I am a teenager myself. All
teenager, I emphasize “ALLLLLLLLL”, are some kind of
creature between an adult, a child and a mix between
them. If we want to discuss this in mathematics, it’s like
that 0.3333 of a teenager’s brain thinks and acts as an
adult; the other 0.3333 thinks and acts as a child; and
the rest acts as something between these two. Now,
“THE CATCHER IN THE RYE’s” main character, Holden
Caulfield, is a teenager and as a result, this rule applies to
him. So when someone reads “THE CATCHER IN THE
RYE”, especially a teenager, they feel like some acts are
childish, some are too adult and some is exactly
what he/she, the reader, would do.
The second point about it is that all teenagers have very
complicated feelings and thoughts, as a result of their
mixture of mind. They like to know, “Does anyone
else have this kind of feeling and thought?” They want to
answer this with reading “THE CATCHER IN THE RYE”;
and actually, Salinger will answer them.
The third point is the psychological wave. When a
teenager sees that everyone has read the book, because
of their teenage-nature, they want to read it just to get rid
of the sentences like: “Oh you haven’t read the book??!!!”and etc.
The tone of the reader is effective too. Salinger
writes the book like someone who is talking through your
mouth and that really helps you to understand what will
you do if you were in this position.
With respect to J.D Salinger, Muhammad S. Sodagar

self love?

Wed, 05/22/2019 - 18:02

By Maysa Haj-Mabrouk, Staff Writer.

My life is nothing short of frustrating

Like the one hair that refuses to be caught by your tweezers

Or the paperback book cover that curls up towards the ceiling

Or the pencil that just won’t stay sharpened.


And when these frustrations hold me tightly and

Spoon-feed me their nightmares─


Perhaps “self-love is the instrument of our preservation”

Perhaps if I only tried harder I would be able to fill the void

That seizes my heart and drags it into itself;

Maybe self-love is the key to the locket I’ve been trying to pry open

With my bare hands and nails.


But until I learn, I will never see the sun without it peaking through layers of clouds;

Only once I learn the power of good faith and love

I shall become a new woman.

I shall become new again.

I shall be free.

“It’s okay to let go of all those that do not set you free anymore”: a Short Poem Inspired by a Quote by Dhiman

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 12:21

An anonymous submission


It’s okay to let go of all those that do not set you free anymore.


To leave behind

Anything that doesn’t yield joy,


To grow up and away

From everything that holds you in place,


Blood does not entitle or bind

Anyone to your time


Poison is poison, and no matter the severity

It will always kill you eventually.

The Dark

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 12:14

By Isabella Hendershot

Being afraid of the dark is named as a silly fear. We are all supposed to grow out of it after a certain age. When we hit that level of so called “maturity”, it means no more nightlights, no more crying to mommy or daddy that we are scared. Reaching that certain age is also the end of having other childhood fears. No more monsters in the room, no more fairy tales, no more tea parties with your stuffed animals to distract you from that time of the night where the anxiety rushes and you’re scared to close your eyes in bed. No more “silly” fears, at this point it’s not acceptable to go crying to mommy and daddy or any of your siblings just for being scared.


But I feel it is acceptable. At that age where you’re not supposed to be scared of the dark or the monsters that may lurk inside, it’s okay to still be scared. It’s okay to fear going to sleep in the dark, it’s acceptable to want light as you sleep, no matter how old you get. At 17 I continue to sleep with Christmas lights on in my room.


At 17 I also say it is acceptable because your mind can run wild with all the possibilities of what can be in the shadows, it’s because we can’t see what lurks in the dark. We may know what is really there but we can’t see it, therefore we make up what or who could be in the dark.


But my fear of the dark also comes from watching horror movies and scary TV shows. It doesn’t help that I continue to watch those things. It only fuels my fear and the need to sleep with my bedroom door closed and my Christmas light plugged in. If I don’t have my door shut or the lights on my anxiety goes through the roof and I can’t sleep, can’t stay still in my bed until I have those things in place. Just imagine what happens when the power goes out in my neighborhood. I can tell you that the candles I have are immediately burning to provide some semblance of light.


So no matter your age it is completely acceptable to be afraid of the dark and everything your mind makes up to say what’s inside of it.

In the name of God: Both Aspects

Wed, 05/08/2019 - 18:33

By Muhammad Sodagar

Once, Jesus and the Apostles were going somewhere. On the middle of the way,
they saw a group of people that were talking about something. They went to see
what the matter was. They saw that there was a dead dog, which seemed like it
had been dead for a long time because it smelled very bad. A woman said: “What
a bad smell it has; somebody take it away.”
A man said: “Look at this ugly carcass… ooooffff; it smells like…”
-Take it away
-It will make everyone sick…
Everyone was talking about getting rid of the carcass or how ugly it was or how
bad it smelled but suddenly they heard a very pleasant voice: “What beautiful
and white teeth it has.”
Everyone was surprised. They looked around to see who said that. It was Jesus.
Jesus looked to the people and said: “Even the decomposing carcass of a dead
dog can be admired for its good features. Don’t just pay attention to the negative
aspects and features of things; try to see the positive aspects of things. For, if God
saw only the negative aspects of things, as you do, He wouldn’t have created any
human beings.” Everybody looked back at the carcass, and slowly went their
own ways while trying to digest what Jesus had just said: “God wouldn’t have
created any human beings.”

Cause and Effect: College Planning Ripple Effect

Wed, 05/08/2019 - 18:26

By Isabella Hendershot

A student who plans to pursue higher education needs to prepare for a significant number of challenges. When a college education is the path needed for furthering one’s career opportunities, it creates  many issues for the student and the people who are helping them. The biggest reality one must face is that college costs money, and lots of it. But wanting to go to college sets off a ripple effect reaching far beyond the financial considerations. Applying, getting accepted, visiting the school, paying tuition, moving if the student lives far away, getting a new job, making new friends, being away from family, feeling homesick, learning how to navigate a new city, figuring out how to get around campus, all while staying sane and well-rested through it all requires a student to exercise levels of discipline far greater than all the demands of high school.


One of the important effects of planning for college is going into debt. It starts with application fees, although some students might get lucky and have the fee waived because of the high school they currently go to, as some high schools offer free applications to give students a little push. In addition, some schools have a fee for reserving their place in the chosen program of study after being accepted. Then students may have the option of living on or off campus (freshmen are usually required to live on campus). Living on campus  requires the purchase of a meal plan and a housing deposit. Living off-campus means students are totally responsible for themselves in regards to transportation, utilities, rent, and food. Applying for help with tuition is a long, hard, and stressful process. To have tuition paid students can apply for federal money, grants, scholarships, and student loans. The loans are what will hurt the student most. The student will be paying them off for years after graduating from college.


Another matter that comes to the forefront when a student goes away to college is homesickness. If a student is not a commuter, they will not be able to see friends and family as often as they had in the past. True, students can call, text, and video chat their loved ones, but the unfamiliarity of everything and everyone around them is what makes students miss what they have at home. Students miss the routine that has developed over the years; seeing the same people, knowing their way around. Then, once the school year is over, a student may begin to miss the people, places, and routines of college.


Students may also find it difficult to navigate around the campus and the new city they are currently residing in. Students may find it difficult to navigate their way around because they know nothing of their surroundings, it’s a completely new place to learn. Though once the student becomes familiar with their surroundings it almost becomes a game on how to get around. In this newfound game students may also ask themselves questions such as: what’s the fastest way to my classes? How many “traffic jams” can I avoid when classes let out? How many different paths can I find? How far away is my dorm? Once students learn their way around it can open many opportunities. The student can have a better understanding of where to get a job, where to eat out, and what places to go to for a night out.


Planning for college will be stressful, but students will have many opportunities once they graduate . Students may find the process intimidating, but it will be worth it in the end. Tuition will be paid, new friends will be made, more knowledge will be gained, and new opportunities will arise throughout it all.

“I think therefore I am”: A Philosophical Take on Abortion

Thu, 05/02/2019 - 17:09

By M. K. Powell

The abortion controversy has a lot of sides and angles when it comes to the discourse on its ethical and moral concerns. I would like to disclose that this isn’t propaganda for either side of the issue. Rather, this is perhaps a new angle to approach it from: “I think therefore I am.”

“I think therefore I am,” although it’s more commonly associated with science fiction, emerged in the Enlightenment, condensing some hallmarks of the period. The Enlightenment was a philosophical movement (the principles of which America was founded on) that encouraged the spread of radical ideas and inventions. The movement primarily revolved around this thought: the only thing separating humans from animals was reason, which is the ability to look at a situation and solve it through critical thinking. Rene Descartes, a French Enlightenment philosopher and architect of the movement, had set out to prove why he was, and in the process came up with the quote “I think therefore I am.” The phrase itself means that if you are real, then you can think, therefore you are a human at least.

How does this apply to abortion? “I think therefore I am” is a bar for humanity. If you’re a living a person then you can think, therefore you are. A fetus, however, doesn’t think. Although fetuses develop the capacity to think, we don’t actually start to think until we’re born. According to the Scientific American article “When Does Consciousness arise in Human Babies?” even after we’re born, in the infant stage, we don’t really think so much as process what we see. We start forming independent thoughts later, but this stage we’re just recognizing  the things and actions in front of us and may attempt to mimic them. The question this imposes on the abortion controversy is: do you become a human before you think? I wouldn’t propose killing an infant, but as for abortion, which occurs at the fetal stage, is the argument for the fetus being “alive” valid if they truly aren’t?

Even though we don’t think critically at the infant stage, we’re still able to process what we see. According to the Enlightenment’s standards, at this stage we are living creatures, but fetuses are just as alive as an internal organ; a part of a human mother who can already think, therefore they are.

In the name of God: A Part of the Main Story

Thu, 05/02/2019 - 16:55

By Muhammad Sodagar

She was suffering

The pressure

Caused by the baby


“Oh dear

I believe in Him

In the God

Who gave me you

You, my little angel”


And heard a sound

“Your majesty

The boy is given to you

But not just you

But to all of the people

To take advantage

Of the wisdom

Which is given to Him

He is coming

To save the people

From ignorance

And you

As His mother

We ordered Him

To obey you”

Said Gabriel

“And touch that tree

Dates will come in

Eat them

To help

Resist this Holy pain”

And Mary looked

Upon the tree

A palm

So seared

So wrinkled

So sad

So rough

So tough

So unhappy

So old

So disappointed  


Mary asked

With a sad voice

With a face

So painful

But not of pain

Of the loss of mother

Not the loss of father

But the community

In which mercy




Or any other

Good word

Doesn’t have

A meaning

To people

Who lost themselves

A long time ago

When they stopped

To listen

What was taught


“ Gabriel

This palm  

It cannot give any dates

It’s sad

And painful

As I am”

“ Mary


It cannot


The designer

And the creator

Of You and I

And this palm tree  

Has no limit

In anything

And remember

He was the One

That gave you this



So as you always say

Say it again Mary

The Mother of Jesus

In God I trust”

Mary sat down

And said with a stronger voice

“In the name of God

Who is limitless

Who is helpless

Who has not a child

And never was born  

Who was before

You and I

And who is

After us

In the name of Him”  

And touched the tree


Tree became fresh

And a few dates fell

Mary ate them


As it was the best palm

In the whole country  

And she got tired

Tired as she wanted

To sleep a decade

When she fell asleep

Angels came

Took the child out

And washed Him

With the water  

Came from heaven  

The water

With which

The flowers and trees  

In heaven

Were watered

And the water

Which was cleaning

A man  

After that

All angels respected the water

Not because it’s nature

Nor its place

In heaven

But because

It was washing

A Prophet of God

Better than heaven

Who was taught in a place

Higher than heaven

To teach people

And take them

To where he was raised

And they put Him

To sleep

To rest

Cause after that

He couldn’t sleep

Till he had completed

His mission   

And when Mary

Woke up

She saw a baby


As an angel

Or even more


As the sun

Or even more


As a lake

In the beautiful days

Of summer  

And sedative

As the song

Of a bird

But all of these

Beautiful identities

In one child

Could not answer

The question Mary had

She asked

“Oh my God

I was always chaste

And never been touched

By a man

Why do I have a child”


God answered Her

“Mary, the daughter

Of Joachim

Adam was born

Neither with a father

Nor a mother

And Eve either

And I am the One

Who is capable

Of everything  

And Mary,

Never forget that

Cause those

Who forget this

Are those

Who are placed

In hell

Beside the Devil

And people as themselves

And I’m as rigid

Toward infidels

As I’m kind

Toward believers”

And at that time

Mary felt a good  

And powerful feeling

As she had

A sword in her hand

But no, it was beyond that

She had a feeling

As God was behind her  

Which was as true

As the the color of the sun

She had a feeling

As strong as a mountain

As an army of strongest


With the strongest

Swords and shields

Strongest fortresses

But she had something

Stronger than all of these


But at the same time

A heavy weight

A holy weight

A beautiful weight

A spiritual weight

A responsibility weight

A good weight but heavy

Mary asked

“My God

What is this?”

God answered


I’ve sent

One of my best

To this world

To guide

To teach  

To help

To go to

To wake  

To defeat

The evil

To defeat two-faces

To defeat hypocrites

And to come back to me Again  

As all people

Good or bad

And you Mary

You are chosen

To raise this holy child

To help the people’s helper

To raise my Prophet

And Mary

I tell you

This is the nature of you

And other women

To raise my gifts

And my servants

And go to your people

And do not speak

If they asked

Tell them I’ve been ordered

By Me

The Greatest

The biggest

The best

The kindest

The most powerful

The God

And put my Prophet

On a chair”

And Mary did that

Went to the city

People asked


The daughter of Joachim

You never been touched by a man

but why

why do You have a child?”

She did

What was been ordered to


And put His Son

A sunny son

And suddenly

The holy baby started to speak

There was no description

And The Baby said

“I am Jesus

The son of Mary

And the One

Who is sent

To teach

To Guide


Cause All men are created equal

And I’m here to help

For the Pursuit of Happiness

Which is to go

In which I’m taught

Our Narration stops here

But not the Story

The Story of the Holy Wisdom

And the Devil

The Story which was started

From the Creation of our Father


And our Mother


The Story continues

Till when We’re Judged

On the Day


Everyone’s Judged

And we all get

What we deserve.


Thu, 04/18/2019 - 15:20

By Jay Trovato, Adult Contributor

Eggs? Bunnies? Chocolate? Spring fashion? Time off from work or school?

None of the above.

If not, what is Easter and what does it mean?

Easter is the claim that 2,000 years ago, a dead man named Jesus walked out of a tomb.

Before he died, this man had claimed to be God. His closest friends had seen enough evidence that led them to believe his claim. But when Jesus died, the hope of these men and women died, too. They were shaking in fear behind locked doors, completely defeated.

But a historian named Luke relates the account of what happened next:

“While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’

They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, ‘Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.’

When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, ‘Do you have anything here to eat?’ They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence.”

So, think about this scene for a moment. Jesus’ friends knew that he was dead. Dead people, under normal circumstances, never do anything else. Yet here comes Jesus – through a locked door, mind you – and greets them. He shows them the wounds that caused his death, and then eats a piece of fish like nothing out of the ordinary had ever happened.


Yes, that is the claim of Easter. In one (Greek) word, Ēgerthē. In English, it means, “He has risen.”

But what does it mean for us if it is true that Jesus walked out of the tomb?

I think the answer can be found in Luke’s account where Jesus says, “It is I myself.” The meaning of Easter depends on the meaning of that sentence. Who is Jesus?

Well, if Jesus is God as he claimed to be (and as a crazy-impossible feat like the resurrection certainly suggests), then it means that God has permanently broken the power of death. Anyone who believes in the resurrection and gives the risen Jesus the right to rule his or her life will also follow Jesus out of the grave on the last day of history.

As incredible as this story may seem, I believe it. The death of my body is not the end for me, just as death on the cross was not the end for Jesus. Why? Ēgerthē.

You Must’ve Loved the Snow

Thu, 04/18/2019 - 15:14

By Isabella Hendershot, Staff Writer

The day the decision was made it snowed,

As the viewing ended,

Taylor and I started the drive back home,

The beginnings of a small snow storm started.


Taylor mentioned how you must’ve liked the snow,

How it snowed the day of,

How it was snowing now,

Just as the snow got heavy.


I thought back to the day of,

Thought she was right,

You really must’ve liked the snow,

I know I still love it.


I thought back to when you stayed with us,

The snow storm was raging back then,

Taylor and I were off school for a week,

Around that time we had quite a few snow storms.


After Taylor mentioned the snow I thought of it for a while,

Remembered we used to come over,

Go sledding with Zack.


You must’ve liked the snow,

I remember quite a few things when it did,

When you were still around,

To see it with us all.


Now I will always remember the day,

The day you really left,

The day you made it snow.