Writing Marathon Piece

The Rolling Prairie

I step onto the squishy soil beneath me, and inhale the fresh air.

My lungs have never breathed anything this clean.

The landscape was untouched by humanity,

staring at me awaiting my arrival.

 

No sound to be heard, no breeze to be felt.

Distant trees in the horizon,

binding the prairie within.

How have I not experienced this before?

This beauty sitting on my front door.

 

A shock of reality and I accept my surroundings.

This is a part of my history.

This is a part of me.

Self Analysis: Reading

Although writing has been a very important part of English 4, reading has been a big part of the year. And I have grown a lot in my reading skills, but my skills in analyzing a reading and writing about it. Both good reading skills, and the skill to analyze a text are extremely important in college. And I know that through English 4 I have grown in a way that will prepare me for college and help me be successful in college when I have to read and reflect on it.

Mrs. Jank threw me a curve ball when she expected us to write about a reading and consider modern issues. It was just nothing I had ever considered writing about when writing about a reading. Honestly, when I think about writing about a reading I just think of a basic book review. But Mrs. Jank wanted to challenge us this year, and I believe that my piece on censorship within Fahrenheit 451 stood up to the challenge she faced us with. I reflected on the writing by Ray Bradbury and found a central theme within the writing. But it didn’t stop there. Through the paper, I worked to connect it to our lives and the problems we face today. I created a piece that reflected the connections between the dystopian society created by the author and our society today. The fact that problems within our world are censored from our eyes, and we eventually become blind to our own problems. My writing was a great example of how a reading can be applied to modern issues. The piece involved a good explanation of the writing, and an analytical explanation of how the writing connects with modern issues we face today.

One goal of English 4 was to be able to properly analyze a reading in a deeper manner. Out of any goal Mrs. Jank had set for us this year, I feel like this goal was the easiest for me personally to achieve. It seems that it is just an expectation for high school students to be able to analyze readings on more than just the base level. Getting down into the nitty gritty is standard in every English class. So when I was faced with this goal, I feel that this year I achieved it with flying colors. A piece that I constructed this year that portrays my abilities to dig into a reading and pull out a deeper meaning was my analysis of the character Horatio and his caring personality in the play Hamlet. Through analysis of quotes and scenes throughout the story, we were to review how a character in Hamlet reflects a theme within our community. This required us as the readers to get into the story, and get to know the character that we were reflecting on. Having written this paper properly, I think that my skills in analyzing a reading deeper than the base level are exemplified perfectly in my piece about Horatio from the play Hamlet.

English 4 was a lot different for all of us when compared to other English classes in high school because it involved personal reading time. Mrs. Jank used a reading challenge as a way to get us reading based on our own personal choices. Being someone who doesn’t particularly enjoy reading leisurely, this was a bit of a challenge. But having the ability to choose what I wanted to read helped me grow a taste in what I like to read. Since I was able to choose what I wanted to read, it made it a little more enjoyable for me and allowed me to get to know the reader in me. We had many pieces that involved the personal choice reading challenges, one assignment that we did that I felt connected to my personal opinions on a book that I chose to read was the Final Book Talk on The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Because this was such an opinionated review on a book it helped teach me a little bit about what I enjoy in a book. Reflecting on my personal choices for reading and reflecting what I like reading helped remind me what I enjoy reading.

Self Analysis: Writing

My senior year has been a great year for me and my writing. I have improved so much in my writing process. I have worked to improve how I write my papers, my grammar and conventions within my papers, and I have improved on my skills in writing big papers. Before this year, I haven’t been very good at writing big papers and a lot of papers. But Mrs. Jank has assigned many papers and writing pieces this year and I feel like it has definitely prepared me for my future education.

Obviously, a piece that has helped me grow in writing in multiple genres in one compilation was my multi genre piece entitled “Relieving Memories.” This paper involved writing many different pieces, each being its own genre. I think that this being our 2nd or 3rd multi-genre project, this particular one helped solidify my skills in writing in multiple genres within one big piece. This piece challenged me in ways I didn’t believe would occur. It seemed difficult for me to come up with creative pieces, in different genres, about different things, that all encompass one topic. But I believe that after doing it, and being successful in the process I feel much more confident in writing in multiple genres and achieving the goals of each genre.

During English 4, we also worked to improve our formal writing tone to prepare ourselves for college level writing next year. Again, I definitely feel like the work Mrs. Jank had us do helped me greatly with my writing and my ability to dig into text and analyze what the text is telling us as the reader. One piece that I believe definitely portrayed my improvements in a formal writing tone and my abilities to dig into a text and analyze what the text is telling me is my analysis of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. The goal of the paper was to analyze a book that we had read during the year, and write based on a prompt. Each prompt required us to do some literary analysis. This was something that I had done before, but never on a scale comparable to this. This paper required very deep thought and digging into the text that I hadn’t done with a text as extensive as The Lord of the Rings. This paper, being at the beginning of the year, helped prepare me for other pieces that we would have to write in a formal tone. And it helped grow my skills in digging out research and texts that I would need for pieces in the future.

There were many pieces that we created this year that involved a scholarly and/or reflective voice. And I have to reiterate, this year in a whole has done wonders for my writing skills especially in this area. I have never been the greatest at writing based on reflections. Especially the reflections of a text. This year we read a novel titled Fahrenheit 451. Honestly, when reading this book, I had no idea what was going on. The style of writing was difficult for me to understand and follow so when we were asked to reflect on the writing I was a little weary. But as I dove into the text, I eventually was quite proud of myself for analyzing the text and reflecting on it in a pretty well written paper. My piece on Censorship within Fahrenheit 451 was a great example of my growing skills in using a scholarly and/or reflective voice in my writing. This piece was very difficult for me to write, but it taught me a lot on how to reflect on the meaning of a text. I had to do a lot of digging in order to reflect in a proper way. And I believe that through that experience and writing that paper, I have improved my skills in using reflective voice. And I have portrayed a good example of the use of reflective voice within that paper.

As a part of High School writing, the use of multiple drafts has been a big part of creating a great paper. There have been many pieces that I have written this year where the writing process has involved the use of many drafts but an example of a piece that fits this category perfectly was my Social Action Research Paper. This paper was most likely the longest and most scholarly paper I have written to date, so when writing it, I wanted to make sure that I utilized many drafts to make the piece as good as I could make it. Through self-conferencing and peer conferencing I was able to create many drafts and properly improve the writing to a point where I knew it was good enough to turn in. This piece in particular helped me realize how important using many drafts is. Using the many drafts helped me realize my tendencies within writing so I could fix it within the entire paper. And it also gave me the opportunity to see how much of an improvement I made on my paper by looking at the original and the final. My Social Action Research Paper involved the most drafts out of any paper we wrote during the year, and I learned the most from using drafts when writing this paper.

Self Analysis: Community

Throughout the year, there has been a focus on our community for a majority of the year. In the beginning, I honestly didn’t ever consider reflecting on my community and its impact on my life, but this class has changed that a lot. Through writing projects I have been able to reflect on my community more and more, and have better realized how much of an impact my community actually has on my life. I feel like my skills of analyzing have greatly improved as I have had to work to analyze how certain things impact my community differently. I think it has helped me appreciate my community more than I did before entering this class.

One piece that I wrote this year that I believe greatly helped me grow in my skills of considering the impact of the community on my life was the community response paper we wrote. La Paz Mexican Restaurant, A Lincoln Staple was a piece I constructed as a reflection of the impact of a local restaurant within the community. This piece, in my opinion, was a wonderful example of developing a celebratory and critical perspective of my community. My reasoning for this opinion is because this piece was constructed in a format of a restaurant critic review. The purpose of the piece was to critic and celebrate the location and its impact on the community as a whole. I feel that this piece did an excellent job of this in both critiquing La Paz’s impact on the community, and also celebrating its positive impact on the community of Lincoln and the people within it.

Along with celebrating and critiquing the community through a piece of writing, I have also worked to consider how a place influences a person. This idea is something that I often don’t think about, but I have to say, going through the writing process of “A Day on the Water” helped me consider even more how a place can influence a person. In this piece of writing, I worked to reflect on how a pond and an experience within a small community helped to influence me. The experience helped me appreciate nature and the beauty within the community I live in. Writing this piece in particular really opened my eyes to how much a single place and event can really influence my opinion and perspective of my community.

One area of the “community” reflection that I had little to no experience in before English 4 was “Learn how to address issues as you learn about them in your community.” Before this year, I have had little to no experience in coming up with solutions to problems within my community on my own. But through our Social Action Research Paper I have grown in many ways. This research paper helped me realize what problems are evident within my community and it has taught me that anyone can do something to help. It was important for me to realize that just doing something to help an effort to improve the community is better than none. And through researching a problem like a lack in blood donations and how to solve it locally greatly benefited my skills in addressing issues within my community. Another point I would like to make is that this paper helped me in one main area. It taught me that the topic I was researching, blood donation, is in fact a problem within the community. Without doing proper research as a part of this paper, I would have never learned that a lack of blood donations was even a problem for our community.

Through my restaurant critic’s review on La Paz Mexican Restaurant, my poem entitled “A Day on the Water”, and my social action research paper, I have grown in many ways. I have learned to look at my community in many different ways. And learning to look at my community in these ways has definitely helped me appreciate my community much more.

 

 

A Day on the Water (Revised)

A Day on the Water

I step outside and feel the crisp air around me.

I sense the calmness of the water within me.

The breeze feels cool and whistles around me,

As I ready myself for a good day of fishing.

 

Chase, Noah, and I prepare our rods,

And cast out our lines into the crystal clear Nebraska water.

And in a matter of seconds I hook onto a healthy largemouth bass.

As it jumps and fights the water glistens in the air.

The reflection is blinding to my eyes.

 

I pull the fish to the bank,

Its scales shine in the morning sun.

I release it back to its home.

And watch it swim gracefully away.

Overdue Reflections

During my time at Lincoln Lutheran, I have been counting down the days to this moment. I’ve been excited to leave Lincoln Lutheran for so long, but I’ve never been less excited than at this point in time. My time to depart from this place. The anticipation of receiving my diploma and being done with Lincoln Lutheran and all of it’s wonderful attributes…has shrouded how I really feel about this school and leaving it. But as I get closer I’ve begun focusing less and less on that final day, and begun reflecting more and more on the days of the past. Days of fun, happiness, fellowship, struggles, hardships, and much more. All of which have comprised my “career” at Lincoln Lutheran and have taught me so much about how to live my life, that I feel prepared for my future more than I ever anticipated.

There has been a lot that I have learned in my time at Lincoln Lutheran. But it seems to me that I value and remember more of the “life lessons” that I have learned while here. I have learned a lot in all of my classes, but what has really stuck is what teachers, coaches, and my friends have taught me throughout my years at Lincoln Lutheran. My football coaches during high school taught me to play hard and always fight until the final whistle. They taught me to never quit on the field, and in life. My golf coaches have taught me how to play under pressure, and keep my emotions and mental play in check. They have taught me to try my best, and trust God to do the rest. My teachers have given me life lessons every day that are preparing me for the stages ahead. Without all the life lessons I have received I definitely would be less prepared for the life ahead of me.

Although I have learned a lot here at Lincoln Lutheran, there is one thing that comes to mind that I wish someone would have told me that would have helped me greatly here at Lincoln Lutheran and beyond. I wish that someone would have told me during middle school and early high school to branch out and try and make friends outside of my comfort zone. Before junior and senior year, I tended to stick to my group of friends and not much else. And I feel that I missed out on a lot of good memories because I didn’t make the friends I have now, back then. So if there is anything I would have to recommend, I would recommend to get out of your comfort zone. Because I can guarantee that it will make you friends that will provide you with lifelong memories and a lifelong bond.

One Bible verse that I have always found comfort and strength in is actually my confirmation verse. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9. This verse has always given me confidence that I can be successful in this world because God is with me wherever I am. He will protect me and guide me through the path that he has put forth for me. All I have to do is be strong and courageous and God will guide me according to His plan. This verse has always helped me when I am going through struggles in this life, and it is a good verse for everyone who is finding it hard to be strong and courageous in their lives.

Even though I am finished at Lincoln Lutheran, there is a lot of things that I will take with me when I go on to the next stage of God’s plan for me. Firstly, I will take with me everything that I have learned here at Lincoln Lutheran. All the things I have learned in classes, and all the life lessons that I have learned. I will also take with me the ability to share my faith with others that I have gained while attending Lincoln Lutheran. Before coming here, I had no idea how to talk to others about Christianity. But through classes like apologetics, and ethics I feel so much more prepared to share my faith with others.

Although it is extremely sad to be leaving something I have been a part of for almost half my life, I know that Lincoln Lutheran has properly prepared me for that final farewell coming in the next week.