“Grades vs. Learning” by Kairi Hearts

I want to be able to learn when I want. I mean, yeah–I probably wouldn’t learn as much as I do now, but I would still be learning. I don’t want to have to constantly worry about if I am failing or not.

If there were no grades, then it would be a lot easier on the kids that don’t do so well in school. If a kid seriously needs help, and if the teachers can’t supply it, then the kid gets a bad grade. That means that the student will not make the honor role. Also, teachers say that they don’t hold grudges, but if you fail once, then they start jumping in giving you crap about it.

They always say that we came here to learn. Or did we come here to get put into ridiculous categories?

Kids 12+ should not have any sort of grading system.  Are we really here to learn, or to be judged on our level of education? If we were really here to learn, then teachers and superintendents wouldn’t be always on us about grades and summer school and all of that crap. So, therefore, all grades are irrelevant to learning.

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“My First Electric Traxxas” by Sora

Remote control car racing has always been my passion. When I was younger, my dad would buy me remote control cars and trucks that anyone could purchase at Toys R Us or Walmart. I would even get racing games for the Play Station 2 to continue my passion. Then recently I had the opportunity to watch an indoor short course remote control car race that was held in Kittery, Maine, and I wanted to be able to race remote control cars against other people as well but to do that I would have to have a special battery powered remote control.

Then my dream came true. This past Christmas 2011, my Dad surprised me with the special battery powered remote control truck that would allow me to compete in a race against other RC car racers. He gave me the Traxxas Slash 4×4. The Traxxas Slash 4×4 is a four wheel drive, battery powered, remote control, short course track truck that can be used inside an indoor track or outside on all types of track. The truck is modeled after Mark Jenkins’ full size short course truck. It is red and black with red rimmed tires. My new truck is equipped with a powerful Velineon motor system. This motor system connects the motor, the battery and the receiver together and they make the connect that runs the truck and pushes the Slash to go up to 60+MPH on just an 11.1 volt battery. There is also an upgrade for the system that I currently do not own but the upgrade allows the truck to go up to 80+ miles per hour. This upgrade is called the Mamba Monster motor. The truck is considered a 1/10 scale which means that it is 1/10 the size of a full size truck.

There are many features on my new truck that make this truck special and a great vehicle to race. One of the extra features is the brushless motor. This type of motor is very important because a brush motor only lasts for a certain amount of time before you have to replace it and with the brushless motor there are no brushes so it never has to be replaced.

The Slash has a chassis that is super smooth so that it prevents the truck from getting snagged on the grass when driving through brush. The truck also has extra clearance that increases the off-road performance and allows me to be able to race around in rougher terrain. When I race the truck on a track, the center of gravity is just right so when the truck takes the turns it does not flip over. It is so smooth and steady it makes it really fun to race.

My Slash 4×4 takes a series 3 power cell pack that is considered the best on the market for providing the best high-efficiency power. One battery usually last me about an hour to an hour and a half. This gives me the opportunity to enjoy my truck for quite a long time. But the only problem with the battery it takes Eight hours for it to charge. But you can buy a LCD screen charger that can charge your battery in just for forty five minutes, but they are hundreds of dollars.

I have always liked racing remote control cars but since last Christmas when my dad gave me the Traxxas Slash 4×4 electric remote control truck I have never been happier. I look forward to many years of enjoyment and racing competitions. If you are a remote control car racer I highly recommend the Traxxas Slash 4×4, it is the best.

“Tornado Warning” by Summer

The first thing I heard was the siren, telling me to get to safety.  I had to hurry.  I needed to find Alexa and Ben and get them to the storm cellar.

Ten seconds later I could hear a horrible screeching noise.  It sounded like a high-pitched scream.

“Oh no,” I thought to myself, “it’s coming.”  I started to yell, “Alexa, Ben come here!  Quick!”

Alexa, my five year old daughter was playing in her room with her 12-year-old brother, Ben.  They ran downstairs as quick as they could.  They weren’t fast enough.  We did not have time to get outside to the storm cellar.
When they rounded the corner to the kitchen it was too late.  The monstrous tornado was here!  I grabbed the back of their shirts and yanked them under the kitchen table. Alexa started sobbing because she was so scared.  I comforted her and told her it would be all right.

Ben knew the answer and he asked, “Mom, don’t you know why Alexa is crying?”

I did not know the answer to that question so I said, “No Ben.  I don’t know why Alexa is crying.  I think she is just scared of the tornado.”

“No, Mom, she’s not scared of the tornado.  When the siren sounded, Shadow got scared and took off down the stairs.  She could get hurt in the tornado.  She is only 10-months old.  She has never encountered anything like this before,”  stated Ben.

“Okay then.  Stay here with your sister and I will go search for Shadow.”

I left Ben under the table to calm Alexa down while I went to search for that crazy dog.  “Alexa’s black Labrador could be anywhere,” I whispered under my breath.

I could not find Shadow.  She had disappeared. I had frantically searched almost every place in the house, I only had a couple of minutes left to get back to the table before the tornado hit my house.   All I had left to search was the family room.  The family room is in the back corner of the house.  It is on its own separate hallway and almost completely separate from the rest of the house.  I looked under the couches and in every corner, I was about to give up when something black under one of the couches caught my eye.

“Come here, Shadow!” I screamed, as I darted towards the black thing, hoping it was Shadow.  When I reached the couch I realize it was not Shadow it was her tug-of-war toy.  I was surprised.  Shadow never leaves Alexa’s side.  At that moment I realized that Shadow would find Alexa no matter what.  Shadow would be with Alexa under the table in the kitchen.

Meanwhile, Ben was trying to calm Alexa down.  She would not stop crying until she found Shadow, so Ben and Alexa went to search for Shadow by themselves.  They had no idea where she could be.

“I’ll go look downstairs in the basement.  You go up to your room she might be under your bed or in her bed.” Ben said, “If the tornado gets any closer hide under something heavy, like your bed.  Okay?”

“Okay.” replied Alexa.

When I got back to the table I started to sob, “Where are my kids?”  I couldn’t do anything.  The tornado was here.  I could hear the tornado throwing things in the neighbor’s yard.   All I could do was sit under the table in the kitchen, wait out the storm, and pray my kids were all right.

Things were flying everywhere.  Pieces of wood were soaring through the air.  Something hit me on the head.  The last thing I could remember was something black running towards me.

When I woke up the storm was over.  The tornado had passed.  I had some bruises, my ankle was throbbing and so was my head.  I was lying on the ground in the middle of my kitchen floor.  I did not dare to move because I did not know how bad I was hurt or how damaged the house was.  Then it dawned on me, “Where were Ben and Alexa?  Were they okay?” I had to find them but I could not move.  “Why couldn’t I move?  What was wrong?”  I asked myself these questions over and over until I decided to get up and look around.

I was about to sit up but there was something on my legs.  I looked up and there was that crazy dog.  “Shadow! Shadow! Get off of me!”  Shadow stood up and came over to lick my face.  I sat up and pat Shadow’s head.  I studied him carefully he was not hurt at all.

I looked around; the kitchen was a complete mess.  One wall was torn all the way down.  Other than that wall, the fridge was on its side, the floor was all ripped up, and the table I was hiding under had fallen on my ankle.  That would explain why it hurt.

That’s when it hit me: I thought of the perfect idea.  “Shadow!” When I said that, I startled the poor dog, “Go find Alexa and Ben.  Come on!”  It took us a little while to get out of the kitchen because it hurt to put pressure on my ankle.

First, we tried to go look upstairs in their bedrooms but there were no stairs. They had been ripped down by the winds of the tornado.  I hoped they were not up there because it would take a while to get them down.

I searched the entire first floor only to find the house completely destroyed.  I headed towards the door that led to the basement. I hobbled down the stairs with Shadow at my heal.  At the bottom of the stairs was one of Alexa’s favorite shoes.

“Oh no.” I thought to myself, “I hope my kids are all right.”

Right in front of me was the door leading outside.  I grabbed the handle and pushed the door open.

When we got outside, I searched the yard.  I was surprised to find the roof of our porch on top of the storm cellar door.  “Great–how am I supposed to find my kids?” I wondered to myself.

Another siren sounded.  This time it was a tornado rescue crew.   “Yes!  Over here!”  I shouted while jumping up and down on one leg.  Five men dashed out of a big white truck and ran over to me as fast as they could.  I told them everything.  I told them about the tornado and my kids going missing.  I told them that I thought they were in the storm cellar because that is where I taught them to go during a storm.  Impatiently I waited and watched as they pried the roof off the storm cellar.

It felt like days.  Piece by piece they took the roof off the storm cellar.  Every time they took a piece of wood off the storm cellar I got more hopeful.

Finally, every piece of wood was off the door.  I limped towards the storm cellar only to open the doors and find nothing.  “But… But…” I stammered.

Then it hit me.  Lightning struck my head.  My kids were upstairs.  They must have gone up there to look for Shadow because Shadow feels safe in Alexa’s bedroom.  There were no stairs so I had not checked there yet.  That must have been where they were.

“Quick, follow me!  I think I know where my kids are!”  The words exploded out of my mouth.

“Okay guys.  You heard her.  Go into the house!”  yelled the shortest man, Richard.

“You guys are going to need a ladder.  The stairs got torn away during the storm and I think my kids are upstairs on the second floor,” I said as they started walking to the door.

Three out of the five men dashed to their van and surprisingly they had a ladder in my house before I got to the stairs.  The men set up the ladder and one of the men, Philip, climbed up.  “Any one up here?” he asked.

Alexa poked her head around the corner.  Her eyes were all red from crying.  The moment she saw Shadow, the expression on her face was priceless.  Her smile reached from ear to ear. Philip brought her down.  The moment he placed her on the floor she ran over to Shadow and gave her a huge hug.  She was glad to see that her dog was okay.  Philip went back up the ladder.  This time he got off the ladder and searched the upstairs floor.

“Ma’am, there is no one else up here.  Are you sure they were both up here in the first place,”  Philip said.
When he finished speaking I turned to Alexa.  “Alexa, honey, where is Ben?”  I asked, trying to be as calm as possible.

“I don’t know,” she replied, half crying.

“When did you last see him?”

“Before the tornado hit our house.”

“Where was he?”

“He was on his way to the basement.  He went down the stairs to check the basement while I went up the stairs to check the upstairs floor.”

“Why did you not go with him?” I said, starting to stress out.

“He said not to! Okay!?”  she screamed at me.

“Okay.  Okay.  Okay.  Alexa, it’s all right,”  I said, calming myself down. Alexa calmed down also.

We talked to each other for a minute.  She told me lots of things but not the one thing I wanted to hear.
I could not believe it.  Had I really lost my son?  I did not believe what was happening.  Somewhere deep down in my gut I knew I would find him.  I blamed myself for everything, I should not have gone looking for Shadow.  She could have found a way to stay safe.  He ended up on my legs, unhurt after the tornado.  Leaving Alexa and Ben under the table was the worst mistake of my life.

Five minutes of silence passed.  No one knew where Ben was.  I thought of screaming, but he could be far away and he probably could not hear me.  I needed to find Ben, my life would not go on without him.  Then all of the sudden I remembered his “underground hideout,” the closet under the stairs in the basement.  He likes to hang out with his friends down there.  He tells everyone that he feels safe in that hideout.  Whenever he needs to hide he goes to that spot.

“Quick! To the basement! I think I know where Ben is!  He is always saying that he feels safe under the stairs in the basement.  The walls are really thick down there so he probably cannot hear us yelling for him.  I don’t think he knows the tornado is over,”  I said.

Everyone charged down the stairs to the basement.  I followed them as quick as I could but they were faster than me.  They all charged down the stairs. Even Shadow had gone downstairs with Alexa.

I hobbled very slowly, one step at a time, down the stairs.  When my foot was on the last step I heard Ben talking.  I couldn’t believe it–they had found him at last!  I had finally found Ben!  I knew I would eventually find him, but it still surprised me.

“Ben!  Ben!  Ben?”  I screamed.  No answer.  I knew I heard his voice, but it must have been an illusion.  I must really miss him.

I knew I heard Ben talking so I dashed around the corner into the basement.  To my surprise, no one was there.  I did not know what to do.  Ben was gone and so was everyone else.  Life didn’t make sense anymore.  People can’t just disappear, walk into a room and one minute later no be there.

“I must have a concussion,” I thought.

“Mom!” I heard Ben saying.  It sounded like it was coming from the garage.  He was in the garage.  I started running to the door that leads into the garage.  Just as I reached for the handle, I heard Ben say, “Wake up!  Wake up!”

“Wake up from what?” I thought, “Oh no!  Did someone fall and get knocked out?  What happened?  Why is Ben saying wake up?”

I ripped open the garage door to find nothing.  There was no one there. That is when I started to feel dizzy.  Everything started to turn black and disappear.

“Wake up Mom! Wake up!”  Ben was saying over and over again.  Slowly I began to regain consciousness.

“Mom!”  Alexa exclaimed.

When I knew I was finally awake, I asked, “What happened?  Was that a dream?”

Alexa was the first to answer.  “Was what a dream?”

“The tornado!  Was the tornado a dream?  Did a tornado hit our house?  Was that a dream, or was it real?  One more thing–why are we in the hospital?”

“That was all a dream,”  she replied. “Mom, we were outside in the woods out back, walking Shadow.  You were holding Shadow’s leash when she saw a chipmunk and took off.  You tried to pull her back but she is strong and she pulled you forward, you tripped over a branch, let go of Shadow’s leach and hit your head on a rock.  I could not see Shadow anymore so I started to cry.  Ben went to go find Shadow and bring her back to me.  After about five minutes he appeared through the bushes holding Shadow’s leash.”

Ben interrupted her. “When I got back with Shadow, Alexa took her leash and stayed with you while I went into the house to call 911.  I explained as much as I could to them, as fast as I could.  It only took a minute or so for them to get here. When I heard the sirens I knew that the ambulance was here and that they would take you to the hospital.”

“That must have been the siren that I thought was the tornado warning.”  I said to no one in particular.  Then I asked Alexa a question. “Alexa, why does my leg hurt?”

“Mom, could you please let us finish.” Alexa snapped, “I was getting to that part.  The doctor said that when you tripped over the branch some of the bones in your leg broke.

“Oh that makes sense!” I exclaimed, “But why have I heard you talking if I was unconscious?”

This time it was the doctor who answered. “You have been gaining consciousness for some time now.  I thought you would wake up earlier than you did.”

I tried to put the entire story together, but there were some parts missing.  Alexa saw the look on my face and as if she could read my mind she said, “Mom that is not the entire story.  There is a lot more information.  Ben and I will tell you the rest of the story another time.”

After spending a couple of days in the hospital we all went home.  Alexa and Ben told me the rest of the story.  They told me everything up until we arrived at the hospital.  The doctor had told them that my injury was really bad and that it would take a very long time for me to be able to get up and walk on my own again.

When I tripped over the branch all the bones in my ankle shattered.  I have a cast on and I am stuck in a wheelchair for about 3 months.  It is going to be hard to get everything back to normal but I know Ben and Alexa, maybe even Shadow will help.  Eventually I will get back up on my feet.  It will be hard work but my kids know that I can do it.  They are counting on me, and I will not let them down.

They told me that the injury to my head would cause long term memory loss.  Life would never be the same for me.  It would be very hard to remember anything that happened before I fell and hit my head.

Even though I will never be the same, I would rather be alive and with my family then have someone in my family gone.  My injuries are nothing compared to losing Ben.

This entire experience was very odd.  Together as a family we have made it through all of it.  That is one thing I never want to have to do again.  I don’t think any family wants to go through this.  There are some things, that as a person you never want to hear, and a tornado warning is on the top of that list.

 

“Epitaph Road” by Lydia Limpet

Recap of what has happened before that which I am about to change:

Sunday, Tia and Kellen live in a world where there are almost no boys because a male – killing disease has spread through the whole world. The three characters find out the disease was released purposely by Rebecca Mack who hates men. She is like a ruler or president in our world. They find out that she is going to release the disease where Kellen’s dad is to kill the remaining men. The three characters set out to warn Kellen’s dad. They make it and take refuge in a fortress supposedly making a vaccine against Elisha’s bear- the man killing disease. Then PAC – Rebecca Mack’s group attack the fortress and the characters try to escape. Tia and Kellen have to leave Sunday as she is dying in order to escape. It turns out the fortress is really making a female killing disease to get revenge on Rebecca Mack. To get away from PAC, Tia and Kellen and Kellen’s dad run away.

This is where I will start changing things…

We slept in the woods that night – dad, me, Tia. It took forever to close my eyes. And when I finally did I was opening them again.

“Kellen?” It was Tia. “I miss Sunday,” she sniffled. “She shouldn’t have died.”

“No. I agree. It was wrong.”

“I don’t know what to do without he, she’s always been with me.”

“You can do it Tia. I know you can. You can move on without Sunday.”

“But I really wish things were different. In a way, PAC killed Sunday”

“That’s why we’re going to defeat PAC, from the inside.” I talked with more confidence than I felt.

“How?”

“I have a plan.” I didn’t. Yet.

“What?”

“I’m still working on it. I’ll tell you in the morning. Why don’t you get some sleep?”

“Sure, fine.”

I lay down, and, miraculously, I fall asleep relatively quickly.

I wake to the sound of my dad yelling.

“Ouch!” He was holding his hand. I walked over.

“Are you ok, dad?”

“Yeah. I burned my hand. Ouch” he wheezes, shaking it as if to make the pain fall to the ground. It didn’t seem to work.

“You okay?” It was Tia now.

“Yup,” he said through clenched teeth. He moved his hand aside from the burn he was trying to cover. The whole side of his hand was charred. Apparently he had been trying to heat some of our rations with a cooking fire, stumbles, and caught himself with his hand, burning it.

“Dad, you need to go home. We don’t have any bandages and you can’t do anything with one hand, plus, that must hurt.”

“Well, if I go home, you go home too, Kellen.”

I don’t want to go, I wanted to enact my plan against PAC.

“Ok,” I relent.

And we did. Mostly. Since we were going home and didn’t need to hide anymore, PAC found us immediately. They stopped us and drove us home in their car to my house. My dad stopped at the hospital and now Tia and I are back home.

We wanted to call Sunday’s parents, but PAC beat us to it. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to find out your daughter is dead. WE should have told them, not PAC.

But, Rebecca Mack is still here and I want to enact my plan.

I talk to Tia after supper. We talk late into the night. We are more than ready.

Today is the day. We carry out the plan today. I take Tia’s hand and we go to the newspaper office.

“Ma’am?”

The girl doesn’t even look up.

“Ma’am, we have an idea for a story for you.”

Tia takes action. Grabbing her coffee cup she overturns it on her head. The remaining drops she sprinkles on the papers on her desk. The woman is too stunned to do anything.

“You will listen.”

Astoundingly, the girl listens now. I know Tia, that was her being nice.

“My sister died.” She starts her story. “At the hands of Rebecca Mack.”

Then she backs up, saying everything she knows. How Rebecca Mack made Elisha’s bear, killing all the men. How male scientists were trying to kill all the women, especially Rebecca Mack. How we went to the lab and witnessed PAC’s destruction.

Tia and I are finished. The lady sits there a minute, and then sighs.

“Thank you for coming in. I’ve been looking for a story for a while now. Look in the newspaper for this story soon.”

“Thank you.” The response is odd, abrupt and awkward. But we were too giddy to notice. Some one had listened to us! That day was the sweetest of sweets. With this newspaper PAC was defeated! I fell asleep late that night.

The next morning I woke to Tia peddling back to the house with a newspaper.

“What’s it say?”

“I didn’t look at it without you.” She replies, rushed

And so we sat and read the following. It was in the front of the newspaper, where everyone could see, just what we wanted, but not in the this way.

The Daily News

Local- Recently it has been uncovered that an assassination plot has been set in motion against the women of the world, by a certain group of men. All efforts have been made to find and arrest the men behind this plot. They shall remain there in prison. In a statement released by Rebecca Mack, president, it was said that “increased security has been put out” and that  “all power will be put forth to stopping this unnecessary massacre plot towards women.” The plot was discovered through a series of failure within the lab itself by incapable men, when PAC investigated the problem. They discovered the true mission of the lab and put an end to it. Rebecca Mack has put forth new, stricter laws to limit more threats like this…

“What?” Tia and I are awestruck.

“This isn’t what we were saying at all!” I ay. “We were exposing how bad PAC was. The lab was closed because of PAC, not mistakes. /Rebecca was a man hater, not an innocent women protector!

Tia and I were so angry we stomped right back to the newspaper office and went to the head manager.

“What is this?!” Tia screamed.

“Hello, little lady, why don’t you take a seat?”

“What is this?” Tia repeated again.

“Why, that is the head article for November 23rd…”

“I don’t care. Who wrote this?”

“One of our head writers.”

“Name.” she demanded. I stood up straight beside her.

“Well…”

Tia grabbed the article and turned on her heal.

“We’ll find out ourselves.” And she marched down the hall. She flung open the door to the offices where the writers were typing away.

“Who wrote this lovely article?” she smiled, changing her tactic. “I want to talk to them. Someone raised their hand, smirking. They were used to praise.

Tia put aside her fake aura of cheerfulness and stomped over.

“Do you realize what you wrote was complete lies? Do you realize this incident killed my sister? Do you realize Rebecca Mack made Elisha’s bear? She is the criminal here, not the men.”

The room went silent for a second, but the journalist replied, sneering, “You have a wild imagination, don’t you?”

“I am not imagining.”

For the first time, I joined in. “My dad was there. He can vouch for us.”

“Your dad was a man that worked at the lab? I bet he’s sitting in a jail cell right now.” He was.

“We’re saying the truth.” I promised and Tia and I left. Tia had an awful lot of bad things to say about those people when we left. Once we had calmed down, we went to many other newspaper offices and told our story. Some actually listened, I think.

When Tia and I went to check in the morning to see if our story had gotten out, all the newspapers we talked to had been mysteriously “shut down”. Tia and I think PAC may have had a little to do with this. Tia and I came to agree: It was time to take it up a notch.

We thought about the Internet, but ultimately decided against it. Who would listen? The Internet these days is known to be just a lot of unproven, unreliable, rumors. No one would listen. It was time for TV. But PAC might take the program off the air almost immediately. We should at least try, so Tia and I made a plan.

Getting to the TV station was hard, but not impossible. Tia and I made it, experts at escaping home now. We waited until the newscaster walked from her car on in, and we followed her. When they started the broadcast we were ready. We had taped ourselves the night before and hooked up our camera to what was being broadcast and turned it on. As a back up, while the newscasters were talking we held up signs behind their heads that told our story. Not the best plan, but hey? What did you expect? When the broadcast was finished we rushed home and turned on the TV.
There we were. I couldn’t believe it. Almost the whole world would be watching this. PAC found out and turned of the station, but we had said enough already. That night we were arrested. I can’t believe it hadn’t happened sooner. We joined my dad. The damage had already been done. We heard our guards talk through the bars. Rebecca was losing power. After about a month she had none. There was a new president, a woman, but not all women are bad, and it wasn’t Rebecca. She seems nice enough. Maybe someday there will be men as presidents again, with the women, as equals. Rebecca’s new replacement did not let us go, but her replacement did. Things were looking up. It was almost magical. It seems the public was tired of Rebecca Mack and this was their final push. We were just the ones who released that video.

“Ellis Island Arrival” by Misteek

When I arrived at Ellis Island, I saw the symbol of liberty. When I saw it I jumped up and down and yelled, “Freedom at last!”

People were looking at me as if to ask, “Really?” Heck ya!  But someone yelled, “You can do better than that!”

So I yelled, “Free from those horrifying people. Free from that tiny little house that I called my home. Free from all that hard work. Free from my old life and ready for the new!”

Then the same person yelled, “Ya, to everything she said!”

My head was spinning with all the excitement. But when I was in line to my new world, I thought, “What if they can’t understand me?”

Then someone spoke and I couldn’t understand them. They led me to a booth were they asked for what I thought was my money. Then she, I think, told me her name and handed my money back.  I was really confused at the time, so I told her my name. Then she wrote it out and I said, “No!” Then she started asking more questions that I answered but I was still trying to make her realize that she had spelled my name wrong. But she didn’t seem to care.

Next they sent me to a competency test. I was to see if, for instance, I could drive a car, work, and buy a house and so on. I could barely read the questions and couldn’t really understand the way the guy was speaking. So this station was not at all fun to me!

Then they moved me to the money bank. It is where I exchanged my money for U.S. money. That station was okay because the lady sometimes spoke Spanish for me, so I kind of knew what I needed to do. So that station was not that hard for me.  Then I was really tired of all this work I had to do, but they made me keep going.

The next place I ended up at was the medical and health station. That was really great!! I had to walk up a great big flight of stairs and if I got tired they would kick me out of the country.  So I tried my best not to fall or trip or anything. But won I got to the top, they made me do an eye test. Then I had to hold heave objects and touch my toes. Then I was done and they said, “You’ve passed.”

Then the last thing I did was to take a really big test, bigger than I have ever taken before. Before I took the test, they said, “If you look at anyone else’s test but yours then you will be kicked out of this new land!” So I was really scared. I was moving away from people so I wouldn’t cheat off them.

When I was done with the test I passed it in. Then the next thing I knew she had already graded it and I got a 96%. I remarked, “How the heck did I do that?” I answered my own question by saying, “I don’t know, but I did!”

Then I got sent to a place — I don’t recall the name — but I got all my papers there and that is when they said, “You are now a citizen of the United States of America!”  My heart raced as a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I finally passed all the tests and now I am a real citizen of the United States!