Joseph: The Jew

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A Summer Dream By: Marty Capley My summer was a growing experience in my young adult life, challenging by day and a great sorrow by night. An opening of my eyes came to me by the sunlight, as my heart became softened by a love that overpowered me. Walking as if in a dream with a presence all around me, growing in the light as grapes grows in a vineyard.

Mornings to you became my afternoon; three p.m. was the average time of awakeing in my life. Work arrived and at times seemed to never end. Nights approached with a great sorrow of longing to be at peace within my heart. Struggles seemed to be coming from everywhere within my mind, past, present, and future.

Sunlight came with the raising of the Son, which is now the truth in my life. Depth of the love of God became visible by his awesome power.

A light from heaven has truly been the truth that surpasses all understanding, and the way is through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Summer Vacation By: Ryan Jones My summer vacation was more than just summer; it started at the end of the first semester last year. I had been kicked out of Page for failure to be a student, or better yet, success at keeping a friend out of trouble. To make a long story short, my buddy had been drinking before school. I had Directed Study with him, and the teacher in this class smelled the liquor on him. She went to turn him in, so I took his drunken self to my house as quick as she left the room. I understand this wasn't smart on my part, skipping and all, but I'll never let a friend of mine get screwed like that if I can help it. In the long run Yeager never liked me after this for saving my buddy from ALC and court. So, at the end of the semester he had me removed from Page for sleeping in class and turning work in late. This is the beginning of the end of the beginning.

Being expelled from Page I had to return to Brentwood, my zoned school. Now I don't exactly get along with Brentwood. My year there prior to that had been one much spent in I.S.S. The new Principal at Brentwood was nice, fair, and strict. I never once had a problem with her. It was Dr. Winfrey. A person in which the devil himself could not maintain. We had many differences, one being, I hated Brentwood, so I went to only one full day in a matter of four weeks. I was 17 and school no longer mattered. So, after enduring two arrests, three weeks of I.S.S. (I.S.S. was actually easier for me to stand than the rest of the school.), and way to much court, I turned 18 and dropped out. Now with about 10 weeks of school left my summer had already began.

During this time period I rented out a house with a guy I knew, we didn't get along well at all. The house didn't last long; we received our eviction notice within 4 days of moving in. This was quite a place. In our 1 month stay, we were visited by more people than I'll ever remember, since we had already received our eviction notice, we threw parties every night, during the school year, beginning of summer. It was a blur of a month. But during this month I do remember one thing, seeing Daniel Crow get his diploma. I brought him to pick it up, when he walked outside with it in his hands he was staring at it and grinning the biggest smile I've ever seen on his oversized head. This is when I realized what I had given up on. And this is when everything started to turn around for the better.

Daniel had talked about Middle College all the time so I started looking into the school. The more I saw the more I liked. I picked up an application, filled it out, and sent it in. After believing I had been accepted and as well believing I had not been accepted the good call finally came. I was in. So I had one more chance to get my diploma. Not only did I have to return to school though. By dropping out I lost some credits, and not wanting to be a summer graduate I had to find a way to get these lost credits. Again I got lucky, Middle College pointed my Mom and I to some independent study courses provided through the University of Tennessee, which allows me to get high school credits by doing my work at home. With the help of Middle College, it looked as though I had a chance not only to graduate, but a chance to graduate on time.

At the beginning of my summer, I had given up on most everything. I had lost all cares; I just lived day by day with no goals and no dreams. Throughout the summer I gained many life experiences, some good, some bad. Life experiences that helped me grow a lot, I matured some. Now I'm not saying I completely turned my life around, it takes a world of effort to attempt such a feat, and by all means I did not want to become a new person, I love who I am. I just think there is always room for improvement. And Middle College seems to be the best place to be able to accomplish my new goals, it seems like the place to help me achieve my dreams. Now that my summer is over, I have one goal to begin with; it starts on the first day of school and ends with a walk of the line.

From Riga to the United States of America By: Eva Avotina I grew up with my grandmother and lived in an apartment in downtown Riga. My mama drowned when I was three, so my papa left and soon started a new family, whom, till this day I have not met. My grandmother was my whole life, and still is. We took care of each other and loved each other. Even though money wasn't the abundant part of life most of the time, we enjoyed the world all the more. Summers is Latvia were humid, but not too hot for the northeastern hemisphere of Europe. I used to go to summer kindergarten in Urmala (Yur-mah-lah), the part of Riga that follows the train tracks along the coast of the Baltic Sea. I spent many of my days on the beach and in the sea, every now and then finding amber or collecting shells. Sometimes we went to Bergi, where I herded cows and goats and drank goat milk.

Before I came to this country, I had never seen an eight-lane highway, or tasted a burger or a hotdog, never really knew what racism is, either. The first question most people ask me is which place I like better. The truth is, both places are great because Riga is my true home, the streets are memories of my childhood and America is a place that changed my life and opened my mind to new ideas. Latvia and America both have their advantages and disadvantages, their ups and downs. Latvia is not a very rich country, but people value the culture much more there. In the USA, people have much more than they realize. When I lived in Latvia, my grandmother and I had just enough money for rent, gas, food, water, etc. Once a month we would go out for ice-cream if we had some extra money. I often visited my aunt, my mom's sister, uncle, and cousin. My cousin Edgar or Edie was like a brother to me. We shared some of my best memories I have of Latvia.

At age nine, a blow to the temple with a rock killed my papa. Two weeks later I asked my grandmother where my papa was and she said he should be coming soon to visit me like he always did once a month. Later than same night my grandmother and I were watching the news, when my fathers bloody face came up on the screen. His name was said, but he was not recognizable until they posted his picture on the screen. My grandmother was starting to worry that if anything happened to her, I would end up in an orphanage.

About a year before, through the Bahá'í faith, we met a photographer from New York, Mark Sadan, who was doing a project in Europe. Later, grandmother asked him if he could take me to the USA for studies, but the man was too preoccupied and didn't have the money to support two people. Two years after Mark had visited Latvia, my grandmother got a notice from Mark that said that he found an American couple that wanted to adopt me. So, that is how my journey to America began. A whole bunch of stuff happened in the middle, and then I came to MCHS. Just kidding.

Our plane flights were from Latvia to Helsinki and then to Zurich, Switzerland. We landed in LaGuardia Airport, New York. Me and my new family drove to Connecticut, where I learned English and began to reorient myself with the new environment. I lived in CT for four years then we moved to Tennessee because the adoption was not possible in CT because of state laws. I went to Centennial High for my freshmen and sophomore years. I told my parents last year that I wanted to transfer to a different school, considering Franklin High. So, my parents, by chance, found Middle Collage High School. Now I am here and have my passions for art, music, poetry, writing, and learning.

What have I gained by all this? An open mind, the ability to be aware of my environment, and the ability to connect with all kinds of characters. I am happy with being myself because I know I have to represent my country and my family. I still miss the place where I grew up, but at MCHS, it's like being a part of a big family