Please consider sharing your American Experience project in the comment section below. As we work together to construct a collective American identity, let it be one that recognizes us as individuals and values our experiences as part of the narrative.

Who lives, who dies, who tells your story? 


*This is in addition to posting on Canvas. I will grade your project/essay through Canvas.

** If you did a creative project instead of an essay, email a picture of it to me saying you would like to share it on this post. I will then upload it. (Sorry, comments are restricted to text only & I can’t change it).



MR AmExperience.jpg

By Marlena Ruhling


BO MN AmExperience.jpg

Bronson Olevao & Moses Nonu

AL AmExperience

By Arturo Lagunas


By Anonymous


By Hannah Worf


By Nikolai Lugo


By Aliza Queensberry


1960-1970 Poem

by Anonymous

Just as the sun rises on a new day

A new sun rises on this new decade:




No longer was the house to be a


But rather what it was always meant to be,

a Home;



STEADY— as our Rock

that evolves and reflects

Only to add in the continual


That still blinds us from seeing humanity in our society.

It continually holds us from keeping our promise of a


No longer is it ‘I’ or ‘They’ but


WE continue to fight in the longest war of our history.

WE will stand with our brothers and sisters

In this never ending battle for peace all because

[WE] Have A Dream,

but in trying times we are told

“Nothing is impossible, the word itself is ‘I’m possible’”

Because with persistence

“Everything will be okay in the end.

If it’s not okay, it’s not the


Just as the sun rises on a new day

A new sun rises on this new decade

By Asher Jensen

40 thoughts on “YOUR American Experience HHS 2017-2018

  1. Cyrus Sutton
    Language Arts 11
    May 29, 2018
    American Experience

    Why does the land of the free have these social structures to identify different people. I don’t know why social structures are a thing because they do more harm than good. It puts unneeded stress and anxiety on people. Plus it almost forces everybody to go out of their comfort zone. From my experience in the United States there unnecessary stress and people are worrying about something so stupid it shouldn’t really be something to worry about. Why do people have to judge just for them to have a answer to something they are even notified fully about. I guess it’s the sense of completeness people need to have in order to feel safe.
    Even I have to judge people just so I can get a sense of what is going on and what might happen. So I can understand why people do it, but some people go the extra mile and make it obvious and blatant. Those people make the people who don’t have a lot or disfigured or a disability, and they probably feel like crap or out of place. That is probably one of the main reasons why I agree social structures. They cripple people and make them have anxiety that they don’t need in their life. The social standards make people depressed too which is honestly pretty stupid.
    I feel like the social structures are okay but keep it to yourself and don’t make to were it is obvious. I remember this one time I was sitting with my friends at the mall and I saw someone with a disability. I looked around to get some food and I see a group of girls look and chuckle a little while looking at the person with a disability. I have really never had confusion and anger come to me so fast before at the same time. I just had so many emotions hit me, and I wanted to yell at them but at the same time I was thinking I would have made a fool of myself. But now that I realize it I would have been happy to make a fool of myself rather than being another bystander. Just thinking about it kind of frustrates me that I didn’t do anything about it. Unfortunately I can’t go back in time and re-do that opportunity.
    In conclusion I think social structures are just stupid. But i do realize that everyone in the United States does that to feel some sort of completeness or some safety blanket when they go out in the world. Just recently in my US history class we did this test where the teacher would ask a question and we would either step back or step forward depending on the question. It showed how many people are having a tough time living in this world. Fortunately everybody gets along pretty well or at least at highland. So basically i wish we didn’t have social structures to identify and judge people, but i do understand why that is a thing.


  2. Daichi Masuki
    Ms. Sorensen
    Language Arts 11
    1 June 2018

    Rise Up
    Alexander Hamilton is a one of the fathers of America. He played an active part in the political world. Actually, he is the only one person that didn’t born in affluent circumstance in fathers of America. Hamilton was born out of wedlock in Charlestown, Nevis. Despite his father was fourth son of nobleman, his father was a just merchant. In addition, Hamilton became orphan in 1968 because his father’s business fail. In short, he became a part of fathers of America from orphan. This was a very big “Rise Up”
    “Alexander Hamilton”, this is the first assignment in language art class. When I did this assignment, I did not have a relationship with U.S. people and I didn’t have enough English to spend time in U.S. I remember that I was so confuse when we went to computer room and tried to figure out about Hamilton act assignment. I could do nothing without people’s help.
    And now, the 10 months passed from when I came U.S. I tried to figure out how to improve my English during this 10 months. As the result, there were so many changes during this 10 months. I could get so good relationship with friends and family. Hamilton tried to figure out how to work politics, economic and history in Columbian college. This is his “Rise Up”. I tried to figure out how to build a relationship with people and how to speak English. This is my “Rise Up”. This Rise Up isn’t so big like a Hamilton. However, all of Rise Up will be beneficial for my life even that isn’t big.
    In May 10, 2018, I played tennis as region tournament. In that day, I played against Olympus. We played match about 2 hours in high temperature. During this match, I got so many cheers from my teammates. I lost this match but a lot of teammates said me “good job!” “I’m proud you”. I tried to improve my English but this effort lead to build good relationship with friends and family. Rise Up help me to get next “Rise Up” easily.
    I learned so many things that I can’t learn in japan during this year. These experiences helped me to think about how important to help each other and how difficult to solve one of problem only by myself. But most important things that I did is “Rise Up” in America. This means I could try against a lot of things in America. I believe this Rise Up lead to next Rise Up and confidence in Japan.
    There are many kinds of Rise Up. When you tried to improve something, you could get a Rise Up. Hamilton studied hard for being a lawyer and then he became a lower. I tried to study so hard for passing a financial literacy state test and I passed the test. When you have opportunity to get rise Up, you should try. Rise up is beneficial for your rest of your life and that Rise Up will be a trigger of your next Rise Up.


  3. The rednecks and preppy rich kids
    by corban cherry
    The redneck is probably the most american thing that the united states has to offer. We use the term redneck as a joke or an insult, little do we know a lot of people actually call themselves rednecks and they have no shame in it. They feel it is a right as an american citizen to be a redneck and not be ridiculed so they embrace it and live it.

    The word redneck in the dictionary means “ a working-class white person, especially a politically reactionary one from a rural area.” they may be called hillbillies or “white trash, “ that last one is not acceptable to call anyone its offensive and derogatory. Now in 1970 rednecks became “popular” and upscale these were called chic rednecks. ( daily.jstor.org). But we can add to the redneck spectrum from the 1990s the huge amount of country music was enormous one might even say it was the big bang of the country music genre but that is debatable.

    Now we know that there are some postmodern rednecks like the comedian foxworthy went to college this also goes for larry the cable guy and bill engvall, yes even Phil robertson who earned a master of arts education degree(daily.jstor.org). Now what do all these people have in common they have all had a high school or higher education they don’t really know what it means to work they became famous for being “ redneck” no one knows that they didn’t start out that way, they started out as some kid like you or me with their parents loving the outdoors more than a rich preppy kid.

    Now let’s talk about the sorry excuse for rednecks like luke bryan or dan and shay. They started out as maybe some “ redneck kids but they didn’t ever think of staying in that lifestyle they bought big mansions and a tons of stuff that they could play with. Now that’s what any sane person would do but i would hope in the end they would stay true to who they are and not get corrupted by the money and the fame that some with the music business.

    There are those few rednecks that became rich and stay pretty straight and didn’t get corrupted their names are johnny cash, tim mcgraw, garth brooks. These men inspire me. Even though one of them is dead he may have died from diabetes but that doesn’t change a thing they were the country rednecks in my opinion. These men came from either crappy lifes or just a plain normal redneck life like having to work for what you want there wasn’t always the handout that the preppy rich kids get they needed to earn their keep and they definitely did they had so much to offer to the world and that is what they did there are people now who still listen to their music and their life lessons they gave in the videos or in their music.

    Listen i know the word preppy came up a few times in this essay thing. I wanted to clarify that it means, “ to me any way” , someone who doesn’t have to do anything they think they are better than you because they have the best grades and the best homes and technology and they just don’t care what they do cause their parents will take care of everything. So i don’t know but preppy kids are another thing that. Is very american you don’t see the europeans doing stuff like this. But that is the conclusion of my essay


  4. Terryn Stevens
    Language Arts 11
    29 May 2018
    American Experience Essay
    Living in America, you see so many different cultures and ways of living, everywhere you go. You have city people, farmers, rich people, poor people, homeless people, gang bangers, and many more. So many people have different opinions on everything…. Especially politics. America doesn’t have one specific culture in my opinion. America is such a diverse country, it’s different everywhere you go.
    If you were to ask a large amount of people “What is it like to have an American Experience?” You won’t get the same answer from everybody. With how diverse it is, there’s too many differences to have the same answer as somebody else. Everybody is unique in their own ways, and nobody can be a complete replica of someone else.
    When I think of my American Experience, I think of celebrations, friends, and food. I bet we are the only country that has a “National Nothing Day” or a “National Make Your Dreams Come True Day”, and there’s so many more each day of the year. There are also more traditional holidays like the Fourth of July, or Columbus Day or Veteran’s Day. All of these are only celebrated in America, which is part of the experience. America sure knows how to include friends and family in those celebrations. Whether you’re playing games, watching movies, having a drink, barbecuing, or any other sort of celebrating, it’s always better with friends by your side. While doing all of this you can’t do it without food! America has a pretty wide variety of foods… from random fried things to stealing other countries sorts of foods to barbecuing on a summer night, we have everything.

    Another thing I like to think comes with my experience is the diversity. With it being 2018, I think we are more diverse than we’ve ever been. There’s so many influences that make us all unique including music, television shows, things shown on the internet, and even the people you have in your life. Just focusing on one thing, look how far we’ve come with LGBTQ. A few years ago, not many people agreed with any of it, and many of us probably didn’t even know really what it was or what it stood for. Now, because of internet and television and people standing up to make changes, everyone knows about it and so many more support it.

    My American Experience is mainly having fun and seeing how fast we are able to make a difference around our country. We are a very diverse country with very different opinions, some being very controversial. For the most part, I believe America is full of nice fun and happy people. My favorite part about being an American citizen is that we know how to party, create weird and random holidays, cook good food, be good friends to one another most of the time, and have fun.

    Works Cited


  5. Rosa Flores
    American Experience
    1 June 2018
    American Experience

    We’ve all had an experience here in america, but do we all have the same experiences? I haven’t experienced something relatable to what we have learned in class. I think that there are certain things to say we have an experience.

    I have one experience that i forget about all the time. No one talks about it anymore but i can say it was quite an experience and it had to do with the civil disobedience and unjust laws. I have an uncle which is also my godfather. He was once at work and immigration went to get him, not because he had been a bad person but because someone had used his identity. He did get deported because he was obviously an immigrant. I think that this was unjust because somebody else had used his identity. I understand that being an immigrant is a crime but not if they are being a good person.

    People need to stand up for unjust laws. They might be fair to you but to some of us they’re not and I feel like its always going to be like that just because of the differences American citizens have with immigrants. Although i feel like that shouldn’t be something that should be talked about because we all know the differences and we all know the way some people can treat other people. I think that being an immigrant shouldn’t be a crime like thing because not all immigrants are bad people. There are many things that other people do to make other immigrants look bad but we should all be fair here.

    As i said, this is not an experience i had it is an experience my family had. And i do think it was unfair but at the same time I do understand that he was an immigrant. What was done was done and there is nothing to do about it anymore. I know that there will mistreats all the time and I know it’s something that other families can relate to because it is something you hear about in the news all the time.


  6. The assey i wrote about. my experance in america was just as simple as thinking. it starts of with me basicy saying that i was not born within this state . so this huge small world which we call Home . is so far the best exoierance in my. hontly not trying to be rude but when i see homesless folks on the streets i just dont understand how do they got to that point i mean you are in america not try to compare a person to a nother person but if guy can make money in is sleep ( Bill Gates) then image what you can do . i also go on expplaining reason of supection why a person goes homeless, #1 reason ( Stay of drugs kids) right now i am at an age where i can perpare my self for college i have save mediocre money but it should be enuogh hopefuly. i plan to do bussiness and see how far it takes me . that is my mine set as a youg adult . i plan to reach successes andbring my family with me , not allowing drugs or any source getting there .If a man can make money in his sleep “image what you can do “.


  7. Clayton Stewart
    Language Arts 11
    Personal Experience
    When I was in elementary school, my family went through some hardships that changed the way I think and act daily. I went to the hospital for two days because of pneumonia and then a month later my Mom went in for the same reason. She became very weak so they took an x-ray of her whole body. They found a large tumor in her brain and they diagnosed her with brain cancer. Around this time I had zero knowledge of the illness and how much it would change all of our lives.
    My dad went back to college to become a respiratory therapist at Weber State University. We were already pretty tight on money to pay for my dad’s college degree. The hospital and surgery bill pressured us more than I have ever experienced and I quickly learned to grit my teeth and push through struggles. We visited my mom in the hospital for a long time to see her and support her through the struggle. I felt like I didn’t know enough about it to tell anyone about what I was going through so I kept it to myself. My mom Went through surgery to remove the tumor and stop the cancer from spreading. The odds of survival were scary and no one would tell me what they were because it would freak me out. It was a successful surgery but they found the cancer was still growing slowly. We decide to go through chemotherapy and it took a very long time. I remember putting in black out curtains in my moms room so she could hide from the light and rest. Even though this whole process sounds pretty bad there were some times that taught me lessons I will never forget.
    I came to realize about myself that when I came to experience fear or uncertainty, I closed myself in and shut everyone else out. I really felt like the only way i could be myself and feel like myself was through listening to music, being with friends, and playing sports. When I did those things I was able to go into a different state of mind that took my thoughts off what was happening in my home life. As I got into high school I realized that there was no point in being depressed and quiet. My situation was only as good or bad as I made it out to be through my actions and the way I thought. Once my thought process and perspective was clear, I was able to really enjoy life and am just overall much more happy and positive.
    ` While I was in and are still going through a rough time, it was a situation that made me who I am and molded my character. Without this happening to my family, I wouldn’t have some of the qualities I see in myself like hard work and motivation. Everything I am able to have and work for know has given me a new idea of life’s adversities everyone experiences and gratitude for what Has happened. I just need to remember that my family and I just need to persevere and a higher power will take care of the rest and protect us.


  8. Su Par Mie

    American Experience Narrative Essay

    Good parent, every parent that I see even don’t have education to provide for children look like other has in their heart “never give up” parent life is harder give children what they can. Parent never forgot your help work that until the day you make it.

    At the night time I was scary to see reality human die and us hard to forgot what I see but I try to called my parent they hadn’t heard me. “Where is my parent?” I ask other neighborhood they should be home by now where are they I was like hell scary.

    No matter who you are or where you lives be proud of what you dream will come next in your future.” History has its eyes on you” the person who is in other foreign come to making our country factory. Give more time than you country need you. Hamilton don’t get time to sleep because he is a winner and smart.

    Ask not what your country can do for you _Ask what you can do for your country.
    Is a challenge to the youth next generation which is could make us country to be a strong communism. The next generation will make America great again to growth to develop something like the technology to make the world in a better place to be a peaceful.

    When I was in dance group what make me get ready is count one two three to go dance. By the time we take break everyone was playing soccer and cane. After you finished dancing everything in your body starting feel the pain because the dance is was longer than 20 minutes. Why the dance make our body tired fast? The dance cause every little thing in your body. It’s painful to dance longer to move everything in your body is depend at the song.

    The relate because judge someone is make something max you brain going crazy because they are bullying in other people so they starting want to be other people. Once upon a time none one going to school together but hate one another if you think really hard about how life was born you could think about to change the world in a good speech.

    When the white man help the black man back into the 1960 other white man doesn’t like them because on that time is was racist. African American are live separate weather is right or wrong to stand up to fight the right thing to do. The American are built up because they use religion the name above all the name is God and son of Jesus. The African American are worship to God no matter what happen to them they will fight until the day is end.

    Once when I was a little I was quietly kid, kind to other people which I need have a fight like anywhere. I was not smart enough the teacher hit me with stick but I have hate them. I tell self ever know I fail I still learn. Fail is learn what you hadn’t learn before. One other thing is until today my brain is too slowly but tell myself work hard is goal.


  9. Steven Lopez
    Mrs. Sorenson
    American Experience
    05 May 2018
    The American Experience
    Through my years of living in America, I guess my experience has been no different than from others, I would say that I grew up in a lower social class, Although I have had the same opportunities as others have had, but I have yet to really see how my experience will be when I move onto adult hood. When I have to cope with living on my own, looking to proceed my education I have yet to determine what path I will pursue, afraid of getting into large amounts of debt hopefully seeking financial aid, will make my schooling years a great experience opening my future to plenty of opportunities. As this is a strong hold of this country allowing students to get an education early on, maybe not so much through the college years as that had been a problem in the last few decades, with tons of students millions of dollars in debt in student loans, there are still good opportunities given out.
    Coming to this country at a young age as a immigrant-child of an immigrant, not knowing any english, it was definitely a learning curb for me and my family, making my educational progress difficult around 1st grade was when I caught up to my peers, being able communicate effectively, asswel as writing and reading. Seeing my parents work hard to make sure I had a good life and still have, really inspired me to improve and want better for myself, within this upcoming year my mother will hopefully become a U.S citizen due to some events that occured in these last two years. Knowing the life that she has had especially when she first arrived to this country, working two jobs, living with her sisters. Little by little with hard work she then moved on working better jobs living in her own apartment, to-today owning a home in the U.S asswell in Honduras also having a tiny cleaning company working for herself. Seeing her journey made me see realize that- that is part of the American experience; starting with very little and with hard work succeeding to make anything possible.
    While there is many issues with minorities in this country today,l I have luckily never experienced any sort of problems due to my social class. When comparing the U.S to other countries the life here is great, being able to have a free education, not so much a clear path to citizenship as that has always been an issue, having the dreamers act that really helped me out made me grateful for the all the opportunities I have gotten in this country, to say the least my American Experience has wonderful, hopefully many other kids have the chance to really see what the American dream really is about-not always about money but having a better life, and I look forward to seeing what’s the future holds for this country.


  10. Baltazar PIzano Ramos
    American Experience essay

    Places that surround me and inform me would be a school. For me school was like a second home because we spend 7 hours here year round minus the summer vacation. Do to coming here so much you pick up on habits and slang and things that can sort of put you on a path that can make who you are or even affect the way that you think. Here’s the thing being in school in america is not always the place to be , examples of this could be bullying at a young age as you go into middle school peer pressure comes into play along with drugs when you get into highschool if your not careful you can have some of the worst years of your life there , in highschool everything can all come into play all in one sequence and if you don’t handle it the right way it can be devastating for you. Growing up in school we are taught certain things teachers want to teach us what to say and what not to say what to do and what not to so we grow up thinking what they taught us is the “right” in reality i don’t believe we need to go to college or we need to have a degree in order to be happy in life.
    There’s been times in my life where i’ve felt like a target from the public because of rumors , im sure at some point in there life everyone has had rumors spread about them and weather there true or not those type of things can hurt people and it made me feel like i was being target and being talked about in bad rude ways. I had to tell myself to get over it i know it wasn’t true why should i care about what people think about me? In today’s society though people care so much about their personal image and what people think of them. Instead of being taught not to bully i should’ve been taught how to overcome bullying because we can’t stop bullying but we can teach ourselves to say no or not be apart of what’s happening.
    Now i want to talk about something that’s more of an issue and that’s what going on in america with racism and even if it’s not racism its the fact that some of us feel uncomfortable just because the color of our skin or how i dress how i talk where i go to school or what i like to do with my spare time.I’ve had times where people have straight up been judgmental towards me i once got told i couldn’t get a job just because of the way i dress. It’s unfair not everyone can afford to dress nice and not everyone wants to dress nice i can work just as hard as someone who shows up to in interview in a suit rather then jeans and a plain button up.


  11. Ivan Oliva
    Mrs. Sorensen
    Language Arts
    31 May 2018
    There has been many situations where I have had to stand up for myself or give my opinion. In America I feel like no one cares about what you think or what you say because they are just run over by media, technology, and politics. Being born here in America and living here for 17 years has been crazy. So many things have happened with all this time I have been crazy. Just having the ability to be an American I think it’s a huge blessing. One big experience I have had in America was in my sophomore year I was in history class. That was at the time where they were doing the president election. Of course Trump was one of the candidates. We were having a discussion about John F Kennedy. We then shifted to talk about last years president election. There is always that one dude or kid that has to make a joke or something. That was the case with one of my classmates. He decided to make a joke on what trump was saying about Mexicans and what they do. I’m Mexican so at first I just waited you know cause people are always making jokes about those types of things. Then after the discussion was over he kept on going and going to you know I started to get a little heated. Then he said something to one of my friends about him crossing the border you know the usual. My friend got mad real quick and decided to start swearing at him and making stereotype jokes against the him. At this point I was just chilling you know listening but I will still mad. I didn’t want to interfere because then I knew it was Escalade. It got to point in which I went into it and also started segueing because I was so mad heated, and boiling. The teacher had to separate us. After he separated us I was so mad that I kept talking bad about him. That was wrong on my part but I couldn’t contain myself when someone is talking basically about something your parents did to give you the opportunity to go to school, get a license, travel, etc. The teacher was so annoyed he yelled at us and told me and my friend to both get out of the class before he called someone to come up and deal with us. So my friend and I did. Till this day I don’t regret what I did because of how immature that kid was being. I felt the need to do something about it when he started going to far. I haven’t seen that kid sense the day I went off on him l but I don’t care now it’s the past and you gotta move on. It made me realize how there can be certain situations where it can go from a joke to racism. It’s cool though but I will never let anyone talk about my people like that.


  12. My experience of being judged was for my religion. Especially when Donald Trump became president. So many people were being racist and calling out Muslims calling them names like a terrorist also comparing us all. Not everyone is the same and people need to think before they speak. Racism exist everywhere but when the president is leading them is even worse.
    I arrived as an immigrant and achieved much more of the American Dream than I had imagined I would be able to. Being Muslim in America is very hard and especially not knowing English. Also, Being Muslim in America means that none of that matters, we are perceived as a big uniform group of millions, a vague but ominous threat to the American way of life. I’m scared of terrorist attacks. I’m scared I will be attacked for wearing hijab. I’m scared my mosque might be attacked.

    People fear those who are different from them and may judge them just because they are unlike them. Everyone has been judged at some point in their life but it all depends on how you take it because there are some people who will offend you and make you mad. It depends on how you handle the situation but i would suggest not be violent. People will argue with you even more if you try to explain yourself and judge you even more. Becoming aware of the nature of your judgments doesn’t mean that you no longer have preferences. You may still notice that certain types of behavior seem unappealing.

    I think the American culture often presents two opposing paths for young Muslims. On one side are people like President Donald Trump. Muslims are extremely diverse, and their experiences reflect that diversity. Some young Muslims care deeply about their religious and cultural identities. But, being judged for our religion that’s on another level.

    I didn’t even know what judging was until I came here to America because where I grew up I was taught it’s not okay to judge people and that i should get to know the person before i judge them. Here in America along with judging comes violence and then the next thing you know the president somehow gets involved. I’m not just saying here in America it can happen anywhere in the world. My faith teaches me empathy for all and imposes a personal obligation to fight injustice and inequality in all its forms.

    People in both groups are about equally likely to attend religious services. Just because someone has a different religion that doesn’t mean they’re all bad. Just because you hear something from a certain religion or if someone did something bad in that religion that doesn’t mean their all bad. Some of us hardly know whats going on in this world. Last year there was so many attacks on muslims because president Trump made it seem like we all are bad. People will listen to whatever they hear on the news or assume something that’s not true.


  13. Growing up a person of color in history has always been a struggle for many. I, in my 16 years of living, have been growing up in numerous places; some being more diverse than others. Believe me, I’ve experienced both racism and love in either.
    I’d like to start with a little background. My mother was born with little, and her mom with even less. My grandmother, born into poverty in a little town outside of Bangkok, Thailand, was sold by her mother for money. At eight years old, she was raped and beaten by her “owners” and fled in her 20’s to the United States, where she met my grandfather.
    My grandfather was born on a farm in rural Texas with close to nothing. When he wasn’t at school, he worked with his dad and brother. You would think being born into little and going through these things would make you unhappy, but the household was full of love in every way possible.
    On my biological dad’s side, my grandfather was born in Riobamba, Ecuador and my grandmother from a project in Manila, the Philippines. Both came to the United States speaking little to no English, and built a foundation for themselves from there. The only reason I’m where I’m at right now is because of every one of these people, and for that I’m grateful. And no, I’m not Mexican.
    When I was a little kid, we lived in Dallas, Texas. I attended elementary school there and never experienced any type of exclusion or racism. I was also a kid, so it would make sense that I wasn’t paying attention to that those types of interactions. Washington however, was a different story. We lived in a small suburb of Vancouver, and this was where I first realized why everyone thought I was so different. I was the only brown kid in the school, since it was extremely caucasian. Most people referred to me as “That One Mexican Girl,” and it left me completely aware of my skin, which made me think about Native Son. Bigger, around white people, could sense that they were different and that the white men wanted him to know that they were different. He was just aware of his skin, but nothing he could do could change that. And then we moved to Utah.
    I’m going to start this by saying that Utah is the most cliquey place I have ever been. At the first school I went to in Olympus Hills, I noticed everyone was white and rich and mormon, and that I was a complete outcast. If you’re not like them, you aren’t worth anything, apparently. People avoided me and I struggled to make friendships because none of us had the same values. While they were more worried about boys or trash talking on other girls, I just wanted somebody I could hang out with, but even then, I was so different to everyone else. I only took about a half semester of this before I switched to West. H
    Here, the richer IB kids from the Avenues were distinct from the less privileged Rose Park kids, and for the most part they clashed. I was doing IB with most of the Avenues kids, but I related to the Rose Park kids because we opened our eyes up to the difference in the two groups. Through all of the things my family has been through and through all of the schools and people I’ve been around, I still want to raise awareness. I know it might seem insignificant to most people, but I always will have the color of my skin in the back of my mind.


  14. Language art 11
    Mei Shimizu

    American experience narrative essay
    When I was 14 years old, I decided to go to America for school year. Because I want to be a tour planner. But my school was not prepared for international students. Therefore it was impossible to study abroad even if I am interested in international students. I really wanted to be an international student for my future. So I asked some teachers how I can be an international student. everyone said “if you want to be an international student, you have to repeat a year.” I was bothering what I should be an international student for my future going so far as repeating a year. There were many students that I wanted to be an international student. We knew that some school is prepared for international students. I suggested we should make a presentation about why we want to be international students, and advantage of international students and we ask a principal is it possible to make a course for like us who are interested in international students. We made it over and over to make a perfect presentation and we talked each other many times. We made a perfect presentation in front of everyone, and We told strong will as much as we can to a principal. Finally, a principal promised to make a course for us. And when I was 15 years old, the new course made for us. I could go to the united states for my future. But, honestly, I was indeed nerves to go to America by myself. I had never lived away from my family. When I came to America I faced many difficulties. The biggest difficult was communication. When I go lost at Los Angeles Airport, and I didn’t have enough time for my connecting flight. I really panicked, and I really wanted to go back to Japan. But I remember why I came America. And then it gave me courage. I asked many people about my connecting flight. I don’t know how many  times I asked people about it. But finally, I could find my connecting flight. I overcame hardship and I also learn what it is important to never give up. I think even if I can’t speak English fluently, I can overcome hardship. Because I never give up
    When I was 10 years old. I had a friend who was good at playing rugby and always helped me. One day We talked about our future. I didn’t know what I want to do in the feature. But he had a dream to be a good rugby player. And He taught me to never give up and showed me the importance of never giving up on your dream. I thought I want to become like him. But when I was 14 years old. He passed away suddenly. I couldn’t believe it. He died when he was playing final match of rugby. I thought that I should have talked more with him. But this regret will never disappear from my mind. I also realized that we can’t expect when we die. So we need to make every day count.


  15. Mrs. Sorensen

    Period B3
    31 May, 2018
    American Experience
    Growing up, I have never really been wealthy. My family has gone through super hard times. There were times where we would never get to eat out or go to movies or anything like that. I remember when we would get to see a movie as a family, it was almost like finding treasure. You do not get to experience that a lot but when you do, you are so overwhelmed with joy.
    Why would I be telling this story? Well I believe that there is a certain social structure that people believe I fall into. Especially since where I go to highschool, I think people automatically assume things about me. People automatically think that since I am white and I go to Highland High, that I must be rich and live in a house that you see on “MTV Cribs.” So I fall out of this social structure and it is a good thing for me but it also causes me a lot of difficulties.
    It bugs me that a social structure or stereotype like this exists in my environment. I know it is present but I do not enjoy it. It is almost like a constant rain cloud that looms over me. Or more like a little fly. Not the biggest of deals, but yet, it is there and it still bugs you. I do not hate the fact that I am not rich though. In fact, I like it. I enjoy when my friends ask what my parents do and I get to say that my mom works two jobs and my dad works a graveyard shift. I love when they tell me that their moms do not work. It fills me with a sense of pride for my family. My favorite thing to happen is when I tell my friends that I have a job. A lot of my friends have had everything handed to them their whole lives, and soon they will learn that it can not always be that way. It makes me take pride in what I do. The reward of telling people that is just like a second payday.
    I enjoy being out of this stereotypical white family idea. I can’t help myself from wondering what it would be like. I wonder what it would be like to have a dad that it is a doctor or a mom that is a lawyer. Not for the financial gains, but more to relate closer to my friends. They all have this in common. They all have parents that are lawyers or medical professionals. They all live in million dollar homes. I want to relate more to them. I think it would help me connect a little more to them.
    Social structures have not exactly cause me to act the way I do. I do not act like the common white male from highland. Sometimes I wish I did though. I wish I could because it would help me relate to the people in my environment. I am glad I have grown up the way I have. I am in no way shameful or embarrassed by the way I have been raised. In fact, I am proud. Like a father after witnessing his son hit a home run. I am proud and I would not want it any other way.


  16. American Experience

    In American society, you can be anyone you want to be. The internet makes that even easier. It’s both wonderful, and an issue. It gives freedom to anyone to do whatever they want. I couldn’t have been more than eleven or twelve at the time, my friend had helped me convince my mom to let me make an account on a site called google+. I excitedly made my profile and quickly began making friends in a community based around an anime I enjoyed. I had found a place where I wasn’t insulted for the things I liked. I made many friends in the few weeks I was on. But one stood out. His screen name was “Alois Trancy” one of the main characters from the anime, his account was fully based on him, he was one of the few I didn’t stop talking to after a week or two, it just felt like we had so much in common. I started growing very close to him. Talking to him slowly became the highlight of my day. I talked to all my friends about him. Eight months passed, we got closer and closer. He asked me out, and like the naive little middle schooler I was, I happily accepted his offer. Finally, it happened. He asked me to video chat. I said yes and nervously awaited, my heart beat fast as the soft melody played through my speakers. I nervously hit accept… And felt my heart drop. The boy… The man I was looking at was not the fellow middle schooler he had claimed to be. This man was old enough to be my father. He was overweight, balding, his face starting to show wrinkles. “Hello beautiful..” His voice made my skin crawl, It was like there thousands of needles piercing my skin. I felt disgusted and betrayed. My heart was still beating fast, no longer from excitement, but from fear. I could feel my hand trembling. Without saying a word to him I ended the chat and blocked him. Through further examination I realized I wasn’t the only girl he was doing this to. I tried to tell the other girls what he was, but most were naive like me. They didn’t want to believe that the person who was so nice to them and made them feel so special was some creep that was out to hurt them. For two months, I received messages from other accounts he made. He told me he tried to kill himself, that he loved me and a number of other things I refused to believe. I blocked every account without another word to him. I didn’t care what happened to him, I hoped something bad would happen. Years have passed, and I still shudder and feel sick thinking about it to this day. In a society can be anyone they want without consequences, you have to be careful about who you decide to believe.


  17. Marshmallow

    Have you ever felt isolated: so cold and lost, that all you wanted is to be left alone? Throughout my life in America, I would have never thought that leaving my high school would have been a changing and enlightening year.
    Imagine you stand in your school photo where you are one of two hispanic kids. Surrounded by white boys and girls, that later to come, you would have never thought you would identify with. This year I changed schools from and very small private school of 500 kids to a school of unimaginable numbers. At Rowland Hall you could have asked anyone in the school someone else’s name and and with no doubt in my mind they could have told you; here however, I walk around and see new people every day that I didn’t even know went here or let alone were in my grade. One my ask how could a change like this be so affecting of one’s life? To that I say this: your environment, big or small, effects the way you look at life no matter what.
    Some might argue that coming in as a junior can be hard to meet new friends and find people that you enjoy hanging around. For me It had always been easy making new friends but this year it seemed that I pushed people away from me that in my mind I didn’t deem relatable. Subconsciously, there was all but one group of people I chose to pushed aside, the white boys and girls. I look at it and ask why? Having had this battle with myself for a while, now a man vs. self type of issue, I asked why is the group I choose to identify with all white, when I a little Guatemalan boy are not?
    I finally came to the conclusion that I am a perfectly roasted marshmallow. It’s a real thing! I might be brown on the outside but on the inside I’m white. Realizing now that I have been trapped in a unrealistic social bubble I see how this could have happened. The way I grew up was the antithesis of culture: I have two white parents, a white sister, all white relatives, and all but one white friends. Living the way I did was my only option, and that the time who I’m a to question, I was happy. That brings me to this year, having such a great diverse pool of people didn’t scare me but had me overwhelmed that there are more than just white people.- I know that makes me sound ignorant- Our country has come so far and that color of your skin shouldn’t be such an issue but there are countless studies providing evidence that people flock to others that relate to them and more of than not it’s people skin color.
    Finally my experience of the American culture has been trying to fight the images and stereotypes that have been planted in my head. One thing leads to another and I come up with the question “ Am I racist?” But that seems to be a question for another time, one that will stick on my mind.


  18. I can’t remember a time where I didn’t feel differently about food than other people.
    My parents have given up trying to get me to eat new foods. First it was little things, like me
    not liking chicken nuggets anymore. Suddenly, now they’re making little jokes to family
    members every so often. Sometimes even my grandma makes fun of me for being the pickiest
    in the family and she says that if I can’t eat like a normal person then I’m never going to blend in. My other grandma insists I’ll grow out of it, but I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to, I wish
    that I could just have the same appetite as other people sometimes…
    It’s not really a single story, or experience. It’s something that I’ve grown up with for my whole life. My Mom’s constantly worried that I’m underweight, and I don’t know what to tell her. My sister constantly gets frustrated with me saying with my appetite I’ll be super fat in the future .It’s hard to get away from because food is a necessity and it is one of the overruling themes of our lives.
    Every night I’m lucky enough that my Dad makes me something different to eat than the rest of my family He’s the only person who really understands how it affects me. My sister and mother and father have spaghetti and meatballs or stir fry for dinner, while I have buttery pasta and other times rice. It’s what my fifth grade teacher used to call ‘white food’ because of its color. Every time my parents ask me to try something new, I feel anxious. I don’t like trying things that im not used to and that may be what cuts me off from liking foods, is the immediate denial.
    I feel like I can’t be upset about it though. I’m a white male in 2018, with two parents who are definitely upper middle class. I’m tall, skinny, and straight. I live in a good part of town and have nothing to complain about. These things all make me privileged and I am grateful for them and I don’t know what I would be like if I didn’t have a head start like that. Sometimes I feel like I can’t talk about anything that stresses me out, but sometimes I worry that either I can’t ever start eating normally or I will sometime get obese, like my sister said because my diet mainly consists of junk food. Sometimes I get too ashamed to tell people about this because I feel like they would make fun of me for it, and I feel like I’m getting in the way when me and friends are trying to figure out where to eat.
    It reminds me, a little bit of Hamlet. Hamlet went through a lot of hardships and I would say that I have not, but what we do have in common is what a sort of inner conflict with ourselves trying to decide what is right in our minds versus what is “normal” in other people’s eyes. As an example it’s how Hamlet sees his uncle marrying his Mother, and how I see the food I like opposing peoples opinion on a “normal diet.” This essay really helped me with some self reflection on what I think about my “food problem.”


  19. Playing the Grade Game
    Are test scores more important than actually learning? In Native Son, by Richard Wright, Bigger Thomas was influenced by the social structures and systems to be violent and to only save himself. Although my example is not as insane as killing and raping, it still goes along with the idea. The United States education system is structured to care more about grades and test scores, instead of being about students actually learning. This education system is negatively affecting students, influencing college acceptance and  makes teachers change their teaching style. Bigger had to fight through racism and inequality, I have to fight through the education system.
    The system that was developed to help students learn is really negatively affecting students’ mental well being. Many parents care more about grades than their children’s well being and their child’s effort. This is leading to students’ stress levels to rise, which causes many other problems which include, heart problems and other mental problems. Also, many parents punish their children if they have a bad grade, this makes students way too desperate to get good grades so they end up begging teachers to change their 54 percent to an A. Luckily my mom just cares about me and that I do my best, so I don’t have the pressure there. But I want to succeed in life and be a physician so I push myself to get good grades and do well on the ACT so I can go to a good college. This causes me to be more stressed out to get good grades and like Bigger, be slightly desperate to get good grades. I have had to overcome this by learning how to play the grade game and focus on figuring out how to use time management to get all my assignments done.
    College acceptance is based mostly on one number, slightly on another number and a little about what type of a person we are. The education system has caused colleges to focus on an ACT/SAT score. Many students just don’t test well, some tests are harder than others and some days are bad for students. I don’t test well, I freeze a little and forget things that I know. This has caused me to worry about my ACT score and has added extra stress to my life. I have had to overcome this by learning to test instead of trying to learn the subjects as well as I can.
    This education system also affects teachers. Instead of teachers being able to just teach us what they know and what we should learn, they instead have to teach us based on the tests we will later take. For example, instead of just learning math, language arts and sciences, we have to learn how to take the SAGE and ACT sections of all three subjects. This will negatively affect how we succeed once we get into college. This is because we won’t know all the information that we will need to know, it could help us know how to test in college but we won’t know the basic things that we need to know to do well. I have had to change my thinking and overcome this by doing a lot of self study on topics that I will need to know that I have not been taught because we were only learning how to test.
    Just like Bigger, I have had to change my thinking based upon the structure of the education system so I can succeed in life. The education has changed how I think because it cares more about grades and test scores than actual learning and mental health of students. This is shown by how colleges accept students based on a score and grades, how teachers have to teach based on a test instead of teaching to share knowledge and how it doesn’t care about the mental well-being of students. Because of all these reasons, I have had to change my thinking and have had to act differently to overcome these problems so I can succeed in college then succeed in life. I have changed my thinking by doing more self-study, doing all assignments well plus extra credit to get good grades and by learning how to test well. Why should two numbers and some letters decide what my future is?


  20. Over the weekend, Moses and I had the opportunity to help the homeless people in our community gather food from the Utah Food Bank. Our church does this every week on Friday morning but the youth in our ward has school usually. Over the weekend, we missed our first period on Friday to go and help serve these people. The young men were in charge of stacking food into boxes and carrying them into their carts. Helping these people and seeing how happy they were really made me humble myself and want to serve other around me.
    Part of the American experience is poverty and most races and religions live in poverty, Moses and I felt that this could be a great step towards making our community a beautiful place which can start as an influential trend that can spread into society. As an American, one of our duties is to help our brothers and sisters around us. It was a great experience and I know that by helping others will help build positive relationships and trust within our society.


  21. Service Project Write-up
    For our American Experience project, Bronson and I did a service project to help the Utah Food Bank distribute food to those in need around our community. We helped stack the food into boxes and get them to each car for those who were there. Hundreds of people were there and we were able to help get food to them all. Many people were relying on this event to get food for the upcoming week.
    I felt that this related to the American Experience because poverty is a big thing in the country. People have to start somewhere and a lot of them start where those we were helping are at. Though there’s no set solution for such a huge problem in our nation but things like the foodbank provide massive relief to those in need of them. This can allow them to use what they have financially while their family can be well fed at the same time. We always hear stories of people going from rags to riches and this is part of how they kept going while they were starting out. It is things like the foodbank that allow people a cushion for their beginnings and a boost to how they get going.


    Standing Up
    So, apparently the time I got mad at my French teacher because of something unfair she had done counts as standing up for something that I thought was wrong. At least according to my dad. And so, because I don’t have any other important or interesting things that I have done, I guess that I’ll have to write my narrative on that. Without further adieu, Standing Up!
    French, the language of love. It’s a very beautiful language with extra letters that you don’t pronounce at the end of words. As wonderful as the French language is, I always hated French class. Don’t get me wrong, Madame Bennion is a sweet and wonderful person, but she can really get on your nerves. She talks a lot about being fair to everyone, by limiting what we can do. If we want a cough drop, we have to ask the whole class, in French, if we can have one. So French class, especially in my sophomore year, was a l’enfer vivant (living h-e-double hockey sticks). It felt like she was trying to control every aspect of my life, and I hated every second of it. The only relief was when we had a sub, which was about as common as a fifth Sunday.
    This being said, one day in my sophomore year, I was in French class. We had been given an assignment in the previous class. I hadn’t done it because I’m a lazy butt, and we were allowed to do it in class, but it would be counted late. One of my favorite classmates, Lucia raised her hand.
    “Madame Bennion, I wasn’t here last time. Can I do it now and turn it in?” she asked.
    Now you must understand, Madame Bennion has favorite students, whether she will admit it or not. I am one of her favorite students, probably because I remind her of herself when she was younger, and I don’t tend to contradict her and am generally a good student. Lucia was loud, and slightly distracting, and spoke with a unique accent flavored with a mixture of Spanish from Mexico and English from the hood. I really like Lucia; she is outspoken and funny, while I am not. Madame Bennion didn’t like her as much. She would ask Lucia to stop messing around or doing her hair and to not put on lotion and stuff. So what Madame Bennion said next made sense, to her at least.
    It made me furious.
    “Yes, for partial credit.”
    “But Madame Bennion, that’s not fair. They didn’t know about it,” said Leah. Leah was also not one of Madame Bennion favorites because she would “break the dress code” often.
    “They should have asked their friends or checked on PowerSchool,” came the slightly indignant reply from Madame Bennion.
    As everyone got up to turn in their papers and retrieve their notebooks from the basket where we kept them, I was irate. They should have asked their friends? When would they have done that? And although they could have checked on PowerSchool, they have a class day grace period before they have to turn those things in. I leaned down and rummaged though my front pocket, looking for a pencil. On the top of the assignment I wrote my name and the date in the top right-hand corner like we were supposed to (if it wasn’t there we would be docked points) and wrote late in large letters. I may be a lazy butt, but I’m an honest lazy butt. My heart racing with anger and nervousness I made my way to the back of the room to turn in the assignment. I dodged students and desks in the magical way that people learn to do after several months and years in school. There were rumbles of disapproval from nearly everyone. As I listened, I rumbled in dissent as well. But no one was brave enough to go up and talk to her about it. There was a line of people trying to make excuses for their late work. I didn’t have an excuse. There was no reason for me to have not done the assignment, I thought as I joined the line. My heart was beating much to fast for standing up and walking to the back of the room. I folded my arms to try and stop the goosebumps on my arms. The windows were open letting in the soft smell of Fall. I was scared out of my mind. Madame Bennion can be down right intimidating. The person in front of me stepped away, and I took a deep breath and stepped forward. Madame Bennion looked up.
    “Madame Bennion, I don’t think that it is fair for you to take points off of the people who were absent. They didn’t have a chance to do it,” I rushed before I could stop myself.
    “I know, I just said that to get them to get it done. I won’t take points off.” She said kindly in a low-ish whisper.
    “Oh, ok,” I said somewhat understanding (Lucia was notorious for late work). My anger faded slightly. But if that was true why did she lie? “I just wanted to tell you that I thought it was unfair.”
    “It’s alright,” she said and smiled.
    I walked back to my seat. Some students leaned in and asked me what she had said. I repeated what she said to me. They also were confused by her lie. Madame Bennion was not usually a liar, but that was all we had on the subject. Before we could continue our conversation, Madame Bennion went to the front of the room and sat in her lecture chair, and class started again.
    Fast forward a few months to Parent Teacher conferences. I paced outside the room. I was bored. My French grade was fine, and I was ready to go home. (I usually get a headache at some point on Parent Teacher night). Finally, it was my turn. I went in with my parents and sat down in front of the desk, in the middle seat because I’m special, and waited for the verdict.
    “Well,” Madame Bennion began. “Her grades look very good. She has an A.” Madame Bennion pointed out my grade on the little half sheet that my grades were on. My dad patted me on the back.
    “See Maryann, you are doing great!” my mom said proudly.
    I smiled, slightly embarrassed by the praise. Madame Bennion continued with the usual “She’s great in class. I wish she would share more…” Etc…etc. Then came something I hadn’t heard.
    “I was very impressed with Maryann when she came up to me a while ago and talked to me about an assignment that I was going to mark as late for some other students.” My ears perked up, and I turned to look at Madame Bennion surprised that she was impressed. “Didn’t you do that assignment late yourself?” I nodded hesitantly. She looked at my parents. “She didn’t make any excuses for herself. She was just concerned about the other students.” She looked back at me. “That really made an impression on me.”
    I smiled shyly. “Thanks.”
    As we walked out my mom said “See, she thinks so highly of you! You aren’t a bad person.”
    “I know, mom. Thank you,” I said in the slightly exasperated and sarcastic way teenagers do. “Who do we have next?”
    So, I guess this counts. My dad really liked it when we read through it and talked about it. He says I sound snarky, but I promise I wasn’t trying to be.
    Anyways, this is the time I got so mad at my French teacher that I had to go and talk to her about something unfair. I wasn’t really standing up for anyone, especially not myself, but this is all I got.


  23. Bannon Weaver
    Language Arts 11
    American Experience
    American Experience Narrative Essay
    America is changing as we know it , constantly developing around current situations and as generations mature and emerge their culture and beliefs into our diplomatic government. Environment plays a key role in all of this. We all of certain morals or beliefs that we develop from our parents and surroundings even if they don’t have a positive impact on either us or society. In Wright’s Native Son many of bigger’s choices were the outcome of a poor mindset and his environment always putting him at the bottom of the list because of the time period. I personally have adapted and changed due to my environment and overall it has shaped me as a person, for the longest time we are highly dependent on our parents and because of it we develop habits and traits that our parents have due to putting all of our faith and trust into their hands.
    You can see that i have been personally affected by my environment based on my political views and standings on certain subjects which in the state of utah is drastically differs from the “normal” in this state. Bigger once said in native son “Maybe I would’ve been all right if I could’ve done something I wanted to do. I wouldn’t be scared then. Or mad, maybe. I wouldn’t be always hating folks; and maybe I’d feel at home, sort of.” This quote can relate to me because it can really help you see how bigger was affected by his home environment compared the “normal” at the time which is how I see my current situation. It is hard to write about our experiences because of our environment most of our situations and problems are solved by our parents our views on life are similar to our parents, our view on life and goals are altered by our parents. We don’t experience life for yourself until you move out it feels like I am not writing about myself but instead a product produced by my parents.
    An experience from my environment can be my anxiety. My household has very strict and clear rules that you must follow and because of that you see yourself almost in a constant fear because you are focused on a poor outcome and the effects of said outcome instead of the positive results from a lack of positive reinforcement and since fear is the biggest motivator and demotivator it takes a massive toll on emotions. It can be hard to adjust and meet new people and talk to people because of my experience of seeing people’s “bad” side and thinking why even have a chance of saying something wrong when you could not say anything at all. Most people in today’s world have had at least a similar experience with anxiety so my experience can be very similar to other people’s experience based on their environment.


  24. Kaitlyn Robertson
    Ms. Sorensen
    Language Arts 11 Hnrs.
    30 May 2018
    American Experience Narrative
    Everyone is always searching for their voice. What that voice says, where it will be heard, and who will hear it. Discovering this monumental part of who you are can take time and will come to you in the most unexpected times. For me, I found this voice in the unholy hours of the night before the first Debate tournament my Sophomore year.
    Earlier that year at debate camp I remember being mesmerized by this video of two quick witted college-age girls in a finals round of a big tournament. Spurting out of their mouths was a beautifully written, hard hitting rap about gender inequality. The fact that these two female debaters took their opportunity in the debate space, one where everyone must listen to you, to talk about something of meaning that was personal to them inspired me to do the same. I took this idea and ran with it. T- minus 12 hours until the very first tournament of the year, I called my partner and asked her if we could scratch all of our plans, all of our previous prepared cases, in exchange for a new feminist narrative to read in round. Keep in mind, this is not what you are supposed to do in debate. Our case was supposed to be about increased relations with China.
    That is not what we talked about.
    Feeling confident as ever, Sophie and I strided into the room with purpose. Our opponents staring daggers at us from across the room, they had no idea what social justice bomb we were about to drop on them. I remember a sense of pride, knowing that we were about to say something that mattered. Something that would make a difference. The habitual question everyone asks before the round starts with little feeling in their voice, is “what’s the aff” (translated from debate vernacular: this just means “what is your case about”). Knowing my answer was something they could never anticipate was an indescribably satisfying feeling. My one word answer, “Fem”, would throw them for a loop they had never been on.
    That season we went on to take first place at one of the tournaments, and made it to state. All by preaching what we are passionate about along the way. The fact that what we were saying wasn’t hypothetical, wasn’t arbitrary, wasn’t made up in any way, but instead was 100% true and meaningful, made us feel as if we were actually doing something with our voices. Inequality is something that I feel morally obligated to speak out against in any way I can, which is why running this case was so important to my partner and I. Being able to add your voice and ideas to a whole group is a wonderful feeling. One that everybody should experience. In this country we have the guaranteed right to free speech, and if you aren’t taking advantage of that then you’re missing out on something great. Wether what you say is widely heard or not, you should still add your voice to the greater good.


  25. A Cautionary Patriot
    In the backcountry of the Rocky Mountains, next to a peacock farm, I was spending the night in the run-down attic of my grandparents’ house. A normally loud farmland where you could hear the truckers drive past and the calls of the peacocks, was quiet, as everyone in the house was asleep soundly I was awake and listening to the flapping and clanging of a flag next to the open window. As I turned and looked at the banner I was struck by the glistening stars and stripes that were seemingly glowing in the moonlight. At that moment I felt the beauty of our nation. Forget seeing the flag through the dawn’s early light, it was shining at the dead of night. Francis Scott Key had nothing on the power ballad I was about to write for this three square feet of fabric.
    Patriotism was always a hard thing for me to decide on. Growing up I always heard people say “thank you for your service” or “you are so brave” when they found out my dad was a marine or that he was deployed. I was confused by people thanking me. Thank you for what? I didn’t chose to do anything I was just living my life that was chosen for me, I didn’t see me sacrificing when my dad wasn’t there or when I moved from state to state; I was living the life I was forced to live. When you go your whole life a certain way you don’t consider it to be weird or different. I grew up in an America where you had to stop in the middle of soccer games because they were playing “Taps” and an America where going to the movies meant standing for the national anthem before every movie and watching recruitment ads instead of trailers. I lived in an America where you had to be careful about watching war movies because it might trigger someone’s PTSD, and I lived in an America where I didn’t have my dad around for birthdays because he was fighting a war in the middle east and I live in a world where debate on whether or not we should stand or kneel during the national anthem can bring me to tears because I don’t understand how you can disrespect something I almost lost my dad for.
    But at the same time I know there’s a girl out there who lost her dad when he was fighting for her to have her freedom, a freedom I already have that can’t understand the struggle because that isn’t my America.
    While my narrative of America is different than hers there’s always crossovers of stories. As girls we share a narrative. My America isn’t all camo and USO concerts. As a girl in America my story is not done. There’s a problem with sexism all over the world, but in America we have a president that believes “locker talk” is diplomatic and hollywood is a cesspool of sex offenders. Almost every woman I know has a story of discrimination and the exception tends to be children who aren’t aware they are being put down every time a boy gets to do something they can’t. We almost all have stories of adults around us telling us that a boy is being mean because he likes you or being told that we shouldn’t do something because it isn’t “lady-like.” Pushing aside of the violence of little boys yet expecting little girls to be proper carries on as we are older. I want to go into an industry that is dominated by women and proven to be done better by women but men get paid more. This discrepancy is reported to be because men are better at negotiating pay.
    Even in the setting of school I felt the discrimination, despite being the only one in the entire school who knows how to do technical theatre and being the stage manager, teachers and contractors would come and ask the boys who had no idea what they were doing just because they found the boys to be better references. There was one contractor in particular that I remember- Josh. Josh was a lighting designer and the kind of man you wouldn’t want to be seen with. His neck beard screamed “I was born disrespecting women” and his eyes were that of a taxidermy bird, cold and beady.
    For one month a year he would come in and make us work for him– oh, sorry, not all of us- just the boys who he trusted more. The first year he came he brought in his friend to help him. A friend who came in and harassed and later confessed his love to one of the students. The second year he took a male student under his wing, and taught him everything he knew. The third year he brought the boy back despite the kid leaving our school so he could get a “better opportunity” and who also sexually assaulted two of the girls in our stage crew. Despite our complaints of having such a toxic person around they still let him come in and make the girls who were trying to work and do their jobs uncomfortable.
    Josh is someone that we pay to come in and in the process of trying to make his life easier the health and well being of female students were sacrificed.
    My greatest hope for America is that we don’t need to make these mistakes anymore. That we don’t make women a step for men to walk on to rise above us. And I hope we can all feel fine about being patriotic and not have a looming shame over us because we know the bad side of our country. I struggle because I love the country I live in but I know the other side and thats what makes me not want to be patriotic. But until the day we stop having to kneel to the flag or accepting the “locker talk”, we will be telling our stories of patriotism with a grain of salt and our narratives of America will be cautionary tales.


  26. Sean Moss
    A 1-2
    May 26, 2018
    Mrs. Sorensen
    American Experience
    I’ve decided to write about my Eagle Scout Project I did last year. What I did for my project was, I had an “Animal Food Drive” for the local animal shelter. I feel as though I “rose up” to act in service of animals that aren’t fortunate enough to have a proper home. The shelter was running low on funds and was having a hard time purchasing enough food for the dogs/cats. It was a pretty cool experience, we started my making flyers for the drive and passing them around the neighborhood, we then picked up all of the food and/or donations for the shelter on the date I set on the flyer, we then took all of the food down to the shelter and unloaded it. It was crazy, we collected a total of over one thousand pounds of food for the animals!
    Have you ever thought what it would be like to have a sub par home, with little food? Well I hadn’t either until I did this project. It makes you realize how fortunate we are to have a decent roof above our heads, and food on the table each night. It puts things into perspective about how much we have, and how less other people, or animals, have in comparison to most. Most people have everything that they need to survive, a home, food, love and affections from family and peers, and many other things that some people do not have the luxury of having. As living things on this Earth we should really take into consideration of how other people may not be as lucky as yourself or someone else, and we should try to either make it better for them, or at least a bit more enjoyable, so that they are not living is a world that they do not deserve. Everyone deserves to live in the best world they possibly can, animals included. Some sick people that say, abuse animals, are just about the scum of this earth, they value their lives above another living thing. In my opinion this is not acceptable, I am happy that they influence prison time for someone hurting an innocent animal. They may not be the exact same us as humans, but they give us unconditional love, and some people choose to abuse that “gift” that they give us.
    Sorry for the tangent, but I find it kind of funny that people could just think of themselves as a higher being than everything else that was placed on this world.
    In conclusion, The Eagle Scout Project really opened my eyes to the pretty sad things that happen, and we don’t really try to stop them, but I do like how we have a legal system that influences punishment towards people that do stupid things for their own pleasure. But this project was a very fun experience that really taught me a lot about service, and the world around us.


  27. Luke Jones
    Mrs. Sorensen
    American Experience

    In my life I have been faced with multiple situations in which I was given the option to give up or “rise up” like Alexander Hamilton. I have chosen each end of the spectrum and I have always found that when I chose to fight through the tough times I feel much better in myself. To fight through the obstacles and agony it makes to reward much more meaningful and makes yourself cherish it much more. I have had experiences in my life where I was forced to “rise up” in sports, school, and my own family, each one of them has taught me a different value along the way and has many parallels to Alexander Hamilton.
    First, in sports I picked up the game of golf as a freshman in high school having never taken it serious before. In my first tournaments as a golfer they were all discouraging and frustrating for me because I was always one of the highest scores. I had not realized the amount of experience my competitors had over me. Although, I could not make up for lost time, I forced myself to work harder than any of them in order to shorten the gap between us. Therefore, I worked tirelessly to try to be competitive with the other high school players in state. Today, I still work every day, but the gap has been shrunk, and my choice to “rise up” led to my capability of hopefully getting a golf scholarship in the near future. This is like Alexander Hamilton because he was not given the resources to strive as a young kid, so he was forced to work endlessly and teach himself how to read and write in order to make something of himself. This is just one of many ways I have chosen to “rise up” to situations in my life.
    Secondly, in school I moved to highland as a freshman having known nobody. The first day of school I didn’t say a word and it was a blur. However, I went home that day and had to make a choice was I going to give up and go back to my old school, or fight through a tough situation and make the best of it. I chose to fight through it and from this decision it has greatly impacted my life. The endless amount of lifelong friendships I will now have is because of my decision to “rise up” and to give a Highland a full hearted shot. This is like Alexander Hamilton, because when he first came to America as a young boy he knew of no one. He was forced to be outgoing and try to meet people most notably at the start was Aaron Burr at Princeton College. My choice to not give up in this particular situation greatly changed my life I way I could have never seen.
    Finally, in family I come from two parents who both come from divorce making my life very interesting. The each had kids with their prior marriage making for a lot of step siblings and cousins which grew up very differently and have many different viewpoints. I am the one who is stuck in the middle because I am the only one who comes from both sides of the family. I have been trying since I can remember to help my mom and dad’s sides of the family cooperate and get along. I have been trying for 17 years now and though it has gotten significantly better, it can always improve. If I had not chosen to “rise up” like Alexander Hamilton then my family would not be nearly as close as it is today. This is like Alexander Hamilton because when he first became the controller of the national treasury he was constantly hear arguments for and against him across the political parties. Although, he didn’t try to mend a relationship across all parties he tried to please all of them, so the government could work as peacefully as possible. This experience to “rise up” has allowed me to grow and helped my family grow together and sustain a relationship.
    In conclusion, I have chosen to “rise up” in many different situations and they all have benefited me greatly. The circumstances in which I did not fight through the obstacles are forever going to be my biggest regrets in my life. I’ve mainly seen moments to rise up in my life of sports, school, family, and countless others. I am able to see how important it is to fight and never give up through Alexander Hamilton. He grew up with no resources or means to live, but wouldn’t take no for an answer and became the creator of our national bank and one of our founding fathers. From now on my plan is to always “rise up” is times of distress and turmoil as I know it will benefit me greatly.


  28. Jacob Hamula
    Mrs. Sorensen
    11th lang
    30th May, 2018
    American experience
    This story goes back to freshman year, it was the first day of school and I was scared. I looked up at the red brick building in front of me, it seemed like a daunting task ahead of me. “The first day is the worst day” I whispered to myself. But then i saw someone and my day got a little bit better. It was my best friend in the world, he ran over to me and said “you ready for this?” I looked up at him. “Yeah” but my voice quivered. He patted me on the back, it was a weird feeling, his hand felt dead, it was as cold as ice. “We’ll walk in together” he said with a smile. At this moment I felt like Bigger did, alone and scared with few people around me.
    Flash forward to the second month of school, I filled my lungs it felt amazing, it was as if each breath filled me with life, but then I coughed. I COUGHED, I was so mad. My mom said this would work, but the inhaler didn’t help me. It only helps for seconds and then i’m back to coughing like thunder. My lungs burned like warm coals on the fire, it’s not gonna kill be but it’s noticeable. School was hard for me, I really only had one consistent friend, it was hard for me to find something to help me with stress, and I had just lost my dog. My mom said “you need to move on” but it was hard, that dog was my best friend.
    When i had to say goodbye, it hurt, I lost my breath, I couldn’t get a full breath, i just couldn’t, I was not whole without that damn dog. She was always there, when I cried she was there to rest her head in my lap and let me run my hands along her soft warming body. The best memory was when my family first got her. The lady who was selling her told us each to stand in one spot, I got tired of standing and she ran right to me and flopped in my lap, she started to lick my face. That day I laughed so much, when I lost her it felt as if I would never laugh again.
    Anyway, back to school, It was the day after winter break when I got the call, her voice quivered and I shook like an earthquake, I knew what was coming but I didn’t want to know, my grandma was gone, or sick, or dying. That day I lost it, I snapped it was the worst day ever, it felt like I was a dead animal and i was slowly withering away into the earth. Every big hit just punched me more and more until I was broken into many pieces. I built a tower around me and hid the key so no one could get in, except my friend, he knew me too well and found it. Man he never let me be alone, but in a good way. As you can see, Im here now. I didn’t make too many big mistakes and I rose up through the rough and the terrible shit that happened that year. That friend is still here and has helped me through much more.


  29. American Experience
    Pop culture is a large part of the American lifestyle, and movies are a large part of American pop culture. Currently, the world of movies is in a time of lots of controversy and disagreement. This creates many problems for fans such as myself. There is two specific movies that caused me the most problems. Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, and Solo: A Star Wars Story. The first of these two movies caused a ton of controversy in the movie world, and the second was making everybody worried. Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi was very highly rated by critics. It had the second highest rating of any Star Wars movie, with a 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, and an 85 on Metacritic. At the same time though, it had the lowest audience score of any Star Wars movie.
    I had gone to see Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi on opening night. I loved it the first time I saw it. I thought it had some great scenes, and overall, a good story. But people still hated it and I had no idea why. When I started asking people about their opinion on the movie, almost everybody hated it. People thought that the director, Rian Johnson, had tried to be too different, and ruined the best parts of Star Wars. I didn’t know what to think. In many ways, I agreed with the critics, and thought it was a great movie. I wanted everybody to love the movie just as the other Star Wars movies were loved. But at the same time, in some ways, I also hated the movie for ruining things like the character of Luke Skywalker. I didn’t know what to think, because every time I saw the movie, I liked it more, but also hated it more. This inner conflict was tearing my mind apart. I started to try to forget the movie, and to leave it in the past, but i just couldn’t. Every day, my feelings were becoming more and more twisted, and complex, untill something great happened.
    When the first trailer for Solo: A Star Wars Story dropped, I was astounded. This trailer really rang a bell inside me. I thought it looked so good, and I became more excited than I had been in years. As time went on, my level of ecstaticness rose. My emotions and thoughts just seemed to repair themselves almost like they had Deadpool’s healing powers. I even kept a count down of how many days left to the premiere. There was just one problem. Nobody else had my same thoughts about Solo: A Star Wars Story. Everybody was to concerned with the sudden change of directors, or that the lead actor, Alden Ehrenreich, was not very famous. There was a huge fuss by many over the fact that he had an acting coach, which I thought was a stupid thing, because all good actors and actresses have, or have had acting coaches. Overall, I ignored the public opinion because I knew it was going to be a good movie, and I was extremely happy and entertained when I saw it at the premiere.
    Solo: A Star Wars Story saved me from the internal conflict brought by Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi. I am now in a much better mental state, and I am counting down the days till Episode IX, and the Boba Fett Movie.


  30. American Experience

    Judgement is everywhere we go, it’s been here for ages and it’s done us good and bad. Being judged these days is like the end of the world for some people, i’d say these days lots of people have stopped caring. I know I have, I used to feel like I was being judged by everyone at all times and honestly it hasn’t changed.

    Being a Muslim American has been really hard on me, people have these misconceptions that all Muslims are the same and are extremists. I get dirty looks constantly and get flipped off daily, before it used to bother me and I would get angry and tell them off but now it doesn’t even phase me. Just like Emily Grierson and how everyone has these misconceptions about her, yet she just goes on with her life.

    I feel eyes staring at me like I have a huge zit on my nose and I often ask myself why? Why do you get to judge to put your labels on me and make me feel like I am smaller than you? Is it really because of my skin color and my religion? Who has that type of energy to hate people like that.
    Despite the pain and the judgement I live my life as happy as I can be, I don’t care about what other people have to say to me, it just doesn’t phase me. I like to spread peace and love because that is the only way we can somewhat stop people from judging others. You do not know the person you are judging so why put that label or rumour on that person?

    Emily Grierson knew that people were talking about her in the town, she heard it yet she still continued on with her life and didn’t give an explanation. You never have to explain to anyone about anything unless you personally feel like you need to. We feel pressured to address ourselves these days so we can dodge that little bit of judgement, no we don’t need to, people can define us all they want and make us feel like crap just by looking at us and judging us. You have to really kill them with kindness, being nice to people really makes them respect you, but overall you just have to be strong and that’s easier said than done.

    Judgement will be here until god knows when and until then the only thing we can do is spread love and peace to the world, and try to break this issue because the effects it has on people is very sad. We can stop it if we really want to, spread love and peace and we’re on the right path.


  31. Jonathan Landeros
    Mrs. Sorensen
    Language Arts 11 Honors
    01 June 2018
    American Experience Narrative Essay
    As the sun beat down on my forehead I ran into the cool, packed ice cream shop. I shuffled past a group of grungy teenagers and walked behind the dipping cabinets. My coworker walked out of the back in a hurry, I quickly nodded at her as I set my water bottle down in the back. I ran to the clustered sink and washed my hands, I turned around and helped the first guest I made eye contact with. He was a middle aged man who was surprisingly short. As he made his order I mapped it out in my head the quickest way to make it and get him out of the line. As I finished up with him, I noticed my coworker had cleared up most of the line and I felt relieved. I logged out of my register and turned to talk to my coworker. She walked up to me, and looked me up and down. Confused I backed away a little bit and she asked me “You’re a Mexican right?” I responded with “Yeah, you didn’t know that?” She looked me up and down once more and said “No I didn’t, you stupid fucking beaner” and walked away. The words pierced through my ears like icicles, and I froze. I was in utter disbelief and shock. I brought myself together and walked into the back and sat down. I felt so disgusted and pissed off that she could just say that to me. I tapped my foot and fiddled with my hands as everything still processed. I stood up and walked back out to the front again to meet her. I turned the corner and she was leaning against the counter, with her dirty tennis shoe against the cupboard. She looked at me again and said “Why don’t you just go back to where you came from. Nobody wants you here.” Once again I felt her words pierce through me, I looked at her and responded with “Actually, I was born here in the United States, I am a legal citizen, my family moved from Mexico for a better life and for a better opportunity. So maybe get your facts straight before you say something like that.” As I stormed off I reached for my phone and walked into the bathroom. I sat down on the seat and breathed heavily, in and out, a million thoughts ran through my head as I tried to find some sort of reason as to why she would even say something like this. To this day I can’t find a reason as to why she felt like she was better than me, and why anybody could even say that to another human being. I felt so dirty, and gross to be in my own skin, I channeled all these feelings and emotions and turned them into something. Jeff and I are working on a documentary film that has been funded about 2000 dollars and I am making it on discrimination against latinos in the United States and I am going to be sharing my own experiences as well. That moment I wrote about being discriminated against, I felt like Faulkner’s Emily Grierson and which I was being judged by the public eye, and by white people wherever I went, so I channeled all those emotions and turned it into a burning fire that is going to expose all this bigotry in America towards Latinos.


  32. Hourglass to Nothing
    It was April 29th 2009. The worst day of my life. I woke up to find a crow perched on my windowsill. The morning was sound; quite gloomy. I dressed on a bright pink top, and jeans. Did the morning routine, and walked down the stairs. As my little socked feet touched the maple wood stairs, it made a squeaky sound. The sound was not as loud as what seemed to be a now-widowed woman whimpering. I walked softly into the kitchen; soles perched from the ground. Mother and Grandma sat at the table. One crying, and one supporting. From a distance I heard the voice through the phone. The voice mentioned hanging. God knows a little 9 year old girl wouldn’t know that her own father commited suicide. But he did, and she wouldn’t find out until quarter after 3, when she stepped foot into the Family-sized house, that now only held 3. I sat on the couch as my mother approached me. She said “Daddy won’t be coming home tonight, he had an accident at the shop.” I didnt know how to feel, I didnt understand what my mother meant. I slouched into the leather couch, and waited for dad to come home. He never arrived, and that made me confused. I never slept that night… I needed my dad to tuck me in.


  33. Gabriel Bangerter
    Mrs. Sorensen
    Language Arts
    30 May 2018
    American Experience Essay
    My family would always go to a Bees game on the fourth of July. My dad, my stepmom Misty, my sister Kasidy, my brother Conner and my oldest brother Travis would get in the Nissan Armada and head out. My sister and I, being the youngest, would make my brothers’ lives awful by poking their buttons. This was before my parents caught on that when one of my brothers would snap and hit us or something it was because we were poking their buttons. My parents would get upset and one of my brothers for hitting us. It took a few years for my parents to realize that it was my sister and I causing the problems. We look back and laugh about this, we were pretty mischievous.
    We would park down the street from the stadium and grab our stadium seats from the back of the Nissan. As we walk I would always notice how hot it was and how much the sun was beating down on my bare skin. It was in fact July, the hottest time of the year. I would always dread sitting there in the stadium getting scorched by the sun. Sunscreen barely helps me because of how pale I am. When I take off my shirt when I go swimming people go blind. I don’t really tan, I burn and then when I heal I am slightly tanner.
    My family would walk into the stadium and we would find our seats. I always notice how bad it smells at sporting events. I went to a Utes game one time and I couldn’t even breathe because of how much B.O. I could smell. Once we found our seats we would get some water and make sure to keep hydrated throughout the game. As the game progresses we would all go and get food. Usually we would get hot dog, or at least my dad and I. My dad and I are the only ones who like relish in my family. We would get hot dogs with relish on them and ketchup. It was always refreshing to have it, it would help me make it through the game.
    I can’t remember any of the actual baseball. I know that I would always want the Bees to win and I think most of the time they would. I don’t have that much of an interest in baseball, or any sports for that matter. I have never been the one to watch the superbowl or anything like that. I always go to my families superbowl parties but I’m never invested. I can just hangout and eat good food. The reason my family went to these games was mostly for what is after the game.
    Once the game ends and it is dark the players leave the field and the spectators are invited onto the field. It would feel a lot better because the sun was gone, it was always nice and cool. We would walk onto the field and lay a blanket down to lie on. Then the fireworks would start right above the stadium. The colors were amazing, so many different colors mixed together. One of the coolest things about fireworks is the shapes. I don’t know how they are able to control an explosion to make a shape out of it. I would always try to see what shapes they would look, kind of like when you are looking at the clouds. I could different faces and long hair on the back of a girls head. It was always spectacular.


  34. 29 May 2018
    American Experience
    As Americans, we all have individual experiences who define who we are. For myself, I have had an abundance of experiences that show who I am now, and foreshadow who I will be in the future. Each experience has a new lesson to be learned, and some of these experiences revealed how I “rise up” like Miranda’s Alexander Hamilton.
    One of these experiences involved my father becoming a scoutmaster for a troop in Boy Scouts, now called Scouts BSA. Once I heard that he was going to become a scoutmaster, I knew I had to rise up. Being a scout means a lot of things, and involves a lot of work to achieve that final rank, which is the Eagle Scout, and my father had to be responsible for all of the scouts achieving their next rank, which led to me assisting him in a lot of different things.
    At first, it seemed like we were going to have a lot of adversity coming our way, but my father and I both had the fortitude to endure those difficult times. Some of these things were the weekly meetings for years, scout camps with the troop, or setting up different activities. Being responsible for all of these tasks as an individual scout or a scoutmaster for anyone is a very difficult task.
    One of these activities that illustrate the American aspect of scouts is the importance of the American flag, and what it stands for. You learn how to revere it, so you can show honor and respect to those who fought for the freedom in this country. For example, you learn where the flag should be placed at every meeting, how to fold it correctly, how to conduct a ceremony involving it, and what it represents. During the final days as a boy scout before becoming an Eagle Scout, you have to construct an Eagle Scout Project, which meant I had to “rise up” once again for the penultimate task, prior to the paperwork, where you ironically have to more work. I decided to base my project on retiring flags, which seemed pretty important and helpful in the community. When flags become old, torn, and frayed, you retire the flag because this country wants American flags that represent this country. Having a tarnished flag is not properly representing America and what it stands for.
    To sum up this experience where I had to “rise up” like Miranda’s Alexander Hamilton, it definitely showed who I was as an American citizen. Seeing my father with all of these tasks associated with being a scoutmaster showed me that I needed to step in and help him the best I can, revealing how assisting people and coming together, as equal people, can lead to being better citizens overall together. By burning old, flimsy flags, I was able to properly retire them in remembrance of those who helped make America free, and “rise up” in my admiration and respect for this great country that we live in.


  35. In Defense of Aesthetic Appreciation
    The air-conditioned darkness of my friend, Lana’s basement, smelled of lemon verbena laundry detergent, cigarette smoke, and sweat. Laying there in the jumble of blankets we had laid out on the floor for the sleepover, I listened absently to the rhythmic ticking of the large grandfather clock looming above us. The hour hand had just passed 2:00 AM and though I was desperately tired, I was kept awake by my thoughts, which were racing through my mind like horses that had escaped from their stable. I couldn’t stop thinking about something Lana had mentioned to me earlier that day.
    We had been taking a break from collaging to eat some lunch and check social media. Amid a mouthful of Cool Ranch Doritos, Lana said,”You know, I really hate those posts from people that are just pushing to be aesthetic so hard.”
    I was familiar with those type of social media posts, in fact, most people our age were. Sunflowers and Vincent van Gogh paintings. Cigarettes and pale legs donned with fishnets. The photographs of roses, books, and coffee rendered impossibly beautiful by editing apps. The ones that try to inspire a mood or “aesthetic appreciation” oriented around different themes.
    Honestly, I was a little taken aback by her assertion; I had always known Lana to be one of the most aesthetically pleasing people I knew; from her sense of style to her artistic sensibilities to her immaculate Instagram feed, I would have pegged her to be a person who made those posts rather than condemned them. And frankly, I really loved those kinds of aesthetic pictures. Often, when they graced my feed, I’d even take the time to stop and look at each photo individually, taking screenshots of my favorites for later use in collages.
    I cared deeply about what Lana thought of me and didn’t want her to think I was just some stereotypical teen girl who likes things purely for the aesthetic value, so I just settled with uttering a terse,”Yeah.”
    There was a pause between us as I debated whether or not it was worth my reputation to say more.
    “I mean I love beauty, obviously,” she said, putting down her phone to carefully balance a pile of salsa on her Dorito,” but I think that aesthetic and beauty are different things. An aesthetic isn’t really real, you know? Beauty is real life. I think that relying so heavily on aesthetic makes people discontented with the real world and blind to real beauty when they see it.”
    I nodded glibly, reaching for another chip. I didn’t dare disagree.
    Now, as Lana lay snoring beside me, I thought about what she had said. I mean she had a point. Idealizing things that aren’t necessarily real can lead to unhappiness sometimes. I thought about a study I had read recently that said men who watched porn tended to be less content with sex with their partners. I also thought about the Joyce Carol Oates essay Against Nature that cautioned against romanticizing Nature because it paints an incomplete picture of what nature is. “Nature is more than a mouth–it’s a dazzling variety of mouths,” the essay had pointed out. Lana’s claim had postulated the same thing.
    I struggled to conflate these ideas with my own experience, however. Aesthetic appreciation didn’t make me feel discontented with the real world, quite the opposite, actually. For me, aesthetic appreciation had offered me a kind of escape, allowing me to be able to tolerate the real world. It was a way for me to find hope when my own life had so often been painful and devoid of the beauty I so desperately craved.
    Much of my life I had been raised by my mom; my dad wasn’t involved in my life at all until much later. My stepdad was the closest thing I had to a father growing up, and I embraced him like he had been my dad all along. When I was in the fourth grade, he went to the store, bought a gun, and shot himself in the head in his and my mom’s bedroom. We were left with piles of debt from maxed out credit cards and loans that my mom had no idea her name had been signed to. She had to file bankruptcy, and we could no longer afford to live in our house. After that, my mom, baby sister, and I left everything and everyone in Arizona and moved to Utah where my mom hoped we could get some support from her family. We lived below the poverty line in a tiny apartment with no car or phone. My mom was suffering from chronic depression and other issues like Multiple Sclerosis, Fibromyalgia, and a slipped disk in her spine. The state refused to give her health insurance to cover any of her expenses. My sister had severe behavioral issues in conjunction with her PTSD. Sometimes there wasn’t enough money to supply us all with our most basic needs, so things like Christmas would go by unacknowledged. My memory still has large gaps in it where the most traumatic experiences live. I had to become the adult in my family at a young age to keep us afloat, and it would be a long time before we would have enough money to live comfortably and get the help we all needed.
    Things were pretty dark for me for a long time, but there were ways of escape. In the face of a world that was scary and cruel, I was comforted by “aesthetic” posts on Tumblr that romanticized sadness. Looking at impressionistic paintings purely for the aesthetic value of them, I could escape to a life where things were better. With pictures of city lights on the school computers, I could fill my darkness with beauty. I found solace in the escape that aesthetic appreciation gave me.
    As I grew up and things improved for my family, I found that there were still some remnants of the little girl who just wanted her life to be beautiful left in me. I’d catch myself dwelling in fantasies. I’d get caught trying to hold on to certain feelings and moods which I felt most reflected who I was. I wanted my life to be a work of art, and as I’d gotten older, I found that part of my core identity rested in achieving something beautiful despite the loneliness, suffering, and despair that I so often felt, at least that was my hope and my fantasy.
    Even up until that very moment laying on blankets in Lana’s basement, deep down, I knew I was still someone who enjoyed being enchanted by the illusion of perfection. Living in America, in my life, for better or for worse made me into a Romantic, I realized. I was constantly in love with the idea of things sometimes even more than the thing itself. I loved Jazz music, but I loved the idea of jazz music even more. I loved bath bombs, but I loved the idea of bath bombs even more. I loved bookstores, but I loved the idea of bookstores even more. I think that’s why aesthetic appreciation was so appealing to me; because aesthetic photographs and posts were more about the emotional connotation you get, than the actual physical manifestation of it.
    This wasn’t to say that Lana’s way of seeing beauty was wrong. In fact, I found myself envying her life that allowed her to look at life and see beauty. I wished I could be like her. Instead, my life had necessitated that I find beauty in fantasy rather than my reality.
    I sighed heavily and rolled over. I watched the peace in Lana’s sleeping countenance for a while, and before long, I too drifted off into a peaceful sleep.


  36. American Experience Narrative
    My American Experience maybe very similar or very different from many other peoples, maybe very similar because we are of the same race, similar surroundings, etc, but it can be very different because of where we were born, or how much money our families have. Sometimes since people have more money, they have more power or authority than others, due to this, they sometimes discriminate and try to use their power to get rid of any other people of different race that are not in the same economic level as they are. Due to white people having a reputation for having the most control in the US people of lower wages or races are scared to do anything against rich white people. I can somewhat relate this to Bigger from Native Son, since he is in a home full of rich white people he is scared to do anything because he thinks that they will blame him for something, so he does everything with caution. Bigger also faces discrimination in Native Son, he is accused of raping two women when in reality he only rapes one, but since he in African American they automatically assume that he is raping every woman in the house. I can relate to Bigger because I have been discriminated in the past due to my ethnicity, I was blamed on stealing a box of cookies when in reality another white boy that was in the store with me was the actual perpetrator, they had ZERO evidence that I was stealing but kept on blaming me while the white boy that stole the cookies left with no worries and with free cookies. Many of the people that can relate to me can say that people of other races have discriminated, but I want people to realize that not everything said on social media or anywhere defines an entire race, and the same goes not just for Latinos but for every race in the world. Going back to Bigger being cautious with all his actions, illegal immigrants also have to be careful with any move and have to avoid any problems that they can just like bigger did toward the end of the book, they have to avoid any type of authority, they have to basically be on the run at all times, in fear of leaving their jobs, children, homes, or anything of value that they have worked so hard to get. Due to Bigger being so afraid of being around white people, he always has to be on the run, in fear of going to jail and being blamed for something he didn’t do. We should all notice that just because a person has more money they have more authority, and actually pay attention to people’s stories without assuming or adding to the story because of their ethnicity.


  37. A mind
    Sara McCorristin

    When I was nine when I got stuck in my head my mind when blank the vision turned black for a second and the sound stopped for minute then I was scared of death but now how can I face life

    I hate my reflection because it shows the truth but i love my shadow because it shows me lies
    Why is that?
    Now I’m awake I see more things i don’t wish to see.
    When I sleep I see blank there is nothing and when I do…
    It’s funny how much one sentence can change your perspective on life at the age of nine
    Its funny that being so scared of death that she can’t do it but she can’t stand life the only way out was pain
    Its sad that she can’t understand why they willing fell?
    But one day I looked up and tried to chat with life she tried and tried and tried and she keeped up
    She was still scared there was still the blank space in her mind
    She is not fixed she is scared of help she acts happy but she is shy there is only few that see her but one new here before those words were said.
    Now she is older.
    She looks at the other in the room but something is new
    She is talking but not saying she is seeing but is not there the colors are darker
    There is a screen she see a TV screen she is with you in body but not mind
    She doesn’t see you but she wants to.
    Help make it stop i want to see you why why can’t I why is there
    Why am i stuck in my mind
    Who can understand I’m scared of help
    Years later it still happens but its not bad but it still happens
    She now daydreams of impossible scene the TV is off she can see and is now here
    She learns weird things that are not passed on in the classroom
    She finds people weird they always say things some don’t see things others judge but don’t understand know and they are all in a rush
    Her mind is static this has been going left and right up and down
    Down is up and up is down left is right and right is left it’s all broken logic
    But don’t you see this mind is stuck she can’t stand the silence the stack builds it gets loud then there is no ground where do I stand?
    Life is a big mystery if you can understand this then what happened to you
    Is this the brake of insanity
    Don’t you see you are lost and if not then welcome to what I think in my mind
    Don’t get lost
    I wish for the impossible what do you think if this world had super heroes?
    What made the comic creators think up superheroes what made them think
    Are there heros here
    Hope you see the world and say hi to life.


  38. Church and Social Structures
    My earliest memories that are in any way related to religion are not very pleasant. I have lived in utah my whole life and most of my early memories involving religion are not very pleasant, at this point I wasn’t in a specific church. Even from a young age I knew that separation of church and state wasn’t entirely true, especially in utah. It was very confusing and sometimes scary growing up in positions of ridicule because i’m not part of a majority religion in utah.
    When I was in around third grade I had an experience I remember very well to this day. We were learning about the simple basic things in science that elementary student usually learn about until we got to the subject of the big bang, the teacher literally stood there and told us all that it was not true, she said that “even though we know it’s not true, I am still required to talk about it, because some people might believe in it”, I still don’t believe she actually taught it, it more seemed like she just tore it apart and got other kids in on it too. In fact I learned much more about it later, but it was something I was supposed to learn in school, not have to look into it on my own as a little kid, and I was deprived of that kind of learning a few times because teachers took the initiative of forcing religion on students. With all of this there was nothing I could have really done. At the time I didn’t think it was right to go to my parents about it for some reason, and looking back, even if my mom got involved, nothing would’ve changed. The school was not presented as a school under a specific religion, it was an open charter school “to challenge young kids to learn more”, but most administration was the same religion as the teacher, and from other stories i’ve heard from my mother, would have never seen a problem with what the teacher did.
    As I continued to grow up I realized more and more the situation I was in. I experience much more ridicule and many people trying to convert me. For a while I learned that I should just avoid all conversations about religion, keep my mouth shut and give as little answer as possible, many people just assumed I wasn’t outside the majority. That lasted until eighth grade where I decided I wanted to wear a certain style that I guess isn’t held in a high regard in the religion most times, junior high was already a time of ridicule for me, but being outside of what’s “correct” made it harder. Also at that point id found a church that suited me that im sure ive written about before. My community has been trash talked by other people once I told them about it, and im told for a while it was rumored it was a satanic cult.
    To this day I have to read the situation and decide what I can say to not get torn apart by people, including much caution in talking about my sexuality. And even being cautious isn’t enough as I still have experienced attacks and major judgement in situations I thought were safe.


  39. Hailey Emery
    Whitney Sorenson
    American Experience
    29 May 2018
    Being a Young Girl In America
    America isn’t the best place to be if you aren’t a white male — extra points if you aren’t an upper-class white male. But of course, there are very few other places that you would be able to find this level of equality (which isn’t all that equal), so it ends up being one of the only places possible to at least get a chance at a decent or semi-decent life. Our government and local officers and police still play a huge role in allowing racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and other horrible judgments like that to occur. The government will defend its people of authority and try to cover up any explicitly racist or otherwise bigoted ideals that the powerful figures might let show. Our government is corrupt and there are fewer people in office trying to change that then there should be, like Bernie Sanders and Ruth Ginsberg.

    But I don’t experience most of these inequalities explicitly, and I’m grateful for that. I want to help everyone being affected by the primarily old white conservative men and their sons with confederate flags on their trucks. One equality that I’m most exposed to and “experienced” in is sexism. I’m Bisexual, but in a straight relationship so no one attacks me with homophobia, and I’m white so no “problems” there. I’m a low middle-class household so I experience some financial issues relating to the lack of care the government has for it’s struggling people, but the only true inequality I’m directly apart of is being female.

    The fact that I’ve been getting cat-called since I was 11 years old shows how women (and prepubescent girls!) are respected in this country. The fact that — according to the Department of Justice — 1 in 6 women will be the victim of attempted or completed rape by the time they turn 25 shows how women and young girls are treated in this country. For these victims, we don’t even provide enough, let alone any support! Often this country ends up proving to be hurting the victims more than helping them. This is shown through the fact that even though only (nearly) 31% of rapes will even be reported and, out of those 310/1000 rapes that end up reported, only 6 of those rapists will end up incarcerated (via the Department of Justice).

    I can’t trust to be walking at night or late afternoon without anyone, specifically a strong older woman or a strong male. I’m not allowed to ride the bus after dark, even before the story of the 15 year old girl who got raped by the bus driver, because no one was on bus expect the two of them, came to my attention. I didn’t even see if that was a real story because I’m so used to these kinds of things happening in America that it isn’t at all far-fetched. I get on the UTA bus outside of the school, and I have my backpack so I am clearly a high school student — a minor. There is still always this 40 something year old man that doesn’t seem to mind his pedophilic interests in my ass, even when I am in baggy pants, and he isn’t ashamed of people seeing him do this. Every. Single. Day. He always gets off on just the stop before mine, but every single day I still have anxiety over the idea that, maybe today, he will wait to follow me out when there won’t be anyone to help me defend myself against his crude comments or worse.

    I can’t even begin to imagine how actual victims of assault and rape feel about the justice system and stigma around rape being the victims fault. I hope I never have to.

    A “bonus”fact, (but a very bad bonus you don’t want): Every 98 seconds, someone in America is sexually assaulted (Again from the Department of Justice).

    Works Cited
    RAINN. “Victims of Sexual Violence” Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse | RAINN, http://www.rainn.org/statistics/victims-sexual-violence


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