Disagree/Agree statements – Group Discussion

If you are making fun of your own race it can still be qualified as racism. In my opinion it all depends on your intent and who your audience is when you make a comment about your own race. Most comedians make jokes about their race and we cut them slack because what they are saying could be funny or relatable. Much of what we find funny in ethnic humor is not the cruel and false stereotypes, but the stereotypes that carry with them some measure of ‘revealed truth”. There is no right or wrong or agree or disagree with this statement because you will get a different answer from everyone you ask. For me personally, this question is not black and white. There are many instances and situations that cross the line of offensive racism but also stay behind the line. For example, Sebastian Maniscalco is an Italian comedian who makes jokes about his Italian family in comparison to other stereotype American families. He is funny and the audience relates to him, but he is very conscious of the racism line he stays behind to make his jokes comfortable for his audience. An example of how making fun of your own race could possibly offend someone else is saying “all white people are stupid and ugly.” Someone could be offended and counter that (even if it was a joke) or someone could just laugh along and say “true.” To summarize my thinking, I do not disagree or agree with this statement because it all depends on who your audience is and if the intent in your comment is to harm someone or to just be funny.



Bloody Footprints

The pounding splashes of my bare feet in the pavement echoed through the streets, rebounding off the walls like boomerangs. I stopped at the highway; it was as empty as I had ever seen it. I ran across the barren street, my legs aching and throbbing with every motion, feet stomping through the puddles as if they were crunchy leaves in fall. My feet were bleeding from running through the dark city with no shoes on and I could no longer feel anything below my ankles. I did not turn around for a second when I heard the screams again, sharp and penetrating, from behind me. I paused under the dim, eerie rays of a street lamp to catch my breath even though I knew it would be a bad idea. The city before me seemed as if it were asleep, but I knew it was suffering through a nightmare. I wiped the tears, blood, and sweat that had formed on my face, becoming indistinguishable from the salty raindrops. I had to keep running, but where? All around me were buildings and walls and dead ends. I did not know where to go; did they plan this? I laid my hands on the wall in front of me, the bricks cold under my palms. I wished life would just pause so I could collect my thoughts. I tried to listen for them but all I could hear were the faint flickering of fluorescent lights in the buildings around me and hum of cars on the highway.

I had to keep going. Where…

I froze. Every cell in my body seemed to solidify as if I were stone. I felt something hot on my rain-wet neck. A breath. I did not have time to turn around. I did not want to see. I felt the grimy hands grip my neck and jaw with the strength of a bodybuilder. My screams and cries drowned out as the hands took a firm hold on my head, seeming to crush my bones and stop my heart in one fluid motion. The lifeless body flopped to the ground like a bag of rice, eyes rolling slowly to the back of the head. Cold hands gripped the ankle and crudely dragged it away across the rough gravel sidewalk.

The figures disappeared into the fog.


Eminent Introduction – Jane Goodall


“If we kill off the wild, we are killing off a part of our souls.”

Jane Goodall is one of the most influential women in the world of science. With little prior knowledge, a notebook and a huge passion for animals, she set out into the rainforest of Gombe to study the world of chimpanzees. Goodall had no prior college or university education and worked as an assistant editor in a film studio until she had enough money for her first trip to Africa. She contributed the most revolutionary and impactful studies in the field of primatology; work that would forever change the way the world viewed our closest animal relatives.

Some of these groundbreaking discoveries include information on how chimpanzees use tools, how they form bonds and act within a family, controlling territories, and how they are ranked within a group (alpha male, infants, females). Most of Goodall’s research was expressed through many books she authored, as well as organizations she founded later in her career. Her contributions to primatology were important because, before her, very little was known about not only the basics of a chimpanzee’s life but how their brains work and how they are similar to us.


Goodall had many prominent wants and fears throughout her life and time in Gombe. Many of them, on both ends of the spectrum, included her son. Grublin was born in London but raised in Gombe with his mother and father (Goodall’s husband) until the school age of 6. Goodall was very worried about how he would take the transition from Gombe back to London and wanted him to be happy and safe. Overall, she wanted to give her son and her husband a good life while balancing her studies in Gombe. I would say her largest want throughout her whole life is to be around animals and within nature, forming bonds and expanding her knowledge. Ever since she was young, Goodall loved the wild and wanted to be in the forest. At many points in her life, Goodall feared not doing well in her research and had to work hard to stay motivated through the pitfalls. There were times when she wasn’t getting anywhere, when she wasn’t progressing fast enough or when the chimpanzees were taking a long time to form bonds. At times like this, she also feared to lose all her progress and having to restart what she had done to develop friendly relationships with different chimps in the family.


Her patience and motivation were taken to its limits at certain periods of time when she was studying in Gombe. Having Grublin proved to be a large obstacle for her studying, although she did put staying in Gombe over moving back to London with her son for schooling. One of her obstacles in Gombe while studying was a sickness and war outbreak between the chimps. They grew dangerously ill very fast and many died from the virus. This provoked hostility between the animals, revealing a new side of truculent, aggressive turmoil. Thankfully Goodall and her team were not affected by the sickness, although new rules were implanted for touching and exposure to the animals.  A few ways she was able to get through these difficulties was remaining positive, driven and aspirant. She was a very goal-oriented person and this kept her in-check, focused and patient. This is the main thing that draws me to Goodall in comparison to other people. She had to battle through the challenging gender norms and lack of post-secondary education to earn opportunities for studying and travel. I also love and share her compassion for animals and a desire to help them. The main thing that draws me to this person is what she has done for the world of primatology. We don’t always realize how much one person can affect one area of science so greatly, and I think Jane Goodall is a good example of this.


As learners, Goodall and I share our drive to complete goals despite how grueling or challenging they may be, in pursuit of our passions and research. We are both very independent and often put our learning in front of other priorities in life such as social connections. I know many of the choices I have made in my life academic wise have broken relationships with people, to open up opportunities for a better or more enriched learning environment. An example of this in Goodall’s life is when she left everyone she knew in London to go to Gombe. Although she did travel with her mother at first, all her friends were still in Europe and she made new connections with the people in Gombe (and the chimpanzees of course). We also share intelligence and strive to help (animals more than people in most cases), being raised upon good morals and taught to respect and care for animals. Goodall is a good example of how positive and rewarding one’s long-term goals can be but also what one needs to go through to get there.

My main goals in TALONS are staying focused, successful, motivated and engaged in what I am doing. I do not want to lose interest in any of my studies but stay passionate and enthusiastic, despite where my talents lie in each academic area. In my opinion Goodall exemplified each of these characteristics while she was in Gombe, however, she did not have to try as hard to stay engaged because she was happily immersed in everything she was doing. Nonetheless, she strived to be and stay successful, motivated and focused in and out of her direct research field. Inevitably throughout her career and life, Goodall encountered barriers. Most of these barriers I cannot relate with because I was not exposed to a chimp plague, for example, or haven’t had a son I was separated from because of schooling and studying. However, Goodall did face many stereotypical challenges when the opportunity for her to go to Gombe first arose; the largest being people thought she was under classified because she was a female, for one, and she had no science degrees of any kind. It was unknown and against the norms for a young woman purely driven by passion and desire to study alone in a rainforest with little prior information on the topic, and it was clear to Goodall before she went to Gombe that many people doubted her. She was determined to stay focused on the chimpanzees and was good at putting people’s negative opinions behind her. I will address this in my speech by making connections with her barriers; how they are similar to mine, how I feel like they weren’t talked enough about and how people in the present still go through similar experiences (battling norms and stereotypes). 


An obstacle I share with Goodall (along with gender) is how women are still underestimated and thought lower of than men in topics such as science. At the beginning of middle school, I wanted to be a doctor in a trauma or surgery room, but my teachers told me I should look at becoming a vet or even something in the arts (another topic I was passionate in at the time). Their reasoning was that it was a lot to take on as a job and become too stressful if I ever wanted to start a family while I was practicing medicine. However, they supported the same futures for the boys in my class for our career education subject. I pursued my love for anatomy and physiology and continued to work on many projects focusing around many areas (skeletal, nervous, etc) over those 3 years.


Jane Goodall is worth learning about on one’s own because of her impact on science and how much it helped us understand not only chimpanzee’s brains but ours as well. She learned and taught important life lessons while she was in the wilderness, gathered from the 50 years she spent alongside these amazing animals. She worked hard and didn’t let the stereotypes and hardships define her. She advocated strong, positive beliefs about respecting and finding the serenity, calmness, and messages nature teaches us that we don’t always notice. I chose Jane Goodall because of how much she revolutionized primatology and the idea of women in the field of science. She is one of the strongest, hardworking and patient role models I know and I aspire to be someone as respectful and motivated as she was when doing the things she loved to do. My takeaway wisdom and lessons from Goodall is that it’s okay to fail before you succeed and this is how you learn. Barriers are just challenges that can be overcome with a good mindset and positive outlook, and it is important to think of these fails as ways to learn how to make the outcome better for next time. Goodall taught me to go outside my comfort zone and make sacrifices for the things I love, and live by the phrase “your comfort zone is just a suggestion.” She showed me that whenever I am stressed to go out in nature and find peace within yourself. Nature is the best way to deal with things you encounter in your life that might seem difficult and challenging. I am thankful I chose Jane Goodall as my notable this year because I am learning so much about how to keep a steady mindset through spending time in nature.  

By Michaela Da Silva. Oct 12, 2018

Work Cited

The Observer (Jun 27, 2010). Jane Goodall: 50 years working with chimps. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/science/2010/jun/27/jane-goodall-chimps-africa-interview

T Gerber (Oct 2017). How Jane Goodall Changed What We Know About Chimps. National Geographic. Retrieved from https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2017/10/becoming-jane-goodall/

J Goodall (Mar 9, 2018). Dr. Jane Goodall on Sexism and Gender Equality. Time Magazine. Retrieved from  http://time.com/5192249/jane-goodall-sexism-gender-equality-documentary/

C John (Mar 13, 2018). Hugo Eric Louis van Larwick wiki: Jane Goodall’s son, age, father, documentary. What’s Trending. Retrieved from https://www.earnthenecklace.com/jane-goodall-son-hugo-eric-louis-van-lawick-wiki-father-age-documentary/

Jane. Dir: Brett Morgan. National Geographic Studios, 2017. Film. Retrieved from (Netflix) https://www.netflix.com/watch/80216161?trackId=13752289&tctx=0%2C0%2C44a956c77cfbc66c2c93d5d3a1ac07d48cc9352d%3Ae21c228b4837768c0ecc11be43d85a16660e155b%2C%2C







Paragraph #1 Novel Study Essay – Fierce Kingdom

Joan and her son Lincoln are leaving the zoo when they see dead bodies and a strange looking man near the exit. Joan, caught in a panicked trance, thinks nothing else than to run. She picks up her son, kicks off her shoes and bolts in the opposite direction from the gunman and the exit. Joan’s response to the dangerous man in the zoo is impressive because it shows she is able to think orderly to protect herself and her son. She is calm and perceptive when she talks to her son and tries her best to keep him at ease, saying things like “put your arms around me” and “close your eyes and disappear” (61). Joan is able to take a moment to breathe and find a hiding spot that she knew would be safe, despite never being in a position like that before. This is because of her strong and intelligent personality; she is able to think clearly with few distractions, negative outcomes or obstacles gnaw at her mind. Her biggest want was to keep her son safe and I feel as though she is going to do everything in her power to make that happen throughout the book. Joan is trying her best to lay low and be cautious, “working at it every time she speaks–making sure every word is calm, relaxed, and not some crazy woman about to tear her hair out and scream” (43).  The conflicts Joan is facing in this scene is between her and the shooter (person vs person), and possibly between her and her own mentality (person vs self). Joan’s mindset is a conflict because despite trying to stay positive, bleak results still cross her mind of what could happen to her and her son. This is the most prominent trait I share with Joan. We both try to stay positive but recognize when things can go wrong. I would have handled it the same way as Joan, though it would be harder for me because I lack her fast-acting maternal instincts. I admire how she is able to take a moment to think about her actions, and I hope I grow into someone who is able to do this too.


“Dad Is Dying” Blog Response Paragraph

                    The lie Sam tells in “Dad Is Dying” throws his family into a sticky and confusing situation but also brings many of the characters closer together. I believe this would not have happened if the lie was not told, because the neighbors and people of the community would not have a reason to come together. They are kind, considerate and sympathetic towards Morley and Dave (despite some tension that might have been created in the past). For example, Mary Turlington and Dave “[rubs] each other the wrong way since the moment they met” (152). They were portrayed as being unfriendly and heedful in each other’s presence. By the end of the story, Mary is getting along with Dave and Morley. The atmosphere is relaxed and happy; something that was rare between Mary and Dave prior to the barbeque. Additionally, the whole incident made Dave feel better about himself; at the beginning of the novel, he was described as feeling uncomfortable, listless, and more worried about his health. Through the course of the story, his acquaintances and neighbors routinely complimented him on his looks and demeanor, which helped pick up Dave’s self-esteem. He did not know they thought he was dying and took the compliments seriously, despite coming from people he didn’t always positively associate with. Without Sam’s lie, Dave’s calmed mentality would probably be replaced with the seasonal sadness he felt prior to the situation. To conclude, despite a lie that could have thrown the hapless family into horrible confusion, I believe it turned out for the better and produced more benefits than consequences.

Summer with Sam

Finding the fun in everything with one amazing room mate!

             Sam would be the best roommate because her main goal through the camp is to have fun! She recognizes the key to a stress-free summer is meant to be enjoyed with friends and strives to find fun and entertainment in everything she does. In her profile Sam touches on how she “is not wild”, but craves excitement throughout the camp. She is willing to bend the rules and wants to do so with a funny room mate who shares this quality. This relates to me because I am not 100% rule-strict either and look for adventure in many things I do.I believe it would be important to have a roommate who shares similar traits and interests such as this. Additionally, Sam appreciates being outside, which leads me to believe she deeply acknowledges nature and possibly partakes in other outdoor sports. Being around someone like this, who also values the importance of being outside, will open up a positive future as us growing as close friends. Sam and I would get along really well and she would be a very good roommate choice because of our interests and desire to make everything fun. Having similar qualities is an important aspect in making strong, affirmative bonds as well as making the best out of an experience!

Michaela Da Silva


Digital Footprint Assignment

  1. How might your digital footprint affect your future opportunities? Give at least two examples.

I feel as though I have left behind and am currently creating a positive digital footprint for myself. If an employer were to find my first instagram accounts they would see that I was an average kid who did not post anything inappropriate or out of the ordinary. Most of my social media accounts after middle school mainly include experiences I face / have faced (most of it has to do with sports, trips and vacations) and interactions with friends. My digital footprint stays with me and follows me throughout school and career changes.  It could affect me in a positive or negative way and be a dealbreaker for many applications. I believe my digital footprint is positive and do not think it will negatively impact me in any way in my future. 

  1. Describe at least three strategies that you can use to keep your digital footprint appropriate and safe.

Do not post anything that is illegal, inappropriate, unnecessary, unkind, harassment or bullying in any way. It can cause harm to yourself and others and contribute to a NEGATIVE digital foot print.

Do not follow or allow any one to follow you that you DO NOT know. Dangerous people are good at hiding behind a fake profile and luring / manipulating you into doing things. Once you are in something like this, it is hard to get out.

Being socially aware. Don’t post things you wouldn’t say to a person face-to-face. This is a really easy way to lose friends and develop a bad reputation.

  1. If you could go back in time, is there anything you would do differently online? Think of what type of advice you would pass on to your younger self or other students. How could you go about explaining it to them?

If I could go back in time I would probably start on social media later than I actually did. I started in about grade 5 along with many of my other friends and to be honest we didn’t really know what we were doing on it. I got the hang of it through late middle school and I now really enjoy it as a way to share and converse with friends. Other than that I feel as though I have kept my digital life (social media, games, messaging apps, etc) responsible and safe.

I would explain to younger kids that although their friends and others around them are rushing into social media (the main reason is because it makes them look popular and in-tune with other kids in the school) they don’t have to and it isn’t necessary. I would say that yes, it is a nice tool to post photos and expressions and converse with your friends but it is also dangerous. Do not get into anything you aren’t prepared for, or do not know anyone who can help you figure it out safely.