Category Archives

18 Articles

WLLN Draft/WLLN Draft

WLLN Draft

Posted by Samar Normand (she/her) on

Rabies Free Karachi

I’ve always been interested in telling stories through a camera’s lense. In 7th grade, I started to make short videos about my friends and their many talents, about my travels, and about social causes that were important to me. The most important learning experience I have had with film was in the summer of 2018, when I went to Karachi, Pakistan, the home of my mother and the place I was adopted. I went with the idea of creating a film about the katchi abadis (slums) and the problems that residents there face accessing fresh water. My aunt, who has a Phd in epidemiology, pointed out another big issue: rabies. Hundreds of cases of dog bites occur every day in Karachi, and many victims are children, bitten by stray dogs. The dog bites are often treated at home until it is too late after the victim develops signs of rabies, which includes hallucinations, excessive salivation and confusion. Most of these rabies cases end in death. My aunt suggested that I look into Rabies Free Karachi, a publicly funded initiative located out of the Indus Hospital. 

My journey began with meeting the Rabies Free Karachi (RFK) project leaders and learning about their work. The project had just started and focused on capturing stray dogs, vaccinating them for rabies, and neutering them. The team also had a public awareness arm teaching the community how to deal with rabies, and that culling dogs was not the right way to control the disease. The RFK staff invited me to visit Ibrahim Hyderi, a fishing village, which is the epicenter of rabies cases. 

 I decided to tell the story of RFK through the eyes of the field workers. During my interviews, the field workers, whose job was to capture stray dogs, spoke about what goes into the training, how they catch the stray dogs, the problems they faced, and the importance of spreading awareness of the project. Because of the work of RFK, in just 6 months, the number of mass dog vaccinations increased from 861 to 2,530, and more villagers were beginning to understand the significance and benefit of this project. 

Rabies is often called an “orphaned disease,” a common disease that is given little attention by researchers because it mostly affects those in developing countries. I realized how fortunate the people of Ibrahim Hyderi were to have RFK and how lucky I was to have the opportunity to document their work. The movie I made, supported by the studio of Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy Films, featured the amazing staff and vets of RFK and is posted on their website. 

During my filming, I encountered a young girl, around 5 years old, who had light brown eyes and a big smile, despite the poverty stricken conditions of her life. She reminded me of myself. I could have easily grown up in these conditions if I had not been abandoned at a hospital in Karachi at birth and adopted immediately by my Pakistani/ American family. 

The three weeks writing, filming, editing, and distributing the RFK-story made me realize how much I wanted to work with young children, expand their horizons and help develop their minds. At the same time, I want to learn more about myself and my world, explore my interests and sharpen my skills.

WLLN Draft/WLLN Draft

The effects of books

Posted by Shaoqin Li (He/him) on

we are living in a society that contains words and writing. People wrote down their experiences and knowledge in a book and pass it to the next generations to develop further. Therefore, reading and writing is a mandatory skill that we must obtain since it is the way to obtain knowledge. Unfortunately, I hated and suck at reading and writing since I was a kid. I could literally fall asleep when I read the Chinese book for more than five minutes because I could not understand what is the point of reading those “nonsense” kinds of stuff and it was hard for me to comprehend and enjoy the beauty of those writings. Hence my Chinese grade was always at the bottom of the class ranking. I thought I will stay in this position for my life until that day I met the book that would change my mindset to readings on the book affair. The book was called “Charlie IX”, a large adventure Chinese novel for children, it is pretty similar to the other book that was also very popular in our class at that time, called “A Case for You and the Tiger-Team”.

The 28th book in this series

But at that time, I was captivated by Charlie IX because we all know that children always have those imaginations about adventures. This book satisfied all my imagination because of its exciting and undulating storyline, exciting and slightly thrilling subject matter, imaginative writing, and exquisite illustrations. These elements captivated me。 I can still remember the first time I saw this book and was attracted by its exquisite cover and the abstract. The mood that was expressed by the cover and the abstract gave me a sense of mystery and the desire to open it to see what was inside the book.

After finishing reading the first chapter, I was totally shocked and addicted to this book. its descriptions and illustrations literally brought me into the book.

The illustration in the book

Furthermore, in which I think it is the key to this book is the puzzles in the book, there are different puzzles in each chapter, and the readers need to use the scanner provided by the book to solve each puzzle in order to move on next storyline. This creates interactions between readers and the book and I have to be focused on the details of the plot in order to solve the puzzles. Because I was so focused, I rarely spend my free time finishing this book and wanted to borrow other books in this series instead of playing games. During that year, I spend all my time finishing the entire series as the sixth member of the squad, experiencing different kinds of adventures, and getting familiar with each character in the book. And I benefited from the book so much besides having so much fun, first of all, my reading and writing skills were increasing at an incredible speed because I was able to understand the sentences in the Chinese book from all those practices and was capable to cite beautiful sentences in Charlie IX in my writing. But what was important was that I was finally interested in reading other readings. Also, my logic of thinking and the ability to capture details on different things are the results of solving these puzzles when I was little. Last, my personality was changed by the book, now I am in love with traveling, experiencing different views, and creating my own Charlie IX.

my random snapshot of the sunset in manhattan

Although the book now seemed to be a little silly when I bought a book from the series a couple of days ago. But without a doubt, the books gave me a wonderful childhood and their impact on me was unerasable.

WLLN Draft/WLLN Draft

WLLN Draft

Posted by Samea Ahmed (she/her) on

One of my earliest memories of literacy is when I first became interested in reading. I had previously enjoyed reading books from what I can remember, but they didn’t last long, such as the magisterium series, charlotte’s web, or wings of fire series. It was always an on-and-off kind of thing where I would lose interest for a more extended period of time than when I gained it, right after finishing a book. However, it all changed in sixth grade, when my class read Percy Jackson for the first time.

In elementary school we often did read-aloud as a class, where the kids would sit on the floor surrounding the teacher, a copy of the reading in each person’s hands, following along as the teacher or another student reads aloud. Just writing this gives me nostalgia. I don’t recall another time when I was as excited for a story as I was for this one. Unless you count Judy Blume’s Fudge tales, but honestly even that doesn’t compare.  Everything was heightened in these moments, my participation, eagerness, discussion, and imagination. So much so, that I used to read ahead, always opening my mouth to rant about it, putting those colorful sticky tabs all around it, and even staying up late at night.

To this day it probably still is one of my favorite books. Nothing had a hold on me like the Percy Jackson book, and later the series. I thought I reached the max capacity for this beloved series but then at the end, I find out were doing movie night and watching the Percy Jackson movie. We got all cozied up in our PJs with popcorn and drinks, screaming “it’s not done yet!” before the end credit scene. The joy I felt was indescribable, I wish I could feel that again. 

This summer, I had a summer camp counselor in training job, watching over this small class of kids, and I was assigned to go diving in a storage unit for books for them to read.  I found a whole stash of Percy Jackson books, and brought two back with me, praying one of the kids would be interested in reading even though they were around 8-10 years old, I tried my hardest to convince them every day. It didn’t work, but another teacher did pick it up to read just as I did. Every day when the silent reading time came around, I sat on a chair and re-read Percy Jackson by myself after so many years, finishing it by the time my summer job ended. I realized how much of it I forgot and went on again talking to the teachers and friends and family. Then proceeding to rewatch the movie again just so I could pull at the differences.

Reading Percy Jackson really opened a window for me, one that I never thought I would stay in. Onward from this moment, for the rest of the year and even in middle school I stayed on top of my game always making sure to up my reading level and discover new books I loved.  Books such as the Divergent series, shadow hunter series, hazelwood trilogy, etc. I grew a love for getting lost in these worlds I created in my head from all the books that I read.

“Reading Gives Us Someplace To Go When We Have To Stay Where We Are.”

Mason Cooley

It became something I enjoyed doing that really benefited me, and this time it was a long-lasting effect, even though I don’t always have the time now. But when I do I take advantage of it. 

Digital Receipt #5/WLLN Draft/Digital Receipt #5/WLLN Draft

WLLN Draft #1

Posted by John Suquinagua (He) on

Stories have interested me in the past but those were mainly from what I remember shows from tv like Spider man or Spongebob. Books I had mainly seen when I needed to but I would usually choose magic treehouse series of books because I did like the stories and adventures the characters get me. They were all interesting but I haven’t known them much other than being fun until 9th grade. During 9th grade, I had an English class which was okay during the beginning, however when we reach I think the middle and end of the year. We began to analyze more about stories like what they have and all of that which we did do at the start but it got interesting with learning one part of writing some stories. The part we learned during the middle was foreshadowing. Foreshadowing is when a hint to something that happens in the story in the future. This had me interested a lot when I heard about it and the reading I think we had and analyzed was the Veldt. In there it had some analyzing we had to do and one I remembered while writing this was the lions. In the end of the story the lions had eaten some people and was heading out to drink, this was possibly foreshadowed with how in the beginning it talked about lions eating and it heading to drink water, exactly what the lion had done at the end of the story. This was a spark of interest with things later on in the future furthering my interest, an example was a show they revealed in that class being Black Mirror. It led to me searching the show with how interesting the concept was and how much detail is placed into each episode which has its own story in them. They had introduced me to something else in stories which was symbolism. Symbolism is when there they show something that has a meaning behind it. An example could be using pink to represent love or red to represent something dangerous. These two aspects in stories had me look into more stories and enjoyed them a lot more. Some of these stories were Attack on Titan, Death Note, Xenoblade and possibly more that I can’t think of off the top of my head.

Digital Receipt #4/WLLN Draft/Digital Receipt #4/WLLN Draft

WLLN: Draft 1

Posted by Ashraf Alam on

Ashraf Alam

Prof. Rice-Evans


Freshmen Eng. Comp. 

WLLN: First Draft 

A recent troubling moment that I had: was when having to write a scientific paper for both AP Capstone and AP Research. Having written loads of scientific papers before that point (credit to my science research class), however, these two papers were different in the sense that the language used and the way we had to format the paper was something I had never seen or done. Also, we were the pioneering class to take this course; there was no reference to go off of, and the papers themselves counted for about 60% of our final grade (the other 30% being the presentation). The hardest thing I can remember was the formatting: we needed to write the paper in a way such that our reference articles (which had to be all scientific papers/articles/journals) “needed to talk to each other”; the style was something I had never seen or written, and to say I had trouble was an understatement.

The AP capstone paper, in particular, was troubling due to the use of different lenses and the incorporation of stakeholders we needed to write about for each referenced article we used. There were eight lenses, but we had to use three. In the beginning, finding reference articles was not complex; having a science research background helped a lot, but the formatting and writing were other issues: I could not “solve” so easily. It took over four-six versions of the paper (all proofread by my instructor and peers) for me to get something decent. The first struggle came when detailing the findings; I was incorrectly listing the work under the wrong lenses/trying to make the articles fit into lense that did not. Trying to connect lenses when they did not fit was not fun. Considering my paper, how the socioeconomic status of adults and its effects on their levels of happiness in rural China: viewed from the social, economic, and political lenses was not an easy task. What was harder was the last paragraph: we had to interconnect all three lenses to make them “talk to each other” (this also acted as our closing statement).

Continuing to the next year (AP research), we had another paper, but it was our study. We had to conduct either a human subject study or an experimental study, collect, analyze, and interpret data; this was what we were doing in our science research class, but this paper was more scrutinized and harshly graded. The AP research paper followed the same format as any basic science paper: the abstract, introduction, methods, results, data analysis, and conclusion. The only troubling part was that the reference articles (background research) had to build off each other. If the idea did not follow a logical direction, it was marked wrong, and we would not get those points. One article introduced an idea, the following article built on that idea, and so forth until we came to our study and how it was relevant to modern society or our bigger “question”/”topic” that we answered. I had some experience at this point: granted my experience from writing the AP Capstone paper.

Digital Receipt #4/WLLN Draft/Digital Receipt #4/WLLN Draft

WLLN Draft

Posted by Shahed Ahmed (He/Him) on

Coding. It has been the single most thing that has changed my life forever. I took my first ever coding class, Intro to Computer Science, with Mr. Segal. I had this teacher for geometry from the following year so I was a little excited about what he had in hold for us in this class. So when I say that this class, along with my teacher, has changed my life, I meant every single word of it.

I was always very fond of the technological field but I never knew what I particularly wanted to do with myself. But after writing down my first line of code,

System.out.println(“Hello World”);

I knew that this was going to be a defining moment in my life. I’m not saying that this class didn’t have its downsides because it definitely did. Coding was really challenging but even though it was frustrating at times, I loved doing it. I would often take projects home with me so I can find out what line of code prevented the whole thing from working. But after hours of continuously working, I managed my way around it. All my hard work paid off and I finally got a point where I was the one helping other students and peers out with their code.

I felt so inspired by my love of coding that I created a club at my school called the Game Design Club with my amazing teacher Mr. Segal where I introduced coding to those who never coded before. I got to share the same passion I had with coding with others and that made me feel accomplished. And after introducing this to others in the community, I began working on creating some games with code which became really next level coding. I thought my class projects were hard but creating games doesn’t even come close to this. But I’m glad I got the opportunity to find what I love to do at such a young age. I’m really thankful for my teacher for taking the time to help me get better at coding and for making such a big impact on my life.

Need help with the Commons? Visit our
help page
Send us a message
Skip to toolbar