Roof-Top Dog Dangers

In San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, walking down the street is pretty normal, except for the constant sound of barking from up above. If you paused your walking and looked up, you would see dogs upon the roofs of many houses. Families in Mexico put their dogs on the roof of their home, so the dog can become a sort of watch dog, and look out over the street. Many people think families do this because they actually don’t have much room in their homes, which in some cases, is true, but for most these dogs serve as a sort of warning or alarm system.

Why do people need warnings and alarms? Why don’t they use another method instead of their pets? Isn’t this unsafe? What if the dogs fall off the roof? These are all questions that I personally have for people who make their dogs watch over the streets up on the rooftop. I think that this isn’t safe, and these dogs have a great risk for being injured. When some dogs see people or “intruders”, they bark and run around like crazy, which means that they could accidentally slip off the roof or jump off. In conclusion, leaving your dog on the roof to watch over your home is very dangerous and isn’t something that should be done.




Life Advice from Food

Food is good.  I take advantage of every opportunity to try all types of food.  Although it sounds weird, this has taught me life lessons that many people don’t learn until much later.  I have learned about when to stay in my comfort zone, when to try new things, and lots of stereotypes that don’t apply to me.

I was practically raised on pasta, hot sauce, and tea, especially tea; those are my comfort foods.  For others, it may be mac and cheese, wonton soup, or samosas (all of which I also love).  But for me, I will return to a huge, steaming mug of tea as long as I have a heartbeat.  A few years ago, I decided that I was too centered around my tea and pasta, so I stopped eating them.  For about a month, I cut them out of my diet completely.  I concentrated on trying new foods, which is never a bad thing.  After a while, though, I realized that staying outside of my comfort zone for so long made me yearn more and more for the safety of what I knew & loved.  Comfort foods, I learned, make you feel at home, and everyone needs a home.

Food has given me adventure.  I have tried some pretty weird things in my lifetime, but I have loved most of them.  For example, oysters on the half-shell.  For those who don’t know what they are, they’re raw oysters, served nice and cold in half of the shell with optional cocktail sauce.  You pick up the shell and slide the slimy meat, topped with sauce, into your mouth, chew a little (chewing is also optional), and swallow.  When I got the opportunity to have some, I wanted to be able to say I had tried it, so I did.  And I LOVED it.  My mom tried to take a video of my first time tasting oysters on the half shell, except it became my first 6 times; I inhaled them faster than she could turn the camera off.  The next time my dad asked me to try something, I didn’t hesitate, and it was arguably the best seafood I have ever tasted.  Ever heard of ceviche?  It’s just raw seafood marinated in citrus juice and hot spices, but it is absolutely amazing.  A few days later, we went out for phở, and my dad got tripe in his.  I, not knowing what tripe is, wanted to try.  Stop reading for a minute and look up tripe.  Eating that was one of the worst food-related decisions of my life.  However, I am glad that I decided to try foods like that, because now I can say things like “Hey, I’ve eaten alligator” (it’s really good, and nothing like chicken).  Food inspires me to explore both the inside and outside of my comfort zone.

Food gets rid of stereotypes, at least for me.  I am a blond teenage girl, and I love Asian food.  I get a lot of weird looks when I go into Indian snack shops and order exactly what I want.  One time, I went into A Dong Supermarket with my (blond) dad, and we split up to divide and conquer.  When I went to pick up a treat for my sister, there were two middle-aged Chinese men stocking the shelves.  When they first saw me, I could see that they thought I was lost.  I nearly laughed out loud when I picked up the few items I needed and left with no problems; they looked absolutely astonished that a young white girl knows her way around an Asian supermarket.  Later, while my dad and I were deciding which soups to get, I saw one of the aforementioned employees with another of his friends.  As soon as he recognized me, he elbowed his comrade and jerked his head toward where I was standing.  I flushed and turned around; I was both embarrassed and angry that they would stereotype me so strongly.  Things like this happen every time we go to any Asian place, but my family never fails to laugh about it in the car, but we make sure to never judge people based on what they look like.

Clearly, the two best teachers in life are experience and food.  Since you can learn so much from eating, I challenge you to try at least one new food in the next week and post it on the Internet.  Encourage others to learn from food!


A Cancer Test That Only Costs Three Cents!


Have you ever experienced a loved one being diagnosed with cancer. If you have, it’s apparent that cancer is no easy battle. In this day and age, technology has enabled researchers to do more and more research on typical cancers (like breast cancer). But what about the more rare cancers, such as pancreatic cancer? Today, I’m here to inform you about Jack Andraka’s process of creating this breakthrough and the challenges he dealt with through this process.

After losing a family friend to pancreatic cancer, Jack started doing some research. From the start, he found out that 85% of pancreatic cancers are detected late (when there is a 2% chance of survival). He knew that he wanted this to change, but how? All great minds start somewhere, and Jack started out by pinpointing a protein (in the bloodstream) that is present in all pancreatic cancer cases and in the earliest stages. This protein is mesothelin. After having an epiphany in the middle of a high school biology class, he was on to something. Basically, he would “lace antibodies to [carbon] nanotubes so that they would react to mesothelin,” ( Now, this theory may seem confusing to the average middle schooler, but Jack states that, “it’s as easy as making chocolate chip cookies.”

In Jack’s seminar, he talked about a preexisting pancreatic cancer test, pointing out how costly such tests were (as high as $800) and that they often didn’t produce accurate results. Now the hard part is over… or is it? Finding a lab to conduct his research was a challenge for Jack. In fact, he wrote to 200 scientists to use their lab and got 199 rejections. John Hopkins University was willing to take him up on his idea, but not without asking him tons of questions. Nonetheless, he kept going and, in the end, produced a sensor for pancreatic cancer through hard work and minor improvements to his plan. This just goes to show how, no matter your age, anyone can achieve great things.

To me, Jack’s story is really inspirational. I guess, whenever you have an idea, you should never be afraid to pursue it. In Jack’s case, he received many rejections, but, in the end, produced a cancer detector that will change millions of people’s lives. The best part about his invention, to me, is how inexpensive it is. At a mere 3 cents, it’s incredibly affordable and has close to a 100% accuracy rate. Jack had spoken in a TED seminar a few months ago. Be sure to watch this video, as you can hear the full story behind Jack’s discovery. This just goes to show that innovation takes hard work but really pays off in the end. It just takes one idea.

~ Mehreen


Seeing The Good In So Many People

Kylie Edwards. Credit: Band Together 4 Kyle

My cousin Kylie is a 3 year old little girl.  She was recently diagnosed with Burkitts Lymphoma. On August 24th, there was a benefit held for Kylie at Paws Pet Resort and Spa in Cheshire. Our whole family was there to help out. There was a pasta dinner, live music, a raffle,  bouncy house, and a magician there to entertain guests. Many of the guests won great prizes from the raffle. Guests bought tickets to this event, and many people who could not attend, donated in the mail. About 250 people came to the fundraiser and about 16,000  dollars was raised in total at this event to help Kylie’s family with some of her medical expenses. Joe and Robin Whitright are the owners of Paws. They were very generous to let us have this fundraiser at the place where they work. They helped a lot with setting up, cleaning up, and planning for the fundraiser.

I think that having this fundraiser was a great way to raise money for Kylie, in a fun and entertaining way. Considering the amount of money that was made during this event, I would call it a success. Was Kylie’s family happy with the way the fundraiser went? Yes they were. Her whole family thought that many of the guests were entertained and had a great time at this event. Kylie’s family now has more money and support to pay for her medical expenses or anything else Kylie needs. For me, it was wonderful to see so many people help out someone they didn’t even know.

~Laura Thomas




Too Much Money?

Everyone wants to have a great, fun time at their favorite amusement park. But who wants to pay a lot of money to get in? Not me! On Sunday, June 9th everything will change for the The Walt Disney Company. They have decided to raise their prices in both  Disneyland (Anaheim, CA.) and Disney World (Orlando, Fla.) The Burbank-based company states that a single-day ticket for ages 10 or older for both parks will cost from $87-$92, meaning it increased 6%. Thats crazy! In Disney World the adult pass increased $6 per person, meaning they have to pay now $95 for one adult for the day. Then there’s barely a discount for the children. Only the kids under age ten could have a 6% discount, meaning their total is $89. As you can see, the costs for an average family would be extremely high.

In my opinion, I personally think that the their prices should be lower. I think they are extremely high for a park filled with a ton of people. Yes, there are many rides but also huge lines. You could wait in a line for an hour just to go on one ride. By the end of the day it could be a waste of money by only going on a few rides. Furthermore, the families that have 5 people in it, like I do, that go to Disney World would spend a ton. For me, I have my dad, my mom, my 17 year old sister, my 15 year old brother, and me. That means for five people it will cost $475 for one day! That doesn’t even include parking and all the food. I think thats crazy for people to pay that much for rides. There should be discounts, but no there isn’t. Overall, I think if they keep raising their prices then people can’t afford it and they will lose customers.

~Kaitlyn D’Andrea

Enough is Enough

Imagine yourself at ten o’clock at night. Most kids are sleeping, while others are doing homework. Many people believe it is the kids fault for being up so late. People say it is about time management. That is true. How our body is being treated at a young age is important but many people don’t fulfill the requirement of number of hours slept. What is unfair is the amount of homework they get. Each subject’s homework should be an overview of the class and not anything additional. Homework is designed to test kids learning and see if they were paying attention and understand. So I question how much homework is too much?

 Too much homework can affect kids sleep, family relationships, and can cause serious amounts of stress.  I agree that teachers do give an abnormal amount of homework. I am probably not the first to say that I don’t like homework, but there is really nothing you do about it. Homework can cause large amounts of stress because kids stress about their grades and homework is only half the question. Homework separates us from the real world. It deprives us of what is important in our life. Homework keeps kids and teens from daily exercise too. Instead getting an hour of exercise, instead they get 3-4 hours of homework, and by the time they finish it is too late out.

In my opinion I think that kids should be given no more than a total of 2 hours of homework. This may change or fluctuate between different grades. This is also important for kids and teens too. Time management is also key for success. This also depends on the kids and teens to see if they can balance their schedules  Therefor I believe the amount of homework that students receive should be reduced.

~Evan Sokolik