Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Untitled (6th grader Tamia Hill pays tribute to her mother)

Awakened by the sound of voices in the living room 
Walking in, rubbing my eyes,
Not knowing the burden soon to be placed on my heart
She looked at me as tears poured down her face
And told me in her calm, soothing grandmother voice 
"Last night we lost your mother" 
I hugged her 
Tears rushing down my face, 
That I will never forget 

Why me? 
Why must I deal with the burden of losing my Mom?
Why couldn't it have been a person no one likes?

Because 
It was just her time
God's garden looked a little bare  
He looked down at the pain and misery in her face and said
"Come, young flower, grow in my garden."

Angel in Disguise (by 6th grader Madia Harris)


You were so different
Not at all like anyone else
You never needed to be superficial
You were perfect all by yourself

I never told you this
I thought you didn't and never cared
I think we used this as an excuse
For us both being scared

Things back then were not great
But they were better than they are now
We slowly started to drift apart
I don't know why or how

All I can say is that I remember
I remember the times we used to have
We used to talk all day
But I remember how we used to laugh

I remember the first time you walked into the room
I remember the sparkle in your eyes
But the saddest thing I never knew
Was that you were my angel in disguise 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Exploding Moments! (Luke Mooring and Richard Hernandez, 8th graders)

NCVPS (NC Virtual Public School) Creative Writing students were asked to explode moments in the woods and on the stage. Note the sight, sound, smell, and touch images that make these moments POP!

The woods were mysterious. I cut the damp leaves out of my way and revealed a massive area, overrun with trees and plant life. Fog was enveloping me as I explored the strange area. I could hear eerie noises through the darkness behind me. These noises were indescribable, but sounded almost like growls. The sharp air was disrupted by a cool breeze that shook the bushes at my feet. My feet were getting wet as I walked through the grass that was gleaming in the still moonlight. I could taste the warm humid air as I was walking. Water casually dripped from the leaves above and found its way onto my body. I couldn't help but smell the earthy aroma. The scent of dirt and leaves filled my nostrils. I turned around and the fog was getting ever-more thick. I was slowly becoming lost.  

-Luke Mooring



The blinding lights covered my face as I walked onto the stage. When my eyes adjusted, I could see hundreds of dark faces and glowing eyes, all of them were on me. It was quiet, various people coughed awkwardly, trying to muffle the sound. My heart began to beat loudly in my chest, bu dum, bu dum, bu dum. The clopping - my foot steps filled the whole auditorium as I moved toward the center. I could smell the slightly burnt smell of the lights. Various perfumes wafted around the room, together smelling sickly sweet. The lights brightened, warming my skin. Cold beads of sweat slid down my face. A stale taste filled my mouth and it grew as I breathed out. I breathed in and a bit of salty sweat got in my mouth, causing my face to frown in disgust.  I looked out over the stage and saw the big drop. It would not be good if I fell.

-Richard Hernandez


The trees looked as if they were moving. Black branches swayed in the wind. As I looked out into the thicket, large black shapes loomed about me. Leaves rustled and I could hear loud sticks crack as I walked along the path. A bush to my side shook violently, the sharp noise making me jump. The air was still and the strong smell of pine sap filled the air. I could smell traces of the dirty city,  it's pungent smell making my nose crinkle. It grew so dark that I couldn't see. A cool breeze brushed my face and I stumbled along the path. My hand brushed against the hard, crumbly bark of a near by tree, bits of sticky sap glued leaves to my hand. I felt my way along, tree to tree. A hanging leaf entered my mouth, leaving a bitter taste. 

-Richard Hernandez

Monday, April 18, 2016

Poetry Slam Winners

(6th graders in Mrs. Elbert and Mrs. Radford's classes recently participated in a Poetry Slam. Students could either read a poem which they especially connected with or could write a poem of their own. These 6th graders shared their own poems and won!)


The 26 in loving memory of the 26 lives taken in the Sandy Hook School shooting

By Maura Edge


My heart hurts so much for the lives that are gone
We'll never see their bright smiles or hear their sweet songs
All that's left is grief and pain
Only the memories and pictures remain.
From now on we say, "Stop! No more."
Let all innocent lives go on as before
Twenty-six people, twenty-six lives
None of the twenty-six had a chance to survive.
We wish we could go back and make the pain go away
To make their lives come back and hopefully stay.
I hope we all learn from this lost twenty-six 
That all past mistakes can't always be fixed.



Bullying Doesn't Frighten Me

(a play on Maya Angelou's poem "Life Doesn't Frighten Me" by Adriana Romero)


Punching fists, 
Victim list, 
Bullying doesn't frighten me at all.
Big fights, 
Noisy lights,
Bullying doesn't frighten me at all.

Big and bad,
So mad,
They don't frighten me at all.
No school for me.
I stay at home, can't you see.
Bullying doesn't frighten me at all.

Waiting for the next chance, 
In the perfect punching stance.
Bullying here and there.
They don't care.
Afraid to go out,
They know my route.
They stop me on the street. 
I trip over their feet.
Bullying doesn't frighten at all.

Make me give them money.
As I cry my nose is runny.
Bullying doesn't frighten me at all.
Call me names, 
I fall for your games.
No, bullying doesn't frighten me at all.

Many talk about me.
I am so vulnerable don't you see.
Push me against the wall,
I call for help down the hall.
Bullying doesn't frighten me at all.

Please leave me be,
No more for me.
I scream 'til I am tired. 
You have me wired. 
It's only in school when it starts.

I go or tell,
I say farewell.
It is done. 
Now I can rest, and not run.

Bullying doesn't frighten me at all.
Not at all. 
Not at all. 
Bullying doesn't frighten me at all.



North Carolina Weather

by Colin Corbitt

A blizzard outside my door
Hopefully it won't happen anymore
Sunshine patting my face
You can invade my space
Rain hitting my garden flowers
I don't want another rain shower
That's the weather outside my door.

Wind blows trees down
Makes a tornado have a touchdown
Blowing in my hometown
Sleet falls hard on my roof
The ice pellets are the proof
That's the weather outside my door.

Hurricanes cause destruction everywhere
The tropical storm gave us a scare
Hail tears windshields off of cars
We can't get any luck from the stars
That's the weather outside my door.



DEADPOOL by Jesse Tugwell
(Deadpool is a Marvel comic character)

Roses are red
But Deadpool is too
And if you look at me
You don't see any blue
Except for my shoe
And I've been wondering
Where the swords are that were on my back?
Because when I had them
I was on the attack

Hold on, has it been 30 seconds already?
Well, if it hasn't I better keep steady
And by the way if you don't think my poem is cool
You have to remember
I'm Deadpool



Tough love -by Starr Benton

Jonathan loves Bailey
He gifts her on the daily
He didn't want to break her heart
So he shot her with a dart

He said sorry
She accepted his apology
She held his hand
They became the best of friends

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Thoughts on Today's Society (Ulyses Ortega-Espino, grade 8)

(Enrolled in the NCVPS Creative Writing Class, Ulyses wrote a poem giving his personal thoughts about today's society.)

What kind of society do we live in?   I’ll tell you …


We live in a society where it is more important 
to give a “like” and “share” to homeless people
than to give a helping hand,
and to ignore them when they come up to you
asking for spare change. 
Instead, you tell them you already gave them a “like,”’
so they end up confused because
they don’t know what that is.

We live in a society where it’s reasonable for
kids my age to have one night stands
or dating or kissing,
But unreasonable to give your
mother or father a simple kiss on the cheek or forehead.

We live in a society where in order for
a father to make his toddler happy, he
gives him an electronic.
WHAT HAPPENED to father and son time, 
mother and daughter time?

We live in a society where it is socially acceptable
to be a new gender, be “someone,” 
put implants and makeup on 
And then be praised as a god or goddess.
But it’s socially unacceptable to be just you
while acceptable to get judged being you.

I say, “Don’t judge me if you don’t know me.”

I’m THIRTEEN; want me to tell you
what happened to our society?
We’ve all been brainwashed by social media 
to the point that we need attention and approval.

What happened to school being a learning environment? 
It’s now a little hell place for us kids 
who don’t want to get caught up in negativity
don’t want to be judged for being ourselves,
who just want to pay attention,
to get somewhere in life,
those who have BIG goals and BIG dreams.

We see the teachers and staff 
and principals working hard everyday
to educate us to be better,
only to be criticized and bashed 
by those caught up in the mess of criticism

School is a war zone, we’re getting
SHOT with negativity and bad influences
while SURVIVORS try to cling to their teachers for help.

I want my education, Not your thoughts
I want to be me, Not somebody else
So please get out of my life, Society,
and leave me at PEACE!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Breaking Barriers (Essays by Meredith Beaman, Jeremy Dawson, Shaelyn Head, Matthew Kearney, Cheyenne Rios, and Tucker Williams)

*Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947, becoming the first African-American to play in the Major Leagues. Scholastic magazine offers an essay contest each year to commemorate this.  Students were invited to share personal stories of barriers they have faced and how they have used one or two of Robinson's 9 values to fight this barrier. Mrs. Patricia Riggs' 7th graders wrote, and six essays were selected for submission.


__________________________________________________

-MEREDITH BEAMAN

I walk into the sweat-filled room and the air is thick with chalk. It feels like I'm trying to climb an insanely high mountain but can't quite reach the top. Beginning with a fifteen-minute warmup, I follow with forty-minute event rotations. The different events (vault, uneven bars, balance beam, and floor) all push me in different ways. All aspects are incorporated into gymnastics whether it be dance, flexibility, balance, or strength. Every single day is a struggle with a barrier, which I chose at the age of four, nine years ago. My barrier is gymnastics.

Every day for three hours and forty-five minutes I push my body to do what is considered impossible for most people. The thrill of flipping through the air, while forgetting everything troubling, is what keeps me going, keeps me on my feet. Although my muscles ache and burn, I know that means change is happening and that is very satisfying.

If gymnastics were easy, everyone would do it, and that's what's great about being a gymnast. This is not an easy sport, but it shouldn't have to be. I want to be challenged, pushed to my maximum ability. If not, how will I know my capabilities? I need something that will knock me down just one good time to prove that I have the determination to get up and try again.

Gymnastics is a barrier because it consumes my entire life. It basically controls me and what I do. There never seems to be time for friends, family, and sometimes even church. Thinking of the free time it requires reminds me that I have the persistence to keep going. I remind myself of Jackie Robinson's story and his persistence, how he never quit throughout the hatred, discrimination, or hardships that came his way. Never giving up no matter how hard it was, Jackie Robinson became the first African-American baseball player in the major leagues. If Jackie Robinson achieved his goal, I can too.

While at gym, I think about being the best gymnast possible. Just as determination and persistence were vital qualities of Jackie Robinson, I too must be determined and persistent. It's important for me to keep working no matter how hard it is, how long it takes, or how tired I am. However, I have to recognize my physical limitation. I am currently having back problems, have a slightly pulled hamstring, and Osgood Schlatters knee pain. All of these physical limitations make me question my decision to continue with this sport. I have to know when my body has reached its maximum limit.

Although I may not continue with gymnastics, it will always be with me. It has influenced my responsibility and dedication for anything I do and has taught me to try my best even if failure is a possibility. Gymnastics has been a great experience, and I can personally say that it has changed my life for the better. 

________________________________________________

-JEREMY DAWSON


Sweat drips down my forehead. Everybody is watching me, waiting for me to say something. I struggle for words. This is what happens to me sometimes, especially when I am presenting to my class because I have a small speech impediment. I guess that is also the reason that I'm so shy. This is a barrier I have faced for as long as I can remember. But, it is a barrier I am working to overcome just like Jackie Robinson worked for years to overcome barriers. Jackie Robinson, the African-American baseball player who broke the color barrier, became the first black player in the all-white major leagues. 

Overcoming this barrier took a lot of courage. Some examples of his courage were shown when he walked out onto the field and everybody was jeering and throwing their trash at him. I couldn't imagine being the only black player on the field and everybody hates you. I know if someone intentionally threw a baseball at me and tried to hurt me, it would take a lot of courage for me to get back on the baseball field. This guy couldn't even sleep in the same hotel as his teammates or eat in the same restaurants simply because of the color of his skin. All of these injustices took a tremendous amount of courage for Jackie Robinson. It also took great determination. Once Jackie Robinson was on the team all of the racism did not just stop. He probably heard a racist comment about him every day while he was on the baseball team. Even after he retired from baseball he still fought for civil rights. For Jackie Robinson to not get tired of fighting for his and all of the other African-Americans' rights after all of those years is a great showing of determination.


Like Robinson, I have used courage and determination to try to overcome my barrier. Pretty much all of my friends do not know that I have a speech impediment. That shows you that it doesn't happen but once in a while because of my efforts. It sometimes happens when I am speaking so I quickly try to find a synonym for the word I want to say. Whenever I'm listening to songs I can say the words - no problem though - I think it's because I already have the lyrics memorized. So I always practice saying my part of a project and think before I speak. I practice a lot because I am determined to get it right. I think it takes courage as well to raise your hand to read when you don't know if you're going to stutter or not. I try to raise my hand every now and then to read. It also takes determination to still do my best while knowing I might not be able to present my presentation right.


Even though my barrier seemed to be a non-beneficial problem to me, it ended up teaching me to think before I speak and to always practice my presentations for school. Jackie Robinson's barrier was also beneficial because without it there would have been nothing for Jackie Robinson to overcome and there would be no African-American baseball players today. Without Jackie Robinson's barrier, people would have never seen his great courage and determination.


_______________________________________________

Complicated Friendships by SHALEYN HEAD


Did you ever think that your friends could be in your way? Well, they are for me and I am still working through it.  I have many friends, but not all of them get along with each other. For example, Molly (an alias) doesn’t get along with Susan (also an alias). Yet, I get confused because I am not sure what to do. For example, if I ever want to throw a party and invite all of my friends, it’s basically impossible. If I did invite everyone, there might be a fight between Molly and Susan, which would not be fun, which is the point of a party.


Many people think that it isn’t complicated to be separated with one friend and have the other not find out, but it is actually harder then it looks. Like if I ask Molly to come stay and we go out that day and happen to run into Susan. They try to put me in between which makes me an invisible wall. For example, one time I had a party and to avoid drama I didn't invite either one of them. Although I thought it was going to work, when my party of four arrived at Logan’s to have lunch, one of the friends I did not invite was at the restaurant too.Therefore, the four of us hid in the bathroom for a little while until Susan ordered her food. As we came out, Susan spotted my mom, and they were talking. To play it cool we came out of the bathroom separately, but before we came out, we made a plan that we would pretend that I and one friend were spending the night together and ran into my other two friends who were spending the night together also. Then it would look like we just happened to run into each other at the restaurant and so we decided we would eat together. Afterwards, we still stuck to pretending. When we finished eating, we even got into separate cars since one of my friend’s moms had decided to meet us there. So we drove back to my house in two vehicles to be able to get away without anymore lying involved. It was very complicated, just to have lunch.


So to be able to cope with my barrier I had to be able to be with one at a one time and the other at another time. Or even be away from both of them when I wanted to have fun with friends but didn't want any drama involved. They have not been able to become friends still, so I still have the barrier there, but I have found ways to cope with it. When I feel as if I am in a spot that I can't get out of, I always try to make an effort to find the best plan or solution to get out without being in the mix or getting caught up in any of the madness anyone has created. Even when situations feel impossible to get over, always try to do what some think can’t be accomplished. 


Jackie Robinson was an excellent example of this. He had qualities such as, courage, and determination. These qualities are some of the traits I have too. He had determination that he could change minds about the segregation of baseball teams, and life in general. I have determination in my barrier because I am determined that they will be friends at some point. His also had courage that went right along with his determination because he wanted everybody to be equal and believed that one day any race could play on the same team. Just like my courage helps support my determination because if I didn't believe that Molly and Susan could one day become friends, there would be no reason to be in the mix of it all or to keep trying to make things better. I have hope that one day we can all three be friends together.

________________________________________________

Overcoming Barriers by Finding New Challenges by MATTHEW KEARNEY


In 2005, I was busy at Discovery Land Daycare with my best friends, Evan and Luke, building tall towers with Lego building blocks. I accidentally stepped on a toy truck and fell. The teacher was shocked to see that there was lots of blood running from my mouth. I had accidentally bitten my tongue, but this was extreme. They called my parents and rushed me to the hospital. It was a few hours later before the bleeding stopped. It was then that the doctor diagnosed me with a bleeding disorder, Factor VII deficiency; this causes me to bleed more than a normal person. There is no cure so this is a barrier that I have to deal with through out my life. 


I also had another bad incident when I was at daycare again and I stepped on a sharp rock which also caused bad bleeding. It took about half a roll of paper towels before it stopped. Later, when I was 9, a third threatening incident occurred . It was at my cousin's party and I was outside playing basketball. I noticed that my nose was starting to bleed. I went and told my parents and that's when it really started to bleed. We waited for it to stop for like thirty minutes and it just would not stop. When I stepped outside I blew my nose and a huge blood clot came out. That made it worse. So we went to the emergency room and that took about ten to fifteen minutes.We went inside and waited until someone came to check it out. The doctors told us what to do next time this happened. This was a very big barrier for me because the doctor explained I couldn't do everything other kids could do. 


Jackie Robinson faced a barrier of a different kind. He faced the color barrier; I face a health barrier. For both of us to overcome our barriers, it took courage. Robinson did what he loves and did not let anyone stop him. This was kind of the same story for me. I was told I couldn't play football or join the branches of the military. Jackie Robinson was told he couldn't play on a white baseball team, but he worked hard and he learned to live with the hate and the racism, and even made the world a better place. He learned to ignore all of it and he kept going no matter what happened to him. Eventually, he became the first African American to play in the major leagues. Through courage he did what he was told he couldn't do. 


My story is a little different, but through courage I have found what I can do and I have worked to be the very best at what I can do. I have found that I am very good at baseball and that I am good with technology and playing video games. I spent part of my life playing video games and playing baseball because these are the things that I was and still am good at. Concentrating on what I could do was a way I could get over what I couldn't do.This was like a whole new world for me. My bleeding disorder has a percentage to tell where you're at, and the normal is 50%. I am at 47 % and that is an improvement. There are still things I can't do things which I wish I could.... But I don't let this stop me, and some days I even forget about my disorder. It doesn't bother me that much. 


My barrier is something that I will have to live with my entire life. Factor Vll will never be cured and it can never just disappear. It is something that has changed my life forever, but I don't let this bring me down or ever wish I didn't have it. It makes me who I am today, and that is a happy, successful 13 year old boy.

_____________________________________________

-CHEYENNE RIOS

Do you live every day of your life in pain? I do, I have scoliosis. This means that I'm pretty much...crooked. By the age of eight, I was having trouble with my back and my knees. One day soon after, my mom noticed a slight curve in my spine. We weren't sure what it was so she took me to a doctor who diagnosed scoliosis. Now that I'm older, I have more trouble with my back and knees. I have a lot of sharp pains that shoot through my spine. With my knees, it's just a dull pain that increases after a while. All I can do is deal with the pain, and occasionally take Ibuprophen, but sometimes it's hard. Well, it's really frustrating because I look around and see everyone else so happy and all I can think about is how there are things they do that I can't. Sometimes I have to wear a knee brace to prevent further injury. Pain is a barrier for me that I live with daily.

There are a few people, friends and family, that know about me having scoliosis. They tease me and joke about me having scoliosis, but they don't mean it in a mean way. Often their joking is what keeps my mind off the pain. Sometimes I make myself laugh. The only problem I have is that some people don't realize how much pain I'm in. They pick on me and it's just not fair. If they only knew what I was going through, but then again, I wouldn't want anyone else to go through all this pain. I just wish people would stop picking on me about my scoliosis.

I share a couple of values with Jackie Robinson, which are determination and persistence. Jackie Robinson faced discrimination every time he went out on the field (and basically everywhere he went) because many people didn't think a black man had the kind of courage a white man did. In the eyes of many, he was just the outsider and that was all he could be. No matter what the situation, Jackie Robinson proved everyone wrong. I, too, am determined and persistent. Every day, I get up and start a new day. I know that if I don't get up, that is pretty much giving up. I do not give up.If I did, I wouldn't get anywhere in life. Jackie Robinson has taught me that I can accomplish anything that I put my mind to. I remind myself that I have to keep going because one day I will make change. I will accomplish something extraordinary. Once I do, everyone who ever doubted me will see that I am capable of doing something to change the world.

My life isn't easy at all. In fact, every day is like having a weight tied to my back and knees. I know one day something will change my life and make it so much easier. The only problem is when. When will it get better? Will it come and I notice it right away or will it take time? I want a change right now, as soon as possible. I want to be normal and do the things that everyone else does. I feel like one of those people that should be in a freak show at the circus. Maybe I shouldn't want a change, because maybe my scoliosis is just what makes me who I am. 

One day everyone will see that you shouldn't make fun of people that are deformed. It's not fair and not right. 

______________________________________________

-TUCKER WILLIAMS

Some people think that vision isn't a very big deal compared to mental problems and missing limbs, but eyesight is a very big deal. I can see blurry objects from about ten feet away, but I can't read at all from afar. I am nearsighted.


My poor eyesight was diagnosed when I was about nine, and I had to wear glasses, and I hated glasses. It is so hard to keep a bunch of plastic shoved up right next to your eyelashes, and keep it stuck on your face at the same time. I am athletic... Or like sports and I have to try to keep them on while playing basketball. Do you know how hard it is to get under the goal with glasses on while a bunch of sweating gorillas are jumping up and down trying to get the ball? It is very difficult.


Then there is the problem of the glasses falling apart. So many times the screw fell out of my glasses and then there went the lens. The screw is so tiny that if you threw it in a kiddie pool, you would never find it again. While we are on the subject of being in water, I can't see at all in water (like anyone can). I can't wear my glasses because they would fall into my lake (it's next to my house), and I would never see them again (duh).


Before I got contacts two years ago, I wore glasses and it was really annoying because they stay dirty and I had to clean them constantly. Being careful was a necessity because I couldn't use just any rag, tissue, or paper towel because the rag would scratch them and the tissue/paper towel would leave residue on the lens.


When I first got contacts, it was like I had no problems with my vision at all, but my eyes felt like something was in them. Unfortunately, the two little jelly spheres have to be taken out every night and put back in every day, which takes about five minutes. If I forget to take the contacts out, then my eyes will feel very itchy and burn. In addition, they turn a weird color of red. Contacts also fall out while you're in the water, so summer is horrendous. It's also bad going to a friend's house to swim, and forgetting to take my contacts out. So I get a cup of water, put my contacts in the cup (which you're not supposed to do), hope I don't lose track of my right one and my left one. The two really matter because my eyes have different distance visual acuities.


Oddly enough, I can get my vision corrected and be able to see normally again. Unfortunately, this cannot happen until about the age of eighteen. It can be easily fixed by a laser surgery called lasik eye surgery. This involves a laser going into my eye and it is said to take ten minutes. The patient is awake during the entire process. My friend's mom had lasik done. She was nearsighted as well, but after the surgery her vision is 20/20. Still, that possibility is at least five years away.


In the meantime, I overcome my barrier by just taking my contacts in and out several times. It is really easy because I do it a lot. Overcoming my barrier makes me who I am. Eventually, I might get lasik (or not) but I do know that I will never forget my sight and what took the privilege of vision away from me for more than 18 years. I want my vision back now, even though I have contacts and they help me see. I still can't take the pain away from being partially blind. 


The similarity 'tweenst me and Jackie Robinson is that we both have Determination. Having glasses made me "weird" in places because this beautiful face doesn't look good in glasses. But I had to tough it out and go through the day without breaking out in tears because I needed to see. The determination needed to wear glasses is huge. Most people don't like glasses because it makes them not cool anymore, and I thought that too until I got some. 


Then came contacts. Having contacts is great because you can hardly see them if you are not looking for them. Still, I have to be determined in order to be able to take my contacts in and out really fast and figure out how to take care of them. If not, I could just throw them on my bathroom sink, where they would dry up and then when I put them in my eyes, I could think that the pain is temporary. With dried up contacts, my eyes would be really painful and I might go blind. The determination it takes matters because it is hard at first, but you have to keep going. Some days I had to leave my contacts in my bathroom while I went to school because I ran out of time putting them in. 


Determination is what kept me from losing it all. Because I had glasses and have contacts makes me different. People don't like different because it has the risk of making them unpopular. My eyesight makes me who I am; without it, I don't have a story for when I'm forty-eight. Whatever happens in the next twenty years, I will always remember my nearsightedness. It has taught me to adapt, that things in life don't always go my way. Having perfect vision is not just a privilege, but also a thing you have to cherish until it's gone.



Tuesday, November 10, 2015

GMOs - Pro or Con?

(When Ms. Elizabeth Hamm's 8th grade Exploring Agricultural Science class studied GMOs, students wrote from a pro or con approach.  Whom do you agree with after reading the arguments of Amber Lee and Taylor Dawson?)


Pro (Amber Lee)

I think GMO(genetically modified organism) production should be continued because it is very beneficial to farmers and consumers. Genetically modified organisms are organisms that have been genetically altered. The benefits of genetically modifying have too much potential for us to just stop producing them. Therefore, the potential and benefits of genetically modified foods and organisms outweigh the cons. From saving the papayas to making farmers lives easier, companies like Monsanto work to make genetically modified foods safe and beneficial for consumers.

There are many reasons why genetically modified foods are great for the future of farmers and consumers. Genetically modified organisms are tested for safety and allergen potential before they hit the market. Genetically modified organisms also rank among the most tested products in history. This helps consumers have 100% confidence in what they will be eating. Another reason genetically modified organisms are good is many biotech companies make the food more nutritious. Making food more nutritious is great for everyone to be healthier. Genetically modified organisms production also reduces the use of pesticides in crops. Reducing the use of pesticides makes the environment and the crops healthier. Since many genetically modified crops are altered to resist weeds and bugs, pesticides have almost become unnecessary. These new and improved products help us adapt to the always changing world.

In order to make sure these products are safe for the market, companies like Monsanto have to take many measures to ensure the safety of the products. For each potential product, extensive research and years of testing must take place. Companies like Monsanto also make sure the new genes do not change the safety of the crop. The science of genetically modifying organisms used by biotechnology companies is well established and supported by the scientific community. If scientists support it, it gives good reason to believe these products are safe.

History shows that genetically modified organisms can help farming industries that are struggling. In Hawaii, their papayas were getting infected with the papaya ring spot virus. This virus ruins the papayas and loses farmers money. The industry was in deep trouble until they genetically modified the papaya with a certain gene. This gene helped the crop become resistant to the virus. Without genetically modified organisms the Hawaii papaya industry would be no more. Another example of genetically modified organisms that have been used to help the public is golden rice. Golden rice is used to fight against vitamin A deficiency which can cause blindness in small children and pregnant women. Vitamin A deficiency is most likely in third world countries. Golden rice helps to prevent and sometimes cure the vision problems from vitamin A deficiencies. Both of these genetically modified organisms have made a positive impact on the world.

Based on the information above, I can say genetically modified organisms are good for the world. They have so many potential benefits that can be used to help the public. There are more pros to genetically modified organisms than cons. Since genetically modified organisms are tested extensively for safety, there is no reason to undermine all their work. As stated above you can see two examples of how genetically modified foods have helped many people. The biotechnology science used on the papayas and the golden rice show how this technique is the best option. Based on this, genetically modified organisms production should be continued throughout the world.


Con (Taylor Dawson)

 In our world we have huge harvests, pesticide resistant corn and many more things that make the foreseen future great. The ways in which we get there though, may hurt us more than they help us. The big buzz around the agriculture scene is "GMO's" (genetically modified organisms); they claim to have made us rich by producing a lot more food. From the looks of it, it looks awesome right? You will be highly mistaken. I believe that genetically modified organisms negatively affect us, and they need to be stopped.

 Big biotechnology companies like "Monsanto" or Novo Nordisk, have made the world better, or at least they claim to. "Monsanto" is an agriculture-based company, and it creates pesticide-resistant "this," insect-resistant "that" and many more things. Sadly, some of these things can affect the whole world in a huge negative way! One crop in particular, pesticide corn, is a pesticide producing corn. I think it's a cool concept except that it could make the monarch butterfly extinct! When the Monarchs migrate from hot to cold they feed on milkweed, a weed found near guess what, corn! Whenever the caterpillars eat the milkweed it kills them almost instantly, and there is no way to trace the spread of the pesticide, because wind fluctuates and the pollen can travel for a long time. If just a bite from a caterpillar on a weed near the pesticide corn can kill it instantly, then what could it do to us? Many reports have surfaced that ever since genetically modified organisms have hit the market, doctors have reported a rise of stomach problems, reproductive disorders and many mental illnesses. That doesn't sound too good. Doctors have said, "It is better to be protected before the unseen effects happen, before it's too late."  For example, Starlink was a GMO corn designed for breakfast. The bad thing about Starlink was it had a dangerous chemical called Cry9c which was very toxic. Cry9c is a pesticide that was in the Starlink to keep it from being touched by pests. But the bad thing was that if we ate it many people could have died, and no one knew the location of it or the spread of the Starlink until it hit the market. Many farmers mix the regular feed with the genetically modified feed. And the companies that produce corn-based products receive mixed batches of corn, so how can we trace it? We can't. Unless we have very strict restrictions on it, it would be a free flow to any food it wants to be in. That's why genetically modified organisms are untraceable and could have the possibility to be very bad for human consumption. Fortunately, the Starlink corn was recalled in fall of 2000, and the spread of the Starlink was astonishing! The Starlink was found in Taco Bell taco shells in the USA and in a number of items in Asia.

 Another reason to not support genetically modified organisms and biotechnology is that we have enough food to feed the world. Right now, as of this moment, we have about four pounds of food to give to each person in the world, every single day. The reason why the world is hungry is that the hungry countries are very poor, and they cannot afford to pay for the food. With the problem of world hunger, we do not need to make more food, we need to distribute more food. The stomach can hold about one liter and that translates to about two and a half to three pounds of food. The human body can survive every day with about one and a half to two pounds of food. We have almost double the amount of food we need to feed the hungry countries. So, with the help of the army or something, we can distribute the food to the countries and we can end world hunger. Companies like Monsanto (don't want to point fingers) say we need more food, which may be a necessity in the future, but it is not a rising threat. We can worry about feeding countries by distributing food. Then possibly if we get them a solid base, we can make a country better, and then they can produce more food to feed themselves; then it would be a domino effect. So if we distribute the food, we can help a few countries; then those countries will help a few more. Then there will be no world hunger. By spraying and producing crops with pesticide we are spending more money on resistant crops which some of these crops are not even needed, and some are harmful to us. By spending more and more money on crops, we are lowering our funds to distribute food to the countries that need it. Instead we're stuffing our stomachs and lining our pockets.

 Using genetically modified organisms and biotechnology we are producing super weeds. Super weeds are weeds that are resistant to the pesticides that are constantly being sprayed on them. With any foreign object in our bodies or plant bodies, our bodies produce antibodies. With these antibodies we kill and destroy the virus, eventually getting to the point, (if you catch it enough), to have immunity to the foreign object. The same goes for weeds; if they hang around the plants enough they can become immune to the pesticide. Then in order to kill the weeds we have to spray even stronger pesticides on the weeds to kill them; then the process repeats. These super weeds are the biggest con of biotechnology (in my opinion). These super weeds are going to kill our crops if we continue to make pesticide corn. So, what's the solution? Get the weeds out yourself. If we develop a machine to remove the weeds in the field, we can end this epidemic. So, there will fewer pesticides going around, and we would have to deal with the pests that feast on our corn and soybeans in a different way. Lets get creative! I am talking about super engineering here but there will be a day when the crops can grow in harmony without being soaked in pesticides.

 So using all of these reasons, we can put a stop to genetically modified organisms and biotechnology. GMOs are driving our country into a pit we cannot come out of. Big biotech is making us believe that we haven't produced enough food when we have a stockpile of food that can feed the whole world. In conclusion, I believe that genetically modified organisms and biotechnology negatively affect the world