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Fresh Voices

Best Tips for Dealing with Bullies

Hi! My name is Aidan Caffrey. I am 8 years old and a 3rd grader at Salem Elementary School. Believe it or not, I’ve been dealing with bullies for almost four years now! That’s what I’m going to talk about today. I am going to give you tips for how to overcome bullying. I learned some of these things the past few years and I feel a lot better now. Let’s get started!

1) Talk to a Teacher: Do you have a guidance counselor? If you are being bullied, they are the best person to talk to! A guidance counselor may help you in a way you never thought of. For example, in first grade, a classmate was bothering me non-stop and I finally met with my counselor, who gave me great advice and had a meeting with the two of us. Now that same bully is actually my friend. Also, if you don’t want to talk to your counselor, you can talk to a teacher as well. Sometimes, teachers act just like counselors.

2) The Shield and The Sponge: A sponge soaks up water. In the case of bullies, if you act like a sponge, you let rude comments get inside you. Instead, you have to be more like a shield. A shield blocks mean comments. Try to be like the superhero I came up with, Captain Comment-Blocker! He wears a metal suit that blocks a bully’s mean comments. You can pretend you are Captain Comment-Blocker by letting the bully’s words bounce off you.

3) Come Back with Comedy: Have you ever heard of a comedian? If you haven’t, it’s somebody that makes jokes and puns. If you’re getting bullied, you can be a “comedian” by talking back in a nice way. What I mean is you can respond to what the bully said in a funny way, or what I like to call a “pun-back.” For instance, when somebody calls me small, I respond with, “Well, nobody’s ever used a shrink gun on me!” Comedy is a funny way of helping you stand up for yourself.

4) Stand up to Grown Ups: Sometimes even adults, like teachers or babysitters, can be mean. A lot of people I know are too afraid to stand up to adults just because they are in charge of kids. But kids shouldn’t be afraid to stand up to adults as long as it’s in a respectful way. For example, if you’re drawing a picture in class and your teacher comes over and says “Wow, that’s really good” in a sarcastic way, you should respond with confidence and say, “Actually, I think my artwork is very good, thank you.” If this happens, don’t worry. Just stand up for yourself like I did.

5) Courage Crazy: Do you remember the lion from The Wizard of Oz? He wants courage, but he’s too scared of everything. If you are being bullied but you are too afraid to stand up for yourself, you don’t need a wizard to be courageous. Don’t listen to the bully. Stand up for yourself. One time, a bully said, “Move out of my way, small guy!” Instead of being a coward, I said, “Newsflash! I’m not a small guy,” and I wasn’t scared. Bravery is inside you.

So if you’re being bullied, try out my tips. I can almost guarantee they will help. It’s all up to you. Good luck!

Aidan

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Sofie’s Scoop: Orofino

Recently, my family has heard talk of a new Italian restaurant in the old Foode location on Caroline Street. Being Italian ourselves, and always looking for a good Italian place, we decided to give it a try one day while my grandparents were visiting.

The restaurant looked great. I loved the little alleyway into the building. It reminded me of the streets in Italy.

Orofino entrance

The staff was very friendly. They were excited to speak in Italian to my dad, who found out that most of them are related and that they are from Sicily. After looking at the menu, I found that the foods were categorized by which region of Italy they come from. We ordered fried calamari and caprese off the antipasti menu (appetizers). Caprese is sliced tomato and mozzarella with basil topped with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt. This is one of my favorite foods, so the bar was set high. Orofino rose to the occasion. The caprese was delicious, and so was the calamari. The calamari wasn’t soggy like it usually is at other restaurants, and it was very tender.

capreseCaprese

calamariCalamari

My grandma and I ordered the Orofino pasta, an ever-changing pasta with seasonal ingredients. That day, it was lobster ravioli in an orange cream sauce. The ravioli was amazing, but I was still hungry after I had cleaned my dish. My brother Jack ordered spaghetti carbonara, which is spaghetti in a white cream sauce with pancetta and parmesan Jack said his pasta was good, but his standards were set high for spaghetti carbonara since our parents make it from scratch at home. He said he would have liked it even more if they used bacon instead of pancetta.

lobster ravioliLobster ravioli

For dessert, Jack ordered hazelnut gelato. This wasn’t his first choice; he was originally going to get a cannoli, but they didn’t have any. Then, he asked about chocolate gelato, but the only flavor they had was hazelnut, so he settled for this. I ordered tiramisu, which is sponge cake with coffee, mascarpone, and cocoa. My aunt made this for me for my birthday in Italy when I turned nine, and I hadn’t had any that good until Orofino. It might have even been better than the one I had in Italy (sorry Zia Mary Lou!). The cake was light and creamy, and it tasted wonderful. Everyone in my family, including my grandparents, was jumping in to get a bite of my cake.

tiramisuTiramisu

My family and I loved Orofino. The staff was very friendly, the food was amazing, and we had a great time being there. We will definitely be back another time. It was truly a great experience, and it’s the place to try if you’re looking for a new place to eat.

Sofias family

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5 Reasons Why Special Needs Siblings are the Best

Schroeder kids

Aaahh, siblings. What a blessing, what a curse. We love them one second, we strongly dislike them the next (notice how I didn’t say hate because I’m a good person). They are the reason bipolar disorders exist. Today I would prefer to focus on how awesome my siblings are, because let’s face it, as much as we fight with them they are some of our strongest advocates. Sometimes.

I think a lot of people are scared to ask what it’s like having special needs siblings (I have two siblings, both of them have autism as well as every learning disorder ever created). For those who are scared to ask, I’m going to lay down some of the epic truths when it comes to special needs kids, and educate y’all!

5. THEY MAKE FOR AN INTERESTING HOUSEHOLD.

I have some stories I could tell you all. Little to nothing surprises me anymore because I have seen it all. And I’m only 15.

I remember coming home from grocery shopping with my mom and my sister; my dad was at work. We walk into the house to see all the lights off, blinds pulled down and curtains covering the windows. As we walk through the house, my brother emerges from the basement with full body armor. I’m talking heavy motorcycle jacket, snow pants, and a motorcycle helmet over his head as well holding a sword from his collection. Yes, you heard me right, my brother collects swords. To deal with the 95 degree heat in our house because our AC unit was broken, he was holding a Popsicle in the hand opposite to the one holding a 100 year old sword. My mother and I just stand in bewilderment with our jaws open, trying to comprehend. You wanna hear the explanation? It’s a hoot.

So here’s the thing, my brother thought the government had abducted my mother, sister, and me. So, to keep the bad guys from coming and kidnapping him as well, he thought the best thing to do was barricade the house zombie-apocalypse style, and stand guard with a sword, when in all reality the only damage my brother could do with that sword is give himself tetanus because that thing is rusty as all get-out. Honestly, this actually happened, I can’t make this stuff up.

4. THEY ARE FIERCELY PROTECTIVE.

You will never find someone more protective. Ever. There is no doubt in my mind that my siblings will forever be looking out for me. One time when I was in kindergarten, my siblings, my mother, and I went for a walk. I remembered that earlier that day I had left my hoodie at the school playground. We were already on our way home, so my mom told us to wait at a stop sign while she ran up to the school to grab my hoodie.

As my mom walks up to us, hoodie in hand, the following conversation takes place:

“How do I know that you are really my mom?”

“Tommy, it’s me, I went up to get Danielle’s jacket.”

“OK, well anyone could have told you that, I’m supposed to take care of Danielle and Katie.”

“Tommy, this is ridiculous, it’s me.”

“How do I know that?”

Yeah, it took a lot of convincing and a code word to get Tommy to follow us home.

3. THEY TRULY WANT TO KNOW HOW YOU ARE DOING.

I cannot talk about this one enough. You won’t find people more genuinely invested in how you feel. Anywhere. They know when you are feeling upset or down; you can’t hide anything from them. I swear, they can read minds. My sister asks me how I’m doing nearly every day. She asks me how everything is at church, how I’m doing at co-op, and just in general how I’m doing. It’s very touching and endearing, because with special needs siblings, you know it’s authentic. They have no poker faces.

2. THEY WILL ALWAYS LOOK UP TO YOU.

You are their role model, whether you like it or not, sweet cheeks. They will copy you, try out your hobbies and interests, repeat everything you say, try and hang out with you and your friends...the list goes on and on. I suppose this is a truth with most siblings, but it’s amplified when it involves special needs siblings. I could probably write a ten page paper on this very subject because it’s so true.

(My brother and I even got our learner’s permits on the same day...how’s that for copycat?!)

Danielle Tommy permits

1. THEY LOVE WITH A FEROCITY THAT IS BEYOND THEIR YEARS.

The love these beautiful humans have for us is grossly understated. While you can look up the definition of the word “love” in the dictionary, you will see many different explanations and interpretations, but there will not be one to describe the kind of love that my siblings have for me. They love with reckless abandon. They love without limits. They love us with such complexity that I’m convinced we will never even BEGIN to understand the how’s and why’s.

Don’t get me wrong, there have been times when I’ve asked God, “Are you for real? I have to deal with these hooligans for the rest of my life? You better give me an insurance plan that pays for mental hospital stays because I’m fairly certain that’s in my future.” But when my siblings ask for hugs at random, I know it’s because they love me, and want to feel my presence. When my sister asks me to play Minecraft with her, I know it’s because she’s trying to connect with me the best way she knows how. When my brother decides to give me an hour lecture about his interests and hobbies, it’s because he’s trying to share one of the pieces of his life that he loves best. It takes a very long time to see it, but you will find that they manage to express their love for us in EVERY SINGLE THING they do throughout the day. It’s a beautiful process, and one that I have been delighted to experience over the span of my short lifetime.

I hope that you will give your special needs sibling/child an extra hug or kiss today. I hope you know how much they love you! I also hope that for some people, I have taken away the fear of interacting with special needs people. They are some of the most kind and authentic souls on this planet. They give out the best hugs. The only difference they have from us is that they see the world through different glasses. And if you have the privilege of knowing one or more of these people, then I can say with complete conviction that you will live a more joyful life!

girls headphones

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First Time Job Fair...Beware!

Well I entered the jungle and I survived! Quite an adventure it was. There was much flora and fauna but once you cut a path through that you saw the ruined temple ahead that contained many hidden treasures behind doors unexplored. However, I did face a few obstacles on this dangerous quest. Let’s look back into the wild, folks.

First I walked into the large ballroom at my school (UMW) where the event was being held, and there were people everywhere swimming around like piranhas in a feeding frenzy. I don’t handle crowds very well especially when I’m in what I can only describe as a monkey suit. I totally felt out of place from the second I walked in. I may have let that get to my head. You could smell the stench of competition in the air. People were here for blood and I was a goldfish among sharks. I felt this way because it was literally like a page out of Darwin’s “Survival of the Fittest.”

umwfair2

Most of the people attending this job fair seemed to be juniors and seniors. They walked about like kings of the ocean: stealthier, hungrier, and overall more equipped than I was. I stopped at two tables simply because there were no other students at them. The representative at each was lovely and helpful but I don’t think they were quite as interested in me as I hoped. Both of them asked what my major was and when I confessed I didn’t have one yet, the conversation died right there. I also attribute that to my lack of confidence when speaking in order to sell myself. Both companies were obviously looking for more qualified candidates with much more experience than I have to offer. I felt like a zebra in a pride of lions and before I had a chance to run I was pounced on. I wish I had been a bit more prepared before being tossed into the thicket.

My first job fair wasn’t a very pleasant experience but I’m glad I did it. Eleanor Roosevelt once said “Do one thing that scares you every day.” This was definitely my one thing for the day but the fact that I went through with it is what I’m most proud of. I have a horrible habit of freaking myself out before I even have a chance to try things. Last year, as a freshman, I would have never done something like this. Now I know what I need to work on and will come back better and stronger next year and hopefully the safari won’t be so scary.

I will quote Mrs. Roosevelt one more time because she was such a brilliant and commendable person. “A woman is like a tea bag; you never know how strong it is until it’s in hot water.” Well to that I say bring on the steam!

Claire Dwyer is from Newsoms, Virginia. She is a sophomore at the University of Mary Washington, major undeclared. In in her spare time likes to write and read. She hopes to make a positive impact on the world through her writing.

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Working Hard at Avoiding Work

now later buttons

Procrastination is a huge problem in a lot of people’s lives. It can really stress you out and drag you down. I personally know the effects of procrastination all too well. Heck this whole article is a school project that I’ve had since August to work on, and is due at the end of November. Hahahaha, *sob*, I need help. I have been stressed out about this for what feels like forever at this point and I figure that there must be at least one other person reading this blog post who’s also stressed because of the evil that is procrastination. So I decided it would be helpful (and hilariously ironic) if I wrote an article that gives a few tips and pointers on how to get around the urge to procrastinate.

First things first, why do we procrastinate? Yeah, I know, “skip this mush we just want to know how to stop.” Well you can skip over this part, but finding the root to a problem is often helpful. People procrastinate because nobody wants to leave their comfort zone. That thing you’re avoiding is probably boring, hard, or just makes you uncomfortable. People want to avoid pain which includes psychological pain like a shy person who avoids public speaking or places with a lot of people. Procrastination isn’t something where you can just sit down and tell yourself “Hey you, yeah you, I’m talking to you. Stop it,” and it just instantly goes away. You need to get help from somewhere. Like, I don’t know, an article by a stunning, intelligent, young author. Just saying. Below I have some real tips that helped me. I’m still a huge procrastinator, but I can at least get most of my work done. Most of the time.

1. Have someone around who is willing to breathe down your neck- you know that one friend who, instead of listening to you vent and gripe, tells you exactly what you need to do? No? Well call your mother or, I don’t know.... Set a reminder that yells at you. That always helps me.

2. Plan stuff in more detail- yeah, I know, I pretty much just said you can’t sit down and tell yourself “do this,” but hear me out. Detailed planning won’t suggest kinda sorta when you should maybe finish your crushingly boring paper, it tells you “Now do this and now do that!” which makes things real, not just a suggestions.

3. Do whatever you can to focus- if it helps, yell and scream. I said do whatever you can to focus. When I was writing this paper, I actually threw my phone, I pulled books off my bookshelf and, in short, I completely trashed my room. You probably think I’m entirely crazy, but it worked. Wait, did I say whatever it takes? I mean, if the only way you could ever focus is to set a stranger’s house on fire, don’t do that. If you need to rip all the pages out of an empty notebook and then throw the cover into your pool, not your neighbors’ pool, I mean that would be just weird, but if you need to throw it into your pool to focus then you be my guest. Basically what I’m trying to say is you are allowed to do weird but safe stuff if it helps you focus, as long as you and your parents agree on some ground rules first. Let me add that yes, I made sure I threw my phone onto my bed so it did not break and also, yes I WILL clean up my room after I am done with my final edits!

4. Stop putting off the thing you are currently putting off- if you’re reading this article then it means that you want to stop procrastinating, which is a good sign! You can use this momentum to move forward on your to-do list! Or you may currently be procrastinating which, just so you know, isn’t a good thing.

This article might not help you, (I mean I hope it does considering the grade of my entire project depends on it) but if you’re having trouble with procrastination get some advice, such as: listen to my tips! If you don’t you might be in my shoes, sitting alone in my wrecked room writing a paper for a project that I should have finished months ago! And my grade depends entirely on how many readers I am able to reach in my county, which is King George. So please, before you put it off, SHARE this with your KG friends on social media and write a comment to let me know what you think! Thank you!

Ellie

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Pouches' Community Corner

This month Pouches poked her head into an exciting new program for teens interested in law enforcement.

pouches explorers

The long running Spotsylvania Sheriff’s cadet program has reorganized as a Boy Scout Explorer troop, said Sgt. Blackington, who took over the program in February 2017.

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