I have just finished the book, The Boy In The Striped Pajamas, and might I add, it was really emotional. The author , John Boyce, did an amazing job pulling together all of the events to create such a meaningful ending. I feel really bad for spoiling it for you guys, but here goes:
At this point in the story, Bruno has been meeting with Shmuel, (the boy behind the fence) for almost a year now. On one particular meeting, Shmuel is really upset. When Bruno asks him what's wrong, Shmuel informs him that his father has gone missing inside the camp. Bruno then feels compelled to help. So he makes a promise to Shmuel to crawl to the other side of the fence and help find his father. Shmuel gets him some matching pajamas as well so he can blend in. Now, us as readers know that this is an extremely dangerous idea. But Bruno is unaware of what really lies behind the fence at this point. Once he crosses, however, he sees sadness and despair, reflected on everyone's faces. He starts to feel uneasy.
After an hour of searching, they turn up with nothing. (We can infer here that Shmuel's father must have been sent to a gas chamber.) Bruno apologizes to Shmuel, for being unable to find his father. Suddenly, several soldiers arrive and round up many of the Jews in the camp, including Shmuel and Bruno. Shmuel tells Bruno that it is a march, and that he has never seen people come back from one. Bruno hesitates, but is still unknowing of what lies ahead.
The soldiers order all of them into a large, air-tight room. Bruno assumes that they are being kept dry from the rain that has just started to fall outside. He turns to Shmuel and says these words: "You're my best friend, Shmuel...my best friend for life." It's really heartwarming, right? Well here's what happens next: "And then the room went very dark and somehow, despite the chaos that followed, Bruno found that he was still holding Shmuel's hand in his own and nothing in the world would have persuaded him to let it go." That's right: Bruno and Shmuel are gassed. I was really torn to read those words.
Now, you may ask, so what? Well all Holocaust books have the same takeaway message, which is to never forget the Holocaust. This is important and relevant to today because we want to make sure something like that never happens again. But more specific to this book is another message, written on the back of the book: "Fences like this exist all over the world. We hope you never have to encounter." This, of course, refers to the fence between Bruno and Shmuel. But there's something else to that saying that is extremely relevant today: discrimination. The fence that is described represents how we divide one another in society! The book warns us that they exist, and the book is right. Discrimination is one of the root causes of the Holocaust. We need to heed this saying and stop discrimination now before it gets out of hand.
I really enjoyed reading this book. It opened my eyes and I strongly recommend it to anyone looking for a small but thoughtful book to read.
Currently, in my book, the main character is starting to understand what a concentration camp is. That got me wondering: how does the Holocaust impact us today?
The Holocaust was one of the most horrifying and most impactful genocides to have ever occurred. It drastically changed foreign policies on war and war crimes, led to the creation of a country, and even negatively affected the economy of certain countries.
After WW2, the Nuremburg Trials occurred. This event was crucial because it set the precedent of new laws to come which would tighten up punishments on war crimes and genocide. The Trials tried Nazis who were accused of genocide. Today, these policies and laws still stand in place.
The world also understood that we cannot forget about the Holocaust to ensure that it never happens again. Now we have a Holocaust Remembrance Museum in the USA and an international Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The Holocaust also led to the creation of Israel. After the Holocaust, the survivors were indeed rescued, but now had no true home. Many organizations were created across the globe to provide quick relief to the refugees, but it wasn't enough. Eventually, the country of Israel was created to house the Jewish refugees and to avoid conflicts with the Arabs in Palestine.
Finally, according to a study by Harvard University, certain regions in Russia where millions of Jews were captured from still suffer an economic problem. This is due to a change in social structure. The mass murder of Jews permanently reduced the size of their middle class. These people held vital jobs to the communities and economy. The scientists that conducted this study collected data from two types of areas in Russia; those who had high Jewish populations and those who didn't. The areas who had high Jewish populations consistently scored less economically than the others.
The book I am currently reading is The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, by John Boyce. It is a very famous and moving book about the Holocaust, told from the point of view of nine year old Bruno, whose father works for Adolf Hitler.
The book takes place in Auschwitz, Germany. Bruno's family moves there from Berlin. They now live across from the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. We can assume that our story starts somewhere after 1940, because that was when the site became operational. This is further confirmed in the book where Bruno says: "...my birthday is April the fifteenth too. And I was born in nineteen thirty - four." Since Bruno is nine, the year must be around 1943. In this time in Germany, more and more concentration camps were becoming operational, as said in the History.com article on the Holocaust (2017): "Beginning in late 1941, the Germans began mass transports from the ghettos in Poland to the concentration camps..."
At this point in the book, Bruno does not know the situation his country is in. What we do know is that his father does work for Hitler, and we can infer that he also runs the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. So obviously, his father supports the Nazi movement.
There aren't many historical events mentioned in the book yet except for the running of the Auschwitz camp. But the way that Shmuel, (the Jewish boy in the camp that Bruno meets), describes the camp is accurate. For example, they mention that many families had to live in one room together. Some other connections I made are symbols. Shmuel shows Bruno two symbols: the Nazi Swastika, and the Star of David. I remember seeing both of those symbols in another Holocaust book, Number the Stars.
This paper was written by Kate, Loi, Diamond, and Ashwath
You never know if someone in your class could be affected by the large, widespread issue of homelessness. More than 2,000 students in the WCPSS are homeless right now. Along with that, almost 4,000 people in Wake County are homeless as well, according to the Raleigh Rescue Mission (2017). They are a local organization that provides sheltering, food, and clothing to homeless people in the Raleigh area. In 2016, they donated about 1,300 pieces of clothing to shelters in Raleigh. Our goal is to donate at least 200 pieces of clothing and blankets to shelters. Giving homeless people clothes that are wearable may help them get jobs and start a better life.
This issue captures our attention because of how it affects so many people locally. We are compelled to give back. We believe that every bit of help counts, which is why we as a community need to give back. You should care too, because homelessness can happen to anyone at anytime. It could affect you too. Even a small contribution, like clothing or blankets (yes, blankets; over 800 people in Raleigh face winter nights without shelter), can be ever so helpful (RRM, 2017). People should donate and care because these are our people and they are living on our streets. If they can't help themselves we should stand up and help them.
Homelessness affects many more people than you would think. There are over 4,000 homeless individuals in Wake County alone. Around 83% of homeless people are sheltered (End Homelessness Wake, 2015). There are many causes of homelessness. People can become homeless due to poor mental health, unemployment, substance abuse, family or relationship breakdowns and even gambling. Also, lack of sufficient housing, low income, and a withering economy can contribute to the problem. This has been an issue in our community for a very long time. Homelessness can damage our community.
Statistics show that the larger the homeless population, the less tourism, and the less tourism there is the less income there is for the state, which can hurt our economy. We also need to help the homeless population decrease because as of now, there isn't enough space in shelters for everyone. We need to clear out space for when people really need it. The more people that go to shelters, the more they fill up. That means more people get turned away at the door and have to continue living on the street with no protection, no food, no warmth. Let's come together to help our community and better our state by ending homelessness.
Currently there are many local organizations working to help homelessness. We have sheltering and awareness organizations like the Raleigh Rescue Mission and the Raleigh Partnership to End Homelessness. Smaller organizations in the Raleigh and Wake County area have food drives and clothing drives as well. But since the awareness for homelessness is not enough, it is still a problem. These places provide food, shelter, warmth and some housing options for people.
There is an account of an organization, the Love Wins Ministries, that was stopped one day from passing out hot food and drinks to homeless people in Raleigh. They were confronted by an officer who said that they would be arrested if the food was passed out. Although now they have acquired a building to continue their charity, the incident in 2013 gives insight into why homelessness is still a problem here in Raleigh.
To help the homeless community, we have decided to host a clothing drive at our school. Our goal, as stated above, is to collect at least 200 pieces of clothing to donate to the Raleigh Rescue Mission. Some items they are in need of right now are blankets, underwear, socks, undershirts, washcloths, and more. Our full action plan is a linked here. We plan to host our drive within the course of one week (Mon - Fri) and then drop off the collected items the following day (Saturday).
This donation will be very crucial and helpful to the RRM and the homeless people they are sheltering, because every donation counts towards helping fight homelessness. Their website is linked here. We hope to do more service projects in the future. This was our contribution. What will be yours?
According to WRAL, Wake County is experiencing another shortage bus drivers. The cause of this shortage seems to be that higher paying jobs are being offered elsewhere, so bus drivers here are leaving.
To solve this problem, Wake County is hosting open houses this week. They hope to replace the 90 drivers that they are short of.
The annual salary for a bus driver in Wake County is around $30,000 a year. That is about twice the annual salary for a minimum wage job. The job also comes with health insurance and retirement benefits.
To help, Wake County will be adjusting their budget to increase driver pay. But we can help too. We can spread awareness on our social media or in person. YOU can be a bus driver too. Without enough bus drivers, routes will be canceled and will be merged with other routes, making rides longer and cramped for space. Every little bit helps.
I myself ride the bus too. So I am concerned about this issue because it could affect me and many others.
Last Tuesday, the Wake County Board met to discuss financial plans, and within them was a plan to raise the price of school lunches.
So far, the idea is to increase the price of school breakfasts and lunches by 25 cents. It may not seem like much, but over time, it adds up exponentially. Within four days, you will pay $1.00 extra if you purchase one school lunch each day.
This issue affects many students. According to the News & Observer, about 22,000 breakfasts and 64,000 lunches are served in Wake County daily. That's a lot of kids whose families may disagree with this new policy.
Increasing lunch prices are something we should all be concerned about, because it directly affects the children in Wake County. I believe that in order to help, we could start a petition. We could also get representation in the School Board. Whatever the method, we need to take action now.
14 year old male, loves to golf