A twelve year old shares his finished writing assignments with the world.

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Alexander the Great’s Time as Ruler of Macedonia


Alexander the Great was born heir to the throne of Macedonia. He was the son of King Philip II. Philip was considered a great ruler among the Greeks, and he wanted to continue this legacy. Alexander grew to become one a very powerful ruler. In his life, Alexander would prove himself as the great ruler his father longed for.


King Philip II amassed an army to invade Thrace, a rich, neighboring land of Macedonia. He left Alexander, only sixteen years old, to rule while he was at war. As the massive army of Macedonia plunged deep into Thrace, Thracian tribes northeast of Macedonia rebelled. Alexander assembled a small, untrained army to counter the rebels. Alexander completely wiped out the rebels and gained the favor of the Macedonians.


Alexander’s father was assassinated in 336 B.C. The death of the Macedonian king threw Greece into revolt. Macedonia now had enemies to the north and south. At this time, Alexander assumed power and became King of Macedonia. He managed to quiet down his fellow Greeks, and he began expanding his lands.


Alexander demonstrated great capability and power. He proved this during The Battle of the Granicus River. Alexander had the idea to cease coastal cities, and cut navy resupply routes for the enemy.   The enemy lost terribly and Alexander captured a stronghold and renamed it “Alexandropolis”.


In 334 B.C. Alexander set out for his largest military conquest he would ever make. He made for Asia Minor. He build up a massive army with more than thirty-thousand men, and five-thousand horses. On his way, he fought two Persian armies that had a distinct advantage. The Persians had chariots on flat land and two armies – not one. Alexander managed to defeat the armies with a light loss on his side.



Greece had defeated King Darius one time, and this time, Alexander aimed to humiliate the Persians. When their armies met, the Greek and Persian armies, Macedonia was greatly outnumbered. During the battle, a gap formed in the enemy lines, and Alexander charged through. The Macedonians destroyed the Persians, and sent Darius and the remaining enemies into retreat. Alexander followed the King and what was left of the Persian Army. Along the way, he burned Persian cities, and the Palace of Xerxes the final resting place of a long-hated enemy of the Greeks.


The Persian Army grew weary of running and grew tired of the failures of their king. They betrayed Darius and held him captive. The captors, fearing Alexander’s army, fled into the deserts. The captors plunged daggers into Darius and left him to die in the harsh lands. Upon discovery, Alexander laid a clean, purple cloak over the body. Alexander ordered Darius to be taken to Persepolis, the final resting place of all the Persian Kings. Alexander had immense respect for the dead. Alexander had conquered Persia.


After all of the fighting Alexander had done, he hoped to settle down. He married a Persian woman whom he loved. With this marriage, Alexander hoped to strengthen the bond and appease the hatred between the Persians and the Greeks. Alexander’s army reflected on all that they had achieved. They were very proud to serve under such tremendous king.


With all of Alexander’s military achievements put together, he was known for much more. He founded the city in Egypt named Alexandria in 331 B.C. In this city lies the Lighthouse of Alexandria, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Alexander died in 323 B.C., at the age of thirty-two. He died of a fever, but there was no clear illness. Alexander the Great had conquered the largest empire in the world.







  • Nardo, Don. Alexander the Great: Conqueror of the Known World. Greensboro: Morgan Reynolds Publishing, 2010.


  • Stonemen, Richard. Alexander the Great: A Life in Legend. Filey: Library of Congress Catalog-in-Publication Data, 2008.


  • Green, Robert. Alexander the Great. Danbury: Library of Congress Catalog-in-Publication Data, 1996.



The Unconquerable Soul

By Drew Johnson


William Ernest Henley proved to all readers that the speaker had an unconquerable soul in the poem “Invictus”. From the very start of the poem he uses different literary elements to show that he cannot be taken over by any outside force. The speaker is beaten down by chance and life circumstances. But this does not consume him.

Henley uses strong and influential imagery. For example, “In the fell clutch of circumstance” this depicts his circumstances as an evil grip. He also shows that the speaker has been physically beaten. “Under the bludgeonings of chance” shows the readers just exactly what chance does to him. He relates chance to severe and ruthless beatings. This shows how bad and horrible the speaker’s chance is.

Vivid language in this poem shows how Henley made the speaker prevail. “I have winced nor cried aloud” shows how the speaker is emotionally tough. He does not take full credit of his unconquerable soul. “I thank whatever gods may be/ For my unconquerable soul.” This suggests that he was given a gift, and it allows him to endure the pains of his life.

Henley uses more imagery to show how he has not been broken by the horrible circumstances he faces and how he cannot be conquered. “My head is bloody, but unbowed” this shows that though he may be physically hurt, he is emotionally stable and strong. The poem ends with the motivational lines “I am the master of my fate;/ I am the captain of my soul” This line proves to the readers that he cannot be taken over.

The author uses different strong literary elements to prove that the speaker cannot be conquered by any outside force. Throughout the poem, he describes how he has been beaten down by chance, fate, and his bad luck. Henley also shows how he as survived all that has happened to him and he remains unbreakable.

Lake Chelan

Lake Chelan is a wonderfully beautiful lake located in north-eastern Washington. The lake is a giant compared to others in Washington. Although it’s somewhat narrow, it is 55.3 miles in length. Out of all of the lakes in Washington, Lake Chelan is the largest natural lake in Washington State.

Lake Chelan has the bluest water. It shines like a sapphire, and the surface is like an infinite sheet of glass stretching forever. You can see the soft, white puffs of the clouds in the reflection. When you look into the deep, cavernous water, you would guess that the bottom of the lake does not exist.

Not only is the lake astounding to observe, it is even greater to experience first-hand. During the summer, when the air feels like a fiery hot furnace, the water is cool as a gust of wind and refreshing. When the warm rays of the sun roll over you, a tremendous feeling of peacefulness and serenity come to you.

There are many beautiful types of fish in Lake Chelan. Among them, the colorful and shiny Rainbow trout, the gorgeous Lake trout, and the large Chinook salmon are the most popular. Lake Chelan is a fantastic place to fish for fun. For almost every month of the year, the fishing is excellent.

The outside terrain of Lake Chelan is ultimately amusing and enhances the beauty of the lake. There are towering, flowing hills surrounding the lake that makes it feel like the lake is sinking very deep into the Earth. The sky is an incredible mix of blue and beryl. With the rolling clouds overhead, it seems hypnotizing.

Lake Chelan is a very peaceful place to live or visit. It is as quiet as a forest during the winter. The deep, blue water, surrounding hills, and floating clouds create the ultimate feeling of natural and undisturbed beauty.

Propagandist Essay: Smoking Should be Outlawed

Fellow Americans, smoking is a horrible thing that destroys your heart and lungs. Smoking does this to anyone and everyone around you as well. It causes massive worldwide death and needs to be made illegal. It is estimated that more than 100 million people have been killed from tobacco-related illnesses in the 20th century. That’s more deaths than the Black Plague!

Have you ever walked by someone who is smoking? Or inhaled the disgusting fumes from someone else’s cigarette? Well, that person is very likely to become one of the 443,000 people who die each year (in the U.S.) from tobacco-related diseases. Over 40,000 of those deaths will come from second-hand smoke.

Over 12% of women smoke throughout their pregnancies. And, 120,000 babies are born each year in the U.S. with birth defects. Smoking is responsible for 13% of these defects. Babies are innocent. They should not have to suffer for their mother’s mistakes.

It’s true. Nicotine is an extremely addictive drug. Even if it is, there is no excuse not to quit. There are thousands of American Addiction Centers in the United States. Modern technology and medicine are making it easier and easier to quit.

The United States of America needs to stop all of this. If we could pass a law to making smoking or the selling of tobacco substances illegal under any circumstance, it would end. The number of deaths from tobacco would dwindle.The lives of innocent people who die each year from second hand smoking would be spared.

Smoking is a terrible thing that causes massive worldwide death. Too many people are dying each year because of this. If this law is passed, smoking can and will be put to an abrupt end.


                           Archimedes of Syracuse

          Archimedes was a talented Greek mathematician, inventor, physicist, astronomer, and engineer.  Archimedes was born in 287 BC in Syracuse, Italy.  He had only a father, a Greek architect, and went by the name Phidias. 

You may wonder what drove him to invent so many things.  His weaponry inventions were necessary to protect his hometown of Syracuse.  At the time, Syracuse was under Roman siege.

 He invented the Death Ray, and the Archimedes Claw.  Legend has it, that Archimedes burned down an entire fleet of Roman warships by focusing the heat energy of the sun through his Death Ray.  The Death Ray was a collection of mirrors and magnifying glass that he could control to focus the sun’s heat through.  But what did the Archimedes Claw do as a weapon? It was a man-operated tool that tightly grasped the bow of a ship, and completely tore the front part of the ship off, causing it to sink. 

 His ingenious weapon inventions were minute compared to his mathematical discoveries.  Fortunately, Archimedes recorded his own thoughts in his journal called “Archimedes’ Palimpsest”.  In this magnificent anthology, he notes “The Measurement of a Circle” “On the Sphere and Cylinder” and “The Method of Mechanical Theorems.” 

 Through the expression of his ideas in these notes, he gave us a better understanding of what he did.  He used exhaustion to prove his mathematical theorems.  In other words, he tested every possible method to prove his theorem was true.  The “Method of Mechanical Theorems” he described in the Palimpsest was all based on his investigation of physics.

He made many other contributions to ancient and modern technology weapons and theorems.  He claimed his best contribution was his finding of the measurement of a circle.  According to his Palimpsest, he found the exact value of pi.  His advancement in density was greatly valued to him as well.  Archimedes’ Principle explains that buoyant force on an object in a fluid is proportional to the weight of the fluid it displaces.  Thanks to Archimedes, we can understand why ships can float even though they are massive and heavy.

 You may think, “He was great back then, but how does he affect us today?” One of his inventions, the Archimedes Screw, is a pump that is used to draw liquids from a puddle, or a larger collection of liquid is still used by many people today.  We use the Archimedes Screw for removing groundwater.  We were able to make architectural advances because of Archimedes’ understanding of Calculus. 

 Unfortunately, Archimedes was killed during the Roman siege of Syracuse.  However, we still remember him as the talented inventor, mathematician, physicist, astronomer, and engineer he really was.


How to Make a Pizza from Scratch

Have you ever wanted to make a homemade pizza?  Now you can, with some very basic household ingredients. 

First, you’ll need to gather ingredients to make the dough. You’ll need 2 cups of all-purpose bread flour, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, 2 teaspoons of active dry yeast, 3 tablespoons of olive or vegetable oil, 1 cup of very warm water (120°F to 130°F), a rolling pin to roll the dough.

Second, you’ll need baking pans.  You can use two square pans, 8 x 8 x 2 inches, or 2 round pans, 9 x 1 inches.

Third, you’ll need to gather ingredients for the toppings.  You’ll need tomato sauce, 8 ounces of shredded Mozzarella, Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, pepperoni, chopped bacon, or other desired toppings. 

Prepare the dough ahead of time.  First, mix 1 cup of flour, the sugar, salt and yeast in a large bowl.  Beat with electric mixer on medium speed for 3 minutes.  Stir in enough flour so that the dough is soft and leaves the sides of the bowl.  Place the dough on a lightly floured surface, knead 5 to 8 minutes or until dough is smooth and springy.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.

It is now time to pre-bake your crust to prevent it from getting soggy.  Sprinkle the dough with cornmeal.  Divide the dough in half, patting each half into the bottom of a pan.  Heat oven to 375°F.  Partially bake the crust for 20 to 22 minutes.  In the meantime, prepare the toppings.

After you have made the crust, you need to spread the tomato sauce evenly over the crust.  Then, sprinkle the cheese to cover the sauce.  Next, lay a small amount of bacon over the cheese, leaving enough room for the pepperoni and other toppings.  Then, lay the pepperoni next to the bacon. 

Finally, put the pizzas in the oven for fifteen to twenty minutes or until the cheese has melted and toppings are cooked.  When your homemade pizzas are done, enjoy!

Literary Analysis: “The Bracelet” by Yoshiko Uchida

Ruri is a young Japanese girl who learns a life lesson while being faced with extreme hardships.  This story takes place during World War II in California, U.S.A., between the years of 1939 and 1945.  ( At that time, The U.S. built internment camps because they feared Japanese spies were giving U.S. enemies top-secret information about the war.)

One day Ruri is at home when tall soldiers carrying guns pound on the front door.  Ruri’s mother answers the door.  The soldiers tell Ruri’s family that they are being sent to an interment camp.  Ruri feels sad and hopeless.  Ruri tries to stay calm but she is overwhelmed by the thought of leaving home and never coming back.

Ruri’s neighbors soon find out where her family is headed and they each say their goodbyes.  Ruri’s best friend shows up at the front door and gives Ruri a bracelet.  She tells Ruri that the bracelet is a way to never forget her.  Ruri promises her friend that she will never take it off.  When Ruri is on her way to the internment camp, she loses the bracelet.  She is grief-stricken and feels very guilty that she loses the bracelet.  Ruri fears she will forget about her friend without the bracelet.

Ruri asks her mother to help her find the bracelet.  After hours of searching, Ruri gives up.  Her mother tells her that she should not panic and feel bad.  Ruri’s mother tells Ruri that she does not need any object to remember her best friend because she will always remember her friend in her heart.  Ruri listens very carefully to the advice and quickly cheers up and forgets all about the bracelet, but not about her friend.

Even though Ruri goes through traumatic times in her life, she learns what is really important to her.  She learns to stay strong, to stay positive, and not to be afraid during tough times.

The Megalodon

For centuries, people have looked into the dark oceans and wondered if an enormous monster lurks beneath. During the Cenozoic Era, the largest and most ominous predator known to man roamed Earth’s oceans for eighteen million years. Carcharodon Megalodon (known simply as Megalodon) is believed to be the ancient ancestor of the modern day Great White shark, one of the most feared predators known to mankind.  Megalodon was estimated to be four times the size of the Great White (Carcharadon Carcharis).

            But what proof do we have that this creature ever existed?  Surprisingly, evidence of Megalodon’s existence lies not in our oceans but on land.  Huge fossilized teeth have been recovered from places once covered by water on the continents of North America, Europe, South America, and South Africa.[i]  Fossil sites in North America include coastal locations in Florida, Maryland, and North Carolina.  This fossil evidence indicates that Megalodon lived between two and twenty million years ago.  Its extinction is estimated to have occurred near the end of the Pliocene Epoch of the Cenozoic Era.[ii]

            The Megalodon was massive, even at birth, having a length ranging from seven to ten feet and a weight of about five hundred pounds.[iii]  Juvenile Megalodon had at least two hundred seventy-six teeth arranged in at least six rows.[iv]  Each individual tooth measured 5-10 inches tall.[v]

         The adult Megalodon was even more colossal, growing to an average length of sixty to ninety feet and a weight of fifty to seventy tons.[vi]  The largest Megalodon that ever lived was estimated to weigh 206,000 pounds. It could also grow to a width of thirty feet. Megalodon had over 200 vertebrae, each measuring seven inches in diameter.2  Its lifespan is believed to have been eighty to one hundred years.

Although the existence of the Megalodon inspires fear in humans, researchers believe that its diet consisted of large marine mammals such as the blue or sperm whale. In order to maintain its tremendous size, it was necessary for Megalodon to consume up to 2,500 pounds of food per day.3   Megalodon is believed to have been capable of eating anything and everything in the world’s oceans.[vii]

Megalodon was perhaps the most fearsome predator ever to have lived.  Although our knowledge of its existence is limited, fossil evidence has provided scientists insight into its possible habitat, physical characteristics, longevity, and diet.

[i]           Everhart, Mike. Sea Monsters: Prehistoric Creatures of the Deep.

            Washington D.C.: National Geographic, 2007. Print.

[ii]           Arnold, Caroline. Giant Shark Megalodon, Prehistoric Super Predator. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2000. Print.

[iii]          Bradley, Timothy. Paleo Sharks: Survival of the Strongest.

New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1996. Print.

[iv]          “Megalodon: Largest Shark That Ever Lived!” Florida Museum of

Natural History Ichthyology Department. Web.


[v]           Strauss, Bob. “Megalodon Facts.” Guide. Web.


[vi]          Gavira Guerrero, Angeles; Frances, Peter; Palmer, Douglas. Prehistoric Life. New York: DK Publishing, 2009.  Print.

7           “Megalodon – Shark Glossary.” Enchanted Learning. Web. 1996-2010. <>






The Loss of a Landmark

Closing Titlow pool was a decision that didn’t make much sense.  Titlow pool was closed mainly because it was not cheap to operate, and it was not making enough money.  The impact of the pool closing, however, should have been more carefully considered.

There were three main consequences of the pool closure.  First, some of the local swim teams were left with no pool to call home.  Second, Tacoma lost its only 50 meter pool.  Lastly, the pool was almost 65 years old and was a historical landmark that should have been preserved.

It was a unique outdoor, 10 lane, 50 meter pool.  Not many other pools are outdoor and most of them are six or eight lanes.  Almost all pools in the South Sound area are twenty five yards long.  The only pool of its kind is now more than an hour away.

Metro Parks diverted its funds to build a spray park at a different location.  It would have been cheaper to renovate and restore Titlow pool than it would have been to build a spray park.  Kandle Spray Park cost a little more than $120,000 to build.  Some estimated Titlow Pool would have required only about $55,000 dollars to renovate.

You may be wondering who made the decision to close Titlow Pool.  A group of Titlow Pool supporters, The Titlow Alliance Group, tried everything they could to keep the pool open to no avail.  Metro Parks was determined to build Kandle Spray Park and needed funds set aside for Titlow Pool to do it.

Even though it was only running half of the year, Titlow pool was bringing in about $68,000 dollars annually.   However, expenses for the pool were sizeable.  Utilities and lifeguards alone cost approximately $43,000.  This left a budget excess of only $15,000 per year. With modest investment, Titlow could have been covered with a pool dome allowing it to run year round.  Titlow pool would then have more than doubled its operating the income. With some creativity and willingness to renovate it, it could have sustained itself.

Running Titlow was not cheap,  but it could have been made a profitable asset to Tacoma. It was irreplaceable to the teams that swam there and all those teams are left with memories of what was once a glimmering gemstone by the Puget Sound.