You are better than who you think you are.

This is so important. Please remember that not only should you be kind to those around you, you need to be kind to yourself as well. Whatever flaws you think you may have, others might not even notice them at all, or even appreciate you more because of these so-called “flaws”. Accept yourself. And love yourself.

– Karen

Why must all good things end?

After a year, Mr. Ziebarth’s AP 3 English class is finally over. To be honest, I’m really going to miss this class. I love coming to second period everyday, because I never know what is going to happen, what Mr. Ziebarth is going to introduce to the class.

I can honestly say that I have learned quite a bit this year. From DIY projects, to blogs, to the BRAWL, the activities and assignments I have completed in AP English have all been a learning experience that I will carry with me throughout the rest of my high school career, and into college as well.

To wrap up this year, let’s recap what I’ve learned in Ziebarth’s class, shall we?

1. Team work does not always mean easy work. 

You may think that more people on a project makes a project easier. If you think that, you are wrong. My DIY project was a group project consisting of five people, and that was not easy at all. It wasn’t that my group members didn’t do work or anything, but throughout the course of the year, I learned that the  fact that there were so many of us just made it hard to coordinate and communication sometimes became an issue. Sometimes, smaller groups can be much more efficient.

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2. Time management can be difficult, but it is extremely important. 

This was also something I learned from my DIY project. Because my project consisted of several different parts (filming interviews, editing, promotion, etc.), it all turned out much more time consuming that originally expected. Therefore, we had to budget our time very wisely when it came to going out to film interviews and such. It wasn’t easy, but in the end, I think I have learned a skill that is going to be very helpful in the future.


3. Social media can be distracting at times, but it is also very useful. 

This year, Ziebarth has incorporated a variety of social media into his class, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. He is the only teacher I know that uses all them, because other teachers believe that they can become distracting. I personally think it was a great idea to utilize these tools. I hate Twitter, and I had never used Instagrammed before this year. However, after using them in Z’s class, I’ve come to appreciate the usefulness of these forms of social media.

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4. English is open to interpretation. 

“It’s not about the author’s intention, it’s about the effect.”

That’s what Ziebarth always said when we read novels, or when we read anything at all, for that matter. After a year in his class, I’ve learned that it isn’t about what the author was trying to do, but about what the writing does for the reader. I think that’s why I love English class so much. There really isn’t a wrong answer, because every novel, every essay affects everyone a little bit differently, and that’s ok.


There are so many other things I have learned in this English class, but I think those are the main four. Mr. Ziebarth, thank you for being a great English teacher and teaching me these lessons that I will continue to use in the future. It’s been a wonderful year.

– Karen



Whoa… He Touched the Blog!

As blogs are coming to a close this year, I begin to reflect on how this has made such a major impact in my high school career and how I was able to integrate technology into education.  It truly has been a great experience and whether I am able to continue this blog with my colleagues next year or not, there will always be a special place for blogging in my heart now because of this project.

I started this project in the 10th grad, and since then I haven’t looked back.  Blogging has helped me build my personal stance on ideas that I usually would not put my opinion on since it give me the free personal space that I always needed in life.  Writing to all of you readers is literally like an open, modern journal where I can vent what I need to vent and express my feelings where they need to be expressed.  Blogging increased my writing and rhetorical skills while I also talked about the things that I wanted to.  This degree of independence really shaped me into a writer who has a voice all thanks to my teachers.


Mr. Ziebarth and Mr. Theriault really pushed us to the limit with the blog posts while also adding the fact the we should just go with the flow and relax as Crush from Nemo would say.  Grading these posts vigorously and critiquing them would take away from the fact that you can’t really grade opinions and our feelings, which I truly appreciate from Mr. Ziebarth and Mr. Theriault.  It was as if Ziebarth and Theriault both fused into one as an old turtle named Crush and sent all of their students named Squirt, out to the sea to freestyle and do our thing out in the open world.


Thank you everyone for reading and for all of the feedback, but don’t forget to just move forward with all of your lives.  We hope we have inspired you all.  But above all else: Just.  Keep. Swimming.


– Nick


Just Keep Blogging

As the year comes to an end, so do all of our projects and assignments in most of our classes. Although I’m ecstatic about the fact that no more school means no more work, there are some things that I’m going to miss. I think it goes without saying, but the friends, experiences, and school events will never be forgotten and I’m going to miss them more than anything I’ve ever missed before. School-wise, I’m going to be honest, there isn’t much I’m going to miss. The rigor of junior year was overwhelming and it wasn’t fun, I can tell you that, but there is one thing I am going to miss. As cheesy as it might sound, I’m really going to miss the weekly blog posts on this blog. At the beginning of the year, I started to do these and felt obligated to do them, but as time progressed and as we just kept swimming, these blogs became an outlet for my ideas and emotions inside and outside of school. Instead of dreading the posts, I began to appreciate and look forward to them. But now that the year is ending, where does that put us?

Well, I would be lying if I said that I was going to post everyday, every week even, but I definitely see myself posting regularly. Honestly, I’ll never be able to keep up the kind of posting that I do now, but I know that for the sake of you guys, the readers, and even for me, I’ll make sure that I just keep swimming. These blog posts have taught me how to voice my opinions without worrying about what others think. I’ve also learned a lot about the way blogs and such work. I’ve always been interested in the concept of sharing one’s ideas on any sort of social media and blogs were the perfect way to do that.  These blogs have kept it real and I’m stoked to see what else I can think of and share with the world.



Universal Truths of English

Seven days. That’s the number of school days left until summer break. As much as I can’t wait to smell and taste that summer vacation, I will admit that I will miss my AP English class with Mr. Ziebarth. For the past 173 days in English class, I have learned an abundance of information regarding rhetoric, analysis, and the English language in general. From all my newly learned knowledge, I have made a list of main ideas that I learned this year.

1) Everything is an argument, so fight for what you believe in. 

Mr. Z probably said “Everything is an argument.” about 200 times this year, and when I first heard it, I laughed. C’mon Mr. Z, not everything is an argument. If I took out a bag of chips and ate them, that wasn’t an argument of any sort, that was simply me easing my hunger. But that’s just it. I was arguing against my hunger. I was countering it by eating. When writing papers, everything you say is an argument. If you state that the media negatively affects the body types of women, you are arguing against the media. So if everything is an argument anyway, fight for what you believe in. Write about what you thinks needs changing. The more you care about a topic and the more passionate you are about fighting for it, the better your writing is. I found that in each assignment I had to do, if I related it back to something I had strong views about or cared about, my work was better.

2) Write with no limits. 

Often in class, Mr. Z had us to zero drafts, in which we had seven minutes to write about whatever we wanted without editing. Each time we wrote one, Mr. Z had a prompt that we could follow, but we weren’t necessarily bound to it. Zero draft was a time to let your mind free. You could write whatever came to mind in that moment. You make think, what is the point of spending seven minutes free-writing? Well believe it or not, zero drafting was very liberating. Often when instructed to write, you are given a prompt that you must stick with, but with zero draft, you were free to let your thoughts out. By “killing the editor” and not fixing any mistakes, you are able to put your thoughts on paper, which is hard to do when you think about how you want to articulate it too hard. By jotting down whatever comes to mind, the writing process is much easier and gives you a chance to write how you really feel about a topic.

3) Life is a learning process. 

This last tip is more of a life lesson than anything. English class was filled with projects, discussions, and teamwork. No matter what we did, we learned from it one way or another. If we made mistakes in our essays or presentations, we learned what to do to improve. If we rocked a discussion, we learned how to do things correctly. Even Mr. Z learned with us through the year. Take everything as a lesson and learn for it. There’s always room for improvement. Learn that you will not always be right and accept it. Let other people help you when you need it, and don’t be afraid to ask. No one is perfect and knows all the answers, so don’t be ashamed to ask for help. Lastly, you can make any experience a good one if you have a positive attitude. Writing essays isn’t the greatest, but if you learn to make the best of it, I guarantee that writing won’t be so bad.

I thoroughly enjoyed AP English 3 with Mr. Ziebarth. Not only did I learn many useful tools for my future, but I also was able to enjoy the material rather than simply worry about my grade all year. In this class, I learned to learn and I think that’s the best type of learning. These days, many students learn to get the grade. The learn so that they can get into a good college. They don’t care about what they are actually learning, as long as they get the answers on the test right, they are happy. That’s not learning. That’s the art of getting by. I’m not looking to get by high school, I’m here to absorb knowledge and learn the material because I am interested in it.

So thank you Mr. Ziebarth, for an incredible year and thank you for teaching me that life will always go on and you will prevail, even if you don’t have thumbs.


High School: Breaking Free

My high school experience thus far has had its ups and downs and has really been a great new experience for me to follow. Although it’s the same story for most, the transition from being a freshman who was utterly confused/lost/small/etc…, to one who is now comfortable with who they are was an immense leap. As I find myself finishing up junior year, I can say that I’ve gone through most of what a high school student is supposed to go through. I won’t bore you with the details (or maybe I will in another post in the future) but I can definitely say that I’ve learned more than I could have ever imagined in and out of the classroom. For example, I’ve really learned to jump out of my comfort zone and just be who I want to be rather than who I want others to perceive me to be. I can take this and carry it on to my life in the future beyond high school into the harsh realities of the real world. I know that there are some things that high school just can’t prepare you for, but I’d like to think that I have some experience under my belt. Much like Troy and Gabriella learned how to be who they wanted to be while attending East High, I definitely learned how to be myself. And as the year comes to a close and senior year looms around the corner, I can almost feel myself “breaking free” from the high school scene on to bigger and brighter things. I can honestly say that I will never forget these past couple of years as they have been some of the best. And although I might not have gone to the state championships like Troy and Chad or participated in any school wide theater productions like Sharpay and Ryan, I can say that I’ve done everything that I, as Matt, could have done to make my high school experience the best fit for me. So What Time Is It? Time for me to Get My Head In the Game to Bop to the Top of my senior class. You can Bet on It because I Gotta Go My Own Way. This could be the Start of Something New and I’m definitely Breaking Free.