Nelson Mandela – Former President of South Africa

This week for RE, my class and I looked at different advocates, people who act as the voice of others. I chose Nelson Mandela as my advocate. Other options were Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks, Ruby Bridges and Mother Teresa.  After researching and creating a slide deck about our advocate, we did a hot seat, where students would act as their advocate and would answer questions about said advocate.


Bomb Gone

The clip and clap of hundreds of footsteps violently echo through the metal walls. My heart feels as if it’s beating a thousand times a second, trying desperately to pounce out of my chest and run away to a safer place. “Hurry up”, the commander shouts at the top of his lungs. I could barely see him while wearing this thick mask. It was hard to breathe, not because of the heavy hunk of mask on my face, but the excitement. The anticipation was killing me slowly, Every step of the way, every thump and click reminded me how truly horrific this event is. Despite this, the overwhelming excitement in my body could not be contained. I was fidgety and filled with adrenaline. Each passing second felt like an eternity. This weapon could incinerate millions, yet here I was, pouncing with joy, so eager to take in a view of something most people considered a sin to this world and everyone in it.
I trudged out onto the deck. Faced with the ferocious view of the sea, waves slamming against the ship, I realised the gravity of the situation. What would happen to animals who lived in these waters, and the birds who flew so carefree. The people were right. This was the greatest sin in the world, and I’m going to be experiencing it, taking in the heat, the sounds and the absolute power of the bomb. My mates and I lined up on the deck, we sat down and waited for instruction. Then something horrifying started. “60,59,58,57… The ominous sound of the monotonous counting struck me like a roaring burst of thunder. Weirdly, I felt cold. I couldn’t think of anything but the consequences. What would happen to me, to others. I could no longer hear the crashing of the waves, or smell the salt in the air. All that mattered was the bomb. “28,27,26,25,24… The countdown is close to completion. All that excitement was gone, I was utterly foolish to think this was exciting. “10,9,8,7,6… I felt like throwing up. I was shivering with fear. “5,4,3,2,1 BOMB GONE!!! Now began the 15 second count up. “15,14,13,12,11… My heart pounds on my insides, thrashing violently. I felt nauseous. I desperately fought the urge to run away and cower in terror. “5,4,3,2,1 STAND UP, GOGGLES OFF AND TURN AROUND. I sprang up to my feet, ripping off my goggles and turned my body around faster than I ever have in my entire life.
It took a moment to actually take in the sight. It was exhilarating. The explosion was magnificent. First, a gargantuan hand of silky white smoke rose to reach for the sky. Streaks of flame lathered the hand in tattoos of fiery red and blisteringly hot orange. At the edge of the sky, the hand closed its fist and turned into molten glob of lava. It was dazzling, as if a second sun was birthed out of thin air. The doppelganger star displayed an immense array of vibrant colours, so elegant yet reminiscent of the bizarre sciences that led to this conclusion.  The sun expanded at horrifying speeds, ending in the climactic release of the blood and sweat and tears of the thousands of people who dedicated years to this project. I was stunned, mortified, jaw dropped. There was no single emotion which could describe what I was feeling inside, but the outside was a different story. My skin was torched, I flinched when I touched it. It stung like a million bees, except the bees were charged with a million volts of electricity. It hurt and it wouldn’t stop hurting, even the air, with the slightest graze would boil my skin. It was unbearable, every second felt longer as the heat intensified. My eyes dried up, it felt like a desert. Even blinking was painful. I desperately tried to minimise the pain, but I hesitated to move, all I could do was stand still.
Despite the pain, I noticed something was off. The silence was immeasurable. The nonchalant chirping was gone. The birds, boiled alive, floated eerily in the water. The crackling of the waves, the melodic whistle of the ocean breeze, all gone. All that remained was the flaming dagger which stabbed through the clouds, but even that was completely silent. Then, like gunfire, a sudden boom hit the ship, rocking it back and forth. I ducked down in anguish. What was that? As if it were divine punishment, it forced me to my knees, shackled me to the floor. A distant ring slowly became stronger and stronger. I cried my lungs out, but I couldn’t hear it, my own voice. Even in my mind, the voice that had stood by my side, the  voice that comforted me when others couldn’t, had vanished. Now, my mind was flooded with this ghastly ringing. The waves slammed into the boat, the oceans protested. We had poisoned these waters for years to come, and now, it sought to bring down its mighty power on us. This act of retribution was right and just, each and everyone one of us deserved punishment. We helped to explode this bomb, and now, we suffer the consequences.
The ringing wouldn’t stop, it kept ringing louder and louder. Though it was futile to even attempt, I screamed at the top of my lungs. What was I doing? No one would be able to save me, besides, what reason did they have? My head vibrated, It felt like my skull was going to burst open any moment. I tried to cover my ears, but it burned like hell. The air reeked of burnt metal and toxic gases. I scrambled up to my feet, every move I made had some painful way of lashing back. I scanned the area. What I saw shocked me to my very core. The people around me, those who I had learned to respect, those who I treated like family, flailing aimlessly on the ground. Like pathetic creatures, newborns who have never experienced true pain before, having just taken the most potent, and excruciating, form of pure destruction. I could feel how desperate their screams were, despite not being able to hear. A moment passed and things have only been amplified. The flames, growing more unbearable by the second. The mountain of smoke at the far horizon, expanding without any intention of stopping. It was hard to think with the constant ringing and constant pain. But somehow, I calmed down.
My body was in shambles, my brain tortured and forever traumatised, yet I was able to calm down. After all the horror I had witnessed, the rational part of my brain, well, what was left of it, made one final decision. I was tired, all I could think about right now is how good it would be to take a nice, long nap.  I’ve always envied people who could sleep long hours. When you’re in the navy, especially in this new era of scientific prowess, even just one relaxing nap is a rare commodity. You work long strenuous hours, and at the end of the day, you get to sleep in a tiny, overpacked room with 8 other guys. All the pain, suffering. The tedious work I’ve done in past  months has made me… tired. So, for possibly the last time, I close my eyes. The pitch black darkness could finally bring me peace, probably. I closed my eyelids and hoped for the best. Somehow, I still see the flames, the flames I helped to create. That’s weird, I thought to myself. I tried closing my eyes again, and then again, and again. But the flames lingered in my vision, teasing me. What was happening? I looked around, but there was nothing but flames. This must be a dream, It must all be a dream. I looked at my hands, but they weren’t there… Wait, Is that bone? It certainly looked like it. It’s as if the flesh was ripped off. It was mortifying. I closed my eyes but nothing happened. I looked down, it was all bone. I must be dreaming, stuff like this couldn’t happen in real life. This is all a fantasy, some cruel prank my brain has decided to play on me. Why was this happening? Haven’t I suffered enough? The burning, the ear shattering sounds. Haven’t I been punished enough?  I just want to sleep, to sleep and to never wake up. This can’t be real, this can’t be happening. It’s not like I helped that much, I’m just an average sailor. I don’t deserve this right?… right?


Advocate for the Poor

How can I be an advocate kai korero like Jesus?

To be an advocate like Jesus, I know I must be able to look out for the people who are struggling and don’t have the same opportunities as me. I will show compassion and respect to those around me and  provide support in my own way. I have to be able to listen to the voices of these people and to show concern for their problems. I need to be fair to enable them to have the opportunities needed to succeed, and to live a happy and fulfilled life.

A Letter of Advice – Everyday Theater

Dear T

Hey, it’s Jack

Last night was wild, remember when you drank an entire bottle of soda last night. You must’ve woken up the neighbors with a burp that loud. Anyways, I’ve noticed that you haven’t been as open to me as before. You’ve been like this for a couple months now. I was so worried when you came to class with bruises on your face. I’ve heard that you’re going through a rough time at home. So I was just wondering if you wanted to hang out sometime, you know, to clear your head. Maybe we could check out that new ice cream shop. If you don’t want to come, that’s okay, but I would like to give you some advice. I’ve always believed that doing stuff you enjoy is the best way to blow off steam. You could even find something new to do. Whenever I’m stressed, I find that playing video games helps me to calm down. Instead of focusing on the stuff that makes you unhappy, push those thoughts aside and focus on the stuff that makes you happy. If it gets rough at home, you’re welcome to crash at my place any time. Just know that I’ll always be there for you. Although, if you do crash at my place, don’t bring any beers, we’re only twelve. Anyways, I hope things get better at home, bye.

From your Dear friend, Jack

Epro8 – The Playground

Last Friday, My class and I began our final Epro8 project. Building a playground. We first had to decide what equipment we were going to make. We planned to make a swing, seesaw, slide and merry-go-round. Since it would be quite a hefty task, each group could now use two Epro8 boxes. Our group of four split into twos, each duo would work on a piece of equipment. Me and one of my friends worked on the merry-go-round while the other two worked on the swing,

We decided to take inspiration from a real park to design the merry-go-round. Of course, we weren’t master engineers so the final product was very chunky and seemed to always malfunction in some way or another. We started with the turning mechanism. The merry-go-round was to be a manual machine, we didn’t have the necessary materials to go for automation. We first had to make it turn, for this we used axles. From there we could build the rest of the merry-go-round, but it first needed a strong base. The base, once finished, was extremely rudimentary. It was pretty much a bundle of short, stubby legs. Despite it being very short and alarmingly unstable, it did its job…most of the time.

Occasionally, I glanced at what my other teammates were doing. Their job was going much smoother than ours. The swing was pretty basic, a seat attached with axles to the main body. After a quick water break, My friend and I resumed building. The merry-go-round we had in mind wasn’t exactly what we had planned. We would have never had enough materials to make an actual merry-go-round. What we were building was more of a single wide seat that spun rapidly. We began building the super wide seat which would hold our playground tester.


This is him ( I know, the picture is pretty low quality)

This seat would turn out to be the most complicated thing in the entire project. We struggled a lot and had to cut corners more than a few times. Surprisingly, we were lacking in materials even with two whole boxes of equipment. Due to this, we had a very hard time building the seat. For some reason, we decided to make the seat super wide. It didn’t have to be, we just did. We learned this was a terrible mistake the hard way, when we ran out of long bars. In the end, we built everything with extended medium bars. Once finished, we had our playground tester give it a spin. Unsurprisingly, it failed after a few seconds of spinning.

My other teammates finished way earlier, and had already built the slide and made good progress in the seesaw. We were able to finish up the entire project a couple minutes later. Before we shared our wonderful creations with the class, our tester had some business to attend to.

The swing worked fine, although the seat was abnormally small. The slide went fine, but it could’ve been steeper. Finally, the see saw was miniature compared to the other builds. We had essentially run out of any building materials, but we managed to scrape by. Now it was time to present to the class. The first group had built a seesaw, swing and merry-go-round. Their seesaw was much larger and mechanical than ours, and their swing had two big seats. The merry-go-round they had built was much smaller and less complicated than ours.

My group was up next. During the presentation, Mrs George took pictures for us to use in our blogs. To help us present to the class, we had our playground tester use some of the equipment. It took us about three tries to do the presentation, mostly because our tester had difficulty fitting in the swing. The next group had compacted all their builds in one mega-build. I can’t quite remember what builds they had, but I do know they had a slide and a flying fox.

With the presentation finished, we started the very long, very mundane disassembling process. It was the last time we would ever be disassembling, so the mood was pretty glum. The lights were off, no one was talking. The process as a whole was monotonous and uncomfortably painful. We put everything back and gave the boxes to room 7 for them to use.

I’d rate the experience a solid 8/10. I could definitely see myself wanting to do it again.

Measuring Angles and Using Protractors

A couple weeks ago, My class and I covered angles, I had done this last year, but for many, it was a new experience. We learned what angles were, and how to measure them using protractors. To start, Mrs George covered our tables with masking tape. Then she gave us protractors. We had to measure the angles the tape created, and write it down on the tape with a pencil. My friends and I began immediately. We quickly measured most of the angles. We double checked some of the harder to measure angles. While doing this, Mrs George taught us that the interior angles of a triangle always added up to 180 degrees. We finished measuring quite quickly and began something else. We took peeled off the tape a week later. It was incredibly satisfying.



EPro8 – My Experience

Last Friday, My class received four long, black boxes. These were our building materials for an upcoming program, EPro8. We opened the boxes carefully, inside were a variety of materials. The boxes also came with a book, to guide us on our EPro8 journey. Before we began, we were sorted into groups. Fortunately enough, I was grouped with my friends. My team and I flicked through the guide books, to see what was up ahead. We were definitely excited.

Our first activity was to build a hut. We scanned through our materials. For our main building material, we had long, medium and short aluminum bars. To join them together, we had red and blue joiners. The reds were for basic construction, like making boxes, while the blues were for building diagonally and extensions. We also had other materials, but they had very specific uses. We built a decent sized hut. About as tall as my waist. Once we had finished the basic structure, we had different criteria to meet, Such as making sure the roof of the hut is pitched. Once we had met the criteria, we dismantled the hut and moved onto the next build.

Our next objective was to build a dump truck. The truck had to have a movable bed to tip garbage out. For this, we used axles, which could rotate. We first constructed the base of the truck. It was fairly simple, just a long rectangle with two wheels on each end. Then we built the cab, which was just a box. Next we tried building the bed. We struggled trying to find a way to make it move. But through enough trial and error, we eventually figured it out. After this we had to build a handle to move the bed, which could be operated from the cab. We had no clue what to do, so we looked in the guide book for answers. We built the models shown in the book, they didn’t work but it did serve as a starting point. We experimented with many different models, but they all failed in the end. My team and I were stumped, so we resorted to watching a tutorial on how to do it. The proper handle was way simpler than the models we created. Just a couple bars attached to some axles, and with that wrapped up, we dismantled the build.

Our next project was to build a gearbox. This build was very simple, we just followed the exact model in the book. We learned a lot about gears and how they work. Once we had finished the gearbox, we started on our own experiments. We had fun turning the gear at the end, because it would make the gear at the front spin really fast. We also tested the gearbox’s lifting strength using bottles of various sizes. The build was fairly straightforward. We wrapped up that part of the build in under an hour.

That was pretty much it for the week. There is still one more challenge I need to cover, but that’s a story for another time. Anyways, here are some pictures 🙂







Waka Ama

Just this Wednesday, My class and some others from room 7 went to the Manukau Outrigger Canoe Club. We took a bus there during the morning. Once we arrived, we went to where they stored the canoes. A lady from the club taught us the basics, like how to paddle properly and how to turn and go backwards in the canoe. Each canoe had six seats. Seats 1 and 2 at the front were the leaders, they guided the canoe and they were also in charge of turning. Seats 3 and 4 were the engines. As the name suggests, they were in charge of propelling the canoe forward. I was in seat 3. Seats 5 and 6 were there to provide support. The smaller people sat in 5 and 6. The canoes were connected, so we traveled in groups of 12. At first we paddled casually, practicing what we had learnt from earlier. We had to be in sync if we wanted to go fast. After 10 or so minutes we raced with the other group. They won but just barely. Then we had a race with just our hands as paddles. We completely destroyed them but it was super tiring. My hands were bruised and bleeding by the end. Once the canoes were back on land we put them on some wheels and pushed them up a hill and into a hangar. I had a quick shower and a snack before we went back to school. I had fun, it was tiring, but a lot of fun.