Posted Online: May 11, 2013, 7:20 am

Rockridge Junior High Student Writers

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Cheyenne Bush
Rylee Luebbe
Jaclyn Terrill
Cole Whisman
Emily Zeck
Bully Prevention
By Cheyenne Bush
Eighth grade
Have you ever been walking down the hall at school and heard someone crying in the bathroom or in a small room so no one can see or hear him or her? That is one of the worst things that can happen in a child's life. Bullying. Here at Rockridge Junior High, we try our very hardest to eliminate bullying. We do many different things to keep it out of our school. We have created anti-bullying posters, completed bullying surveys and much more.
No child wants to be afraid to go to school. Rockridge's eighth grade class made anti-bullying posters to hang in the halls to remind kids not to tease or pick on anyone. Students worked in groups of two and had to make up their own slogans to go on their posters. The groups colored and decorated their posters the best they could. Then individual classes could vote on the two best in each of the five grammar/writing classes. After we chose, Mrs. Miller, our grammar/writing teacher, took them to her masters class for them to impartially select the top three in the eighth grade.
Mrs. Miller had us do silent and confidential bully surveys. We discovered that teasing and other types of bullying at our school took place more in the halls than anywhere else. Most students were open and honest when completing their surveys because they were kept confidential. Students suggested having more adults in the halls, and the staff stepped up supervision in the hallways.
If you have heard someone crying in the bathrooms, you need to stop and think about how you can stop the bullying at your school. Survey your students for the answers and include them in the solution. It works!

Be Thankful for Your Teachers
By Rylee Luebbe
Eighth grade
My experience so far as a student at Rockridge Junior High School has changed my life drastically. The teachers here are not only great teachers, but great role models. I look up to each and every one of them. I'd like to tell you a little bit about why many of my peers and I enjoy attending Rockridge Junior High.
I am sure that almost everyone has either been affected by or heard of the recent budget cuts our school has made. I think that my teachers, as well as many other teachers in Illinois, deserve recognition for being so strong during this tough time. All of my teachers are so dedicated to teaching and helping us understand easier even though they may be getting moved to a different subject, or losing their jobs completely.
I look up to them, not only because they are so strong, but because they are just great teachers. All of my teachers have made my school life so much easier; believe it or not, I actually enjoy going to school now. Take math for instance; most kids can't stand it, but ever since I came to Rockridge, it has been one of my favorite subjects. The teachers here have a way of involving the students more, making subjects interesting, adding humor into the lessons, and connecting to us in ways no teacher has ever before.
I'd like to thank all of my teachers for making learning so much easier for me. If you have the chance to thank your teachers, do it; even though it may seem like all they do is give you homework, they are doing so much more than that.

Bodies Revealed
By Jaclyn Terrill
Eighth grade
In the eighth grade, all students learn about the 11 organ systems, but few schools have the chance to visit an exhibit completely dedicated to exactly what they're studying in science class. Luckily, for Rockridge Junior High eighth graders, the Putnam Museum in Davenport, Iowa, has a Bodies Revealed exhibit portraying the organ systems in the human body on real (deceased) people.
Bodies Revealed is an exhibit of over 200 real bodies, all cut open to expose certain organ systems (skeletal, muscular, reproductive, respiratory and circulatory). The bodies are treated through a process called polymer preservation that permanently preserves the tissue by using liquid silicone rubber. This prevents decay and — more importantly — smell. The polymer process also allows the bodies to be put in different positions, showing how muscles and organs react to movement.
Eighth graders are expected to learn information from the pictures in their textbooks, but those pictures always look rather … cartoony. The Bodies Revealed exhibit helps the students comprehend what they're learning in three dimensions. The Rockridge eighth graders also participated in a scavenger-hunt-like quiz where they were given questions and had to find the correct specimen to answer it.
The exhibit also explained the dangers of smoking and certain diseases that affect specific systems in the body. In the respiratory section, there's a healthy lung next to a blackened smoker's lung to alert people of the damages cigarettes cause.
The Rockridge eighth graders of 2012-2013 might very well be the first and last eighth graders at Rockridge to see the exhibit because it's leaving soon. The Bodies Revealed exhibit is a perfect opportunity to learn about all of the organ systems in the human body, so get your body moving to the Putnam before it's too late!

Rockridge Student Learns Business Side of Farming
By Cole Whisman
Eighth grade
The Rock Island County Beef for Youth Program is an educational cattle raising competition that teaches students the business side of farming.
Participants first meet with a banker to agree on the terms of a loan needed to purchase a calf and the insurance required in case the calf dies. The loan is based on the cost of the calf which is based on its weight (A 700 pound calf at a market price of $1.40 per pound requires a loan amount of $980).
A lottery drawing determines who gets which calf. Participants have seven months of hard work to get their calves ready for the fair. They have to feed it and tend to it carefully.
At the fair, the calf judging begins! There, participants turn their records in on how much they have fed it, what kind of protein it is getting and the feed rations it is consuming. Then participants show the calf, and there are four ways to win awards. One is on foot. Two is rate of gain. Three is the carcass scan. The fourth is on the rail after harvesting the calf. Sponsors present the awards at the fair
After the fair, the program cattle all go to Tyson's for harvesting. The University of Illinois Meat Judging Team judges the cattle on the rail and grades them. Tyson's present awards to the winners.
The final step is paying back the loan with the money made by harvesting the calf at Tyson's. Another important part of the program is teaching us to help others. Each year the program donates money to a charity. It feels great to learn and help others at the same time.

The Guest I Happened to Know
By Emily Zeck
Eighth grade
When a guest speaker, let alone a professional writer, comes to school, it's usually someone you're meeting for the first time. But this time, the special guest happened to be someone really special to me. Her name is Sheri Zeck and she's my mom.
Our writing teacher, Mrs. Miller, had invited Mrs. Zeck to speak to five of her eighth grade classes on March 26th and 27th. Mrs. Zeck talked about winning a Guideposts writing contest and having her story published in their magazine. Her story allowed the eighth graders to see the perspective of a professional writer.
Mrs. Zeck shared her passion while explaining the hard work necessary to succeed. She told us that a beginner writer can start by doing little things like entering magazine contests for teens and just writing for fun.
She shared about her experiences with Guideposts and gave us many helpful tips to improve our writing. She said, "When you write, pretend your reader is blind. They can't see inside your head. They can only see what you show them."
As she finished her presentation, Mrs. Zeck gave each student a small plastic bag containing a Hershey's kiss, a Snickers bar, and a stick of gum. She told everyone that the Hershey's kiss represented choosing a career we love. The Snickers reminded us to laugh at ourselves and not take everything too seriously. And the gum reminded us that even if we feel like giving up on our dream, we should always stick with it!
I personally learned even more than I had already known. I think her speech reflected her lifestyle and personality, and this presentation showed her true talent!