Hello, Spring; What Essays Will You Bring? - Unit 8: Formal Essay Models
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April 2015 Newsletter

Hello, Spring;
What Essays Will You Bring?

Unit 8: Formal Essay Models
Dear Readers,

Now that spring is here, are you looking for something to write? The Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW®) is excited to be hosting a writing contest for students ages 9–19, complete with prizes!
  • First Prize: $100 (for student) + $100 IEW gift certificate*
  • Second Prize: $50 (for student) + $50 IEW gift certificate*
  • Third Prize: $20 (for student) + $20 IEW gift certificate*
    *for parent or teacher
The deadline is quickly approaching, so if you are interested in submitting work, get started today! There are two different writing assignments, one for Level A (ages 9–11) and one for Levels B (ages 12–14) and C (ages 15–18). These writing prompts must be followed in order for your entry to be considered:
Writing Prompts
LEVEL A: It is often said that it is “more blessed to give than to receive.” Have you had an experience in your life where you received great satisfaction from giving your time or talents to someone and experiencing a blessing or joy? Describe that experience, and tell a bit about what you learned from it.
LENGTH: 1–3 paragraphs

LEVELS B and C: Ben Carson said, “Perhaps it would be useful to highlight the fact that the average American lives to be about 80 years of age. The first 20 to 25 years are spent either preparing oneself through education or not preparing. If you prepare appropriately, you have 55 to 60 years to reap the benefits. If you fail to prepare, you have 55 to 60 years to suffer the consequences.” What are you doing as a young person now that is preparing you for the rest of your life?
LENGTH: 5–7 paragraphs

All submissions must be sent no later than April 15, 2015. Visit the webpage for additional information or to submit work. Winners will be announced on April 28, 2015.

Congratulations to our student writers who are published in this newsletter:
  • Mallory Anne Adams
  • Jack Anderson
  • Andrew Heil
  • Aaron Smith

Thank you to all who submitted work. Keep writing and submit again!

Upcoming Deadlines for Homeschooled Students
  • Unit 9 critiques – April 13, 2015
  • IEW writing contest – April 15, 2015
  • Fiction – May 11, 2015
  • Journalism – June 15, 2015

New Submission Guidelines
As we have recently re-vamped our writer’s guidelines, we encourage you to take a minute and visit our website to view our new guidelines. All submissions must now be accompanied by a Parent Consent Form to be considered for publication. Additionally, since we are receiving a large amount of submissions each month, it is important that all submissions follow the correct format, which is also posted on our website. Submissions must follow the guidelines and should be emailed to Visit our website for our complete writer’s guidelines and additional information:, and find us on Facebook for contests and sneak peeks.

Happy writing,

Megan L. House
Magnum Opus Magazine Managing Editor
800.856.5815 x5101
A Young Woman Perseveres

by Mallory Anne Adams, age 10
“No woman ever accompanies a war party,” Clark wrote during the expedition that covered 2,200 miles before reaching the Pacific Coast (Schanzer). Sacagawea, a 16-year-old Native American, accompanied the Lewis and Clark Expedition while overcoming death and peril to return to her childhood home, thus changing the shape of America.

In 1804 more than forty men accompanied the Lewis and Clark Expedition or the “Corps of Discovery”; however, the most memorable members of the group were not men, but a woman and her baby! The Lewis and Clark Expedition needed someone who could speak Shoshone, which led them to find Sacagawea and her husband, Charbonneau. Sacagawea had their baby, Jean Baptiste or “Pomp,” at Fort Mandan, where the expedition over-wintered two months before their departure. One foggy day a boat tipped, and while the men bailed, Sacagawea caught the supplies, which were quickly drifting away. The expedition continued. Sacagawea carefully gathered food in enemy territory and cooked wild veggies including onions, turnips, artichokes, currants, and gooseberries. When Sacagawea was sixteen, she crossed America with a baby on her back. Clearly, she is remembered for the many ways she impacted the success of the expedition.

During the expedition, Sacagawea found her way home to the Shoshone tribe. The Shoshone were peaceful wanderers who did not grow gardens. When the Minitare tribe attacked, Sacagawea was captured and taken away. Four years later she was traded to Toussaint Charbonneau, a fur trader who became her new husband. While Sacagawea was slowly translating, she saw her brother Cameahwait, the chief. While Sacagawea was overjoyed with tears streaming down her face, Cameahwait had to act dignified as he traded thirty horses for guns. Sacagawea had to convince Cameahwait twice to trade horses for the expedition. Despite being reunited with her family, she decided to go on with the expedition. She knew if they went on without her, they could fail. 

The Lewis and Clark Expedition covered an enormous region of what is now Idaho, Washington, and Oregon, and the Corps of Discovery helped make way for settlers. With her help the expedition was a success, and in four states, mountains and two rivers were named after her. Thankfully, the tribes welcomed the explorers because of Sacagawea. After all, who would bring a woman on a war party? Although Sacagawea was a woman, she and a slave were allowed to vote for the fort location. The expedition, with Sacagawea’s help, discovered new plants and animals. Despite her gender and race, she had a huge impact on America. 
Sacagawea will always be remembered for her role in the Lewis and Clark Expedition, her return to her family, and her impact on the shape of America. The most significant thing about Sacagawea is that she accomplished these things not only as a young woman, but as a mother. Like Sacagawea, all young women should strive to be brave and confident and to persevere through trying times.

Works Cited
Bauer, Susan. The Story of the World. Charles City: Peace Hill Press, 2008. Print.
Erdrich, Lise. Sacagawea. Minneapolis: Carolrhoda Books, 2003. Print.
Fradin, Judith B, and Dennis Brindell Fradin. Who Was Sacagawea? New York: Grosset
     and Dunlap, 2002. Print.
Schanzer, Rosalyn. How We Crossed the West. Washington, DC: National Geographic
     Society, 1997. Print.
A Symbol of the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave
by Jack Anderson, age 10
I am red, white, and blue with stars, and I represent “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” What am I? I am the flag that hangs over Pearl Harbor, the Pentagon, and a veteran's yard.

Flying over Pearl Harbor, I respect the fact that I am the symbol of America. I am at the naval base where hundreds of men walk under me night and day. Unfortunately, on December 7, 1941, at 7:48 in the morning, I eyed a large swarm of three hundred fifty-three Japanese planes buzzing around like someone poked a large, deadly, and terrifying beehive. Red dots speckled the sky. The red dots represented the Japanese flag. When the smoke cleared, I peered into the distance and saw that one hundred eighty-eight American planes were damaged. Fifteen ships were horrendously destroyed. Four more were sunk. 2403 people died. That might be the population of a tiny town. That day I flew over Pearl Harbor, I felt so scared, but that will not change the fact that I am the symbol of America.

I am the flag flying over the Pentagon. The Pentagon is the headquarters for the Department of Defense, whose job is to protect America and solve worldwide problems. Daily, people walk under me. On the morning of September 11, 2001, I distinguished a plane headed right at me. Threatened, we had no chance to evacuate. We were helpless. That was the third plane attack that day. It was American Airlines Flight 77. Crashed, crushed, and crammed, the people began to despair causing everyone in the Pentagon to lose hope. The building had partially collapsed. Buildings, people, and America were attacked. I am still the flag, a symbol of America, flying over the crumbled Pentagon.

Like my cousins who flew over Pearl Harbor and the Pentagon, I am the flag flying in the yard of retired veteran, Doctor Lieutenant Major Master Sour Gummyworm. It is now 2015, and I watch the neighborhood children play every day. I have watched them grow for as long as I can remember. I am still heartbroken about the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the September 11, 2001, attacks on the Pentagon. I always worry about terrorist attacks. Al-Qaeda and ISIS are strong, but not strong enough to take me down.

I am the flag that hangs over Pearl Harbor, the Pentagon, and a veteran’s yard. I am most honored to be hanging in the veteran’s yard. The reason I am most proud to hang in the veteran’s yard is because he served America well. Because of people like him, America is still strong, “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
Science Fiction to Reality
by Andrew Heil, age 14
Science has had numerous advances over the last two decades, and some of what we know to be science fiction might actually become reality. Although science has its limitations, there are many classic and revolutionary technologies that are steadily beginning to emerge in the world today, such as the incredibly fast warp drive. Trekking through muted space, this technology would allow humans to travel faster than light, resulting in incredible and immense exploration of the vast, dark sea of stars that blankets the universe, “to boldly go where no man has gone before.” Where there is war, the unbreakable force field will disable it by protecting whatever it encircles. This field of energy would protect its possessor from nearly any adversary. The recent innovations in science are altering futuristic science fiction into an encouraging reality and should be kept from the public until they can be made safer and easier to use than they are hypothesized to be.

The idea of traveling through the black vast void looming over Earth would be the greatest exploration ability in history. In the classic television series, “Star Trek,” the iconic starship U.S.S. Enterprise was capable of trekking faster than light by using a warp drive system. This prospect is actually being developed. Today, the warp drive has been theorized, tested thoroughly, and is already being designed and constructed. The system operates by generating an artificial gravity field around the spacecraft, which is, in essence, a gravity bubble. Warping its surroundings, the gravity bubble compresses the space-time in front of it and expands the space behind the craft. When the bubble is activated, the ship accelerates almost instantly to ten times the speed of light, which is the equivalent of 1,862,820 miles per second! This technology could take a spacecraft to Pluto, which is located 3.6 billion miles away from Earth, in only thirty-three minutes. One downfall to this technology is that it requires an exotic form of energy known as “negative-energy.” The main problem with containing or even creating negative-energy is that everything on planet Earth is positive-matter. If the two materials were to collide or meet in any way, they would create an explosion relative to the amounts of the matters that collided, meaning that it could be a simple minute boom or a deafening catastrophic explosion. Shockingly, in the case of the warp drive, the required amount of negative-energy is equal to the sum of all the energy that the USA consumes in one year, which means if negative-energy met positive-matter, the result would be devastating deadly destruction. Clearly, the capability of warp drive would be the most beneficial exploration ability in mankind’s history but would be highly dangerous if used incorrectly.

Energy shields that could provide near invulnerability would be the greatest defensive device ever and could even end wars. The shield, or force field, is essentially a sphere of unyielding translucent energy surrounding any object. Protecting whatever it encircles, it would only be ineffective in two instances. First, if the energy that is attacking the shield is identical to the energy that composes the shield, it would be rendered useless. Second, if the power source sustaining the force field becomes depleted, then the field will just shut down entirely. Amazingly, there is only one theory which can best explain how shields could be accomplished. When one needs the energy field, one could use a projection device to “project” the force field energy into the air and then have the energy arc down into a spherical shape. This idea has some drawbacks. How would the energy beam that is being projected into the air just suddenly arc down into a sphere-like shape? It would require another machine hovering high up that would distribute the translucent energy into a flat disc with even more machines that would curve the energy into a sphere-like shape. In short, one would need to have an immense dome outside of the force field to curve it. Since the dome is on the outside of the field, however, if something began fracturing the dome, it would result in the failure of the shield. Undoubtedly, the force field would be the ultimate defensive mechanism against wars, burglars, and even natural disasters.

Lastly, the third seemingly impossible advance in technology is the creation of an antimatter weapon. The foremost reason no one has moved away from conventional guns and begun using energy weapons is because they consume more energy than they give out. The idea of an antimatter weapon just speaks “terrible fate” any time someone addresses it. Nevertheless, it still is a fascinating idea: a gun that would shoot small bullets composed of antimatter, which would make large crackling explosions on contact. Realistically, the chief snag that would keep this from working is how to safely and effectively produce it. Although production is a major concern, this mysterious matter could also cause massive damage.

Obviously, unless the technology of the future can be altered to operate on something other than negative-energy, technology advancements such as these should be suppressed for the time being. The warp drive system grants the ability to travel through the blackness of space at mind-boggling speeds and discover all of the wonders the universe holds. Guarding men and women, the incredible force field would give mankind the reliable protection which has been so desperately needed at times. While conventional weapons are still widely used, their successors are slowly but surely emerging from science labs. Advanced weapons would be the most destructive devices ever designed. All this raises several questions about this technology. How is it useful? Where would its place be? Why does mankind need it? These technologies would be used as tools in this world, mostly for exploration. However, if not strictly controlled, they could create chaos. Mankind’s thirst to advance is the driving force behind all of these technologies and everything else man has created. Most importantly, technology is the main factor that has led to the advancement of our civilization and has brought us into a great era of exploration. Amazingly, the recent scientific advancements have led mankind to new ideas, revelations, and ultimately, these future technologies moving from science fiction to reality.
Works Cited
Kakaes, Konstantin. "Warp Factor." Popular Science April 2013: 50-54. Print.
Green, Hank. “Warp Drives!” YouTube. 17 Jan. 2013. Web.
Licorice, Vanilla, or Chocolate?
by Aaron Smith, age 15
Which breed of dog remains the most popular? Ranking at the top of the American Kennel Club’s most popular breed list for the last twenty-one years, the Labrador Retriever continues to win the hearts of the American people (Labrador Retriever Facts). With their long, thudding tails wagging behind them, and their mouths drooling with dripping slobber, the joyful Labrador Retriever is a true friend. Appearing in the shades of black, white, blonde, or brown, they are primarily known for their happy temperament. Amazingly, Labradors have a keen sense of smell and a higher intellect than most breeds (HubPages). Because of its pacified attitude, this large breed of dog is easy to maintain. Labradors, which are enormous in size, are gentle creatures, while maintaining a relaxed countenance. They are athletic and energetic. In other words, the Labrador is overwhelmingly, undoubtedly, and decisively the most wonderful pet to have.

With a gentle disposition and a carefree nature, Labradors in particular are decidedly and undeniably perfect for the pandemonium of households with children. Although there are many different breeds, the slick Labrador Retriever remains the most popular (Labrador Retriever Facts). Aiming to please their owners, Labs are not short-tempered, but are gentle. A Retriever will impatiently and anxiously wait as its owner tosses a tennis ball for it to bring back. Quickly adapting to its environment, a Lab can fetch a ball, retrieve a stick from water, or slobber on a child while he pulls on its ears. The eager Labrador, a loving, peaceful creature, prefers to be in the company of its master, constantly desiring a rub on its furry belly (HubPages). The Lab is like a living teddy bear. In addition to its family friendliness, the Lab is remarkably intelligent.

Comforting the depressed elderly, assisting the blind, or uncovering deafening explosives, Labradors can certainly master these stressful assignments (Labrador Retriever Facts). Effectively, they aid the blind with crossing busy streets, while acting as a devoted friend. Because their focus on each individual task is determined, this shaggy canine can conquer each task consistently. Ahead of other breeds, Labradors are easily trainable because of their high intelligence (Yahoo Contributor Network). Their work ethic is unmatched. Retrievers, who wish to please their owners, are capable of learning because of their diligence and relaxed nature. Besides their miraculous intelligence level, Labradors are self-sufficient.

Clearly, Labradors are autonomous, adaptable creatures. Although large breed dogs predictably cost more to feed, the satiny short-haired Lab requires minor upkeep. With a sleek, waterproof coat that requires little grooming, Labradors are generally low maintenance (Yahoo Contributor Network). Owners do not have to brush them all the time or give them constant rules to have a healthy, cheerful pet. Despite requiring a considerable amount of freedom to roam, Labs can reside in apartments when they are allowed to walk daily or run around a park regularly (Yahoo Contributor Network). Although Labs are usually low maintenance, impulsive Labs, who can be sly when left without guarded supervision, need attention, forgiving love, and discipline (HubPages). Undoubtedly, Lab owners will have a loyal, devoted companion.

Sitting on a shelf in a house in North Augusta, for example, a picture of an adorable, chocolate Lab reads, “My Dog is the Best.” Although he chewed on wires, chewed on rigid decking, and chewed on savory shrubs as an excited puppy, Spencer matured into a faithful and loyal friend. His intelligence was definitely amazing. According to his proud owner, Mr. Smith, Spencer once found a set of lost keys in a pile of leaves, as if he knew they were important. “I had been looking close to an hour, when Spencer walks up to me with them in his mouth. He always knew when to growl at suspicious characters,” explained Mr. Smith, “but he was a lovable teddy bear to the children.” Sadly, Spencer passed away last June after almost sixteen years of endearing devotion. For this reason, the Smiths admit, “The only breed of dog we will ever own will be a Labrador.”

Any family desiring a pet should, therefore, choose a Lab. Typically, Labs are completely calm around young children who have a tendency to be rough with animals. While Labs desire to be vigorous, they love to cuddle. They require limited upkeep, partially due to their short hair and mild temperament. Labs are clever and wish to assist their master, while seeking attention and love. They will prove to be loyal and faithful friends. Labs are a trusting and accepting breed. With their selfless dedication to others, Labradors make the ultimate pets. The only question left is which to choose: licorice, vanilla, or chocolate?
Works Cited
"10 Reasons Why Labrador Retrievers Make Great Family Pets." HubPages. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Mar. 2014.
"The 10 WORST Breeds of Dogs for Children." N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Mar. 2014.
"Labrador Retriever Facts." Labrador Retriever Facts. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Mar. 2014.
"Will a Labrador Retriever Make a Good Pet-The Pros & Cons." Yahoo Contributor Network. N.p., n.d.
     Web. 12 Mar. 2014.
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