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Do convicted criminals deserve a second chance at life? – Writers Fortnight 2019

Do convicted criminals deserve a second chance at life?

During our recent Writers’ Fortnight, Mr Suarez talked about two inmates he had taught in a maximum security prison. Gaby and German were two inmates who received sentences in an Argentinian prison. Jerman was arrested for being in a criminal gang for driving a stolen car across a border. German made a mistake and he was consequently sentenced to 11 years in prison. Although, Jerman had support from his family and he needed the 500$ from driving the car. However, on the other hand, Gaby was sentenced to life in prison (25 years) for being part of a prison band which intercepted loaded trucks with drugs and money. Gaby, on the other hand, had a horrible childhood, his father was abusive at a young age and at the age of 12 he hit him with a brick and escaped with his mother. A few months later, his mother got a job as a maid and therefore, Gaby was forced to live on the streets for years, and that’s where crime came into his life.

What Is a maximum security prison?

A maximum security prison is like a regular prison but, as stated in the name, is a prison with much higher security, which includes less yard time and less time out of their cells. In a survey of 6,500 prisoners had shown 50% spend less than six hours a day outside their cells and for 20% it is less than 2 hours.

Furthermore, during the highest security prison, there is solitary confinement along with little contact with other people as well. Enforced social isolation can be severely detrimental to mental health. For those not previously suffering from mental health issues, social isolation heightens anxiety, loneliness, low and depression. However, for those already suffering mental health issues, prolonged periods of isolation intensify the symptoms of mental illness, causing exacerbated feelings of low self-worth, anxiety, depression, hallucinations and suicidal tendencies.

Gaby and German

When Mr Suarez was in his 20s, he visited the prison that incarcerated Gaby and Jerman. Mr Suarez would come in his free time and teach the inmates, such as Yoga, math, science and chess. Through many months, every week Mr Suarez would come and visit Gaby and Jerman. Not only did Gaby and German learn a lot, but Mr Suarez learned a lot from them. Mr Suarez said this in his talk, “I was inspired by them, how much they have learnt and how resilient they are. Every day I would come in and they would smile and say hello, how are you as if nothing was wrong.” 

At the end of their journey in prison, Gaby and German had both studied a high school education, and then at a university level. The things you can achieve are colossal and even if the odds are against you and even if you think that your life is ruined, just in this case of Gaby and German. Although sadly, when Gaby was released from prison, he went back to crime as he had been so exposed to this type of life when he was young.

Writers’ Fortnight was all about stories and this story was very intriguing to me. Mr Suarez donated a colour TV, which was rare at that time and devoted his time to something that some other people would never aspire to do, work in a prison with convicted criminals and yet we people find this very inspiring for someone to do. Personally, I found Mr Suarez very inspiring as he aspired to do something no one would ever want to do, even his parents and his family were against his decision in doing this.

What can we learn from this story?

You can be a convicted criminal if you were a drug kingpin or someone who just made a tiny mistake, which broke a law and got sent to prison. As Mr Suarez has shown in his story, you can certainly turn your life around even in prison. Not many people aspire to do what Mr Suarez did and not many people would choose to do what he did. With the right educational and correctional programs in prison, I think that convicted criminals do deserve a second chance at life. Mr Suarez had a colossal effect on both of the inmates and education pulled them out of the metaphorical hole they had been in. Now the question is up to you. Do you think that criminals, such as Gaby and German deserve a second chance? Do you believe that with the right education, criminals can turn their life around?

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Watching the Grade 10 Drama Performances

On February 28th, In drama, we watched the grade 10s and their performances they have been working on. First off, I liked the fact that they used a lot of energy in their performance. Many of the performances were well constructed and their use of blocks and chairs were well used. For instance, I liked the second group that focused on gaming addiction. I liked their use of the stick, which symbolised the manipulation of the girl. Furthermore, I Liked how they used different levels throughout their performances. Characterization was very prominent throughout the performances, their roles were very clearly presented and many of their characters were shown and created very well. Overall, I enjoyed this and I learned a lot from the grade 10s.

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Grade 10 drama performances

This Monday of October the 1st, I was able to watch inspiring and great grade 10 performances. I really liked all of the performances because they were always so engaging to watch. Furthermore, they incorporated a message into their performance and raised in issue meanwhile. For example, there was one with an autist child finding his mother. Something I would like to remember when I do my performance this time next year is to use various techniques and include the appropriate props. This could be only some chairs and they could act differently in multiple ways. All of the performances were well structured and crafted. They all certainly had an impact on my perspective on this specific issues. Another thing I thought was very good was the lighting and how it was so effectively used to enhance the performances as a whole. I thought that the grade 10 performances were very impressive as how they could take on a mature role and express it very effectively with loads of energy. Overall, this was a great experience in drama.

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My first month of grade 9

My first month of grade 9 has been an exciting yet nervous start of a journey for me. New teachers, new classmates. The first month of grade 9, has been the start of an exciting transition from middle school to high school. I have enjoyed the first month, because I got to start my new subjects, such as Global Perspectives and History. I have developed new friendships with people I have not talked to before. I am certainly looking forward to what is ahead of me in grade 9 and onwards.

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What are my goals in my approach to learning?

I promise myself to balance school work with activities and leisure time effectively, in order to reduce the stress I will have over the course of the year.  I promise myself to also be more committed to my homework and complete it to my best ability. Furthermore, concerning homework, I promise myself to review class work in the areas that I need to improve in such as mathematics. I believe that this will boost my grades in the areas that are weaker than others. This is one instance of what I will promise myself by the end of the academic year.Image result for i promise myself words

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My first drama lesson

My first drama lesson was wonderful. I met some new people and I got to know them some more. In our first drama lesson, we played drama games and did some fun activities. My biggest takeaway was having fun and getting to know my teacher (Mrs. Parr). One thing I learned from my first lesson of drama this year was fundamentally everyone’s names (and got to know them better) and what my goals were as a drama student here at UWC. My goal or wish in drama in grade 9 is too see a growth in myself, my confidence and my drama abilities. If that is on stage or off. In addition, I most enjoyed the fun activities and games we played today. Some games introduced me to some of the people, some introduced me to the new unit up ahead, and all were just fun to do. That is what I find most important about drama. To have fun and enjoy yourself. Finally, I am very much looking forward to the year ahead of me in drama this year.

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My first week back!

Coming back to UWC after the summer holidays was an exciting yet nervous time. I met and saw my friends again, however, I was nervous too. I met the many new students at UWC and got to know them a little better. My first few days attending classes were great and I got to meet all of my new teachers, that I will have for the next 2 years. I have settled in well and adjusted to my new timetable and classes. Something I am looking forward to this year is the many expeditions to chose from. I am thinking of choosing the research of whale sharks in the Maldives or the Biodiversity research program in Borneo. Wearing the blue shirt for the first time was a thrilling experience for me. It best demonstrated my transition into being more independent.