Name: Kelsey Davis
School: Innisdale Secondary School
Hobbies:
Reading: Since I was a child I have always loved to pick up a book for a few hours and lose myself in another reality or see the world from a different perspective. Books allow you to experience things never possible otherwise.

Travelling: My father is a pilot so I grew up travelling across Canada. Planes are just like cars to me at this point. I always loved experiencing new places, like the old growth forests of British Columbia, and the badlands of Alberta. This love is present in me now, and will be for years to come as I take every chance I get to travel. The furthest I have been so far is Italy, buy I intend to change that as soon as possible.

Hiking: I value Canada’s wilderness very much. Especially as I see the forest I explored as a child being torn down to build houses. Also, being separate from society, even for a few hours is very refreshing.

Quote: "The unexamined life is not worth living" –Socrates
It doesn’t matter how high you climb if you look down and realize that you are on the wrong ladder. Examining your life allows you too see what you really want, and who you really are. Life is too short to just follow the herd.

Future Goals: National Geographic Journalist
I would like to be a journalist because I have a thirst for travelling and experiencing new cultures. I have grown up reading National Geographic and the articles have always enchanted me. To be able to write like that and to uncover such fascinating, and sometimes even horrifying aspects of the world is something I have always aspired to do.

Extra ‘Talent’:
If I had to choose an extra skill that I possess, it would have to be writing. I don’t pretend to be amazing, but it is something I love to do. It is my form of art, and my favorite emotional outlet. Every once an awhile I find it hard to interpret my emotions, so I find it easiest to just write down whatever comes to mind, and then figure out what it means to me. Due to the fact that most of what I write is so personal, it is very rare that I share it with anyone.
To demonstrate this skill, I have chosen three pieces of writing. The first, a personal narrative, demonstrates personal exploration. The second, an article I wrote for Innisdale’s newspaper demonstrates societal exploration. The third I have included is a mix of the two, and was written as a personal response to the Holocaust, something that has always fascinated, horrified, and emotionally devastated me.

 

 

The Age of 'Peep Culture'

Entertainment | Kelsey Davis — January 12, 2010


The age of 'Peep Culture' is upon us. It is a tell-all show-all time that lacks all concepts of privacy. Fuelled by the ever growing technological capabilities of our generation, it seems this new trend is just beginning; where it is heading, only time will tell.
What exactly is this new 'Peep Culture' craze? It's the reality TV you watch on Saturday afternoons. It's that Twitter Tweet you received at lunch. It's the celebrity scandal you read in the rag you picked up at the supermarket. 'Peep Culture' is our societies' unquenchable thirst to peep into the lives of those around us, whether it be friend, family, celebrity or stranger, as well as it's need for others to know every trivial event, thought and whim in their own lives.
An example is the Popular Reality TV show 'Jon and Kate Plus 8' which follows the lives of a couple and their sextuplets and twins. Much of the world welcomed the Gosselin family into their homes and daily schedule to watch the trivialities and dramas of their everyday (maybe somewhat scripted?) lives. While the family suffered a separation we watched with bated breath, choosing sides and taking bets on the outcome.
Grade eleven student, Victoria Wiedemann explains, "The situation with John, Kate, and their children was horrible! Divorce is a very difficult thing when handled privately, but to have it broadcasted on national telivision is unfathomable. Trying to keep the children protected from the tabloids must have been very hard aswell." She reluctantly admits, "The sad thing is, despite how I know it's not right, I wanted to know every detail aswell."
The question stands, is 'Peep Culture' just a new form of entertainment or an unhealthy fascination in and obsession of the personal lives of others? We are entering a time where what we do and have online virtually may be more important than our physical selves.
Grade twelve student, Emily Chen explains, "I think we do waste time online, time that could be spent in real life, rather and virtual activities but I think the reason is that sometimes some people can't fully express themselves to others, so they write blogs, and make videos without the criticism they may experience in real life."
There is another issue that must be taken into account: with this new facet of information possible employers have another way to monitor the lives of their employees. A rogue post from an irresponsible friend may even be enough to tarnish a reputation forever. Facebook and Twitter in the workplace has also become an issue for many establishments as they are so easily accessible, and checking ones inbox or making a status update can easily and unintentionally lead to an hour surfing the latest activities of friends.
Grade eleven student, Jacob Ross, rationalizes that, "while its very unhealthy being obsessed with technology and the lack of privacy isnt good, if you’re smart you'll know not to put up anything important and spend to much time online."
One thing is for sure, a new age is upon us, an age where privacy and security are a privilege of the past. How you adapt to this new time, well, that is up to you.

Time Will Tell
By Kelsey Davis

Time passes.
             sometimes it's quick bursts, faces, places
                         sometimes each second drags into a horrific lifetime

                                                   But sure enough, it passes.
                                                                    Every second that does
                                                                                     steals away one more piece of my humanity.

***

          It is 1943, the war is raging all around, and it has been four years since my life was stolen from me. A lifetime it seems since they came to my village, a lifetime since the squalor of the ghetto, a lifetime since I could not comfort my screaming mother, felt myself torn from my father's grasp, endured two sweaty, suffocating days in a train like I was an animal. It was spring and I was immersed in my studies at the Synagogue, as was expected of all Jewish boys my age. I could see my life ahead of me, and all I had to do was reach out and take it, like the flowers blossoming on the apple tree in my backyard. Then everything changed.
          The day they came my family was in a frenzy. We raced around our room in the apartment we had been assigned to in the ghetto, packing our most cherished belongings. We then shuffled onto a train amongst the frantic masses we had lived with, in filth, for the last six months. We crowded onto the trains, making an attempt to stay together. We spent two days in the suffocating, crowded train.  Our constant state of dehydrated delirium was only interrupted by the desperate prayers of my people. I had the last glimpses of my family when the train lurched to a stop, sending us into a mass of writhing bodies, and we were herded into the dusty sunlight.
          I could hear my mother screaming my name, as I tried to respond to her desperate cries. My father and I held each other as we were pushed into lines, by the rifles of the German soldiers. I felt him ripped from my grasp as we were systematically sorted into separate lines.  The young men were driven to a warehouse, where we stripped, and I was robbed of my most prized possession: the pocket watch my grandfather had given me on the day of my bar mitzvah. It symbolised my future. Now both are gone.

***

          It is 1943, the war is in full swing, and it has been three years since I gave my life away.  It seems a lifetime since I enlisted, a lifetime since I left my mother, and my father's proud embrace. I remember the exact day. It was spring, and there was a calm breeze rustling through the budding trees. It seemed to be the beginning of something great, like I was on the cusp of a future of honour and glory.
          My family all got together to see my off. I remember the tear that trickled out of the corner of my mother's eye, tracing a transparent line to the smile that had been permanently fixed to her face for weeks; for she was the mother of a good German boy, a member of the Nazi Party. I remember the respect my father treated me with. For the first time I was an adult in his eyes. You see, old age and a lame leg from the Great War kept him useless, so instead he lived through me. My Grandfather, the one who got me this gig, was the most pleased. He doesn't often display emotion openly, but as I made to step onto the train he clasped my hand, in it placing something cold and hard, the prized, gold pocket watch he had recently acquired. It fascinated me. There was something magical about its intricate, beauty with the phrase, only time will tell, engraved across its back. It had filled me with hope. It does no longer.

***

          Every morning I awaken to my own personal hell. I share a cabin with fifty other men; it is four to a bunk. One of my bunkmates has soiled himself with a bloody mess. He has dysentery and won't last long.  I stare at his gaunt, pale face, a mirror of my own, and wonder how long until he passes into unconsciousness so I can steal his rations and how long until he is disposed of so I can have more room.
          After a meagre ration of pungent, grey, watery soup we trudge to the dusty plot where we are digging. It is to be a grave, a grave I myself may someday lie in, with the tangled bodies of my brothers. The day goes on, and dirt clings to my body, coats my lungs, and blinds my eyes. Faintness sets in as the sun reaches its highest point, and blessed buckets of water are passed around to relieve our flaming throats.
          I glance at the men guarding us. I hate them with the entirety of my soul. Once I wondered if they were just like me, caught up in something bigger than all of us. Now I know that this is not true. They are monsters, relishing in the power of their guns and uniforms, enjoying the privilege of beating, raping, and killing at their leisure. One is pacing through the crowd, staring at us, with repulse in every contour of his face. He twirls a glinting gold object in his hands, a pocket watch it seems. As he nears me I look back to my work, shovelling with more vigour. I have learned that it is best to blend in, and give them no incentive to beat me, or worse. I hear his footsteps crunching the dirt around me, he is near. Then there is a twinkling sounds as his trinket falls onto my shovel.
          "Retrieve it," the young man commands. He is expressionless. Without risking a glance into his eyes I do. As I go to pass it into his awaiting hands, engraving on the back catches my eye. Only time will tell. Resolution accompanies the original shock I feel. This is mine and he will not have this last connection to my old life.
          Impatiently, the young guard makes to grab it from my hand, but I snatch it away. An expression of shock and disgust takes hold of his face. I realise a fellow guard has seen my offence, as he runs forward and throws me to the ground.  The force with which my head crashes against a rock has me fighting to maintain my consciousness. Do I even want to be awake for what will surely follow?
          I find myself back in my village on the day of my Bar Mitzvah. The entire community was there, celebrating my manhood. Only time will tell, I had read the engraving on the pocket watch my grandfather had given to me. I was full of life; my future was full of hope. Now I am dead, a rotting body entwined with a thousand others, in pit dug by me, and filled by my brothers. I have no time left.

***

          Every morning I awake, and I pray I am still dreaming and that this nightmare will end soon. As I roll out of my bed, bathe, and dress myself into a proud Nazi perfection, I realise it never will.
          I commence my duties in the early morning, performing tedious roll call after roll call, showing the prisoners to their next task. Currently we are having them dig mass graves for we are running out of room for the disgusting, diseased carcasses that litter this godforsaken camp. The irony is enough to make a man mad. These idiotic souls slave all just so they can have a place amidst the worms when their time comes, and it will.
          I pace between them, watch them; filthy, gasping creatures. They no longer even resemble humans, but are repulsive skeletal animals with empty lifeless eyes. I used to wonder if perhaps what we were doing was wrong. I believed they were men, just like me, with families and futures. But I have come to realize that is not true, and I have come to hate them with my entire being. They are Jews, equal to rats. They are the filth that plagues this earth and we, the Germans are the cure. Look at them! With the vigour with which they work, one could assume they enjoy this!  They make no attempt at any form of hygiene either, relishing in their filth. Most of all, I hate them all because it is their fault I am here, living this hellish reality.
          I pull out my grandfather's pocket watch, and see the seconds tick by. When did time ever become this slow?  My hands are slick with sweat, and my trinket slides out of my hands and falls to the ground, clinging off one of the prisoner's shovels.
          "Retrieve it." I say. I have little patience with these creatures and prefer as little contact as I can manage. It bends over quickly fumbling for the silly thing. He cradles it in his hand, admiring it like a child with a shiny penny and I grow impatient. As I attempt to take it from him, he snatches it to his chest. I am motionless with shock and dread.
          The prisoner is thrown to the ground by a fellow guard who disgusts me frequently with his favourite pastime: murder. (Sometimes I wonder why I call it murder if they are not human.) The creature rolls on the ground as a gun is thrust into my hand.
          "Finish him," I am told gruffly. Time goes by as I struggle to make myself follow the order. Surely if I do not I will face consequences, besides, I am no naive sympathiser. I raise the gun, and point it at its head. It is difficult to aim as he jerks around. My finger finds the trigger, with some difficulty for I am sweating more than I have in my life. I act automatically. For the first time, I pull the trigger against a human life. My comrade pats me on the back, and strolls away. The excitement is over.
          I bend down and retrieve the pocket watch from beside the lifeless, bleeding head. With my thumb I wipe away the blood splatter. All it took was a second for the bullet to exit my gun and tear through the skull of my victim. It took one second for my life to change. It took one second for what was left of my humanity vanish. Only time will tell, I read. But I am out of time. I am just as dead as the human I just murdered.

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