Newspaper boxes are so ubiquitous along city streets that it’s easy to forget they’re there. Sometimes made of metal, other times of plastic, some coin-operated or chained to street signs, the boxes tell a story of a changing industry in which consumers of news now carry around iPhones instead of coins and publications get thinner and…
Cover Photo Credit: Mike Licht/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)
What Do You Think?
You Might also like
The Teacher Who Changed My Life: Haitian CaiBy Zhe Huang
I have met many teachers since I was a little child.
There are some who just taught me about subjects.
But there is one who taught me much more.
He was my electronic organ teacher during my extracurricular time on weekends when I was from 9 to 12 years old back in my home country of China.
His name is Haitian Cai.
When I first met him, he was already in his 50s.
I was very amazed to know that he would be my electronic organ teacher.
His hands were gigantic for me and on the keyboard, too.
How could he remember all those staves?
The first song I learned from him was the Song of Joy.
He taught me to practice with the right hand first then remember the chords on the left hand.
It was very exciting for me to use both hands to play a song, even it was the simplest one among all songs I would play.
Time and time again, I fell in love with playing songs since I learned more and more.
I enjoyed having classes with Mr. Cai, too.
Each time I knew it was time for the class I would beg my mom to take me to the class at least 20 minutes earlier.
During weekdays, I spent at least 1 hour every day to practice.
My parents even joked that I would be a genius to put the same amount of efforts into my regular classes at school.
Mr. Cai was very different from other teachers.
Most music teachers in China are gentle and young women.
But Mr. Cai was sedate, sincere and patient.
He had steps to teach us little children and told us about interesting stories about the people that he met in other musical schools.
There was a concert held by the institution and I got a chance to see my mates to perform on stage.
The first time I saw the beautiful song played by a girl and it just stimulated me to practice more and learn that song.
One day I would be able to shine on the stage.
I was 10 and I loved learning and playing so much that I didn’t stop during breaks.
I enjoyed interacting with Mr. Cai and listened to his feedback about my playing.
When he played I couldn’t stop looking at his hands.
He told us it was very important to know the principles first then to play.
There is one story that I remember the most.
He said us girls who played well would marry elegant boys because we would be matched.
At that time, all girls laughed and were shy but we all knew it was truth.
Mr. Cai once talked with my mom and got to know that I was so enchanted to playing the organ.
He expressed his compliments to me in front of all my mates.
I was shy and knew that I couldn’t be complacent.
I just needed to keep going and purse my shining dream.
As time went by, my skills grew better.
Mr. Cai invited me to join his “talented class “ in which are his most outstanding students.
I was so happy to be able to learn from other mates.
I kept learning more and grew faster than before.
Mr. Cai encouraged me.
For example, if I could finish a 4-page song in a week, he would say I can start to learn the next one.
However, it was not always good to grow too fast.
If he found some defects in my playing he would let me practice for a specific phase for one hour then play for him.
He also said playing songs is like eating the fruits that we bought before.
If we play old songs, we enjoyed the sweetness of fruits.
If we just forgot and let go of old songs, those fruits decayed over time.
Mr. Cai was not a strict teacher.
He would call us to go back to the room to practice when the break time was over.
But he never forced us to go.
He knew that everyone has his or her own pace to learn things.
There were other students who were taken by their parents to learn but not for their own interest.
Mr. Cai knew this deeply.
He encouraged every student in different ways.
To me, he had higher standards and was never mean to express his recognition towards me.
I liked the way the Mr. Cai taught me.
Not like other young teachers who just talked gently with children and lose temper easily, Mr. Cai was more sincere and calm.
I felt very comfortable to talk with him and learn from him.
He would find some beautiful songs to enable me to learn more than what I needed to pass the music level test.
Mr. Cai was versatile and he taught traditional Chinese painting, Erhu and flute, too.
By the time when I was preparing for the level 10 test (which is the highest level), he was ready to teach painting.
I decided to end my learning if I passed the test because I knew I would had enough knowledge and reached my goal.
So I didn’t accept the invitation to join his painting class a year before I took the test.
It turned out that after several months, another young teacher took over Mr. Cai’s classes.
It was said that Mr. Cai asked for a long leave.
I was only half of a year before the test.
I was sad but I didn’t know when he would be back.
I felt lost after he was not there.
I had a new teacher but she was young and didn’t give much feedback as Mr. Cai did.
I missed him but I had to keep going to pass the test.
Finally, I passed the test, which made me the only student who first passed level 10 among all his students.
I felt proud of myself.
It was a little sentimental that my mentor Mr. Cai was not there.
Even before I left, he never came back.
I don’t know what happen to him.
Maybe he was sick or he had something important to deal with.
I imagined that I wrote a letter to him to express my gratitude and appreciation towards him.
I thought about the words I wanted to say to him.
However, I never got the chance.
This experience opens my window towards the beauty of music.
My voice is deep and I was not considered as a good singer at school.
But learning the organ developed my talent in music and I started singing and playing.
Since I was 9, music has been my best friend.
It changed the way I look at the world.
It enriches me with the opportunities to find more beauty in life.
Those four years of learning music and playing was the most precious time in my life.
I didn’t get much happiness from study at school.
I paid all my attention and efforts into one thing I enjoyed and loved.
I got such a great teacher to guide me and motivate me.
Mr. Cai kept encouraging me to learn, practice and grow.
Now whenever I meet challenges, my memory will bring me back to the girl who was so hard-working and persistent.
It is always lucky to do what I like to and grow.
I hope Mr. Cai is still well and I will always make wishes for him in my heart.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.
Cover Photo Credit: Kris McGuire/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)Post Views: 1,033
What Do You Think?
When Hate Hits Home: This High School Student Says She Was Targeted For Being Jewish
Hana Epstein, a high school student living in Katonah, NY recently received something in her mailbox that wasn’t mail- but instead a painful reminder that hate is still alive in the world.
In the early morning hours of January 25, Hana’s father went out to get the mail out of the family’s mailbox. He realized their mezuzahs had fallen off near the front door.
Hana’s dad continued to the mailbox where he discovered a white object that he thought was some kind of food lid.
After further inspection, he suddenly realized what it really was; a white square covered in swastikas. The name “Hannah” is also written across the square, with the last h underlined twice with a blue pen. The connection suddenly became evident.
“I was basically numb, I couldn’t really let it sink it just yet,” Hana Epstein said. “I’ve always heard of hate crimes being committed against Jews, but never in a million years did I think this would happen to me particularly.”
Hana lives in a neighborhood that is predominantly Jewish, so it was very unusual for something like this to happen.
“I had a wide array of emotions,” Hana’s mom Mara Gross Epstein said in a phone interview with RISE NEWS. “I was upset and angry and concerned for my daughter’s well-being. I was also amazed that this happened in Katonah, of all places.”
It took time for Hana to realize that there are hateful people in the world.
The entire episode created a sense of unease in the young student. She wasn’t able to sleep in her own house that night.
She looked around her room, looking at her Israeli flags and other tokens that reminded her of who she was. She said she could never understand why someone would do this to her just because she was part of a different religion.
Hana was so upset she went to her cousin’s house and missed the next day of school.
Eventually Hana said that she realized there is a lesson to be taken away from this.
“I always have been as proud to be Jewish as I am,” Hana said. “I don’t hide the fact that I’m Jewish, Judaism means the world to me. Now, more than ever, it’s essential that I stand up for who I am.”
Hana wants to spread awareness about the terrible crimes committed by anti-semitic people all around the world.
She posted a picture on social media of her wearing a Tallit (a holy garment) on top of Masada in Israel; the caption was “I’ll always be proud to be Jewish.”
Starting in September, Hana will be spending a year abroad in Israel where she hopes to share her experience.
The family said that they have reported the incident to local police.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. Anyone can write for us as long as you are fiercely interested in making the world a better place.
Cover Photo Credit: Submitted.Post Views: 1,006
What Do You Think?
Millennials Rejoice: McDonald’s Will Now Serve Breakfast All DayBy Contributor
By Allyn Farach
Your quest for an Egg McMuffin just got a lot easier. McDonald’s announced that it would start serving breakfast all day throughout the United States.
“All Day Breakfast is the number one request we hear from customers,” McDonald’s spokeswoman Lisa McComb said in a press statement. “In fact, More than 120,000 people tweeted McDonald’s asking for breakfast throughout the day in the past year alone. We’re excited to make this dream a reality this year.”
The program went into effect last year at select chains to test how well all day breakfast would sell. Safety issues were also considered, as issues of grill space for both breakfast and lunch menu options were tested. McDonald’s added a rolling cart for eggs to ease workers with the transition.
Some menu options were also removed from the original breakfast menu to make room for lunch options as well. The announcement comes after news that McDonald’s has been doing badly in previous quarters, which led to the closing of several McDonald’s chains across the United States.
In response to such, McDonald’s President Mike Andres told USA Today that “The turnarounds we have seen in the past, both in the U.S. and around the world, there always is a catalyst that starts the turnaround…We believe that all-day breakfast could be the next big thing.”
Cover Photo Credit: Mike Mozart/Flickr (CC by 2.0)Post Views: 1,175
What Do You Think?