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The Odysseys of Thomas

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S: The Odysseys of Thomas

FC: The Odysseys of Thomas

1: The Odysseys of Thomas Some Images From: http://center.nrsd.net/, http://hale.nrsd.net/, http://nrhs.nrsd.net/

2: The Early Years I was born on July 15, 1995 in Worcester, Massachusetts to Bill and Sue Guerin. We lived in Leominster at the time, at I house which I have no memory of, but we didn't stay there for long. When I was only eight months old, we moved to a house in Harvard Massachusetts.

3: On March 31, 1997, a few months before I would turn two, my younger brother, Joey, was born. When visiting in the hospital, my parents tell me that I was more interested in opening and closing the cabinets in the room than my baby brother. We remained in Harvard for about two more years.

4: We moved out of our Harvard home to our home in Stow, Massachusetts in May 1999. My sister was born on July 14, 1995, one day before I would turn four. Her name is Maria. These are some of the events I remember well. On my sixth birthday, I had one of my least favorite birthdays. I was very upset because I was too sick to move around much. I was sick for just that one day. One year later, | on Christmas, I was excited to find that my parents had gotten me a GameBoy Advance. I had never really used video games before (except occasionally at friends' houses), so this was especially exciting for me. I also remember kicking it off my nightstand when I was asleep one night, shattering the screen. Some important events of my not-so-early years were getting our pet guinea pig, Oreo, in September of 2004, and getting two dwarf hamsters, Munchkin and Lucky, in December 2008. Today, some things are the same and some things are different. I am now 14 years old and a freshman at Nashoba Regional High School. My brother is 12 years old, a seventh grader at Hale Middle School, and my sister is 10 years old, a fifth grader at Center School. I've learned that having siblings can often be difficult, from having to share toys to having to share the TV. However, I've also learned that family is important when you need support and encouragement.

5: My Educational Odyssey My educational odyssey began when I was four years old. I went to preschool at Mt. Calvary Christian Pre-school in Acton, Massachusetts. At this point I had already moved to Stow, Massachusetts. My teacher was Mrs. Welch. While at this school, I remember learning things like colors, the days of the week and the months of the year through song. The next phase in my educational odyssey brought me to the Pompo building of the Pompositticut-Center Elementary School in Stow. My kindergarten teacher was Ms. Boiseneau. I remember learning the sounds of the alphabet and some basic addition. My first grade teacher was Ms. Jenney. Things I remember learning in first grade were telling time, learning about money (in math), and about the oceans and sea life for science.

6: The following year, in second grade, I had Mr. McDowell for a teacher. This year, instead of science, we learned engineering, working with Legos at least once each week. I moved up to the Center building in third grade. It was the beginning of three good years in that school. My teacher was Mrs. Dancey the first year. The second year, in fourth grade, I had Miss Harris most of the time, but I went across the hall twice a week for Social Studies with Mrs. Slattery for a bit of both world and American history. For science one notable thing we learned about was the water cycle. For math we learned two-digit multiplication and some long division. In fifth grade, I had Mr. McDowell again. This was probably my favorite year at the school. I went across the hall to Mrs. Sullivan's room for Social Studies.

7: This followed with moving up to Hale Middle School, which was a very new experience to me. In sixth grade, my teachers were Mrs. Arnold for ELA, Mrs. Flaherty for Math, Ms. Trudeau for Social Studies, and Mrs. Jaffrey for Science. In seventh grade, I had Mrs. Rench for ELA, Ms. Cimasi for Math, Mrs. Bollus for Social Studies, and Mrs. Doyle for Science. My last year at Hale, which was also my favorite, was eighth grade. My teachers were Miss Rocha for ELA, Mrs. Dee for Algebra I, Mr. Keaveny for Social Studies, and Ms. Kelly for Science, and Madame Constantinou for French. This year, in ninth grade, at Nashoba Regional High School, I have five core subject teachers - Mrs. Hoover for ELA, Dr. T for Algebra II, Mr. Poirier for World History, Mr. LeBlanc for Engineering, and Madame McHale for French. In my elementary and middle school years, I was in smaller schools, where I knew most of the kids. The high school is much larger with a lot more unfamiliar faces. I learned that I liked middle school better than elementary school because I liked not being trapped in the same classroom all day, and having multiple teachers. Although I am not sure if I like the middle school or the high school more, I am enjoying my experience in high school, and am looking forward to my future years at it.

8: Journey to Loon Lake This summer my family went on a vacation to Loon Lake in Rangeley, Maine, home of Rangeley Lake. It was on one of the best vacations I’ve ever been on, and my story of the journey I took getting there will help explain why. The story begins at my house at about 9:30 on a somewhat sunny Thursday | morning. My brother, sister and I were sitting in the car after we had finished most of the packing, and our parents were finishing the last of it. We were ready to go! Unfortunately, I had an orthodontist appointment first. Also, instead of the appointment taking fifteen minutes, it took an hour and a half, not a good start to our vacation. Fortunately, things started to improve after leaving. Our five hour car ride had begun. Nothing much happened in the first couple hours, so my siblings and I entertained ourselves with iPods, PSPs, Nintendo DSes and books. However, when we finally crossed into Maine, things began to get interesting. We went over a bridge crossing over a canal or river of some sort. (I had been over it before, but for different trips with different destinations.) It always gives you your first sense of being somewhere different. There were lots of (mostly lobster) boats and signs about lobsters. There were also

9: several cranes. We traveled this way north for a little while, and stopped to take a bathroom break. We stopped at a large rest stop along the highway with lots of fast food restaurants inside, but we didn’t buy anything. As we walked back to our 2008 Sienna, my brother marked down another state of a license plate (Arizona to be exact). We were on the road again! Now we started to head northwest toward our destination. In the next few hours, we began to see some beautiful (which is not a word I use often) scenery. The first impressive sight was when we were driving along the side of a cliff. The only thing between the oncoming traffic and death was a guardrail strangely tilted at a 45 angle. The next scene came shortly after. This time we saw Lake Mooselookmeguntic from the road. This is a massive lake with an island down one end of it. I can’t describe how big it is or how impressive the sight was without a picture, or better yet, being there. We figured we’d stop there for a | while. We took some pictures and were on our way again. After this there was nothing left to be seen for awhile except a few open spaces and plenty of trees. Eventually we turned onto a dirt road, completely surrounded by trees as far as the eyes could see (Although, of course there were so many of them you couldn’t see that far anyway). We were almost in Rangeley. I knew we hit Rangeley when I saw an I.G.A. supermarket, so we must have been in a town. My family and I stopped to pick up some groceries before heading to our rental house. We drove right into the center of town, which gave a view of Rangeley Lake, which we stopped to check out (we also took another bathroom break!), and consisted of a few small shops, a very small movie theater, and a relatively large pizza place, The Red Onion, across the street from the lake, one of the only restaurants for many, many miles. After dinner, and a little bit of

10: browsing the shops, my family and I yet again hopped back into the car and drove to our rented vacation house. I immediately began checking out the inside of the house. Shortly after, I took a walk down to the lake. I went out on the private dock and saw how crystal clear the lake water was, and how large the lake itself was (though small in comparison to Rangeley and absolutely dwarfed in comparison to Mooselookmeguntic) and the fact that only half the lake was populated. The journey to this house ended up being some of the most interesting travel I’ve ever done. To top it all off, it was followed by a week of my grandparents and cousin stopping by for a few days, swimming, kayaking, canoeing, walking around the house, walking around the town, seeing moose and much more! I learned that taking a trip to get somewhere far away is not always bad. It can be fun and enjoyable if you look at it the right way. I enjoyed the scenery and stopping to take pictures along the way. I think it would be great to take vacations similar to this in the future.

11: From Student to Teacher I started studying karate (“empty hand”) in April 2004 when I was eight years old. I started as a student, and as I continue my studies, I am now assisting with and teaching classes, which means trying to remember dozens of new names (not one of my strong points). The style of karate I study is called Uechi Ryu, which originated in Okinawa. The language of the region and the style is Japanese. The creator of this style is Kanbun Uechi. It was originally called Pangai-noon, translated as “half-hard, half soft”, but it was changed to the creator's name by his students after his death. This style was brought to the United States by George Mattson in the 20th century. When I began studying this style, like all children, teenagers, and adults do, I started with my white belt. No stripes, just a white belt. Because of my age,

12: I started off working to get my junior black belt, which uses the youth system of ranks. There are about twice as many ranks as the normal set. I went from white to yellow to orange to blue to red belt. With each promotion, earning the next one became more and more difficult and took more and more time. Making it from my blue belt to my red belt was a big challenge. From there on out, earning stripes became very difficult because I was approaching my opportunity to become a junior black belt. When I had a red belt with two black stripes, at the age of twelve in the late spring of 2008, I became too tall to be in the youth classes any longer. I moved up to the teen and adult class at my dojo (“way place”, loosely translated as “school” or “classroom”), but I retained my rank for the time being. It was about half a year later when that changed. I decided to go for my full black belt. However, this decision meant that I would have to

13: wait until I was at least 16 years old to receive my belt, but I didn't plan on quitting any time soon. There was one other effect too. Since the ranks in this new group of belts are half as many in number, it would be twice as difficult and twice as long to be promoted each rank. It took me about a year to reach the rank that I am at today – a brown belt with two black stripes – two promotions and two years aways from black belt. Something else significant happened between moving up a level and receiving my brown belt. I began to assist in youth classes starting in the late | summer of 2008. I originally planned to do one class per week on a Friday – the white and yellow belt class. However, the following week I assisted in two classes – the first one and the orange and blue belt class. This is what I still do now. For one year I kept up this routine without pay. After a year of assisting, the opportunity arose to be paid. Though I would have continued with my assistance anyway, I couldn't help but accept. I now teach far more than I assist, and on top of it all, I get paid $10 per class. To this day I learn about teaching strategies, while still studying what I need to learn in order to earn my black belt. I've come a long way since the early years of my studies and I'm not done yet! Originally, I wasn't sure that I'd like working with the kids or that I wouldn't be good at it, but it was a successful venture. I discovered the differences in the students' learning speed and focus. All and all, teaching the classes can be both enjoyable and rewarding!

14: The Odyssey of My Vacations We all like to travel and go on vacations for enjoyment every year, and I am no different. Every year since I was three, my family and I went on a trip somewhere. From when I was three to when I was nine, we took an annual trip to Glenn, New Hampshire, usually to the children's amusement park, Story Land. The last two years, my dad and I would go to Mount Washington, or some other place, while my mom and my two siblings went to the park. Finally, the following year, we went somewhere different. It was May 2004. I was eight years old and in third grade. My siblings and I got to miss out on school for a week to go to Kissimee, Florida. After a three hour plane ride and checking into the hotel, we went across the street to Logan's Road House, which was memorable because we got to throw peanut shells on the floor. The first full day there, we went to Animal Kingdom of Disney World. The following day, we went to Epcot (which, with the exception of the Misson: Space ride, was my least favorite day). There were many different sections of this park, representing many different countries of the world, each with it's own restaurant. We ate at the German restaurant that night. The next day we went to MGM. There, I went on my favorite ride - the Tower of Terror. The next day, we went to SeaWorld. We returned to Magic Kingdom on our last full day. Lastly, we returned home, thus concluding our vacation. Because of this early trip, we did not go on any other major trips over the summer, except for camping in Warren, New Hampshire.

15: The next year was interesting, but things didn't really go as planned. We were originally going to make this year's trip at the end of June, but I broke my leg a couple weeks before, so we took the trip in August. The first leg of the trip brought us to Rochester, New York, where we visited relatives. The seven hour car ride getting there took an extra three hours because a New York Freeway bridge was shut down. (My brother ended up having to pee in the median.) When we got there, we did things such as kayaking, seeing a Rochester Redwings game, and seeing a laser show. Then we went to Toronto, Ontario, Canada. We went to a Blue Jays-Angels game, saw the CN Tower, and of course, saw Niagara Falls.

16: In 2006, we went to Cape Cod for the first time. It was a week filled with going to the beach, playing mini-golf, walking around Hyannis, and much more. My aunt and my cousins came to the rental house for several days, and so did my grandparents for a couple days too. In 2007, we returned to Cape Cod, but to a different house. It was larger this time, and closer to the ocean. We returned to many of the same places. By the third year, in 2008, everything was practically tradition, but it wasn't old. In 2009, we returned to the water, but not to Cape Cod. We went to Loon Lake in Rangeley, Maine. It was quite possibly the most fun trip I've ever taken. This time one of my cousins came up with my grandparents. As we were on a lake, we could swim, go kayaking and canoing, but going on walks near

17: the house and walking around the small town was surprisingly fun. In August of 2008 and 2009, I've gone to a large house on the ocean on Long Island with an in-ground pool with one or two friends. Also, it is nearly traditional to go to a house near Bath, ME belonging to some family friends. From my year-to-year experi- ences, I've learned that although amusement parks are fun, I'd rather spend an entire week or more on a lake or on the ocean than go to an amusement park every day for a week.

18: Cape Cod

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