Josh Leffler

A Kid’s View: My First Campaign

It started with an announcement at lunchtime, where my Language Arts teacher from last year, Tamara, had a whiteboard and a bunch of those poster-size sticky notes with ideas and information about the 2013-2014 student council. Tamara told us to look at our handouts, which listed different roles. She directed us to the 5th/6th grade officer roles which are treasurer and secretary. Even though she moved on, that’s where my eyes stayed. After that announcement, I kept thinking about it. I had decided that I wanted to run because I love my school and I’m very proud of being...

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The End of the Beginning

Back at the beginning of the school year, I wrote about how excited I was to go back to school, especially because it was my first year of middle school. But I was also a little nervous — what with the normal new stuff like teachers and the classroom. Plus, there is the new middle school stuff like schedules, rules, processes, etc. Throughout the school year, I wrote two columns about school — one about my field trip to Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown, and how it related to the presidential election, and one about my amazing teachers. Depending on...

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Is Growing Up Really All It's Cracked Up To Be?

Growing up is an interesting thing. It has its ups and downs, its interesting moments and its boring moments, its happy times and sad times, and so many other feelings. I discussed in my last column one of the sad things that is part of growing up. But there are so many other feelings than that. One of the most common feelings that I know kids my age have is the want-nothing-to-do-with-their-parent feeling. I think this is because it makes them feel like they’re a lot older, which is a common desire in my grade. At the same time, though, there are some ways in which they don’t want that separation. For instance, I don’t know a single kid who doesn’t like to get a hug from their mom or dad, even if they protest outwardly. I think that wanting to grow up is somewhat slowed (temporarily) by an experience like the one I had in NY for my grandmother’s funeral. As you sit there, with your mind on it, you start to feel like, in just a few days, what you thought you wanted to be – grown up. It’s hard enough on you just to sit there and support yourself, but when you’re grown up, you’re expected to do it for others, too. After that little taste of what you’ve been dreaming about, it suddenly becomes a...

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Part of Growing Up

I’m 11. Probably, if you’re reading this, you already know that. You also probably know that my age is a big time for change – not just for me, personally, but the things around me.  I just experienced a change that we knew would happen someday for the last few years. I lost someone I loved – my grandmother, Charlotte Palmer. Over the past few months, I had been told that her condition was worsening. The thing was, I was only ten (and then recently, 11). Therefore, while I understood that she was very, very sick and would not get well, I didn’t know what it was like to lose someone you loved, so I asked lots of questions, but as I know now, there is no answer to help you understand in advance.  No one can answer “How will I feel?”.  My mother teases me that I like to understand everything so I can feel in control and I guess I thought learning about the difference between an ICU and a regular hospital room would tell me something that would help me understand.  I also asked a lot about the traditions that our family would follow when she died but a road map doesn’t really tell you what you’ll see on the way.  But no one can prepare you for what you’ll feel.  At least no one could...

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Why I Love Books

This past December, my family exchanged gifts, like I’m sure most of you did. We did it over Hanukah, but you might have done it over Hanukah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, or a different holiday. Most of my presents were books – among my favorite things in the world. There was fiction and non-fiction, big and small, all the kinds you can think of! It was wonderful. So one of my presents back was about something everyone in my family loves – books, as you might have guessed. Here it is: Books, that have shaped and changed our lives That have gotten us into college Or given us a great idea Books, that have shaped and changed our lives Books, that capture and hold us That have a story that is insanely great Or insanely touching Books, that capture and hold us Books, that immerse us That keep our attention for so long Focused on the story Books, that immerse us Books, that fill our time That we spend hours, days, weeks reading Or even years Books, that fill our time Books, those magical and lovely things That shape and change us That capture and hold us That immerse us That fill our time Books, those magical and lovely things Now you can truly see how much I love books. Not only do I love them, but I also believe they...

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The Two Biggest Problems with Technology

A few days ago, I was fixing my mom’s printer, because it was having problems with lines in the middle of the printout. This was nothing new (even though the printer is not old) – it has been happening for about a year now. And yes, we had contacted HP, the company that made it, but the problem started a bit too late. They said that the printer was I think – get this – one month out of warranty, and therefore, we must pay them some unreasonable amount (given the cost of buying it new) for them to fix it or just get a new one. They couldn’t or wouldn’t give us a tip on how to permanently fix the problem ourselves – the only fix that I could do without HP’s help was temporary.  I believe any reasonable support team would have still helped us when we were out of warranty by that little, whether it was for reasons of caring about our experience or just so we would buy more products from them. But the HP support team? Nope. To me, this shows two of the biggest problems with technology that even I, the technology lover, can’t get over. I would even say that these are the biggest problems in the industry today. What are they? One is rather obvious: Technology isn’t perfect. When a hard...

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