Month: August 2013

Back-to-School Tips

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Back-to-School Tips

Join clubs! Extracurricular activities look good on college applications, and it is also a good way to meet friends.

Volunteer as much as you can, both inside and outside of school. That also looks good on college applications, and you can help someone! Who doesn’t like helping people?

Don’t talk, text, or pass notes during class. You won’t learn anything, and there is a good chance that you will get in trouble.

Don’t spread rumors about people. Mean Stinks! ( )

Bring a pair of headphones to block out noise during study hall if you need to.

Walk and talk! Try not to be late for class because of talking with your friends.

Sit with the people in the cafeteria who are sitting alone. No one should sit alone!

Be kind! You are guaranteed to make friends.

School is not a fashion show; try not to worry about what everyone else is wearing. Wear clothes that you like!

Don’t succumb to peer pressure! Check out our Drugs and Alcohol issue!

When you first get to college, don’t let all of the freedom go to your head. Whether or not you think it is, it is not a good idea to party every night.

Finally, the age-old tip: just be yourself. Don’t try to change to get anyone to like you. It might sound cheesy, but it’s true.

Eat a satisfying breakfast every day. You don’t want to be hungry in class!

Try to choose the healthiest options from the lunch selection, or bring your own! Greasy, fatty foods will make you feel sluggish.

These school tips vary by grade, so try to apply them to your situation:

Never pass up the opportunity to attend an open office session with your teacher if you need help.

Tutoring does not make you stupid; it shows that you realize that you have a responsibility toward your education. There is no shame in that.

Check with your counselor to see how many credits you need to graduate, and plan accordingly.

Take challenging courses. If there is a particular subject that you can do with ease, take the honors or AP version of it every chance that you get.

Study! Study! Study! You can’t learn something unless you practice it!

Take good notes. Make note of any bold words or phrases and any vocabulary words, and keep them in a folder or binder for future reference. Write down any key concepts, as well. Summarize lengthy text, and try to find the main ideas of that text. Write down the lesson objectives, those things that you are supposed to know by the end of the lesson, and answer them while you are reading through your lessons. Ask your teacher if it is okay for you to bring in a recorder so that you can listen to the lesson again later, especially if the content is difficult.

If you don’t understand a concept, ask your teacher to explain it to you.

Start a study group.

Make sure to write down any test dates so that you know to study in advance to those dates.

Make sure to organize all of your homework into separate folders. Wading them it up into balls and cramming into your locker is not going to help you review later…and it is going to take extra time to get your books out between classes.

When you are reading a paper, make sure to read it out loud. Sometimes you can catch errors that way, especially in tone. Also, make sure to check for spelling and grammar errors; you can do that easily by plugging into a Word document, and using the spell/grammar check on it. If you are unsure of a word, look it up in a dictionary! Use a variety of words; repetitiveness is not always attractive!

Don’t just take classes that are required; take classes that interest you. School, high school especially, is a time when you get to learn what you are good at and, more importantly, what you like to do. Explore!

Read. Read all of the time. Read the classics, even if they are the “children” versions. You are most likely going to have to read them anyway, so you might as well get a head start. If you feel that the original versions are too advanced for you, read the simplified versions so that you at least understand the plot of the book. Write down any vocabulary words that you don’t understand, and look them up in a dictionary.

Take a foreign language. Take two foreign languages! Expand your knowledge of cultures besides your own.

Please, don’t just get through school barely passing. Try! I know that it is easy to get discouraged and overwhelmed, but it is worth it! These grades, these experiences that you are going through right now play a large role in your future.

College is important. I know, I know, it’s another four years of school work. Also, the work is even more difficult than high school. But a lot of jobs require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. I am not saying that you have to go to college to be “successful,” whatever that means, but it will help to increase your knowledge of the world around you, and give you the necessary tools to change it.

-Alex Stepp

*Disclaimer: Back-to-school tips are not a new concept. Therefore, these tips have probably been repeated, though I used no other sources than my own mind while creating these tips. If I have used your words, please notify me immediately, and I will give you proper credit. Thank you.*


Enjoy the Small Moments

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We wanted to include some writing on “enjoy the small moments” this month, specifically because many people don’t have them to enjoy. I have spent so much time trying to write a poem or a story before I realized this: small moments aren’t meant to tell stories. They are meant to be those few minutes in time that you are the happiest, the most empathetic you’ve ever been for no particular reason. It’s singing at the top of your lungs, car stereo blasting. It’s laughing hysterically for no apparent reason and not being able to stop. It’s coming in after a long workout, muscles aching, and drinking the best cup of water that you’ve ever had. It’s having a little brother or sister, niece or nephew who falls asleep in the car, and for a moment, looks so peaceful and innocent that it makes you want to cry. It’s making dinner with your family. It’s knowing every line of a movie and quoting it with your best friend. It’s drinking hot tea on a rainy day while being read to. It’s dinner time conversations and witty comments and driving barefoot and playing UNO for four hours and dancing idiotically and every single moment, every single memory that stays with you for a lifetime, even more than those long vacations and the planned parties. It is every moment that you don’t expect to be brilliant but is, every moment that seems perfectly normal at the time then becomes the most treasured moment that you have years later. It is all of those moments that make you learn to love life and to KNOW that every moment counts. It is love and life and utter joy. It can’t be captured in a picture or a story or a poem, but it will be captured in your essence for existence. I only hope that you savor those moments while they last — that is what “enjoying the small moments” is all about.

-Alex Stepp

Welcome to the August Issue!

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Welcome to the August issue!!

I’m sorry it’s a day late, but I have a good reason for that, I promise! I was, literally, stuck in the North Carolina mountains. That’s a story for a different time, though.

This issue is supposed to be on poverty and back-to-school. You will probably notice that there isn’t anything on back-to-school, though. That is coming in just a few days. I wanted to post the poverty part first so that it has your full attention. 

I want to remind everyone that World Humanitarian Day is coming up soon, on August 19th. I would love it if you could join our event:

We hope that you enjoy this issue!

-The Courage for Tomorrow Team

Contact Us!!

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We love to hear your opinion, good or bad. Help us grow; leave a comment or send us one at This email is also where you can send us your story! We would love your participation, truly. Also, make sure to check out or Facebook page:, or our Twitter: Please, feel free to contact us if you ever need to talk. Also, our Youtube channel is coming soon!

We are always here!

With hope,


Courage for Tomorrow

21,000 Children Die EVERY DAY

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21,000 children die every single day. I was going to open up this issue with what I typically right, such as the statistics about poverty, but I don’t think anything is going to capture your attention like that fact. And poverty is certainly worthy of your attention. 21,000 children starve to death, die from an untreated disease, or die from some other poverty-related problem that could have been fixed every single day [1]. Now that I have caught your attention, I hope you continue reading as we learn how we can prevent that number. 

What is Poverty?

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When we think of poverty, the terms that come to mind, at least my mind, are “homelessness” and “poorness.” The literal definition is “the condition of being poor,” or “the state or condition of having little or no money, goods, or means of support [2].” Basically, it means that one lacks the ability to provide for oneself the goods necessary to live, such as food, water, and shelter. Throughout this issue, I will be discussing, what causes poverty; where it is most prominent, both in the world and in distinct parts of the United States; how it affects the involved parties; and how we can help. I hope you are able to learn about and be inspired to help end poverty! 


What Causes Poverty?

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As with all of the topics that we have discussed before, no single thing is the cause of the topic, poverty. But, what is the biggest factor? Do people just not work? Well, often, there are just not enough jobs. Here are some of the factors that prevent people from working:

  • disability

  • lack of jobs

  • lack of education

  • racism/prejudice in hiring practices

Overpopulation causes a lack of jobs in many parts of the world. A lack of education, generally because of a lack of funds to be educated, forces many others to work low-paying jobs. It is not just the lack of work that causes poverty, though. Even if one has a job, that person still might not be able to provide for his or her family because of low wages. Additionally, natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, earthquakes, etc. cause people to lose everything that they have, and they might not be able to come back from something so devastating. There are countries in the world that are at war, one that is either internal or external. Civil wars plague Africa and the Middle East. You may have seen the pictures of war-ravaged countries before; the destruction of homes and jobs has the ability to send people to poverty, and it often does.