What’s Next?

Where Have We Been?

When I look at this question, I interrupt it as where have we been as a civilization. For example, before we were born … before anyone was born for that matter, our civilization started from tiny little organisms, into larger animal with opposable thumbs, to us: the dominant species, humans. with technological advancements we as a civilization were able to evolve into the world we live in today which. Many advancements and improvements we have made have happened recently comparing to the time of evolution and with these advancements we have been able to reach to where we are today.

Where Are We Going? 

Although the question above strikes me more as civilization and the evolution of man (or woman), this question makes me think about technology. This is because when I think about where we are going, I think about where are we going with the next technology update, product, or software. I believe that right now we are advancing at an incredible speed with the tremendous help from technology which makes me always wonder and think what’s next? Will these technological updates benefit humankind? Harm humankind? Or is this it? Are we going to reach a plateau where we no longer evolve? Where there is nothing more to invent? However, these questions also raise cautions as to what if it is all going to fast? Will the rapid evolution of mankind suddenly stop and be the end of us? All these questions raise interesting discussions about predictions of what might happen in the future, however, these questions will all remain unanswered until that time comes in our life … whenever it may be.

In-Depth Post #4

Wow almost March and seeing all the progress has been absolutely amazing!! From ice hockey to singing, all the passion that has been going into these posts and studies has been truly inspiring. It’s so nice to see everyone learning new things and developing new passions each and everyday it truly defines the greatness to these studies.

Now on to me, my progress has been successful yet time consuming. I say this because the process of learning a language and becoming automatic takes repetition and I spend majority of my time rewriting letter, words, and phrases; however, I can definitely feel and see progress with my writing as this repetition has made it easier for me to remember what letters to use, how the orientation of the letter should be in the word, and where to use the nuqta. As I have mentioned before, having that extra help at home has been a great advantage to me as my progress could have been a lot slower without it. Asking questions and getting extra explanations has been great as I just review it with Maysa when I see her instead of waiting 1 week to meet with her again.
As for my mentoring sessions, they are coming along very nicely. My mentor and I have developed great chemistry and comfort. I am very comfortable around Maysa and very comfortable asking for help whenever I need it. She has begun to give me particular phrases and small paragraphs and has had me rewrite them a few time to really get the feel of how to fluently write in Arabic. I think this technique has really helped me as it has helped me become more automatic with my skills. However, I sometimes find that I am repeating myself in some of the questions that I ask, so, last week I decided to use De Bono’s how to listen and really try and put pieces together to minimize the redundant questions and save more time for actual practice. Although, this doesn’t mean that I completely neglect the thought of asking questions. Sometime when I feel like I don’t fully understand the answer to my question I use another part of De Bono’s wisdom and ask for further explanation to my question. This helps me understand the concepts I have confusion about fully and confidently.
Overall, it has been a great fit for me and I’m so excited to continue to learn and develop my language skills. I hope you enjoyed! 🙂
PS – sorry for the late post, the system crashed last night and my whole post got deleted.

In-Depth Post #3

With each day passing by quickly and counting down the days to In-depth, I thank myself for picking such an intricate yet fascinating skill to learn and master. Learning more and more about Arabic everyday has made regret not starting this before. I have completely fell in love with learning and getting better with this language. As well as, being able to step out of my comfort zone and try things that I usually wouldn’t try. Being a high level athlete, I find myself much more inclined to choose skills that are more athlete/activity related; however, I am so thrilled that I gave myself the opportunity to try something new and develop skills that I was not aware I possessed. When I am with my mentor, learning Arabic, I feel relaxed and loose just like how
I feel on the field, making the experience that much better. On the note of my mentor, Her and I have been connecting very well and I feel myself progressing all the time.

In the past two weeks, I have mastered the alphabet and I am almost perfect with writing them all out using the Nuqta correctly and in the right position. I am able to put more and more words together and identify them as well. In relation to this, I am able to sound out words very well and read basic sentence even though, I may not know how to scribe them yet, by knowing the letters my reading will become better with practice. In these next two weeks, I hope to being able to put basic sentences together and to have the alphabet mastered on and off the paper. Like I mentioned in my last blog post, having my family to help me when I get stuck is a big bonus for me as I am able to progress faster each and every week.

Learning all this information can also be overwhelming, that is why I try to ask many clarifying questions on how to make my life easier when trying to learn such an intricate and elegant language in just 5 months. Whenever I meet with my mentor, Maysa, I always try to ask her at least one question that will benefit me for the next time. For example, I know that I am struggling a little bit with the Nuqta and where to position it on certain letters; so, I asked Maysa what are some good strategies that will help me remember where the Nuqta goes and begin to come to me automatically? She responded giving me suggestions on how I can improve. Some of the suggestions she supplied me with were: keep writing them out until the skill becomes automatic, make small flash cards of the letters that you are having troubles with, or to write out words that involve the Nuqta and see if I can place them in correct spots. All these suggestions have helped me get better and become more automatic with Arabic.

Arabic overall has definitely been an interesting process and learning it has been great. Constantly learning new things and getting better is my definition of interesting and I couldn’t be happier with skill I chose.

I hope you enjoy reading this week! 🙂 See you all back in a few!

In-Depth Post #2

Wow! Week 3 already! Time sure does fly when you’re having fun, and let me be the first to tell you that this has been nothing but fun for me so far. My mentor and I are making great progress and the additional help I am receiving from home is also very helpful. When learning new language patterns, phrases, letters, and writing skills I am able to practice at home with the reassurance that I am performing the skills correctly, which has been very helpful throughout these past couple of weeks. The language of Arabic is very fascinating and the more I learn the more I love my heritage language. Learning how to read and write has also helped me comprehend and speak the language more efficiently. Maysa, my mentor and I have been going through the letters and basic words to get me rolling. She has also been teaching me about the letter combinations and how some letters’ orientation might change due to different combinations with other letters

the Arabic alphabet

for certain words. She has also been teaching me about the Nuqta which is the tiny dots that go below or on top of the letter to distinguish which letter it is since many letters in the Arabic alphabet resemble each other. Furthermore, in the next couple of weeks I hope to have the letters memorized and beginning to write out more complex words and maybe begin to put phrases together. With the extra help I have, I know I can push my limits to learn as much as I possibly can in the next 5 months.

Below, I have my answers to the concepts in How to Have a Beautiful Mind that were discussed in Ms.Mulder’s blog post:

In terms of How to Agree, there has been a lot of difficulty of choosing a specific day and time for me to meet Maysa. This is because of my busy and full schedule. Being involved in high level soccer, TALONS, and currently basketball for the school we haven’t yet set a regular day to meet since my availability varies. However, when we do see each other, I provide her with my schedule for next week so that we can arrange a day that we both agree will work. We also discussed that once basketball is over, we believe we will have more options as practices occur almost everyday for basketball. We also agreed on talking about upcoming months as well, since I will be travelling for a few days with my soccer team. So far, the cooperation has been good on both sides and we have dealt with the problems in a very beautiful way; without any concerns or troubles.

Now, in terms of How to Disagree. Considering Maysa has loads of experience over me, she usually decides what we will be focusing on for each lesson. Since we are not too far into this year’s In-Depth, I have not disagreed with any of Maysa’s decisions. Moreover, as the study continues, I hope to start picking the lessons for day because of certain skills I may want to brush up on and improve on before In-depth Night occurs. However, for now, I have not yet found something to disagree with and I will not be looking for it for the sake of disagreeing. I truly appreciate all of Maysa’s work and I will continue to follow her lead until I see something that I absolutely cannot stand.

Lastly, I will address the concept of How to Differ. Maysa and I both think that it is very important to know how to read and write your heritage language as it helps with family, distant family, and family friends. It is also important so that you can hopefully pass it on to further generations. This is something that I agree with because I believe that your heritage is apart of you and it is sad to lose something so close to you. Like our disagreements, our opinions about the present haven’t differed much either. I trust her decisions and so far everything seems to be working out. I’m sure in the future there might be things to discuss; however, for now I am happy with my progress with my mentor and more importantly my work.

I hope you enjoyed reading this week! Stay tuned 🙂

The Challenges of Leadership

Challenge 1) When put into a stressful situation I do my best to remain calm and attempt to talk through the problem or whatever it may be that is causing stress. By remaining calm, it helps me keep my cool and to view the situation in a stress free way. On the other hand, If I were to be panicked and flustered it would make matters worse and it wouldn’t be the best way to deal with the tension in a stressful situation.

Challenge 2) I know as a leader sometimes we maybe unaware that we are leading ineffectively so, in those types of situations I try to suggest ways in which it the leader can be effective. It is also helpful when you have a solid relationship with you leader as it can help when trying to add value helping them with their weaknesses but also appreciating their strengths as well.

Challenge 3) Change is good. It helps us adapt to situations we are not comfortable with and step into our courage zone. Personally, I feel like I react to change fairly well. For example, Waleed and I came from a middle school outside of the Gleneagle catchment meaning that we were forced to adapt to a new school with new friends and whole new school lives. However, with this change I developed relationships with new people and new teachers. This change also helped me become more flexible around people I didn’t know to make and build friendships with others. For the future, I think that I can try to talk to more people without the same interests as me to build connections with other types of people.

Challenge 4) I tend to focus more energy on the production of the product rather than the promotion because if you produce a quality product it will promote itself. Rather than working so hard on promoting an item that is thoroughly worked on making the promotions useless. For example, when watching advertisements on TV and you see a product you like due to all the great promotions but the product is nothing like the ads then you are less likely to trust their promotions. Where as, if the product was better that the promotions you will remember it next time you want a certain product.

Challenge 5) Getting that W as a team is a always a rewarding feeling especially when you put in all that hard work. I am familiar with the feeling playing a team sport and all. Although individual praise or recognition is always nice, we all worked together as a team to achieve the main goal. Personally, I think that when working with a team you win together, lose together, and work together.
TEAM : together everyone achieves more

Challenge 6) Personally, I believe that it is important to always help others in achieving greatness because it feels good and you learn a lot. Relating to the fulfillment challenge, when you help an individual with their goal or vision it feels like a team effort which I always think is great because 2 brains is always better than 1.

Challenge 7) Caring about your team is definitely one of the keys to success. As a member on a soccer team I know that encouragement and motivation is the one thing that can change the game entirely when fighting through adversity. Asking about my teammates and encouraging them is how I show that I care about my team.

The Myths of Leadership

Below, I have the seven responses to the seven myth of leadership questions I chose to answer:

Myth 1) A unique skill that I possess is my competitive edge. I think that this edge helps motivates my peers to continue to do better and to always aim high. Personally, I know that I always look to get better at what it is I am doing and I believe that my competitiveness passes on to always aim high and strive for more.

Myth 2) I am currently learning how to lead through the TALONS Program which also gives me plenty of opportunities to lead in and out of the classroom. Examples like adventure trip planning and committee work help my communication skills, organization, and assertiveness when developing my leadership skills. I also have a handful of opportunities to lead with my soccer team. This also helps with my communication skills as well as helping me how to lead by example.

Myth 3) When I lead, I aim to always be confident, positive, and helpful to ensure that majority of the people follow me. When being lead, I look for the same thing this is because I can feel better about who I’m following and it also makes things much more pleasant when you are being lead by an individual who is confident and positive.

Myth 4) When having a discussion, I feel that is always important to hear what everyone has to say for the reason that if we only listen to one person we only get one perspective rather than 4 (quads). When talking to my quadmates I always ask if anyone else would like to add anything to add to the discussion to make sure that I am giving everyone an opportunity to speak and voice their opinions.

Myth 5) I believe that when one does move up in an organization, the weight of one’s responsibility increases. Personally, I witness this frequently during sports. When becoming a starter on the field your responsibility as a player is to do your job on the field whatever that may be. Of course you are going to make mistakes, however, it is how many you make and if it is always the same error as strikes the coach with doubt. Conversely, as a non starter it does not mean that it is time to slack off. The starters must continue to work hard to remain a starter.

Myth 6) I believe that I am capable of achieving anything if I put my mind to it. Specifically in Leadership, I know that I am capable of becoming a stronger and more confident leader by always taking opportunities to lead and improve my skills as a leader. Reaching my full potential would be being able to lead a group in an organized fashion confidently. It also would be perfecting my leadership skills where there are just minor bugs to fix here and there.

Myth 7) We all have dreams and ambitions, the percentage of all those working out? Not very high. However, that most definitely suggest that you just drop leading all together. Leadership is an important trait to have for many jobs and opportunities that might open other doors for you in the future if you continue to work and develop as a leader; and who knows? Maybe after all that hard work you may become a CEO of a company or an organization.   

In-Depth Post #1: Salam Alaikum

Salam Alaikum (Hello)! Some of you may already be able to tell that I have chosen Arabic (write and read) for my In-Depth study this year. I am personally very excited to start my In-Depth this year because it is a skill that I think will be useful to me in the near and far future. Since it is a language I already speak at home, this topic stood out to me because I would not only have my mentor to teach me but I would also have two mentors at home to help me with any additional questions I have before I meet with my mentor again. Another reason why I chose how to write and read Arabic is because it is a skill that I want to keep with me until I grow up and have my own kids to then I will be able to teach them Arabic and continue the life of the language in my family. I also think that learning how to read and write a language will be extremely difficult but is a challenge that I think that I will not only enjoy but complete successfully as well.

Now, I realize that 6 months is not nearly enough time to become an expert on how to write and read Arabic or any language at that matter. However, I believe that the goals that I have mapped out for myself are timely, realistic, and achievable, tying in to our SMART goals. Without further a due, here are my goals I have for In-Depth 2015:

1) Knowing all the letters and their sounds

2) Being able to read and understand sentences and short paragraphs in Arabic

3) Being able to write sentences and short paragraphs

4) Able to read children’s stories

5) Being able to write a composition describing me

I think that these goals are all achievable if I work hard and stay to a 1 time per week mentor session with my mentor, Maysa Habob.

I am fortunate to have found a mentor that is willing to teach me how to read and write Arabic for 5 months because without her I would not be able to pursue my Arabic studies for this year. I am not too familiar with my mentor so I am excited to get to know her as a person and as a teacher. I think it is important to have a good student-teacher relationship because I know that for me personally I will be able to understand and trust the person easier if I know a little bit about them first. I also think it is a good chance for me to broaden my horizons and make new connections with people that I don’t know that maybe will become useful to me in the future as well. Nonetheless, I am itching to begin learning how to read and write Arabic with my mentor, Maysa.

To conclude, I would just like to say that I enjoy this project very much because it gives us, TALONS students to find new passions that we might not know we are passionate about and to take that passion and do something with it. Similarly, with the assembly we recently had, maybe In-Depth will spark our fire and we might be able to continue forward with the new skill we learned. I believe it is moments like these that define us as TALONS students. Being able to take that breath and embrace it because we never know where it might take us.


Surprisingly enough, there were actually a lot more articles and information about Dana than I expected. I really benefited from all of  them with additional dhepinformation that I had during my learning centre, with my speech, and with my blog posts. I also watched some short videos on YouTube about Dana. One has an english translation and the other one is in Arabic which I got my mom to help translate the parts that I did not understand. Nonetheless, here are all the sources I used for my information during this year’s eminent person study.



–  just general information about Dana


– this article talks about some adversity she went through and few accomplishments


– here are some quotes I was looking at to help me get a better understanding of the type person Dana was


– this article talks about when Dana was again allowed to participate in the Olympic games after Iraq was disqualified due to political reasons



– these two articles talk about the obstacles she goes through on her training ground





– both videos are about her love for running and a little bit about she does

– also talk about her personal life and little bit about her





– just simple pictures I used in my blog posts


Ok so finding an interview is by far the hardest part of the project … I tried and tried and I could barely even find a contact! I guess I should expect that since Dana is from Iraq and trying to contact people from there probably won’t work. Nonetheless, I tried to go to all those Screen Shot 2014-12-07 at 1.01.32 PMreferences pages on Wikipedia and I still found nothing! I was searching all over the internet for something … anything just to help me complete this part of the assignment. I did try and tweet one guy, Eric Westervelt, who wrote an article about Dana in Iraq. However, the only contact information was his twitter account so it is not like he is going to see it anytime soon! As for the other articles, when I went to go see who wrote the article, there would be just a name and no contact information. Weird right? Anyways, so I kept trying Screen Shot 2014-12-07 at 1.03.12 PMto find contacts but my luck was not getting any better. Therefore, I sadly came to the conclusion that I did not come out with an interview this year 🙁 Which I was really upset about because I was so successful last year. The fact that I couldn’t even find only one person to contact was also a very frustrating process! I suppose considering the fact that there are no biographies, books, or any type of social media accounts on Dana makes it that much harder … but I tried and I guess that is all I could have done!

history from computer

history from computer

more history

more history

The Night of Dana

Wow … So that’s it! Eminent is over! Although I am very happy that it is all over, a part of me also feels really empty that it’s all over. In fact, Waleed and I were talking the other day and we were saying how it almost feels weird not turning around to each other and starting the

After the speeches

After the speeches

sentence with “so for eminent.” Nonetheless, it was probably one of the best nights of my life! Although we were all so nervous and scared in the way of excitement, I would say that the night was an absolute success. Everyone killed it out there and I honestly could not be more proud of all the tens. All the work and long nights finally paid off in the time frame of about 2 mins on stage … But let me tell you, was it ever worth it! The feeling after was indescribable. The feeling of joy, relief, and accomplishment was shining through all the big smiles on our faces 🙂 Moreover, Night of the Notables, December 3rd was a day that I will never forget!

On stage

On stage

On a more technical note, I thought that I personally had the performance of my life. Probably one of the best speeches I have ever performed and I’m very proud of what I accomplished that night. I know for me, being the last of everyone, I was freaking out backstage. Just trying to think of all the work I put into this project all for this one moment. Now although I was nervous, once I hit the stage all those nerves began to sink and my confidence began to rise. I thought I performed with confidence, passion, and energy (just like Dana would). I also thought that I had a very clear and loud voice that was very effective in the message I was trying to get across. My goal was to make everyone feel like they could go out there and do anything they wanted to after listening to my speech, and I think I accomplished that goal successfully. I think what helped me achieve my goal was that reading about Dana really made me realize that when I may think I can’t, there are always people out there who are going through worse and they still can. It made me a lot more passionate about the things I do and that passion and energy really helped me show that side of her on stage.

During my learning centre

During my learning centre

Once the speeches were done, the learning centres begun. I am not going to lie, those things tired me right out. Although it was very fun telling everyone all the amazing things you learned about your person, that part of the night was definitely a drag! Nonetheless, I personally thought that my learning centre was a success. Although there weren’t that many components to it, I thought that I had a lot of information about Dana already, that I could just talk … which I think seemed to work. I thought I received a lot of action from parents, teachers, and students which was awesome because it felt good telling everyone everything you learned. I also enjoyed checking out everyone’s learning centre towards the end of the night … they were all so fascinating and interesting in everyone’s own and unique way.



To conclude, as I have stated previously, the Night of the Notables was indeed a success. Being a grade 10 and having to go through the whole process of writing speech after speech, draft after draft, and constantly editing and trying to make the speech the best it can be definitely all pays off in the end. I think that in grade 10, we really start to understand what eminent is and I really believe because of that extra understanding, our speeches are that much more powerful. I truly enjoyed this experience and I regret nothing about it! Thank you everyone who made this night possible, it definitely was one to remember.