The Graduation Gift

In 10th-grade language, students read short stories with irony — such as “The Gift of the Magi” — and wrote their own ironic tales.

By Fredy Henriquez Reyes

Once upon a time, a man called Luca was a student. He was a college student, and he was studying really hard because he wanted the best for his life. His father was a rich man and he was proud of his son because he saw that, even though his son did not have the best grades of the university, his son was doing the best that he could do to be a good student. It was the last month of college and graduation was coming; his father told him that if he had good grades, he would give him a good gift.

His father asked his son, “What do you want for your graduation gift?”

Luca was surprised and said, “What I want is a Ferrari.”

His father said, “That’s fine, I will give you the car, but first you have to pass the year.”

The days passed and Luca passed the year. He was always remembering what his father said about the car and he was very excited. The day of graduation finally came and, after the graduation ceremony, his father called Luca. He had a gift in his hands and he gave the gift to Luca and he said, “This gift is because you won it.”

Then Luca opened the gift and what he saw was a Bible. He was so angry that he just left his father and he didn’t talk to his father anymore. Then, the years passed and his father died. He went to his funeral and was so sad because he didn’t have the opportunity to talk with him anymore. Then he went to his house and he remembered that his father had given him a Bible, and he went and took the Bible. When he opened it, a car key fell out and he picked up the key. It had a note that said, this is your gift for graduation. So then he went and got the car, and he understood that what his father wanted was the best for him.

Syria: What would you do?

Students in 12th grade received a current events assignment to pretend they were the president of Honduras. They were asked what actions, if any, they would take toward Syria on behalf of Honduras, and if they would pursue actions unilaterally or as part of a multi-national team.

Here are a few of their responses:

By Karen Perdomo

The conflict in Syria has gone too far. Three years of civil war have killed thousands of people, and the worst thing is that the lives of innocent people have been taken. As part of the world, we are one big family. It is not acceptable to not do something when one has the power to do it. If I were the president of Honduras, and I had the power to do something, I would surely take some actions.

I know it wouldn’t be an easy thing to do, but I would have to take action. First of all, I would break all ties with Syria. Knowing that the government is responsible for most of all the atrocities, I would help the rebels. I would give them strategies and weapons, if necessary, so they could overthrow the government. However, I would recruit some allies in order to be stronger. I wouldn’t act by myself. I would hold meetings with other powerful nations, because a strong force could not be easily defeated. I would do all this, but before taking action, I would pursue other nations to help me have a meeting with Syria’s president to warn him about the kind of consequences he would have to face if he didn’t stop using chemical weapons or murdering his people.

I would act in a multi-national team, because if Syria’s government saw how strong we were, they would retreat and if not, he would be defeated. I would take these actions because it is evident that Syria’s president doesn’t want to give up and doesn’t care for his people. He doesn’t want to lose his power, even knowing all the suffering he has caused. This would be a hard thing to do. However, it would be worth it. People can’t continue dying at the hands of their government, especially innocent people can’t die.

By Kevin Membreño Castellanos

The current conflict in Syria is outrageous. Thousands of people die each day, and we, as a country who cares for innocent people’s lives, need to take action on this issue. We are not a world power, but we have to do our best to help those in need.

As the president of Honduras, I say we should join forces with the other Central American nations to take doctors and medicines to those who are struggling. Honduras cannot do this alone, but if we form an alliance with our neighbor countries, we will have more power and the world will notice what we are doing and will want to help as well.

Our country has many needs as well, so we cannot do this alone. I chose to send medicines and doctors, and also food, because our country wants to stop the killing, not to make it worse. Those people out there need relief, and we can send them that relief.

I will also approve a special guard team of soldiers for our doctors. They will protect their lives, that way we can ensure the doctors’ survival. Doctors will be taken voluntarily from all over Honduras, that way they will help in the best way possible.

As a nation, we would like to do more, but we cannot leave our people aside. Our nation is a country with many problems as well, and that is why we are acting in this particular way.

By Lucely Elizabeth Reyes Alvarenga

In order to maintain world peace, there should be unity and cooperation among all the countries. A leader should care not only about his own people, but also about other leaders. If I were the president of Honduras, I would be worried about what is happening in Syria today, but I would think twice whether to do something about it.

Honduras is not in complete peace and development right now. Because right now Honduras is not directly affected by the civil war in Syria, and because I would also need to do something to help my own country, it would be very difficult to make a decision. However, I think that in the end, I would still try to help Syria, because I know that by helping, I can prevent bigger genocides.

As a Christian, I know that I should not allow genocides to happen. With their chemical weapons, Assad’s government killed many innocent people. In order to prevent more deaths, and having Honduras as a member of the United Nations, I would try to convince other countries that have closer relationships with Syria to put some sanctions on Syria. I could probably convince the other countries to cut trade or help with Syria until the government gets rid of all of their chemical weapons and until they stop mistreating the civilians. The countries should keep their sanctions until Syria comes to a peaceful agreement between the government and the rebels.

I would not really take a greater unilateral action because Honduras is not in the position to have conflicts with other countries. But as a member of the United Nations, I would agree with its decisions to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons, and I would give my opinion in that it is necessary to do something to stop other internal problems in Syria. I would keep pushing the United Nations and convincing other countries to do something about Syria’s civil war.

I think that we should all cooperate to prevent bigger problems in Syria. We need to do it before it’s too late and we start regretting not having acted.

By Nelson Josué Barahona

The world has undergone a lot of wars, battles and conflicts both with groups of people inside a country as well as between countries. In some of those occasions, countries around the world have united to help solve some conflicts. In others, however, the world has simply taken a policy of not interfering in a country’s internal conflict. The world has simply remained silent and has let many atrocities happen in those countries. Although I know that we are in this world to help each other, I, in the condition of being president of Honduras, and considering our current status as a country, would decide not to help Syria solve its conflict. I would take a laissez-faire approach concerning the Syrian conflict.

Currently, Honduras is one of the poorest countries in the world. If we, as a country, decided to help Syria, far from doing any good to our people, we would bring more calamities to them. Helping Syria would mean, 1) investing the money we don’t have in preparing our troops to fight a war that we may not win; 2) risking our people’s lives to any kind of suffering without even winning something along the way; 3) risking our country’s future if the conflict in Syria grows and a possible world war breaks out. Other than letting the people in Syria know that we are their friends and that we are willing to help them, taking an action on solving their conflict would bring no good to our country, our people and our international relations.

I would join a multi-national team that shares the same opinions as mine. Instead of being part of worsening the problem in Syria by trying to solve it, I would give possible solutions without physically interfering in Syria’s matters. I would suggest that sanctions be applied to Syria and that the countries that are financially solvent help solve the conflict.

If Honduras were a powerful country, I would be more than willing to help solve the Syrian conflict. However, with the current conditions of Honduras, being involved in this kind of conflict would only lead us to a worse economic and social status.

Essay: Security Council should change

By Nelson Josue Barahona

Since its creation in 1946, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) was established to maintain world peace and security and to solve conflicts between countries. It was authorized to enforce military action, to set up international sanctions and to make peacekeeping operations when considered necessary. Although the UNSC has had many achievements through the course of its history, in order for it to work more efficiently, several changes in its structure and voting process are required.

The UNSC consists of five permanent and ten nonpermanent member-states. However, due to the amount of states currently composing the United Nations, this organ should be expanded. Its number of seats should be increased to at least 20% of the total of countries composing the UN. In this way, each block will have a greater representation.

In addition, leaders of the Security Council should all be nonpermanent with longer terms (12-15 years). With the current structure, the continuity of projects might be affected due to the periodic council changes. Therefore, changes should be made to secure success for every other project or mission.

Related to the voting process, changes would also be beneficial. The requirements for this should be that every decision has to be taken under the approval of the majority of votes. None of the members of the UNSC should have a veto power because, in my opinion, this is contradictory to the principle of equality that should govern over the world. I also think that if the majority wants a reform or change, it is not proper that it does not take place only because a sole member’s interest is threatened.

While I believe that there should not be permanent seats in the UNSC, if they were to keep them, there must be some requirements for them to be accepted. Those potential members should have great economic power, government stability, cultural diversity as well as the ability to work cooperatively with other nations and to prioritize world interests. Considering these points, my top prospects to have a permanent seat in the Council include: Japan, China, Brazil, the United States, and Germany. I think all of these countries meet all criteria mentioned above. Some of them have faced total destruction but have recovered successfully and have become leaders both economically and technologically. Also, as world powers, they have managed a lot of problems within their own countries and whose example might be useful when solving international conflicts.

The problem with the UN Security Council is not the organ itself but its structure and voting process. If they want to succeed in achieving world peace, there are some changes that need to be made.

Essay: UN Security Council should stay the same

By Ricardo Alfaro

The Security Council of the United Nations is structured and constructed in a sound, fair and reasonable way. The Security Council consists of fifteen members: five permanent members and ten nonpermanent members. The current structure of the United Nations Security Council is working well and there have been only minor problems with its structure. The makeup of the Security Council is also working well, and the permanent members are doing good work.

First, the United Nations Security Council is well organized. It has a decent size; its membership is designed purposely, and it has a 1:2 ratio of five permanent members and ten nonpermanent members. Size, membership and proportion make the United Nations Security Council functional and balanced. Fifteen members is a good size for the Security Council. Any expansion would create too much opposition between members and the potential for more conflict. Similarly, any reduction would result in a loss of diversity of opinions, diminished regional representation and less capacity to handle situations that arise.

The Security Council should also continue having both permanent members and nonpermanent members in order to balance power and world peacekeeping. Decisions by the Security Council on important matters require the affirmative vote of nine members, including the five permanent members. The result is that the decisions made are generally the right ones; forcing all parties to choose what is better for everyone and effectively balancing decision-making power.

The Security Council should also continue to have a 1:2 ratio of five permanent members and ten nonpermanent members. It makes it fair and reasonable, allowing the five necessary seats to stay and also gives opportunity to ten others to be part of the Security Council. For having a good balance of consistency and variation, a 1:2 ratio is necessary.

The permanent members of the United Nations Security Council were carefully chosen and they have those seats for good reasons. The United States, Russia, France, Great Britain and China, the current permanent members of the Security Council, are doing good work and should remain as permanent members. Russia, United States, France and Great Britain are peacekeeping countries and deserve their place as permanent members after what happened in World War II, since keeping peace is the main goal of the United Nations.  The permanent members are there for their ability to manage problems. Their desire to seek peace makes them perfect for the job. Communist China was added later because of their huge population, but Nationalist Taiwan had the actual seat. After discussion, Communist China was officially recognized as a permanent member. Two communist countries, Russia and China, balanced the power even more on the Security Council.

Changing any of this – structure, membership and permanent members – would alter how the Security Council would function. The Security Council is working in a functional way and it was built with this structure after hard work of many intelligent people. The Security Council should stay the way it is now.

Essay: The UN Security Council

By Lucely Elizabeth Reyes Alvarenga

The Security Council is one of the principle organs of the United Nations. It has the responsibility of maintaining international peace and security. Because of its important duties, the Security Council must be structured fairly and must have qualified members that are willing to take action when necessary and to make good decisions.

In order to promote international peace, security and cooperation, the United Nations must have a better structured Security Council. It is good for the Security Council to continue having both permanent members and nonpermanent members because it is always helpful to have some members that can lead others and be able to make good decision on important matters, while the rest of the members give helpful opinions and suggestions. However, the Security Council should be expanded because fifteen members is not a good size for it. Having more permanent and nonpermanent members would be helpful because it can give other countries the opportunity to give their opinion and help make good decisions. For this reason, the Security Council should be expanded to twenty-four members, with eight permanent members and sixteen nonpermanent members. It should continue with a 1:2 ratio because it is helpful to have just a few leaders so that they can make better decisions, and twice as many other nonpermanent members so there can be a diversity in opinions.

Membership in the Security Council should be made more representative and reflective of today’s global power and reality. The Security Council should be structured more fairly and according to today’s realities. According to an article in the World Policy Journal, Europe has less than 10 percent of the world’s population, but it has a 40 percent vote inside the permanent five. India, on the other hand, has a population of over 1 billion people. Japan is the second largest contributor to the United Nations. However, neither India nor Japan are inside the Security Council’s permanent five. The Security Council should also consider other countries that are world powers and that might be good leaders to be included in the permanent members. It should also have regional diversity so that most parts of the world can have a voice on important matters, because right now Latin America and Africa don’t get a veto on different matters of war and peace. When it comes to the voting process, it would be better that a resolution require two vetoes instead of one to be eliminated so that it can have balance of power.

The permanent members in the Security Council are the leaders who have the power to veto, and it is for this reason that they should be chosen carefully. Countries that are leaders in different parts of the world should have a permanent seat on the Security Council. The selection should be based on diversity, if the country is respected by other nations, economic power, population size, and the country’s ability to work cooperatively with other nations. Based on these criteria, I would choose the United States, Great Britain, China, Brazil, and South Africa as the Security Council’s permanent five. I would choose these countries mainly because of diversity; they are all from different continents. Diversity can help promote peace by improving relations between different countries. The United States and Great Britain have always been world powers. For all of their economic and social development and its cooperation with other nations, they are models for other countries to follow. China is the world’s largest country based on population, and it is also a leader in Asia. South Africa is a big economic power in Africa, and it is the only country in the world to voluntarily abandon its nuclear weapons program, showing that it wants to maintain peace. Brazil is the world’s fifth-largest country in terms of population, and it is the largest country in Latin America. It has been an example for other Latin American countries to follow. These five countries are great leaders around the world, and they know how to take action when necessary. They would be great permanent members in the Security Council.

The Security Council has the primary responsibility of maintaining international peace and security. It is one of the principle organs of the United Nations, and it is for this reason that it should choose its members very carefully. In order for the Security Council to help make a safer world, it should have more members and should choose them based on important criteria.

Thumbprint stories

Third graders wrote stories and illustrated them with thumbprints and drawings. Below, Ricxi, Bessy and Gersan are creating their stories. Read on to see some of their stories.

thumbstories1 thumbstories2thumb1By Lenny – Martha takes a shower in the morning. Then she gets dressed. After school she watches tv. Next she talks with her friends. She plays soccer. At night she eats dinner.

thumb3By Xochtil – Gissels eats breakfast. She reads. She goes to school. She plays. She does her homework. She eats dinner.

thumb4By Francis – After school Gersan studies. After he studies, he plays soccer. Gersan eats dinner at 6 in the night. Next he brushes his teeth. Then he watches tv. Finally he goes to bed.

thumb2By Emelyn – In the morning, Gabriela takes a shower. She gets dressed. She eats breakfast. She gets up. She brushes her teeth. She goes to school.