Today Casey Says

A young writer's take on journalism

Dear Little Boy in the McDonalds, c/o the Universe — June 9, 2017

Dear Little Boy in the McDonalds, c/o the Universe

Dear little boy in the McDonald’s:

I heard your mother first. She was yelling, alternately at you and who I presume was your father. Neither parent seemed particularly sound. You were crying and she wanted the man to take you, which was apparently why she was angry. She kept leaning into your stroller and hissing obscenities in your face. I can’t imagine you are older than two.

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Exploring all the ‘little planets’ — December 4, 2016

Exploring all the ‘little planets’

Diversity is division, creativity, and memelords.

That’s what a group of 20 middle schoolers told me during the first-ever Stories for Salem journalism workshop. The theme of the day was “What stories can you tell?” and to narrow the prompt, we had the kids focus on diversity.

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The road not taken — September 18, 2016

The road not taken

When I was a freshman, my English teacher decided to have the class analyze “The Road Not Taken,” by Robert Frost. We talked about that road the speaker took, the one that was “grassy and wanted wear.”
Then, as the kids say, Mr. D dropped some knowledge.

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Drawing the line between being weak and being human — September 8, 2016

Drawing the line between being weak and being human

September 6 was the freshman students’ first day at my high school. I was asked to help with manning the spotlights for their welcome assembly. As I watched from my vantage point above the gym, I was struck by how much in my life has changed. Back then, I was a terrified freshman trembling as I walked into my first day of high school. Now, I’m a (relatively) confident senior churning out college application essays. This thought sent me spiraling into a reflective spell.

This inclination compels me to put pen to paper (or, in this case, fingers to keyboard) to reflect on possibly one of the most important lessons from my junior year.

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What it means to be a Bezos Scholar — September 2, 2016

What it means to be a Bezos Scholar

A version of this post was published in the September issue of the West Side Newspaper. 

Today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders.

This phrase, while often treated as a harbinger of doom, is something the Bezos Family Foundation takes quite seriously. In fact, the Bezos Foundation, an organization devoted to bettering education, created the Bezos Scholars Program to make sure today’s youth are prepared to be tomorrow’s leaders.

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The value of spectating — August 24, 2016

The value of spectating

It’s no secret that I want to be a journalist. Spend more than five minutes with me and I’ll manage to slip journalism into our conversation. But recently, a teacher asked me, “Do you really think you can spend your whole life just watching other people’s lives?”

The question is valid. But the answer, without a doubt, is YES. Here’s why.

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The Things We Carry — August 16, 2016

The Things We Carry

Response to “Daily Prompt”: Carry

There’s a novel — if you’ve taken a high school level English course, you’ve probably read it — called “The Things We Carried.” It’s a semi-autobiographical narrative by Tim O’Brien about the inner lives of soldiers fighting in the Vietnam War. The opening chapter focuses on the objects the soldiers carried — pocket knives, sedatives, letters, the New Testament, etc.

O’Brien is clever. In talking about their possessions, he humanized the soldiers and gave the reader a view into their lives. While materialism is often decried as a character flaw, the possessions we choose to take through life can be revealing as to our inner narratives.

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The New New Journalism — August 13, 2016

The New New Journalism

I recently had the opportunity to speak to a middle school creative writing class about journalism. To my great relief, they were excited by my presence, small as that of a high school journalist may be.

I started off my presentation with a game. I flicked through photos of pop-culture figures (Donald Trump, Taylor Swift, etc.) and asked the kids to shout out the corresponding names as quickly as possible. As competition-driven children, they enjoyed this. But then I posed my first question: How do you know these people?

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