Document of Learning

For my Document of Learning, I’ve decided to post the good copy of my speech instead of my draft. I did however get some feedback from others on my speech draft, so that’s why I decided to not post it. If anyone wants to give me additional feedback on my speech so next year it’ll be better, feel free to! Here it is:

I see Michael swimming down the lane dominating the other competitors in his way, about to get his first gold medal of 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic game. I think to myself how did I get this lucky? How did I get this lucky to know this amazing man? I’m so proud of him, and I’m proud to be his long life instructor.

I remember the first time ever meeting Michael; he was what looked to be like an average sized kid with brown hair and brown eyes. He walked in with his mother as they introduced themselves. “Hi, I’m Deborah and this is Michael Phelps, it`s nice to meet you,” and as my kind self, I replied back with “Hello, I’m Bob Bowman, one of the coaches here at North Baltimore Aquatic Club.” Deborah told me that Michael came here to start training. My first impression was “Wow, this kid was small and he probably doesn’t know how to swim very well,” but boy was I wrong. The kid was holding a national record at the age of 10. Deborah told me all these details about Michael and their family, like he was 10 years old right now, he was born and raised in Rodgers Forge neighborhood of Towson, Maryland with his 2 older sisters named Whitney and Hilary. He had father named Michael Phelps; I don’t know why they named their child after the father, but it happened. He started swimming at the age of 7 and the reason he started swimming was so that he could let loose of his energy in some way.

Although when I first met Michael he didn’t look like a fast swimmer at all, I was proven wrong, he was incredible when he got in the water. He glided through the water like a mermaid, although it wasn’t the prettiest way of doing it. As I watched him through the first couple days, he swam hard and stayed for the longer practices so he could improve. I was becoming more confident in his ability to swim.

Around a year after he started training with me, Deborah told me he was diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). I was quite sad when I heard this news because I thought this was going to affect how well Michael was swimming, but it didn’t. It had seemed that the ADHD helped him improve because he had more energy to swim. I soon realized that Michael`s best strokes were backstroke, freestyle, individual medley and his ultimate best stroke, butterfly.

As the years quickly passed by, Michael had more age group records and when Michael was only 15 years old, I had gotten the greatest news I’ve heard in years. He qualified for the 2000 Summer Olympics, making him the youngest male to make it on the U.S swim team in around 68 years. Now, that`s a long time.  Even though he didn’t get a medal, he got fifth in the 200m butterfly. On March 30th one of the greatest achievements at this time for Michael was at the 2001 World Aquatics Championships. He had somehow broken the world record for 200 fly which made him the youngest man ever to break a world record.

Even though after Michael had done that amazing thing where he broke the world record, I thought the years would go by slowly, but they didn’t. They flew past as Michael kept qualifying for many hard competitions such as the Pan Pacific Championships, World Championships and most importantly, the Summer Olympics. I grew more and more confidence in him that he would gain many medals and that he would be proud of himself that he had accomplished what he wanted.

When Michael qualified for the 2000 Summer Olympics and when he broke the world record for 200 fly in 2001, I thought that was either just beginners luck or just a one time wonder, but it wasn’t. He then qualified for the 2004 Athens Summer Olympics after the 2000 Summer Olympics. I honestly didn’t know how he did it. Although being his instructor I know people expect me to be proud, which I am, but I was also shocked. He qualified for 8 events and in his very first event, the 400 IM; he won his first gold medal with a world record time. I was shouting with joy being the happiest coach in the world wanting to just run up and hug him, but of course I didn’t because that would be embarrassing for me and him. After all his events, he came out with 6 gold medals and 2 bronze medals and said “How can I be disappointed? I swam in a field with the two fastest freestylers of all time.” I could tell in that moment, that he was as proud of himself as I was.

I shook my head and suddenly realized that I was back at the Olympics. I had just caught the sight of Michael touching the wall on his last event, the 4×100 medley relay at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics Games. Time seemed to slow down after I saw what he had done. The energy in the crowd was ecstatic, I could feel every sense in my body tingling. My heart was beating a thousand times per minute as my eyes blinked at lightning speed. I felt myself slowly coming back in the moment where everything seemed back at a regular speed. I was screaming, yelling and cheering at the top my lungs because I had seen what I thought I could never witness; Michael had just won his 8th gold medal right in front of my eyes. He broke the record of having the most gold medals at one Olympic Game. In that moment, all the doubts I had about Michael in the beginning vanished. I was so proud of him and what he had accomplished in all the time that I have been training with him and I knew that he was proud too.

At the end of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games, I got a quick chance to think to myself how honored I was to be this man’s coach. All the amazing achievements he has accomplished throughout the years have made me realize that he was like a son to me; always making me proud. I also finally got to speak to him after many hours of not talking to him. He told me, “Thank you. All this time I’ve been doubting you and not wanting you as a coach because I thought you were too strict. You made me freak out at times when I didn’t want to, but in the end you taught me that confidence isn’t something you can dream up, it’s something you earn.”

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    We all know him as the most decorated Olympian of all time with the all-time record of 18 gold Olympic medals (including the 2 silver and 2 bronze medals). Yes, I'm talking about the one and only Michael Phelps. Michael Fred Phelps II was born on June 30th 1985 in Towson, Maryland. Michael is part…
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Night of the Notables Assesment

One word for the night was “wow”. Night of the Notables was the most amazing night. Yes, it was a bit stressful (a bit) but it was one of the best nights I have had!

From the Talons Flikr page

Grade tens!

Can I just take a moment to compliment every single one of the grade ten speeches. From the first speech to the last I was completely blownaway. I had been to two Night of the Notables before because my brother was in TALONS, but this year’s speeches were actually my favourite. I’m not just saying that because they were my classmates, but they were genuinely some of the best speeches I have ever heard. I guess the pressure is on for next year! ahhh!

Since I was on food committee, I didn’t get a lot of time before the speeches to look at all the learning centres, but from the ones I saw they were absolutely amazing! I couldn’t believe all the hard work and time everyone had put into their projects. They were incredible.

One of my goals for this project was to improve and develop my public speaking skills. When doing the speech I actually wasn’t that nervous because I was prepared and I had read it over many times. I didn’t really have any other main gaols other than completing the project so I guess I met all my goals!
Overall, I think this was one of my favourite projects I have ever done. I would like to thank all of the committees for putting it all together. Without the committees the night wouldn’t have happened. I would also like to thank the JAM squad. Obviously without them there would be no Night of the Notables and we would have had to do worksheets instead. I actually have no idea how they (especially Ms. Mulder) do it. I saw them run around making sure everything was in order and the night would be successful, so thank you.

I will post my learning centre post later because the photos on my camera are taking a loooong time to upload on my computer.






Look Back on Eminent Night

Finally, Night of the Notable IS OVER!!!! No more worrying about messing up on stage, no more worries about preparing my costume, and no more long, painful, nights of finishing my learning centre. It’s been a few days after the Night, and I can finally reflect on this day with a well-rested brain.

I can’t think of anything bad that happened over this whole project, and specifically on the big night. Everything went really smoothly, and I thought everyone, 9s and 10s were all prepared and enthusiastic. The days leading up to it, the only thing I was nervous about, were the grade 10 speeches, but even though that was most nerve-racking thing, I can’t believe how well they went, because EVERYONE KILLED IT! Hands down, the speeches were the highlight of the night. Everyone from Jamie to Nadia were fantastic. Everyone was so passionate, loud, emotional, and not a single person messed up.

I was the second to last person to give my speech, and I didn’t realize how much I hated being near the end was, until I was backstage. Watching the afternoon Talons give their speeches, and seeing all the people in the audience really made me shake. As their speeches wrapped up, and took their bow, I was ready to die. But the worst feeling, is backstage, when you see everyone finished, jumping and celebrating that they are over, and you are standing there, still having to go. The suspense, and waiting was so much, and right before I was up, I completely blanked out. I remember muttering out loud the first few words, just to remember. After I gave my speech, the nerves were out of me. It was over, and the hardest part of the night, was over.

I was pretty proud of my learning center. Obviously, if I had prop tanks, it would of been really cool to recreate the tank man scene, but no tanks were found. Instead, I went with a poster board, with the focal point being the image of the tank man, and also the actual video of the tank man scene. Unfortunately, some technical issues with my flash drive meant that the video didn’t work. Oh well. I also included some photos of the Tank man scene, some photos of the Tienanmen square protests, and some signs that would have been seen, during the protests. As my food, I decided to bring fortune cookies (I know they are only in North America), because they go with the Chinese theme, and they are also easy to distribute, since there is lots for everyone.

Night of the Notables

At the beginning, one goal I had was to not only learn about the Tank Man, but also inform many others of him. Without any idea of his identity, Tank Man has slowly been dying down, and I was very happy when so many people, who’ve never heard of him, now know what he did, and the context which it was in. Even the people who knew about him were delighted to see that I reminded everyone of who he was. Even though there may have been little information on Tank Man, there was a lot of really interesting, and important events that happened before, and after the Tank Man event, both of which I learned a lot about through my research. I thought with the context, I really showed how he was eminent.

Of course, this night wouldn’t have been possible without the work and time put in by all three of the Talons teachers, Mr. Jackson, Mr. Albright, and Ms. Mulder. I thought the night ran really smooth, and everyone really pitched in the setup, and take down.

Overall, I really loved this year’s Night of the Notables, and I thought I improved a lot from last year. The grade 10 speeches will always be the highlight of the night, and I am really glad at the effort I put in. Since this is my last eminent person project, I can’t wait to come watch our grade nines next year. Let’s see if they can 1-up us next year. :)

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    I knew for my eminent person this year, finding an expert on him would be somewhat challenging. This year, to look for an interview, I tried to aim high. There was probably a good chance I wouldn't even get a response, but hey, if I knew if I got an interview with a journalist, who…
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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,28804,1819129_1819134_1826062,00.html

– 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

Annotated Biblography

Annotated Biblography – more like, a notable biblography.

As my study about Larry Page closes to an end, I would like to post a complete list of resources which I used for the Eminent Person Study.
Not to be confused with a bibliography, provided excellent details on Larry’s life. Ranging from childhood, through adolescence and the beginning of Google, to the multibillionaire he is today. A lot of the info in my introductory post was found on this site, and helped me throughout the entirety of my project.
This was probably the main source of information of which I used for my speech. It states his personality, and his story as a CEO. As not many people know this, I decided that it would be perfect to write a speech on. It talks about Larry starting out as a CEO, his ambitions, and touches on a lot about his personality. It speaks about the story of Nikola Tesla, and how Larry’s ambitions matched his.
This has been a huge help to me throughout the whole, entire project as it gave me ideas on Larry’s ambitions. It told me about his personality, and how he would go and build it if he could dream it. It touches on the future types of technologies that Larry wants to release, such as: High-tech balloons that broadcast internet, Nanoparticles that travel inside your body, and Robots that are seemingly intelligent.
This site touches more on Sergey and Larry’s friendship. It talks about their early life, followed by their first meeting at Stanford, to today where both are co-founders of the world’s 3rd largest company – Google. Not only this, but it explains the story of Google as well, and how it blossomed along with their friendship.
The official Google history, starting from 1996 to today. Though this didn’t give me a lot of insight on Larry Page, it did help me learn more about Google as a company. This site was the source of my information for the timeline on my website.


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

Night of Notables Reflection

It’s the night before The Night of the Notables, and I’m putting the finishing touches on the learning center I was planning to have done at the beginning of the week, when it hits me. Within a couple of minutes the headache is so bad that any noise prompts a pounding in my head, and my throat feels like as though I’ve swallowed razor blades.  I’m deliriously gluing on that last things onto my learning center before dragging myself upstairs and passing out in bed fully clothed. All I’m thinking is ‘Really, of all the days to get sick, it has to be today.’

After a terrible sleep  wake up with the same splitting headache and an even worse throat. Today’s the big day, what am I supposed to do when I can barely get out of bed. My mom and I decide it’s best that I rest, so I end up missing the first half of the day. After a long shower, a small meal, and a bunch of Advil I’m ready to tackle the day. When I arrive at school I feel better. My pills have kicked in, and the madness in the TALONS room seems to energize me.


After setup, dinner, speeches, learning centers, cleanup and finishing circle I’m exhausted and glad that I can head home and get some rest.  However, I can’t believe that Eminent is over, well there is still a NoTN reflection, biblography, and self-eval to do. It’s kind of weird though, I don’t really want it to end.

As for my learning center itself I chose to recreate Michael J Fox’s big break, ‘Family Ties’  the sitcom that put Michael on the map. I chose to recreate the living room set, where most o the scenes were filmed. IMG_6305
I then added a timeline of Michael’s life and accomplishments that was spread in order around the set. Also I added an info board that gave some information on Parkinson’s and Michael J Fox.



Here are some more pictures of my learning center:


photo 4photo 2


Lastly I’d like to thank the teachers, my family, classmates, and friends for all the help. Also a big thanks to Norm Kerfoot, my interviewee, who was able to get my in contact with Michael J Fox. Without all these people my eminent experience this year wouldn’t have been the same.


I knew for my eminent person this year, finding an expert on him would be somewhat challenging. This year, to look for an interview, I tried to aim high. There was probably a good chance I wouldn’t even get a response, but hey, if I knew if I got an interview with a journalist, who was there during Tank man’s moment, then I would get a really good understanding about the atmosphere, context, and knowledge of the event. So, I sent an interview request to Antony Thomas, the director of this documentary about the Tank Man. From his response, I was hoping that he would at least know the people, who are knowledgeable about Tank Man. This was the email I sent him:

“Hello Mr. Antony Thomas,

I am Eric Jang, a grade 10 student at Gleneagle Secondary School, Vancouver, Canada. Our class is doing an “Eminent Person Project”, where we are to choose, and learn about an eminent person, and eventually share our knowledge through the speeches and learning centres. I’ve chose the Tank Man as my eminent person this year,  and I have recently watched your very informative documentary on him. After some additional research, I was wondering if you could help me reach a better understanding about Tank Man, especially about his influence on the world, and fate after the incident.
If not, it would be great if  you could recommend some other people to contact, who you think could answer some questions. It would be best if you could respond before November 27th, since I only have less than 2 weeks!
Thank you for your time,
Eric Jang
Unfortunately, I received no answer, but that didn’t mean I didn’t mean had nothing. After looking through some of the names in the documentary, I found an interview page with Orville Schell, a journalist, and activist, who was in Beijing, during this event in 1989. On this page, I found a lot of useful information on the Tienanmen Square Protests, and the events that followed.
Some of the Q&As on the page:

Can you remember how you responded when you first saw that picture of the young man stopping the column of tanks, what it said to you?

In many ways, the demonstrations in the spring of ’89 [were] about the power of the individual against the state, and so it seemed to sum up in the most graphic and symbolic way, I think, what everybody had been feeling: the power of the citizen to actually have an effect on the might of the state.

What does it say about China, though, that we actually don’t know who he was and a mystery still surrounds his fate?

The truth is there is much that the West doesn’t know about China. Again and again and again, we look at China, and we don’t know what we’re seeing. We look at the president and present Party chief, Hu Jintao. We really don’t know who he is; we don’t know what he stands for. It is not clear at all, very opaque. So in a certain sense, it isn’t surprising that a detail like this could go uninvestigated and that no conclusive end to that story can be told.

These answers really help me understand the context behind the tank man incident, and help me with the mood, and tone that I would use in my speech.

In hindsight, there were TONS of people who I could of interviewed, but in the researching and preparation stage, I completely blanked on the thought of interviewing someone who was there, someone who was in Beijing in 1989. It was only until Night of the Notables that the obvious literally hit me across the face, that there were so many people, whos parents, or siblings were there during the 1989 protests. One in particular was Galen Wang. His parents were part of the Tienanmen protests, and I only learned about it until the night. I really did look foolish, since Mr. Jackson always said you don’t have to pick the “expert”, but really anyone, and Night of the Notables has really shown me that there are way more options than you would think. If I have learned anything from this, it’s that anyone, including ordinary people can have a lot of knowledge that you might not expect.

Annotated Biblography

Still not sure if biblography is a lame pun or its actually a thing… Anyway. Shouldn’t be too hard I don’t have that many, as my person is pretty vague and there isn’t even a wikipedia page on her. My main source was her 300 page autobiography, Things we Couldn’t Say.

Can’t actually have a link as its a book, but the first link is to the books website, and the second is to the amazon page.

That Notable Night…An assessment

Night of the Notables is over and we’re all feeling exhausted, stressed, relieved, but satisfied. Or maybe that’s just me. Anyway, this has been a great experience for me. I’ve learned how not to manage my time, (aka, doing everything the day before its due and dying of stress) how to chop a sixteen minute speech down to five minutes and thirty five seconds, and how to almost completely lose my voice in one day. I was utterly blown away by the grade ten speeches, and cheered at the top of my lungs when they came out at the end. (Which was, coincedently, how I lost my voice.) I have no idea how I’m going to live up to that next year…


Anyway, my learning center:





image image image image


If I had to describe it in a sentance, I’d say it was a little like a road side stop next to a bunch of hotels. Not that I’m not proud of it or anything, but when I made it I didn’t exactly like to much about the aesthetics. I had good stuff in there but it wasn’t exactly as eyecatching as some of the others. Anyway, all in all, eminent has been awesome. I’ve learned so much throughout this project, but I’m totally going to beat what I did this year out of the park next year. (Definately getting a locker bay for my learning center.) These past couple weeks have been extremely stressful, but Night of the Notables made it all worth it in the end. Can’t wait till next year!