Night of the Notables Reflection

Right. So eminent is over. Allow me to open and indulge in an imaginary bottle of champagne because apparently it’s illegal to sell it to me. So NotN went alright in my opinion, although for me it wasn’t very eventful. .The most I did  was put a desk on the stage and take it off ( for which I was profusely thanked.) That aside, the grade ten speeches that I was actually able to see were outstanding.  It makes me nervous knowing I will have to be at least that good next year. I think my favorite speech ( of the ones I was of course) was Jamie’s, although it was first so maybe it’s just because I didn’t have anything to to compare it to. It was really emotional and moving and would have been near perfect had his beard not fallen off.

As for my learning center, it was really boring. Some people found it interesting though, mostly those who are big fans of Orson. I canprobably group the people who  visited me into three types.unnamed

1. “I Love Orson I have read all three hundred something of his books and sdgjahbkashglkdhblknbvlkabkh elb ajkdhbvildab lkhbsfdvibakhdbvnknj lets talk for hours and hours about his works!”

2. “I have no idea who this is… OH! Ender’s Game… there was a movie right?”

3. ” So… Orson Scott Card… Why is he eminent? Why did you choose him? Tell me about his political views. Tell me about his books. Why do you like his books? What do you think you could have done to make this presentation better?”

And I sat around for over an hour, dying of thirst, answering these questions and acting like I knew what I was talking about. Overall, I never want to do it again, and at the same time can’t wait for next year.

Interview With Orson Scott Card

Interview with Orson Scott Card


Why did you decide to go into writing?

I wanted to be everything as I was growing up. Doctor, soldier, scientist, philosopher, teacher … in high school I would read through college catalogs, imagining myself in every major. I entered college as an archeology major. But I soon gravitated to theatre — that’s where I was spending all my time, so I might as well major in it, even though it would lead to no career in particular. I started writing because so many scripts were so very bad. I would “fix” bad scenes and rewrite weak acts, and adapted several narrative works for readers theatre presentation. I saw a play based on a Book of Mormon story – a story I loved, and the play handled it, I thought, very weakly. So I started adapting scripture stories into plays, and wrote a few original ones, too. People got a lot more excited about my playwriting than my acting or directing or scene design or makeup or costuming, so that’s what I kept doing more of. Ultimately, though, I realized that I could not actually make money as a playwright, and I wanted to be able to marry and have a family. So I turned to writing science fiction because (1) I read enough of it to have a clue about how it was done and (2) it had a short-story market that I might have a chance to break into.


How has religion influenced your writing?

All my real beliefs (not what I believe that I believe, but what I really believe at the deepest, most unconscious level) show up in my work without my having to make any conscious effort to include them. Because I am a believing Latter-day Saint, some of those beliefs are bound to show up. But I have no program for trying to put those beliefs into my writing. On a superficial level, I have used some Mormon history and scripture or Mormon cultural motifs in my fiction, but these are not of any particular significance in terms of “influencing” my fiction. I also use other histories and cultures in my fiction, as they serve my storytelling purposes. I have no “Mormon” agenda with my fiction — I simply tell stories I care about and believe in, and hope I can write them well enough to reach the audience that will care and believe also.

Do you think that children are capable of being as intelligent as Peter, Bean, Valentine and Ender?

Children can be very, very smart. The real question is whether they would view the world in such a way as to want to do the things Peter does. But of course, children use propaganda all the time. However, they usually use it on teachers and parents. It’s called “a snow job” and some kids do it so well that it’s dazzling.

Learning Center

The two documents I used for my learning center. I also had an eye chart but It disappeared from my table.


Goggles Number 1#

The goggles simulate total blindness, the inability to see anything. People with
total blindness can’t differentiate light and darkness.

Goggles Number 2#

The goggles simulate Binasal Hemianopsia.  Hemianopsia is decreased vision or
blindness in half of one or both eyes. It is separated into five categories:

  • Binasal Hemianopsia, the loss of the vision surrounding the nose.
  • Bitemporal Hemianopsia, The loss of the vision closest to the
  • Superior Hemianopsia, the upper half of the field of vision is
  • Inferior Hemianopsia, the lower half of the field of vision is
  • Heteronymous Hemianopsia is the loss of half of
    the visual field on different sides in both eyes.

Goggles Number 3#

The goggles simulate retinal detachment. Retinal Detachment is a disorder of the
eye in which the retina peels away from the eye; it can cause vision loss and
blindness in the eyes.

Goggles Number 4#

The goggles represent either 20/70,20/200, 20/400, 20/600.  20/600 vision
means you need to be twenty feet away from a standard letter size to see it;
but the same sized letter could be seen at a distance of 600 feet by a person
with normal vision. Then if its 20/400 it would turn to 400 feet and so on.


The other one:

Sample document

Ray Kurzweil was born on February 12, 1948 and grew up in Queens, New York, US. His family immigrated from Austria before he was born to avoid World War 2. His father was a musician and his mother was a visual artist. When he was young he enjoyed playing the piano and reading. His favorite series was called “Tom Swift”. Tom Swift was the story of how Tom would encounter seemingly impossible problems, then use his intellect to create an invention to solve it. The series was what inspired him to be an inventor.

He won first prize in the international science fair with one of his personal projects, and received a prize from Westinghouse Talent Search. He was also invited to the White House to be congratulated by President Lyndon B. Johnson. He graduated with a degree in both computer science and literature.

In 1974 he invented the omni-font optical character recognition system, a computer program that could recognize text in any normal written font. After completing it he decided he would use his technology to create a reading machine for the blind, he finished it on January 12, 1976 and it was called the Kurzweil Reading machine. His next major invention  was in the realm of electronic music instruments, he developed a device capable of successfully synthesizing and duplicating the sounds of a number of real instruments. After this he began to develop a computer speech recognition system for commercial purposes.

He also began to publish books and movies. He has written  quite a few books, his first was published in 1990. A notable and recent book of his is “The Singularity Is Near” written in 2005, which has been turned into major motion picture.

Kurzweil is currently married to  Sonya Rosenwald Fenster  a child psychologist who he married in 1975. He has two children; Ethan and Amy.

In 2012, Ray Kurzweil was hired as Director of Engineering at Google, where he continues to work.


Night of the Notables

Night of the Notables, an experience I will remember forever. Some of the things i will remember is the sense of awe when listening to the grade 10 speeches and when looking at my classmates learning centers.

I would like to thank my fellow TALONS classmates for peer-editing and specifically Elyssa for lending me the purple tablecloth. I would also like to thank my mom for getting my the vision impairment simulator.


My learning center consisted of my laptop:

 photo IMG_0631_zpsfe8438be.jpg
My laptop had a trial version of the computer program “Kurzweil 3000″. An improved modern version of his previous invention that allowed the blind to read.


A vision impairment simulator:

 photo IMG_0632_zps258e0a2a.jpg
I borrowed this vision impairment kit from my mother. It simulates multiple vision impairments, I used it for the interactive part of my learning center. The reason I used it is because it shows how useful my eminent persons technology was and is.


And  2 documents I wrote, one about the vision impairments the goggles simulated, and the other a sample document people could try to read with the goggles on:

 photo IMG_0633_zps480fbf0d.jpg
If you wish to read to the documents i have posted them to my blog.


Here is a photo of my title:

 photo IMG_0634_zpsc49c9bdf.jpg
The reason it is in the Google search engine style is because my person currently works at Google.

Here is what my learning center looked like all together:

 photo IMG_0630_zps31484a04.jpg
Elyssa a TALONS classmate gave me the purple tablecloth.

Here is a photo from the TALONS Flickr website that shows me presenting.

Photo is from TALONS flickr website


Eminent Interview

Hehe well here its is, my interview post. Post-NotN it was but oh well, it still works. I interviewed a good friend of my dad, Bill Reimer, who manages the bookstore at Regent Collage and also happens to be an expert on World War II. He had also read Diet’s autobiography, which was useful as I could ask questions directly related to her story.

My email to him:

Hi Mr Reimer,
Thanks so much for doing this I procrastinated this interview way more
than I should have. So, questions about WWII. I’d like to focus more on
Holland because it relates more to Diet Eman. If you have any other
information you like would be helpful please put some in, my questions may
not be the best. So. Here they are.

What is the relationship between the Netherlands and Canada in response to
the war?
How many Jews were saved by people like Diet?
What was the church’s response to the persecution against Jews in holland?
Was Diet an anomaly or did most Christians do the same? What do you think
was the difference between the Christians who helped and those who didn’t?
Were many people released from the concentration camps like Diet? Were
they released for the same reasons?
After the war ended, did holland change because of it? If so, how?

Many thanks!
-Hannah Wood

His email back:

Dear Hannah,

Thank-you for your note and your interest in the topic!

Canada and the Netherlands had very different war experiences. Netherlands
was invaded by Germany in May 1940 and occuppied. But Canadian forces
played an important part in liberating the Netherlands in 1945 and in
delivering food to many starving Dutch. In gratitude, the Dutch people
have lovingly cared for the cemeteries where Canadian soldiers and airmen
are buried. Many Dutch refugees came to Canada following the War.

The churches’ response to the persecution of Jews was mixed. Of 140,000
Jews in Netherlands at the start of the German invasion, only 35,000
survived. The Dutch police cooperated in the hunting of Jews down.
Unfortunately many Dutch citizens co-operated in this. Perhaps this was
because they were acculturated to obeying the police. The Netherlands is a
small country, densely populated, and hence had few hiding places. But
Diet and people like Corrie Ten Boom were exceptional individuals and not
afraid to take risks on behalf of Jews who they believed were God’s chosen
ones, the very Apple of God’s Eye. There were many who took such risks but
many more who did not.

I can’t remember how Diet came to be released. Imprisoned Gentiles of
course had better survival rates than Jews but many perished or were
executed. Corrie Ten Boom was perhaps released by mistake or maybe an
official secretly admired her and had compassion?

Yes, the people of Netherlands were changed by the war. But those who
rescued went back to live side-by-side with those who betrayed Jews.
Sometimes they knew who each other was. Most had no doubt just put their
heads down and tried to survive. But the Dutch are grateful to the Allies
for liberation! Many young men died in this struggle.

My mother was born in Canada in 1922. In the 1990s she visited some
missionary friends in Europe. They stopped at a Canadian war cemetery in
Apeldoorn, Netherlands and she was overcome with emotion when she saw all the graves of Canadians that had been born in the early 1920s.

Hannah, you ask good questions!

Best wishes on your project,


So my email was very informative, and I wish I got it done before Night of the Notables. I think much of this information would have improved my speech and learning center, especially the bits about the reactions of the rest of the Dutch population to the Nazi occupation. (I focused a lot on the Restistance but I think it would have been nice to have more perspective.) Also, I think it would have been interesting to include more about the Dutch’s post war reaction like Mr Reimer mentioned above. Nevertheless, it was good to get it done and next year I know better than to procrasinate this much.




Document of Learning

So, for my document of learning I’ve chosen to share the first hand answers I received from my eminent person Michael J Fox. As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, I was able to send and email with some questions to Michael’s assistant. She then forwarded the questions to Michael and he answered them. So yeah, a super big thank you  to Norm Kerfoot (my interviewee) who set this all up for me.  So here are the answers Michael gave me.

  1. Throughout the challenges you’ve faced, what did you do to stay positive?

I meet every day knowing that I have a choice to get out of bed, put one foot in front of the other and meet the challenges of that day, not replay the struggles of yesterday or anticipate the problems of tomorrow but just get up and kick butt.

  1. What was the biggest factor that affected your decision to leave “Spin City?”

I had taken on the new challenge of the Foundation and I wanted to give everything I could to that while at the same time spending as much time as I could with my growing family.  Also, the hours that it takes to make a television show were at that time especially grueling so it just made sense to step away for a while.

  1. What is your biggest fear?

I don’t think about fear much. If I’m afraid of something, I face it, look at it from every angle, figure out how much space it really takes up in my psyche, by then it’s usually de-fanged and I can deal with it.

  1. What do you think you would have done if you didn’t become an actor?

Probably would have finished high school, gone to a community college and joined the work force.  Yikes.

  1. What do you think are some best ways to keep a positive outlook on everyday life?

I’ll refer you to answer 1.  Choose to be happy.

  1. If you had to choose one word to describe living with Parkinson’s, what do you think it would be?


  1. What piece of advice would you give to a young person trying to follow their dreams?

Every day envision what you are trying to achieve or accomplish.  Affirm to yourself that that’s a reachable goal and be prepared to do the hard work that it takes to be lucky.

I feel that  I met almost all of my goals for the project, which brings a real feeling of accomplishment. Also I feel a lot more confident than I did pre-eminent.  It’s partly because of the speech. However, I think it was the experience of eminent, and making it out in one piece, that really boosted my confidence. I also feel that I improved my public speaking, and my overall people skills. Eminent really got me to interact with my peers through committee work, discussions, and helping others and getting others help.

So now the whole eminent craze is starting to come to an end with only Night of The Notables left, and I think it’s safe to say that I it has been quite the learning experience.


Eminent Bibliography  (The official website of Orson Scott Card)

I found a lot on this site. A little  bit about his life, a photo taken of him that I used for my intro post,  and essays that inspired a few ideas for my speech. Ideas such as his inspiration for writing, and as the debate about child soldiers. I also found a quote I decided to use in my speech, talking about his inspiration for writing Enders Game.  (Wikipedia page)

This page mostly gave me a broad outline of many things I would touch on in my project. I started by looking at this page and so learned from it he used to be an archaeology major. I also learned a bit of his family, for example about how he had five children, but two of them passed away. (biography)

This is the website where I found most of the information on his life. It was basically a more in depth summary of his life and important things that have happened so far. It helped me with my learning center and allowed me to be confident when asking questions about Cards life.     (News article about Orsons’ controversial opinions)

This was a small news article about Cards controversial opinions.

This is an essay written by Rachel Edidin on her experiences with Orson Scott Card. It just allowed me to view another person’s perspective on him, and spark some thoughts for my speech.

Sara’s Super Bibligraphy!

As the Night of the Notables is slowly drifting off into the past, I am ticking each post off my checklist. So here is, what may be my last eminent post ever, my bibliography!

First I would like to acknowledge the help of Rory Bushfield, Jan Phelan and Trennon the coach. While interviewing them they were very helpful and showed insight of what Sara Burke’s life was like, especially her doubts and how she dealt with them.

Next, for the Introductory Post, here are the links and info I got for it:

The info I got from wikipedia was just the basic facts about Burke’s life. I learned her birthday, family, childhood, all the awards she’s won, and the facts about her death.

Library Post:

I didn’t actually use this for my post, but I did watch it after and mentioned it. I am linking you to the trailer for the documentary on Sarah Burke and Rory Bushfield because when I watched the whole video I couldn’t find the full version, just a bunch of pt.1-10 clips. Also, the website I used was a little sketchy and I don’t want anyone downloading viruses. This video gave me a better view on the risks Sarah Burke took and how she was as a person. Also, it made me see just how much Rory and Sarah loved each other.


For my Document of Learning I already did all the researching so there isn’t any links. What I would recommend happen is for you to go my interview post and see everything I learned from that. Here is the link!


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.



Learning Center and Reflecting on Eminent


First, I would like to acknowledge how amazing Night of the Notable’s was. I couldn’t have thought of a better way for it to go. The grade 9 committees all worked so hard to make the night run smoothly. And the JAM squad was great in the event. As for the tens, can I just say how relieved, but mostly proud I am in the presentations of  the speeches. We all worked so hard and put so much effort into making our speeches the best to our abilities.

Now for the fun stuff! In celebration of my vlogging of my posts helping me sound confident and fluent while on stage, I took 2 videos showing my learning center!


And a photo!



Now for reflecting on the night a bit as a whole:


The most important thing that I got out of Night of the Notable’s is definitely my confidence in public speaking. Each opportunity to practise in front of an audience boosts my self-assurance for the fact that I won’t get booed off stage, or tomatoes thrown at me. And this is such an important skill in life. With that said, I was in fact terrified up to the very minute I was to be on stage. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t cross my mind to just not do the speech, and accept failing Socials, English, Leadership or how ever my grades would be affected. But being the mature student I am, I didn’t throw a hissy-fit refusing to do the speech like I so wanted to do. Instead, I took all my effort into rehearsing over and over again to make sure I knew my words perfectly. And I can honestly say how proud I am that I performed my speech to what I think the best of my abilities was.

After speeches, everyone rushed to their learning centers, including me. It was such an interesting experience to see each student’s hard work being presented side by side. I couldn’t get around to all of them, being that I too was supposed to be at my learning center, but the ones I saw, blew my socks off. It’s a night like these that make me remember why I’m glad I joined TALONS. We may have tons of homework, lots of stress, and really fast teaching, but then Night of the Notable’s comes along and I realize how lucky I am to be a part of something so extraordinary.

In conclusion, I had a great time at Night of the Notables and doing my eminent project. And I can’t wait to go next year and watch all of the soon to be grade tens, create their amazing speeches.