Journal Assignment: Write your own obituary at the age of 100. What are the things that you have accomplished in your life as you look back on your 100 years? Submission Guidelines: Put a heading at the top of the page including the assignment. Use whatever tools you like to write (no white out!—just cross out your mistakes!) Fill the entire page. If you can not think of anything to write, just write “I cannot think of anything!”--until you do come up with something to write. The point of the assignment is to get your ideas flowing. If you have more ideas than fit on one page, keep writing. Sample Assignment---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Jennifer Foss Tuesday, September 6, 2005 Language Arts Period 2 Journal Assignment: Write your own obituary at the age of 100. Jennifer Anne Foss 1972-2074 Children’s Author and World Traveler Dies at the Age of 102 Renowned children’s author, Jennifer Foss, died yesterday at the age of 102 in her Chicago home. Jennifer was born on March 27, 1972 in Hinsdale, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. She grew up in the suburbs in a loving family. Jennifer was especially close to both of her parents from a very young age. Jennifer was an early reader and she continued to love books for the rest of her life. Jennifer was the oldest of four children. Her family often went camping and she loved going with her dad to his soccer games. Her mother was the leader of her Girl Scout troop and she learned to love the outdoors and group activities through these experiences. She lived in Naperville for her school years and she loved the small town that it was at the time. She loved to explore all of the different parks and neighborhoods, once saying, “I could live in Naperville for the rest of my life! There is just so much to explore!” Naperville did not prove to be big enough for her later in life, but she developed her sense of adventure in that safe setting. In high school she planned treasure hunts that led her friends to search for clues through all parts of town. This was just one of the ways she showed off her creativity and organizational skills. Another way she developed this was through the Naperville North High School Key Club. Jennifer served as president for the club and later as lieutenant governor for the area. She was recognized internationally as an outstanding lieutenant governor at the Key Club International Conference. In high school Jennifer also developed her commitment to fitness. She ran on the cross country and track teams starting in seventh grade. She was never the best runner, but she was very committed to the sport and to her team, seldom missing a practice. She also led the cross country team as captain. In Naperville Jennifer made many life-long friends who she has remained close with throughout her life including Ranee Chaturantabut (Lan), Venu Gupta and Kristin Mueller (Mandella). After high school Jennifer attended the University of Notre Dame. She majored in English and Spanish. During her sophomore year she lived abroad in Spain, which was the beginning of her world travels, which she continued up until her death. In Spain, She lived with a family and learned to speak Spanish fluently. Although Notre Dame did not match many of her interests or ideals, she made many close friends there. Upon graduation Jennifer moved to Puerto Rico to begin her teaching career as a volunteer teacher at La Nueva Escuela Juan Ponce de Leon. Jennifer completed intense observations and taught English, while also mastering the Spanish language. She was also introduced to sailing by her friends the Toruellas. At the time she lived with Pat Charlebois who became one of her closest friends throughout her life. After the year teaching experience Jennifer wanted to continue to travel. She took a trip around the world in exactly 80 days stopping in places including London, Spain, India, Bangkok, Hong Kong, and Japan. The highlight of the trip was a six week stay in India with her friend Venu. They visited Venu’s family throughout the country and experienced the culture thoroughly. She also visited a friend in Japan who was her roommate in Spain. Upon returning home Jennifer started a masters’ program in teaching while delivering newspapers in the morning. That was a difficult time for Jennifer because she had many goals and dreams, but none of them seemed to be taking off. At the end of the year Jennifer moved into Chicago where she lived with some college friends. She began to explore the city and teach in a Catholic school. She also transferred to the University of Illinois at Chicago to get her masters in Curriculum and Instruction. Living in Chicago she was able to spend time with her grandparents in the last few years of their lives. During that time she also trained and completed the Chicago Marathon with her friend Bridget Graham. Her grandpa came to see her run in this race. The next year she moved in with Amy Brandt, a new friend who shared her love of children’s literature. They shared several meals a week and discussed books at length. At this time Jennifer also started her first real teaching job at the Helen C. Peirce School of th th International Studies in Andersonville. She was assigned as a 4 /5 grade teacher in a bilingual Spanish classroom. The position was extremely challenging, but Jennifer worked hard to improve as a teacher. She stayed at Peirce for five years. In that time she was able to start a Girl Scout program that served over 100 girls. She also completed National Board Certification as a Middle Childhood Generalist. In September 1999 Jennifer bought a condo in the Thorndale Beach North Condominiums right on the beach. She was very proud of her first home and remembered it fondly throughout her life. In 2002, Jennifer took a teaching position at the American International School of nd rd Krakow. There she taught a 2 and 3 grade class of 15 children. Her class was very small and she became very close to them and their families. She started a class web site that the members of that class continue to use until today! In Krakow Jennifer became friends with Kerry Craig, one of her closest confidants. They shared the stories of their lives over coffee and chocolate cake. Jennifer also studied the Polish language intensively and became fluent. Jennifer loved Poland and wanted to stay there longer, however, the school was unable to maintain the contract conditions. She decided to stay overseas and she took a position in Kuwait. She was very hesitant about what her life might be like there, but it turned out to be a great opportunity to learn about life in the Middle East. She took up scuba diving there. On her holidays she was able to travel to Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey, Oman, Syria, Thailand, Europe and Africa. One of the highlights was when she climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro with her friends Ashley Quark and Ryan Bruce and went on safari for her first time. th In Kuwait Jennifer also started teaching middle school for the first time. She taught 6 grade language arts. It was here that she finally committed to her life-long dream of writing for children. She began by writing for the kids in her class. She started refining her writing skills by writing with the students. Jennifer completed the same assignments as the students and eventually she started writing her first novel. She shared excerpts with her classes and they gave her feedback on the assignments. She was especially proud of starting the Kuwait Middle School Creative Writing Conference with her colleague Ashley Quark. Ninety students attended the first conference and it eventually split into three conferences, serving 270 students each year. Upon returning to Chicago, Jennifer went back to Peirce School to teach 6th grade language arts. She initiated the Middle School Creative Writing Conference for students on the north side of Chicago. The conference brought together students from different backgrounds, especially different socio-economic groups, for a weekend of writing and creative thought. The conference still continues today. After Jennifer became a published author she continued to th speak and present at the conference yearly. Her last appearance came on her 100 birthday. The students honored her with 100 short stories! Jennifer was very involved in environmental causes. She biked whenever possible and used public transportation. She volunteered several hours a month to conservation projects and environmental education. Jennifer dedicated many of her children’s books to these themes. Jennifer found the time and drive to dedicate to writing children’s books. She published her first book—a mystery novel. From the time she was young, Jennifer had always thrived on mysteries and she decided to write puzzle mysteries. But despite her love of writing for children, her own children always came first. Jennifer and her husband took them on camping trips and they traveled to Europe and Asia for their summers. Jennifer loved being a mother and a wife and said it was the most rewarding part of her life. Jennifer still loved education and she pursued a doctorate in urban education from the University of Illinois at Chicago. The program ended with taking a job in a school on the north side of the city. She was principal for 10 years and instituted many important programs to help improve the local community. At the age of 55, Jennifer retired from the education system. She found it increasingly difficult to balance her author appearances and administrating for the school. She took up full time touring and student workshops. Jennifer became involved in the world of international children’s literature. She worked with budding writers from around the world, including writers in Egypt, Bosnia, Mexico and Poland. She encouraged writers to write for children in their native languages. She continued to make appearances and lectures well into her nineties. Jennifer also continued to write up until the time of her death. Her last book will be published post-humously. A memorial ceremony will be held this Saturday.
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