The Power of Persuasion; ‘Kids’ Voices Matter’

By Shelby Stewart
Staff Writer
Oaktree Elementary students in the Brandon School District recently had the opportunity to participate in a persuasive writing competition, “The Power of Persuasion: Kids’ Voices Matter.”
“The only way to develop strong writing skills is to get a lot of practice,” said Coy Stewart, Oakwood principal.”
The top papers from each grade level are printed in The Citizen with kindergarten-third grade winners in the May 22 edition. Today the fourth and fifth grade winners are published.
Global Warming by Olivia Kilpela, Oakwood 4th Grade
The climate is changing, greenhouse gases are increasing, extreme weather is happening more often, ocean levels are getting higher, but why? This is all happening because of global warming. But what exactly is global warming? If you have never heard of this word before you would be thinking that oh the world is getting warmer yay I don’t like winter so soon it’s always going to be warm outside. Well that is not what it is. It is when the earth starts to warm up. It causes droughts, tsunamis, hurricanes and more. It is caused by fossil fuels. Greenhouse gases “collect in the atmosphere and absorb sunlight and solar radiation that have bounced off the earth’s surface,” according to I believe that we need to reduce things that cause global warming and we should decrease the amount of greenhouse gases that we use in the world.
There are many cons about global warming. For instance, NRDC says “Higher temperatures are worsening many types of disasters, including storms, heat waves, floods, and droughts. …higher death rates, higher wildlife extinction rates, higher sea levels”. It can hurt people in a bad way because when it gets a certain temperature it gets too scorching hot or too frigid cold outside that our bodies cannot work right in the temperatures. So global warming can hurt people in a critical way. The temperature gets so crazy, it’s out of our control. So when you are using fossil fuels in the future tell yourself that might be you one day.
My second reason is that we should reduce the things that cause global warming. We wouldn’t ever even think maybe it affects our animals and their habitats. Greenhouse gases play a vital role in our lives, sometimes in a positive way but a majority of the time in a negative way. There is controversy about this subtopic, but I believe that it is important to give reasons why I believe this is true. First and most importantly our animals. I just want to let you people know that animals have a brain and they have feelings. I’m wondering how your emotions change when somebody does not consider you to be affected by this. Or they think that they are the only ones that matter. So next time you make a decision that can affect our animals please think before you act. When we do these things we also affect habitats. For example, Good Nature Travel says that, a “recent report has estimated that 23% of the habitat of China’s giant pandas was destroyed by a earthquake in May, and that fragmentation has endangered the remaining areas of panda habitation”. To add on, we as people do not appreciate when people do not take us into consideration.

So when these giant pandas habitats were ruined, my first thought was why does global warming happen so much? I believe strongly about this specific subtopic in global warming. Everybody has a vital role to play. We have to do our job to protect our animals by using less non renewable energy sources and more renewable energy. Put others before yourself.

You can do many things to help slow down global warming. We only need a few people to start recognizing this problem and we could start a ripple effect on our towns,states,countries,and world. It only takes one person to start something bigger than themselves. So the first thing that we can all do is power a majority of our homes with renewable energy. Examples of renewable energy are solar energy, wind energy, hydro energy, tidal energy, geothermal energy, and biomass energy. If powering your home with renewable energy is too big of an investment for your family, you could invest in energy efficient appliances. says that “where possible, we can switch to renewable sources of energy (such as solar and wind energy) to power our homes and buildings, thus emitting far less heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere.” Also, something worthwhile you can do is pull electrical plugs for devices you are not using. But if those things are over your budget you can do something that costs no money at all. All you need to do is speak up, tell people how you feel about global warming, get their attention and don’t stop until you know you are heard. 

 All of this global warming stuff is a little bit crazy. I know that it will be a new situation for everybody, but we will all get used to it sometime. If we get over this habit now, we will not have to deal with the bigger problem later. So, now I hope that I convinced you to reduce the things that you use in day to day life that cause global warming around our nation. I believe that we can pull the plugs and use non greenhouse gas appliances. Finally, you can think about what happens when you do things that cause global warming. You can also think about others before you act. So just remember, greenhouse gasses destroy our world. Always remember that we all need to do our part. 

Killer Whales Should not be in Captivity or Shows by Avah McClain, Oakwood 5th Grade

Today we will be discussing Orcas or better known as Killer Whales and my thoughts about their captivity. “I’m glad I don’t go into my job everyday knowing that I might die,” my teacher Mrs Squire said when I was telling her about the whales and things that I was reading. It’s not only hurting the whales but the trainers too. I know what you’re going to say, “

Killer whales are fine and whale shows are so amazing!” But is it really worth people dying??? Whales going crazy!!!!! Would you wanna go into your job everyday knowing that you might die or be injured??  Also is their life span longer in the ocean??? I know I wouldn’t want that kind of job. The whales are even dying sooner than in the wild. So without further ado let me explain the reasons why killer whales or orcas should not be in captivity.

My first reason is that the shows and captivity are not only hurting the Orcas, but people too. PBS’s, Frontline episode, A Whale of a Business, clearly states some of the behavior from the Orcas have been wildly out of hand consisting of “butting, biting, grabbing, dunking, and drowning trainers.” A whale named Tilikum has been involved in three deaths. “Scientists have believed that it was because he was going erratic in captivity,” stated BBC Earth writer, Melissa Hogenboom in her piece, Why killer whales should not be kept in captivity. Now, not to be a gossiper, but the same BBC Earth article stated that one of the three deaths was a trespasser in the whale exhibit and Tilikum drowned them. After hearing that I wasn’t going to trespass any time soon. The second death was that Tilikum and two other whales tag teamed a trainer. The third death was Dawn Brancheau and Tilikum was responsible for that as well. A special thanks to Earth for giving me that information for this essay because it is a credible source. That is just one reason why killer whales should not be in captivity.

My second reason is that the whales are mentally and physically not ok. Those deaths I told you about are believed to be from whales going erratic in their head because of being in captivity. This is what I gathered from Smart, Social and Erratic in Captivity, by James Gorman. Sea World has promised to make a bigger pool after the movie Blackfish made people angry. Yet a prison is still a prison. Big, small, fat, skinny they are all still a prison and a cage. I think it’s crazy that there is a movie and book about it. If there is enough inside and awful information to write a book and a movie, there must be something or many things wrong. Also that if people take the time to make these then they have a very strong opinion about issues and gossip that goes around. Another thing is that their dorsal fin is collapsed and not as sharp as the ones in the wild because of the lack of space in the pool. They are also breaking their teeth to escape. That information was from 8 Reasons Why Orcas Don’t Belong in Seaworld. That was my second reason now on to the next!

Another reason is that life span is getting shorter by the minute. They are dying three times faster than in the wild! A fact from Seaworld says Blackfish is wrong. I read this from an article in the Orlando Sentinel. Different Orcas live in different habitats and parts of the ocean so it’s hard to know how long one type lives. You can’t just put different breeds all together and call it a day. These facts were from Smart Social and Erratic in Captivity, an article from the New York times. Scientists don’t know how long they can live but it is hard to track again because they live in different parts of the world. Also from smart,social and erratic in captivity.

So from my point of view and evidence I’ve collected, I hope you’re thinking of something big to help. Again my reasons are that it is hurting the whales and people, too. The whales are mentally and physically not ok. Their lifespan is also getting shorter. Now that you know my perspective on Orcas and how they should be in the wild, what are you waiting for? Take a stand! Make a difference for Orcas in the future!  I advise you to write a letter to Seaworld asking for them to be put back into the wild where they belong. If you are going to protest then please make it safe, appropriate and well ordered. Another thing you could do is to stop going to the Orca shows, even though they are amazing. It will teach Seaworld and everywhere else that Orcas should not be in captivity. Why are you still reading? Make a difference!! Change the way people see Orcas forever!

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