English 10: Writing Portfolio


Catholic Memorial High School



Creative Writing  

Dear Malorie Blackman, My name is Christopher Kerrigan. I live in Hyde Park Massachusetts and attend catholic Memorial High School. I am a sophomore and I have been attending Catholic Memorial for two years. I am in an English class, which studies British Literature all year. I am writing today to ask if you would come to our class and speak about some of your books both novels and short stories. I think the class would love to here about your Noughts and Crosses series of books.

I originally thought a writer like you that has published so many stories over a relatively small time period (15years). I’m curious to find out why you stopped your computer database job or your system programmer job. Maybe you decided they weren’t for you and needed to expand your brain into writing or you just had that urge to write and you became so good at it you made it your living. Your books are very appealing to me because I know that you talk about racism in the Noughts and Crosses series but the racism is turned upside down in that the African Americans own slaves and the Whites are the slaves.

I have not read the Noughts and Crosses series yet but would love to read it sometime. I would like to read more into Callie Rose’ life being mixed race. I’m wandering do you need to read all three in a row to get the full understanding of the series if so I would like to hear about that to. I also enjoy your child books because I may be a little older now but I love child books still. “We’ve got company: Morgan said from his position beside the window. He didn’t need to say it twice.

‘How many?

‘Two…no, three cars.’

If they could muster three police cars at the front of the hotel, no doubt there’d be more than one outback.

“How did they know we were here?” Morgan asked, running to get his holdall.

‘Let’s worry about that later when we’re out of here,’ I told him. If we got out of here . . . I grabbed my rucksack off my single bed and headed out behind Morgan.

Thank you for reading this letter and maybe giving the slightest thought of stopping by when you are in the United States if ever again. I feel that if you embraced our class to talk about your books and maybe some about your British life compared to our American ways it would interest us all. I am looking forward to hearing back from you in the near future and our class is free all May or whenever you want to come out.

Your Friend, Christopher Kerrigan































Most people have not heard of William Byrd, which is highly acceptable. I did not know about him either until this research paper because he was a Christian songwriter in the 1500’s. He did all of his writing in London where he was born. William Byrd was a pioneer to most early Christian choir songs and one of the first composers to use full Christian songs in a performance. The first of his publications, the first of many, was titled “gradualia.” Gradualia was a published collection of songs and psalms used to last the whole ecclesiastical year. In the gradualia you find songs and psalms about the Passion according to St. John among many other stories.

The first Gradualia was written and finished in 1606 in England, and used for the whole church year in 1607. The songs focus on the Christian Psalms used as worship for masses in a philosophical way. He wrote gospel music because of the influence of the church he got from his father growing up. He is one of the most prolific composers in British history.

William Byrd was born in 1540 to a famous songwriter named Thomas Tallis in England. William Byrd started his career at a very early age. He joined the best church choir in all of England, the Chapel Royal. He grew up writing under his father in the Catholic Church. After Queen Mary died and Queen Elizabeth took over, she invited him to start writing for the Protestant church in which she was apart of. In 1572 he accepted a job offer from the Chapel Royal and received enough pay to retire at the age of fifty. He moved to Stondon London, where he worked as a singer in the Protestant church.

Byrd himself wrote the songs “Gradualia” in the early 1600’s, specifically for church work. The songs then later became the first of three editions to be printed in Byrd’s lifetime. They are still used in the Protestant Church today sung by most choirs with only three, four or five people in them. Gradualia has changed very little in the following centuries since Byrd has written it because it was one of the first written English songs of the Roman Catholic Church. He wrote the songs during the Great Gunpowder Rebellion in 1605.The songs focus on the Christian Psalms used as worship for masses in a philosophical way. The first Gradualia song was forbidden to be song in England for 100 years until 1707. The songs are still used today in the Protestant Church only. Most of the time they are not song in order for the whole ecclesiastical year. The songs are also used for ceremonies close to Easter time for the Passion of Christ according to St. John. He has also written many psalms still used today.

The songs also have great historical meaning. The historical meaning behind them goes back roughly 2000 years with the birth and death of Christ and the writing of all of the Gospels. Byrd understood religion and took it deeply to its meaning. The church back in his time needed to find its way that’s why he wrote these songs about the events that took place in Jesus’ life as an image to his people.

William Byrd will go down as one of the greatest songwriters in both the Protestant and Catholic churches. His father inspired his influence for the songs. He has contributed to more than just the Gradualia songs but also psalms songs and sonnets written in 1588 when he was just eighteen years old.
























Jorge Rafael Videla was born on August 2nd, 1925. Videla was born in Mercedes, Argentina, and a place he grew up to rule. Videla lived by military standards his whole life. Whether it was after his enlistment or right up to the day he was named dictator of Argentina. He wanted to be in a position of power. On March 24, 1976 Jorge Rafael Videla overthrew the existing ruler Isabella Peron to become Ruler of Argentina. Soon after his entrance into power he committed the worst Humanitarian Crimes since Adolf Hitler and the Holocaust. Videla was obsessed with the military and wanted to have the strongest in South America. So why not start his own? Videla captured expecting mothers and waited until they were almost ready to have the kids, usually at night on military bases they would be cut open to get the baby out, the baby would go into a military orphanage and the mothers would be dropped over the Atlantic Ocean. The most famous case being that of Silvia Quintela.

When a journalist asked Videla for the title of his favorite book Videla only replied with “Book?” The journalist thought it was a simple question to answer but not only started fearing for his career, but his life. Then Videla started to mumble something about a book he read in first grade, but he could not remember the title. The most famous case was of Silvia Quintela, a doctor who attended to the sick in the poor towns of Buenos Aires. On January 17, 1977 Silvia Quintela was abducted off the streets by the military and brought to a military base named Campo de Mayo. Quintela and her husband, Abel Madariaga, were expecting their first child. She gave birth to a son in the camp and soon after her delivery, her husband and her were taken to a nearby airfield, stripped, shackled, and flown over the Rio de Plata (Atlantic Ocean) and were pushed out of the planes by the military personnel. The affect over the people was of great affect that the people lived under fear of him.

The U. S had no idea what was going on. Well why would they? They were on great speaking terms with Videla. Videla first promise to his country and the world after his coup got into power was that he was going to abolish slavery from not only South America…but also the World! Videla was also a huge help to the U.S in Operation Condor, the attempt to overthrow the Communist Governments in South America. In 1981 when Ronald Reagan became president, the relationship got better between the two countries. Reagan sought the help from Videla to train the Contras for guerilla warfare against the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. For his aid in the Operation Condor, Videla received a 1 million dollar contract with a large broadcasting American Company to bring better media to Argentina. The relationship with Videla sank low after the dispute over the Falkland Islands. But who else was to gain power for this? The crimes Videla committed not only helped him but those of his top Generals: Admiral Emilio Massera representing the Navy, and Brigadier General Orlando Ramón Agosti representing the Air Force.

I chose to relate my topic of choice to a book written by Charles Dickens in 1849 called “The Battle of Life.” The “Battle of Life was fought” by the kids and parents of those Videla had captured. The mothers fought to protect their babies from the police and their execution also but no prevail. The story is not very well known but fits my topic perfectly in relation to what happen to the people in their respective stories.

In 1985 Videla was charged for charges against humanity and sentenced to life in prison and he had to leave the army. In 1990 President Carlos Menem excused Videla and let him out of jail until 1998 when a judge found him guilty and spent only 38 days in jail until he was put under house arrest due to health issues. As of right now Jorge Rafael Videla is still living in Argentina under house arrest.



























English is made up of many different languages with over 800,000 words and planet is just one. I think that the word “planet” does not hurt the world or man kind because the only things planets do are orbit around the sun in outer space and wait to be explored by us. Planets hold many secrets that can only help benefit mankind. The word “planet” does not have an impact on English or the world but it is still a word used today in English.

The first time the word “planet” is used in English is in 1608; about 800 years after English became a language. Most planets get their name from Greek philosophers who would track the movement of the stars and noticed all of the stars moved except a few. In their case they called them “planets” which in Greek means wanderers. Dictionary.com has a definition for the word “planet” and it is A non-luminous celestial body larger than an asteroid or comet, illuminated by light from a star, such as the sun, around which it revolves. In the solar system there are nine known planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. Most people do not know much about astronomy, which is the study of the universe, which includes the sun, the planets and stars. Some people even think that the moon is a planet but it is not it is a satellite to a planet. That planet is earth. Our closest planet is Mars and the farthest planet is Pluto. The American Heritage Dictionary has a similar definition do that of Dictionary.com: A non-luminous celestial body that revolves around a star. Most planets get their name from Greek philosophers who would track the movement of the stars and noticed all of the stars moved except a few. In their case they called them “planets” which in Greek means wanderers.

The Oxford English Dictionary has two similar definitions and one definition that is not related to the others and I have not heard. The definitions are: A heavenly body distinguished from the fixed stars by motion. The next definition is: the name given to each of the heavenly bodies that revolve around the sun, and the last detention is: Source of influence. This definition is one that most people do not use the word planet for. In my survey of 10 people not one of them used this definition or had the word influence in their definitions.

The OED has three uses of the word “planet” in literature by some well-known writers. The first is by William Chaucer in 1391 in the book Astrology Book. The sentence he uses the word in is “Whan the planets ben Vnder the likile signs.” In 1581 the poet Sydney uses in one of his poems titled Apologetic Poetry. The line he used the word in goes like this “The man that with me trods this planet.” In 1850 Alfred Lord Tennyson used the word “planet” in a book titled Memorial Council. The sentence he uses the word in is “If you be borne so neere the cataphract of Nilus that you cannot heare the Planet like Musick of Poetrie.”

In my research of the word planet I have only found one book that uses my word in a way the OED doesn’t. In a book called Divine Comedy. The sentence is “Dante, the pilgrim, journeys to God by way of all earths center, a mountain island in the lower hemisphere, and heavenly planets or sphere of Paradise under him.” This talks about planets being under Dante as rocks as he travels to God, but they act as a paradise for him.

In a survey of people who have spoken English as their first language and who’s ages vary from 11-65, are either in elementary school, are currently in high school, have graduated high school or college and who are from varied parts of Massachusetts the results were the same for what the word “planet” means to them. Tommy Driscoll said that the word planet to him means “big or small circle thing in space” and in a sentence with the word he said “ There are several planets in our solar system.” Mike Harrington uses the word planet in a sentence similar to Tommy Driscoll but says “Some planets are large than others” and in a definition he says that planets are: large gaseous and or solid things in space. There is small difference between their definition and sentence of the word “planet”.

I surveyed two friends of mine who have had English as their second language and the first is Shaun Millien who spoke Creole before speaking English and said it was “Easy for him to learn the word planet because he learned English at a very young age.” When asked for a definition of the word he said: “I'm not so sure but I think it is a large thing in outer space but is not a star.” Another person who I know but does not speak English is Alexander Defante who spoke Spanish until he was 11 and moved to the United States. He said “I did not learn the word in English until I was 12 but still I knew what it was.” His definition is: An object in our solar system that varies in size and is one of nine in our solar system.”

In my further study of the English language I have yet learned more than what I had before and specicificly more about one single word, “planet,” than I had before. My research brought me through various dictionaries and people that I had to interview. My understanding and knowledge of the English language has grown tremendously.