Posts Tagged ‘Newton Country Day’

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Kelly Mitchell, Newton Country Day Class of 2018

After reading and reviewing Montgomery Lake High #2: When Darkness Tries to Hide, Kelly was asked to share her honest opinions about the story and characters in the below Q&A:

How did your opinion of Jason change as you read the story?

In the first book, the reader gets only a surface level view of Jason. I saw him as a classic popular boy whose only priority was partying. After reading “When Darkness Tries to Hide” I have a new understanding of the character and have grown to deeply sympathize with him. The grief Jason displays following the accident and the determination he had to go outside his comfort zone and help arrange the prayer service for Andy revealed that deep down Jason is a good kid. Despite his flaws of partying and his poor judgement in girlfriends, by the end of this book, I saw Jason as a smart, caring, and loyal friend

What can be learned by the way Chris treats Jason in this book?

One thing I learned is that we should stay loyal to our friends. Chris doesn’t realize it, but by focusing himself and distancing himself from Jason, he has greatly hurt his friend. Once Chris finally begins to encourage Jason to make the same positive changes he did in his life, the power of friendship truly reveals itself. Chris supports his friend and is able to forgive the cruelty Jason has inflicted during the past two months. Their relationship teaches me the importance of never giving up on people we care about.

A main theme of this story is the battle between the dark and the light. When one is in darkness, he or she cannot see anything clearly. How does the last chapter relate to the events of the story and the theme of light vs. darkness?

For the past few years, Jason has surrounded himself in darkness: drugs, alcohol, and people who take part in even more immoral activities than he does. Encompassing himself in this darkness only gets him further into it. The day he spent with Chris planning Andy’s service was the first time in a while any light had been brought into his life. Jason witnessed his friend’s newfound strength and was moved by the kind words he received from Mr. Kagelli, Rachel, and the Pastor. In the end, with new hope and positive surroundings, Jason takes his first step down the righteous path by reading the bible. By being productive and working to do something kind for Andy, Jason and his friends are able to start to bringing some light into a dark and scary situation.

What positive message does this book convey to readers?

I think an important message in “When Darkness Tries to Hide” is that it is never too late to make a change. Jason not only experiences forgivness from his friend Chris, but also learns about the never ending forgiveness of God from Pastor Mark. The Pastor shares his story of straying from a moral path at times and explains the healing power of God. Jason is inspired by this and his new hope causes him to confess his sins to the Pastor. Despite being so deep into the party scene, Jason—like Chris—realizes he still has the opportunity to try and be a better person. I hope that you enjoy it, because I worked really hard on it. I spent quite some time in front of my computer to complete this. It made me worry at times, because I know how bad for your health sitting down for long stretches of time is. I try to let it not bother me too much though. I mean I even take a health supplement that I order from https://kratommasters.com that works great. I highly recommend it if you are looking for a good one by the way.

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Chris Dunkin believes that his former best friend, Jason Davids, is blazing a trail of destruction. After a tornado wreaks havoc on Montgomery, a twist of fate brings Chris and Jason back together as they try to save a classmate who is gravely injured from the storm. The tempest, however, brings more than wind and rain to Montgomery.

Q&A with Kelly Mitchell

Newton Country Day Class of 2018

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Kelly is a very insightful teenager, who has a knack for perceiving underlying meanings and concepts within works of literature. As an author, I am truly blessed to have her on staff as an intern. Kelly is applying to many prestigious colleges this year, and I could not be more proud of her! Below is a short series of questions I asked her to complete about Book #1 “The Right Person.” I hope you enjoy her insight:

How do you, as a teenager, personally relate to this story?

As a high schooler peer pressure surrounds me in all aspects of life. Whether presented with extremes, like Chris, of drugs and alcohol or something as minor as gossiping, high schoolers are constantly put in situations where they sacrifice morals to fit in. Personally, I resonate most with the concept that who I associate with greatly influences my decisions and behaviors. When sitting with girls participating in gossip, I find it difficult sometimes to not engage. I have learned through my years that it is important to surround yourself with people who share similar morals and values as myself; the same lesson Chris discovers.

What do you believe influenced Courtney to turn away from her morals in order to feel accepted?

Courtney’s desire to fit in with a group of kids whom she perceives to be “popular” causes her to turn from her morals. Her values are no longer a priority to her if they interfere with her belonging with the others. Courtney becomes more focused on how her new friends view her than on staying true to herself. 

What is one major theme you noticed running through the story?

The significance of friendship is a common theme in the story. The friendships that the characters form in the story greatly influence their decisions. Courtney’s friendship with people like Cathy causes her to go away from her morals. Other friendships, like Chantal and Marielle, strengthens their morals. Friendship is a core part in each person’s life, this is why Julianna feels lost when she loses her friends.

How does it appear God worked to get Chris’ attention?

Chris was becoming tired of the partying scene and began longing for something more. To get Chris’ attention God brought Courtney into his life. Chris is immediately attracted to Courtney and believes spending time with her will help him gain the strength to abstain from sin as she does. This caused improvement in Chris’ behavior but was not a permanent solution because he soon finds himself back into his own ways. It is not until the end when Chris realizes that it is not Courtney whom Chris should attempt to gain strength from but rather, God: the source of Courtney’s virtue.  

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Written by Charlotte Moynihan, NCDS Class of 2018

The Right Person, the first book in the Montgomery Lake High book series by Stacy Padula, chronicles the difficulties faced all too commonly by high school students. As the story follows a group of friends – some new, some old – as they navigate the beginnings of freshman year, the reader is quickly drawn to two of the main characters, Courtney and Chris.

All throughout middle school and even the summer leading up to ninth grade, Courtney is a person of integrity and great faith. She has no issue standing up for her religious beliefs and saying no to the peer pressure to indulge in drugs and alcohol. However, like many new high schoolers, Courtney is drawn away from her convictions and swept into the world of popularity and the pressures of fitting in. Consumed with the desire to be liked by her new boyfriend Chris and his party going friends, Courtney abandons everything that she once stood for. Chris, on the other hand, begins the story as a diehard party goer and is rarely sober. However, upon reflection on his own life Chris begins to see God in his life again – not through his own actions, but the influence another person has on his life.

This story very accurately details the pressures teenagers face and the feeling that fitting in and loving God may not seem to go together. I think many high schoolers, especially those feeling consumed by the constant social pressure, will be able to relate to the ups and downs the characters in The Right Person face. Their struggles with the sudden prevalence of drugs and alcohol in Montgomery Lake is very real to new high schoolers suddenly faced with these difficult choices. I would recommend this book to all teenagers, but especially those struggling with drug or alcohol abuse or those who feel they might be at risk of future abuse.