Brianna Messam


Chapter 1 My Name

My mom first told me the story of how I got my name when I was very young. I was probably in the living room cuddling with my mom when she told me the story. My siblings were also in the room. My mom went through each of our names and told us how we got it. The story of my siblings first names were interesting and family based. They were named after ancestors or relatives, which also came with a meaningful story. She explained my sister's name, my brother's name and then mine. To my surprise the story of first name is quite anticlimactic. My mom just liked the name growing up. My mom could tell that I was disappointed so she told me the story of my middle names.

The story of my middle names starts in Jamaica, where my dad grew up. My dad was raised by my great grandparents until he was 5 years old. Their names were Rita and Sylvia. My grandparents were in the United States getting a good education. There is a special place in my family's heart for them. He refers to them as second parents. Although they have passed away, their spirit still lives on in our family. My first name means strong. My first name doesn't come from a family member or famous person but that doesn't mean that I can't make a connection. I looked up my name and it means strong and has an Irish origin. My great grandmothers were both as strong as a bull in spirit. My mom says that there is a part of me that is the same way.

I think my name is not completely a representative of my personality. I like my name and I can't imagine having any other name. I don't really like my first middle name, Rita. It doesn't flow with the rest of my name. My second middle name, Sylvia, is fine, however. I don't have any nicknames in school. Almost everyone at school pronounces my name wrong. I got used to it in elementary school. Even when I say my name people still pronounce it incorrectly. My mother sometimes calls me Bri Bri, but that would be the closest thing to a nickname. My name makes me feel pride that I have such a good name. This name is sort of a gentle, laid back name. It reflects a little bit of who I am.

Chapter 2 My Birthday

I was born on November 9, 1999. On this day I am 5445 days old. On November 9, 1999 it was 50 degrees F. There were clear, skies, low humidity, and winds up to 7mph.

Some famous people that I share a birthday with are Chris Jericho, a wrestler, Lou Ferrigno, a movie actor, Carl Sagan, an astronomer, Ramona Milano, a T.V. actress, and Benjamin Banneker, an astronomer.

There are some significant events that happened on November 9th throughout the world and throughout history. A fire tears through Boston in 1872. Also, followers of Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse are labled as hostile in 1875. Theodore Roosevelt establishes a naval base in the Phillipenes in 1901. President Roosevelt travels to Panama in 1906. Nazis launch Kristallnacht in 1938. The great Northeast Blackout happened in 1965. The Supreme Court refuses to rule on legality of the Vietnam War in 1970. East Germany opens the Berlin Wall. Willie Nelson's assets are seized by the IRS in 1990. The Kodak Theatre became the home of the Oscars in 2001.

In my birth year, 1999 a postage stamp costed $0.32. A gallon of milk cost $2.88. Going to the movies cost just $5.06.

The president was Bill Clinton. The must have toy was Pokémon Gameboy video games.

Some movies that came out were. The Matrix, Star Wars: Episode 1- The Phantom Menace, Toy Story 2, and Tarzan. The biggest movie stars of the time were Tim Allen, Tom Cruise, and Tom Hanks. One of the most popular T.V. shows of the time, especially for kids, was The Amanda Show. Some of the biggest musicians were Prince and Cher.

Some fashion trends were MC Hammer pants.

Chapter 3 Storage Trunk

My mom brought a few items that were scattered around the house that she saved from college, medical school, and even from her childhood. She keeps some things in the basement, some in closets around the house, and others were in my parents bedroom. One of the items that struck my interest was a perfume bottle that looked like a glass doll. I found the item in my parents in my room. My mom told me that the perfume was given to her by my aunt. My aunt had just moved to Canada from her country of origin Guyana, in South America. She became a model in Montreal and was provided many beauty products, including a wide variety of perfumes. She sent my mom one of the perfume bottles because it was unique and there was nothing like it in Guyana. The bottle was made of yellow glass and made to look like a doll. The doll had a long, old time dress with a headscarf and had a jump rope in it's hands. My mom remembers being really excited when she received it. It was an exotic, new item that my mom had never seen before. They had seen perfume before but not in a bottle that was so unique and special. My mom kept it because she is sentimental and it meant so much to her. She was getting ready to leave the country herself and my aunt thought that it would cheer her up. My mom brought it with her to the U.S. and has taken it everywhere she has lived from then on. The jump rope in the doll's hands was lost when she moved to this country. There is also a drop of blue paint on the doll's arm from when my mom was painting our house.

Another item my mom has saved over the years is a coconut brooch shaped like two bells. She keeps it in a jewelry box in her closet. There are piles of jewelry boxes in my mom's closet filled with jewelry she has collected from over the years. She bought it with her own money in the biggest marketplace in Georgetown, Guyana, Stabroek Market. She bought it for herself when she was about my age, fourteen. She wanted to buy it because she wasn't allowed to bring a lot of stuff to the U.S. She wanted something beautiful that would remind her of the great times she had in the country. Most of the jewelry in Guyana is made out of natural materials such as coconut, buck beads, and various types of grasses.

Chapter 5 Family History

My immediate family includes my mom, my dad, my older sister Julia, my older brother Alex, and my younger brother Christian. My older sister, my mom, my dad, both of my grandmothers and three of my aunts are sitting at the table in the dining room. There is food piled on the table. My brothers and I sit at a smaller table in the kitchen.

Although I cooked almost half of the food, I didn't eat anything. I helped my dad make the turkey and I cooked the ham, made mashed potatoes and mashed sweet potatoes, made the salad, and baked sugar cookies. There were also steamed vegetables, pie, and cake. Pie, cake, and cookies are rare at my house, so I ate a lot the sweets the next day.

My family only speaks English because they came from countries that were colonized by Great Britain. I personally don't own any heirlooms but my mom owns some. My parents have many photo albums. There is an album for each of my siblings and I, and of my mom. The albums for each of my siblings and I have baby pictures and pictures from when we were toddlers. The albums with my mom have pictures of when she lived in Guyana, when she was in college and when she left for the U.S. My grandmother, my great grandmother, and many of my female ancestors were seamstresses. My mom knows how to sew and at one point I knew how to sew. I learned how to sew in sixth grade from school. After then I forgot. My sister is the one who is more interested in sewing and fashion. After learning how to sew, I realized how much I didn't like it. I'm not interested in learning how to sew again at all.

Chapter 7 Likes/Dislikes List


-Eating apples; specifically Fuji apples

-Spending time by myself in my room, with no one to bother me

-Learning about science, almost every type of science

-Visiting New York City and seeing all of the tourist attractions

-People who voluntarily do things for the good of others

-Doing origami

-Doing a complex jigsaw puzzle (400 pieces or more)

-Watching a comedy movie

-People who encourage the others around them to be the best they can be

-Taking pictures of nature


-Any type of caterpillar; big or small, smooth or hairy, dead or alive

-Very judgemental people who always talk about everyone else's flaws

-Not being respected by my peers and extended family members

-Unorganized, unmotivated slackers who don't care about responsibility or their schoolwork

-People who try to convince you that they are the best and are good at everything when they really aren't

-Books that are assigned for school that are extraordinarily boring

-Going to the beach and realizing that everyone around me is having way more fun than I am

-Hypocritical people

-Bathroom humor, fart jokes, and anything along those lines.

-The misuse of derogatory words and common, non offensive words that are used as insults

-Reality T.V./ pointless television shows

Chapter 10 My Year in Reading

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Chapter 12 My Spirit Animal

The Elephant

Written by Brianna Messam

She strides forward through the burnt, broken, brush;

Triumphantly, with silent strength, alongside her family

Encouraged by the promise of rain she continues.

She, in front of the pained pack, patrols;

She pointlessly ponders until they reach a clearing

And among the rest she shivers.

Chapter 13 Friendship

My best friend is Lauren Isaacs. She is hard-working, very compassionate towards others, and confident in what she believes in. She knows right from wrong and always does the right thing. When any of her friends seem to be in trouble or stressed out she gives good advice that always helps. One of the best adjectives I can think of to describe Lauren is selfless. She tries to help others asking for nothing in return. She feels like it is her responsibility to help others who are less fortunate than her or are in need. She' also an amazing athlete. Swimming is a big part of her life. She swims with the Penncrest swim team and outside of school. A lot of her life revolves around swimming. She takes schoolwork very seriously. All of her homework is done before she gets to school and puts in extra effort to get things done. Her grades are stellar and she is proud of how she's doing in school.

We met in sixth grade but didn't automatically become friends. We sat at the same lunch table but never really talked. The first time we actually interacted with each other was sometime close to the end of the year. It was red ribbon week and an eighth grader had taken my ribbon. There were extras in the art room so I told my other friends where I was going and why. Lauren heard this and asked if she could come along. We both went to the art room together but still hadn't become friends after that. In seventh grade we started to interact more. It was in eighth grade when I actually considered her a friend. I moved from my lunch table to her new lunch table three weeks after she left. Then I made some new friends and Lauren became my best friend.

At Penncrest Lauren and I are in the same business class and sit at the same lunch along with Rachel Corner. Rachel Corner and I were good friends in elementary school. We went our separate ways at the end of fifth grade but reconnected in eighth grade through classes and Lauren's new lunch table. Rachel is the real conversation starter. Without Rachel sitting at the table Lauren and I would probably say hi and then eat in silence. She also swims but isn't as much of an athlete. She likes to talk about how much she loves world languages, how easy world language/grammar is, and how much she loves Mrs. Bury. Another one of my friends is Christine Joo. She’s awesome and I feel like I can be my true self with her. I can tell her anything without feeling like she’ll judge me. I met her in eighth grade when she moved to this district. It was the first day of school and it was second period. She was standing in the hallway looking at her schedule confused. I went over and asked her if she needed help. It turned out we were going to the same class. We became friends from that point on. We talk to each other in gym, in the hallways when we pass by, and we text sometimes.

Lauren makes me feel great for the most part. She is a good influence and always has my back, no matter what. Although we are best friends we can’t always keep a conversation going. Sometimes it seems like we have nothing to say to each other. Sometimes the first thing Lauren says to me when we see each other is about school. Our “conversations” consist of what we do in school and if anything interesting happened earlier in the day. Things can get a bit awkward when we sit there with nothing to say to each other. We talk at lunch and help each other with assignments sometimes. We almost never do things together outside of school together. The first time I ever hung out with a friend outside of school, EVER, was with Lauren and her family earlier this year. Rachel also makes me feel good but sometimes we have opposing ideas. We can clash sometimes but everything ends well.

I’m friends with Lauren because she is a great influence and is very supportive, no matter the circumstance. I’m friends with Rachel because she is fun to be around. I’m friends with Christine because I can be very open with her and she understands the part of me I show no one else.

I only have pictures with Lauren and Christine.