JEANINE BENCA TUTORING

English Language Arts Specialist

Writing, Critical Reading, Grammar, SAT/ACT Verbal

 

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      Whether you need a good grammar doctor for your middle-schooler, want to boost your score on the Verbal part of the SAT/ACT, are struggling to write a winning college research paper or are searching for someone to help you sharpen your professional communication skills, you have come to the right place.


     My lifelong passion for the written word and years of experience as a journalist and writing coach in the Tri-Valley, San Ramon Valley and greater East Bay make me the ideal choice for your English tutoring needs.  Please take the time to explore my site … I look forward to helping you reach your goals!
 

STUDENT IN THE SPOTLIGHT 

My Student In The Spotlight for month of June is Alice Z., age 11, of Fremont, for her wry, bittersweet narrative about a found bunny.

 

“The Tiny Bunny” 

(This story is highly exaggerated).

 “Nancy, Alice! Come here, quick!” my mom whispered, sounding like a hissing snake. My sister was listening to Got7, a Kpop band, while I was sitting next to her, skimming the pages of her Biology textbook. Wow. 9th grade must be really hard. I grimaced. When we heard our mom, we both stared at each other quizzically. What is she up to? I thought. Suddenly, I heard something unusual — the quiet snuffling sounds of an animal. “Sniff, sniff, sniff…” What just made that noise? I was confused, and also slightly freaked out. But before I could say a word, my mom hollered, “Mimi caught a baby rabbit!”

“Before I even knew it, my feet were already pacing towards my mom’s voice. Step by step, I approached the door that led to the backyard. I had not realized it before, but my hands were clammy from sweat. I was anxious to see the bunny Mimi had caught. Why? I had the right to be anxious because you never know what condition Mimi our cat will leave her prey in. Before I opened the door, I hesitated, but only for a second. I hope Mimi left the bunny in a healthy state, I prayed before swinging the door open.

I was so amazed by the sight in front of me that a gasp escaped my throat. It was dark, but I could clearly see the furry features of the frightened creature. My mom was gently clutching a brown, little bunny by the scruff! His body was no bigger than my hand, and his tiny ears were less than the length of my pinky finger. His heart was beating so fast that I thought it might explode out of his chest. He was adorable!

“Mimi caught this innocent baby bunny?” I cooed, still in awe of the bunny. “It’s alright, at least I saved it from being Mimi’s dinner!” my mom boasted proudly. My mom’s words just might have caused the bunny to panic, since it started to squirm like a worm in my mom’s grasp. “You had better keep it somewhere safe if you intend to keep it as a pet,” a voice behind me mumbled. The owner of the voice nearly caused me to have a nervous breakdown. Horrifying feelings of confusion, frustration, and desperation arose from my head. This voice usually had something to do with tearing the excitement and fun away from me. Please don’t be my dad. I prayed once again and whipped my head around, and saw…

Yes. It was, of course, the one and only, my dad. His presence caused me to pout. Wait a second… I began to take in what my dad had said just moments earlier. “Really? We can keep it?” I practically squealed.  Coming from my dad, the germ-phobe, this was a shocker. He’s the guy who tells my mom to “keep cleaning” because he never thinks the house is sterile enough. How is he cool with a wild, potentially disease-ridden rabbit? “Okay,” he replied in his characteristic monotone voice. Seriously? No higher emotional reaction to receiving a free bunny? My dad usually says he can’t afford to pay for another mouth to feed, so I was also shocked when I heard his comment. Oh, well! At least we can keep it! I can’t wait to tell my friends! I thought, both happy and relieved.

Unfortunately, my cheerfulness didn’t last very long. Reality — and exhaustion — set in once I realized how much work a baby bunny really was. Before long, my mom had the tiny bunny placed in a cage. I felt sympathy for the bunny, so I decided to place a large pile of grass into the cage. The heap of grass made a perfect hideout for the bunny. It took me quite a lot of energy to heave all the grass into the cage, so my body was regretting doing any more work. With my bones creaking like an ancient door with rusted hinges, I trudged back to my bed to rest. Hopefully, the bunny will be able to become a trained pet! I thought wistfully, before plopping down onto the soft mattress.

Hours later …

“The bunny…” I thought I heard a depressed voice mumble. A voice coming from the sky? How could this be? I must have been dreaming. I groaned and sluggishly peeked one eye out from under my covers. I rubbed my eyes, yawned, and stretched my arms above my head. Unfortunately, my mom’s face was right there. I felt my sleepy fist make contact with her cheek. “Ouch! Alice!” my mom grumbled, pressing her palm over her right eye. “Sorry! I didn’t mean to-” I stammered, but my mom cut me off. “The bunny,” she cautiously let out. “It escaped.”

NOOOOOO! I yelled inside my head. I felt my world crumbling apart. My family, my friends, my dreams, and my hopes… all shattered to a million different pieces.

“How did it get out?” I demanded, leaping from my bed and running outside where the cage was to confirm this tragedy for myself.  Upon inspecting the bottom of the rusty cage, I noticed a two-inch hole just big enough for a baby bunny to squirm through. How had I not noticed that before?

“That bunny looked so cuddly, innocent, and cute!” I ranted, as if in a trance. “Alice, stop. You’re asking for too much. The bunny needed to find its mother anyway,” my mom replied, speaking in a gentle but firm tone.

“I guess, but what if the bunny’s mother was killed by a cold-blooded hunter and the little bunny doesn’t have a mom anymore? Or what if its mother neglected its own child? What if the bunny ran away from its mother?” I continued to ask, tormented by the possibilities.

“There are way more what-if questions you can ask, but only one of them is the right answer, or even none at all.” My mom’s change in voice told me to not question her further, and I got her point.

It has been a week and the bunny still hasn’t returned, but I have learned not to love anything too much, just like the sea monster in the story “The Foghorn,” by Ray Bradbury. You should only give something your love when you know for sure that the thing deserves as much love as you give it, and if you determine that the thing will stay for a long time.