Midterm Prep part 2: write your story
Ten years into the future, in 2030, Zak Freedman is a 9-year-old boy living in Idaho, USA. "Life is good" in Boise," he tells himself as he arrives home on the class-shuttle from school one day to a steaming bowl of Campbell's Soup, his favorite all American dinner. Zak quickly finishes his English homework and rushes upstairs to play his favorite online VR video game with some online friends. His parents just logged off from their teacher conference and had to share with Zak the exciting opportunity they just received from the International Education Union! They call Zak downstairs and share, "Zak, we just got word of a new teaching opportunity... in Milan, Italy!" Zak was petrified and said to himself, "How COULD THEY??!!...” Zak can’t contain himself. “All, my friends, my games, my my -" we know sweetie, that it will be challenging, but you'll make new frie-- “I DON'T WANT TO LEAVE!! I like it here!" Zak rushes back to his room and shuts the door. Through argument and reason, doubt and fear, Zak's parent's console and comfort Zak. After crying and trying to talk his parents out of it- he realizes that he has no choice; he must move on and go forth to Italy.
A few months later, on a late Summer's day, after packing up all the essentials (and saying goodbye to some old toys), Zak's family board the plane and arrive in their new life - Milan, Italy. Upon arrival at their apartment, the parents receive an update on their family news hub. The school Zak is attending notified them about the A.M.A.R.A. International Educational Program; an AI that helps international students adapt to new locations worldwide - Zak will be getting his own device. He peeks into the family room to see a video advertisement on the screen. He notices its customizable toy-like shell, its hand-held sphere like robotic shape, and its bright OLED screen. The male TV Amara announcer echos the repeated slogan in a radio voice - “Family changing locations? Filled with family frustration? Amara is here to help with your child’s educational migration!” Recognizing Amara from watching online videos, he yells, "No, that's for stupid people, I don't want it! - I never wanted to move here," Zak grumps and curls on the couch. His parents try to comfort Zak but he's so shaken by the move - the parents look into each other's eyes and hope for Zak to be alright and make new friends. The next day, the A.M.A.R.A. Educational Kit arrives at their local package pickup station. As the Summer in Italy nears its end with the new semester beginning, Zak largely confined himself to his VR game, and his parents, Adam and Katy, worry that Zak didn't really use Amara at all! How is he going to get through his first day at school without learning Italian?
t's here, Zak's first day at his new school in Italy. Although Zak is no longer complaining to his parents, he is still quite nervous and afraid. As Zak sits in class visibly anxious, he wants to cry as he feels alone on his first day of class. He can barely understand what everyone is saying. He whispers to himself, "I don't like it here." Zak was forced by his dad to bring Amara to school just in case. Zak's first-class 1A teacher introduces the new foreign student from America. The teacher calls Zak upfront. "Ah, this is..” *whispers to Zak * “don't forget to show the class your Amara from your bag!". Zak gets Amara from his backpack pocket and walks to the front of the class. His teacher raises Zak's hand holding Amara and describes the Amara program to the class. His teacher says in Italian, "this is going to help Zak adjust to Italian life - Fantastico! Introduce yourself, my boy…" "Hell-o". Zak's face turns pale as he scans the room. He realizes some of his classmates snicker at him. Zak thinks to himself “Why are they - oh is it me, is my hair - it's Amara??" Zak’s face freezes, teeth clenching, he realizes that people were laughing at him because HE had Amara, people must know he can't speak Italian…." Zak's cheeks blush and slouches as he returns to his desk. "Why am I here?” Zak thought. The first week at school is rough for Zak; he eats lunch by himself, struggles in class and comes home upset every day. He is frustrated in his new life.
The next week at school, after his class, one of Zak's classmates who laughed at him the first day of school walked toward him from down the hall. The bully roars, "Dammi quell 'amara, stupido americano"! The bully stole Amara from Zak's backpack’s unzipped pocket - but lost control of Amara! Amara slipped from the bully’s sweaty palms, and Amara was now flying down the hall. Amara rolls and rocks against the ground, rolling up to rest between someone's feet, between a pair of blue shoes. Zak worries, is the Amara OK? Amara landed in at the toes of an Italian girl, Laila - she picks up Amara and gives it to Zak, now motionless. Zak stutters "- tha tha thank" Zak realizes he doesn't even know how to say thank you in Italian" His forehead sweats, nostrils flare, and his heart begins pounding. Zak shifts his focus. Amara’s spherical rubberized shell sits still in his petrified hands, her curved screen lights up, then smiles and speaks in her gentle AI voice to Zak, "Don't worry, Zak, what do you want to sa -- thank you" Zak interrupts. Zak looks at Amara and realizes that maybe Amara is not such a bad thing at all - he asks Amara how to say thank you in Italian - "Grazie" - Zak looks up to thank the gir - but she's gone. They've both disappeared. Zak wipes his tear, get's on his feet, and forces a smile. "Maybe. Just maybe I can."
Act 3 DOWNLOAD PDF
Several long weeks pass, Zak begins to talk more with Amara. Amara executes her onboarding process and beginner Italian course. Amara helps Zak start to learn Italian - and all about Italy - and provides Zak with empathy and support that he needed- all part of her training course that Zak never used! He arrives home happier each day and works hard to push himself to grow and respect his parents and himself. Zak learns more Italian from Amara each day and brings her around at lunch and at home, at recess, and everywhere he goes.
One afternoon Zak walks down the hallway and notices a girl being bullied by the same classmates that bullied and made fun of Zak on his first day of school! Zak zooms in, "it's the same girl that saved me from the bully that day!" Zak quickly shrugs off his backpack and grabs Amara "Ok Amara, help me stop those bullies" Amara ejects herself from Zak's backpack and rolls over to the bullies and executes "protocol B-2" Amara's screen turns red as she rolls and orders the bully to stop in an amplified tone, shocking the bully and making him run away. Zak, concerned for the girl, rushes over to her and talks without thinking - he says "stai bene??" Zak freezes and pupils expand, his cheeks turned plush red. He was able to talk to them without asking Amara for help!! Zak looks at Amara in thanks, and her screen switches to a lunch icon. Zak thinks hard for a moment before looking at Laila. Zak remembers and says, "pranzare"? Lunch? Want to go eat lunch together? The two bond and empathize; the girl, Laila, now respects Zak that he spoke Italian on his own right and overcame the challenge. Zak thinks to himself, "Yes, I can, I can learn Italian!" Amara taught Zak well, and he remembers the empathy and everything Amara taught Zak. He continues to grow at school and becomes friends with his new classmate, Laila. Zak continues to grow, learn from Amara, and make new real friends in his new life in Milan, Italy.