Read the following story, then answer the three multiple choice questions and essay question at the bottom
of the page.
After Flight Back From Iraq, Teen to Be Grounded
Floridian Farris Hassan stunned his family and classmates with a solo trip to the war zone.
By Jamie Malernee, Kevin Smith and Karla Shores
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
January 1, 2006
Fla.- He was born into money and privilege, the son of immigrants who came to this country from Iraq looking for freedom
and a better life.
They found it, amassing wealth that gave him a home overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, tuition to
a prestigious prep school, and a $50,000 Infiniti for his 16th birthday.
But Farris Hassan, a lanky, 6-foot-2 straight-A
student who loves to debate world politics and shuns typical teenage hangouts, didn't want it.
He left his bedroom
unadorned, kept his friends few and, two weeks ago, stunned those who knew him by walking away from his life here. The teen
boarded a plane to the Middle East alone, knowing the journey might kill him. His ultimate destination: Baghdad. His plan:
to stand with those struggling for democracy in Iraq.
As family and schoolmates awaited his safe return from Baghdad
this weekend, they described a young man who feels guilty about the comfort he enjoys, who is brilliant but foolhardy, a boy
brimming with idealism and the desire to make a difference.
His father, Redha Hassan, an anesthesiologist, said Farris
spent two weeks traveling from Kuwait City to Beirut to Baghdad. He interviewed soldiers and everyday citizens to understand
their plight before walking into a war-zone office of Associated Press. The news agency called the U.S. Embassy, which was
already on the lookout for Farris.
Officials took him into custody Wednesday and put him on a plane to begin the long
trip home Friday. The U.S. State Department warns Americans against traveling to Iraq, although it is legal.
take it from anyone else. He had to see for himself," said his mother, Shatha Atiya, a therapist, who said she was furious
and terrified when she learned where her son was headed.
Members of the media gathered outside Atiya's home hoping
for interviews with the family. The BBC, FOX News, ABC World News Tonight and Teen People all wanted to know who this young
Family and classmates said Farris was a junior at Pine Crest School, a Fort Lauderdale prep school that is
often a gateway to the Ivy League. He is enrolled in several Advanced Placement classes, is a member of the debate team and
the Renaissance Club, and is a vocal Republican.
"He was kind of unusual," said Chris Rudolf, 17, who eats lunch with
Farris. "He wasn't really popular, but everyone knew him. He was shy about most things until you started talking about something
he was passionate about. He was very passionate about the war in Iraq."
After leaving for the Middle East, Farris
sent an e-mail in opposition of terrorism, saying more people needed to get involved in the Iraqi struggle for democracy,
people like him. He wrote:
"To love is a not a passive thing; When I love, I do something, I function, I give myself.
When I do that, I am freed from guilt. Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. I want to experience
during my Christmas the same hardships ordinary Iraqis experience every day."
Farris is a Muslim, and his interest
in Iraq grew from his family background; his parents were born there; and his voracious appetite for books and current events.
The only reason he joined the football team his sophomore year, his uncle said, was to round out his college resume.
not your typical teenager," Ahmad Hassan said.
The youngest of four children, Farris is unusually independent, said
his eldest brother, Hayder Hassan. His siblings went off to college; his parents divorced.
"Basically, he grew up
doing everything for himself, and I think this was all to show us he could do this too," Hayder Hassan said. "It was to prove
something to us; that he's not a little kid."
Former football teammate Michael Matthews recalled that before Farris
got his driver's license, he would take taxis to practice. Matthews said the teen's parents were frequently working or traveling.
Farris' parents also gave him money to trade stocks, which he did successfully. He had his own credit cards.
very much independent and on his own and self-confident," Matthews said.
When rumors about his trip began to spread
at school, Farris skipped a week of classes before winter break started; classmates were dubious.
"We thought it was
a little joke. I mean, we get in trouble for sneaking out of our house to go to the movies," said Anjali Sharma, who had classes
with Farris last year.
When students realized the story was true, some said they didn't know whether to think Farris
was extremely brave or extremely stupid. Earlier this year, schoolmates said, he was assigned to write an essay on something
he felt strongly about, and he also learned about immersion journalism. That's what he was doing in Iraq, they said.
people thought it was just so cool that he wanted to get involved, and others were scared because it was such a dangerous
trip," student Tulsie Patel said.
Farris' father said Pine Crest in no way encouraged his son to go to Iraq. Redha
Hassan said that he had planned to take his son there this summer as an extension of a school project, but that his son was
too impatient and took off on his own.
Once Farris arrived in Kuwait City, Kuwait, he tried to cross into Iraq by
taxi, his father said. When Farris found the border closed, he called his father, who says now that he was furious but gave
his son the option of coming home or staying with family friends in Beirut for a week until the border opened and private
security could be arranged.
Redha Hassan said he was lenient because of the boy's passion and his own past, which
could not be verified independently. The elder Hassan said that when he was 14 and living in Iraq, he became active in a resistance
movement against Saddam Hussein, including an assassination attempt on the now deposed leader.
Records show that in
1985, Redha Hassan, living in South Florida, was charged in connection with a scheme to print false Iraqi passports and military
identification cards. A judge later dropped the charges. At the time, Hassan told the Sun-Sentinel that his brother had been
executed and family members were kicked out of Iraq without papers, and that he wanted to help others similarly dispossessed.
Redha Hassan said he didn't want to kill his son's passion to help the democracy movement. "He wanted to show he was
braver than me," Hassan said.
Once he learned of Farris' plans, Hassan said, he arranged for the boy to fly into Baghdad
and be met by private security and taken to a local hotel so he could fulfill his quest. But when the boy entered the Associated
Press office Tuesday, he was alone and said his parents did not know where he was, the news agency reported.
to Hassan's story, a U.S. government official speaking on the condition of anonymity to Associated Press said it was the U.S.
military who kept Farris safe.
The teen left Baghdad on Friday, said Navy Commander Robert Mulac, who works in the
Multi-National Force Iraq Press Office in Baghdad.
When the boy arrives in South Florida, he will face a media circus
and punishment for his unapproved trip. His mother said she was going to ground him and take away his passport and credit
cards. He also faces a disciplinary hearing at Pine Crest for missing school, though he won't be expelled.
there have to be consequences," school President Lourdes Cowgill said. "He could have gotten himself killed."
best explains why Farris went to Iraq?
A. Farris wanted to join the insurgency and battle against Americans.
B. Farris felt guilty because he was comfortable in American while his fellow Iraqis were suffering.
C. Farris won a trip to Baghdad on a game show.
D. Farris was bored and learned about the situation in Iraq by reading an article on the Internet.
2. Describe how Farris' father found out about his son's trip and what his reaction was to it.
A. Farris' father took away his son's cellphone and MP3 player.
B. Farris' father joined Farris in Iraq where they could both fight alongside their countrymen.
C. Farris' father was proud of his son because his son was fighting against Saddam Hussein just like he did.
D. Farris called his father from Kuwait, and his father was furious.
3. What phrase best characterizes the students who attend Farris' high school?
A. The students are wealthy with parents who tend to be conservative.
B. The students care deeply about each other, and would do anything for their friends.
C. The students tend to get deeply involved in school projects, sometimes going a little overboard.
D. The students are rich and spend most of their time in malls and movie theaters.
4. What do you think Farris' punishment should be for taking the trip to Iraq? Defend your answer using examples
from the article to make your points.