Tag Archives: academics

Scholastic J

It’s a different kind of work today. One I’m excited about. I have no idea what the future holds. I only know that I have something important to share. So often people look at journalism as a career, a vocation, something to be trained in. The end.
But it’s not the end. For while that’s true, journalism is so much more.
It’s the protector of the constitution. Without a strong free press, the US will cease to exist. It’s an amazing time and a frightening time right now.
Everything is changing so fast. iDevices have made citizen journalism a norm. Paper is ceasing to be the medium of choice for news, there’s no such thing as privacy and people post all sorts of wonders and horrors online.
At the same time we see testing companies and defense contractors buy politicians. Creative thought and the ability to question the answers have been stripped from k-12 schools across the nation, and that lack of freedom is creeping its way onto college campuses…the 6th circuit showed that last month, and the SPLC can show case after case of infringement of rights at the university level.
Years ago, when we were in college, my husband called this limiting of freedoms “foot in the door” in a speech he made about parental advisory stickers on albums.
That was in 1989.
Back then we would have never dreamed an entire political party would take a stand against birth control paid by insurance. We would have scoffed at the idea of The Patriot Act or a judicial ruling that allowed the US to hold someone indefinitely without filing charges over the chance that they might be a terrorist.
Now more than ever journalists must do their jobs. They must be the protectors of the constitution. They must be of the people, for the people.
If not, I’m afraid of where we’re headed.

Too Much?

Last month I took a group of five of my best and brightest to San Antonio for a conference. All five are seniors. All five are in multiple AP classes. All five were in their rooms by 10 p.m. every night doing multiple hours of homework. When I said they were in too many APs, they all said they didn’t have a choice. They had to take that many APs to graduate in the top 10% and earn guaranteed admission to a Texas university.
I’m worried about where this push for academic overload is going to lead my kids. I don’t know how yearbook and newspaper can continue when I’m constantly fighting for kids. The ones I have are stretched too thin as it is.
It’s made for a worrisome year.
I know I need to give this to God, but man, it’s HARD to do that.
Okay. Vent over. Back to work.

UIL District

It was a nail biter. RIght up until headlines, it looked like I wouldn’t go to regionals. It would’ve been the first time in over a decade. Once I looked at my kids’ papers, I knew one thing: the competition was tough because their stories were solid.
In the end, we won 2, 3, 4 in headlines, 5th in news and 6th in features.
And we had a great time.
The six girls I took with me, including one who stepped up when two kids quit the team last Monday, gave up their weekends to compete and I’m proud of every one of them!
NOW, if only there would’ve been air on the bus for the trip down. 🙂
AND if only our computers would’ve worked! One died Friday night. One Saturday in the middle of competition. I don’t think we’ll use computers next year…or maybe ever again.

On to State

Austin’s calling. For the first time in five years, one of my kids is competing at state. It’s going to be interesting. 🙂
I’m going to pre-plan the trip and the food because this weekend, although a ton of fun, was HORRENDOUS on the calorie counting. I ate and ate and ate. I ran too, but sill, all that food was uncool. It started with the idea that chocolate fixes everything. It’s a motto I live by, but I’m not usually surrounded by quite so much of the stuff.
Cool: I tried on size 12 Gap jeans. Now, I don’t begin to fit in them. They’re probably 10 pounds away at least. BUT, I was able to put them on. I haven’t been able to put on a size twelve in 15 years. That’s pretty amazing.
About as amazing as how many people say I can stop losing weight now. My goal is 30 more pounds. I figure I’ll be around a size 10. The idea of a size 10 makes me one happy camper.
I just want my BMI to read normal. RIght now it’s overweight. That’s GREAT since it started out at obese, but still!
I did my part today to defeat my chocoholic tendencies. Actually, I was a lazy bum most of the day. I was tired and cranky and determined to get my sleep in, and since I was cranky, DH didn’t bug me. 🙂
BUT tonight I ran for 45 minutes. It was glorious. I’ve never really gone running before. In fact, anytime my friends went running and asked me to tag along, I laughed. I tend to fall a lot. Walking and talking at the same time is a sure fire way for me to end up on my butt. But walking tonight wasn’t going to cut it. I just can’t build up the great cardio power or sweat by walking. So I decided to run. It was hard at first, but it got easier over time. It’s definitely addictive. I like the elliptical better, but running will work in a fix.
And the collest thing about running: It sort of frees the brain. I was running, thinking about how strange it was that I was running and suddenly everything was just a little bit brighter, a little bit cooler. I was able to think about what just might be my new favorite book of all time: The Secret Life of Bees. The book is just amazing. It does with language and story and emotion what I hope to one day do. WOW! It’s awesome beyond belief.

On the News: I just heard one of my former students was picked up in the NFL draft. This kid was the most incredible student. He was determined like no other. I’ll never forget sitting in a meeting with him, his mother, his counselor and another counselor. They (the counselors) were trying to talk him out of taking Latin. They told him it was too hard. That he’d run the risk of failing and if he failed, he wouldn’t play football. I was stunned! Most kids would’ve changed their schedule and gone on about their business. Not this kid. He looked at those counselors and politely informed them he was taking Latin and he was going to pass it. His mother told them he was taking Latin and that was that. The counselors weren’t happy, but they didn’t have a choice. They signed him up for Latin.
The thing is, this kid was supposed to be one of the “slow” learners. If red groups would’ve still been around, he would’ve been in the red group even though he didn’t belong there at all. I knew that from day one. The kid had a heart like I’ve never seen. He was a gentle giant who worked and worked and worked at his studies, determined to go to college and make something of himself. His counselors were angry that I talked to his mother before the conference and told her that in my opinion her son could succeed at anything he wanted to succeed at. Perseverance is 1000 times more important than intelligence. How many naturally smart people are sitting around talking about how smart they are but not doing much?
Anyway, turns out the kid wanted to take Latin because he’d heard it would help him on his SATs. He passed Latin. And he had the SAT’s to get into Baylor. And now he’s on to the NFL. That’s special.
I love my job. But sometimes public education drives me nuts. How many other kids have been pushed out of Latin? How many don’t have that strong mother who will sit across from the people who are supposed to be the professionals and tell them under no circumstances will their son be railroaded OUT of getting an education? How many others are told, take the easy way because it’s better for you?
It’s a scary thing to think about. Chances are the counselors have completely forgotten about that meeting over the kid’s schedule the spring between his sophomore and junior year in high school. I hope he hasn’t. And I hope he’ll share his story with others. He had a dream. The dream was a college education. Now he’s got that and the NFL. Wow.

An experiment

Yesterday as I talked about my love for language I realized I hadn’t written poetry in years. Today while working hall duty I decided to try a little free verse just to see if I could capture the rhythm of language. I have no idea if that poetry would touch a place in a reader’s heart. But I do know, it touched a place in mine. I wrote page after page of a journal type exposition that captured the flavor of that poem. I don’t have the words with me today, but I’ll post them later just to remind myself and maybe show others how a simple exercise with words, a word play of sorts, can inspire so much more.
There’s so much more to the craft of writing than writing. But the writing is the most important part.

*I’m in San Angelo this weekend with a group of awesome kids. We’re competing at the academic regional competition tomorrow. DD is competing in headline writing and I’m so excited.
This trip has marked a huge change in our relationship. I don’t know if it was earning the spot to compete at regional by winning at district or if it’s just a little maturity, but for the first time she’s hanging out with her friends and waving bye to me. I should simply be proud that she’s growing up, but I guess I’m selfish. It hurts a little. It’s just another part of motherhood I’m learning. I bet the lessons never really end.