high school

Reading and writing

Teranga Academy is coming to Bowling Green in August 2022

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) – Bowling Green Independent Schools, in partnership with Family Fugees, Inc. will open Teranga Academy Bowling Green in August 2022. Teranga Academy will support teens and their families who are new to the United United and American schools by offering up to three years of competency-based English immersion programs.

The Fugees Family, Inc. has worked with refugee students in school settings for 15 years and is the only network of US schools dedicated to refugee education. Fugees Family Schools are built for and by refugees and immigrants, and they have refined a successful model of centering students and their families in their approach to education. On March 9, 2022, the organization received its largest gift, a $10 million gift from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott to help expand the Fugees’ nationally recognized school model to 50 U.S. school districts over the next five years. By opening Teranga Academy, Bowling Green Independent Schools will become the first public school district in America to partner with Fugees Family, Inc. for this expansion.

In high schools across the United States, refugee adolescents do not have equitable access to education based on a single model practiced from grades 6 through 12. Fugees Family Founder and CEO Luma Mufleh says, “Giving our sixth-graders textbooks that they couldn’t understand would not be compassionate or a vote of confidence. That would be setting them up for failure. Teaching them that there is no shame in being a beginner and that acquiring a complex skill requires starting with the basics is a way of showing that we believe in our students.

Beginning in August 2022, Teranga Academy will be open to Bowling Green Junior High and Bowling Green High School students who have been in the United States for three years or less, who are multilingual, and whose formal education has been interrupted. Students will attend one of three levels of the academy for a maximum of three academic years. The Teranga Academy will be an English immersion program, focused on transitioning to a new country with trauma-informed practices and culturally appropriate teaching. Classes will also include music, art, American culture, and the program will use recreational soccer to build community among students.

The goal of Teranga Academy Level One will be for students to achieve at least a third year proficiency level in reading, writing, math and English. Students will be taught by certified elementary teachers, with the basics of reading and writing and early math skills. Level two will allow students to achieve at least a sixth grade proficiency level and level three will achieve an eighth or ninth grade proficiency level, including intentional transition to Bowling Green Junior High or Bowling Green High School.

Superintendent Gary Fields says, “Our school district has worked for several years to support our refugee students, but we have not been able to do so at a level that we believe is best for the students. Our teachers have received extensive training, we’ve increased student access to multilingual teachers, and we’ve researched across the United States and found no other model that would work with cultural diversity and language that we have at Bowling Green. After hearing about the Fugee family, Luma Mufleh visited our schools on December 10, 2021 and agreed to partner with us to do this important work.

Teranga Academy teaching positions are currently posted on the district website. Training for these teachers will be provided throughout the summer by the Fugees Family, Inc. The district is also currently working to identify potential BGHS and BGJHS students who may choose to attend Teranga Academy in the fall. Registration will be optional for current students and an event will be planned in April to introduce families and students to the new opportunities available.

For more information on the Fugees family, visit

### Teranga is a Senegalese word meaning hospitality, respect, community, solidarity and sharing. The logo is adapted from the Fugees family logo, with the BGISD colors and the Statue of Liberty, representing hope, freedom and justice. Luma Mufleh is the founder of Fugees Family, with schools now in Georgia and Ohio and a growing footprint bringing educational equity to refugee resettlement communities across America. His TED Talk on Educational Justice for Refugee Families has been viewed over 1.7 million times. His book, Learning America, will be released on April 5, 2022.

Copyright 2022 WBKO. All rights reserved.

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Writer market

Writing Challenge is a writer’s first foray into fiction

The real story behind the photo: Editor Cindy Pierce snapped this photo of the old door with a letter slot as she strolled the streets of Charleston, SC, while there for a wedding in April 2021.

When he retired from the securities industry 30 years ago and moved from Chicago to Naples, Charles Guptill began writing letters to family and friends about his new life in the Sunshine State. .

He still likes to write letters.

“But, of course, the letters are not fiction,” he says.

As the son of a foreign correspondent whose reporting assignments often moved the family and to cities such as Buenos Aires, Rome and Mexico City, nonfiction came naturally to Mr. Guptill. His first attempts at fiction didn’t come until he discovered the Florida Weekly Writing Challenge in 2020, when he was 82 years old.

“The challenge has provided a much-needed distraction during the pandemic,” he says of the contest which provides photo prompts to inspire short stories of up to 750 words. It was born as a distraction from the heat, humidity and threat of hurricanes during the scorching summer days of 2010. It continued that way until April 2020 when we started it early as a distraction from closures, cancellations and social distancing. by COVID-19.



Mr Guptill looked forward to the 2021 challenge. When the first photo was posted in August, he said: “I was loaded for the bear! I got to work and found a story that I really liked it.

But then he misread the submission deadline and missed it.

“I was so disappointed in myself,” he says.

He would go on to submit seven stories during the challenge, which ended in late November.

His process was the same for every entry: “I would write the story straight away, usually 1,500 words the first day,” he says. “Then I nibbled, edited and slowly consolidated so that every word counted. I thought about my story as I rode my bike, walked around the neighborhood, folded laundry.

Because of the word limit, he says, “I had to focus on the plot at the expense of character development. My plan now is to flesh out the stories by developing the characters.

He spent about an hour a day working on each entry. “It was like carving into a piece of marble, until the deadline,” he says. After missing the first, he pressed “send” on the keyboard a few hours after every other 5 p.m. deadline.

Writing for Mr. Guptill is one of three loves, the others being watercolor painting and cooking (a love he has managed to incorporate into more than one of his writing challenge entries).

“I married late and retired early, just like Mr. Mom did when we were raising our three daughters, all of whom graduated from Barron Collier High School and the University of Florida,” he says. . “I did all the family cooking for years.”

He always does something for me every day. “I’m a foodie for sure,” he says. A dish that has always resonated with him is caccio e pepe, a simple pasta dish with Romano cheese and black pepper. “It has demonized me since the dawn of time.”

Although he likes to share a meal with his friends and family, Mr. Guptill says he never shares his writing challenge entries with an editor or proofreader.

“I tend to be very introspective as a writer,” he says. “I’m not sharing with anyone until I send it to Florida Weekly.”

Mr. Guptill attended Rice University in Texas and served in the Navy as a destroyer navigator before earning a degree in civil engineering at the University of Texas. He worked for Dean Witter in Chicago before running his own brokerage firm for 15 years. ¦

A pebble for the tombstone


The Great Man of Letters was dead.

She heard the news the day before. Then in the morning, after reading the Chicago Tribune obituary, she decided on a last rite.

She straightened up, hailed a taxi and directed the driver to North Astor Street.

In the Italianate building, she could see the letters coming through the wrought iron door of glass and filigree. She opened the door and entered. She crossed the hall and stopped in front of the mail depot.

Memories came back from the afternoon over 40 years ago. He had chatted with her at the food market. “Not the can of tomatoes you’re holding,” he said. “Go for the San Marzanos instead. They are better.

He invited her for a beer in the afternoon. She was skeptical, but Otto’s on Halstead was a place she liked, so she agreed. After Otto’s they went back to his apartment in Astor – a sublet, he told her. He cooked dinner, she brought the tinned tomatoes. They dined on bucatini in a marinara sauce which he infused with a porridge of anchovies, red pepper flakes and white wine. Gorgeous.

She told him that she worked for an insurance company on LaSalle Street. He calls himself a novelist, his first two books acclaimed. Now, while waiting for inspiration to pick up again for his third book, he’s writing short stories. A few days later, she moved in.

He frequently talked to friends over the phone. Once he called her at work. “Go down to Billy Goat’s Tavern. I’m here with Mike Royko. I will present.

She was charmed but had to work on him for an introduction to her mother. They partied and had dinner with his college friends. He joined in the conversation about the Cubs, the market, and Mayor Daley’s setbacks. She worried about his obsession with superstitions, tensed up when he dodged cracks in the sidewalk, or stayed in bed on Friday the 13th because bad things had happened to him on that date in the past. When his self-deprecating friends told tumultuous tales in which their fortunes were turning ever lower, he repeated a cautionary mantra: “When you find yourself in a hole, man, stop digging.

Eventually, the Big Man discovered her talents as a secretary. He asked her to type and send her news. She prepared envelopes for publishers he knew, carefully sticking on return address stickers with her name printed large.

The weeks passed without return. “It had never happened before,” he said. “News checks pay the rent. I’ll call my agent. Are you sure you are using the correct postage? »

“Yes of course.”

“Show me the process.”

“I address the envelopes and place them in the letter slot downstairs.”

“Lunge, what slit?”

“He who marked letters.”

They went down to the hall. She showed him.

“Funny, that never occurred to me. I always posted from the box around the corner. Please use that box in the future.

Soon the responses poured in.

“Not for us.”

“Try us next time.”

“Sorry, I just posted a similar story.”

He was sorry.

After the last rejection, a week later, as she came home late from work, the apartment seemed unusually tidy, quiet. In the kitchen, she spotted a folded note on the counter. “I don’t do goodbyes well,” he wrote.

“Yes I understand!” she barked at the ceiling.

The great man of letters then completed his third book in New York. He won the Pulitzer for his fourth. Her marriage to a celebrity ended in acrimony and court battles.

In Chicago, it took him a long time to recover from his sudden departure, the sting still there for decades. She had been painfully young then, she lamented, a naive groupie from Lima, Ohio, thrown on a slag heap. But luckily, she came to terms with the pain, combined it with strong Midwestern instincts, and thrived. I never went all-in again; never dug deeper.

Over the years, she noticed that the Big Man was grafting portions of his young personality onto ingenues populating his books. Not enough for her to point to old friends and ask, “Who does this remind you of?” But she knew he was thinking of her, of her youth, trapped in time.

She walked over to the slot, reached into her Prada shoulder bag, pulled out a soft cloth, shone the flap of the metal letters, smiled at her reflection, stepped back, and let go.

– Read the story of the 2021 Florida Weekly Writing Challenge first place and three honorable mentions in our December 29-30 editions online at Of the remaining six stories in our Top 10, David Dorsey’s “Beauteous Flowers” was released on January 19 and Brian Fowler’s “Out of the Closet” was released on February 9. Charles Guptill’s “A Pebble for the Headstone” is the third of six, which will be released over the next few weeks as space permits.

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Fiction publisher

Review: “The Violin Conspiracy”, by Brendan Slocumb

When I opened Brendan Slocumb’s first novel, “The Violin Conspiracy”, I was immediately transported to a place I had never been, surrounded by characters I had never met. In the crowded world of fiction, that’s no small feat. Drawing inspiration from his daily job as a music teacher, Slocumb orchestrated a gripping and suspenseful story about a budding musician and his great-great-grandfather’s violin.

Rayquan (who prefers to be called Ray) McMillian is a high school student with high aspirations. His mother, who doesn’t understand her son’s obsession with “that violin”, wants him to graduate early so he can get a job to help pay the bills. “You could have made a lot of money at Popeyes by now,” she told him. But Ray loves to play the violin, and he plays it well. If Ray was a white teenager, he would be considered a prodigy, but most people don’t take this young black violinist seriously.

At first, there is only one person who believes in Ray – his grandmother Nora, who revels in the musical gift of her favorite grandson. She encourages Ray to follow his passion because she understands it. “You know my PopPop played the violin, right? I loved to hear it when I was a little girl,” she tells her grandson. “That’s where you get your talent from.”

PopPop, Nora’s grandfather, was a slave who played the violin for his slaver, Thomas Marks. “He knew playing the violin kept him and his family alive, baby,” Nora told Ray. Once PopPop was released, Marks gave him the violin. Since then, the instrument has been passed down from generation to generation, although it has never been used. But maybe, Nora thinks, that could change: she finds the instrument in the attic and presents it to Ray.

The young man knows that he has been given a treasure, even if it is a dirty mess with cracked, missing and deformed parts. Ray finds a way to restore it, and the instrument becomes his companion to becoming a classically trained violinist who performs all over the country but doesn’t miss the chance to blast Eric B. & Rakim when he rolls alone in his car. Trouble begins when Ray starts auditioning and plans to upgrade his violin only to find that PopPop’s was no ordinary violin. It’s an 18th century Stradivarius worth around $10 million.

Ray caused a sensation (largely thanks to his violin), especially when he decided to participate in the Tchaikovsky Competition, one of the most prestigious classical music tournaments. For two years Ray did little more than tour and train in preparation; his greatest desire is to become the first American to win in his category. It would be a major achievement. Never before has there been someone like Rayquan McMillian – a young black American man with a Stradivarius violin standing tall on the world stage.

Then, two weeks before the competition, Ray opens his violin case to find only a white Chuck Taylor sneaker and a ransom note.

The police and the FBI are brought in, but where should Ray and the authorities start? Along with Ray’s family, who’s been trying to cash in on the violin since its real value was discovered? Or with members of the Marks family, descendants of slavers who now claim that the violin belongs to them? Everyone is suspicious and time is running out.

“The Violin Conspiracy” is so wonderfully written, especially its descriptions of the music, that at times I wondered if I was reading or listening to a concert; the notes of Bach’s Chaconne or Mozart’s Violin Sonata No. 21 in E minor floated practically pages. Slocumb is equally adept at suspense, whether it conveys the ticking of the main mystery or the thrilling, heart-pounding realities that Ray must face as a young black man in America. This novel, which will keep readers in suspense until the very last page, will certainly be a favorite in 2022.

Victoria Christopher Murray is the author of over 20 novels. She recently co-wrote the bestselling novel “The Personal Librarian”. She will be at Club Book at 7 p.m. on March 22.

The Violin Plot

By: Brendan Slocumb.

Publisher: Anchor Books, 352 pages, $28.

Event: Club Book, 7 p.m. March 8, streamed live on Facebook/clubbook.

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Writer market

To cancel or not to cancel Shakespeare? Meet the English teacher who flips the script on the bard

To cancel or not to cancel Shakespeare?

That’s the question English teacher Dennis Britton asks sophomores at the University of British Columbia in his aptly titled “Cancel Shakespeare” class.

Britton’s academic research focuses on the history of race and critical race theory, and he uses this focus in his course to explore the complicated history the playwright has with black people.

As the theater world begins to welcome audiences back after a two-year pandemic, Shakespeare’s costumes are likely to be dusted off across the globe. But as the curtains were drawn, issues of race took center stage, including during the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests.

Dennis Britton, an associate professor at UBC, teaches a course that explores the complicated relationship between audiences and black actors and the bard. (Submitted by Dennis Britton)

In response, over 300 BIPOC theater creators signed their names to a statement titled We See You White American Theatre, demanding a fairer and safer space in the industry.

And although director Joel Coen recently cast Denzel Washington to play the titular character in Macbeth, generations of black viewers were looked down upon by Bard’s characters in blackface.

Is it time to put William Shakespeare to bed? CBC reporter Bridgette Watson sits down with Britton to find out.

The following transcript has been edited for clarity and length.

Shakespeare wrote at least 37 plays for white actors and white audiences. Does it portray or reference black characters in any of them?

Shakespeare uses color symbolism, with black being associated with evil and white with good. His depictions of blackness or black people also have to do with lines that are kind of thrown in various places by white characters. We definitely see anti-Blackness ideas.

And, of course, this also happens when Europeans have increased contact with Africa and the slave trade is emerging.

John Kani, right, with fellow actors Joanna Weinberg and Richard Haines during a performance of Othello at the Market Theater in Johannesburg, in 1987. (Ruphin Coudyzer/Associated Press)

Othello is the most obvious character, but throughout the plays there are also negative references to black skin.

Rosalind, a white heroine in As you like it, calls black ink on a letter “Ethiopian words” because she doesn’t like what they say.

In Titus Andronicus, the villainous Aaron has a soul “black as his face”. Thus, you take pleasure and joy in his naughty activities and make the explicit connection between his black deeds and black skin.

So, is Shakespeare’s work reserved for white people?

It’s a complicated question. He is very committed to the belief systems and ways of understanding the world his audience would have had, even if he sometimes scoffs.

Also consider who had access to Shakespeare and under what conditions. Literacy being a big problem, and the price of books and theater tickets, all this also has a class dimension.

English poet and playwright William Shakespeare at work in his study, illustrated by artist AH Payne. (Edward Gooch Collection/Getty Images)

There is also the problem of black actors who want to play Shakespeare and who often do not find their place in professional companies. That’s why you get things like Laurence Olivier playing Othello in blackface even as the civil rights movement gained momentum.

Can Shakespeare’s plays really be adapted to celebrate black excellence?

I think so and I always want to come back to the fact that it’s entertainment. We probably don’t need another Romeo and Juliet is set in the 16th century and theater companies aren’t really looking for accuracy anyway, because then you wouldn’t see actresses. So the parts have already been updated and this seems to be another way, another form of adaptation, which could give them new life.

I think some of the racial references can easily be removed and it has no effect on the plot. Most viewers won’t miss them because they don’t know them intimately enough.

Denzel Washington as the lead in Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth released in December. (AppleTV+)

But you teach a college class called “Cancelling Shakespeare.” Are we adapting or abandoning…

There’s a real feeling now that we want more women and more writers of color on our program, so something has to go and Shakespeare should be on the chopping block as well. You can’t make room for new voices without getting rid of some of the old ones.

He seems to be the only writer who needs to be read and re-read even when there are some rather offensive attitudes in his work. In my own experience as a student, these lines were not processed when they appeared. I think those are the moments that are really worth questioning in a classroom.

Do you think Shakespeare will still be assigned to high school in 50 years?

I’ll be retired so it won’t matter to me personally (Laughs).

But there are so many writers of color and writers from marginalized identities who are now adapting Shakespeare’s plays, arguing with his plays, and as long as that continues there will be a need to understand the original works.

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Reading and writing

What Min Jin Lee wants us to see

Author Min Jin Lee lives in a four-story townhouse in Harlem that she and her husband bought in 2012. A creaky wooden staircase climbs up her spine, leading to Lee’s research library, on the top floor. floor, where she works. It’s a compact, sunny room, with a sofa, a pair of desks, and a wall of floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. Prior to my visit on a recent Monday morning, she had made sure to tidy the room, but had forgotten a stack of books – research material for her third novel, “American Hagwon.” (The Korean word hagwon refers to a type of private enrichment school that is ubiquitous in Korean communities around the world.) These were primarily academic works on education and its centrality in Korean communities; some titles included”Koreatowns,” “education fever,” and “The paradox of Asian-American success.”

Lee is a prodigious and inveterate researcher, who takes a journalistic approach to writing her novels. She is halfway through a draft of “American Hagwon” and has so far interviewed over seventy-five Korean students. For his two previous novels,Free food for millionaires”, from 2007, and “Pachinko”, a 2017 finalist for the National Book Award for fiction, she has filled more than ten Bankers Boxes with interview notes and other reference material.

Yet Lee’s writing doesn’t seem overloaded with facts. A defining quality of his novels is their propulsiveness. When I revisited them recently, I found myself immediately drawn in, much like the first time I read them, drawn in by its intricately drawn characters and tightly crafted storylines. Lee’s gift is his ability to write masterful, far-reaching books that tackle heavy political themes – the experience of the Korean diaspora, the invisibility of marginalized groups in history, the limits of assimilation – and to making their calm, quiet plots read like thrillers.

Lee describes herself as a late bloomer. She immigrated to the United States from Seoul when she was seven years old. Her family settled in Elmhurst, Queens, and her parents ran a wholesale jewelry store in Manhattan’s Koreatown, where they worked six days a week until their retirement. She attended Bronx High School of Science, studied history at Yale, then went to Georgetown Law. After working for two years as a corporate lawyer, she quit her job in 1995 and decided to become a novelist.

In 2001, Lee began writing “Free Food for Millionaires,” about a brooding Korean immigrant girl struggling to navigate the sleazy world of high finance in Manhattan. When it was finally published, six years later, it became a national bestseller. Lee worked for two decades on “Pachinko,” an epic saga that follows four generations of a Korean family through poverty, humiliation and tragedy in Japan. In 2018, Apple announced that it would turn “Pachinko” into a TV drama and that Lee would serve as executive producer. The eight-episode series will premiere on March 25. But, for reasons Lee refused to reveal to me, she is no longer involved in the production of the show. Among Lee’s latest projects is an introduction to the new edition of “Gatsby the magnificent– a novel that, she writes, “called me, a girl who lived in the valley of ashes”.

Lee has a warm, motherly demeanor—she texted before my visit to warn me it was freezing outside—but also an unflinching candor. She has become increasingly vocal, during the pandemic and amid rising violence against people of Asian descent, as an advocate for Asian Americans. During our conversation, which lasted over two hours and continued via email, we talked about her experiences as an immigrant, her books, and her desire to be “extra Asian” these these days. Our conversation has been condensed and edited.

Your books deal with the experience of the Korean diaspora. What do you remember from your first arrival in the United States?

I think when I first came here, I was really disappointed, because I thought in my mind that America would be like “Cinderella.” I thought I would get off the plane and the airport would look like a 17th century fairy tale. I thought people would wear prom dresses. I thought there would be stagecoaches. That’s how stupid I was. And then I realized it looked like Seoul, except with non-Koreans. I remember thinking it was so ugly. I was living in such a nasty little dump. It’s funny not having money: people think if you don’t have money you’re okay with ugliness, but I remember how bad the apartment we lived in was ugly. There was an orange shag carpet, which was dirty. We came from a perfectly decent middle-class home in Korea. My mother was a piano teacher; my father was a white-collar executive in a cosmetics company. I remember thinking, Oh, we went down into the world. Even as a little girl, I knew there was something wrong.

I remember I had to share the bed with my younger sister. My older sister was on top [bunk]. And there were mice and cockroaches. It was so scary for me to see all this. I remember we were on a free lunch program, and I knew there was something different about you getting a free lunch compared to other people. Things got better for us gradually. I think my family is embarrassed when I talk about it, but I talk about it because people talk about it regularly, and I think if they know I’ve been there, then they’re like, Oh, that’s not it. isn’t the worst thing in the world.

How did it improve?

My father first ran a newsstand. As a child, I thought it was rather glamorous, because of all that candy. He did it for a year. He really embellished it. My mom had to spend fourteen bottles of Windex to clean it. And then, after getting rid of that, he owned a little wholesale jewelry store – again, not at all pretty, nice, or stylish. But they just saved and saved, and eventually they moved to New Jersey, in 1985. They bought a house and they moved to the promised land of Bergen County.

There’s a line in “Free Food for Millionaires” where you write that the protagonist, Casey Han, thinks that although she went to Princeton, she was “not of Princeton. Did you feel that about your college experience?

Yes. My peers were so much better trained for Yale than me. I went to Bronx Science, and I did very well for the Bronx Science rubric, which is exams, short answers. And then I went to college and there were these kids who went to private schools, who wrote such beautiful articles, and they were so elegant in the way they talked about things, and they went everywhere. I felt like a ruby. I wasn’t mad at them, because they’re perfectly nice kids. They just had more sophistication, balance and ease than me. I remember thinking, OK, well, I’m a tough kid from New York, and I’m fine. But I definitely felt outclassed.

You majored in history, but I read that you had a little trouble writing.

I didn’t do well in college. I took too many lessons. I didn’t approach it like, Oh, you’re supposed to have a good GPA to get into a good graduate school. I thought I was supposed to acquire as much knowledge as humanly possible. Anyway, I took a lot of classes that I shouldn’t have taken. But then – this is the weirdest part – the English department had these awards, and I ended up winning first prize for non-fiction and first prize for fiction in my junior and senior year , respectively. So even though my grades weren’t that good, I ended up getting those awards, which meant that whatever readers in the English department thought I had something, and I remember thinking, Oh, I’m not a writer, but maybe I know how to say something.

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Reading and writing

Downstream school districts forced to get creative to handle staffing shortages – The News Herald

In addition to the three Rs of education – reading, writing and arithmetic – there is a fourth: recruitment.

A chronic staff shortage is forcing officials at Downriver schools to deploy a range of tactics to attract staff, from teachers and bus drivers to teaching assistants and support staff.

It’s part of a local, state and national problem that has educators and administrators looking everywhere for workers. The COVID pandemic, an unstable labor market and pre-existing shortages of employees in key areas have combined to hamper school work schedules.

Recruiting and retaining teachers is described by Michigan’s top education official as the state’s most pressing challenge.

“We need to work to fund key teacher recruitment and retention efforts,” the state superintendent said. Michael Rice told the State Board of Education in November.

In late December, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed into law HB 4294, which allows uncertified school personnel — such as paraprofessionals and secretaries — to serve as substitute teachers throughout the 2021-2022 school year.

“The pandemic has been a challenge for our children, our teachers, and our parents, and our educators have gone out of their way to ensure Michigan children have a bright future,” Whitmer said. “Allowing schools to employ school staff that students know as substitute teachers will help keep school doors open and students learning in the classroom for the rest of the school year. I am committed to working with the Legislature to develop high-quality solutions to address these long-term staffing shortages so that we can ensure that every child can access a quality education.

Downstream school leaders say the worker shortage extends beyond the classroom, to all school operations. Short- and long-term approaches to easing the crisis have included pay raises, limited and scuttled programs, teacher hiring initiatives, and increased volunteerism among existing staff.

“Staffing shortages have certainly had an impact on area school districts,” Huron School District Superintendent Donovan Rowe said. “Staff shortages have stretched our replacement staff resources to the limit.”

Downstream school districts have responded with a variety of initiatives and workarounds. Among these :

• Taylor High School was closed on a Friday due to shortages. Griff Mills, superintendent of the district of 5,500 students, said the action was a “last resort”.

• Allen Park Public Schools recently increased substitute teacher salaries to $150 per day (from $90) for daily substitutes, and up to $200 for long-term substitutes (from of $100).

• Lincoln Park and the Woodhaven-Brownstown districts received state-administered grants to help students explore careers in education. The hope: to develop a kind of pool of future teachers to develop oneself.

• Districts in the region have reduced some less essential programs. Allen Park, for example, canceled some so-called elementary school “special classes” like art, music, gym, and library media to use those teachers in core curriculum classes.

• Districts have also looked to current educators and other staff to fill staffing gaps. “We are so fortunate to have caring staff with a ‘pitch in’ approach,” said school superintendent Allen Park. said Michel Darga. The district of 3,691 students purchased a transport van — much smaller than a school bus — so coaches can drive small teams to events.

• Across the region, schools are encouraging retired teachers to return to the classroom. The state’s “Welcome Back Proud Michigan Educator” campaign offers waivers and fast tracks for former educators hoping to recertify. In the spring, the Michigan Department of Education sent out tens of thousands of recruiting postcards to educators whose certificates had expired.

• Districts are also strengthening relationships and partnerships with colleges and universities to attract student teachers.

“It’s a tough situation to deal with,” Taylor’s Mills said. “We know this takes a toll on our staff. We are looking at things we can do to help our staff decompress and take some time for themselves.

To that end, he said, the district gave employees a paid day off before Thanksgiving “to show our teachers and staff that we really appreciate all the work they do.”

Allen Park’s Darga said both instructor and non-instructor paraprofessionals “step in wherever they can and our replacements are rock stars.”

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Fiction publisher

Karen Joy Fowler examines an American anti-hero

Karen Joy Fowler takes her time. After all, it takes time to transport readers to new worlds and through time, and to imagine the kinds of characters readers feel they already know to make those journeys.

Speaking via Zoom from her bright dining room in Santa Cruz, Calif., Fowler has the energy of a cool librarian who feels a bit guilty for having the chance to work among stacks of books. Her blue eyes light up when discussing how and why certain stories haunt their writers before they can enchant readers.

Fowler is the author of six acclaimed novels (two of which became New York Times bestsellers) and four collections of short stories (two of which won the World Fantasy Award). Her 2004 novel Jane Austen’s Book Club was made into a cult film directed by Robin Swicord, and in 2013 We are all completely beside ourselves won the PEN/Faulkner Prize and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2014.

But Fowler’s new novel may be his most ambitious yet. Booth, coming from Putnam in March, tells the story of the Booth family, focusing on a handful of John Wilkes’ siblings, to paint a picture of the time, place and people who produced the man who assassinated Abraham Lincoln.

Fowler’s own story begins in Bloomington, Indiana, 71 years ago. A decade later, his family took over and headed west to Palo Alto, California. She has always had an interest in writing and was the editor of her high school’s creative writing journal. However, it never occurred to him that writing could be a career. So instead, she graduated from UC Berkeley with an undergraduate degree in South Asian studies and earned a master’s degree in Northeast Asian studies from UC Davis.

“Exactly what job I thought I would get with those degrees is a mystery that remains to this day,” Fowler says with a laugh. “I just loved the stories. The stories of the arrival of the Europeans, the misunderstandings – sometimes innocent, sometimes not – that occur when two cultures meet. The story of all the stories embedded in the history of the place is the part that I really like.

Fowler had a daughter during the last spring break of her master’s program. After graduating, she stayed home to raise him and, later, his son. Fowler was 30 when her son started elementary school and she suddenly found herself with free time. She figured out how to fill it when she joined a writing workshop in Davis.

She is, according to Putnam Senior Vice President and Publisher Sally Kim, “a writer’s writer, in addition to a readers’ favorite.” Kim adds, “Honestly, I’ve lost track of all the authors who have told me they count Fowler as one of their favorite literary influences. Part of her appeal is how she is able to write a completely different book each time.

Perhaps Fowler’s curious eye is what his far-reaching books and stories have in common. She doesn’t anticipate it, but she can’t help but find new links between disparate sources. While writing about the California Gold Rush, she was reading about the construction of the London Underground system and found a “strange but fair” detail she could use. This constant cross-pollination of ideas helps keep his timeless stories feeling fresh again and again.

Fowler’s breakthrough came when her sci-fi short story “Recalling Cinderella” was published in L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future, Vol. 1 in 1985. Long since his first novel, Sarah Canary, who arrived with a bang in 1991, she went on to write fantasy short stories and won a World Fantasy Life Achievement Award in 2020. Her science fiction collections What I didn’t see and Always won her the Nebula Award, and her short story “The Pelican Bar” won the Shirley Jackson Award.

In fact, it was a short story she wrote about time travel and the Lincoln assassination that sparked Fowler’s interest in the Booths. While researching this story, she read how the Booths settled in a cabin outside Baltimore in 1822, where some of their 10 children would help them become one of the nation’s leading theatrical families. Fowler found herself reading about older brother Edwin’s return to the stage after Lincoln’s death (and writing another short story). She wrote a third story about the funeral of their father, Junius Booth Sr., once held for carrier pigeons. At that moment, she could no longer look away.

Donald Trump was elected president while Fowler was knee-deep in his early search for Booth. The day after the election, she went to her local pet shelter and returned with a puppy, a white poodle mix she named Lily. Lily became his comforting companion on walks during the long dark days.

The shock of Trump’s rise to power left Fowler desperate and feeling stuck for nearly a year. “It seemed pointless to write about anything else, and it took me much longer than necessary to realize that I wasn’t writing about anything else,” she says. “The more I read Lincoln’s warnings about the tyrant and the mob, the more I immersed myself in the years leading up to the Civil War, the more the road from here to here became brightly lit.”

John Wilkes Booth still mystifies Fowler. He was a white supremacist fanatic, insensitive to the suffering of enslaved black people but deeply moved by the suffering of white people during the war. He hated Lincoln for pushing the country toward emancipation. Booth was not alone in this, of course, but on April 14, 1865, he followed through on his grievances.

Booth is an epic tale, saturated with details unearthed over time. “For all my books, even my contemporaries, I spend about a year researching before I start writing,” Fowler says. “Doing the research, in many ways, is when the story starts to take shape, when I see what I have.” It’s slow work, but she loves to dig.

She knew she didn’t want to write a book about a man who needed attention and got a lot of it. So she centered the story around her sisters, Rosalie and Asia, and her talented brother Edwin to produce a vision of a nation at war for its identity, revealed through the rise and fall of a family.

The search for the Booth family reminded Fowler of a discovery she had made long ago. Early in her career, before publishing anything, she had heard writing advice from poet Carolyn Forché that she would never forget: “Don’t expect the muse to hunt you down. grocery store. If you’re not at your desk, she’ll find someone who is.

Fowler agreed wholeheartedly. But she couldn’t sit still. “I’ve never been able to squeeze more than three days of writing together,” she says. “I tend to write in spurts. I’ve been doing this for over 40 years now, so I decided to drop that part of me.

In fact, this is where Fowler starts with his own creative writing students. “I tell them you’ll hear all kinds of ways writers make books, and you’ll think it sounds so smart, so much better than the way I do it,” she says. “But the way you do it when you’re just starting out and groping your way up is your process. If you demand things of yourself that didn’t come naturally, the thing that will be lost is the joy you felt there. There are all kinds of ways to write a book, and the way you do it is fine.

Victoria Scanlan Stefanakos wrote for Forbes, Newsweek, and working mother.

A version of this article originally appeared in the 01/31/2022 issue of Weekly editors under the title: American Antihero

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Reading and writing



Enforce the law that prohibits school segregation

Imagine a public school teaching 5- and 6-year-olds to adopt Baptist doctrines and customs. The school has three Baptist students. During the “Baptist Lives Matter in Schools” action week, teachers tell Baptist children to reject the traditions of Catholics and Jews, disrupt non-Baptist families and communities, and concentrate on the development of “Baptist villages”.

This would be a flagrant violation of Article 9, Section 8 of the Colorado Constitution. He says, “No sectarian principle or doctrine will ever be taught in the public school…”

This means that no teacher can tell Baptists to separate into villages and focus on their Baptist identity. All should give thanks for this law, for such instruction could harm the three Baptist children in the school and all other students who are anything other than Baptists.

The school should teach reading, writing and arithmetic without advocating religious principles and segregation based on sectarian identity. Teach children to respect each other regardless of group identities and labels.

Immediately following the constitution’s prohibition of religious indoctrination and segregation, Article 9, Section 8 states that “no distinction or classification of students shall be made on account of race or color…”

The law, updated 10 years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, is crystal clear. Teachers should be concerned with the minds of students, not the religious beliefs of their families or their genetic lines. The law places religious identity in the same phrase, context, and category as “race” and “color.”

One cannot read this law without concluding that Centennial Elementary School in Denver is breaking it. Attorney General Phil Weiser and other law enforcement officials should enforce the law and end the Centennial “Family of Color Playground Night” and the open indoctrination of children into pursue segregation based on race.

The school plans to participate in the Black Lives Matter at School week of action. The program includes a commitment to “disrupting Western nuclear family dynamics.” They might as well advocate disrupting Jewish, Catholic, and Muslim family dynamics for the benefit of three students from Baptist homes.

The Black Lives Matter at School week of action asks teachers to emphasize 13 principles that include “transgender affirmation, queer affirmation” and “black families, black villages, black women and black people shameless”.

“This specific week of action is part of the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement that aims to provide a learning environment for all students for what I believe is critical reflection and honest conversation about all communities of color,” said Denver Public School Board President Xóchitl Gaytán. The Gazette, speaking for itself. She said a board statement is forthcoming.

“I support this ongoing movement and critical reflection,” Gaytán said.

Centennial Elementary consists of three black children who are the main victims of this message. The instruction tells them that they are different and that they must separate into villages containing only other blacks.

Our country has worked hard to eliminate segregation and other forms of institutional racism, so we should not initiate racial division in schools. It violates the letter of the Colorado Constitution, the spirit of the Civil Rights Act, and several U.S. Supreme Court decisions, including Brown v. Board of Education.

Weiser, Governor Jared Polis, U.S. Attorney Cole Finnegan, and Denver City Attorney Kristin M. Bronson should enforce the law against this school and simply say “no” to institutionalized intellectual and academic segregation.

It is immoral, destructive, and contrary to modern laws and cultural mores designed to protect our children from ugly practices that we have long deemed wrong.

Denver Gazette Editorial Board


Pandemic, endemic —

or just academic?

Give extra credit for civic engagement to some high school students in Colorado who walked out of class last week to protest what they say are the dangers of COVID on campus. But they lose points when it comes to following the news.

The latest news on COVID, in its “omicron” iteration, is actually encouraging. His ever-busy workload in Colorado, once again, has diminished. The Gazette reported last week that the holiday wave of the virus had peaked.

That doesn’t mean the show is over, so the kids should head back to class – though that’s probably the best use of their school day anyway. On the contrary, the virus persists as it has for nearly two years, and it will likely continue to do so. That means we’ll just have to live with it – which is literally what most people will do.

Indeed, after a year in which most Coloradans have been vaccinated and many have developed natural immunity from a bout with COVID, the simple reality is that the vast majority of people are simply not in danger.

That doesn’t mean they’ll never catch COVID again. It’s just that all the data suggests it’s extremely unlikely to have a big impact on people who aren’t already suffering from health complications.

There is also growing evidence that the omicron variant – accounting for almost all new cases these days – is the mildest to date. Meanwhile, research from almost the start of the pandemic clearly shows that most children and young adults never faced any appreciable risk of severe COVID symptoms in the first place.

All of this should shape our public policy priorities. Frankly, the students who left (in coordination with a nationwide walkout that drew a fairly low turnout) should be much more worried about further school closings. These had a devastating impact last year on Colorado children’s learning as well as their mental health.

Children face minimal harm from COVID itself because, as science clearly shows, catching it will not have serious consequences for them unless they are at risk due to otherwise compromised health. Considerably greater harm awaits them if they return to remote learning as demanded by state and nationwide teachers’ unions — in defiance of science.

More generally, the back and forth on whether the pandemic has become “endemic” – that is, is here to stay – is almost academic. The reality, for all but Coloradans who fall into high-risk health categories, is that COVID is now as navigable as a seasonal flu.

Of course, many parallel debates continue to swirl around COVID and our response to it. Is Governor Jared Polis adequately meeting the critical needs of an understaffed health care infrastructure? Should simple paper masks give way to N95s for the medically vulnerable? And by the way, will we ever achieve an elusive “herd immunity”?

Such questions are quite marginal to most Coloradans, who are simply trying to find the shortest path back to normal. The good news is that we already seem to be on this path – and we are well on our way.

Colorado Springs Gazette Editorial Board

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Writer market

Sen. Rosapepe: Registered apprenticeships can fix Maryland’s broken job market

Photo by Kindel Media.

By Senator James C. Rosapepe

The writer, a Democrat, represents District 21 of Prince George and Anne Arundel Counties in the Maryland Senate. He is Vice Chairman of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee and a leading advocate for increased state investment in workforce development.

You don’t have to see all the “hire now” signs to know our labor market is broken. It was broken before the COVID crisis, and it’s worse now.

There are several major issues:

  • The shortage of labor market intermediaries (i.e. union recruiting offices, registered apprenticeships, industry-wide training institutions and local labor exchanges) that enable job seekers to more easily obtain the training they need to meet the needs of employers.
  • Civilian employers’ lack of access to high school students (which colleges have through SAT tests and the military has through its recruit test) to seamlessly inform and prepare young people for good jobs.
  • Gross public sector underinvestment in training the two-thirds of high school graduates who do not graduate from college by their mid-twenties. (Maryland spends more than $2 billion a year in state and local funds for the one-third minority who earn degrees; we spend less than $100 million for the two-thirds majority.)

Sen. James C. Rosapepe (D-Prince George’s, Anne Arundel) Maryland photo manual.

There are proven alternatives in Europe, the UK, Australia and Canada – registered apprenticeships in occupations such as healthcare, IT, business services, construction, utilities, manufacturing and more again.

In recent years, Maryland has expanded apprenticeship programs and, in the Kirwan School Reform Act Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, has set strong goals and funding to integrate vocational education and technique in high school, or CTE, to apprenticeships. It’s time to scale up.

1. Increase the number of registered apprenticeship places to 80,000 by 2030 (or sooner).

To meet world-class standards, Maryland must increase the number of apprentices each year from less than 12,000 today to at least 80,000 (equivalent to rates in the UK and Australia and the goal of the Kirwan law).

Here’s how:

Set numerical goals and timelines by sector – IT, healthcare, construction, etc. Virtually all professions are apprenticeable.

Invest in performance-based incentives for public and private learning intermediaries (“learning sponsors”) to step up and manage more learning.

Provide ongoing public funding for post-secondary classroom education in apprenticeships at public colleges and non-public training providers (unions, employers, and nonprofit organizations). If Maryland invested on the same scale as the UK has for more than a decade, the cost would be less than 20% of what we spend today on the one-third minority of young people graduating from college at the age of 25.

Modernize the apprenticeship approval process. Allow sponsors to use skill standards already approved by the US Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship and require the Maryland Department of Labor to promptly record apprenticeships.

2. Implement the Kirwan High School Learning Plan with fidelity.

Kirwan Law has ambitious plans to expand the secondary level of recorded learning with CTE as related (in-class) instruction. Execution of this plan is critical to ensuring that, by 2031, the state meets the law’s goal of at least 45% of high school graduates completing the high school level of an apprenticeship. The funding is already there. The challenge is to modernize high school CTE programs and expand apprenticeships (see #1 above).

3. Integrate diploma training into learning.

There is no inherent conflict between traditional degree training and apprenticeship.

A few professions require degrees rather than skills (for example, teaching, nursing, and accounting). But this should not prevent the integration of diploma training into apprenticeship.

In degree-based apprenticeships, apprentices earn college credit for their off-the-job and on-the-job training. In the UK there are over 13,000 graduate apprentices in fields ranging from IT and law to healthcare and engineering.

4. End discrimination based on age and degree.

Excessive qualification and minimum age requirements deprive many skilled workers of opportunities and create skills shortages for employers.

We don’t want child labor, but the law sets 16, not 18, as the minimum age for most jobs. Banning age discrimination from the age of 16 could help workers and employers – and is key to achieving the goals of the Kirwan Act for high school apprenticeships.

Finally, few occupations require a high school or college diploma. Ending the degree of discrimination, which some employers already practice on their own, would dramatically improve the efficiency and capacity of the labor market – at no cost to taxpayers.

5. Create world-class career counseling and job matching centers in every community.

The Kirwan law already provides funds for comprehensive career counseling for students, and the Maryland law provides employers and apprentices with easy access to student scores from the U.S. Department of Defense Aptitude Test, as well as information on unemployed adults through local labor boards. In 2021, the Legislature allocated $75 million in American Rescue Act funds to local councils to ramp up apprenticeships and job matching.

The next step is to use the Kirwan Act and workforce funding to make local placement agencies the universal full-service guidance and placement centers they are in Central Europe.

Together, these measures can make our labor market work well for everyone. We have the resources. It’s time to execute the vision.

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Reading and writing

A moment that changed me: Ben Okri – fulfilling my dream of becoming a novelist at the age of 19 | Books

Family legend says I started reading The Times when I was four years old. At school in London, I was that kid who would raise his hand to read aloud the Shakespeare play we were studying or to recite a poem. In high school in Nigeria, literature was something I was carelessly good at, but didn’t take seriously. During the holidays, I visited the libraries of the foreign embassies and I read their books. At the American Embassy, ​​I discovered Emerson and Whitman; at the Japanese embassy, ​​I discovered karate, zen buddhism and basho. It seemed then that I was destined to be a scientist. I applied to college, but at 14 I was deemed too young. I spent a year at home, waiting to be old enough.

My main task that year was to dust off my father’s library. I had to dust the books but not read them. The first book that caught my attention was Plato’s Symposium. I had a great thirst for philosophy and devoured all his dialogues. I have read the plays of Ibsen, Shaw, Shakespeare; news from Maupassant, Tchekhov, Maugham; then I got lost in the novels of the nineteenth century. Like everyone else, I read American and English thrillers. They were a bad influence in all but one respect: they made the writing seem deceptively easy.

We were then living in a place called Mile Twelve. There was poverty all around us. We had lived in a more upscale part of Lagos, but now we were living on the outskirts. They say three things make you a writer: a childhood illness, a downfall in your parents’ lifestyle, and an encounter with death early in life. I had experienced them all.

Loneliness is terrible for a teenager but invaluable for learning to think for yourself. As my generation danced at the most wasteful national jamboree after the end of the Civil War, I was in a ghetto learning to write. My father became a lawyer for the poor. It was the best education a young writer could ask for, to see the truth of society in the rough. I started with poetry. I wrote a hundred love poems and burned them all except five.

Then something happened that plugged my writing into the nerve of life. The owners of the ghetto had unlimited powers. They could throw families with all their belongings out into the streets. I was so outraged to see this happen that I wrote an article about it for the Evening Times. To my amazement, it was released. Encouraged, I wrote about other injustices. These pieces have not been published. Then it occurred to me to write a story about them. Two of the stories were published in women’s magazines. Thus began my long adventure in the rigorous profession of the short story. Then one of the short stories grew and grew, and became a novel.

By that time, I had finished my baccalaureate and had a job for a painting company. The traffic in Lagos was so excruciating that it took three hours to get to work. I would wake up at four in the morning and write for an hour before going to work. When I returned, I slept and wrote for up to one o’clock. I was still dozing on the long bus ride to the office.

The first draft took a year. I got fired from work and bought a typewriter and camera with severance pay. I then worked as a reporter for a news magazine.
In the fall of 1978, I came to London to study. I really came to write. All my colleagues dreamed of America, but my sentimental attachment was to the England of my childhood. I brought my typewriter, my camera, and the first draft of my first novel.

I have browsed the literature of Africa and the world. I took notes. I started to rewrite. It was at my uncle’s in New Cross. I have sent the manuscript to many editors, all of whom have turned it down. Then one morning a letter arrived from Longmans ‘African Writers’ Series. I remember uttering a cry of joy. This moment changed everything. I was 19. With the release of Flowers and shadows, the life I was meant to live has begun.

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Writer market

One of New Year’s Most Anticipated Books Puts Asian-American Friendship At Its Center

In Jean Chen Ho’s intimate and irreverent collection of related stories, “Fiona and Jane,” a group of multiethnic Asian Americans take readers from the sordid Korean bars of the mall to lavish New York clubs to Bustling Shilin Night Market in Taipei for 20 years. year of friendship between its titular characters.

Ho’s first book follows childhood best friends Fiona Lin and Jane Shen as they come of age, experience romantic encounters gone awry, and explore their family histories. Told in alternate voices as the women grow up and then separate, Ho’s stories address themes of identity, shame, grief, sexuality, and the intensity and complexity of life. female friendship.

“In my life, my long-standing friendships are so important to me,” Ho told NBC Asian America. “I still have friends from high school who are my closest girlfriends. I still have friends in college journals, friends who are old colleagues, and lots of friends from the different writers community, so I’m interested in how all of these different iterations of friendship have made me feel. shaped as a person and a writer.

The collection’s first story, “The Night Market,” follows 18-year-old Jane’s visit to Taiwan to see her father, who ends up dating his daughter, causing her to reflect on her own romantic feelings for her. his piano teacher. . “Go Slow” highlights dangers Fiona and Jane face as they assert their independence, while “Doppelgangers” follows 29-year-old Fiona on her final weekend in New York, with micro-attacks , a bad connection and cocaine bumps in the bathroom.

“This book is not autobiographical, but it is based on observations of my world, of my friends, of the experiences that I have had or observed by my friends,” Ho said. “I wanted to write American characters d ‘Asian descent who did nothing but do dirty things and joke with their friends, and the fun and joy of being a dirty bag, the joy and pleasure of being a great friend, or sometimes having to make choices where you betray your friend.

Like the characters in “Fiona and Jane”, Ho is the daughter of immigrants and grew up in various parts of Southern California. Born in Taiwan, Ho and her family first moved to a small town outside of Kansas City, Missouri, where her father was a computer teacher when she was 8 years old. When Ho started third grade, she did not speak English. At age 11, Ho lived in Cerritos, California, a suburb of Los Angeles with a majority of Asian residents.

“In that short period of time, I had two completely different types of American experiences,” Ho said. “I was one of two Asian American families in this small town. Then all of a sudden I became friends with kids from a Korean American family, Native American family, and different origins and immigration stories.

After high school, she studied English at the University of California at Berkeley. Ho said attending college was “a fortuitous moment” as it was one of the founding sites of ethnic studies in 1969 after a long and violent student strike and helped her teach him the background of American history of Asian origin, which informs its fiction.

In Berkeley, Ho joined an Asian-American political newspaper, Hardboiled; interned on public television KQED; and worked for a Hollywood producer, figuring she could work as a reporter or screenwriter, but neither career path was right for her. She then worked as a grant writer for nonprofit arts organizations and as an after school student tutor.

Describing herself as a “great book geek,” Ho said she wrote in a journal on and off since she was a child, but only started writing fiction when she was a child. late twenties. She took a fiction writing class for fun. Then, 10 years after graduating from college, she enrolled in the Maser of Fine Arts Creative Writing Program at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where she was the only Asian American student in her class. .

She then moved on to the University of Southern California to pursue a PhD in Creative Writing and Literature as a Dornsife Fellow. His thesis focuses on 19th-century Los Angeles Chinatown, how it was destroyed, and the racialized violence of the time.

As Ho’s longtime dream of writing a book has come true, its publication takes place amid a global pandemic and high rates of anti-Asian racism and violence.

“There has been a change in my perspective, after going through the pandemic and really seeing what is really important to me personally, politically and what I can do to help my community,” Ho said. “I was fighting a lot. not to be productive, but the pandemic has really changed that. I realized that sometimes your brain needs to rest – that also counts as writing. ”

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Book creator

James Cameron recounts 50 years of cinematic art in lavish ‘Tech Noir’ book (exclusive)

As one of the preeminent filmmakers of our generation, writer / director James cameron took us to the nightmarish world of the killer cyborgs in “Terminator”, to search for bugs on LV-426 in “Aliens”, aboard the cursed liner for “Titanic” and to the alien planet of Pandora in “Avatar” .

But few are aware of his incredible artistic skills exhibited in decades of concept art, pre-production sketches, storyboards, and technical plans created for his Hollywood film projects, both produced and non-produced. . Today, a new luxury book from Insight Editions brings together nearly fifty years of Cameron’s artwork dating back to his high school days in Ontario, Canada.

Tech Noir: The Art of James Cameron“(2021) is a breathtaking 392-page volume weighing nearly seven pounds, filled with unpublished material from the visionary creator’s personal archives and curated by Cameron himself with insightful commentary for each work.

James Cameron. (Image credit: © ROLEX-Robert Ascroft)

It is a unique exploration of the filmmaker’s daydreams and the development process expressed using pencils, pens and paints before any choice of casting or camera shooting. Beginning in the 1960s, Cameron was obsessed with the monsters, aliens, and spaceships that cluttered the pages of notepads and sketchbooks. Entering the film industry in the 1970s after his family moved to Southern California, Cameron made money making film sheets and wild concept art for B movies. of Roger Corman who would further perfect his abilities.

“Tech Noir” brings together a fantastic range of private and commercial art by Cameron where the seeds of his blockbusters and unrealized projects have been sown, from amateur monster contests and ambitious space operas, to the evolution of classic hits like ” Terminator, “” Aliens, “and” Avatar. “ spoke to Cameron from his studio in Wellington, New Zealand, where he is putting the finishing touches on “Avatar 2” to find out how art became the catalyst for a career of limitless imagination. . Art for your never-realizeed The “Xenogenesis” space opera project in the early 1980s is featured extensively in the book. Why was this such a crucial part of your creative development and have you ever dreamed of resurrecting it in some form or another?

James Cameron: Well I just read the script recently and it’s actually not such a bad story. There are some good ideas in it. It’s a pretty busy field now, forty years later. Nothing others have done in pieces, I don’t think so. But you could see that I was fascinated by space travel and the enormous physical challenge of traveling to other star systems.

I studied physics and astronomy in college and enjoyed how difficult it would be and how many models of spaceships in the movies were quite fancy. So I had the idea of ​​a spaceship with the engine section far away because of radiation and so on. I could just go down that nerdy rabbit hole to figure out the tech, and I think I’ve kept that as a motif throughout my sci-fi work.

My example I am using is the LEM, the lunar module. We had all these movies that showed pointy rockets with fins at the bottom. And that’s how they landed and went to other planets. When we finally got to the moon, we went into the most unlikely device that had never been anticipated by decades of Hollywood designers. But if you understand why this was so, it makes quite logical technical sense. So I thought in my science fiction shows, I’m going to start with engineering and let that guide the design, and that’s what we’re going to build.

Although I don’t really do “Xenogenesis”, the way I have framed my work process is still the way I apply today, unless I am doing something completely whimsical. I give myself a lot of permissions in “Avatar” and I just remind people, “Hey, it’s a world with floating mountains, we can give ourselves permission to do improbable things.”

Although even there I had a rationale for the Floating Mountains, that Unobtanium was a Type 2 superconductor, and the Meissner Effect flux pinning would keep them above ground if there was a magnetic field of sufficient strength. Yet, for the average viewer, it’s a world with floating mountains. If that doesn’t give you permission to do whatever you want, I don’t know what does.

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James Cameron's New Book

A preview of Tech Noir: The Art of James Cameron in bookstores now. (Image credit: Insight Editions)
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James Cameron's New Book

A preview of Tech Noir: The Art of James Cameron in bookstores now. (Image credit: Insight Editions)
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James Cameron's New Book

A preview of Tech Noir: The Art of James Cameron in bookstores now. (Image credit: Insight Editions)
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James Cameron's New Book

A preview of Tech Noir: The Art of James Cameron in bookstores now. (Image credit: Insight Editions)
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James Cameron's New Book

A preview of Tech Noir: The Art of James Cameron in bookstores now. (Image credit: Insight Editions) “The Abyss” is an often overlooked Cameron classic that was a pioneering film in many ways. What can you tell us about the concept art created for this and will there be high definition 4K transfer at some point?

Cameron: Yeah, we finished the transfer and I wanted to do it myself because Mikael [Salomon] did such a great job with the cinematography on this movie. It’s really, really beautiful cinematography. This was before I started asserting myself in terms of lighting and asking the cinematographer to do certain things. I would compose with the camera and choose the lenses, but I let him have the lighting. He did an amazing job on this movie which I enjoy better now than I do even as we were doing it.

I would also like to point out that he took a look at the dailies of the first day of underwater lighting and went out and learned to scuba dive. He came the following Monday morning, the world’s worst diver, but he reinvented underwater lighting. He went for indirect lighting and got everyone to do things that weren’t just outside of their comfort zone, they never even thought about it. Suddenly the underwater shots start to measure up to the surface photography.

So I just finished the high definition transfer a few months ago, so there will probably be some Blu-rays and it will stream with a proper transfer from now on. I appreciate what you said about the film. He didn’t make a lot of money back then, but he seems to be well appreciated over time. The designers were basically Ron Cobb on the one hand, and Steve Burg on the other, who was the lead designer of NTI, the non-terrestrial intelligence, the look of their city, their bodies, and their faces. Steve was a guy I worked with on “Terminator 2” after that. He was quite young at the time and relatively new to design.

While Ron Cobb was pretty well seasoned. He had done “Blade Runner” and “Alien” and worked with me on “Aliens”. Ron did all of the manned technology of the subsea oil rig. I’m sure there have been people who saw the movie and thought we just went and filmed on one of those underwater oil rigs that they have. What they don’t do! But it looked real enough that you thought it was a real setup. It looked like the real deal if there had ever been such a thing.

Steve of course had to be completely whimsical and use a very flourishing design language. I used the same pattern I did on “Aliens,” which involves choosing seasoned artists to create different design cultures. So there is the culture of human technology and then there was the alien culture. You mentioned in “Tech Noir” how instrumental Jack “King” Kirby was to you as a young artist. What role did comics play growing up in Canada and Orange County, California?

Cameron: For me in particular, it was Marvel Comics, and I think it was really the golden age of creation for Marvel. This was the period that Spider-Man appeared and The Hulk appeared and the X-Men were new to the scene at that time. And I’m talking about when I was 14, 15, 16 in the late 60s.

I loved comics, it was a great way to learn to draw. There was an artist who drew some of the early Spider-Man comics named Steve Ditko. And he made these amazing hands, just beautifully sculpted. And there were other artists who seemed to specialize in different things, like gestural movement. I just thought Marvel artists were mostly doing cool stuff. Jack Kirby, of course, was so multi-talented. He made alien machines that were … I mean where did it even come from?

So I was inspired by all of that. This is a time when science fiction in TV and movies was still in the Stone Age in terms of this kind of broad gestural design. So we had to turn to fantastic art and there was no Internet. You would see it in the magazine cover paintings. Frank Frazetta and artists like Kelly Freas. That’s why I always liked science fiction paperbacks, because they had good art. Today you can go online and spend days, weeks, years looking at all the fantastic art out there. But there were very few at the time. So you have studied everyone and you have learned from them.

You can see a Kirby influence in my drawings. You can see when I intentionally try to channel Frazetta with the muscular guys and the gesture movement with battle axes and swords. I know all my benchmarks there because there were only a handful of truly world class artists. Today there is such a proliferation. It’s pretty amazing how much fantasy and sci-fi art, both fan art and professional, has just exploded.

Tech Noir: The Art of James Cameron“is available now.

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Fiction publisher

2021 in the books: “Everything seems magnified” – Business Journal Daily

By HILLEL ITALY national writer AP
NEW YORK (AP) – Books and authors counted in 2021, sometimes more than the industry wanted.
A 22-year-old poet has become a star of literature. The enthusiasm of young people on TikTok has helped revive Colleen Hoover’s “It Ends With Us” and other novels released years earlier. Conservatives pushed for restricting books allowed in classrooms at a time when activists were working to expand them. And the government has decided that the merger of two of the country’s largest publishers could damage an invaluable cultural resource: authors.

“Everything looks very magnified,” says award-winning novelist Jacqueline Woodson, whose books have been challenged by officials in Texas and elsewhere.

“One day I hear that Texas is trying to ban (Woodson’s novels) ‘Red at the Bone’ and ‘Brown Girl Dreaming’, and the next moment we see Amanda Gorman speaking the truth to power.” . Maybe it’s because of social media or the pandemic, but everything looks a lot more intense, ”she says.

Sales were strong in 2020, the first year of the pandemic, and increased in 2021. The number of books sold through the end of November is up 10% from 2020 and 20% from last year. pre-pandemic year of 2019, according to NPD BookScan, which tracks about 85% of the print market. The Association of American Publishers reported $ 7.8 billion in revenue for commercial books in the first 10 months of 2021, a 14% jump from a year ago.

“You don’t hear a lot these days that people don’t read anymore,” said Allison Hill, CEO of the American Booksellers Association, the nation’s independent bookstore business group.

A year after the ABA feared hundreds of stores would close due to the pandemic, Hill says membership is growing, with more than 150 new stores opening and some 30 closings.

Fiction was particularly strong in 2021 as BookScan’s sales jumped over 20% from the previous year, driven by everything from TikTok’s Book Club and Reese Witherspoon to a wave of manga and a wave of literary bestsellers which included “Crossroads” by Jonathan Franzen and “Cloud Cuckoo Land” by Anthony Doerr.

Penguin Random House US CEO Madeline McIntosh called the popularity of fiction “the biggest sign that we have long-term growth for the industry.”

“It’s one thing when you pick up books when you want to learn how to do something or keep up with the news, but it’s a different impulse when you pick up a book because you want to spend your hours reading. And that’s what we see with fiction, ”she said.

With Donald Trump no longer in the White House, sales of political books have fallen by nearly 25%, according to BookScan. But the world of books has become more politicized – starting with the question of who could or should publish the former president’s memoir.

Multi-million dollar deals for presidents are a tradition. But New York editors weren’t comfortable with Trump ahead of the Jan.6 siege of the U.S. Capitol by his supporters and have since openly distanced themselves from him and his allies like Senator Josh Hawley, whose “Tyranny of great technology ”was abandoned by Simon & Schuster.

In response, a network of independent conservative publishers has sprung up, ranging from established entities like Regnery, who acquired Hawley’s book, to new companies like All Seasons Press or the Daily Wire’s DW Books. . Trump’s first post-White House book project, the ‘Our Journey Together’ photo compilation, will be published by Winning Team Publishing, founded by his son Donald Trump Jr. and campaign aide Sergio Gor.

Throughout 2021, books have been in the news. The year was barely three weeks old when millions of people watched Gorman become the country’s best-known poet and cultural phenomenon. His calm and energetic reading of his commissioned work “The Hill We Go Up” was a highlight of President Joe Biden’s inauguration. This has earned her recognition more in line with fashion or movie stars, including a contract with IMG Models and coverage for Vogue. A hardcover edition of “The Hill We Climb” has sold hundreds of thousands of copies, although readers could find the text for free online.

Gorman’s appearance at the inauguration was made possible by First Lady Jill Biden, who in 2017 attended a reading Gorman gave to the Library of Congress as the country’s Young Poet Laureate.

Countless authors, famous and unknown, have found unexpected support in the person of Attorney General Merrick Garland. In November, the Justice Department announced it would take legal action to block Penguin Random House’s purchase of Simon & Schuster, the first time in years that the government has attempted to halt a major consolidation of the ‘editing. The DOJ’s objection was rooted as much in art as it was in commerce – the fear that writers wouldn’t make enough money to write.

“Books have shaped American public life throughout our country’s history, and authors are the lifeblood of book publishing in America,” Garland said. “If the world’s largest book publisher is allowed to acquire one of its biggest rivals, it will have unprecedented control over this important industry. American authors and consumers will pay the price for this anti-competitive merger – less advance payments for authors and ultimately less books and less variety for consumers.

Woodson says she and other writers were blown away by the DOJ’s announcement and recalls thinking, “Wait, they’re speaking for us!”

Debates on literature have never been more heated than in classrooms and libraries across the country.
Grassroots activists such as # have pushed teachers to diversify the curriculum with novels such as “Another Brooklyn” by Woodson, “Salvage the Bones” by Jesmyn Ward and “The Round House” by Louise Erdrich.

Independent bookstores have made efforts to donate free copies of the book edition of the Pulitzer-winning “1619 Project”, which places slavery at the center of American history, to schools. The book sold over 100,000 copies in its first two weeks on sale, according to BookScan.

Meanwhile, an advertisement for the race-winning Republican candidate for Virginia governor Glenn Youngkin featured a white conservative activist alleging her son had been traumatized by an assigned high school text, “Well- loved, “Toni Morrison’s novel about a black, Pulitzer Prize winner. woman who had fled slavery and murdered her daughter rather than allow her to be captured.

Dozens of bills across the country have been proposed or passed that call for restrictions on books deemed immoral or unpatriotic. Texas state lawmaker Republican Matt Krause sent a 16-page spreadsheet to the Texas Education Agency listing more than 800 books he deemed worthy of possible banning, including works by Woodson , Ta-Nehisi Coates and Margaret Atwood. Nine novels by award-winning young author Julie Anne Peters, whose stories often feature LGBT characters, have been cited.

“I think one of the reasons this is happening is that the books have stamina,” Peters said. “You always remember the great books you read. They are so influential, especially the ones at school. Everything else is so fleeting and changing. But once a book is there and it’s available and it represents our history and our culture, it becomes a historical reference to which you return.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Reading and writing

Japanese writer from Trinbago discusses belonging and identity

While studying English Literature and Creative Writing in the United States, Trinidadian-born author Brandon McIvor discovered a passion for writing about his country, dealing with themes of identity, displacement and connection to one’s homeland and culture.

His short stories, with their relevant characters, offer an intimate look at the immigrant experience and garner a lot of attention, leading him to be shortlisted twice for the Small Ax Literary Prize – in 2016 and 2018 – and for the coveted Commonwealth Short Story Prize in 2020. (Read his Commonwealth Prize submission, “Finger, Spinster, Serial Killer” here.)

The native of Diego Martin spoke about his curious career as a writer of Caribbean stories, trained in New York and currently based in Ehime, Japan.

“My sister,” he said, referring to Where there are monsters Author, Breanne McIvor (herself a Commonwealth Short Story Prize finalist), “told me a lot of stories. The siblings were only a few years apart, and after a childhood spent telling stories and Breanne studying literature and writing in college, McIvor became somewhat inspired. “It was as easy as looking at her, seeing her journey and saying, ‘I like that too. “”

After school, McIvor returned home and teamed up with his sister to hone their craft. “We started a small writing circle; we would go to those open mic parties and play stuff [and] each other’s workshop [writing]. Among the group were authors Andre Bagoo and Carolyn Mackenzie, both of whom were also shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize.

A desire for a change of pace drove McIvor to Japan, where he worked as an English teaching assistant in the JET program, which recruits native speakers from around the world to teach classes to elementary and high school students. . A year quickly turned into six, and now the 30-year-old has made Japan his home.

McIvor discussed how living abroad brings him home when it comes to his writing, explaining that many writers who live abroad make their home country the subject of their work. He remembered a tip he was given in a writing class a few years ago to “write what you know”.

He spoke from his perspective and that of other artists creating about his country from abroad as a unique perspective. “You are Trinidadian but you have lived abroad … so you have this problem of identity, where you have one foot in this world and in each other. “

Although many Caribbean writers deal with identity, each treatment of the theme is a creature in itself, seen through the prism of different realities. It is in this variety that

McIvor learned to make a voice for himself to respond to the gaps he felt in Caribbean literature. “Sometimes you read a story and there is a hole,” he said. “You say to yourself that this guy [of story] does not exist, so I will create it myself.

One can argue that personal identity is constant, but so too is the desire to adapt to where one is, and it can be difficult to determine where one ultimately stands while negotiating. a new identity.

“The more you try to establish yourself as a New Yorker, the more you lose something too [and] you don’t want to get lost as a Trinidadian, ”he said. He spoke of noticing aspects of his accent gradually changing, or of the fear that the Trinbagonian slang he used would become obsolete if he was left offline for too long.

“You’re fighting to have those two identities validated where you are and to keep what you had in the first place, where your home is,” McIvor explained.

This battle is the basis of McIvor’s news “Rum shelfWhich earned him the top finalist for the Elizabeth Nunez Award for Caribbean Writers at the Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival 2021. (Another Trinbagonian, Akhim Alexis took home the top prize.) The plot centers on two men: Marlon, who “dreams of climbing the ladder from work in a supermarket in Arima to a bigger job in Arima, then in New York” and Rocco, whose notions of success and contentment are lower, and involve him to taste premium alcohol in a bar they frequent.

“You can think of both sides of the character as the two sides of a heart that you could have on your own,” McIvor said. “Wanting … to achieve things and [being] happy with what you have, special things around you.

As the two men “rely on each other for an emotional anchor,” the story explores the immigrant’s experience and what it means to be rooted in one’s country of origin. McIvor was able to squeeze part of Marlon’s experience from his own as a Trinbagonian trying to both retain his identity and assimilate into New York life.

He recognizes that feeling like a foreigner in an ethnically homogeneous country like Japan is totally different from being non-native in New York.

“If you’re in a place like New York City, you can blend in,” he said. “In Japan, it’s very obvious that I’m a foreigner. He called the feeling of being a foreigner in Japan a “continuum,” related to how one feels connected to the culture, and how long one has lived and immersed in it.

“The short answer is, I don’t feel Japanese, but I feel like Japan is my home,” he said. “I’d rather consider myself a Trinidadian living in Japan, which is a separate identity.”

The author has successfully navigated these questions of identity, acceptance, and comfort, not only in his writings, but in his personal life. McIvor is also still settled in Ehime, where he recently married and bought a house. He continues to divide his time between writing and teaching English.

McIvor has a handful of short stories in the works and is currently writing his first full novel.

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Reading and writing

How to help teens struggling with school in person during a pandemic

The teens have returned to school in person this year, but teachers and administrators are seeing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to haunt their students academically, socially and physically.

Between quarantine and virtual learning, high school students missed many milestones – homecoming dances, proms, lunches, cheering gatherings and all the normal everyday moments in between. .

Now that they are back to school, this wasted time manifests itself in the form of increased violence in schools, poor academic performance, cheating and mental health issues prevalent among students. While the headlines lament “Learning loss” some psychologists and administrators are more concerned about the emotional effects the pandemic has left behind.

“Time lost” during distance learning

“What we are seeing is that the behavior of the college crept up to the ninth grade”, child and adolescent psychotherapist Katie Hurley says TODAY Parents.

“Everyone worries about learning losses, but what nobody talks about are the social skills that have been lost and just the experience of growing up together,” said Hurley.

Although they were fortunate enough to be able to stay connected through social media like Snapchat, Instagram and text messages, due to distance and hybrid learning last year and the last quarter of the previous year, the high school students did not go through the developmental stages together. as they normally would, Hurley noted.

“Think about the first handshakes and the first kisses or the first crushes. It was all missed. So now there’s this catch-up and this urgency that teenagers just don’t know what to do with. They’ve really lost their ability. to communicate with empathy and to think with empathy, “she said.” So now they’re all trying to figure it out on their own, and there are a lot of hiccups. “

Dwayne Reed, a school administrator in Chicago, said he had observed similar scenarios.

“In my mind, if I was running the world, I would be doing 80 to 90% of all education right now, socio-emotional learning,” Reed told TODAY Parents. “We can get into math, science, reading, writing a bit later, but for now we need to start with the basics of kindness, conflict resolution, time management, building concern, care and compassion. “

A “huge adjustment” for adolescents

After spending an entire year learning remotely from home during the pandemic, Genevieve Rickey, 16, returned to school full-time in person in Voorhees, New Jersey.

“I feel like going back to school has been a huge adjustment,” said Geneviève TODAY.

After a year of waking up and turning on her iPad for school and ending her days at noon, Genevieve has gone on waking up at 6:30 a.m. and taking a car or bus ride to and from the city. school before going to dance practice every night, five days a week. The long days “definitely take their toll on the mental health of not only me, but my classmates, I’ve noticed,” she said.

Geneviève said it has become more difficult to concentrate at school. Last year, she noted, teachers were only teaching 20 minutes at a time. Going back to a full day of school made it harder for her to maintain her attention, and at the end of the day she feels like she has been “hit by a bus,” she said. .

“It’s just like the last two years of school is almost like a fake school,” she said. “We were kept saying ‘Oh, this year won’t matter that much’ because everyone knew it was a tough year. Now that we’re back in person it’s like ‘No, it’s a normal year ‘. and the pressure is back, and it’s just a lot harder than before. “

The pressure of university applications adds to the stress

For members of the Class of 2022, the return to school coincided with the start of their college applications, adding another layer of stress and anxiety to an already busy time.

Class of 2022 Andrew Dixon said applying to colleges was more stressful for him because he hadn’t been able to visit them all in person.Courtesy of Andrew Dixon

“The failure of my school’s virtual setup – due to the lack of internet access in rural America – really prevented virtual students from learning last year,” said Andrew Dixon, a high school student from Fayetteville, Tennessee. “If you were quarantined or concerned about COVID, you had to choose between your safety and your education. “

Andrew said the challenges of virtual learning have made it difficult for him and some of his friends to continue and pass their classes this year. “I think these struggles over COVID made my friends question the careers they dreamed of,” he said.

The college search process also felt profoundly different. “I’ve been fortunate enough to do tours,” said Andrew, “but a lot of those tours were during COVID. Some colleges gave me a map and told me to just walk around. have that lingering feeling of “Did I make the right choice? ‘”

Parents: listen more, fix less

As high school students navigate this post-quarantine world, how can parents best support them? Resist the instinct to save them, said Hurley.

Parents can see their children struggle, feel a sense of urgency and “go into problem solving mode very quickly”, coach and criticize them.

“What teens keep telling me is, ‘I just need someone to listen to me,’” Hurley said. “We need to spend more time listening to them, sympathizing with them, and then trying to help them figure things out.”

Hurley suggested helping the kids find ways to connect socially with friends outside of school. “Ask them, ‘How do we make this happen? What can I do to make it easier for you? “”

When talking to teens, ask questions from a place of curiosity instead of interviewing them or gathering information from them about their grades or doing in school, advised Hurley.

“I can definitely see that a parent’s instinct is to try to find a solution and try to solve a problem,” said Genevieve, who said she yelled at her mother when she upset her. about something like a math test result and her mom goes into action mode, ready to field a tutor and some extra help.

16-year-old Genevieve Rickey and her younger brother Andrew are attending their freshman year of high school in person in Voorhees, New Jersey this year. Courtesy of Stéphanie Rickey

“It’s not what I need,” said Geneviève. “I’m doing everything I can. I just need her to be there for me and tell me that everything will be fine. Backslid as it sounds, sometimes solving problems makes things worse and gives the hell away. feel like my parents think I can’t fix it on my own I know how to fix my problems, for the most part. I don’t need her to tell me. Just be there for me.

Changes in post-pandemic parenthood

Parents can’t fix it, but they can recognize that post-pandemic parenthood may look different. This fall, Genevieve skipped her high school prom – and a day and a half of school – to attend a Harry Styles concert. Before COVID, her mother Stephanie Rickey said, she would never have let her daughter miss school for a concert. But his priorities have changed now.

“My eldest son’s junior year was all about AP classes, SATs, looking for college. But now with Gen, if she wants to skip school to go to a concert she doesn’t couldn’t have seen in the last year and a half and that makes her happy, that’s fine with me, ”Rickey said. “It’s a different mindset than I had with my oldest son because of the pandemic and what we’ve all been through.”

Parents may also recognize that teens need time off alone or, conversely, more time to socialize. “Some of them are just tired, really exhausted. They need some recovery time,” said Hurley. She advised parents to ask their children what they need at the end of the day: being around friends or being at home? Genevieve, for example, said her way of dealing with the stress and overload of the school day is often to crawl into bed and take a three-hour nap when she gets home.

Be aware that during the pandemic and the quarantine, Hurley noted, many friendships among teens may have changed. “Some of them feel like their friends are just not on the same page anymore,” she said. “It can be very difficult because they’re all in really different places right now.”

Chicago school educator and administrator Dwayne Reed said after so much time apart, students need to relearn how to connect as humans. “They yearn for relationships.”Courtesy of Dwayne Reed

“I think the best thing parents can do is talk to their kids – I mean, literally talk to them and have conversations,” Reed said. “They yearn for relationships. Relationship education is what is going to be our saving grace.”

“We can’t fix everything they’ve been through,” Hurley added. “We just can’t. There is no way out of this overnight. Mental health people have been saying since the minute the pandemic hit that this was going to be the game. more difficult for children. “


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Reading and writing

Danbury man’s career influences his passion for writing

DANBURY – Edwin Rivera scribbled on a notepad.

The bounty hunter was on guard with his partner, who had been a Green Beret in the military. Rivera was inspired by his partner and wrote a character based on him in his manuscript.

It was in 1996.

Twenty-five years later, Rivera self-published her fantasy novel, “The Kingdom of Galbothia: The King’s Vengeance”.

This is the twelfth novel by the Danbury resident, although he has 16 more manuscripts he says will be published over the next few years.

For Rivera, characters come first, and many of his characters were inspired by people he met during his nearly 30 years as a bounty hunter.

“They kind of give me ideas,” he said. “Their personality is just amazing. I put it on paper.

His work includes the series “Silencers of the Code”. Rivera said he had developed a “following” of readers across the world, particularly in Europe and on the West Coast. He is in touch with readers who criticize his books and has developed a fan base of around 13,000 people via email and social media who he says are eager for his next stories. He was sending weekly “spoilers” by email.

“Readers keep telling me that they love the originality of the characters,” Rivera said. “They like the way I connect fiction, science fiction to an almost real world. It’s almost like I’m sending a message through my writing, which I am, to be honest.

The theme of the latest novel is “freedom” and that “our world is so precious and we have to take care of it and take care of each other,” he said.

Her late father served in World War II and the Korean War, which inspired this theme.

“By reading it you can tell that I am talking about a lot of the problems that we are having in this country, in the world,” Rivera said.

Bounty hunt

Rivera was born in the Bronx, New York, but he and his family moved to Danbury when he was 12. He attended Rogers Park Middle School and Danbury High School. He wrote as a child and when he worked as a correctional officer after high school. He took numerous writing and literature courses at Western Connecticut State University, although he studied criminal justice, believing he wanted to become a lawyer.

Instead, he was a bounty hunter for 29 years. It was a career he loved, but one that would discourage young people from pursuing because it is “very dangerous work,” he said.

“You have to use your head a lot and be smart and have the right people working with you,” Rivera said.

He has worked in 32 states, but primarily in Connecticut, handling a variety of cases, ranging from “big” lawsuits. He said all of his cases were important because he was helping keep the community safe by keeping someone out.

“I am proud of all of the cases,” he said.

He is still accredited, but retired about four years ago.

“I get called by some friends and some people who are still working, but I’m like ‘No, not for me. I’m too old now, ”said Rivera, who turned 53 this month.

He works as a real estate agent, in addition to writing.

Escape into fantasy

His first book was published in 2008, “a little ahead of his time” because he wanted his sister, who was battling cancer, to read it before she died. His other two sisters have since died and he dedicated the most recent novel to them.

“I had to do it,” Rivera said.

For each of his books, he writes separate manuscripts with different scenes or locations. In the editing process, he decides what to keep.

He wrote the original 390-page manuscript of “Kingdom of Galbothia” over nine years, but only returned to it relatively recently. He’s struggled with attention deficit disorder, so he’s now writing shorter books, he said.

“I reduced it to no more than 200,” Rivera said.

He publishes himself through companies like Outskirts Press or E-Book LLC, which published the latest book. It aims to put physical copies in local bookstores. The Route 6 mailroom in Danbury has them in stock.

“I went the traditional route for a while and it was a nightmare,” Rivera said.

He also writes poetry, but “Lord of the Rings” fan novels are in the realm of fantasy and science fiction.

The last novel is about a young prince who “inherits, not from a blessed kingdom, but from a broken line of his line”, the book summary states. The new king must protect Galbothia from “tyranny and oppression” as an enemy attempts to “end Galbothia’s way of life”.

He mainly writes between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. He puts on music and writes for free for hours on end.

“My wife thinks I’m crazy,” he said. “I find it peaceful at the time. My mind is relaxed.

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Book creator

A resurrection of the indigenous language of the Serrano people

Ernest Siva, 84, is one of the last oral historians of the indigenous Serrano language.

(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

When Ernest Siva was a boy in the Morongo Reservation in Riverside County, he listened to the music and stories of his ancestors, who had lived in Southern California long before the land was named that name.

He remembers running around a ceremonial fire in the reserve at the age of 5 when a weeklong ceremony honoring those who had died the previous year culminated with the combustion of images in their image. Dollar bills and coins were thrown into the fire in tribute as the elders of the tribe sang songs reserved for special occasions. Siva and her cousin chased down the scorched silver that escaped from the flames, largely ignoring the traditional lyrics in the background.

The specific words and rhythms are now distant memories for Siva, 84, a Cahuilla / Serrano Native American.

“I remember hearing these songs, but… I didn’t learn any of these songs because they are only sung for a specific occasion,” he said. “Once these ceremonies were over and they ceased to be celebrated, we no longer had these songs. “

The following year, the ceremony was hosted by another tribe, but over the years people who knew the native songs died without passing them on.

Siva is working to change that. For the past 25 years, the Banning resident has served as a tribal historian with the Morongo Band of Mission Indians.

For thousands of years, the Serrano language has been passed down through oral tradition. The word “Serrano” comes from the Spanish term for “mountaineer,” which is what 18th-century explorers called the Maara’yam people.

The stories have been passed down from generation to generation by the elders, but Siva believes that by the 1950s some of the oral history – as well as the native language, which has many dialects – had already started to fade.

Dorothy Ramon, Siva’s aunt, was the last “pure” or common speaker of the Serrano language.

In the 1920s, Ramon was forced to attend the Sherman Institute in Riverside, a boarding school intended to assimilate Native American children and strip them of their Native traditions and languages. But Ramon and his siblings were encouraged by their grandfather Francisco Morongo to keep their language alive or risk losing their heritage.

For the past 100 years, linguists have researched Serrano speech. When Ramon was almost 70, she collaborated on a 12-year-old project with linguist Eric Elliott, a white man, who translated his stories in the 2000 book “Wayta ‘Yawa’ (Always Believe).”

“It was a big surprise that she even worked with a linguist because she was on the shy side and remained isolated,” Siva said. “Without her, we wouldn’t have volumes of her stories.

But when Ramon passed away at the age of 93 in 2002, the tongue almost died with it. Revitalization efforts over the past three decades, led by the Morongo and San Manuel Mission Indian Bands, have resuscitated the language that was once spoken by locals.

Two students walk on a college campus.

Cal State University San Bernardino has a credit course in the Serrano language that counts as a general education requirement.

(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

Earlier this month, San Bernardino County officially recognized the language for the first time, although Serranos have been in the area since before the arrival of Spanish missionaries in the 1700s.

Siva’s work has contributed greatly to this. He devotes most of his time and energy to sharing the Serrano culture and language.

Siva contributes to the Cal State San Bernardino language program through an agreement between the San Manuel Mission Indian Band and the university. A Native American language course was introduced over ten years ago, but today it is offered as a credit course.

Carmen Jany, California Indian Language Programs Coordinator at Cal State San Bernardino, said Siva’s instruction has been vital in keeping the Serrano language alive.

“I believe his sincere desire to preserve and pass on the language and traditions of local indigenous cultures – evident in his generous donations of time, talent and knowledge – is clearly a driving force behind these efforts,” Jany said in an email about Siva’s work.

After her aunt died, Siva and his wife, June, opened the Dorothy Ramon Learning Center in Banning, where they host Indigenous artwork including drama, poetry and music. They also regularly give Serrano lessons.

A dedicated student at the Learning Center is Mark Araujo-Levinson, a 25-year-old Latino who found the courses through a Google search.

The Riverside resident’s great-grandfather was Mixtec, an indigenous Mexican group, and Araujo-Levinson’s fascination with languages ​​began during his childhood. But it wasn’t until he graduated from high school and friends told him about the Native American dialects of the area that he began to wonder why he hadn’t heard of them before. This curiosity launched him on a journey to learn more about the indigenous languages ​​of California – and led him to Siva in 2017.

Mark Araujo-Levinson, who studied the Serrano language, stands among shelves of books.

Mark Araujo-Levinson, 25, a student at Cal State University San Bernardino, found Ernest Siva’s Serrano classes via the internet.

(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

A book is lying on a table.

Mark Araujo-Levinson owns Dorothy Ramon’s book “Wayta ‘Yawa’ (Always Believe)”. The book was the culmination of a 12-year project with linguist Eric Elliott, a white man, who translated his stories.

(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

“At first, Mr. Siva was a little wary of the situation, just because I’m not on the reserve. But as our friendship grew, it became more encouraging, ”said Araujo-Levinson. “The last few years have truly been a blessing for me. It means a lot to me that he taught me the language and how well he holds me up.

Araujo-Levinson, a math student at Cal State San Bernardino who views grammatical rules like equations or theorems, shares his love of languages ​​- including Serrano dialects – on his Youtube channel and even got a job at Morongo Cultural Heritage Department as a language preservation specialist.

Siva loves having such a natural student, even if he is unconventional.

“He surprises everyone with his ability to grasp and understand and all that is needed to write,” Siva said. “Not many people can do that.”

About two years ago, Araujo-Levinson translated a story told in 1918 by Yuhaatviatam leader Santos Manuel to anthropologist JP Harrington. The story, titled “What Owl Said” and originally written in English and Spanish, was translated into Serrano with the help of Siva.

It begins:

Kwenevu ‘kesha’ aweerngiva. ‘ (There was a big storm.) Hakupvu ‘weerngtu.’ (It rained a lot.)

The story describes the darkened sky and four boys playing in the rain. Then an owl visits a sleeping old man. The owl tells him to sing and play his rattle in the morning. The story ends with the music of the old man chasing the rain.

Puuyu ‘taaqtam hihiim taamiti.’ Puuyu ‘peehun a’ayec ‘can’ nyihay kwana. ‘ (All the people saw the sun. They were all happy.) Kwenemu api’a ‘puuyu’ taaqtam poi’cu ‘chaatu.’ (After that, everyone started singing.)

Ama ‘ Yes.’ (That’s all.)

The end of such a narration – in Serrano’s native tongue – is what Siva fears. He never wanted to become the tribal historian of Morongo. As a teenager he wanted to play the saxophone but after decades as a teacher, from elementary schools to universities, he understood the responsibility of preserving his language.

He said his family used to fight for the right word in Serrano and failed.

“They were like, ‘Ah well, goodbye, language,’” he said.

“It was the end of our ways, you know,” Siva said of the celebrations long ago on the reserve. “Without having these things… without having the ceremonies, they were gone,” he said of Indigenous culture, language and songs.

A man holds a portrait and closes his eyes.

Ernest Siva at the Dorothy Ramon Learning Center in Banning. After his aunt died, he and his wife, June, opened the center, where they host Indigenous artwork, including theater, poetry and music.

(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

Siva regularly promotes the Serrano language online and with linguists in San Manuel, who are part of the Serrano Language Revitalization Project, an effort to resuscitate the language. Although Araujo-Levinson is a natural speaker when it comes to Serrano, Siva believes that one day he will lose his star math student.

“We would hate to lose him,” Siva said. “He’s just one of those talents. It’s great to see him teach it. Teaching it is so important now.

Siva recalled that her aunt had recounted how her grandfather was once approached by a nearby tribal community, who admitted that she lost her songs to honor the dead. It was a rewarding experience, she said, and Morongo offered to teach the community the Serrano songs.

He explained that the songs are from the creator and intended for all of God’s children. But the experience left an impression on the family – especially him, Siva said.

“My great-grandfather said to his family, ‘You have to remember your culture and your language, otherwise you will end up in a wandering tribe.’ “

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Reading and writing

Huron ISD’s Lane Walker’s Writing Wins Award

To help him get into college to become a teacher, Lane Walker worked as a summer intern at a newspaper.

The skills he learned as a journalist have helped him write several magazine articles, books and become an award winning author who has another new book coming out at the end of the month.

Walker, who is from Kingston, is the principal and director of technical and vocational education at the Huron Intermediate School District.

“I didn’t realize it then, but all the little things that got me where I am – working in a journal, meeting deadlines and coming up with ideas for articles and books. – help me write books, “Walker said.” I worked at the newspaper to help pay for my education.

“All of these things have helped me down the line as a teacher and especially as a writer.”

Although his books focus on hunting, fishing and outdoor adventures, his latest book is totally different.

“I have completed an adult book which is on presale right now but will be out in late November,” Walker said. “I’m really excited about this.”

“Light the Fire” is a book about how teachers, coaches, parents and other adults can inspire and impact children, he explained.

The book explains techniques to better connect with young people, to reach them to a new level and help them see their full potential by being a positive influence.

“This is my first adult book and my first educational book,” he said, noting that it was a break from his traditional writing. “I am excited about this adult book. It combines my love of writing with that of helping adults to help children.

Walker just won the Moonbeam Award. The award is given to authors who write books that inspire children to read, learn and dream. Each year’s nominations are judged by a panel of experts made up of youth educators, librarians, booksellers and book critics of all ages. The winners receive medals.

“This award was for my series of fishing books,” Walker said. “Winning this award was pretty cool and exciting.”

He received a bronze medal from Moonbeam for his fishing chronicles.

Walker, who has been studying for over 20 years and is an avid outdoorsman, began writing kid-friendly and outdoor-friendly books after realizing that there were no good books for children. on these topics.

The books are intended for children aged 8 to 14, but are also enjoyable read for those who are older.

“About a year ago, I started working on the chronicles of fishing. It took about a year to write all five books, ”Walker said, noting that the books are around 160 pages long.

There are five books in the “Fishing Chronicle” series that cover fishing adventures, camping and rafting adventures, as well as an ice fishing competition with cash prizes to save the family bait shop.

“Today so many children are lost in technology, but these books will bring them back to reading and understanding outdoor adventures,” he said.

His first book was released in 2011, and he has also written several other books and over 250 articles on outdoor adventures. Although he is a prolific author, his first love is teaching and the field of education.

Prior to becoming an administrator at Huron ISD, Walker’s first job after graduating from Saginaw Valley State University was as a fifth-grade teacher in 2003 at Mayville Schools. In 2005, he was a fourth-grade teacher in the Kingston School District, and then became an elementary school principal there in 2010.

He was then hired at ISD in 2015. He graduated from Kingston High School in 1997 and is proud to live in the Thumb.

He and his wife, Brooke, who is also a teacher, have four children.

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Fiction publisher

Children’s book on the journey of Willie and Bobbie Nelson

In an age when the facts may be ‘alternative’ and the political divide in the Lone Star State turns into an epic rift, there is at least one thing that almost has all Texans can agree on: Willie Nelson is a state treasure. Hell, Abbott’s most famous son a national hassd international ambassador for culture and music.

And at the age of 88, he’s showing no signs of slowing down, staying true to his philosophy of being “on the road again” with tour dates while simply posting. The Willie Nelson family. According to Wikipedia, this is his 72nd studio album since 1962 and features his sister Bobbie and children Paula, Amy, Lukas and Micah.

Click to enlarge

Besides having written thousands of songs, there is another side to literary Willie: he has been both the subject and the author of numerous books, including biographies, autobiographies and pontifications.

But it’s never been the subject of a children’s book until now with Chris Barton’s recent publication. Sister, brother, family: Willie Nelson and Bobbie Nelson, an American childhood in music (32 pages, $ 18.99, Doubleday Books). He co-wrote the book with the Nelson, and it is illustrated by Kyung Eun Han.

As the title suggests, it is also the story of the family and musical collaborations between Willie and his “sister Bobbie”, who at 90 is still sitting on her piano bench next to her younger brother, because she has almost full time both live and in the studio since 1973.

This book is not Barton’s first writing about Willie Nelson. That was in 1989, when he was 17 at Sulfur Springs High School and editor of the school newspaper. Cat tale. One of the perks of the position was being assigned to interview musicians playing at the nearby Hopkins County Regional Civic Center. And so, the teenager ended up on the Willie Nelson & Family bus with a then 55-year-old Nelson just before a show. Not bad.

“It was a small town, so it was not difficult to access [artists]. There weren’t a lot of competing media, so it was just me and a reporter from the local newspaper, ”Barton recalls.

He was first exposed to the music of Willie Nelson through his father, who passed away when Barton was only eight years old. “He did not have a large collection of records, but he had Phases and stages, Red-headed alien and the Waylon and Willie albums, ”Barton says. “He played them a lot, and my attraction to music was a way to stay connected to my dad.”

Click to enlarge Chris Barton - PHOTO BY HEATHER GALLAGHER

Chris Barton

Photo by Heather Gallagher

Sister, Brother, Family begins with the education of the Nelson during the Depression in Abbott, Texas, where they were raised by their loving grandparents “Mama” and “Daddy” Nelson.

They both encouraged Willie and Bobbie’s interest in music, which the children were exposed to via neighbors, church and their own home by singing to tunes like “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” and “The Great Speckled Bird “.

Eventually they bought Bobbie an old upright piano from the general store and Willie a guitar from a Sears catalog. And when Daddy Nelson died when Willie was six and Bobbie eight, it was the music that helped them overcome that loss.

The siblings started playing in church and school, then as a teenager they joined a band and started performing in dance halls, which initially was not suitable for the very religious Mama.

But when Willie brought home $ 8 earned in one night, the equivalent of what he earned in a the week working in the fields, even she changed her mind. The book begins and ends with Willie and Bobbie returning to this period of their lives. Barton says he got the idea to write a children’s book about Willie Nelson in 2009, and even started a first draft.

“He is such a distinctive and highly regarded person in this country, but also a tremendous music maker. And then or since, there hadn’t been a lot of writing for children about country musicians, ”he says. “There have been books on jazz musicians and more now on rock musicians, but not really country, despite its commercial success.”

He has pitched for the project over the years, without success. But then came the adult memoir from last year Me and Sister Bobbie: True Tales of the Family Band written by the Nelson with David Ritz. The idea was put forward in the overall plan of the project that there should also be a children’s version. Barton has been handpicked to suit a picture book audience, focusing on their childhood.

The Round Rock-based author has certainly had a varied career in terms of subjects. His books, produced with different illustrators, range from action-packed fantasy (Shark versus train with Tom Lichtenheld, Fire Truck vs. Dragon with Shanda McCloskey) to introduce young readers to quirky real-life inventors. His debut in 2009 The Day-Glo brothers with Tony Persiani and later Phew! with Don Tate concerned the creators of the Day-Glo paint and the Super Soaker water guns, respectively.
More recently, however, it has gained attention and received praise and accolades for non-fiction books addressing difficult or profound topics for young readers like the Oklahoma City bombing (All of a sudden and forever, with Nicole Xu) and Civil Rights (the next Moving forward on activist Alton Yates, with Steffi Walthall).

And, of interest to Houston, there is her biography of Fifth Ward groundbreaking congresswoman Barbara Jordan, whose stentorious tones inspired the book’s title. What do you do with a voice like that? It was illustrated by Ekua Holmes and selected as Texas Great Read 2019 by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Barton is married to Young Adult (YA) author Jennifer Ziegler, who has written novels including a popular series starring The Brewster Triplets. The pair also host the ongoing YouTube video author interview series. “This one is dedicated to …”

Over the past decade, there has been a tremendous increase in the number of children’s and teenage books written about real, distinguished people and their life stories. But with a new twist, as Barton explains. “The difference now is that the topic has become much broader,” he says.

“When I was a kid, I used to devour these C’schildhood of famous Americans books that contained a lot of fiction and that invented dialogue and whitewashing. Mainly on the Founding Fathers, a few Founding Mothers, and a handful of well-known Native Americans and African Americans. They were the ones that an older generation saw as the people you should know. “

Click to enlarge Author Chris Barton meets Willie and Bobbie Nelson (and various members of the Family group) backstage at the Smart Financial Center in 2019. - PHOTOS BY JENNIFER ZIEGLER

Author Chris Barton meets Willie and Bobbie Nelson (and various members of the Family group) backstage at the Smart Financial Center in 2019.

Photos of Jennifer Ziegler

Now, he says, there are much more diverse subjects, including those that are not necessarily “famous”. He points to his The Day-Glo brothers for example. “They weren’t your Abraham Lincoln or Ben Franklin or Thomas Edison subjects.”

Barton says he hasn’t heard directly from the Nelson or anyone on their side since the book was published earlier this month, although he and Ziegler were able to see them briefly behind the scenes on a show. of 2019 at the Smart Financial Center in Sugar Land. Willie Nelson discussed the book during a recent appearance on the Today Show.

Currently, Barton is also focused on promoting another new version with illustrator Sarah Horne, How to make a book (on my dog).

“It’s a non-fiction picture book about how non-fiction picture books are made,” Barton laughs. “It’s very meta. Now, I can say that I did a book about a very famous Texas redhead, and another about a lesser-known red-haired dog!

For more information on Chris Barton and his books, visit

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Fiction publisher

Almuna’s memoirs uplift black women’s stories

Girlz ‘N the Hood, released last September, shares the story of the author who grew up alongside her 10 siblings in South Central. (Photo courtesy of Mary Hill-Wagner)

Mary Hill-Wagner believes that as a writer nothing is wasted. As a little girl, the love of writing was nurtured with every book she read, but she was also increasingly aware of the lack of literature reflecting the life she had known from childhood. Her new memoir, “Girlz ‘N the Hood,” is Hill-Wagner’s first attempt to tell her story.

Hill-Wagner’s writing career began in high school as a newspaper editor. Graduating from Compton High School as a valedictorian, she then went to USC, writing for student publications including the Daily Trojan, and earned a bachelor’s degree in print journalism.

Hill-Wagner has reported for several newspapers across the country such as the Simi Valley Sun, Anaheim Bulletin, Las Vegas Sun, Des Moines Register, and Chicago Tribune while earning a master’s degree from Ohio State University and a doctorate. in Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She has also taught as a journalism professor at several colleges and universities, including USC as an assistant research professor.

“There’s a lot to learn about the theory of how media works, but it’s also good to have had your hands dirty,” Hill-Wagner said of his teaching experience. “I was able to bring that [expertise as a journalist] to the class, and according to my students, this made my classroom presentation unique.

According to Hill-Wagner, the inspiration for the memoir “Girlz ‘N the Hood,” released in September, was sparked by an undergraduate creative writing course at USC taught by Clancy Segal. The class was tasked with writing about someone they personally admired. Hill-Wagner described being “surprised” that none of her classmates wrote about their parents, while she wrote about her mother.

Segal was intrigued by his writing.

“He reads [the essay], and he said, ‘You know, it could be a book. And it was two, three pages. And I said, ‘No, I don’t really want to – I want to be an overseas correspondent for The Washington Post. I don’t have time for books. And he said, “Well, no, think about it,” Hill-Wagner said.

Years later, after three careers, Hill-Wagner returned to the idea inspired by Segal’s early encouragement. Compiling letters, journals, and reminiscences of his young self and his mother, Hill-Wagner wrote the memoir – his first book – centered on his mother, a strong matriarchal figure determined to raise Hill-Wagner and his other 10 brothers. and sisters in South Central.

Jaynie Royal, publisher and editor-in-chief of Regal House Publishing, said the style of the briefs was like an invitation.

“[The book] has an immediacy, which is really appealing, ”said Royal. “Reading the book, one has the impression of being there with [Hill-Wagner]. Her mother feels like a warm embrace. She is so full of heart, humor and joy which is also wonderful and amazing considering the adversities she faced and the challenges the family had to overcome.

While there have been movies and books about growing up as a black man in America from films such as “Boyz ‘N the Hood” and “Straight Outta Compton”, there was “hardly anything about the women and girls in the neighborhood,” says Hill-Wagner.

According to Hill-Wagner, she faced challenges in journalism as a black woman and even presenting the book. As a journalist, she has strictly stayed away from the current story, even in the midst of provocation from others. But this memoir gave the opportunity to tell her story, a story she knows important, while building confidence in her ability to tell it.

“It’s not a fairy tale. So bad things are happening. There are drugs; there are guns; there is violence. But there is also hope, ”said Hill-Wagner. “And I also wanted to be the message, not just a lot of stories about how women and girls are treated, because we are treated terribly in the neighborhood and places like that, but also the possibilities that exist for it. survive it. I wanted this to be the story [as well]. “

Andrea Somberg, Hill-Wagner’s literary agent at the Harvey Klinger literary agency, said the memoir was a moving portrayal of a loving family staying together amid poverty, racism and difficult circumstances.

“They continue to face these challenges and how Mary, but most importantly her mother, this incredible and strong matriarch of a woman, is determined to take care of her babies, to take care of her children and to do such a heroic job,” Somberg said. “Much of the heroism is just the everyday, just life, and I think it’s really a story about all of the heroism.”

Finishing the book was a challenge, said Hill-Wagner, as it meant revisiting not only the loving childhood moments with family members, but also the most difficult ones. Still, as she finished labor, she said she felt an unexpected shutdown on what her mother meant to her years later. It was like recovering a piece of his back years after his death.

“It was a challenge to remember all of these things. Remembering funny things is good, but remembering emotionally heartbreaking things [was] hard. And then taking them down, it was very difficult, ”said Hill-Wagner. “I used to remember some of the things that happened to my mother with great sadness. But, the sadness hasn’t been as acute since the end of this book, so it helped me that way.

In telling her story, Hill-Wagner wants this book to encourage more women and girls, especially black women, to share their stories without fear of being judged.

“We have such a rich culture, but we’re afraid of being judged, by these outside forces, by men and white people in particular, I think. And so we don’t tell our stories, ”Hill-Wagner said. “But we get resentful if someone else tells our stories. We are part of the American experience and we should be proud of it.

Hill-Wagner is currently working on a fictional novel, which she describes as a different but more joyful experience compared to her non-fiction plays.

“Someone asked me: ‘Who [“Girlz ‘N the Hood”] for?’ And I said, ‘This book is for everyone who’s had a mother, and for everyone who hasn’t. Which is everyone, really.

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Reading and writing

What students say about hometown pride, pandemic dreams and a mysterious photo

Green Bay is huge on football and cheese. I love the culture there, and the people. Everyone there are great people, and we all love the same things, and end up creating a great community in the city. I miss my hometown and get excited every time I visit.

Andrew, Hoggard High School, Wilmington, North Carolina

As a person who grew up in Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, I am extremely proud of where I am from. From its rich history to its delicious cheesesteak, there is a lot to be proud of. What I love most about Philadelphia is its American history. It is known to be one of the original thirteen settlements; and where the declaration of independence was written and signed. All of these facts make me understand the importance of Philadelphia and how special it is to American history.

Yang, JR Masterman Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

For me, I am proud of where I come from and my country of origin, I am proud to be Filipino. To others, when they think of the Philippines, the words poor or rubbish. But for me, I think of home, a country that has a place in my heart. Besides the cons of the Philippines, there is actually so much beauty there. Nature and wildlife such as white sandy beaches, verdant jungles and forests, islands and beautiful waterfalls. Not to mention the delicious food, treats, and snacks they have to offer. Some of my favorites are the sisig pork, sinigang shrimp, halo halo, taho, puto, piattos, canton, sampalok, pastillas and yema. The growing mangoes are no laughing matter either. The fun activities you can do there like roaming the islands, swimming with whale sharks and canyoning, etc. And if you visit at the right time, you can even attend and experience the sinulog, a type of parade they have in the Philippines. The vibrant colors of the costumes, the smiles, the music, the ambiance are just addicting; we can not help but have fun …

Ella, King Kekaulike High School

I am from Chicago and yes I am proud of where I am from. I am proud of my city. We’re known to have better pizza than NYC, blues music, hot dogs, Michael Jordan, and hate Aaron Rodgers. We celebrate all types of cultures and welcome everyone. We’re famous for 2016 World Series winner Michael Jordan, Abe Lincoln, and more. PIZZA is deep pizza.

Jacques, Chicago

My hometown of Miami Beach is infamous for what we would call in Spanish “pachanga”. It’s hard to translate directly into English, but it pretty much lines up with a carefree spirit that always party. We are a city known for its pristine beaches, which attract a good portion of visitors all year round. We’re a city where tourism is considered our lifeline, with chic condominiums lining the shores of the Atlantic along South Beach. We are a city where our most pressing political issues are whether or not to ban the sale of alcohol at 2 a.m. Perhaps most notably, we are the city that makes national headlines once a year in the same week in a grueling cycle: spring break. Every spring break, this reputation draws adults to our nightclubs, beaches and streets where cases of violence occur every year. They see Miami Beach as a city like no other, a city where the mindset is not about law, order and productivity, but rather one of relaxation and a frightening sense of anarchy. This is not the Miami Beach that I see. I see a Miami Beach where our constituents are tired and alarmed by the South Beach parties and the resulting chaos. It’s no wonder our recent referendum on a 2 a.m. alcohol ban passed – our people are hard-working Americans who want safe communities, despite what far too many consider. like our city. While I love my city and wouldn’t trade its beauty for other amenities in other cities, it’s time to take our city seriously.

Zakaria, Miami Country Day School

The Texas Rose Festival seems really fun to me. It’s a time when everyone comes together and celebrates, celebrates and has fun. I think it’s very unique and quite related to our lavender farm in Kula, Maui. Our Lavender Farm looks like the Fête de la Rose but with lavender. You can get lavender scones, lavender oils, lavender drinks and lavender in general …

Lilinoe, Maui, Hawaii

I am proud of where I come from. I think it’s very important to be proud of where you come from. My neighborhood isn’t really known for anything, but it’s a very friendly place with a good environment. There are a lot of friendly faces and everyone knows each other. In my neighborhood, you can stop at the cafe for a cup of coffee, go grocery shopping, or hang out with friends at the park. If I could pick something that my neighborhood should be known for, I think it would be our friendliness. My neighborhood is also very open to different people, cultures, etc.

Layla, JR Masterman, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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Reading and writing

Professor leads creative writing workshop in South Africa – Susquehanna University

05 November 2021

Glen Retief, Associate Professor of Creative Writing, who is currently in South Africa on a Fulbright US Scholar, recently attended a US Embassy workshop.

The workshop, which marked World Teachers ‘Day, took place at David Hellen Peta High School in Pretoria and focused on developing teachers’ creative writing skills. Retief told The Pretoria News that his mission in South Africa “is to help solve problems in the education system, especially with students’ writing skills.”

Retief said his goal was to show teachers how they can be more effective in helping their students improve their writing skills. The workshop consisted of giving teachers a writing prompt, then asking them to do a peer review of each other’s writing, using discussion questions that Retief developed for his creative writing classes. in Susquehanna.

English teacher Mandisa Ndaba said she would like to see children in local schools improve their writing skills, as even university / scholarship applications required writing.

“If the English teachers are equipped, then the learners and the whole nation will be equipped as well,” Ndaba said.

Principal Tlhabana Nkwe said the workshop would build teachers’ confidence when they return to class, thereby benefiting students. After the workshop, teachers told Retief that they usually correct their students ‘grammar during writing assignments, and being able to respond in a more holistic and thoughtful way would almost certainly increase students’ motivation and success. learners.

Retief received a Fulbright US Scholar Award in 2020 to help develop the writing component of a college bridging program in Mamelodi, South Africa. Offered by the University of Pretoria, the program aims to leverage creative writing to build self-confidence and reading / study habits in educationally disadvantaged adults. As part of this prestigious award, Retief will publish research on how the teaching of creative writing can serve educational development more generally.

Retief grew up in a South African wildlife park during the apartheid era, but emigrated to the United States in 1994. His memoir, Jack Bank (SMP, 2011), won a Lambda Literary Award and was selected as a 2011 book by the Africa Book Club.

Retief holds a BA from the University of Cape Town, an MA in Fine Arts from the University of Miami, and a PhD from Florida State University. From 2014 to 2019, he led the nationally recognized Creative Writing Program at Susquehanna University.

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Fiction publisher

Project 1619 creator Nikole Hannah-Jones talks about her new book

Nikole Hannah-Jones is tired. Excited and grateful too. But the past two years have at times been dark and often exhausting. His groundbreaking work, Project 1619, sparked a battle over who will tell the story of this country and how we think about its identity. But before we can collectively re-examine the legacy of American slavery, President Donald Trump said the project “has warped, distorted and defiled American history.” School boards across the country have banned teaching it, comparing it to the widely misunderstood legal philosophy known as Critical Race Theory. As the creator and public face of the project, which includes contributions from renowned journalists and essayists, Hannah-Jones received, with praise, most of the hate. His name has become a cultural signifier of the power of investigative journalism, or a dog’s whistle for politicians and commentators who use his life’s work as evidence of a plot to keep the country away from whites.

On a cloudy Sunday afternoon at her home in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, she signs inserts that will be placed in the first editions of The 1619 project: a new origin story. The anthology, released this month, is an expanded version of The New York Times project, with longer essays, new fictions and poems, and writings on subjects such as Indian displacement and the Haitian revolution. The day before, she was in Iowa filming a 1619 documentary series for Hulu; the next day, she heads to Alabama. We settle on the dark blue sofa in her living room and she balances a stack of inserts on a Kehinde Wiley book on her legs. Her curly red hair is pulled back into a bun, and she wears a gold nameplate necklace and a stretchy black knit dress. Her 11 year old daughter is curled up in a chair across from us, half watching TV and half watching her mother.

Hannah-Jones and I have known each other for years, but haven’t seen her since the summer of 2019, at the 1619 Project Kickoff Celebration at New York Times office in Midtown Manhattan. Since then, the MacArthur Genius Grant winner has won more journalism awards, trained more editors and journalists of color through the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting (which she co-founded in 2016 at the University of North Carolina) and became a friend. with Oprah.

Hannah-Jones, 45, grew up among three sisters in the manufacturing town of Waterloo, Iowa, with her black father, Milton, who variously ran a convenience store, drove a school bus, and worked in a meat-packing plant and as a hospital nurse and her white mother, Cheryl, a state probation officer. Milton had come from Mississippi to Iowa as a young child; his mother was the first in his family to migrate. Cheryl was raised in rural Iowa by parents who also grew up there. The two met when Milton, recently discharged from the military, was visiting the University of Northern Iowa campus in Cedar Falls, where Cheryl was a student. “I actually asked my mom about this recently, and she was looking out her dorm window and saw my dad, and she came down and pounced on him,” Hannah-Jones says, laughing.

I tell her I was surprised to learn years ago that she was Métis. “Well,” she said with a smile. “It’s probably organized.” She never identified herself as a Métis person. “I clearly know that I am biracial. I have a very close relationship with my mother although my grandparents are conservative rural whites who loved Ronald Reagan and were fiercely opposed to Obama. They were great grandparents to us, as long as we didn’t talk about race, ”she says. “I would say very young, my dad sat my sisters and I and told us our mom might be white, but we were black, and we were going to be treated in the world like we were black.”

Like children in the segregated public school districts she wrote about, Hannah-Jones was bused from her black neighborhood to predominantly white schools, and in those schools she had her first political and social awakenings. Riding the bus was a common experience in the Midwest and South for black children – growing up in Alabama, I was assigned to a bus from my black neighborhood to a white elementary school – and it could be lonely and alienating. “I got that from my mom, but I’ve always sided with the underdogs in general,” says Hannah-Jones. “And being taken on the bus made me be a very angry high school student.” About a fifth of the children at his school were black, and nearly all of them were taken by bus and not allowed to be forgotten by classmates, teachers, and disciplinary policies that favored white students when they did. fought with blacks. Hannah-Jones was one of the few black students in her advanced classes; all math and basic science classes were filled with black students.

Hannah-Jones had her school friends and she had her neighborhood friends. Most of her aunts and uncles on the Milton family side lived a few blocks away and she had a close relationship with Cheryl’s parents. Her grandparents had disowned Cheryl for a while, but changed their mind when Hannah-Jones’ older sister was born. Hannah-Jones was a precocious, nerdy, and observant girl, and noticed differences in how she felt with both sides of her family. “It was clear to me that when I was with my black family, I was just one of them. And when I was with my white family, I was a part of them but I could never be fully of them. I could be black but I could never be white… There is no tragedy about it.

She read a lot, to find out more about the world and to escape her father’s alcoholism. Milton could be verbally abusive and the two often clashed. She read historical novels and encyclopedias and her parents’ Louis L’Amour and Danielle Steel novels, especially when she was punished. “I had a lot of problems,” she recalls. “I had a smart mouth, I answered a lot.” Cheryl says Hannah-Jones was “mischievous” as a child, but studious. “She was very attentive to what was going on in the world. In college, she asked for a globe for Christmas and wanted a membership News week magazine, ”recalls Cheryl. “She’s always had very strong feelings about things.” It was Cheryl who took her daughters to their first civil rights protests.

BELOVED Hannah-Jones and her daughter, Najya, outside their Brooklyn home. Hannah-Jones dress by Lita by Ciara at Nordstrom; shoes by Jimmy Choo; earrings by Jennifer Fisher; bracelet by Tiffany & Cie Schlumberger.Photographs by Annie Leibovitz. Stylized by Nicole Chapoteau.

In her sophomore year, Hannah-Jones took a Black Studies course – from the only black teacher she would have, Ray Dial – and began to learn about black culture and politics from a way she had never known before. It was exciting: Hannah-Jones was reading about apartheid and Cheikh Anta Diop The African origin of civilization and listen to Da Lench Mob and Ice Cube. She wore a Malcolm X locket. She complained to Dial that the school newspaper never wrote about the experiences of black students. He told Hannah-Jones to join the newspaper or stop complaining, so she joined the newspaper. His column was titled From the African Point of View. The first piece was whether Jesus was black.

“I was intentionally trying to be provocative,” says Hannah-Jones. “I’ve written a lot about what it was like to come to the black side of town and go to a white school, and that’s why I won my first journalism award, Iowa High School Press Association. From there, I was a bit addicted to wanting to be a journalist and writing about the black experience. Outside of the newspaper, she and her best friend helped start a cultural enrichment club designed to be run by blacks; to promote the first meeting, they placed posters comparing the United States to apartheid-era South Africa and hung “white” and “colored” signs above the fountains and bathrooms. “When school started, they became ballistic. They took off all of our signs and canceled our first meeting, ”Hannah-Jones laughs again. She was starting to feel a sense of power from what she could do with writing and activism. And she was energized by learning a black history – “The whole time I thought black people didn’t do anything” – that had been hidden from her. She decided to study African American history and studies at the University of Notre Dame.

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Fiction publisher

An interview with Dr Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo

Many years ago a friend from Spain told me: if you want to know the high level of Filipino literature today, you have to read the travel writings of Dr Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo. Later I found out that we were both working at UST, and we had a short conversation entirely in Spanish. As she was a colleague, I took advantage of her generosity to find out what pushed her to become a literary creator.

Question: you are one of the rare people who have been able to lead a career combining literary creation and scholarship. Another example is Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa. Which has been the most common in your life and why?

Hidalgo: I am flattered and at the same time embarrassed to be mentioned in the same breath as Mario Vargas Llosa. I am far from even its shadow.

I started writing long before I became a scholar. I consider myself above all as a writer. I didn’t intend to be a teacher. But I’ve been teaching now for almost as long as I’ve been writing. When I obtained my undergraduate degree in 1964, a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters of UST, I was only 19 years old. But after graduation, my college merged with the College of Liberal Arts, to form the Faculty of Arts and Letters. The new college was short of teachers. Thus, the honorary graduates of the old college for this year were offered instructor jobs. I found myself teaching students some of my age or older. I taught part-time, while working as the Associate Women’s Editor for Graphic Magazine.

When I got engaged soon after, I decided that a career in journalism would be difficult to combine with raising a family. So I gave up my job at Graphic and opted for an academic career. Since then, I have combined the two professions wherever life has taken me. But I think I didn’t start taking scholarships seriously until we got back in 1990, after living as expats for 15 years, and I went back to teaching at UP and decided to resume my doctoral studies. University life demands that you become a scholar, if you are not yet. If you compare my books of literary scholarship and criticism with my books of creative writing, the former are vastly outdated.

When did you realize you wanted to write stories?

I think I always wanted to be a story and essay writer. I started journaling and writing a “family journal” when I was nine years old. Like many other Filipino writers, I was first published in my high school journal (the Paulinian at St. Paul College Quezon City) where I started as a journalist, then I became a literary editor and finally a writer in chief. At the same time, I was contributing news and feature articles to national magazines. In college I followed pretty much the same pattern – writing first for our college journal, The Blue Quill, then for college journal, The Varsitarian, first as editor, then as editor-in-chief. In my sophomore year, I was offered a weekly column on the youth page of The Manila Chronicle. And by the time I got into senior, I was writing the youth section of the graphic magazine. I believed then that if you wanted to be a writer, you became a professional journalist. Many of my contemporaries at university were already working full time as reporters for the national dailies and attending evening classes. At the same time, like me, they saw themselves primarily as writers of fiction or poetry.

Wasn’t it difficult, even frustrating, to be a writer in a country where very few people read?

First of all, I would like to clarify one point. It is not entirely correct to say that “very few people read” in the Philippines. Some publishers prosper by publishing certain types of books. For example, popular fiction (like romance novels, for example, and fantasy novels like the Harry Potter books) has made Precious Pages a major publisher, selling books not only here but also abroad. foreigner. Adarna Books and Lampara Books publish children’s books and teenage books very well (the term now used is “young adults”). Some writers of graphic fiction and speculative fiction have entered the international market. There is also a market for light comedic essays, as evidenced by the success of Visprint (now Avenida). And Filipinos are one of the largest groups of wattpad (very short, stereotypical, self-published, “novels” online) writers and consumers.

What is true is that the market for what the publishing world has come to call “hard-enlightened” is indeed very small. (“Hard Bed” refers to the award-winning literary award-winning stories, poems, essays, etc.) that are written with respect – if not admiration – by critics and studied by students of literature and creative writing.)

The fact that the market for quality literature is small didn’t bother me. I think, like many of my contemporaries, we became writers because we just loved to read and naturally took to writing. We wrote primarily for ourselves, for the satisfaction of having our name printed, and for the recognition of our peers and superiors – the veteran writers whose books we have read and admired. It wasn’t until I got involved in publishing that I realized that there was a great need to change the situation, a need to close the gap between the public and the authors of quality literature.

It was then that I became director of UP Press and later director of the UST publishing house. Also, after retiring from the public service, my husband started a small publishing house, Milflores Books, and I helped him by identifying promising new writers, soliciting titles from them and writing and editing a few books. . It gave me a different perspective on writing and editing.

Which authors have been the most influential in your life? Why?

There are too many to mention. But I will just quote the most important. Among Filipino writers, the writers who have had the greatest influence on my work would be: Carmen Guerrero Nakpil, Kerima Polotan-Tuvera, Gilda Cordero Fernando and, of course, Maestro Nick Joaquin.

Among foreign writers, these writers influenced me at different times in my life. When I was just starting to write fiction, there was Jane Austen, Edith Wharton, Virginia Woolf, Katherine Mansfield, Elizabeth Bowen. Later came Isak Dinesen, Doris Lessing, Maxine Hong Kingston, AS Byatt, Jeanette Winterson, Ursula Le Guinn. And there were also a few male writers – Henry James, Italo Calvino, Milan Kundera, Jorge Luis Borges.

I should also mention the 11th century Japanese Sei Shonagon and other female chroniclers like Murasaki Shikibu and Lady Sarashina; Annie Dillard; MFK Fisher – they influenced my non-fiction. And the spirit of the marvelous realism of the writers of the Latin American “boom” – Alejo Carpentier, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Carlos Fuentes, Mario Vargas Llosa, Jorge Amado, etc. function in the company, although I never tried to write like any of them, just because it is not possible. I am different in race, sex and temperament. But I think I understood them and was incredibly moved by them.

Of the books you have written so far, which ones have you personally been most satisfied with? Why?

I don’t think I am more “satisfied” with a book than with the rest. The book I worked on the hardest, and put everything I knew and understood, at that time, is the novel Recuerdo. So this is very special for me. You could say that I was the most invested in this novel. The one I’m most proud of, because it was a daring experience for me, is the novel A Dream Book. The Catch a Falling Star collection of short stories gives me particular satisfaction as it is the most popular of my books, having been in print for over 20 years now and still going strong. Plus, it has now been translated into Filipino (along with three of my other short stories), which has long been a dream. But the book that is closest to my heart, my favorite child, so to speak, is Tales for a Rainy Night. With these stories, I broke with realism and discovered a new voice, a new way of telling stories – I call them modern fairy tales, modern and urban fairy tales.

Filipinos are generally multilingual and you are no exception to this rule. I even know that your Spanish is excellent. What made you choose English as your literary language? Does that mean you don’t usually read authors in Tagalog?

I think English was the only possible choice for me. Spanish was my first language in the sense that it was the first language I learned. I may have mentioned to you that this was the only language my maternal grandmother (who lived with us) spoke, so it was the language of our home. Tagalog, I learned as a subject at school. I can speak it, of course, but I’ve never gotten into the habit of reading it, let alone writing it. Due to the fact that I have taught at the National Writers’ Workshop of UP (since about 1993) and UST (since I took over the management of the UST Center for Creative Writing and Literary Studies) , I became more adept at Filipino (which, although based on Tagalog, is a different language). The two workshops are conducted in a bilingual manner and the teaching jury must comment on all the work submitted by the scholarship holders in writing. However, I cannot claim to have a master’s degree in Filipino. And to dare to write literature in a particular language, you have to have the confidence that comes with fluency.

Why do you think a young student should take an MA in Creative Writing? What can we learn there?

As with any art, it is a great help to study under the guidance of professional practitioners, in an environment conducive to learning, because of the company of people who all agree that literature and the creative writing is important. This is what enrolling in a master’s degree in creative writing has to offer. Some writers prefer the greater freedom of learning on their own. I’m not saying it’s not possible. But I know – from my own experience and watching the development of young writers entering undergraduate and graduate creative writing programs – that it takes a lot longer. I don’t think anyone doubts that a young musician benefits from studying at a music conservatory, or that a young painter benefits from studying at an art school. I wonder why there seems to be some doubt that young writers should spend time in a writing school.

Are you writing a new book? About what?

I have just finished the first volume of what will perhaps be my memoirs. Its title is What I Wanted to Be When I Grown Up: Early Apprenticeship of the Writer. It starts with my birth, goes back to my maternal ancestors, and then progresses, through my studies at the convent school, until the summer after my high school diploma. I didn’t want it to be read like most memoirs and autobiographies I’ve read. So I created a different framework for it. The backbone of the book is the books I read from my early childhood until the summer before entering college. I finished writing this book last year and it should be published by UP Press before the end of this year.

Am I working on something new now?

Yes, I don’t know if this is just a collection of essays, or if it will be volume 2 of my memoirs.

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Reading and writing

US military jury condemns torture of terrorist, calls for clemency

GUANTÁNAMO BAY, Cuba – In a harsh rebuke of CIA torture following the 9/11 attacks, seven senior military officers who overheard graphic descriptions last week of the brutal treatment of a terrorist as he was detained by the agency wrote a letter calling it “a stain on America’s moral fiber.”

The officers, all but one member of an eight-member jury, condemned the conduct of the U.S. government in a letter of mercy on behalf of Majid Khan, a suburban Baltimore high school graduate turned Qaeda messenger.

They had been brought to the US Navy base at Guantánamo Bay to convict Mr. Khan, who had previously pleaded guilty to terrorism charges. They handed down a sentence of 26 years, the shortest possible sentence according to the court’s instructions.

At the request of Mr. Khan’s lawyer, they then took the prerogative available in military justice to write a letter to a senior official who will review the case, asking for leniency.

Prior to his conviction, Khan spent two hours describing in appalling detail the violence inflicted on him by CIA operatives and operatives in dungeon conditions in prisons in Pakistan, Afghanistan and one country. third party, including sexual abuse and mind-numbing isolation, often in the dark. while he was naked and in chains.

“Mr. Khan has been subjected to physical and psychological abuse far beyond approved enhanced interrogation techniques, approximating instead torture practiced by the most abusive regimes in modern history,” according to the letter, which was obtained by The New York Times.

The panel also responded to Mr. Khan’s claim that after his capture in Pakistan in March 2003, he told interrogators everything, but “the more I cooperated, the more I was tortured”, and he said so. subsequently invented lies to try to appease his captors.

“This abuse had no practical value in terms of intelligence or any other tangible benefit to American interests,” the letter said. “Instead, it’s a stain on America’s moral fiber; Mr. Khan’s treatment at the hands of US personnel should be a source of shame on the US government.

CreditCenter for Constitutional Rights

In his testimony Thursday evening, Mr. Khan became the first former prisoner of the so-called CIA black sites to publicly describe in detail the violence and cruelty used by US agents to extract information and discipline suspected terrorists in the clandestine prison program abroad. which was put in place after the attacks of September 11, 2001.

In doing so, Mr. Khan also provided insight into the kind of information that could emerge in the death penalty trial of the five men accused of instigating the 9/11 attacks, a process that has become bogged down in civil law. pre-trial hearings for nearly a decade in part because of the secrecy surrounding their CIA torture

The agency declined to comment on the substance of Mr. Khan’s descriptions of the black sites, which prosecutors have not sought to refute. He only said that his detention and interrogation program, which ran the black sites, ended in 2009.

More than 100 suspected terrorists disappeared into the CIA’s clandestine prison network abroad after September 11, 2001. The agency used “enhanced interrogation techniques” such as waterboarding, sleep deprivation and violence to try to get prisoners to disclose Al Qaeda’s plans and the whereabouts of the leaders. and sleeper cells, but with no immediate plan to try his captives.

President George W. Bush revealed the existence of the CIA program in September 2006, with the transfer of Mr. Khan and 13 other high value detainees to Guantanamo. President Barack Obama ordered the program to shut down completely after taking office in 2009.

Mr. Khan, 41, was detained without access to or International Red Cross, the authority conferred by the Geneva Conventions to visit prisoners of war, or to a lawyer until he has been transferred to Guantánamo Bay. He pleaded guilty in February 2012 to terrorist crimes, including delivering $ 50,000 from Al Qaeda to an allied extremist group in Southeast Asia, Jemaah Islamiyah, which was used to finance a deadly bomb attack on a Marriott hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia, five months after his capture. . Eleven people were killed and dozens more were injured.

The time of his prison sentence began with his guilty plea in 2012, meaning the panel’s 26-year sentence would end in 2038.

But Mr Khan, who has been cooperating with the US government, helping federal and military prosecutors build cases, has reached a jury-kept deal that could end his sentence in February or 2025 at the latest.

Under the military commission system put in place after 9/11, even defendants who plead guilty and reach a deal with the government must have a jury sentencing hearing. This was the case with Mr Khan, whose sentencing was delayed by nearly a decade to give him time to work with government investigators and gain favor in the form of early release from a sentence. with jury.

The leniency letter also condemned the legal framework that kept Mr. Khan without charge for nine years and denied him access to a lawyer for the first four and a half months as “a complete disregard for the core concepts on which the Constitution was founded “and” an affront to American values ​​and the concept of justice.

Although this is rarely done, a military defense lawyer can ask a panel for letters approving leniency, such as a reduced sentence, for a member who is convicted by a court martial.

But it was the first time that the request for a sentencing jury has been made at Guantanamo, where accused terrorists are tried by a military commission. A clemency recommendation is not binding, but it could send a powerful message to the convening authority of military commissions, the senior Pentagon official overseeing the war tribunal, whose role is to review a completed case and a request. Please accompany the defense attorneys to decide whether to shorten a sentence. An Army Colonel, Jeffrey D. Wood of the Arkansas National Guard, currently fulfills this role as a civilian.

In closing arguments, Mr. Khan’s military attorney, Army Major Michael J. Lyness, asked the panel for a minimum sentence and then consider drafting a letter recommending leniency.

Senior prosecutor Colonel Walter H. Foster IV of the military asked the panel to impose a severe sentence. He admitted that Mr. Khan had been “treated extremely brutally” while in CIA detention, but said he was “still alive” which was “a luxury” that victims of the Qaida attacks did. had not.

The foreman of the jury, a Navy captain, told the court that he had supported the defense request and handwritten the letter of mercy, and all the officers on the sentencing jury, except one, signed it, using their panel member numbers, as jurors enjoy anonymity at the Guantanamo National Security Court.

Ian C. Moss, a former Navy who is a civilian lawyer for Mr Khan’s defense team, called the letter an “extraordinary reprimand”.

“Part of what makes the Letter of Mercy so powerful is that, given the seniority of the jury members, it stands to reason that their military careers have been affected in a direct and probably personal way by the last two decades of war, ”he said.

At no time did the jurors suggest that Mr. Khan’s treatment was illegal. Their letter noted that Mr. Khan, who had never obtained US citizenship, was considered an “unprivileged foreign enemy belligerent”, a status which made him eligible for trial by a military commission and “technically did not grant him the rights of American citizens ”.

But, the officers noted, Mr. Khan pleaded guilty, admitted his actions and “expressed remorse for the impact of the victims and their families. Leniency is recommended.

Sentencing was delayed for nearly a decade after his guilty plea to give Mr Khan the time and opportunity to cooperate with federal and military prosecutors, so far behind the scenes, in federal terrorism cases and military. In the years that followed, prosecutors and defense lawyers clashed in court cases over who would be called to testify about abuse committed by Mr. Khan during his CIA detention, and how.

In return for the reduced sentence, Mr. Khan and his legal team agreed to abandon their efforts to call witnesses to testify about his torture, much of which is likely classified as secret, as long as he could recount his story. story to the jury.

Jurors were also sympathetic to Mr Khan’s account that he was drawn to radical Islam in 2001 at the age of 21, after the death of his mother, and was recruited by al-Qaeda after the attacks. of September 11. “A vulnerable target for recruiting extremists, it has fallen under the influence of radical Islamic philosophies, as many others have done in recent years,” the letter said. “Now, at 41 with a girl he has never seen, he has remorse and is not a threat to future extremism.”

The panel received nine letters of support for Mr. Khan from family members, including his father and several siblings – U.S. citizens who live in the United States – as well as his wife, Rabia, and his daughter, Manaal, who were born in Pakistan and live there.

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Writer market

Lower Burrell Writer’s Book Highlights 30 Alle-Kiski Communities Past and Present

From Aluminum City Terrace to Yellow Dog Village, there is a story behind every small town in the Alle-Kiski Valley.

Writer George Guido of Lower Burrell has gathered several of these together in his new book, “Neighborhoods of the Alle-Kiski Valley: 30 Communities Full of Unique History”. He will sell copies from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Tarentum night market.

Guido has already looked at local history by writing “Remember When” and “Through the Years” columns for the Valley News Dispatch, as well as a book on the history of sports in Alle-Kiski Valley and a photographic history of New Kensington for the city’s 125th anniversary in 2016.

This time around, Guido said, he focused on “30 neighborhoods in the Valley News Dispatch traffic zone, mostly small neighborhoods that sprang up around coal mines, and some were suburban spending. at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century “.

The spotlight is also hitting some of the most notable – or should we say notorious – citizens of these neighborhoods.

“When you do research, you come across a lot of things,” Guido said.

He learned that pioneering automaker Henry Ford was interested in building a glass factory in Glassmere in the 1920s.

“He and others discovered that the sand along the banks of the Allegheny River was suitable for making glass. He wanted a glass factory for his windows and windshields, ”Guido said. “They wanted to dredge the Allegheny River and build a canal from the Alle-Kiski Valley to Lake Erie so Henry Ford could transport his windshields and the like by boat to his factory in Dearborn, Michigan.

“It never materialized. The Great Depression came, World War II came, and there just wasn’t the money to do a public works project like this, ”he said. “Ford has built houses in the area, and some are still standing. ”

Notable names

Then there is the colorful history of Yellow Dog Village.

“It was near Kittanning, and there was a limestone mine there in the 1890s and early 1900s. Of course, no one had a car, so workers had to go there on horseback. or by train, or on foot, ”Guido said. “The guy who owned the mine decided to build his own houses. You could buy her a house if you promised not to join a union or try to form a union.

“At the time, we called these contracts yellow dogs, so Yellow Dog Village sprouted there, because the people who lived there had to promise not to get involved in union activities,” he said. declared.

No book on the Alle-Kiski Valley would be complete without a mention of pioneering journalist Nelly Bly, born Elizabeth Jane Cochran in 1864 in Cochran Mills, now part of Burrell Township.

She was studying at Indiana Normal School (now Indiana University of Pennsylvania) when her father passed away, Guido said.

“There was no more money for her to go to college, so she dropped out and she and her mother moved to Pittsburgh to, more or less, start over,” he said. “The editor of one of the Pittsburgh newspapers wrote an op-ed that women should only focus on being nurses and teachers, and she responded in a letter saying that is not. true, women are qualified to do many other jobs.

“She was 18 at the time, and he was so impressed that he hired her for $ 5 a week, and she ended up doing all of these revolutionary things,” Guido said, including a presentation on conditions in a New York “insane asylum” and the challenge that she accepted to travel around the world in 80 days, which she did in 72 days.

On the scandalous side is the story of Mary Schenley, whose name graces a Pittsburgh park, a former high school, and an unincorporated community in Gilpin. When she was 15, she was sent after graduation to New York, to escape with the brother of the school owner, a man who was 42 at the time.

And then there was Leon Czolgosz, a native of Natrona, who assassinated President William McKinley in 1901.

“Every community has its story, but I’m sure Natrona doesn’t want to hang on to that,” Guido said.

Pandemic issues

The book began with a suggestion from Karen Watkins, owner of The Last Word bookstore in Lower Burrell.

“She said, ‘Why don’t you do something in the neighborhoods?’ So I ran with this idea, ”he said. He just couldn’t run very fast with it during the pandemic.

“The problem with that was that the museums were closed, the libraries were closed,” he said. “To really do the research, I had to wait for them to open.”

He also obtained stories and photos from historical societies, Valley News Dispatch archives and personal collections.

Its editors are Tom and Francine Costello, owners of Word Association in Taranto.

They ran into supply chain issues getting the book printed, but Guido received his first 125 copies late last week.

“I sold half of it in four days,” he said.

It will continue to print and sell to meet demand, he said. The book is available on and can be ordered on his Facebook page.

Shirley McMarlin is a writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Shirley at 724-836-5750, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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Reading and writing

Help children think clearly and write clearly

Photo provided by Mighty Writers

Ensuring that students have all the support they need is at the heart of the mission of Mighty Writers.

Founded by Tim Whitaker in 2009, Mighty Writers aims to fight illiteracy by helping students of all ages in Philly, Camden, Newark and Atlantic City to further develop their reading and writing skills.

Angela Gomez, a native of Ventnor and Volunteer Manager for Mighty Writers, first got involved in the organization as a workshop leader shortly after graduating from Rutgers University. Having worked with children in the past, she takes great pride in helping them grow.

“I really enjoy working with the team and working with the kids and being able to make a difference, especially in the community of Philly,” said Gomez.

Mighty Writers fulfills its mission by offering activity workshops, in person and virtual, that target all facets of reading and writing. Whether it’s helping high school students write and edit college essays, teaching students how to organize business plans, or educating students about mindfulness, there is something for everyone. tastes. These workshops not only aim to help students improve their skills in a fun and enjoyable way, but also provide them with a safe environment to learn and interact with their fellow students.

Mentoring programs are also offered to provide counseling, including reading and homework help, to students whenever they need it. Gomez said that building these kinds of relationships is vitally important in helping students develop confidence in their writing skills.

“We want to make sure that we tell them that you’re not just there as a mentor, you want to be someone around that kid that they know is there for them at all times,” said said Gomez.

Yet although offering reading and writing assistance has been the main focus of the organization, the hardships caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic presented other immediate needs in the community, the main one being access to adequate nutrition and hygiene.

To do their part in tackling these issues, Mighty Writers are now organizing food and diaper drives for the underserved communities in which they are based to ensure families have sufficient access to meals, groceries and other basic necessities. These events have become essential for the organization.

As Gomez said, serving as a teacher in the community means going beyond the typical needs of the classroom and ensuring that students have the resources they need to be successful.

“If your kids have a need, we try to meet that need,” Gomez said. “Whether it’s academically or making sure they have food or diapers, if the family is helped a bit, children have more time to focus on school and learning, reading and writing. “

As Mighty Writers continues to grow, new volunteers are always welcome, especially those with a passion for reading and writing.

“If you are a book lover and a writer in general, we want you to share this love of reading and writing with our children,” Gomez said. “By joining Mighty Writers, you can give back to the community and share that love with children.”

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Reading and writing

The teacher who changed the way we teach writing

At the end of the summer, the educator and writer Mike Rose is dead a spontaneous brain hemorrhage at his home in Santa Monica; he was seventy-seven. I learned of his death the ruthless way we often do in 2021: through a friend’s Facebook post. The news was a big shock. Of course, Mike was a few years old on me, but he always seemed to be in excellent health. Tributes from his students, colleagues, and those who loved his writing quickly appeared on the internet. His revolutionary book “Lives at the border”, From 1989 onwards, exerted a powerful and benevolent influence on American classrooms. A friend described its impact this way: “Anyone who remembers a writing teacher who cared about them benefits from Mike’s work.

In 1990, Bill Moyers devoted an episode of his PBS series “A World of Ideas” to teaching Mike. (An extract is posted on Mike’s blog.) The interview features Mike at his best: charming, passionate, thoughtful, persuasive. He describes the education to Moyers as “an invitation” and as “an attempt to bring people into a kind of conversation, into a set of ideas, into ways of thinking and conversing, of reading and writing. , which is new to them “. In 1983, while Mike was teaching at UCLA, he saw the damage done by an error-driven teaching model that offered simplistic mechanical “fixes” to students’ writing. It was an ostensibly scientific approach to composition writing that equated students with their “deficits” and implicitly encouraged students to identify with them. Mike tells Moyers about a student who judges traditional writing teachers like a donkey’s cap. “English is just not my thing,” the student told him.

Mike, on the other hand, provided writing studies with a heart: he modeled a deep compassion that called on teachers to understand students as whole people, with very mixed feelings about academic writing, which nevertheless try to do a very difficult thing. He had a keen knack for discovering, through intensive individual work with writers, the deep (and often poignant) logic behind surface errors. His work heralded a paradigm shift in the way writing is taught in our education system, from elementary school to middle school. A former classmate wrote to me that Mike had taught him that “every piece of writing, from first grade to Samuel Beckett.” . . represents a complex, fascinating, almost miraculous collection of intellectual and imaginative processes. Teaching writing can be more than pointing out grammatical errors.

Back in the days when Mike was writing “Lives on the Boundary,” however, writing education and literary studies barely spoke to each other. UCLA’s English department in the 1980s sought to prepare graduate students for faculty jobs, which, as far as they still (slightly) existed, were mostly snatched up by graduates of UCLA’s programs. ‘Ivy League. Professors took little interest in the types of positions they sent the majority of their graduates to: jobs in less prestigious institutions with heavier teaching loads that included much of the teaching of writing. Student writing and writing pedagogy were largely ignored in the English department and outsourced to another unit on campus. That unit, Mike Rose’s unit — Writing Programs — was housed in an entirely different building. As the name suggests, it was not a department but only a program; its professors were lecturers, not eligible for tenure. The distance across the courtyard between Rolfe Hall (English) and Kinsey Hall (Writing Programs) was a silent allegory of the intellectual and spiritual distance between the two units.

It was perfectly possible to leave UCLA with a doctorate. in English in those years (as I did) without ever having met Mike. I never had a lesson with him; the only time I met him in a formal setting was when he was invited in English 375 — Teaching Apprentice Practicum — a compulsory course for graduate teaching assistants. He radiated with himself and with us a comfort that I had never encountered in my literary studies classes. He taught us “the abilities hidden by class and cultural barriers”, and that “we should Welcome certain types of errors, take them into account in the programs we develop, analyze them rather than simply criticize them. Error marks the spot where education begins. Mike was on the sly showing graduate students in English how Actually teaching and caring for students, while by day we learned literary theory and wrote dense (and ultimately largely unread) essays.

My first full-time position, as a Visiting Assistant Professor, was at Loyola Marymount University, where, in this case, Mike had enrolled. During my first semester, I was assigned to teach an advanced composition course for prospective primary and secondary teachers. I didn’t know much about how to teach such a course, and nothing, really, about the teacher training program. So I attributed “Life at the border”. On some level, it was an obvious choice: LMU was the college that changed Mike’s life, and the book tells that story. He also talks about the importance of knowing where your students are coming from and listening to the stories they tell, and how to help them tell them. These are all good lessons for student teachers who are preparing to enter their own classroom. In a move more intuitive than cerebral, I more or less pitted “Lives at the Frontier” against a few books from the growing list of edges from conservative sources that were using lore as a stick against today’s students – Allan Bloom’s “The closing of the American mind“and ED Hirsch, Jr.,”Cultural literacy. “It was a rout: Rose by knockout in fifteen weeks. But then, it was never a fair fight (and I was hardly an impartial referee).

Here’s the most important thing Mike taught me (maybe without knowing it): Nostalgia is dangerous bullshit. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, it was the hidden thesis of this course that I taught — Bloom, Hirsch, et al. were merchants in a malignant form of nostalgia, telling us that the reading public – or elementary, high school, and college students – were cleaner, smarter, working harder in some of the ill-defined good ol ‘days. Once you know how to look for it, a criticism of that kind of thought runs throughout Mike’s writing. But I remember being most struck by his presentation in “Lives at the border”. It’s an admirable writer’s trick: Mike swivels around a litany of contemporary whining about the inability of American students to read and write, including the infamous News week cover of a magazine “Why Johnny Can’t Write”, to almost identical grimaces of Harvard professors and a president of Brown University, some of which date back to 1841. Johnny, it seems, does has never been able to write – or has always been able to write, at least whenever we have been willing to take on the challenge of teaching an increasingly diverse and diversely literate student body. “Is it a declining education system,” Mike urged us to ask, “or is it a system that attempts to honor – through radical change – the many demands of a pluralistic democracy? “

Favorites of New Yorkers

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Reading and writing

Poet, Katrina Rojas – Massachusetts Daily Collegian

“Can we forget that society says we have to choose? Can we just be?

Courtesy of Katrina Rojas

Senior journalist and Spanish double major, Katrina Rojas uses poetry to express her thoughts on love, her family and her identity as an Afro-Latina woman.

“I’m a very introverted, very reserved person, but I also have a lot to say,” Rojas said.

Rojas Instagram account, @katrinapoet, is a hub for his writing, photography and mindfulness practices, but it took years of practice before Rojas shared his work widely.

Teachers at the college were the first to compliment Rojas on his writing. She felt compelled to continue but noticed a change in her motivations.

“I started to use poetry as an emotional outlet and more as something I had to do as opposed to something I did for the class,” Rojas said.

In her freshman year of high school, Rojas attended the New England Young Writers Conference in Vermont and was selected from her cohort of students to perform her poetry live. “Zero Whites” is an emotional and confrontational poem addressed to Rojas high school mates.

“I don’t know if I really like white people, but my school is full of them,” she reads. “I know what you are thinking, but it can’t wait.” I can’t hold it back anymore, neither of us can.

During a practice reading for his very first performance, Rojas felt like he was making the mostly white audience uncomfortable, but his cohort was there to support him. During the official reading, the audience started to applaud after the first line. Rojas understands that her poems won’t resonate with everyone, and she’s okay with that.

“There will always be people who identify with themselves, and others who do not identify and others who have opinions different from yours,” she said. “That’s exactly what comes with this vulnerability you have when you write poetry.”

Rojas plans to launch a line of handbags featuring the text of his poems and expand his brand, Lotus by KR, after graduation next year. She called the business “an opportunity for me to share my words with others and positivity in all its forms”. Rojas’ long term goal is to publish a book of poetry, “Love Hits Like a Boomerang”.

“Poems don’t come out of me every day. It’s a process, ”Rojas said. “I go months without writing anything new, and it is difficult, but when I write something that I feel is very meaningful and that I am proud of, I like to share it with everyone and find commonalities between that.”

Rojas looks to the work of other people, like Toni Morrison and Rudy Francisco, to fill in the gaps between his periods of writing.

“Whenever I need inspiration, whenever I’m in this writer’s block, I read and look for different books that match how I feel,” she said.

She suggests journaling as a meditative practice and looks to prompts and daily events to spark her interest.

“My biggest tip is to write something, even if you think it’s bad, because at the end of the day, it’s for you,” she said.

Earlier this year, Rojas used his platform on Instagram to host a series of mindfulness sessions with Meghan Buschini, major in communication at UMass. The couple worked on a series of journaling and affirmation prompts before engaging in a short meditation with viewers.

“It has really facilitated this online community of vulnerable people who care about their well-being and self-care, and it’s something that I really stand up for,” Rojas said.

Rojas’ series of creative endeavors embodies a line from her poem“Until it’s over.”

“Can we forget that society says we have to choose? Can we just be?

Catherine Hurley can be reached at [email protected]and follow on Twitter @cath_hurley.

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Reading and writing

California’s new reading target is achievable, but it needs to be more meaningful

Credit: Allison Shelley for American Education

A first grade boy and his kindergarten friend read together on a bench outside.

The state’s Superintendent of Public Education, Tony Thurmond, last week announced a new effort to have all third-graders read at grade level by 2026. Research tells us that top performing organizations with successful goals meet three criteria: Goals are empowering, achievable, and meaningful. Before California embarks on strategy design, policymakers should take action to ensure that the reading goal is achievable and more meaningful.

The goal of 100% is difficult and can seem intimidating at first for many teachers and principals. An additional 200,000 students in each class will eventually have to become proficient readers. California students are going to have to get off to a better start.

Recent data from the Stanford Educational Data Archive (SEDA) allows us to see average test scores in third grade and then learning rates as students progress through elementary and middle school. In the graph below – based on a decade of data before the pandemic – each school district is represented by a circle. Poor neighborhoods are in purple and poor neighborhoods in blue.

Two-thirds of California’s districts are at the bottom right and are labeled “Opportunity” districts. Their students don’t start off as well as they should, finishing third grade in reading below grade. The good news is that from Grades 4 to 8, their reading scores increase by more than a year for every year in school. They have above average growth compared to students in the rest of the United States.

While more than half of students have a bad start, many California school districts offer learning opportunities. A fully funded transitional kindergarten should give more students the opportunity to start their studies well.

Is the reading goal achievable? The good news is that California has a steady history of recent improvements in reading to build on. In 2003, California ranked 49th in the country on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Half of the fourth graders read at the lower basic level. By 2019, fourth-grade reading scores had increased by a full level (from 206 to 216), and 62.5% of students were reading at basic level and above. The achievement gap between white and Latino students has also narrowed.

When we follow the same groups of students as they move from year to year, consistent progress is also evident in the state’s Smarter Balanced exams. About 220,000 more elementary and secondary school students became proficient readers and writers from 2015 to 2019 than they initially were in third grade. These trends are present in all Smarter Balanced states, but California and Oregon have been pioneers in improving results.

Visalia Unified School District is an example of a district where students are catching up over time. As the table below shows, by the time students complete grade eight, they are meeting reading and writing expectations. If researchers can begin to understand why students aren’t getting off to a good start, but also learn from how districts like Visalia are helping struggling readers improve, Superintendent Thurmond’s ambitious goal might be achievable. .

The benefits of reading in grade three are clear: A study of 4,000 students by the Annie E. Casey Foundation finds that those who read effectively in grade three are four times more likely to graduate from high school in time and go to college. It is important to put students on the path to educational and economic success. Equally important is keeping them on track throughout their schooling.

How Many University Graduates Does California Need? Economists at the Center for Education and Work at Georgetown University estimate 65% of jobs in California today require at least some college. By 2030, Moody’s Analytics predicts that 50% of California’s future workforce will need an associate’s degree and 70% will need at least a college degree.

The state has taken great care in developing standards and exams that meet the expectations of colleges and employers. Now is the time for policymakers to align everything, to ensure that their educational goals match the economic development needs of the state.

Setting ambitious goals should not lose sight of the ultimate destination for students. State policymakers should align goals – 100% reading in third grade and at least 70% mastery by the end of middle and high school, because that’s how many people need to be on the right track. way to succeed in college. Doing so makes a difficult and perhaps achievable goal all the more meaningful for students, parents, and educators across the state.


David Wakelyn is a consultant To Union Square Learning, a non-profit organization that works with school districts and charter schools to improve education. He was previously part of the National Governors Association team that developed Common Basic State Standards.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author. If you would like to submit a comment, please review our guidelines and contact us.

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Reading and writing

KDE Releases School Assessment Results for Spring Tests | New

The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) released annual report card data on Wednesday, as required by the federal Every Student Succeeds Act. The data is not entirely accurate as several students did not participate in assessments given in the spring of 2021 due to concerns over COVID-19. These assessments were required by the US Department of Education as a strategy to better understand how students who were tested performed academically amid a variety of learning disruptions related to COVID-19.

The US Department of Education has given states flexibilities when administering assessments, such as expanded testing windows and shortened assessments.

“We knew these results wouldn’t be what we wanted to see, but the previous two school years were marked by extreme challenges,” said Kentucky Education Commissioner Jason E. Glass. “We can use this information to fill in the gaps caused by COVID-19 disruption and provide our students with the support they need to be successful. This is one of the many tools our districts regularly use to assess where our students are. “

In all of Kentucky, no level of education – elementary, middle school, or high school – had a 90% overall participation in reading, math, science, and on-demand writing subjects.

Elementary students had 88.9% participation in reading, math and science, while high school students had 72.4% participation in on-demand writing and 73.3% participation in science.

Locally, writing in Grade 11 had the highest scores, with 68.2% of its students at McCracken County High School, while 57.1% of students at Paducah Tilghman High School achieved these levels.

Here is an overview of the percentage of students in each district classified as proficient or distinguished in math, reading, science and writing subjects, by grade (seventh grade students at Paducah Middle School did not participate in the assessments) :


• Math: 3rd grade: 41.6, 4th: 47.4, 5th: 53.2, 6th: 49.8, 7th: 35.0, 8th: 34.7, 10th: 28.9.

• Reading: 3rd grade: 44.8, 4th: 53.6, 5th: 57.7, 6th: 56.3, 7th: 48.3, 8th: 55.8, 10th: 43.3.

• Science: 4th grade: 34.8, 7th: 28.2, 11th: 26.4.

• Writing: 5th grade: 31.0, 8th: 68.4, 11th: 68.2.


• Math: 3rd grade: 27.6, 4th: 23.1, 5th: 19.8, 6th: 25.4, 8th: 16.6, 10th: 23.2.

• Reading: 3rd grade: 29.7, 4th: 32.4, 5th: 41.0, 6th: 38.6, 8th: 36.2, 10th: 40.4.

• Science: 4th grade: 21.3, 11th: 25.0.

• Writing: 5th grade: 35.7, 8th: 42.6, 11th: 57.1.

Statewide, 31.4% of elementary school students achieved proficient or distinguished marks in math, 39.5% in reading, 25.1% in science, and 39.8% in on-demand writing.

For college students in Kentucky, 27.8% achieved proficient or distinguished grades in math, 44% in reading, 20.9% in science, and 50.9% in on-demand writing.

Among high school students across the state, 30.3% achieved proficient or distinguished marks in math, 37.9% in reading, 26.5% in science, and 57.2% in on-demand writing.

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Fiction publisher

Literacy Work Propels Press and Santa Monica Editor Jeffrey Goldman Into Young Adult Literature | New

LOS ANGELES, September 23, 2021 / PRNewswire-PRWeb / – Santa Monica Press, long known as an eclectic independent publisher with a Southern california looked at their list of high quality books, recently announced that after 25 years of publishing Adult Nonfiction, the press is launching Santa Monica Press / Teen, with Young Adult Narrative Nonfiction and Historical Fiction. A percentage of sales from the entire YA line will be donated to non-profit organizations dedicated to promoting literacy.

The initial series of books for young adults (YA), published in the winter of 2022, includes four titles, two novels and two memoirs:

  • Pork Belly Tacos with an Anxious Side: My Journey Through Depression, Bulimia, and Drug Addiction by Yvonne castaneda
  • The dressmaker’s daughter: novel by Linda boroff
  • Flowing with the Pearl River: Memory of a Girl from Red China by Amy Chan Zhou
  • Ventura and Zelzah: a novel by JG Bryan

For ten years, the publisher Jeffrey Goldman has been heavily involved in the nonprofit world, having served on the board of directors of Words Alive, a nonprofit literacy organization, both as a board member and as chairman from the administration board. The power of YA really hit Goldman while he was working as a Words Alive writing facilitator at Monarch School, which deals with children affected by homelessness.

“I knew through the education of my own children, my friendships and the support of the librarians at their school, that YA literature could have a powerful effect on a young person. But what I saw at Monarch School was how YA literature could literally change lives. Goldman wonders. “I decided it was time for Santa Monica Press to take on a new challenge that could have a profound impact on young readers, while also raising funds through the sale of titles to help support literacy organizations. nonprofit such as Living Words. “

High school students who barely cared about school turned to the carefully chosen books from Words Alive’s curriculum. “I remember a young man, brand new to school, a high school student, who had been in and out of different schools and in and out of different juvenile detention situations. And this kid was one of the students. most amazing writers I have But he didn’t think about it, because he had never had anyone at home to cheer him on, until he read the book Words Alive gave him: Jimmy Baca Santiago A place to stand. This memoir changed her life. He devoted himself to his writing. “

Regarding Santa Monica Press’s first foray into YA, Goldman says, “True to our roots, it’s a diverse mix. Pork Belly Tacos is written by a writer whose mother is Mexican and father is Cuban, and explores a subject traditionally taboo in these communities. Pearl River is the work of an author who spent much of his childhood in the China. Ventura and Zelzah is a coming-of-age novel set in a suburb Los Angeles in the 1970s, and The Dressmaker’s Daughter, which takes place in Romania, presents a new perspective on the Holocaust. “

To top it off, the next release in the Santa Monica Press / Teen line is what Goldman claims to be a book “in the great tradition of the Great American Novel, written only by a Brit!” He pauses for effect, laughs, then ends with, “I assure you we’ll always keep things eclectic here at Santa Monica Press.”

About Santa Monica Press

Santa Monica Press has published an eclectic line of non-fiction books for over 25 years. Our critically acclaimed titles are sold in chain bookstores, independent, online and college bookstores around the world, as well as in some of the most popular retail, gift and museum stores in North America. Our writers are recognized experts who are sought after by the media and receive coverage in newspapers, magazines, internet, social media, radio and television both nationally and internationally. At Santa Monica Press, we’re not afraid to cast a large editorial net. Our list of living and modern non-fiction titles includes books in categories such as pop culture, film, music, humor, biography, travel, and sports, as well as regional titles focused on California. We recently added Young Adult Fiction and Young Adult Narrative Non-Fiction to our list! Don’t forget to look for the shell!

[email protected]


Media contact

Adriana Senior, Santa Monica Press, 718-578-1130, [email protected]

SOURCE Santa Monica Press

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Reading and writing

Education: Then and Now – Lewiston Sun Journal

Bethel built elementary schools early on, in response to Massachusetts school laws and Protestant custom. Typically a room, a teacher, multigrade at the start, they teach reading, writing, arithmetic, but also punctuality and sociability. Attendance, for a few years at least, soon became the norm; illiteracy is becoming a greater handicap in an increasingly literate society. For farmers, traders and possibly factory workers, literacy was sufficient; crafts were learned at home and on the job, books and newspapers increased their reach. Gradually consolidated into fewer, larger and more sophisticated businesses, primary schools continue to look after the original bases. Part of a growing population wanted more education; local leaders founded academies and high schools; finally, the state contributed, then regulated. Gould, like many other such institutions, prepared students for academia, professions, commerce, education, and civil society (political roles for elite men, largely social roles for women). Admission to university needed Latin and maybe a little Greek; for many years, most continued their classical studies in college. As admission requirements have changed, so have high school courses.

Many lawyers, doctors, engineers, etc., have been trained by apprenticeship; secondary education provided them with the prerequisites of advanced literacy and numeracy, perhaps a little science… Business required a similar education; the MBA was far into the future. Prospective teachers could add modern language to the curriculum, as well as pedagogy; finally high school became a prerequisite for normal school, later for teachers’ college. Civility and elite status required additions such as music, dance, history, politics…

Gould has served Bethel’s educational needs for over a century. But by the end of the 20th century, a secondary education had become the universal norm, the minimum; the diploma is a necessity. Secondary education has therefore had to expand and diversify to meet the needs, interests and capacities of all young people. Gould and Bethel decided the former couldn’t do all of this; hence Telstar.

As secondary education developed, the high school diploma became, perhaps unreasonably, a certificate of intelligence and diligence, practical for employers and the public. When community college becomes free, maybe fourteen years of schooling will be the threshold of a “full” education, of a good job. But higher education is another column.

David R Jones has taught educational history to prospective teachers, administrators, et al.

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Reading and writing

Obituary of JoAnn B. Crook, Canfield, Ohio

CANFIELD, Ohio (MyValleyTributes) – JoAnn B. (Sinkovich) Crook, 73, of Canfield, died unexpectedly on Saturday night, September 18, 2021.

JoAnn was born April 29, 1948 in Youngstown, daughter of the late Joseph and Jennie (DiPasqua) Sinkovich and has lived her entire life in the area.

JoAnn graduated from East High School in 1966.

She was a member of Old North Church, Canfield.

JoAnn was a proud housewife and always made her family her top priority. She loved spending time with them and was an excellent cook and pastry chef. His family will be missed by all his wonderful dishes during the holidays and especially his famous clothespin cookies. JoAnn has had many passions throughout her life. She loved to read, write and her happiest times were spent at the beach collecting sea glass and seashells, watching and feeding birds every morning.

JoAnn is survived by her 52-year-old husband and the love of her life, Lee Crook, whom she married on June 21, 1969; her two beloved children, Jami Sue Crook of Canfield and Joseph John (Leslie) Crook of Greenford; her two grandchildren, whom she called “her heart walking on legs”, Jacob and Stella; her two sisters, Catherine Frlan of Canada and Veronica (Vincent) Guerrieri of Boardman and her brother, Joseph (Linda) Sinkovich of North Lima as well as several nieces, nephews, cousins ​​and friends.

Family and friends can pay homage to JoAnn on Saturday, September 25, 2021 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:55 p.m., followed by a memorial service at 1:00 p.m., all at Old North Church, 7105 Herbert Road, Canfield, with the Dr Nick Gatzke, Senior Pastor, as officiant.

Arrangements are in the professional care of Rossi & Santucci Funeral Home, 4221 Market Street, Boardman. Family and friends can visit to sign the guestbook and to send condolences to JoAnn’s family.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of JoAnn B. (Sinkovich) Crook, please visit our flower shop.

A TV Tribute will air on Thursday, September 23 at the following approximate times: 5:17 a.m. on WKBN, 8:39 a.m. on FOX, 5:21 p.m. on WYTV and 6:35 p.m. on MyYTV.

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Reading and writing

Most parents in Tennessee are optimistic about school this year, poll finds

A month after the start of the new school year, three-quarters of parents in Tennessee said school was going well for their child and 69% said their students felt safe attending classes in person, even though many districts have temporarily closed under pressure from the highly contagious delta variant of COVID.

Survey results released Tuesday also show that nearly half of parents in the state fear their students may have fallen behind academically during the pandemic, with concerns even more prevalent among suburban parents and children. parents of high school students.

The poll – commissioned by the State Collaborative on Reforming Education, also known as SCORE – offered some surprises on parents’ perceptions of the start of the third consecutive school year affected by the pandemic. The survey was conducted from September 1-5 with a representative sample of 500 registered voters and 300 parents of public school students across the state, where most of the students returned to school. school in early August.

About 77% of parents surveyed were positive about how the 2021-2022 school year was going for their children.

At the time, at least 18 of Tennessee’s 147 school systems had closed for up to a week to try to tame the virus, as illness or quarantine sidelined too many teachers to staff classrooms. class adequately. And a third of all COVID cases in Tennessee have been in children up to the age of 18. Additionally, Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn had just started granting seven-day waivers to allow some schools to temporarily switch to virtual learning as part of a new COVID response plan.

Since then, Tennessee has reported more new cases of the coronavirus than any other state, relative to its population – an average of 109 per 100,000 people, according to a New York Times Database.

Data released Monday by the state health department, shows the death toll of people under 20 has doubled to 20 since the start of the school year.

And at least 14 public school employees who contracted COVID have died this school year, based on a report on deaths confirmed by Tennessee Lookout, an online news organization. The report notes that it is not known whether an employee was exposed to COVID at school or outside of school.

SCORE officials believe parents feel good about more face-to-face learning than last school year, when districts had the general power to switch to virtual learning to respond to pushes. local viruses. A new state rule requires schools to provide in-person instruction and tap into stored days if they have to close. Even with Tennessee’s COVID numbers, Gov. Bill Lee’s administration has not backed down on that position.

“The positive feelings expressed by parents about the start of this school year are a testament to the hard but essential work that teachers and school and district leaders across the state have done to support face-to-face teaching under very difficult circumstances. difficult, ”said David Mansouri, President and CEO of SCORE. said in a statement.

Teresa Wasson, spokesperson for SCORE, added that polls for the past two years show that two-thirds of parents in Tennessee believe distance learning is worse for their students than learning in person.

Beth Brown, president of the Tennessee Education Association, agreed that face-to-face learning is the best and said it’s great for parents to feel positive about the school year. But she also cited a mismatch between what the survey shows and what she hears from educators on the ground who continue to respond to the disturbances.

“People need to understand that the pandemic is wreaking havoc among educators in a state where there is already a shortage of teachers,” Brown told Chalkbeat. “Teachers are exhausted, exhausted and struggling mentally and emotionally. “

This year’s survey yielded similar results to last year regarding parents’ concerns about learning delays related to the pandemic. But this is the first pandemic year that Tennessee has benefited from the results of statewide tests, which were released a month before the last survey was conducted. In 2020, testing was canceled across the country due to the virus.

Tennessee scores showed an overall decrease in skills of 5 percentage points since 2019 as part of the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program, also known as TCAP. Scores declined across all subjects and levels, with the largest drops among students who have historically followed their peers and learned longest.

The SCORE survey also looked at education issues unrelated to the pandemic.

Most respondents, including 71% of parents and 65% of voters, believe that Tennessee’s public schools are not receiving enough funding. And even larger percentages of those polled said they would support increased state funding for K-12 education.

The poll also showed strong statewide support for continuing the annual state tests, which have been used in Tennessee since 1988, to find out whether students meet education standards in reading, writing. and mathematics.

Based in Nashville, GOAL is a research and advocacy group founded in 2009 by former US Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee.

The group’s survey was conducted by Public Opinion Strategies and had a margin of error of just over 4% for the sample of registered voters and over 5% for parents in public schools.

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Reading and writing

Irma Kalish, TV writer who tackled social issues, dies at 96

Irma Kalish, a TV screenwriter who addressed abortion, rape and other provocative issues in many of the biggest comedy hits of the 1960s and beyond as she helped women get into the bedroom. writer, died September 3 in Woodland Hills, California. 96.

His death, at the Motion Picture and Television Fund retirement home, was attributed to complications from pneumonia, said his son, Bruce Kalish, a television producer.

Ms. Kalish’s work in television comedy broke the mold for female writers. Women in the mid-century industry were mostly expected to write heart-wrenching dramas, but from the early 1960s on Ms. Kalish made her mark in comedy, including writing for caustic sitcoms. and socially aware of Norman Lear’s “All in the Family” and his spin-off “Maude” in the 1970s.

She wrote much of her writing in partnership with her husband, Austin Kalish. They shared offices in studios around Los Angeles, typically working at opposite desks alternating in draft scripts.

“When I first became a screenwriter, I was one of the very first female comedy writers and later producers,” Ms. Kalish said in a oral history for the Writers Guild Foundation in 2010. She added, referring to her husband by his nickname, “A producer actually thought I shouldn’t be writing – I just had to do the typing, and Rocky was doing the writing.”

To combat sexism in the industry, she said, “I just became one of the guys.”

Writing for “Maude,” Ms. Kalish and her husband, who died in 2016, worked on the controversial two-part episode “Maude’s Dilemma” (1972), in which the main character, a woman and suburban grandmother in the strong spirit in the late 1940s (played by Bea Arthur), had an abortion. When it aired, Roe v. Wade had just been argued in the United States Supreme Court and would be decided in a few months, making abortion legal across the country. Controversy over the episode grew rapidly; dozens of CBS affiliates refused to show it.

Mr. and Mrs. Kalish won a “story by” credit, and Susan Harris was credited as screenwriter; Mr Kalish said in an interview in 2012 that he and Ms Kalish came up with the idea for the episode.

Lynne Joyrich, professor in the Department of Modern Culture and Media at Brown University, called the episode a watershed moment for women’s issues on screen. “Maude’s Dilemma” and episodes like it, she said, demonstrated “how everyday life is so political.”

Kalish views on social issues also found their way into “All in the Family”. An episode centered on Edith Bunker (Jean Stapleton), the wife of fanatic Archie Bunker (Carroll O’Connor), overcoming a fear of breast cancer. Another focused on the couple’s daughter, Gloria (Sally Struthers), the victim of an attempted rape.

News scripts “lifted us up in the eyes of the company,” Mr. Kalish said in a joint interview with Ms. Kalish for the 2012 American Television Archives.

Mr. and Mrs. Kalish were executive producers of another hit 1970s sitcom, “Good Times,” about a black family in a housing project in Chicago, and have continued to write for this program and many others.

Ms. Kalish’s career spanned decades, beginning in the mid-1950s, and included writing credits for more than three dozen shows, many of which would constitute a pantheon of baby boomer favorite sitcoms, including “The Patty Duke Show, ”“ I Dream of Jeannie, ”“ My Favorite Martian, ”“ F Troop, ”“ My Three Sons, ”and“ Family Affair. ”She has also had production credits on some 16 shows, including“ The Facts of Life “and” Valerie “.

Ms. Kalish’s work paved the way for other female sitcom writers. As she said to comedian Amy Poehler in a 2013 interview for Ms. Poehler’s web series, “Smart Girls at the Party,” “You are a descendant of mine, so to speak.”

Radiant Mrs. Poehler agreed.

Irma May Ginsberg was born on October 6, 1924 in Manhattan. Her mother, Lillian (Cutler) Ginsberg, was a housewife. His father, Nathan Ginsberg, was a business investor.

Irma attended Julia Richman High School on the Upper East Side and went to Syracuse University, where she studied journalism and graduated in 1945. She married Mr. Kalish, the brother of a childhood friend, in 1948 after having corresponded with him while he was in office. in Bangor, Maine, during World War II.

After the couple moved to Los Angeles, Mr. Kalish became a comedy writer for radio and television. Ms. Kalish worked as an editor for a pulp magazine called “Western Romance” before leaving to stay home with their two children. Her first writing credit, on the drama series “The Millionaire”, came in 1955.

She joined the Writers Guild in 1964 and began to write with her husband more consistently. The Writer’s Guild Foundation, in their “The writer speaks“, called them” one of the most successful sitcom writing couples of the 20th century. “

Ms. Kalish was active in the Writers Guild of America West and Women in Film, an advocacy group, of which she was the chair.

The couple’s last television credit dates back to 1998, for the comedy series “The Famous Jett Jackson”, produced by their son Bruce. They wrote a screenplay dealing with ageism.

With her son, she is survived by her sister and her only brother, Harriet Alef; two grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. His daughter, Nancy Biederman, died in 2016.

In the interview with US Television Archives, Ms. Kalish expressed her desire to be known as her own person, and not just as Austin Kalish’s wife and writing partner.

“Of course, God made man before woman,” she said, “but you always do a first draft before you make a final masterpiece.”

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Reading and writing

Finalists selected for 2022 Colorado Teacher of the Year

Each year, the Colorado Teacher of the Year program honors an exceptionally dedicated, knowledgeable, and qualified K-12 teacher to represent the entire profession in the state. The selected teacher then continues as Colorado’s candidate for the national teacher. Denver7 is proud to partner with the Colorado Department of Education for the Teacher of the Year program.

Colorado 2022 Teacher of the Year will be named at the end of October and will come from one of these seven finalists:

Mountain Vista Community School

Carrianna DePace is a fifth grade English teacher at Mountain Vista Community School, a Harrison School District K-8 Title I school in Colorado Springs. She has spent her entire career teaching at MVCS because she feels so passionate about her community and believes that in order to be an agent of change you need to fully engage and know your community. DePace is a first generation college graduate and became a teacher because she knew that for children like her who face chaos and trauma at home, a safe school and education has the power to equalize. She believes that in order to effectively teach students, we must know and love the child as a whole and hold students to high expectations. DePace holds a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and a Masters in Curriculum and Teaching. DePace continued his studies at the University of Colorado – Colorado Springs.

SkyView Academy

After earning a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Utah State University, Julia Ferre built a career in creating on-air and online media before finding her path to education. She was accepted into the Boettcher Teachers’ Residency Program in 2016, where she shared her skills and experiences with students at a neighborhood school in Douglas County. She obtained a Master of Arts in Education with an endorsement of culturally and linguistically diverse learners from Adams State University. After four years as a grade 5 teacher, she became a grade 8 science teacher at SkyView Academy, a charter school in Highlands Ranch. Ferre believes that the environments designed by the students and the learning demonstrations selected by the students promote the strongest intrinsic motivation.

Grand Ouest High School

Emmylou Harmon teaches CTE Science / Math / Agriculture at West Grand High School in Kremmling, where she taught 21 years of her 23-year teaching career. Harmon received a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from High School Teacher Education from the University of Northern Colorado and a Master of Science in Science Education from Montana State University Bozeman. She has taught algebra, geometry, remedial math, health, physical science, chemistry, biology, greenhouse / horticulture, environmental science, and food science. Harmon received 2021 Colorado State Science and Engineering Fair Teacher of the Year, an award sponsored by Lockheed Martin. She was also selected as the West Grand School District Teacher of the Year in 2021. Harmon not only works for her students to experience education, but she also plans experiences for staff at school in order to create an educational community in the hope of building a strong and stable team of teachers.

Falcon College

Ashley Lowe teaches Grade 8 English Language Arts at Falcon Middle School in Peyton. As a third year teacher, she has developed and implemented contemporary educational programs and practices to elevate learning in her classroom and authenticate student engagement. She was part of her school’s initiative of Modern Teacher, a model of teaching that creates a culture of learner-centeredness. Its personalized learning plans for students were recognized nationally at the 2021 National Conference on Digital Convergence. Lowe was recognized by her district as the 2021 Teacher of the Year for her school. Lowe believes in the power and importance of forming meaningful relationships with students to share his passion for the arts of the English language. She believes that as an English teacher she teaches more than reading, writing and communication – she also teaches empathy. Lowe received his Bachelor of Arts in Secondary English Education from Colorado State University at Pueblo and is studying for his Master of Arts in English online at Arizona State University.

Glenwood Springs College

Autumn Rivera is a sixth grade science teacher at Glenwood Springs Middle School in Glenwood Springs, as well as an assistant professor in the education department at Colorado Mountain College. For over sixteen years as an educator, she worked with students from elementary to postgraduate level. Rivera holds a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and a Master of Arts in Secondary Science Education from Colorado College; and a master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Colorado – Colorado Springs. Rivera is the Colorado Association of Science Teachers’ Region 3 Elementary Board representative. She also volunteers with the American Association of Chemistry Teachers. She has presented a variety of professional development courses, including at the Roaring Fork EdTech Summit and the Colorado Science Conference. Rivera is also the college science officer for her school district.

Craig College

Cristina Vanzo teaches STEM education from grades 6 to 8 at Craig Middle School in Craig. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies and a Master of Science in Learning and Technology from Western Governors University. She has been teaching in the Moffat County School District since 2012, the start of her education career. After being a fifth-grade teacher for two years, Vanzo decided to take on a new challenge, moving to middle school, where she taught math and science to sixth-graders. It was around this time that she worked with her school leaders to develop a STEM program for students. Working in a rural district, she identified the need for STEM education and worked with stakeholders in the district to create an elective engineering course. Its program has been recognized at the state level by the Colorado Association of School Boards through the Student Achievement Program Award. Vanzo is always up for challenges and comes to school with enthusiasm every day to learn alongside her students.

Classic Academy Ascension

After spending many years in the oil and gas industry as a scientist and business development analyst, Paula Wilderman began her second career as a teacher to show students the importance and beauty of mathematics. Born and raised in the Midwest, she received a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Southern Indiana University. Wilderman went on to obtain a doctorate in microbiology and molecular biology from the University of Miami. She moved to Colorado for a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Colorado School of Medicine before pursuing a career in industry. Over the years, she has been both a tutor and coordinator of several programs in the Denver area. In 2018, Wilderman began teaching math and science to middle and high school students at Ascent Classical Academy in Douglas County in Lone Tree. There, Wilderman is involved in school activities and the establishment of school culture. She constantly demonstrates the wonder of learning and can be heard encouraging her students to say, “I don’t know that… yet. She created the Ruby Society which helps girls develop their virtue, character and gratitude. Wilderman has established and heads the local chapters of the Junior and National Honor Societies and is the co-leader of the House of Leonidas, one of the six houses of the school’s house system.

This Colorado Teacher of the Year cover brought to you by Canvas credit union. Find out how Canvas celebrates our community and helps Coloradans afford life to

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Reading and writing

Rick Bragg to receive Fitzgerald Museum literary prize

Winning awards is nothing new for Rick Bragg, a prolific author and journalist from Alabama de Pelham who even won a Pulitzer Prize.

But this new one is a little more special. After all, it’s named after Bragg’s favorite author, F. Scott Fitzgerald.

“People have always asked me what Fitzgerald meant to me as a writer,” said Bragg, who frequently visits Montgomery but has never seen the Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald Museum in town before.

“It’s always been easy to answer because, you know, I grew up on the pulpwood roads. I grew up among the cotton fields. I’m not trying to be rustic. This is just how I grew up. My first job was collecting and shoveling, collecting hay, digging ditches. I worked on a farm, ”said Bragg. “Reading Fitzgerald opened up a different world to me. Especially “The Great Gatsby”. I know they called it the Jazz Age, but for me it was kind of that golden age of parties and big cars and old money, new money.

On September 24, Bragg, a longtime journalist and author of 11 books, said he was eager to be part of Fitzgerald’s legacy as the sixth recipient of the Fitzgerald Museum Literary Prize for Excellence in Writing.

“We have worked very hard to design a fun, safe and interactive evening for Rick and his fans that takes advantage of the beautiful outdoor space of the museum’s lawns to allow for distancing and fresh air,” said the museum’s general manager, the Dr. Alaina Doten. “With all the stress right now, the comfort and joy Rick delivers through his words is the type of medicine that many of us really need to lift our spirits.”

Guests can obtain autographed copies of Bragg’s new book, “Spotted Beauty: A Dog and His People, Lost and Found”. This is the story of his canine companion Speck, who will not be present. If you read the book, you will understand why.

“In the book, you tend to hit the most interesting places,” Bragg said of his actual misadventures with Speck. “The things that don’t make the book were just as bad. They just weren’t that interesting.

Bragg has the honor of being the only person Speck has bitten since his rescue, though the dog chases after every delivery man or worker who approaches him. “He nailed me a few good times, but never anyone else,” Bragg said.

While there is a lot of humor in Bragg’s new novel, it also touches on sadness. Bragg’s brother, Sam, who was a major figure in the book. died near the end of his writing from pancreatic cancer.

“He got sick towards the end of the book, and I wasn’t going to write about my brother’s death in a book about dogs. I just wasn’t going to do it, ”Bragg said. “But it had to be fixed because he was such a big role, with his interactions with Speck. He didn’t like Speck at first. I discovered towards the end of the book that I could say certain things about my brother that I always wanted to say … Towards the end, they came to like each other.

In addition to the award ceremony, the event serves as a celebration of Fitzgerald’s 125th birthday.

“Well, someone older than me,” Bragg said.

The ceremony takes place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in a tent in the museum’s outdoor area, 919 Felder Ave., Montgomery. Tickets for the event, which also celebrates Fitzgerald’s 125th birthday, are available between $ 55 and $ 75 at

Previous literary award winners have been Equal Justice Initiative Founder Bryan Stevenson (2020), Alabama Alabama Writers Frye Gaillard (2019), Wayne Flynt (2018), Katherine Clark (2017) and Kim Cross (2016).

Bragg took the time to answer a few questions about his life, his dog, and his writing:

Q: Have you ever been to Montgomery before?

A: “I have been coming and going from Montgomery since I was five years old. We always got lost in Montgomery on our way to Pensacola. . . We always stopped at Montgomery and had lunch. We stopped at those old concrete picnic tables on the 21st. That always meant fried chicken and getting lost. We would manage to get lost at least once.

Q: Did you write a lot when you were very young?

A: “No. When I was little, I grew up with great storytellers. I mean the best storytellers on the planet. But they were talkers, not writers. They could make you hear the change clicking in the pocket of the member who is chasing you down a dirt road. My Uncle James and Uncle Bill and my other uncles were just big talkers.

“I would never have started writing without the high school newspaper. I skipped drawing lessons in business school because I couldn’t do math. I always wanted to be an architect, but I couldn’t do the math. I just didn’t have it in me. I would watch a long division and lose my mind. A friend of mine told me that if I was doing journalism I wouldn’t have to do math. I joined the school newspaper and started writing stories. I finally discovered that you could tell a story with the color, the images and the details of how my uncles told a story.

He said journalism was also beating manual jobs. “You’re not going to fall off the roof of a house writing a story,” Bragg said.

Q: Have you always been a fan of dogs?

A: “I’ve always liked dogs, and I’ve always liked the idea of ​​dogs. I grew up with dogs. I had a Weimaraner puppy with one eye, a basset and a hundred mongrels … I had dogs until I started working for newspapers, before going to work at Birmingham News. Then all of a sudden I was working 18 hours and on the road, living in apartments. I just didn’t have the heart to put a dog in a small apartment. I haven’t had another dog for 30 years. Maybe longer.

Q: So tell us about Speck.

A: “I found Speck starving on a ridge line behind the Calhoun County house, behind my mother’s cabin. He had been there for about two or three days, just waiting to die. He had been torn apart, and we believe he fled by the stray dogs he was roaming with. He was looking just down, up the ridge about a hundred yards, just watching the house. After a few days, I couldn’t take it anymore, so I went to get him. It probably wasn’t the best decision I’ve ever made. He was a good dog as he regained his strength. But as soon as he regained his strength, he tore everything apart for two miles. He terrorized cats, trampled donkeys and fought other dogs … He managed to wallow in all forms of manure that can be found on a farm.

Q: As a longtime journalist, have you ever felt this style of writing with The Associated Press rules creeping into your work?

A: “Oh, everyday. Oh yes. I still have editors at Knoph whose first thing is to change my manuscript to AP style. They use the Chicago style more. I don’t really know how to write otherwise. Now I am so confused that I would probably fail an AP style test.

Q: As a writer, has the year and a half spent in pandemic conditions been a time to work on new projects?

A: “It is not, and I will tell the truth about it. It might have given me more time, but it’s a terrible, terrible time. There is something about fear and worry. I’m not talking about a single person who gets sick. I’m talking about every person in your family. I took my mom across counties to get her COVID shot because we could get it a bit quicker there. Worrying about being with people, I don’t think that’s all good for writing. I didn’t answer it very well.

Q: Something I have wondered over the years is, will writers ever retire? Do you ever see yourself not writing?

A: “It would be a little shameful to quit a job as easily as this one. Again, I did some shovel and picking work. I once remember having to carry concrete blocks up a ladder … and I remember thinking, man, whatever I do with my life, it’s gonna be easier than that. Write to me, even though it’s hard, and even though you can sweat it really doesn’t compare to what most people do … I guess I’ll write as long as I have something to say, and then maybe one day I’ll wake up and decide I have nothing to say. Then I’m going to get myself a lawn chair and a Zebco 202 fishing rod, and maybe a good dog. Maybe Speck will last that long. Maybe he and me will come down and pretend to fish.

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Reading and writing

Cecily Strong starts a new conversation

RHINEBECK, NY – It’s hard to think of Cecily Strong and not remember the effusive TV characters she plays. If you are a fan of “Saturday Night Live”, you immediately mention her exuberant performance as Jeanine Pirro singing “My Way” while she soaks herself in a vat of wine. Or if you watched her in the Apple TV + musical “Schmigadoon!” ” the pleasures of corn pudding or smooch with a suitor.

The actors, of course, are not their characters, and Strong has tried to explain that while she is impressed with the self-confident types, can I talk to the manager in real life, she is not. t one of them. As she said a few weeks ago, “Anytime there’s someone doing a show in public it’s the best thing I’ve ever seen. But when I say I’m shy or introverted, people tell me, I don’t mean it. I’m like, okay – but I am, you know. “

It is therefore surprising that Strong, who does not consider himself a confessional person, writes a personal memoir, and even more that his book is not really an account of his showbiz career but rather a candid unfolding of his life prompted by his thoughts. at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The memory, “Everything will be over soon” will be published by Simon & Schuster on August 10. He occasionally explores his time at “SNL”, where she has been a member of the cast since 2012. But it starts with her learning, in January 2020, that his 30 year old cousin Owen had hours to live before dying from glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer.

Weeks later, Strong discovers that a man she recently started dating has fallen with a fever which turns out to be a symptom of the coronavirus. Soon after, she collects items from her Manhattan apartment – a salad spinner, a garlic press, a yoga mat – as she and two friends prepare to flee to an Airbnb rental in the Valley. ‘Hudson for what she mistakenly assumes to be just a few weeks.

For Strong, 37, the book is an opportunity to make these episodes his own and reveal them to his audience without fear of judgment.

Thinking back to the circumstances that gave birth to the book, she said, “It’s like, who has time to be ashamed of right now?” She thought for a moment then added, “I mean, I guess we have all the time in the world, but why waste the time we’re stuck with?”

During a lunch at a Mexican restaurant here in late June, Strong displayed nails decorated with rainbow patterns and a crazier sense of humor than she’s known for on “SNL.”

As she prepared to discuss deeply personal experiences, she took an order of crisps and salsa and said, “Now I’m going to cry and I can blame the spice.”

She didn’t shed tears, but shared painful stories. She grew up in affluent Oak Park, Illinois where her parents divorced while she was in elementary school, her brother had ADHD and spent time in a psychiatric ward for children, and she was kicked out of high school after finding pot in her. backpack. Strong struggled much of her life with anxiety and depression, she writes in her book, and spent years in an intermittent relationship with a physically abusive boyfriend.

Some of Strong’s most touching anecdotes in “Everything Will Be Over Soon” are steeped in the frustration and injustice of loss. After playing Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer in an “SNL” skit, Strong remembers a friend from Kalamazoo who died after her car was hit by a train. Or she remembers a time in 2018 when she helped her cousin Owen get VIP tickets to an “SNL” show – a show hosted by Chadwick Boseman, the “Black Panther” star who died of colon cancer. last August.

Strong told me that her intention in writing the book was not to cultivate sympathy but to deal with events that she may never have fully dealt with, “things that have defined my life and which I do not know.” ‘hadn’t realized at the time, or things that I maybe was ashamed of but didn’t want to be, ”she said.

His “SNL” career, full of memorable prints and cheeky ‘weekend update’ characters, is booming, and last month she earned her second Emmy nomination for a supporting actress in a comedy series. Strong said that in recent years she has also wanted to find ways to express herself outside of the show.

Without singling out a particular role or performance, she said, “I wanted to do different things from this sketch, the one someone else wrote, and people maybe think it’s my voice but not my voice. “

Even some of the praise she received for “Schmigadoon!” aroused feelings of ambivalence. “People were like, nobody knows you can do that, they’ve never seen that side of you,” she said. “And I was like, wait a minute – what do you really think of me?”

Lorne Michaels, the longtime creator and executive producer of “SNL,” said he had always viewed Strong as “a very private person” but one who projected an inner tenacity.

Michaels said Strong embodied the values ​​he saw in the actors he recruited in Chicago “because Chicago is looking both coasts and is not very impressed.” He said she was reliable in her instincts and firm in her choices: “You can’t really make her do something that she doesn’t want to do.”

Strong said she was hesitant to write a book but felt compelled to keep track of her experiences when she began self-quarantining in March 2020. Logistical challenges and panic attacks got in the way, and one day she finally chopped up a few. hours to start, she spilled a bag of shells and shredded lettuce on the floor of her apartment. “So I had to delay my writing a bit longer,” she said with some relief.

Once Strong got out of Manhattan, she was able to work more productively, writing often during the day, then listening to a roommate read the passages aloud at dinner time.

Kevin Aeh, a longtime friend who lived with her during the pandemic, said he didn’t mind being a character in her memories. “It’s also my time capsule from that year,” he said.

Aeh said Strong was already in touch with her own feelings about loneliness and grief when the pandemic began, and the stories she shares in the book could help her connect with readers who have had experiences. similar.

“So many people lost people last year,” he said. “We all spent time being confused and scared. Even though she was confused and scared like the rest of us, it was a space she had been in, which I think made it easier for her to write about it.

Leda Strong, the author’s cousin and sister of Owen Strong, said that while she had some initial misgivings about the memoirs, she felt they served a broader purpose.

“The story of my brother, Owen, is being told and people are getting to know him as a person,” she said. “At some point, it trumps any other anxiety. It’s really not about me – it’s Cecily telling her story, and as part of that my brother has to be immortalized.

Eventually, Cecily Strong’s television career began to encroach upon her pastoral literary retreat. She was distressed by her commitment to “Schmigadoon!” Which was filmed in Vancouver last fall amid severe pandemic protocols.

“It was my dream job, and I said no several times, because I was so scared,” she said. “I was afraid of being in quarantine again, afraid of this isolation. What if something happened to my family and I was behind a closed border? “

When she returned to “SNL” with her season already underway, Strong was confused. “I felt like I messed up all the social interactions I had,” she said.

She recalled a farewell moment in the closing credits of a show when she pointed out to Lauren Holt, an actor who just completed his first season, that they were dressed alike. .

Strong’s voice was flooded with grief as she continued. “She was like, I can change, and I was like, oh my God, what did I do to you?” said loudly. “What did you think I meant?” Please no.”

She writes in her memoir about wrestling with “SNL” this year, dividing her time between Manhattan and upstate New York while grappling with restrictions on coronaviruses and her fears of not being funny. When she needed time off for herself or to spend time with her family to commemorate what would have been Owen’s birthday, Michaels said it was easy to provide it for her.

“She earned it,” Michaels said. “This season has probably been the most difficult for her.”

Now that Strong has completed her ninth season on the show, some of her collaborators are assuming that she gave her last performance as a member of the cast.

Bryan Tucker, “SNL” editor-in-chief who worked with Strong on his Jeanine Pirro segments for “Weekend Update,” said the “My Way” wine sketch was deliberately put together to give Strong a ride. Victoire.

“She’s such a special part of the show, and I wanted to write something for her that gave her a big start,” Tucker said. “I thought I might never get another chance to do something like this.”

But Strong said his own plans for the next “SNL” season remain on the table. “I’m still thinking,” she said. “Throughout the year, there were times when I felt like a fifth year senior and I was just hanging around dead weight. Then there would be times that felt so good.

She added, “There are things I want to do and I want to be open to those things. If I’m there, so much the better – if I’m not there, so much the better. I just want it to feel like the right thing.

Michaels said he and Strong “had spoken”.

“I hope she will come back,” he said. “What I told her, and what I believe is, I don’t think she’s finished yet.”

Whether or not the “My Way” number turns out to be her swan song, Strong said the skit was unforgettable for her. She also pointed out that the tank she dipped into at the end was actually filled with “diluted grape juice, but it was very hot – I enjoyed it”.

“The security guy was like, don’t open your eyes in there because the juice is going to burn, and I was like, okay, thank you, I didn’t plan that,” she recalls. . “And then he said, I splashed it in my eyes to test it, and I thought you didn’t have to do that.”

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Reading and writing

Teenage writers and editors produce their fifth Lake Erie Ink writing anthology

“As conflicts stubbornly stand in our way, the future in our heads turns into a vague and constant mind. But hope? It’s still there. It’s the tiny light that can explode into a spectral supernova.

This passage was written by an author you may not have heard of, but you may just be intrigued by this short prose. What might surprise you further is who the author is a teenage girl named Hannah Holt, one of many teenage girls featured in this year’s Lake Erie Ink teen anthology, “The Other Side”.
The anthology was compiled from over 50 short stories, poems, essays, and visual artwork submitted by approximately 60 teenagers, including Holt, ages 12-19.

Lake Erie Ink (LEI) began publishing an annual anthology written and edited by teenagers six years ago. The goal of the project is to showcase the talents of teens in the Cleveland area while educating them in writing.

Amy Rosenbluth, Executive Director of LEI, explains how important it is for teens to learn to write, edit and form an anthology, but they also have the freedom to choose how this book is finished.

The point is, they learn, ”says Rosenbluth. “And then they make the decisions about the order and the layout, the chapter titles, all that.”

This year is particularly important, as the group received its highest number of submissions, according to teen editor Sanjana Vedyvas.

“I think part of the reason may be because the school hasn’t been in person for a while,” says Vedavyas. “People got a little more free time to themselves and a little more time to introspect.”

The theme and title of the anthology, ‘On the other side’, was created by the LEI Teen Editorial Board, which is made up of 13 high school students who put together submissions of original teenage writing and compile them into a professional publication. Members of the Editorial Board have the chance to learn more about the publishing process and the publishing industry while giving a voice to young people from across the region.

LEI started accepting submissions related to this theme in August 2020 and accepted submissions in December.

It was then up to the editorial board to meet almost every week to decide which contributions to include and where to place them in the anthology.

Ironically, some editors report that it may have been easier for the editorial board to meet online this year, due to the pandemic, as opposed to the usual in-person meetings.

“This is the first time we’ve done an online anthology,” says Anthony Koonce, another teen editor. “Overall, it was easier to collaborate on Google Docs and a little more convenient to meet quickly.”

From the start, this project was created and reviewed by teenagers, with the final version of the anthology then sent to teachers when the LEI was finalized.

“They actually own the project from the start,” says Rosenbluth. “The teens themselves are the ones who collect the work, and then they do the editing with help. “

The teens even made a promo video in November to bring the anthology to teens and explore what this year’s theme might mean to each of them.

For those teens, the beauty of the “The Other Side” theme is that it can mean anything from any vantage point, even to teen editors.

“The pandemic was definitely on my mind,” said teen editor Anothony Koonce. “What’s on the other side of this and these challenges? “

For Vedavyas, however, she drew from her dual national identity both as an Indian and as an American. “I spent half my time in America, half my time in India,” says Vedavyas. “On the other side, it really reminds me of the other country that is on the other side of the world.”

The four chapter titles – “Self and Soul”, “Sense and Experience”, “Struggle and Sorrow”, “Imagination and Euphoria” – show this similar duality of always seeing the other side or perspective of every situation.

Rosenbluth says this is particularly effective from the perspective of adolescents whose lives can be quickly changed on a daily basis, but who are still able to find stability in events that remain the same.

“The whole world is changing,” says Rosenbluth. “[Yet] it’s those other parts that never change, which I think is quite powerful.

The anthology can be purchased starting at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 22 for $ 12. To celebrate the release, LEI is hosting a virtual reading at The Inkubator via Zoom. Registration is required to attend the reading of the book and can be done at any time before July 22.

The book reading will include an open mic session during which teenage publishers read excerpts from the anthology, and copies of the book will also be sold at the event.

Ultimately, this year’s teen anthology hopes to showcase the perspectives and skills of these young writers.

“This book is also dedicated to those who have words to say and stories to tell”, specifies a dedication in the anthology, “to stories, we are afraid to write the words, we shout from the rooftops stories that make us live. . “

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Reading and writing

LBUSD sees massive registrations for summer courses, and it’s more than remedial classes • Long Beach Post News

A combination of factors led by the one-year shutdown of COVID-19 has spurred massive enrollment in the district’s Support, Enrichment and Accelerated Learning Program, abbreviated as SEAL, which takes place over the summer.

LBUSD has 14,351 students enrolled in SEAL or traditional high school credit recovery programs, or over 20% of LBUSD students. Compare that to the 5,433 traditional summer school students in 2018, or the 8,663 in 2019 after the district first introduced SEAL, and it is evident that this year is unique (there was very little in-person summer programs in 2020 due to the pandemic).

“The reality is that in our summer program this year, the number of students enrolled is larger than many school districts in the state of California,” said Brian Moskovitz, LBUSD deputy superintendent for early learning. and elementary schools, and one of the administrators who run the SEAL program.

Indeed, enrolling more than 14,000 students would place the summer program in the top 10% of the state’s largest school districts. Moskovitz said that in 2019, the district allocated surplus funds to SEAL in an attempt to turn the negative connotations around “summer schools” into a summer program that really attracted students.

“We’ve always had a summer school program in different versions,” he said. “But the summer school has always had a reputation for remediation. Two summers ago we launched SEAL as a summer program that included enrichment and was available for general education students, bringing cool enrichment programs so it wasn’t just for students who needed remedial support.

This change resulted in an increase in enrollment, as parents were drawn to a broader range of classes than math and “catch-up” English. The SEAL program offers reading, writing, math, science, poetry, drawing, painting and language courses in double immersion. Moskovitz said many people in the district were excited about the SEAL program, which spans several offices at different levels within the administration.

Due to the loss of learning associated with COVID-19 closures – as well as the social isolation experienced by many students – he said the district had really attacked this summer as a way to start changing things before the ‘autumn.

“Knowing that we would be able to deliver a program in person and what the learning was like over the past 18 months, we intended to create a strong program,” he said. “We have a comprehensive art program, for example, based on socio-emotional learning. “

The SEAL program not only serves to catch up with students who may have fallen behind in the past school year, it also serves as a reintroduction to in-person learning for many students. Moskovitz said final numbers were not yet available, but that a “significant” portion of summer enrollments included students who did not return for in-person learning in the spring.

“For many of our students, this is the ramp back to in-person learning,” he said.

Much attention will be given to reopening LBUSD when the new school year begins at the end of August, with campuses reopened to full capacity for the first time since COVID-19 closed them in March 2020. But many students have had their first glimpse of campus life in 15 months this summer thanks to SEAL and are also reintegrated into school routines with SEAL programs which will be reused in the fall.

Even for those students who attended school in the spring, many were only in person for half the day or every other day. The SEAL program is much closer to the regular school schedule that students will see in the fall.

“Our plan is that we’re fully set to reopen with all in-person learning this fall,” Moskovitz said. “We recognize that in those first few weeks, if you have 20 to 25 kids back in class, we will need to help people reintegrate, by creating routines and community, and by empowering students who haven’t. not SEAL to do some of this. “

Moskovitz said he had been in several classrooms over the last few weeks of the program and saw firsthand what this transition looked like for students. Normal art programs like creating a family shield contribute to socio-emotional learning goals of helping students reintegrate, as young students use their representations of family life to express what their family has. lived in the past year.

“With socio-emotional learning, we try to make sure they have ways to express themselves if they are frustrated and give them the opportunity to express their identity and share about themselves”, did he declare.

Moskovitz, whose work focuses him on the district’s youngest students, also said he was blown away by how quickly children bounced around in the classrooms he visited.

“The students are incredibly well behaved and engaged. You won’t notice from surface behaviors that they’ve been out of school for a year and a half, ”he said. “They are resilient.”

After a bleak year, LBUSD hopes for full-time in-person classes next year

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Reading and writing

Geneseo graduate completes book series

Her last book in the “Shadow Girls” series has been completed and will be published in 2022, and author Kate Ristau said she was “very excited to see this series through to the end”.

The book is steeped in folklore and mythology, as are all of Ristau’s books, because she said her experience was folklore and mythology… “I have been reading myths since I was a child.”

Her series of books, ‘Shadow Girls’, is set in Ireland and is published by a small press, Not a Pipe Publishing, and Ristau said: “They are, to put it simply, a dream publisher. They encourage all of their authors to work together and support each other. My last book in the “Shadow Girls” series is finished, but still needs a fair amount of editing before it will be published in 2022. “

Ristau, the former Kate Anderson, daughter of Jeanne Anderson, Geneseo, now lives in Portland, OR., With her husband Bob Ristau, also formerly of Geneseo. The couple have a son.

After graduating from Geneseo High School, Ristau graduated from Illinois State University where she majored in English. She then went on to study at the University of Limerick for an Irish Studies program that explored Irish language, folklore and music… “My time there shaped the stories I would later write”, a- she declared. “I’ve learned that the best stories speak directly to the reader – they resonate with them. My teacher stood in front of the class and told us the story of when a friend of a friend met a leprechaun late one night near the fairy tree. I’ve learned that the stories that stick tell us something about the world we live in – how it works and who we are.

“It’s the thing with mythology, the stories that endure are the stories that matter to a culture and a people,” Ristau said.

She went to college to study folklore and mythology and it was the stories she read about Ireland that sparked her first book, “Shadow Girl,” which Ristau says is about a girl born. in our world but kidnapped by the fey. She returns to our world to find out the story of what really happened to her as a child.

“The draft of this first book slipped out of my fingers, but it took years and many revisions before it actually got published by a small press,” she said.

The young author said she grew up “reading and writing… I still have stories I wrote in third and fourth grades, and so many poems scratched out of notebooks and journals. I always knew I wanted to write, but I didn’t really know how someone became a writer. Now I know you become a writer by, well, by writing! “

Ristau added that reading is just as important as writing and said, “You also have to read. Reading is your chance to explore other worlds and learn from writers. In fact, I learned the most from the books I hated.

His experience in folklore and mythology was part of his childhood when his mother read him stories from Greek mythology. “They helped me understand how stories work and what matters to us,” she said. “We watched ‘Clash of the Titans’ over and over until the VHS tape was finely scratched, and we turned into ‘Hercules and Xena Warrior Princess.’ I kept thinking about these stories and writing my own. I still remember teachers like (Stephen) LaCroix encouraging me and believing in me.

Ristau writes her first drafts quickly, “but they need a lot of work before they’re ready for readers,” she said. “My first reader is, and always will be, my mom. She reads the book, tells me I’m amazing, then gives me advice that always makes the book better. After making changes, I share the book with other readers and do their revisions before my editor rereads it.

Ristau’s most recent book, “Wylde Wings”, has undergone “a big series of edits over the past few years,” she said. “In fact, I got a lot of help from two of my mom’s eighth grade classes. (Jeanne Anderson taught at Geneseo Middle School before her retirement). They read the book and made comments that helped transform the book.

She received a grant from the Regional Council of Arts and Culture to launch her Mythwakers series, a documentary exploration of mythological characters… “I start with the ‘Minotaur’, of course. I have read about her since I was a child and love to share her story with new readers.

“Wylde Wings” is now available for preorder on Kickstarter and all of Ristau’s books are available online at independent bookstores, and “at the library, of course,” she said.

Ristau is a firm believer in the power of libraries and she remembers reading the stacks of books in her classroom while a student at St. Malachie in Geneseo.

“After school, we would go to the Geneseo public library to see what’s new or discover unexpected treasures,” she said. “I always have this feeling of wonder every time I walk into a library with my own son. “

“Since the start of the pandemic, I have also had the opportunity to help with the virtual programming of the Geneseo public library,” said Ristau. “It has been a joy to work with young writers as they explore their own new worlds and create fantastic characters.”

Her advice to other writers – “Being a writer is difficult, but writing itself is so rewarding. When I’m immersed in a story, the world fades away and I can tell truths that I couldn’t otherwise. Stories have a way of revealing love, life, and truth. When you write down your truth, your world opens up, sentence by sentence. You start to see everything differently. Just like mythology, a good story can get us to the heart of who we are and who we want to be. So if you have a hard time just keep writing. Keep telling your truth. The world needs your stories.

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Reading and writing

Accept my feminine gaze

I admit that I don’t know much about writing. But the few valuable information I know is all from my high school English teacher. He hooked me up to Pynchon (what normal 18-year-old is trying to read Gravity’s Rainbow on his own?) and amused me at lunch and in class when I didn’t feel like talking to someone else. And although I pretended not to listen, most of his maxims about writing and art will stay with me forever.

He once asked my class to read a random piece of prose and identify the narrator’s gender. Neither of us could do it – I don’t even think I understood the question correctly. He insisted that all art, and in particular all writing, is gendered and that it is essential to develop analytical tools to identify the genre with which the narrator identifies.

This train of thought that at first made no sense to me began to disclose some clarity. Reading “Bonjour Tristesse”, a novel about the hedonistic life of a 17-year-old girl on the French Riviera, I realized that it was an inherently feminine work of art. Would someone who identifies as a man be able to speak with such nuance about the female status, the inherently unique trials and tribulations of being a teenager? It’s something I keep thinking about.

In cinematic jargon, we use the term “the female gaze” as opposed to the traditional and established “male gaze”. These are theories where gender – of creator, protagonist or viewer – significantly shapes the work of art. I like the films of Quentin Tarantino, for example, but they are inseparable from the male gaze. Her discussion and handling of female characters is interesting: they usually have the power to act and rebel against the conventions of patriarchy, but at the same time are sexualized by 21st century beauty standards. I wonder if its protagonists would be taken seriously if they weren’t conventionally attractive.

As I become aware of the art I consume, I begin to see the manifestation of the genre in the smallest of ways. With the male director and therefore the male gaze serving as the standard in the cinema, when I watch a film made by a woman, I ask myself questions about what he is trying to do. More often than not, I find empathy and an understanding of what it means to be a woman.

In the movie “Shiva Baby”, directed by Emma Seligman, I loved the way sex work is portrayed – although it is an important part of the plot, it is not subject to judgment or judgment. glorification and still looks realistic. I don’t feel like sex work is accepted by the characters in the film at all – much like the real world – and the undramatized treatment of the subject in the film is just refreshing. This is the power of female storytelling – to take control of storytelling about matters that men, for centuries, have controlled.

That’s not to say that men can’t be feminists or understand the status of women – it’s just to say that they haven’t lived it. Some of the most groundbreaking or empowering stories I’ve seen in recent years have been told by women – maybe they’re groundbreaking just because they approach topics with the incision and comfort. of this same lived experience.

I also think about the limit of my own understanding of the genre. I don’t know of any non-binary writer or filmmaker. Our binary understanding of gender and our limited heterosexual understanding of sexuality unfortunately also extends to this type of analysis.

To be a great writer or artist is in large part a specificity. More and more now, I think about my writing tone. Identifying as a woman and experiencing the feminine experience in a male dominated world is a big part of how I see myself. In my writing I talk about a lot of my struggles – struggling to identify with my name, feeling lonely in urban environments, my difficulty processing emotions and living in the moment – but I have always dealt with them. experiences related to my gender like conversations. only for friends. I don’t think I ever focus on the female experience in my writing, perhaps in the effort to emulate the male writers and filmmakers that I grew up reading and watching. But part of forging my own path as an artist is thinking about how my identified gender relates to my story. I will never be able to write like the men I read, like Pynchon, or Roth or Bolano, because I am not a man.

I will never achieve true specificity as long as I try to imitate or take inspiration from other artists. For that I have to look within, tap into my own experiences and allow them to shape my tone and language. My new daily affirmation? My own feminine gaze has the potential to make my writing more powerful. I just have to accept it.

Megha Ganapathy writes the A&E Monday column about learning and growing from experiences with art. Contact her at [email protected].

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Writer market

Postscript: Questions about the best place to market, but none about the writer’s doppelgänger | Guest columns

Through the eyes of others:

• • •

One of the consequences of the pandemic, seen through the eyes of a Stonington Borough merchant, a woman I know and admire, is the location of the Stonington Summer Farmers Market.

In my limited visits to the area’s farmer’s markets, this one has to be some of the hardiest, although it has broadened the founding principle of farm-to-vendor produce to include a variety of crafts. Still, it’s a long-standing success, drawing hundreds every Saturday morning.

For almost all of its 25 years of existence, the Summer Market was on the green land adjacent to the borough’s fishing docks until the pandemic, due to concerns about social distancing, moved the summer market towards the large parking lot of the Moulin de Velours, home of the winter farmers market and outside the limits and walking convenience of the village.

As my friend the shopkeeper pointed out, this upheaval affected the Saturday morning pedestrian traffic in the borough, a vital infusion of potential customers for the livelihood of the traders and the restaurants and cafes still operating there.

I had never looked at him through his eyes before.

But on a recent Saturday morning, I also looked through the eyes of market vendors. With a few exceptions, they prefer the Velvet Mill for the ease of access for themselves, the availability of bathrooms and shelters in the event of a storm.

The exterior excavations of the Velvet Mill also allow vendors to expand to include handicrafts such as soaps, jewelry, greeting cards, woodworking, dog treats and so on in addition to the range. usual fruits, vegetables, breads, honey, hot sauces, cheeses, meats, fish, baked goods and drinks, although similar crafts, and even a cable TV provider, have also appeared near the fishing docks.

However, asphalt is not grass. The atmosphere is a tangible selling point, and the crushing of a mown field among locals and tourists along the harbor, the walls of lobster pots and the working fishing boats on the docks are a lure that ample parking just can not. In addition, the music, usually provided by the banjo, guitar and violin, is much better enjoyed on the more comfortable green than on a factory pitch.

But for the vendors, a bit like the village merchants, it’s a question of numbers and access.

Parking at the fishing docks, not as plentiful as at the mill, often resulted in a mishmash of cars and traffic jams. Although in the past the fishermen and the market coexisted, there have been complaints of Saturday morning shoppers parking in a way that blocked trucks doing business at the docks.

The fishing docks and buildings managed by the Fishermen’s Association and the surrounding property, including the putting green, are owned by the town, but they are under the jurisdiction of the Stonington Waterfront Commission, which is apparently required to issue a license for the market. summer.

COVID security protocols, such as adequate sanitation and concerns about traffic and parking, provided the commission with enough to deny the permit application for the docks this summer.

The Stonington Village Improvement Association, which oversees the farmers market, intends to find ways over the winter to address the commission’s concerns and apply for a new permit.

Who knows what the policy is. What is good for village merchants may not be good for vendors and fishermen. Yet the summer market was natural on the grass and by the water, not so much on the asphalt and next to a massive brick edifice.

• • •

As Ada Elmer, who lives in Stonington, is my witness, it happened the other day in the Big Y in Stonington.

We were standing by one of the aisles of the supermarket, discussing the continued success of his son-in-law, Adam Young, owner and master baker of the SIFT Bake Shop and Mix Roof Top and Bar in downtown Mystic and Young Buns, a boutique donuts also downtown, and who writes a cookbook.

A guy walked up to me, looked me in the eye and asked, “Weren’t you on ‘Seinfeld’?

Well, I wasn’t Elaine, and certainly not Jerry, and although stout, I still have hair, so not George, and obviously not the long, lanky Kramer.

That left only one suspect: Newman.

I looked at Ada, she turned around and started to laugh.

Vanity is its own punishment, but I suspect we all have a self-image that unfortunately belies the way others see us. But Newman?

Fat, stocky, neckless and devious? Me?

When Ada and I moved with our groceries, she couldn’t stop laughing. I saw her moments later near the checkout lines and she was still laughing. She said I had to write about it.

Wayne Knight, at 5ft 7in and with the girth of a football lineman he was in high school, played Newman, the postman who reared up and conspired with Kramer in mindless schemes on ” Seinfeld “and was Jerry’s perpetual enemy.

He was also, fans of the first “Jurassic Park” movie will remember, the scheming computer programmer who planned to sell dinosaur embryos to aliens but was attacked in a storm on the island and shot dead by cute creatures. but fatal, allowing the embryo without spillage.

New man? I know the ancestry behind my strong Eastern European infrastructure and, yes, I have to admit that the size of my collar is not quite the circumference of an oak barrel. But it pains me now to watch “Seinfeld” clips on YouTube and realize that I’m looking at my lookalike.

That sly Newman chuckle, that mischievous gait, that shameless avarice, that undisguised mass?


Steven Slosberg lives in Stonington and was a longtime journalist and columnist. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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Book creator

The Rititz writer combines his love of history, writing and the time travel novel “Manhattan”.

Fascinated by the concept of time travel, writer Rititz Sherry V. Ostrov takes readers from 17th century Scotland to the new world of Manhattan.

Her latest book is her third, the second in a series that interweaves the multigenerational stories of two young women 300 years apart but linked by certain mysteries.

The new book is called “Mannahatta” and is based on Manhattan’s Native American word for “many hills”.

It continues the story of Hannah and Anna. One is a modern New York woman and the other is an old Scottish woman. The contemporary character of Hannah strives to reveal Anna’s past on a Scottish ship docked in Manhattan to colonial Manhattan.

“Mannahatta” is a sequel to Ostrov’s previous book “Caledonia” published in 2019. Like Caledonia, Mannahatta is written as two parallel stories.

“The old characters are those who live the event. Modern characters discover hidden stories, ”said Ostrov, who tells stories using imaginative reconstructions by many historical novelists. I am.

“’Manhattan’ is the second and final book in this short series,” she said.

First interested in Scottish history, Ostrov used his work to write the name “Caledonia” used by the Roman Empire for Scotland. She learned of Scotland’s desire to create a trading colony in the New World. The colony was located in what is now Panama in Central America.

“The objective was to open a commercial route by land between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. In 1698, 1,200 settlers embarked on five ships. In less than a year, 900 died, ”Ostrov said. Said. “The colony failed and the rest of the settlers returned to Scotland. “

It is such a historical context that inspires the imagination of this writer of historical novels. She combines historical facts with fictional characters who may have lived at the time.

A teacher who retired in 2002, Ostrov enjoys learning the old and the new. Unlike many writers who write what they know, Ostrov writes what she has learned and imagined. It is not difficult to immerse yourself in the soul of a woman who lives in another time and in another place.

Originally from Philadelphia, Ostrov has lived in Lancaster County for 49 years, six of them in Lititz. She received a BA from Temple University, followed by an MA in History from Millersville University. She has taught at Price and Burrows Elementary School and Reynolds Middle School in the Lancaster School District for 30 years. She has also taught American history at HACC on the Lancaster campus.

In many ways, his book teaches an educational and fascinating history. She was inspired by writers like Hawaii and The Kovenant author James Michener. Léon Uris, author of Mira 18 and of the Book of Exodus. And Diana Gabaldon, the creator of the popular Outlander series, has grown into an equally popular TV series.

“I really like this study. It’s a treasure hunt with a lot of rewards, ”Ostrov explains. “Like when I discovered an interesting anecdote which corresponds to the scene of the Caledonian sea. I was visiting a historic shipyard in Portsmouth, England. Admiral Horatio Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. I learned that he had died at sea. Based on his last instructions and the fear of being buried in the sea, his body was wrapped in barrels filled with alcohol and the ship returned to England. It did not work. These are the historical gems that I would like to share with my readers. “

Ostrov also attends her talks at venues such as the Township of Manheim Public Library, Burns & Noble, American Traditions where she lives, Homestead Village, York Jewish Community Center, Messiah Village Book Group, and Carlyle Library Book. Groups who like to share their discoveries with those who do, Lititz Women’s Club, Woodcrest Villa, Highland Presbyterian Church, Lancaster’s Iris Club, Brethren Village Book Club.

His previous book, Caledonia, won the Chanticleer International Award, the Chaucer Division for Historical Novel Pre-1750s, the IndieBrag Medallion Honors and the Indie Diamond Book Award, First Place and Adult Fiction.

His first book is perhaps the closest to his mind. The heroine is not a fictional character. It was her own mother who escaped to Eastern Europe in the 1920s. Her non-fiction “The Lucky One” was released in 2016 and is based on her mother’s memoir.

“My mother gave me a handwritten memoir shortly after I retired, but I sat for almost 30 years before I started writing. The delay was that my mother passed away, worked full time, and she was because she didn’t know how to present the story, ”Ostrov said. “Today, his handwritten memoirs are kept permanently at the Yivo Institute in New York. Yivo is a history museum for the Jews of Eastern Europe. A copy of this book is from the United States Parliamentary Library. And not only at the National Library of Israel, but also at the library. “

Now that Ostrov has published her third book, she is considering her next project.

“The blockade during the pandemic turned out to be the perfect impetus for writing. I finished Manhattan six months earlier. I didn’t mind spending long days nowhere, ”says Ostrov. ..

I can’t wait to marry my high school lover and spend time with my daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren. She also wants to travel as soon as she can travel safely. This may take some time.

Sherry V. Ostrov’s book is available on as paperbacks and e-books. Books are free for Kindle Unlimited members. For more information, including excerpts, see below. ..

Laura Knowles is a freelance writer who regularly contributes to the Lititz Record Express page. She accepts story comments and advice at [email protected]

The Rititz writer combines his love of history, writing and the time travel novel “Manhattan”.

Source link The Rititz Writer combines his love of history, writing and the time travel novel “Manhattan”.

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Book credit

MG Muthoot dies; 7 things to know about the president of the Muthoot group


oi-Sneha Kulkarni


MG George Muthoot, 71, president and full-time director of the Muthoot Group, died on Friday. Muthoot Finance is India’s largest gold lending NBFC in India. He was the third generation of Muthoot to become president of the Muthoot group.

According to a company statement to the stock exchange on Saturday, Mr. Muthoot was a visionary and a leader, whose “sudden and unexpected demise will be an irreparable loss to the company, employees, all stakeholders, family and communities. friends … Muthoot Finance reached new heights of success under his leadership, becoming the market leader in the gold lending industry. “

MG Muthoot dies;  7 things to know about the president of the Muthoot group

MG George Muthoot was tasked with expanding the presence of the Muthoot Group outside of South India by establishing branches in North, East and West India, turning the company into a pan- Indian.

Here are some important things to know about the MG George Muthoot:

1. With a fortune of $ 4.8 billion, MG George Muthoot and his family were listed in 2020 as the richest people in India.

2. The company is the biggest lender in India against the yellow metal. Muthoot is credited with making it a financial powerhouse with an annual turnover of $ 1.3 billion (2020), 5,400 branches in India and 166 tons of gold custody.

3. Muthoot, a qualified engineer, moved to New Delhi in his twenties and established a paper factory. In 1975, he joined the family gold lending company, but he continued to work from the capital. In 1979 he was appointed Managing Director, and in 1993 he was appointed President.

4. Forbes Asia Magazine named MG George Muthoot the 26th Richest Indian and Richest Malayalee in India in 2020.

5. Shri MG George Muthoot has received many prestigious awards.
Recently, he received the “Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award” from the University of Manipal. He was named “Asian Businessman of the Year” by the British Parliament. Former Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh Ji conferred on him the title of “Emerging Business Leader of the Year” at the AIMA Managing India Awards.

6. Muthoot is survived by Sara George Muthoot, Principal of St. George’s High School in New Delhi. [nine] They are parents of three sons. Their eldest son, George M. George, is the Group Executive Director, and their youngest son, Alexander George, is the Group Director. Paul Muhoot George, their second son, was killed in 2009.

7. He was also a member of the National Executive Committee of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and Chairman of the State Council of FICCI Kerala.

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Book credit

Community ties inspire artist raised in Bay City to return to his roots

There are so many poignant (and not so poignant) phrases about the house. This is where the heart is. There is no place like that. All roads lead to it. You will never be able to go back there again (although maybe my story proves otherwise). I think you understand the drift.

While a lot of them may seem true to some, they never connected with me. Ultimately, there is an adjacent phrase that has become a kind of personal mantra. Yes, it’s no secret that I’m proud to be a classically trained musician with graduate degrees and student loan debt to prove it, but nonetheless I adopted a phrase written by the great country artist Zac Brown in the following lyrics: I have everything I want and nothing I don’t have. From the country.

As you can see, the grammar is far from perfect, but there has never been a more perfect summary of my feelings about life, and, in particular, my feelings about life as a member of this community.

From the country. Yes, like many of you, I was brought up here and like many of you, I am very proud of it. While location is certainly an element, I think the embodiment of this idea of ​​a house runs much deeper than the zip code of your childhood home.

Dr Matthieu TravisDiscerning this elusive and intangible concept is a challenge. What makes this place so special? Honestly, I don’t think I can put my finger on it until I’ve lived in other parts of the country while arguing, sometimes vehemently, about whether the sweet drink is called “soda” or “pop”; really wondering what New Yorkers meant as they waited in line (not in line) to enter Yankee Stadium or a Broadway show; receiving politely questioning looks as I smiled or greeted strangers in the street; and disbelieving looks when I asked a group of seventh graders to “take the sucker out of your mouth” as if the phrase was spoken in Greek. (Lollipop is the word of choice in Connecticut / New York).

My stay in New York has been wonderful, there is no doubt about it. I had so many wonderful experiences there and finally met my wife, Dr Amanda Travis – the most amazing person I have ever known.

Although it was a memorable time in my life, living there never really felt like “home”. Despite being personally and professionally happy, I was missing the mitt. Then, somewhat unexpectedly, the house called me – literally, when in November 2016, the Midland Center for the Arts offered me an exciting position as Music Director, managing the choral program and working with community artists. in the theater.

At the time, I was ready to defend my thesis and complete my doctoral studies at the University of Connecticut. I was on track to land a job in college teaching classes, leading ensembles, writing science papers, and teaching – a path I had spent a decade planning and preparing. and that would probably have been wonderful.

Despite the fact that it wasn’t on the career map I had carefully mapped out many years ago, something told me that this professional left turn of sorts was the right decision. It absolutely was, and I’m so glad we took the plunge, packed the pets in the car, and returned to Bay City to take on the job at the Center – a job that’s been far more fulfilling than what I could have imagined.

But why? Why has this situation been so professionally exhilarating?

I think about it often, and in truth there are many reasons, but a lot has to do with people. I love having the opportunity to collaborate regularly with so many people whom I deeply admire and admit that I grew up idolizing.

Projects like producing shows featuring childhood mentors like Leeds Bird and Kevin Cole have been so rewarding. I have loved making music every year with my best friend and sister, Katie, on stage at the fantastic State Theater, thanks to the hard work and generosity of Mike Bacigalupo.

It’s a lot of fun for me to hop on Delta College Public Radio and be interviewed by my childhood violin teacher Rod Bieber and use Catherine McMichael, who I’ve known for about 30 years, as a collaborating pianist.

I am blessed to have so many talented friends including Korie Lee Blossey and Ryan VanDenBoom and I love our work on the arts and engagement activities but also the exciting projects with Diane Fong and the Bay Area Community. Foundation.

I am proud to work in tandem with Trish Burns and Bay County Library System on a Mileage Renewal Committee to ensure the continuation of fantastic services and invaluable programs such as “Storytime” which I enjoyed as a child and that I continue to appreciate throughout my daughter’s eyes,

Seeing my family, especially my parents, on a regular basis has been remarkable, and having them active not only in my life but also in my daughter’s life, while showing an unimaginable amount of love and affection, is something for everyone. which I am so grateful for.

It has been an unquantifiable honor to speak regularly at Bay City Central High School and address those who attend my beloved alma mater, an alma mater that I share with my grandmother and will share with my daughter. . I have said it often, and this is 100% true, of all the schools and universities I have attended, there is no doubt that I am very honored to be a member of the Bay City Central Wolf Pack!

But what makes me most proud are the opportunities to merge my personal and professional passions and to truly serve. Passions such as sending guest artists to elementary schools in Washington and Hampton for engaging student assemblies. Launch of after-school vocal music program at Kolb Elementary as well as Bangor Township.

Sending masterclass clinicians and local Broadway artists to John Glenn High School and Central, and directing some myself to Bay City Western, Gladwin, and schools in Midland and Saginaw.

These are the projects that excite me the most – the things that have a direct impact on our region and in particular on our young people. Yes, doing a job like this would be rewarding in any part of the country, but it means so much more to be here. Here at home, in the region which has given me so much and which has given me so many opportunities.

I have been fortunate to have lived in many places and to have traveled a lot, but without a doubt my great joy is to be here with all of you working together to make this community a better place in every way. possible. That’s why I have everything I want and nothing I don’t have.

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First-Time Federal Student Loan Borrowers Should Follow Admission Advice New

Alabamians who will borrow money for college using federal student loans should follow admissions advice if they are borrowing for the first time, according to KHEAA-Alabama.

Admission tips help students understand the financial commitments they accept when they receive their loan. Understanding these financial obligations is an important step in taking out federal student loans to help pay for post-high school education.

The United States Department of Education requires borrowers to follow the advice before students receive loan funds. The board will teach users how to borrow responsibly so that they don’t take more loans than they need.

The department offers online counseling at under the Full Help Process tab. The counseling should last between 20 and 30 minutes. Borrowers should check with their college if the federal counseling session is accepted, as some schools have other counseling program requirements.

KHEAA is a public not-for-profit agency created in 1966 to improve students’ access to university. It provides information on financial aid and financial literacy at no cost to students and parents.

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Book credit

drive-thru concept saved many Lincoln restaurants from bankruptcy | To eat

More than 83,000 Runzas are sold as part of the “Temperature Tuesday” promotion

And then there’s Charlie Colon, a local Chick-fil-A franchisee, who has been spotted in his South Lincoln parking lot, directing overflow traffic while protecting his workforce from the high volume of cars.

“Without a doubt, drive-thru is hitting right now,” said Laurie Fraser, who bought Country Sliced ​​Ham & Cafe last March and had to shut it down immediately due to the pandemic.

Fraser’s timing wasn’t great. She also wasn’t fortunate enough to have a drive-thru window at her store location at 6900 O St.

Few restaurants in Lincoln are, but she quickly adapted with curbside pickup, which requires a phone call to place an order, but, she said, is faster than service. driving.

“If you walk into a drive-thru and there are eight or nine cars in front of you, you wait,” she said. “You call us in advance and you can park up to our building, we will meet you at the curb and it will take a few minutes.

“We are faster than a drive-thru.”

Dining out: there is no bad time to open a good Mexican restaurant

Having a window behind the wheel was an afterthought when Greg’s Drive-In opened in June 1990 at 1202 N. Cotner Blvd. Greg and Patty Schmidt just thought they needed one because that’s what they were used to.

“Growing up and going to high school in the 1980s, we went through drive-thru,” said Patty Schmidt. “It was easy. It’s just part of how it all turned out. We knew that in order to want to do our own business, we had to have both a restaurant and a drive-thru.”

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