Jack Bandy and Mia Zanzucchi
Satire (n): The art of sarcasm typically directed from events that take place in the world; much like a caricature of the human race. Usually it is done through comedy1. Example: This article.
If you’ve ever talked to Kareem Omar, you’re sure to have noticed one thing: he’s incredibly boring. No offense to the wannabe-cool kid, but nobody cares how your scary math equations work. That won’t get you into any prestigious social groups especially when you’re always studying. Some people consider him “special”, but the facts suggest otherwise. He’s going to University of Alabama-Huntsville — a school you only just now heard of — on a full ride. Alabama? Really?
Yet somehow, this insignificant nerd has just been named one of 141 United States Presidential Scholars, selected from about 3.4 million seniors preparing to graduate nationwide and even abroad. Surely this is some kind of cruel prank; the poor guy didn’t get a perfect 36 on the ACT until his fourth try. He cited former social studies teacher Mr. Stevens as his most influential teacher, but Stevens doesn’t even teach anymore. That’s right: Omar cited a non-teacher as his most influential teacher.
Omar in no way fits the definition of “normal.” He’s not even the “new normal.” Witnesses have seen him eat a sour straw that fell on a school table, while reasoning “that’s what immune systems are for.” If Omar represents the world’s future, the world is in for a cold, rational, terrifying ride. In today’s society we need cool people, not smart people.
Consider a few of Omar’s pseudo-accomplishments:
– Placed number one in the state for the math portion of academic team last year. Anyone could do that. This is Kentucky.
– Received the Siemens Award for Advanced Placement. Too bad over 98 other students in the nation received this “prestigious” award.
– Valedictorian of the class of 2013. Doesn’t it seem a little suspicious that the last year the school will name a valedictorian is the same year Omar is named valedictorian?
– Owns a somewhat cool-looking car. This could be the only redemption for Omar, but he erases all hope of becoming cool by continually explaining the complex mechanics and physics that make it work.
Omar plans to pursue almost half of a half-dozen majors out of desperation for some kind of meaningful career. He doesn’t realize that in today’s world, we only need to master one skill. Why does he insist on exerting unnecessary effort? This is America, and we follow American standards: choosing one major that will eventually change to philosophy or graphic arts2. Also, why would anyone want to score a 5 on 20 different AP tests? Mr. Omar clearly just hasn’t paid attention to the social norms. If this clown knew anything, he would’ve quit studying a long time ago and done something cool with his life. Instead, he’ll just end up being your employer’s employer.
1. UrbanDictionary.com definition of the word “satire” (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=satire)
2. Thedailybeast.com ranks philosophy and graphic arts as two of the “13 Most Useless Majors” (http://www.thedailybeast.com/galleries/2012/04/23/the-13-most-useless-majors-from-philosophy-to-journalism.html)
On April 29th, Ed Jones was suspended with pay as the principal of West Jessamine High School; as of May 14th Jones no longer officially held the position. By Kentucky law, the county’s superintendent leads a committee to select the new principal.
These circumstances pose an interesting situation when supplemented with Lu Young’s imminent departure as Jessamine County superintendent on July 1st. Young will take a new position in the Fayette County school system. If Young and the committee don’t select a new principal before her departure, the replacement superintendent (whether permanent or temporary) would lead the selection process for the new principal.
Young has already met with the site-based decision-making council (May 21st) and indicated her intention to appoint a new principal before her departure. The site-based decision-making council currently consists of Marci Smith, Josh Yost, Mark Miracle, Jessica Slaton, Jeff Ball, Vic Wiggins, and Leo Labrillazo, all of whom attended a “Special Meeting” on May 24th for principal selection training. The training is led by the county’s chief operations officer, Jimmy Adams.
While the SBDM carries out principal selection, the task of selecting a replacement for Young falls on the school board. The process relies heavily on a “screening committee” which consists of the following:
-two teachers (chosen by district teachers)
-one board member* (appointed by the board chairman: Eugene Peel)
-one principal** (elected by district principals)
-one parent (elected by presidents of district parent-teacher organizations)
-one classified employee (selected by classified employees)
The screening committee will conduct an extensive review of applications and make final recommendations to the board. While the board is required to consider final recommendations from this screening committee, Kentucky law states that “the board shall not be required to appoint a superintendent from the committee’s recommendations.”
*Peel has appointed board member Amy Day
**District principals have selected Beth Carpenter from Rosenwald Dunbar
Over spring break, I was privileged enough to experience the sights, sounds, and culture of the beautiful country of Spain. Traveling around the country by car, I was able to take in the many different aspects of the country. Everything from the ornate architecture and unique food to the very culture of the country itself made for an extremely rewarding trip.
The most interesting features of the Spanish architecture was its sheer age. An old building in the US might be two or three hundred years old, whereas in Spain the average building could easily be over 1000 years old. The colorful buildings, skinny cobblestone streets and the beautiful cathedrals and monuments were unlike anything I had ever seen from back at home before.
The thing that impressed me the most was the extreme detail put into every little part of the huge structures around the country. From the murals and images delicately carved and etched into the roofs of the rotundas of cathedrals to the images on the streets made completely out of cobblestone, the miniscule singularity and detail put into every edifice around the country amazed me.
One of the most beautiful displays of architecture I saw was in the Cathedral of Cordoba, an inveterate Cathedral which was a mosque when occupied by the Muslim Moors. A strong Muslim influence in the architecture of the Cathedral can be seen with its elaborate pillars and its massive size.
Another interesting aspect of the Spanish architecture was the country’s infrastructure. Many simple yet beautiful skinny one way streets that weaved throughout the many shops and apartments were a typical part of nearly every city in Spain. It was easy to get lost in the maze of streets that snaked throughout different cities.
The Spanish cuisine had a strong Mediterranean influence in nearly everything you ate. No, it wasn’t like eating at a Mexican restaurant. Yes, Spain and Mexico are two different countries. Surprising, I know.
Breakfast usually consisted of some sort of pastry or bread item and a fruit. Being from the good ol’ US of A, I always eat the traditional big breakfast of eggs, bacon, pancakes, etc., so I was just about dead halfway through the day having to sustain myself on some mere bread and fruit until lunch. Probably explains why everyone is so skinny in Spain.
Throughout every eatery in Spain, the menus consisted of very European and Mediterranean style dishes. Everything from tomatoes to olives to a unique ‘Iberian Ham’ worked their way into almost every dish you ate. One of the oddest dishes I ate was in the town of Cordoba, one of the oldest towns in Spain, and famous for its bullfighting. The dish was none other than ‘Rabo de Toro’, or bull’s tail, served up in a sort of stew. It certainly made for quite the unique eating experience.
In the Spanish culture, the drink you have with every meal is more often an alcoholic beverage than water. The Spanish ‘Sangria’ was popular amongst the locals, but the sweet Spanish ‘vino’ (wine) and ‘cerveza’ (beer) were also standard. Whenever you would order water, they would never bring you it in a glass as they do in America, but rather in ornate glass bottles. One of the most unique drinks I must have had was their hot chocolate. Unlike the typical American hot chocolate, the Spanish ‘Chocolate Caliente’ was more or less liquefied chocolate in a cup with a bit of cream. Delicioso!
The most astounding aspect of the anomalous culture of the country was its people. The hospitality of nearly everyone you met left me with a very positive image of the country and its people as a whole. It appeared that everyone in the community of different cities were very close and devoted to maintaining relationships with each other. Nearly everyone you passed walking in the city would always be with friends, family, or their partners, conversing and enjoying themselves and in no rush at all, something that seems to be all too absent in the United States.
The Spanish obsession with the game of soccer was just as you would expect it. Everywhere you went you saw someone wearing a “Lionel Messi” or “Cristiano Ronaldo” jersey, renowned as the soccer gods of Spain. I was lucky enough to get to experience this unique aspect of their culture firsthand by attending a soccer game of “Atletico Madrid”. Although the game resulted in a 1-1 tie, it was incredible to see, even in the pouring rain, the passion that the people of Spain have behind their soccer teams.
All in all, the trip served as an amazing opportunity to experience firsthand the culture and people of an incredible and beautiful country.
As I and so many other seniors suffered through the college application process, I have come to appreciate truly how large of a world we live in. Better put, I’ve realized how small West Jessamine High School is in comparison. Over the past few months I have met students from across the nation, from schools that sponsor debate teams, International Baccalaureate programs, and celebrate every year as their seniors are accepted to the Ivy League. To see so many experiences out in the world is inspiring. Yet I can’t help but to ask not only how can West Jessamine reach those heights, but why isn’t West Jessamine there already? The answer might be as simple as alarming: low expectations.
What were we really told by the purchasing of iPads to improve ACT scores? Implicitly, that we were too dumb to improve on our own, and that we needed special assistance in order to meet the minimum state requirement. What are we told by extensions, retests, and bonus points? Once again, that we are too stupid to be expected to get it right the first time. The same idea applies when students are spoon-fed information as opposed to just reading the chapter.
The effect of these chronic low expectations is low performance. In other words, if you treat your students as if they are dumb, they will act the part. But if you treat your students with the respect to hold real expectations, then they will meet the bar, and who knows, maybe even exceed it. Psychologists refer to this phenomenon as the Pygmalion effect or Rosenthal effect.
West Jessamine has a wealth of intellect between its students and its faculty. Being eighth in the state is a real achievement, but imagine where West Jessamine would be if only we, the student community, were simply held to higher standards. We would have more opportunities, higher test scores, and we all would be more competitive in both the college search and in the workforce. Maybe the process of improving the school starts with respecting students enough to simply raise the bar, however counterintuitive it may seem.
It certainly doesn’t feel like four years since I was strutting into the high school on my first day of freshman year. While I’ve tried to repress certain memories from the puberty asylum (known as middle school) and a few years thereafter, even a moderate dose of reflection provides me with some appreciation for where I am today.
Academically, it feels like I’ve been here barely a few weeks: each repetitive routine played itself out for a year, and the next year was simply a different daily routine, rather than nine months of new experiences. As far as school itself, I’ve only lived four different days in the last four years: one routine for each grade. Academically, any single day in the last four years was just as useless (or useful) to me as another day lived in that year’s routine.
For almost every lunch in the last four years you could unzip my black backpack (messenger bag if it was freshman year) and pull out a brown lunch bag. In the lunch bag, you would find a ham sandwich. On the first day of freshman year my adolescent appetite needed anything it could get, and the ham sandwich was fine. Eventually, though, maybe around the 281st ham sandwich, I lost my enthusiasm for what was once a significant choice to me.
Essentially, my practiced routines overshadowed the initial choices I made to create those routines. I no longer eat a ham sandwich every day, but I do choose to eat a ham sandwich every day. Self-awareness can serve as an antidote to the tiresome effects of routine.
When I realized I had lost all enthusiasm for that once so ideal sandwich, I realized that I could not genuinely blame anyone but myself. I was the one who defrosted those two whole-wheat slices of bread each day and methodically laid down the four pieces of honey-smoked ham, stratifying the curvature to ensure equal distributi… never mind. The point is, nobody forced me to eat/hate the sandwich, it was a choice I made myself.
Hopefully you realize this is not necessarily about my lunch. As the class of 2013 departs, I continue to hear lamentations about how West Jessamine High has ruined our last four years, and that we can finally move on to something better.
I beg to differ.
Those who haven’t enjoyed the last four years will be, at best, hopeless when they “move on” to a period with more powerful authorities, larger groups of conformists, and more consequences at stake for their own futures. At some point, you’ve got to find a way to enjoy your ham sandwich.
Curiosity killed the cat. So why be curious?
Because curiosity is what lead the West Jessamine students to be glorious.
Without curiosity, no questions are asked.
Without questions asked, no knowledge is grasped.
Without knowledge grasped, the test scores portray
What students have been doing in school until May.
I guess it’s a good thing that’s not the West Way.
The West Way is students who don’t settle for “good” nor “great.”
The West Way is a dynasty ranked eighth in the state.
Teachers helping teachers; Students helping peers.
All of this hard work has paid off through the years.
Top ten in the state, there’s still room to improve
Watch out for us next year, we’ll be on the move.
Summer. The one word running through every student’s head.
No school, sleep a little, see your friends, and back to bed
The nights are longer, warm air with the wind
No worries, nowhere to be, every day is a weekend.
Pool, lake, beach, find me with my toes in the water
People get cooler, the days get hotter
The music is up, the stress level is down
You call that a tan? I call that a brown.
Movies, laughter, and sunlight
Some choose to sleep, some up all night.
The two months of summer always go by oh so fast
So let’s live it up, and let’s make it last.
Mac & cheese
Favorite part of the year?
Are you excited for summer?
Are you sad to see the seniors graduate on June 7?
Of course. You always grow fond of them. They start behaving, then they leave.
A little bit, but I’m excited that they get to move on to what they want to do
College: Berea College
Major/minor: Double major in music and education
Best Memory of High School: shoving my friend Laura Lodder’s oversized backpack into one of the half lockers on the choir/band hallway.
Favorite class/teacher/subject: My favorite class is Ms. Brinkerhoff’s college English. My favorite teacher is Mr. Galloway. Favorite subject would be choir.
The thing I will miss most about high school will be… all the friends I have made over the past four years, both under- and upper- classmen.
The thing I will miss least about high school will be… the immaturity that runs rampant.
The thing I am most looking forward to in college is… the opportunity to learn beyond basic requirements such as math and science.
My advice for underclassmen is… to be yourself and don’t allow anyone to change that. Have your own thoughts and don’t be afraid to express yourself.