Monday, October 20, 2014

S. Saeler--Defining Moment

The moment of 9/11

          On September 11, 2001, nearly 3,000 people were killed. Many police officers and firefighters were killed during the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center in New York City. I remember being in Mrs. Charlie’s Kindergarten class when it happened. All of the teachers were scared and the students could tell something was going on. My mom came to pick me up from school very quick and took me to my grandma’s house. I wanted to watch cartoons, but all the adults were so focused on watching the same thing happen over and over again. It is like they could not believe what they were seeing. I kept telling them over and over that I wanted to watch Toy Story, and they just kept saying, “Shhh.” I was very mad, but I began to watch what was happening. I kept hearing my grandparents and parents talk about it, but I really did not understand what happened. That night, when my mom was putting me in bed, I asked her what they were watching on T.V. She explained that the World Trade Center had been attacked and that many people had not survived. I remember not being able to sleep that night because I kept thinking they were going to attack our house. I also had no idea what the World Trade Center was, so that made it even scarier. I got in the bed with my mom and she assured me they would not attack our house. I finally got a couple hours of sleep, and then I had to get up again to get ready for school. I had kind of forgotten about it by the time I got to school, and then all the other kids were talking about it. I remember getting scared all over again because they were telling me things their parents had told them. For a couple of weeks I had to sleep with my mom because I was so scared. I remember all I could think about was something happening like that at school or at my home. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Defining Moments--L. Yaksic

Ice Storm
   I remember the ice storm that hit Mena, AR December 25, 2000.  I was pretty young at the time but I remember how bad it was at the time.   It was Christmas day and we were supposed to go to Little Rock later that day to celebrate Christmas with my aunt and uncle.  It started icing early that morning and it did not let up until way late that night.  The things that I remember most from that time were no power, falling a lot, and leaving to go to my aunt and uncle’s house.  I learned just how hard it was to make it without the necessities in life.
     The ice storm was horrible and at midnight the power went off. It was an all electric house which meant there was also no heat.   My family and I lived about a mile off of the main highway on a gravel road in the woods.  The town of Mena was about 16 miles from our house.  I remember hearing trees falling every few minutes. The ice on the power lines and the numerous trees falling created the power outage.  It was so cold in the house, my mom covered my brother and I with a lot of blankets but finally my parents decided to go stay with my grandparents who lived across the street.
     The trip to my grandparent’s house was a nightmare!  Luckily my grandparents lived on top of a pretty steep hill. The road was covered with ice.   My brother and I would try to climb the road but every time we would get up some distance, we would both fall and slide right back down the hill.  This happened several times until my dad finally drug us up the hill.   My grandparents luckily had gas heat and a way to cook. I will never forget how hard it was to climb that hill.
     The power was off for 5 days and it was hard living without power. We had to melt icicles to use for washing dishes and for water. My grandparents lived in a small house which made it difficult with so many people in the house.  On the evening of the sixth day, my uncle Craig came all the way from Little Rock and told us, “let’s get out of here.” My grandparents stayed behind but my family left.  The ride there was horrible. I remember seeing cars in ditches and trees laying everywhere across the road. My dad and uncle helped people push their cars back on the road several times. Finally we made it back to my aunt’s house. It was so nice to have power again.

     One thing that I learned is that I am grateful to have power and the basic necessities of life.  I have also learned that ice storms are bad and to always be prepared for one if they forecast them on the news.  The ice storm on 2000 is a childhood memory that I do not think that I will ever forget.

Defining Moment--B. Scharbor

Life is full of unexpected moments. The majority I would love to say are extremely joyous and happy moments. However, life seems to always throw us an unpredictable curve ball. These curve balls, monumental or insignificant to others, are all put in our paths for a higher and bigger reason. Whether we take the good from the bad or let it consume us, these moments define us. These defining moments can effect us as a town, a state or even a nation.
    Back in April, my town of Camden, Arkansas was devastated by an awful tornado. It did not shred the whole town, but my neighborhood was hit the most severe. I remember waking up right after the tornado tore through our neighborhood around 3:00 in the morning. I stayed up the rest of the night until daylight came through and I was able to see all the damage. My brother had a limb come through his ceiling, which caused his bedroom to flood because it was raining so hard. There was another tree that feel right outside my bedroom and barely missed it by a foot. That tree was huge and could have easily hurt me, if not kill me.  I live around a bunch of trees, and it was insane how many trees had fallen. Our neighbors had a tree fall through their home. Luckily no one was hurt. They eventually had to rebuild their house from the ground up because the damage was so bad. There was so many trees down that no one could leave or leave or come into our neighborhood because the roads were covered. I live directly behind the high school, and we found out that the roof of half of our school was torn off, the baseball field's concrete dugouts were destroyed, and out football stadium was extremely damaged. Our whole neighborhood seemed to be in distress.
    It was not long after daylight that great things started to happen. It was a true blessing to see all the people who showed up at my house that morning to check and see if we were okay and to just help with cleaning up all the damage. There was so much work that had to be done and to see other people come and help was so amazing. Since I stayed awake the whole night, I ended up taking a nap and woke up to a yard full of people helping. The American Red Cross even showed up later that afternoon and gave us sandwiches, fruit and water for lunch. We had nowhere else to go eat because the whole entire town was out of electricity, so it was a blessing to have them show up with food after working so hard.

    ​Defining moments appear in all kinds of ways: extraordinary, devastatingly, in a huge community, or just to an individual. The tornado was a big wake up call to me: it brought out the kind in so many people and showed how a town can come together to help each other out. Not only was it a defining moment for myself, but I also know my generation of people will definitely remember this happening to us and how blessed we are. 

Defining Moments--N. Boer

A Generation’s Defining Moments
                There are many things that define a generation. Most seem to have a negative impact or are the result of something negative like the increase in security after 9-11. Other examples would be Katrina or the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. The list could go on.  I am only going to focus on three of the things that I think define my generation. The events that I think define my generation are: political correctness, the digital age and information age, and all of the issues that college graduates face and future graduate will face.
America has become very concerned with being politically correct. I have heard or read this from a few different sources and I realized how true it is. We are so concerned with everyone’s feelings that we are afraid to say what we mean because someone might be offended by it. This has resulted in most everyone trying to be politically correct. According to Merriam Webster’s online dictionary, politically correct means agreeing to the idea that people should not use language or behavior that could be offensive to a particular group of people. The best example I can think of that represents this is the use of “Happy Holidays” around Christmas time instead of “Merry Christmas.”  It is considered to be more political correct to say “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas” because it might offend those who are not Christian. (Which not saying Merry Christmas can just as easily offend Christians, though that seems to be less important these days. It is about what makes everyone else happy and in the process somehow it does not matter if it infringes on the rights of Christians).  There is also the issue that once it starts, where does being politically correct stop? There are some things that I can see the need for but a lot of it is just overkill.  This is one way that my generation can be defined. We are leaving the values that the country was founded on and moving in a direction where everyone will be afraid of saying what they think, feel, or mean because it will be politically incorrect.
My generation is also a generation of the digital and information age. The digital age is an age where we have access to all sorts of technology.  The direct access to technology and the connection to others through the internet has led the information age. We can find thousands of answers to one question on the internet, which is not necessarily a good thing because it makes it almost impossible to tell what is creditable. This defines my generation because we are for the most part glued to the internet. The internet and technology is a part of daily life.
 In my opinion, the most important thing that defines my generation are the issues that college graduates face.  Graduating college students acquire high debt from paying for college and then are faced with the high possibility of not finding gainful employment after graduation. This is a result of the bad economy and the fact that a bachelor’s degree is very common (NPR).  It is no longer rare, so to stand out the next degree level may be need. With more education comes more. This defines my generation because it is coming to the point that it is almost better to not go to college because the student will not have acquired the debt that they are unable to repay. However, even though degrees are common place, they are required if one wants a decent paying job.
 The events and ways of living that can be used to describe a generation are what define that generation. There are so many things that make up and define my generation or any generation. America’s ever increasing sense of trying to be politically correct, the digital and information age, and the issues that graduating college students face all define my generation. All of those moments (though not really specific moments or moments at all) could be used to describe an aspect of my generation.

Work Cited

NPR Staff. “Are Today’s Millennials the ‘Screwed Generation’? “. NPR. NPR. 3 Sept. 2012. Web. 14 Oct. 2014. <>.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Getting to know you.....

The fall 2014 semester is in full gear, and the Honors students are all amazing me! It is so fun to see the faces of the returning students and to get to know the new Honors students.  I have been amused to see the differences in this years' Honors Seminar and last because of the differences in personality. This is fun!!

We have done a couple of things this year to help everyone get to know each other.  The two groups blended for a pizza lunch recently.  It was the first real opportunity for the new and returning students to meet. I think it was a great time with food, fellowship, and a lot of noise!!
Ask Ronald Nance Jr about the balloon!!  It has a name!

Two of the Jessica's! They are such sweethearts!
Then, we met up for a bowling party on Saturday night.  The students were encouraged to bring their families for an evening of fun!  I really enjoyed getting to know some of the families and time spent with some little ones.  We had chips and cheese dip, meatballs, chocolate chip cookie bars, and mocha brownies (that I still think tasted like coffee).  Just like last year, a few people forgot socks.  But, this year, they just decided not to bowl. I think I should invest in extra socks for the next bowling party!  It was a great opportunity to get to know these students outside the classroom and for the new and returning students to get more familiar with one another!

Keyonte doesn't look too happy with his score!

Someone said something that was funny to the Sanders' girls....wonder what in the world was so funny!?

Honors' sisters, Jessica and Christina, brought Jessica's husband and sweet baby girl, Aubree!  

Taylor and Anna took turns with Addison so that Anna could bowl!  Tag team at it's best!

Jaxxon wanted to bowl with Jessica and Mikey too!  
And we have to keep that sweet little guy happy :)

More pics of future SAU Tech Honors students! 

After several months of planning, the Honors study lounge is now open for business! And the students have been using it!  I went to take pictures and found 3 students in it! It includes a computer, seating area, and snack center (complete with a Keurig)!  I'm so thankful for the generosity of Mr. Gunnels to provide this space!

The students named the tree "Fred the Ficus"

We are going to have a great year!  Plans are already being made for our next activity, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Time flies....

Time certainly flies when you are having fun, and the summer seems to already be winding down after a LOT of fun.  We have had the first round of Student Orientation and Registration (SOAR) and have another series scheduled for next week.  There is an excellent group of new students entering the Honors Program for fall 2014.  I am so excited to see how the new year shapes up!  And, of course, we have the priceless returning students from last year who are ready to mentor those new freshmen.  Changes on the SAU Tech campus are taking place with the opening of the new Student Center and Gym along with the completion of construction on the new campus apartments.  Various offices on campus are moving to new locations over the summer.  We are excited about the changes on our campus!

There are a couple of fundraisers coming up to be aware of.  The Bookstore donated an iPad Mini for us to use for a fundraiser.  So, we will be selling tickets for a chance to win the iPad.  Tickets are $1 each or $10 for 15 entries.  Tickets are available by contacting Honors students or in Jenny Sanders' office.  We will draw for the winner at Student Appreciation Day on August 27. The more tickets we sell, the more opportunities we will have for some fun activities this year!  Another fundraiser coming up (pending approval) is a repeat of the Yankee Candle Fundraiser.  The fall catalog will have the fall/winter scents and will make great Christmas gifts.  More info to come....

Plans are in the works for a ceremony to kick off the year and a trip to Altitude in Little Rock shortly after school starts.  We will also make a schedule for regular meetings to share information and socialize as a group.  Keep an eye out for details!

Hopefully, you students are enjoying some time for fun this summer (even those of you taking summer classes).  The fall semester will be here before you know it!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

End of 2013-14 Academic Year

Wow! The inaugural year of the SAU Tech Honors Program is over.  Yes, the students felt like guinea pigs at times as we experimented and tried new things since they were the first group.  Some lessons were learned on the part of the staff, and more importantly, some lessons were learned by the students this year.  On one of the last days of final exams, a group gathered in my office.  I was so encouraged to hear them sharing what they have learned (although some of the lessons were learned the hard way) and to hear their plans for the future. They truly are an amazing group of talented young people!

Academically, we had several successes with strong GPA's at the end of the first year.  A few are taking summer classes to redeem themselves.  After those summer classes, I expect to see significant improvements. I have witnessed such personal growth this year.  One student found himself in a life threatening situation in a car accident with some other students.  Rather than continuing to follow a path that was leading to problems, he used that experience to refocus and as a "wake-up call."  A student gave birth during the spring, and another is raising her son.  They have learned to balance family, work, and academics. Friendships were formed, and relationships changed. Deep personal struggles were revealed.  And through it all, these students grew and matured in ways that amaze me.

The Honors students are very involved in plans for this next year.  That larger lounge/study room that we dreamed for almost a year ago will come to fruition this summer.  The students have helped select items to make it a comfortable, functional space, and we will work to have it ready for the fall.  They have made suggestions for the beginning of the year kick-off party to help bond with the incoming freshmen.  The students have also brainstormed ways to mentor the incoming freshmen.  During SOAR (Student Orientation And Registration), Honors students will be present to visit with potential Honors Program students.  Fundraising efforts continue, and I look forward to more creative minds coming together to plan ways to maintain this program and it's activities.  Funding for higher education is being cut this year, so it is more important than ever for us to raise funds to support our activities and enhance the learning experiences.

This first year was not without struggles.  But, it was also filled with successes and growth.  I never dreamed on day one of Honors Seminar that this group of students would change my life the way they have, but they will continue to change lives in the future!