Monday, November 3, 2014
Of the few defining moments in my life, two come to my mind prominently; my father and mother’s marriage and my adoption into the Keller household. Defining moments often shape who we are, our future, and how we respond to events further on down the road of life. There are both good and bad moments, producing positive and negative results, but what you do with those results is up to you. You can either choose to learn from the negative, or allow it to rend you limb from limb. Positive events almost always produce positive results, but you can allow even those to infect your brain with a sort of mightier-than-thou attitude. To be blunt, defining moments are our story; let it shape you into who you are meant to be.
When my parents first met, I was being babysat by my grandmother, but I’m sure their first meeting went great. They are married after all. I was a tender three when it happened, and having lived a life with a hard-working mother and father who was never around, knew nothing about a happy normal home. To be correct, I knew nothing about a happy home; separation among parents is normal. Although I was young, I remember holding my mother’s hand as she walked, and watching as tears of joy ran down her face. Up until that point, I had been the only man who had ever consistently been there for her; I didn’t have a choice in the matter, but I would have stayed even if I had. However now I was able to see what love and sacrifice were really about. My father took my mother and I in, even with her tattered past and my abandonment from my “sperm donor dad”. This was love, and sacrifice at its purest. Something I still haven’t forgotten.
Secondly came my adoption, and that almost seven years later. How I would love to tell you of a perfect life, but those aren’t real or true, and frankly quite boring. My parents fought like any other, I bowed my head to anger often, and hated the air that often clogged our home. Yet, my parents pushed through, and I believe that it was a small defining moments in itself. When I was ten my parents approached me with talk of adoption, in fact I was the only member or the then household of five to still have the name Rice. Keller, I thought, was better because everyone else had it. My mother hadn’t let the conversation happen until I was ten, as she feared things between her and my soon to be adopted dad may not work out. Thankfully she was wrong, and today I proudly hold the title Keller. This moment exuded love, and the tears that ran down my face in genuine bliss after the process had finally been completed couldn’t have been truer. I knew then that this man, who had married my mother, wouldn’t leave me like my other father. But instead would stand by my side, and teach my things every man needs to know.
These seemingly insignificant examples of defining moments changed my life, for the better a thousand times over. Up until then I had received multiple negative ones, and I still have work to do on my heart from the scars in my past. However the blessings of those two defining moments have changed my forever. I am a man because of those two events, because without them, I wouldn’t have a father; without a father, who can learn to be a man?
There are many defining moments that have happened in my life time. Some I remember extremely well and others not so much. These events are not just based on world events but events that have affected my community. Three defining moments for my generation are Hurricane Katrina, 9/11, and the big storm that passed through earlier this year.
Hurricane Katrina is the name of a big hurricane that passed over the Bahamas and many states on August 23, 2005. I was nine years old when the hurricane happened. I remembered sitting home with my mom watching the news. I didn't know what was happening but I watched anyways. That next morning I watch the 7:00 news to find that major damage was done to many the many places hit. At least 1,833 people died and over $108 billion dollars’ worth of damage was caused.
Another widely known tragedy is the terrorist attack of 9/11. This happened on September 11, 2001 in New York City. I was in kindergarten and was five years old on that tragic day. Since I was only five at the time I don’t remember much, but I was in school in my teacher, Mrs. Wolf's, room. A few years ago one of the other kindergarten teachers that taught back then told my class about that day. She said that we all gathered in her room and watched movies while they discussed the situation in the hall. As of now I can tell you more about the day 9/11 because all of the mini episodes they show the week of 9/11 every year.
The big storm here in Arkansas earlier this year is also a defining moment. I was seventeen at the time of the storm. It was late at night when it hit Camden. I remember waking up to my house shaking because of the thunder. The lighting didn't help me sleep any better. I finally went back to sleep after it settled down. When I woke up that next morning, I found that the power was out and a tree fell on a house I grew up in. To top it off, prom was that weekend and I had no power to get ready. The school was having prom no matter what. So Camden didn't have power for a while and it almost ruined prom for us.
So everybody has a tragedy that happens in their life. Some are worse than others and some you may not even remember. Hurricane Katrina, 9/11, and the big storm in Camden are just a few that happened in my generation,
A defining moment is an event that impacts someone’s life. September 11, 2001 is a defining moment for the whole United States, where a birth of a child could be a defining moment for a family. Defining moments could be big or small, it all depends on what matters to a certain person. As for me I have lots of defining moments, but I have a top three. The top three defining moments of my lifetime are finding love, giving birth to my daughter, and graduating high school.
Finding love is a big defining moment for me. Most people might not thing it would be a defining moment, but for me it is. Finding love has had an impact on my life because it has showed me the best things in life. I could not see myself being alone now that I have someone that truly loves me the way I am.
Giving birth to my daughter is another defining in my life. Birth is a very common defining moment for some people, but why would not it be? Giving birth to my daughter impacted my life in tremendous ways. I have matured so much since having her. You kind of have to when you a responsible for another human being.
As I was growing up, I was so ready to graduate. I faced a lot of obstacles along the way, but I did it. Graduating is definitely a defining moment in my life. When I got pregnant during my eleventh grade year people doubted me. I love proving people wrong and showing them I can overcome anything I want.
Defining moments depends on the person. My defining moments are just the small things that happen in life. The small things can always have a big impact on a person. Another person’s defining moments might be on the national news or in a newspaper, but not mine. I’ll be just fine with the little things in my lifetime.
There are not very many issues that I have with SAU Tech. I have no issues with the teachers or other staff and I do not have any serious issues with the campus itself. So there is not a drawn out list of things that I would change. There are a few things though. If I were chancellor I would add foreign language classes, have someone fix the Wi-Fi, and improve the selection in the library.
One of the reasons students attend a two year colleges is to complete the basic requirements need for a bachelor degree. SAU Tech offers most of the classes that are important to the first two years of the degree plan. It used to be that foreign language was just a recommendation depending on the degree that one was seeking. Now many degrees call for at least a first year language. For some degrees the student may need to take several classes in a foreign language. For example, most history majors, depending on the school, need anywhere from six hours (SAU Magnolia) to fourteen hours (Texas A & M). So, those who are starting out at SAU Tech will be behind when it comes to the foreign language requirements for their degree. Six hours is a year behind, and fourteen hours is about two years behind. And if the history student wants to go on to get a master’s degree, they should be proficient in at least one language; proficient knowledge of two languages is needed, if they should choose to go on, further to a PhD. Not being able to start taking language class now can really put one behind in their studies. If I were Chancellor I would make sure that there were foreign language classes available for the students to take. If it was an issue of cost I would figure out a way to make it possible.
If I were chancellor I would have someone look into the issues with the Wi-Fi. The Wi-Fi in most buildings works well but in some buildings, like the Tech building, the connection is not the greatest and does not always work. This can be inconvenient and causes people to complain. So, if I was Chancellor I would have someone come up with different solutions. Then I would go through the different solutions and decide which would be the best option. Then I would have someone fix the problems.
Lastly, if I were Chancellor I would look at improving the selection in the library. Now I realize the SAU Tech is a small college and therefore does not need a huge library. The library has excellent online sources and a number and variety of nonfiction. But the fiction in my opinion is lacking some. There is not much to choose from. And while I personally find it cool that some of the books are from the ‘50s many of those books look unappealing. So, if I were Chancellor I would find some funds to buy a few more books both fiction and nonfiction. That way, there are more available options for students to choose from.
If I were chancellor, the most important thing that I would change is the availability of foreign language classes. The other things that I would look in to improving are the Wi-Fi and a few improvements to the selection of books in the library. Other than those issues as of now there is not really anything else that I would change if I was Chancellor.
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
In my opinion, a chancellor is pretty much the principal of a college. There aren't disciplinary aspects in college such as detention and in school suspension like there is in grade school, but like a principal, they take care of other problems in the school. From my experience being the school ambassador, I've been able to sit down with our chancellor and explain the problems that are going on in our school. If I had the chance to be chancellor, there are some things I would change such as WiFi here on campus, better prices in the cafeteria, and having more activities to keep our students more active, healthy and in shape.
I’m in my second half of my first semester here at SAU Tech and the WiFi reception is terrible. From what I've heard, because I don’t live on campus, it’s been a problem for a while. Being chancellor I would have to invest in a totally new WiFi service and make it where it can reach all over campus. In some parts of campus the service isn't good. Also on the weekends when there isn't access to computers, the on campus dorms have no service. How are students supposed to get homework done? So as chancellor, that would be on my list of top things to fix.
Another issue I've noticed are the prices for the food in the cafeteria. I know for myself I can’t afford to buy that expensive of a lunch every day. Even the meal plans aren't very accommodating. It’s hard for a full time college student to maintain a job during the school year. The little money they do some how come up with can’t go strictly to cafeteria food because of the high prices. The cafeteria is only open for lunch, and they feed not only students but also a lot of the workers in East Camden such as workers from Lockheed Martin and Highland. As chancellor, my idea would be to give a 10-20 percent discount for students only. With as many teachers and workers that come to SAU Tech’s café, there should not be any money lost.
Along with WiFi and better prices for our cafeteria, staying healthy is a huge problem in our nation and definitely on college campuses. Obesity and unhealthy habits are starting at a much younger age now. Being a two year college, we don’t have real team sports such as softball, basketball, football and volleyball. Athletic programs at larger schools are a big way for athletes to stay active and healthy. We have flag football and play night Frisbee maybe once or twice a semester but that isn't enough. We also have the activity center with a weight room and basketball court, but I know how hard it is to make myself get up and work out. However, as a chancellor, I would provide a more variety of things that may appeal to the students and make them want to get active. For example, Zumba is a very fun way to stay in shape along with yoga. Those may appeal more to the girls, but if we could have boxing classes or a par core team. One that would be great for boys and girls is a self defense class. Not only does it keep you active and in shape, but in today's world and how high the violence rates are, it could make a lot of more people feel comfortable.
Being chancellor can’t be an easy job by any means. I’m aware that there are a lot of problems and some fall short as being a priority, but when college is about the students, these are some things I would have on my top list of things to do as a chancellor. With how much school costs, school has to appeal to the students so we can have more people going to college and getting jobs. WiFi, better café prices for students, and more things to stay healthy are some ways to make our school more appealing.
Monday, October 20, 2014
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
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.