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!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Most of the Honors students are enrolled in an Honors Art Appreciation course during the spring 2014 semester.  So, we took a trip to visit the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville.  The original art pieces, sculpture, pottery, architecture, and landscaping were breathtaking. Seeing works by Andy Warhol, Georgia O'Keefe, Norman Rockwell, and other famous artists made art come to life.  Learning about art in the classroom is one thing, but the students were "Wow'd!!" by the original works.  As we walked through the museum, the excitement on their faces and in their voices was priceless!  Each of us had a favorite thing about the museum.

This was one of Keyonte's favorites (but we quickly found out that he had a lot of favorites)!

And this is another of Keyonte's favorites!

Tiffany says this one is "beautiful!"

The picture doesn't do this justice.  It was done with charcoals, and the details were astonishing. 

Some of the pieces aere huge!!  NaCenya was admiring this one, and you can see the size of the painting compared to her.  We were amazed at the ability to do a scene justice on such a large scale. 

I love the lantern painting.  The colors in the lanterns were so vivid that it looked like there was a light in it!

Made of buttons, lace, etc.

There were scale models of different buildings.  The one to the left was of a college student center from the 1950s.

.....and a little modern art.....yes, some of us thought we could even make this kind of art!!

This is actually 3-dimensional.  It was really cool in person!

Yes!  That's a giant ear coming out of the wall!

Coca Cola by Andy Warhol
Dolly Parton by Andy Warhol
Rosie the Riveter by Norman Rockwell

A giant horse....sticks or bronze??

The students all had commented that some of the pieces looked like things we could create.  As we got to a display case in the hall, I made a comment about the "paper bag" and how it doesn't take much to make it into an art museum.  Then I realized it was pottery!  Oops!

There are several trails on the museum grounds.  Some of the trails have art pieces on them; others are just beautifully landscaped. One trail had large picture frames on stands.  We couldn't turn down the photo op!
Stanley is being a deep thinker!

The grass on the lawn trail was immaculate.  It looked like it would be so soft to just lay down in.  So, Tiffany and Keyonte decided to try it.  I still think it looks fun!

sitting on Chaise Gabion
There were some areas of the trails that were off limits due to "unstable ground."  But we found some places to explore too!  I'm not sure if sitting on the sculptures is allowed or not!

Shore Lunch by Dan Ostermiller

Shore Lunch by Dan Ostermiller

Keyonte, Tiffany, and Stanley standing on a rock bridge

Jessica and NaCenya

Lowell's Ocean by Mark di Suvero

Stanley read to us about art while we cooled off after walking the trails!

The museum building itself was a piece of art.  The architecture is incredible!! It blends in to the surroundings while still standing alone and attracting attention.

Just before leaving on the trip, Beverly Ellis (advisor at SAU Tech) received an envelope from a child from out of state.  The child's class was doing an activity using Flat Stanley.  She was more than excited to take Flat Stanley on some adventures.  He went to Crystal Bridges with the Honors students!

What good is a trip without good food?  Most of us (students, Mrs. Sanders, Mr. and Mrs. Scott) had dinner together at Chili's, and we all ate lunch at Dixie Cafe on the way home.  We discovered that Tiffany likes hotter "hot wings" than NaCenya and that Keyonte and Stanley drink more mango tea than Mrs. Scott.

As a chaperone, I can't think of a better group of young people to go on a trip with.  Keyonte, Tiffany, Stanley, Jessica, and NaCenya each brought their own unique personality on this trip.  We made some great memories, established some new nicknames (like me being "Mom" to the whole group), learned about art and about each other, and had a great time.  I feel so blessed to have these "kids" in my life!  I can't wait for the next trip!!

For more info on the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, go to I highly recommend the museum....and admission is FREE!