Senior Class Play Review

On Friday I attended the Senior class play with a few friends. I had heard mixed reviews about the play, as some said it was hilarious while others described it as “just okay.” 

I thought the play started out kind of slow, without too many jokes. However, after a few minutes I did find myself laughing. I loved Maddie Chasse’s character, the aunt in the painting. Every time that grumpy aunt screamed I was cracking up laughing! I also enjoyed the creepy character, Mr. Weird. I thought Nick Thomas did an excellent job at portraying the “Mysterious Dude.” 

On a more negative note, I thought the set didn’t quite match the description of the house, since it was supposed to be a dark, scary place, but the set was fairly light and bright. Also, the part where the tour guide was making up the story about the corrupt prince was a little confusing, as was the actual role of the prince, as well as his reason for visiting the Creeps’ house in the first place. Finally, I was unsure of the role of the tour guide and the tourists. I wasn’t exactly sure why they were at the Creeps house and how far into the future their setting was placed. 

Overall I enjoyed the play, but I thought the set could have been more realistic, and the humor could have been amped up a bit. Then the show would have been much, much better for me.


Sources Blog SAT/ACT Prep Course

Because our proposal is for an SAT/ACT prep class elective in our school, Gail and I thought it would be a good idea to find a source that describes the system and results of an elective course of this nature in a high school. We found the perfect article on, which descries in detail the workings of an SAT prep class in Denison High School. 

At Denison an SAT/ACT prep course was introduced recently as an elective in the school’s curriculum. The class meets every day and is free for students. This course offers ample practice with timed tests throughout the year, and works with two teachers on a rotating basis, one specializing in math, the other in English. 

This course at Denison was described as extremely beneficial to students. Students who completed the course improved their scores “tremendously.” In fact, the average SAT score for the class in the beginning of the year was 1330, but after completing the course, by the end of the year the average score was 1528. Students who took the course claimed they felt more prepared for the SAT and ACT now that they were educated not only about the material on the course, but about the nature of the test itself and clever tips to get higher scores. 

This class described at Denison High School is almost identical to the class Gail and I picture for The Salisbury School. A full year long, elective course with rotating teachers that would prepare students completely for both SAT and ACT tests. However, our class would also include information about the college process and college preparation. This type of class is essential for The Salisbury School, which claims to be a “college preparatory” school, as the SAT and ACT are critical for getting into the school one desires, and being well informed about how to prepare for college is a basic necessity for college bound students.


My Give and Receive Day

The Salisbury School has a unique in-school holiday, called Give and Receive day. On this Wednesday, every year, two grades team up and go out on a community service field trip together. These trips range from working with underprivileged kids to making packages for soldiers oversees. 

This year the eleventh grade was paired with the eight grade, and jointly the two grades made gifts out of construction paper to give to senior citizens living at Atria assisted living facility. These small gifts were filled with various items, such as pencils, pens, erasers, word-searches, and crossword puzzles. The packages we made were intended to bring joy and holiday spirit to the lonely seniors living at Atria. 

The day started out with kids from both grades assembling the gifts. Then, the grades loaded a bus ready to head to Atria. Once we arrived, we were split into four groups and were each sent to a different wing of the nursing home. Here we passed out gifts to seniors and sang christmas carols to them. The Christmas carols we sang included Rudolf the Red Nosed reindeer, Sleigh Bells, Winter Wonderland, Jingle Bells, and many other holiday songs. Total we sang about 15 songs. 

Overall I liked the experience, but it was sort of awkward and felt unplanned. When we were in the assisted living facility, it felt like we were all scattered in different directions and didn’t know exactly what we were doing. Also, the organization was poor because at one point my group and I were alone in a “special” wing of the nursing home, with no teacher. There we ended up singing Christmas carols for almost 20 minutes before we left. Also, there were not enough buses to carry all of the students, so we had to wait a long time for a bus, and then we arrived late to school. This left us no time to work on our presentation, which was to be presented that afternoon.


Relationships Between the Salisbury School’s Philosophy and its Architecture




The Salisbury School’s boasts a unique philosophy that promotes originality, safety, honesty, and freedom among its students. This philosophy is clearly shown in the way the school treats its students and promotes a free and safe student community through institutions such as the honor code and the student-faculty disciplinary board. The school’s philosophy focuses largely on academics and intellectual stimulation, while maintaining that athletics and the arts are essential to a well-rounded member not only of the Salisbury School community, but of society as a whole.

           Just like the Salisbury School is widely recognized for this unique and original philosophy, it is similarly recognized for its unique and industrial architecture. This architecture, strange as it may be, actually reflects much of the school’s philosophy. Within the school is a notable trend off open spaces, interesting geometric shapes, and unexpected exposed beams and rafters. These unique qualities represent the uniqueness and originality that the school promotes and nurtures among its student body. These unique architectural aspects can easily be taken individually to represent specific details of the school’s philosophy. Open hallways and classrooms reflect the sense of freedom and trust at the Salisbury school by showing that doors will never be closed to anyone, and that when in the classroom, students are not only a part of their class, but are a part of a larger learning environment. The interesting geometric shapes throughout the school’s architecture, such as the Upper school dome and the Lower school triangle, reflect the school’s unique philosophy and unconventional approaches to learning with unconventional architectural styles. The exposed beams and rafters in the school give an industrial, open, almost unfinished feeling to the hallways and classrooms. This feeling parallels the school’s philosophy by creating an open, accepting feeling among its students. The unfinished feel also reminds students that they are always growing and changing and that they will never be finished learning. Finally, the school includes few doors with locks, and holds all open lockers. Because the doors and lockers in the Salisbury School do not have locks, the feeling of trust reflected in the school’s philosophy is present within the student body.

         The Salisbury School is proud of its original philosophy and the unique values it represents and promotes. It is quite fitting that the architecture and design of the Salisbury School is in-line with these prominent beliefs. Fortunately, these unique aspects of the school’s architecture only reenforce the philosophy the school so ardently supports, and therefore will help to keep the school in line with this philosophy for as long as the architecture remains in the future. 



Experiential Week Reflection

This year I attended the college tours experiential week trip. I was very pleased with my experience and I definitely had a great time. On this trip, my classmates and I visited and toured several unique colleges and got to experience a wide range of college campuses and atmospheres. We were able to learn about small colleges, such as Washington and Lee and Roanoke, and large colleges, like Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia. On our tours, we usually walked around the college campuses, learned about academics and student life, and enjoyed lunch in the colleges or universities lunchrooms. I loved getting to visit so many different schools in one trip, because it was helpful to get an opportunity to compare several colleges in back-to-back tours. As for my own opinion of the individual schools, I really didn’t like Virginia Tech. It was too big for my preferences, and the atmosphere was gloomy, as if the entire campus was sad. With this said, I think UVA and W&L were my favorites. I thought both of these schools had beautiful campuses and seemed to have lively atmospheres. However, Washington and Lee was definitely too small for me, and UVA was a little bit too big. Regardless, I still really liked the diverse programs and opportunities each of these schools offered, and I hope to attend a school with similar opportunities in the future.

Along with the colleges we visited, our group also visited Jefferson’s historical home, Monticello, and participated in a historical ghost tour in Charlottesville. Visiting Monticello was actually more interesting than I initially thought it would be. I was impressed by the history of the home, and I enjoyed hearing about the abundance of strange quirks and details of the house and the estate. The best part of the tour, of course, was getting to push Caitlin in her wheelchair through a home that was certainly not originally designed to be handicap accessible. It was like navigating a car through a maze made for children! Still, the tour was fun, and I now feel like I have nearly mastered the art of wheelchair pushing!

Although Monticello was interesting, I found the ghost tour just as engaging. Our ghost tour was led by an experienced guide and storyteller, who lead us through parts of historic Charlottesville, after dark, as he told our group a murder mystery story. As our guide told of us of the real murders that occurred in the town, he often made references to ghosts and the living dead. I liked how dramatic the guide made his stories, describing details right down to the bang of the gunshots, but I thought the tour was too long, as it seemed to last all night. If it had been slightly shortened, it would have been better.  and I think everyone had a good time listening to the guide’s theatrical story.

Overall, I enjoyed my time over experiential week, and I am really glad I chose the college tours trip. It was a lot of fun touring colleges and historical sights with my friends, and maybe I will do it all again next year on the 2014 college tours experiential week trip!


Switchin’ Diction

Original (Formal Diction):”It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason toward my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.”

Diction1-Middle Diction: “There is only one way that I can find truth and fulfill the responsibilities owed to God and my Country. If I do not say what I think because I am afraid to offend someone, I will be betraying my country and God, whom I consider more powerful than any king.”

Diction2-Informal Diction-Colloquial language: “That’s the only way I can find out the truth and help keep the responsibility I owe to God and my country.  If I don’t talk now just because I don’t want any disagreements, I’m going against my country and I’m going against God, and I think god is more important than anything.”

Diction3-Informal Diction-Dialect (Illiterate Southerner…think Honey-Boo-Boo language): “I ain’t gon’ find out no truth ‘less I do it dis’ a way, cus’ dis’ a way I can keep doin’ what Gawd and this country needs me to do. And I ain’t gonna’ shut ma mouth jus’ cus’ some of ya’ll don’t like what I got’ta say neither, if I did that I’d just be hurtin’ Gawd and this country and I ain’t gon’ wan’na be doin’ that cus I think gawd’ the most ‘mportant thing in the world.”

Re-writting this quote in three different forms of diction makes me realize just how important appropriate diction is when writing. I see how each time I re-worded this quote it changed the meaning slightly until finally the meaning of the last quote harldly matched the meaning of the first quote at all. This change in meaning could obviously seriously affect the interpretation of the message as readers grow unsure of the main point of the speech and start to loose sight of the  purpose.

Changing the diction of these quotes also changes their impact on the reader. This is apparent when I compare the original quote with my last edit of dialect. My translation is beyond poorly written and would likely have little impact on readers because the readers would not feel as though my obviously uneducated mind could possibly have anything of worth to produce in speech. A well written, intelligent speech would not only be easier to understand, but would also be more impactful and legitimate.

These different classes of diction also change the ethos in this quote as they slowly discredit the writer. The speaker of this original quote speaks in clear, simple terms, allowing him to appeal to a large audience, and gaining him significant credibility as he appears intelligent and well educated. However, in my three edits, the language becomes progressively more difficult to understand, which discredits me as my writings appear to be highly informal and unprofessional. Also, in these three other translations my diction gradually becomes so specific and limited that only people of a certain group could properly understand and interpret the message. This limits my audience and limits who my message could appeal or relate to.


Ethos in History

After reading Smith’s First Journal and The General History of Virginia, I think John Smith established strong ethos in both texts. However, I think that the ethos John Smith used was only effective during Smith’s century and soon lost credibility after decades of historical study and analysis. John Smith uses ethos to give the appearance of high character, gaining credibility, and enabling him to better relate with the audience in these two accounts. He takes clear advantage of the limited point of view by which the story is written and uses it to warp the details of events into the potentially false account he want readers to believe. Smith uses ethos to trick the common people of the time into accepting his personal account of events in America as the whole truth.

In Smith’s First Journey John Smith records his observations of the geography of the Eastern Shore and surrounding areas as he and his crew first explore the region. He uses ethos in this work to portray a very specific, subjective view of the new land and the people who inhabit it. By describing all resources and waterways himself, with no input from the crew, Smith’s writings are highly biased. This allows Smith to fabricate his observations without bound and make himself appear to be heroic and brave. Smith also uses his own subjective view of events as a self-beneficial use of ethos in The General History of Virginia. Just as he does in Smith’s First Journey, John Smith creates a one sided chronicle of events, however, in this story Smith attempts to gain even more credibility by writing from a third-person view, falsely implying that the viewpoint is objective. He uses this third person view to believably tell self-glorifying stories as if they were recorded fact, boosting his credibility and perceived character.

John Smith’s writings make me question the legitimacy of many other pieces of historic literature. This is especially true for those accounts that are the supporting foundation for common beliefs in history. It seems to me that if these stories by Smith were interpreted as fact for many years, then there is no reason many other personal accounts could not be subjective as well. If many ancient texts were not written by an ethical writer, than the way humans today have pieced together events of the past could be totally incorrect. Many of the world’s beliefs regarding history have shaped current times, and if our history was suddenly changed, then our perception of the present and future could be altered as well. Smith’s use of ethos to create a fabricated work, that ironically causes him to loose credibility, forces me to consider the daunting possibility that some of the history we believe today could be nothing but a made-up story created by a man with an alternate agenda.

. . . . . . . . . . . .

Well it looks like I am the only one who thought John Smith actually DID establish his ethos. I understand the points others make and why they say they discredit him by showing that he was dishonest and was working on his own agenda, but I personally thought that John Smith in fact did a very good job of using ethos to make himself seem credible and of good character to the audience he was appealing to. I think I was the only one who though that for the audience he was after (people who had no way of knowing whether what John Smith was saying was true, with no historical background to go off of), he did a fine job of establishing ethos. To anyone who sits down and reads Smith’s accounts with no knowledge of ethos and no idea that past history has proven many of his claims false, these accounts would actually do what Smith intended for them to; They would cause the reader to think Smith was an honorable, credible man of good character. It is only with our modern knowledge of history and ethos that we are able to see through Smith’s accounts, otherwise, we would be tricked into believing his stories just like anyone else.