As we were producing the paper yesterday during the massive thunderstorm, we learned that a mother and her child and a man who tried to rescue them were electrocuted when lightning struck a utility pole on Northport Drive and Sherman Avenue and the power line fell into a pool of water that the mother and child were standing in. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. And all of us should      remember that we never know the hour when we will be called from this  earth. It is important to live life to the fullest and to live it the right way. But for the grace of God go I.
***
      When children are first born and throughout most of their childhood, they think that they are the center of the universe and that everything is an extension of their being and psyche.  It is only as they get older that they begin to become aware of the larger universe out there that doesn't orbit around them.
      It seems that during their middle school years, pre-teens and teens are caught between these two views of the world. Although they are aware of other forces in the world such as the police and other authority figures, they also believe that they are smarter than everyone else and can navigate the world their own way. In some ways, they still think they are the center of the universe and the universe -- and society -- operates according to laws that are molded around their whims and fancies. While everyone else must do x, y and z, they are exempt from those rules because they are "smarter" than everyone else or so they think.
      It seems that around this time, there are some kids who reject education because they think that kids who seek high grades are merely trying to "act White." Or they think that they don't need education because      they are smarter than everyone else and they think that they can get over on the system and live and succeed on their whits alone. Often times, these are intelligent kids. It's just that they haven't gone through the stage in life or had that certain crisis where they realize that they are just one of several billion people in this world and there is always someone who will be smarter than they are.
      Some of these kids take the easy way and think that kids who may be taking a more difficult path in life are just stupid and are being "used" by other people. Again they know better than other people and they are going to get through this life without growing intellectually because they are in control -- not realizing that they are being shielded from many pressures and forces that adults face. By the time they wise up, it can be too late because they may have already taken on adult responsibilities like raising children of their own or may be in prison because they weren't as smart as they thought they were or they may be hooked on drugs and other symbols of the "easy life."
      There are a lot of children who face these kinds of pressures and decisions when they are in middle and high school. Often times when students are excelling in school, they are pressured by their "friends" and peers to take the easy way and to stop "acting White." It isn't easy for students who are trying to make the right decision to do the right thing. Doing the right thing may entail turning their backs on the friends whom they grew up with and who had their backs in the past.
      But a true friend is someone who is willing to help you succeed in life and to lift yourself up and not pull you down into the gutter. A true friend wants what is best for you. And there is nothing better for a young person than education. Education is the way -- both for the knowledge gained and the credentials received -- for anyone to get out of life's bad circumstances and to stay out of them once you have been lifted up. Education leads to a better life, but it means deferring some of life's little pleasures in order to attain all that     education has to offer. Education and plenty of it is the right way to proceed in life.
      This past summer, I had the honor to teach a class for the UW's PEOPLE Program middle school component. My students and I put together a newspaper in three short weeks called The Diversity Times. It is being reprinted in this edition of The Capital City Hues because I think my students did just an admirable job. Some of them are facing the decisions and pressures that I wrote about above. And due to some of the wonderful role models that they met this summer -- and wrote about in the paper  -- I think they now know the proper decision to make.
      These students were a "dream team." They were attentive and were ready to learn. I expect great things out of them because I know they have the intelligence and the motivation to learn right now. I pray and hope that this desire to learn will be with them for the rest of their lives.
      I'm proud of my students. Monica White and Ben Edeker were my teaching assistants. My students were Danika Bethel-Johnson, Diyeneira Camarena, James Chang, Neffatri Edwards, Alexis Gardner, Destiny Jackson, Melissa Moua, Jhanay Pattison, Carlos Segura, Khadijah Shoola, Yasmine Traore, Chai Xiong and Pa Houa Yang. If you meet them or know them, please congratulate them for a job well done. They need to know that their efforts and hard work will be rewarded in the end. And always let them know that they have what it takes. I know. They do!
August 22, 2007
Stories & Columns


*
The Literary Divide: Undergraduate research promotes excellence in your college educational experience,
by Dr. Paul Barrows

*
UW-Madison's PEOPLE Program: The extra mile to success,
by Jonathan Gramling

*
James Danky: Keeper of the written word (2),
by Jonathan Gramling

* S
imple Things: Thoughts on learning,
by Lang Kenneth Haynes

*
UW Chancellor John Wiley meets with the Hmong community,
by Jonathan Gramling

*
NABJ Annual Convention: Clinton & Obama answer "Are you black enough?"
by Valeria Davis

*
Asian Wisconzine: Living the "Asian American Dream,"
by Dr. James Chang, MD

*
Voices: Rediscovering the past,
by Dr. Jean Daniels

*
Fiesta Hispana at Warner Park,
by Jonathan Gramling

*
Ninth Annual Latino Health Fair,
by Jonathan Gramling

*
China Dispatch: To Xuan Cheng and back,
by Andrew Gramling

*
Youth for Understanding-UW-Richland partner to provide ESL classes to Japanese students,
by Jonathan Gramling

* 63 area youth learn basic first-aid skills

* 8th Annual 100 Black Men of Madison Golf Outing

Photo Captions:

* Obregon elected UMOS Chair

* Bike ride raised $296k for AIDS Network


ARCHIVES

HOMEPAGE
VOL. 2 No. 17             August 22, 2007
Building Community Business
Dean Chuck Taylor of Edgewood's Business School
  Reflections/Jonathan Gramling
                                
Education is the way