Monthly Archives: February 2012

Politics and You

I love politics. Since my youth, I have been an ardent follower of politics and how they affect our lives. My grandfather was my main inspiration. Being a retired Air Force Major, one of his favorite hobbies was to follow politics, write letters to the editor in local and state newspapers, and even write well-crafted letters to candidates. His dedication to politics is something I will always remember. His involvement illustrates an important point: citizens should be involved in the direction and tenor of their country. Unfortunately, Americans are growing increasingly apathetic about political involvement, convinced that there is little they can do to influence change.
Believe it or not, politics can and does have a profound and long-lasting impact on our daily lives. The bills, laws, treaties, and orders Congress passes can impact the American life for years to come. However, much of the younger generation has become steeped in apathy about the political landscape. Frankly, I can understand why.
As of late, Washington has been able to run unchecked by the public, to the point that many Americans feel that they have no say in what goes on.
While setting the stage and putting into place a constitution for this country, the Founding Fathers felt it essential that checks and balances were in place, in order to ensure that the federal government never obtained too much power. Their intention was to place the reigns in the hands of the American public. However, with new interpretations of the Constitution, we have let the federal government step over some of these checks and balances, creating the impression that there politicians have little respect for their constituents. Many are so disgruntled that they feel that all politicians in Washington need to be replaced.
How have we strayed so far from the Founding Fathers’ original purpose of government? Much of the problem is that politicians are more worried about getting paid and re-elected than actually making beneficial decisions for their districts. Federal debt is also a huge part of the problem. Various wars and disasters have dug us into a hole of debt we may never get out of. Washington is also spending money they don’t have on things we don’t need. Earmarks for various bills, stimulus packages, increased health care problems, immigration issues, and other big issues of the decade have set us so far into debt that, unless a solution is found, the next generation will have problems so large they may not be able to cope. Fourteen trillion dollars of debt is not an acceptable number. When there is debt, spending needs to be cut, and debts need to be paid off.
It is easy to become disillusioned and bitter about voting in this election season. If you feel this way, vote anyway. Your vote does make a difference. People who faithfully vote during election season help decide the fate of the country. Have your say in what happens. Not only this, but if you’re not happy with something, do something about it. A growing trend in politics is the use of online petitions. Many of these petitions, like the one about blocking SOPA, have stopped bills and grabbed the attention of politicians. When you feel like your vote doesn’t count, remember who voted the officials in Washington into office. Citizens did. Americans did. We have a voice. Make Congress hear yours this election season.

Health Week

ForksKnives

This week Andrews has taken a slight detour from its usual chapel and assembly services to take part in Health Week. As part of this annual tradition, chapels and assemblies are conducted by Mr. Reichert, and the students are given many helpful tips, hints, and strategies for maintaining their health and well being.

“Diet is probably the most important aspect of a healthy lifestyle,” Mr. Reichert said. “There are many different types of diets, and we try to find diets that work for everyone.”

This week, Mr. Reichert chose to show the students the video, Forks over Knives. The video chronicles a groundbreaking research project that, over the course of many years, showed considerable evidence that eating a strictly whole food or plant-based diet can help cure, and in some cases, reverse the effects of degenerative diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and several types of cancer.

When I asked why he choose the video, Mr. Reichert said, “It is important to take some time for any major aspect of society. I think it is important to remind people who have bad habits or forgotten old ones to keep up their healthy lifestyles.”

“It opened my eyes to a lot of stuff I wasn’t aware of before I saw the video,” said Junior Nicole Anzures.

Senior Camille Nixon said, “I think it is very informative, and it opens your eyes to the reality of a plant based diet and eating healthy in general.”

Overstreet Attends Tech Conference

Even when you are the principal, sometimes you have to be a student. That’s what Principal Overstreet discovered at the three-day Technology Conference he attended recently in Orlando, Florida.

Besides learning to remain in a seat for several all-day sessions, Overstreet joked, he also learned how new technology can impact the way students learn in the classroom.

“I would love to see everyone here at Andrews Academy have an iPad,” Overstreet said about the tablets that connect to the Internet and can be used to write, read ebooks (including textbooks), and have apps for both fun and learning.  Some schools have already experimented with iPads in the classroom, providing them a digital means of note taking, organization, and keeping track of classroom information.  Overstreet was impressed by the conference and believes that “iPads can effectively help students learn.”

The slim and compact iPad would replace heavy, bulky textbooks.  They also have the potential to reduce textbook costs by nearly as much as 85%.  The iPad version of the biology textbook, published by Pearson, sells for 14.99, as opposed to the used textbook price of approximately $60.

Other things Prinicipal Overstreet learned included how technology can help students and teachers on a day-to-day basis learn better in the the classroom.

After attending the technology conference, Overstreet said he would like all the teachers to incorporate their teaching methods with an iPad.  He said that there is a plan to provide each teacher with an iPad.

Overstreet said he would like to see the teachers encouraging students to use iPads and laptops in the classroom.  The challenge, of course, is to integrate technology into the classroom in a way that complements education without distracting students.

Chicago Auto Show

Each year, a group of students who have participated in one of Mr. Anderson’s technical classes travel to the McCormick Center in Chicago for the annual Chicago Auto Show. While this may seem to some merely something for entertainment, there is much more to the trip. Throughout the time Anderson has been teaching technical courses, he has emphasized the importance of technology in our daily lives. Technology permeates our lives in nearly every way, and the Chicago Auto Show displays some of this technology being used to accentuate and improve the automotive industry.

The Auto Show was a feast for the eyes. First entering the building, the scale and grandeur of the venue the show is held in is more than enough to stun visitors. Food and various different product booths were on display, with everything from ribs to a newfangled squeegee for your car. This was only the tip of the iceberg. The Auto Show, to say the least, is gargantuan. It will take all day to see everything, without a doubt. All of the major automotive companies show up, and there is a tendency to rival each other- their displays are massive. One thing I noticed, that others might have not noticed, was the lighting. Usually the venue is light using florescent bulbs, however this venue was lit with hundreds, if not thousands, of professional concert-style lights. They were all white, of course, but nonetheless this shows how every detail was attended to.

In order to attract consumers, many of the companies handed out free items, with this year’s big item being carry-on, recyclable bags. Even if you had no intention of buying one of their vehicles, Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep offered free test ride-alongs in a closed course to show how stable and durable their vehicles actually were. The show may be heralded as a place to view expensive cars, however the companies catered to the average citizen as well. Many of the vehicles they offered were aimed at families and not just for show. They had performances to keep people entertained as well. Every half hour, Ford performed a dyno test on a Shelby Mustang GT500, bringing the 650HP beast up to full speed, 200 MPH. Afterward, Ford had a representative stand outside of the crowd and sign people up to do a free test drive of the vehicle of their choice, also registering them for a $50 MasterCard certificate. In addition to American and Foreign consumer cars, companies such as Lamborghini, Porsche, Aston Martin, BMW, Audi, and other top-of-the-line foreign showcased their higher-end vehicles. BMW had on display the 2012 3 Series, and the new 7 Series as well.
A big part of the show was the integration of green technology into vehicles. The Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi i, Scion iQ, Nissan Prius, and the Smart Car were all present, with a heavy influence over the displays. A big part of the sales pitch used on these cars was reduced emissions and more MPG. Many of the stands used to sell accessories were aimed at improving gas mileage as well. However, none of this actually helps the consumer until these cars are actually affordable. With price tags at $40,000 and above, not many people will be able to afford a greener car. It was a change, in any case- the show was aimed at not the rich and well-to-do, but the average American. It seemed as if the companies at the show really did want to help with MPG and getting the consumer more bang for their buck.
To say the least, the Chicago Auto Show was filled with expensive vehicles, and was a display of pure human ingenuity. They cater to nearly every taste, and that is what makes the show so popular every year.

Hungry for Warmth: Satellite Inspires

Satellite this year focuses on what we are spiritually hungry for.  The Satellite program on February 3, began with a brief talk by sophomore Jessica Yoong about where the phrase “cold shoulder” originated.  She explained that in medieval times when one was invited to someone’s home, they expected the guest to stay at least the whole day, and often over a period of weeks.  If the guest overstayed their welcome, the host would serve  a cold shoulder (the shoulder of the meat).  It was called a cold shoulder, because it was served cooked, but cold.

Song service was introduced with Psalms 106:2, ” Who can proclaim the mighty acts of the LORD
or fully declare his praise?  ”   The theme song of the series is “Hungry (Falling on my Knees)”.

A skit followed song service with a very powerful message.  The skit began with Bayley Young in an elevator.  He seemed to be a very lonely man.  He first tried to befriend  Charela Evans and Kaitlin McArthur, who portrayed two stuck up people, who are too busy for anyone else, and focused on their phones.  They exited the elevator and Julia Westfall entered.  She said hello, but as soon as Bayley tried to be friendly, she freaked out and tried to get off the elevator as quickly as possible.  Jess Yoong, James Joo, and John Henri Rorabeck came on the elevator talking about a Bible study that they were having on Thursday, but still they didn’t include Bayley in the conversation.  Jess asked at the conclusion, “Do you think he wanted to come along.”  The others quickly replied, “No, he would have said something if he wanted to come.”   The point of the skit was that as Christians, people don’t always reach out to strangers, who may want to know God.  They limit themselves to those who already know God.

Pastor Carlos Pasillas invited Kim, a university student, to share a poem about love for God.  Pastor Carlos’s message was about Samson and how Christians can relate to him.   He concluded that God is still in the work of changing people and not to let your life end as Samson’s did.

What I Wish I’d Known: Seniors Share Tips for Success

Hopefully, throughout the four years they’ve spent at Andrews Academy, the seniors have successfully learned some math, English, and science – maybe even life lessons a book couldn’t teach. This is what some of the members of the senior class had to say in response to the question: What is one thing you wish you knew or that you were told your freshman year?

Alyson Drew stated, “The importance of good friends and not to be shy about talking to people.”

Jeffrey Emile shared, “One thing I wish I knew as a freshman at Andrews Academy is that studying is important. Yeah, it’s your first year in high school, but grades are still important. College isn’t free.”

Zach Reichert said, “I wish I would have known that everything you learn in class matters. It all comes back later on the ACTs or in other classes!”

Aldeana Foster wrote, “I wish I knew that being on time was important.”

Bethany Puffer shared, “The best advice anyone has ever given to me was ‘don’t date until you’re in college,’ and I wish I would’ve known that freshman year.”

Dillon Zimmerman answered, “Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself with harder classes. You may have to work harder, but you’ll learn more.”

Ashley Reichert stated, “By the time you’re a senior, you really won’t care what people think of you… so just be yourself!”

Hayley Lofthouse said, “Don’t miss class, because it’s so easy to get behind and mess up the rest of your semester.”

Reginald Desrosiers said simply, “The value of hard work.”

Michael Plantak shared, “The ACT and PSAT contain basically everything you learn in the math and English classes freshman through junior year.  So, if you actually remember what you learn, you should be good.”

Kyle Whiteside sarcastically said, “I wish I knew how to talk to girls.”

The advice these classmates have given hasn’t been given to fill up an article on The Sanjo‘s website – it’s presented to inspire and encourage younger students to try their best in their high school years, because this is the only preparation they’re going to get before college hits them. Yes, it probably seems far away, but days at the Academy might as well fly by. Learn good strategies while you can, and prepare for the future.

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