An Inspired Comment

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I wrote the following response after a student shared a very intimate, personal essay that he/she knew I wouldn’t read until after the last class meeting. I share it here in hopes of reminding the reader that we are all in this life together and that we can fight through the hardships and struggles that tend to entangle our goals and ambitions.

——————–

As a teacher of high school and college for twenty years, I can tell you that you are absolutely not alone with these types of feelings and entanglements. My unsolicited advice will sound cliche, but I’ve learned through personal experience that it is a universal truth: This will get better with time.

It’s cheesy and simple, but it’s accurate. In five or ten years, you may barely recognize the person in this essay, and you might be finishing a degree, opening a game shop, or being the ever-popular “fun uncle” to a sibling’s kid. In twelve years, you might find yourself being offered a promotion, meeting your future spouse in an unexpected place, or playing with your own children in a park. In twenty years, you might be giving a lecture, paying off a house, or seeing Rome. The point is, this is a tremendous life, and it’s only just now underway for you.

You will, of course, have a lot to do with any of these types of future events. They seem distant, but I assure you they’ll become real and present before you know it. It begins, in my opinion, with a single decision that only you can make: what do you want this life to be about?

Go after it.
With everything you have.
Because it’s inside you.
And you’ve known it’s been there all along.

Twelfth Night – Theater Review (March 2019)

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There may not be a literal recipe for the perfect story, the perfect date, or the perfect performance, but there are instances when all three can mesh together on a single stage and come extremely close. This season’s installment of William Shakespeare’s plays at First Presbyterian Theater is the bard’s classic comedy Twelfth Night, a tale that centers on a love triangle, involves additional characters who seek companionship, and includes a laughable series of stumbling blocks that may allow or deny these relationships to reach fruition. Throughout the two-hour performance, audiences will enjoy the opportunity to watch love evolve from its origins and witness examples of the great lengths some will reach to find that certain someone.

Ranae Butler and June Rambo co-direct the performance, which includes the unparalleled Shakespearean verse coupled with a number of witty modern-day surprises. Though experienced Shakespeare readers and scholars will no doubt acknowledge the commitment to the script, Butler and Rambo adopt some fresh liberties that will entice viewers of all backgrounds and ages.  

Starring as the lovesick Duke Orsino is Kevin Torwelle, who appeared at First Prez last season co-starring with the theater’s Managing Artistic Director Thom Hofrichter in its January 2018 performance of RED. Once again, Torwelle masterfully displays a man whose journey toward companionship is hardly a seamless process. As Viola, Catherine Eichman submits a dedicated performance as she disguises herself as a man for a majority of the plot. Her whimsical take on the (fe-)male lead keeps the momentum high throughout this upbeat and clever love-triangle plot.  

Meagan Matlock-Vandelaar and Renee Gonzales (as Maria and Feste, repectively) shine in secondary roles within this large cast, especially after the short intermission. Matlock-Vandelaar’s character rallies some of the others and orchestrates a joke on another character in such a convincing manner that it was easy for the audience to believe they were in on the prank.  Gonzales, who was also responsible for the performance’s choreography, offers her stunning vocals in a timely song toward the play’s conclusion. Riley Newsome, who recently appeared this season in FPT’s The Christians, performs the clownish role of Sir Andrew Aguecheek with the robust, calculated energy required by any actor in a similar role found within the Shakespearean comedies. Malvolio, played by veteran actor Scott Rumage, potentially upstages his colleagues with his hilarious contribution as the snobbish servant whose own desires emerge in a comical sequence.

Rae Surface’s simple-natured yet distinguished set design serves as a perfect backdrop to this production, reminding viewers that the language drives the motion of the amusingly convoluted narrative in Shakespeare’s plays. Jeanette Walsh, the costume designer, succinctly drapes the major players in appropriate pieces in order for a particular set of shiny yellow leggings to surprise the audience at a key moment.   

In a comedic play replete with so many moving parts and plot lines, the cast and crew at First Presbyterian Theater have constructed a must-see show that features new faces and local theater mainstays. Surprise your love interest, your spouse, or your friend to an unforgettable production that bridges the past to the present through music and dance while reminding us that the giving and receiving of love pushes us to our most creative and spirited quests in this life.

First Presbyterian Theater has been celebrating its fiftieth season this year and will be hosting a celebration of its 280 productions on Saturday, April 6, 2019.

Why Is This Even a Fight?

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Can’t afford overwhelming medical bills? Bashfully or begrudgingly set up a GoFundMe. Your heart fills up as friends, family, and strangers chip in.

Not a problem.

It’s November and your school is doing a food drive to donate to the community food bank. Seems like the right thing to do.

Not a problem.

It’s now December and you see a Toy Drive box at a grocery store or Coats for Kids commercial. You can’t help this year, but you’re pleased to learn that others do.

Not a problem.

Someone at work has a kid who wants to raise money for a camp, trip, or some other educational experience. You toss in a couple bucks and wish them well.

Not a problem.

A company sets up a grant program so parents can be away from work in order to be home with their newborns since their employers does not offer any paid paternity leave.

That’s nice of them. Not a huge problem.

Each week, your church sends around a collection plate to the parishioners. The goal is for people who attend the church to donate, if it is within their means, to help fund the church’s planned expansion, to pay for the church’s bills, to continue a child-care program, etc.

Not a problem.

Your boss wants to raise your hourly rate by 25%. Your duties do not change. You can now save a bit more for upkeep, education, or even splurge on a short vacation with your family without adding to your credit card debt.

Definitely not a problem.

Some politicians explain that, though the federal minimum wage may have been designed at first to establish a base pay for entry-level employees, the growth rate of our nation and demand for that level of work has surpassed expectations.

“Holy $%#*! This is going to ruin the economy!!!”

They go on to explain that many people who cannot currently afford the education or training required for higher-paying positions willfully accept minimum wage positions in order to take care of themselves (and possibly any family members or dependents) and will work as close to 40 hours per week with no benefits.

Simple mathematics breaks it down as follows:

$7.25 / hour x 39.5 hours/week x 52 weeks / year (oh yeah, no vacation time) equals $14, 891.50 per year.

Before taxes, by the way.

To be considered living in poverty (as of 2017), a family of four’s total household income is $25,750.

“Oh. That’s…uh…”

So, these same politicians suggest that it’s time to raise the federal minimum wage in order to help these Working Americans out a little bit. These increase plans are usually progressive, meaning the minimum wage will rise in small increments over time. One model suggests that by 2025 (six years from now or so) the federal minimum wage would peak at $15 / hour.

Mathematics again:

$15 / hour x 39.5 hours / week x 52 weeks/year (still no vacation time) equals $30,810 per year. (Usually) no benefits. Before taxes.

HOORAY, IT’S POSSIBLE THAT WORKING AMERICANS WHO PROVIDE FOR THREE OTHER PEOPLE (IN 2025) WILL EMERGE OUT OF THE POVERTY LEVEL!!!!

That is, of course, assuming that the poverty income level does NOT change in the next six years.

Milk prices won’t become $6 a gallon (by the way, milk used to cost about 75 cents per gallon). You will still be able to eat McDonald’s (though I’m not sure why) at a reasonable price (and I believe that it can cost upwards of $25 to feed four people there nowadays. The first cheeseburgers were about 15 cents apiece). If milk or Big Macs do, however, become beyond your budget, there are a number of government programs out there that assist you in this dire time of need.

In all seriousness, your life will likely not change whatsoever.

If you believe that fast-food employees should not make more money than, say, first responders, please encourage your first-responder friends to fill out an application at Taco Bell. It’s a pretty easy job.

Side question: Did those friends become first responders solely because of the pay?

If all first-responders leave their positions, perhaps the companies or cities that hire them will understand that they should increase their wages in order to attract applicants.

Again, it seems highly unlikely that those of us who no longer have minimum wage positions will be adversely affected.

But it will for the millions of WORKING AMERICANS who want nothing more than to provide a better life for themselves and their loved ones.

Fighting against raising the Federal Minimum Wage is un-American.

A problem.

The Alliance (not a ref. to “The Office”)

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Last weekend, the Alliance of American Football (AAF) began its inaugural season. I had learned of the league approximately eight hours after the second game ended on Saturday due to a viral clip of a “hard tackle” that was spread throughout social media. I was intrigued.

I figured out how to stream a game on Sunday and, though I kept calling it the AAL and couldn’t remember the Memphis team name (It’s the Express), I continued to watch. With no connection to the city or any real bond with any of the players on either team, I found myself invested in game.

I’ve always loved watching American football. I once knew someone so well versed in the game that I began cultivating an ability to read defenses and predict offensive sequences. I can usually identify the reason for a flag before the announcers or referees reveal it. Not bragging…just saying….

Anyway, I wish this league the best. I can’t watch this weekend for two reasons. I don’t get any of the channels they’re on (and I am guessing they will restrict the livestream I found last weekend on YouTube). I have a lot of other things to accomplish this weekend as well. I’ll check highlights in the morning, I suppose.

For historical purposes only, I’m going to include this news: Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid settled for an undisclosed amount this week. We *may* never know how much the NFL agreed to pay them for the alleged collusion to keep them out of the league. Based on the success of the AAL…er, AAF’s first week, there is speculation that Kap might sign with a team. I think he might, but I would also not be surprised if he waits for that season to end and the NFL owners to have a chance to offer contracts this summer.

Ivy Tech Community College hosts Express Enrollment week for students

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Ivy Tech Community College is hosting Express Enrollment week, January 2 through January 5, at more than 30 locations across Indiana. During this event, prospective students can visit a participating location to receive enrollment assistance from Ivy Tech representatives and register for spring classes.

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Response Paper #1 – Fall 2018

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Note:  This is the first of 9 Response Papers students in ENG 647 (African-American Literature) are required to submit.  Each week, I will post my submission.   More about my experience at Ball State University can be found here.

Shared Oppression:  Harper’s “The Two Offers” and Wells’s “from A Red Record”

The literature authored by African-American women in the second half of the nineteenth century generated a new platform of discourse to a undeterred, growing and audience of slaves, former slaves, and abolitionists.  Two selections from that era share one penetrating theme: that women have an obligation–one that is arguably stronger than that of men–to lift one another up from oppression. In Frances E. W. Harper’s “The Two Offers” (1859),  the advice given from one character was not heeded and was ultimately regretted by the other character, though this fictitious scenario is obviously presented as a warning to young female readers. Secondly, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, in Part One of A Red Record (1895), highlights the white women of the post-Emancipation era who offered educational services for former slaves.  Both selections expose this natural bond and instinctive desire to assist those who are clearly at a social- or educational disadvantage.  Of course, writers highlighting benevolent actions was nothing new; however, women being on both ends of this benevolence emerged as a new trope in literature and social commentary.  Both of these writers address this in a forward-looking fashion and do not dwell on past generations where men held all of the power among the land and within the home.

“The Two Offers” presents a moral dilemma for a potential bride who has two suitors that, after the first few paragraphs, feels ordinary.  However, Harper’s exquisite narrative style siphons into the past and explores how each woman in the opening scene has developed and secured her stance on this dilemma.  By presenting a deep, detailed backstory to both Laura (the “bride”) and her cousin Janette, the reader is alloted enough background to grasp the two distinguishable perspectives on the immediate conflict of having two men offer marriage.  By relinquishing key pieces of information about each of these two characters, Harper directly points to their opposing views and expresses how one’s moral compass is a direct result of her upbringing. Again, while a child’s rearing resulting in his actions of adulthood had long been a common technique in literature, focusing on a woman’s girlhood had yet to become mainstream.   

Because Janette’s mother was uneducated about her deceased husband’s business dealings, Janette’s family status plummeted after her father’s unexpected death.  Here, Harper is cleverly exhibiting the backlash of ignorance in the sudden event of a husband’s absence. After her mother passed as well, this now poverty-stricken young woman lacked anything resembling a support system and was motivated to work harder than ever to emerge in adulthood as someone whose challenges in childhood led to her “position in the literary world”.  It should also be noted that skin tone was not at all the focal point within this story. Thus, Harper’s focus is not that of just black women lifting up and advising others about love and marriage; rather, her focus seems to be for all women to see their options clearly.  As opposed to Laura, who is described as being her husband’s “prize” and “title-deed”, Janette’s bold independence becomes the pummeling, inspirational theme for female readers and an obvious stance against standard gender roles for male readers.  

As one of the foremost post-Civil War black female journalists, Ida B. Wells-Barnett fully understood that presenting inspirational material to an audience was far more beneficial than focusing solely on the horrible negatives of the era.  A Red Record includes a short passage in Part One concerning the “divine sentiment” of white Northern women to go to the South and educate ex-slaves.  This motherly gesture was, to Wells, an act of “heroism” which was essentially ignored, or at least not worthy of being “cheered”, by southern white men.  Embedded within a series of supported facts and perspectives on how America has adjusted since The Emancipation, Wells applies the three tenets of effective rhetoric: ethos, pathos, and logos.  Sharing the bravery of white women traveling to the South for the sole purpose of helping raise the educational levels of ex-slaves is presented as honorable (though she notes these women were identified by Southern whites often with unkind terms).  Asserting that anyone’s advancement in life is the direct result of one’s education–especially one’s literacy–continues and supports that sympathetic- or empathetic bond. Lastly, laying out the raw truth that the long-standing fear and subsequent false accusations of rape by black men handicapped an entire group’s progress logically results in the ongoing disparity among the races and the genders.  

Prior to this era, women’s voices and roles in society were extremely limited in the home and in print.  Each author, in her own manner, clearly desired to instill in her readers a fresh perspective of opportunity.  No longer should any woman believe that her place in life is second to that of a man. By exhibiting a character who enjoyed opportunities and a report of how no woman should believe she is literally on her own, Harper and Wells-Barnett helped solidify a new era in woman readership: the independent female.  

 

IvyLearn F2F Training in Fort Wayne

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The IvyLearn superusers and LMS experts have begun training at multiple campuses in Region 3 (Fort Wayne)!  Candy S. recently sent invitations to many upcoming training sessions.  Faculty, adjuncts, and staff can also contact one of the superusers to set up a time to train one on one.

Go to the Superuser List (statewide) to access the superuser list for Region 3 or any other region.

Date/Time

Topics

Location

SuperUsers / LMS Experts

Tuesday

March 7

8:00-9:00 AM

IvyLearn Level 1: Basic Navigation, Profile Set Up, and Notification Adjustments, Syllabus Updates

Student Life

SL129

Theo Eagleson

Lindsay Adams

Steve Lively

Tuesday

March 7

9:00-10:00 AM

IvyLearn Level 2: Transitioning Content from Blackboard to IvyLearn

Coliseum Campus

CC2366

Theo Eagleson

Lindsay Adams

Steve Lively

Tuesday

March 7

12:00-1:00 PM

Blackboard to IvyLearn: What are the differences? Come find out!

Student Life

SL129

Heather Copen

Tuesday

March 7

3:30-4:30 PM

IvyLearn Level 2: Transitioning Content from Blackboard to IvyLearn

Coliseum Campus

CC2308

Frank Garro

Thursday

March 9

8:00-9:00 AM

IvyLearn Level 1: Basic Navigation, Profile Set Up, and Notification Adjustments, Syllabus Updates

Student Life

SL129

Theo Eagleson

Lindsay Adams

Steve Lively

Krystyl Dumas

Thursday

March 9

9:00-10:00 AM

IvyLearn Level 2: Transitioning Content from Blackboard to IvyLearn

Tech Center

TC1400

Theo Eagleson

Lindsay Adams

Steve Lively

Krystyl Dumas

Thursday

March 9

12:00-1:00 PM

Blackboard to IvyLearn: What are the differences? Come find out!

Student Life

SL129

Heather Copen

Thursday

March 9

3:30-4:30 PM

IvyLearn Level 2: Transitioning Content from Blackboard to IvyLearn

Coliseum Campus

CC2308

Phyllis Wiegmann

Date/Time

Topics

Location

Tuesday

March 21

8:00-9:00 AM

IvyLearn Level 1: basic navigation, how to add content, vocabulary, and basic functionality

Student Life

SL129

Theo Eagleson

Lindsay Adams

Steve Lively

Tuesday

March 21

12:00-1:00 PM

Blackboard to IvyLearn: What are the differences? Come find out!

Tech Center

TC1480

Heather Copen

Tuesday

March 21

3:30-4:30 PM

IvyLearn Level II- IvyLearn Transitioning Content/Uplifting

Coliseum Campus

CC2374

David Jones

Heather Copen

Frank Garro

Thursday

March 23

8:00-9:00 AM

IvyLearn Faculty Connection- The Grading Center

Student Life

SL129

Theo Eagleson

Lindsay Adams

Krystyl Dumas

Thursday

March 23

9:00-10:00 AM

IvyLearn Level II- IvyLearn Transitioning Content/Uplifting

Tech Center

TC1400

Theo Eagleson

Lindsay Adams

Krystyl Dumas

Thursday

March 23

12:00-1:00 PM

Blackboard to IvyLearn: What are the differences? Come find out!

Tech Center

TC 1480

Heather Copen

Thursday

March 23

3:30-4:30 PM

IvyLearn Level I- IvyLearn Fundamentals: Basic navigation, how to add content, vocabulary, and basic functionality

Coliseum Campus

CC2308

Nicole Treesh

Phyllis Wiegmann

Date/Time

Topics

Location

Tuesday

March 28

8:00-9:00 AM

IvyLearn Fundamentals- How to Import Content:

Student Life

SL129

Theo Eagleson

Lindsay Adams

Steve Lively

Tuesday

March 28

9:00-10:00 AM

IvyLearn Faculty Connection- The Grading Center:

Coliseum Campus

CC2366

Theo Eagleson

Lindsay Adams

Steve Lively

Tuesday

March 28

12:00-1:00 PM

Blackboard to IvyLearn: What are the differences? Come find out!

Student Life

SL129

Heather Copen

Tuesday

March 28

3:30-4:30 PM

IvyLearn Fundamentals- How to Import Content:

Coliseum Campus

CC2374

Theo Eagleson

Heather Copen

Frank Garro

Phyllis Wiegmann

Thursday

March 30

8:00-9:00 AM

IvyLearn Fundamentals- How to Import Content

Student Life

SL129

Theo Eagleson

Lindsay Adams

Krystyl Dumas

Steve Lively

Thursday

March 30

9:00-10:00 AM

IvyLearn Fundamentals- How to Import Content

Tech Center

TC1400

Theo Eagleson

Lindsay Adams

Krystyl Dumas

Steve Lively

Thursday

March 30

12:00-1:00 PM

IvyLearn Fundamentals- How to Import Content

Student Life

SL129

Heather Copen

Thursday

March 30

3:30-4:30 PM

IvyLearn Fundamentals- How to Import Content

Coliseum Campus

CC2308

David Jones

Theo Eagleson

Nicole Treesh

Phyllis Wiegmann