incoming (2006-07)

Drive-by Religion

Finally, Mr. Fields, one need not be “an ultra-liberal” to “think the Bible is merely a collection of ancient history and moral precepts”; indeed, one needs to simply think.

Richard York


Spare Change?

My concern comes from good reasons, because I continue to hear more and more stories of homeless people becoming violent towards students. For example, I heard one story about a female student who, after walking out of Walgreens, was punched in the face because she said that she did not have any money to give. I have also heard numerous stories from people who live in the Fort, who have had homeless people knock on their doors and sleep on their porches. I know that hearing these stories greatly influenced my decision to live in a different part of town next year, and I’m sure that it influences many others, as well.

I realize that there is not an easy solution to completely solving this problem, but I am sure that there are some things that can be done to improve it. I just hope that more people become aware of this growing problem so that we can focus on finding a solution. I love going to school at UT, but I don’t want to fear for my safety every time I need to go to Walgreens.

Jessica Dye


Not Persuaded

This year’s writing assessment subject was about celebrities. We were to give our opinion on whether celebrities are overpaid or not and back it up with solid reasons.

While I am aware that there have been worse topics, I am positive that there is some topic out there that teenagers care about and that actually means something. After speaking to my classmates I discovered that they shared my opinion about the subject of this year’s essay. Most of my classmates, myself included, don’t care about whether LaBron James is overpaid or not, and the subject was so dull that it was hard to take sides. One can’t really write an essay when not caring enough about the subject to write an essay.

This brings me to the ridiculous time limit. We were informed right before the essay that we should take a few minutes to ponder the subject after our marked time had begun. I was lucky enough to understand that this was not a good idea and I managed to finish my essay. It was badly written by my standards, and, if I had graded it, it would have received a three or four out of six possible points. When I state that I was lucky to finish, I mean it. I am in an Advanced Placement (college-level) English class and many of my classmates did not finish the assessment because they put thought into it and made sure that they knew what they were going to write. Before we began, we were even encouraged to write an outline or make notes (after the timer had started, of course). On both previous writing assessments (in elementary and middle school) we were given thirty-five minutes to write. The shortening of the time limit in eleventh grade is completely unreasonable.

Speaking of unreasonable, it may shock some in our community to learn that the writing assessment is not graded by English teachers, and sometimes it is not graded by teachers at all. In my English class, we were given example essays that had achieved different scores. The ones and twos were often unfinished and barely legible due to lack of the most basic writing skills. Others that our class thought would receive threes and fours managed to achieve fives and sixes on the grading scale. Whoever is in charge of these assessments wants a canned essay with an introduction, a three-paragraph body, and a conclusion. The assessors of these essays like beginning phrases such as “firstly,” “secondly,” “lastly,” and “in conclusion.” This gives the impression that they want it as simple as possible in order to get the essay in question graded and get on to the next one.  And parents think that this is preparing us for college? That is preposterous.

This “writing assessment” does nothing more than grade how fast a student can think and write.

The subjects make students want to sleep, and the essays do nothing to prepare college-bound students for the many papers that the students will have to write. The standards for good essays are tragically low. Rather than lowering our expectations so that everyone can pass, we need to raise them and force students to do better. I very much doubt that I will receive that much coveted six on my assessment. Is that fair? I ask you that because now, you have seen just what I can do with a persuasive essay, and is it fair to all the other students who, like me, are better than proficient? It is the responsibility of the populace to change this parody of an assessment.

I have done what I can. What you do next is up to you.

Miranda Reseigh


Pride vs. Prejudice

I wasn’t raised in a Christian home. I never really went to church regularly, and kids give me grief about that. I mean, I can understand why. They were raised in a household where everyone goes to church every Sunday and Wednesday. When they hear about me and my lifestyle, they get intimidated. Some tease me. Some don’t care. Some try to get me to “see the light of God’s love.” Some even use violence (although that is very rare).

My friends all know what I believe. A few of them ditched me because of it. That really hurts. But that just means they weren’t real friends. I think what I am trying to say is, it doesn’t matter what your religion is, what your race is, or what your heritage is, you should be friends with people if they make you laugh, or if they’re fun to be around, or if you like them. Remember that when you tease someone because of their belief. Just follow the golden rule. Treat others the way you want to be treated.

Name withheld upon request

Guidelines for Incoming Mail