Hello all, Natalie here to talk about some plans. I feel I should begin with informing you all of one fact: I grew up on the images of Tolkien and Shel Silverstein and JK Rowling and Maurice Sendak (for those of you who perhaps don’t know stories by their authors, that’s Lord of the Rings and Where the Sidewalk Ends and Harry Potter and Where the Wild Things Are), and they have greatly influenced me both as a person, and as an artist. Continue reading
Hello! My name is Peirce and I am a 12th grader at Westtown. For my independent project I am studying soccer and the role it has in history and in culture in both Spain and some countries in South America. Continue reading
The success of Game of Thrones, Skyrim, Lord of the Rings, and the like in the world of entertainment prove that modern people are deeply enthralled with the Middle Ages. I myself am more familiar than most with the allure of the epic battles, court intrigue, and romantic costumes associated with the medieval era. And yet for all our fascination with the period, medieval history is given very little attention in an academic context, especially in high school. Continue reading
For my independent research seminar this year, I’m looking at a small Christian village in China and the political influence around it. I began this research project last summer. Because Christianity is not the dominant religion in China, it is not very common for an undeveloped village to have Christianity as their dominant religion. The name of this village is Shimenkan. I took my first trip there in the summer of 2016. I was shocked when I arrived; I thought I had traveled 40 years back in history. The houses people lived in did not have running water! A small number of the houses had electricity. This summer when I got to the main street of the village, all the buildings on the street were under construction. After I did some research, I found out that the Chinese government had invested 80 billion yuan (Chinese currency $1= 6.46 yuan) in this tiny village for reconstruction purposes. One year later the main street looks much nicer, wider and more modern. In just two years, the government has had a significant impact on the village both culturally and financially.
For my last blog post, I’m just going to give you guys another excerpt from my work. This isn’t the most recent writing that I have completed, but it begins where I left off in my second to last blog post. It’s been an interesting journey this year. Here it is:
On the first of the month, Donald Trump held a breakfast and “get-together” to celebrate Black History Month in the White House. The video below is from that meeting. My comments on the video will make the most sense if you watch the video first.
While I recognize that this was just the first day of Black History Month and there is (hopefully) more celebrating and conversations to come, I am saddened with the way that Trump started off. Not only was he reading from a script with the most basic information about Black History, but within the first 60 seconds of the meeting he begins talking about false racist accusations against him and tries to clear his name. It actually happens many times throughout the meeting that the subject is changed to something that has to do with him and while I am not sure of the exact intentions of this meeting, I do not think that we need to be taking that much time to talk about Mr. Trump (or rather him taking that much time to talk about himself). It comes off as if he is doing this all for the press or for his image. It does not feel genuine in my opinion.
Another thing that Trump fails to do in the introduction is say the words “race” or “racism” or “systemic racism” (but I wasn’t expecting that last one), which I feel is extremely problematic as the quote that I have been using from Joe Feagin’s Racist America basically states that, “Structures of domination shape everyday existence, but an insightful understanding of these structures and their recurring contradictions can assist people in forcefully resisting racial oppression.” He instead says that he wants to better schools, create more jobs and better wages, and safer communities. All great things, but why is this problem a problem in the first place? Name the problem, Mr. President!
While Feagin’s remarks and my statement may feel unrelated to Trump’s meeting or Black History Month in general, I firmly believe they are related. If we cannot address or even name the major problems we are having, how can we begin to fix them? While potentially unintentional, it seemed as if he is trying to cover up or talk around the greater issue of systemic racism in our country. We cannot “resist racial oppression” if we cannot name that it is there and as we move on in his presidency, I would like to dig deeper into why he is doing this and where his motivations lie.
This semester during my Junior year, I am enrolled in the Independent Study Program and having the time of my life diving deep into material that specifically interests me in a subject I excel. After hearing about this unique offer during my Sophomore year, I seized the opportunity. After a proposal, I was accepted into the History Independent Seminar where I’ve been study legislation and sex education in Pennsylvania.
Upon first impression, I thought this class would simply be a time to learn all about the history of legislation and sex education in Pennsylvania and continue my learning in my favorite subject — but it is far more than that.
Westtown’s Independent Study has challenged my writing, reading, researching and critical thinking skills. I’ve noticed considerable improvements in many disciplines as a result of my deep study of sex education and legislation. I’ve worked with the Chair of the History Department, English Teachers, and Health Experts.
This is a unique program I would recommend to all students who are pursuing a unique discipline. Current students should seize this opportunity for next year. Few schools allow for students to explore their interest in a particular subject the way Westtown allows. Not only have I been able to learn more through research, but I also have a plethora of resources and faculty who have been incredibly supportive and helpful.
Read More: Learn How To Contact Your Representatives!
The Independent Study Program is one of the hidden gems on our campus that needs more recognition. I hope prospective students have a chance to hear about how students are excelling in different disciplines through this program.
This week I wanted to hear from all my fellow peers about unexpected ways they’ve improved their academic and research skills through Independent Seminar. What skills have you improved?
Image from Westtown School “Student Life” (www.westtown.edu)
Prior to reading Joe Feagin‘s Racist America and enrolling in this course, race for me felt inherently linked with emotion. I knew, from experience, what it felt like to be a Black woman. I knew from my grandparents about my enslaved ancestors. I knew from my parents about how to converse with White people who could not comprehend how their privilege still functioned today. The one thing that had always been difficult for me to weave together was the connection between each of these events. Continue reading
The Balance Sheet Equation
There is one basic underlying grammar rule in writing a balance sheet, and that is the balance sheet equation. The balance sheet equation goes: Assets = Liabilities + Stockholder’s Equity. This means that the resources of a company is represented by the claim of resources by the owners of the companies and the outsiders. An apt example of this is housing mortgages. If I pay a part of the price of the house and leave a percentage of it as mortgage, the price that I paid becomes my, the owner’s, claim of the property, which is the house in this case, and the mortgage is the outsider’s claim of the resources.
While I have been working on my treatment and plot for my film, I have also been researching how to make a documentary. I found a blog that is very interesting, not just for someone wanting to make a film. No Film School is similar to a news source like Buzzfeed or Fast Company but focused on filmmaking. Continue reading