Chatham Meade Kemp's art exhibit will be displayed in the Marie Hull Art Gallery on the Raymond Campus of Hinds Community College through Friday, February 22, 2013.
On the desk in my office on the Raymond Campus is one piece of college memorabilia that is not “Hinds.” It’s a gorgeous glass candy dish – red, white and blue with the M in the middle for Ole Miss.
It’s the only “other college” piece that I allow myself in my office. The reason it’s on my desk is I got it a couple years ago from Peggy Brent, the long-time chair of the English department.
Mrs. Brent, a mainstay of Hinds Community College who had been working here since September 1962, died Jan. 12. Her funeral was Wednesday afternoon, Jan. 16, at Cain-Cochran Hall on the Raymond Campus.
Mrs. Brent founded Mississippi and the Arts Week here in 1983 and has been the driving force behind it. She along with a committee of folks have organized, scheduled and cajoled scores of artists, writers and otherwise interesting people to come to Raymond for demonstrations and talks to our students and employees the last week of March.
She gave the glass candy dish to me and another to PR writer Lauren Cook as “thank yous” for doing our jobs in publicizing Arts Week activities.
I don’t expect gifts for doing my job, but getting one from Mrs. Brent was definitely appreciated. For one thing, she took the time to find out that both Lauren and I were Ole Miss grads so we knew the gift was personal.
Mrs. Brent was one of a kind, for sure. She was very passionate about Arts Week as well as the two-day Kaleidoscope cultural festival she founded in 1999 that spotlights a different country each year. After an enormous amount of work, she was able to get Oxford’s Thacker Mountain Radio to do a broadcast to kick off the Arts Week last year. She was working furiously to get it back again for this year’s edition.
I hope the rest of the committee can pick up where she left off. I know it’s a cliché to say someone leaves big shoes to fill but that is certainly the case with Mrs. Brent. She left a great legacy of passion for teaching and the arts.
We’ll miss her.
Many of us are guilty of spending far too much time in front of a computer screen or staring at our phones and not connecting with what’s going on in the real world right this very moment. I know I am! Take some time this holiday season (and afterward) to do a few random acts of kindness. It may make someone’s day, and you’ll be surprised how many times that person is you!
Here are a few ideas for Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) that can be done on a college campus or in the local community.
- Write a letter to someone who made a difference in your life that you haven’t see in a while. Yes, on real paper. No, not an e-mail. Compose a real life piece of snail mail and send it to someone.
- Create and print some inspirational flyers to hang in your dorm or on campus. You could use quotes on kindness or motivational reminders, google for ideas.
- If you see a member of our military on campus, stop and thank them for their service. I saw a young man carrying a military dress uniform across campus this morning. Hinds Community College is a military-friendly campus and we have many students who have (or are currently) risking their lives for our country. A smile and a thanks are just small things we can do to show our appreciation.
- Bake cookies for your neighbors or your floor in your residence hall.
- If you’ve got the cash to spare, order pizza for a night class (just not on a test night).
- Standing in line? Let someone go ahead of you.
- Leave quarters on laundry machines or taped to vending machines for the next person who comes along.
- If you have a car, help out someone in your dorm who doesn’t.
- Visit a local nursing home and take some friends with you. Ask an elderly person about their memories of the community, read to them, play some music.
- Give directions to someone who looks lost on campus. You were in their shoes once.
- It’s cold, give up your parking spot to someone else. Walking a bit farther won’t hurt you.
- Call the animal shelter and ask if there’s anything you can do to help. You can make home made treats for animals, or go help out.
- Study with someone after class. There’s always someone who needs a little extra help, it may be you. Offer to tutor in the subjects you do best in.
- If you’re buying Christmas gifts, support businesses in your local community. If you do buy online, check out stores like Sevenly that donate part of their proceeds to charity.
- Have some nice clothes that don’t quite fit anymore? Donate them to organizations that help the homeless get back in the workforce.
- Give gift cards to strangers. There are tons of people in the community and on campus who’d appreciate a gift card for a meal.
- Ask a good question every day in one of your courses. It will help you understand the content better and help someone who may be too shy to ask themselves.
- We have some great student bloggers here at Hinds CC! Take a moment to leave a positive comment on one of their posts. Apply to share your student experiences with new students. You may want to blog about all the Random Acts of Kindness you’re doing.
- Leave a thank you card for someone who works on campus. It may be a janitor, a faculty member, someone who helped you with financial aid, anyone who has helped make your life better.
- Check out kindness apps like We&Co or sites like beremedy.org and share ideas you like in the comments.
I hope this season is wonderful for everyone. Spread some cheer today and every day. As Plato famously said, "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."
(photo by Jeremy Wilburn and Greg Bishop of UIS.EDU)
As a teacher, getting caught up in negative situations can sometimes be too easy. After all, we are stressed with our personal issues along with those our students decide to share with us. Besides that, we have papers to grade and tests to scan or books to review and evaluations to oversee. I don't have enough time to go to the bathroom between classes. You don't have enough time to retrieve your materials from Duplicating. Sigh! Isn't it awful?
Not really actually.
Let me just say that today was one of THOSE days--one of those "teachable moments" days reminding me just why I chose this job.
One of my favorite poems to teach is "We Real Cool" by Gwendolyn Brooks. On a surface level, it is such a simplistic poem about a group of high school students who have skipped school to play pool, "lurk late," and "thin gin." In other words, these pool players are now "largely unfit for and unable to participate in conventional society" due to being part of a "counterculture," as Urban Dictionary so eloquently defines the status of "too cool for school."
This poem's simplicity makes it highly accessible to developmental students, particularly in Beginning English or Intermediate English, as I have witnessed this semester. As a tool for teaching summary, I integrated Brooks's work because I believed that it would be easy to understand yet would be thought-provoking. I also thought it would provide a little shock value. A poem of only roughly eight sentences? Simple sentences? With an AABB rhyme scheme? Am I back in elementary school? I could imagine the students' confusion at first over having such a seemingly one-dimensional literary piece handed to them.
But elementary students do not read about numbskulls who choose to bypass educational opportunities in hot pursuit of negative consequences. Elementary students do not yet have the skills to dig deeply and realize the embedded advice that Brooks actually provides to her audience in this short, valuable poem. My students do possess those abilities, and they responded with ferocity, which made me proud and satisfied that my little assignment worked to get them thinking about the lasting value of education contrasted against only the temporary satisfication of rebellious behavior.
One student classified this poem under one of this year's most well known phrases: YOLO! (For those readers out of the pop culture loop, that means "You only live once!") He insisted that the young people in the poem are only exploring their options and testing their boundaries. They, he said, are doing what much of young America still does after obtaining drivers' licenses and a bit of freedom. But another student pointed out quickly that having no polished plan for the future is simply being reckless. She noted that most everyone has a friend or relative who had potential but who chose the wrong path that led to his/her academic and/or professional destruction.
Much of the students' opinions revolved around peer pressure and the fact that many young people struggle with defining self; thus, they allow stronger influences to direct their paths. One of my favorite reactions, in fact, was a student who proclaimed that the pool players' situation is representative of a long line of rebels who teach new recruits to keep acting like "complete fools." Another student remarked that some people unfortunately have the attitude that "school is for fools." Many students then commented sadly on the opportunities that they have seen missed or even destroyed by friends and family members who have given into peer pressure.
In the classroom, I was reminded today that our students are listening to us although we, as educators, may sometimes feel as though they are not, especially when we are caught up in our whirlwind of anxiety over last minute quizzes and final grades. Our students are realizing the importance of education; they are seeing, and some are even regrettably living, the results of reckless abandonment and of decisions gone awry.
One of the students' statements that I treasure most from today's writing and discussion is this:
"You can be real cool in the classroom while doing some work."
Right, you are. Right, you are.
I will be presenting a one-hour session for faculty and staff showcasing how Hinds Community College uses social media on a daily basis. During this session, I will cover popular social media tools such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube and explain how Hinds CC uses them to answer inquiries, publicize news/events and create a strong online presence. I will also be happy to answer questions you have about social media.
Join me for one session and earn one hour of PDI credit!
Social Media at Hinds CC will be offered in the Bob White Room at Eagle Ridge Conference Center on:
Thursday, November 8th:
10:00AM – 11:00AM
11:00AM – 12:00PM
Friday, November 9th:
10:00AM – 11:00AM
11:00AM – 12:00PM
Note: Space is limited, so please sign up quickly & arrive on time!