Monday, December 16, 2013

Hidden Gems

Disneyland and In-n-Out are great and all but what about those secluded or hidden places that bring a new kind of happiness?  My English teacher recently gave a PowerPoint presentation on the top 50 places to take a date.  I hadn't even heard of most of them.  A lot of the locations were "what's the password" or locals only type of places.  Every year, my church and the surrounding churches have a Christmas tradition.  While participating in this tradition last night, I realized that I had found a hidden gem of my own, a gem that needs to be shared and shine on the world.

 The Prince of Peace Pageant is put on by St. Luke's Lutheran church in Long Beach, along with neighboring churches.  The Pageant consists of 16 scenes that tell the story of Jesus' birth (the true Christmas story). 

Ever since I was old enough, I have been an actor in one of the scenes.  I see it as my Christmas gift to Jesus.  I had been involved with the Pageant long before I met the 15 year old age requirement by greeting viewers with candy canes or lighting candles.  It's always great to see all the people who come and hear the news of Jesus Christ but I didn't fully appreciate what this Pageant was accomplishing until I was an actor in a scene and listened to those who came to look.

Being in a scene, I'm expected to remain still for an hour and a half but hearing parents explain the story of Jesus to their children deeply moves my heart.  Those that walk by and thank me or those who drive by and shout a "God bless you!" assure me that my 90 minutes are well spent.

The Pageant always attracts a lot of foot traffic and yet I wish that the event could extend its influence over more and more people.  The Christmas story needs to be shared and there are many who especially need to hear it.

Monday, December 9, 2013

The 4th Quarter: A Message to High School Seniors

Senioritus is a commonly heard phrase as my days in high school come to a close.  Students have begun to use it as an excuse to blow off homework and teachers have used it since last year as a threat to make us do our homework.  Why is it so hard to finish when we've come so far?  Students aren't the only ones suffering, athletes are as well.

My basketball team's record as of tonight is 3-3.  There's no reason it couldn't be 6-0, no reason except for the 4th quarter.  Our wins are won by 30+ points and our losses are by 2 or 3 points.  The losses weren't close games though, not before the 4th quarter anyways.  Those games from quarters 1 to 3 had favorable scores much like the final scores of our undeniable wins.

Were we too comfortable with our lead, already chalking it up as win?  Had we checked out of the game already, too tired or uninterested to finish?  I don't know the answer.  I wish I did.

Finishing may come as a challenge but when that challenge is overcome, as a team or as an individual, the rewards are rich.  Freshmen-Junior year efforts are not thrown out.  Put all four quarters together and you will have your victory.  Finish strong my fellow seniors, finish strong.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Technical Trouble

Advancements in technology have lengthened human life and have raised the standard of living.  Thanks to technology, the Earth can support a greater population.  In return, technology has asked for our dependence and teachers have willingly given it.

When technology lets teachers down, students take the hardest hit.  When power points don't load for a student's presentation, the student must improvise and continue.  The teacher, on the other hand, may simply change lesson plans.  When a school site crashes, students frantically ask one another what the homework is.  The same happens when teachers forget to post the assignment online.  Some teachers will post the assignment in the early hours of the next morning and expect it done and other teachers will tell students to do it the next night, along with the newly assigned homework.  Even when teachers do upload the assignment, complications are always a reality.

Teachers enjoy the ease of posting assignments online and not having to print photo copies for the class.  I can't even do my math homework half the time without having to log into Facebook!  With more and more assignments requiring internet, it is becoming harder and harder for me to complete my homework by a decent hour.
In elementary and middle school, I could take my homework with me and work on it during car rides or while waiting at the dentist's.  This is rarely the case now.  Now readings, questions, and activities are all online.

This is not typically a problem for those with smart phones or other Wi-Fi devices.  I am not one of those people.  I had a basketball game tonight that required a 40 minute car ride each way.  There was a minimal amount of homework I was able to complete in those 80 minutes.  That is why tonight will be a late night and tomorrow morning will be an early one.  Tonight is not a lone case.  Tonight's game is just one game in a tournament of games.

Is technology making our lives easier?  Sure.  Is technology making my homework harder to complete than it should be?  Definitely.