Monday, September 27, 2010

A Week of Excitement!

I am excited today, really this week, for that matter!  I am sorry, but I have to brag for a moment…I got my Early American History test back today and I got a 103 on it!! I am quite excited about it! I received this grade with the help of some bonus points, but nevertheless, I worked my tail off to do well on this test! Here’s hoping the next three tests in her class go just as well, if not better! I still need to start on my paper for this class. I am writing over the Battle of Gettysburg. It only has to be approximately three pages long, double-spaced, so really, I could accomplish this task in about three days. I do believe I’ll find a starting point tomorrow. (It is due on October 13, FYI) I am also excited because one other thing in that class. We had a writing assignment, which consisted of five essay questions. It took me what seemed like forever to complete this. After 3 evenings and 4 ½ pages of typing, I was done! I poured my heart out almost as much as is possible over the Spanish Inquisition and Colonial America. AND!!!! My hard work paid off; I got five extra points on my writing assignment, AND “Excellent!” written at the top of my paper!! For a somewhat difficult college history assignment, I am pretty thrilled about that!

Tomorrow I get to order my Senior announcements! I can’t believe that I get to do that already. Maybe one of these days it will hit me that I am actually a Senior in high school. It still doesn’t seem real. I don’t feel like a Senior, really. It also seems weird thinking about compiling a guest list, planning a get-together, all for me. As the youngest, I’ve spent my entire life, as of yet, seeing Gina and Emily do all of these things. It was exciting, but it was for someone else. Other than random birthday parties and a few other occasions, I’ve haven’t had many occasions that revolved around me. I remember bits and pieces of Gina and Emily’s graduations, and many other graduations, for that matter, but it seems odd to think that in a few short months I will be in the place of many other people that have gone before me. Soon enough, I will have to think about writing a speech. Actually, I don’t mind that one; I’m somewhat looking forward to it. I have a few ideas of what my speech will be about, but nothing is definite. I figure that I’ve got bigger fish to fry between now and next semester, so I’ll keep thinking, but not stress, just yet.

Tomorrow is also my first Quiz Bowl competition! I am slightly nervous, because much of the focus and expectation is on me, the team captain, but then again I’m not, because I never really get nervous at Quiz Bowl. Although I probably ought to look over my Trig notes/ from last year, because for some reason the question writers like to throw in many Trig questions, and I am the only member of the team who has taken, and has some knowledge regarding Trigonometry. I love my teammates; we really get along quite well. This Saturday is also the Skeltur Conference Tournament, to which I am REALLY looking forward!

I do believe that by Friday we will have our field show down, and basically ready for performance! It has come a long way, but it has also come together much more smoothly than I thought it would. Next weekend we will be performing it for the Tri-State Field Marching Competition, and on October 19th, we will go to Alva for Regional Field Marching! It is my hope that we get straight 1’s all-around. I really want to end my high school band career in the same manner that I began it. For anyone who is interested, we will be performing during half-time at the Home Games up until marching contest (Oct. 1 & Oct. 15). Tri-State field marching will be held at the Enid High Stadium during the afternoon of Saturday, October 9. Hopefully, I can get a member of my family to record our field show so I can, perhaps, post it on here!

Finally, on Thursday, my Botany class will be taking a trip to Mr. Blakley’s house to do some plant collecting. It will seem empty, no doubt about it, but I believe that he will be with us in spirit. We will get to enjoy about an hour and a half in the countryside, with sack lunches included. We are looking to collect approximately twenty different plants, which would bring our collections to a total of 55 different plants. (Just think, we get to memorize the scientific names for each of the plants, although it is in sets of fifteen!)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

1st Month of School: Horseweed, Heartache, and Hope

As of this week, I have been in school for one month. One month? I know, right? I know how fast this first month went, which worries me to think about how fast the next eight will go. It has been a whirlwind month. Many things have happened, both good and bad, and I feel that I shall chronicle them, for posterity’s sake. An update for each of my classes is as follows:

1) American National Government (Concurrent)
This class is going well, as expected. There have been some issues with the ITV that streams the class to Enid High, which caused for some frustration and lost class time, but now that is running smoothly. Tomorrow will be my first test in that class. Hopefully, I will rock the test! (Which reminds me that I need to brush up on my Amendments)

2) American History to 1865 (Concurrent)
I have done more work for this class than I have for almost any other history class thus far. (Really that fact is stating the obvious considering that I have had nothing but coaches for history teachers for the past five years.) I feel like I am getting the true college experience with this class. My teacher could best be described as eccentric. Her lectures are hard to follow, as she seasons them with many random comments, which, in no way, pertain to what we are discussing. When she does go over things that are important, she flies through them, making it nearly impossible to take accurate notes. I am highly considering investing in a tape recorder. I had my first test last Friday. It took me almost all of the class period to finish it. (Mostly because I had long essay answers…is that surprising at all?) By Monday I will know the results of my test, so here’s hoping!

3) Band
Band is going well for me. We are nearly done with our field show (Hooray!!) I have memorized virtually all of the music, which is an accomplishment in itself considering the music. Last Saturday we marched in the Perry Parade. After toughing it out waiting for an hour and a half in 94-degree heat with humidity, and also band uniforms, we (literally) marched our way to victory! We won $850 total, which is a fairly sizeable prize. We will also be marching in the Alva parade this Saturday. I have made progress on my All-State etudes, which, by the way, I will audition for that in about a month. Hopefully in the next month or so I will have an update on that. (Also, hopefully it will be a positive update!)

4) Botany
Botany has shaped up to be pretty interesting. We have collected 34 plants thus far. I have a plethora of information regarding the scientific names of random roadside plants. (Red Root Pigweed is Amaranthus retroflexus, Giant Ragweed is Ambrosia trifida, and my personal favorite, Horseweed is Conyza canadensis) I am enjoying this class, as expected.

5) English IV
Nothing too eventful has happened in English, which isn’t a bad thing. Currently we are discussing subject-verb agreement. Hopefully, I am correctly applying my knowledge. I finally decided on a book; I chose “The Great Divorce” by C.S. Lewis, which is about the existence of Heaven and Hell. It is interesting, although a bit hard to follow because it is written in the context of British English, not American English. It is fairly short, but requires a great deal of contemplation and thought to properly absorb it.

6) Library Aide
There isn’t much of an update about this hour, but it is going well!

7) Work Permit
(See above)

Personal Life:
This month has been a mixed bag of emotions. Many things have happened, all of which affected me in one way or another. Who would have ever thought that our dear Mr. Blakley would have unexpectedly passed away? Who would have thought that my boyfriend and I would have broken up the exact same day Mr. Blakley died? Both things hit me hard. I have discussed my sentiments about Mr. Blakley in a previous post, but most people really didn’t know about Adam and I. (For the record, I’m not the kind of person to go on and on about these things, but I feel I must get it off of my chest, so bear with me for a moment.)

Adam was my first boyfriend. We met in the oddest way at an honor band in January. We began talking, and before we knew it, we realized we had the craziest, most random, uncommon things in common. He was from Thomas…yes, Thomas, OK, down by Weatherford. It could’ve been considered as long-distance, although actually, considering the story of my friend Audra and her boyfriend-now-husband of four years, Zach, who is from Missouri, Thomas is really just a short jaunt from Douglas, America. Regardless, I didn’t get to see him as often as I would have liked to see him. He was also a Senior at the time, which means that he is now in college. He finally decided to go to NWOSU in Alva on a band scholarship. He was (and still is) very unaware of what he wants to do with his life. I don’t blame the guy, because most people change their minds about this matter multiple times after college. I have a few theories on his indecisiveness, but I shall spare you. Anyway, by this point, time and distance (although it really shouldn’t have) had taken its toll on our bond. He felt that he shouldn’t be in a relationship with anyone at this point, and thought that I didn’t deserve to be strung along with someone who didn’t know what he wanted and whose heart wasn’t completely in it. (I didn’t think I deserved that either.) It was a mutual agreement that we should end it at that point, and try to remain friends. All things considered, it ended as well as it could have. Neither of us hung up on each other, and there was no derogatory name-calling, so as I said, it could have been worse. It wasn’t necessarily my first experience of heartbreak, and it probably won’t be my last. I am almost over it, and I think it is because of the distance. He wasn’t an integral part of my life, and I know that it was for the best. I truly believe that when the time is right, God will bring me a man with whom I shall spend the rest of my days. I believe that my time with Adam was good, but since that didn’t work out, that only means that there is someone much, much better out there for me. That’s the only mindset that gets me through any challenge. Although I know that this isn’t that big of a deal, and in time it won’t be, right now, it’s on my mind.

On a completely different note, I am a member of an organization within the Archdiocese of OKC, better known as YAB (Youth Advisory Board). It is comprised of various Catholic youth from all areas of the Archdiocese that meet on a quarterly basis to discuss various topics concerning Catholic youth. I became a member halfway through last year, and I do enjoy it. The first meeting was a little bit nerve racking because I knew almost no one, but I learned that when one is surrounded by new people, the best thing to do is to be friendly and outgoing, and most importantly, not to isolate yourself. The second meeting was much better. ANYWAY, the big deal about YAB is the fact that I have single-handedly arranged for the group to come for our first meeting to my parish in Bison, America!! I am very excited about this, and with any luck, they will also be able to attend the Marian celebration that the parish has planned for the same weekend. It is my hope that the meeting is a success!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ray of Sunshine

It is undeniable. Last week was very difficult and emotionally trying for almost everyone in my life. There was much sadness and despair in most of the events of last week. I have decided to try to make this week very much the opposite, by being positive and upbeat. I am going to try to bring a ray of sunshine to all who need it. I began this on Sunday morning. Sunday morning was cloudy and drizzly. Although it was cloudy, I began the day by wearing a bright, sunshiny dress. I haven’t worn this dress in a few years, but I found it a few weeks ago in my closet, and I decided to wear it yet again. I feel like it perhaps brightened my church. I smiled, said hello, and good morning to nearly everyone I saw. It was a small thing, but I’d like to hope that it brightened someone’s day. Yesterday, I went to school. My Botany class went out plant collecting yesterday. Even though it was hot and humid, I was skipping about. Not just outside, through the hallways, as well. Yes, I said skipping; and I did so, ever so gleefully. I felt optimistic. In the past few years, I have come to the realization that, at some point in one’s life, they will be faced with adversity of some sort. Any time that an adversity arises, it depends on their attitude as to how it works out for them. As I have learned, life is short. One never knows when their time will come. It is because of this that they should enjoy each day as much as possible. Although there are days that don’t seem possible to enjoy, at least try to find a positive point in each day, whether it be in the joy of a child, the sunshine, a nice joke, something. One can spend their days locked away in despair, or they can go out and be happy, and enjoy their days. It seems a bit Pollyanna-like to say this, but I feel that it is the truth.

Music speaks to me. I can hear a line from a song, and ponder it and find something very profound. Last week I heard such a song. Many of you may know the song “Live Like You’re Dying” by Kris Allen. The line from that song that spoke to me was in the chorus: “We’ve only 86,400 seconds in a day to turn it all around or throw it all away.” It is very true. With each day that we are given, we have the opportunity to go out and do something positive, or throw it away by being negative. I will be the ray of sunshine to those in despair. I shall strive to be positive!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Mr. Blakley

Today began like almost any other Tuesday morning does for me. I was in the midst of getting ready for school when the phone rang. I noticed that the Caller ID read that it was my friend Abbey was calling. I answered and she asked if one of my parents were home. She told me that her dad (Mr. Blakley, one of the science teachers at my school) didn’t show up at school this morning, and she wanted to know if someone could go chick on him. I noticed a sense of panic in her voice, as could be expected for that situation. Of all mornings, my mom, who hardly ever works on weekdays, was at work, as was everyone else in my family, and the other neighbors, for that matter. Abbey also told me that her Uncle David was there and had called an ambulance, but she wanted someone else to go check on him. She decided to call Mr. Ott (one of the school secretaries) to go check on Mr. Blakley.

Fast-forward about thirty minutes…

I was driving to school, and when I got on the blacktop, I saw a Douglas fire truck headed back to the station. I had a constant stream of thoughts running through my mind at that point. I thought that maybe he had a heart attack or something of that sort. My mind was restless, though, with the unknown. A few minutes later I pulled into the parking lot at school. My mind was still wandering about what could have possibly happened. I gathered my things, and proceeded to walk inside. As I entered the building, I saw everyone leaving the gym. The thought hit me. Everyone was quiet…too quiet. It couldn’t possibly be…I found a girl in my grade, and asked her what was going on. She looked at me. I knew it. It wasn’t until she told me, “Mr. Blakley died this morning,” that I lost it. I couldn’t believe it. My mind raced back to Abbey’s call. I thought about Debra. I thought about Abbey. I thought about Able. I thought about Audra, and especially Zane. The only thing I could think was, “No, no, NO, this can’t possibly be happening. This isn’t real. How? WHY? It’s not right. WHY?! He’s my neighbor, my teacher, a husband, brother, father, grandfather…WHY?” The hallways, although full, were silent. The only noise came from various sniffles, sobs, and just people shuffling around. There was emptiness about the school. Hardly anyone spoke. People were just sitting, comforting each other, hugging, crying on shoulders, sitting in silence and disbelief. I was beside myself just thinking about how his family had to have been taking the news. I called my mom and told her. And the band room, usually loud with the cacophony of people warming up their horns, was silent. We played our scales, and no matter what we played, it seemed quite melancholy. The rest of the day went by, and it just seemed different.

Today I saw a different side of many people. Many people I would have never expected. People were affected in ways I never thought that they could be affected. Everyone had something to say about it. Most people posted something on their Facebook wall. My thoughts can’t be contained into that small of a space, so here they are. I have known Mr. Blakley ever since I can remember. He was my neighbor, but he was also like a father to me. He was my bus driver in my younger years. I remember one instance when he, the Gabriel boys, and I went on a quest to find Yucca plants in the ditch, and yes, we succeeded in the venture. I remember him always being there when I went over to his house to take guitar lessons from Debra. Most of all, I remember him being at school. I have seen him almost every day of school for the past six years. I remember the quirky things he always said to us. For example, “Hey, Mr. Blakley, What’s up?” “The opposite of the pull of gravity.” I remember making gold and silver pennies. (I still have those, by the way.) I remember making ice cream. What I remember most, though, is how much of a loving, caring man he was. From his family, to his friends, to his students, he cared about each and every one of them. I don’t really recall ever hearing him say anything bad about anyone, either. Everyone who came into contact with him knew how nice and caring he was. He was very passionate about his career. He was a brilliant man, probably one of the most intelligent people I have ever known. He always looked out for others. There’s really nothing I can say that hasn’t already been said. That isn’t by any means a bad thing. Everyone has the same thoughts. Everyone who had the pleasure of knowing him will most definitely miss him.

To all of the Blakley family, you are in my thoughts and prayers. I cannot even imagine the sense of loss you are experiencing at the moment. I’m not very good at saying the right thing to cheer someone up, but I am a shoulder to cry on, if nothing else. Whatever it is that any of you may need, let me know, and I’ll be there however I can be. I love you all, and my heart goes out to you during this difficult time. Always remember that the Hladik family is right down the road, or a phone call, wall post, etc. away.

I believe that Mr. Norton summed it up the best out of everyone:

“Mr. Blakley’s life was at Pioneer. He has spent all but about ten years of his life away from Pioneer. The five years before he began school, and the five years he was in college. Other than that, he has been at Pioneer. He was very dedicated to his job. He loved his family more than anything. He deeply cared about his students. It just won’t be the same without him.”

Here’s to you, Mr. B.!