June 2009 blog archives
Taylor Phillips, a high school student from the Barstow School in Kansas City, wipes a tear from her eye after saying goodbye to friends made at the end of the 25th Missouri Scholars Academy on Friday night. About 400 students stood on the Quad with lit candles to remember, celebrate and honor their time together. Photo by Shane Epping.
Visit the MSA online photo gallery.
June 25, 2009
Derek Byrne, Kansas City, Mo.
Thursday began like any other day at the academy. I shuffled half-asleep down the stairs to breakfast and then made my way to my major once again. Inevitably, though, the thought I had been trying to avoid crossed my mind: Tomorrow’s our last day. I was reminded of this fact in big group as we heard about the alumni association, as well as at our evening activity, a class sampler showcasing what scholars have learned in their classes over the last three weeks. Amid the human illustration of mathematical combinations and permutations, the video of a teacher searching for his “kidnapped” class and many other amusing and informative displays, a bittersweet sentiment could be felt. We all knew our lighthearted laughter would soon be replaced by tearful goodbyes.
As I sat among a group of people who were transformed in three short weeks from an assortment of unaffiliated students to a closely knit community, I thought about everything I’d had the opportunity to experience at MSA. I performed Shakespeare in the pool, discussed the concept of infinity at length and formed some incredible relationships. Later, as I began to gather the clothes lying on the floor of my dorm room, I thought about my experience at the academy and leaving it behind. Then I realized that, despite the upsetting prospect of leaving, the MSA experience isn’t over at the end of three weeks. My newfound knowledge in a multitude of subjects will serve me as I continue high school, enter college and make career choices. In addition, the friendships I have made here with intelligent, driven people will continue beyond the academy.
I’ll always look back on my three weeks here as one of the best opportunities I’ve ever been given, and anytime someone says, “Boomba!” I’ll always proudly respond, “Hey!”
Photos by Christopher Young. See more in the online gallery.
June 20, 2009
Brendan Pick, Florissant, Mo.
Alumni Day had come to Missouri Scholars Academy, and along with it came even more memorable moments. Starting the day with about an extra half-hour of sleep and maybe even a bite to eat, scholars attended their minors for three hours. This allowed scholars a chance to discuss and experience these subjects in more depth.
Following classes and, of course, lunch, scholars were able to take part in various activities, including a very colorful mock Hindu Holi Festival in which participants had a blast tossing around paint and water in celebration. Other activity options included viewing the 1997 award-winning film Contact, taking a dive playing sand volleyball or adventuring through the classic role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons.
The day’s excitement carried on through the night as scholars and alumni from academies in years past hung out, played Frisbee, cooled off in a local McDonald’s and, of course, danced at another street dance at Lowry Mall.
Tired and all “boogied out,” scholars returned to Mark Twain Residence Hall for a quick snack and then headed off to bed for a well-deserved rest.
June 21, 2009
Elizabeth Rodman, Boonville, Mo.
Today was the long-awaited Family Day. For the first time in two weeks, parents, siblings and other family members could visit scholars. My mom and my sister visited me. It was wonderful to see them, but I really wished my dad could have come, too. Happy Father’s Day to him and all the other great dads out there; you are loved!
We went to church and had lunch at Applebee’s before heading back to MSA. An organized program for scholars and their parents began at 1:15 p.m. in Jesse Auditorium. Parents got to see selected acts from Friday night’s talent show, and Ted Tarkow explained certain MSA concepts, such as the meaning of “Boomba Hey.” Also, in keeping with Big Group custom, we sang our birthday wishes to four scholars: Alex Eichstadt, Samantha Rosser, Ben Toby and Gentry Fowler.
Next, family members met their scholars’ teachers and resident advisers and momentarily escaped the heat to enjoy lemonade in the Mark Twain lobby. When 5 p.m. rolled around, however, families had to say goodbye and leave their scholars at MSA for a final busy week.
To finish off the evening, scholars learned about African tales and legends with Kunama Mtendaji, went to a presentation by Bob Burns about Scottish culture, or played Scrabble against World Scrabble Champion Nigel Richards. Congrats to the two teams who won against him!
Photos by Christopher Young. See more in the online gallery.
June 19, 2009
For many scholars, Friday began with hitting the snooze button three (or four or five) times. However, MSA has taught scholars that their exhaustion will soon fade as they dive into the day’s diverse range of classes, discussions and activities.
In Personal and Social Dynamics, our RAs and teachers lead us through a special exercise that allowed us to tell our classmates how much they mean to us. One by one, we sat in the middle of a circle of our peers and silently listened as our fellow scholars fed us a steady stream of compliments.
After an uplifting PSD, some scholars played low-key games of Frisbee and soccer on the quad before heading over to an afternoon activity called “Archie Bunker’s Neighborhood.” This frustrating and eye-opening simulation taught me about how racism and stereotypes affect community building.
Later, the academy was entertained by the Mid-Missouri High Steppers before filing into the geology auditorium for the MSA Talent Show. The show featured a variety of acts, including a cellist, a yo-yoer, the “Backstreet Boys” and the “Human Kangaroo,” who jumped over a 6-foot, six-inch scholar!
Finally, exhausted scholars gathered in the Mark Twain Lobby for snacks and a quick game of Apples to Apples or ERS before heading off to bed. As the second week of the program winds down, scholars like me are amazed by the numerous experiences that MSA has provided us so far.
Photo by Shane Epping
Former Tigers standout DeMarre Carroll, coming off one of the best seasons in Mizzou basketball history, was drafted in the first round of the NBA Draft Thursday night by the Memphis Grizzlies.
“It’s a whirlwind right now,” Carroll, also known as the Junkyard Dog, said. “I’ve done about a million interviews so far, but this has been an amazing night. I’m so excited to be headed to Memphis. It’s a young, improving organization, and it’s one I’m honored to be a part of.”
Carroll, a 6-foot-8-inch, 225-pound forward, was Mizzou’s 13th first-round draft pick (40th overall) and the first since Linas Kleiza was drafted — also with the 27th pick — in 2005. Carroll led Mizzou to a school-record 31 wins and a NCAA Elite Eight appearance.
A first-team All-Big 12 pick on the court, Carroll averaged 16.6 points and 7.2 rebounds, while ranking second on the team with 1.55 steals per game. He was also named the MVP of the 2009 Big 12 Championship in Oklahoma City, where he led Mizzou to its first-ever Big 12 Championship. In addition to his on-court success, Carroll was a first-team Academic All-Big 12 selection and began work on his master’s degree in 2008.
“I would like to congratulate the Memphis Grizzlies and the city of Memphis,” coach Mike Anderson said. “They are getting an outstanding individual into their community and someone who plays to win. That’s probably the biggest thing I can say: Memphis got a winner. I’m happy for the organization, the city of Memphis and, of course, DeMarre.”
As a university, Mizzou also made some history with the first-round selection of Carroll. Mizzou became the third team in the history of the Big 12 to have players selected in the first round of the NBA, NFL and MLB drafts in the same year. Standouts Jeremy Maclin (receiver) and Ziggy Hood (defensive line) went in April’s NFL Draft this year, while Tiger pitchers Aaron Crow and Kyle Gibson went in June’s MLB Draft.
Photos by Christopher Young.
June 17, 2009
Megan Gileza, Dardenne Prairie, Mo.
Today marked the halfway point in the academy, and, again, it was a busy, fun-filled day.
I began my day with biscuits and gravy at Mark Twain Market and then took some time to play cards in the lobby with the other scholars waiting for class. I’ve now fallen into the full swing of the academy’s schedule.
After lunch, I chose to spend my afternoon constructing tangrams. The friendly competition and challenging puzzles contributed to an awesome day. Following dinner, we had some down time; I took the opportunity to call some of the people I’ve been missing back home.
The resident advisers prepared a smorgasbord for the scholars tonight. Later in the evening we all headed out to our chosen activities. I’d signed up for the poetry slam workshop; it was really cool to be exposed to a form of poetry I didn’t know a lot about.
Preceding curfew, we had some time to unwind and socialize. At 10:30 p.m., everyone headed back to the residence hall for house meetings and some much-needed sleep!
June 18, 2009
Sarah Jones, O’Fallon, Mo.
Walking through the cafeteria this morning, one could see napkins with the words “Thank you” or “Have a nice day” on many scholars’ trays. These messages were written for the Mark Twain Market staff to show them how appreciative the scholars are of their hard work.
After breakfast, students headed to the Quad for taiso, led by Ake Takahashi. Taiso had been postponed due to the weather.
After majors, minors, Personal and Social Dynamics and a wide array of afternoon activities, scholars had a chance to participate in an etiquette dinner in which they learned the formalities of proper dining.
After dinner, we could choose from many interesting evening lectures and presentations, including a jazz lecture, West African dance, a talk by Missouri Poet Laureate Walter Bargen and a showing of Examined Life, a film by Astra Taylor.
Finally, scholars shuffled back to their rooms for some much-needed rest to get ready to start another exciting day.
Missouri Scholars explore professional, personal and humanitarian roles
Photos by Christopher Young. See more!
June 16, 2009
Elliot Meyer, Hannibal, Mo.
As scholars awoke to what they thought would be another dreary, rainy day, some thought of just hitting the snooze button a few more times and spending the day in bed.
When students departed for their majors, the rained ceased and the sun started to come out. In True Story, we learned about the many possible jobs an education from the Journalism School at Mizzou can lead to. After majors it had become a sunny, humid Missouri afternoon outside.
The Personal and Social Dynamics session showed us that the roles we play in other people’s lives are important to a lot of people. Many scholars found it emotionally difficult to “throw away” our roles with the people who matter to us.
During the afternoon activity, camera obscura, I helped make a pinhole camera in a geology classroom by blocking out all the light entering the room, except for a small hole letting in light from the window. Everything outside was inverted and displayed on the screen inside. As we took turns going outside and climbing on vans, doing cartwheels and fake fighting, the scholars inside experienced the incredible phenomenon of how light travels.
Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein told us about how she had her world turned upside down during World War II. She was evacuated to England and communicated through letters with her parents, who were kept in concentration camps. She asked us not to applaud her presentation because she feels that it makes light of the horrific tragedies that happened in Europe.
Tuesday night brought the first night of Comedy Sports. Referee Ed Grooms had scholars telling stories of stop-sign-hating cowboys and zombie bacon. Some of the judges were emulating Simon Cowell with their scores, but the crowd thoroughly enjoyed this event.
Photos by Christopher Young. See more in the online gallery.
June 15, 2009
Kathleen Brueggemann, Sullivan, Mo.
As scholars rolled out of bed on Monday morning, they could look out their windows to find a steady downpour of rain outside. While the weather may not have been ideal, it wasn’t enough to slow us down. Umbrellas, rain boots and waterproof gear of all kinds showed up as students were leaving the Mark Twain dorm on their way to their majors.
Despite the dreary weather, it was still a great day! In the afternoon, I continued to learn all kinds of fascinating things in my minor, “Under Seal: The Secret History of Letters.” We took a walk around campus and also spent some time talking in our classroom.
The evening’s activity was particularly relevant to the scholars. We attended a college fair. Colleges from all over the state and several neighboring states had booths and representatives. There were small schools and large schools, private and public, religious and non-religious. It was definitely a good mix. There were even two Ivy League schools present: Princeton and Harvard. I collected a heavy stack of pamphlets, pens and highlighters. I was excited to learn about all the opportunities offered at the various colleges and universities.
After viewing all the booths, we headed to an auditorium where some of our resident advisers, who are currently college students, answered questions we had about all aspects of college. Topics ranged from admissions to extracurricular activities and student life.
For the rest of the night, a large group of us spent time meeting new friends and taking pictures on the Quad. I enjoyed this time of getting to know some of my fellow scholars better and just relaxing. Monday was definitely a wonderful day!
June 11, 2009
After a full day of classes at MSA, students had a difficult decision ahead of them: what to do. The main goal of MSA seems to be learning in an unconventional open classroom and touching on some “hush-hush” topics. Tonight it was world hunger.
The highlight of my night was the mysterious “hunger meal.” Rumors that the event might involve class separation, fasting and much more were overheard in the elevators and around campus. At first I thought it would just be a bunch of students fasting for the sake of hungry children around the world, but it was so much more.
As we walked into the private dining room, each student was handed a piece of colored paper; red, blue, yellow. The few “blue” students were pampered by the RAs and allowed to eat whatever their hearts desired. The “yellow” were told to serve themselves a dinner of rice and beans, but they did not have a table or drinks like the others did. Then came the “reds,” the poor workers and farmers; this is where I sat. Some of us were handed small bowls of rice and others of beans. No eating utensils were provided, and while some fashioned spoons out of their MSA name tag, many ate with their hands. Attempts were made by the blues to feed the lowly reds, but their efforts were intercepted by the RAs. Some reds were sent to “jail;” I was one of them.
After what seemed like forever in MSA jail, the room shifted from a pretend society back to a room of intelligent students. The facts were given about how bad poverty truly is in other countries and how many people in the United States ignore it completely. Ideas for solving world hunger and poverty were abundant in the room, along with some debate on which was the best solution. The event ended slowly with some heading out to eat and others continuing to fast for the night. Personally, I ate dinner, but I was much more conscious about what I ate and what was wasted.
The night was one of intense emotions and deep discussions, startling facts and astounding figures. As one of the roughly 60 students who attended, I know that I will be watching how much I consume for the rest of academy and continue when I return home.
Photos by Christopher Young. See more in the Missouri Scholars Academy’s online photo gallery.
Photos by Christopher Young. Visit the MSA online photo gallery.
June 12, 2009
Kathleen Brueggemann, Sullivan, Mo.
It was the first Friday of MSA, and excitement was buzzing in the air. We had our majors and minors as usual, but I found my major particularly intriguing. As a way to learn about yet another aspect of journalism, my True Story class loaded into vans and headed for Columbia’s very own NBC-affiliate news station, KOMU. News anchor Sarah Hill gave us a tour of the facilities, teaching us about the variety of jobs available at the station.
My favorite part of visiting KOMU was touring the set where the news is filmed. My classmates and I took turns sitting behind the news desk with earpieces in place, taking pictures of “America’s next great broadcasters.” It was a new and enjoyable experience, to say the least.
Later in the evening, I joined several other girls from my floor as we all prepared for the square dance. Many of the girls went all out with braids, plaid shirts and cowgirl boots. Some of the boys also dressed along the lines of the theme, but the majority of the boys, looked about the same as usual.
As we arrived at the location of the dance, the steps in front of Jesse Hall, scholars paired off as the band began calling off steps. The caller taught us moves such as the do-si-do and the ladies chain. As my partner and I swung through the steps, we saw many scholars laughing and enjoying themselves. We also did the “broom” dance and the Virginia Reel. The group ended the night with a waltz, switching partners every time the band paused. I met many new people throughout the dance, and it has definitely been one of my favorite experiences of the academy so far.
June 13, 2009
Megan Arnell, Chesterfield, Mo.
Another beautiful day at MSA dawned on Saturday with a little extra time to sleep in for us scholars. Everyone gathered on the quad after breakfast to participate in the rejuvenating exercise called Taiso, which was led by faculty member Ake Takahashi. Then we attended our majors to finish off our first week of classes.
The crowd went wild for hypnotist Conrad Dunn in the afternoon. Sixteen volunteers (and a few unexpected audience members) performed feats embarrassing and beyond hilarious in front of a nearly filled auditorium. My abdomen became positively sore from laughing at warnings of chicken invasions, waltzes with George Orwell, and fantastic dance exhibitions. Other activities in the afternoon included a nature hike, chess, Dungeons and Dragons, and an exploration of community dynamics. The weekend afternoon was also an opportunity to do laundry, relax in the lounge, or take a much-needed nap.
After dinner, the day wrapped up with a smash as scholars had the first street dance at MSA. Dance circles and dance-offs sprang up constantly among the mob of swaying, jumping, and bouncing scholars. We also enjoyed spontaneous scholars and residential advisers on stage dancing to Michael Jackson, Beyonce and *N SYNC. Finally, smiling and laughing but exhausted, we trooped off to bed for some rest after another busy, exhilarating day at MSA.
June 14, 2009
Allison Buenemann, Florissant, Mo.
For most of the scholars here at MSA, the first full Sunday here was relaxing and uneventful. That is unless you attended the three-hour-plus laundry party in the Mark Twain basement. All of us there learned that Sunday mornings are the worst possible time to try to get your laundry done. There were probably 40 of us crowding around the eight washers and dryers. This meant, for me, that there were plenty of people around to teach me how to do my own laundry!
On a more exciting note, Sunday also brought a lot of interesting styles of music to MSA. Japanese Taiko drummers performed for a large crowd during the afternoon, and a band made up of Missouri state legislators played later on in the night. A lot of us were really surprised to find out how hard all of our state representatives could rock out.
We wish a happy, class-free, Sunday birthday to Elizabeth Dingman, Andrew Iverson and Denny Garey!
Missouri Scholars Academy
Photos by Christopher Young
Wednesday, June 10
Beep, beep, beep. The alarm clock: one of the most annoying sounds anyone will ever hear. I don’t know about some people, but I personally hate waking up in the morning. I know that once I’m up, the morning will be, eh, just O.K. But today wasn’t. It was TERRIFIC!
My major is “True Story,” and my class is in charge of putting together the newspaper for MSA. We had an awesome speaker from the MU School of Journalism. Her name was Liz Brixey, and she had an extremely creative way to get our attention: She started talking about Facebook.
Two people had birthdays: Elizabeth Kouloa and William Serber. They had to listen to us make our own melody to “Happy Birthday.” You can imagine that cacophony.
A really awesome thing I noticed about MSA is how quickly and effectively they help you if you have a problem. I broke a bracket off my braces Tuesday evening, and they took me to the orthodontist Wednesday afternoon! I just wanted to say how much I appreciate that.
So far, MSA has been crazily amazing! I can’t wait to see what the rest of the two-and-a-half weeks will be like.
This week 330 of Missouri’s most academically gifted high school juniors settled in at Mizzou for a three-week taste of campus life.
In the Missouri Scholars Academy, top students from throughout the state live in an MU residence hall, take challenging courses in their chosen academic majors and minors, absorb local arts and culture, hear prominent guest speakers, embark on mind-broadening adventures, play camaraderie-building games and, in all likelihood, poke fun at MSA Co-Director Ted Tarkow’s hats.
2009 marks the 25th year of the much-lauded program. To celebrate the silver anniversary, Mizzou Wire has invited the young scholars enrolled in MSA’s “True Story” magazine course to blog about their experiences.
Check back daily for updates.
Photos by Christopher Young. Check out the online gallery.
June 7, 2009
Latisha Hickem, Columbia, Mo.
Passing Jesse Hall, I saw girls in summer dresses and heels, boys in slacks and ties, and parents beaming with pride. As my mom and I followed the crowd into Jesse Hall, we were split and instructed to go upstairs, where it was hot and sticky. I was standing in line by no one I knew and felt really out of place. The line finally began to move, and we entered the auditorium to a welcoming audience. After sitting through a long presentation of speakers and congratulations, the introduction to MSA was over and marked the time that parents were asked to leave.
Driving back to Mark Twain Hall, my mom began to be her emotional self, tears and all, not wanting her little girl to leave for 20 days. I hugged my mom like a kindergartener on the first day of school and went inside to get ready for the group pictures. We all put on our maroon shirts, paraded to the Quad, and waited in the sun for the photographer. After pictures we had icebreakers to get to know our house members and then ate dinner at Mark Twain.
With full stomachs, we strapped on our tennis shoes and amped up for Playfair, the highlight of the day. Playfair was a blur of maroon shirts scurrying around the Quad. We played a number of games to get to know each other and even had a rock-paper-scissors tournament. The goal of the night was to build community, and tonight was a great start, leaving everyone laughing and having met someone new. Tired from Playfair, we got “healthy” snacks, socialized and went up to bed, excited about what the next day would bring.
June 8, 2009
Chris Dzurick, Fulton, Mo.
Our first full day of MSA kicked off with the first unknown: breakfast. It was actually a great opportunity to meet new people, even if a yawn was the most common word.
Our first activity split us up into our majors. I was happy to find that someone in my house was with me in my major, “True Story,” and that he was a wonderful writer and layout editor. The teachers surprised me with their understanding of what we wanted the paper to become and were very accepting of our ideas.
Even through we were not able to actually begin discussion in our minors, we were able to meet our teachers and peers in Personal and Social Dynamics (PSD). We all learned we had a lot in common, including a lack of geographical skills.
Perhaps the best and most inspirational part of our day was our guest speaker, Josh Sundquist. After losing his left leg to cancer, Josh is living his life to the fullest. He shared his experiences with us through many funny anecdotes.
Overall 17 hours flew by, and with a full day gone, we can finally rest for another packed day.
June 9, 2009
Denni Wiles, Liberty, Mo.
Three hundred thirty scholars returned to class for day three of the academy on Tuesday. This was more than just day three for two scholars; happy sweet 16 to Angie Robinson and Michael Castleman!
Amidst the celebratory mood, some majors began fieldtrips and others continued thoughtful debate.
Kindergarten lunch caused most to smile just before big group and minors courses. Rain showers led to umbrellas and jackets bobbing all around campus. Though the weather proved beyond dreary, we all managed some sort of fun in the afternoon, whether playing with tangrams, making wearable art or packing hot dogs at the local food bank.
After dinner scholars previewed entertainment put on by our very own MSA faculty and resident advisers! A smorgasbord followed, and everyone signed up for different recreation sessions put on by the faculty. The lobby environment before house meetings tonight displayed plainly that many tight-knit friendships already have been formed.
“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” -Andre Gide (French writer, humanist and moralist)
As advised, we are already stepping outside our normal zones to take advantage of the special environment of which we’ve received the privilege of being a part. Hometown dynamics are forgotten temporarily, and we can just enjoy being who we love being among peers with whom we can so closely relate. As the collaboration and exploration continue, anyone here can easily predict that the results will be exquisite.
The Kansas City Royals have drafted former Tigers pitcher Aaron Crow in the first round of the MLB first-year player draft. Photo courtesy Mizzou Media Relations.
Kyle Gibson, Mizzou’s ace in 2009, was drafted by the Minnesota Twins, also in the first round. Photo courtesy Mizzou Media Relations.
Two Tigers have been taken in the first round of the MLB first-year player draft. But as fate would have it, they may soon wind up being division foes.
Aaron Crow and Kyle Gibson pitched together on the 2008 Mizzou baseball team, leading the Tigers to success along the way. After being taken by the Kansas City Royals and Minnesota Twins, respectively, they could be seeing each other again soon in the American League Central Division.
Crow, who graduated in 2008, was the ace of the Tigers’ staff that season. He won the Roger Clemens Award, given to the nation’s best collegiate pitcher, was an All American and led the nation with a 13-0 record. The Wakarusa, Kan., native now has a chance to pitch for the team he grew up rooting for after failing to agree to terms on a contract with the Washington Nationals last season.
“I’m going into a great situation with the Royals,” Crow told the Columbia Missourian. “I’m hoping to sign sooner rather than later and get to the majors as soon as possible.”
Crow was projected as a top-10 pick by experts going into the draft after having a strong season (3-0, 1.06 ERA) with the Fort Worth Cats of the Independent League. Analysts afterward said the drop to the Royals at No. 12 likely happened because of signability questions.
Gibson, this season’s ace, also was considered to be a top-10 talent much of the season. He went 11-3 and tied a school record with 131 strikeouts. However, after experiencing some soreness in his arm and a drop in velocity in his final outing of the season, teams shied away from taking him. An exam found Gibson to have a hairline fracture in his arm — something from which he should be fully recovered by the end of July.
Instead of going in the top-10, Gibson slid to Minnesota at No. 22. Few people expected him to last that long.
Both pitchers have until Aug. 7 to agree to terms with their new teams.