Obama’s plan for education

America’s clench of education loosens as the years progress. More and more statistical evidence shows the dramatic downfall of the nation’s education system. According to the Broad Education Foundation, American students are ranked 25th in math and 21st in science out of 30 industrialized countries. Furthermore, eighth-grade American students are far behind in math compared to their peers in other nations, and 68% of American eighth-graders are not up to standards regarding reading. President Barack Obama is attempting to solve the crisis by funding money specifically for math and science programs. Speaking at a science fair held in the White house, Obama said he hopes to once again place America on top. Two of the most important subjects in school have become a lack of interest and  dreadful courses for children. In an effort to promote and revamp the subjects, Obama has requested funding of $80 million from Congress. In addition, he asked for $22 million from the private sector. This will allow 100,000 teachers to be trained specifically for math and science and teach one million recent graduates in technology, science, math and engineering in the next ten years. The hope is that in the long run U.S. students will transition into American working citizens in these prominent and much-needed fields rather than jobs going to foreigners. Many other countries are ahead of America in fields such as these because not too long ago their schools heavily stressed the importance of science and math. As a result, the students have translated what they learned to make money. The last time Obama tried to pass the proposal in Congress, it did not go through. In some ways, Obama is on the right track. So many jobs are being exported to foreign countries because they possess the necessary skills. Students today need to realize the importance of math and science rather than shrugging their shoulders and asking the stereotypical question, “When will we ever use this?” I hope Obama continues to push the issue of American education and to stress how bad the situation has gotten. As Americans, we must open our eyes and look into the future. If we do not invest now, we will no longer be one of the most powerful nations. Obama said in his speech at the science fair, “We’re a nation of thinkers, dreamers, believers in a better tomorrow.” Let’s keep it that way....

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University alumni go political
Feb21

University alumni go political

From competing for UMHB student body president in Spring 2009 to now the real deal, alumni Garrett Smith and Tommy Wilson are using their political savvy to work together and promote local Republican candidate, Wes Riddle. Riddle is campaigning to be the U.S. representative for district 25 in Congress. The former college professor, small business owner and military man is now taking on politics. When Riddle first began his campaign bid in July, he was looking for about several volunteers. However, his problem throughout was that people kept quitting. Riddle believed that Smith was a godsend because he arrived just when the former volunteer coordinator left. Wilson entered campaign work based on a recommendation from his former student body president competitor, Smith. Because there was so much work to be done for just one person, Riddle hired Wilson to be a field representative based on Smith’s advice. He was impressed with the alumni’s knowledge of politics and thankful for their hard work. He said, “The two of them together have done more in the few months they’ve been here than others have been able to do in the period of six months or more. If they are in any way a representation of UMHB, it speaks very highly of that institution.” Because of Smith’s and Wilson’s efforts, what seemed an impossible task to make Riddle an official candidate became possible. It was assumed that Riddle would not have enough signatures to enter the race, but the former students and several others proved that notion wrong. Smith said, “We’ve been surprising people the whole way. The Republican Party was just astonished … We’re by far taking the lead on grass roots ground game.” There are several reasons why Smith firmly stands by the candidate. Smith said he is a strong believer in Christ and is not afraid to voice his concerns. And is not the stereotypical politician who beats around the bush. Wilson said, “That’s what I love about Wes. He will never back down or apologize for his views … We’ve seen his plan. We can offer answers.” For students who question whether their vote truly does make an impact or find no reason for to vote, Wilson offers a perspective. “If we’re not in those discussions, if we’re not in that process of making those rules … by talking to our representative … these decisions will be made without our input.” Wilson suggests a great way for students to start is by voicing their beliefs and opinions through the university’s student government. He said, “We have a great place at UMHB. But (students) need to start speaking about...

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From pageantry to Survivor contestant
Feb07

From pageantry to Survivor contestant

Surviving on a desert island is not exactly what comes to mind when someone wants to win a bet. Who needs insects crawling on their skin or getting hit on the head with a coconut?  But put a few other folks willing to compete, a camera crew and a grand prize of a million dollars, and out comes a fascinating reality game called Survivor. A former student from UMHB has decided to take part in the grueling challenge this season. 29-year-old Kimberly Spradlin attended the university in fall 2001. She was in First Year Council and represented the freshman class in the Miss MHB pageant. Today, she manages a small bridal shop in San Antonio. The hit reality show is back for its 24th season. With 18 contestants fighting to become the sole survivor so that he or she can win a monetary prize, this competition returns with more heat fueling the fire. This year, it will be televised from the Samoan Islands in the South Pacific. The two different tribes, Salani and Manono, will be competing against each other. To make things even more interesting, the show has added a new feature called the hidden immunity idol. Spradlin’s main reason for joining Survivor is because she is “obsessed” with the series.  She saw her first episodes at UMHB and has not looked back since. When she first mentioned the thought to her father, Mike Spradlin, he assumed the probability for being on the show was very slim. He said, “I was real surprised. I knew she had always wanted to do it, but I just figured that the chances were kind of like hitting the          lottery.” With a knack for the outdoors and a bubbling personality, does she have what it takes to become the winner? Her father seems to think so. “I have no doubt Kim has the tools to be the sole survivor,” he said. I also would speculate that some may see her as a threat because of that. It will be real interesting to see how it all plays out.” Being on a reality show is an adventure in and of itself, but being filmed on an exotic island is a whole different story. Naturally, Spradlin has grown through the                    experience. She realized that there were certain areas where people can have an influence instead of vice versa. “You can change the environment around you instead of letting it change you,” she said. Freshman Christian ministries major Samuel Rosario has been interested in the show since it first aired on television. As the series progressed, he noticed the attitudes of the contestants and how...

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Mission Waco bridges social classes in cafe

Walking into the World Cup cafe, one receives an interesting outlook of the locals and strangers in this hustling and bustling joint. It is an uplifting surprise to see upper class citizens chatting with the homeless or low-income regulars of the Waco eatery. They talk and laugh as if they have known each other for years and wipe out the stereotype of people only interacting with those in the same social groups. None of that matters here. What does is community. World Cup Cafe is a product of nonprofit giant, Mission Waco. The organization that started in the 1990s has five other buildings, near the unique restaurant. Located in the “poorest neighborhood in Central Texas,” said World Cup administrator Shannon Williams,  Mission Waco desires to redefine fellowship by bringing people of all incomes together through a restaurant, a theater, youth programs and much more. Diving back into history, the neighborhood was once occupied by a predominantly wealthy class in the 1950s and 1960s. But the area started changing for the worse when a mass exodus occurred. The elegance and high class swiftly left, and a sense of darkness quickly arrived through several bars, clubs and an adult theater in the 1970s. By the ‘80s, the local government had enough and legally condemned the area. With no stores active, all that remained were desolate, empty buildings. In the 1990s, Executive Director of Mission Waco, Jimmy Dorrell, saw potential in the crime-ridden neighborhood. With a big heart and open mind, Dorrell purchased those buildings and transformed them into a variety of positive businesses. As time passed, the neighborhood became vibrant once again. The restaurant works in conjunction with the remodeled theater. Mission Waco uses the duo to host entertaining events in the theatre and supply a delicious meal made with local ingredients before or after the program. The cafe is more than an eatery. It builds community in an area associated with danger and homelessness. Assistant Director Kathy Wise said, “It takes away the stigma … It lets them know this is a viable place.” Through prayer, dedication, time and effort, the restaurant joins people of all classes and races together, hopefully to erase negative thinking and substitute it with enlightenment. Bringing people together through good food is not the only agenda. The award-wining business has an exquisite small market centered on fair trade. Therefore, not only can guests dine but also shop for a good cause. The products come from countries across the globe and range from beautiful, colorful jewelry to creative and authentic purses, bags, coasters and even kitchen ware. All the proceeds go the makers of those products...

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Meyer lecture series to give additional insight about Baptist history

The stained glass windows of Manning Chapel in the Meyer Christian Studies Center  narrates stories of Baptist life and missions. A series of lectures will be given over the next semesters describing the historical significance of the windows through guest scholars. The beginnings of the lectures fell into place after a discussion of how to execute part of the university’s mission statement that reads, “We will deepen our commitment to our Christian mission and Baptist heritage.” The question arose of how exactly should the private college strengthen its southern roots. One of the answers was formed into the Manning Chapel Lectures. The discussions will feature the windows, which include stories about Baptist missionaries William Carey, Lottie Moon, the Judsons and the Bagbys. The first lecture Feb. 21  will start at 12:15 p.m. concerning the Bagbys, a missions-oriented family living in Brazil. Baylor University Christian studies Professor Rosalie Beck will be the first guest lecturer to discuss the historical significance of the Bagbys.  Annie Luther, daughter of UMHB’s first president, fell in love and married William Bagby. With both Baptists having passions for missions, they set off to Brazil in 1881. Their accomplishments included planting 10 churches, performing more than 400 baptisms and including 419 Brazilians into church memberships. Beck will go into further details to discuss the struggles and achievements of the Bagby couple. She hopes that students will understand how Annie contributed to Baptist history. Beck said, “She was a real, flesh-and-blood person who made mistakes, triumphed over adversity and loved to laugh.” The other desire is for attendees to gain motivation  to possibly follow in the footsteps of the missionary couple. “They (students) can embrace life in all its richness when they respond to God’s call faithfully,” Beck said. But why is all this important for UMHB students? Dean of Christian studies Dr. Tim Crawford, explains that Baptists have achieved great and monumental heights concerning missions. This explains the importance of the university. He said, “When it comes to missions…, no one has invested more in lives and resources than Baptists. Missions is in the blood of Baptists, and it’s part of the spiritual DNA of UMHB.” He is amazed at how missions oriented the students are, and he wants to further that momentum by providing them with a deeper understanding of the Baptist history. He said, “I have never heard of a college or university where so many people were so deeply committed to missions.” Christian studies Professor Dr. Carol Holcomb further adds how vital the past is. She said, “Whether students are Baptist are not, the knowledge of history is crucial to our...

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