UGA: Party School

An article in today’s AJC discusses UGA‘s growing intolerance of the university’s reputation as a “party school.”

A week into the new semester, as students hit the bars as well as the books, it’s clear how tough it could be to change a social culture critics say is built around booze.

First, came articles on drinking in the campus newspaper that administrators found too glib. Then, there was a flap over coupon books given to students as they bought textbooks that included ads for alcohol specials and bail bondsmen. That was followed by national publicity about the university making another list of top party schools.

UGA has been trying to turn around its image for some time. I vaguely recall an embarrassing lawsuit brought by a student some years back over lack of academic rigor in a class that was designed for student athletes. I can’t find a reference to it online, but that’s probably because I can’t recall her name. UGA gradually increased SAT scores required for incoming freshman in an effort to attract the best and brightest. It still hasn’t successfully shed its image as a party school. The Princeton Review voted it the 12th biggest party school — 10th in hard liquor consumption and 8th in a list where “students (almost) never study.”

I remember well what it was like to go to school on the beer-drenched campus of UGA. I never have been a big drinker, and I admit to finding the alcohol culture at UGA distressing. In my Music Appreciation class, the classmate who sat next to me showed up to a morning class still drunk from the night before. He smelled absolutely awful — like a mixture of hard liquor and vomit. He was so drunk I was afraid he was going to vomit right there in the classroom or perhaps even pass out.

I lived in Reed Hall, right next to Sanford Stadium. On game days, it was awful. Folks tailgated all over the campus. After the game, the alley between Reed and the stadium was littered with the beer cups. It was an appalling lack of respect for the students who lived there, in my opinion. I don’t know why folks couldn’t be troubled to throw away their cups. The alley smelled of beer for what seemed like days afterward.

UGA is trying to curb tailgating, and I hope they are successful, but if I know UGA alumni, I imagine they’re raising hell about new restrictions on when and where they can tailgate.

In days past, the joke was that if you slowed down as you drove through Athens, they threw a diploma in your car. Nowadays, UGA must be proud of its growing reputation as a research university and Public Ivy, and I think they are taking steps to put the their party image behind them:

  • Asking the media to stop calling the Georgia-Florida football game as “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party”
  • Tightened policies on game-day tailgating, including setting up family-friendly alcohol-free areas
  • Approved an online alcohol awareness course
  • Announced that parents will be notified of students’ drinking violations
  • Begun assigning first-time violators of drinking laws to an alcohol awareness class and placing them on probation
  • Announced that violators already on probation will be suspended
  • Started sending violators to the county jail for booking and requiring them to post bond before being released
  • Held a town hall meeting with football coach Mark Richt
  • Announced plans for a new center for alcohol awareness and education

I do hope that UGA can fix their image. Overall, I enjoyed my experiences there, but I will admit that the drinking culture really did curtail my appreciation for the school at times.

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A Different Sort of Back-to-School Story

I know this isn’t my genealogy blog, but I was lucky to be the recipient today of a CD full of amazing pictures of my family taken from the 1880′s to 1960′s. The picture below is of students at Miss Gilbert’s Music and Elocution classes at the Parker Institute in 1891-92 in Whitt, Texas. My great-great-grandmother, Stella Bowling, is on the far left in the middle row (with the buttons that form a V across her chest). There are so many people in the photo that details are hard to see. If you click on it, you can look at a larger version.

Miss Gilbert's Music and Elocution Classes, 1891-92, Whitt, TX.

My great-great-grandmother Stella taught school for eight years in one-room schoolhouses in the Denton, Texas area. When he was in school, my great-uncle Alvin wrote to her, his grandmother, to interview her about what school was like when she was a girl. This is what she said:

Rosebud, New Mexico
Nov. 11th 1935

Dear Alvin:—

It is with pleasure I answer your most welcome letter. I am glad you are interested in school and hope you enjoy your school days as much as I did mine. Really I think our school days are our happiest days with all their troubles and trials — yes I had my share of “trouble & trial” in school even tho I never got a whipping.

When I went to school the schools were not “Graded” as they are now. We had classes — sometimes 2 or 3 of a kind, I mean of the second reader we’ll say as some pupils would have McGuffey’s Readers while others would have another kind. I used the McGuffey’s Readers. The “Old Blue-Backed Spelling Book” (Webster Spelling Book) and Alvin I don’t believe I’d be afraid to “spell” with my Grandchildren to-day.

I was eight years old April 13, 1875 and started to school some time that year, at Lewisville, Denton Co., Texas. However my Mother had taught me at home, so I was in the second reader and could spell “way over in the book” and knew how to make the figures and count.

That first school house was up on a “rise” N.W. from town about 1/2 Mi. It was a large “two story” house; the upper room was used by the Mason Lodge the lower for school church and Sunday School.

Sometimes there were 75 or so pupils so had to have two teachers, but both taught in that one big room.

We sat on long benches and a class would go up to the teacher to recite and sit on a long bench, only the spelling classes would stand in a row and “turn down”, when one missed a word. The pupil who was head of class to day would “go foot” tomorrow.

The house was heated by a stove and they burned wood. When it was real cold the teacher would let us go sit awhile by the stove to warm our feet. They wouldn’t let us draw pictures in time of books.

When I started to school my Grandma gave me a large square framed slate and that’s what I wrote on, and “figured” & (played when the teacher wasn’t looking.)

In 1879 we moved way out to Wise Co. I was 12 by then, you see so had other books to study such as Geography — Monteith’s Third Part. Rag’s Third Part Arithmetic and Grammar — Smith’s, I believe, was the first one I used; then later Reed & Kellogg’s. So we had to parse and diagram. Yes that was hard.

That school house was a real country school about 3 or 4 Mi. S.W. of Bridgeport (the old town) Texas, in Pleasant Valley. It was built of logs (I believe) and had long home-made benches. No black-boards, so we used slates.

There was a plank “desk” on each side to write on, the boys used one, the girls used the other. Yes, we had a time to write, some had bought copy books, others used “fools cap” paper and the teacher would set a “copy”. It too had a stove and burned wood. The house was in the woods so we had lots of shade to play in.

The boys played on one side of the house, the girls on the other. The boys at both these schools played ball and other similar things. The girls would play games such as base “Learner Lou” etc — we had nothing to play with but always had fun.

Girls all wore sun bonnets — never went bare headed but in warm weather would go bare-footed, same as the boys — oh! the big girls didn’t, of course.

Sometimes school would be only for three months, and a five month school was a long time — I mean in the country. Then sometimes there would be a subscription school in Summer.

Sometimes the teacher would “stay a round” with the people — not have to pay board.

My first school I had to walk alone and go about three Mi. but at this last one we lived just little over 1/2 Mi. from the school house.

While we lived there tho there were two years I did not go to that school, because the teacher did not keep good order. I went to a lady who taught in her house 2 Mi. away. There we sat by a fireplace and used her chairs. She was such a fine teacher too — could explain things so we could understand even arithmetic. Also she had some different readers I used but I forget the names. Of course, they were the higher books 5th & 6th.

My letter is getting too long to tell about when I “went off” to school. So will close for this time and if you want the other part I’ll write again.

Lovingly your Grandmother,

Stella Cunningham

If you get a chance, write down your school memories for those who come after you.

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Kindergarten

I took my daughter to her school to meet her teacher this morning.  The little girl who directed me to the signs posting students’ names and teachers so I could find out her teacher’s name assured me that her teacher is one of the two nicest kindergarten teachers at the school.

She is so excited about starting school.  Which begs the question… what happens to that excitement?  I would argue that a lot of kids are happy when school starts again, but don’t want to admit it lest they be considered “geeks.”  I was like that, anyway.  I liked school.  On the other hand, there are some kids that harbor genuine hatred for school.  It makes me sad to think at one time they were my daughter’s age, excited and ready to learn.  Sort of like a light that went out.

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Back to School Supplies, Part 2

I found a school supplies list for my daughter’s school and grade at Wal-Mart. I wonder if they were just out of that particular school’s lists when I checked last. I plan to purchase my daughter’s supplies this weekend.

However, I have a beef with… well, I’m not sure who to blame for this. I don’t think it is entirely the teachers. It could be the administration, but I’m not sure about that either. I suspect my real beef is with the other parents. Let me explain.

My daughter has been asked to purchase all the fairly normal supplies: crayons, colored pencils, markers, glue sticks, regular school glue, watercolor paints, folders, a bookbag, tissues, antibacterial soap, scissors, along with a few more unorthodox items, such as Ziplock bags. No problem. However, this statement was written next to the bookbag request on the list: this is the only item that needs to have your child’s name on it, as the rest of the supplies will be shared.

I don’t like this. When I went school-supply shopping as a kid, part of the fun was picking out stuff I really wanted, like a pencil box with cartoon characters I liked or pencils made out of recycled denim jeans. And they were mine. I think I know why I am being asked to buy supplies for the kids to share. I think it’s because some parents will not, for a variety of reasons, buy supplies for their child; therefore, I am being asked to pick up the slack.

This really bugs me. I am going to buy the requested supplies, but I think it is unfair to ask me to buy these supplies knowing that my daughter may or may not be using them. To my way of thinking, any shared supplies should be the responsibility of the school to provide. I imagine some of you out there will disagree with me about this. I just hate the notion that my daughter, excited about going to school and purchasing her first set of supplies, might get confused when they are handed over to her teacher to dole out to her classmates. Of course, it may be that the only thing she really cares about is her backpack, which she gets to keep for herself.

Update: I have decided that Maggie will share the tissues, soap, and Ziplock bags, because I understand these were intended for classroom use (and I doubt she would use them up by herself); however, I will tell her teacher that I do not want Maggie to give up her school supplies for the class.  I asked my older daughter if it would have bothered her to have her school supplies taken by her teacher and put into some communal pile, and she said it would have.  I believe there is a time and place for sharing, and Maggie will do plenty of that in school.  I also think my gut was telling me the right thing, here.  The crayons, colored pencils, markers, glue, scissors, and folders are Maggie’s.  If she needs items replaced through the year, I’ll be happy to do so.  I think it is fair that a teacher request that she not borrow supplies from others, too; in fact, I hope that she will learn to be prepared with her own supplies.  Thanks for your comments, everyone.

P. S. This post is now several years old, and the concerns I expressed are a nonissue to me at this point. I also don’t like being used to further the right-wing agenda of someone I don’t know. Comments are closed, and folks who contact me about this post will be ignored.

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Build Your Own Jeopardy

Last November, I shared a method for creating a Jeopardy game using MS Power Point.  Since I doubt folks go back and re-read my old posts to see if I have new comments, I need to share with you Doug’s comment:

An easier way to create jeopardy boards is to use this software called Build Your Own Jeopardy. This software is available at http://www.wolfescience.com/byojeopardy BYOJeopardy helps you make custom boards that you can use in the classroom or play with friends. Enjoy!

I checked out the site, and the software is free.  I haven’t tried it out, but it looks like it is indeed easier than creating your own board with Power Point.  Caution: it is Windows software.

Thanks, Doug!

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