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Guatemala Promo…?

Courtesy: Google Fair-Use Images

On November 18th, 2009 Jorge Chojolan came to Lyndon State College and told his story about the foundation of his school in Guatemala called Miguel Angel Asturias Academy. He set up this school for children who can’t afford daily education. Chojolan talked about how he had a hard life when he was younger, and he wanted to make a change in his life. He started the Miguel Angel Academy because he knew that there were many people like him that weren’t able to get a good education.

At the presentation, Chojolan, along with a translator, gave several figures about Guatemala and it’s education, and those figures proved that not many children get any education due to poverty. Around 80% of Guatemala’s people are poor and make less than $3 a day. There are nearly two million people who are illiterate and only one out of ten children enter high school. In 2007, there were only 51 public schools and 210 private schools in the country. All of those figures were disturbing to Chojolan, so that’s why he formed the Miguel Angel Academy. His academy gives access to education for poor children. The school only charges $10 a month for schooling, and if a family can’t afford the payments, the school gives the family a scholarship to attend the school. The school focuses on teaching them to think and to teach reality. From 1995 to 2009 over 2,500 children have been educated thanks to the academy. The mission of the school overall is to transform Guatemala. The next steps for the school is to improve salaries, furnish four classrooms, construct a third floor, and maybe even open another school. After Chojolan spoke, two other spokespeople for the school and the program clarified some of what Chojolan said, and how American citizens can help Guatemala and the school. They then showed a video about why people should help out Chojolan’s program.

Most of the presentation seemed like a promotional stunt for the program that Chojolan and others created. They didn’t really give specific details about the trip they offered to students who wanted to help the school and Guatemala, and they make the trip seem like more of a vacation than a “mission”. The video they showed looked like one big commercial for Guatemala. They never gave out numbers on how much the program would cost, which it would probably cost in the thousands to go. Those costs would probably include travel, food, lodging, some money towards the school, and payment to the Chojolan and the two other spokespeople to make these presentations/promotional stunts at other school. Chojolan’s school seemed like a great thing for Guatemala, but it seems like they were a lot of hidden figures that the spokespeople weren’t giving us, like on how they afford to run the school on $360 a year from only a handful of students. Also another hidden figure was who pays for Chojolan and the two spokespeople to travel around to schools to promote their program. One of the spokespeople said that a council paid for them to come to Lyndon State College, but they probably didn’t pay for all of the costs. That would have been wicked expensive (lodging, flight, food costs), probably several hundred dollars for each person. While I thought Chojolan’s presentation was insightful, overall I think most of the presentation was a little bit of a promotional stunt.


November 18, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492…

Courtesy: Google Fair Use Images

Courtesy: Google Fair Use Images

Columbus Day is a holiday that is celebrated as a holiday across America. For most people, it means a day off from school. For other people, it means that Christopher Columbus arrived in America. Christopher Columbus arrived in America on October 12, 1492 when he sailed across the ocean blue. Columbus’ original mission was to find a western ocean route to Asia, and instead he found America. It was the first voyage to America and it was the first time that a European encountered Native Americans.

There has been controversy over Columbus Day. Professors Janet Bennion and Alexandre Strokanov of Lyndon State College debated Wednesday whether or not Columbus Day should be observed. The controversy stems from the legitimacy of honoring Columbus as a hero. Bennion stated that Columbus was violent with Native Americans and therefore should not be considered a hero. She said that he enslaved Native Americans and introduced diseases from Europe to America. She also stated that Columbus and his men raped the natives. Strokanov stated that Columbus made great strides in discovering the new land we call America, and that he worked with Native Americans to adventure into America. He also said that Bennion’s sources were not legitimate. The debate got pretty serious and Bennion compared Columbus to a terrorist, because he wreaked havoc with the Indians. She also had her husband at the debate, who was Native American. Strokanov said that Columbus was a hero for sailing across the Atlantic and if it weren’t for him, it would have been much later until someone other than the Native Americans discovered America. Overall the debate was intense, and both sides made fair arguments. Columbus Day will always be observed, but not without some debate.

October 22, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s New…


Courtesy: HP Cummings Construction

Lyndon State College recently added a multi-million dollar addition to the T.N. Vail Building on campus. The addition includes dozens of classrooms and several professor offices. Most of the classrooms are up-to-date, with smart boards, computers, and projectors. There are two departments that use the building, and they are the meteorology and business departments. Several other departments use the building for classes, but it’s really only the business and meteorology majors that use it.

The building cost the college around $10 million, and a lot of it is going to be paid for by current and future students. I did an unscientific survey about how people feel about the new building, and most people I talked to were not happy about the new building being built. The people who were not happy about the new building were people who had no classes or minimal classes in the new building. They weren’t happy because they have to pay for a building that they barely use, and they wondered why the business and meteorology departments got priority to use the building. They also wondered why it was built, and what’s happening with the old spaces that the business and meteorology majors used to occupy. Was there an increase in student population to add the addition? The people who didn’t mind the new addition were people that had two or more classes in the building. They felt like they were at least getting some use out of the building, so it was somewhat worth their money.

All of the people I talked to said that the building was very nice, but obviously some differed on whether or not it was worth to build the addition. The people who weren’t happy about the new addition hoped they would have more than two classes in the building next year so it would be worth the money their paying for it. They also hoped to see more departments in the building, other than the business and meteorology majors.

October 7, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 2 Comments