Richmond's Own (but unowned) Website

Today I went on the IB hiking trip, along with Mr. Laughlin and 10 other kids at Powder Canyon.  (This entry is going to double as some CAS hour evidence).  We went on about a 1.7 mile loop, and I wish I brought my camera so I could share some amazing views, but alas I forgot to bring it.  But it was a wonderful way to spend the first day of Spring!

To be honest, before going, I was somewhat apprehensive, and wasn't sure what to expect.  But was I in for a surprise.  I had never gone hiking in the Powder Canyon area, and needless to say, I thouroughly enjoyed today's hike. 

Mr. Laughlin was a great choice for an advisor too.  It was a very active experience to have him along, especially because he has a lot of knowledge about nature.  We saw a red tailed hawk, potato bugs, various types of sage, wild cucumber, walnut trees, and poison oak!  It was a great experience for me, and at the top of the first hill we climbed, there were some beautiful views of the valley (well, there was the ever present haziness of the smog, but besides that!)  We were even able to see the Rowland gym (well Mr. Laughlin saw with his binoculars. I just kind of squinted in the general area - should have brought a pair myself).  I was also surprised with how happy other people on the trail were - a couple, bikers, and even a family with a stroller and baby. 

After the hill crest, we descended into the canyon itself - which was a lot cooler, due to the trees overhead.  It was nice to see everything green, since we had such a great rainfall this year. We saw a dry (but moist!) creekbed - very Jurassic Park: The Lost World like, where the stegos are. But it was breathtaking all around.

So I never realized this little gem that we have in our backyard. And thanks to that, I'm more aware of the importance of nature, and how we should try to preserve it.  There's a bit of irony that in protecting it, we're building trails to let people come into it. But I think it's important to educate people about nature, and the only way to do that is to let them experience it for themselves.  And trails are alot less intrusive than houses built along the ridge which disrupt animal traffic.  At any rate, humans have been making trails through nature for thousands of years.  Nevertheless, this has helped me become more aware of how we should treat nature with respect and protect the jewels of nature around the world from the encroaching posion of civilization.  If we could just - step aside - life - will find a way.
Just some thoughts about my latest school involvement work to get a guest speaker for the Rowland High School 2010 Graduation - in a semi secret fashion - so I'll continue that here. 

So it was about 2 weeks ago, when I came across the '\@& )$ |#! %|# competition on Twitter. (The symbols don't stand for letters, so don't even try).  And I sent it to a certain school counselor who suggested I send it to the principal.  Basically what ended up happening without going into too much detail is that the principal said yes, and I got a group of a few people together.  @*;!%## and (#!$^& are who I contacted first, and then letter a couple others.  Needless to say, we met with @%@ !&*#&& to talk about things to put in the application and so forth.  And then Sunday night was at my house for about 8 hours to write up the thing, as well as today at school, some of the group staying until past 8. 

Anyways, the important thing about this, even if the guest speaker isn't able to come to our graduation is that we took a stand - well more like staked a position I suppose - but that we took some sort of action, which I think is more than alot of people do, and that puts us ahead by a lot.  In one of my interviews (a college scholarship interview for #^ #(*^#)@), I talked with my interviewer (a very nice lady and professor of education), about the idea of standing up, and she said something that impacted me.  When you stand up and say something, the other side can never say that they were uninformed.  Because it's important to know that you may not be able to change everything, to convince everyone to your point of view.  But you can still speak.  Just because they don't act isn't cause for us to put a self imposed censorship of silence upton ourselves.  In fact, it only serves to motivate us more to speak out, and at the least, the very least, the other side can no longer say that they did not know how we feel.  And that probably is what creates the key difference.  We know how we feel. And now they do, and what they do with our information is in their hands, but we can be proud that we didn't let this opportunity just slide by, no matter what the outcome.

In retrospect, I think I really enjoyed this process.  Which kind of reminded me of political dealings - last minute mark ups to the speech language, that sort of thing. A couple years ago I wondered what it would be like to be a speechwriter as a career.  Maybe it's time to take a look back at that idea. 
As promised, I am going to write more often on my blog.

So this brings me to today's thoughts about the International Baccalaureate program (IB).  I'm probably one of the few in my class who truly like it, which is somewhat of a shame, because I think it's a genuinely good program.  So today I think I'd like to discuss a little about why people are apprehensive about IB - and I'll talk about why I like IB on another entry (because I have homework - kind of ironic? Maybe, but I still like it).  Anyways, I think that one of the daunting aspects of IB is spelling it out.  I mean, really.  Even I go to google to check if I spelled it correctly.  And of course "Advanced Placement" is alot easier to type out than "international baccalaureate" (see, I just copied and pasted that from google).  Maybe that's just a symbol of American culture - and the impression that other countries have of our lack of intelligence.  Maybe they're right.  Or maybe we're just lazy.  And fat.  Either way, international viewpoints of Americans are probably right in one aspect or the other.  But I digress.  I know alot of students are scared of IB because of the workload (which is hyped up), and things like that.  I get conflicted here, because it seems like a bad excuse. Well, let me back up a little.

I generally see good excuses and bad excuses for dropping out of the IB program.  A good excuse is something like - I want to be involved in Tennis, ASB, Yearbook, and Journalism, and IB won't allow me the scheduling times to do those, but taking AP courses will.  That's fine, that's a great reason not to do IB.  However, I see a reason like "I don't want the work" or "I want a real social life" as not so good excuses for dropping IB.  But then maybe that's just my outlook and what I value in education.  Maybe it's because I see students dropping out and I know there are students out there who would love the opportunity to take part in our IB Program, but lack the access or quality or some other factor that doesn't allow them to take a class at that caliber, and I see people pass that door of opportunity without a second thought. 

Anyways, that's all the time I have allotted for tonight's writing, I'll come back to talk about pros of IB (and address cons - which I probably didn't talk about.  Sorry for my digressions, but you should read this blog with the disclaimer that I'm just writing stream of conciousness for the most part). 
First, I think I will update the blog more often.  Or more likely, I will get myself my own paid website or a blog on wordpress. But anyhow, I've spent the last 6 months as a Senior in IB, watching the Winter Olympics, discovered 30 Rock, been on Twitter, applied to 11 colleges, built, done Books of Hope, and more.  Really, most of this is on Twitter. 

But anyways, I've been accepted to college, I'm going to college! UC Berkeley, as I found out in my interview today for the Regents' and Chancellor's Scholarship.  I'll find out about the scholarship in a few weeks.  But that's just my little check in , I'll try to update this more often - writing every day will help me! So with that, I bid you goodnight as I attempt to finish my IB physics lab write up before morning.