Archive for the ‘Random Thoughts’ Category


In Random Thoughts on May 23, 1993 at 12:45 pm


In Random Thoughts on May 11, 1993 at 12:45 pm

Random Thoughts

Copyright © Louis Schmier and Atwood Publishing.

Tue, 11 May 1993

Well, here I am again. I’ve just come in from my power
walking. I’ve been thinking about what happened in another one of
my classes last Tuesday. It was about 11:30 a.m. A student had
just left my office. For almost an hour and a half, I listened
intently, almost saying nothing, as she told me about what had
happened in our 9:00 a.m. intro class. I got up from my chair,
walked slowly across my rather expansive and cluttered office,
closed the door, slowly walked back to my chair, sat down. It was
all almost in slow motion. And suddenly in an outburst of energy,
I banged on the desk with both fists and screamed out a private and
orgasmic (that’s the only way to describe it), “YES!!!!” I’ve been
on a controlled high ever since. Let me tell you why.

What I call “a happening” had occurred in my 9:00 a.m. class.
Last Tuesday, many of the students in that class, at least for that
moment, had “found themselves.” I had walked into class ready to
discuss the day’s assigned reading and discussion issue. Before I
could utter a word, Shelly, a quiet student who had been afraid to
talk in class, got up from her chair. Without waiting for me to
recognize her she firmly said, “Dr. Schmier, when we had our open
class evaluation yesterday there was a lot of bull shit going
around. I think we all have to have a “truth talk” with each
other, but can’t if you’re around. Could you please leave!”

“What’s going on ? What are they going to do to me?” I
silently asked myself very nervously.

Shelly had come into my office the day before and said that
not many students were honest in their appraisal of the class and
asked what should she do. I replied that she should do what she
thinks needs to be done. And now this! My feet became jellied; my
heart started pounding; I admit I was afraid. The other students
turned to me to see what I would do. Words like “courage” and
“risk” and “honesty” suddenly came home to roost. I had told them
the day before that I had a tough skin and needed their input in
order to improve in the class whatever needs improvement. Talk
about being on the spot! Well, I figured I had to put my money
where my mouth was. I nervously walked out of the room. For the
next hour, I fidgeted on the computer, struggling to write
something sensible, but my mind was on the goings-on in that

From what Shelley told me and later recorded for me, this is
the gist of what happened:

“Yesterday we had a class discussion where Dr. Schmier asked
us how we thought the class could be bettered. But none of you
spoke up and said anything. You were afraid he’d hold it against
you and you were more worried about your grade than helping
yourselves or to improve the class for all of us.”

“She’s right. We’ve got to get down to business.”

“I hate these triads. I don’t want to depend on someone else
for my grade. I don’t need anyone else.”

“You play football. No wonder we have a lousy team. Where’s
all this teamwork stuff, or is all that crap only to sound good?”

“I’m going to med school. I need good grades. I want to drop
this course. My adviser told me to wait for an easy class. He’s
such a bastard for not letting me.”

“I heard you try to corner and embarrass him at the beginning
of class. But, he didn’t back down. I think he did you a favor.
Maybe, instead of whining you ought to meet the challenge and stop
acting like a spoiled brat. Are you going to take only easy courses
in med school? Stay away from me when you get out!”

“Let’s get down to business. How many of you honestly do the
assignments everyday and come in prepared, or even use the SQ3R
methods Dr. Schmier suggested at the beginning of the class?”

“Some of you don’t even read the syllabus calendar and then
complain you don’t know what’s expected or assigned.”

“Here’s what I think. The reason some of you are complaining
is that you’re not doing your work and want a free grade.”

“Well, I don’t understand the discussions sometimes.”

“Ask questions. I’ve never seen anybody embarrassed in this
class when they do. He loves questions.”

“Then, he makes us answer our own questions.”

“Maybe he’s trying to show you that you’re able to answer the
question, but are too lazy or scared to try.”

“Maybe he could summarize at the end of class.”

“Tell him. He won’t bite. I’ll tell him.”

“Some of the triads aren’t working.”

“Well ours has become a study group.”

“We’re friends and have become like family. We come to each
other with our real personal problems.”

“It’s been hard for us, but we’re getting to know each other
and starting to work together.”

“I think we are becoming family. I know more people in this
class than in all my classes since I’ve been here combined. I see
some of you talking outside class. Some of you don’t know a great
thing when you see it. Like Dr. Schmier says, ‘you gets out whats
you puts in.'”

“I like taking the quizzes and discussing tidbits like we were
one. It’s not that we can do less work by sharing the load. Hell,
I learn more arguing over the answer to a question than when I
study by myself.”

“Yeah, but some of us aren’t together. We haven’t been
pulling our weight. But we’re not giving up. If you can do it, so
can we. We have to help each other.”

“Why doesn’t everyone look at each other and point to the ones
who aren’t doing their share. Say that we need your help. You’re
important to your triad. You’re part of us and without you we’re
not operating at 100 percent. Go ahead. Point.”

“Look, Dr. Schmier comes in here, come hell or high water,
prepared, alert, and ready for bear. We owe him to do the same

“That’s his job. He gets paid for teaching us.”

“And we pay to learn by ourselves. We owe it to ourselves.
If we don’t want it why should he give it to us. Why the hell are
you here.”

“To get a grade. This is all so stupid. He doesn’t lecture.
He doesn’t give out any handouts. He doesn’t tell us what’s going
to be and what’s not going to be on the quizzes. When we ask him
what he wants on the exams, he says, ‘what do you think you should

“Get a life. You ain’t going to make the grade.”

“I don’t like how he asks me questions. He’s always asking,
‘why?’ He embarrasses me.”

“Maybe you embarrass yourself because you come in here
unprepared and try to wing it. He’s not going to let you get away
with it. He’s too good and cares too much to let you do less then
what he thinks you’re capable of doing.”

“Hey, I’ve been in his office and talked with him. Remember,
he dragged me in kicking and screaming. He really cares about us.
He wants us to care about ourselves. If you don’t want to give him
a chance, give yourselves a chance. Hell, how many of the profs
around here would do what he just did. I really respect him for
that. Maybe some of you ought to start respecting yourselves.”

“How many of you have a smart person in the triad and say,
‘Well, they’ll carry my load. I don’t have to do anything.’ Well,
get off your asses. Our triad meets twice a week in the library.
We’re there about 2-4 hours. Come on over and join us. It’s
working for us. It can work for you. We’ll help anyone who wants
to help themselves.”

“That’s a good idea. We, too, meet in the library. We’ll
help anyone who needs it. But, you have to come prepared.”

“Three of us just have been talking. I know we’re not in the
same triads, but that doesn’t matter. We’ve decided that we’re
going to designate ourselves class tutors. Let’s start a history
lab. We make a commitment to the class to be in the library twice
a ……”

“My best time is Sunday.”

“O.K. We’ll also be in the library on Sundays from 2-4.
We’ll reserve a study room and we can discuss. Your obligation is
that you have to read the material before you come in to discuss.
We’re not going to do your work. Come in and join the rest of us
for a talk. If you haven’t done the reading, come in and read, and
then ask questions.”

“I hate the tidbits. I tell him what each article is about
and he says that he wants to know why it’s important and what does
it mean. I’ve never had to do that. It’s too hard.”

“He wants you to think and understand. Use the guide words he
gave us. What we do is to read together and talk about the meaning
of the article. We consider the points and see how they apply in
our lives and society today.”

“Sometimes, when we finish talking, we close our eyes and do
a quantum leap like he does with us in class, and imagine what’s
going on, and feel the article”

“We’ll work on the tidbits in the library.”

“I’m not sure this is all going to work.”

“It won’t if you don’t want it to.”

“I don’t know if I can do it. It’s hard and I’m not used to

“Maybe she and the others are right. Let’s see if we can help
each other in our triads and between the triads. We might learn

“We’re used to memorizing things for a test. He doesn’t do
that. He says he wants us to think. I’ve never done that. Why
doesn’t he just tell us what to learn?”

“Maybe he wants us to take control of ourselves and make our
own decisions. That’s scary. If some of you are willing to help,
I’m game.”

“I know you all said you were going to come, but if you don’t,
it won’t hurt us or him. You’ll be hurting yourself. I’m going,
and if you don’t show up, it’s your own fault. I heard bellyaching
today. Sometimes I’m one of you, but you’re not putting forth the
effort. You’re not trying.”

“He promised us pizza and drinks on him if we all pass this
course. I got a taste for pepperoni and mushrooms. Let’s think on
it today and meet in the library and talk some more if you want.”

Shelley wrote me a personal letter at the end of her written
summary of the class events. I want to share it with you. I do so
not to brag about myself, but to applaud and praise her. We just
had Honors Day here at the college. She did not receive any
recognition. She did not receive any awards. She didn’t have the
grades. In fact, she is among that group of students whom my
colleagues say don’t belong in college. Well, in my book she is an
honor to have in my class. She and all the others are the reason
I go to sleep each night anticipating the next day’s classes. They
make all the frustration and aggravation and worrying and hard work
worthwhile. They are my encouragement and strength in the face of
discouragement. I offer you her letter to show what unique
potential lays hidden within these “poor students,” and what they
can discover with some support, effort, and caring. I cried as I
read the letter:

A few members of the class said today that they just
didn’t think that things would work out for some reason
or another. But, it didn’t disappoint me all that much,
because if they don’t learn anything from what I and all
the others said, I learned a lot. I learned that I can
do things that I never thought I could do. I learned
that I could be a leader, and I guess it is something I
wanted to do all my life, but was afraid to do and felt
I couldn’t do. In high school I wanted to be, let’s say,
an officer in a club, but I wasn’t popular. I was shy.
I didn’t believe I was a leader. And I thought that the
people who were popular were better than me. I was sort
of a loner in high school.

I don’t know what happened in your class. I don’t
know. This feeling just came over me. I know I was
surprised that when I came to you and said that something
had to be done in the class because people weren’t honest
about their feelings in the open evaluation, you only
said that I should do what I thought should be done. I
felt you felt that I was good enough to be trusted enough
that I could decide, not you, what the right thing was to
do. I am so happy with myself because I’m so much more
than I thought I was. I’ve never been able to speak in
front of people. The one time I had to stand in front of
a class was in a history class in high school. But, I
was too shy. I literally passed out on the spot because
I was too nervous. When I got up and asked you to leave
the class so we could talk, I was so nervous that I could
hardly get the words out. I was shaking and sweating.
And when I was up there in front of the class, Dr.
Schmier, I knew I would end up crying, and when that
happened I would fall over and pass out like last time.
But, I didn’t! I didn’t do it! I think the reason I
didn’t do that was because you trusted me by leaving
without a protest, and more importantly because my triad
had encouraged me to say something. They were out there
supporting me when I said something. Others were
supporting me,too, when others were saying negative
things. But I have such a feeling of accomplishment. I
can do anything! I am growing as a person. I think I
stopped being a kid. I learned that I can face people.
I learned that I can face myself…

I’m proud of myself! I feel that I have earned this
sense of accomplishment. For the first time in my life,
I took a deep breathe and I took a big risk not knowing
whether it was going to be for the best or not. But I
left your office feeling that you bet on me and I figured
it was time I had to try to trust myself. I’ve helped
myself and found a me that I thought didn’t exist. I
hope that I can help anyone who needs encouragement to
help themselves. I’ll never stop trying. But, Dr.
Schmier I just want to thank you for helping me because
you helped me a lot by showing that you believed in me
and helping me believe in myself even though you never
said anything. It was just that I knew from how you
acted and talked in class that you really cared about me
as a person. I truly believe now that if I want
something, I can get it. And I am not going to let
anyone tell me I can’t. And I’m going remember forever
what it felt like when someone told me or acted like they
were better than me. I’m not going to do that to anyone
if I can help it. I’ve grown a lot since I’ve been your
class. I’ve learned a lot about myself, about others,
and about history, too. I’m starting to see now that
only I can, as you say, hold my head up.

I can’t let anyone else tell me how to think about
me. What they think about me is their concern. I think
I understand when you say the problem is inside of us and
so is the solution. I think I’m beginning, just
beginning, so don’t expect too much, to understand what
you mean when you once handed out: ‘To strive to reach
the potential that inside you, you need the will to
achieve and the courage to fail.’ I taped that on my
mirror last night. I’ll never, never, never forget that,
this class, or you. Thank you, Dr. Schmier, for being
you and being there.

On that note, I’ll just say a very quiet,

Have a good one

Make it a good day.


Louis Schmier  (912-333-5947)          lschmier@grits.valdosta.peachnet.edu
Department of History                      /~\    /\ /\
Valdosta State University          /^\    /   \  /  /~ \     /~\__/\
Valdosta, Georgia 31698           /   \__/     \/  /     /\ /~      \
                            /\/\-/ /^\___\______\_______/__/_______/^\
                          -_~     /  "If you want to climb mountains, \ /^\
                             _ _ /      don't practice on mole hills" -\____

 Wp-Content Photos Goboard


AUTHOR: Louis Schmier
STATUS: Publish

DATE: 05/08/1993 12:45:33 PM



Random Thoughts

Copyright © Louis Schmier and Atwood Publishing.

Sat, 8 May 1993

Well, it’s real early in the morning. It’s starting to get
humid and warm down here in south Georgia, even at 5:00 in the
morning. As I was walking the quiet streets, I was thinking again.
This time it was about a discussion, a vigorous discussion, I had
yesterday afternoon with a colleague from the School of Business at
a TGIF (thank God it’s Friday) faculty get-together. She had come
up to me and started talking to me about my character-based
approach in my classes. I was in an excited mood. I felt that I
had a good week in my classes. There was that one class had
learned a dramatic lesson in applied ethics over the cheating
incident. Another class had kicked me out of class so that they
could have what one student called some “honest truth talk.”

“I’m no Sister Teresa, ” my colleague proclaimed. “We are
here to send the students out into the work place with a degree
that will give them a better job. And that’s all my job is!”

“Is that what an education is all about,” I replied, “just to
get a job?”

“Yes, and the student should have to take only those courses
that they need,” she asserted.

“Why, then, are we in June becoming a university–at least, in
name,” I asked.

“It will give our students more prestige. They’ll be more
marketable if they graduate from a university rather than a
college,” she replied with assurance.

“Sounds like packaging to me, marketing if you will,” I
retorted to my colleague who was from the marketing department.
“Pretty glitter that’s more show than substance.”

While the conversation ended without any minds being change,
it was my colleague’s word, “need,” that continued to haunt me this
morning. What does a student, any person, need? A student needs
to be independent; a student needs to be able to think for him- or
herself; a student has to believe in him- or herself if he or she
is to struggle to reach his or her potential; a student needs to be
able to control the forces swirling around him or her rather than
let them control him or her. To put in other words, give me a
person who believes in himself or herself and can think for him- or
herself, and he or she can learn to be anything at any time.

I think those attributes are especially “needed” in these
turbulent times. We see all around us that we are living in a
world of rapidly changing job skill requirements. We are seeing
what happens to people when the particular job skill they are
learning or have practiced is no longer needed. It seems to me
that my colleague’s myopic definition of an education would not
offer people the personal life-skills that they “need” in order to
be independent of, flexible in, and adaptable to such dramatically
changing situations.

Moreover, it seems that such a narrow definition of an
education is limited to the work place and preparing students for
a single career. But, what about the rest of their daily lives?
There is life before a job, aside from a job, and after a job.
What will prepare them for life outside the work place? The truth
is that students will become more than just bread winners. They
will become friends, spouses, parents, and citizens. No, an
education is about far more than just getting a job. It is about
learning how to live, as well as learning how to make a living.
The primary goals of an education should be to encourage our
students to strive for their fullest potential as whole individuals
and contributing members of society. And, we as their teachers
“need” to commit ourselves to developing not just the brains and
hands of our students, but their minds and hearts as well.

Make it a good day.


Louis Schmier  (912-333-5947)          lschmier@grits.valdosta.peachnet.edu
Department of History                      /~\    /\ /\
Valdosta State University          /^\    /   \  /  /~ \     /~\__/\
Valdosta, Georgia 31698           /   \__/     \/  /     /\ /~      \
                            /\/\-/ /^\___\______\_______/__/_______/^\
                          -_~     /  "If you want to climb mountains, \ /^\
                             _ _ /      don't practice on mole hills" -\____

 Wp-Content Photos Goboard


AUTHOR: Louis Schmier
STATUS: Publish

DATE: 05/05/1993 12:45:33 PM



Random Thoughts

Copyright © Louis Schmier and Atwood Publishing.

Wed, 5 May 1993

Well, it’s early in the morning again and I have just come in,
dripping wet, from a vigorous power walk. I love roaming the
darkened, quiet streets. The air is clean and my thoughts are
clear. This morning I was thinking about all that has happened in
my classes during the ten days since I returned from my son’s
school in Maine. It’s really blown my mind and I’d like to share
one great event with you this morning.

I found the courage to take the risk to place my students on
their honor and trust them to do the right thing. I told them that
I was going to let them administer their own weekly quiz. No
department monitors. I appointed a student in each of my three
freshman history classes to pick up the quiz from the department
secretary, hand it out to the triads, use the answer key to have
the triads grade their own quizzes, collect the quizzes, and hand
them back to the department secretary. I left for Maine nervously
thinking about whether I really wanted to know if I had any impact
on them after only four weeks of class, and whether my concepts and
techniques were working. When I returned, I asked each class how
things went. In one class which consisted of 13 triads, one of
the quieter students said with a noticeably annoyed tone, “Fine,
but were we allowed to use the book?”

“Damn,” I disappointingly thought. And then I asked the
students, “What happened?” Those were the last words I said as
the students spontaneously took over for the rest of the class.
The conversation went something like this (Thankfully, I
feverishly, but quietly took notes of the discussion):

“There was cheating in some of the triads. You used the book
to look up the answers. I am mad. We didn’t cheat.”

“We let Dr. Schmier down. He trusted us.”

“Hell, we let ourselves down!”

“Why didn’t you say something Friday when it really counted.
Maybe we could have talked then?”

“I wanted to, but I was scared that everyone would think I was
a brown-nosing, do-gooder.”

“It’s easy to do it now that Dr. Schmier is here to ‘protect

“I would have backed you up. But I didn’t have the guts to
say ‘This isn’t right. It ain’t worth it.’ I’m just as guilty
letting it happen as those who cheated.”

“Bull! Who are you to accuse others?”

“I’m mad because we didn’t cheat and they’re going to get just
as good a grade.”

“Is that all you’re concerned about, the grade? How about
doing it just because it’s the right thing to do? But, I didn’t
want to get involved either.”

“I felt it was none of my business. If they could get away
with it….I was sort of envious that I didn’t have the nerve.”

“Those who cheated, speak up. We know who you are. Do you
have the guts to open up right here and now?”

“Dr. Schmier, our triad cheated. I’ve been feeling shitty
about it all weekend. I rationalized that we were only checking
three answers, but that’s no different since we would have changed
them (all) if they were wrong.”

“It’s no big deal. We changed only three questions. As I
figure, that’s about 3/25th of 1% of the final grade.”

“You sell your honesty cheap.”

“I don’t see where its worth it. Something’s wrong if a lousy
small grade means that much.”

“What will you do if some big thing came down, when you people
showed no backbone over something this small?”

“We cheated, too…..But I don’t think we ought to get
punished real hard since we admitted it and some others still

“You want a reward? Hell, you cheat, you pay. Just because
you admitted what we all know doesn’t mean you get a medal. What
you ought to do is look at yourself and learn. I say, Dr. Schmier,
those that cheated should get 0s!”

“I’ll take it.”

“There are others. At least go into his office and own up.
You screwed us all.”

“Wait a minute. I’ve been listening. We screwed ourselves,
me included, by letting it happen when it happened. We all lose
his trust. So, let’s stop feeling so righteous.”

“I think we all ought to leave here and do some heavy thinking
about just how upstanding people we are. Let’s see who has the
guts to do something about it. .How can he trust us again? Why
should he?”

“Damn,” I jubilantly thought to myself. I was so excited. I
thought that was the end of it, but there was to be more. Students
from three other triads who cheated came to my office and quietly
turned themselves in.

“We figured if others were doing it, it was alright. But
that’s crap. It was wrong and there are no two ways about it. You
took a risk to trust us and we didn’t take the same risk to trust
ourselves. The truth is some of us just didn’t study and this was
the easy way out and the rest of us went along. We talked and we
decided we want the 0’s. We’re going to study our asses off from
now on.”

Now, that is what I call a value-forming, character-shaping
experience. Understand that I don’t teach character. I don’t
believe I can. I do not have any curriculum units that say “this
is character,” or “do this or that” or “you get it this way or that
way.” But, I can and do create a spirit and attitude that permeate
the entire class, that place an extraordinary amount of importance
on character, that help the students develop their character, and
that place them in value-forming experiences. This is what
education is all about.

Make it a good day.


Louis Schmier  (912-333-5947)          lschmier@grits.valdosta.peachnet.edu
Department of History                      /~\    /\ /\
Valdosta State University          /^\    /   \  /  /~ \     /~\__/\
Valdosta, Georgia 31698           /   \__/     \/  /     /\ /~      \
                            /\/\-/ /^\___\______\_______/__/_______/^\
                          -_~     /  "If you want to climb mountains, \ /^\
                             _ _ /      don't practice on mole hills" -\____

 Wp-Content Photos Goboard


AUTHOR: Louis Schmier
STATUS: Publish

DATE: 04/21/1993 12:45:33 PM



Random Thoughts

Copyright © Louis Schmier and Atwood Publishing.

Wed, 21 Apr 1993

It’s 5:30 a.m.. I just came in from a rejuvenating, four mile power
walk. While traveling the streets I was thinking about leaving tonight to
attend Parents Weekend at my younger son’s school in Maine. It’s called
Hyde School. It’s quite a place. He owes his life to it; we owe our
lives to it. I’d like read you a statement about Hyde School:

“…at Hyde School, we believe in the questions. Who am
I? What am I capable of? What’s holding me back? How
do I get where I want to go? These questions though
sometimes painful, are signposts on a profound and
personal journey, a journey to uncover and realize our
unique potential. The way may be rocky but it’s a path
that none of us can take alone. Without the help of
family, friends and teachers, some of us can get trapped
in the questions, with no real skills for making sense of
our demons and dreams….”

Why do I bring this up? Well, while I was walking I was thinking
about a conversation I had with a colleague. We were talking about the
character-based curriculum I have been developing in my classes. I
mentioned to him that at the beginning of the quarter I had asked four
questions to the 140 students in my three introductory history classes.
The first question was: “How many of you think you’re good, first-class
students?” A total of 15 students sheepishly responded. Next I asked:
“How many of you consider yourselves as mediocre or average students?” A
total of 104 responded positively. Then, I asked: “How many of you
believe you’re capable of being good, first-class students?” A stunning
total of 96 raised their hand. And finally, I asked: “What’s wrong? Why
aren’t you trying to reach what you believe you’re capable of becoming?”
The answer was a silence and a hesitant mumble of, “I don’t knows.”

“So, what’s your point,” my colleague asked.

I told him that most of these students are not incompetent. They
have great potential, but they are holding themselves back. For a whole
bunch of reasons, they don’t believe in themselves or are afraid of taking
the risk of finding out about themselves. If only, I continued, we as
teachers could help them find the way to change their attitude and values,
they would unswervingly strive to develop whoever it is they are.

“You’re crazy. You and I are professors, not social workers!” was
his rebuff.

Aren’t we? Or, shouldn’t we be? I asked myself these questions as
I cut through the darkness. As a personal answer, I think being an
effective and meaningful teacher of any kind or at any educational level,
means more than just being a master of a subject, being able to organize
and emphasize information, being capable of clarifying ideas and pointing
out relationships. If that is the sum of my teaching, then a tape
recording, computer program, and /or a book can easily replace me.

No, if I am to deal, as I think teachers must, with the questions
posed by the Hyde statement, I must concerned with more than the subject
matter and developing only the student’s intellect. I think that any
definition of teaching must include both a desire and an ability to
motivate students to motivate themselves. Shouldn’t the primary concern
of the teacher be with developing those attitudes and emotions which
energize the intellect to perform? I have reflected long and hard, and I
have decided that for me to be an effective and meaningful teacher I must
be driven by a desire to help students tap their unrecognized potential by
assisting them to find the hidden elements of their character. By
character I mean responsibility, honesty, integrity, humility, “hard
work”, pursuit of excellence, pride, a willingness to help others. I
cannot be the teacher I want to be unless I struggle to be a truly
reasonable, open, caring, concerned, involved and imaginative human being.

In short, being a teacher means not just asking students to ask the
questions raised at Hyde School, but helping them to struggle to find the
answers for themselves and to use those answers to develop their
potential. And if all that demands that a teacher be a counselor or a
confessor or a social worker in addition to being a professor, so be it.
But, that is what makes teaching a calling rather than just a profession
or a job.

Make it a good day.


Louis Schmier  (912-333-5947)          lschmier@grits.valdosta.peachnet.edu
Department of History                      /~\    /\ /\
Valdosta State University          /^\    /   \  /  /~ \     /~\__/\
Valdosta, Georgia 31698           /   \__/     \/  /     /\ /~      \
                            /\/\-/ /^\___\______\_______/__/_______/^\
                          -_~     /  "If you want to climb mountains, \ /^\
                             _ _ /      don't practice on mole hills" -\____

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