Sunday, December 7, 2014

Best Wedding Chapel Ever at Garvan Gardens

Plano has been a wonderful community for child rearing.  When my daughter married recently, she had girls she had known since elementary and middle school as bridesmaids.  It was wonderful to see both my daughter and friends she had know for so long at the marriage ceremony.

I share with you the wonderful location my daughter and son-in-law picked for their wedding: the chapel at Garvan Woodland Gardens, in Hot Springs, Arkansas.  You might question the sanity of driving out of town for a wedding, but look at the wedding chapel and photos of the wedding.  The wedding and reception were absolutely wonderful.

The chapel: 

The photos, L+D = Married (you do not need a Facebook account to view them):

The following people helped make the wedding and reception a memorable occasion.  I recommend them.

Event Design/Coordinator: Signature Events of Hot Springs Arkansas
Our  wedding planner, Randi Slick, was fantastic.  We could not have done this without her.

Hair&Makeup: Jennifer Horton A More Beautiful You
Reception: Embassy Suites, Hot Springs AR
Photographer: Benjamin Martin Photography
Second Shooter: Hollie Henderson
Videographer: Capture the Moment Images
Floral: Flowers and Home of Hot Springs
DJ: DJ Hollywood of Little Rock, AR

Cupcakes: Fat Bottomed Girl's Cupcakes
You can buy a cupcake from their store when you visit Hot Springs!

Using cupcakes instead of regular wedding cakes for the reception was inspired.  The cupcakes did not look like regular cupcakes.  They were beautiful and delicious.

It is hard to see your daughter leave.  A beautiful wedding and reception is the perfect way to see your child off to a new life.

Your neighbor,
Robert Canright

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Awesome Football Music--Mars

There is a great tune I hear occasionally at football games.  I just found out it is "Mars, Bringer of War" by Gustav Holst. It is the beginning of his composition The Planets.

Here is a You Tube video of a high school band playing the piece:
The title of the video is, "2001 IUP Marching Band - Mars"



Here is the FSU Marching Chiefs Halftime - Mars : The Bringer of War

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Vocabulary in the Plano ISD

Years ago, when my daughter was in Jasper High School, I made an appointment to see one of her English tests.  Looking at one question, I said to myself, "she could only have gotten this question wrong if she did not know the meaning of 'terse'."  I asked her and she confirmed that she did not know the meaning of the word.  "OMG!" I said to myself.  Then her teacher said, "But you can guess the meaning of the word!"

The teacher then said the word tersely, sort of spitting out the word.  I could see that instead of teaching vocabulary, the ISD administration decided to teach guessing strategies.  What a disaster for my daughter's education.  Thank goodness we have a new administration now at Plano ISD.

I was lucky when I was a kid. One year in elementary school we focused on vocabulary.  We read many stories with words we did not know - big words - and we had to look them up in dictionaries.  I learned most of my adult vocabulary while in elementary school.  The administration at my school had a plan to educate me, not a plan to let me guess my way through literature.

"Forewarned is forearmed" is a great adage.  For my son, when he was in middle-school, I purchased Picture These SAT Words by Philip Geer and Susan Geer.  It is age-appropriate for young people and prepared my son for high school.

I believe the Plano ISD is rebuilding its curriculum and improving the education our children receive.  In the mean time, you might consider watching over your children's vocabulary training.

Forewarned is forearmed!


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Cheating is a Problem

America suffers from a problem inflicting massive financial hardship upon us all.  This expensive problem is the widespread presence of cheating within our society.

Cheating is a problem in Plano as well as across America.  The Wall Street Journal in its February 5, 2014 edition, had three articles about cheating.  "Recruiting Fraud Cost Military Millions" by Dion Nissenbaum, on p. A6, describes 1,200 members of the U.S. Army committing fraud to obtain recruiting bonuses they did not earn.  A major general and 29 colonels were involved is this penny-ante series of swindles.  When thousands of people are each stealing thousands of dollars, this adds up to millions of dollars. In the same edition, also on page A6, was "Navy Probes Allegation of Instructors' Cheating" by Julian E. Barnes.  Here, instructors at a nuclear-reactor training center in South Carolina passed students who actually failed training.  After this discovery 30 enlisted sailors have been decertified and removed from their work with nuclear reactors.  Earlier, in "Air Force Uncovers Cheating Among Nuclear-Missile Crews" by Julian E. Barnes (January 2014) we learned that officers in charge of nuclear tipped missiles were caught cheating on their proficiency exams.  The only thing worse than incompetent sailors tending nuclear reactors is incompetent airmen overseeing nuclear weapons.

In the civilian world, this same February 5 issue of the Wall Street Journal had "Due Diligence and the Martoma Conundrum" by Jonathon Lenzner, which described the misadventures of Mathew Martoma.  Mr. Martoma was accepted into the Stanford Business school and later hired by SAC Capital Advisors.  Mr. Martoma is on trial in federal court for insider trading.  Mr. Martoma has a history of lying and cheating, so insider trading should be no surprise.  Before he changed his name to Mathew Martoma he was known as Ajai Mathew Thomas.  He changed his name after he was caught forging his academic records from Harvard, and submitting the false grades to a federal judge for a clerkship.  The Harvard Law School discovered he was falsifying his grades from Harvard and expelled him.  Stanford and SAC Capital did not discover young Mr. Martoma had lied to them.

Cheating on Wall Street is no surprise.  Cheaters working with nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons is frightening.  But cheating is wide-spread in our high schools and is also present in our colleges.  We should not be surprised to learn that high school cheaters take cheating into every aspect of their lives.  Cheaters eventually end up in the U.S. Congress and the White House.  The wide-spread presence of cheaters is why we had an economic melt-down in 2008, the Great Recession.

Do you know of any community or state within America that has a reputation for integrity?  It is safe to say that Chicago is a city with a reputation for corruption, but what city has a reputation for honesty?  The city of Plano has had two of its mayors go to prison, so we cannot assume that we set the standard for integrity. But we can strive to become a city manifesting exemplary integrity.

We can begin to manifest integrity by weeding-out cheaters, by speaking against cheating, and promoting honesty and integrity.  Vigorous cheating begins in high school and it is present in Plano, like in many communities.  We parents in Plano can take a stand against cheating in our schools. Our community can have a reputation for integrity


Saturday, February 1, 2014

The PSAT Test

Dear Friends and Neighbors,
It is February already!  If your child is in 10th or 11th grade, he should have received his PSAT scores in January.  I forget who told me the scores were available; I do not think it was an email from the school.  But when I was told about the scores I asked my son who said, "Oh yeah," and then gave me a stack of papers.  If you have a child in 10th or 11th grade in the Plano ISD, you should ask your child for the PSAT results if you do not have them already.

What you have available for your review is far more than the scores.  You have you child's test books for both the PSAT/NMSQT and the ACT PLAN test (10th grade only), along with the details of your child's answers and the correct answers when your child got questions wrong.  You can review with your child the questions he or she got wrong, compare to the correct answers, and teach how to arrive at the correct answer.

Adolescents in the 15 to 16 year range are still children.  I do not think you can count on them to do this test analysis on their own, and if they did they might not understand how to achieve the correct response on the problems they got wrong.

The PSAT and PLAN tests are great opportunities to help your child.  You now have 8 months for corrective action before the PSAT arrives in October of the junior year of high school.  Students probably start taking the SAT in the Spring of their junior year to have scores ready for college applications in the Fall of their Senior year.  The time span between the sophomore and junior PSAT tests is when you have time to make big improvements.  This is your chance to help your child.

If you have friends or family with children in 10th grade, you might forward this message to them.