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   The  Echo  

THE ECHO Elective  Classes:  A  Look  Into  a   Few  Optional  Classes  at  BGA  

           2013-­‐‑14   Issue  5    

BGA  News  

As   we   near   the   start   of   course   registration   time,  the  Newspaper  Staff  that  it  would  be  helpful   to   interview   teachers/talk   about   some   of   the   elective  courses  available.  

  Page  2:  Elective  Classes:  AP   Government   Page  3:  Eamon  Smith:  Going  to   Nationals   Page  4:  The  Library  Has  Gone   Digital   Page  5:  BGA’s  Inclusion  Committee    

Jacklyn   Abernathy   continues   our   coverage   of   elective   classes   offered   with   her   article   on   AP   Government  taught  by  Dr.  Fulwider.  

Special  Interests  

    Dr.   Fulwider’s   AP   Government   comprises   of  two  different  semester  classes,  which  are  usually   combined  but  may  be  taken  separately.  In  the  first   semester,   students   take   AP   U.S.   Government   and   Politics.   Modeled   after   a   standard   introductory   college   government   course,   the   class   covers   six   overarching   topics   defined   by   the   College   Board:   constitutional   underpinnings   of   United   States   government;   political   beliefs   and   behaviors;   political   parties,   interest   groups,   and   mass   media;   institutions  of   national   government;   public   policy;   and   civil   rights   and   civil   liberties.   The   class   looks   deeply  into  these  six  parts  of  government  and  how   they   affect   the   political   culture   in   our   country.   As   students   learn   about   the   institutions,   groups,  

Page  6:  Review  of  the  Oscars   Page  7:  Advice  from  a  Graduating   Senior   Page  8:  I  Will  Never,  Ever  Visit  Sea   World   Page  9:  History  of  St.  Patrick’s  Day    

The  Echo  Staff  

Editor-­‐‑In-­‐‑Chief:  Erinie  Yousief   BGA  Happenings  Editor:  Jonathan  Reiss   Special  Interests  Editor:  Annie  Kennedy   Sports  Editor:  Nora  Scott  

 

Associate  Sports  Editor:  Ivy  Shelton     Photography  Editor:  Jacklyn  Abernathy   Writers  &  Photographers:  Hersheyth  Aggarwal,  Laura  Anglin,  Chad  Bramlett,  Sarah   Butler,  Danielle  Caron,  Audrey  Collins,  Stokes  Dunavan,  Miller  Fahey,  Andrew  Graveno,   Emily  Hopkins,  Bethany  Kirkpatrick,  Brenna  Kirkpatrick,  Neel  Kurupassery,  Madeline   MacArthur,  Chloe  Masten,  Michaela  Murphy,    Grace  Whitten,  Steve  Xu  and  Reagan  Yancey    

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 The  Echo  

Elective  Classes   beliefs,   and   ideals   of   U.S.   government   and   culture,   more   about   what   causes   the   successes   and   failures   of   the   government   today   are   revealed.  As  most  students  in  the  class  are  able   to   vote   soon   after   finishing   the   class,   the   knowledge   gained   can   help   students   make   informed   decisions   while   voting   and   help   promote  informed  decision-­‐‑making.     In  the  second  semester,  students  take  AP   Comparative   Government   and   Politics.   This   class   compares   six   different   countries—the   United   Kingdom,   Russia,  Mexico,  Nigeria,  Iran   and   China.   It   covers   similar   topics   as   the   U.S.   Government   and   Politics   class   within   each   country,   but   surveys   rather   than   details   each   country’s  history  and  current  political  state  and   focuses   on   comparing   the   countries.   The   six   topics   for   this   AP   exam   are:   introduction   to   comparative   politics;   sovereignty,   authority,   and   power;   political   institutions;   citizens,   society,   and   the   state;   political   and   economic   change;   and   public   policy.   Since   six   countries   are  covered,  each  country  cannot  be  covered  in   extreme   depth,   but   students   learn   to   analyze   the   similarities   and   differences   between   the   countries  in  these  six  categories.  This  class  also   benefits   the   students   as   responsible   citizens,   as   most   have   little   prior   knowledge   about   the   specific  history  of  countries  like  Nigeria  or  Iran,   and   information   learned   in   the   class   can   help   explain   the   United   States’  current  relationships   with  these  countries.  

                 2013-­‐‑14      

Issue  5  

as   it   covers   two   full   semesters   of   college   material  in  one  school  year  and  still  leaves  time   for  AP  review  at  the  end  of  the  year.  Although   both   textbooks   used   in   the   classes   are   recent   editions,   Dr.   Fulwider   supplements   the   textbooks   with   current   news   stories   and   election   information,   which   adds   a   different,   more   exploratory   element   to   the   class.   For   example,  studying  U.S.  government  during  the   government   shutdown   and   Russian   government  during  the  ongoing  Crimean  crisis   has   further   illuminated   the   underlying   problems   which   caused   the   issues   and   has   led   to   greater   understanding   both   of   the   course   materials   and   the   issues   themselves.   Students   who   enjoy   reading   the   news   and   staying   updated  on  national  and  world  issues  will  find   the   class   interesting,   but   little   prior   knowledge   of   government   is   required   for   success.   Scoring   well  on  both  AP  exams  can  lead  to  a  full  year  of   college   credit,   but   regardless   of   AP   scores,   the   course   as   a   whole   leads   to   a   greater   understanding   of   both   United   States   government   and   what   we   as   Americans   can   learn  from  other  types  of  government.  

The   course   generally   has   a   small   class   size,   so   Dr.   Fulwider   often   uses   debates   and   discussions   to   promote   greater   understanding   of   the   material.   The   class   moves   very   quickly,    

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   The  Echo  

           2013-­‐‑14   Issue  5    

Going  to  Nationals:  An  Interview  with  Eamon  Smith   By  Bethany  Kirkpatrick         While   most   high   school   students   were   spending   their   Saturday   morning   sleeping   in,   Eamon  Smith  was  up  at  8  AM,  talking.  Though   that   seems   kind   of   ordinary,   it   was   in   fact   anything  but  because   that  would  end   up  being   the   day   he   qualified   for   Nationals.   (Spoiler   alert).     A   senior   member   of   the   speech   and   debate   team   who’s   in   his   fourth   year   of   participation,   Eamon   competes   primarily   in   an   event   called   Original   Oratory,   which   involves   writing  a  persuasive  speech  about  an  important   topic   and   then   performing   that   speech   at   competitions   throughout   the   school   year.   On   March   1st,   after   two   days   of   grueling   competition   and   a   lot   of   public   speaking,   Eamon   ended   up   beating   some   of   the   best   oratories   in   the   state   to   take   first   place   and   qualify   to   the   national   tournament   in   June.   To   get   some   context,   this   would   be   like   being   named  to  the  all-­‐‑nation   basketball   team,   which   would   be   pretty   cool.   Eamon   was   recently   interviewed   to   talk   about   his   trip   to   Nationals   and  what  he  plans  on  doing  from  there.     First   of   all,   what   did   you   do   to   get   ready   for   the   national   qualifying   tournament?   As   hard   as   it   was   sometimes,   practicing   was   really   important.   It   took   a   lot   of   work   because   keeping   the   speech   updated   was   a   challenge.   Every   week   you   have   to   look   things   up,   get   new   sources   and   stories,   add,   take   out.   But   overall,   keeping   up   with   it   the   entire   year,   I   think,  led  me  to  this  point.    

 

What  actually  are  you  sharing  in  your  speech?   Yeah,   I’m   talking   about   tradition—why   it’s   good,   why   it’s   bad,   basically   how   you   need   to   take  everything  with  a  grain  of  salt.     How  did  the  rest  of  the  year  go  for  you?   It’s  going  pretty  well,  actually.  Oratory  and  duo   with   my   partner   this   year   have   been   an   incredible   success,   but   first   place   at   National   Qualifiers   for   the   National   Speech   and   Debate   League   (which   was   formerly   known   as   the   National   Forensics   League)   was   my   first   time   winning   oratory   this   year.   I   won   first   place   again   to   qualify   to   state   the   next   weekend   and   I’m  not  planning  on  stopping  there.     How  confident  did  you  feel  on  those  last  days   of  competition?   I   felt   relatively   confident   that   I   could   get   to   finals,   especially   after   I   went   through   four   rounds   of   competition   getting   first,   second,   or   third,   but   I   wasn’t   at   all   expecting   to   take   first   place,   more   like   fourth   or   fifth.   It   was   really   remarkable.     What  are  you  doing  to  prepare  for  Nationals?   I’m   going   to   be   here   over   the   summer   practicing   with   Mrs.   Ward   and   working   with   past  oratory   victors  like   Alex   Svenpladsen.   I’m   lucky  to  have  a  wealth  of  resources  going  in.     And  what  are  your  expectations  there?   Every   time   I   hear   people   talk   about   oratory   at   nationals,   especially   from   Tennessee,   I   hear   about  how  difficult  and  insane  it  was  and  how   crazy   it   was.   I’m   not   going   to   nationals   with  

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 The  Echo  

                 2013-­‐‑14      

Going  to  Nationals  continued   that  attitude.  I  want  to  win  and  I’m  going  to   do  it.  It’s  going  to  be  hard  and  some  people   may   be   better   than   me   right   now   but   I’m   going  to  work  and  I’m  going  to  come  up  on   top.     From  Mrs.  Ward:   Eamon  has  really  come  a  long  way  in  his   time  on  the  team.  He  is  a  naturally  gifted   speaker  who  exudes  warmth  and  empathy   when  speaking.  The  best  way  I  can  think  to   describe  the  effect  he  has  on  an  audience  is   that  his  speech  feels  like  a  warm  hug,  and   yet,  in  the  same  speech,  he  is  also  able  to   take  people  to  task  for  clinging  to  a  past  that   was  never  as  perfect  as  they  remember.  His   oratory  this  year  has  evolved  over  time  and   he  revised  it  to  include  an  amazing  story   about  his  grandmother.  Over  the  years  I'ʹve   watched  a  great  many  final  rounds  from   Nationals  and  his  speech  is  definitely  finals   worthy!  I'ʹm  so  proud  of  him  and  excited  for   him  that  he  has  this  chance  to  compete  at   Nationals.     Nationals  will  be  held  in  Overland  Park,   Kansas,  this  summer  from  June  15th  –  20th.  

Issue  5  

The  Library  Has  Gone  Digital   By:  Mrs.  Barclay   Some  of  you  may  have  heard  during  your   English  class  library  research  days  that  we  now   have  pleasure  reading  (fiction)  eBooks  and   audiobooks  available.  If  I  failed  to  mention  it  to   your  class,  forgive  me.  (Consider  this  your   official  announcement…)   With  our  campus  going  all  iPad  next  year,  I   thought  it  was  time  we  upgraded  our  fiction   section  to  be  more  digital  as  well.     The  Upper  School  Library  has  signed  with  a   program  called  OverDrive.  I  can  order  eBooks   and  audio  books  that  you  can  download  to   your  iOS,  Andriod,  or  Amazon  Kindle  device.   You  can  browse  the  BGA  collection  of  eBooks   and  Audio  Books  available  through  OverDrive   from  Destiny  as  well  as  the  OverDrive   application  you  download.   You  need  to  be  connected  to  the  Internet  to  be   able  to  download  the  book.  Once  you’ve   downloaded  it,  you  have  the  option  of  adding  it   to  your  iPad  (I’m  sure  it  works  the  same  for   Android  –  I  just  don’t  know  100%)  so  you  can   read  it  anytime  with  or  without  the  Internet.   Consectetuer:   I  have  already  read  two  books  in  a  series   through  OverDrive  and  am  anxious  for  the   third  book  to  be  published.   I  will  gladly  take  any  recommendations  you   have  for  books  you  would  like  to  have  in  the   library,  as  well  as  what  you  think  of  the   program.    

 

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           2013-­‐‑14   Issue  5    

   The  Echo  

A  Quick  Look  at  the  Inclusion  Committee   By  Jonathan  Reiss       Despite  outreach  efforts,  many  view  the  newly-­‐‑ formed   committee   on   inclusion   with   caution   and  a  raised  eyebrow.     Of   course,   “diversity”   is   arguably   one   of   the   biggest   buzzwords   of   the   21st   century.   The   sensitivity   surrounding   the   issue   often   turns   the   simple   one-­‐‑sentence   definition   into   an   essay   in   order  to  fully  explain  its  meaning,  relevance,  and   importance.     Our   school   is   no   exception;   O.J   Fleming,   the   Diversity   Coordinator   at   the   Middle   School,   makes   a   point   to   fully   elaborate   the   word’s   implications  on  the  school  website:   “Diversity   can   be   defined   in   many   ways.   At   BGA,   we   define   it   as   a   commitment   to   recognizing,   respecting   and   celebrating   perspectives  that  differentiate  us  as  individuals,   as  well  as  characteristics  which  make  us  similar.   Diversity  is  the  sense  that  no  matter  where  you   come   from,   who   you   are,   or   what   your   background  is,  there  is  a  place  for  you.  BGA  is  a   community   which   strives   to   make   a   commitment  to  diversity  -­‐‑-­‐‑   we  are  a  community   striving   to   be   an   inclusive,   welcoming   environment   where   differences   in   all   its   forms   are   affirmed,   appreciated   and   celebrated.   We   acknowledge   that   these   differences   go   beyond   race,   ethnicity,   and   gender.   These   differences   endow   the   school,   and   its   community,   with   a   multitude   of   perspectives   from   different   races,   ethnicities,  genders,  cultures,  social  classes,  and   lifestyles.   All   perspectives   are   equally   important   and   differences   are   not   only  

 

welcomed,  but  also  actively  sought.  How  do  we   do   this?   While   at   first   this   may   seem   like   a   difficult   task,   we   continue   to   raise   our   awareness   of   social   issues   and   educate   ourselves   about   the   topic   through   dialogue,   curriculum,   and   special   programs   to   promote   understanding   of   the   issues   surrounding   diversity.   One   of   the   primary   initiatives   identified   by   the   community   was   the   development   of   Battle   Ground   Academy'ʹs   commitment  statement  on  diversity”   As   with   anything,   diversity   and   its   subsequent   campaigns   are   shrouded   in   misconceptions;   notions   such   as   diversity   relating   only   to   racial   issues   make   paragraphs   like   Mr.   Fleming’s   necessary.   The   Inclusion   Committee’s   goal   is   to   overcome   these   misunderstandings.   To   the   Committee,   diversity   is   the   coming   together   of   various   mindsets,   beliefs,   and   ideas   in   order   to   create   a   “dream  team”  of  brains.  Of  course,  it’s  undeniable   that  different  mindsets  often  coincide  in  race  and   religion;   but   skin   color   does   not   guarantee   a   different   mindset,   religion,   fiscal   background,   or   any  other  factors  in  a  multitude  of  variables.   In  a  campaign  for  diversity,  there  must  be  a  sense   of  trepidation  in  any  action.   As  the  age-­‐‑old  Southern  saying  goes,  you  can  lead   a  horse  to  water,  but  you  can’t  make  it  drink.  The   idea  of  bringing  a  horse  to  water  parallels  the  very   concept   of   bringing   together   a   very   different   group   of   people…but   bringing   people   together   5  


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 The  Echo  

 Inclusion  Committee  continued   physically   does   not   guarantee   the   exchange   of   ideas.   Discourse   is   the   key   to   success.   To   create   the   best   environment   for   learning,   the   BGA   community   must   therefore   continue   to   make   conscious  efforts  to  increase  dialogue.   While   the   Inclusion   Committee   continues   to  find   ways   to   increase   such   discussions,   it   is   worth   noting  that  dialogue  does  not  equal  the  awkward,   cringe-­‐‑worthy  Michael  Scott-­‐‑esque  diversity  rant.   You  do  not  have  to  be  a  member  of  a  committee  to   make  a  difference,  but  why  not  join?     Find  any  of  the  members  or  contact  the  two   sponsors!     Leah  Handelsman  leah.handelsman@mybga.org   Ben  Fulwider  ben.fulwider@mybga.org        

2013-­‐‑2014  

Issue  4  

Review  of  the  Oscars   By  Emily  Hopkins   The  2014  Oscars  was  another  fantastic  show   with  Ellen  DeGeneres  as  the  host.    Although   the   Oscars   is   a   red   carpet,   black   tie   event,   the   show   seemed   slightly   more   casual   and   entertaining   this   year.   About   halfway   through  the  show,  Ellen  DeGeneres  brought   out   pizza   for   some   of   Hollywood’s   biggest   names,  with  Brad  Pitt  following  behind  with   the  paper  plates.       Even   though   some   of   my   favorites   did   not   win,  overall  it  was  probably  the  best  awards   show  I  have  seen  in  a  while.    Not  only  were   the   awards   given   to   some   of   the   most   deserving   acts   in   the   business,   but   a   few   were  new  faces.   Gravity   swept   most   of   the   technological   categories,   which   was   much   deserved.     Matthew   McConaughey   and   Cate   Blanchett   won  in  best  Actor   and  Actress  in  a   Leading   Role  for  Dallas  Buyers  Club  and  Blue  Jasmine.     In  a  fairly  rare  instance,  the  winner  for  “Best   Picture”   was   not   guaranteed   and   easy   to   predict.     Although   12   Years   A   Slave   had   a   much   deserved   win,   most   of   the   other   nominees  were  pretty  close  behind.       Not   only   did   many   winners   make   history,   but   in   an   attempt   to   connect   the   Oscars   to   social  media,   Ellen  DeGeneres  took   a   photo   with  Meryl  Streep,  Bradley  Cooper,  Jennifer   Lawrence,  and  many  other  stars,  and  posted   it   on   Twitter.     In   a   short   time,   the   photo   became   the   most   retweeted   photo   ever,   topping   off   the   already   historical   Oscars   show.    

 


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   The  Echo  

Advice  from  a  Graduating  Senior   By  Erinie  Yousief    

           2013-­‐‑14   Issue  5    

losing  one  hour  of  sleep  every  day  for  one  week  

(as   many   do)   means   losing   a   total   of   seven   Outside   of   the   usual   “don’t   do   drugs”   and   hours   of   sleep   by   Saturday—an   entire   day’s   “study  for  exams”  some  words  of  advice  that  I   wish   to   pass   on   to   the   underclassmen   include   worth  of  brain  power.  Losing  one  hour  of  sleep   every  day  for  four  years  means  losing  208  days   the  following:     (over   six   months)   of   brain   power   needed   to   1. Pursue   Your   Interests.   Few   students   retain   information,   to   concentrate,   and   to   know   what  careers   they  want  by  the  time   they   analyze.   In   order   to   maximize   your   academic   leave  high  school.  In  fact,  a  study  conducted  in   performance,   go   to   bed.   If   you   cannot,   try   the   fall   of   last   year   by   The   New   York   Times   avoiding   screens,   staying   hydrated,   washing   predicts   that   nearly   50%   of   up-­‐‑coming   college   your   face   with   warm   water,   keeping   a   students   will   change   their   majors   twice   before   consistent  sleep  schedule,  and  doing  some  light   graduating.   To   avoid   the   tremendous   loss   of   reading  and  stretches  before  bed.  Though  those   time   and   money   put   into   “finding   yourself”   habits  do  not  guarantee  a  longer  rest  they  often   during   college,   I   suggest   you   pursue   your   lead  to  a  deeper  one.     interests—however   small—now.   Register   for     classes   that   appeal   to   you,   even   if   they   have   3. Keep   Up   with   the   World   Around   You.   little  effect  on  raising  your  GPA;  take  up  sports,   By  the  end  of  my  sophomore  year,  I  hardly  ever   clubs,  or  volunteer  opportunities  that  excite  you   spent  time  outside  and  I  no  longer  watched  the   and   drop   those   that   do   not.   Cultivate   your   news—I   used   those   hours   to   study.   Like   many   personality   and   pinpoint   your   true   interests   as   of   peers,   I   allowed   school-­‐‑work   to   override   early  as  possible  and  the  difficulty  of  the  college   every   other   aspect   of   my   life   and   I   learned   to   search  will  be  cut  in  half.  Do  not  suppress  your   dread   thoughts   of   responsibility.   Subsequent   personality   in   order   to   squeeze   in   as   many   AP   feelings   of   exhaustion   and   apathy   began   to   classes   and   clubs   as   possible   on   your   résumé;   affect   my   disposition   and—ironically—my   pursue   your   interests   and   the   quality   of   your   grades.   To   avoid   the   fate   that   befalls   many   of   academic  life  will  follow.     2.

the   upperclassmen,   I   suggest   keeping   in   touch  

Prioritize   Your   Sleep   over   Your   GPA.   with   the   world   that   exists   outside   of   your   After  nearly  four  years  of  late  nights  filled  with   school-­‐‑work.   Read   about   current   events;   go   on   coffee   and   existential   crises,   I   can   say,   with   walks;   enjoy   the   earth.   Remember   that   billions   certainty,   that   sleep   plays   a   more   vital   role   in   of  other  people  breathe  and  struggle  as  you  do   your   education   than   your   GPA.   For   example,   and   that   all   the   problems   you   face   have  

 

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Advice  continued   solutions.   Do   not   allow   yourself   to   become   so   consumed   with   your   work   that   you   forget   the   world.       The   rest   of   your   life—including   your   high   education,   your   work,   and   your   personality— first   come   into   place   now.   The   choices   you   make   in   these   four   years   will   affect   every   part   of   your   identity,   so   make   them   with   sincerity   and  passion.    Do  not  allow  yourself  to  succumb   to  the  role  of  the  worker;  you  are  a  thinker  and   an   adventurer.   Explore   yourself   and   the   world   with  all  the  opportunities  presented  to  you.      

Thoughts  on  Life  After  Watching  a   Documentary   I  Will  Never,  Ever  Visit  Sea  World   By  Madeline  MacArthur  

 

Last  week,  I  watched  the  documentary  Blackfish   because  of  its  awesome  reviews.  I  did  not  know   what   the   film   was   about   besides   it   being   a   documentary   on   killer   whales   (which   was   obvious  because  of  the  cover  photo).  However,   I   soon   learned   the   film’s   purpose:   to   spread   awareness   about   the   dangers   of   keeping   orcas   in  captivity.   The   film   shows   raw   footage   of   killer   whales   injuring   their   trainers   while   following   the  captivity  of  Tilikum,  from  a  calf  to  an  adult   orca,  because  of  his  involvement  in  the  death  of   three   trainers.   I   literally   stared   at   the   TV   open   mouthed,  making  noises  of  shock  at  what  I  was   seeing…it  is  one  thing  to  read  about  an  incident   involving   an   orca—and   another   to   see   the   incident  unfold  before  one’s  eyes.   Outside   of   the   footage,   the   film   also   features   interviews   with   a   number   of   trainers  

                 2013-­‐‑14     Issue  5   who   worked   with   Tilikum.    These   trainers   clearly  love  their  jobs,  but  repeatedly  state  that   they  did  not  realize  the  horrors  that  came  with   the   animals   until   recently.   Many   of   them   were   kept   in   the   dark   about   past   incidents   with   Tilikum.   In   fact,   it   was   not   until   the   death   of   Dawn   Brancheau,   Tilikum’s   personal   trainer,   that   they   began   to   question   if   what   they   were   doing   was   right.  Many  of   them   concluded  that   by   keeping   killer   whales   in   a   36ft   by   180ft   by   90ft  tank,  by  making  them  perform  against  their   will   to   make   money,   and   by   shortening   their   life  spans  by  forty  or  so  years,  no  real  help  was   being   offered   to   the   animals.   In   the   wild,   for   example,   these   creatures   swim   an   average   of   100   miles   a   day   and   live   to   30   to   50   years,   whereas,   in   captivity,   they   only  live   to   9   years.   These  are  only  a  few  of  the  statistics  that  reveal   what  happens  to  orcas  in  captivity.     I   was   truly   shocked   by   what   I   learned.   This   film   definitely   deserves   its   BAFTA   nomination   for   the   Best   Documentary   of   2014.   My   only   question:   what   effect   does   captivity   have  on  other  animals?       References:   http://www.seaworldofhurt.com/features/8-­‐‑ reasons-­‐‑orcas-­‐‑dont-­‐‑belong-­‐‑seaworld/  

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The  History  of  St.  Patrick’s  Day   By  Annie  Kennedy       Among   many   Irish   cultures,   particularly   in   the   homeland   and   in   Irish-­‐‑American   communities,   the   legend   of   St.   Patrick   serves   as   a   prominent   aspect   to   the   Irish   faith   and   ancient   legends.   The   popularized   ideas   of   St.   Patrick   stand   strong   today.   Many   believe   St.   Patrick   was   the   first  to  bring  Christianity  to  Ireland  and  was  the   figure  responsible  for  banishing  all  snakes  from   the  island.  However,  both  aspects  of  the  legend   have  been  discovered  to  be  untrue.     St.   Patrick,   often  considered  an   Irish   saint,  was   actually  born  in  Britain  to  a  wealthy  family  near   the   end   of   the   fourth   century.   He   lived   there   until   his   teenage   years.   At   the   age   of   16,   St.   Patrick   was   kidnapped   by   Irish   raiders   and   taken  to  Ireland  where  he  lived  for  six  years  as   a  shepherd  in  captivity.  It  is  said  that  St.  Patrick   began  to  hear  a  voice,  God’s  voice,  and  received   dreams   to   convert   the   Irish,   who   were   originally  Pagan,  to  Christianity.  Of  course,  this   would  not  be  the  first  time  a  Saint  figure  is  said   to  have  received  dreams  and  heard  voices  from   the  divine.  In  France,  Joan  of  Arc,  leader  of  the   French   army   in   the   1400’s,   also   is   said   to   have   received   messages   from   God,   leading   her   to   knighthood.   Whether   these   aspects   of   holy   legends  are  true   or  not,  one  thing  is  for  certain   —   influential   “saviors”   always   seem   to   receive   guidance  from  above.       Contrary   to   popular   belief,   St.   Patrick   did   not   introduce   Christianity   to   Ireland,   nor   did   he   forcefully   convert   the   Irish   people.   There   were   small   groups   of   Christians   among   the   island  

 

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that,  after  15  years  of  religious  study,  St.  Patrick   connected   with   in   order   to   help   them   spread   Christianity.       The   majority   of   the   Irish   people   were   earth-­‐‑ based   pagans   and,   with   this   knowledge,   St.   Patrick  peacefully  converted  and  even  included   aspects   of   Irish   paganism,   such   as   bonfire   celebrations   and   a   sun   into   the   cross,   into   his   Christian   practice   to   help   the   people   comfortably  convert.       Although   the   banishing   of   the   snakes   did   not   occur   and   the   idea   was   spread   through   oral   interpretation,   the   symbolism   behind   the   story   stands   strong.   In   Christianity,   snakes   normally   stand   for   evil   or   temptation   and   the   act   of   banishing   the   animals   aligns   with   St.   Patrick   converting   the   majority   of   Ireland   to   Christianity.   However,   some   modern   pagans   argue   the   banishing   of   snakes   symbolizes   the   “forceful”   banishing   of   paganism   from   the   island   as   the   snake,   in   paganism,   symbolizes   wisdom   and   is   a   powerful   image.   This   argument   is   generally   discredited   by   not   only   historical   fact,   but  also  other  New  Age  Pagans,   as  the  proof  of  peaceful  conversion  is  evident.     St.   Patrick   may   not   have   been   the   snake   banishing   hero   who   introduced   Christianity   to   Ireland,   but   he   certainly   was   a   peaceful   figure   who   respectfully   included   pagan   ideals   in   his   practice   to   create   a   comfortable   and   natural   environment   for   the   majority   of   the   Irish   people.        

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The Echo: 2013-2014, Volume 5