The Mane Issue Volume 9, Issue 3
Lionâ€™s Pride Spotlight Living in Saudi Arabia Pt. II Religious Tolerance Billboard Charts Student Art Contest
Friday, April 1 Spring Break/No Classes County High School Math Tour. 1:00pm WSCC Softball at Bevill State Saturday, April 2 3:00pm WSCC Baseball vs. Bevill State Monday, April 4 11:00am Food for Thought Meal- Campus Ministries Tuesday, April 5 WSCC Baseball vs. Cleveland State WSCC Softball at Snead State Wednesday, April 6 Cullman County Science Fair 11:00am Student Directed Theater Scenes Thursday, April 7 Cullman County Science Fair 2:00pm WSCC Softball at Gadsden State Friday, April 8 Cullman County Water Festival GED Testing 1:00pm WSCC Baseball at Calhoun CC Saturday, April 9 12:00pm WSCC Baseball at Calhoun CC 1:00pm WSCC Softball vs. Calhoun CC Monday, April 11 Art Exhibition 6:00pm Wallace State Awards Night
Tuesday, April 12 Art Exhibition Summer 2011 Lion's Pride Orientation 11:00am Literary Arts Read-in 2:00pm WSCC Baseball at Cleveland State 4:00pm WSCC Softball at Northwest Shoals CC
4:00pm WSCC Softball vs. Gadsden State 6:00pm Alabama Crimson Caravan
Wednesday, April 13 Art Exhibition Summer 2011 Lion's Pride Orientation
Thursday, April 21 4:00pm WSCC Softball vs. Bevill State
Wednesday, April 20 8:00am Test Preparation for Ornamental and Turf Pest Control State Permit for Professional Services
Friday, April 22 Blount County Water Festival GED Testing 4:00pm WSCC Baseball at Northwest Shoals 4:00pm WSCC Softball vs. Columbia State
Thursday, April 14 Art Exhibition Last Day to Withdraw Regular and Miniterm II 4:00pm WSCC Softball at Chattanooga State 5:00pm WSCC Baseball vs. Gadsden State
Saturday, April 23 3:00pm WSCC Baseball at Northwest Shoals
Friday, April 15 Art Exhibition Nursing Alumni Connection 7:00pm Jazz Band Dance
Monday, April 25 4:00pm WSCC Softball vs. Northwest Shoals Tuesday, April 26 Day of Champions
Saturday, April 16 Art Exhibition 8:00am Walk for Autism 11:00am Art Exhibition Awards Ceremony 2:00pm WSCC Softball vs. Calhoun CC 3:00pm WSCC Baseball vs. Gadsden State
Thursday, April 28 10:00am Wallace State Graduation Practice 12:30pm Student Recital 5:00pm WSCC Baseball vs. Jeff State
Sunday, April 17 WSCC Softball vs. Snead State CC Monday, April 18 11:00am Food for Thought Meal- Campus Ministries Tuesday, April 19 1:00pm WSCC Baseball at Motlow State
Defying the Odds By: Mike Johnston Wallace State head women’s basketball coach Larry Slater has already had a successful year. He guided the Lady Lions to a 21-7 regular season record and capped it all off by winning a state championship and a bid to the NJCAA Division I National Tournament. Following tournament elimination at nationals, Coach Slater went to a convenience store and purchased several scratch-off tickets. One fateful ticket gave Coach Slater a final victory to end the year--a $10,000 scratch off lottery win! “I didn’t lose my breath,” Coach Slater recounts. “The odds were just unreal.” The typical odds for winning the average $2 scratch off lottery ticket is 1-in-5 and that’s just to win back the $2 invested. The average odds for winning a $10,000 top prize are an astronomical 1in-900,000. Yet Coach Slater sees his team’s success this past season as something far more memorable: “The experience of winning the conference and going to the national tournament, you know truly the $10,000 couldn’t buy those memories.”
Friday, April 29 FFA Competition 2:00pm WSCC Softball vs. Alabama Southern Saturday, April 30 3:00pm WSCC Baseball vs. Jeff State 7:00pm Dallas Brass
The Mane Issue Staff Members Evan Hicks Anna Parrish Zack Gordon Kayla Beckham Mike Johnston Alyssa White Kiah Crider Participation Join the staff of The Mane Issue! If you have any interest in creative writing, graphic design, advertising, or journalism then we need you for the new semester! Staff meetings are currently held at 3 p.m. on Wednesdays in the Graphics Lab Room 219 of the Burrow Center. You may volunteer or register for the class. The course is available in both a one credit hour class and a two credit hour format. The course numbers are 07402 MCM Student Publications (1hr) and 07401 MCM Student Publications (2hrs). No experience is necessary, everyone is welcome. It is sponsored by the Wallace State Communications and Marketing Department and the Wallace State Art Department. If you are interested, please contact: Kristen Holmes Ph: 256-352-8118, Burrow Center Museum, email@example.com; Russell Moore, Ph: 256-352-8443, Burrow Center, Room 210, firstname.lastname@example.org; or Adrian Scott, Ph: 256-352-8145, email@example.com, Burrow Center, Room 219.
Mission It is the mission of The Mane Issue to inform the Wallace State student body of campus news and events.
Submissions or Suggestions If you have a story idea or would like to make a submission to The Mane Issue, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. All submissions must include the author’s name and contact information.
The Mane Issue
Crimson Caravan at WSCC
By: Mike Johnston
The University of Alabamaâ€™s Crimson Caravan will be coming to Wallace State April 19tH at the Tom Drake Coliseum. The Crimson Caravan is a two-hour event which begins with a dinner starting at 6:00 p.m. followed by various UA speakers including Alabama head football coach Nick Saban. Seating is limited and tickets can be purchased by visiting the University of Alabama online ticket office. Tickets are $40 and there is a six ticket limit per order. The Crimson Caravan will travel to several additional locations in the coming weeks including Montgomery, Huntsville, Birmingham, and Mobile. You can find dates and times for upcoming Crimson Caravans posted on al.com.
Religious Tolerance with Lecia Brooks By: Anna Parrish To kick off Arts in April, Lecia Brooks, a diversity speaker from the Southern Poverty Law Center, joined Wallace State on Tuesday, April 5th to speak on religious diversity. She acknowledged that, although there are many different religions, most go by the same simple rules. Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and even Native American Spirituality all believe in the “Golden Rule,” or to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Each Holy Book is worded differently but most have similar principles. She stated that everyone should have religious tolerance and decide which God, ritual, code of ethics and philosophy of life they want to follow. She talked about Article 18 from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.” In the picture to the left there are 14 symbols that belong to some of the world’s most practiced religions. Can you identify all 14?
Smith, Medley dominant on mound as Wallace State baseball takes weekend series from Bevill State-Fayette By: Russell Moore Wallace State pitchers combined on two gems recently, propelling the Lions to wins of 3-1 and 4-0 in a doubleheader sweep over Bevill State-Fayette at James C. Bailey Stadium. In the nightcap, freshman Jake Smith (2-1) delivered the most dominant outing for the Lions and secured the team’s second conference series win in as many weeks. Smith pitched five one-hit innings against the Bears, struck out 10 and walked five before giving way to Cullman’s Drew Bryson for the final two frames in a seven-inning affair. Despite earning a no-decision, East Limestone’s Cade Medley was as equally dominant in Saturday’s opener, pitching seven solid innings and allowing one run on five hits, while striking out eight. Cullman’s Chase Mathis picked up his first win after pitch-
ing two scoreless innings in relief. In the opener, Wallace State (19-16, 8-7 Alabama Community College Conference) rallied for three runs in the eighth inning. Jud Sherill and Chazz Otwell had consecutive RBI singles in the frame and two batters later Ricky Ray Clayton supplied an RBI single in his first at-bat of the season. Sherrill finished with a pair of hits including his clutch run-scoring single, Braten Dill was 2-for-5 with a stolen base, Mathis had a hit and scored a run and Conner McCain finished 1-for-3 with a run and four stolen bases. Cole Russ finished 2-for-4 for Bevill State (11-26, 2-13). In the second game, Wallace State handed Smith a two-run lead in the first inning. Sherrill drove in the first run with a sacrifice fly and Mathis added an RBI single.
Jake Smith runs to second in a game earlier this season.
The Lions added single runs in the fifth and sixth innings. Mathis finished 3-for-3 with an RBI for Wallace State, Dill was 1for-3 with two runs scored, Clayton added a single and a run scored and Jesse Carroll and Tyrone Smith each contributed RBIs.
After four steals in the opener, McCain collected his team-leading 20th stolen base in the second game. For Bevill State, Chris Hannig and Jordan Simmons each accounted for the two lone hits.
Lion’s Pride Meet Wes Rakestraw
By: Kiah Crider
Kiah: Tell me a little bit about your upbringing? Mr. Rakestraw: I was born in Cullman and went to Holly Pond High School. My parents were great. They nurtured me, encouraged me to go to school, encouraged my education, and encouraged me to go to church. So, they were probably typical for most Cullman County people. Kiah: How did you meet your wife? Mr. Rakestraw: My wife and I actially went to the same high school. She was a year younger. So, I knew her pretty much all my life. We started dating the year I was a senior; she was a junior. We both attended Auburn; so, we continued dating there, and essentially I’ve known her almost all my life. We were high school sweethearts. Kiah: If you could interview three people at any point from history, who would that be and why? Mr. Rakestraw: One would be Ronald Reagan. I wish I would have gotten to vote for him. I would interview him, because he, to me, was a great president, and a great statesmen. I was very interested in politics at a young age, and so he was president while I was in high school, and I just followed his presidency and thought he was really our last true statesmen. I would just love to get to know him a little better. The second person would probably be George Washington. It’s the same kind of story, great president and great leader for the country. I would just love to hear what he thinks about what is going on today. The third one would be Martin Luther. He had such a major impact on Christianity and the world, and I just would love to get to talk to him. Kiah: What is your favorite aspect of teaching at Wallace State? Mr. Rakestraw: That is easy to answer, and it’s the interaction I get with students. If I were at a university I think I wouldn’t know most of my students, and they would be more of a number, unfortunately, but at Wallace there is lots of personal interaction. I feel like I have a chance to really get to have a positive influence in somebody’s life. Kiah: Explain the most hilarious moment as an instructor. Mr. Rakestraw: Probably the funniest event that’s happened in one of my classes is also one of the more stressful ones. It’s actually happened on two different occasions. I have had a student go into labor during a test, and, of course, that creates quite a commotion and a lot of intense moments. Fortunately we’ve got nursing departments, and our department head is a dentist. So, we kind of know how to handle things immediately. Kiah: Who is your favorite actor or actress and why? Mr. Rakestraw: My favorite is probably, well it’s hard to pick one, but I love John Wayne. I thought he was kind of that classic American hero. So, he’d probably be my favorite. A close second, kind of a different category, would be Clint Eastwood. He is just kind of, again, a hero, but maybe not as clean cut.
Kiah: Where would you most like to visit before you die? Mr. Rakestraw: I think I’d most like to visit Australia. I think it would be beautiful. Being a biologist, there a lot of interesting critters that live there, and so I think that’d be kind of fun and fascinating. Kiah: What is your most embarrassing moment? Mr. Rakestraw: The most embarrassing moment would have been in high school in a basketball game. The other team was shooting free throws, and I was so intent on getting the rebound, that I did, and then in my excitement, went straight back up and scored for the other team. Kiah: What is your ambition in life? Mr. Rakestraw: I would say, I guess if you call it ambition, it would be to successfully finish raising my family and see them grow to be successful in whatever they want to do, to hopefully one day be a good grandfather, and to leave the world around me a little better than I found it. Kiah: What advice would you give to college students since you were once one yourself? Mr. Rakestraw: One thing I would tell college students is to take it seriously. It’s fine to have fun, but there needs to be adequate devotion to your studies and to your work, and take advantage of all that’s there in front of you. I would love to go back and retake some of my courses, knowing what I know now. I could get so much more out of them. So, I would encourage people to get all they can out of every course they take.
Kiah: Where did your ancestors originate from? Mr. Rakestraw: Probably like most people, from several places, but for the most part, Rakestraws are Scotts-Irish, and the other part of our ancestry is primarily from Germany.
SGA Agenda Wallace State’s SGA will be engaging in various activities the remainder of the spring semester. Here are a few things to stay up to date on as a student: 1. Relay for Life purple bows are for sale. If you are interested in purchasing one, contact Jan Garner. She is located in the General Studies building. 2. There is a campus wide spring cookout April 28, 2011, featuring a Wallace State Field Day. The cookout begins at 10 AM and ends at 1 PM. Hamburgers and hotdogs will be served. Inflatable activities will be onsite for students.
Bailee Robinson named All-American By: Russell Moore Bailee Robinson has capped off her Wallace State Community College basketball career with national recognition. After leading Wallace State’s women’s basketball team in a plethora of categories and guiding the team to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I national tournament, Robinson was named this week as a NJCAA Honorable Mention All-American selection. The 5-foot-6 guard from Elkmont was first on the team this season in points per game (14.0), assists (76), steals (68), 3-pointers made (68), 3point percentage (68-for-163; 42 percent) and free-throw percentage (80-for-98; 82 percent). Robinson and the Lady Lions finished 21-9, captured the program’s sixth Alabama Community College Conference (ACCC) Region 22 championship by winning four games in four days and advanced to NJCAA Division I national tournament, marking the program’s first national tournament appearance since 2003. “Bailee is certainly deserving of the honor after the great year she had. Time after time she stepped up and carried us. She’s always been a great leader on and off the court and in the classroom too,” said Wallace State coach Larry Slater. “Bailee is a super, super person, and I’m real excited for her. She has a great opportunity to continue her basketball career and education at UAHuntsville.”
During the late-season surge, Robinson collected ACCC Tournament MVP honors after overcoming a mild concussion and averaging 15 points in a four-game span. She was also chosen as an ACCC All-Region 1st team member based on regular-season play. As a freshman, Robinson finished with team highs in scoring (9.1 ppg) and assists (5.3) en route to being named a second-team All-Region performer. Robinson, who will graduate Wallace State in May with a 4.0 grade point average, has signed to play for the UAHuntsville Lady Chargers next season. Robinson becomes the first Wallace State women’s basketball player to garner an All-American nod since Jessica Young was an honorablemention selection after the 2008-09 campaign. Robinson’s All-American selection represents the fourth different Wallace State program to produce an All-American in the last two years. Wallace State’s women’s basketball became the college’s fourth different program to win a state championship and make a national tournament appearance during the last two academic years. Spring baseball, softball and golf are now in progress. Check out the Wallace State athletics schedules at www.wallacestate.edu.
New Album Review, “Scurrilous” by Protest the Hero
For fans of: Between the Buried and Me, Dream Theatre, Sikth Vagrant Records Vocals: Rody Walker Guitar: Luke Hoskin Guitar: Tim Millar Bass: Arif Mirabdolbaghi Drums: Moe Carlson Protest the Hero’s past albums “Kezia” and “Fortress” are nothing short of masterpieces when you consider the group’s young age, and the maturity and technicality they display. PTH obviously grew between their debut and sophomore albums, only getting more technical and more controlled. Lyrics got better and the band cleaned up their sound. As great as the first two were, you almost have to greet PTH’s newest, “Scur-
rilous” with a bit of skepticism. One has to wonder if the group could has improved. But they have. From beginning to end, the album is fast paced, but manages to stay smooth and together. It punishes the senses with seemingly impossible guitar riffs, syncopated drum and bass lines, and Rody Walker’s occasional (and surpisingly violent) falcetto vocals. Stylistically “Scurrilous” is vey remniscent of “Fortress”. Lyrically it is more real life based than its predecessor, which may take some fans a while to get use to. Collectively Protest the Hero’s newest leaves you wanting more, and like the first two albums, is nothing short of a masterpiece.
Current Billboard Charts Hot 100 (Top 10) 1. E.T.-Katy Perry 2. S&M- Rihanna 3. Just Can’t Get Enough- The Black Eyed Peas 4. Forget You- Cee Lo Green 5. Born This Way- Lady Gaga 6. Look at Me Now- Chris Brown 7. Down On Me- Jeremih 8. On the Floor- Jennifer Lopez 9. Perfect- Pink 10. Rolling in the DeepAdele
Billboard 200 (Top 10) 1. Femme Fatale- Britney Spears 2. Rolling Papers- Whis Khalifa 3. 21- Adele 4. F.A.M.E.- Chris Brown 5. Songs For Japan- Various Artists 6. The King of Limbs- Ra-
diohead 7. I Remember Me- Jennifer Hudson 8. Doggumentary- Snoop Dogg 9. Hello Fear- Kirk Franklin 10. Something Big- Mary Mary
Rock 25 (Top 10) 1. Rope- Foo Fghters 2. The Cave- Mumford and Sons 3. Help Is on the WayRise Against 4. Shake Me DownCage the Elephant 5. Country Song- Seether 6. Tighten Up- The Black Keys 7. Waiting For the EndLinkin Park 8. Diamond Eyes (Boom Lay Boom Lay Boom)Shinedown 9. Howlin’ For You- The Black Keys 10. Little Lion Man- Mumford and Sons
The Mane Issue Art Competition In recognition of Wallace State’s “Arts in April” celebration, The Mane Issue will host an art competition. The competition will be divided into two categories, images and text. The image category includes photography, painting, drawing, computer generated art, and any other form of art that produces a visible “image.” The text category will include poetry, essays, short stories--any form of written work. The winner of the image category will have their piece featured on the cover page of the May edition of The Mane Issue. The winning text piece will appear in The Mane Issue on its Arts page. Both winning works will also be reviewed by The Mane Issue’s Evan Hicks. Second and third place contestants in both categories will have their names and the title of their piece printed in the edition. Directions for entering and rules for entries are as follows:
April’s Top Movies 1. Hop 2. Source Code 3. Insidious 4. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules 5. Limitless
6. The Lincoln Lawyer 7. Sucker Punch 8. Rango 9. Paul 10. Battle: Los Angeles
Thoughts From A Teenage Expatriate, Part II In the March Edition of the Mane Issue, I presented the first half of “Thoughts from a Teenage Expatriate,” a piece about my life growing up in Saudi Arabia. What I realized was vitally needed in the second half was to explain why anyone should care about my life in Saudi Arabia. The things I wrote about might be entertaining in and of themselves, but how did they pertain to the readers--the students and faculty of Wallace State? This is why: the reality of life in Aramco is the American dream realized, and it is vitally important to learn from this example if one wants to implement the best parts of it into their own lives. Aramco isn’t perfect, but it’s darn close, and in a time where pessimism, apathy, and doomsaying is commonplace, it’s important to seize what is good and use it to better the world. Every student at Wallace is working towards a degree in a field of study, and I would wager that most of them are doing so not solely for the sake of knowledge, but primarily to better themselves financially. Most of all, the members of the Wallace State community want what all Americans desire: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. By learning from Aramco and combining that knowledge with strengths already present at home, you the reader, can better understand how to manage your life, your opinions, and hopefully, your actions and votes as an active citizen. Let us begin by examining Aramco from the edge and then work our way in. The company’s compounds are walled, gated communities protected by security forces (essentially police). Why is this helpful? Firstly, it sets the minds of the residents of the compound at ease and brings them a feeling of security. In the end, isn’t that what everyone wants when it comes to their safety--peace of mind? Secondly, by checking IDs at the gate and patrolling the community, not for speeding, but for actual crimes and disturbances, the security force minimizes criminal presence and activity. Crime is significantly lower in gated communities in America despite the fact that the homes within typically belong to higher income individuals and are, therefore, richer prizes for burglars. Like Batman always says, “Criminals are a superstitious and cowardly lot.” Mr. Wayne is right. You don’t need omnipresent government cameras surveillance or shotguns in every home to stop crime, all you need is a vigilant security force and an effective wall. This could be implemented into the average American’s life, by increasing gated communities and private security, which would help deter crime and protect families. If the government stepped in to build such communities, pay the security forces, and subsidize the homes for individuals and families who need them, jobs would be produced and crime diminished. Lastly, people in Aramco did not keep firearms in their homes. A gun or two for hunting is perfectly acceptable as long as they’re kept out of the home. On the other hand, guns in the home, loaded or unloaded, are more of a threat to the residents than any other gun in the world. Alabama is a state vehemently in favor of gun rights, yet that fact doesn’t seem to have affected Alabama’s crime rate. In 2008, there were 211,075 crimes reported in Alabama including 353 murders, 190,343 property crimes and 1,617 rapes. When ordinary civilians are given weapons, people from all walks of life have access to them. Ask yourself this: who would want a gun? Four types of people want them: hunters, idiots with a gunslinger complex, people who need them for work, and people who want them for personal protection. The only people who need a gun for work are police officers, soldiers, and criminals. By restricting access to guns from civilians, you limit the criminals who can gain possession of firearms, consequently ordinary people don’t need those same firearms for protection.
Police officers would have fewer hazards on the job and fewer idiots would have guns to play with. Essentially, guns propagate the problems they reportedly solve, by removing them from the equation, the problem of crime becomes much simpler and less dangerous to solve. Take a lesson from Aramco, no one but security forces carried weapons, consequently there were zero fatalities resulting from firearms. Guns aren’t toys and they aren’t safe, even in the hands of a professional. Guns are inherently dangerous and best left out of the hands of civilians. If your home is broken into or you are attacked, do not flatter yourself that you will suddenly transform into Rambo or Dirty Harry. People who do that join the Special Forces and SWAT teams; they don’t fantasize about it. Buy a taser or mace for personal protection and take personal defense classes, those are all non lethal options and physical activity is good for you. Best of all, no one’s child has lost a limb from their parent keeping a karate chop in the house. Moving in from the edge of Aramco, let’s examine its infrastructure. The houses are all well constructed and maintained, the roads are paved and painted, parks and flowers abound (thanks to God’s own sprinkler system), and there are community centers aplenty. These things cost a great deal of money to build and maintain, so why does Aramco do it? Simply because those things make life easier, more convenient, and keep their employees happy. It is not the government’s responsibility to give its citizens every material thing they crave but the amenities the government does provide are made possible through taxes, those things everyone hates paying. In an era when every last Podunk town has a Wal-Mart, Bank of America, and five choices of fast food, why not have big businesses pay for the things that make their employees lives easier? Instead of creating charity drives for good publicity, it would be more effective and profitable for a company to establish a reputation for delivering a great product and taking superb care of its employees. Aramco delivers the world’s best crude oil and gasoline, furthermore it delivers more than anyone else. Even better, it doesn’t cut corners to maximize profits so that its executives can make a billion dollar bonus. Retirement, health plans, excellent salaries, and homes are standard fare. Why? When you provide people with the tools to live a happy life, they are likely to do just that, and consequently, to do better work. In addition, when you pay people more money, they have the opportunity to spend more money, which increases your profits (those things cutting corners produced with none of the additional benefits) and those of other businesses. The secret to recovering from a recession isn’t a convoluted government plan, or Americans hoarding their remaining cash in fear. You generate a strong economy through spending. By giving employees money to spend, taking care of them and their material needs, and delivering a great product, Aramco has solidified its position as the most powerful and profitable corporation in the world. This a great lesson for any entrepreneurs out there, finances are a lot like karma, you do good things with your money and good things come back to you. Now, it’s time to focus in on the employees of Aramco. Many of them are Saudi, many are American, and many are from across the globe. While the Saudi’s children go to a separate school, the rest of the children go to the same school, and their parents work together. This is helpful for two reasons. The first is that diversity breeds excellence. A tool shed stocked only with hammers, even if they’re the best hammers ever crafted, is a one trick sawhorse. A tool shed stocked with a variety of tools can handle almost any job. The second reason is that diversity kills prejudice and helps foster cooperation. I’ve visited many churches in Alabama while attending Wallace State. What I’ve seen are houses of God filled with wonderful, kind people, all of whom are scared of anything they’re
By: Evan T. Hicks
not used to and many of whom are racist in action if not in principle. Having grown up in a school where the boy next to me was Bangladeshi, the girl across from me Australian, and one of my best friends was Malaysian, I find it deeply hypocritical when people claim that they aren’t racist, but their church either has a token black family surrounded by two hundred white people or vice versa. You learn new, unexpected things when you interact with unusual people and best of all, you conquer your fears of the unknown, becoming braver, wiser, and with broader horizons. There were two church services held in Dhahran, one for Catholics and one for Protestants. People of all races and denominations got along and sat next to each other in those services and the next day in school, no one’s child insulted someone else’s child because they belonged to a different religion, denomination, or race. The highest, purest principles in the world are of no consequence if you do not act on them. In my experience, people do not act on their principles not out of spite or sinfulness, but out of convenience. Doing good often means going out your comfort zone and staying out of it, and from my experience, many churches find it easier to rest on their laurels. The day is rapidly approaching where the world will act as one community, connected by miraculous technology and the desire to pursue prosperity. I have visited most of Europe, most of the United States, much of Asia, most of the Middle East, and even the Vatican City. I have met people utterly concerned with their religion, with profit, with progress, and others who simply want to live a happy life. With all this experience, I can honestly say that I have never met another place as universally friendly, helpful, polite, and cordial as Alabama. The pride of the old South is still a strong presence in the cultural landscape. It makes young men open the doors for young ladies and their elders. It makes people go to church two or three times a week and care about the politics of their community and their country. Most of all, it gives the citizens of Alabama integrity. Unfortunately, the old Southern attitude is also what holds back Alabama. Life doesn’t begin and end with the Southern way of life. Alabama is in the Bible Belt, and still full of its traditional zeal, but outsiders don’t necessarily admire the area’s faith, instead they often see it as fanatical at the cost of rationality. Religion is more than an excuse to hear music you like, to get so excited you feel the need to scream and jump around, and it isn’t just a contest to see which group can convert the most people. Religion isn’t contrary to science, because if religion is concerned with divine thought and the divine created the universe, than science and religion are inherently harmonious. What religion is, is the attempt to bridge the gap between man and the divine. If Alabamians learn to temper religious enthusiasm with self control and tolerance, others will take notice. It is easy to be a fanatic and difficult to be a true believer. Similarly, the classic divide of races is still present in Alabama, but even more sharply apparent is the divide between classes. I’ve seen black and white friends in Alabama, but rarely do I see high income families spending time with a low income ones. The plantation owner and the share cropper’s conflict has not ended, but it can any day. Alabama has great potential, just like the students here. Both must devote themselves to self improvement, to embracing the familiar traditional along with the exciting and mysterious modern if they are to find the place in the world they desire. I have every confidence that if the work is put in, hard and often thankless though it be, then Alabama and each and every Wallace State student can make their dreams a reality and live a life less ordinary.