Monthly Archives: February 2014

Latin: The Undead Language

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The Latin language is far from dead. It’s not even a zombie. It survives in English, Romance languages like French and Spanish, and in its purist form in the halls and classrooms of Westminster.

At Westminster we have a unique opportunity not only to carry on the tradition of studying and preserving the Latin language, but also to bring new life to the language. For many years Westminster has competed in the Alabama Junior Classical League (AJCL) Latin Convention and has traditionally done very well in the competitive tests.

Even so, in past years the Westminster team has been informal and comprised of students chosen only days before the competition. We needed structure and practice. Mrs. Beck, the new middle school Latin teacher, has brought both.

The Westminster Junior Classical League is a formal club with officers and regularly scheduled meetings. Meetings are held on the first Monday of every month and are led by the four club officers. Each position is in charge of specific aspects of the club’s government and operation. Heath Padgett as the Historian is head of the Res Gestae committee. The Res Gestae (“Things Done”), for all intents and purposes, is a scrapbook tracking all of the events, meetings, and activities of the club to be presented at the Latin Convention (LatCon) to be judged for artistic merit. The Communications Coordinator, John Lusk, is over the club’s advertising and t-shirt design. For LatCon every school creates its own school t-shirt based on the theme of that year’s LatCon (2014 theme: “Ab Urbe Condita”, “From the Founding of the City”) and presents them to be judged at the convention. The Vice President Rebecca Thompson has perhaps the most important job of all four officials. It is her job to plan the events and parties for the club. I hold the final position as president. Despite the important sounding title, my job is only as a mediator between the sponsors (Mrs. Beck and Mr. Knowles) and the officers. I also lead the meetings.

The club is only in its first year, and there are always bugs to work out, but the Westminster Junior Classical League has serious potential. With a little luck and some hard work, that potential can be actualized, establishing a tradition of excellence in the study of Latin for generations to come.

We All Scream for Physics?

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By Daniel Richardson, Class of 2015

​At approximately 6:10 AM on December 5, 2013, the majority of our junior class, bleary eyed and shivering from the cold spring air, loaded in our vehicles and departed for the annual field trip to Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida. After a ten-hour drive filled with movies, Mad Libs, and sleeping, we finally arrived. Busch Gardens is home to some of the most impressive roller coasters in America. This field trip promised to be one of the most exciting we’d ever taken. But why, you might ask, were we taking a field trip to a theme park in the first place?

In physics we had been studying Newton’s laws of motion and how they might play out in a roller coaster. We were actually able to design our own as a second quarter class project. That project culminated with this trip as we went on a behind-the-scenes tour of the inner working of these massive coasters.

Not only was this trip informative, it was also an experience that strengthened our bond as a class. It will be a while before I forget the bird that landed on Bobby’s head or sprinting throughout the park trying to catch a train with Ethan.

​As someone who is not exactly a roller coaster fanatic, I had a surprisingly good time. Going into the trip, I promised myself that I would at least try two of the seven coasters on site, but with a little peer pressure and Mr. Carrell’s firm assurance that I would survive, I soon found myself riding one after another until I had ridden every last one.

The Busch Gardens trip makes our school unique. I mean, how many people can say that they took a field trip to ride roller coasters at Busch Gardens? Or even better, that they actually learned something along the way?

Twas the Night ‘fore the Iron Bowl

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By Katie Brooks Boone, Class of 2014

   Twas the night ‘fore the Iron Bowl and all through Jordan Hare,

Not a player was stirring, there was only a prayer.

The helmets were hung on the lockers with care,

In hope that bragging rights soon would be theirs.

The players were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of victories danced in their heads.

Saban in his Houndstooth, Gus in his vest

Had just settled down for a long pregame rest.

Then out on the field but a second remained

The crowd’s high emotions could not be contained.

On the edge of their seats, they sat still as stone,

While all eyes were fixed on the southern inzone.

More rapid than eagles Chris Davis he flew.

They whistled and shouted “GO ORANGE AND BLUE!”

Now 5 yards now 10 yards now 20 and more.

On the 40, the 30, the 20 to score!

From the end of the redzone to the top of the stands,

“WEAGLE! WAR EAGLE!” yelled all Auburn fans.

Back up to T-Town the Crimson Tide flew

With a bus full of boys and Lord Nicholas too.

And now for forever they’ll think on this day–

The kick that was missed, the miracle play.

Gus waved to his fans, to his team gave a nod,

And down the fans came to the field to applaud.

And they heard him exclaim ere he vanished from sight

“War Eagle to all, and to all a good night.”

Sympathy with the Devil: Andrew Jackson and the Indian Removal Act of 1831

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By Maddie Hoaglund, Class of 2017

Andrew Jackson stated, “The lower country is of too great importance to the Union for its safety to be jeopardized.”Andrew Jackson stated this in relation to the Indian Removal Act. He thought America desperately needed peace with the Native Americans or the Union would not be able to function. Solving the conflict proved to be incredibly difficult for the growing country. With no clear option in sight, the country desperately needed a leader in the conflict. Therefore, Andrew Jackson became the forerunner in the various conflicts with the Native Americans. Although Jackson’s Indian Removal Acts were not justified, he perceived that they would benefit the country by allowing the country to expand, protecting both the Native Americans and settlers from further bloodshed, and preventing disagreements between both governments. In summary, Andrew Jackson firmly believed that his policies helped the country progress.

Andrew Jackson lived from 1767 to 1845. He was born in the South and served in the Revolutionary War as a young boy. Later he became a lawyer, politician, and general. Jackson fought in many wars and through his many successes became a war hero. Eventually, Jackson was elected president and during his presidency he signed the Indian Removal bill in 1831. This bill forced the Native Americans to migrate from their homeland to the less fertile lands in the west. Many Native Americans refer to the journey as the Trail of Tears because of the hundreds of people who died.  Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal bill forced the Native Americans to move westward.

Andrew Jackson perceived the benefits to America with the Indian Removal Act because America needed room to expand. He stated in a letter to Congress, “It will relieve the whole state of Mississippi and the western part of Alabama of Indian occupancy and enable those states to advance rapidly in population, wealth, and power.” Jackson saw the Native American removal as beneficial to the southern states. The property owned by various Native American tribes contained incredibly fertile farm lands: “The region was accessible because of its rivers and dark, clayey soils that were well suited to the plantation style cotton production.” The pre-Civil War southern states had a mostly agricultural economy and relied on cotton as their main crop. The states were always in need of more farm land to support their rich economy. Although the lands were near other southern states, they belonged to the Native Americans. With Jackson’s policy in place, the southern states were given more land to farm which strengthened their economy. Finally, the Native American territory included a vast expanse of land. Alabama alone spanned over 52,000 square miles. The Native American territory was a wild country in which people were unable to settle. The Americans could not live anywhere near the Native American lands for fear of being attacked which pushed them farther west. This was a hindrance to expansion because it interrupted the natural flow of settlers. The settlers were forced into the dangerous and less accessible western lands. Andrew Jackson believed all these advantages to the people of America and desired to make the best decision for the country.

Next, there was much wealth in the Native American territory: “They (the Cherokee) could not stop the settlers’ push for possession of the Cherokee territory, especially when gold was discovered on their lands in Georgia.” The United States government was almost always in debt and therefore, in need of any gold. When gold was found, the government turned a blind eye to the Cherokees. For the sake of the U. S. economy, the Cherokees were forced out of their homes. Although this is immoral, it was necessary to benefit America.

Furthermore, Andrew Jackson passed the Indian Removal Act to prevent future conflict between the Americans and Native Americans. Jackson stated, “It (The Indian Removal Bill) puts an end to all possible danger of collision.” Andrew Jackson was referring to the many wars and skirmishes between the settlers and the Native Americans. As the settlers moved farther and farther into Native American territory, these skirmishes became increasingly violent. For example, in 1813 part of the Creek tribe attacked Fort Mims: “Almost 250 whites were butchered in the quickest manner.”This instance was especially gory and showed that the conflict between the Native Americans and the settlers could no longer be ignored. The brutal event discouraged many American from settling in hostile territory. In retaliation, Andrew Jackson led his men to the warring village of Tallushatchee. Davy Crocket who was present at the battle reported, “We shot them like dogs.” Jackson massacred the Native American village with the same brutality as the Battle at Fort Mims. This demonstrates the desire for both people groups to destroy each other. Moreover, in 1817 Jackson forcibly took the Seminoles’ land and moved them westward. The Seminoles, refusing to obey the Indian Removal Acts, were attacked and conquered by Jackson. Eventually, Jackson had a decision to make. He believed that the only way to protect the Native Americans and settlers from conflict was to forcibly remove the Native Americans west. Therefore, they would come into less contact with one another. Jackson believed that moving the Native Americans west was the only way to avoid any more conflict.

Lastly, the Indian Removal Acts, in Jackson’s opinion, were for the good of the country to prevent government disputes. Since the Native Americans were not American citizens, they had their own government which led to confusion. In his message to congress, Jackson stated, “It (The Indian Removal Bill) will free them from the power of the states; enable them to pursue happiness in their own way.” Jackson believed that the state government was a hindrance to the Native American government because of the amount the states interfered with the Native Americans. Also, there were many instances when the governments clashed. For example, the Cherokee tribe appealed to the Supreme Court. The Cherokee appealed because they passed a law in their territory which forbids the selling of any Cherokee land. However, Georgia declared their law null and void in 1828. “John Marshall decided in Cherokee Nation v. Georgia that the Cherokee were not citizens of the United States and therefore had no right to appeal to the Supreme Court.” The Cherokee went to John Marshall who declared in 1832 that Georgia had no power in Cherokee lands. This is a prime example of the two governments disagreeing. No one knew how to handle the two governments in the same land. Neither government could properly function with the other in such close proximity. Therefore, Jackson thought was best to relocate the Native Americans. In short, Jackson believed that the Indian Removal Acts prevented further government disputes.

Even though Andrew Jackson claimed the Indian Removal Act was for the benefit of America, one might say he was acting out of his own prejudice. Prejudice is undermining or degrading another human being. For example, Jackson ordered his men to destroy an entire village in the Creek War; “He slew 186 braves and brought back to Jackson’s camp 84 women and children.” Savagely, Jackson ordered his men to annihilate the village and tear apart many families. Killing over 100 men without a thought, demonstrates how he had no regard for their lives. Clearly, Jackson demonstrated prejudice in destroying an entire generation of men. However, Jackson did not act of his prejudice because he truly believed strong retaliation was necessary to protect future American settlers. A few months before the battle, the Creeks had massacred Americans in the Battle of Fort Mims. The fighting became so gruesome that the Creek leader even attempted to stop it.The Native Americans fought just as brutally as Jackson. Therefore, Jackson did not purposefully destroy the village because of his prejudice, but because the country needed forceful retaliation to feel safe. The Battle of Fort Mims was terrifying to settlers, but Jackson retaliated harshly enough to protect future settlers. Both people groups should not have thrown life away. Although Jackson was not justified, he did not act out of prejudice.

Andrew Jackson stated, “The lower country is of too great importance to the Union for its safety to be jeopardized.” Jackson’s Indian Removal Act left an incredible impact on the country. Although the act was unimaginably difficult on the Native American, Jackson believed it was the only option. The settlers and Native Americans grew increasingly violent as the Americans pushed the boundaries of their territory. To save the lives of countless people, Jackson decided to pass the Indian Removal Act. Andrew Jackson was a firm leader who took action against for the benefit of America. In conclusion, Andrew Jackson passed the Indian Removal Bill to benefit the United States of America.

Bibliography

Flynt, Wayne. “Alabama” (July 9, 2008) Encyclopedia of Alabama. www.encyclopediaofalabama.org. (accessed November 17, 2013).

Jackson’s Message to Congress on Indian Removal. Andrew Jackson. PBS. http:pbs.org/kcet/ andrewjackson/edu/primaryresources.html. Accessed November 12, 2013.

Mitchell, Charles. “Agricultural in Alabama.” Encyclopedia of Alabama. Accessed November 17, 2013. www.encyclopediaofalabama.org.

McGill, Sara Ann. “Indian Removal and the Trail of Tears.” Indian Removal and the Trail of Tears.(September, 2009):1-2. History Reference Center, EBSCOHost  (accessed November 13, 2013).

Remini, Robert Vincent. The Life of Andrew Jackson. New York: Perennial, 2001.

The Commercialization of Christmas

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 By Heath Padgett, Class of 2016

If any kid in America is asked why he loves Christmas so much, what will his response be? Most likely he will respond that he loves Santa Clause, reindeer, gifts, food, traveling, and much more of this sort. However, what a child will probably fail to mention is that Christmas is one of the best holidays not because of those fun aspects of the season but something far greater. Instead of recalling that our Savior Jesus Christ came to this earth to save us, the child probably thinks more selfishly. Why is this? The answer is simple — commercialism at Christmas.

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While many parents think that spoiling their children for just one day is harmless, they are wrong. The devil does not come to people as a scary monster as many imagine. On the contrary, the devil often deceives Christians in a way that seems harmless and sweet. Remember, the devil tempted Jesus with simple bread. He does whatever it takes to turn Christiansaway from Christ whether it be with direct evil or causing people to store up treasures in the wrong places. Matthew 6:19-21 states, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” As a result, by teaching children to come up with Christmas lists filled with treasures they want and almost cannot be happy without, the parent is not being a generous, happy soul. Instead they are handing their poor children into the open hands of the devil and his simple trap.

Not to mention, most parents explicitly lie to their children about who gives these gifts which they so greedily receive. Santa Clause is not a jolly old man who delivers gifts to every good little girl and boy. Instead he is similar to a false god whom children love and adore. He is omniscient like God (for he knows whether children are good or bad) and he is omnipresent like God (for he delivers billions of gifts to children at the exact same time). His message: If my children work hard this year and act nearly perfect (nice list), then I will reward them greatly.

However, the true message of Christ, which is the purpose of celebrating Christmas, is as follows: My children are filled with sin. Works of My children do not grant them My gift. Instead, My gift comes freely to those who put faith in Me and seek Me.

After comparing the two separate messages, how could the commercialized Christmas not be a snare of the devil? Santa’s message is the complete opposite of Christ’s message.

Finally, since the wrong way to celebrate has been revealed, how should Christians truly celebrate Christmas. Of course people should read about the birth of Jesus together and explain its significance. Also a family could spend the day not indulging themselves, but instead reaching out to those in need. This Christmas and every one that follows, Christians should try to spend less on themselves (and their families) and use that same money to give to those who might not have much. However, if parents still want to give gifts to their children, then they might want to consider telling them the truth about Santa and his elves. Tell them that Christ came to earth to save them and that no gift they receive from anyone on this earth can equal His great gift which He sacrificed so much to give to us — salvation.

Mandela’s “Long Walk to Freedom”

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By DeAnna Lockett, Class of 2017

“Death is something inevitable. When [a man] has done what he considers to be his duty to his people, he can rest in peace. I believe I have made that effort and that is, therefore, why I sleep for eternity.” –Nelson Mandela.

On December 5, 2013 Nelson Mandela, Nobel Peace Prize winner, former President of South Africa, prisoner, freedom fighter for all men, and anti-apartheid hero, passed away. This legend was an extraordinary leader of his people who overcame the trials in his country and achieved his ultimate goal. He abolished racial segregation also known as apartheid in South Africa and wanted equality for all people, black and white.

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Through Mandela’s early education, he learned that at one time in history white and black men lived in peace in South Africa, but the whites, specifically the Dutch and British, later claimed the land for themselves. During the ceremony of circumcision, the main speaker Chief Meligqui expressed his sorrow for the young men including Mandela. He was saddened by the fact that these men were “prisoners” in their own land and would never have the freedom to govern themselves, but would always be fulfilling the work of the white man. At the time Mandela did not quite understand the words of the chief. However, later on in his life he admitted that these words helped him in his work towards making South Africa an independent nation.

During Mandela’s young adult years in 1939, he enrolled in University College of Fort Hare, an equivalent to Harvard University. Being the first in his family to have any formal education, he was elected to the Student Representative Council. Mandela resigned from his position because of the lack of power that the council had. Viewing this as a disrespectful act, Dr. Kerr of the university expelled Mandela and would only allow him to return if he rejoined the SRC, but Mandela still refused to return. To avoid an arranged marriage, He ran away from home to Johannesburg and began to study law at the University of Witwatersrand. There, he joined the African National Congress (ANC), a united group of young Africans, in 1942 who began a violent approach against racial segregation such as boycotts and strikes. He later founded the law firm Ma

ndela and Tambo with his friend from Fort Hare Oliver Tambo.

Eventually, Mandela was incarcerated for 27 years in 1963 for leading an armed strike against apartheid with the ANC. Soon, the South African Government planned for his escape; but the British outsmarted them. He and other ANC members were then emblem of resistance for the blacks of South Africa, and they too stood up against the British and began an international campaign for his release that gained an enormous amount of support, showing how much the world respected Mandela for his strength and courage: “As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatic46664 Concert: In Celebration Of Nelson Mandela's Life - Performanceally liberates others.” Mandela lived out these words by realizing that God destined him for greatness and he could not simply watch him and his people be enslaved in their own country. Therefore, by fighting for his own freedom he inspired his people to do the same.

Finally, on February 11, 1990, Mandela was released from prison: “As I walked out toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.” On the day of his release, he realized that if he let his heart harden against the British, they would still be controlling his thoughts and actions. They wanted him to retaliate so that they could have another reason to imprison him. However, he left prison a changed man and responded to them in love and forgiveness. Although Mandela had already shaken the nation with his bold movements, he still worked with the ANC towards giving his people the right to vote. In 1993 Mandela was declared a Nobel Peace Prize winner forhis efforts in abolishing apartheid. Mandela was inaugurated as South Africa’s first black president on May 10, 1994.