Thursday, July 31, 2008

iTunes U.

Ever wonder what it would be like to sit in a college class? iTunes U gives you that opportunity to learn and see what college would be like - from your own computer:

Learn More About iTunes U

iTunes U is a part of the iTunes Store featuring free lectures, language lessons, audiobooks, and more, that you can enjoy on your iPod, iPhone, Mac or PC. Explore over 50,000 educational audio and video files from top universities, museums and public media organizations from around the world. With iTunes U, there's no end to what or where you can learn.
What a great resource!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Student Loan Crisis?

This is a little scary in the news:

Is Your Student Loan Safe?
Students Scramble to Secure New Loans as Dozens of Lenders Drop Out
Texas A&M University financial aid director Delisa Falks said that in the last few days, the university has heard from seven different lenders saying they could no longer provide federally guaranteed loans.

It's a problem that has been ongoing nationwide for months, leaving many students with fewer options for financing their college educations.
The economy has not been good lately. We have been in the middle of a mortgage (house payments) and bank crisis. So that has an impact on student loans.
Student loan companies traditionally raise capital by selling bonds, but as a fallout from the subprime housing meltdown continues to shake the country's financial sector, investors have become wary about putting their money into student loans.
I don't even understand all the fancy economic lingo, but what matters to you is that at this time there is less money available for students. Hopefully the economy will get better in the next year and prospects will improve.

Friday, July 25, 2008

A Sad Day - Last Lecture Professor Dies at 47

'Last lecture' professor dies of cancer
Randy Pausch, famed for his life-affirming message, passes at 47

I knew this day was coming. I just didn't expect it so soon. Very sad. I am so glad that I read the book when I did and did not wait until hearing about Randy before after his passing. His book, "The Last Lecture," really touched me. He has a powerful message for everyone about living life to the fullest.

Please do yourself a favor and read the book, or watch Randy's Last Lecture video online: The Last Lecture

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Trip to the Beach

Mrs. Duez, Aidan and I have spent a few days this week at the beach. We went to Kemah and then Galveston. What a great time. Enjoy your summer, it's coming to and end in about a month!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Review of "The Last Lecture"

I finished The Last Lecture on Sunday evening. I cried a lot. It is a sad book. It especially hit home that Randy Pausch, the author who is terminally diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, is still alive and still thinking of the issues that he wrote about. The book is not yet the guide and legacy that he is leaving to his three kids.

On the day Randy does succumb to the disease, I imagine I'll be needing some tissues again. His story struck close to home for me because thoughts of my father kept coming to mind. The book raised some questions to me about if one had a choice, how would you check out of this world? It is a little bit of a philosophical debate that rolls around and I have been debating it with myself.
If you could be given a year to live and in that time have the opportunity to tell everyone goodbye would you take it? Or is it best to leave this earth suddenly, unexpected and not have your family and friends struggle with the knowledge of your imminent demise?
This is tough for me to even type. So I will keep it short. But, I am curious what you (my faithful blog readers) would choose. Or is this to hard a topic to even think of?

My father would have probably not written a book and given a "Last Lecture." But, he would have had a lot to say. When my grandmother died months before my father passed from a failed heart surgery, he took me into his office and sat me at the computer. He explained his plans for his finances if he should pass away. I was just looking at him like, c'mon Dad! I had no interest and didn't want to discuss it. He was not in failing health (from what we all knew). Plus, I didn't agree with what he was doing with his money (but that's a very long story).

My Dad drove me to the airport on the last day that I saw him alive. It was super early in the morning. But, yet we were both wide awake and having such a deep conversation about life. He didn't want me to leave and I really didn't want to go (although I was missing Norma and the baby very much). The last big hug that we shared is something I will always have from him. But, I never in my wildest imagination thought that was the last time we would hug.

Sometimes I feel cheated. But, mostly I feel like I have to appreciate what I had. To sit and complain or feel as if you were cheated doesn't do anyone any good.

"We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand."
--Randy Pausch

I am keeping Randy and his family in my thoughts and hoping that they have every opportunity to say a very long goodbye.

This is a must read book if you consider yourself a human being.

The TV Interview

My tv interview went very well. I was awfully nervous, but that faded away once I sat down and did the thing. Afterward the crew and producers were very nice and said I did a great job.

The crazy thing is that the person who was interviewing me had never heard of AVID before. She was on our school board for a few years, but had stepped down just as AVID was kicking up this year. I believe the night that we had kids present to the school board was the first night after she stepped down.

So considering that the interviewer was learning about AVID for the first time, it was great. After I got back to the car, the first thing I did was look back over my notes and my script. I was so worried that I might have forgotten to say something. But, I believe I mentioned everything.

We'll see. It will air during the month of August. I'll record it and post it here when it does. (as long as I don't look too stupid)

Monday, July 14, 2008

AVID Interview... and stage fright

I have a little case of stage fright tonight. Tomorrow morning at 10:15 I'll be on a set recording a cable access show for our school district. The topic is AVID tutoring. It will be a 7 minute segment.

I knew about this and was told it would be during July. Yesterday I sent an email and said, "Is this still happening?" Today I got a phone call and they said, "Oh yeah, it's tomorrow. Can you bring one of the tutors?" I have been calling all day and every one of my tutors is either out of town, working, or busy tomorrow. So it'll be me on my own.

Who knows why I am so nervous. It's kind of stupid. I am anxious because this can mean a lot, potentially. If we even get one tutor out of this, it will be worth it.

I've watched this program many times. It is on our local educational channel. The nice thing is that they highlight programs, teachers and kids who are doing great things. Just this month one of my former students Cortnee Howard was featured. I usually tune in while I'm ironing my clothes for the next day. To be able to appear on the show is really cool. To be able to appear on behalf of AVID in our school district... well that is awesome. AVID has really given me a lot and I'm so happy to explain that and to try and to encourage young people to become tutors in our program.

So tonight my stomach is a little queezy. I figured getting on here and typing a bit might make me feel better. We'll see how it goes!

I think I'm going to wear my AVID button down shirt with a tie. I tried it on tonight. Norma snapped my picture as she was taking some of our little guy.

This is cool...

Check this out!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

AVID 2008-2009

Looks like AVID will be during periods 6 and 7 this year. I will have AVID II (sophomores) during 6th and AVID I (freshman) during 7th period. This will be great to get as many awesome tutors as possible. It's a good time to get them - many have the end of the day free.

Monday, July 7, 2008

"The Last Lecture"

This is the most inspiring thing I have seen all summer. Great words of wisdom.

I am going to be picking up Randy's book this summer

Here is the full lecture - an hour and 1/2 long.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

What's Your Ringtone?

Mr. Duez just got a new cell phone this week and added his ringtones. As he did, he wondered, "What's your ringtone?"

His ringtones:
For Mrs. Duez only: Pearl Jam "Given to Fly." For other Family: Led Zeppelin "Oceans." For everyone else: The Who "Baba Riley Intro."
Leave a comment and let us know what you having ringing on your cell.