Writing Samples – News

Sample 1- TBD.com

School for Arts in Learning faces immediate closure

By Michelle Moodhe

A District charter school is asking for emergency funds to keep it from shutting down before the school year ends.

The School for Arts in Learning, located on K and 16th Streets NW, will shut down unless it can find between $75,000 and $100,000. The school, with a high number of special education students, joins three other schools that risked closure in 2010.

Up until a few weeks ago, it looked as if the school would be able to complete its last two weeks. The school recently had a deal in place with Friendship Public Charter Schools to ease their financial problems. SAIL faces a number of violations, including inadequate building structures, construction code violations and overcapacity. When Friendship examined the building, they realized that it would cost $1 million this summer in construction costs, without the guarantee that it would be up to code.

The deal with Friendship fell through, and 150 students now face the possibility of not finishing the last two weeks of school.

See online version: http://www.tbd.com/articles/2011/06/school-for-arts-in-learning-faces-immediate-closure–62179.html

Sample 2- The Rotunda

Longwood Student sits on the Virginia Nursing Student Association Board

By Michelle Moodhe

Longwood University nursing major Marsha Blevins’s was elected Secretary of the Virginia Nursing Students Association (VNSA) this past February. The association’s goal is to promote the field of nursing through community service and student mentoring. Currently, there are 75 programs statewide participating in the VNSA. Blevins will hold this position for one year until the end of her term date, which began February 19, 2011. Blevins is the only Longwood University student in the association and has recently traveled to Charlottesville, the VNSA headquarters, to transition into her post.

During the meeting in Charlottesville, new members where taught what their newly accepted positions entail and shadowed their predecessors. Blevins explained her role of secretary: “Every month we meet in Charlottesville and I’m in charge of taking all the minutes and pretty much keep all the info like the treasurer sends me her stuff, everybody who has PowerPoint sends me their stuff.”  Blevins is also required to send information to the National Coordinator, for the national students, since the program is organized differently in each sate.

One of the most important events for the VNSA is their annual convention that all members attend. This gives the organization the chance to come together and share ideas among fellow nursing students. This year the convention will be held in Salt Lake City, Utah from April 6-10.  Along with being a member of VNSA, Blevins is the vice president of the Longwood Student Nursing Chapter. This chapter is similar to the VNSA but on a smaller level. Each college or university with a nursing program has a chapter that promotes nursing and leadership throughout the community.

The Chapter at Longwood is fairly new, just having started in 2010. “I think especially since we’ve had open houses and things like that have really helped people realize it. Because people don’t know there is a nursing program here yet, and especially in the years to come, more people are going to know and it will be a lot bigger,” said Blevins on the state of the nursing program at Longwood. The nursing program currently has seven faculty and staff members. “Professor [Hadley] Sporbert, she’s my clinical instructor, we work with her a lot. She is really down to earth and helps out a lot,” said Blevins.  Sporbert is very supportive of the VNSA, “The VSNA represents all nursing students in a variety of nursing programs throughout the state of Virginia. VSNA represents leadership for the nursing profession and promotes advocacy at all levels of policy for the nursing profession.”

Fellow nursing major Molly Dibble commented on the state of the program and its progress.  “The program brings all of the nursing students together for a great learning experience in which we can use our new simulation labs to practice our skills and then once we are comfortable with our nursing skills we are able to go into real world situations, such as our clinical experience course, and use them competently. The faculty and staff in the program are all very dedicated to helping the students in the program and they are always available to advise students and help them achieve their goals.”

Students in the program use electromechanical human patient simulators to practice treatment.  “We have simulation days and we’ll have a patient scenario and it’s up and running and we have to give care to her. I like it because it is a safe environment, it’s not a real patient,” said Blevins.    These electromechanical human patient simulators will react with certain bodily functions and respond verbally to students, to give them the closest feel of dealing with a human subject.

As a nursing major, students are required to complete nursing clinical hours. Blevins is completing hers at The Woodland retirement community and Centra Southside Community Hospital, both of which are located in Farmville. Her clinicals begin at 6 a.m. and end at 2:30 p.m. where she is assigned a patient for the week. Students will help with the patient’s ADL’s, vitals, and any of the other skills they have been cleared for in lab. They also take turns giving medications.

Nursing has been a field that seems to have interested Blevins for a while. She attended Powhatan High School, where she took a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) class, which solidified her interest in nursing. While in high school, she completed clinicals at Johnston-Willis Hospital, Piedmont Geriatric Institute, allowing her to see what the day in the life of a nurse would be like.

In 2009, Longwood officially launched The Bachelor of Science in Nursing. The university’s nursing program is still expanding, especially with the help from Dr. Edward Gordon’s $1 million donation in 2009. The nursing program at Longwood now has 34 sophomores and 40 freshman students.

This high distinction has not only the nursing program excited but the university as a whole is excited as well.  “Students in the SNA are encouraged to promote citizen leadership within the community of Longwood and at the patient’s bedside. Being elected to state secretary for the VSNA  is an exciting opportunity for Marsha. She is representing herself as a student leader for Longwood University, our student nursing chapter, and for the nursing profession,” said Sporbert.

Sample 3-The Rotunda

Got Drugs? A Nationwide Campaign Goes Local

By Michelle Moodhe

On Saturday, Oct. 29, the Longwood and Farmville communities came together to support the National Take Back Initiative.  This is a nationwide event where various prescription drugs are collected by law enforcement agencies so that they properly disposed every six months.  According to the Partnership for a Drug Free America, nearly 2,000 teenagers will get high off these drugs every day. This effort hopes to prevent the abuse of prescription drugs.  The Farmville and Longwood Police departments collected the drugs at the Longwood Landings between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., making the process as convenient as possible.

Detective Moss, with the Farmville Police Department, was one of several officers that helped collect the various medications. “It  gives folks an opportunity if they have an unused or expired medication at home it could be prescription pills or non prescription over the counter medicine, or even taken some veterinary medicine that was prescribed to someone’s dog,” said Moss.  Earlier in the year, the same event collected nearly 20 lbs of unwanted or expired drugs. Once the drugs are collected, an officer will take them to Appomattox police station headquarters where they will be properly destroyed. By the end of the afternoon 33.2 pounds of drugs were collected, much of which was donated by Farmville community members.  The police departments advertised the event through various media resources such as local newspapers, as well as the local radio station WFLO and Longwood’s WMLU.

“Longwood Police Department was the first to participate in this last September and we collected 12 lbs. At that time it was all on campus and it didn’t get as advertised as well. Then officer Moss got up with me and said why don’t we do this as a joint effort,” said Officer Thorpe of the Longwood Police Department.  In 2010, Congress amended the Controlled Substances Act so that the DEA could create a way for proper collection and disposal of prescription drugs. That same year, Obama signed the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act.  These events have bought in nearly 309 tons of prescription drugs with the help of roughly 4,000 law enforcement agencies participating. Nationwide totals for this Take Back Day are still being calculated.

National Take Back Day is one of the many activities of Red Ribbon Week (Oct. 22-30).  Red Ribbon Week is about celebrating a drug free lifestyle, while creating awareness and providing knowledge to the community and the classroom.   The week also remembers the fallen DEA agent, Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, who lost his life in Mexico trying to prevent drug trafficking into the United States.

The Farmville and Longwood Police Departments hope to take part in the next Take Back event, as the past two have turned out increasingly successful.  Prescription drug abuse is a problem in the world today; the efforts of various law enforcement agencies are working hard to eliminate the exploitation of these drugs.  The collection day has also helped to reduce the improper disposal of prescription drugs nationwide.  For more information on National Take Back Day please visit http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/.

Sample 4-The Rotunda

College Voters, Smaller voter Turnout in Elections

By Michelle Moodhe

A year after a long and hard campaign for the United States presidency comes the state elections.  The heat from the 2008 campaign between, then-Senator Barack Obama and Senator John McCain has simmered down. In Virginia, elections for state governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, house of delegate representatives will be held Nov. 3.  A common trend in these state elections is a smaller voter turnout for non-presidential years, especially among college students.  Part of the problem with young voter turnout in general, is the inconvenience of absentee voting and/or registering.  But state governments are trying to create a smoother and simpler process when it comes to voting.   College campuses plan on doing the same, to get the youth excited about voting in elections.

The Student Association for Voter Empowerment (SAVE) is a non-profit organization geared to young people to help them be a part of the democratic process of voting and encourage youth participation.  Currently there are 30 chapters in 15 different states; William and Mary is the only Virginia college involved with the organization. Earlier this year proposed the College Student Voter Opportunity to Encourage Registration Act, to the House of Delegates.  This act would allow college students to register to vote at the same time as registering for classes.  Virginia is now allowing early voting for citizens who may not be home on Nov. 3.  Here at Longwood University, there has been absentee voting available for students.  The College Democrats and College Republicans organizations are working diligently to get the vote out.  Both are involved in phone drives and door to door campaigning, especially during the final weeks before Election Day.

President of the College Democrats Sydney Goheen said that “Our generation is apathetic” when it comes to politics, and college students essentially live in a bubble.  Goheen said that she believes a reason why people are not as involved in this election is because a lot of Americans are burnt out.  The previous presidential campaign was constantly talked about, constantly covered on the news, and Americans are tired of hearing about politics, so it’s hard to run a campaign on an off year.   Election time does raise some awareness among college students and increase membership in these two organizations.  President of the College Republicans Cameron Ring said “Most people care to join in order to get involved in campaigning”.  Ring said the youth doesn’t get involved because the policies don’t quite hit close-to home, for college students yet, for example they’re not the one paying the mortgages.

According to The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement website (CIRCLE), the youth voter turnout increased to 52 percent, 2 points more than 2004 and 11 points more than 2000.    But among the youth, ages 18-29, those with a college background, 62 percent voted, whereas only 36 percent of non-college individuals voted.  Associate Professor of Political Science Scott Cole, discussed that the youth don’t vote because in the past, politicians don’t pay attention to them.  But the technological revolution has increased voter turnout. President Obama had run his campaigning in a way that connected with the youth, by using technology.  His efforts to do so raised the youth voter turnout in the 2008 presidential election.   Cole said that the problem with statewide elections is that there is not much coverage of it, and things like gun rights, don’t appeal to young voters, “Old person’s election, old issues”.  Candidates need to reach out to the youth, according to the CIRCLE website; the most effective ways to raise awareness of voting is to do door-to-door, peer-to-peer campaigns.  Telling young voters how to register, how to actually vote and use the machines and where to vote will increases voter turnout.  CIRCLE states that if voter goes to the poll once, it is likely they will return.

College students have the ability to be informed, the ability to make a difference in the political world.  It’s hard to get college students excited about voting in elections in general, especially state elections.  The key in increasing interest among the young voters is to making them aware of what’s going on.  Politicians need to address the youth and college campuses need to make voting easy for students.  Last year’s election did have the third highest youth voter turnout; no one is sure if this trend will continue or decline as seen in the past.  Technology will play an important part in elections to come; the more technologically savvy a campaign is, the more connected they can be with young voters.

Sample 5-The Rotunda

Mass Media, Mass Differences and Restrictions to Media use in Youth has Changed

By Michelle Moodhe

The first chapter in the text book, “Mass Communication” is titled “Living in a Media World”.  This statement alone, explains what life has become for the everyday American.  These days we see media everywhere, the internet has become one of the major players in mass communication.  It wasn’t long ago when each household had only one computer and it was mainly used by the parents or adults.  During the late 1990s and early 2000s, America Online began finding its way into our homes, providing access to the internet in a more recreational way.  According to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, titled “Generation M,” the youth’s media behavior can be looked at in three different ways.  Being from the generation of kids who grew up the same time the internet grew up I have noticed many differences in the restrictions that kids have today when it comes to media.

The first thing looked at in the Kaiser Family Foundation study was the number and different types of media that is available to 8-18 year olds.   When I was growing up, in the early 90s, there was one computer in the living room; there everyone in the house had access to.  The computer was only used for typing up school assignments or playing an educated computer game and that wasn’t until I got older.  At the age of about twelve some of my friends got the internet installed at their house.  Once a week we were allowed to go online for about an hour and a half to play some game based off of our favorite cartoon, with parental supervision.   Comparing the strict rules my generation grew up with to the generation of some of our younger siblings is drastically different.

The second aspect studied was youth’s personal media.  This includes radios, handheld video games, and laptops.  The amount of personal access kids have these days opens the door for online predators and unsafe and inappropriate sites for them visit.  “I think the amount of access allowed should be based on individual kids. Kids who are more mature can have more freedom; those who aren’t might be more prone to get involved with predators,” said Sophomore Kristina Bryant about her younger brother.  The fact that kids now, are more internet savvy than their parents is a scary thought.  Parents are more likely to allow kids to go online and search what they want without any supervision because they believe their children know more than they do.

The third part to the study, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation was “household media orientation, based on several variables that we believe characterize the degree to which media play a central role in each youngster’s home”.    This discussed, how, many households today are “media rich”, meaning they have numerous amounts of media, like three televisions in one home.  “My parents always wanted to be in the room with the computer or near it.  My brother has one in his room, I kind of had parental control over my use but my brother didn’t,” said Sophomore Ryan Lily.  The one computer or one television per house concept has become a thing of the past.

The future generations of kids are going to grow up with more problems than a lot of the past generations.  The amount of exposure alone to media creates a deficiency when kids can’t get a hold of some sort of media device.  You can’t go on a road trip anymore without a laptop, cell phone, DVD player or handheld video game anymore.  For those who are online 24/7 this creates a lack of social skills that is needed in everyday life.  “I feel like free access is ruining social interactions. All kids do is type to each other, and I have noticed that kids who are online a lot can’t write correctly.  They write in text form,” said Lily. From discussions in media courses, media can affect a child’s behavior and characteristics that may stick with them for life.  They could possibly have social anxiety disorder due to lack of peer contact, because they sit in front of a computer screen all day.

There are still some parents who monitor their kids when it comes to the internet. Sophomore Amanda Mungo, who is an older sister to a nine year old, talked about the similarities and differences she has with her brother when it comes to using various types of media.  “Now you would think my brother would be able to get online whenever, but my brother is very restricted on the computer due to trying to prevent him from things online,” said Mungo.  There should still be some sort of limit as to the amount of internet time kids are exposed to.   Without these limits, kids are going to grow up too fast, and are susceptible to things like online bullying, predators and more.

What will America’s youth be like ten years from now?  Will face to face interaction become old fashion?  Technology is molding the youth in a way that has turned into a lifestyle, Facebook, and other social networking sites have created a new wave of communication.  It’s time for parents to take on the role of monitoring their kids at a young age so they learn the boundaries when it comes to technology.  I personally can see the difference in ten year olds today compared to when I was growing up.  It’s a frightening thought of how much access kids have to computers and other communication devices today.

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