Tuesday, May 15, 2012

When Extracurricular Activities Need to Take a Backseat

My old high school, Mar Vista High, has an awesome alumni website thanks to the effort of a single alum, Henry Vargas Ascasio.

Occasionally, we receive a bulk email with a request from a current student who needs financial assistance for a unique {academic} opportunity. This morning I received the following forwarded message from the webmaster:

Hello Henry Vargas my name is Keith B***** you might know some of my uncles. Well I wanted to ask you of you could maybe help me put the word out there for me because I have been selected to be part of the Bands of America Honor Band with will be marching in the 2013 Tournament of Roses Parade. I am in mar vista high schools band an ROTC an cheer team. I need to raise 2,500$ for this once in a life time chance. So if you could please help me get to word out to all the mariners to see of any of them could maybe help out a younger mariners to get a one in a life time chance I am one of two kids from California an we represent the whole state. After high school I plane to join the marines an be a marine musician I love playing my tuba I am a tuba player an I have two more years left at MVHS. I am a mariner for life an thank you for your time to read this an please can you get the words. Out to all the mariners also I am attaching  my letter of being selected to this wonderful Band an one in a life time chance

They do not help us at all an the reason why it cost so much is because we stay first class at the Marriott hotel an it also cover the rose bowl blandest all of our meals an the it cover all transportation to an from all event an the we eat two day all meals in Disneyland an we an we play in Disneyland an we get a two day park hoper pass an then we have to pay for all the uniforms an instruments an then when we take the tour of Hollywood an few other place so the total is 2,485$ so I rounded it off to 2500 for I can also buy a jacket to keep for ever. They do not help us at with the payments.  

I am one of two from the state of California there is one reason the price is high another reason is that I don't have any one to drive me up there at the time so I have to take a plain there I would leave on dec. 27 an come back on jan. 3 an these are a few of the thing that will cost one big thing is that we stay first class in the Marriott hotel all meals are provided for us an also all transportation to an from all events that we go to. An when I was talking about the instruments it cost cause the whole honor band gets to use new instruments from yamaha an the honor band is made up of over 300 kids we also get to play an eat an go to Disneyland for two day we also participate in the rose bowl bandfest. We pay to get the new uniforms an we can also pay for a jacket an a patch a pin we get to keep those if we pay for them. A mother this is the payment that we pay also goes to us getting full band pictures token an self pictures token a mother thing we get to do is take a tour of Hollywood an there is a lot more I will send you more information on why it cost so much. The full amount to just be a member of the honor band is 2,200 an the reason I am asking for 2,500 if for I can pay for my plain ticket an also beagle to pay for the jackets an patch an pin witch is not part of the package that is extra an I have to pay for my own plain ticket for there an back an if you need any other information just let me know an I can send it to you an let you know an thank you for your time for helping me with getting the word  out to all the mariners an this is the reason I am asking for 2,500 is for I can also pay for all the extra items that are not included in the package an also to help me pay for my plain ticket there an back.

I'm truly disturbed by the terrible writing and grammar this kid presented! He couldn't be bothered to capitalize Mar Vista or Mariner or Marines but manages to capitalize Disneyland, Hollywood and Marriott!?!?!

"...I plane to join the marines..."

"an" instead of "and"  (not once but EVERY time)

"a mother thing"

"...beagle to pay for..."  (I laughed at that one, sad, but funny that he wrote beagle for "be able")

"plain ticket"

Oh, yeah, and the dollar ($) sign goes in FRONT of the amount not at the end.

This young man is a Sophomore in high school, almost a junior and this is the extent of his writing abilities?  I'm sorry to sound so negative; however, as a parent and an educator this letter was very disheartening.

Yes, extracurricular activities are important but not if they come at the expense of one's education! While I understand this is an amazing once-in-a-lifetime (or as he put it, "one in a life time") opportunity for this young man - I personally will not help contribute after reading his emails. I shared these sentiments with Henry; not surprisingly there have been several others who feel the same as I do. However, I did say I would gladly contribute towards a private tutor!

It's a glimpse such as this one that makes me glad I homeschool!

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