My Final Blog Entry

When I signed up for the Blogging class I had no idea what to expect. I thought that the idea of having daily discussions was interesting and that working on computers every class would be a cool way to spend my spring. Looking back on the class now I would say that it was not quite what I was expecting but still a worthwhile class none the less. It started off great with a lot of open discussions about a multitude of topics and we were able to learn how to defend our viewpoints and back up our arguments with solid evidence. I think that the place where the class started to lose its appeal was when we started going into writing more then discussion. Instead of discussing topics we were forced to sit in silence and write down our ideas. This is typically not a big deal but for a senior elective that was not quite as enjoyable as debating with your friends about interesting topics like the election and global warming. The blogs that we wrote each week were really fun and I loved the fact that we were able to critique each others entries. I think that my writing has grown stronger over the spring because I am now hearing back from a bunch of people who are providing me with their opinions of my writing and offering suggestions of how I can change it. The following is what I wrote about one of my blogs from earlier in the spring.

 

I thought that this blog topic is a very interesting one both to me and to this class because it is something that everyone tries to get a grasp on. That is the best part about senior chapel speeches is that you get to listen to what your peers think about different things. In my case I wrote this about what tabor means to me personally and I think that it ties in very well to this class and to the Tabor Community. This blog was written initially as a chapel speech and instead I wrote it as a personal reflection on what Tabor has done for me and how it has done it. This is a very personal connection because it is my thoughts being born out on the blog. The post relates to all of us because we all attend tabor and the blog tries to engage what it is that makes Tabor so much better then other public schools. This topic is cool because it also argues a number of things such as why boarding school is so helpful compared to public school. It presents the reasons for what it is that sets boarding school apart and shows outsiders that having positive adult figures in your life can bring you a long way. This blog was written fairly well and it has very few grammatical errors and it also continues the topic throughout the whole post.

 

Overall I would say that this class was very worthwhile and something that should continue to be around for next year. This was a beneficial class which did actually help me out which is more then can be said for some English electives. The only real problems with this class were the times where we were writing more then talking. That was something that turned me away from the class and with a bunch of seniors is something that will cause the class to lose a lot of focus. The energy was great when we had our full class discussions and I think that that should be the main focus of the class periods. For a first year program I think that the Blogging course has a lot of potential and is something that is very important for students to be exposed to. This was definitely a lot of fun and I think that it was one of the more entertaining classes I took this spring.

The Closest finish in years

This past weekend was the New England team racing championship at Mass. Maritime. Heading into the weekend Tabor was in second behind St. George’s and in front of Duxbury, Milton, Hotchkiss, Dartmouth, North Kingston, and Moses Brown. The format was a twenty eight race round robin with each team sailing the others once. After that the top four teams move on to a championship round which consists of a double round robin and scores from the first round carry over. This means that every single race is crucial and there is no time for slacking off against the weaker teams.

 

As the racing got underway Tabor came out strong winning its first four races. The next race was against Duxbury who we had not seen before and were unsure of their ability. At the first mark Tabor was in the lead with a one-four-five. This is not a very stable combination however and what wound up happening was on the last leg Duxbury was able to spring their boat from the six to the four and just before the finish they were able to grab a one-three-five and stole the race from us. The Tabor team did a great job of putting the race behind them and with the last two races against St. George’s and Milton it was a good thing we did. St. George’s came into the race against Tabor extremely confident and undefeated but quickly fell behind on the first leg and wound up losing the race to an easy one-two to Tabor. Milton fell in similar fashion and heading into the championship round Tabor and St. George’s were tied at 5-1 with Hotchkiss and Milton also tied at 4-3.

 

The championship round was an interesting one with Milton getting on a roll early and both St. George’s and Tabor losing races that they easily could have won. At the end of the round Tabor, St. George’s, and Milton were all tied with a 9-4 record. In order to break the tie the race committee went to head to head record but Tabor had beaten St. George’s twice, Milton had beat Tabor twice, and Tabor had beat St. George’s twice. The race committee then turned to the next possible way to break the tie and this mean going into sailing’s version of extra time. The three teams would do a sail-off with each team racing each other once and the best records would move on.

 

The first race was St. George’s vs. Milton with St. George’s earning a very controversial call at the start and receiving an easy one-thee-four at the finish. Due to lack of wind we had to wait till the next morning to get the last two races in. When we did return Tabor jumped out to an early advantage on the Milton team and were able to gain a very impressive one-two-four at the finish line. This meant that both Tabor and St. George’s would stay alive for another week to go on to race in the Nationals in Minnesota. The last race was to decide the winner of the championship and things did not look good for Tabor when St. George’s had a terrific start with all three of their boats getting off of the line before Tabor. However Tabor was not deterred and was able to get back in the race and had a chance to go ahead with a two-three-five at the leeward mark. It was not to be however when a St. George’s boat got a great shift and was able to punch ahead into the three giving them a one-three-five at the finish and the New England championship. It was a great regatta by the Tabor team who were able to control the chaos and maintain their record of twenty three consecutive National Championship berths. In the twenty three years that Mr. Hurd has been coaching at Tabor the team has never finished outside of the top two for the team racing championship. It was a great meet and it means that we now have a shot of defending our title from last year and we are more then ready to do so.

The Closest finish in years

This past weekend was the New England team racing championship at Mass. Maritime. Heading into the weekend Tabor was in second behind St. George’s and in front of Duxbury, Milton, Hotchkiss, Dartmouth, North Kingston, and Moses Brown. The format was a twenty eight race round robin with each team sailing the others once. After that the top four teams move on to a championship round which consists of a double round robin and scores from the first round carry over. This means that every single race is crucial and there is no time for slacking off against the weaker teams.

 

As the racing got underway Tabor came out strong winning its first four races. The next race was against Duxbury who we had not seen before and were unsure of their ability. At the first mark Tabor was in the lead with a one-four-five. This is not a very stable combination however and what wound up happening was on the last leg Duxbury was able to spring their boat from the six to the four and just before the finish they were able to grab a one-three-five and stole the race from us. The Tabor team did a great job of putting the race behind them and with the last two races against St. George’s and Milton it was a good thing we did. St. George’s came into the race against Tabor extremely confident and undefeated but quickly fell behind on the first leg and wound up losing the race to an easy one-two to Tabor. Milton fell in similar fashion and heading into the championship round Tabor and St. George’s were tied at 5-1 with Hotchkiss and Milton also tied at 4-3.

 

The championship round was an interesting one with Milton getting on a roll early and both St. George’s and Tabor losing races that they easily could have won. At the end of the round Tabor, St. George’s, and Milton were all tied with a 9-4 record. In order to break the tie the race committee went to head to head record but Tabor had beaten St. George’s twice, Milton had beat Tabor twice, and Tabor had beat St. George’s twice. The race committee then turned to the next possible way to break the tie and this mean going into sailing’s version of extra time. The three teams would do a sail-off with each team racing each other once and the best records would move on.

 

The first race was St. George’s vs. Milton with St. George’s earning a very controversial call at the start and receiving an easy one-thee-four at the finish. Due to lack of wind we had to wait till the next morning to get the last two races in. When we did return Tabor jumped out to an early advantage on the Milton team and were able to gain a very impressive one-two-four at the finish line. This meant that both Tabor and St. George’s would stay alive for another week to go on to race in the Nationals in Minnesota. The last race was to decide the winner of the championship and things did not look good for Tabor when St. George’s had a terrific start with all three of their boats getting off of the line before Tabor. However Tabor was not deterred and was able to get back in the race and had a chance to go ahead with a two-three-five at the leeward mark. It was not to be however when a St. George’s boat got a great shift and was able to punch ahead into the three giving them a one-three-five at the finish and the New England championship. It was a great regatta by the Tabor team who were able to control the chaos and maintain their record of twenty three consecutive National Championship berths. In the twenty three years that Mr. Hurd has been coaching at Tabor the team has never finished outside of the top two for the team racing championship. It was a great meet and it means that we now have a shot of defending our title from last year and we are more then ready to do so.

The Closest finish in years

This past weekend was the New England team racing championship at Mass. Maritime. Heading into the weekend Tabor was in second behind St. George’s and in front of Duxbury, Milton, Hotchkiss, Dartmouth, North Kingston, and Moses Brown. The format was a twenty eight race round robin with each team sailing the others once. After that the top four teams move on to a championship round which consists of a double round robin and scores from the first round carry over. This means that every single race is crucial and there is no time for slacking off against the weaker teams.

 

As the racing got underway Tabor came out strong winning its first four races. The next race was against Duxbury who we had not seen before and were unsure of their ability. At the first mark Tabor was in the lead with a one-four-five. This is not a very stable combination however and what wound up happening was on the last leg Duxbury was able to spring their boat from the six to the four and just before the finish they were able to grab a one-three-five and stole the race from us. The Tabor team did a great job of putting the race behind them and with the last two races against St. George’s and Milton it was a good thing we did. St. George’s came into the race against Tabor extremely confident and undefeated but quickly fell behind on the first leg and wound up losing the race to an easy one-two to Tabor. Milton fell in similar fashion and heading into the championship round Tabor and St. George’s were tied at 5-1 with Hotchkiss and Milton also tied at 4-3.

 

The championship round was an interesting one with Milton getting on a roll early and both St. George’s and Tabor losing races that they easily could have won. At the end of the round Tabor, St. George’s, and Milton were all tied with a 9-4 record. In order to break the tie the race committee went to head to head record but Tabor had beaten St. George’s twice, Milton had beat Tabor twice, and Tabor had beat St. George’s twice. The race committee then turned to the next possible way to break the tie and this mean going into sailing’s version of extra time. The three teams would do a sail-off with each team racing each other once and the best records would move on.

 

The first race was St. George’s vs. Milton with St. George’s earning a very controversial call at the start and receiving an easy one-thee-four at the finish. Due to lack of wind we had to wait till the next morning to get the last two races in. When we did return Tabor jumped out to an early advantage on the Milton team and were able to gain a very impressive one-two-four at the finish line. This meant that both Tabor and St. George’s would stay alive for another week to go on to race in the Nationals in Minnesota. The last race was to decide the winner of the championship and things did not look good for Tabor when St. George’s had a terrific start with all three of their boats getting off of the line before Tabor. However Tabor was not deterred and was able to get back in the race and had a chance to go ahead with a two-three-five at the leeward mark. It was not to be however when a St. George’s boat got a great shift and was able to punch ahead into the three giving them a one-three-five at the finish and the New England championship. It was a great regatta by the Tabor team who were able to control the chaos and maintain their record of twenty three consecutive National Championship berths. In the twenty three years that Mr. Hurd has been coaching at Tabor the team has never finished outside of the top two for the team racing championship. It was a great meet and it means that we now have a shot of defending our title from last year and we are more then ready to do so.

A glimpse at the Champions League Final

Going into Sunday’s premiership action the stage was set for the closest finish in over nine years. Manchester United and Chelsea were even on points going into the final day with United leading on goal differential. The two teams are set to do battle on May 21 to determine who the best football club in Europe is. Before the two teams go at it on a continental scale they were forced to fight it out for domestic glory this past weekend in what was a very exciting day of football. With United leading on goal difference Chelsea needed to win and hope for Manchester United to lose in order to see their title hopes become a reality. This was not a long shot however with United visiting Wigan, who had been on a run of strong performances, and with Chelsea at home against a struggling Bolton, things were shaping up for a very close finish at the top of the table. With all of the games starting at the same time on Sunday both United and Chelsea were tuned into each others games via radio in order to keep track of the others results. In the thirty third minute United got the breakthrough that they were looking for when Wayne Rooney was brought down in the penalty area setting Cristiano Ronaldo up for his thirty first goal of the season. Things were looking up for United as they controlled the first half of play and were leading going into halftime while Chelsea had yet to find an answer to Bolton’s defense after forty five minutes of play. Things started to look promising for Chelsea when the second half got underway as Wigan began to find their swagger and fired off a number of good chances on Edwin Van Der Sar, the United goal keeper, and then in the sixty second minute Adrei Schevchenko gave Chelsea a one nil advantage over Bolton. Just as things were looking up for Chelsea Ryan Giggs became the savior for United ten minutes from time with an easy put away an easy goal after a spectacular pass from Rooney. Mathew Taylor put away any possible hope of Chelsea coming back with a goal towards the end of extra time. At the final whistle United was left standing two points clear at the top of the table after a two nil victory while Chelsea ended with a disappointing draw at home to Bolton. Although the final outcome did not live up to the overall hype the games were still very exciting and you needed to wait until the eightieth minute before you could say with any certainty who the winner would be. This was a great showing from both sides but in the end United was able to attain their tenth league title and closed to within one title of Liverpool for the most domestic trophies all-time. As a Liverpool fan it was a sad day to see Liverpool only reach fourth in the league but I will certainly give full credit to United who certainly proved to be the best team in Europe over the course of the season and I am definitely putting my money on them to win the Champions League in two weeks to solidify their dominance on the European stage.

Tabor Sailing ’08

The Tabor Sailing team entered the season with seven of eight sailors returning from last years National Championship team. The expectations are high for this team and it is hard for us not to feel a sense of overconfidence about ourselves. After going through the first round of nationals last year undefeated it is obvious to anyone that this team has a lot of talent. However that is in the past and now we are in a new season against new competition and we have to attempt to forget last year’s success in order to look ahead to our goal for this year.

 

As of Wednesday we are at a very impressive 20-3 record and are currently the #3 seed in New England. St. George’s and Duxbury are the only other teams in front of us due to their undefeated records. Our only loses have come against St. George’s in what was some very stiff competition. The racing itself was fairly ugly with a lot of protests and way too much emotion entering the situation. The final outcome was a 3-2 victory for St. George’s and a cementing of both teams rankings of two and three respectfully. Duxbury is a team that we will not see until we get to New England’s so it will be important for us to come out strong against them and assert ourselves as the team to beat in New England.

 

This Sunday our team’s focus will shift momentarily from the team aspect to the individual. Fleet racing New England’s are being hosted at Portsmouth Abbey and the top four teams will qualify to move on the Nationals down in Annapolis, Maryland next weekend. Fleet racing is a different setup from team racing because instead of three Tabor boats against three from the opposition it is the #1 from each team competing against one another. The #2’s will also race each other and this will go on all day until around four o clock. This is not a typical format and is not something that we normally don’t spend a lot of time on in practice.

 

The rest of the spring is jam packed for the sailing team with five meets this weekend, New England’s on Sunday, Nationals next weekend, Team New England’s the next weekend, and then Team Nationals the weekend before graduation. There are a lot of important meets coming up in the next couple weeks and the team is nervously optimistic that we can achieve what we did last year. With seven of our eight varsity sailors graduating this year, this is our last chance to leave a mark on the high school circuit and we are hopeful that we will be able to do even better then what it was that we accomplished last year.

A stress free high school career

Four years of high school is a very long time to endure. Some people look for study methods in order to get through the hours of endless homework and toil. Unfortunately the fact is that a good majority of this work is simply unnecessary as I have stated in past blogs. Now, whenever I walk through the dorm I tend to laugh at the kids wasting their time on pointless work and stressing over silly things. So after hopefully proving why it homework is necessary I figure that I should probably let you in on the way that you can go about getting through High School without having to waste hours of your time. In order to do this it really only takes two simple tools that are 100% accessible to all Tabor students.

 

The first and by far the most useful tool for any Tabor student who is ready to get ahead without the use of pointless homework is none other the greatest single online source Wikipedia. The real reason that teachers hate on wikipedia so much is not because it is a bad source or because the information isn’t accurate, the reason is because teachers know as well as we do that it is a great source and they do not want to read reports with the same information because everyone is using wikipedia. It is such a useful tool and it provides information on such a wide range of topics that there is really no reason for you to look anywhere else. Your teacher gave you a research paper? No problem. It just so happens that Wikipedia provides you with multiple links to the topic that you are searching for. No more wasted time searching aimlessly for mediocre websites. Everything is bundled up nicely into one neat page that you can easily operate. It is perfect for all ages and works great as long as you follow the simple rules of not plagiarizing.

 

The second website that you should use for any English class is my personal favorite Sparknotes. This website will look up any book you want and provide you with a detailed chapter by chapter summary that is very concise in order to minimize your reading time. What about Characters, themes, or maybe symbolism? Look no further, Sparknotes has everything you need. Unlike Wikipedia which will work for just about every class, Sparknotes will only help you with your English. However I can personally guarantee that you will see a dramatic drop in study time and even a possible increase in Grade point average.

 

So if you are one of those kids who feels like there is just too much work and not enough time then these two websites will certainly provide you with a great way to ease the stress and maybe even finish your work a little early. These websites have been battle tested and being one of the test subjects I can personally attest that these websites really do make high school ten times easier.  

What Tabor means to me

For the past four years I have attended Tabor Academy a prep school in southern Massachusetts. At forty thousand dollars a year that is a hefty investment that my parents put into me. Over those four years I never really gave much thought to why I was attending Tabor. It seems so obvious right? We got to Tabor because it gives us the best chance of getting into get into a good college. However after going through the entire college process and knowing friends who have gone through the same thing I have begun to realize that this can not be the only reason.

Last week I was talking with a parent of one of my close friends. In our conversation we were talking about the benefits of attending a boarding school such as Tabor and he made a number of very interesting observations. Being a teacher himself he was able to look at the idea of a boarding school from an outside adult prospective. As we talked a number of things began to come to me. The first and most obvious thought was that I really did not understand just how much Tabor has affected me. Almost immediately after that I thought that nobody at Tabor really understood what it is that Tabor is all about. And finally I wished that I had done a chapel speech in order to provide my prospective on Tabor. Instead I am stuck and have decided to write my blog on the topic.

The Ivy League and other top schools do not really take a student’s high school into much standing when they look at their applicant pool. All of the students are more then impressive and have the grades and recommendations to show for it. So if the school itself doesn’t help me then why would I spend so much money to go here? In order to answer that I had to look at what exactly separates Tabor from an ordinary high school. Other then the fact that I spend a significant amount of extra time at school there does not seem to be a very great separation. However looking closer it is not the boarding aspect or the kids that I am surrounded by but it is the faculty that really set Tabor apart. The fact that I am surrounded nearly twenty four seven by enthusiastic, motivated, dedicated, and extremely knowledgeable has changed me in a much stronger way then I could have imagined. After being forced to interact with healthy and positive adult role models I have become much more confident when I interact with an older individual. Whenever I give a tour I can make an immediate connection with the parents of the prospective student. In an interview for college I am confident that I will be able to formulate my ideas and get myself across to my interviewer.

A very large majority of Tabor students do not even realize this change because it does not occur right away. It takes time to become more comfortable with your teachers but by the end of your four years you have opened up to at least one faculty member more then you probably have to your own parents. Tabor students like to dwell on the negative aspects of Tabor while they are here, whether it is the boring weekends or the internet shutting off at eleven, we always find something to gripe about. Now, with the end in looming ahead I have begun to look back at my four years at Tabor and I can finally understand what it is that I have gained from my experience here. Aside from the friendships and the fun times I have had, the one thing that is going to stick with me is the confidence I have to interact with other older people in a positive and productive way.

Is recruiting really helpful?

Students across the country have been hearing back from their colleges and are now deciding where they are going to spend their next four years. For many this is a time of excitement and optimism. It is an exciting yet sometimes upsetting experience. After four long years of high school, trying to boost grades, add leadership rolls, and playing sports, kids are finally being rewarded.

 

The admissions process has always been a controversial topic for many because colleges are so selective when it comes to their incoming students. One of the most controversial topics inside the process has been that of college coaches. Athletic talents have always been given a special review due to their athletic prowess. In itself this is not a bad thing because athletes certainly have a good work ethic and are useful to any schools reputation. The problem lies in the fact that some prospective students who get in touch with college coaches are sometime fed false information about their chances of entering a school or are told that they can just expect to be accepted.

 

I experienced this first hand from the Boston College coach who went so far as to tell me that he receives the students who he wants and that I would be one of those kids he would be supporting. Unfortunately he was unable to follow through on his word and the result was that he lost a great deal of respect not only from me but from the other college coaches who were privy to my situation.

 

As frustrating as my situation is it is unfortunately fairly common. Just a few weeks ago a Harvard coach got into a great deal of trouble for contacting a recruit without following the proper NCAA rules. This resulted in the coach getting fined and the recruit needing to find another school. The biggest problem with the whole situation is that the students are always the ones who receive the most punishment even though it is the coaches who have been caught out of line.

 

When athletes compete for a college team they are under strict rules from the administration to give the school the proper image. Rules such as the 24 hour rule, proper dress, good language, and no fighting are all common place on college teams. However I do not see how it is possible for college players to comply with all of these rules if their own coaches are knowingly breaking rules that are in place for every coach at every college. The majority of coaches follow it but for the ones who do not the repercussions on the athletes and the school are severe. Recruiting in itself is not a bad thing, but when a coach decides that he is going to inform a recruit of their admissions decision when they either do not know or are not allowed sharing the information, things turn ugly quickly. I believe that the only responsible way for schools to approach this issue is to make sure that they hold their coaches more accountable for their actions to insure that the coaches are the hardest hit instead of the recruits and the school.

Is the Boycott really Effective?

In response to China’s dealings with Tibet the United States has threatened a boycott to the Olympic Games. The last time the United States was in 1980 when the Olympics were held in Moscow. The United States are not the only country thinking of boycotting the games as France Great Britain and Myanmar have all been reviewing their own plans for a possible boycott.

 

China has been enforcing a “brutal crackdown” after Tibetans protested the Chinese rule in the region. Since that time at least ten protesters have been killed and the Chinese have begun strictly controlling any media that has left the area. No foreign reporters have been allowed into the region and the only information has been heavily screened by Chinese officials.

 

In my opinion an Olympic boycott is one of the most ridiculous things that the United States could do. The idea is that the United States is going to send a message to the Chinese government by not sending their athletes. In actuality the only people who are going to be affected by the boycott are the people planning to participate in the event. I personally know a number of people who are planning to go to Beijing in the summer to compete and it would be a complete shame to think that three years of qualifying and training would have all gone for not simply because the US government found it a convenient way to try and persuade the Chinese. The truth of the matter is that if the US does end up boycotting it is going to do nothing to sway the Chinese government and it is simply going to anger the American people.

 

This idea of boycotting the Olympics in order to sway the Chinese government would be the equivalent of Tabor not sending a sports team to an away game because they wanted to protest gas prices. It is a completely pointless gesture that is would do nothing to change the prices and would only end up hurting the Tabor athletes. It might make the administration feel good because they made a statement but if there are no positive affects coming away from the gesture then there was simply no reason to do it.

 

In a more Global view the Olympic Games are a symbol of competition through sport and a chance for members from every nation to come together behind one common goal, to win an Olympic Medal. The only thing that a boycott does is takes away from the spirit of the games. The Olympics are a time of peace when the world takes a step back from its problems and focuses on the abilities of the competitors. With countries deciding not to attend it only causes more strife in the world and hurts all of the competitors who have worked so hard and put so much effort into their job to try and be the best they can only to have it taken away by a higher power.

 

Although what is going on in Tibet is certainly something that needs to be addressed the Olympic Games is not a place for the United States, or any country for that matter, to make a statement. The games are there for the competitors to showcase their abilities to the world and for the world to enjoy the fun. Just as the title entails the Olympics are “Games” and that is not a place where political statements should be made.