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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Exams (07/26/04)

TITLE: It's Elementary
By Blantina Jones
07/26/04

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“Elementary” is described in The American Century Dictionary as pertaining to “basic; simple; rudimentary.” While “basic” is the subatomic particle of learning, one can hardly begin to describe “elementary” by attributing to it terms such as “basic” or “simple.” The repetition of spelling words and times tables may be rudimentary in how the information is applied—to memory—but it is hardly a small or “simple” feat to accomplish and, more especially, for someone with a learning disability such as myself. This information is “basic” only to those who have mastered it but a challenge of colossal proportion to the student in this primary institution of learning.

It was in elementary school where I learned about all these “basic” things of life. Not only did I learn about reading, writing and arithmetic but also about rules, laws, history, the universe, relationships, love, hate and the meaning of failure and rejection. It was in this institution that I learned who I was in relationship to everything else. “Basic” could never begin to describe a foundation; a pool of information and experiences that shape and mold you to societies acceptance or rejection—ironically, it has the potential to do both.

Lessons written upon fresh clean slates of fragile, virgin minds were accepted as truth, indelible impressions that seared and permanently scarred—impressions that formed the framing cornerstone upon which all other knowledge would be accepted or rejected. One can hardly call such an institution “basic.”

With time, some of us began to question those lessons that had been so firmly impregnated in our minds. Ever so slowly we began to uproot and dissect some of the weeds and replaced them with seedlings of wisdom that sprouted and spread. We went on to encounter others’ opinions of us and realized that we were not who we were told we were. We left the familiar path and were amazed to uncover a road less traveled … narrow, but the more straight. We ascertained that we could think for ourselves and that knowledge had not answered all of our questions. Looking up, the heavens indeed declared the glory of God; the skies proclaimed the work of his hands… an understanding that no textbook would ever teach us. We journeyed on to challenge the establishment, this “basic” institution, and we discovered God.


Member Comments
Member Date
darlene hight08/02/04
Beautiful testimony to the truth!
Deborah Anderson08/02/04
Very well said. God bless you!
Dave Wagner08/02/04
Well, for someone with a learning disability, you sure submitted a richly written, polished piece. You never indicated what your learning disability was, but whatever it was, you certainly appear to have conquered it...unless, of course, you simply know a terrific proofreader/editor.

>> Not only did I learn about reading, writing and arithmetic but also about rules, laws, history, the universe, relationships, love, hate and the meaning of failure and rejection. It was in this institution that I learned who I was in relationship to everything else. <<

Good grief. Where on earth did you go to elementary school at? Laws? History? The universe? Wow. What on earth did you learn about relationships in elementary school that you found useful later in life, much less now? Love, hate, rejection, failure...man, you must have had a "perfect storm" of stellar teachers to give you all of that before Jr. High school. I’m green with envy. Some of those things I’m still coming to grips with, and I’m 34...

>>We journeyed on to challenge the establishment, this “basic” institution, and we discovered God.<<

I wish I could agree with this sweeping statement. Sounds great, and is well-constructed, and well-presented, (like the rest of the piece – kudos), but it’s one of the spots that rings a bit too cliché.

Overall, I really enjoyed your submission, and I’m glad I read it. I always feel time reading a professionally presented piece to be time well spent. Higher marks for presentation than content.

Thanks for submitting it.
Karen Treharne08/02/04
This is very good writing Blantina. Some good points from a fresh perspective. I enjoyed this a lot. Whatever your disability, it has not impaired your writing ability. Well done.
John Hunt08/02/04
Nicely written. Very well done.
Phyllis Inniss 08/04/04
Learning disability, eh? You certainly mastered that to provide us with such clear insight and powerful truth. Great piece.