Category Archives: Taylor B

A Day In CJHS Special-Education

-Taylor Benson

Walking into room 311 at Clarkston Junior High, I expected to see students acting like children, sitting in an elementary-like setting. But I was very wrong. I didn’t see anyone acting like a child. And I didn’t see anything that reminded me of elementary school.

What I saw when I walked in was a room like any other at the junior high. Computers lined the walls, desks were arranged in groups of four, there was a stack of chapter books on the shelf, and motivational posters decorated the desks and doors.

But it wasn’t just the classroom decor that told me that this room, and the students in it, were something special. It was the atmosphere. Some students and the para-educators in the room chatted and joked and some students were reading, while others were on the computers, doing homework, or watching the Scooby Doo movie projected on the wall.

I met Corbin, a freshman who has no filter in regards to his speech. When I sat down to interview him on what he loved about school, he proceeded to ask me questions at lightening speed. What kind of food did I like? Why did I have a camera? How loud should he talk? After a few minutes of questions, he told me that his favorite subject was science, and that he loved this experiment they did in class–making a pop cap shoot off the bottle by putting a Mento candy inside, which is something I remember doing my freshman year.

I also met Sara, a student who barely speaks, unless she’s repeating what you’ve just said. She was having lunch at a table in the classroom with Jamie Hacker and Grace Peterson–two general education students who are friends with Sara, and take their time with her to encourage her to speak.

What I saw when I walked into that room was something real inspiring.

The Clarkston Community School Board is cutting one-third of the para-educators in the district in the coming year. In the classroom that I visited, there were six paras for about 42 special-education students. That’s seven students for each teacher. Cutting one-third of the teachers means that next year, the ratio would be about 10 to 11 special-education students per teacher. These educators must give each student the proper amount of attention to help them exceed even their own expectations.

Check out this video of my day and my interview with para-educator Pam Wilson.


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Filed under Story in Blog Form, Taylor B

Fatal Distraction

Like a few others in the class,  the Pulitzer prize winning work that I chose to read was Fatal Distraction: Forgetting a Child in the Backseat of a Car Is a Horrifying Mistake. Is It a Crime?, which won for feature writing. And I have to say, it was one of the most powerful and moving pieces of journalism that I have ever read.

It wasn’t just the facts that made the story, it was the descriptions, the quotes, and the way the scene was painted. The heartache and the guilt dripped off of the words on the page, making it difficult to read but impossible to put down. The pain that these families have been through is excruciating, and the fact that it was brought to life in such an eloquent and heart-wrenching manner is definitely award-worthy.  I was previously unaware of such an issue, and I’m glad that a story as thoroughly researched and brilliantly written as this was able to bring it to light.

by Taylor Benson

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Filed under Pulitzer, Recently read, Taylor B, weekly blog

Entertainment budget. 4/12/10

Taylor Benson and Annie Perry

Dixie Carter Dies From Cancer Complications

April 12–Actress Dixie Carter, best known for her role as Julia Sugarbaker on the TV show “Designing Women,” has died on Saturday. The death was reported by her agent. The actress was 70. She suffered from endometrial cancer, which is cancer of the tissue lining the uterus. Her death has been a “huge blow” to her family.

“Survivor” Producer Detained in Wife’s Death

April 8– The wife of the American television producer was found dead in a Cancun hotel on the morning of April 8. Bruce Beresford-Redman, the former producer of the reality television show “Survivor” was detained as a suspect in his wife, Monica Beresford-Redman’s, death. Her body was found in a sewer on the grounds of Cancun’s Moon Palace. Her husband reported her missing on Tuesday.

Conan Shocker! O’Brien Disses Fox, Heads to TBS

April 12– Instead of moving to Fox as reports had assumed, Conan O’Brien will be hosting a late-night show on TBS. O’Brien’s new show will air Monday-Thursday at 11 p.m., pushing George Lopez‘s Lopez Tonight back to midnight. The exact debut date has not been released, but it is expected to be in November.

Vatican makes peace with the Beatles

April 12– The Vatican has finally made peace with the Beatles, saying their drug use, uninhibited lives and the claim that the band was bigger than Jesus are in the past. Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore said the band’s wrongdoings seem “distant and meaningless,” and their melodies “live on like precious jewels.”

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Filed under 1, Budget, Budget Lines, news budget, Taylor B

Everyone Needs A Little “Cosmo” in their Life.

Every once in awhile, I get tired of reading stuff that’s important. Every once in a while I like to revert to my 16-year-old self (which was SO long ago, right?), lay back, relax, and flip through a Cosmo. This weekend, when my best friend Hillary  came down from CMU to stay with me, that’s exactly what we did.

There is nothing too intriguing about the content of a Cosmo, unless you are thoroughly interested in the verging-on-inappropriate sexual musings of 20-year-old pop culture addicts, Lady Gaga, and why your man really likes it when  you cook for him. It’s the mere “idea” that comes with the magazine that makes it so timeless. It’s frivolous, risque, and very feminine. It allows the readers to escape from responsibility for awhile–although that may be a slight exaggeration.

by Taylor Benson

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Filed under Fashion, Recently read, Taylor B

“Between Here and April”- Suprisingly Relevant

by Taylor Benson

When I was little, I used to read all the time. So much, in fact, that my mom always made sure to buy me– in addition to a plethora of Borders or Barnes and Noble gift cards– at least one new book for each holiday and birthday. This tradition has followed me into my early adulthood, and I must say, my mother has great taste in books.

This Easter I received the novel Between Here and April by Deborah Copaken Kogan. It’s a novel about journalist who, when a memory of a missing friend from her childhood surfaces, begins to investigate the mysterious crime. It tangles her professional life with her personal life, and has been a gripping and enjoyable read.

Although, why I like this book has not so much to do with the plot, but the fact that the main character, Elizabeth, is a journalist struggling to stay relevant in today’s changing world. Some of the feelings and concerns that she “talks” about in the novel, are very similar to those that have been mentioned in our lectures, and by our guest speakers.

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Filed under Novel, Recently read, Taylor B

Heart of Darkness Is Really Dark.

Every time I pick up a classic novel in an attempt to “culture” myself, I find myself a little disappointed. Well, maybe not every time, but while reading Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, I found myself overwhelmed and confused.

Conrad wrote  in a very train-of-thought style. His paragraphs are pages long, and his sentences seem even longer.

I found it difficult to follow the plot, identify the main characters and which character was speaking,and discover the time and place in which the novella was set. I understand that it is a historical work, a classic, and is supposed to contain loads of symbolism, but I found it difficult and less-than-pleasant to read.

-Taylor Benson

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Final Four Pep Rally- Welcome Back Spartans!

The spartans returned to MSU campus on Sunday, and were given a proper welcome. Let’s just say that we’re all pretty pumped for the Final Four.

-Taylor Benson

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Filed under Final Four, Miscellaneous, Taylor B