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Posts tagged with Kansas University

Juan Manuel Santos, KU Alumnus and Kansan of the Year

Nick Krug photograph

Nick Krug photograph by Lawrence Morgan

Juan Manuel Santos, President of the Country of Columbia

In the above photograph of Juan Manuel Santos, which was taken by Nick Krug, we see a remarkable man. He has every right to be Kansan of the Year. How many of these commentators have taken over a country plagued so long by civil war. He has accomplished many things since being President, including a law being passed to compensate the victims of the long-running civil conflict, and returning land to millions of displaced people.

But I want to focus on another accomplishment, less talked about, in which he has had a part and which is important for thousands (47,000) of school children: school orchestras. The school orchestra movement began in Venezula, and it has now spread to several other South American countries, including Columbia. This is one of many accomplishments, less spoken of, since he became President.

Listen to the following article:

http://playingforchange.com/journey/musicians/124/Orquesta_Sinf_nica_Juvenil_Batuta

and now enjoy the following video:

http://playingforchange.com/episodes/53/La_Tierra_del_Olvido

Some people, including many of the people in these commentaries, could care less about music. But I feel very differently. In my opinion, music is just as important as sports and computers. In music, like sports, each person learns to listen to the other, so that the whole group works as a whole.

How many such orchestras do we have in Kansas?

I'm going to include my other blogs which deal with school orchestras in different countries below. If you have not had a chance to hear them, you might enjoy them now.

http://www2.ljworld.com/weblogs/kansas-150th-birthday-is-almost-over/2012/dec/30/death-of-ravi-shankar-and-the-birth-in-s/

http://www2.ljworld.com/weblogs/kansas-150th-birthday-is-almost-over/2012/aug/23/symphony-orchestra-in-the-congo-orchestr/

There is much more to Juan Manual Santos on the internet. But he is changing Columbia, and he is instituting changes which will help thousands of children with school orchestras. I only wish the Governor of Kansas could undertake similar changes in his own state!

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My first year at KU and Pearson Scholarship Hall - Part I

Pearson Scholarship Hall

Pearson Scholarship Hall by Lawrence Morgan

Pearson Scholarship Hall made a great difference in my life!

Pearson Scholarship Hall caused many life changes for me. But I want to go back a bit, first to my grandmother.

A life of growing up for my mother and father in Ottawa

My grandmother, Grace White, grew up in Ottawa, where she raised my mother and her brother. She lived to be 108, and even at 108 went outside to plant flowers and pick them. So I had my first introduction to Ottawa when we would come from Hutchinson to visit them, which served me well when I came back later to go to KU and to Lawrence.

My father got married to my mother in Hutchinson. He was from Winfield, and a Methodist minister. I have great memories of Hutchinson. I went from 1st grade through high school in Hutchinson - and it was full of incredible memories for me.

Hutchinson High School

When I went to high school, I had the good fortune of coming across a teacher, Mrs. Thompson, who was into journalism. I began writing a weekly column in the high school paper about sports, which she encouraged. I didn't care much about football, but I loved basketball and tennis. I spent many afternoons after classes playing tennis on the high school courts. I was never very good at it, but it helped me learn a lot about sports - the importance of different movements, when to move and not to move, winning and losing.

But Mrs.Thompson helped me with journalism, and she taught me how to write what I was thinking. At that time, we had a back area in the school which was devoted to Linotype machines. I got to know the Linotype people very well and had lots of good times with them. They were vocational students. I got so that I could go back and forth between journalism and English - and the Linotype people, and I particularly enjoyed their company. It was amazing to me that they enjoyed spending time around a minister's son. They had a beer and a smoke when the day was over. I couldn't have either one - but nevertheless I enjoyed their company, their views on life, and their jokes. And I particularly enjoyed their teacher of the Linotype, whose name I have unfortunately forgotten, who became a close friend of mine for many years during and after college.

I particularly enjoyed their jokes. Unfortunately, we did not have a lot of humor in our household. Without their fun and input on jokes and life, I think I would have grown up to be very serious, with very little humor in my life.

But what Mrs. Thompson was really good at was teaching journalism, which we put into practice by doing the school paper as part of our class, as well as after school. We all had typewriters, and we had to learn how to use them well - something that was of great value to me later in life.

Changing fonts for the high school newspaper

I'll never forget the day we changed fonts for the high school paper. All the Linotype guys stayed up all night, trying to get used to the new fonts and how they worked with the Linotype. When we finally got the paper out, two days later, it was beautiful! I think we used Gill Sans light, demi and dark, for headlines, and if I remember correctly, we used Palatino regular and italic for stories. For ads, we used Bodoni and Franklin Gothic.

Today, it wouldn't be a big deal, but at that time it was incredible! No one had changed the type on the school newspaper since it was first published, to the best of my knowledge.

I will write more about this at a later time - and especially about the Kansas State Fair, which I spent several days at each year - but for my first year in college, I moved to Lawrence and Pearson Scholarship Hall. My family came from Hutchinson to Lawrence later.

A new life, full of surprises

When I was in Hutchinson applying to KU, I had only been to Lawrence once in my life. So when I arrived in Lawrence for my first year of college, it was a city of new surprises. But I will write about Pearson Scholarship Hall - more about that aspect of my life - in a forthcoming blog.

Copyright 2012 by Lawrence Morgan. Details may not be used by the Alumni Association or any other group or individual in Lawrence or elsewhere.

I want to welcome all the members of the Scholarship Halls back to KU!

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