Pandemic or not, high school grads and grad-school hopefuls are still hoping to attend the college of their choice, and while SAT and GRE scores are being debated as predictors of success, the college/university essay still reigns supreme. Why? Because, for admissions officers, the Application Essay or Insight Questions reveal meaningful information about the applicant and offers hints about what that person might add to the college or university. There is no perfect formula for creating the essay, but critical elements stand out.

While we frequently hear that “Everybody has ghosts in their family closet,” no where is that more accurate than in Oklahoma. Those of us old enough to have grown up humming tunes from the Broadway and screen hit Oklahoma had no idea of the malice and mendacity hidden by those charming stacks of hay in a farmer-cowman tale set around the time of a white-on-Black war — the Greenwood Massacre of June 1st, 1921.

BACKGROUND — If we take a telescope and use it to look back 100 years, the lens will reveal a Tulsa where oil is creating wealth…

Speaking in April 2021 to Senator Kennedy and a Congressional committee via Zoom, Stacy Abrams, head of the anti-voter suppression organization called Fair Fight, delineated the difference between fair voting laws and unfair voting laws. “When your motivation [for altering the law around voting] is grounded in race of those who are engaging in behaviors you disagree with, that is racist, particularly when it is targeted at communities of color by people in power...For the purposes of voting rights, when racial animus is your predicate, then, yes, you should be held accountable.”

As a lawyer, a black woman, a former…

Systems and Networks —

For the term systemic racism to be valid, evidence needs to appear at many levels of social and governmental interaction. It does.

National and family wealth — There will always be haves and have nots. More is not evil, but today, the disparity between how much wealth a group has versus how much wealth other groups have defies reason. The Federal Reserve Distributional Financial Accounts charted the wealth of whites versus blacks for 30 years. In 1989, whites controlled 20 trillion dollars of the nation’s wealth. By 2019, that house of gold rose to 102 trillion dollars. …

Mom -taken by the author

Whenever we came up the drive,

“Oh, I’m so glad to see you.”

And she was. Real ground coffee

In the freezer. Fresh croissants.

I’d visit friends early morning

Or late evening. Mom was days, and

“Do you want to go out and about?”

Of course, and always, and together.

Key nests in the ignition,

Newspaper treats circled and mapped,

“Buy nothing you don’t love,”

We chant in sync across the gear shift.

“No scary movies, please.”

No terror shivers, or screams ,

J. Austen perhaps for two hours

Or the penguin film at the Bijoux

“I think I’ll have…

I really enjoyed this article, both from a writer's pov and as a reader. The distinctive sub-topics were engaging because I wanted to see what specific examples you would use and how you personally dealt with the myriad issues that have arisen in Covid. I was one of those whose job disappeared, leaving me happy for the free time, but floundering as to purpose. My solution was to take on tutoring and editing projects for friends, acquaintances, and family and to do them for free. Thesis papers, articles, and pitch packets allowed me to focus on others and not myself.

Rigor — “Learning meaningful content, with higher-order thinking, at the appropriate level of expectation in a given context...”

Teaching at an urban California high school during their decade-long budgetary woes meant a library with no librarian, dozens of computers on campus but no tech assistant. And tragically, it meant no program in place to serve 10th graders who read at a 3rd-grade level or below.

Yet, the curriculum was set and the English Lit text was 1.5" deep. This is not simply a one-off situation. Tens of thousands of teachers are asked to guide students whose skills are subpar and whose schools lack remediating programs. For instance, how can a teacher guide students through Romeo and Juliet when…

Genesis 3:16 of the Bible and the Torah provides an inkling of the place held by women in two of the three Abrahamic religions: Judaism and Christianity. In every single translation of that verse, pain and submission are identified as a woman’s lot in life. In the King James Version we find, “ Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

In addition to that depressing edict, religious texts are replete with tales…

Descendants of the Sun- poster —

K-pop has placed more skilled singer-dancers and image makers on world stages than anything since old-fashioned variety shows. But look out! Korea isn’t only gaining fame from BTS and BlackPink. Korea has it goin’ on in the screen world, too.

Lock-down has been a prime time for mining entertainment options and perhaps discovering shows that set the imagination tingling and the popcorn popping. Without traveling overseas, new worlds opened up when I stumbled upon Rakuten Viki, a globally accessed streaming service wildly popular for its Asian programs. …

A new kind of family under the same roof

When my daughter told me she was finally making the move from the east coast to the west and would be living with me in my 3 bedroom condo, I was ecstatic. Immediately, I started bustling around, shifting furniture, purging from overloaded closets and drawers and prepping for the new arrivals. Yes, plural, because along with my daughter came my darling, cherished then four-year-old grandchild. I pictured a house bursting with fun, love, purpose and companionship. Oh, and I had a 27 year-old Korean housemate in one of those bedrooms. No problem!

In the last year plus, I’ve learned a…

Barbara Castleton, M.A.

Writer, ESL instructor, editor, traveler, seasonal ex-pat— my life is both an intentional and serendipitous circumstance. Motto — “Buy the ticket, and go!”

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