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Sunday, June 05, 2005

An Update With Warrior Updates

I spent the second semester of the recently-concluded school year as a lab aide, a job that entailed setting up and maintaining the laboratory tables and equipment for both Mrs. Lundgren’s general chemistry and AP Chemistry classes. I was often the one responsible for preparing the mixtures or solutions (with diluted solutions of HCl becoming my specialty to make after a short time) that were required to successfully complete all of the individual labs that the classes had to carry out. Besides this, I also frequently made sure that each of the six – if the lab was for AP Chemistry – or eight – if the lab was for general chemistry – lab tables had, in addition to the necessary solutions or mixtures, all of the necessary laboratory equipment. This supplementary equipment included, but was not limited to, temperature probes, heating plates, and the ever-fascinating 5,000 volt transformers used ultimately in studying the atomic spectra of individual elements. Lastly, when all of the classes completed their labs, I was the one whose chore it was to put everything back in its original place and get the lab tables back to being just as tidy as they were originally.

But working on the labs wasn’t the only thing I did. I also spent quite a bit of time cleaning out the school’s water distiller, a machine the science department purchased to reduce the cost of continually buying one gallon jugs of distilled water at the grocery store. The distiller does actually do a good job at what it’s supposed to do – make distilled water necessary for doing any sort of chemistry experiment – but necessarily needs to be cleaned quite frequently, due the fact that the school (and quite possibly the entire city of Brainerd) has a water supply rich in minerals that easily plug up the distiller’s tubing and cause it to stop functioning correctly. In addition to cleaning the distiller, other “non-lab” jobs I did included packing up just about everything in the classroom at the end of the year.

This post wasn’t really supposed to be about my time spent as a lab aide last semester, although I certainly enjoyed having the opportunity to do what I did. Making the solutions for the labs was not only something I liked doing, but also something that helped solidify my desire to continue studying chemistry in college and perhaps make a career out of it.

But anyway, what I was trying to do by writing about being a lab aide was show that my first hour class last semester was not really a class, at least not in the traditional sense. Although there weren’t too many days where there was nothing much for me to do, such days did occur, and, when they did, my first hour was turned into something of an open hour. Additionally, I wasn’t required to show up to class at the ordinary first hour starting time of 8:20, nor was I required to stay until the official 9:27 ending time.

So, where I’m going with this is establishing the point that it wasn’t really required of me to spend my time in one single classroom first hour last semester. In fact, I always started my school day in a room numbered A140, in a pseudo-class given the apt title "babysitting 101." Now, because the teacher in room A140 was so very gracious in allowing the unlimited use of his television and VCR, I was able to record quite a few of the Warrior Updates shown between March and May.

The Warrior Update is the title of the weekly news production put together by the students in the advanced television productions class at Brainerd High School. It is shown to just about every classroom at the high school, since almost every room has one television set, and generally runs from 15 to 20 minutes in length. Topics covered on the program are quite varied; for instance, the death of Pope John Paul II and the hazards of tanning were two of the topics covered in one of the programs I recorded and later made available for downloading online.

Actually, to download any of the Warrior Update programs I have, just go to The files are, on average, about 45 Mb in size, so, depending upon your internet connection, may take awhile to download. Also, the files are named using a convention such as “wuMMDDYY.wmv,” where MMDDYY are all numbers that stand for the date of the program’s broadcast.

Here’s a rundown of what’s on each of the files:

Warrior Update – March 18, 2005:
- Teacher strike in Crosby-Ironton School District
- Brainerd School District’s budget problems
- Senior banquet
- Health 101 series: healthy eating habits
- Plus other news & events…
- Running time: 22 minutes

Warrior Update – March 23, 2005
- Red Lake High School shootings
- Effects of having no spring break
- Tips on enjoying Easter…the right way
- Brainerd High School’s lacrosse team
- Plus other news & events…
- Running time: 15 minutes

Warrior Update – April 1, 2005
- Spanish students’ trip to Peru and French students’ trip to France
- Information on filing income taxes
- Health 101 series: exercise and teens
- Tips on increasing fuel economy and keeping car tuned-up
- Plus other news & events…
- Running time: 19 minutes

Warrior Update – April 8, 2005
- Information on Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) tests for 10th and 11th graders
- Death of Pope John Paul II
- Health 101 series: harmful effects of tanning and unprotected sun exposure
- Plus other news & events…
- Running time: 15 minutes

Warrior Update – April 15, 2005
- Information about the symphonic band’s trip to New York City
- Health 101 series: depression and stress
- Update on boys tennis team
- How to best prepare for prom night
- Plus other news & events…
- Running time: 18 minutes

Warrior Update – April 29, 2005
- Information on upcoming AP tests
- The closure of Franklin Jr. High School
- How students are dealing with their stress
- Plus other news & events...
- Running time: 17 minutes
Note: this program was not shown in its entirety, because it did not finish in before the beginning of second hour

Warrior Update – May 6, 2005
- Reaction to having the 2005 graduation ceremony inside
- Recap of sports banquet
- Reminder about mother’s day
- Warrior Outlet commercial
- Slideshow of pictures from 2005 prom
- Plus other news & events…
- Running time: 14 minutes

Warrior Update – May 13, 2005
- Information about 2005 fishing opener
- Warrior Outlet commercial
- Update on girls golf team
- Health 101 series: protecting yourself from ticks
- Plus other news & events…
- Running time: 16 minutes
Note: I was not able to record the entire program, because it did not finish in before the beginning of second hour

Remember, to download any of the programs, just go to I also have the final two Warrior Updates for the year in my collection, but I have yet to transfer them from videotape to computer. I may do so as time and interest permits.


Blogger Josh said...

Now that is damn cool. What you should do is put the ones that I'm talent in in bold, seeing as they are the greatest.

Mon Jun 06, 11:26:00 PM CDT  

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Mitch's Blog began on December 23, 2001