We are Down to the Wire


Dr. Mark Ryan

This phrase “down to the wire” means we are at the last minute – at the very end. The phrase comes from horse racing, where it was long the practice to stretch a wire across and above the track at the finish line. Some of you are passing all of your classes and doing great. If you are passing all of your classes, and you are in grades 7-12, you will be able to enroll in one or more Los Angeles Mission College classes for Winter Intersession January 4 through February 5. Think about this – every college class costs you money for tuition and books when you are in college full or part time. When you take these FREE classes through our Dual Enrollment program, you save THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS in tuition and books AND YOU SAVE TIME because each course you take and pass now means you do not have to take and pass it when you graduate from NVMI.  There are a bunch of cool classes being offered this Winter:
*Introduction to Kinesiology, which is the study of human movement. How do baseball players get a fastball to be fast? How do runners decrease their times in a race? How do muscles and your brain work together to help you move efficiently?
*Beginning Drawing – learn from a professional artist how to draw – even if you think you have ZERO artistic talent (like me).
*Introduction to Computer Application (Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, and Excel) – these are very important computer programs you will use in both college and your careers.
*Microsoft Excel  – this is a computer program that allows you to take numbers and make graphs and charts, make the computer do calculations for you, and organize data. If you ever plan to go into any sort of business, this class will be a huge help.
*Introduction to Finance- learn how to manage money in a business!
*Human language and Communication – this course covers language, culture, and society from an anthropological perspective. You study how language is used as a form of social interaction in which participants do things through and with everyday talk. The relationships between language and culture, the structure of language, origins of language, language through time, language variation, language in social context, and nonverbal communication. Those are all complex ideas, so this course is not for students who are not serious, but the students who take this course will have an opportunity to learn about the anthropology of language and communication – all stuff a geek like me enjoys. (Oh – and by the way – many of you have heard me say this – BE NICE TO GEEKS BECAUSE ONE DAY YOU WILL BE WORKING FOR ONE. Geeks end up running companies and businesses and corporations and our governments.)
*College Reading (English 028) – this will help prepare you to be sure you can take college English when that time comes.
*College English (English 101) – this course is a required course at every college in America, and is often required to be one of the first classes you ever take in college – before you can take many other classes. If you take it now, you will not have to take it in college – that saves you time and money and work later on.
What if you are not passing everything, or your grades are not as high as you would like? Please read this part of the article carefully. We are “down to the wire” as relates to your grades. But there is still time to pass ALL of your classes, even if your grades are currently really horrible (Yes, even a 0% could still pass if you do what I am telling you in this article!). Ask your teachers what the most critical assignments are that will prove to your teacher how much you know, and GET THOSE ASSIGNMENTS DONE by next Thursday, December 17. If you have a bunch of missing assignments, ask your teachers which assignments would be most critical to help you pass and accomplish those by next Thursday, December 17. I have asked all teachers to be flexible, not mark you down for late work, and help you identify those most critical assignments.  I have begged all teachers to be understanding and accept all late work without penalty, and now I am BEGGING ALL OF YOU CADETS to get the work done so you can pass all of your classes.
Study for your final exams. If you pass your final, I am guaranteeing you a passing grade in that course!  Exams are all “cumulative” – which means they test you on all of the knowledge and skills from the entire 16 weeks of fall semester. That means you need to know the material and pass the cumulative exam with a 70% or higher. Every teacher is providing study guides and will help you know what you need to study so you can be successful on the final exams. Every teacher’s goal is that 100% of students pass all of their classes, but the teachers cannot do the work for you – you have to pass the final and/or get all of your work done successfully and/or accomplish those most critical assignments I described above.
If you fail even one class, you will have to make it up during Winter Intersession January 4 – February 5. That means you cannot take one or more of the LA Mission College classes being offered during those five weeks. If you fail more than one class this semester, or if you failed classes previously and have not yet made them up, you will have to make up all of those classes during the Winter Intersession time from January 4- February 5. Making up failed classes is a pain for you and the teachers and your counselors and your parents and the school. If you fail classes, you will not be eligible to play sports or be in the band or do other extracurricular activities when we return those programs after the COVID emergency. PLEASE – I am begging you to do everything in your power to pass all of your classes now so you do not have to make up failed classes in Winter, and you can take one or two of the great Mission College classes above. If you need help with assignments, reach out to your teachers or to the amazing After School Program staff. Email your teacher through your Google Classroom or Ms. Diaz at [email protected] for information about after school tutors and help with assignments/projects.
We are DOWN TO THE WIRE – It is Sunday, December 6 as I write this article. There are only four regular days of school left plus one half day and then final exams begin.  There is no more time to be lazy. You need to get the work done and turned in and be sure it is WELL DONE.