Wednesday, September 7, 2011

149's Corner - A Journal from Death Row - Entry #6

by Arnold Prieto Jr #999149

"My Hard Earned A's and B's"

The first seven courses of my home schooling program are now graded and complete! A “fish" I am no longer! To those who have forgotten, a "fish" is what the other high schoolers call members of the freshman class. Stories of taunting and even hazing have been passed down to me from others who attended high school in the world. I never had such a problem, until a certain smart-assed neighbor educated me in the wide world of life under the sea. It started simply enough, with him interrupting my chats with my other neighbors: "Hey, fish, how is your school work coming along?" I sighed, and went back to work. That soon bored him (he is easily bored), and got more complicated and subtle. Soon, mention of gills and fins and limbless coldblooded vertebrates was sneaking into conversations. Sometimes he wouldn’t even be talking to me: he and a guy upstairs were talking about the power of labels and the guy disagreed, saying that a thing was a thing no matter what you called it. Thomas explained that he used to be a restaurant manager, and gave an example. He said that years ago, you couldn’t sell a customer "Patagonian toothfish” to save a life. Only after they changed the name to' "Chilean Sea Bass” did the stuff become practically endangered. I didn’t even catch it, until his eyes flicked down to my cell and his annoying little half smirk floated up for a second. Jackass. Anyways, he can make no more such jokes again for I have made 6 A's and 2 B’s to end my freshman YEAR.

It was and is a good feeling to be able to spend my time studying again. The only difference of course is that I am having to do without a teacher and having the opportunity to work at my own pace this time around. That's why I spent 9 to 12 hours straight on each course some days, carefully reading through each lesson. The courses went by faster than I expected, and faster than they had planned, but when one lives in a box one finds ample time to spend on this. And holy moly was there ever a lot of reading! After I finished reading a lesson, an assignment follows within the textbook, which I answered and graded myself. I then move on to the workbook assignment, which I answer on a scantron sheet and mail in for grading at the end of the course. Normally there are like 150 total answers on the test by the end of the course.

Dr David H Henke was the author of my Earth and Space Science course. This was probably my favorite subject. Dr Henke broke every lesson down perfectly and made science fun to learn. There were five long lessons including some lab work which I was exempted from due to the fact that if I get my hands on lab equipment they would probably shoot me. But I have a good imagination, and Dr Henke's explanations made it so that I could see what he was talking about in my head. I learned a lot with this course, but what left me with the biggest impression is this: why isn't geothermal energy used more often as a renewable natural resource in this country? I guess the issue is more complicated than this budding mind can understand, but it seems stupid not to take advantage of the power all around us.

Both the World Cultural Geography and the World History course were authored by Miss Caroline Y Grant. The World History course had 8 lessons, and the Geography class had 7. Miss Grant did a very good job explaining her lessons. Both courses were good intellectual challenges for me.

The introduction to computers course was authored by Ms Brenda Remus. It was a cool and fun course, even though I had no access to computers. I learned a lot about the different kinds of hardware and software out there, as well as how spreadsheets and databases work. This lesson had 7 lessons to it.

The Life Management Skills course was written by Dr Lina Liken-Paske. This course had 13 lessons to it and was very informative, even if not exactly written for inmates. The “life lessons" one learns back here would probably scare the good Dr Liken-Paske.

Consumer Mathematics by Mr Leon Kiston was another fun course with 10 easy-to-follow lessons. This particular course was built around today's world. In other words, the lessons had to do with everyday functions like percentages, wages, insurance, house loans, etc. Knowledge I won’t be able to use anytime soon, but nevertheless good to know and· fun to learn.

The English 1 lesson I saved for last because I didn’t really want to touch it without a ten foot pole. This lesson was written by Patrick McCann, and consisted of 6 lessons and a written assignment. I also had to do some reading and write a 500-word essay. (Thank you Dina for purchasing the book for me!) I have always disliked English classes growing up. Well, Mr McCann made it a very exciting journey. A course that I for-sure thought I'd fail and one I wished that I did not have to take ended up being a blast! As you can see, I made an "A" on this course. I am pretty proud of myself, really, because my hard work and study paid off.

The authors of my courses are actual educators, which leaves me with a sense of great accomplishment. Not only this, but a real feeling of intellectual maturity. I think others have noticed this, too, and I wonder how different this place would be if everyone were spending more time with their faces planted in a book. I know that I am a 38 year-old man, but I now feel that it is never too late to educate and better yourself.

I have also just received my next seven courses, which include: Psychology I, Sociology, Geometry, English II, Ecology, American History and Art Appreciation, History, and Criticism. So, wish me luck!

In conclusion, I want to dedicate my 3.8 to the few people who have helped me pay for these classes, especially to Monica of Sweden. I don’t even know who you are, but the forty dollars you sent me paid for an entire month of my tuition, and I really appreciate the help! I do hope that you will accept this small GIFT.

Arnold Prieto, Jr

"I don’t run into, sunsets, I seek the sunrise of the new day.”


© Copyright 2011 by Thomas Bartlett Whitaker & Arnold Prieto, Jr. All rights reserved.


Ryzzia said...

This guy killed three people...His great aunt and uncle and their friend.

Nick said...

@ Ryzzia

Well we do know these guys have committed crimes, don't they ? But that is not the issue at stake here, other wise there would be no issue at all. Don't you think ?

You know, the last person condemned to death in France (for killing 1 cops and injuring another one while trying to excape from jail) spent 20 years in prison after the abolition of DP in 1981. He is now one of France's best scholars in Medieval History and works for one of France top research institute. See here

That is the issue at stake here: can someone prove he is not his/her crime ?

Thomas_R. said...

Arnold did not kill his family members but someone else's but this is not relevant. The issue Ryzzia, is actually a true and reflective assessment of future dangerousness. At this point the state of Texas' penal code is not very clear on it, which gives prosecutors ample room to come up with out of this world conclusions about future danger to society (such as we have seen lately, based on racial considerations). One needs to ask if a person can be "redeeemed" (REHABILITATED) to become productive member of society. Texas unfortunately does not take that route...