Black History

As the only student of color in my entire elementary school class, I would always dread when the time arrived for our perfunctory lessons on ancient civilizations and the American civil war. Discussions of ancient civilizations would inevitably review the geography of the African continent, including the river Niger.  And as if on cue, some dim-witted child reading aloud his or her assigned paragraph would trip over the name, attributing the word a short “i” rather than the appropriate long “i” sound, and almost pronounce it “nigger”, before they caught themselves, their face turning bright red (you would have thought the apocalypse was near the day they realized my face could do the same) and stare pleadingly at the teacher for assistance.  During this heroic struggle, I could feel the other 23 pair of eyes staring in my direction, as I kept my head between the pages of the heavy textbook, praying for it all to be over. In a save Stanley Cup worthy, the teacher would interject the correct pronunciation before promptly moving on.


The American Civil war was a whole other ball game.  Rather than one uncomfortable day, it was only befitting to devote six weeks to the war that ravaged our country and pitted brother against brother and slave against the master. So for six long weeks, I would avoid the staring blue and green eyes boring into my skin, as I focused my gaze down to read or write in my notebook, or straight ahead at my teacher as he/she recounted the unfortunate atrocities visited upon African slaves and their descendants in America, always with a stern admonishment that this was one of the darkest periods of our American history.


In sixth grade, it got worse.  My teacher elected to show the class the Civil War mini-series The Blue and Gray.  Most of the class was excited because this six and a half hour mini-series spread throughout a 45-minute class equaled almost two weeks of watching TV!  Before pressing play, my teacher got up from her seat and stood in front of the blackened screen.

“Class” she began “this movie was made to show the attitudes of Americans in the North and South during the Civil War.  At that time in our country’s history, many people living in the South, those who owned slaves and those who did not, believed that slaves were inferior, they were property and considered only ¾ a man.  You will hear the word “nigger” used throughout the movie.  While it will be very uncomfortable to hear this word, you must remember that this movie depicts a time in the past, and language and attitudes that are no longer acceptable today.”


Great, I thought.  It wasn’t enough that the word almost spilled out of some kid’s mouth last month!  After the second day, I couldn’t take it anymore.  I kept a mental tally on the number of times derogatory names were used to describe southern blacks. The uncomfortable, embarrassed stares slowed down halfway through that second day of viewing as these words were used as casually back then as we used the words “cool” or “awesome”. That’s when I got scared. What if people in my class started using those words? “Get in line, darky!” or “Look at the coon’s new shoes.”


And my fear was not too far-fetched. Over the years, in fits of anger, some of our classmates did indeed call my brothers and me niggers. In high school, another peer in my homeroom even had the audacity to get mad at me for being upset when I heard him use the word nigger and angrily tried to school me as to the real meaning of the word: an ignorant person of any race. All this, in addition to constant microaggressions.


I am not implying that expanded and nuanced black history lessons will stop racism in its tracks, but if we are serious about addressing and dismantling systematic disenfranchisement and racism, it is imperative that we re-tool education. To be clear, schools are not simply reading, writing, and arithmetic training grounds, they are also tools for cultural and national indoctrination. The fact that the history of American Indians–the sovereign inhabitants of this land– and African Americans–whose labor built this country– can be distilled into a few paragraphs in most history textbooks directly correlates to why white men in 2017 can ignorantly, yet assertively, chant “You will not replace US!” No progress can be made without a commitment to frank and multifaceted dialogue about US history which must be necessarily uncomfortable for all children, and not simply children of color.

Shanna K Houser Contributor

Back to school: College Students


Hip…hip…hooray! They are finally off to college. You’ve waited 18 years to be empty nesters, mom, and dad! What are you going to do with your newfound freedom? But let’s not start your snowbird adventure…just yet. After all, you still have to prepare your college-bound teen for their bright school year ahead. Here are helpful tips for you to do just that.


First and foremost, buy in bulk. Take advantage of back to school sales in August. One big difference to college is that classes are semesters and not a full year. If you buy your child’s school supplies for both semesters in August, you’re going to save money. Notecards are usually fifty cents, while notebooks are usually a dollar each. Packs of 400-sheet paper are between $2-3. Any school supply you would need is not going to be full price. You know when it’s going to be full price? In January, when most students are halfway through their school year.


Your student should also know their course agenda. Teach them to mark the dates in their planner. When is each assignment due? When are their quizzes and tests? If they have all this written down, there isn’t any way they can fail. They will know they are having a history test on September 29. It’s not up to you if they study for it; that’s on their shoulders. It’s up to you to give them guidance.


Another great thing about college is the campus clubs and organizations. Encourage your child to get involved in them. This is going to help them meet people and be social. Those that get involved on campus often have higher GPAs. There is a club for every interest. Encourage them to go to all the meetings and to not be shy. They should give their opinion when it’s asked; volunteer their time when it’s needed. This shows that they are a team player.


Furthermore, college allows your student to explore what type of learner they may be. Are they a more visual learner? Powerpoint presentations, graphs, and charts speak their language. Audio learners learn best by hearing, such as with audio books. There are learners that memorize everything and learners that focus more on logic. Once your student figures out their best style, stick with it. Keep in mind that not every teacher is going to cater to their particular learning style, but that’s okay. They have to stand on their own two feet; they have to learn their own unique way.


Finally, it’s important that the student finds a study group. While it’s all right to do homework alone, sometimes it’s best to compare notes with classmates. They may have gotten down information that your student missed from the teacher, especially if the teacher talks fast. Friends can also help clarify topics within a chapter. They may understand more thoroughly and can offer a new perspective. Your student doesn’t get this when you study alone.


So, as your student goes away to college, have these back to school tips in mind. They are going to help you achieve success.

Youngstown State Week




PAT NARDUZZI: Well, after a long, long camp, four-week camp, it’s finally game week. I don’t think there’s anybody more excited for game week to be here than our football team, our players especially. Got a great opener, obviously, one that’s familiar with me, being that it was my first game as a head coach here against these guys, and get to come back and do it again two years later. But I think we’re facing a totally different program. I think we’re a totally different team than we were two years ago as far as just who we are and what we are. But we face a team in Youngstown, 12-4 record a year ago, played in the National Championship game, got beat by JMU, very good team, had several guys drafted. I know two defensive ends for sure. But a very talented football team in Youngstown. They’re tough. They’re disciplined.

But very talented football team, and Bo Pelini and I go back a long way, Shane Montgomery, we go back a long way, the offensive coordinator, and Carl [Pelini], shoot, first time I met him, he was the head high school coach at Austintown-Fitch High School back at some point, and I’ve known him since then.

When you look at Youngstown, they’re a very disciplined football team. They’re tough. I would say very similar to what we are. They’re well-coached. Bo is a heck of a football coach. He’s assembled himself a great staff. Offensively Hunter Wells runs the show. He was a guy that got beat out early in the year. I think they were trying to go with the athletic quarterback, and Hunter Wells played against us two years ago in 2015, so he’s back as a starter. He was a guy that really came out and won all those playoff games for them. But really about quit, I believe, from the stories I hear. But hung on, and then was the guy to start for them. What a great story for him in adversity.

They have a couple young tailbacks that didn’t see a lot of action a year ago, the McCaster kid is the guy. Alessi is the backup, who I went to school with his dad back at Youngstown, also, so that’s another interesting tidbit, also. The receivers are very athletic. The Patterson kid, good football player, played against us two years ago, got great hands, makes plays. And then the Scott kid from Hubbard, his brother is LJ, plays at Michigan State, he was a Division I athlete coming out of high school, ended up going to Youngstown State for whatever reason, and hometown kid, and he’s talented. He could play anywhere in the country, I think.

Skill-wise, I think they’re talented across the board there, and they’ve got a very experienced quarterback that talking to Shane back when I was at Michigan State, Shane Montgomery, that is, thought he was a Ben Roethlisberger type quarterback, so I think he can make a lot of throws and he’s very smart and gets them in the right place.

Defensively, Armand Dellovade kind of runs their show at the middle linebacker spot. I think that name is familiar with everybody around here. He’s a football player. Wish he was in this program. Up front, they’ve got two D-tackles, Savon Smith and Mesier, and then they’ve got a safety that will rock you, a kid named Jalyn Powell, who played for me at Michigan State, as well. So they’ve got a couple transfers at defensive end from Florida, a receiver from Florida that we don’t know as much about, and maybe there’s some other guys that pop up on the roster. But great football team, and it’ll be a challenge. Our guys better come ready to play.

With that, I’ll open it up.

Q. You said you feel like you’re a totally different program than the one that faced them two years ago. In what ways?
PAT NARDUZZI: Well, when you watch the tape, I think offensively we’re a little bit different than what they saw in the past. I think defensively, I’m watching going, golly, we’ve come a long way. When you look at just your first game and then you look at your last game, just go back to the bowl game last year, just what you’re doing, how you’re doing it, how fast you’re playing. We did not play very fast the last time we played. We didn’t get lined up as well as you’d like. It’s really two years past that date, 26 games later, and you kind of look and say, where are you, and it’s like, wow. There’s some players on that field I’d still take. I’d still take Lafayette Pitts, and big Tyrique [Jarrett] is out there playing against them, and there’s some other players that you’re going, wow, we don’t have a guy playing for us right now that’s like that guy, either, which is a good thing, too.

Q. What do you want to see out of your team in this game Saturday?
PAT NARDUZZI: You know, I want to see our guys come out with an attitude of this is a big game. I think it’s all how you put into it. It’s a big game because you only get 12 opportunities. So it’s the attitude they take into this game. I want to see them come out and play like they can. I don’t want them holding anything back for the next week or the next week after that or for the ACC. It’s a one-game season, and that’s all I’m focused on. I don’t care about anything else. I want to take that same attitude that our coaches will take into this game.

Q. This is the first of three games you’ll be without Jordan Whitehead, Quintin Wirginis and Alex Bookser. How did you kind of feel at the end of camp the replacements that were stepping in for those three were playing?
PAT NARDUZZI: I feel good. I feel a lot better than I would have felt if I found out or made that decision this week. I’d be like, oh, my gosh, can we get time. We’ve had time to prepare, and we’ll be fine.

Q. You have three guys on defense who are starters who are redshirt freshmen in Rashad, Keyshon and Bricen. Do you think those guys are just right there with the starters?
PAT NARDUZZI: The “or” questions. Give me your ors and I’ll tell you one by one.

Q. We’ve got Dewayne and Rashad?
PAT NARDUZZI: Yeah, Rashad is playing really well, so we feel pretty good obviously about Dewayne Hendrix, and we feel really good about Rashad Weaver. He’s played good football, and we’re excited about him, so that’s a good ‘or.’

Q. And then Jazzee?
PAT NARDUZZI: Jazzee Stocker, that’s been a competition back and forth. If you saw our depth chart during the week, you’d be like, one day it’s him, one day it’s the other guy. Those guys to me are co-starters right now, okay. That’s how it is — just so we’re on the same page, those guys are co-starters, and I’ve been in that situation before, and you know what we’re going to find out, we’re going to find out who plays and does it in the game and who doesn’t. Probably after the game or at least Sunday, I’ll be able to tell you this guy is starting this week, based on what he does on September 2nd. But during the week it’s a little bit back and forth and maybe he didn’t look so good because it wasn’t live and he looked better because it was thud. I don’t know, but we’ll find out in the game.

I’ve been in games where we’ve had co-starters at that safety spot, and Kurtis Drummond I think is playing with the Texans right now. He was co-starter until he made that point in a game, and we found out against Indiana at Indiana that he was the starter. He started the rest of the year, and it was a done deal. Someone finally exposed the other guy, and there we go.

Q. Do you prefer having two guys like that or do you prefer having the one guy separating —
PAT NARDUZZI: If you can give me an All-American there at that position, that’s had 12-game, 15-game experience, I’d take him, too, with someone pushing him, but I do like the competition, and I feel like we’ve got two guys that can go in there, and I feel like it’ll be great for both of them.

Q. With Shawn Watson in his first game trying to figure out what his guys can do in a game situation, do you open it up or do you try to keep it vanilla because you don’t want to show too much because what you’ve got coming the next few weeks is considerable?
PAT NARDUZZI: Do you want me to tell Bo right now?

Q. Well, watching that other game, I was like —
PAT NARDUZZI: Boring, huh? We might be a little bit boring. I don’t know.

Q. How do you weigh it then because you’ve got a guy calling the game, he’s trying to figure out what works, and — how do you weigh that versus I don’t want to show the guys next week what we’re doing?
PAT NARDUZZI: Put it this way: There’s some things we’re going to hold, but we’re going out to win that football game. That’s what it comes down to.

Q. Is this a more difficult test than what you guys opened with last year?
PAT NARDUZZI: I mean, I would say on a piece of paper it is, but when you look at they’re (YSU) a top-10 team right now, I think they’re eighth in one poll, ninth in the other. They’ve got players. I would say yes, it is.

Villanova is not the type of team that’s bringing in a ton of transfers that you don’t know who they are and the history back when Jim Tressel was the head coach there, they brought a ton of transfers in and had some success with them. So they’re on that same track.

Q. How is Paris Ford progressing?
PAT NARDUZZI: You know, not as well as you want to. I shouldn’t say that. He’s doing a great job on scout team. At the point when he came into camp, you know, like the work was in already, unfortunately, and that’s why I told you it would be a miracle probably for him — has he scrimmaged yet? No. I mean, it’s just too late. But you know what, he’s doing a great job on scout team. He’s having fun playing the game, and that’s what you notice about him. The other day he’s got a chance, we run a pass, whatever, doesn’t matter what the pass is, but he comes, whoop, and like pretends like he’s going to hit that guy. Obviously he’s on the scout team, he doesn’t want to hit the guy, but he’s having some fun and you’re like, whoo, that would have been a nice play. He probably would have broken the pass up, so he’s doing good on that. But he’s just sitting there reading a card like — so he doesn’t really know what he’s doing yet, and we’ve worked with him, but the only time — you can work with him and he can say, yeah, I know what to do, but until you see all the different things that can happen to you, you really don’t know. It’s just too hard.

Q. Is he eligible if you guys do want to put him in?
PAT NARDUZZI: Yeah, as far as I know, yeah, is he eligible.

Q. Do you think that either Motley, Aston or Hamlin will play this year?
PAT NARDUZZI: Motley, yes.

Q. Do you think all three will play?
PAT NARDUZZI: Who did you say?

Q. Motley, Aston and Hamlin?
PAT NARDUZZI: Yeah, no doubt about it.

Q. All three will play?
PAT NARDUZZI: Yeah. I told you I would tell you if someone wouldn’t a couple weeks ago, so you guys ask the same questions. But yeah, if somebody is out for the year, I’m going to let you know.

Q. How crucial is it just looking at the schedule, your first three — the second and third games are huge, but how crucial —
PAT NARDUZZI: This first one is huge. I ain’t worried about —

Q. Do they need to perform well on both sides of the ball leading into the next two games?
PAT NARDUZZI: You said how important is it to play good in this game because of what you have next? Is that what you’re asking?

Q. Just to build confidence.
PAT NARDUZZI: Yeah, we’re not going to play like you want to. We’re going to make our biggest improvement from game 1 to game 2. That’s just a natural. We can play really, really good and then fall flat on our face the next week. Sometimes it’s nice not to play great and then at least you go into that next week going, okay — so that confidence, we’ll build that. I just think when you look at the first game, there’s going to be those first game things that happen to you, and we’re going to see some of those ‘ors’, you either do it or not, and the next week there might not be any ‘ors.’ We’re going to find out what some of those guys do. It will not be a perfect game, I can tell you that.

Q. With all those young guys back there, how important is it to have Avonte and Dennis back there, guys who have been in your system now for three years and really know what to look for more than someone who’s —
PAT NARDUZZI: It helps. It helps obviously a lot, and Dane Jackson has come a long way. Damarri Mathis, guys, is a football player. He’s not in there because of a lack of talent. That guy is a football player. I can’t wait to watch him play. Now, he may be a freshman out there on September 2nd, but he hasn’t been a freshman in practice — not one day of practice has he acted like a freshman. I’ve been impressed with that guy from day one to be honest with you, and Pinnock, not as much, but Pinnock is really good, too. I’m excited for those guys and see what they can do.

Q. The numbers weren’t great for the secondary last year. What have you seen — you guys have said we’re going to stick with a plan. This is what we do. What have you seen during camp that sort of gives you confidence that these guys are starting to play?
PAT NARDUZZI: Well, the first thing is there’s always going to be tweaking to it, so when I say not change what we’re going to do, we do what we do, but like we do every week, we’re going to tweak things to take care of things that had hurt us in the past. So you’re not changing the overall structure, but you’re changing little things to make things better, whether it be a technique, fundamental, an alignment. Those are all little things that will change weekly and change with the years, as well. But what you see out of our players in the secondary that you didn’t see a year ago is more recognition of splits, where guys are lined up, what they’re trying to do to you, the why’s, are we doing this, those things, and I’ve seen guys make plays. Now, they’ve made them in practice. We’ve got to make — like I said, we had some great catches on defense through camp, and we’ve got to see it on game day now.

Q. Are they doing less push-ups the last couple weeks than they were at the start of camp?
PAT NARDUZZI: I think it’s been about the same. I think they’ve been pretty steady. I think they’ve been steady through camp. It wasn’t something where they started off bad where they were doing a lot of push ups, I didn’t count them, and then they’re doing less. It’s been a pretty consistent attitude back there, and it’s been pretty solid. We’ll find out on game day.

Q. As a coach do you like that? When you see guys take accountability like that —
PAT NARDUZZI: It’s their defense, so yeah. That’s what you want to see, that accountability out of them and not accepting that.

Q. Even with the secondary, you’ve got five corners posted on there. Is there still a chance we might see Therran Coleman get in the mix?
PAT NARDUZZI: There is. He just needs some game reps. Therran, those other guys have gotten more reps than he has. He’s been up and down and in and out, and we’ll see. But we expect big things out of him and Damar, and we’ll see as time goes. I expect him to play.

Q. From a physical standpoint, where is Dewayne Hendrix compared to where he was at this point last year?
PAT NARDUZZI: You know, that’s a great question. It’s hard to tell. I want to get a whole game out of him. But you know, we don’t even have a game — a whole game to look at and say, okay, how is Dewayne now. I don’t even know how many plays he played against Villanova last year before he was out. Did he play a quarter? I don’t know if he played that long. But he didn’t play very long, so we don’t have a lot to compare it to. He’s looked good. He’s looked good in camp. He looked good in spring ball. He looked good last camp. It’ll be fun to watch him stay healthy, and then I’ll — but you really have nothing to gauge it from.

Q. Do you feel better about your depth on defense this year compared to last?
PAT NARDUZZI: You know, I think it’s just like any year. Some spots you feel better than others. Right?

Q. Where do you feel good about your team?

Q. It’s not an unfair question.
PAT NARDUZZI: It’s not, you’re right.

I feel pretty good about it everywhere, but I’m not going to sit here and give you the weaknesses or anybody else for that matter. I hope you respect that. But I really feel really, really, really good about our D-line and our depth there. I really do. I like the guys that we have. I mean, when you look at Patrick Jones and a guy that hasn’t played for us yet on the edge with Weaver, Jimmy Medure has showed that he can come in there and make some hay, as well. Probably forgetting some other guys. Let me look, at the defensive end spots. Rashad, Allen Edwards had a good camp, Folston. Those are a lot of guys that can play football on the edge, and then inside, Shane Roy has really had a good camp, and Keyshon, and I feel good there.

Q. I saw the clip on Twitter. What was it like giving out that scholarship to Jimmy Morrissey last week?
PAT NARDUZZI: It’s always good. I mean, it didn’t go as planned. We wanted him to take a couple snaps first, but we messed that up. No, it was great. Jimmy has worked his tail off. It was something coming for a long time. You knew if you had one available that that was a guy that worked hard. He’s had the respect of our football team since he walked on that campus. He’s a natural leader. I mean, I will not be shocked if that guy is a captain some day. He’s just a redshirt freshman right now but it will not shock me if he’s a captain some day. He’s respected on and off the field. The kids really like him. For a young guy, man, the communication he’s got in the huddle and at the line of scrimmage is incredible. He does a great job.

Q. You have four tight ends. Where does Flanagan —
PAT NARDUZZI: Again, I could put them in order if you wanted me to. I guess we don’t have an order there because we’re going to play two of them a lot. Might even put three of them on the field. Flanagan has just been consistent and so has Chris Clark now. You’re going to see a lot of those guys on the field, and it’s — you put one tight end on there because you’re putting three wide outs, I think. Is that the case? Do we have three wide outs? Or two backs, or a fullback, whatever. We’ve probably got 12 guys on there instead of 11. We don’t just have two categories for two — maybe we should have a category with 13, 14 positions. But we see Chris Clark as a co-starter with Flanagan. In my opinion those guys are going to play a lot. That guy is going to get out and make a lot of plays this year for us, I think. Flanagan, though, if you had to put them in order, has been more consistent. He’s got the experience that Chris doesn’t have, and he probably pays attention to the details a little bit more than Chris. But when Chris Clark is the senior, he’s going to have the details, as well. I’d say the difference is the details, but when you look at 260 pounds that can run block, pass protect and also run down the field and stretch the field and catch the ball — I mean, they both have play making ability.

Q. Quadree Henderson taking another step as a receiver, what does that do for your offense having him in the slot?
PAT NARDUZZI: It gives us another guy to throw the ball to. I mean, it’s good, I guess, right?

Q. Has there been separation at running back or are those guys still sort of technically together?
PAT NARDUZZI: They’re a big pile in there. It’s another one of those things, it comes down to game day. Quadree has obviously had more reps lying back there, and we’ve seen him do it. Darrin Hall has gotten good. I could throw more ‘ors’ on there as you want it after that if you really wanted me to do that, but there’s some young guys that have really stepped up. I mean, AJ Davis has been impressive.

Q. I wanted to ask you about the long snap position.
PAT NARDUZZI: Good for you.

Q. With Cal Adomitis winning that, is that something that Coach Powell comes to you and says I think we’ve got to go with Cal or is that something you’re involved with because obviously it’s a very niche sort of —
PAT NARDUZZI: You guys were out there for practice most of the time during field goal and punts and all that and watching the snaps. No we make staff decisions, and it’s just consistency as far as where that snap is, especially for punts. We like it at the right thigh board in the punt protection. Those are all things that we all look at. It’s not hard to see, and consistency as far as where that snap goes is important. Cal has done a great job, and we’re going to find out on game day. I don’t know if there’s an ‘or’ there, but Nate Bossory has done a nice job, as well.

Q. Talking about the backs, Moss isn’t on there. Is he just a step behind or will he still get some runs?
PAT NARDUZZI: We’ll find out. It comes down to getting reps, and Moss isn’t on there, but AJ Davis isn’t on there, Sibley is not on there, probably somebody else we’re missing on there, as well, but it comes down to getting enough reps to be a guy that you’d want to put on that two deep and feel comfortable. Those are our first two guys going into the game Saturday. I can tell you that. If they’re not going on, then we’ll go to the third guy. But those are the first two guys that you’ll see in the game, unless something crazy happens this week.

Q. With you and Bo both being from Youngstown, a year and a half apart in age, did you know him growing up and as you got into the profession?
PAT NARDUZZI: It’s been a ‘hate’ tie since the beginning, okay, and in a good way. You know, we don’t grow up in a world like we do now, so Youngstown, you’ve got Ursuline, Catholic school, versus Youngstown Mooney is really what it was, and we didn’t like them and they didn’t like us, and the hate was the rivalry, not even me and Bo. But without — you’ve got Twitter and Facebook and Snapchat and then you have all these recruiting events, like in the Pittsburgh area, all these kids in this area all know each other, you know, and when you look back in 1984 and ’85 and ’83, there was no such thing. They may have lived two blocks away, but because they were from the other block, you didn’t talk to them. So you really didn’t know them. You knew them from a scouting report and who they were and what they played, but you really didn’t — there was no interaction like there is nowadays. And it’s kind of neat how these kids get along with each other now and they play each other on a Friday night and then they continue to talk — we didn’t do that back then. I mean, I know you’re too young to maybe figure it out. You’re like, what is he talking about. Us old people.

Back to school: Middle and High School


Middle and high school is a busy time for students. At this level of school, a child has already begun forming their personality. This means they have their individual quirks and mannerisms. Likewise, they also have their own specific group of friends. Regardless of all of this, it’s important to keep your child excited about their education. Here are helpful tips to get your teen ready for the new school year.


First, teach them how to be organized. This group of students gets a lot of homework. Learning how to use a planner is a life skill they will carry throughout the rest of their life. Buy them a planner that has a monthly view, as well as days where they can write assignments, due dates, and relevant information. Teach them to organize their paperwork in a way that makes sense to them. All homework that is due goes in front of their folder, for instance, while notes from teachers and/or other school staff go in a separate part of their planner.


On another note, help your teen develop excellent time management. It’s fine to go out with friends on Friday night, but not when you have yet to start your research paper. Don’t allow your teen to put things off until the last minute. The result of this is never favorable. Teens that sacrifice study time often see poorer grades as a direct result. If your teen is struggling in school, sit down with them. Help them prioritize their time. If homework is taking too long, open up dialogue as to why. Do they transpose numbers or letters? This is dyslexia. Maybe they have struggled with reading. There are programs that can help you find the answers.


During these years, too, there may be a lot of drama in your teen’s life. They may be up against peer pressure by their friends to try a dangerous substance, such as alcohol, or dress a particular way. You, the parent, has to be the voice that rises above the noise. Make sure your teen knows they are beautiful and accepted. They need to understand that they don’t have to change for anyone. If they receive this message, especially from their parent, they will be less likely to fall prey to the peer pressure.


Also, teach your child how to be prompt. In Sleeping With Strangers, Eric Jerome Dickey quotes: “Early is on time, on time is late, and late is never acceptable!” If your child has a geometry class at 10:45, encourage them to be in their seat by 10:35. This means they are ready for the teacher to call attendance. All their materials are under their desk and they are ready to learn. If your child shows up to class at 10:50, however, this is disruptive to the class. The teacher doesn’t care why the student was late, but they do want the student to be on time.


Finally, know your child’s friends. I’m not saying lurk around every corner, mom, and dad. In fact, that alone would creep any teen out! Instead, be an active parent. Show up to every music recital. Be present at every soccer or volleyball practice. Have an open communication with your child’s teacher and anyone in their life. If you do this, you’re going to know when your child is bottling something inside. They may be too embarrassed to tell you they are being bullied, but the best friend (whom you have a direct communication to through your child) will tell you and you should trust it.


Being a teen isn’t easy. This may be the time when children rebel against a school, but don’t let that happen. Encourage your teen to be social and active. They have so much to look forward to with the new school year!


Back to school with Urban Media Today


Summer is nearing to an end. Lazy mornings and late nights are soon to be exchanged for routines and homework. If you have young kids going back to school, the best thing you can do is start to prepare early. Start your preparation a solid three weeks before their first school day. Here are some tips on how to get your child back to that early bedtime.


First, practice routine each day. Have your child get up, get themselves dressed and make themselves breakfast. Take it a step further and have them make themselves lunch. Turn it into a teaching moment of which foods are healthy for the body and which foods are so nutritious. Remember, Jack or Jill, aren’t going to be under your wing to college. Learning this skill young, instead of having mom and dad do it, will teach them independence.


Later on in the day, have your child relax and get ready for bed. They should bathe and brush their teeth by a set time, usually after dinner. Most children this age still enjoy parents reading them bedtime stories. If your child is old enough, allow them to learn on their own. Then, allow them to play with their toys in their pajamas. When your set bedtime has arrived, let’s say eight o’clock, make sure they have picked out tomorrow’s clothes. Have they packed their lunch? Both of these tasks will make their routine for the next day that much easier.


You should also teach your child to be enthusiastic about learning. Try to stick to their teach’s supply list, but allow your child to have personalized school items at home. If they want the red notebook, then let them have it. Saying no is going to damper their excitement. Let them pick out their school clothes and their book bag. Furthermore, allow them to see friends they have missed over the summer. All of this is going to help your child get ready for the new school year ahead.


On this note, be attentive to new people. Your child is going to a new classroom. They will have a new teacher. They may (or may not) know students from the previous school year. If they don’t, this can cause some children to become shy. This is one reason most schools have back-to-school nights. It’s the perfect setting for parents to meet one another, as well as students to meet one another. The teacher explains what the children will learn, and there is less reason for your child to be nervous. If they still are, however, encourage play dates or activities after school.


If your child is Pre-K (preschool/kindergarten) age, then the gradual entry may help ease the transition. If your child has been at home up to this point, they may not want to leave mom and dad. Don’t worry; there’s aren’t any teachers that will close the door on you. In fact, they encourage to stay as long as your child wants you there. But, more likely than not, your child is going to meet friends or find interest in a toy. They would have forgotten about you by the first story time. Trust that they’ll be okay and you’re going to make it through the day.


Finally, talk to your kids. Tell them what they can expect the upcoming school year. Ask your child what makes them nervous and wholeheartedly listen to them. Follow up their concerns with related stories. For instance, your child may be concerned they won’t have anyone to eat lunch with in the cafeteria. You could relate by telling them a story in which you had this happen, too, but you met a new friend in class. This encourages them to open up to their classmates, be more trusting and friendly.


Going back to school is exciting. It should be something that your child enjoys. Keep the conversation open about school, and they’re going to be lifetime learners. 

Ray Jr on Sports


  1. Le’Veon Bell Says he’ll return to the Steelers September 1st-By way of Twitter, the Pittsburgh Steelers All-Pro RB stated when he would finally return to the Steelers and sign the $12 million Franchise Tag. He stated it’ll be after their final Preseason game and ‘9/1’ as he tweeted. He also Tweeted ‘You’re Welcome.’ Very classy.
  2. Could Bell’s absence affect his play? I admit that he’s a phenomenal athlete, but there’s a reason why there are training camps and preseason games. It’s to get the players ready for the regular season and Bell wasn’t there for either. As I stated before, it was a selfish move that had zero consideration for team chemistry. He’ll be ready to play the Cleveland Browns 9/10, but I can’t imagine HC Mike Tomlin naming him a starter.
  3. Bell’s Future? Well, I feel that the Steelers can still sign him, or just franchise tag him again ($14 million in 2018) but it still baffles me that he turned down a 5 year deal worth $12 million and I’m sure it baffled the Steelers, who usually lock up their stars..well at least in the Salary Cap era.
  4. Steelers trade for Cornerback-Well, it’s not Darelle Revis, but the Steelers acquired CB Dashaun Phillips for C Lucas Crowley. Phillips is a small CB (5-11, 185) and has only played in 5 games in 2016, starting 2. Not sure how he will help the team, because they’ve added corners before (Brandon Boykin in 2015, Justin Gilbert last season) and hardly did anything with them. I’m convinced that they still do not take the CB position seriously enough.
  5. Steelers CB situation they’d certainly not good enough to lead them to a championship, but the Steelers have no choice but to use what they have which starts with their best CB: Artie Burns who was drafted #1 last season. Ross Cockrell was the other starter, but he’s been replaced by FA signee Coty Sensabaugh after a subpar game vs. Atlanta. The others? Veteran William Gay and rookie standout Mike Hilton. 5th round draft pick Brian Allen is still a project and 3rd round pick Cam Sutton has been hurt all preseason. This unit isn’t going to win friends and influence people. But that’s just me.
  6. James Conner-He finally gets to play in his first game and made quite the impression. The Pitt star rushed for 98 yards on 20 carries in the Steelers victory vs. Atlanta. I’m convinced that if he didn’t struggle in the first half, then he would’ve had over 100 yards and a TD. He showed aggressiveness and speed between the tackles and I feel he has locked up the #2 RB spot behind Bell.
  7. RB Trey Williams-This journeyman also made an impression in the Atlanta victory as well as he returned a punt return for a 64 yard TD and what I like about that score was his fight for the end zone after you just knew he was going to be down at the 5-yard line. He could challenge FA signee Knile Davis for the special team’s spot, but then again, it’s just the preseason.
  8. Steelers vs. Colts-In their 3rd Preseason game, the Steelers will take on the Indianapolis Colts and it’s expected that QB Ben Roethlisberger, WR Antonio Brown and LB James Harrison will play. Most teams believe in playing their starters in the 3rd Preseason game, and the Steelers are one of those teams.
  9. Landry Jones expected to play as well-For the first 2 games, it’s been rookies Josh Dobbs and Bart Houston at QB, mainly because backup Landry Jones has been hurt during training camp, but Jones has been practicing and is expected to play Saturday.
  10. Any Chance Colin Kaepernick signs with the Steelers, or with anybody? That would be a good question if Jones were done for the year, but Kaepernick’s not coming to Pittsburgh, but I can’t imagine him not being signed at all this season. He’s not a washed-up QB, it’s pretty clear that his protest of the National Anthem is truly playing a part of why he’s not signed. If that wasn’t the case then why were 33 other QB’s signed this past offseason, most whom aren’t as talented as Kaepernick.
  11. More NFL Players Kneel in protest during Anthem-This time, it was 9 Cleveland Browns players who did so and I respect their decision. As I stated before, they’re making a statement, and I believe that there will be more.
  12. Pitt Football Names Starting QB To be honest, was there really any doubt that it was going to be USC graduate -transfer Max Browne? There shouldn’t have been and HC Pat Narduzzi made it official this week that Browne is the man. He has the most experience of the Qbs but he’s only here for a season, so Sophomore Ben DiNucci will only need to wait one more season.
  13. Henderson named AP Preseason All-American-The Preseason awards continue for Pitt’s electric WR and return man as it was announced that he earned the All-American honor this week. He had 2,083 all-purpose yards in 2016. He’s definitely looking for an encore in 2017.
  14. Penn State’s Barkley also earns All-American Honors-I really believe that this young man will get Heisman attention as well after his 1,496/18 TD 2016. He could go for 2,000 yards this season.
  15. Alabama is ranked #1 in Preseason AP Poll-No surprise there. Despite their loss to Clemson in the National Championship, the Crimson Tide are still the top team in College Football and will probably contend for the championship again. Ohio State is #2, followed by Florida State, and USC. Speaking of Clemson, they’re ranked 5th. Penn State is 6th and West Virginia is 22nd. Pitt isn’t ranked, but actually received votes.
  16. Kyrie Irving Gets His Wish-Yes, the disgruntled Cleveland Cavalier was finally traded out of Cleveland, but surprisingly it was to the Boston Celtics for G Isaiah Thomas and F Jae Crowder and the Brooklyn Nets 2018 first round pick.
  17. Which Team Wins this Trade? In my opinion, both teams do. Irving for Thomas was truly a swap of all-star guards. The only concern is Thomas’ hip that he hurt last season with the Celtics. He may not start the season with the Cavs. But Crowder is a presence who averaged 13.5 points and 5.8 rebounds last season. The Celtics simply get an All-Star in Irving who will team up with former Utah Jazz Gordon Heyward.
  18. Pirates Make History-Wednesday night, the Pittsburgh Pirates were no-hit by LA Dodgers Rich Hill for almost 10 innings, but both teams failed to score until Josh Harrison hit a Walk-Off HR giving the Pirates a 1-0 win. It’s the first time in MLB history that a pitcher lost a no-hitter on a Walk-Off HR. Amazing.
  19. Kang To Play Winter Ball in DR-Well, the Pirates are trying to get their infamous third baseman to that league after not being able to play in the MLB due to not being able to get a Visa to the US after a DUI in Korea. So far, the DR has rejected a Visa for Kang also, but the Pirates aren’t giving up.
  20. Giancarlo Stanton-The MLB HR Leader (46) made news when he said that the ‘true’ HR record is 61 (Roger Maris) and not 73, which was set by Barry Bonds. It’s interesting that he didn’t say Mark McGwire at 70 also. Clearly, this was a knock on Bonds and McGwire for their suspected Performance Enhancing Drugs use. 

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PWIs–predominantly white institutions

Several weeks ago, I wrote about an encounter with white supremacy when I announced to my white friend and her family that I was accepted into Penn State University and like a bad game of telephone, what they heard was that I had unfairly “taken” a spot presumably reserved for a deserving white acquaintance of theirs because–say it with me now: affirmative action. It would be so nice to say that I defended myself and walked off into the sunset never to have to deal with racism again…but we all know as a black person anywhere in this world, this dream has yet to materialize. In fact, my time at Penn State was its own case study of white supremacy and privilege in academia, so much so that the culmination of my undergraduate career was marred by racial intimidation and violence.Verysmartbrothas recently published an article suggesting helpful books for students preparing or returning to PWIs–predominantly white institutions–to “prepare them for the challenges that come along with the reality of life at a PWI as a student of color.” I would like to add my practical two cents to this endeavor as well because, for as many things that have changed in the 20 years since I set foot on campus as a freshman, too many things have stayed the same.


NOTE: Some of these suggestions may not extend to students at PWIs in major metropolitan cities and are more geared towards schools that are cities unto themselves in suburban/rural areas.


  1.    Find out quickly where you can get your hair done or cut: Never trust chains like Supercuts who say they do “black” hair–it never ends well.  If there are no black hair dressers or barbers in town or within a reasonable trip outside of town, there are usually fellow students who are gifted with follicle care and styling who can hold you down until you can manage a trip home to your regular stylist/barber.  


  1.    Do not go into the local towns alone: My friends and I would often joke that the names of two towns close to Penn State—Tyrone and Lamar–were named after black men that were lynched for being in the wrong place alone. Wikipedia refutes this, but it’s just safer to travel in groups to have protection and witnesses in case anything off-color happens. With the NAACP recently issuing a travel advisory for black visiting the entire state of Missouri, limiting or avoiding travel alone into small, lesser known towns just seems like common sense.


  1.    Stock up on your shade of makeup when you’re at home: Granted, I am woefully out of touch with the makeup renaissance that is currently sweeping the world. I still don’t know what BB cream is and why you need it, so there’s a chance that these new houses of worship like Sephora and Ulta stock more encompassing range of makeup shades at most of their stores. But just in case, if you find yourself living in an area where you are in the minority, chances are they won’t have your shade in stock, so it’s best to stock up when at home.  


  1.    Prepare yourself for racism in ALL of its various forms: Since 2011, The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education has maintained a blog of alleged campus racial incidents and reports of discrimination, including the horrifying and senseless murder of a Bowie State University student on the campus of the University of Maryland in May. In addition to blatant, intentional and violent instances of racism, black students report feeling the most “drained” from repeated incidents of covert racism or micro aggressions, such as being excluded from study groups or being called on in class to be the “voice” of your race. In addition to the option of interrupting and confronting instances of prejudice, the next three suggestions can profoundly impact your ability to thrive in the face of racism.


  1.    Cultivate a support group: Having a support group, either informal (friends) or formal (Black Student Union) will go along way in buffering the impact of racism. Informally, it’s great to have someone who you can vent to who understands or participating in group self-care like watching Black TV shows together. Formally, Black and POC groups are critical to the expansion of racial justice dialogue across campus among students, faculty, administration, and donors. Make sure to attend and support events on campus sponsored by POC students to increase visibility.


  1.    Connect with a faculty/administrator of color for support: Professors of color are dealing with similar issues and micro aggressions related to racism, including “alienation and isolation, job satisfaction, competing demands associated with tenure and/or promotion, systemic oppression, institutional fit, and the history and legacies of injustice”. Despite this, their presence and support are crucial to black student retention and persistence through graduate education. My black thesis advisor was instrumental in supporting me to competitively persist and graduate from Penn State’s rigorous honors college. In addition to advisors and professors, diversity and inclusion program administrators are often great advocates.


  1.    Take cultural studies courses: I feel like this is imperative and wish someone would have encouraged me to do the same. I did take one African studies class that just so happened to be taught by a white woman, which is not a rarity and to her credit, she spent many years studying and living on the continent. But that one class was not enough to begin to gain the essential knowledge of the African/African-American and global south diaspora that is often misleading at best and absent at worst from most secondary and undergraduate education.       Shanna K Houser Contributor;  

Urban Media Today Sports


The Steelers celebrated their 52nd Training Camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa., this summer.

Pittsburgh has called Saint Vincent College its “summer home” since 1966.

Through their first three decades in the NFL, the Steelers held their training camps at a variety of locations, as far east as New England and as far west as Wisconsin. In 1966, for the third straight summer, training camp for the Steelers was at the University of Rhode Island.  The team was there through the

first four weeks of a fi ve-game preseason schedule. Then, after a loss in Green Bay to Vince Lombardi’s Packers, Coach Bill Austin wanted the team closer to Pittsburgh because the 1966 regular season was due to open with a home game against the New York Giants on Sept. 11.

With no practice field of their own at the time, the Steelers turned to Saint Vincent College. The team arrived in Latrobe

2017 Pitt Football Camp, Day 

Pat Narduzzi Names Max Browne as Pitt Starting Quarterback


PITTSBURGH—Following the 19th practice of Pitt football training camp at the UPMC Sports Performance Complex, Pat Narduzzi announced Max Browne as the Panthers’ starting quarterback for the team’s 2017 season opener against Youngstown State on Sept. 2 at Heinz Field.

Narduzzi, Browne and Pitt offensive coordinator Shawn Watson all spoke with the assembled media following the Panthers’ workout on the South Side of Pittsburgh. MORE

Pitt’s Quadree Henderson Named AP Preseason All-American

Henderson Topped 2,000 All-Purpose Yards Last Season for the Panthers


PITTSBURGH—University of Pittsburgh junior wide receiver and return man Quadree Henderson has been named an Associated Press preseason first team All-America all-purpose player, it was announced on Tuesday afternoon.


A returning consensus All-American as a returner, Henderson enters the 2017 season with the Panthers after making a massive impact on special teams and offense for Pitt in 2016.

Last fall, Henderson became the first Pitt player since Tony Dorsett in his Heisman Trophy-winning 1976 season to top 2,000 all-purpose yards. The speedster from Wilmington, Del., finished with a total of 2,083 all-purpose yards via a Pitt-record 914 kickoff return yards, 631 rushing yards, 286 receiving yards and 252 punt return yards.

Henderson also scored 10 total touchdowns last season, entering the end zone four different ways: by rush (5), kickoff return (3), reception (1) and punt return (1).


With the help of Henderson, the ACC led all conferences with seven AP preseason All-America honorees.

Dick Gregory, civil rights activist and comedian, dead at 84

(CNN)Comedian and civil rights activist Dick Gregory, who broke barriers in the 1960s and became one of the first African-Americans to perform at white clubs, died Saturday.

He was 84.
Gregory recently rescheduled an event in Atlanta because he was hospitalized. He died in Washington, his son posted on social media without giving details.
“The family appreciates the outpouring of support and love, and respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time,” Christian Gregory said. “More details will be released over the next few days.”
Gregory satirized segregation and racial injustice in his acts, and was arrested several times in the 1960s for joining civil rights rallies.
He was relatively unknown until 1961, when the prestigious Playboy Club in Chicago asked him to fill in for comedian Irwin Corey one night.
This comedian single-handedly changed stand-up

This comedian single-handedly changed stand-up 01:21
Until that night, he said in a biography on his website, he had worked at small clubs filled with black audiences.
His gig as Corey’s replacement was successful. After winning over a majority white audience that night, the Playboy Club offered him a three -year contract, turning him into a headline performer. MORE


National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial issued the following statement in response to the passing of civil rights activist and comedian Dick Gregory:

“Dick Gregory was both a personal friend and a strong supporter of the Urban League Movement. He was a guest at my wedding and spent two weeks campaigning for me in New Orleans neighborhoods during my 1994 runoff campaign for Mayor.  He was a frequent speaker at Urban League events and his sharp-witted insight will be sorely missed. With the nation facing a crisis of racial hostility, we would do well to be guided by his unwavering dedication to justice.”


Follow This Advice To Improve Your Nutritional Intake.

Nutrition needs might change, based on any type of ailment you have, your body style or even your gender. That’s why there’s really no one-size-fits-all formula out there for the proper nutrition. Read the tips in the article below, to help you to understand a little more about nutrition, as a whole.

If you are trying to eat as cheaply as possible, but still want to be healthy, purchase a variety of fortified breakfast cereals. Vitamins and minerals are added so it’s as if you’re taking a multivitamin. One box provides you with 4 or 5 meals so the cost per meal is less than one dollar for you.

Stick to all-natural foods instead of those produced and refined in factories. Many times those foods add items such as extra fats, oils, greases and preservatives that can really harm your body. Try shopping for the parts of the stores where you can purchase produce, healthy protein and other “from the earth” products.

To eat in a healthier way, you should change the way you cook. Cooking food in certain ways can make them unhealthy. Avoid fried or roasting your food, as well as barbecues and grills. Instead, try steam cooking, boiling and prefer your oven to your grill or barbecue.

Dark, leafy green vegetables might be the very best foods to select when you try to add better nutrition to your diet. These vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and exotic lettuces, are packed with beneficial vitamins and nutrients, as well as, being completely free of unhealthy ingredients. By incorporating them into a healthy diet, the savvy dieter will get plenty of healthy nutrition.

When considering a diet that provides an adequate nutrition level, be sure to include low-fat milk. Milk provides many nutrients – including calcium and protein – that the body needs. Studies have shown that drinking milk does benefit both muscle growth, and also the body’s ability to maintain a healthy body fat content.

When eating out, ask your server for his or her recommendations. Restaurants often specifically train their servers to be very familiar with the menu. The next time you find yourself eating out, do not be afraid to question the staff. They will likely be able to point out to you, the healthiest choices on the menu.

Vitamin E is often overlooked in the realm of skin care. It is a rich oil that can be taken internally or applied externally to the face and body. In a pinch, the pills can be broken open and used on the face or body. It is a fantastic facial mask and works well as a deep moisturizer.

When people go on a diet, a lot of times they will try and eat a lot of salad. Salads are wonderful because they will fill you up, are nutritional, and you can add anything you want to make them taste different. If you get tired of salads day after day, try filling up a whole wheat pita with salad, and you will find a whole new meal you enjoy.

When you are dining out, always ask your server about the healthiest options available on the menu, they will be able to point you in the right direction. You should also check to see if the restaurant has a healthy version of the menu. This is becoming more common in a lot of restaurants.

Instead of eating potato chips as a snack at the end of the night, go into the fridge and peel several apple slices. Apple slices are a very nutritious and tasty snack that you can substitute; with a fraction of the calories that you will get from eating potato chips.

Replace your syrup with pureed fruit. Fill up your blender with any fruit that is in season or that you happen to get a good deal on at the supermarket. Blemishes don’t matter so much because they won’t be seen anyway. Instead of using the syrup to top off your pancakes, French toast and waffles, make a healthier choice!

Sometimes salads are best when they are all green! Just include a variety of lettuces and spinach. Add some edamame and some chickpeas, maybe some sliced bell peppers, and whatever else you can think of that is green. Finish it all off with a low-fat dressing, and rest assured you are eating very healthy indeed.

If you have had a long and tedious day at school or work, try to fit in a twenty-minute nap to restore your body to normal capacity. This will also help to reduce your anxiety level and can limit the cravings that you may have, for the rest of the night.

It is always healthier to consume whole fruit instead of fruit juice. Actual fruit contains natural sugars, whereas fruit juice contains many added sweeteners. Several fruit juices have much more sugars than soft drinks. Important vitamins, minerals, and fiber are found in most fruits. These nutrients can protect the body from serious problems, like cardiovascular diseases.

To make sure your body is getting everything it needs adds a wide variety of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables to your diet. All of these are rich in important vitamins and minerals. Studies have repeatedly shown that these are the foods most Americans are deficient in. As an added bonus, fruits and vegetables also tend to be low calorie.

Avoid diets that are composed completely of one food group such as protein. The belief that eliminating carbohydrates or fats for a prolonged period will lead to a healthier life is not truly sound. The human body requires carbohydrates, proteins, and fats to process food into energy as well as aiding other biochemical activities such as brain function.

Like you read up top, there is no universal approach to nutrition. Everyone’s needs may be different. For some general nutrition tweaks, however, you can use the tips you’ve learned in the body of the text above, to start leading a healthier lifestyle. Once you get into the habit of proper nutrition, you’ll definitely begin to look and feel a lot better.

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