Sunday, July 26, 2015

Nebraska

I just returned from a Mathmatics workshop in Lincoln Nebraska. It was a great week, I learned a lot and met some amazing people.
The workshop was about mathematical modeling. They showed us how to introduce real-life problems to our students. The students can solve those with their mathematical skills. This seemed very helpful as many of my students struggle to see applications of math in real life. 

We spent a week on the University of Nebraska Lincoln campus. It was really beautiful and the weather was good to us (not too hot - except the last day). I learned from the experience of the many math teachers (26) that were with us in the workshop. 

The food was amazing too, we had access to the cafeteria on campus which had an open buffet with a wide selection of food. 

On Sunday, when we arrived, we rented a car and drove up to Omaha. The Okiishis (who were in Jerusalem a while ago) now live there since Pres. Okiishi is the Winter Quarters temple president. They are such amazing people and it was great to see them again.


 Here is a picture of the Winter Quarters Temple:

 The Mormon pioneers settled in Winter Quarters for a while and then had to leave. There is a cemetery here by the temple where many of them had to bury their dead. Some names of those who are buried there are listed near this statue (of a couple burring their infant child)...most names are children and babies. It is sad to contemplate the amount of suffering the pioneers went through as they traveled though the plains to get to the salt lake valley.  (In this picture I am with Bonnie, who is also teaching math at BYU-I and she came with me on the trip)



 One of the nice sister missionaries, sister Espiritu from the Philippines gave us a tour of the visitors' center there. I had to take a picture with her because I have a sister in the Jerusalem branch with that same last name...




Here is a picture of Bonnie and I trying to push the handcart. The pioneers pulled these handcarts with their belongings for thousands of miles in the cold winter across rocky hills and valleys. I probably could pull it 5 minutes then I would drop dead ;-)
 



On Thursday we had the opportunity to visit one of BYU-I's pathway sites. It was the last class gathering for these pathway students. The sister missionary who was in charge (sitting next to me) just lost her husband a week ago, yet she had a smile on her face and was full of faith and trust in her Heavenly Father. 
 

Our visit was remarkable. I could totally see the difference this pathway program made  in the lives of those people. Their faith was radiating and their bond was strong to one another. One of them even insisted on coming to the last class gathering even though she was in labor and her contractions were 5 minutes apart. She had to leave to the hospital right after that.

If you don't know about the pathway program, it is an online program through BYU-I which helps those who have maybe been away from school for a while, or are not able to get into college to start taking online classes through BYU-I. It is cheap to take those classes and thus it gives opportunity to many to enroll at a university.  A prophet has said that BYU-I will fill the earth, and the pathway program is a fulfillment of that prophecy. Here is a nice sunset I saw on the way back to Lincoln:
  

I am back in Rexburg. I finished grading my finals and doing most of my grades. I was a bit discouraged because of how badly my students did in the final. It sometimes makes me think if not teaching them is just as good...But I guess the relationships I developed with the students and the spirit I and they felt in class is worth it. Even if the math skills don't stick in their heads, I hope that the spirit they feel will.

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