Author Archives: ansleighshae

About ansleighshae

Just a college girl who loves Jesus & wants to share Him with everyone

Opportunity is not a Lengthy Visitor

When I was younger, I was incredibly shy. I hated talking to people I didn’t know, and I often had my independent little sister order for me at restaurants. Despite being shy, my mom knew how much I loved to sing and made me audition for the church musical in the fourth grade. When I realized I was cast as the lead, I was terrified to step out onstage. The minute I did, however, I was instantly at home.

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Ansleigh Harrison performs in her first show, Candy Cane Lane, 2007

The shy, awkward, little 10 year-old girl that existed in my body vanished as I sang my first note. The worries of the school day vaporized as I began acting. The stage became my place of peace.

And now schools all over the United States are slowly weeding out several forms of fine arts programs.

In 2012, The National Center for Education Statistics released the results to a nationwide survey that was sent out to k-12 schools during the 2009-10 school year regarding arts education in primary and secondary public schools. This was the first survey taken regarding this topic since the 1999-2000 school year.

The U.S. Department of Education noted that “for theater and dance in elementary schools, the percentages of schools making these art forms available went from 20 percent 10 years ago to only 4 and 3 percent, respectively, in the 2009-10 school year. In addition, at more than 40 percent of secondary schools, coursework in arts was not required for graduation in the 2009-10 school year.”

In just one decade, the importance of arts within schools has dwindled significantly.

The arts are a necessary tool in human development. Whether we notice it or not, we all use some form of art in nearly every aspect of our lives. We use drawings in our explanations, we use music to de-stress or learn certain things, and sometimes we even act a certain way when we are around certain people. It has been proven that learning a musical instrument can actually boost a child’s ability to focus. Art is a form of therapy that allows human beings to express themselves. Although not everyone uses the arts in a therapeutic way, fine arts are still an important part of society. Cutting these programs out of our public schools diminishes the opportunity for students to learn about or pursue the arts.

If I hadn’t been able to participate in theatre and chorus programs in middle and high school, I wouldn’t have realized that I wanted to pursue theatre as a career. I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to form a family within the theatre and chorus departments, and I wouldn’t have been as happy had I chosen to pursue my second choice career.

Arts programs give students the opportunity to explore an extracurricular activity that stretches and challenges their minds, as well as their bodies. The shy, awkward, little 10 year-old Ansleigh wouldn’t be where she is today without the arts programs in her high school. Other kids are not as lucky to have been allowed such an opportunity as she, and so many others, had. We need fine arts in schools to round out our students and push them to break out of their comfort zones in order to strive to be the best they can be.

“Opportunity is not a lengthy visitor…”-Cinderella, Into The Woods

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Ansleigh Harrison performs her first lead role as the Baker’s Wife in Into The Woods, 2014

https://blog.ed.gov/2012/04/ed-releases-new-report-on-arts-education-in-u-s-public-schools/

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In chapter 5, Briggs talks about how powerful photojournalism can be. Just using words conveys the author’s point, but adding a picture can make all the difference. Personally, I’m a visual person. I understand or connect with someone or something more when I can see a visual representation. The phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” is very true when it comes to photojournalism. I like to read book series that are made into movies after they are written. Watching the movie after you’ve already formed a mental picture of the setting and characters from the book is kind of like not using pictures in journalistic writing. Nine times out of ten, the reader has the image of what happened completely wrong if there is no picture to guide them.

Briggs mentions that “more time leads to better photos.” Just like anything else in life, spending more time behind the camera and actually focusing on getting the right photograph will cause one to do so. Plus, the more pictures you take, the better the odds that one will come out perfectly for the story you are writing. Photos explain information in ways that we as authors can’t convey with words.

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In chapter 6, Filak introduces and defines what a blog is. As someone who writes a personal blog, I very interested to see what he had to say. The first headline was “Don’t Blog Just to Blog.” We tend to jump on the bandwagon really fast in today’s society. Many corporations or organizations have blogs, but are unsuccessful due to them being unnecessary. Not every organization needs a blog. Blogs are different forms of media because they are such a personal way of sending out information, and are typically less formal than other forms of media. We tend to gloss over hyperlinks embedded in the bottom of blogs, but they can actually be very useful when it comes to finding out more about the topic the audience was reading about.

Briggs mentions that “a good blog is a continuing conversation,” meaning that blogs should challenge the reader to contemplate the topic and continue the discussion. Microblogging is actually very important. Although it’s basically just a short message, it allows people access to other links and graphics instantaneously. A great example of microblogging is the Twitter app. The main reason microblogging is so important and popular is because of how quickly news is shared on these platforms.

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While reading chapter 11, I had several revelations about PR. Before I read this chapter, I thought PR was basically just a form of publicity. But now I realize there’s so much more that goes into it than basic publicity. Filak discusses how practitioners should be deliberate. Their words are meant to create a certain reaction to a certain audience.

Good PR is best received when it includes “off-the-cuff comments and quick-witted jabs.” Bad news is best handled with transparency. As humans, we tend to want to hide our mistakes and issues, but it’s better in the PR world to get them out in the open. The audience’s reaction will actually be worse if they find out later than sooner. If the issue only comes out partially over a period of time, it stays in the minds of the audience much longer than if the whole situation comes out at once.

Filak also mentions that sometimes being humane is more important than being accurate. I experienced this last year in my radio class when I had to report that a faculty member had died. I had to be careful the way I said it so I didn’t sound insensitive.

Clarity is also important. Not everyone is on the same level. If an author’s audience can’t understand what he is saying, there isn’t any reason for them to continue reading.

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Chapter 3 of the textbook has some very useful insights on the topic of grammar and sentence structure. Filak’s mention of an author’s credibility being his “stock-in-trade” is absolutely true (p. 38). If a writer has no credibility, what does he have? Nothing. I liked his statement: “if one component [of a sentence] is weak, the whole machine suffers” (p. 39). Sentence structure is one of the most important ways for a writer to get his point across. Many people think that embellishing makes their writing sound more sophisticated, but it actually just tends to clutter the sentence structure and take away from the initial idea the writer is trying to convey.

I thought is was very interesting how Filak mentioned that sometimes grammar actually gets in the way of a writer’s main idea. I’ve always been one for correct grammar, but I agree that sometimes it can actually misconstrue what the author was trying to say, or confuse the audience he is trying to reach. I also liked his section on how reading aloud can help a writer find his mistakes. I’ve found this to be true in my own writing.

In chapter 4, Filak talks about the inverted pyramid. I find this useful because I would normally write in a chronological order. However, by writing the outcome of the story first, the writer catches his audience’s attention and gives them a reason to keep reading.

In chapter 8, he mentions knowing background information before going to an event. This seems like common sense to me; but the more I read, the more I understood. Covering an event seems like an easy task, because all a writer is reporting is what took place. However, if he has no beforehand knowledge of the event, topic, or people he is covering, his story is likely to be bare and boring. The audience members he is trying to reach will likely pick up on this and look elsewhere for their source of news on the event. Post-event interviews are also extremely helpful, because they may be able to fill in gaps the spokesperson has left out. They also may be able to explain some of the formal language and jargon at the event that readers may possibly be confused by.

Blue-Eyed Belle

Actress. Singer. Costumer. Writer.

Though these are the most prominent of my hobbies and talents, I am a girl of many interests. But before I get to those…

I was born in Lawrenceville, Georgia on April 25th, 1997. My full name is Ansleigh Shae Harrison, but I am frequently mistaken as an “Ashleigh.” I have a sixteen year old sister who also doubles as my best friend. I love anything to do with Disney. The first thing people tend to notice about me is my blue eyes. My favorite Disney princess is Belle, and my good friend Toni thought I looked so much like her that he started calling me “Blue-eyed Belle” (hence my title). I’m a Christian, so going to church is a huge blog 29part of my life. When I was in kindergarten, I started going to choir at my church. I sang in the ensemble of all of our productions until I was in the fifth grade, when my mother and choir director forced me to audition for a part. Shy, little introverted Ansleigh did as she was told and was given the lead in a Christmas production called Candy Cane Lane. I immediately fell in love with performing, but I’m also very athletic. I acted in several shows in middle school, but cheerleading was a huge love of mine. In ninth grade, I tried out for the varsity competition cheerleading squad at my high school, Hebron Christian Academy, and made it. For two years, I juggled hours of practices, football games, and competitions, while also struggling to continue performing. After juggling a supporting role in a play, varsity softball, a lead in a musical, and basketball cheerleading my junior year, I realized how much I loved theatre. I quit cheerleading for good to pursue what I am now majoring in: Theatre Arts.

In my free time, I love to paint, read, write blogs and novels, sew, and practice photography. But theatre and music remain my favorite extracurriculars. I am a senior Theatre Arts major with a Mass Communications minor. I am a part of the Piedmont College Singers, and have taken voice lessons all four years at Piedmont. I became interested in costumes my sophomore year, and have since then costume designed three shows–one being Piedmont’s mainstage production of The Shadow Box. I helped start a religious organization on campus called ILTEL (Intentionally Loving to Eternally Live) and am the Media Coordinator for the group. I’m a part of several societies on campus, such as Alpha Psi Omega, The Torch, and the National Society of Leadership and Success.

And just to sum myself up…

I absent-mindedly tap dance when I’m bored, I love all things Audrey Hepburn, I am constantly laughing, I love to sing at the top of my lungs, and I am a devout Christ-follower.

Thanks for taking the time to read about my quirky but blessed life.

Sincerely,

Ans