The Weekly Word: June 13th, 2012

Shmueller? Shmueller? Shmueller? Shmueller?*

For those of you thinking about good ol’ Senior Ditch Day (we hope none of you have hit nine this year), we’ve got news for you. Although singing the Beatles on a parade float while surrounded by adoring fans might be how some skip days happen, it isn’t the modal (see: algebra) event.

Most of the time, carving your way into history means keeping that nose to the grindstone…unless you can get your hands on a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California for the day. Probably even then.

Look how hard work paid off for these real life teens.

Shmoop Shout Out: Joey W.

Super Shmooper Joey W. is 13 years old, which makes us feel older and more decrepit than usual, but we can see it already: this guy’s going to go far.

With the help of a little bit of Shmoop SAT prep, a lot of elbow grease, and a dash of natural charm and ridiculously good looks to boot, Joey was recently accepted to Duke’s Talent Identification Program (TIP). He also received a medal, which is just plain awesome.

Congrats, Joey—we couldn’t be prouder!

Shmoop Shout Out 2.0: Dawn Loggins, Janitor to Harvard

Dawn Loggins has had it harder than most of us. After her parents spent years barely making ends meet and struggling with drug abuse, they abandoned Dawn while she was away at summer camp before her senior year of high school. Few would have faulted her for giving up or dropping out, but Dawn dug her heels in and kept going.

With the support of her community and a seriously tenacious spirit, Dawn got the grades while holding down a job as a janitor, and received her acceptance to Harvard for the fall of 2012. Congratulations, Dawn!

Follow in Dawn’s footsteps by reading Shmoop’s guide to College.

Shmoop Shout Out 3.0: Designing Great Expectations

If you’re anything like us, you’ve finished entire redecorating projects before realizing that the feng shui is way off and that you need to do it over, like, now.**

The artsy folks at GraphicDesign& felt the same way, except about type: instead of painting their rooms black, they wanted to reimagine the first pages of Great Expectations. Yes, that Great Expectations.

Graphic designers from all over the world pitched in to put together 70 “first pages” for Dickens’s epic novel, which included everything from a Gmail inbox to a QR code. Pretty cool, we think—and slightly easier to clean up than a gallon of black paint. Check out the story here.

Shmoop Birthday: Ben Jonson, June 11, 1572

Calling Ben Jonson “one of those Renaissance writer dudes who was frenemies with Shakespeare” wouldn’t be entirely inaccurate, but it wouldn’t paint a complete picture of this week’s birthday writer, either. Here are five fun facts about Mr. Jonson that Shmoop HQ managed to rustle up for your enjoyment.

1. Before he turned to writing, Jonson was in the bricklaying business.
2. He killed a man in a duel.***
3. …but avoided going to the gallows because he knew Latin. True story.
4. He walked to Scotland once. From London, true, but we still think that’s pretty impressive.
5. He wrote a comedy called “The Devil is an A**.”

To celebrate the 440th anniversary of Jonson’s birth, why not check out one of his poems?

Shmoop Week in History: Alcatraz Escape, June 11, 1962

Now that it’s part of Golden Gate Park in San Francisco and a bona-fide seabird sanctuary, Alcatraz doesn’t quite seem like the hardcore island prison it used to be. Mention “The Rock” around us today, and we visualize a frankly disturbing if-they-mated hybrid of Sean ConneryClint Eastwood, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

Fifty years ago, though, the non-WWF version of The Rock was so considered so impenetrable that the disappearance of three inmates made headlines around the world. Even though most historians believed that the erstwhile bank robbers probably perished in the freezing waters of the San Francisco Bay (which, from personal experience, seems entirely likely), U.S. Marshals continue the search for the three men’s remains—or whereabouts—today.

Shmoop Week in History: Anne Frank Receives Diary, June 12, 1942

Getting a diary for your 13th birthday might not seem super exciting these days (“Uh…where are the buttons?”), but Anne Frank was pretty thrilled when she received her dad’s gift in 1942: she named the cloth-bound book “Kitty” and started writing in it almost immediately. The result, of course, is the aptly-named The Diary of Anne Frank, which was published in 1947—just two years after her death at 15 in a Nazi concentration camp.

As tragic as Anne’s story is, though, her diary rarely dwelled on the horrors of being persecuted during the Holocaust. Instead, Kitty was where Anne recorded her clear-eyed observations about family, friends, first loves, and dreams for the future, inspiring generations of readers who continue to identify with the hopeful voice of a young girl.


Your dream support team,


*See: Ferris Bueller, which came out 26 years ago this week.

**We’ll sum up the decor of Shmoop HQ in one SAT vocab word: “eclectic.”

***Fellow actor Gabriel Spenser, although rumor has it that Jonson’s sword was a good 10 inches shorter than his opponent’s. There’s a joke here somewhere…

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