“I cant, I have dance.”

Hi! My name is Katie Woosley and I’m a freshman at Lenoir-Rhyne University. I am an exercise science major hoping to become a physical therapist. If you texted me during senior year wanting to hang out or grab a bite to eat, my response was usually, “I can’t, I have dance.” I’ve been dancing for seven years and it is a huge part of my life. I started taking dance classes in seventh grade, and I never looked back. At first, dance was something that I did to stay active, make friends, and have fun, but eventually dance become more than that. It became an escape. When I walked into the studio I forgot about everything that was going on in my life and just danced.

My sophomore year I got the opportunity to help teach my passion to others. I accidentally showed up an hour early to my acrobatics class one day, so my teacher put me to work! I started out helping with just one class, but by my senior year I was teaching four. Between my classes and teaching, I was at the studio four days a week for the majority of the day after school. My teacher ended up just giving me a key! Now do you see why I always said “I can’t, I have dance.”? Although, it was often hard to balance schoolwork and dance, I wouldn’t change a thing if I had to do it all over again. Teaching dance was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Seeing my students grow and become better dancers was so rewarding! Nothing beats seeing a student finally get a back walkover, land an aerial for the first time, or just have the opportunity to show off their talent at recital after they’ve worked so hard! The look of excitement on their face is priceless and makes me excited too! I have truly missed teaching since I graduated, and I cannot wait to go back and teach classes this summer!

The best thing about dance is that it gave me a lifelong family. I still talk to people who were on my competition team and in my acrobatic class. My two dance teachers are like second mothers to me and always have an open ear if I need to talk. My dance family helped and still help me through all the hard times in my life and I don’t know what I would do without them! Even though I graduated dance, it will always be a major part of my life.



My competition team
Seniors at the Welcome Easter Parade
My two dance teachers and I
All the seniors and teachers at recital






More Than Just an English Class

As an exercise science major, I was honestly dreading taking this class. I did well in English in high school, I even took an advanced placement English course one year, but English just wasn’t something I enjoyed. I only took this class because I had to in order to graduate, but now that I have reached the end of it, I am very thankful for it.

IMG-0989.JPGThe critical thinking aspect of this course started immediately, when my professor pretended to be a student on the first day of class. When she first walked in, everyone assumed, based on her appearance, that she was the professor. After she took a seat in a desk beside another student, we then assumed that she was just a non-traditional student. I, along with most of my classmates, resumed texting and scrolling through social media my phone, wondering why the professor was late on the first day of class and thinking about leaving if she didn’t show up soon. After a few minutes, she jumped up out of her seat and began asking the class who she could possibly be. I immediately knew that she was the professor, otherwise, she wouldn’t be asking us these questions, but she was relentless and continued to make us think about all possible scenarios. At the time, I thought the whole situation was odd, but now that I have went through this course, I realized that it really helped set up the class and introduce the process of critical thinking. As humans, we are quick to assume things, and this made me understand that I needed to think outside the box. This mentality helped me be more successful when completing the readings and analyses for this course.

Of the four pieces of literature that we read in this class, Our Town was my favorite. I appreciated the simple way that Thornton Wilder conveyed such a powerful message that almost everyone can relate to. Wilder uses his presentation of small-town American life to show his audience that most humans do not appreciate all that they have. As Emily says, human beings are just “blind people” (109). We are so busy rushing through life that we do not notice and appreciate many of the little things. Wilder also places an emphasis on time. When introducing act two, the stage manager notes that three years have passed and the “sun’s come up over a thousand times” (47). He says that “some babies that weren’t even born before have begun talking regular sentences already” (47).  A lot can happen in three years, but most people are rushing through life so fast they don’t even realize everything that’s going on. As a college student, I can relate to this. I am constantly waiting for my class to be over, or trying to hurry and finish all my homework, instead of slowing down and enjoying each day.

My analysis, “Our Small Town Wonderful Life” looked at the similarities between Thornton Wilder’s play Our Town and Frank Capra’s film It’s a Wonderful Life. This was the most difficult piece of writing I completed in this class, but it also ended up being the piece I am most proud of and the one I learned the most from. I initially organized this piece by characteristic—going back and forth between the film and the play. Once I started revising the essay, I realized that the paper did not flow and read the way I wanted it to. I thought about other ways I could organize it and decided to discuss Our Town and It’s a Wonderful Life separately and bring them together by talking about their similar settings and messages at the end. This not only helped the paper flow better, but it also helped me pick out and think about the similarities between them. By changing my paper, I completely started over, keeping only my introduction. This was a frustrating process, but, doing this helped me notice a few key points that I wouldn’t have found if I didn’t redraft my paper. For example, one major point I realized was that the central characters of both the play and the film did not notice and appreciate all that they had until they were distanced from their lives. Emily was distanced by her death, and George was distanced when the angel took him to a life where he never existed. Although the process of changing my paper was time consuming, it was worth it in the end. It made my paper stronger and me a stronger writer.

This class was more than just an English class. It taught me not to assume and how to think on a deeper level. I feel that I have grown as a writer and critical thinker throughout this semester. These skills will help me in my future college classes and career. I didn’t think I was going to like English, but you never know if you’re going to like something until you try it. After all, I didn’t think I would like dance, but after taking a few classes I fell in love with it. Now, I couldn’t imagine my life without it. The next time I must take a course that I am not interested in, I am going to go into it with more of a positive outlook. I learned a lot from English. It wasn’t as bad as I expected, and there’s a good chance other classes won’t be either.


Works Cited

Capra, Frank, director. It’s a Wonderful Life. RKO, 1946.

Wilder, Thornton. Our Town. 1938. Harper Perennial, 2003.


Annotated Bibliography

Junod, Tom. “The Falling Man.” Esquire, Sept. 2003, http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a48031/the-falling-man-tom-junod, Accessed 8 Sept. 2017.

In an excerpt from “The Falling Man”, Tom Junod first describes a picture of a man falling from one of towers on September 11, 2001. Junod discusses the man’s posture, his clothing, and what is around him. He explains how the man, knowing his fate, decided to get on with it. Junod then goes on to discuss the photographer that took this picture. This photographer was the same one who photographed Bobby Kennedy’s assassination. He talks about how photographers are the witnesses who produce the evidence of history.


Larson, Erik. The Devil in the White City. Vintage, 2004.

The Devil in the White City is a very detailed non-fiction piece by Erik Larson. It has two focal points: Daniel Burnham, the architect behind the Chicago World’s Fair, and serial killer, Herman Webster Mudgett.  Burnham faces many obstacles from the time Chicago wins the bid for the 1893 World’s Fair, until the end of the fair. Burnham’s partner, John Root, passes away, building drafts continually arrive late, and there are union strikes, construction injuries, and even death. Despite all this, Burnham and his crew eventually open the fair. As the fair is being created, the story of Herman Webster Mudgett, known as H.H. Holmes simultaneously unfolds. Holmes comes to Chicago in 1886 searching for work as a pharmacist or doctor. Little does everyone know, Holmes is actually a serial killer who will use the fair and his charming personality to commit his murders. Holmes eventually buys the lot across the street from his pharmacy and decides to turn it into the World’s Fair Hotel. He remodels it to fit his needs as a serial killer. He lures women in using the hotel and his warm, charming demeanor. Then, he kills them and disposes their bodies using the kiln he had installed in the basement. Holmes is eventually arrested for insurance fraud, and after doing some digging, a detective uncovers many of Holmes’s murders. Holmes receives the death penalty for his crimes.


Lucas, Guy. “Loss of Unwelcome Burden Devastates Me.” Guylucas.com/2017/10/05/percy/, 5 Oct. 2017. Accessed 6 Oct. 2017

In his memoir “Loss of Unwelcome Burden Devastates Me”, Guy Lucas reflects on how he never wanted the cat that he now cannot stop crying over. He discusses how his wife saved the little kitten when it was climbing on the stairs outside their apartment building. He did not want the kitten, but he blamed himself because he is the one who told his wife about the kitten in the first place. The kitten, named Percy, was paper trained, and Lucas and his wife would find him relieving himself on magazines and books. To stop this, they removed all the paper from the room where they kept Percy, and placed a piece of newspaper in the litter box. Lucas then reflects on a time Percy disappeared for over three days before he finally found him and brought him home. Percy eventually developed an autoimmune disorder, diabetes, and then a severe sinus infection. He stopped eating, and Lucas and his wife decided it was best to put him down. Lucas never wanted Percy in the first place, but now that he’s gone, he can’t stop crying.


Ritchel, Matt. “Blogs vs. Term Papers.” New York Times, 20 January 2012, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/22/education/edlife/muscling-in-on-the-term-paper-tradition.html, Accessed 8 August 2017.

In his article “Blogs vs. Term Papers”, Matt Ritchel discusses the debate about the best way to teach writing in today’s digital age. Ritchel explains how some professors want to replace the term paper with the blog. Blogs are often more fun than term papers, and they give writers an audience. Ritchel also discusses how defenders of the term paper feel about blogs. They argue that blogs do not teach thinking and writing as effectively. Term papers teach students critical thinking and argumentation. Ritchel then goes on to talk about an English professor at Stanford. This professor believes that her students seem to benefit from both the traditional paper and new media. Instead of choosing to teach using either blogs or term papers, teachers can simply use both.


Shrek, Heidi. Creature. Samuel French, 2011.

Heidi Shrek’s Creature is a play focused on Margery Kempe, a new mother who claims the devil is inside her. One day, she has a vision of Christ in purple robes and is healed. Now, she devotes her life to God and wants to become a saint. At first, Margery’s husband, John, is glad she’s healed, but, as time went on, he becomes frustrated with her because she spends all her time with God. She is constantly praying and fasting and weeping. There is no time left for John. Margery begins to fall in love with a man named Jacob, who is actually the devil. At the end of the play, Margery, John, and their baby walk into the fire towards Jacob.


Whitehead, Colson. The Underground Railroad. Doubleday, 2016.

Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad is a novel about slavery in the antebellum south. Although it contains chapters devoted to many characters, it mainly focuses on runaway slave, Cora. Cora was born into slavery. It is the only life she has ever known. After her mother ran away without her, Cora is left all alone. She eventually decides to run away with a fellow slave. Cora faces many obstacles during her journey to freedom. She was even captured by one of the most notorious slave catchers, Ridgeway, not once, but twice. Cora’s strong will helped her escape from Ridgeway and make it to freedom.


Wilder, Thornton. Our Town. 1938. Harper Perennial, 2003.

The three-act play Our Town by Thornton Wilder focuses on small town American life in the twentieth century. It is set in a small town called Grover’s Corners. In Grover’s Corners, everybody knows everybody, and life is simple. Two of the main characters are George and Emily. They get married and have two children, but Emily passes away giving birth to the second. After Emily passes, she looks back on her twelfth birthday as a ghost. She learns that human beings are “blind” and fail to notice many of the things going on throughout the day. Although it is a seemingly simple play, Our Town holds the powerful message of appreciating all you have. Humans don’t often realize what they have until they lose it.

Our Small Town Wonderful Life

Our Town, by Thornton Wilder, demonstrates what twentieth century small town American life was like. It specifically focuses on characters Emily Webb and George Gibbs, who fall in love, get married, and have children. Unfortunately, Emily dies giving birth to their second child. In the third act of the play, after Emily passes, she looks back at a point in her childhood. Emily quickly realizes that there is so much she never noticed when she was alive. There was so much she never appreciated. Our Town seems like a very simple, everyday play, yet, it holds so much wisdom and meaning. In the foreword, Donald Margulies argues that Frank Capra’s, It’s a Wonderful Life, “owes a great deal to Our Town” (xi) because they use similar presentations to convey similar messages.

The three-act play, Our Town, focuIMG-0537.JPGses on three of the main aspects of life: daily routine, love and marriage, and death. It is set in a small town called Grover’s Corners. Mr. Webb describes the town as “very ordinary” (24), but says that most of the young people from Grover’s Corners end up settling down there even if they’ve been away to college. Throughout the play, Wilder focuses on simple acts such as eating breakfast, walking home from school, doing homework, and talking to neighbors. In the first act, Emily is seen rushing through her morning to get to school on time. When her mother tells her to eat her breakfast, Emily replies, “I gotta hurry.—I don’t want any more” (16).  Here, time is emphasized, as it is many times throughout the play. When introducing act two, the stage manager notes that three years have passed and the “sun’s come up over a thousand times” (47). He says that “some babies that weren’t even born before have begun talking regular sentences already” (47).  A lot can happen in three years, but most people are rushing through life so fast they don’t even realize everything that’s going on. Emily was one of these people—flying through life and not slowing down to appreciate and enjoy all she had. Unfortunately, Emily did not know this until she passed away and looked back on a day of her life as a ghost. As she’s looking back on her twelfth birthday, she states, “I didn’t realize. So, all that was going on and we never noticed” (108). She concludes that human beings are just “blind people” (109). Emily’s death allowed her to view the world from a distance, and only then did she realize how wonderful life really is.

It’s a Wonderful Life is set in a small town called Bedford Falls in the twentieth century and focuses on character George Bailey (James Stewart). Ever since he was young, George wanted to go to college and become an architect. He wanted to get out of the “crummy little town”, as he called it, that he grew up in. When his father died, George had to stay and take over the family banking business. George’s brother, Harry (Todd Karnes), was supposed to come back and take over the business once he finished college, but he got married and received another job instead. Once again, George was stuck in Bedford Falls, tied down by a business he had no interest in. The fact that George bought the business shows that he loved the town of Bedford Falls more than he often showed. He could have sold it to an evil banker named Mr. Potter (Lionel Barrymore), but he wanted to protect the community. George eventually marries and has four children, but it is hard for George to juggle both family life and the business. Misplacing an eight-thousand-dollar loan tips George over the edge, and he decides he wants to commit suicide. Throughout his life, George thought that he wasn’t making an impact on the world because he didn’t get to go to college and do big things. George believes he will be worth more dead than alive. As he’s about to jump off a bridge, an angel (Henry Travers) comes down and takes George to a life where nobody knows who he is. He makes George see what life would be like without him. His wife never married, and he has no children. His father’s company went out of business and his brother died because he wasn’t there to save him when he fell through the ice. Before the angel came, all George thought about were the opportunities that were passing him by, but this event made George focus on the present and what he did have. In the end, George begs the angel to take him back to his old life and he did. George was so happy to be back in Bedford Falls with his wife and children. He realized he truly has a wonderful life.

Our Town and It’s a Wonderful Life are set in small towns, which are often mistaken for not having a lot of opportunity. Many characters, in both the play and the film, want to leave their town and do bigger things. However, most end up staying or coming back to settle down in the little town they grew up in. They return because small towns create such a sense of community. Everybody knows everybody and are there for one another. At the end of Our Town, everyone shows up for Emily’s funeral. At the conclusion of It’s a Wonderful Life, everyone pitches in to help George pay off the deficit. The central characters of Our Town and It’s a Wonderful Life go through life unware of many of the simple things that actually hold a lot of value. Only when they are distanced from their lives, do the characters understand the importance of living in the moment and appreciating what they have. Instead of rushing through life or worrying so much about what they don’t have both characters come to realize how wonderful life really is.

Works Cited

Capra, Frank, director. It’s a Wonderful Life. RKO, 1946.

Margulies, Donald. Foreword. Our Town by Thornton Wilder. Harper Perennial, 2003, pp. xi-xx.

Wilder, Thornton. Our Town. 1938. Harper Perennial, 2003.

Vanishment: A Chicago Pastime

IMG-0421 “It was so easy to disappear, so easy to deny knowledge, so very easy in the smoke and din to mask that something dark had taken root. This was Chicago, on the eve of the greatest fair in history (12). This passage from Erik Larson’s Devil in the White City, describes how easy it is to disappear in Chicago and cover up negative things that occur. In this time period, a thousand trains a day entered and left the city. Due to fire, disease, and murder, death was a common occurrence. Something dark had definitely taken root, and his name was Herman Webster Mudgett. Mudgett, who called himself H. H. Holmes, possessed a warm, charming demeanor that masked the person he really was. Unfortunately, people don’t realize Holmes’s true intentions until it’s too late.

Holmes came to Chicago in 1886 searching for work as a pharmacist or doctor. He acquires a job as a pharmacist and eventually buys the pharmacy himself. Soon, Holmes becomes interested in the lot across the street and ends up purchasing it as well. He remodels the building to fit his needs as a serial killer. The first floor consisted of retail shops to lure in women and generate income. On the second and third floors were apartments. The building also contained a wooden chute that descended to the basement and a large “walk-in vault with air tight seams and asbestos coated walls” (66). Gas jets were embedded in the walls all throughout the building. Holmes later adds a kiln in the basement for disposal of his victims. He told the men he hired to build the furnace that he was going to use it to produce and bend plate glass, however, readers know that it will be used in his murders. One man who worked on the furnace noticed that the shape of the kiln was not suited for bending glass, but he went on with his work installing a burner that heated the kiln to three thousand degrees. He didn’t realize until later that the shape of the furnace was similar to that of a crematory. Even though the furnace man felt uneasy, he didn’t ask questions or realize Holmes’s intentions until it was too late. After all, Holmes’s warm and charming attitude made him seem like a good man.

Holmes’s demeanor, combined with his good looks, made him very attractive, and, throughout his time in Chicago, Holmes becomes involved with many women. The majority of the women involved with Holmes end up mysteriously disappearing. When questions arise, Holmes simply says that they went on a trip or they caught a disease and died. After smothering his pregnant girlfriend, Julia, and her daughter with chloroform on Christmas Eve, Holmes explained to neighbors that they had left for Davenport earlier than expected. He told others that Julia’s sister had fallen ill, and they had to leave immediately. People close to Julia found the situation odd, but the thought that Holmes had killed her did not seem to cross anyone’s mind.

The start of the World’s Fair only made it easier for Holmes to commit his murders. When Holmes found out that the location of the fair was going to be Jackson Park, he decided to make his building into the World’s Fair Hotel. The hotel was at a convenient location in relation to the fair and became a perfect way for Holmes to lure his victims in. Although Holmes had plenty of empty rooms, when male visitors asked to stay in the hotel, Holmes told them that “he had no vacancies and kindly referred them to other hotels nearby” (243). He did not need men in his hotel. Soon, women began to disappear from the hotel. Family and friends asked questions and, as always, Homes was “sympathetic and helpful” (256). As far as the guests could tell, the hotel owner was very forgiving. He was not concerned when a guest checked out without paying her dues. The chemical smells that often filled the walls of the hotel also did not alarm anyone, after all, Holmes was a pharmacist, and everyone thought there was a pharmacy on the ground floor. Little did they know, the ground floor was actually a space for killing.

Letters came later from the families of Holmes’s victims “pleading for the whereabouts of daughters and daughters’ children” (12), but these letters were “lost in the chaos” (102). There were so many disappearances across the city that police could not investigate properly. “Vanishment seemed like a Chicago pastime” (102). It happened all the time. The New York World wrote, “There are hundreds of people who went to Chicago to see the Fair and were never heard from again” (336).

If it wasn’t for the work of detective Frank Geyer, Holmes’s secret may never have been revealed. Geyer interviewed Holmes who was then in prison for insurance fraud. Geyer described Holmes as a “social chameleon” (340) who was very good at lying. When Geyer went to Chicago to find out more about Holmes, they knew nothing about him. Holmes had a “talent for deflecting scrutiny” (364). After much investigation, Geyer uncovered Holmes’s building and several of his murders. Holmes was sentenced to death for the murder of Benjamin Pitezel. Before the hanging, he wrote a confession in which he admitted to killing twenty-seven people. However, the confession was a mixture of truth and lies; exactly how many people Holmes killed will never be known.


Work Cited

Larson, Erik. The Devil in the White City. Vintage, 2004.

The Desire of Love

Heidi Schreck’s Creature focuses on Margery Kempe, a new mother who is sick and claims that the devil is visiting her. She is liberated from her torment after having a vision of Jesus Christ in purple robes. Now, Margery devotes her life to God—constantly weeping and fasting—and wants to become a saint. A major theme of the play is love and how it can sometimes be destructive. This is demonstrated through all the characters in Creature, including Margery’s husband, John, and her nurse, Eliza. The desires of John and Eliza and the conflicts they are involved in shows how the desire of love can be one’s IMG_0078downfall.

At the beginning of the play, the main desire of John Kempe is simply for his wife to be cured. After Margery runs one priest off, John begs Eliza to go find another one who can heal her. After Eliza agrees to go find a priest, John says to her, “Come back, though won’t you? Please don’t leave us in this darkness” (10). Comparing this time to darkness shows how alone John feels. Once Margery is healed, John’s life doesn’t get much better. Margery now spends all her time with God instead of him. She spends most of her day in St. Margaret’s Church or Father Thomas’s house praying and weeping. Later in the play, John states to Father Thomas, “…my wife is too busy loving God to love her family (49). Margery’s whole life now revolves around God and becoming a saint. There is no time left for John and their baby. John is desperate for Margery’s attention and love. He even tries to make a deal with Margery when she wants him to write a letter for her. John asks Margery, “[w]ill you make love to me if I write it?” (29).

While John Kempe’s main desire is love from Margery, Eliza’s main desire is love from John. Her desire was so strong that she meddled in witchcraft, casting a spell on Margery, so she could be with John. In scene seven, Eliza is in her closet dumping out little bags of bones and praying to St. Bridget. She admits to performing witchcraft, claiming, “I did this because I love him” (36). In this time, people who committed witchcraft were arrested or even burned at the stake. Eliza’s love was so strong that she still partook in witchcraft, knowing she could pay the ultimate price. In scene twelve, Eliza is singing to the baby. She sings, “We’re born of love and love we crave. Have pity bird and quench my fire. Or make dear love, make me my grave” (58).  This shows how desperate Eliza is for John’s love. If she doesn’t have his love, it is not worth living.

Schreck includes the quote “He who knows her comings and goings knows that Love is the highest name of Hell” before the prologue of the play. Because this quote is not included as a line in the play itself, if a person was watching the play rather reading it, this point would have to be conveyed through the plot and the characters. The desires of both John and Eliza and the conflicts they are involved in are effective in expressing this message. Although it was hard, John stayed faithful to Margery and loved her until the end. At the conclusion of the play, John says to Margery, “[l]et me hold on to you” (75) as they walk towards the fire, and Asmodeus (the devil) emerges. John’s love is what led him to Hell. As for Eliza, her love for John is what may have caused all of this in the first place. Her desire for John’s love led her to meddle in witchcraft which possibly caused Margery to go crazy.

Schreck never reveals what happens to Eliza, but after John walks into the fire with Margery and his son, it can be inferred that she does not receive her one desire: John’s love. She would also live with the burden of what she did to Margery. She may even be put to death for it. Was love worth all of this?

Work Cited

Shrek, Heidi. Creature. Samuel French, 2011.