17 April 2008

Homework Assignment

Yesterday, I received the following email from a homeschooled student who is also enrolled in college:

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Dear Mr. Williams,

My name is C_____ M_____, and I am a 17-year-old high school junior from __________, Washington (near Seattle). I have a humble request to make of you regarding a school assignment of mine.

Although I am a high school junior, I am currently enrolled full-time in a local community college as part of a dual-enrollment program (prior to joining this program, I was homeschooled for my entire academic career). For this academic quarter, I am enrolled in an online English class titled "English 201: The Research Paper". Of course, the overall goal of this class is to write an 8-10 page paper that will not only educate the reader regarding a certain topic, but also persuade the reader to adopt the writer's viewpoint regarding the topic. Due to my passion for American history, especially for the history of the Civil War, I knew I wanted to write a paper that dealt with an issue from the War Between the States. . . Specifically, I will focus on Jackson's involvement in an African-American Sunday school, as well as his interactions with Jim Lewis.

As I was formulating my thesis, the title of your book--"Stonewall Jackson: The Black Man's Friend"--suddenly jumped to my mind. I am not able to recall where I first heard of your book--I believe it may have been mentioned on The Michael Medved Show--but I am grateful that the Lord brought it to my remembrance, as I know that it will be the most crucial source of information regarding my topic. I immediately placed an interlibrary loan request for your book, and am eagerly awaiting its arrival.

This is where I would humbly request your assistance. Although I am completely responsible for researching and gathering all of the information needed for my topic, (information which will come from a variety of print and media sources), and although I am sure that your book will greatly assist me in my research, I may find myself in a situation where none of the available resources provide me with the information I seek. In this situation, would you be available to answer questions from me by e-mail? I understand that you have many obligations in life, and thus may not be able to help me at this time. However, I would greatly appreciate any assistance you could offer. A prospectus containing my thesis for this research paper is attached to this e-mail, so that you can get a clear idea of what I am attempting to accomplish through my paper.

Any assistance that you would offer me will, of course, be properly credited and cited in my paper. You would also receive a copy of my paper once the final draft is completed.

Thank you for your work in educating me and the American people in regards to our national history. It will be a privilege to read your work regarding Stonewall Jackson.

Sincerely,


CM

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Of course, I agreed to assist this young person and consider it an honor to be asked for my input and help. I will keep readers posted as the project develops. My own daughter won best in the state in 2006 among homeschooled and private school students for an essay contest sponsored by the Lee-Jackson Foundation. The prize was a $2000 scholarship.


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