The 2016-2017 school year has been an incredible year. That’s not to say that it was a happy year, or even a good one, because for the majority of us, it hasn’t been, but it has been undeniably incredible. Let’s look back a little and see what we’ve gone through. It all started in the fall of 2016…
In world news, Mother Teresa was canonized, meaning she was made a saint by Pope Francis. She’s the woman known for running several hospitals in India, and while a couple of her hospitals healed people, the vast majority have been described as “haphazard” and even dangerous. The local technical school, ITT Tech finally closed its doors, leaving some graduates with a useless degree by a defunct school, and daytime television with an advertising hole to fill. At MHCC, the Advocate reported the “flattening” of the school’s administration, also known as firing a bunch of people in order to make things run smoother. We’re not sure if it helped or not, because we’re not staff.
October saw the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos for his work in bringing peace to his country, which has been at civil war for the last 54 years. His work culminated in a large democratic vote, giving the people the option to actually vote for peace! The vote failed. Oregon saw a storm that whipped through the area, even sighting a tornado or two, and while bad weather is not new to the Pacific Northwest, some people did report seeing a man on a boat full of animals. MHCC students were still getting into the swing of being back at school but the focus was dim, with the Advocate running an issue about school shootings. Hopefully the highly intimidating graphic of a person throwing a chair will stick in a potential shooter’s mind and sway them from doing something stupid.
This month gave misery a catchphrase: four words, that when uttered could bring a Navy SEAL to tears – of course, those words are “President-elect Donald Trump.” ’Nuff said. Downtown Portland, however, was crying real tears of being broke as the anti-Trump riots cost the city and local business owners more than $1 million in damages/police overtime pay. Everyone who was protesting must have had a lot to be angry for, too, since a lot of them were under 18 and couldn’t vote, and another large portion were among the rest of people who didn’t vote, given a 20-year low in voter turnout. Here at Mt. Hood, the mood was changing through the month: in the beginning, right around the 8th, somber, which quickly turned to anger and in the last week or so, to turkey.
Just like the rest of 2016, December was an awful time to be a celebrity. Alan Thicke, dead; John Glenn, dead; George Michael, dead; hell, even Princess Leia Organa and her mom, dead! Look on the bright side, though: We’ve still got Bill Cosby. In the Portland-Gresham area it was beginning to look a lot like Antarctica, with days upon days of snowstorms/freezing rain leaving people stuck in their homes, losing power and, soon, leading to the closing of college campuses. On the Mt. Hood main campus, students lost some of their ways to warm up when the Reader’s Cup and the St. Helen’s Bistro closed their doors for good, leaving students with a very narrow amount of food options.
Winter Term begins, the world starts a new year, and our country gets its new president. The Sunshine State had things worsen when an Iraq war vet opened fire in one of its airports. This is the kind of thing we should be putting our focus on by the way, Mr. Trump; we did a sort of informal poll around here, and getting shot while waiting for the TSA to get us onto the plane turned out to be a bigger fear for us than someone born in Mexico moving into our neighborhood. In Portland, the protests carried on (now new and improved, with tear gas) and turned downtown Portland into a veritable war zone with a mixture of patriotic Americans with a genuine concern for the future of our country and petulant adolescents with a genuine concern to break things that didn’t belong to them while spray painting giant penises on the sides of buildings. MHCC… didn’t do much because it was closed for the majority of the month due to nasty weather, remember that? Wasn’t that a neat break?
February brought a brief ray of hope to many Americans as President Trump gave his first speech to Congress, one that on the whole didn’t sound like the string of random accusations and self-aggrandizements on which his normal speeches rely. Oregon had been moving along legislation to help protect immigrants (thumbs up, Oregon) and passed bills to prohibit people from accessing immigration status and other information unless it was required by law. While that was a great thing to help keep people protected, it didn’t seem to do much to stop I.C.E. from showing up in March. Here on campus, MHCC seemed to forget that black history month was, you know, a thing, with little happening to reference black culture or history.
FBI Director James Comey and Admiral Mike Rogers, the head of the National Security Agency, appeared before the House Intelligence Committee to discuss, among other things, Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election. Spoiler alert: Comey loses his job and Trump does his best to either discredit or reroute investigation into his Russian dealings, and presumably continues to do so until the country gets focused on his other craziness. The Portland area started to hit record high house prices, and became along with Seattle and Dallas one of the cities with the highest housing prices in the country, giving credence to the idea the further away from D.C. you are, the more people want to be there. Hmmm… The month at MHCC sees tenure given out to some of the teaching staff, and District board member Michael Calcagno resigns from his position in state government, which is a lot of change, hopefully good change for everyone.
The U.S. dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb in existence on Afghanistan. The 21,600-pound device reportedly unleashed an explosion equivalent to 11 tons of TNT, with a mile-wide blast radius meant to target caves made and used by ISIS. And, boom goes the dynamite. Locally, the Multnomah County Bureau of Emergency Communications released a report showing only 67.8 percent of all 911 calls were answered within 20 seconds. Perhaps the 911 authority is planning on releasing a mobile game for people to play while bleeding to death, or they could be conducting an experiment with a local college to see the effect of smooth jazz hold music on people having heart attacks. Those of us at the school needed to listen to smooth jazz to calm down from another new increase of tuition approved by the MHCC board; luckily, the raise in tuition turned out to be a good thing for students, so the board shouldn’t get any flack, this time…
May saw ten pounds of crazy stuffed into a five-pound sack with “alleged” multiple murders by people who should be in prison for the rest of forever. First, we had Joshua Lee Webb, who looks like the word creepy morphed into a person, who decapitated its mom and stabbed a grocery clerk. Then we have Jeremy Joseph Christian, a man who looks like a potato that happens to be a Metallica fan, “allegedly” screaming racial insults at children and stabbing the people who helped them. This guy is the reason why punching people in the face is still “a thing.” On campus, we voted in our Associated Student Government president for next year. In keeping with a tradition of MHCC students taking politics seriously, students elected PonyBoy Peterman.
Here we are, the last month of the school year, so far it’s been keeping in the theme of the rest of the year: basically, unmitigated crap. North Korea is kicking the summer off with a bang, a nuclear testing bang, that is. The small country run by the Korean Pugsley of the Adams Family has been testing missiles to try and prove it’s a big boy country, too, even though the scientific community is saying these missiles aren’t nuclear, as advertised. Portland is still reeling from the racially motivated murders of two heroes on a MAX train, while the life-sized dog turd who committed them continues to prove why freedom of speech can have a downside. Here on campus, everyone readies themselves for the end of the school year – some by working hard, some by hoping their teacher won’t remember they didn’t show up for half the term.
All in all, this has been an awful year, with awful things happening. That also means there is nowhere to go but up, and we can and should do our best to have an amazing summer to cleanse our palate of the distasteful school year we’ve all just experienced. So, this summer while you’re at the beach, or the river, or having a BBQ with friends, please try and remember things will get better, and, as always, try to enjoy life. You only get one!