About Me

Black and White Building

CREDO

“Values are like fingerprints. Nobody's are the same,
but you leave 'em all over everything you do.”

                                                                        —Elvis Presley

DRIVING QUESTIONS:

  1. What are my core values?

  2. Do my choices align or conflict with my beliefs?

  3. What do my words and actions reveal about my beliefs?

  4. How have my beliefs and values changed over time?

  5. In what ways have I failed to live up to my beliefs?

  6. Where do I turn for support, wisdom, and guidance?

  7. What does my credo challenge me to fight for?

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Several words might come to mind when we reflect on the meaning of credo: belief, principle, value, motto, slogan, philosophy. In its original Latin, the word credo means "I believe"; in English, it represents those beliefs that guide our thoughts and actions. A credo can serve as a sort of compass at certain moments in life when we feel a bit lost or confused about who we are and what we want to believe in. We all seek direction from time to time, especially when the future feels uncertain or overwhelming. The path isn't always clear, but our values and beliefs can light the way. 

In this unit, you will find a range of perspectives on this idea of a guiding principle. Many of the readings focus on an individual's quest to discover what is "out there" as well as what is within ourselves at our core. And together, the readings suggest that knowing who we are and belonging to something greater than ourselves leads many of us to a life of deeper meaning, happiness, and purpose.

 

So, what do you believe? What do you value most, in yourself and in others? What are you willing to fight for?

POSSIBLE TEXTS

"Wild Geese"
by Mary Oliver

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"Whoever you are,
no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination."

"Live Your Creed"
by Langston Hughes

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Langston Hughes wrote many poems explaining his mottos and attitude towards life and living.  Here, he reminds us that actions always speak louder than words.

"Invictus"
by William Ernest Henley

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Invictus is Latin for "unconquered."  The poet wrote this statement of hope and strength while recovering in hospital.  Years later, Nelson Mandela recited it often for his fellow prisoners during his 27 years behind bars in South Africa.

Introduction to the 
This I Believe Essay
by Jay Allison, Editor

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This I Believe is a five-minute CBS Radio Network program, originally hosted by journalist Edward R. Murrow from 1951 to 1955. The show encourages both famous and everyday people to write short essays about their own personal motivation in life and then read them on the air.

The Knights'
Code of Chivalry
from The Song of Roland

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A knight was expected to have not only the strength and skills to face
combat in the Middle Ages but was also expected to temper this
aggressive side of a warrior with a moral creed of conduct.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

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This declaration was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris in 1948. This is the original document; below in the resources is a "teen friendly" version that is much shorter.

"If I Can Stop One
Heart From Breaking"
by Emily Dickinson

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Emily Dickinson had the gift of saying a tremendous amount in a few perfect words. The poem's message is simple and self-explanatory.

"The Starfish Story"
by Loren Eiseley

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A parable is a simple story used to illustrate or teach an important moral or spiritual lesson.

"The New Colossus"
by Emma Lazarus

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American poet Emma Lazarus wrote this sonnet in 1883 to raise money for the construction of a pedestal for the Statue of Liberty. In 1903, the poem was cast onto a bronze plaque and mounted inside the pedestal's lower level.

"Who created the Pledge of Allegiance?"
by Evan Andrews

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The History Channel offers a short, focused informative article on the creation and evolution of the US pledge.

"Still I Rise"
by Maya Angelou

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In one of her most celebrated poems, Maya conveys her sense of dignity, feminism, beauty, and - most importantly - strength and resilience.

"Creating Our Own Happiness"

by Wayne Coyne

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The singer and guitarist for the Grammy Award-winning rock band The Flaming Lips on how our attitude and mindset shapes our perspective on the world.

"Birdfoot's Grampa"
by Joseph Bruchac

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A young speaker rides in a car with an old man who is determined to save the many frogs on the road in front of them.

"An Athlete of God"

by Martha Graham

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In seven decades as a dancer and choreographer, Martha Graham created 181 ballets. She read this, her This I Believe essay, on the radio in 1953. 

"Death of an Innocent"
by Jon Krakaeur

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The true story of young adventurer Chris McCandless, who abandoned his comfortable life to go on a risky, and ultimately tragic, adventure into the Alaska wilderness in search of true meaning and happiness.

"The Times They Are
A-Changin"
by Bob Dylan

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The lyrics to the legendary 1963 protest song, a call for social justice, an anthem of hope for a future where change is always possible but must be fought for.

"Be Cool to the Pizza Dude"
by Sarah Adams

In her This I Believe essay, Sarah lays out her philosophy of how to treat people, and how your attitude towards others reveals a lot about who you are.

"A Change is Gonna Come"

by Sam Cooke

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In 1964, Sam Cooke felt compelled to write a song that spoke to his struggle and of those around him, and that connected to the Civil Rights Movement. Sam Cooke was murdered two weeks before the song was released.

"Demeter's Prayer
to Hades"

by Rita Dove

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Demeter. the Greek goddess of the harvest, addressed Hades, the Greek god of the underworld. 

"Do Not Go Gentle
Into That Good Night"

by Dylan Thomas

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A poem from the author to his dying father.

"The Man in the Arena" from a speech by
Theodore Roosevelt

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One short paragraph on page 7 of a 35 page speech by President Teddy Roosevelt from 1910 has become one his most famous and frequently quoted calls to action and courage, even when afraid.

"Thirty Things I Believe"
by Tarak McLain

When Tarak McLain’s kindergarten group celebrated their 100th day of class, some kids brought 100 nuts or cotton balls. Tarak brought a list of 100 things he believes. Here he presents about 30 of his favorites.

"The Power to Forget"
by James Downey

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James Downey has heard the saying "forgive and forget." But when it comes to the man who killed his father, Downey believes it's easier for him to deny this man's existence and forget his name.

"Credo: What I Believe"

by Neil Gaiman

In his This I Believe essay, author Neil Gaiman considers the place ideas - his, yours, and mine - have and demand in the world.

RESOURCES

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About Mr. Armstrong

This will be my twelfth year teaching English Language Arts and my fourth working at Carthage High School, which I graduated from in 2005. I love being back in my hometown helping our sophomores find an appreciation for reading and writing while challenging them to discover and develop the value, depth, and power of their own voices. Hopefully this will be a year of daring greatly and learning bravely.

 

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