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news & views ● editorial By Erika Houvouras You’re About to Get Schooled “F all is here, hear the yell. Back to school, ring the bell.” I’m sure some of you are immedi- ately hearing the melody to the White Stripes’ song in your head. It’s one of my fa- vorites, and as summer comes to an end each year, I find myself absently humming it. Fall is a time of changes: changing leaves, changing temperatures, new classes for students, new students for teachers. It’s an amazingly transitional season. As an educator, I embrace the fall as an opportunity to help a new group of young people learn more about them- selves. I want to challenge them to see the world around them with new eyes. In return, they challenge my precon- ceptions and push me to be a learner as well as a teacher. I find the give and take between learning and teaching to be the most enriching part of life. And one of the best things about gathering and sharing knowledge is that it isn’t lim- ited to the confines of a school building. Every day, life of- fers us countless opportunities to offer others new information that might help them, and we are constantly faced with new experiences that might help us grow and evolve. You just need to look around and be open to these opportunities. At Pageantry magazine, it’s our privilege to offer our contributors a platform to share their knowledge. And for our readers—what a treasure trove we’ve accumu- lated in these pages, just for you! Our new Miss USA, Kára McCullough, understands the importance of learning and teaching. In her interview, she explains that her struggles with math as a child have in- spired her to help other children. Her platform, Science Exploration for Kids, encourages children’s participation in the STEM fields. This is certainly something Kára knows quite a bit about, as she overcame her challenges, focused her studies in the field of radiochemistry, and now works for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Eve Matheson’s interview with renowned photographer Jae Feinberg offers another example of how childhood ex- periences and learning can influence a person’s entire exis- tence. Getting a camera as a gift at 13 and taking photography classes at 15 altered the trajectory of Jae’s life. Now she’s able to use her skills to help aspiring models reach their goals through her own model management business. 10 PAGEANTRY Learning for a lifetime means constantly looking for ways to improve yourself. So many of our contributors are here to help you do just that. One of my colleagues was re- cently nervous about her interview to become an assistant principal. I was so pleased to be able to share Christina Nepstad’s communication advice with her! In this issue, she offers 4 philosophies to help you improve your communica- tion skills, and she urges all of us to “Try and think of your future conversations as a catalyst to inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more.” Adam Hill offers valuable guidelines for goal setting that go beyond the field of acting, and his personal experiences with Bette Mi- dler and her dedication to her goals is inspiring. In her fit- ness article, Sharon Turrentine explains how important it is to make wise choices for food, fitness, and training, in order for you to develop a lifelong healthy lifestyle. It can be a little intimidating to fully open yourself up to every learning opportunity, because you quickly realize how very much you don’t know. I sat in a classroom this summer as a student, trying to absorb a wealth of infor- mation about a new subject I’ll be teaching this coming school year. It was overwhelming, but it was also invigor- ating. I’d become complacent in my expertise in my partic- ular subject matter, and suddenly there’s this whole new universe of material just waiting to be absorbed. It’s a ton of work and a bit scary, but it’s also fun. I guess that really is what life should be about. Philosophies, goals, and choices; these are all such big life- changing ideas, and yet they’re all right here for you within the pages of this magazine. I encourage you to read every bit, and then USE WHAT YOU LEARN. Otherwise, what’s the point? Open yourself up to those daily teachable mo- ments that are just waiting to be recognized. Take every op- portunity to grow and improve and evolve, and then pass on what you’ve learned to others. We should all be teachers. We should all be students. The world is our classroom. Now’s the time to ring the bell. After all, fall is here. Ⅺ