It was a honeymoon with plenty of pain.
Three days straight without sleep. Guzzling “horrible tasting” off-brand Asian energy drinks to stay awake. Not leaving your room to eat. Not wanting to go to the bathroom so as not to waste time.
She recalls calling her dad Mike in Manteca craving for human contact as she slogged onward.
It’s the price paid by Lauren Morowit as a Cal Berkeley freshman as she crammed for her first finals and wrote enough term papers to defoliate a small rain forest.
Today, the 21-year-old is on target to graduate early with a media studies degree. She has her sights set on law school.
She is also working two part-time jobs – one as a legislative analyst for Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates and the other working with Berkeley’s state data base.
All of that while earning “A”s.
That may not surprise Sierra High teachers who helped her along the way. The 2010 Sierra High valedictorian isn’t just driven – she’s a methodical planner – who refuses to give into naysayers who contend the proverbial deck is stacked against them.
Her decision to go to Berkeley was a no brainer.
“I’m a Baby Bear,” Lauren said.
She decided Berkeley was the place for her as a 6-year-old. Of course it helped that dad and mom – Mike and Mercedes– were both graduates.
Speaking of dad and mom, Lauren says she’s lucky – real lucky.
That’s because Mike and Mercedes made raising their two daughters – Lizzie is a freshman at Sierra High – Job One.
“They (viewed) their most important job was as a parent,” Lauren said. “Being a parent is an awesome responsibility. You’re in charge of a life.”
That “life”, as Lauren noted, could end up being a scientist that finds a cure for a deadly disease, a teacher that helps open doors for thousands, or one that touches the world and those about them in small but significant ways.
Then there are the adults who augment parents. Among them are teachers. Space permitting, Lauren could easily list dozens and how they helped guide her along the way. One stands out a little bit more – Daniel Dolieslager. He was her freshman speech teacher.
He sharpened her confidence. He helped her learn how to hone a persuasive augment. And he helped her speak in front of people with ease.
Dolieslager was her “go to guy” when she set about crafting her valedictorian speech. Little doubt she draws from efforts by teachers such as Dolieslager as well as her parents and others when she hits the books or works on behalf of Mayor Tom Bates and the good people of Berkeley.
What makes all of this good news is this: Lauren Morwit is reflective of her generation.
We have no need to despair. The world is not going to hell. Those who never knew a world without Lady Gaga, rap music, texting or computers are stepping up to the challenge and then some.
If you doubt that, take a peek sometime in the back of the repair shop. You’re likely to see someone just a few years out of high school working on your car. That doctor who keeps calling you sir even though you’re not old enough to be his grandfather has skills that can change people’s lives. Those defending America are doing exactly what their forefathers did – laying their lives on the line. Technology and strides in health, education, and society as a whole are the only things that put distance between generations. The underlining things that count are still there. Always were.
America is not going to hell.
This is not a Pollyanna view of the world.
Sure, there are way too many Adam Lanzas and Timothy McVeighs out there. Their ilk has been with us since the dawn of civilization. Evil is not a 21st century invention. What is, though, is the instant communication of the horror inflicted on others whether it is across town of from the far reaches of the globe.
All of that static tends to drown out reality. The world has been blessed with people like Gandhi, Mother Teresa, the lady down the street that helps feed a struggling family, a man who jumps off a bridge in Washington, D.C., and gives his life trying to save people abroad a plane that crashed into the icy waters of the Potomac, and young adults like Lauren Morowit.
“I hear babies cry … I watch them grow
They’ll learn much more …. than I’ll ever know
And I think to myself …. what a wonderful world.”
— Lyrics to Louis Armstrong’s “It’s a Wonderful World”
This column is the opinion of executive editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA. He can be contacted at email@example.com or 209-249-3519.