Constance Alexander: In Country uses fiction and fact to make a connection between past, present

The first page of Bobbie Ann Mason’s novel, “In Country,” was my informal orientation to Kentucky. Samantha Hughes, the main character, was en route from the Bluegrass State to Washington DC with her grandmother and her Uncle Emmett to visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Five lines down from the beginning, the word “Mamaw” jumped off the page. Then a few paragraphs down, Stuckey’s and...

Constance Alexander: Commonwealth Honors Academy help students escape their comfort zones

Take any daily task – turning a page, extinguishing a candle, popping a balloon – and students of Taylor Clements in Murray State University’s Commonwealth Honors Academy can raise it to a level of meandering directness stunning in its deliberate complexity. Clements calls the elective he teaches in the three-week program Special Topics in Design, but the fancy title stands for a series of problem-solving...

Constance Alexander: Commonwealth Honors Academy features forensics, a faceless chicken … and food

According to the website, the Commonwealth Honors Academy (CHA) at Murray State University offers “a rich range of recreational opportunities, cultural and artistic events, outstanding field experiences, and a distinguished convocation of speakers and classroom guests” that enhance the academic curriculum. With a focus on leadership and service, CHA features a required interdisciplinary Humanities...