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Grit and Persistence

In the past few years, education researchers have started talking about "grit and persistence" as being two necessary character traits key to college success for students. A young coed at ISNU in 1915 also referred to needing "grit" to get through her studies in a letter to the editor 100 years ago today. It seems to be obvious, but most likely thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars, were spent to determine that students of equal intellectual ability may not succeed in college if they do not have the necessary "grit" and that students with less intellectual ability can succeed if they have sufficient quantities of "grit."

As a child my family received a small newspaper called "Grit" and I think that I always knew what Grit meant -- it meant sticking to something. "Grit" was filled with stories about the good things about America, and I thought came out of the "America, Love It or Leave It" rhetoric. But it didn't -- the newspaper started in 1882 in Williamsport, PA. The founder's name may not have survived, but two years after the first issues came off the presses, Detrick Lamade, one of the workers, bought the paper and continued publishing it until 1938 when he died. His sons, Howard and George continued the publication. It was the favored newspaper in farming communities and rural families for decades (which explains why it reached my family) and even was published in my hometown of Topeka, KS for several years. It was not until 1990 that they stopped publishing the Sunday Grit. The weekly Grit is now published as a magazine, if you can believe it!

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