Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Hub Foster Press Box @ Levitt Stadium

After hearing from several members of the community, we have decided to begin fundraising for a new press box and, hopefully, a locker room facility at Levitt Stadium to be named in honor of Hub Foster, a member of the YHS Hall of Fame and long-time sports writer/announcer/enthusiast who passed away on March 8, 2013.

The current press box is in very poor condition and is quickly becoming a safety hazard. The long overdue addition of locker rooms would allow teams to meet before, during, and after games in a safe location with available bathroom facilities.

Estimated preliminary pricing for such a facility is as follows:

1) New press box only @ $260,000

2) New press box with locker room “shell” without plumbing, fixtures,
etc. @ $385,000

3) New press box with complete locker rooms and plumbing, fixtures, etc. @ $535,000

We are hoping to raise enough money to proceed with a new press box at a minimum so that it would be ready for the 2014 football season.

Tax deductible donations can be made payable to the YPS Foundation, a 501c3 entity, by sending payment to York Public Schools Foundation at 1715 N. Delaware Avenue, York, NE 68467. (In the check memo line, please note that the donation is for the Hub Foster Press Box Facility.)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

YHS Construction Update

The renovation and expansion project at York High School continues to march on. School begins on Tuesday, August 20th and the building will be inhabitable by that time but far from a finished product.

The fine arts addition will be completed and fully accessible by the first day of school. It provides spacious, state of the art rooms and storage for art, vocal music, and instrumental music.

The new district storage and office facility on the east side of campus is opened and fully functional. The new district office address is 1715 North Delaware Avenue.

The entrance canopy at the south entrance is nearing completion. A new parking lot at the south entrance that will provide an additional 46 parking stalls is also nearing completion.

The new gym will not be done until late October but it will be ready for the winter sports season. The playing floor will be the same size as the existing gym at YHS.

The interior remodel is the main focus right now. Flooring will be added to the east entrance and gym commons area within the next few weeks. Flooring will also be installed at the south entrance towards the media center. Skylights are being added throughout corridor and commons areas as well. The newly renovated kitchen is nearing completion as well.

Some flooring will not be done until after the school year has started. The project remains on schedule to be completed around Thanksgiving.

The slight water damage that was incurred on July 8th is a distant memory. Our gym floor is fine. Aside from several hours of clean-up, we didn’t suffer much damage at all.

We look forward to finishing up the project and having an open house for all of the public later this fall. GO DUKES!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

What's YOUR Story?

Nineteen years ago today I was a 3rd grade teacher and football and basketball coach at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. I was married to a beautiful young lady from Omaha and I figured we’d put in two or three years in Kansas before I would convince her that we needed to move to my home state of Florida where I could teach and coach from August through May and then go fishing and frog gigging all summer.

It’s funny how things turn out!

As I arrived at my house in Atchison, Kansas after my last official contract day of my first year as a teacher, I remember the elation and sense of accomplishment that I had. I was already dreaming about how many fish I was going to catch and how many homeruns I was going to hit in summer softball tournaments. That’s when my wife told me that she had signed me up for the educational administration program at Benedictine College where we met as undergrads.

I was none too pleased to say the least. This was a total shocker. The only time we had even discussed the word “principal” was when I told her of some of my troubled times as a student in Ocala, Florida where the principals at my various schools were rather familiar with me, if you know what I mean. To make matters worse, she had already paid for the first course which began just five days after my contract year ended. I was upset. I had no dreams of becoming a school administrator. We argued and I lost (like always) so I went to “The Principalship” course that following Monday morning.

I didn’t sit in the front row. I wasn’t excited. I was as disengaged as you could be when the class began at 9:00 AM but then my life changed. Some guy named Steve Joel was the instructor. By the time we broke for lunch around noon that first day, I wanted to become a school leader in the worst way. I was hooked. It was a done deal. Steve’s passion for educational leadership won me over. He made it seem like the most important career in the universe. His stories and experiences were things I wanted to experience for myself.

I began to read about educational leadership seven days a week. I reached out to Ray Hittle, my principal at Fort Leavenworth, to let him know I was in an administrative program and I’d love to help him with scheduling, supervision, budgeting, whatever I could get my hands on.

As the three year program wore on, Steve Joel and Ray Hittle made sure I had everything I needed. They encouraged me. They challenged me. They kicked me in the butt when I needed it. They shared stories with me. Most importantly, they believed in me and provided me with hope and confidence.

In May of 1998, I became the proud recipient of a Masters’ Degree in Educational Administration. Two months later I was the principal at Bartlett Grade School in Labette County, Kansas where Steve Joel and Ray Hittle continued to mentor me and assist with my transition to educational leadership.

I’ve now started my 16th year in educational leadership. It’s been a wonderful ride full of lots of challenges, great people, and a sense of accomplishment. I can’t help but reflect and be thankful for Steve Joel and Ray Hittle for believing in me and for pushing me into leadership.

Many of you, if not all, have a similar story where someone has believed in you and encouraged you when you needed it. Make it a goal to take one or two folks under your wing and share with them your thoughts, beliefs, fears, and experiences. Believe in others. Help others. I know that if I can have 1/10th the impact on someone else that Steve and Ray have had on me, I will feel blessed.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Water "Damage" at YHS

The YHS construction project got back on track Wednesday morning and it is ‘full steam ahead.’ All of the water has been dried up. The gym floor is in outstanding shape as only a small amount of water made it to one of the corners of the court. Our custodial staff and folks from ServiceMaster did an excellent job dealing with the clean-up on Tuesday. A few cabinets and a little bit of drywall might have to be replaced but even that is not a certainty at this time.

There continue to be wild rumors that are simply false. YHS was not "flooded." We had a couple of inches of water throughout about 1/3 of the building. All of the flooring was ripped out so the water was standing on concrete floors as our new flooring won't be installed for another few weeks.

All in all, the water made for an interesting and wasted day on Tuesday but that pretty much sums it up. We’re going to be just fine and school will begin on August 20th as was always the plan. We appreciate the York Police Department’s work as they investigate the situation.

If the intent of whoever did this was to cause mayhem and destruction, they failed miserably. We lost one day of construction time and had to clean up some water. Not a huge deal.

Go Dukes!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Independence Day

The summer is flying by. It's hard to believe that we are staring the 4th of July in the face. Take some time on Independence Day to acknowledge how lucky we are to be Americans. Take some time to reflect on the luxuries and amenities that we get to enjoy. Our country is far from perfect. However, it is a wonderful place full of opportunities. Enjoy the 4th and stay safe!