Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Take Some Time to Reflect During the Holiday Season

As a former football and basketball coach, one of the tasks I was often left with at the end of each season was to conduct a "self-scout" on our programs. To do this, we would break down every single game that we had that season and "scout" ourselves as if we were getting ready to play against our own team. This "self-scout" allowed us to see ourselves as our opponents saw us. It allowed us to identify our own tendencies, our own weaknesses, our own strengths. It was always very powerful to complete this scouting process and it always led to positive changes being made for the next season.

Now that I'm a school administrator, I use the time between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day each year to "self-scout" the school district and our many programs, our admin team, and myself. It is a time to reflect on what is going well, what needs to improve, what needs to change, what needs to be discontinued, and what needs to begin. For a "self-scout" to be meaningful, you have to be willing to be your own harshest critic. You have to be able to make tough decisions. You have to be committed to something bigger than just yourself.

I hope that each of you, in your own way, is able to take some reflection time during the upcoming holiday season. We all have many things to be thankful for and excited about but each one of us also has things we need to improve upon. This is what makes the world an exciting place. We're always a "work in progress."

Monday, November 18, 2013

Thankful to be a Duke

As Thanksgiving is fast approaching, I hope all of our students, staff, and faculty can take a little time to reflect on the good things going on in their lives. The health and happiness of my family and loved ones are things I always point to first. Another item that I am extremely thankful for is to be a York Duke. It hasn't always been easy but this is a great place to be, to work, to raise a family, etc. Things are never perfect and there's always areas in need of vast improvement but York is a special place to be and I hope you feel the same way as well.

I am thankful for the talented and enthusiastic students we have. I appreciate the dedicated and hard-working staff we have. I love the commitment to kids that our board of education has.

Thanks to everyone that helps make York a special place. GO DUKES!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

YHS One-Act Play

After months of preparation, the YHS One-Act Play gave its first performances last week. On Thursday, November 7th the group gave a dress rehearsal for parents and friends. On Friday they attended their first competitive performance in Loup City where they finished in 3rd place.

This year the One-Act team is performing a comedy titled "Kochenderfer's Frankenstein," a comic treatment of the classic Frankenstein tale. This comic tale story is set on a college campus where Victor Frankenstein misreads a class assignment and creates a monster as his project. After finishing his creation, he takes off for a party, only to later find out that the monster has come to life and is running loose on campus.

The groups next competitive performance will be in Osceola on November 13th. A public performance is scheduled for Monday, November 25 at the high school. A special performance for the student body will be held at school on December 6.

Come out and support the YHS One Act Program. These kids and sponsors work hard and put on a great show!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

"Mammer" - A Tribute to Grandparents

My grandmother, Mammer, passed away 18 years ago today after losing her battle with emphysema. She was the first of my grandparents to die. She was the first person that I loved with all of my heart that passed away. Her funeral was very tough on me. Seeing my grandfather, Pop, in such pain was a difficult thing to witness. Worrying about my dad was also very challenging.

I spent a lot of time with Mammer. She would travel with me from Ocala to West Palm Beach to see my dad one weekend a month on the train; which used to scare the heck out of me as it was so loud when we would have to pass in between railcars. She would attend my ballgames. She made the meanest cheeseburger this side of the Pecos River for my lunch breaks when I worked in the watermelon fields of Sumter County. We vacationed in North Carolina each summer where we would play cards all hours of the night. Mammer made each Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, birthday, etc. a special occasion.

Aside from the "special events," it was just the "normal" times that we spent together that made such an impact on me. Drinking hot chocolate with her in the mornings, playing board games, just sitting around talking; those are the best memories. Mammer would always have a Yoo-Hoo chocolate drink waiting on me when I arrived at her house in Wildwood, FL. Over the years, a silly thing like a Yoo-Hoo has always brought a smile to my face. I buy my four kids a Yoo-Hoo from time to time and it reminds me of her.

Mammer taught me a lot about life. She was very competitive and that certainly rubbed off on me. She believed in doing things the right way and didn't put up with any shenanigans or excuses. She believed in a strong work ethic. She had a lot of pride. She was a wonderful role model. She worried more about others than herself.

I think about Mammer very often and always on November 5th. I wish we would've had more time with her. You might see me around town in a ratty and tattered Florida State sweatshirt from time to time and that is because it is the last Christmas present I ever got from my Mammer and I continue to treasure it. Mammer made my family strong. Mammer helped make me a better person. I am so thankful to have had Mammer in my life for 23 years before she passed.

My hope is that ALL of you have, or at least had, a Mammer in your life. Grandparents are such wonderful people. It always makes me happy to see grandparents attend our York Duke activities. I hope our students that are lucky enough to be within close proximity of their grandparents realize how lucky they are. Grandparents absolutely need to be cherished. They leave us way too soon.