Tuesday, March 29, 2016

"Back in My Day"

Most of us are guilty of thinking that "our time" was the best time to grow up, that we had the best music, etc. You will often hear people say, "back in my day" we did it this way or that way. As a career educator, I too often hear people that go out of their way to put down this era's teenagers.

I was born in 1972 and claim the 80's and 90's as "my day" but I'm here to tell you that today's teenagers are better than they've ever been. Today's teenagers deal with more "clutter" than any generation before them. Today's teenagers have to handle social media, and many of them do much better than their adult counterparts. Today's teenagers have to deal with more distractions and a world that seems to get a little crazier each week.

I realize I am biased because I am around teenagers more than most other professions but I can't hide my admiration for the vast majority of our young people. Sure, there are some knuckleheaded teenagers out there, just like there are knucklehead 40 year olds too. I get to see teenagers that go to school all day and then work 8-hour shifts to help their parents pay bills. I get to see teenagers that resist the numerous temptations of drugs and alcohol. I see teenagers that go out of their way to help others and to accept others for who they are. I get to see teenagers deal with adversities that you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy.

I get to see teenagers that thrive in FFA, FCCLA, Band, Choir, Athletics, Speech, Mock Trial, and other pursuits. Today's teenage athletes are better than they've ever been and it isn't close. Today's teenagers that are involved in Fine Arts and Extra-Curriculars are more talented than ever before. They do more. They do it better!

Today's teenagers are an inspiration to me. We very rarely hear about all of the wonderful things they're doing. Give me the top 80% of today's teens and they will whip the top 80% from back in my day. It's not even close.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Easter Break = The Home Stretch

As we inch closer and closer to Easter Break, those of us in education know it marks the symbolic start of the "mad dash" to the end of another school year. Thankfully, Easter is a little earlier this year than normal but still....the end will be here before we know it.

The 4th quarter of the school year is exciting, if nothing else. There's always plenty going on and it's important to stay focused on teaching and learning as much as we can. We don't want our heart doctors being distracted for the last 25% of a surgery. We don't want our pilots to be dis-engaged the last 25% of a flight. As teachers, students, and staff; we need to stay locked in to make sure we make the 4th quarter our best quarter. The best teams and organizations finish strong!

Enjoy the Easter Break. Be ready to rock and roll from here on out through the end of the school year. The York Dukes take advantage of our learning opportunities each and every day!

Go Dukes!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

YMS and YHS Recognized as "Sweepstakes Schools"

The NEBRASKAland Foundation recognized York Middle School and York High School as "Sweepstakes Schools" in the Nebraska State Fair Education Competitions at a brief ceremony on Statehood Day in the Capitol Rotunda.

The education competitions include early entry static exhibits and performance and testing events during the first week of the state fair. Three individual students were also recognized for being individual sweepstakes winners. Sweepstakes recognition is based on number of events entered and awards earned. York's individual awardees are Bailey Gocke, Nicole Mittman, and Matthew Mittman.

NEBRASKAland Foundation picked two outstanding veterans to be presented with a quilt at the program. It was exciting to hear the stories of these two Nebraska heroes. Ed Guthrie, a 97 year-old Navy WWII vet, retired from Omaha Public Power. He is a Pearl Harbor Survivor and his next assignment was on a ship that tested the atomic bomb in the Pacific Ocean. The first days after the Pearl Harbor attack he helped rescue survivors and found a $5 bill covered in oil he kept to this day to remember the events of that day! Roy Long, a 94 year-old Army vet,and former Husker halfback, is a retired Omaha teacher/coach. He served in the European theater with the 71st Division, liberating a concentration camp in Austria and being a guard at the Nuremberg Trials. He recently addressed an audience during the opening of the Holocaust Exhibit "Searching for Humanity" at the SAC Museum.

The York students were awed and inspired by the amazing stories of these two Nebraska vets.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Our New Coach Bus

There has been a lot of excitement about the new coach bus that the board of education purchased earlier this winter. It has been a great addition to our vehicle fleet. We have been adamant, and will continue to be, that it is for ALL programs at York High School. To date, it has been used by our Speech Team, Dukes & Duchesses, FFA, wrestling, basketball, and more.

There are a few things I'd like to point out, however, about this purchase.

We were needing to purchase a new activity bus and were focused on the traditional yellow ones. During our research, we found this coach bus with 400,000 miles and a brand new interior for only $28,000 more than what a new yellow activity bus would've cost us. When we started crunching the numbers and comparing/contrasting the two units, it became a no-brainer to buy the coach bus.

The coach bus offers way more storage and seating capacity than a yellow activity bus. By purchasing the coach bus, we've been able to cut down on the number of vehicles we send to activities, which cuts down our personnel fees and fuel costs.

The $28,000 more the coach bus cost us up front will be recovered over the next three years in personnel costs.

A few weeks ago, we had an uninformed county commissioner take a shot at us by saying we should help fund the City Library since we can spend money on a "fancy" bus. Well, hopefully the info up above explains why we made the purchase we did and how it will help us with fixed travel costs moving forward.

Have a great Spring Break!


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

NEBRASKA - A Great Place to Live and Raise a Family

NEBRASKA became a state 149 years ago today. Even though I'm not a native son of this awesome state, I've grown to love it and appreciate it more and more every year!

I grew up in Florida and will always be proud of the Sunshine State because it's a wonderful place to visit and will always be "home" to me because all of my family lives there. However, there is NO PLACE I would rather live, work, and raise a family other than NEBRASKA. I've lived in this amazing state since July 2000 and I can tell you that the Cornhusker State is very much under-appreciated around the nation.

Nebraskans, for the most part, are genuinely kind people. They support others. They welcome strangers. They volunteer. They have a lot of pride in their communities and state as a whole. Nebraskans make a positive difference!

I love Omaha and all it has to offer. Lincoln is great too. However, what I truly love about Nebraska are the small towns. We lived in West Point from 2000-2003 and loved the beauty and serenity of it and gained an appreciation for the importance of feed lots full of cattle! We spent 2003-2009 in Franklin in the south central part of the state and got to learn about dry-land farming, dealing with droughts, and a town's desire to keep Main Street alive. I even got to be on back-to-back Franklin County Pig Wrestling Championship Teams! Now, that's the GOOD LIFE.

Living in York for almost 7 years brings the best of both worlds together. We're close enough to zip into Lincoln any time we want BUT we have so many awesome shops, services, and stores here in town that we're pretty self-sufficient. York is amazing because of its support of young people. We seem to be getting better each year too!

Please take a second and reflect on all the great things we appreciate here in Nebraska. It truly is a special place full of lots of special people!