Archive for Thursday, November 15, 2001

From the principal

November 15, 2001

I truly believe that as I get older, I actually get a little smarter, well okay, a little wiser. I now realize that I have discovered the secret to learning.

When I sit back, listen, and watch, I gain more knowledge. Over the past four months, I have had the pleasure to do just that outside the realm of the academic classroom.

Looking back over the months starting with August, I would visit the school district to see what was happening and I want to share this experience with all of you. During my visits or observations, I was able to comprehend that there was an enormous amount of teaching and learning happening long before the start of classes. I am talking about the young people and their coaches or teachers if you will. Ironically, these coaches/teachers all profess the same thing using different methods. It kind of struck me like a bolt of lightening the other day and confirms that what is happening in Eudora is so positive when compared to the many communities surrounding us, and I want to thank those involved.

Like many of you, I too would go out to the high school practice field to see exactly what kind of season we could have in football. What I learned was totally beyond football and the efforts being put out by athletes. My first stop was in the high school parking lot where a group of young people gathered with instruments. Mr. Rob Foster was with them and it was clear they were preparing for the upcoming marching season. While the focus was on playing an instrument and walking, there was the hidden message that in order to be successful, the band must play as one, which means they must work together. I happened by chance to observe Coach Paul Boone and his young group of cross country athletes. For years, I have known Coach Boone and his message was quite clear. He stresses a good work ethic and, cross country is more than just running a course. He was preparing his team for more than competition; he was preparing these young people for life. After watching this, I went inside to watch volleyball. Coach Stutler is in her first year of coaching varsity volleyball and she brought with her a different approach to the sport. While watching, I saw girls running, hustling and diving all over the floor while continually stressing the importance of hard work, communication, and the meaning of team cohesion. I know for a fact this continued throughout the course of the season. Again, another lesson of working hard and working as a team that will be with our girls for the rest of their lives.

My final destination at the high school was the football field. It was here that I saw Coach Barnett operating his practice like a well-oiled machine. Young men running, sweating, almost to the brink of exhaustion. (It brought about a chuckle wondering why I couldn't get my children to work like this at home). Looking back and watching these young people grow, I realized the message was much deeper than winning and losing. What a young person attains by participating in activities outside the classroom will be an experience that will follow them for life and continue within the confines of the classroom. Though the ultimate goal is winning, often times it is difficult to judge a team by their record.

Later in the day, I was going to a meeting at the district office and since I had a little time, I stopped by to watch our athletes at the middle school. Again I thought this is where it all begins almost like learning to read in the first grade. It is on this playing field and gym that students get their real taste of inter-scholastics competition and the beginning of an extra-curricular activity.

I am sure by now you are wondering where this is heading? Well, it all ties in with our community and their support for our young people. This support is noticed of those in attendance at the cross country meet held in Eudora. It goes to those who were in attendance and supporting our Lady Cards at the high school gym for sub-state combined with the support for and by our band and their boosters. It goes to the people who went to Sabetha to watch our football team in district play. While sitting, or I mean standing at this game, I had this funny yet warm feeling of pride. Pride in the fact that the people in Eudora realize the importance of young people and the effect they have on us. I know for a fact after talking with some of the youngsters that they were in awe over the number of people in attendance.

Last week many of you went to the polls and supported our efforts in education. Your support has solidified the feeling that our young people are important. Each and every day is a learning situation. Sure, some days are better than others and messages we send can be large or small. As we get older, many of us invest toward retirement. I like to invest in our children. The returns may not be in financial reward, but the return I talk of can't have a place value on it.

I want to thank Eudora for being such a wonderful place to live and raise my children. There is so much that we can be proud because we are a community and will continue to be a community.

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