Sunday, August 16, 2009

Bronco Pride and Turning Thirty

Wednesday night at about 7:30 I turned thirty. I thought back to how much my life had changed over the past few birthdays and how thankful I am for everything that has happened recently, but I just could not believe that I had reached the 30 year mark. I guess every person reflects on things that have happened in their lives when they reach big mile stones like winning an award, accomplishing a long term goal, and birthdays that end in a zero. When I reflected on my life I thought about my friends.

Thursday morning I was given the great pleasure of speaking to a group of about 350 freshman at Middleburg High School in Clay County Florida. I talked about making the commitment to graduate from High School, and taking advantage of the opportunity that they were about to be given. Every time I talk to high schoolers I cant help but reflect on my own opportunity that I was given to graduate from high school, and how big of a part my friends played in that opportunity. I could see freshman meeting complete strangers that had come from different school, and those strangers will after a few short years undoubtedly become life long friends. Funny thing about high school is, out of all the people that you meet and the strong friendships that come from growing up together and experiencing the roller coaster that is high school these people that are currently your world will not always be there, but the special ones always will be.

It is not a bad thing, but life changes and the way you are in your teens is not how you will be in your twenties, and even though I have yet to experience it I am sure my thirties will be different from my twenties. I constantly hear people talk about high school being their glory days. When I tell people that I work with high schools, I almost always hear a story about their own personal high school experience. I love to hear people reminisce about their high school experience. I love stories of life changing events that happened in high school, peoples first girl friend, how they rolled a house with their friends, or the game that won them a state championship. When I remember high school I always think about my two friends David and Will and all the great memories that we made.

It is always great to reflect on the past, but high school is not the best years of your is just the best years of your life so gets a lot better if you make it better. If I have learned anything it is that LIFE is what you make of it, and true friends are the ones that will be there for you when you make a mess of IT. For those young students at Middleburg High School it will hopefully be the best years of their life so far, and I hope that it is filled with the same great memories that I have from my high school. I want to thank my friends for always being there for me, and give a little advice to the class of 2013. Choose friends that will challange you to be a better person, those are the ones that you will still be freinds with when you reach thirty......

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Today was a very good day. I was given the opportunity to sit in on a Freshman Orientation today at Orange Park High School in Orange Park Florida and it was ROCK N ROLL... some might even use the term "wicked awesome" It was really great to see a group of freshman start out so000 quiet.....maybe a little shy.......maybe trying to take in the enormity of a 725 student freshman class.. Then transform into RAIDERS and scream at the top of their lungs when their group was called out to see who would be the first to get lunch. Tyler's tip of the day: FOOD is a motivator(even if it is just a hotdog)!

I could literally see 8th graders from every DIFFERENT middle school in Clay county morph in front of my eyes into the UNIFIED freshman class of Orange Park High School. Treasure Pickett recently reminded me that, "young people don't care how much you know... until they know how much you care" You could see that people at OPHS care a lot!! I saw it in the young student leaders who spread RAIDER pride, you could see it in the teachers that lead break out groups, and you could also see it in the administrators who lead even rapped!! I even saw how much people care by watching the guys, the girls, and even one determined principals secretary prepare 1200 hot dogs for the students. Every were you looked young people were getting it!!

The "it" is understanding that you are about to embark on a journey that will take you through the 4 best years of your life, so far...... The "it" was seeing that Orange Park High School was a school that wants you to be involved, because once you are involved that is when young people start making memories that will last a life time!!
How are you making sure your students know how much you care? Is it something that you show daily, or just at the beginning of the year? I hope that everyone in Florida will continue to get their students involved and keep letting them know that taking pride in your school and your education is an investment that will keep paying out the REST OF YOUR LIFE!!!