Wednesday, September 8, 2010

MHS Always a Pleasure

MIDDLEBURG HIGH SCHOOL HOME OF THE BRONCOS!!! Every time I walk into Middleburg High School I feel like I have come home. The sense of a common culture and pride at MHS is addictive. The students get it, the teachers get it, the faculty gets it, and the administration gets it!
I spoke today about symbols of success at Middleburg to receptive young people who wanted to continue a strong tradition, and I am happy to say that the tradition is alive and well.

Middleburg High School is in a rural environment right on the outskirts of Jacksonville. A school that a few years ago (when the gas prices were through the roof!!) had an article written about how some of the students rode their horses to right! When you drive into Middleburg High School you pass the portables which is normal for a large high school in NE Florida, but what is unique is that you also drive past a donkey and a goat as well.... cool right! The donkey and his buddy the goat are part of the FFA club's group of animals. It is not a new school, but is very well kept by the faculty and pride is visible everywhere. The tale tale sign of a great high school is not the horse riding students, (or the donkey and the goat) it is the reaction of the students, teachers, and administrators when they talk about their school.

I talked to two administrators today about my observations and the next words out of their mouths were, "I would never work anywhere else..." I talked to students and they were all excited about the new school year, and they would stop me in the halls and talk to me about how excited they were to order their class rings. Young people stopping ME in the halls to talk about a symbol of pride... cool right!!

Pride in ones work and ones school is infectious and it is spreading like wildfire at Middleburg High School. "Pride is a personal commitment. It is an attitude which separates excellence from mediocrity." When you have an attitude of culture like you do at MHS the rest falls into place. Having a great leadership class lead by Dawn Powers makes MHS great, ambitious connected administration makes MHS great, teachers that relate to students makes MHS a great place and students that take pride in their school makes MHS great. I work with a lot of schools that are doing things well in NE Florida and I am excited to keep everyone up to date on the great things that I see. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Alex Nelson's Luau

Today at 2:00 funeral services for Alex Nelson. Mr Nelson was the principal at Union County High School and he passed away Thursday night at the age of 46. I was in attendance for his funeral, dressed in a very what I thought was funeral appropriate black suit. I was very surprised that when I pulled into my parking space I noticed people dressed in Hawaiian shirts.....I thought wow that is odd.... then when I saw a young lady sporting a flower lay I knew that something was going to be a little different about this funeral.

In Alex Nelson's will he had actually decreed that he wanted everyone to wear Hawaiian shirts and have his funeral be a celebration of his life and not a time of grieving. Truly it was a celebration of a man of God, a great educator, and a very passionate fisherman. Alex's friends and family got up and told fishing story after fishing story about Mr. Nelson's determination. Many times during the service the analogy between being a Fisherman and a fisherman of men came up.

I did not know Alex Nelson very well, but today's events moved and motivated me enough to start this blog running again. Its funny how life is full of surprises, I went to a funeral today to pay my respects to a man who dedicated his life to God and education, and he taught one last lesson to me.

Lately I have struggled with keeping my vision and my focus on helping others. Hearing about Mr. Nelson's life, and his dedications today, helped me re find that focus. I pull inspiration from many things, and surprisingly on a rainy Sunday in the sunshine state, I found inspiration at a funeral for a fisherman, disguised as a luau.