Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Student scholarship recipients pose with athletic directors, Ashley Fosberg, and myself

Last week, Highline held its inaugural Scholar-Athlete, Coach and Community Recognition Banquet. It was a tremendous success! You'd have never known this was the first year we've attempted something like this. The turnout was phenomenal - in fact, the event was filled beyond capacity.

For those of you who aren't familiar, district athletic director Terri McMahan teamed up with the Highline Schools Foundation to raise scholarship money and honor outstanding coaches. Four students per high school campus were selected as "nominees", and all received at least $500 in scholarship funds. Those who received more are noted below. Middle and high school coaches were also honored, as were retiring coaches Dave Larson (Highline baseball, 16 years), Darren Rawie (Mt. Rainier baseball, 12 years), and Doris Burdin (Evergreen tennis, an astounding 48 years!).

The event got great press coverage and you can see more photos in the articles by the Highline Times and B-Town Blog.

I'd like to commend Terri McMahan for initiating this event. She marshaled significant resources through donations and kept an eye out for every detail. Terri's speech was truly inspirational, calling on students to accept help when others can help them, and to pay it back when they are in a position to do so.

You don't hear the term "scholar athlete" as often as you used to, but as MC Bob Rondeau noted, the concept of the athlete scholar is alive and well. This group of 16 athletes, of every race and corner of the district, has distinguished itself on the playing field and in the classroom. They have impressive academic aspirations, and I have no doubt they will be lining up to support future generations of students, just as Terri suggested they would.

Let's have another great Scholar-Athlete banquet next year!

District athletic director Terri McMahan addressing the group
Bob Rondeau, the "Voice of the Huskies", serving as master of ceremonies
(L to R) Baseball coaches Darren Rawie, Loren Hubner, and Dave Larson 
Evergreen super coach Doris Burdin received boisterous applause
Tyee's Moises Torres (along with Highline's Jennalee Gould) earned a $2,500 scholarship
Mt. Rainier's Alexis Gregerson (along with Evergreen's Michelle Chen) earned a $1,500 scholarship
Tyrone Curry, who sponsored a scholarship, with members of the school board
Photo credits: Mel Ponder Photography

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Transportation and Facilities: Good People, and Stuff You've Never Seen!

I recently spent the afternoon with the good people over at Facilities and Transportation. My assistant Jan booked me for 90 minutes over there and I spent two and a half hours! With so many people to meet, and so many things to see, the time just flew.

Transportation was a great time. I showed up right when the bus drivers and student monitors were assembled in the break room before the afternoon runs went out. Remember, bus drivers work a split shift - typically four runs in the morning and four in the afternoon - so there's a gap in the middle of they day where they are "off the clock." This time is great for camaraderie, as I encountered a group that was very social eating lunch, doing puzzles, and generally chatting it up. I met guys and gals, like Boomer (pictured below), who were incredibly friendly and thoughtful. Our kids are lucky to have these folks to start and end their day.

Before I left Transportation, Director Scott Logan showed me around the shop where they work on the buses and the office where they schedule all of the drivers. The shop brought out the little boy in me, as I climbed under a bus that was on a lift with Dave. Mike's crew out there does amazing work. I think they are at fifteen years of perfect Washington State Patrol inspections and counting!

Facilities was just amazing. I've been in the district 18 years and there are parts of their operation I never even knew existed! There was shop after shop after shop. Next time you hear that the district doesn't use resources well, show them the picture below of our clock shop, where we store old clocks to "cannibalize" for parts to repair the clocks in our old buildings that you can't even buy any more!

I got to see all parts of the Facilities Department, starting with a budget meeting, where Executive Director Andrea Johnson and her staff make sure projects are on time and on budget. Then it was off to a whirlwind of shops: The roofing shop. The paint shop. The carpentry shop. The AV shop. The sign shop. The HVAC shop. The key shop. And probably a dozen more I can't remember. All know is (except for our brand new schools), if something's in one of our buildings, it probably got made or serviced in one of these places!

Unfortunately, most of the Facilities staff was either out and about or had left for the day when I visited. (Some start super early.) But those I did meet were friendly faces, like Kimberly, who greeted me with her string trimmer outside.

One last note: Facilities and Transportation have a fierce, proud rivalry over the district's food drive. When I was at Transportation, they asked me to steal food out of the Facilities bin and walk it over to theirs! It just goes to reinforce the kind of caring, salt of the earth people we have working behind the scenes and making sure our kids are at school on time, with a great start to the day.