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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

That's The Way The Ball Bounces

Today was an exciting day at Heatly.

The school day began with another session of mentoring learners. The suggested discussion thread involved the subject of stress. It's an interesting point to be speaking with children about, but sadly it's a relevant aspect of the daily life of youth. Staff members focused on signs of stress, causes of stress, and ways to deal with stress. At the expense of sounding old - I don't recall my early years reflecting nearly the pressure and anxiety levels of today. It's a disturbing commentary on contemporary issues. And, as I mentioned in last night's Blog, it's another example of an area public schools should address, in spite of the absence of being the subject of an assessment, and perhaps because of the assessments. I recognize and accept that testing and competition are necessary elements in education but I suspect that like many things, moderation is best and we seem to be imbalanced in our efforts to the degree that anxiety and insecurity, self-doubt and worry, have become intimidating.

Later, in the early afternoon, we held a school-wide assembly to acknowledge the start of the basketball season at Heatly (at least the first home games). In addition to presenting the various basketball teams, the cheerleaders (all 22 of them) were introduced and provided with an opportunity to showcase their talents. There were also a series of basketball related activities involving staff members and younger learners so representatives of the different constituent groups comprising the school were active participants.

A special feature combined athletic success with academic pursuits of excellence when an emissary of the mayor's office delivered a speech congratulating our girls soccer team for their recent designation as a Scholar/Athlete Team based on their collective grade point average in excess of 90.0. The mayor's proclamation was read in honor of the team's success. this served to reinforce the clarion issued on the second day of school which encouraged the learners to invest the same passion, competitive spirit, and tenacity in the classroom as they have evidenced on the fields and courts of sports activities. The soccer team's exploits resonated with me as a fine example of what we are capable of performing. In addition, two players were accorded status as Section II all stars, while one young lady became the first known soccer player at Heatly to earn All-State awards as a member of the fourth team New York State Soccer Squad.

The great feeling emerging from the Pep Rally sustained itself through the opening two games of the year as the girls modified team easily outpaced their opponents. The level of execution of fundamental skills and the teamwork enabled the team to secure a wide margin early in the game and maintain the momentum through the final buzzer, meeting a well deserved victory. That win was followed up by the girls varsity team achieving a hard fought victory over the visiting team, nursing a slim lead for most of the game before finally pulling away in the last few minutes to secure an outcome measured by double digits. The girls, while limited to a team of eight players, nonetheless produced an excellent effort that maximized teamwork and a well planned strategy to yield the win. Both teams played smart, in that they ran their offense with efficiency and enacted an effective defense.

It was a successful day - and a lengthy day. After thirteen hours here (thankfully there was a fine selection of food available at the concession stand for my dinner) I'm finally going home. Tomorrow night is opening night for the boy's home season, and another long day.

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