THE RAPTOR | Issue 9-10
A NEWSLETTER FOR THE NORTH FAYETTE VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL COMMUNITY
Hall of Fame Nominees Needed
Earlier this school year the North Fayette Valley Board of Education gave approval to the creation of a Hall of Fame to honor graduates of North Fayette Valley, North Fayette, Valley, and high schools in our district that existed before these consolidations. In addition, former high school teachers, administrators, and staff members are eligible for induction, as are individuals who are not alums or former staffers that made significant contributions to one of the schools. These schools have a rich history thanks to the people who walked the halls and worked in the classrooms.
This is a Hall of Fame that is for the community, and depends on community members to identify those individuals who should be members. At this time, the number of nominations is very light and is not reflective of the high quality people who should be enshrined. It is a very simple process to nominate individuals. All one has to do is go to high school page on the district’s website and go to the dropdown menu to find the nomination form. It is simple to fill out and submit.
In terms of alums, there are many men and women who have graduated from one of the schools who have gone on to do great things with their lives. Those are the kind of people that need to be recognized in the Hall of Fame. People in the community know who some of these folks are and need to take the time to nominate them. Whether they have had a career on Broadway, the military, business, or whatever, these are the people that need to be in the Hall of Fame.
Who are the teachers that have had a significant impact on student’s lives? The ones that inspired young people to strive for greatness, or challenged them to work hard and take risks. As all of us reflect on our lives in high school, each of us has that teacher, counselor, coach, or administrator in mind who stands out.
In terms of contributors, schools often recognize and honor those people who are incredible volunteers, or those who stepped in to provide support or provided resources that helped the school. We need to know!
We need your help so please go to the website and nominate people who must be in the Hall of Fame!
IN THIS ISSUE
Each month NFVHS Principal Todd Wolverton shares his thoughts on a variety of topics, most of them having to do with school!
Hey Mr. Clark!
School counselor Bill Clark shares pertinent information relative to the academic, social, and emotional needs of our students.
WHAT’S GOING ON AT NFVHS
Of high school girls participated in high school sports in 2018-19.
Drop in the number of football players in 2018-19. This is the tenth year in a row that football participation has dropped.
by Todd F. Wolverton
I had planned to write about a couple of different things in this newsletter, but after some experiences today, I have changed my mind and am going to focus on them. This already shaped up to be a very busy week with parent-teacher conferences and Capstone presentations, and then life interfered. I take my job very serious, and there are a lot of things going on that I need to attend to, many of them I am incredibly behind on, but I found myself at Holy Name Catholic Church attending the funeral of a parent of one of our students. I do not need to tell any of you about the thoughts and reflections you have during a service, but suffice to say, It certainly puts things in perspective. And, two days from now, I will be back in the same church at the same time at the funeral of another parent of a student in the same class. What is particularly sad is that three members of this class have lost dads in the past year at far too young of an age.
What we folks in the school business do is important. There is no doubt that the impact we have on the lives of teenagers is going to have a significant impact on their life as they move forward. However, there are times that we freak out a bit and make things a bit more important than they really are. For the students directly impacted by the loss of a loved one, at this moment there are things a lot more important to them than getting into a classroom before the bell rings or doing a few practice problems. For the young man and young lady that are mourning the loss of their dad this week, they are coming to grips with the fact that they are never going to see them again, and that is something that they are going to have to cope with a lot when they come back to school. I truly believe that our staff at the high school are tuned in to students from a social-emotional perspective, but there are many that do fall under our radar. That won’t be the case with these students and those who are close to them, as people will be keeping a close eye on them. We will also take a step back, at least for a while, and realize there is a lot more important things going on in our student’s lives than what we expect them to do at school.
This afternoon I shifted to Capstone mode as the first day of presentations took place. You have all heard me extol on the virtues of this project, but today all of that was taken to an even higher level. When our team went to the Board of Education a few years back with the proposal for this project, included in it was that all students would complete the project. Since then, all students who have earned a diploma and graduated from our high school have done that. For some of our students, particularly those with IEPs, there have been what we believe are appropriate accommodations. This year, with the urging of a couple of consultants that work with some of our students with more significant disabilities, we changed our definition of “appropriate” a lot! Rather than doing their presentation in a small room with just a handful of school staff present, they were on the schedule in the same rooms giving their presentations under the absolutely same circumstances as every other student in the class. And. They. Rocked. It! Two young ladies with severely limited verbal communication skills spoke to a room full of people about their topics just like their peers have done since we started this project seven years ago! There were a number of people with tears in their eyes as they watched and listened, and realized how far these students have come since they first came through the doors of NFVHS. I am so happy we have all of these presentations recorded as I will definitely watch these two again!
Later in the evening I watched a young lady who has certainly had a number of curve balls thrown her way in her life. In fact, we have few kids in our building right now that have overcome more obstacles in their life than this particular student, yet she shows up nearly every day and has a smile on her face.
There was no doubt that she was nervous about giving her presentation. What caused me to grin a little bit was the way she was using positive self-talk to prepare herself as she was waiting for her turn. It had a calming effect on her and when it was her time and the room monitor introduced her, she was on point and moved confidently into her presentation. She had practiced and she knew her topic well. Over the next sixteen-plus minutes she shared what she had learned with the evaluators and the other people in the room. Her topic was one that surprised me, yet it was very important to her. She discussed her mentor experience and how much it meant to her to spend time and learn from that person. She did a good job with her presentation, and then it was time for questions. One of the evaluators asked her why she picked her topic. She initially responded with the typical “it is something I am interested in,” but then there was a little surge of energy in her response and I will never forget what she said next: “I want to be somebody. I want people to notice me. I don’t want people to say ‘Oh there’s X working at the store.’ I want people to know who I am.” I don’t know where her life’s path will lead, and she certainly hasn’t had the advantages many of our kids have had. I was moved, and for the third time today had tears in my eyes. It has been quite the day. We’ll see what tomorrow brings!
Hey, Mr. Clark!
by Bill Clark, School Counselor
Putting Fun Back in High School Athletics (by Geri Witalec-Krupa
Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game.” In the world of high school sports and education-based athletics, this quote by Michael Jordan should naturally serve as the guiding philosophy for schools, coaches, players and parents alike. In today’s youth sports culture, the goal of fun and enjoyment in organized sports may appear to be less and less prevalent.
Some high school athletic teams may serve as an appendage of local elite travel teams, and there may be an increased prevalence of secondary schools using training methods and intensity levels that parallel those of collegiate programs. In addition, some students and parents may choose a high school solely based upon the success of its athletic programs. All of this has become more of a concerning reality.
In a 2014 George Washington University study, 90 percent of students reported the No. 1 reason they participated in sports was to have fun and, likewise, the No. 1 reason students stopped playing a sport was because it was no longer fun. With recently released National Federation of State High School Associations data indicating that high school sports participation dropped in 2018-19 for the first time in three decades, one might wonder if the increased pressure and intensity reported by high school athletes and the drop in participation rates are related? If there is a correlation, how can schools and programs reverse this trend? Since having fun is the No. 1 reason students participate, one solution is for schools, programs and coaches to provide the developmentally appropriate balance of fun and competitiveness in order to retain athletes and grow their programs.
At Bellows Free Academy in Fairfax, Vermont, the enjoyment and learning of student-athletes is the top priority within the athletic department. Administrators and coaches work to provide the most developmentally appropriate balance of competition and fun in all athletic programs. Many high school events also serve as an opportunity for youth programs to participate on the varsity fields, courts and trails. Additionally, high school teams provide opportunities for younger athletes to take part in “step-up” practices and events.
The most widely known and popular event of BFA Fairfax’s unique, fun opportunities is the annual Fairfax Relays cross country race held each October. It takes place annually during the two-week period leading up to league, divisional and state championship races. Fred Griffin, former BFA Fairfax cross country coach who started this event more than 10 years ago, said, “We held a conventional relay for a couple of years, but soon incorporated obstacles, hay bales and water jumps. We kept getting more interest from schools. Somewhere around 10-11 years ago, the whole ball of wax came together with costumes, music, outrageous prize plates and using the public-address system to provide play-by-play commentary. It’s a regular carnival!”
Another important aspect of this event is the overwhelming school and local community support. Parents, staff, students, athletic teams, the Fairfax Fire Department and Fairfax Rescue Squad all contribute from concessions and parking to safety and security. It is truly a community-wide event.
The philosophy behind the Fairfax Relays is embraced even at the highest levels of competition. Champlain Valley Union H.S., whose girls team accolades include 16-time Vermont state champions, five-time New England champions and three-time Nike Cross Nationals qualifiers, are annual participants. Scott Bliss, current CVU head coach, said, “When I was a young, new coach, I didn’t want to go. I felt we needed to train. When we did finally attend the Fairfax Relays, it was a blast. It ended up being a perfect thing for us after many high-pressure weekends of racing. The kids have fun and enjoy making their teams and costumes. I think it ends up being a great break mentally and allows them to race but be a bit goofy at the same time.”
Some might argue that too much of a focus on fun can adversely affect the growth and success of teams, specifically at the high school level. BFA Fairfax’s approach to competition proves much to the contrary, as multiple state and league finalist and championship banners adorn the gymnasium walls.
PROUD TO BE NFV!
The TigerHawks played three games at UIU on their big court this season. We value the partnerships we have with the college.
It is time to start planning for the next exchange with Uberlingen Gymnasium students!
Being able to visit cities like Munich is just one of the opportunities students have when they participate in the German exchange.
German Exchange 2020-2021
The first steps are being taken for the next exchange with students from Uberlingen Gymnasium in Germany. Any student in the current 9th and 10th grade class is able to fill out an application to host a German student this fall, and then travel to beautiful southwestern Germany. This exchange has been held every other year since 1983, and is longest running exchange between any two high schools in the United States and Germany. There is a lot of pride in our community for the exchange, and many people who have had life-changing experiences because of their participation.
A meeting was held with all members of the freshmen and sophomore classes with an overview of the exchange program. An application was given to each of them to complete if they want to participate. At the present time, 20 to 21 students from North Fayette Valley High School will be chosen. The students from Uberlingen will come to our school and community in the middle of October and stay for three weeks. They will stay with the families of our students who are selected to be in the exchange. While they are here they will have an educational project and will visit places in Iowa as part of it, as well as spend time at school.
In June 2020, our students and their chaperones will travel to Germany and stay for approximately three weeks. While there they will stay with the families of their German partners and participate in a number of trips in the region. Previous groups have seen medieval towns and fortresses, the cities of Munich and Stuttgart, and a number of other sites. In addition, they will get a look at a German school and enjoy the town of Uberlingen. It is a great chance to see another part of the world.
North Fayette Valley High School Staff
Administration and Guidance
Todd Wolverton - Principal
Bill Clark - School Counselor
Ron Imoehl - Liaison
Robin Albert - Secretary
Barb Schroeder - Secretary
Stephanie Wagner - Nurse
Cassie Peterson - Interventionist
Brent Kuker - Teacher
Jacob Pedersen - Interventionist
Debbie Ruroden - Associate
Julie Kopsa - Associate
Neal Bentley, Garrett Crandall, Megan DeBack, Stephanie Ellis, Darcy Einck, Tim Feldman, Cassie Gruman, Kathy Hageman, Elaine Hanson, Kyle Harms, Justin Heins, Cyndy Hinton, Molly Holthaus, Ryan Holthaus, Dan Hovden, Amy Ihde, Kelli Kovarik, Matt Krambeer, Jon Kullen, Brooke Lodge, Julianne Meyer, Tracy Nuss, Sarah Pisney, Kayla Pollock, David Riemer, Ted Schacherer, Molli Steffens, Kari Straube, Rachael Strong, Rick Taylor, Denice Vandersee
Bobbi Jo Koch