This is the time of year when graduations are happening.  College , high school, grade school and kindergarten.  Big schools and small schools.  But all of them are united in at least two ways.  One, they represent an accomplishment to the individual and a source of pride to families and friends.  Second, thought-provoking speeches by students and interesting speakers.

Let me address the first one.  Friday we had our Graduation at Mississinawa Valley.  First time I ever attended a graduation as a faculty member.  We are a really small school but these kids mean the world to me so I wanted to be out there supporting them.  Having our band and our choir sing was great.  Although they are small in number, I think it is nice to hear the students perform.  The Valedictorian had a good speech talking about failure not defeating you – including some video clips from Americas Funniest Home Videos.  She had enought humor and enough seriousness to make her point.  And a lot of the other students attended – some were volunteering but some just to be there for other students.  I had a great time talking to the students – but I always do!  While I did not have many of the seniors, I’ve gotten to know some of them pretty well.  Glad I could be there

As for profound speeches, I am still looking out there for them.  But here is one  When you have 20 minutes to spare, I recommend listening to this commencement address.  While it is specifically addressed to students in the Arts, his themes will resonate with all of us.  Pursue your passion.  Don’t lose sight of why you are doing something.  And don’t let the almighty dollar be your driving force.

Comments or links to great speeches from this year are welcome.


Marine Corps Historic Half

One of my goals for this year is to run three half marathons.  Well, I completed the first one of those this past weekend.  I ran the “Marine Corps Historic Half Marathon” in Virginia.

Yes, you read that correctly.  Got Rose to drive all the way to Fredericksburg, Virginia (a little more than eight hour drive) so I could run a half marathons.  Yep, I am crazy.

There is something about the way people who are in, or have been in, the military stand when the Star Spangled Banner is played.  They stand at attention generally with their arms at their sides or one hand on their heart.  No movement.  No swaying back-and-forth.  No talking.  No starting to move on when the song nears its close.  Reverence is the only word that comes to mind.  But it is a small, powerful reminder that those who chose to serve this country in the military truly respect our country.  A great reminder for all of us.

So how did the race go?  Fantastic.  It is a pretty tough, but fair course.  Some races are all about trying to allow people to run their fastest so the courses are flat.  This one was not.  Lots of rolling hills and two challenging hills at the end.  But I like that kind of course.  We ran through a lot of local neighborhoods and the historic part of town (but interestingly enough, not near the Fredericksburg Civil War Battlefield).   My goal was to run 1 hour 50 minutes (about 8:20 per mile).  I ended up running 1:47.46 (8:13) per mile.  And I was running very strong the last part, passing quite a few people.  I guess that makes up for some of the times people passed me in marathons.  My running buddies know that time is not near my fastest but my work schedule limits my training.  So I take great pride in doing better than expectations.

Field Trip

Today I took 25 of my students to the University of Dayton on a college visit.  One of my goals is to expose the students to a broader world out there and set their goals a little higher.  I honestly believe many of them have the potential to attend a great school like UD.  But many of them do not yet realize they can do it.  So the chance to visit a school in a large group lets them experience the school in some anonymity.  All I can do is hope that some of them had their eyes opened a little more.

As usual, Rose was a big help. She volunteered to be a chaperone.  So she went around with half of the students and their school guides.  On top of that, she was willing to make lunch for all of the students and allow them to come to our house.  She knows how much these students mean to me and she shares my goals.  The students were great and we had a lot of fun.  Here is a picture of all of them with me on our front yard.

On to the next adventure! 

Rose and The Statesman

As I said in my earlier blog, Rose was having a great Mother’s Day Week.  Here is the second half of the story.

She got a call on Friday out of the blue from someone looking for a massage at home on both Friday and Saturday.  Rose told them she charges a higher rate for at-home work.  She is not real fond of doing in-home massages because she has to lug around her table, etc.  They said it does not matter because this gentleman is tired from traveling.  So she agreed to do the massage.  Well . . .

It turns out that his name is Sit James R. Mancham.  He is the founding President of the Republic of the Seychelles .  The Seychelles are an island nation in the Indian Ocean near the equator.  He was in town visiting family that he had not seen for a while.  He was tired from his traveling and needed a massage (he is in his 70’s).  From Dayton he is on his way to Egypt.  He is going to be an observer of the elections going on their in the next few weeks.  How cool is that?  Further proof that the world is a small place.  Giving a massage to a global statesman! 

After getting a massage from her on Friday, he told Rose that he has traveled the world and Dayton Ohio is where he got his best massage!  Further proof that she is awesome.  Next I want her to work on getting us a free trip to the Seychelles. : )

Mother’s Day Week – part 1

Rose is having an awesome Mother’s Day Week.  On Monday, she took her mother to Grandparent’s Day at our nieces’ school in Mason.  I know they all had a great time and it meant a lot to Rose’s Mom.  It was a last-minute thing for Rose because she originally had jury duty.  So our niece Catie had to throw together a “tribute” to Rose in a hurry.  This is what she came up with (spelling out the word “aunts”)


Unmean and

Not bad at all

Talks with puppets

Super gifted

Now how is that for a great description of Rose?  I’ve said it a million times, she is “not bad at all”. : )

Things got even better.  Last night I had a big hit with Rose.  Not only did I take her out on a Friday night. I took her to a place where there was music.  And to top it off, I even danced with her.  Now those of you who know me well have probably been wondering all these years why Rose ever married me.  Every once in a while, I do something right.

By the way, for those of you who live in the Dayton Area, if you ever have a chance to listen to the Steve Shininger and the ShinSings Orchestra, do so.  A bunch of horns and a really good singer doing jazz music primarily.  They were a lot of fun.



Rose and I went to New York Coty this past weekend to visit our daughter, Courtney.  While I am not a big city” guy, it is always a fun time to visit NYC.  Times Square never ceases to amaze me.  The huge billboards on the side of buildings and the diversity of people makes it really a unique experience.

This time we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge.  Probably not as cool as walking across the Sydney Harbor Bridge in Australia or the early morning view from the Charles Bridge in Prague, Czech Republic.  But it still is one of the most famous bridges in the USA.  After that we visited the memorial to 9/11.  Right now it consists of two huge reflecting pools in a plaza.  There is still a lot of construction going on and they are creating a museum.  Pretty neat place to visit.

At night we went the Broadway Musical, Rock of Ages.  This is a musical based on the songs of the 80’s.  Now I happen to think that 80’s rock music wasn’t that great.  And all of us thought the first act was only “okay.  But the second act was much better.  And in the end the performers, even though none of them were people I knew or recognized, were undeniably talented.  It is amazing to think about how good they are.

We also got to see some relatives while we were there which was really great.   Courtney (who teaches 7th/8th grade math in the Bronx) and I got to share “war stories” about being a teacher.  And Rose got to do what she likes to do.