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Leap Before You Look

August 3, 2015 - Daniel Gottron
Volume 1 – Issue 6

As we move past the 2014-2015 school year and look ahead to 2015-2016, I find this as good a time as any to reflect on the past year. From both a personal and professional standpoint, this year, and especially this spring, has been quite a whirlwind.

Since our last post, Falling With Style, a lot of exciting things have been happening. Here at the school, we have had opportunity to: learn from local emergency services about how quickly an auto accident can turn the greatest days into the worst days, spend a night to remember on the Gateway Clipper Fleet, celebrate our achievements at our spring semester awards day, all sports banquet, and band banquet, induct several students into the National Honor Society, recognize the arts through our sprint art show, spring play, and spring band and choir concerts, finish up our spring sports seasons with a strong showing at the state track meet, collect several awards in FFA competition, and of course send our senior class of 2015 out into the world.

That is quite a run on sentence, and it doesn’t even include all of the exciting things that have been taking place in anticipation of the start of the next school year. Thanks to the extreme generosity of the Wetzel County Board of Education, we have had the opportunity to add a number of facilities upgrades already, and have several more upgrades planned from now until the start of the school year. We have gotten new lockers, new lighting in the gym, a new ceiling in the weight room, rennovations to our principals office, new fencing at Hundred Municipal Park/Cosgray Field, and approved the final draft of our new digital marquee sign, just to name a few.

In addition to our facility upgrades, our dedicated staff has been hard at work attending staff development sessions, cleaning and maintaining the school, preparing our schedule and courses for the fall, and brainstorming ideas that will help make 2015-2016 a year unlike any other. I can honestly say that while the school year may be over, our staff must not have gotten the message, as many of them are refusing to acknowledge the concept of summer vacation.

On top of everything here at school, the past two months or so have been particularly exciting for me at home, as my wife and I were thrilled to welcome our first child into our family on May 16th.

All of this has combined to create what I like to call the good kind of crazy; an excitement, an anticipation of where we are, and where we are going.

As I take in everything that I see around me, and what it will take to harness all of this potential, I am reminded of the African Impala. The story of the African Impala is a perplexing one. The Impala is one of the most physically gifted animals in all of the world. It is capable of jumping up to ten feet in the air and is able to travel up to thirty feet in one jump.

Because of this incredible physical ability, you would think an African Impala nearly impossible to keep grounded. However, zookeepers have found an extremely easy way to keep the Impala contained. All it takes is to enclose the Impala in a small enclosure that it cannot see over; a three foot high wall will typically be sufficient. When placed inside a barrier, the Impala will not jump. The reason for this is quite simple. The Impala will not leap if it cannot see where it is going to land. It is practicing the age old philosophy of looking before you leap.

For the Impala, as for the human, the practice of looking before you leap appears to be rooted in sound thinking. It stems from a desire for safety, a cautious approach that can help protect from potential danger. After all, what if the Impala gave its best leap only to find itself flying off the edge of a cliff? What if the human gave it their best leap, only to find they become the product of shame, ridicule, or even worse, failure?

However, the more I think about the story of the Impala, and the more I think about my own experiences over the past months, the more I become convinced that look before you leap is not good enough, that the hesitation necessary to live this mantra could be preventing the Impala, and the human, from reaching full potential.

Instead, I would like to propose a new way of thinking, one that could benefit both the Impala and the human. What if we instead of always proceeding with caution, we decided to leap before we looked? I am not suggesting that we take on a reckless abandon, certainly there is a need to assess the safety of a situation, and I would not advise anyone, human or Impala to leap headfirst over a thousand foot cliff. What I am suggesting is that we can get so caught up in caution, so caught up in the fear of failure, that we end up trapped on the ground, refusing to leap, unable to see outside the walls that have been placed in front of us.

I first articulated the philosophy of leap before you look to the senior class of 2015 at their graduation ceremony, but in reality, the students and staff at Hundred High School have been living this out since last August, when the challenge of “How Big Do You Wonder?” was issued to the school community. Our school responded in force to this challenge, and we have experienced countless successes and celebrations because of a commitment to charge forward without hesitation and without consideration of what might be holding us back.

At the beginning of the post, I mentioned that the past months have been a whirlwind. In looking ahead to the next months, it appears that the whirlwind has no intentions of slowing down, and I think we will be well served to embrace all that the next year will have in store. We are welcoming a new leader to our school system, working to implement the classroom procedures and strategies taught to our teachers by APL associates, establishing goals and focuses for the year ahead, working to constantly improve and perfect what teaching and learning can look like, and unveiling a new school schedule designed to maximize opportunities for students to learn in a meaningful way, just to name a few.

Another run on sentence, another opportunity to leap before we look. I must say that I am excited to see where we will go next. It truly is a great day to be a Hornet!

Staff News

Mrs. Leatha Williams officially joined our school system on July 1, 2015 as the new superintendent of schools. She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience building great schools, and we are excited to work with her to continue driving Hundred High School to greater heights.

Many of our teachers will be completing personal development sessions and training this summer in order to increase their capacity. Their dedication during the summer months will pay huge dividends for our students in the coming year. These teachers are going above and beyond in order to provide our students with an excellent education, and we will highlight some of these summer staff development sessions in the staff news section.

Mrs. Crystal Allen, Mr. Pariksit Spicher, and Mrs. Rebecca Spicher recently attended a weeklong session in APL strategies, along with a number of other Wetzel County educators, learning about processes and procedures that can maximize the student learning taking place in the classroom.

Ms. Stephanie Goodnight, Mr. Kasey Sapp, Mr. Pariksit Spicher, and Mrs. Rebecca Spicher are attending weeklong summer institutes for the various Advanced Placement classes they will be teaching this fall.

Mrs. Crystal Allen attended a weeklong session in Step Up to Writing Strategies, learning about ways to effectively teach writing techniques to our students.

Mrs. Crystal Allen and Mrs. Bonnie McGlumphy attended Edivate Boot-camp. During this three day intensive training, they learned about how to maximize the professional learning and collaboration taking place in our schools. They were also joined by a number of teachers and administrators from schools throughout the county and by Mrs. Tammy Wells and Mr. Jay Yeager from our county office.

We also held our Hundred High School Teacher Summer Academy from July 13-17 and were joined by Mrs. Crystal Allen, Ms. Stephanie Goodnight, Mrs. Bonnie McGlumphy, Mr. Ryan May, Mr. Rex Rush, Mr. Kasey Sapp, Mr. Pariksit Spicher, and Mrs. Rebecca Spicher. These teachers spent the week working on developing what we would like for our school to look like in the year ahead. The contributions of these teachers to our school are incredibly valuable and we will see the payoff of their hard work when school begins in August.

Student Spotlight

Rachel Watson represented HHS at the 2015 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Pittsburgh. Rachel also had the opportunity to travel to Washington DC to present her science fair project.

On May 2nd, we celebrated a night to remember on the Gateway Clipper Fleet for the HHS prom. A great time was had by all in attendance. Jordan Tustin was named prince and Josie Phillips princess, with Holden Moore and September Eakin crowned king and queen

We are proud to have a 100% pass rate on both the 40 hour and 80 hour mining exams for all of the students in our Red Hat Mining Program as all of our students successfully passed the tests for certification

Our Shuttle Hurdle Relay Team of Brandon Armstrong, Courtland Armstrong, Holden Moore, and Danny Stewart qualified for the state track meet. Courtland (Long Jump) and Holden (400m) also qualified as individual athletes

Paige Shriver was named a recipient of the OVAC Pepsi Cola Scholarship

We celebrated the induction of new members into the National Honors Society. The commitment of these students to Character, Scholarship, Leadership, and Service is honorable and worthy of recognition.

The 2015 National Honor Society Inductees: Andrew King, Meliah Umstead, Brandon Armstrong, Ashley Miller, Courtland Armstrong, Madysen Wheeler, Dakota Kuhn, Emily Rine, Holden Moore, and Josie Phillips

Isaac Hornbeck received a $55,648.00 scholarship from the United States Army. We are extremely proud of Isaac and his decision to serve his country through his enlistment. Congratulations Pvt. Isaac Hornbeck.

The Hundred High School-Long Drain School Band celebrated their year and all of their accomplishments with their annual banquet and rock-a-thon. The band banquet was a great capstone to an outstanding band season.

The Hundred High School Class of 2015 Celebrated their high school graduation on May 22nd. The graduation ceremony was a wonderful event and we are excited to see where these students will accomplish as they make their mark on the world. Congratulations to Valedictorians: Cassandra Henderson, Paige Shriver, and Victoria Stevens, Salutatorian: Alexandra Hayes, and to all of the Hundred High School class of 2015

Our FFA Has been busy this summer. The Livestock judging team took 4th place at the state competition and Annie Fox placed 3rd in the individual category. Our Land Judging and Home-site Evaluation team also took 1st place at their regional competition and qualified for the state competition. Our parliamentary procedures team took first place at the state competition and will be competing at the National Competition in October.

Andrew King attended the United States Naval Academy Summer Seminar. This seminar is an opportunity for high school students who are hoping to attend the Naval Academy.

Charlie Gorby successfully completed the Mountaineer Challenge Academy (MCA) program and graduated from the MCA program on June 12th.

The Hundred High School Football Team returned to summer practices after a yearlong hiatus. It was great to see these young men on the field and we are excited to bring back that Hornet Football tradition.

Community Connections

The Hundred Fire Department and other local emergency services and law enforcement put together their second annual mock accident scene at the school. Hundred Fire Chief Bert Anderson once again did an excellent job of coordinating a number of different agencies to ensure that our students saw firsthand a valuable lesson.

It could not have happened without the cooperation of everyone

Alumni Connection

Mr. Scott Lemley is a 1999 graduate of Hundred High School and is also the valedictorian of the class of 1999. Upon High School graduation, he attended Fairmont State University where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration in 2003, with a major in Finance and Management. He also attended graduate school at West Virginia University, where he earned his Executive Masters in Business Administration in 2007. Since his high school graduation, Scott has done a great deal in serving and representing his local community. He was a member of the Hundred Town Council from 2000-2001 and then served as mayor of Hundred from 2001-2003. In 2004, he was elected to the Wetzel County Board of Education and served in this capacity until 2008. From 2008-2012, he served as a Wetzel County Commissioner. Most recently, Scott was elected as the Wetzel County assessor in 2013 and is currently serving his community in this capacity. We are proud to call Mr. Scott Lemley a Hundred Hornet and are proud to have him as a part of our alumni family.

Upcoming Events

August 2 – Fall Sports Pre-Season Meeting – 2:00 August 17 – First Day of School for Students August 22 – Hundred High School Block Party, Car Show, and 5-K Run – All Day August 31 – Football Home Versus West Greene – 6:00 September 3 - Volleyball @ East Richland 6:00 September 8 - Volleyball Tri-Match @ Magnolia (Valley) - 5:30 September 10 - Volleyball Tri-Match @ Trinity (Paw-Paw) - 6:30 September - Volleyball JV Tournament @ Clay Battelle - TBA September 14 - Volleyball Home Versus Clay Battelle - JV 6:00 / V 7:00 September 14 – Football @ North Marion – 6:00 September 15 - Volleyball Home Versus St. Marys - JV 6:00 / V 7:00 September 18 – Homecoming Football Game Versus Cameron – 7:00 September 21 - Volleyball @ Cameron - 5:30 September 22 – Football Home Versus Valley – 6:00 September 26 - Volleyball @ Mapletown Varsity Tournament - TBA September 28 - Volleyball Home Versus Mapletown - 5:30 September 28 – Football @ Clay Battelle – 6:30

Classroom Strategy of the Week

Much like a school blog, the use of a classroom blog is an excellent way to engage students and parents. For tips on how to get started with a blog of your own, check out these six tips to get blogging

Article of the Week

Educational Blogger Larry Ferlazzo takes a look at value added measures of ranking employees and discusses how many businesses are moving away from this model while many schools are moving towards it. Read more about his opinion here

Video of the Week

In honor of the 2015 high school graduates, check out the video 18 years in rap which chronicles major events in our nation from 1997-2015.

Quote of the Week

Walt Disney never lived to see EPCOT completed. A reporter once asked him when his health was beginning to fail him, “Does it make you sad to think you might never see EPCOT?” Disney laughed, “If I didn’t see it you never would!”

Remember to follow our school on Twitter @HundredHornets and Instagram: HundredHornets

Thank you for all you do as a part of our school and community. True flight would not be possible without the contributions of all of us. Please let me know if you have any suggestions or information you would like included in an upcoming edition of the Flight of the Hornet: 304-775-5221 or

Dan Gottron, Principal, Hundred High School


"18 Years in Rap." - Flocabulary. Flocabulary. Web. 24 July 2015. .

Aughtmon, Scott. "The Story Of The African Impala And The Need For Vision And Faith." Bay Business Help. Bay Business Help, 21 Nov. 2013. Web. 24 July 2015. .

Ferlazzo, Larry. "Businesses Dumping Employee Ranking Systems - Just As Schools Are Adopting Them For Teachers." Larry Ferlazzos Websites of the Day. Edublogs, 23 July 2015. Web. 24 July 2015. .

Finkel, Ed. "LEAP before You Look, Winter 2004, Kellogg World Alumni Magazine, Kellogg School of Management." LEAP before You Look, Winter 2004, Kellogg World Alumni Magazine, Kellogg School of Management. Kellogg School of Management, 2004. Web. 24 July 2015.

Keigan, Jessica. "6 Tips to Get Blogging This Summer." Education Week Teacher. Education Week, 26 May 2015. Web. 24 July 2015. .

"Quote of the Day." Quote of the Day. 1 Nov. 2011. Web. 24 July 2015. .

"Voitures Anciennes 2." Voitures Anciennes 2. Web. 24 July 2015. .

Additional Photo Credits

Thank you to the following individuals for contributing photos that were used in this weeks blog:

Farrah Cottrill Annaliese Henderson Lauren Matthews Bonnie McGlumphy Logan Moore Rex Rush Kristi Shriver Rachel Watson


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