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The What if Post

February 24, 2016 - Daniel Gottron
The What If Post Volume 2 - Issue 2

For most of my life, I have found myself to be infatuated with the question stem “What if?” While it may be made up of only two of the simplest words in the English language it evokes meaning that can be equal parts diverse and profound.

“What If” Can be a tool of learning and discovery about the world

In the earliest days of my childhood, “What if” was my go to question. I know I am not alone on this one, as so many kids through the years have questioned “What if dinosaurs still existed?” “What if aliens came to our house?” or “What if I could fly?”

My wife has recounted a story in which her 3rd grade classmates asked so many “what if” questions about their homework that it prompted the teacher to instruct the class that there were to be no more what if questions. One boy in the class responded to this with “What if the world ends tomorrow, do I still have to turn in my homework?”

While these childhood “What ifs” may seem trivial and nonsensical to an adult, they are in fact a vehicle for exploring the world and how it works. This is most certainly true in my experience, and I now stand on a foundation built on this powerful question.

“What If” can be used for reflecting on choices that have shaped our life

As I grew, my life grew and changed, but my use of “what if” did not. At each life stage I discovered a new application for my question, ranging from the ridiculous to the profound. I also discovered that many of my “what if” questions did not have an answer, but that the most important ones always did.

As I approached high school graduation and all of the life shaping choices that come with it, I found myself choosing between St. Vincent College and Waynesburg College. I eventually settled on Waynesburg. Waynesburg was a wonderful experience and absolutely the right choice. However, St. Vincent was in our conference, and every time we traveled to their school for a cross country meet, I would wonder “What if I had chosen St. Vincent?” Part of me wanted so badly to see this alternate path, this alternate reality. I was so curious about what my life could have been like given different choices that I typically drove myself crazy and had my worst races at St. Vincent.

While in college, I was encouraged by some friends to apply for a summer job as a camp counselor at Pine Springs Camp. I ended up spending four summers there and had an incredible experience. The crazy thing is, I almost didn’t turn in my application and was not exactly thrilled about spending the summer away from home. I sometimes reflect back on that experience and I wonder “What if” I hadn’t applied (more on this later).

After college, I interviewed unsuccessfully for several teaching jobs in Pennsylvania and ended up making the winding trip to McDowell County, West Virginia. Standing where I am now, I wonder “What if” I had gotten one of those jobs in Pennsylvania.

Fast forward several years later, and I found myself wondering “What if” I asked this girl to marry me. This was one of those rare and significant occasions where I did find out the answer, and thankfully the answer was yes.

This proposal gave me an answer to my question about Pine Springs, as it was during my time there that I met my future wife. It also gave me an answer to my question about St. Vincent and my question about the teaching jobs in Pennsylvania.

If any of those three things had turned out differently, it may have drastically altered the way that my life has played out. Everything that happens to us, every “what if” builds upon the past, for better or worse, to shape us into the people we will become.

“What if” can be a way to try to process that which cannot be understood

More recently, I found myself once again applying “what if” to some things I did not understand about the world, just as I had when I was a child. Unlike when I was a child, I found this set of questions taking on a much more serious tone based on what I was seeing and hearing about the world.

Recent examples include “What if the parents of four children, ages 6-13, were not killed in a car accident while driving to buy Halloween candy and face paint for their children?” “What if the pregnant wife of an Indianapolis pastor, and mother of a one year old, had not been killed during a home invasion?” and “What if a three month old baby hadn’t died on his first day of daycare?”

While I did not know the people in any of these three cases, I found myself being very much impacted by their stories. This most recent round of “what if” proved to challenge me more than any other “what if” question I have ever asked myself.

I think these stories struck such a cord because they all are tragic examples of the frailty of life. I am sure that none of these people woke up thinking that this would be the day that they would tragically lose their wife/mother/husband/father/child/sibling.

I also believe they struck a chord because they transpose the frailty of life with the resiliency of life. What if those left to pick up the pieces had decided to be defeated? In all three stories, this would have been a reasonable and completely understandable response, but in all three stories those most deeply affected elected to respond.

The state trooper sent to the family home, and greeted by four children in full costume, responded by treating the children to dinner, movies, and Halloween candy, along with a sleepover at the state patrol post.

The husband who tragically discovered his wife responded with his words, saying “Though everything inside of me wants to hate, be angry, and slip into despair, I choose the route of forgiveness, grace, and hope. If there is one thing I’ve learned from Amanda in the 10 years, it’s this: Choosing to let my emotions drive my decisions is recipe for a hopeless and fruitless life. Today I am deciding to love, not hate.”

The mother who dropped her happy three month old at day care and returned to find his lifeless body has responded by sharing her story, forming the website forkarl.com, and lobbying for better parental leave policies.

Most importantly, these stories struck a chord because they all show the importance of living life with a fullness, an urgency, an appreciation that every moment matters.

“What if” is not a question, it is a way of life, a calling, a purpose

All of these “what if” moments and questions leads me to one conclusion, and it is a conclusion that is very applicable to Hundred High School.

All of this time, I thought that “what if” was a question to be asked, but I now see that “what if” is so much more. “What if” is the difference between success and failure, between victory and defeat, between excellence and apathy.

What if we decided as a school, as a community, to rise up and show the world just what a small rural school in a small rural community can be?

What if we made it our mission to equip our students with the best resources, the best teachers, the best school possible?

What if we lived out the belief that students in rural Appalachia deserved the same quality of opportunity as students at larger, wealthier, suburban communities?

What if we stop simply sitting and wait for "Something Magical" to happen, and instead develop the Inability to Do Nothing and the desire to do Whatever it Takes?

What if every single one of us as stakeholders decided that this seemingly impossible goal was within our grasp, that if we all pulled together we could reach heights others never could have even imagined?

What if at this exact moment in time we all could agree that it’s a great day to be a Hornet?

I don’t know about you, but what this picture looks like in my mind is what drives me to work harder and do better with each passing day.

I would like to pose a final “what if” to anyone who is reading this post: What if you joined me?

Staff News

A huge congratulation is owed to Mrs. Jessica Greathouse. She has elected to leave her position as our art teacher in order to spend time with her wonderful new son. We are very happy for her family. We will very much miss the dedication and excellence she brought to the classroom on a daily basis. While we will miss her as one of our teachers, we are thrilled that she will continue serving as our girls track coach and will also be continuing to help us with the ever popular "Plates and Palettes".

We also say congratulations and farewell to choir director Mr. James White as he has had the opportunity to take a position as a music teacher much closer to his family. Thank you Mr. White for your service to the students of Hundred High School and Long Drain School, your commitment to your students was much appreciated and will be missed.

On the flip side, we have had the opportunity to welcome Mrs. Melissa Hayes to our staff as our new choir director. Since taking over as director just before the end of the first semester, it is evident that Mrs. Hayes will do incredible things with our choir program and we are very excited to have her as part of our staff.

October was a busy month, as we recognized both “College Exploration Week” in an effort to encourage college application and enrollment and “Red Ribbon Week” in an effort to raise awareness about drug abuse and educate our students. School counselor Mrs. Beverly Van Scyoc was instrumental in the organization and planning of both of these important weeks. Thank you Mrs. Van Scyoc for all of your hard work!

The end of October also marked our fall student council blood drive. We are very fortunate to have Mrs. Janet Moore and Mr. Kasey Sapp as our student council advisers and they did a great job organizing the blood drive.

Mrs. Bonnie McGlumphy put her creative powers to good use and turned some of our old textbooks into a vibrant book tree

It is not hard to know where to find Ms. Jeanine Watson, she is always here at the school working in her numerous capacities as our band director and music teacher. In the recent months, she has organized our Christmas concert, which was a resounding success, and also put together fall plays performed by our theatre class, which were performed to rave reviews.

Our winter sports seasons would not be possible without the coaches and staff that help make them a success. Our boys basketball team is led by head coach Mr. Virgil Wilkins and assistant coach Mr. Brian Bartlett, our girls basketball is led by head coach Mr. Steve Dakan and assistant coach Mrs. Crystal Allen, and our cheerleading squad is led by head coach Mrs. Diana Wheeler and assisted by Mrs. Crystal Allen. Additionally, our sports could not be a success without the involvement of our athletic director Mr. Rex Rush and our winter events coordinator Mr. Jeremy Kelch, who take care of making sure our coaches, players, and fans can have a positive game experience.

Student Spotlight

It seems that our FFA program is constantly in the spotlight, and our FFA Parliamentary Procedures made waves at the national convention where the team of Hailey Eastham, Taylor Fetty, Annie Fox, Holden Moore, Valerie Soles, and Meliah Umstead scored the 10th highest on the placement test out of 45 participating teams and brought home a silver recognition.

Meliah Umstead also shined as an individual, where she had the 8th highest placement score out of 250 students.

Our Red Ribbon Week poster contest saw Logan Moore, Victoria Hawkins, and Airadeea Williams claim the three prizes for the top poster designs.

As two of our outstanding seniors, Andrew King and Emily Rine got to represent our school at a Wetzel County Parents Advisory Council meeting. Andrew also had the opportunity to represent our school at the 21st annual First Exchange Groundhog Day breakfast in his role as student body president.

Tyler Simms was recognized as the first place winner for our Veteran’s Day essay contest this year with Annie Fox recognized as the runner up. Their essays were selected from a pool of more than ninety submissions.

Brandon Rine was recognized as Hundred High School’s first place winner and Jasmine Patterson as the runner up in the annual Attendance Matters Poster contest held across all of the schools in West Virginia.

Additionally, Brandon Rine was the second highest scoring 9th grader for the annual Wetzel County math field day

Kaitlyn Kuhn was recognized by Fairmont Regional Medical Center for her commitment to volunteering and community service through her volunteer work at FRMC

Members of our theatre class put on a production of two short plays which showcased their incredible talent as actors. Their fall production included performances of two short plays, Long Tall Lester and Rollin’ in Dough in Mistletoe.

Our concert band and choir put together an outstanding Christmas Concert as always, entertaining all in attendance with some sounds of the Christmas season.

Additionally, three of our choir members, Macy LeMasters, Madysen Wheeler, and Airadeea Williams had the opportunity to participate in the Tri-State Honors Choir at West Liberty University, and band members Katherine Henderson, Macy LeMasters, Emily Metz, Rachel Watson, and Amber Yoho had the opportunity to travel to Marshall University to participate in the Marshall University Honors Band.

In sports news, our boys basketball, girls basketball, and winter cheerleading seasons are in full swing. Each of our three winter teams have brought a lot of excitement and a lot to celebrate; most notably our boys basketball team receiving a positive sportsmanship commendation from the West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Comission, and senior Holden Moore reachingthe 1,000 point plateau. Over the past three years I have seen all of our sports programs take on a new mentality that reflects the direction our school is going, establishing an attitude of excellence, sportsmanship, and never giving up that I believe will bring us much athletic success over the coming seasons.

We recently celebrated our student achievements during the fall 2015 semester with an academic awards assembly. This assembly served as an opportunity to recognize students for a variety of accomplishments. It is always wonderful to get our student body together and reflect on all of the things they are accomplishing.

Alumni Connection

We were happy to welcome West Virginia State Trooper Sgt. Jeff Shriver (1989) to our school to discuss the perils of drug addiction and abuse as part of our Red Ribbon Week. Additionally, we welcomed Wetzel County Sheriff candidate, Chief Deputy Mike Koontz who brought some recovering drug addicts to address our student body.

The month of November allowed us to honor a number of our alumni, as well as so many other members of our community, who served as veterans of the United States Armed Forces. We owe a great debt of gratitude to all of those who served our country and allow us to have the freedoms we enjoy today.

In just one of their many examples of extreme generosity in support of our school and students, Howard and Linda Henderson (1973, 1981) purchased the fall sports banners for our senior athletes and will be doing the same for our winter athletes. We are very fortunate to have them as alumni and as part of our school community.

We are always thrilled when we are able to add a new partner to our school. It is even more special when that partner is a Hundred High School alumni. We have recently begun working with Mrs. Shelly Brown (1979) and her company Direct Results on several school initiatives. There is more information about our partnership with Direct Results in the community corner.

Several of our young alumni have proven to give us a lot to celebrate in the recent months. Ethan Umstead (2014) was recently named second chair in the West Virginia University concert band, and Mitch Moore (2012) found out during Christmas break that he has officially been accepted into the West Virginia University College of Law where he will be a member of the class of 2019.

Community Corner

Our entire school was very fortunate to hear Holocaust Survivor and Award Winning Author of “Four Perfect Pebbles” Marion Blumenthal Lazan share some of her story. All in attendance were moved by her story.

We also owe a special thank you to Cameron High School teacher Mrs. Brittany Springer for coordinating this moving assembly.

We were honored to have Captain John Brown give the keynote address for our Veterans Day program.

Mrs. Lauren Matthews, reporter for the Wetzel Chronicle, has been a great supporter of Hundred High School and our students over the past several years, frequently writing articles and feature stories showcasing our students and their accomplishments. She has recently received the much deserved position of interim editor at the Chronicle, with the prospects of taking over as full time editor in the near future.

The unexpected passing of Magnolia High School teacher Mr. Mark Lemasters saddened all of the Wetzel County community. He was a great example of dedication to his school and students and will be greatly missed by all who had the opportunity to know him.

Our FFA program welcomed West Virginia FFA representative Miss Samantha DeBolt to share some of her expertise on leadership with our FFA chapter members. It was a great experience that benefitted our students immensely.

We welcomed Grammy nominated trumpet player Mr. David Wells into our auditorium where he spoke with our students about the importance of desire, determination, and discipline. He even challenged four of our students to try their own hand at the trumpet.

We are proud to welcome Direct Results as our newest school partner. They are a company with the ability to do a vast array of graphic, multimedia, and print design to develop and promote the positive brand of the organizations with whom they partner. In the past several months, we have already seen the “direct results” of working with them as a partner in the form of our Alma Mater and Fight Song banners hanging in the school gym, the new decals on the front of the scoring table, and the senior sports banners hanging on the wall in the gym. It will be very exciting in the days and weeks ahead to work with the team at Direct Results as we continue to build a school brand that matches the educational excellence we strive to provide to our students. In addition to the opportunity to continue building our school brand, they will serve as a great partner as we work to build our own graphic, multimedia, and print design curriculum. The fact that one of their owners is a proud Hundred High School graduate makes it even more exciting to add them to our growing stable of amazing community partners.

Speaking of school partners, our connection to First Exchange and Union Banks is one that I am very grateful and appreciative to have. Both of our local banks have built a longstanding bond with our school. This partnership was on full display at our student awards ceremony in which Amy Miller (First Exchange) and Jennifer Kolat (Union) presented the 1st and 2nd grading period students of the quarter with a monetary award. I was also honored to recently attend the 21st annual Groundhog Day breakfast in which First Exchance celebrates all of their community partners.

Additionally, the Green Acres Exxon-Mobil Station has chosen to partner with Hundred High School as part of the Exxon-Mobil Math and Science Educational Alliance.

Mrs. Trina Fetty has recently come on board as our community advisor for the West Virginia RAZE program, an anti-tobacco program that aims to educate high school students and involve them in tobacco free initiatives.

The newest member of the Wetzel County Board of Education, Mr. Aaron Cisar, has quickly made his support for our school and students evident, visiting our school and meeting with teachers as well as attending our student awards assembly. We are happy to welcome him to our board and are excited to have him on board as a leader committed to our students.

One thing that has recently been a huge encouragement to me has been the community involvement in our winter sports season. It seems that every single game night we have had a packed gym full of our community members. In addition to coming out and supporting our student athletes, I have been humbled by the generosity of our fans, who game after game support our students through donations to our half court contest and 50-50 raffle. On so many occasions the winner of the 50-50 raffle has turned right back around and donated their split back to the school. A special thank you is owed to those generous 50-50 winners: Kathy Moore (Twice!), Rick Kolat (Twice!), Charlie Miller, Jeanie Long, and Paul Huston. I am reminded with every game that it is a great day to be a Hornet!

Hundred in the News

In our newest section, we will look at “Hundred in the News” in which we feature any news stories that feature our school or students.

Wetzel Chronicle, January 20th 2016, by Lauren Matthews: Hundred High School Students Lauded

Wetzel Chronicle, January 20th 2016, Editorial: Hail Hundred High

Wetzel Chronicle, February 10th 2016, by Bruce Crawford: Moore Scores 1,000th

Classroom Strategy of the Week

In the world in which our students will soon enter, they will be expected to synthesize and utilize skills from multiple disciplines together. To be successful, they will need to understand and apply how each of the different concentrations they studied in school is interrelated in the complex world we live in. The inability to successfully put these pieces together is a real struggle for our students as they enter the workforce, and a rigid school day in which each of the content areas exists as its own island serves to further this struggle. This is why the use of cross curricular teaching and learning is such a powerful tool to show students how each thing they are learning is connected to the things they are learning in other places. Check out the article Deeper Learning: Why Cross-Curricular Teaching is Essential from the site Edutopia.

Article of the Week

Joshua Cowen, professor at Michigan State University and Katharine Strunk, professor at University of Southern California, discuss whether or not a “War on Teachers” has contributed to the teacher shortages currently facing our school systems.

Video of the Week

An artist placed a giant chalkboard in the middle of New York City asking people to write their biggest regret.

Quote of the Week

“And you ask ‘what if I fall?’ Oh but my darling, what if you fly?”

-- Poet Erin Hanson Upcoming Events

February 10 – LSIC Meeting – 3:30 February 10 – Academic and Athletic Boosters Meeting – 5:30 February 12 – Valentine’s Day Blood Drive – 8:30 – 2:30 February 13 – FFA Regional Competition February 15 – Regular Board Meeting – 6:30 February 15 – Girls Basketball @ Valley JV 6:00 / Varsity 7:30 February 16 – Boys Basketball Senior Night V. Clay-Battelle and 1,000 Point Ceremony – 7:00 February 18 – Girls Basketball Senior Night V. Clay-Battelle – 7:00 February 19 – Three Hour Early Dismissal for Students February 22 – Boys Basketball @ Valley – JV 6:00 / Varsity 7:30 March 4 – Two Hour Early Dismissal for Students March 5 – Travel Club Basket Bingo March 7 – Regular Board Meeting – 6:30 March 8-11 – Class Tournaments March 16 – LSIC Meeting 3:30 March 16 – Academic and Athletic Boosters Meeting 5:30 March 21 – Regular Board Meeting/Levy Rate Determination – 6:30 March 24-28 – Spring Break March 30 – West Virginia Dance Assembly – 1:00 April 1-2 – County Wide Art Show April 4 – Regular Board Meeting – 6:30 April 6 – LSIC Meeting 3:30 April 6 – Academic and Athletic Boosters Meeting – 5:30 April 8 – Hundred High School Quiz Bowl – 9:30 April 9 – FFA Spring Banquet April 18 – Regular Board Meeting – 6:30 April 22 – Spring Semester Awards Program – 9:30 April 30 – Spring Choir Concert – 7:00 May 14 – Graduation – 7:00 May 18 – LSIC Meeting - 3:30 May 18 - Academic and Athletic Boosters Meeting – 5:30

Remember to follow our school on Twitter @HundredHornets Check us out on Instagram: HundredHornets Visit our School Website: http://www.edline.net/pages/Hundred_High_School

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 dgottron@k12.wv.us

Dan Gottron, Principal, Hundred High School

Citations/Sources

"Trooper Comforts Children after Halloween Tragedy." 11Alive. 05 Nov. 2015. Web. 12 Feb. 2016.

Cowen, Joshua, and Katharine Strunk. "Did a War on Teachers Lead to New Shortages?"Education Week. 08 Feb. 2016. Web. 12 Feb. 2016.

Hanson, Erin. "Values.com." Values.com. Web. 12 Feb. 2016.

Johnson, Ben. "Deeper Learning: Why Cross-Curricular Teaching Is Essential." Edutopia. 2013. Web. 12 Feb. 2016.

Mcquaid, Russ, and Amanda Rakes. "Two Men Arrested on Murder Charges in Amanda Blackburn Investigation." Fox 59. 23 Nov. 2015. Web. 12 Feb. 2016.

Myatt, Mike. "The Power Of “What If” | N2Growth Blog." The Power Of “What If” | N2Growth Blog. 08 Feb. 2013. Web. 12 Feb. 2016.

Myatt, Mike. "The Power of "What IF"" Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 08 Feb. 2013. Web. 12 Feb. 2016 . Niculae, Adi. "What If..." Adi Niculae RSS. 27 Oct. 2012. Web. 12 Feb. 2016.

Scorah, Amber. "A Baby Dies at Day Care, and a Mother Asks Why She Had to Leave Him So Soon." Motherlode A Baby Dies at Day Care and a Mother Asks Why She Had to Leave Him So Soon. 15 Nov. 2015. Web. 12 Feb. 2016.

Venosdale, Krissy. "Venspired." Venspired. 04 Oct. 2013. Web. 12 Feb. 2016.

 
 

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