The last couple of days have been days that were inspiring for me. Inspiring in a couple of ways, lets start with Veterans Day.
Our High School held its first ever “Living History Day” on Wednesday. This was a day in which the entire school honored Veterans from all era’s. Inspiring because of the hard work and dedication the student body put into the event. Along with a coordinator, the students of the largest high school in the state put on a class A event. Veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, and the current campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan were invited and in attendance. They decorated the school with massive American flags and lined the street leading to the high school with hundreds of flags. A local military museum had an old WW I tank in display as well as a 1910 Taxi from France. The National Guard had some displays of current equipment, but it was the student body that really highlighted the experience.
The culinary class put out a nice spread of coffee and baked goods and made a wonderful lunch. The JROTC cadets provided escorts that lead Veterans into the classrooms for 2 hours to talk with and answer questions from the students. The student body dressed in shirts and ties and the girls wore nice outfits in honor of the special guests.
I was extremely impressed with the questions asked in the classrooms that I had the pleasure of being invited to. At the end of the school day they held an assembly. Because the school is so large they can not get the entire student body in one place at the same time, plus all of the Veterans, so the Freshman met in the small gym and listened to speakers from a number of conflicts. The sophomores met in the performing arts center with a Holocaust survivor. This brave man made a great impression on the kids. His story was that of perseverance and will.
The Juniors and Seniors met in the main gym with the bulk of the Veterans. One of the Tuskegee Airman gave a speech on making your mark in the world and both challenged and inspired the students. There were recognitions of the services and some of the individuals that were in the gym that truly left a mark with their service. I appreciate all the hard work that the students put into this event. I was told by one of my son’s friends that is on the student council that the student government as well as many clubs and sports teams spent the better part of a week preparing for the event. The day and night before, they stayed at the school and many slept at the school until the final details were complete.
I am proud of these kids.
The second part of this weeks inspiration came on the Football field last night. Now, if you follow this blog you know that I love football. I think that every one should participate in some team sport. I may into that at another time, but for the sake of this post, lets just say that team sports develop in young people values and ethics that when coupled with Scouting, round them out in their growth and make them better people. The Reynolds Raider Football team has been a program that has struggled for many years. They have gone season after season without a winning record, there has been little pride in the program and the student body has been patient, but not very supportive. Last year the school hired a new head coach that brought not only a new and exciting offense to the team, but a new attitude to the team in which the team meant more than the individual. It has been a real slow go and last year the team won only one game. Which given the previous years was an accomplishment.
This year the team has been sparked by an enthusiastic group of underclassmen and a solid core of Seniors. What they lacked in skills and strength, they made up for in heart and grit. Game after game, they went out and never gave up. They won two games in the regular season this year. Yes, only two games, but they scored a lot of points and in the games they lost, the margin was very tight, loosing one game in overtime. The Oregon Student Sports Association (OSAA) has a unique playoff system in which the top teams get an automatic bid into the playoffs while the bottom teams are given one chance to “make it” into the playoffs to fill the remaining spots in the bracket. they call this a “Play in” game. The Raiders played in one of these games last Friday. With no time left on the clock and down by 7 points, they scored a touchdown. The coach decided to test his young men. It was win or lose and the ball was placed for the point after. They were going for 2 to win the game or go home.
A quick pass in the corner of the end zone and the Reynolds Raiders entered the Play offs for the first time in seven years!
Last night was that first play off game. Lined up against the number one team in the State the challenge was great. This would test the team in more ways than just making plays.
The Lake Oswego Lakers are a great team. They are undefeated and possess all the skill, team work, and an established program that keeps them at the top of the brackets year after year. Surely a game that would be easy to give up on, but the Raiders took the field last night and stood toe to toe with the best. They saw how the number one team could move the ball at will and how a team that is dedicated to winning could impose themselves on anyone that lined up.
But here is the inspiring part, did the Raiders quit? Give up and allow themselves to be taken out of the game? NO. In fact, they came out and fought hard on the field. They passed the ball with precision and pressured the Lakers and made them earn their points. Mistakes were made and at the end of the game it was not close, but the Raiders kept their heads up and learned from the experience. The Lakers knew that playing against a 3 and 7 team should not have been a challenge, but showed a lot of class and respect for our team. This too was a great lesson for our team. Winning with class and having respect for your opponent.
Heart and dedication is building a football program at our High School. Next will be better, and the year after will be better yet because of these young men on the field.
As you all are also aware, Josh my youngest son, is the Starting Quarterback for the varsity team. He is only a Sophomore and had a great season. Last night facing number one, he threw for a touchdown and ran for one. Those were the Raiders only two scores in the game. He finished his first Varsity season with many great accomplishments including throwing 22 touchdown passes and well over 2150 yards of passing. He helped take his team to their first playoff game and is part of the core that will move the team to future success.
The final inspiration of the week came on Thursday night when our oldest son met with the District Advancement chairman and his team with his Eagle packet. His application is in, paperwork complete, and now waiting on his Board of Review.
An accomplishment that I never achieved as a kid. His hard work, dynamic leadership, and will to finish has earned him the right to join the ranks of those we call Eagle Scouts. I am so proud of him and inspired by his work. He turns 18 on Tuesday and Monday starts his final season Wrestling for Reynolds High School. His hard work in Scouting, School, and on the wrestling mat has brought him many success and set him up for success in the future.
This has been an inspirational week for me. Inspiration from youth! I am sure we will be in good hands in the future if what I saw this week and what I see almost everyday is any indication.
Be inspired.. take a look at the kids around you.
Have a Great Scouting Day!