Tuesday, November 8, 2011

More than Wins

When it comes to high school athletics and activities winning is always great, but it isn't even close to being the most important thing. In team sports or activities, the experience of working with other people through highs and lows, rallying around common goals, finding a way deep inside oneself to handle pressure, and then acting like a champion when things ultimately go well or come up short, SHOULD BE the REAL reasons why schools and communities support athletics, co-curricular, and extra-curricular activities.

I was on the Carrier Dome turf the Sunday before last to help the Marching Band celebrate their 31st NYS Field Band Conference Competition Championship, and then on the Dome turf again this past Saturday to help our football team celebrate the Section III AA Championship. 

In both cases, students were interviewed by members of the media and there were no leaders or coaches around to prep the students on what to say. In each case the students, without missing a beat, thanked their parents, coaches and leaders, fellow students, and gave credit to their opponent. NONE of the students interviewed used the word "I" once which seals the deal for me as far as supporting these programs as best we can.  I am very proud of our students and look forward to continuing to cheer them on for many years to come. In the short term, this Friday night at 7:30 p.m. at Vestal High School our Wildcats will take on Binghamton High School in the first round of state competition. Good luck and know that we are all proud of you.

For individual sports and activities (I played golf for Westhill back in the day) things are a little different. Your individual score usually is added to the scores (or times) of other teammates to equal one singular number or time. I can tell you that after being a basketball player (team sport) and a golfer (individual sport), golf was much more stressful on me. For our cross country runners, they are running against themselves, as well as opponents.  A slip, a cold, a bad stride, or just an off day can ruin a run, but our student athletes find ways to block all of those things and quietly continue to keep West Genesee pride in our newspapers and in our hearts with their performances.  Laura and Martin Leff will continue running next Saturday, November 12, at the State championships held at VVS High School, and we will continue to pull for them (since we cannot run along side or catch them!)

This week it is my pleasure to attend C.O.D.E. graduations at Split Rock and East Hill Elementary Schools. C.O.D.E. is a partnership program with the Camillus Police Department to help students make good choices. We will be celebrating their successes with the hope that when they shake my hand at graduation a few short years from now, they will have made good choices through both middle and high school.

Also this week we will begin the budget process. Some of the preliminary work was done last week, and with the 2% tax cap in effect, I can assure you that we will not be able to restore anything that we reduced or eliminated this year. I will provide you with information in the next few weeks about the gap amount that we will likely have to close for the 2012-2013 school year. We have never had to develop a budget where we have to reach a set budget number. This means many of the decisions we make will be in response to the Governor's Tax Cap legislation and there will be some things that simply won't fit within the cap.  Much more about this later this month, and we appreciate your continued trust and support.

For now, we continue to lead by example and enjoy the time that we get to spend with your children and grandchildren each day.

Have a great week.