Monthly Archives: June 2014

Where There’s A Will There’s A Way

Growing up I convinced my parents that I must have the educational video program, Where There’s A Will There’s an A. I was just about to enter high school, and thought I needed some preparation for the upcoming four years. I watched the video several times, and took notes like nobody’s business. Did the video pay off? I am not so sure about the video itself, but the time I spent working hard at learning how to succeed in school certainly did. Although my older brother rarely studied and did well, I was determined to study lots and do well in school. I somehow envisioned my life as a professional student. Turns out it wasn’t far from the truth. 🙂 I worked hard and was determined to succeed at school. The saying is quite true after all: Where there’s a will there’s a way. ~SV


Hard work and determination are two peas in pod.  Sometimes it just seems impossible for something to grow out of almost nothing.  Consider the picture of new life growing out of the pavement.  Seems unrealistic, right? Well, there it is, pushing through any barriers in its way, standing tall and proud in the sunshine as if to say “I did it.”

At the age of 4, Lindsey Carmichael was diagnosed with McCune-Albright Syndrome, a genetic disease that affects the bones. Lyndsey experienced several bone fractures and surgeries to correct these breaks. All this resulted in the use of body casts, crutches, and a wheelchair. When Lindsey was 13, her math teacher overheard her telling a friend that her physical education class lacked activities for her and anyone who was in a wheelchair. This math teacher inspired Lindsey to try archery. In spite of more surgeries, Lindsey went on to become a paralympian competing in Athens and Beijing.  While in Beijing, Lyndsey won a bronze medal marking the first time in 24 years that an American female medaled in the singles archery competition in any Olympic games. Lindsey pushed through any barriers in her way, stood tall and proud in the sunshine and said, “I did it.”

When goals seem unattainable…

When people are dishonest…

When wrong seems to trump right…

When the feeling of defeat and the attitude of “I give up” consumes you, put the above picture on your fridge, or your desk at work, or wherever you will look at it often. Then take a close look at it daily and remind yourself that “where there’s a will, there IS a way!”

Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.

What Volleyball Can Teach Us About Marriage


We are right smack dab in the middle of wedding season. Our refrigerators are decorated with ‘save-the-dates’ and bridal shower invites and wedding invitations. Just in the last week, there have been four bridal showers to attend. Whew…a busy time for sure…but such an exciting time for the brides and grooms.

One soon-to-be bride played volleyball in high school then went on to play Division I volleyball for Boise State University. Volleyball is a team sport. It is also a sport that can teach us some essential lessons about marriage. So for all you young ladies and gentlemen out there getting hitched this summer (or in the near future), below is what volleyball can teach us about marriage: 
(Disclaimer: If you aren’t a volleyball fan, read along and relate it to any team sport really.  Or just become a volleyball fan because you are so missing out!)

Collaboration:  Working together for a team sport is crucial for the team to be successful! Think of team as “together everyone achieves more.” You become an important part of a joint effort to work hard and become winners. 

Commitment:  Making the choice to be part of a team demands 100% commitment. Discover what your role is then commit to contributing to the team in the most positive way possible. Stay in it for the long haul.

Communication: Talking to each other frequently prevents problems later. If there is an issue on the team, it is usually because of a communication breakdown. Talk, talk, talk…talk with each other often!

Comfort:  Encourage your teammate(s) if something goes wrong. Cheer on your teammate(s) when something goes right! Offer comfort in all circumstances!

Convenience: Home games provide home-court advantage and convenience for the home team. It is nice to know the gym inside and out and have the home crowd rooting for you.

Continuance: There will be times when things just don’t go the way you’d like them to! Keep that ball flying! Continue to give it your all. Keep on practicing! Stick to it! Never ever ever quit!

Care: When all is said and done, be in harmony with one another. Shake hands with the opposing team and consent to leaving the rest on the court. Never ever ever leave angry! Life is too valuable to waste being negative.

Marriage like volleyball takes work. Consider these tips and you are sure to be successful—at both.

Stay Calm & Lead On!

Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.


Strive For Excellence…NOT the Award!


google images

The end of the school year for graduating high school seniors means senior recognition. Students who have achieved honors for being the valedictorian or male and female athlete of the year. What does this mean for the future of these senior graduates?

We visited with outstanding athletes (now adults) who were selected ‘athlete of the year’ ten to twenty years ago. We also visited with some excellent athletes who were NOT selected as ‘athlete of the year.’ We asked them how it has affected their lives NOW…this many years later. This is what they shared with us:

Athlete of the Year recipient: “Honestly, it did not affect me or my success at all. The only reason I was chosen is because ‘George’ (classmate) got a minor for drinking alcohol. He went on to play college football and then played in the NFL later.”

Athlete who was NOT chosen: “I quit track after my sophomore year in high school to pursue my passion for volleyball, and at that time I was ‘threatened’ by the track coaches that if I did not go out for track again the next year, I would NOT get athlete of the year in my senior year. I was very hurt by the threat in high school. It made me second guess my decision-making but also helped me realize that I wanted to get away from my home town and be different from the norm…actually play volleyball at the highest level possible and also make the full four years of college without quitting, which I accomplished. Since then I’ve always gone the extra mile to prove I’m good enough.”

Athlete of the Year recipient: “Twenty years ago it made me feel like the award honored my talents and me as a person.  The award gave me a feeling of being a part of a past and future special group (legacy) at the high school that will always be inside the school walls for people to see.  Being in athletics gave me an identity.  I was not the straight A student, but was an A athlete.  I felt like all my hard work had paid off at that point in my life.  Twenty years later I feel like the award has done little to impact my life other than I am very active in my boys sports endeavors.  I am a parent-coach and am always looking for more opportunities to get my children to be the best athletes/students/ teammates they can be—with or without an award.”

Athlete who was NOT chosen: “I never really thought too much about it because I was so excited to be moving on to the next stage in life. I always participated in sports because I enjoyed it, and was able to compete while spending time with friends. I still have some of those friendships even now years later. We survived some pretty tough practices together—pushing each other and cheering each other on. The friendships made it all worth it…a little winning (like um, being undefeated 🙂 ) really helped too!”

The moral of this story? Strive for excellence, seniors, not the award! Being the best you can be is more important than a title! The title of athlete of the year or valedictorian or scholarship recipient is a great achievement; however, this title acquired will not be remembered by many ten years from now! Of course, YOU (and your parents) will remember! What is most important is…did you give your all? Did you do the best you could? Did you strive to be excellent at whatever you chose to do? That’s all that truly matters!

As you go off and experience life on your own, strive for excellence…always!!!

Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.







Summertime…Literacy for Fun

JR reading from the Golden Book collection

Once upon a time the phrase “Reading for fun” was something we said when we talked about leisure reading…for fun.  As we get older with life’s responsibilities and pressures added to our plates, “reading for fun” sometimes is forced into the backseat.  What if we changed the phrase and changed our perspective? How would it impact our kids? Education?  What if we changed it to “literacy for fun” or “literacy for living” or something crazy like that?

There are six literacies that need to be the focus of formal education as well as life learning: listening, speaking, reading, writing, viewing, and visually representing.  What if our focus was on all six of these literacies in everything we do?  For our work? For our learning? For our life?  We want our students, our citizens to be life-long readers, life-long literacy lovers.

What can we do to promote literacy this summer? Below we share a few ideas you can put into action now…or later:

Take a field trip! Go on an adventure! Live the learning experience and then write about it in this simple to make “Little Book.”

Read a book and then see the movie. Compare and contrast it over ice cream, coffee, or another treat of your choice with friends or family. If we were betting women, we’d put money on it that you’ll find the book to be much, much better!

The alphabet game or “I spy” provides ample opportunities to consider literacy…especially when trying to spy that “Q” or “Z” letter while tootling down the road in the car or while sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s office. Try an “I spy” adjective or adverb style game. You need to see the “description” of an object or how something is happening instead of just identifying the noun/object.

Maybe it is finally time to start that neighborhood book club! Why wait?!

Sonya has three books on her soon-to-start summer reading list (along with the papers from her summer classes of course! 🙂 ) :

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (also coming to theatres this weekend)

Everything I Need to Know I Learned From A Little Golden Book by Diane Muldrow

The Promise of A Pencil: How An Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change by Adam Braun

Wendy has three books on her soon-to-start summer reading list too (and, since there are no papers for her to read and correct, maybe she will add a fourth or fifth book to her list 🙂 ) :

Teaching Naked by Jose Antonio Bowen (Bet that book title caught your attention!)

Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo

Classroom Habitudes: Teaching Habits & Attitudes for 21st Century Learning by Angela Maiers

What is the most recent book you have read? Tell us!  What is a book that you recommend for “fun?”  Tell us!

Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.