Pelham - Windham News 2 - August 19, 2011
Guest Speaker Motivates PHS Athletes
by Marc Ayotte With a flamboyant and a vast repertoire of
effective catch phrases, motivational guest speaker William Harris brought an attentive Pelham audience to its collective feet in the Pelham High School (PHS) snake pit on Monday, August 15. The animated and charismatic speaker addressed hundreds of PHS students, athletes and their parents, sending a powerful message regarding their high school years. “Always be proud of who you are. Allow this experience to impact others and yourself,” implored Harris. He spoke of the high school years as an opportunity to build character, citing, “our character defines who we are” while specifically mentioning morals and integrity as integral components of a strong and respected individual. Although his message was in many ways directed to the student/athlete in particular, the passion in his message was broad-based, reaching out to parents and coaches as well. Strolling the sidelines, dressed like a walking/talking Red Sox billboard, Harris offered his three principles of high school athletics saying a successful formula requires that players play, coaches coach and parents play the role of a support group. Harris’ self-proclaimed mission was simple; “to make a difference for young people all over the world - you are my strength and inspiration.” As he paced the newly waxed basketball hardwood during his exuberant delivery, Harris stressed the importance of academics by stating, “education is the foundation of your future.” He emphasized the importance of the 5-Ps in approaching both academics and athletics: Proud Performance Prevents Poor Performance, confirming that, “education is
everything.” In addressing the student/athlete directly, the
former All-American basketball player attended Westchester Christian School in Pennsylvania said from experience “(the) window of opportunity closes rapidly” for high school athletes. In accentuating the importance of academics, Harris also noted that only 5 percent of high school athletes go on to play sports in college. His personal experience of having a budding athletic future, cut tragically short by a car accident on January 15, 1981, inspired Harris to enter the coaching ranks. From there an insatiable desire to help young students emerged via his motivational speeches. Admitting he committed to basketball at the age of 10, his run-in with fate has resulted in a slightly different involvement in the game. “Basketball has been my life,” reflected Harris whose passion for the game and helping others now benefits the thousands who hear his sincere and inspirational words.
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Indicating the “student athlete will always be measured differently” in the prevailing court of public opinion, Harris reemphasized the pronounced need for character and discipline. The guest speaker, who now resides in Middlebury, VT, told the audience that “it’s a privilege to be a student athlete” quickly adding that “athletics owes you nothing.” As such the student athlete, who is inherently exposed to greater scrutiny, must accept the responsibility that comes with that role. Accordingly, Harris continued by offering ways the student/athlete can create a mindset that will help him/her deal with the added pressures of athletic performance and academic achievements. He spoke of individual sacrifices, team unity, leadership and attitude. In both the sports world and the classroom, winning is an attitude. When on the field or court, Harris directed the PHS athletes to “win with class, lose with dignity. Always respect the opponent but never concede to the opponent,” added Harris.
In closing, Harris revealed a stark reality that has had
an early age, as a precondition to establishing a winning attitude and program. In continuing to address the evolving role of a high school coach, Harris pointed out the need for them to recognize each athlete is also an individual - the coach must “know which buttons to push” in order to maximize the performance of the athlete as well as the growth of the individual.
Before heading out for scheduled speaking
Python athletes (L to R): Evan Sage, Derek Defranzo and Alec Paradis stand with motivational speaker William Harris after Harris addressed students and athletes at PHS on August 15
a profound impact on the roles of parents and coaches, especially in high school athletics. “The twenty-first century athlete is overly entitled and overly sensitive” were the cautioning words by Harris. As such, high school athletic programs now need to be more comprehensive. There is a greater need for team cohesiveness, feeder programs involving middle schools, parental involvement and support, as well as better communication between athlete and coach. “Players win championships, coaches lead teams,” said Harris, indicating that the number one responsibility of a high school varsity coach is to build a program. He was adamant about the need to teach and develop the athlete from
engagements in Sanford, ME and Berlin, Harris suggested that all students, during their high school years, be involved with as many activities as possible. “The AD should not have to
come out and market participation,” suggested Harris in reference to Kress’s pre-speech address to the crowd. After receiving a standing ovation from the appreciative Python faithful, Harris was greeted by dozens of parents and students, thanking him for his highly energetic and impactful speech. Pelham Athletic Director Todd Kress prior to the event commented on Harris’ dynamic delivery and popularity; “he is very well respected (and) very much in demand.” Seeing the gymnasium fill up with parents and students, Kress was pleased with the enthusiastic turnout of those who came to experience Harris’ renowned and inspirational message.
Kindergarten Addition Expected to Move Forward
by Barbara O’Brien Even though things haven’t worked out the
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way school officials thought they would, it is still likely that a kindergarten addition will be added to Windham’s Golden Brook School in the not too distant future. When the vast majority of voters approved
the warrant article giving the go-ahead to construct up to a $2.9 million seven-classroom kindergarten addition, this past March, people were led to believe that the Windham School District would be receiving 75 percent of that amount in state aid. As it turned out, however, due to budget constraints at the state level, the amount of money being made available to Windham was reduced to $1 million. During the August 9 school board meeting,
Windham School District Attorney Gordon Graham talked about the options from which school administrators could choose, stating that the proposed construction could move ahead, despite the loss of anticipated revenue. Another option, Graham said, would be to conduct a special school district meeting based on changes that were made to the State formula. Such a meeting would follow the traditional
school district meeting format, not the newer SB-2 process. Any vote to be brought forth at a special school district meeting would take place on that day. Any warrant article brought forth that day would carry the full authority to adjust appropriations that were approved last March. For example, a warrant article could totally negate the previous vote to fund up to $2.9 million or it could reduce the amount to be allocated for the construction project.
While the consensus of school board members attending the August 9 meeting
was to move forward with building a permanent kindergarten addition, no decision was made on whether or not to schedule a special school district meeting to alter what was decided this past March. According to Attorney Graham, a public hearing would need to be held 14 days prior to the special meeting. There would also need to be a seven-day advance notification of the public hearing. “It’s a very tight process,” Graham told school administrators. Another issue facing school officials in regard to the kindergarten construction is how last March’s vote and any changes to that appropriation might effect this year’s tax rate. Traditionally, the annual tax rate is set by the DRA in mid-October, based on appropriations, and anticipated revenue. According to Graham, The New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration (DRA) could base the 2011 tax rate on the entire $2.9 million, even if nothing is built. Should that happen and construction is halted, it would take until June of 2013 for that money to be returned to taxpayers, Graham explained. However, if the cost of the project could be reduced and the new statistics presented to the DRA early enough, the impact on taxpayers this year might be less. At this point, there are less than two months to negotiate that process. SAU 28 Business Administrator Adam Steel said efforts are underway to reduce the estimated cost of the kindergarten addition, without changing the overall purpose of that structure. School Board Chairman Ed Gallagher said any cuts being made in the proposed addition would be cosmetic, such as the types of cabinets to be built or other changes in construction materials. “We have scaled back to make the project more feasible to taxpayers,” Steel said, “but there has been no change to the footprint of the building.”
continued to page 5- Kindergarten Universal
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