Sunday, November 14, 2010

We Can

Last night my oldest daughter and I attended "The Music Man" as performed by the Okoboji High School Drama Department.  It was a wonderful show and both of us enjoyed it very much.  From the great songs (sung by some amazing singers I might add), to the wacky antics of the mayor, his wife, and of course Professor Harold Hill, it was fun from beginning to end.  Any show that can hold the attention of a 6 year old for two hours has to be good! 

As we watched I was once again reminded why I love small schools.  My daughter only saw actors and actresses on the stage but I saw them as something more.  I watched the wrestler share the stage with the debate champion, the student council representative sing a duet with a fifth grade student, and some students who I have yet to hear say more than 10 words this year, make the audience roll with laughter.  At several points during the show there were over 30 students sharing the stage for some of the larger choral arrangements.  This number isn't even including all of the backstage and behind the scenes help needed to put on a show.  This is what is great about a small school.  At Okoboji High School anybody can be involved in anything they chose.  There are no cuts, no one needs to specialize in just one activity all year in order to make the team, and kids from all different backgrounds and interests can come together to make something great.  In fact, to take it a step farther, in a small school kids from all different backgrounds MUST come together in order to make something great.  We are not a 4A school, where students are split into different factions depending on their activity of interest and rarely get involved outside of their circle - nor do we want to be.  Students at Okoboji are encouraged to play sports, sing, participate in the band, debate, and get involved in clubs like FFA, DECA, and many more, all at the same time. 

Hopefully you are all aware of the community meeting being held on Thursday at 7:00pm in the OHS Auditorium to discuss the status and future of our football program.  In recent years our numbers have dwindled leaving us with a dangerously low number of players. We are meeting on Thursday night as a community to discuss the problem, the possible outcomes if the situation does not change, and then we will be breaking into smaller groups to brainstorm what we can do within our groups (parents, staff members, community members, students, etc) to turn this situation around. 

Some have asked why we are focusing on the football program.  To be honest we have seen numbers in many of our sports programs decline and we are concerned.  The reason we are meeting regarding football is that in football, unlike other sports, you cannot make up for a lack of upperclassmen by regularly playing freshmen at the varsity level.  In basketball if you start freshmen against seniors you will probably get beat.  In football if you repeatedly start freshmen against larger, more developed seniors, they are probably going to get hurt.  Also, it takes a large number of players to field a football team.  Frankly our participation rates have reached a level where we need to increase our numbers or our program won't survive. 

I haven't been here long but I can tell you this is a community that will not back down from a challenge.  We are proud to be Pioneers and together we can do things none of us can do alone.  I believe we can reverse this trend in football and all of our athletic programs.  I believe we can rebuild a team in which our biggest concern will be ordering enough uniforms for all of our players, rather than if we will have enough to field a team.  This meeting is about so much more than football.  It is about the pride of a school and our continued commitment to excellence in all areas.  Please join us on Thursday night as we meet together to listen, discuss, and tackle this issue head on as a school district and community.  With all of us working together, I know we can. 

1 comment:

  1. I know of a district that had the same problem that Okoboji is now facing & the district went to 8 man football. This past season was the first year in 8 man & they made it to the first round in playoffs. The team played against districts that were more to their level than playing against teams that clobbered them on the field.