Archive for Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Anth’s graduation brings end of an era

May 21, 2003

Saturday's commencement exercises for the Baldwin High School Class of 2003 was an end of an era on many accounts for many people. It certainly was for my family.

When my youngest son Anthony walked across the stage to accept that long-sought after diploma, it marked the final chapter in our Baldwin educational book. What a great story, with few exceptions, it has been.

I mention it now for several reasons. Over the past several years, I've been taken to task on numerous occasions by friends, teachers and others for not giving my boys their due in the Signal. I've always been overly cautious about that because I didn't want to give the impression of extolling their accomplishments.

Whether that was right or wrong is open to debate. I know that's the way I approached it and I don't regret it. But, like I said, Saturday was an end of an era. I can now say I couldn't be prouder of what the two most important people in my life have done throughout their school careers.

Anthony joined big brother Brett as top examples of what the educational system in Baldwin can do with his selection and subsequent delivery of a graduation speech Saturday. Brett did the same thing last year. I can't begin to describe what I felt when Anth told me his speech had been selected. He worked hard on it and that paid off.

It's been an absolute joy to watch those two, born 17 months apart, progress through school together for the past 13 years. It was always the two of them, until this year when Brett went away to college at Drake University.

It was going to be interesting to see how Anth would handle flying solo for the first time. He passed with flying colors. He was on the 4.0 honor roll his senior year, which hadn't happened before. He was a starter on Jeff Haas' Bulldog baske tball team, also a first, as was being a King candidate for the King and Queen of Courts festivities. He was also one of BHS's state placers in journalism for editing. Go figure that one.

All in all, Anth's senior year was one for the books, just as Bret t's had been the year before.

As for the other reasons I bring this all up, there are a couple that stick out. One is the comparison of the Class of 2003 to the Class of 2002. The other is the testimony to the quality of education that Baldwin students r eceive.

Last year's class was truly remarkable, with talented students, academic stalwarts and a host of great athletes, including four that went on to Division I college participation in track. The standard thought was the Class of 2003 wouldn't stack u p.

Well, it did. This year's class had an outstanding year, both athletically and academically. All four fall sports -- football, volleyball, cross country and tennis -- advanced to state. That had never happened in the history of BHS. Kate Lammers easil y led the academic side, winning just about every honor possible. But, she certainly wasn't alone on the book side. That was made evident at Friday morning's BHS awards ceremony.

No, this class has more than held its own. It's been a joy to watch it surpass even its own expectations. I felt that feeling of accomplishment at Saturday's commencement from everyone that walked across the stage.

As for the quality of education angle, I can honestly say that I don't think my sons could have received a better one anywhere. From Baldwin Elementary School, through Baldwin Junior High School and on into BHS, the educational experience was filled with great teachers and a great environment for learning.

We have a wonderful school system in Baldwin. Make no mistak e about it. It's become obvious to me over the years when questions arise concerning the district that there's one easy answer. The education Baldwin students receive is entirely up to what they want to put into it. Just like anything else, you can't force education on anyone.

My sons are good examples. Brett flourished throughout high school both academically and athletically. He joined the debate team as a sophomore and went to state twice. That all set the stage for what I'm guessing will turn out to be a lawyer.

He's well on his way. Drake is a tough college, known for its law school, and he came away with a 4.0 GPA and was named freshman history major of the year. He's a multiple-major student, but it all spells attorney. It was a great start and t here's no doubt in my mind his education will continue to be a good one.

Anth is headed to Simpson College, located in Indianola, Iowa, about 15 miles south of Des Moines, where Drake is located. Fellow ??03 graduate Becky Weaver, is also going to Simpso n. She was the other speaker for Saturday's graduation. We joked that it was the "Simpsons" addressing the crowd.

Anth is planning a double major in psychology and criminal justice. I like it and will be very interested to see what comes of it. I know he'll do well, too.

It's back to the two of them at least almost together progressing through school. Another era has started and I'm ready for another wonderful ride. It's going to be different this time around, but they've always come through. I don't expect anything different with the next step along life's journey for my favorite pair.â

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