I had an interesting visitor stop by my desk on a Friday morning this past winter. I get to see a lot of interesting people in a day but when he came through the door his first words were "Well, just stopping in to see how you are treating the place." With his baseball cap tipped to the side and the words of agriculture advertising on the front he walked right up to my desk. "You don't know who I am do you?"
Being tagged in my Kolbe report as a "researcher" I quickly scanned for any clue of who this new friend might be when I saw it! Just behind his olive green work jacket was the littlest part of his name badge appearing out of the edge. All I could see was JACK. Knowing the only Jack who might walk in someday wanting to know how we were "treating the place", I quickly said "I think I do know, you are Jack Hobbs." A smile lit up his face like he was a Hall of Fame inductee. (And mine face too because my guess was right on target!) At ESSDACK Jack really is that important. In fact with out him we would not be here as a Education Service Center.
Jack is one of the six founding fathers and area administrators who sat down one afternoon in McPherson the early 1980's and came up with a plan for an Educational Service Center that could help our school districts. He recalled each one of those in attendance by name. If you have attended a workshop here and sat in the "Jack Hobbs Room" now you know how it's name came to be. How determined some were to see this project take hold and benefit the future of education in Kansas. I doubt at the time they could even imagine the school districts their service center would end up helping in the future. The cost effectiveness was attractive to the group. If one district could do well imagine the possibilities when several school districts collaborated to share ideas under a central leadership. Several organizational meetings followed and the Educational Services and Staff Development of Central Kansas (ESSDACK) became a reality.
The ESSDACK rooms are named after their founding fathers next time you are here check out the names above the door. You will see William White, Harold Voth, Jack Hobbs, Cecil Deel, Robert Burkholder, and James Webb.
From it's early beginnings in a single office space, then moved to an area district office to reside, then to a first presentation center to ESSDACK's home today their vision is still alive.
After introducing him to our ESSDACK Director, Mike Cook, Jack was back on the road visiting area farmers in his traveling agriculture job. He makes his home in Hesston, Kansas. If any of you see him out visiting your farm or on the streets of your town. Tell him thanks for being an administrator who made a difference in Kansas Education.
It is March 9, 2011. In Kansas it's State Basketball Tournament time!
So many exciting stories of how the teams got to the state tournament, so many exciting plays to go over.
In Reno County we have five teams represented this year in State Tournament play. Trinity High Boys, Haven High Girls, Buhler High Boys, Pretty Prairie Boys, and Central Christian Girls!
Starting tomorrow the players, coaches, cheerleaders, student body, parents, relatives, and other assorted fans will be on the road to their respective state tournament locations. For many of these young athletes an excitement like no other is being lived out this week. Radio ads of congratulations run on their local stations. Newspaper front pages and Sports pages are full of articles about their team, their season and their successful State tournament berth.
Sometimes I feel passionate as a fan just reading about the young kids having a week they will never for get. I have had the feeling being the parent of a son in the state playoffs four times. One basketball player, one baseball player and son # 3 in both baseball and football. There is nothing like this week in high school sports if you are a sports fan.
I have a co-worker, a former coach, who recaps each and every game. He tells about the plays with the intensity of being in the game his self. His son, a senior this year. Will be making a trip to the State Tournament in the Hutchinson Sports Arena tomorrow night.
As his dad is nervous in the stands this young player will be having the time of his life on the court. Win or lose he will have something to talk about for a lifetime. He will remember this week and come to realize the community support that rallies around a high school basketball team.
Good Luck to all of the state bound teams this week, your entertainment all year has pleased coaches, parents and fans alike. Now it's time to smile for the camera and enjoy the ride, you've worked hard for it.
After church yesterday I had the best call from my daughter-in-law and grandkids in Longview, Texas. She had taken the kids by the park and stopped to play while their dad was on a Sunday morning fishing trip.
She quickly said "Just wondered if you want to Skype? We are at the park!" I love technology! Her iPhone in hand she connected to us here in Kansas and for the next 45 minutes Grandpa and Grammie (me) had a Sunday morning trip to the park with our grandkids.
We watched 4 year old Alex do his part for the environment and community by picking up old water bottles and assorted trash and put them in a dumpster. Something I am sure he learned in pre-school and is followed up at home by his mom and dad. He worked walking the park side to side looking for anything that might resemble trash in his four year old mind. He stayed with the task with the determination of a park employee only stopping once to say hello as a family passed by walking their dog.
Katelyn on the other hand kept her mom busy! Always on the run the 18 month old ran from climbing wall to slides, to swings with mom following fast with her camera on capturing the action on Skype. We were able to go down the slide, swing with her and climb those rock walls with the help of an iPhone! All to soon it was time for them to go, but what a great time we all had while we were together.
To grandparents who live so far away Skype is like a live scrapbook. A place to see new haircuts, clothes from their latest trip to Target, new shoes from Academy Sports, read them their favorite book or just be able to be a part of the day with your grandchild.
We have been Skype fans for years, long before Oprah made it famous, If you are not utilizing this amazing technology you must take the time to give it a try. A little Skype can take you a long way!
I am excited about the fact that I am ready to start a new year! Today (1-1-11) at 1:11pm, I thought about doing something exciting to remember the moment. We all had that moment in time today, did it pass without doing something special to start your year? Or did you realize the number pattern was even happening today?
I start this year after great visits with family and friends through the holidays! What a great time we all had celebrating being together and doing what families do, trading stories, taking pictures and exchanging gifts. Our three boys and daughter-in-law and grandkids made the celebration even more special. What blessings they all are.
I start this year with a great job working with people I admire and respect. With good health, great expectations of the new year and pride in the activities of my community. I also start the year with jury duty, a niece who will travel to Mayo Clinic this week for an infection that has encompassed her body, and the terminal illness of a close friend of over 40 years. I greet the new year with reservation, sadness, and yet hope and a vision of optimism.
I had time to spend with my friend this week who told me her cancer had moved to her liver and we needed to talk. We have talked a lot over the years. Great conversations that will be held in my heart and memory forever. The celebrations of raising kids, having more kids, high school activities, community organizations, social clubs, church work, graduations, holiday celebrations, weddings, and funerals. All a part of being a friend.
I am hopeful as you start the new year you are looking forward to making the year great! Enjoy your family, embrace your friends, support your community, make the most of those moments in time that pass so quickly. I hope you fly low, sail high, and slow dance more!