March 19th 2015
As you may know by now, our Knights fell to a well deserving Livingston High School team in the Regional playoffs at SUNY/New Paltz last Wednesday evening. The 60-54 lost was disappointing for our student athletes, coaches and the small group of our District community who support them. The disappointment was not in the loss but in the contrast of teams and communities.
For example, they arrived in one large bus that represents team and solidarity; we arrive in two vans that represent fracture and separation. They had a large bus to transport fans; we did not. They had multiple family members to support the team; we had one mother. They had a large number of teachers, administrators and community members to cheer; we had two teachers, four administrators and three community members as well as several Agency staff. They had matching state-of-the-art shoes for basketball only; we, for the most part, had shoes we wear every day. They had varsity jackets; we did not. Each player had matching warm-up gear; we did not. They have played recreational basketball and CYO together; we have not. They have played AAU together for years; we have not. They planned a full post-game dinner together; we had pizza thanks to a donation. They live within a community that embraces them; we do not. They have easy access to outstanding facilities; we do not. They have access to training programs with high level equipment; we do not. They were hugged and praised by their family members at the end of the game; there were no family members, outside of one parent, available to hug and console us. Moreover, they have an athletic budget that supports them; our budget does not support us. There is more, but it is too difficult to go on. This is written from the eyes of our student athletes.
As you can see, it was a challenging night and the primary contrast was a spirit of optimism versus a spirit of hopelessness. The game was a metaphor for this contrast. With all that I have shared, despite the hardships, I know in my heart of hearts that as a District we have great resolve and commitment to our students and their future.
Our task is clear. It is to provide our students with an education that will assist them to overcome the many basics they do not have, including the myriad of injustices they have experienced. As we begin the fourth quarter I encourage you to consider what we may do in each Academy to improve the lives of our students. Please email me your suggested ideas or ideas you have implemented and found successful. Together we can make a difference in the lives of our students.
I am recommending that the Edivation film for this week, And the Child Will Lead, be viewed. It provides insights from students regarding race relationships.
Edward Placke, Ed.D.