What is Worth Doing?

Barbara Wolf Shousha, UNHS Director

“Anything worth doing is worth doing well.” While it is a well-intended thought meant to elevate our work towards quality and perfection, I do not like its overall meaning.

If you perceive something is worth doing, then do it. If it is worth doing, then do it badly! You will either find it so worthwhile that you will improve or you will enjoy the experience and then turn your attention to other things that you will do well. But there is NOTHING to be gained by sitting out some activity you want to engage in because you may be perceived as not doing it well.

  • H. Macy of Macy’s started seven failed businesses before finally hitting it big in New York City.
  • Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because he “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.”
  • Albert Einstein was refused admittance to the Zurich Polytechnic School.
  • Oprah Winfrey was fired from a position as a television reporter because she was “unfit for TV.”
  • Stephen King’s first book received 30 rejections.
  • Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.

These are some high performing people, but not because they were immediately and consistently good at their chosen activity. They were driven by a love of the activity or competition or performance. They would not have even understood the question, “Is it worth doing?”

The point is: YOU decide what is worth doing.

I love to sing. I do not sing particularly well, but it is worth doing because I enjoy it! I like the energy and well-being that comes from singing out loud. And the more I do it, the better I become. I am improving and making myself worthy of the activity I enjoy.

Maybe you like to write, or run, or cook, or ski…. Do it. I cannot tell you if it is worth it; but I can tell you that YOU ARE worth it! 

Source: 50 Famously Successful People Who Failed At First – OnlineCollege.org. (2010, February 16). Retrieved June 15, 2016, from http://www.onlinecollege.org/2010/02/16/50-famously-successful-people-who-failed-at-first/

Making the Connection

High McDermott, UNHS Principal

I’ve worked in academics for many years, and I’ve always been fascinated with how teachers and students make the “connection” with each other.

From my observations successful classroom connections had the following commonalities:

  • The student was more focused and ready to learn when he/she came to learn.
  • Teachers kept the courses academically challenging.
  • The classroom environment was free from major disruptions

Both teachers and students had to make this happen—but how?

A publication from The National Middle School Association published an article called, “Classroom Connections—Linking National Middle School Association to Middle Level Classrooms Around the World” provides a few tips as to what classroom and online teachers can do to make these connections.

  • Take action. A welcoming room supports risk-taking, safety and academic success. Online teachers must use their “voice” through their response/feedback comments to establish this trust and safe environment for their students. Tone and attitude can be sensed by the words we use and how we use them.
  • Greet students into your classroom by meeting them at the door. A great opportunity to talk with students one-on-one to acknowledge some previous good work you witnessed from them or to remind them of your expectations in the class if need be. For online teachers, using a welcome assignment to let students introduce themselves and responding.
  • Keep in mind that you are always a role model. Whether you are there physically or mentally, students can and will model positive behavior when they experience it from you. They also know when you are being insincere. The choice of words that online teachers use is critical in creating and keeping a positive relationship with students. Look for ways to complement students, yet get your point across for encouraging improvement on course work.
  • Being a good disciplinarian does not mean that students are scared of you. It has to do with your understanding of students. Teachers with positive connections have a very good understanding of the developmental, social, emotional and intellectual changes students are going through. Online teachers must be consistent in their grading, which gives students a sense of fairness in their work.
  • Sometimes you have to revert to being one of “them.” Keep informed about the latest fads, fashions and slang that students use and ask students about their interests and hobbies earn respect from them. Online teachers are masters at picking up on the vibes and clues that students display for them in their submitted written work. Use these clues to extend the conversation with students.

Making connections online is different, but it’s possible and necessary.

With that connection, both teachers and students accomplish the common goal of learning, and all are richer for the experience.


Classroom Connections-Linking National Middle School Association to Middle Level Classrooms Around the World. (2000). The National Middle School Association, 2(4).


Debby Bartz, UNHS Academic Adviser

As an adviser, I work with seniors who go through many emotions in their final months of high school. Some are very anxious to graduate and complete their courses earlier than expected, some will continue to pace themselves to the finish at the planned time, and some want to slow down as they near to end to enjoy their high school years a while longer.

No matter how they are feeling, all have choices to make as they near graduation. Whether they want to go faster or slower to the finish line, my wish for all seniors is to capitalize on perseverance and lead yourself to many joys along the way.

I’ve been blessed by perseverance as a lifetime student. My history thrives around the ongoing pursuit of knowledge for either personal, social, sustainable, or professional goals. I’ve climbed a mountain of tasks, rolled down the hills, landed in pastures and pushed through to a finish line to find the beginning of new goal. I find the glory of overcoming any obstacle with perseverance.

Perseverance may be hard to find when you’re in high school and only starting to learn about yourself as a learner and a young adult. How can you find and capitalize your own perseverance?

  • Spend time with family and friends.
  • Learn something new to keep your tank full and brain working.
  • Work with a team to care for others.
  • Be grounded to deal with the tethered threads of life choices.
  • Find courage to keep learning new skills.
  • Explore creativity.
  • Wear a smile every day!

The choices you have to make like when to graduate and what to do after graduation may be scary—change always is. All you need to do is live with hope, a big shovel of resiliency, and two buckets of perseverance. I promise you will make it through!

The End Goal of High School

Hugh McDermott, UNHS Principal

High school principals and teachers value all of the experiences, activities and opportunities that students have along the way, but make no mistake, the end goal is to give students their diplomas.

When that day and hour arrives, the moment is indescribable! Parents, grandparents, friends and former teachers all raise their heads to acknowledge their students and how proud they are of them for attaining this rite of passage.

Students are capped and gowned. Teachers and other staff have taken their various places for the ceremony but also to do what they do best, help students even in this most anxious time to make this very special event—the best ever. There is an electricity and buzz in the air like no other.

As you work toward this most prestigious accomplishment, here are some things to think about:

  1. What am I doing to reach my graduation goal—right now?
  2. If my grades are not what I want them to be, what can I change in my study habits, right now, that will lead to better grades?
  3. If I need tutor help, who can I turn to, to make this happen?

Graduation opens an infinite number of opportunities and adventures!
And remember, the teachers and staff are there to help you reach that goal.

“The Next Play”

Ray Henning, Academic Adviser

In sports competition, what is the most important play?

You are likely to get many different answers depending on who you ask. However, to most coaches, the correct response they want from their athletes is, “the next play”.

This is a vital message coaches need to communicate to his/her team and individual players. Participants cannot be focused on what previously took place on the field, court, etc. All of their attention needs to be on what is going on in present time. If an athlete is still thinking about what just happened—either positive or negative—it takes away from their concentration on the next action.

Similarly, as you work on your academics, it is important to keep your focus on what you are currently doing. If you just had a grade you really like or one that was not so fantastic, you need to refocus and get your attention on what you are doing now. This enables you to do the best you can on the current project, assignment, test, or evaluation.

Learn from your past and prepare for your future, but focus on what you are learning today!

What is the “next play” for you?