Get Back to the Fundamentals!

Ray
Ray Henning, UNHS Academic Adviser

Fundamentals are the basic skills, techniques, etc. that serve as the foundation of any system. Being fundamentally sound is an essential if you want to be successful at something.

Throughout my years of coaching football, the team that was the most successful was usually the team that did the best in the basic fundamentals of blocking and tackling. Most football coaches plan to spend a significant part of their practice time developing or enhancing these essential skills with their players. If you are not fundamentally sound at blocking and tackling in football, you are going to struggle.

How are you in the basic fundamentals of being a good student?

Although this is not an exhaustive list, here are three standard fundamentals that can help lead you to academic success:

  1. A regular study schedule or routine
  2. A study environment that has minimal distractions
  3. Completing all required homework and assigned readings

Just as there are many additional skills in football besides blocking and tackling (i.e. passing the ball, catching the ball, rushing the passer, causing turnovers, etc.) there are also many other important skills in your development as a student: writing, reading and test taking to name a few.

After you set the foundation with the basic fundamentals, you can start working on these additional skills.

What academic fundamentals do you need to work on to help you be the best student you can be?

A Cheer For Cheerful Leaders

Debby
Debby Bartz, UNHS Academic Advisor

Two bits, four bits, six bits, a dollar—all for UNHS, stand up and holler!

This was a cheer my pep club pals and I exuberantly shouted before every sporting event in high school. We were excited and loud for the upcoming competition, and the cheerleaders led us in motivating the sporting teams.

Today, I treasure the cheerful leadership for the UNHS team. As years have seasoned me, I have come to truly value what I call a “cheerful” leader. These leaders have great qualities.

  • They have a spirit of kindness, providing joyful moments straight from the heart. It may catch you by surprise!
  • They find goodness in all aspects of living using the heart, head and hands to share cheerfulness.
  • They spread joy individually and within groups.
  • They have purpose, love learning and live every day to the fullest.
  • They network through kindness, helpfulness, happiness and positive vibes.
  • They allow fellow learners, workers, family and friends the freedom to perform to the best of their abilities and value individual strengths.

The University of Nebraska High School is lucky to have a cheerful leader in Barbara Shousha. Barbara encourages everyone to perform their best and values the challenge that each week brings. She overflows with all the characteristics of cheerful leadership.

What does being a cheerful leader mean to you?
What can you do this week to become a cheerful leader?

Finding Students’ Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity

Hugh
Hugh McDermott, UNHS Principal

As a long-time educator, I am constantly aware of the importance and the responsibility I have in making sure the doors of opportunity are wide open for students, regardless of their educational situations or circumstances. But to get their attention, we have to pique their curiosity and engage their spirit.

Students arrive in our classrooms with so much individuality, wide-ranging different backgrounds and experiences, but somehow great teachers present their course content in what seems like magical ways to pique interest, stretch imaginations and challenge students to learn more.

This is actually exactly what the fine folks at NASA have been doing for many years through the Mars rovers.

On January 4, 2004, the rover Spirit landed on Mars and worked diligently for us for more than six years to cover 4.8 miles of the Mars surface before getting its wheels trapped in the planet’s sand. Even then, it adjusted itself to act as a stationary science platform to help us know more about the planet. NASA stated that Spirit completed its planned 90-sol (day) mission and actually functioned effectively over twenty times longer than expected!

The next rover to land on Mars was Spirit’s twin, Opportunity. Landing three weeks later on January 25, 2004, Opportunity ran around the planet, covering more than 25 miles, close to a marathon. It is still operational and mobile, celebrating its twelfth birthday today—a pre-teenager!

Opportunity
Mars Rover Opportunity at Rock Abrasion Target ‘Potts.’ Source: NASA Mars Exploration, Retrieved January 25, 2016.

Curiosity went to Mars on Aug. 6, 2012, and continues to operate today. It withstands slightly extreme weather environments that we are not used to, built to work in between -197 degrees Fahrenheit through 104 degrees—and it has no coat, gloves or hat!

Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity are more than land rovers on Mars—they are definitions of the characteristics that we want to plant in students every day. We want students to:

  • Grow their spirit and enthusiasm and be life-long learners.
  • Engage with zeal in the moment of discovery as they unwrap.
  • Adjust to situations with positivity and a good attitude.
  • Work hard and delight in their success.

Teachers and parents play a critical role in building the learning spirit that lives within each of us, and when observed we must recognize its priceless value.