Acceleration East High School
Community Brief
Tuesday, January 14, 2020
Over our winter break, I wrestled with the story of Bryce Gowdy, the Deerfield Beach High School graduate who took his own life just before he was to leave for Georgia Tech on a full football scholarship and pursue a degree in either engineering or finance. I didn't know him, but his passing has rocked me to the core. 

I'm stuck on the paradox of fearing your own success. Gowdy's story has other elements to it and I certainly don't want to oversimplify the circumstances surrounding his tragic passing. But I believe that many teenagers on the cusp of breaking through to new heights often carry the burden of what collateral damage may come with that success.

I first learned about "Fear of Success" from 1993 PGA Champion Paul Azinger describing the collapse of many professional golfers on the last day of major tournaments. Subconsciously, they fear how their lives may be changed by this immediate success and navigating a new world of unchartered territory that comes with becoming a major champion.

For our kids, it's real. As educators, we have to determine if some students aren't trying or "tank" because they fear the success.

It's complex - complex enough for me to challenge our teachers and staff to identify those students who may fear success, so that we may help them process the changes that come with success. And it's not just academic success - it's fear of success in interpersonal relationships, finance, athletics, performance art . . . I love our teachers and staff because they genuinely care about our kids. Our kids are not numbers to us. We have a vested interest in their success, which is why we want to ensure our students feel safe pursuing it.

This message is to be continued next week. . .

With Phoenix Pride,
Mr. Doug Loftus
Agriculture Science Highlights - Week #1 of 2020

Students planting new seeds

Growing strawberries


Ducks having a splashing good time!

Assorted peppers
Remembering those family members who wear the uniform at the New Year!

Each staff member above has a son or a daughter who is currently serving or very recently served in our armed forces. Beginning with the far left . . .

Sergeant David Rinehart - School Resource Officer. * His son's name is Brian Rinehart and he served in the U.S. Army as a sergeant in Afghanistan where he was a scout gunner. He finished his military career at Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks Alaska. Brian served in the U.S. Army  for 6 years.

Jamie Williams -  Reading and English Teacher. Her son, Ian Williams, is a lance corporal in the Marines. He  is in his second year with the Corps. He currently is a mortar man and is deployed.

Richard Diaz - Tech Support Rep. He has two sons serving. Ricardo Diaz is currently serving in the U.S. Army as private 1st class in the 82d Airborne division.  He is stationed in Fort Bragg N.C.  His other son, Ricardo (yes, he has two sons named Ricardo) serves in the U.S. Navy as an E3. He is stationed at Great Lakes Naval Base. In a couple of months he will be stationed in Coronado, San Diego where he will undergo Navy Seal training.

Kim Smith - Staffing Specialist for ESE and ESOL. Her son Britton Smith is a private in the U.S. Army 82d Airborne Division.  This is his first year and he is stationed at Fort Bragg N.C.

Yesenia Maldonado - English 2/3 Teacher. Her daughter Nadia Padro is currently serving in the U.S. Air force as an airman and she is stationed in Minot North Dakota. This is her first year in the Air force. 

* Community footnote: Last Thursday, January 9 was National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day (LEAD) across the United States. Thank you to Sgt. Rinehart for his service each school day as our School Resource Officer. Not only does he do a marvelous job working to keep our campus secure and everyone safe, but he is an excellent role model for students. Thank you Sgt. Rinehart for all you do!
Academics - Creative Writing with Mrs. Robson

Mrs. Robson is pictured here discussing the devastation from the Australian wildfires while the students describe their thoughts in their daily personal journals (below).

A blank page from the students' journals is shown above from this past week. Please note the informational text element on the upper left which offers some background with a thought provoking question (here it happened to be about Australia). Mrs. Robson's students journal their thoughts and expressions daily as each day carries a different message/question.

Student engagement in Mrs. Robson's class (Jan. 8, 2020 - day #2 after returning from winter break)
Academics - English 2 with Mrs. Maldonado

Mrs. Maldonado assisting a student with a journal entry. The assignment focused on goal setting and the steps needed to achieve the goal.

Copy of the students' assignment on the second school day of 2020 where they set out to identify their individual high and low points of 2019 followed by their goals for 2020. (If you look closely, Mrs. Maldonado shared her own 2019 highs/lows and 2020 goals with the class.)
OCPS Parent Academy at Edgewater HS on Jan. 25

OCPS Parent and Family Engagement will host a Parent Academy, "Together, Towards Tomorrow" at Edgewater High School on Jan. 25. This academy, primarily for secondary students and families, will include a mini magnet school and college fair in collaboration with other district offices - online registration option and other information. 

* Free lunch will be provided for each attending family, in addition to translation services and free child care for all students ages 4-18.
Academics - Portuguese 2 with Mrs. Vieira

During one the first classes of the New Year, Mrs. Vieira's students described their New Year's resolutions either in written form or drawing.
Inspirational Message!
This bulletin board message awaited the students upon their return from winter break. We are now one week into both the 3rd quarter and 2nd semester.

Academics - World History with Mrs. Shewchuk

Mrs. Shewchuk's students have been studying the Dawes Plan when the USA loaned money to specific European nations after World War I possibly leading to the Great Depression.

Student Health & Safety in 2020 (Driving)
Motivational Moment
This Week's Motivational Moment!
A little insight behind the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday on Monday, January 20th . . .

Established in 1983, MLK, Jr. Day was first celebrated in 1986, 34 years ago. Because of his contribution to the civil rights movement, Dr. King ranked second only to Mother Teresa in a Gallup list of Most Widely Admired People of the 20th Century. Dr. King was also Time Magazine's Man of the Year (1963).

Many people don't know that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a brilliant student, an avid reader, and outstanding member of the high school debate team. Martin skipped two grades during high school and entered local Morehouse College at 15! He graduated in 1948 at age 19 and attended Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pa., where he received his divinity degree three years later.

Dr. King had many leadership traits, some that have value to our students here at the start of 2020. Here are a few of Dr. King's keys to success in life:
  • Set goals and make a detailed plan of action to reach them - for yourself and your organization.
  • Understand your adversary's point of view to recognize the weaknesses of your own positions.
  • Never seek to humiliate your opponent; search for common ground.
  • Conduct a postmortem analysis of every action to learn from your mistakes.
  • When speaking, relate stories of individual acts of courage and sacrifice to help make your cause relevant to the daily lives of those affected.
  • Practice what you preach.
  • Stay awake to new ideas and have the courage to change.
Douglas K. Loftus
Acceleration East High School
Tuesday, January 14, 2020
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