Fords Rant: A PAEAN

Yes, a paean. What is a paean? According to my old friend, Noah Webster (the inventor of the dictionary (1828) and a close friend of my father’s it is:

“a joyous song or hymn of praise, tribute, thanksgiving or triumph”

Well this is no hymn and it may not even qualify as a rant, but it is a tribute to you – The Students of Hanover High School – for being so darn wonderful and remarkable that it just chokes me up. But then the puppy Youtubes do too – sometimes. But let me explain.

The other day I was reading – as were all the other curious and prurient adults in the school – the results of last year’s Vermont Youth Risk Behavior Survey – which you did – remember? We of course were most interested in the nasty and illegal behaviors you were delighting in – smoking, drinking, getting fat – and seeing which of these behaviors warrant us lecturing you or putting you in life-changing workshops to clean you up – before it’s too late.

But on page 56, I was stopped short – stopped short by the question:

“Do you believe that the teachers really care about you and give you lots of encouragement?”

Holy crow – what a great and meaningful question to ask students in a school !

But wait. Then i looked at the responses —   Holy Double Crow !!

[insert table]

87% of the SENIORS  said they did. That is amazing, especially when compared with the Vermont state average of 65%. And even more amazing when you contrast it with most people’s experience with their own high schools.

So tribute, praise and thanksgiving to you – the glorious and commendable Students of HHS

But wait. Let us not forget in this paean those who do the caring and the encouraging. The faculty and staff (yes, the staff as well) are certainly to be commended for putting a priority on such caring and attention. Their efforts to know you, see that you are a part of the learning that goes on here, pay attention to as a person, not just a student in their class and reaching out to the “reluctants” of you are all worthy of great praise and tribute as well. Every X period is an opportunity for these things to happen and it’s clear they do.

Even after praising the faculty and staff, I still have to return to you students. Caring is a fragile and delicate thing. It can be discouraged and lost very easily. It can be rejected, ignored and dissed an a lot of subtle ways. So to be effective, that caring and encouragement must be received, and appreciated by – guess who – YOU !

So thanks to you from all of us (well, me anyway) and keep up the good work. Any institution is made up of all of its people working conciously on the good stuff. And let’s get that survey result next year up to, oh, 98%. Perfection isn’t all it’s cracked up to be you know

And on the same day I found out that HHS has the highest SAT scores in N. H. Wowie-wow


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