Blog

What about the boy with no God?

What about the boy with no god?

 

He doesn’t have time

so he doesn’t pray.

He does not sing.

Still and silent he lays.

 

When he’s no tears to cry.

And his heart’s lost it’s home.

A cold wind’s a-blowing

more than he’ll ever know.

 

And outside

his window of vision.

The boy with no god,

sees a grass green reflection.

 

Who’s your buddha?

The birdwatcher watches the sky.

Her name was Jesus.

And the leper gets high.

 

The dreamers are dreaming.

Pilgrims walk down the road.

Hands up to the sun,

The poet recites an ode.

What about the boy with no god?

A poem by Sawyer Phillips

Dr. Buckey’s take on Vaping edit

Being a High School Principal is a tremendous opportunity. At the same time, it is a significant responsibility. I love the work I do. Some days are longer than others, but each day is different and unique. There is always something new to learn. Despite having done this work for over fifteen years, that statement is as true as ever; take for instance vaping. Two years ago, I would have thought vaping was something you do to try to revive someone who has fainted or passed out. Little did I know then, it would become such a pervasive and prevalent part of our work is school administration.

Last fall when we had our first vaping incident, the learning curve was steep. Parents seemed to be caught off guard as well. Some wanted to know where it was specifically prohibited in our Handbook. Many had no idea what we were talking about. Being active in the State Association (MSAA), I took to our listserve and began asking colleagues what they were doing to address vaping. Oddly, NHS seemed to be one of the first schools in the Commonwealth to bring forward the issue as a concern. Many of my colleagues across Massachusetts indicated they were not seeing it at their schools but asked that I share what other schools were doing. Fast- forward one month and the same listserve was exploding with requests for how to address and/or confront the issue of vaping, which many Principals were then and now calling “epidemic.”

One of the issues with vaping is it was not (and is not) an issue with any one segment of the school population. From athletes and vocational students to musicians and honors students, we have had issues with vaping across our school community. Last year, it was reported that AP students on a field trip were vaping on the bus. Since then, there have been students vaping is classrooms, locker rooms, school buses, the pool and on our playing fields.

One of the things that worries me as a High School Principal is the lack of information currently available regarding the health consequences of this trend. When I started my administrative career, cigarette smoking was an issue. Students would try to smoke in bathrooms, but were more easily detected as the smoke hung in clouds and remained a very prominent odor. Vaping does not do that; that is why I worry students feel so empowered to make the bad choice of doing it in and across the school. The problem is the serious health concerns about cigarette smoking are now know. Fewer and fewer young people elect to begin smoking cigarettes because the knowledge of the harmful effects is widely communicated. This is not true of vaping. So much is not yet known about its harmful effects. Another issue I see is students who think vaping is a safe alternative, are likewise becoming addicted to nicotine. Some have shared that vaping was no longer enough and moved to cigarettes. This is the polar opposite of what vaping was intended to do if you read the literature trying to promote the “safety” of vaping.

As I said I love the work I do. My work is made even more enjoyable having Ms. Psaradelis as our Assistant Principal. Her background in counseling makes her approach to issues like vaping a nice balance between consequence and education. Having been an Assistant Principal for a number of years, I know the one charged with discipline to be one of the hardest roles in the building. I am consistently impressed by the students who leave Ms. Psaradelis’ office feeling valued and heard, even when the outcome is not something they wanted. She seizes on teachable moments with aplomb.

In her role, she quickly took to researching the topic of vaping and has been an invaluable source of information on the topic to students, families and our faculty. She has attended professional development on the topic in addition to reading and researching it extensively. Students who vape are not bad people. They are simply making bad choices, the potentially harmful results of which we do not yet fully understand. Principals, myself included, worry about students. We want them to be and do the best they can. For me, vaping stands in the way of that. 

We have tremendous supports for students here. Our School Counselors, our Social Work, Nurse, SROs, teachers and administrators are all here to support students to face whatever issue, vaping including, they are confronting. It is my hope that students, parents, families and staff who are reading this article will engage conversations about the topic. The refrain from adolescents is often the same when it comes to things we say to them young people should not do– “ but, everybody is doing it.” That might seem to be true; it is not. The answer from adults remains the same – “just because they might be, does not mean they should.”

 

By Dr. John Buckey

Journalism Class Profile: Peter Mehlert

A lean, solemn man, about five feet five inches tall, walks down the sidelines of the Nantucket High School soccer field, hands planted firmly behind his back. He meticulously scans the field and the players beginning to gather ahead. Carefully, he ambles in the direction of his players. In the coach’s short but lithe strides, it is impossible to know the extent of his age. After decades of exercise and dieting, the man has successfully captured the essence of youth. But one thing is certain by the vexed looked hidden under the square gradient dark lenses of his glasses. The coach is displeased with the performance of his team. He is not loud but his words are sharp and cut through his players like a surgical laser. They have no choice but to listen quietly and learn.

“You guys, don’t deserve to be winning right now, I could put my best JV team out there and they would easily win,” says Coach Peter Mehlert.

Since he joined the coaching staff of the Nantucket High School boys soccer team in the fall of 2015, Coach Peter Mehlert has left a humongous footprint. During these past four seasons of coaching at Nantucket, the boys’ soccer team has reached two regional finals and a semifinal: the first regional final ever in the history of Nantucket sports. At times his rigorous style has been criticized.

Emmet Clarke, a four-year member of the soccer team and one of this year’s captain, gives Coach Mehlert many praises. “He is different from any coach I’ve ever had. He has very high standards that he holds himself and others too,” Clark says.

Mehlert was born in Shanghai, China at the peak of the Chinese Revolution. His father fought alongside Chiang Kai-shek in the Nationalist party, and against General Mao Zedong and the Communist party. When the Chinese Revolution came to a close in 1949, his father was forced into exile to Taiwan, leaving his family behind. Fatherless, he, his mother, and his siblings fled from China to British-controlled Hong Kong seeking asylum. Mehlert lived in difficult circumstances in the Kowloon side of the island.

“I had no heat, and seven of us lived in one room,” Mehlert says. “You have no idea.”

As a young boy in Hong Kong, Mehlert had his first encounter with soccer. Living near a British air force base, he would watch the pickup games of soccer near the base. “At first we watched” then after a while “we shagged balls for them, and they would throw us a few pennies in return,” Mehlert recalls. Not long after that, he joined the local youth soccer league in Hong Kong and would travel to the main island of Hong Kong for soccer matches.

Mehlert describes his mother as a “traditional Chinese woman”. In Hong Kong, she married his stepfather, an American on assignment as a Chinese translator for the American government. His entire family adopted the name Mehlert from his stepfather.

Mehlert recalls his step-dad as “very old school” and “discipline-based”. He was a “John Muir disciple. Loved to hike and backpack,” Mehlert adds, referring to the famous Scottish-born naturalist. Mehlert senior was very well achieved man. He spoke both fluent Chinese and Vietnamese. His ability command the use of different language secured him many assignments such as interpreting for president Nixon, being a US AID in Vietnam, and working alongside Averell Harriman as a translator in the China talks.

Mr. Mehlert and his family joined his step-dad when he was assigned to London to work with Averell Harriman. In London, his economic status greatly improved from poverty to the middle class. He recalls living in places such as Chelsea, Golders Green, and Hampstead Heath. As a ten-year-old, he took the metro everywhere and did numerous tours of the city with his sister.

Attending the US Air Force School in London was difficult. The change from an all Chinese school to an all English school was too drastic. Learning English proved to be difficult, and since he had no contact with local children outside of school Mr. Mehlert had to “wing it”. His stepdad devised a strategy for his kids to learn English. “He would give each of us an allowance of one shilling each week, but whenever we would murmur something in Chinese he would take away sixpences.” Although the method proved effective it was very hard on his mother who struggled with English and put a strain on their relationship. Without using Chinese at home he lost his ability to converse and read in Chinese.

After the China talks were done, Mr. Mehlert’s family ultimately relocated to the US; they settled in Maryland, close to Washington DC. He began his studies in the eighth grade and described himself as an “excellent student for the first couple of years.” That changed in high school. “In my case, sports hurt me,” says Mr. Mehlert. He alludes to strain sudden popularity and partying can have on academics. Mr. Mehlert became the number one seed in tennis of Walter Johnson High School. When the school started it’s in his sophomore year of high school, he became an extremely involved member. “I was very good, top one or two based on the recognition I’ve received,” he recalls.

During his high school soccer career, Mr. Mehlert’s team won the Maryland State Tournament twice out of the three years he played. He faced opponents such as John Ellinger, the former U-17 US national team soccer coach. Coaches at Boston University showed the most interest in him which resulted in him playing soccer and studying at BU. “Going to BU took many sacrifices, but I am ultimately happy with how things ended up,” says Mehlert.

Ever since middle school Peter Mehler aspired to be a physical education teacher, although he was not always encouraged. His parents wanted him to have a more elitist job such a doctor or a lawyer, and the school did not think his English fluency was strong enough. Based on his high math test scores, Boston University wanted him in the engineering program. Regardless he majored in physical education from Boston University.

Being a teacher himself, Mr. Mehlert believes teachers are extremely underappreciated. “A problem with our country is some of the best educated intelligent people are not teaching, partially because of salaries and the environment,” Mehlert states. “Teaching should be one of the highest paid jobs.” To him teaching has lost the glamor it once had.

Through connections at American University, he was able to secure an interview for a coaching position at American University in the winter of 1972. In August of 1973, he received a call back from the University while working at a summer camp. At the age of 23, Mr. Mehlert had become the coach of division one college soccer team.

Coach Mehlert states coaching is about “life lessons”. Mehlert recognizes the hardships of the world and hopes to spread that knowledge to his players. His coaching can be perceived as harsh.

“At times he can be a bit harsh, but he always speaks truthfully about what he thinks.”, states Clarke, who is a senior captain of the varsity team. But, Mr. Mehlert regards his toughness as what he calls, “tough love”.

Although he wishes he had been more patient with his player at times, his coaching method was extremely successful. Coach Mehlert coached at American University for a total of twenty years. In 1990, he started and coached a women’s team at American. That same year his team had the highest winning percentage at American University ever, and still holds that record. Coach Mehlert was award 1985 Division I Coach of the Year, which he regards as the proudest moment in his career.  

 

By Nathan Maurer

Opinión en Español

Los líderes de la comunidad LGBT, están indignados ante un informe de que el gobierno del presidente Donald Trump considera adoptar una nueva definición de género que en la práctica negaría el reconocimiento federal y protecciones de derechos civiles a los estadounidenses transgénero.

Organizaciones y compañías a favor de la comunidad LGTBQ rechazan la propuesta del presidente. El presidente de los Estados Unidos, Donald Trump, afirmó que los problemas de las personas transgénero están cambiando y que su meta es proteger al país, luego de las críticas que provocó un reporte de que su Gobierno evalúa definir el género como hombre o mujer según los genitales al momento del nacimiento.

“Tenemos muchos conceptos diferentes actualmente. Hay muchas cosas diferentes pasando respecto a las personas transgénero ahora”, dijo Trump en medio de una protesta afuera de la Casa Blanca y críticas en las redes sociales contra la propuesta.Cuando se le preguntó sobre su promesa de campaña de proteger a la comunidad LGBT, Trump dijo: “Estoy protegiendo a todos. Quiero proteger a nuestro país.”

 

By Jennifer Calles

Dr. Buckey: MSAA presidente

Durante los últimos 8 años, el Dr. John Buckey ha influido positivamente en la isla tanto dentro,  como fuera del sistema escolar. Después de haber obtenido su licenciatura en educación secundaria y en español en la Universidad de Asbury , el Dr. Buckey comenzó su trabajo en educación como profesor de español y presidente del Departamento de Idiomas Mundiales en la Escuela Lexington en Lexington, Kentucky. Aunque el Dr. Buckey prosperaba en el ambiente del aula, su objetivo real era la administración.

El Dr. Buckey se centró en su especialidad en la Escuela de Graduados de Educación de Harvard, obteniendo su Maestría en Administración, Planificación y Política Social. Después de obtener su maestría, el Dr. Buckey comenzó su carrera administrativa en Willoughby, Ohio, donde se desempeñó como Decano de Estudiantes en The Andrews School.

Con un año de deberes administrativos en su haber, el Dr. Buckey se mudó al norte de Massachusetts en 2001. Aquí ocupó el cargo de vice director de Littleton High School durante cuatro años antes de ser promovido a la posición de director.

El Dr. Buckey fue contratado como Director de la Escuela Secundaria de Nantucket en 2008 durante un período de inmensa tragedia para la comunidad de Nantucket. Después de una serie de suicidios estudiantiles, el Dr. Buckey asumió el rol de compostura y experiencia, trabajando arduamente para hacer de la Escuela Secundaria Nantucket un entorno seguro y agradable para estudiantes y profesores por igual.

Más recientemente, el Dr. Buckey perfeccionó aún más sus habilidades administrativas, completando sus estudios de doctorado en Northeastern University con una disertación centrada en asesorar a líderes de escuelas secundarias rurales.

Con su educación extremadamente refinada y especializada, el Dr. Buckey rápidamente llamó la atención de la Asociación de Administradores de Escuelas de Massachusetts (MSAA). En 2012, el Dr. Buckey recibió el Premio Bertram H. Holland al Director del Año de Escuelas Secundarias. Este galardón lo ayudó a unirse a las filas de la MSAA en la Junta de Directores en 2013. Después de dos años, el Dr. Buckey obtuvo un puesto en el liderazgo de la junta, continuó subiendo aún más en las filas y sirviendo como Vicepresidente y Presidente de la MSAA del Comité de Finanzas y Personal. Este otoño, la MSAA anunció al Dr. Buckey como su nuevo presidente. Habiendo vivido en Massachusetts por menos de dos décadas, su ascenso a la Presidencia de la MSAA ha sido rápido y merecidamente.

A medida que se acerca el mes de apreciación del director, Veritas reconoce al Dr. Buckey por su excelencia como representante del NHS y de los administradores en todo el estado.

 

Translated by Angelina Ozoria