By Elizabeth Gillingham
PHHS Student of the Month
Jacob Lerner was nominated as our Kiwanis student of the month for December because he is hard working, funny, smart, trustworthy, goes out of his way to help all students and staff — and most importantly, he is known as a kind and caring person. Vice Principal Jennifer Pacofsky attended the breakfast with Lerner and shared the following information she had discovered about him with the Kiwanis members explaining why he was selected.
“He goes out of his way to help other people as evidenced by something he did for one of our special education teachers. He designed an adaptation for her sink so that the water would not come on too high in the class (spraying the students) and installed it in the classroom. He is known as the first person to show up if something needs to be done and the last to leave.
“Lerner is also known as a leader in his engineering class as he takes initiative when things need to get done, fixes things without prompting, and helps others along the way. Lerner designed Patrick Henry High School’s 3D-printed bathroom passes to coincide with the colors of the buildings to help staff identify students who were out of class and to keep teachers accountable to only allowing one student out of class at a time. He continues to support the program as he prints new ones when they get lost or broken and he can fix the printer if it breaks.
“Jacob not only is a leader in his engineering classes, but on campus and in the community. He has proactively cared for our aquaponics system this year. He thoughtfully researches and adapts the system to the weather conditions and plans ahead for feeding the fish over vacation. He spends extra time building capacity in the Aquaponics Club, by training underclassmen so they can confidently take over his role next year. We are proud to honor Jacob for his leadership with this award.”
Alumni Golf Tournament and Alumni News
The Seventh Semi-Sequential Patrick Henry High School Alumni Association Golf Tournament & Reunion BBQ is only five months away. This year, it will be held on the afternoon and evening of Thursday, May 16, at the Admiral Baker Golf Course & Clubhouse. Here are the details so that you can save the date and join us for this special event.
- The golf tournament is a shotgun start and is set for 12:30 p.m. (registration, lunch and silent auction viewing/bidding begins at 11 a.m.) The reunion BBQ and awards banquet commences at 5:30 p.m. The golf tournament, lunch and dinner ticket remains at only $150 per person. Not a golfer? Then you can come and enjoy the buffet dinner and all the evening festivities for only $30 per person. We’re anticipating a crowd of well over 300 and golf is limited to the first 248 golfers in order to have a timely and fun tournament. Major sponsors and/or the first 120-plus paid registrations have their choice between the north and south courses. Register now at patriotalumni.org/registration or send a check payable to PHHS Alumni Association, Inc. to 9292 Activity Road, San Diego, CA 92126.
- The Patrick Henry Marching Patriots and Cheerleaders will perform for our golfers coming off the course and those guests arriving for the evening reunion BBQ, awards program, and silent and live auctions between 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
- The amazing all-you-can-eat dinner buffet will consist of braised tri-tip with au jus, marinated garlic teriyaki chicken, vegetable chow mein, steamed jasmine rice, salad, Hawaiian sweet rolls and beverages. A vegetarian meal is optional if ordered in advance of the event.
- Can’t make the event? You can still participate by bidding on our huge array of valuable auction items up to a week prior to the event. You will need your credit card and email address. Coming to the event? Bring your charged-up smartphone to track the bidding on the items you’re interested in. Don’t have a smartphone? Look for one of volunteers with an iPad to help you place your bid(s).
- In addition to the silent auction, we will have several fabulous live auction items, many of which you can’t get anywhere else and are not to be missed.
The event is priced to cover the cost to produce this special tournament per each attendee, our sponsors and raffle/auction proceeds are critical to our success. Please do business with those sponsors who are supporting us, most of whom are PHHS alumni or have/had students at the school!
We’re proud to report that the PHHS Alumni Association, in just the first six years of its existence, has now raised and in the process of donating in excess of $600,000 worth of goods to their alma mater. Your support is making a huge difference for the current student body.
How can you help?
- Encourage your friends/fellow alumni to register with the Alumni Association by providing their full name (maiden name included), class year of graduation and email address at patriotalumni.org/join
- Send a check or go online at patriotalumni.org/registration to sign up now for our May 16 event. A fun time is guaranteed only if you attend.
- Become a sponsor, and share your business/organization with other Patriots at patriotalumni.org/sponsors. You will be listed in the tournament program and on our website for at least a year.
- Donate a silent or live auction item for our May 16 event. This year, we will again be using Gesture bidding software, which will enable online bidding to all interested parties whether you’re able to personally attend on the date of the event or not.
- Send a donation to our 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. It’s tax-deductible (consult your tax advisor for details) and we will make great use of it as we have very low administrative expenses and no paid staff.
Thanks in advance for your consideration and support. For more information please contact Kevin Carlson, president, Patrick Henry High School Alumni Association, Inc. firstname.lastname@example.org or 858-566-6700 ext. 214 or visit PatriotAlumni.org.
Other news from on campus
The new two-story building located directly behind the main office along with the stadium and other athletic fields remodel are nearing completion and should be ready for the school to use by the spring.
Want to watch some basketball? Go back to campus this year and see new Patrick Henry boys basketball coach Kenny Caesar, a 1989 alumnus of the school, lead a turnaround in the program.
New physical education, old teacher
December is one of those months as a teacher where you try and keep students focused on learning while surviving the frenzy of that last week before the break. Teachers like me also enjoy infusing some fun into the learning during this high-energy, festive time of year. While fun in and of itself does have value, it’s particularly meaningful to this physical education teacher in the learning of new content. I believe that if students have positive connections when learning, then the content “sticks.” Meaning, when something is learned in a manner that is enjoyable, it’s more likely to be remembered and repeated.
California state standards for a ninth grader in physical education call out many areas that should be taught, analyzed and, acquired by all students. A few that are of value beyond the concepts of fitness and sport are: “Describe the enjoyment, self-expression, challenge, and social benefits experienced by achieving one’s best in physical activities; recognize and evaluate the role of cooperation and positive interactions with others when participating in physical activity; and accept personal responsibility to create and maintain a physically and emotionally safe and non-threatening environment for physical activity.”
Those objectives for PE might sound unusual or different to most, especially if you were in high school any time before 1995-ish. While we spent time in December working on some of the social and emotional aspects of physical activity through game play and personal fitness, we actually began much of that work back in August, when the school year started. I addressed a few pieces of this in my October “New physical education, old teacher” article for The Mission Times Courier.
In my 20-plus years of teaching, I have found that students will try something new, take risks and truly learn when they perceive the environment they are in to be welcoming and safe. Creating this environment within a physical education class takes time and effort, but it’s always worth it.
One of the first things we do before we engage in sport-related activity is to create a community that allows students to learn, safely and successfully. An interesting piece of that setup is taking the time to ensure every student in class has their name clearly marked on the front of their PE clothes. I mention it because many may see this as a waste of class time performing a mundane, time-consuming and simple task. I insist on it because it helps me learn their names quickly, and helps their classmates do the same. No one wants to be called “him,” “her,” or “hey you” in any class, and some are just too shy to ask.
It’s important to build a community within any classroom, but especially in PE. It’s one thing to try out a new writing style in English class or miss three questions on a test in history. It’s a private affair, a student and their scores or attempts. They get to choose, or not, to let peers in on their learning attempts and outcomes. It’s another thing entirely to attempt a serve in badminton, maybe for the first time ever, while your peers look on. Students in PE should know that their efforts will not be made light of, demeaned or humiliated. When we get students to understand we are all learning — some beginners, some more skilled — but learners all of us. And when we, the collective class, recognize the efforts of that individual, separate from another’s efforts or performance and give it value, learning occurs. It’s a large job, but about this time of year, if I’ve done my job well I begin to see these learning communities take flight and begin to reap the benefits of the communities my students have built.
Every Friday in my class is “Cardio Friday.” Some days are very challenging, some more relaxed, but all with the stated goal of building the individual student’s aerobic capacity. Tying this all together here, as we finished out our last day together of 2018, I opted for a different type of “Cardio Friday.” Our last Friday of the year together we played “reindeer games.” No one was left out and no one was called names. We had crazy relay races, backwards, forwards, hopping, jumping, running, and laughing. My favorite thing I heard all day was, “can we do this every Friday?” I witnessed students running faster than I’ve ever seen them run in four months of “Cardio Fridays.” So, maybe there will be more reindeer games in our future, but most definitely more fun-infused learning.
—Terri Clark, PHHS PE teacher
—Elizabeth Gillingham is principal of Patrick Henry High School.