Back to School!
MATT O'DONNELL Click on the video clip above to see Matt talk about the picture he shared. School: Wallaceville Elementary School, Dearborn Heights, Michigan Grade: Kindergarten Date: September 6, 1977 Teacher: Mrs. Adele Kittleson "I grew up in Pennsylvania, but I was born in Michigan. To tell you the truth, I really don't remember too much about the first day of kindergarten, just a bus and a classroom and a piano, and some singing during class. Luckily, though, my mom kept an abrieviated diary about my early school years. Here is what she wrote about that day: After the first day (one hour's worth) Matt said he would not be able to wave good-bye to me (when getting on the bus) 'cause he would be 'too busy with work.' Appears to listen and absorb instructions, rules and songs and games to learn. In the picture, I am about to get on the bus - you can see me holding my bus ticket. And no, mom did not use a bowl to cut my hair. It just ended up looking like that. Many years later, I would add a 'part' to my hairstyle." - Matt KAREN ROGERS School: Washington Township High School, New Jersey "This picture was snapped for the yearbook in my junior year. I was a cheerleader throughout high school in Gloucester County. My best friend, Monica, and I were co-captains and had a blast! I loved being involved in school activities. We often felt we lived at our school. We'd stay late cheering every day, practicing gymnastics, making up new routines, and decorating the players lockers. I have great memories of high school. I was also involved at times in student council, German club, and piano. I played pretty seriously through high school and college. I use to compete in piano competitions. With a busy job and three kids, I have a tough time sitting at the piano these days. But, I long for the time when I can get back some of those skills I worked so hard to obtain way back when. As for cheering….. I still teach my kids a few cheers. They think I'm a dork!" DAVID MURPHY "I did a lot of street hockey and baseball after school, but as for organized activities in school, it was mostly about art, writing and drama. I was drawing trucks in kindergarten and working on school mural projects and entering art contests in grade school. I also loved to write and sent a couple of short stories (about monsters, I think) to Highlights Magazine (although they were not selected for publishing). In grade school and high school, I was in almost every play I could get myself into, after learning at an early age (almost by accident, during a try-out) that I could sing pretty well and wasn't bad at public speaking. I have two pieces of advice for students. First, play to your strengths. I was okay at sports and okay at math and science. But my big interests were writing, drawing and performing. I took advantage of those types of things when it came to extra curricular activities in school and it paid off. It's no coincidence that my career ended-up involving elements of each of these three skills. Second, stick to your hunches. One of the worst decisions I made in high school was to skip my sophmore year play, because I was tired of kids making fun of me for being in theater. The play that year wound up being West Side Story which was a big hit with everybody at school (even the kids who had been making fun of me thought it was cool) and I ended up being very sorry that I missed out. After that, I didn't worry about what other people thought of me, did what I wanted and ended-up being fairly popular and respected by the time I graduated. So take advantage of the extra things they offer you at school. I had friends on the debate team, the wrestling team, basketball team, school newspaper and stage crew. All of those activities may be available to you in your school, among many others. Explore as much as you can through those activities and you'll wind-up discovering a lot about yourself and what you want out of life. Good luck!" ---David TAMALA EDWARDS School: Bellaire High School, Houston, Texas Year: 1987 (sophomore) "I grew up in Houston, where football is king and cowboy boots are regular footwear. So it's no surprise the two came together my sophomore year when I became a flag girl. Our job was to have fancy flag routines, done to thumping pop tunes (imagine Kenny Loggins "Danger Zone" from Top Gun) during half time. Our outfit was what you see: Davey Crockett meets Dallas Cheerleaders - a red white and blue maleange, set off to perfection with cowboy hat and boots. Seriously, I was always the geeky girl, involved in academic pursuits like writing a column for the student paper or leading the Model UN. Being a flag girl gave me a change to be more of a regular kid, whooping and yelling under the Friday night lights. I can't claim to be the most coordinated twirler, but if it's all about heart, then I was aces. Here's to you and your kids having a great school year. Enjoy those frantic rides to get to the games on time, the exuberant teenage energy, those teaching moments about how to handle life in victory and defeat, and those warm, funny family times, after it's all over, sharing a pizza or ice cream cone. And of course, those moments you look back in the rear view mirror and catch a glimpse, under the stubbly new facial hair or Bonnie Bell makeup, the same sweet faces that not so long ago were in a car seat." Tam
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