Weekly News and Notes, November 21

Fan Update for Gillette Stadium

There are some specific instructions for our fans that we are sharing for the gameday experience at Gillette Stadium next Friday. Please take a minute to understand some of the expectations below. The attached PDF can also be found at this link.

Spartan Podcast
We have a short podcast to share this week. The message is also being shared in text form on this post. 

On behalf of all of us at UHS, we wish you and your family and friends a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving holiday.

A Thanksgiving Message

Last weekend, I had the great pleasure to watch our football team defeat Clinton and earn the opportunity to play for a Division 7 State Championship in the Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium. What made the game so much more enjoyable for me was that I got to stand with a good friend, legendary football coach Dave Driscoll, who won close to 300 games and several Super Bowls of his own while the Head Coach at Dighton-Rehoboth. We were colleagues for several years, and he still enjoys finding his way to games near and far, when he isn’t busy being a grandfather.

Coach Driscoll used to always be a part of our Spirit Week pep rally, which took place at D-R the Monday and Tuesday before Thanksgiving. His words still resonate with me, in that he would call Thanksgiving the best day of the year. As he put it, great football, great family, and great food - I always prefer Thanksgiving to the other days of the year and other holidays. Though there are reasons why people gather and different traditions, the message of Thanksgiving and one of gratitude always seems to come back to be most heartwarming. 

In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, I often find myself considering the blessings for which I am thankful. Many of them I get to share with our school community. For example, in the past two weeks alone, I’ve had the opportunity to hand out National Honor Society certificates, place medals around the necks of state champion field hockey players, greet Hall of Fame inductees, learn about the deep connection some of our graduates have to a restored cannon on the town common, and find out that I get to share the Uxbridge story at two of the most preeminent education conferences in the world. I got to see football players shedding tears of elation at the conclusion of hard-fought games, a star athlete sign a letter of intent, and student actors cause me great reflection on my place in the world, not to mention impress me with their histrionics. I worked with counselors and families around some difficult medical and mental health situations, and I saw the generosity of some elected officials and community members in trying to help provide meals and eventually gifts for those who may not be able to afford them.  I spent time with other administrators teaching the delicate art of school budgeting and delivering challenging feedback. I participated in a teaching session that comprised our digital learning team, one that is trying to coalesce around some ambitious goals for technology use in our district, and I saw literally dozens of classes where teachers engaged students in not only the content but what we call the “why.” 

All of this happened because of my professional nexus to UHS and our community, and I am thankful to work in a community where being the principal affords me the chance to be involved in so much. I am thankful that my family understands the importance of my involvement. I am thankful that people in this community and from my extended network of friends have continued to reach out as incidents of anti-Semitism have spiked across the country. I am thankful that I have a superintendent who lets me be me and who works with our leadership team to push forward, even as that role has become increasingly politicized and complex, not just in Uxbridge, but everywhere.

At the Hall of Fame induction, I stood back and took it in, and I shared with more than one person that I felt very much like an outsider at a family reunion. I may never be a townie - I can live with that - but I am thankful that a few years ago I accepted the offer to become a Spartan. 

I sometimes refer to the principal as the lead learner or lead teacher for a school. As an English instructor and coach, I always tried to use critical moments in the calendar as an opportunity to connect to something bigger. We do that on holidays like this when we consider the very “why” and root of our Thanksgiving. In that spirit, I hope that everyone takes the opportunity this weekend to pause, spend time with family, and consider the good that is there. Even for those of us dealing with challenges and difficulties, there is much for which we all have to be grateful. For me personally, I say thank you to our staff, my colleagues, our families, and our students for all they bring to our community every day. Again, to paraphrase the words of my friend, Coach Driscoll, “it’s the best day of the year - and let’s go win a football game!”