Sunday, September 29, 2013

Weekly Update

Before I begin with my weekly update, I wanted to touch base on an important issue.
This past week Principal Jeff Szymaniak put together a group from Whitman and Hanson to attend a day-long conference from the Plymouth County District Attorney’s office on dealing with the issue of Drugs and Alcohol use among adolescents.   The group from Whitman-Hanson included administrators, guidance counselors, teachers, coaches and members of law enforcement.

It was a terrific program which made me leave the conference more dedicated to being as proactive as we can in helping our young people make good decisions.  One of the messages delivered at the conference addressed the science behind why we want young people to abstain from drugs and alcohol.  Because the brain does not fully develop until the mid 20’s, the earlier someone starts using these substances, the more likely it is they will develop a dependency problem.  In addition, the younger someone starts with alcohol and marijuana the more likely it is they will be receptive to trying more dangerous drugs. 

There were two other take away messages I would like to pass along.  The first is in regards to the notion that “everyone is doing it.”  The reality is, not every kid is drinking alcohol and using drugs.   In the 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 39% of high school students drank some type of alcohol in the last 30 days.  This number is way too high, but let’s look at the other side of it.  This means that 61% did not use alcohol.  When we hear the percentages in the various surveys, I would challenge students and parents to flip it around.  Instead of focusing on the number of people making the bad decision, take note of how many are in fact making the right choice.  I would challenge students to be part of the right number – be part of the 61% that are not using it. 

The third takeaway message was for teachers, coaches, parents and anyone else who has an influence on young people.  Studies have shown that the more young people hear the message about abstaining from drugs and alcohol, the more likely it is for that message to have an effect. For some teenagers, that effect could be our desired result – completely abstaining from any  type of drug or alcohol use.  For others, it could mean a drastic reduction on how much and how often it is used.  I guess the bottom-line is we can’t give up and concede defeat in our quest to help out students become happy and healthy adults.  Take every opportunity to send the right messages.

We will be running a program for parents in November with help from Caron Treatment Centers that I really think will be helpful. We will do this as part of our fall sports orientation program but we will also invite parents of students who do not participate in athletics.  Here is a link to Caron’s website which has some helpful information  -   

We will also be running some student centered programs beginning this week.  On Thursday, More than 130 student-athletes will be taking part in an afterschool program called Brain Drain which is an interactive program designed to teach students how drugs and alcohol negatively impact athletic and academic performance.  On Friday, a group of our athletic captains and 2 national honor society students will attend a leadership conference at the MIAA which will give these students some tools on how they can use their leadership skills to help in this area.

And now to the update:
1)     Our boys and girls cross country teams continue to be perfect on the season after beating Middleboro this week.  The team also had a strong showing at the MSTCA event on Saturday in Wrentham.  Brian Sheppard earned a medal for his performance while on the girls side Kelsey Tierney and Sam Coletti both earned medals.  The teams are excited for what is likely the Patriot League championship on Tuesday when they host Hingham High School.  Both the boys and girls can essentially clinch the title with wins.  Come on out and support these hard working student-athletes.
2)     Speaking of hard working kids….the boys soccer  team has had a rough start but the boys continue to bring a great effort to practice every day and it’s nice to see that hard work payoff this week with back to back wins.  The Panthers broke into the win column on Friday with a 4-nothing win over Middleboro.  Jared Pendrak, Brian McGahan, Antonio Centeio and Mike Auld all scored while Chris Huyghe and Jason Malloy split duties in net to earn the shutout.  The next day, the boys showed no signs of fatigue and posted another 4-0 win, this time winning at Plymouth North.  Pendrak, McGahan, Centeio and Tom Chmura all scored.
3)     The girls soccer team had a great week earning a crucial 1-0 win over Hingham on Tuesday to keep them atop the standings in the Patriot League.  . Elise McDonough earned her first varsity shutout making 8 saves in net for the Panthers. Stephanie Warn, Hayley Wells, Lily Higgins and Kelsey Gilbert all played strong defensive games in front of McDonough. Alexis Fruzzetti netted the game winning goal midway through the first half on a cross from Freshman Taylor Robertson.  The girls also beat Middleboro 7-0. Seven different players scored in the contest; Casey Corr, Katherine O’Kane, Taylor Robertson (1st varsity goal), Lily Higgins, Marina Kelly, Megan Downing and Stephanie Hyslip (1st varsity goal). Rachel played a strong game picking up two assists.
4)     It was an excellent week for the golf team as well.  They evened their record at 5 and 5 with a 246-261 win over Quincy and a 228-307 win over North Quincy.  In the win over North Quincy, Senior co-captain Shane Devlin put up another impressive round shooting 1 over par, followed by sophomore Cole Manning, who shot a 3 over par 37. Junior Josh Kelleher also came up big with a 4 over par, and senior co-captain Cory Cocchi and senior Kyle Reardon both shot 5 over par 39.
5)      It was a strange game for the football team Friday under the lights at Quincy.  The Panthers scored first when senior quarterback James Intravaia hit senior Anthony Polito for a 19-yard touchdown pass, and the extra point put the Panthers up 7-0, but the Presidents reeled off 33 straight points to seize control of the  game.  A few key mistakes at the wrong time cost the Panthers a chance at this league win.  The team has a week off before returning to play at Duxbury on Saturday 10/12 at 6pm.
6)      The volleyball team is improving every day but the wins have been hard to come by.  They lost at home to Hanover on Friday 3-0.  They will try to bounce back tomorrow (Monday 9/30) at Rockland.

Bob Rodgers
Athletic Director
Whitman-Hanson Regional High School
600 Franklin Street
Whitman, MA 02382
 (781) 618-7433 (office)
(617) 838-0994 (cell)
(781) 618-7159 (classroom)

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