Gilbert Gazette

A look at what's happening at GHS


Hello to all in Tiger Land here at Gilbert High School. This is the inaugural issue of the tentatively titled Gilbert Gazette, an online newspaper for the staff at 312 Gretten Street. Yes, I did use the word online which implies that I have embraced technology of the 21st century, I will pause briefly for mild applause and modest looks of astonishment. At this point, I am flying solo in terms of the content of the newsletter. I guess you get what you pay for. Anything related to this edition comes from the recesses of my own mind. I started this the week of Halloween so I thought I would stick with the weird/scary theme. So, as in most cases in my life, I am going off half-cocked, ill advised and unplanned. Hope you enjoy the ride.


Dan Jones

Editor in Chief (until a competent person takes the reins)

Click on the famous Youtube play arrow and get an insight into the mind of Andy Eckert. Apologies for some video quality and the volume, turn it up high or listen to them with earphones and the volume will be good. You knew I couldn't pull off this technology stuff without some sort of hitch.

Eckert's Hypothetical Corner and School Lunch Review


Eckert's Hypothetical Question Responses

This month's question will only bring out the bold and creative responders. If you are up to it, please provide a response to Eckert's hypothetical question at the link provided.

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The Corps

This is where we take a look at some of the fine educators, associates, support staff and administrators we have here at Gilbert High School. This month we are taking a look at three teachers. First, John Barbier, just because he has real cool last name and he is new to the high school. In addition, Barb Pedersen will be interviewed, she is retiring this spring and finally, Shelley Leiser will give us a glimpse of the driving force behind 9th grade English. Hit the link next to their names below and hear their interview, bios are under their pictures. Apologies beforehand, I used the flip cameras without microphones. You might want to use headphones when listening to better pick up the audio. I will make adjustments in the future.

Barb Pedersen

John Barbier

Shelley Leiser

Throwback Thursday--even though it may not be Thursday

This is a complete steal from Facebook's Throwback Thursdays. I am sure Facebook can withstand this assault from me so I am not too worried about it. For those unfamiliar with the concept, Facebookians will post pictures from their past on Thursdays, hence the name, "Throwback Thursdays". In keeping with that tradition or fad, here is my contribution to the genre. The Jones clan recently left Story County and moved to Boone County, effectively raising the IQs of both places. Alas, in the moving process, I wandered upon a piece of memorabilia from my high school days. It is a trapper/keeper notebook kind of thing with our high school name and mascot on the front and the student handbook on the inside and back cover. Yes, you do indeed have to be tough to be a Zebra and survive amongst the bears, lions, tigers and jaguars of the mascot world. Anyway, I singled out my high school's policy on smoking, thought you might get a kick out of it. If any of you out there have something you would like to contribute to the Throwback Thursday section, please submit to the link listed here:
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The Suburban

I decided to call this section The Suburban. A tip of the hat to the restaurant that sat on the corner of US HWY 69 and Mathews Drive at the entrance to Gilbert for so many years. Pardon me while I ponder the thought of their world renown tenderloin sandwich. A utopian slice of Iowa cuisine that will never cross my palette again but whose taste and flavor will forever remain emblazoned on my taste buds' memory receptors. So why The Suburban? I am a simple man so here is my simple explanation. The Suburban was a Gilbert icon for 50 years. It served as a destination for 'date night' for married couples, lunch gatherings for anybody who wanted a good home cooked meal and most notably, an early morning gathering spot for the area's seasoned veterans who would congregate over early morning coffee and solve the world's problems one cup at at time. I ventured into the inner sanctum a couple of times looking for Fred or Bob Jensen, two of the grand masters of the Suburban Sunrise Coffee Club and thought that it would be neat if both I and the Suburban survived long enough so that I could partake in such a gathering. Sadly, the Suburban succumbed to the changing times and closed it doors. However, it remains a reminder of the history and tradition of all things Gilbert. And that is why I chose it, history and tradition.

My vision here is to create a column that is articulate, intelligent, compelling and interesting. Now I know what you are thinking, the words articulate, intelligent and compelling being said by a guy whose classroom motto is, "It isn't child abuse if you deserve it" and whose sign above the front door to his house says, "Friends and family welcome, pants are optional". Square peg in a round hole but let's see what happens.

Time has changed things in Gilbert over the last five to ten years, but its history and tradition are the main reasons I chose to return to teaching after a nearly decade hiatus as a participant in the roofing and construction business. My wife and I decided to send our kids here when it came time for them to enter school. After a brief discussion of the alternative choices in the area, Gilbert was hands down the winner and it is one decision that I am eternally grateful to have had the insight to make. My daughters had great instruction all the way from Mrs. Jordan to Mrs. Peterson. They were able to make friends and create memories they will cherish forever. In addition, whether they know it or not, they got to experience the 'Gilbert Way". This concept was officially introduced to me by Lynn Peterson at a gathering of all employees at the beginning of my first year at Gilbert. Lynn was a long time Gilbert elementary teacher and still resides here after her retirement. The discussion of the day was the type of qualities the new high school principal should possess as Jim Quarnstrom was retiring after 23 years of service to the district. Lynn stood up and began to describe what she called the 'Gilbert Way' and how this new principal should embrace those qualities. She spoke of hard work, dedication, putting students first, never worrying about what you got in return because you always got more back then you put in as a teacher in Gilbert. Her impromptu speech spoke of pride mixed with humility and how people did things around here and never worried about receiving recognition. She added that this community supports it educators and values education, as teachers and administrators, our passion had to match that of the Gilbert community. She ended by saying the one characteristic she admired most about Gilbert Schools and the community was that if you needed something done, you could put out the rallying cry and in minutes, you would have more help than you could handle. People were there for each other.

Lynn's speech also triggered a personal memory of Mr. Quarnstrom (Q from here on out) and some things he said to me when I was hired by the district. I came to the district with a reputation as a 'sun up to sun down' kind of guy. As long as there was daylight, I was working. He spoke of my work ethic but failed to mention anything about my rugged good looks or intelligence, small oversight, I am sure. Perhaps he chose work ethic due to the next thing he said. He told me, "Dan, as hard as you work out there in construction, we have people that work that hard at teaching". I have found that statement to ring true over the years. We have so many dedicated professionals here who put their profession and students first and never worry about what the per hour pay amount is. As I walked out the door after my interview, I noticed a sign in the front office of the old high school. It was a quote by Q, "Be where you are supposed to be, when you are supposed to be, doing what you are supposed to be doing". Sound advice for anybody, it is a fitting testament to some of the traditions of excellence Gilbert has.

Every day since I first started teaching here, I have truly enjoyed my experience and found that the people here are professionals about their job and yet manage to have fun. As we move forward and encounter change, it is important to remember our past. Our vision needs to encompass what was created by those that have come before as we welcome those who are new to the Gilbert Way. The great privilege we have is to work in a wonderful environment supported by our community. As we head in to the silly, er, I mean the Holiday Season, I feel like there is a lot to be thankful for. I would like to thank the teaching staff, associates, administration, the wonderful ladies in food service, the custodians and maintenance people, bus garage personnel and the parents and students at Gilbert for making my time here a great experience. In closing, I would also like to thank ButterBall for the tryptophan induced food coma I will be experiencing soon.

Tryptophan Tom

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Holiday Memories.

The Holiday Season is moving in fast, much like the winter weather that has descended upon us. I have distinct memories of the holidays from my youth. I can smell the aromatic blend of rye bread baking, turkey simmering in the oven, pumpkin pie cooling near the window, mashed potatoes and gravy, creamed corn, OMG!!, I am going a little bonkers just thinking about. I also remember getting together with all my cousins at Grandpa Jones' house, setting the table that was actually about 4 or 5 tables strung together, enough to seat about 40 people, and I remember wishing the day would not end and that we could stay just like that for a little while longer.

I don't remember anybody ever saying, "I think you have had enough, you should probably not stuff your face any more". I also don't remember anybody saying, "Three pieces of pie is a God's plenty, you shouldn't eat a fourth, or fifth or sixth piece". And I certainly don't remember anybody saying, "That's enough air freshener, I think the worst is over".

Holidays bring out the best and sometimes the not so best in us all, and they create a lot of memories. If you have any memories of the Holiday Season that you would like to share, please add to the link listed here, we will feature some of these in the December edition.

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What's Going On?

I was running short on time here so I didn't get to talk to all the people involved with our activities and athletics this fall. However, it is safe to say we had a pretty successful fall campaign in all areas.

Apparently we have some pretty talented youngsters here at Gilbert as the Variety Show was a huge success. Kudos to the participants and to those who put it on the show.

Also, by all accounts, the fall sports seasons were very successful. Congrats to the cross country teams, boys snagged a first place finish at state and girls were second. Great two year run for both teams as those results were flipped last year. Volleyball and football each ended their seasons with losses in the second rounds of their respective tournaments but were successful in their endeavors this fall.

The winter sports kicked off their seasons with practices starting Monday, November 17th. Good luck to all involved.

This section was abbreviated in this edition, future editions will have more information about participants, upcoming events and results. We want to make sure we recognize what's going on out there so please contact me with any upcoming events and results. Pictures and videos can be submitted. If you have something you would like to add in regard to the fall activities, please let me know.

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