Panther Nation Newsletter
September 17, 2021
A Message from our Principal
Each month we will be emphasizing a theme from one of the sixteen Habits of Success which we intentionally weave into our teaching and learning at Woodland Park High School. This month, we choose to focus on Resilience as our students begin this school year and the productive struggle that they find themselves facing each day.
We intentionally challenge our students with difficult yet engaging learning. Our goal is to stretch the learning experience and thereby grow the human brain and its ability to work hard for a lifetime of learning. We seek opportunities for our students to struggle in their learning, so that they can experience the satisfaction of learning something new and overcoming the difficulties within what is new to their intellect and skill.
Resilience is a skill that is learned only through experience. The successes that come from valuable experiences are more deeply enjoyed. More importantly remembered.
We know it’s hard to watch our young people struggle. It’s always easy for us as adults to pave a smooth pathway. But, realizing the beauty of learning through struggle (while we’re all available to support them during the experience) is invaluable to the long-term success of our students. It is hard, but important. Leave the burdens with students as they learn resilience. Don’t take the burdens away because it’s uncomfortable. Those stones of burden are the bumpy path we want for our Panthers.
“The moment we believe that success is determined by an ingrained level of ability as opposed to resilience and hard work is the moment we become brittle in the face of adversity.” (Joshua Waitzkin). When we learn how to become resilient, we learn much about the broad spectrum of the human experience. And we learn that what is within us, as we pick ourselves up from difficult situations, is much more than we knew.
I hope you join us in our endeavor to teach this incredible Habit of Success. Perhaps, the most important habit of all. Resilience is a skill that will pay dividends throughout a lifetime of success.
Until next week.
To learn more about Mr. Owen and Key Club, please visit our Facebook page (link at the bottom of the page).
To learn more about Coach Gustafson and Golf, please visit our Facebook page (link at the bottom of the page).
The health team will be conducting vision and hearing screenings next week September 21-24th for freshman, new students and one’s with IEP’s only. If you choose to opt out of these please inform the health office as soon as possible. Thank you
Stay Tuned for more details coming soon! To learn more about this event, contact the Career and College Readiness office at CACR@wpsdk12.org 719-686-2159.
Flag Dedication By Baden Breitenstein
On the morning of September 10, 2021, The American Legion was present at Woodland Park High School, for the dedication and raising of our new American Flag. At 8:15 AM, they raised the colors above our school and led the student body in the pledge of allegiance. But I would be remiss without mentioning that in the midst of our nation’s political division, the flag has become almost a controversial symbol, sometimes relegated to people with certain beliefs. However, Bob Lowry, a former Army service member and member of the American Legion, had this to say: “The flag represents everything great about this country, it represents everybody.”
And with this in mind, it was disheartening to see some students whispering amongst themselves, looking down, and distracting themselves during the raising of the flag. This is, unfortunately, less common than you might hope, some people don’t seem to know or care about the significance of the main symbol that represents our country. And I find myself wondering, if there was a different flag being raised, would they pay attention? Or no matter what flag flies over our high school, will they still choose to distract themselves from the world around them? When asked, Lowry had this to say, “They should be grateful they live in this country, there are more freedoms and more opportunities here than anywhere else in the world.” And no matter whether you agree with this statement, I ask that you recognize who it comes from.
The American Legion is composed of veterans and former service members, who mainly perform ceremonies, administer scholarships, and aid with funeral proceedings. It is not easy to get directly involved with this organization; you must be a former service member, married to one to join the American Legion Auxiliary, or be the son or daughter of a service member to join The Sons of the American Legion. They do offer scholarships that are worth looking into, and they also perform many ceremonies that are often free to attend. Bill Sprinsten, who was also present at the flag-raising, was quoted saying, “My membership in The Legion is the culmination of my military service.” Mr. Springsten spent 22 ½ years in the Navy, and when we spoke, it was clear that he, like the other former service members present, takes a great deal of pride in his service. And the purpose of this piece is to ask the reader to question why that might be.
Alex Vonderharr By Tristan Talbot
Woodland Park is home to a lot of amazing athletes, In all sports. Our athletes are very dedicated to the sports that they play, and they are very committed. And one of those athletes is Alex Vanderharr. Alex is an amazing athlete who has competed in multiple sports.
Alex Vanderharr is a student at Woodland Park School district. He has been attending WPHS for 3 years, He is a senior this year. This past year, his junior year, Alex attended a football Kicking camp in Gatlinburg Tennessee. The camp was called Kohl's Kicking Camp. This camp was a 3-day camp that Alex was invited to. He was invited after seeing his performance at a previous camp in Denver colorado. Alex Vonderharr Moved to colorado from Bulgaria his sophomore year. He has played football, soccer, and he did cross country. at Woodland Park Highschool, but he will not be playing any sports this year.
I asked Vanderharr what he liked about football? He told me “ The brotherhood, everyone is friends with everyone.” I also asked Vanderhaar what his coaches would say about him? Also, he told me that they would say that he had great potential for college. I asked Alex if he would be competing in any sports this year, and he informed me that CHSAA (Colorado High School Activities Association) will not allow Alex to compete because of his age, but Alex is excited to compete in these sports in college in the upcoming years.
The last thing I asked Alex was, “What advice would you give to other kids, and students, that would be interested in competing in football, or other sports at the high school? Alex replied, “If you wanna try something new, just go for it, and give it your all.” In conclusion, Woodland Park is home to many amazing athletes in all sports such as football, soccer, cross country, and many other sports, And Alex Vanderharr is definitely one of those great athletes who really demonstrate hard work and dedication with everything he does.