From the desk of Dr. Tuin
One of my roles as a high school principal is working with other principals and ADs to organize, coordinate and manage athletics. We are currently part of the Empire League which is a member of the CIF Southern Section. A few times a year, I am required to meet with Empire League Leaders. This year, I happen to be the League President, which means I run the Empire League meetings and then have to attend CIF Southern Section meetings. On Monday morning, I facilitated our Empire League meeting, and then on Tuesday morning, I attended a CIF Southern section meeting, voting on behalf of the Empire League on some items. Neither meeting is very exciting, but it is an important aspect of our life here at Tusting High School since many of our students are involved in CIF sports of one kind or another.
A much more meaningful event occurred Tuesday night at UCI. The AVID Senior Standout Recognition is an annual event bringing AVID programs together from all over Orange County. Each school with an AVID program is afforded the opportunity to recognize one student as their Senior Standout. 52 schools in all that presented. It was interesting to hear a little about each student and what college they plan to attend. However, I was there for our Senior Standout, Nahomi Raymundo, and it was special to hear what was said about her:
“Nahomi’s brilliance, affable nature, and desire to help others make her the ideal AVID Senior Standout! Not only is she an AP Scholar and a leader in the community, but she is also an incredibly kind and compassionate human being. Her desire to become a physician is a testament to her core belief that everyone has value and deserves the opportunity to lead a healthy life. The integrity that she displays on a daily basis, her humble nature, and her success in and out of the classroom makes her the Senior Standout in our AVID program; she is AWESOME!”
Another meaningful event occurred Wednesday afternoon at the baseball field when each player recognized one teacher who has made an especially big impact on them as a student. After the presentations, the teachers lined up behind the player who selected them with a T-Shirt in hand. The picture was a precious moment showing the connection that happens in the classroom around learning and growing as a person. (A bonus was watching the boys go out and play well enough to win a needed victory.)
For me personally, the celebration before the game was particularly meaningful because I was asked to throw the ceremonial first pitch. I know in the baseball tradition, this is an honor and I appreciated the gesture for sure. However, I think my favorite part of the whole experience was playing catch with Coach Dan Ellis before the “First Pitch”. There really wasn’t a need to warm up for what I had to do, but it meant a lot that this former professional baseball player and now high school coach was willing to take a few minutes to connect in a baseball sort of way.
It reminded me of the many sessions of playing catch I had with my father and even sons over the years. It is amazing the conversations that occur over such a simple thing as throwing a baseball back and forth.
Later that night, there was another meaningful moment when I was able to present a volunteer award to John and Kim Keelin for all their service to our school and students over the years. Their youngest child, Maureen, graduated last year and is now attending my alma mater. However, the Keelins stayed on another year just to make sure there was a successful transfer of the important treasurer position for MUN. We have so many parents who go above and beyond to make sure our students are cared for and supported in their various endeavors, and the Keelin’s are among the more giving and sacrificial.
Another volunteer that was recognized this week was our outstanding president Colleen Ma. The last of her 8 children will graduate in May, and she has spent hours, days, and years on behalf of all our students. The Ma family has been a positive presence and support for so many at Tustin High School. Their contributions as a family are appreciated and will be missed for sure.
There were several other meaningful things that happened this week as well, not the least of which was concluding the mandatory state testing for the year. The required adjustment to the schedule moved us out of the typical school rhythm. It will be good to be back in our regular school schedules for the four more weeks until finals.
Another meaningful aspect of the week was all the senior nights for a variety of sports, including Volleyball, Swimming, and Tennis. Not only do our ASB students create posters for each student, but parents and students work hard to prepare other signs, decorations, and goodies to commemorate the celebration. Our parents and coaches do a great job of recognizing our students for all their hard work and dedication to the team.
While these meaningful events occurred, there was one interaction in the Student Services Office that caught my attention. Like many other students, one particular girl has struggled with her attendance, mostly not being on time in the morning. Because of that, she accrued many hours of detention, and because she is a senior her participation in activities, including graduation is in jeopardy. To this young lady’s credit. She has owned her situation and started serving detention hours faithfully every day after school. She has taken advantage of every opportunity available to decrease her total. She is such a regular now that she has now become a helpful contributor to the student services office. Yesterday, she was engaged in a conversation with one of our assistant principals that demonstrated her recent growth as a person. She was advocating for herself in a positive and respectful manner that had everyone in the office glued to the
conversation. It was a reminder that our students who struggle with attendance do so for a variety of reasons. It is still a problem and each of them needs to step up and own their situation. However, the restorative nature of how we all deal with this issue is important. For this student, she was provided a path for not just decreasing her hours, but developing her confidence and efficacy as a person. Seeing her growth over the past few weeks made me grateful to be a Tiller.
Dr. Jon Tuin
Tustin High School Principal