Special to The Messenger

I am so very proud of our school district for coming in third place in the Lone Star Cup rankings for the 2017-2018 school year. This means we had an excellent year in UIL activities, mainly in athletics.

It all started during football season when a group of young men decided that making the playoffs was not enough. They were in a battle with a pretty physical team from Evadale but they persevered and came from behind on two different occasions to win the game by one point. We advanced all the way to the Regional Quarterfinals where we lost to a tough team from Timpson.

This was just the beginning and we went into basketball season on an emotional high. Our boys and girls basketball teams both excelled. Our Sandiettes advanced to the regional quarterfinals before falling to a tough team from LaPoynor, while our boys’ basketball team advanced all the way to the regional finals.

Success in basketball is has become expected in Grapeland, due to previous successes. It was exhilarating, however, to see the hustle hard work and determination of our teams.

Then came the spring and our baseball and softball teams were also very successful. Our baseball team – in what was expected to be a rebuilding year – was the district champion and our talented softball team made a great run and advanced deep into the playoffs into the regional finals, losing to Woden by one run.

Almost simultaneously, our boys’ golf team was bringing home the gold as state champions and Rick Frauenberger also became back to back state champion in golf.

A week later, the girls’ golf team was fortunate enough to win the state championship and bring home the gold. Due to the efforts of the student athletes and coaches Grapeland ISD ended up ranked third for the Lone Star Cup which recognizes UIL excellence in school districts.

While I am so very proud of these accomplishments, I would give up all of this athletic success if I was guaranteed that each child that graduated from Grapeland HS ended up with a job they wanted to have instead of having a job that they had to have.

What I am saying is that we must always remember the big picture. The big picture is not about where you are, it is more about where you end up. I want our students to know that their education will determine how successful they are in life.

We must continually stress to them their education will one day determine their occupation. Yes, athletics is important in molding a competitive spirit, teaching that hard work pays off and building character, however my greatest joy is in seeing our students get themselves into position to graduate and head toward a successful life of choices and opportunities.

They must understand that one day they will have bills to pay and they will need to be qualified for a job, hopefully, in which they enjoy. It truly makes me sad at the thought of our students having to work someplace because they don’t have any other choice.

So after the balls stop bouncing, our students must be prepared to start the journey toward maximizing our potential. I truly believe that any job is a good job because doing something is much better than doing nothing. With that being said, we still should be challenged to fully reach our potential.

I prayed as a child to be 7 foot tall like Kareem Abdul Jabbar, and to be able to play center like he did for my favorite basketball team, the Los Angeles Lakers. Well, God answered my prayer… He said no! I’m only 5’ 10”!

On the other hand, God did allow me to have the inspiration to get an education which allowed me to get an occupation which is the right situation for my motivation. This my friends is what I would love to live to see for all of our students. While we celebrate the Lone Star Cup rankings and look forward to future athletic success, I want to continually do my part to encourage every one of our students to prepare themselves to one day take the small step off of the graduation stage and make a giant leap into a life of choices, opportunities and personal fulfillment.