Browsing Tag: education


    Young Pepperdine Sportscasters (Circa 1989-1990)

    July 19, 2020

    This photo is a snapshot of what hope and dreams looks like … or looked like … back around 1989 or 1990.

    That’s me on the left and my Pepperdine sportscasting partner, Kent Justice, on the right, at a men’s basketball game. I really have no clue when and where the photo was taken, but I have a sneaking suspicion it’s from March 1989 in Las Cruces, New Mexico. That’s the night Pepperdine beat New Mexico St. in the first round of the NIT tournament. Kent and I somehow got the Communications Dept. to a) let us travel to New Mexico to broadcast the game on campus radio KMBU-FM, and b) pay our expenses!

    We were both full of high hopes and dreams for lengthy careers in sportscasting. For me, the dream lasted about 7-8 more years. I got out of TV and radio sports in 1997 after being told by news directors in two bigger cities that I was their #1 sports anchor candidate, but they couldn’t hire me because I was a white male … and they were under orders to hire a female/minority. Seeing the writing on the wall, I got out of the business altogether, taught myself how to build and market websites online and the rest is history.

    Kent, IIRC, has been in and out of the TV industry just a bit, but has settled in Jacksonville for some time now, and is currently the political reporter and weekend news anchor at WJXT-TV in Jacksonville, Fla. We spoke a few months ago and he’s happy and doing well.

    That makes two of us.

    Life doesn’t always lead where you hope or think you’ll go, but that doesn’t mean you won’t end up somewhere great.


    My daughter graduated from high school tonight

    June 5, 2020

    T is finished with high school. Well, not quite. She has one teacher who’s taking advantage of the bizarre pandemic-created schedule that has schoolwork continuing through June 9. So my daughter has a few more days of schoolwork even though she graduated today, June 5.

    No, she’s not shown on the photo above — that’s the Hanford HS Choir singing the national anthem near the beginning of the festivities. T doesn’t like her name or photo being posted online, and we’ve always agreed with and respected her wish for privacy. But that photo above shows you what graduation was like. All virtual/remote, and we watched it on TV in our living room.

    Sure, it was weird in a few ways … like our graduate not needing to wear her cap and gown during the ceremony, for starters. But TBH, we were all impressed at how well the whole ceremony went down. It was well thought out and there were no glitches at all. And it was pretty cool to see General Jim Mattis involved (he lives here), along with Foo Fighters’ bassist Nate Mendel (he’s an alumnus).

    But enough of all that. In this house, the day was all about T. She graduated with honors, and you bet I was proud to see “Honor Student” on the screen when her name was called during the listing of the grads. But the thing is, as proud as I am that she graduated with honors, I’m even more proud of how she did it:

    She worked her ass off until the very end, even though she didn’t have to.

    Her grades have always been good. Never once in her elementary or high school life have we had to worry about that. So as the second half of this year began, she surely could’ve coasted along and still passed easily.

    But she didn’t.

    When the pandemic hit and schoolwork moved online, it was pretty difficult at first because no one knew what they were doing — especially the school and teachers. She was frustrated in the beginning, and she could’ve shut down and said “screw this.”

    But she didn’t.

    At some point, online learning was such a struggle that the schools announced that students’ grades would not be allowed to dip below what they were on March 17 — the date that home schooling began. My understanding is that if you were passing then, you’d pass the class as long as you finished the attendance and coursework requirements. She could’ve gone into autodrive and been satisfied with her March 17 grades.

    But she didn’t and wasn’t. In fact, she worked hard enough to raise her grades before graduation.

    If ever a student had an excuse to get a serious case of senioritis, it was T and it was these last two months of her senior year. She’d already committed to a college for the fall, so it’s not like she really needed to impress anyone at the next level. Graduation was pretty much a guarantee under any circumstances. But she kept working. And working. And improving her grades. And improving herself.

    T … I can’t begin to put into words how proud I am of you for that. I’m so proud to be your dad.

    Now go kick ass at college, and kick ass again in whatever career path you take. And don’t ever quit. Hard work will always win. Always.


    Bryan Adams, October 5, 1985 in Philadelphia: Concert review

    July 17, 2017

    Nevermind that it’s the summer of 2017 right now. Close your eyes and transport yourself back to 1984-85. Think of what you heard on local radio stations and saw on MTV.

    You might eventually think of Bryan Adams, whose Reckless album came out in late 1984 and spawned hit after hit after hit after hit. In the Philadelphia area where I grew up, Bryan Adams was played what seemed like constantly on multiple radio stations. And I was a fan.

    I took my best girl down to the Spectrum in Philadelphia to see Adams’ concert on October 5, 1985. (Actually, I think we had broken up by this time but remained friends. Either way, it doesn’t matter.)

    I have no recollection of writing a concert review for my high school newspaper, but apparently that’s exactly what I did. An old friend recently sent me scans from the January 1986 edition of The Flame. I already posted one of the two articles with my byline from that issue, so here’s the second: my Bryan Adams Philadelphia concert review.


    (You can click to read a larger version of the first image if you need to.)

    Thanks again for sending these along, Joe.


    The Start of My Writing Career: “The Flame” (my HS newspaper)

    July 13, 2017

    An old friend emailed me not long ago — a guy named Joe Madgey that I knew in high school but hadn’t heard from since high school. (For those of you who don’t know me too well, high school was a loooooooong time ago.) He had Googled my name and found this blog and used it to get in touch. It was great to hear from him.

    Joe described himself as a “pack rat” and told me that he’d been going through old stuff he had saved, and found a copy of The Flame, the newspaper that we produced at our high school, Holy Ghost Preparatory School. He scanned and sent it along because there were two articles in it that I’d written. One was a review of a Bryan Adams concert that I’ll share in another post soon. But first I’ll share the article I wrote after 14 of us took a senior class trip up to Harlem, NYC.

    I remember the trip vaguely now. But re-reading the article brought back a bunch of memories that I’d long since forgotten. I lived pretty comfortably in the Philadelphia suburbs, so seeing some of the poorer areas of Harlem was very eye-opening to 17-year-old me.

    (You can click for the larger versions of each image if you need to.)

    It’s not the first article I ever had published in the HS paper, but it’s pretty close to the start of my writing/journalism career — and probably the oldest piece of my own writing I’ll ever find. Unless, of course, Joe keeps digging through his old stuff and finds more!

    Thanks for passing this along, Joe.


    My son graduated from high school tonight

    June 3, 2016

    Sean graduated from high school tonight. I thought I’d be the one to keep things together during the ceremony — that Cari would do all the crying for us. Ha! Pretty naive on my part.

    This is my son we’re talking about. My firstborn. The first blood relative I ever met. (I’m adopted.) The person I’ve spent 18 years helping into manhood. And there he was, cap and gown on, walking into the Toyota Center to close the book on this chapter of his life.

    They did this thing where they had all the kids who’ll be going off to the various military and service academies stand up, and the whole crowd saluted them. That was pretty cool and yeah, I think I may have cried a bit.

    Then about halfway through the ceremony, I got messy when I started wishing that I could call my dad tomorrow and tell him about his grandson’s graduation. He would’ve been proud — you know, that father-to-son-to-grandson thing and all. (Cue “Circle Of Life” about now.) But I’m sure my dad was watching, anyway, and probably naively thought he’d be able to keep it together, too.

    Sean certainly didn’t make things easy on himself these four years. And so they weren’t easy on his mom and dad, either. But, as one of the valedictorians pointed out, we never grow when we’re comfortable. And so that’s what I’m most proud of. Sean fell down a few times, but he always got up. He never quit. And I think that’s a great trait that he’ll take with him. (But yo Sean, you don’t have to make things that hard on yourself in the next chapter.)

    Super proud of you, Sean McGee. Super glad you’re my son.


    Nobody Has a Monopoly on What’s Good/Right

    March 24, 2013

    good-idea-lightbulbMy son recently listened to a speaker at his high school who was there to talk to the whole school about boys, girls, love, sex and relationships … and what all of those things mean to teenagers. His message, which Cari and I learned about by attending a two-hour+ parent session the night before, is essentially to encourage kids to choose abstinence.

    An acquaintance of mine tweeted his opposition to the presentation on the grounds that a “faith-based organization” shouldn’t be presenting to kids in a public school.

    Nevermind that the speaker was brought in by the student body association, not by school officials.

    Nevermind that the same speaker has also spoken at every other high school in the area, except for one that only opened four years ago.

    And nevermind that the speaker doesn’t appear to represent a “faith-based organization.” There’s no mention on the speaker’s website about God, faith, spirituality, religion, Jesus, or anything related to any kind of “Christian agenda.” There was also no mention of any of those topics in the two-hour+ presentation that I heard.

    My acquaintance didn’t really have a clue about the content of the presentation, aside from what the local newspaper wrote about in an article that mentioned how some students didn’t want to attend because the ideas seemed “outdated” and didn’t take LGBT students’ needs into account.

    Despite his ignorance about what was actually being shared with students, my acquaintance said it was a “slippery slope” for this kind of material to be presented to public school kids because it reflects “non-secular” thinking.


    We shouldn’t talk to kids about the ramifications of their sexual choices, and encourage them to make smarter choices, because it sounds Christian?

    Should we just accept that today’s teens are gonna screw around willy-nilly before they’re emotionally ready, and not talk to them about the life-changing ramifications of that? Is that a Good Thing?

    Is it good that kids are taking nude photos of themselves and texting them to their boyfriend/girlfriend, then getting tossed in jail and labeled as sex offenders because they’re participating in child pornography?

    And that they’re taking these nude photos and posting them online for the whole world to see as revenge after the boy/girlfriend breaks up with the other?

    Are these Good Things?

    Is it good that teenage girls are getting pregnant and either having abortions or giving birth to babies while they’re still children themselves?

    Families are getting destroyed by this. Kids are killing each other and/or committing suicide over the bullying, threats and revenge that often accompany teenage sexual activity.

    And we shouldn’t have a speaker in a public school to talk about an alternative lifestyle — i.e., abstinence — because he and/or his message sounds Christian?

    I’m sorry, but shame on anyone that thinks we should keep an important message from our kids for a myopic reason like that. And I’m not writing this to call out my acquaintance; we already ironed things out. It’s all good. I’m writing this because there are way too many people that believe the same thing.

    As a Christian, I’m sick of being told that my beliefs don’t have a place in the public discussion, in public schools, in general conversation.

    If we’re going to keep Christian-sounding messages and lessons out of public schools, then

    • we can’t teach our kids to respect their parents, because that’s one of the Ten Commandments
    • we have to teach them the value of violence, revenge and how to use guns, because “turn the other cheek” is a New Testament thing
    • we can’t teach them to take care of the poor and care for the less fortunate, because those are key themes of Christian life

    Is that really how we want to educate our kids? Avoid any message that might sound Christian or like it’s tied to a faith-based organization?

    Today’s teenagers are dealing with stuff that no one in my generation could’ve imagined. They need more information, not less, and if the information can help or save even one kid, it’s a Good Thing … and it doesn’t matter who the information comes from.

    This is the problem with our society today. Too many people think that they have a monopoly on what’s Good/Right.

    They don’t.

    This is why I hate the two-party political system and what it’s done to our national discourse. Republicans think any idea from a Democrat is bad, and Democrats think any Republican idea is bad.

    We need more Good Things and Good Ideas in this world and it shouldn’t matter where they come from — Republicans, Democrats, Christians, atheists, people of any color or sexual orientation … you name it.

    Your tribe doesn’t have a monopoly on what’s good or right.

    (Stock image via Used under license.)