Hail, the Conquering Hero!

Boris2I am thankful for Joe Boris, a history/sociology teacher at State College Area High School. He is retiring this year, after 40 years at State High. The number of students he’s touched is in the tens of thousands and there isn’t one who knows Joe at all that doesn’t love him. Or at least will admit to it.

He was one of the most popular teachers back in my day (I graduated in ’80) and his reputation with students and colleagues alike has only grown stronger over the years. He has always put the students first…OK, maybe second after his wife.

His “trick” for connecting, motivating, challenging, and changing students’ lives? Trust. You knew you could talk to  him about anything and he’d listen. He’d give you wisdom if you wanted it…or  needed it. He’d help plan out a prank; he’d figuratively hold your hand if you pushed the envelope too far and needed to face the music.

He is a man of faith. Faith in God. Faith in his colleagues. Faith in himself. Faith in his students–and be sure to know that if you went to State High, you were his student, whether or not you actually took any of his classes.

I can easily say that my life is richer for having known him.

We’ll miss ya, Joe! Enjoy the garden!

Musical Monday: Memorial Day 2013 Freedom isn’t free









Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.                                                                                                                                        John 15:13 ESV

Armed Forces Day, 2013

Armed Forces DayI am thankful for our  Armed Forces, the men and women who swore an oath to defend the Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic. Who put themselves in harm’s way to protect our rights.

President Harry S Truman led the effort to establish this holiday for citizens to come together and thank military members for their patriotic service in support of our country.

A bit of nit picking on my part:

Armed Forces Day ( May 18) is to honor those currently serving. Veteran’s Day (Nov 11) is for honoring those who have servedMemorial Day honors those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

while I am truly grateful for those who acknowledge my service whenever they thank me, I have to admit a bit of…annoyance? that the purpose of these various holidays seems to be getting all mixed up.

This point is this: thank them while you have the chance:

The Active Duty folks you see in the airport today might be coming home in a flag draped coffin. Sad, but all too true. We don’t know.

The Veteran you see, perhaps hobbling through Wal-Mart, might not wake up tomorrow morning–WWII and Korea (for example) were a long time ago.

On Memorial Day, it’s too late to thank the service member for their service. So be sure to look for their survivors: family, friends, comrades in arms–and thank them for their sacrifice.

Peace Corps

I am again thankful for options–and unfortunately, this is one I likely will have to pass by. Another of the excellent ideas my contact in China suggested was looking into the Peace Corps. And I spent some time on their website checking them out.

Again, finances & medical were the two concerns that steer me away from this option–that and it’s a two-year commitment. Not that I’m wary of two years, per se, but given that many countries have age limits for teaching (especially where it is the most potentially “lucrative”–gotta get this school based albatross off my neck).

I’ll probably go ahead and make application…maybe one of their recruiters can give me a better idea of the potential benefits for my long-term plans. And maybe this information might influence the choices I make now.

Perhaps in a couple of years when I’ve the freedom to do so…

Nope. Couldn’t resist.

And no. I’m not sorry.



I an thankful for THON–aka Penn State Dance Marathon, a philanthropic phenomenon that raises funds to fight pediatric cancer care of The Four Diamonds Fund.

Forget about the so-called scandal of last year. This is what Penn State is about. I  am thankful for a community that cares about children and is motivated to do something–40 years of community service. From 38 students dancing 30 hours and raising $2000 to last year’s 708 dancers pulling a solid 46 hours and $10,686,924.83 raised For The Kids. To date, THON has raised over $88 million.

I encourage you to dig into the phenomenon that is THON on their website: http://webcast.thon.psu.edu/

From the thon.org website:

“THON was first organized in 1973 by a group of students looking to add excitement to a dreary February in central Pennsylvania, and for a way to give back to the community. Today, Penn State’s THON continues to be the longest dance marathon in the country lasting 46 hours. THON has grown to engage more than 15,000 students each year and has inspired other university, high school, middle school, and elementary school students across the nation to start dance marathons of their own all in the hopes of conquering pediatric cancer!”

Then watch this video (make time–it’s nearly an hour) to learn…


The Wheels on the Bus…

I am thankful for the local bus service. New buses -they’re replacing the older fleet. They all run on compressed Natural Gas (CNG). Not the most comprehensive service areas, but given the (funding) challenges and the fact that most folks around here have cars, they do a pretty good job.

Some of the lines are very punctual; others, not so much. And of course, the less punctual routes are the ones with the most folks riding. But that’s OK. Anyone using the services on a routing basis knows and understands. Probably don’t like it, but there you have it.

They also have a pretty decent website with routes & schedules published as well as smart phone apps with the same info plus a live bus tracker–you can get an idea of where your next ride is along the route.

Pretty cool. Now if only all government agencies were up to these (lame) standards. <sigh>