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OUR FINEST HOUR - A Letter to Students
Mike Reith
Wednesday, March 18, 2020

UJH/UHS Students:                                                                                        3/18/2020

This famous quote is from “Apollo 13” (if you haven’t watched it, you need to – you have plenty of time:); and if you have, I encourage you to watch it again, as it’s an awesome movie!). This inspiring statement was made by Gene Franz, the Chief Flight Director, in response to the NASA Director saying to him, “This could be the worst disaster NASA’s ever experienced.”

With that, I want to offer some comments, some clarification, and some encouragement. While we could easily despair and look at this as a “disaster”, I do believe this can be “our finest hour”!

First of all, I want to make some comments. I feel terrible for those of you who would have been involved in Spring activities and potentially State competitions/contests, for those who were looking forward to Prom, and for those who simply miss the daily personal interaction with friends, classmates, teachers, and staff. But my heart hurts the most for our seniors. I do want you to know, seniors, that we have only postponed Graduation; my hope is that we can have a ceremony shortly after this closure period has ended, which right now is in effect until May 29.

But I want to give you some hope! While the traditional learning environment will be radically changed for the remainder of the school year, we will be offering alternative educational opportunities (called Continuous Learning by the state). While we don’t know yet what this will look like, we have been informed that it can be a combination of online instruction, packet instruction, and/or face-to-face small group instruction in classrooms at the school. My greatest desire is that each student will have the opportunity to earn the necessary credits to complete this school year, so that this crisis has no impact on your future educational progress or timeline. We will also be focused on ensuring that our seniors have the resources available to earn the required credits for graduation. Ultimately, the entire staff will be dedicated to provide the best possible learning opportunities for every student in Eagle Nation!

I want to assure you that our administration and staff have been and will continue to work hard to plan and organize the structure of this new schedule (you all are already used to and love different schedules, right?!) and new ways of “doing school”. We have many things still yet to decide, but I have full confidence that our entire staff will work as a team to develop the plans that will be beneficial to each of you.

I also want to assure you (and your parents) that our custodians (Mark, Steve, and Jeff) have been working diligently this week thoroughly deep-cleaning and disinfecting every part of our campus. (FYI: our evening custodian Steve has been regularly fumigating classrooms and other areas since before the beginning of flu season, and we have had less flu absences than in past years). And when students and staff return to the building, we will continue regular and thorough disinfection and cleaning of classrooms and all areas on campus.

Here is the timeline as it stands right now:

  • March 23 – 27              Spring Break
  • March 30 – April 3        Staff Meetings/Planning
  • April 6                            Implementation of Continuous Learning plan with students

I will be in touch with you during the week of March 30 – April 3 to share details as we know them, including if/when you need to come and get computers, textbooks, and/or other learning materials. We will also inform you and your parents of the specific plans and schedules as soon as we have those finalized.

I want to close this with something that has become more of a reality now than we could have ever imagined when we developed it. Our school’s Redesign Vision statement (adopted before Christmas Break) is: Eagles SOAR! (SOAR stands for Strive, Overcome, Achieve, Rise above). What a tremendous opportunity we have before us to SOAR!

I can’t wait to see all of you again! Please stay safe and well, remain hopeful and positive, and be strong and encouraging for each other. Together, this will be OUR FINEST HOUR!

Blessings to each of you,

Mr. Reith