Happy New Year

As the new year begins, we head into the final stretch of qualifying for TFA State, UIL District, Region, State, and NSDA Nationals. A couple of freshmen have been busy over the winter break competing in various tournaments. Joseph Garza has competed at McAllen, Sharyland, and Corpus Christi and has qualified for TFA State in Congress and Foreign Extemporaneous Speaking. He won FX at all three tournaments and won Congress at McAllen and Corpus Christi. He is the first student to double qualify and joins Ashton Rios as state qualifiers so far. Coltrane Drexler is competing again and is getting back on track. He advanced to quarterfinals in DX at Churchill High School and semifinals in DX and Impromptu speaking at Magnolia High School.

On January 19-20, we are competing at McNeil High School. As I write this we have 15 students competing. If any parents can judge over the next month, we could use some help. Please let me know if this is possible. We will be very active until spring break with nearly every weekend taken. UIL practice tournaments are also happening along with TFA qualifying tournaments. The students have the times and dates for the next month so there should be no surprises.

This is the time of year for allergies to ramp up and the flu is wreaking havoc across the state. Rest and healthy living are essential to keeping our immunity defenses up so please take care of yourself.

Monday is Dr. Martin Luther King Junior Day and my wish is for all of us to remember the powerful messages he died to uphold. Use the day to help those who need it and share your time and love to make our community better.

Peace and happiness always be at your side during this new year.

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Looking to LaVernia

I trust you all had a restful Thanksgiving break and enjoyed family bonding and great fellowship with your friends. It was a blessing for me to see my wife and friends and take a few days off. Over the break we had some students excel at the Stony Point Tournament. Ashton Rios won both POI and DI and became the first Panther to qualify for TFA State which will be held at LaVernia High School on March 1st-3rd. Calanee O’Dell placed 2nd in POI and Poetry to continue an amazing hot streak over the past few weeks. Joseph Garza was second in Congress and advanced to semis in Foreign Extemp. As we stand today, we have two students within 2 points from qualifying and quite a few who are within striking distance.

We just finished the UT Tournament yesterday and again, Ashton Rios continued to impress by advancing to semis in POI. Audrey Higley had the score to advance, but missed out by only two places in HI. Quite an honor for a freshmen at the largest tournament on our circuit. There were 117 different schools from Texas and 10 other states.

We are now finished with the fall schedule and will not have our Monday practice for the rest of the semester. Let us all take the extra time to focus on our classes and end the fall with a strong emphasis on service to others as our priority. I am excited about my 6th period class and our Adopt A Child day this Friday. I have never heard of this before, but absolutely love the whole concept of it. Making the holiday season special for a child totally rocks my world. I have always believed that Christmas is for children and giving our student her time in a few days is such a great feeling for all of us.

The new semester offers us another chance to reload and recharge our engines to reach individual and team goals. As the TFA tournament season begins to close, the UIL starts. Our NSDA district meet is about two and a half months from today and we are only 9 degrees from last year’s total of 23. As of today, we have 9 students who are less than 15 points away and 5 more less than 28 points! I fully expect to exceed that number from last year before district.

I am expecting to take our full squad to the last few invitational tournaments. Those tournaments are McNeil HS on January 19th & 20th, Hayes HS on February 3rd, and Johnson HS on February 10th. Monday after school practice will resume on January 15th and will continue until the TFA tournament season ends. Those students competing in UIL will then meet after school to work on their specific events. I will be sponsoring not only the UIL speech events, but also Current Issues and Events. All who wish to secure one of the four spots will also practice taking tests on Mondays after school. With a new year approaching, may we all share love and laughter and open our hearts not only to each other, but to all we encounter.

Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, and Happy Kwanzaa! Peace and Love!

Building Momentum

After 8 tournaments over the past 11 weeks, the team is getting into a consistent rhythm. Confidence is building and beginning to spread throughout the program. As of today, we have numerous students with TFA state points. Many students have become NSDA members and others have added degrees. Students with at least 1 TFA state point are:

Junior Diana Allison with a point in Original Oratory after placing 5th at Lampasas.

Junior Camille Sturges with a point in Domestic Extemp

Junior Arandi Mallawa with a point in Domestic Extemp and 4 points in Public Forum Debate

Junior Annie You with 5 points in Domestic Extemp and 4 points in Public Forum Debate

Senior Hoden Abdi-Yusuf with 6 points in Lincoln-Douglas Debate

Junior Ashton Rios with 7 points in Program Interpretation and 6 points in Dramatic Interpretation

Freshman Coltrane Drexler with 10 points in Domestic Extemp and 2 points in Lincoln-Douglas Debate

Freshman Joseph Garza with 2 points in Foreign Extemp

When a student earns 12 TFA points they qualify for the state tournament. As you can see, we have a few who are very close.

New NSDA members are:

Joel Arndt
DJ Davis
Coltrane Drexler
Joseph Garza

There are several others who are just a couple of points away from becoming members. Two of our team have reached Superior Distinction this year with over 750 points. Hoden now with 757 and Annie with 752. What an accomplishment it is to reach that level. Congratulations to all who have sacrificed their time and energy this year.

Thanksgiving break is less than 2 weeks away. The weather change is bringing congestion and allergy issues with it. I am now dealing with a nagging cough and clogged up ears. Please keep hydrated and rested. I am taking Emergen-C powders to double up on vitamin C.

Cedar Ridge is this week along with the middle school tournament at Cele. Some are graciously helping Mr. Vogel by judging and assisting at Cele. For all of those going to Cedar Ridge, please remember to get to the school on your own. The debate events on Friday start at 5:00pm so be there before then. The Saturday time to compete is 7:30am.

I will be leaving on the 17th to see my family. Some students have expressed interest in attending Stony Point on that weekend. I will be planning that tournament with them this week. I hope all of you have a fabulous time being with your families and that you enjoy having your precious students for a week. We all have much to be thankful for. It is such a blessing to be here at PHS.

May you all walk in the sunshine of joy and peace!

Wet Weekend Washout

The old saying that “a little rain must fall” certainly sums up our Lake Travis Tournament week.  Let’s hope that Lake Travis doesn’t turn into an actual lake.  I don’t know if LT will reschedule at a later time, but we will try to replace this one with another down the road.  Be safe this weekend and remember those who are in the bulls eye of this damaging storm.

School is (hopefully) Monday and I am excited about my new classes and students.  I have been waiting for this day to arrive since early July and hope all of you are eager to get back into a routine.

Our PHS TFA tournament is three weeks away and plans are being made.  Our tournament has some entries already and more will follow.  With that being said, I am calling a parent meeting at 6:00 Thursday evening in F101 to plan hospitality/concessions/judging and meet the families of the kids.  I look forward to meeting all of you then.

The Hendrickson tournament is this weekend.  On Friday afternoon, I will take the debaters to HHS, but Saturday all students need to get to the tournament on their own and get home the same way.  For all of the parents or friends judging this weekend, thank you so much for your time and expertise.  School is upon us all and time will be a precious luxury.  Thank you all in advance for your time and allowing your children to participate in this program.

Have a restful weekend.  Panther Pride 4N6!!

Pflugerville High School Tournament

After visiting with Ms. Nash from Hendrickson this past week, I have decided to make our tournament a 2 day.  She has agreed to take care of the judging side for the most part and let me concentrate on hospitality and concessions.  She has assured me that our tournament will be “huge”.  While that sounds overwhelming to me, I am sure we can do our part to make it successful.  I will still be calling on our parents to judge when they can, but will need help in planning hospitality for Friday evening and Saturday. For those who would like to help, please contact me so that we can begin planning a menu and get the ball rolling.  With a month to plan, I know we can put on a good, healthy spread for our guests.

Freshman orientation will be this Wednesday.  I look forward to meeting all of the students and parents at the school on that day.

The beginning of the year is always hectic, but once the year starts, things will settle and we will get into our routine.  Please be patient with me as I struggle to acclimate myself to a new town, a new school, and new parents and students.  Living in Snyder for 17 years, I was so used to already knowing my community and my students.  I feel inadequate now that I don’t have that advantage.  I will say, though, that the students at PHS have made me feel very welcome and the parents that I have met have been gracious and accommodating.

Your children are my only focus for this year.  I will care for them as I would my own son.  I want this program to be successful, but more importantly, I want my students to be safe, confident, and compassionate for one another and those we compete against.  I want us to win or lose with class and dignity.  After attending funerals of friends, family, and former students, I realize how precious our time is together. Being retired for four years has given me a new perspective on education and the important aspects of life.  PFISD has given me another opportunity to get back into the classroom and to reach out to another group of talented young minds.  I will relish that opportunity and do my best to make this year special and continue the tradition that my predecessors started before me.

May all of you enjoy your last week of summer vacation.  Go Panthers!!

Speech Tournament Schedule

These are the tournaments posted as of 8/13/17

AUGUST

26 – Lake Travis

SEPTEMBER

1 & 2 – Hendrickson

16 – PFLUGERVILLE HIGH SCHOOL

22 & 23 – Anderson

29 & 30 – Westlake/Chapparal Swing

OCTOBER

20 & 21 – Stephen F. Austin

28 – Lampasas

NOVEMBER

4 – Bowie

4 – PFALL PLING

10 & 11 – Cedar Ridge

17 & 18 – Stony Point/Salado Swing

DECEMBER

1 & 2 – UT

8 & 9 – San Marcos

JANUARY

19 & 20 – McNeil

26 & 27 – Round Rock UIL

FEBRUARY

3 – Hendrickson UIL

23 & 24 – NSDA District

MARCH

1 & 2 – TFA STATE

19-23 – UIL District

APRIL

12 & 13 – UIL Regional

MAY

4 & 5 – UIL Academics

A Huge Thank You

Thanks to everyone for a great two weeks.  We have hit the ground running and are creating a blue print for success.  This is not the time to relax though and rest on our achievements.  Everyday is another opportunity to get better as a person and a competitor.  I challenge each of you to be better than today and strive for excellence in all areas of your life.  Be a better son/daughter, brother, sister, friend, and a human showing patience and love for others.  I hope that all of you get some needed rest and focus on the weeks ahead of us, but look to today to be a blessing.

Lake Travis is a fortnight away.  Prepare and believe in yourself and let that belief spur you to your goals.  I still have not received your goals on paper.  This is important so don’t neglect to set them.  This is your contract to yourself.  Honor that commitment and you also bring honor to PHS.  Tradition is staring at you to be the standard  bearer for all who have worn the blue and gold.  Carry that with pride.

The van will leave the parking lot at 6:00am on the 26th!  Show initiative and be on time.  Be prepared to stay the course and get back late.  Success equals time and time equals success.

To all parents and anyone else looking.  These are my goals for this team for 2017-2018:

*10 students qualify for TFA State

*4 students qualify for TOC Nats

*4 students qualify for NSDA Nats

*2 students qualify for UIL state

Let us get to our business.  Love you all!!!  (I really do)

RGH