I accompanied our sports and education editor Cole McNanna to Sealy High School a couple of weeks ago to unsteadily hold my iPhone camera while he interviewed a student athlete for Facebook live.
On the way back to the office, I noted how mature and polite kids are these days. They say “sir” and “ma’am.” They open doors for you. They probably have their awkward moments – I know I did when I was a teenager – but they do the right thing.
Last year we pulled Tyrek McNeese out of class and surprised him with a live interview. He nailed it. A professional athlete would’ve dropped an F bomb or made fun of the other team or said something he might regret or have to pay a fine for.
Not these kids.
They’re cool under pressure. They have good manners – and that can only be attributed to the people who raised them and an excellent coaching staff.
Not everyone is fortunate enough to grow up in a two-parent home or have the luxuries of food, money and a car waiting for them in the driveway on their 16th birthday.
I had parents who were – and still are – married to each other. I had a car when I turned 16 although it was a yellow Cadillac and ridiculous and a hand-me-down from my mother. But you know what? I can’t complain. I never ate mayonnaise sandwiches or lived in a hotel room.
I struggled for sure. Adolescence isn’t easy, particularly if you aren’t ridiculously attractive or athletic. I had a long way to go, and not only did adults make me uncomfortable, people my own age made me uncomfortable.
I’m pretty sure the only time I was featured on the front page of a newspaper was in the early 1980s when I was dressed as a clown alongside my sister for the Halloween edition of the Houston County Courier. I’m pretty sure I didn’t speak to any reporters. I’m pretty sure I didn’t speak to anyone outside my family until I was about 14. I was painfully shy and awkward.
That’s why kids these days amaze me. They give speeches at public events. They show animals for FFA and win a crapload of scholarship money. They volunteer to submit freelance photography and stories for the local newspaper. They sing on stage at their churches and local functions. But most importantly, they are good kids.
My Forever Tigers class at Selman Elementary is a group of second-graders that I hope to watch through their educational careers and beyond. They give me hugs and tell me they love me. When I asked them what they were thankful for during my November visit, one sweet girl said, “For you, Miss April.”
Parents, please know that you are doing something right. Teachers and coaches, please know that these kids are learning from you and soaking in that good behavior you are showing them. Kids don’t just wake up in the morning and decide to be good citizens and be of service and treat others with kindness. They learn it from watching those around them.
I am so proud to be part of this community and so proud of our Sealy ISD students.
The future’s so bright, they gotta wear shades.
April Towery is the managing editor of The Sealy News. She can be reached at 979-885-3562 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.