Volume 10

This Week at South Vol. 10

Good afternoon South Students, Parents, Staff, and Community Members:

Please find the Weekly Bulletin for November 11th through 15th (Also Attached)

Part I: The News

Thank You to Our Veterans!

I want to open this newsletter by thanking all those who have served our country, and those who are currently serving in the Armed Forces. We appreciate all you do. It is your willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice that allows us to come to school each day, educate our students, empower them, and hope they will be the next generation of citizens who will keep the United States safe and competitive. In this way, service men and women help us educate young people. 

Kindness Week at South:

We have designed November 12th through 15th Kindness Week at South in order to draw emphasis to the importance of committing random acts of kindness, and reaching out to help others who are in need. I have referred to our Working Agreements in the past, the first of which reads, “Value others and help them when in need.” This agreement was written at the beginning of the year by students and staff, and this week we will return to it by engaging in activities that create opportunities to take action on it. 

As part of that effort, we will have a competitive canned food drive between classes. We hope the generous actions committed this week will continue throughout the rest of the school year and beyond. To bring some sense of unity to the school, we have also designed this week a spirit week. The days are as follows:

  • Beach Day - Wear a hawaiian shirt, shorts, and sandals
  • Cozy Day - Wear warm ups, sweats, or a college hoodie of choice
  • Jersey Day - Wear your favorite team’s jersey
  • Class Color Day - Wear your class color 

South Theater Presents:

South Theater students will put on a production of Agathie Christie’s, And Then There Were None starting this Thursday, November 14th and continuing through November 23rd’s matinee. Please see the information sheet for show times, dates and ticket prices. 

The Week in Sports:

The South Swim Team closed out their season at the State Championships at Bartlett’s pool on Friday and Saturday with several students participating in events, which require having one of a limited number of the fastest times in the entire state. Great work to the entire team. You represented us well. 

Volleyball finished second in Regions and are headed to the State Tournament taking place at the Alaska Airlines Center this week. Their first game is Thursday morning, and other games will follow. Please see the bracket for more information.  

Riflery has gotten a strong start to their season. Although they did not win this week’s match, several team members shot personal bests. They are as follows: Kylee Wagendorf-295 ; Carson Myren 285; Eric Marshall 268; Aranea Oliveira 263; Quinn Jamieson- 255; and Ellen Kovol- 251. All scores are out of 300. Also, here’s a quick photo of the team during competition.

Wrestling has accrued two resounding victories in their last two duals: 55-18 over West Valley and 56-13 over North Pole. Several wrestlers placed well in Saturday’s individual tournament as well: Dylan Shaw (2nd place)- Varsity; Beau Daily (1st place)- JV; Quincy Heartwell (1st place)- JV ; Sam Chaput (1st place)- JV; Loke Iese (1st place)- JV.

The Girls South/Bartlett Hockey Team took a definitive win over Chugiak/Eagle River last friday, 7-1. All games are played at the Dempsey Center on Fridays. Join me in cheering for them this coming Friday when they play Service/East at 4:30 pm. 

Boys Hockey defeated Chugiak on their home ice in a close 3-2 game on Saturday night. 

2019 Hopes and Dreams Summit at UAA:

Eleven South High School Students attended the Hopes and Dreams Summit at UAA. This year's theme was "Pathways to Success!" Students listened to speakers who provided them with strategies to take initiative and follow their goals to long term success. Our students also met Gold and Silver Medalist Andrew Kurka who is a para-olympic alpine skier from Alaska. 

Eagle Scout Candidate Gives Back at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center:

Last Sunday Trish Baker from the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center reached out to me to express her gratitude for Eagle Scout candidate Grayling Peterson who helped build a small animal enclosure for which he raised the funds. Her email to me read, in part:

  • He gave tremendous benefit to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center by constructing a small animal enclosure using funds he raised himself. We want to compliment the South Anchorage High School community for supporting and inspiring young people such as Grayling Peterson. AWCC is certainly grateful for his donation in support of our mission. (11/03/2019)

Scholarship Students on Exchange Looking for Host Families:

A group of students from Recife, Brazil will be coming to Anchorage to study during second semester. They are on scholarship and are looking for host families. If you are interested in hosting one of these students, please view the following email with details and contact Regional Director Shawna Busey. 

Part II: Big Ideas & Their Application:

Last week I linked a quick video in Part I that highlights the positive chain reactions that occur as a result of random acts of kindness. 

I’d like to build on that idea in Part II this week, using Simon Sinek’s, Leaders Eat Last, Warren Bennis’s, and Ben Horowitz’s What You Do is Who You Are

To start, Sinek argues in Chapter 5, “We are, at a deeply ingrained and biological level, social machines. And when we work to help each other, our bodies reward us for our effort” (p. 44).  What he is trying to explain is the fulfilling feeling we get when we carry out an act of kindness for someone else, or the feeling we get when we are part of a group of individuals who we trust. 

When this occurs, those who have received kindness will tend to “pay it forward”and do the same for someone else when they get the opportunity. For example, we have all heard of someone who pays for the next customer’s coffee or pays the next car’s toll, and the person receiving the kindness does the same, and so sets off a chain reaction of kindness.

In other words,

  • When we look out for others, serotonin and oxytocin reward us with feelings of security, fulfillment, belongingness, trust, and camaraderie. And when that happens, stress declines, fulfillment rises, our want to serve others increases, and our willingness to trust others to watch our backs skyrockets. (Sinek, p. 56). 

On a related note, Ben Horowitz, in discussing the Samurai culture, which was based on high virtues and their resulting actions, points out that “politeness is the most profound way to express love and respect for others” (p. 96). Although politeness and kindness go by different names, kindness is also a form of respect, and a form, as Sinek points out, that tends to build trust, reduce stress, and result in a stronger sense of coherence and community.

So, if we are trying to answer the question Why Kindness Week? The answer is that we want our students and staff, our community, and our larger world to feel more connected, more trusting, and less stressful. If as Horowitz suggests, what we do is who we are, then acting or doing kindness is more important than wanting to just be kind. 

Please join us in committing random acts of kindness this week and in the weeks thereafter in an attempt to increase the level of trust, decrease the level of stress, and make South High School and the larger community in which we exist a place where relationships and teamwork us all stronger and more successful. 

Have a Great Week South!