Welcome to High School Kid!

I was looking forward to my first day of high school for many reasons. Not the least of which was to actually have a team to call my own. I mean, I grew up a Packers Fan, but had never been to Wisconsin. I was an FSU Fan, but was still a few years away from being a student there. And as my friends remember, I was a BIG Notre Dame Fan and you guessed it – not even Catholic. I was about to be a part of something. I was going to be a Godby Cougar!

I started my first day at Godby in the gym, as a member of Ms. Wiggins homeroom class. One of my new classmates I met that morning was someone who would be sitting next to me at graduation – Tommy Deese.

When the bell rang, I made a mad dash across campus (I didn't want to be late) to my first high school class - Ms. Riggs math class!

When I opened the door I was surprised to see the room was already full. I was more surprised when this red headed woman at the front of the room SCREAMED at me to get out. OK, maybe she didn't scream, but to this intimidated kid, it may have sounded like it.

She advised me, now a terrified freshman, that she had NOT dismissed her senior homeroom and I was to get out until she had. It was then I heard for the first time, "the bell does not dismiss you, I do." Words every Godby teacher MUST be required to say, because at some point in time I heard it from every one of them.

Anyway… there I was standing in an open doorway between Ms. Riggs senior homeroom class, one that looked at me with a mixture of amusement and pity and my new peers that were thanking God that I had opened that door first.


Welcome to high school kid!


I did grow from that and can look back and laugh at the fear I felt that morning. Because in the blink of an eye, 4 years had disappeared and I was now the senior looking into the eyes of the terrified freshmen. Welcome to high school kids. Have you bought you pep rally tickets yet? Yeah, we got in a little trouble for that one.

In four short years it was now time to move on and open more doors to the unknown in an adult world that would prove far scarier than the one I faced my first morning at Godby.

It turned out Ms. Riggs wasn’t nearly as scary as her first impression led me to believe and she became one of my favorite teachers. I think she may have even liked me if I hadn’t led the "boos" directed at her husband, who was a basketball referee. He was a good ref, but in high school ANY call that went against my team deserved a boo! My apologies to, both, Mr. & Ms. Riggs!  Please remember, it was just in good fun,

As for Tommy Deese… the real world slapped us all in the face the summer after our graduation when we learned of his death. Tommy’s funeral was the first time a large number of our class (and the surrounding classes) had gathered together since graduation. In less than 3 months we had lost one of our classmates, someone who sat right next to me at graduation.

Welcome to the real world kid.


I heard my mom telling someone after the funeral that she had never seen so many young people gathered together that looked like they genuinely loved and cared for one another. We really did and and over 40 years later we still do!


My mom would be so proud of ALL of us

Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment, until it becomes a memory. - Dr. Seuss

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