Suwannee Democrat

The Suwannee Scribbler

October 24, 2012

The Suwannee Scribbler - Honoring bright stars

Live Oak — I’d like to tell you I am a big time investor. You know, Suwannee County’s version of Warren Buffet. Of course, if I did, I’d be lying.

Lynda and I do have a few little investments here and there. For instance, I’m big in gold! Of course, it’s all in my mouth, which suggests far more about my inadequate flossing technique than it does any great financial acumen.

Among our investments however, is a local one about which we are very enthusiastic. And it is one we would like you to consider as well….although admittedly you shouldn’t expect any immediate return.  You don’t need to be a billionaire to pony-up.  You just have to believe that education is critically important to this nation’s future and its standing in the world.  

It has been more than 12-years since Lynda and I have had any kids in high school, but a couple of years ago we learned from a friend about a fledgling organization at Suwannee High named appropriately enough  Suwannee Academic Boosters (SAB).    

The name is fairly self-explanatory.   What the Suwannee Quarterback Club (of which we are also members) has long done for local athletes and athletics, we are trying to do for those young men and women who excel in the classroom.

It is both ironic and unfortunate that in this country, we spend a lot of time and energy talking about the importance of education, while doing relatively little to publicly recognize those youngsters who are academic stars.   Don’t believe me?  I’m willing to bet a shiny new quarter that in any US town you visit, you will be able to find far more people able to name the previous year’s high school quarterback than the class valedictorian.

Then there is the peer pressure issue.  When I was a high school freshman and still getting straight A’s, I quickly learned my achievements were not appreciated by many of my so-called “buds.”   My efforts--- earned with hours of study and hard work--- garnered no recognition from them other than to be branded “a geek.”   (Apparently, “dweeb” is now the more fashionable insult to lob.)

Just this past weekend---and without any solicitation by me---my 38-year-old son shared with me similar high school experiences.   And unfortunately, in both our cases we were immature enough to bow to that peer pressure…to the point that we focused far more on being popular than on getting good grades.  It is a decision both of us have come to regret.

Enter Suwannee Academic Boosters.  Our mission?  Well, I think SAB’s president, Joe Flanagan, summarizes it best.  We hope to create an atmosphere in this community where every Suwannee High School student thinks, “It’s cool to be smart.”

A simple statement, but a very big challenge in a nation where pop culture sets the agenda of what’s important to our youth.

Right now, we are doing what we can with monthly luncheons and lapel pins for our classroom stars.  But we think there is much more we can do down the road, IF WE CAN GET A LOT MORE OF YOU BEHIND OUR EFFORTS.

The first step is simply to become a SAB member.  We only ask an annual individual donation of $25.  I can guarantee however, if you want to send more, we won’t complain.  Make your tax-deductible check payable to Suwannee Academic Boosters and send it today to PO Box 661, Live Oak, 32064.

I leave you this week with one final thought.  A kid can be a great high school athlete, but if he or she finds a cure for cancer, it won’t be because of their abilities on the playing field.  It will almost certainly be due to their stellar classroom performances. 

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