"You have a minute, Principal Huggins?"
"Yes, Coach Buldowski and Mr. Hornblow. What can I do for you?"
"Sir, I have an idea I would like to run by you and I asked our band director, Mr. Hornblow, to come along."
"Interesting. Proceed, Coach Buldowski."
"Sir, I think it sends the wrong signal when we pull kids out of class during the school day to watch one of our football players dilly around with a bunch of caps before he puts one on and announces where he is going to play college football next year. It says to the public that there isn't much substantive going on in public schools except football, which we all know is a gross misperception.
"So, I propose that we have a signing day for the other kids for their achievements. Let's say a student has accepted an opportunity to become a part of the college band. They can put on the hat they will wear as a member of that band. If they get an academic scholarship, they can put on the appropriate mortar board. If they have accepted an art scholarship, they can paint a picture of the school they are planning to attend and so on."
"That's a very unusual idea, coach. Mr. Hornblow, do you have anything you want to add?"
"Dr. Huggins, I appreciate what the coach is trying to do. But, remember that crowd gathered at the athletic complex in Athens recently to see who had signed up to play football at Georgia? They don't care about the talented kids in our public schools. They just want to know who is going to play football, not who is going to play the clarinet in the Redcoat Band."
"Sir, I told Mr. Hornblow to remember that those people are in serious need of a life. I mean, how many people walk around with a Bulldog painted on top of their head? We need to let them know that our other kids are just as important. Who knows? Maybe one day they will be just as excited about our smart kids and paint the Pythagorean Theorem on their head. "
"This is a wonderful thing you are trying to do, coach, but I'm afraid Mr. Hornblow is right: People criticize public schools - I believe the term they use is ‘government schools' - but hyperventilate when talking about who is going to play college football where. They don't seem to care that some of these kids don't know the difference between a hippopotamus and a hypotenuse because they are being coddled by boosters and deified by the media and that the real heroes are the hard-working young people intent on getting a good education."
"Point well made, sir, but there is a columnist in the state who thinks the kids who make good grades, play in the band or are talented in the arts deserve some recognition, too. I'll bet he could even up the odds in a hurry."
"Yes, Mr. Hornblow?"
"I'm not sure this guy is the right one to be promoting our smart kids. He wasn't much of a student himself. He used to think trigonometry was the study of guns and that a semicolon was half of a digestive track. Public schools educated him in spite of himself."
"Come on, Hornblow. He's never held political office, either. But that doesn't stop him from telling politicians how to do their job."
"Coach, there is a big difference in criticizing ‘working trips' to Germany and explaining how marching bands segue from lento to accelerando. But, what choice do we have? I will admit he does believe in us and even that radio yakker who hates us so much won't mess with him."
"Folks, I hate to break this up but I have just gotten a note from our legislator who says he is planning on giving our star cornerback a private scholarship and some voucher money to transfer. Says he is getting a lot of heat from constituents to find somebody for the local private school that can shut down wide receivers. He said ‘thank you for understanding' and that he wanted to mention also he was cutting funding for the arts and music in public schools and did I see the guy with the Bulldog painted on his head. He thought that was a hoot. Will you gentlemen excuse me? I need to go beat my head against the wall."
You can reach Dick Yarbrough at firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, GA 31139. Yarbrough is a part-time resident of Dawson County.