Barbara Lawlor, Nederland. It’s the beginning of a new school year and Nederland Middle Senior High School put on a burrito dinner, a smorgasbord of extra curricular activities and a chance for students and parents to meet the new teachers.
The first order of business was the table loaded with make your own burrito and all the fixings and a welcome from NMSHS principal Carrie Yantzer. The cafeteria was a buzz of conversation and excitement as students and parents and teachers greeted each other and caught up on the latest news.
After dinner, people could check out the gym where the community had set up tables introducing their activities and answering questions. Guests also went to the teachers’ classroom to get an idea of who their teachers were and what to expect from this first semester of the 2017-2018 school year.
The robotics club had their engineering creation zooming around the gym, adeptly avoiding collisions. The Boulder Valley School District culinary team brought in samples of what the students will be eating this year and a few parents were seen going back for seconds. They were delicious chicken tenders and dumplings.
The mountain bike team recruited members. Each year, more students join the team that seemed to be the perfect sport for the mountain school.
Thespians talked to students about how much fun it is to be a part of the fall plays or the spring musical or the various choirs available at the school. Teens Inc. told the kids about the various work programs available to them, and Wild Bear also informed the students that work was available along with many opportunities to volunteer and give back to the community.
The Back to School dinner and exhibitions have proven once again to be a successful way to get the year started with a positive, community feeling.
This year the Parent Teacher Association and the Booster Club will be reaching out to the school family and community to volunteer in helping make the students’ year an educational and social success by offering as many choices as possible.
This event was a step toward making it all possible.
Chuck Doudna is the new Dean of Students at NMSHS and a native of Colorado. He grew up in Windsor, one of six children, three brothers and two sisters. His fathers was Kodak mechanic and his mother was the head cafeteria cook at the high school, so she could be on her children’ schedules.
“My parents told us we could do whatever we wanted in life, but whatever we started, we had to finish.”
Doudena’s high school biology teacher Mr. Predovich had a positive impact on his life, because the teacher cared about the students as whole people and inspired us to think beyond the here and now.”
During high school, Doudna played football and belonged to the Future Business Leaders of America. He says he always knew he wanted to be a teacher, but wasn’t sure about what area he wanted to teach until his second year of teaching when he was a special education teacher.
He had received his undergraduate degree from UNC and later he obtained his master’s degree in nSpecial Education and Educational Leadership from Adams State University. He completed his requirements for his Board-Certified Behavior Analyst credentials from the University of Colorado in Denver. He has only his exam left to be a licensed BCBA.
Duodna taught in Anchorage, Alaska and has also taught for the Delta County School District, Cherry Creek School District and BVSD. After spending the past 10 years working in large schools, he wanted to be part of a smaller school again, getting to know each student and having a great impact on their lives.
“I like the small school and tight-knit community in Nederland, the direction/vision of NMSHS. I bring years of working with a wide range of disabilities, which has allowed me to work closely with numerous stakeholders within the school system. I would like to thank everyone in the Nederland community for their overwhelming kindness and support during this transition for myself and my wife Caren. We appreciate the warmth and well wishes.”
Nederland Middle Senior High School history and geography teacher Wayne Clark grew up in upstate New York on a large horse farm. He says that made for an exciting childhood.
He was high school cross country runner and a Nordic ski racer. He went to the University of Wisconsin in Green Bay specifically to ski race and he says it is still a large part of his life.
“In high school, I decided that many history classes were boring and I wanted to make them more fun and exciting for the students.”
After college Clark worked at a small charter school in Arvada, where he has been for the past three years. He loves the town of Nederland and the fact that it is a small community.
“I think the kids in this school are special and have a great understanding of handwork and the adventurous life style. I am excited to be teaching here this year and in future years.”
Clark say he brings experience to the classroom and will try to make each lesson fun and exciting. He will also be working hard this year to bring the students to the outdoors or the outdoors to the students.
(Originally published in the September 7, 20-17 print edition of The Mountain-Ear.)