Thursday, April 24, 2014

COBBS: Class filled with pride, charisma

By RYAN COBBS, Ottawa High School | 5/13/2013

I was given the honor in February 2012 of being named the next principal of Ottawa High School. As a graduate of the school myself with the class of 1995, I have a great deal of pride in what this position requires, how our school is represented, and most importantly what it means to be an Ottawa Cyclone.

I have been tasked with developing a new, improved face for OHS, as well as with building and re-establishing the greatness of our institution. I feel like we have taken great strides in making OHS one of the best schools in the area and becoming one of the best in the state.

I was given the honor in February 2012 of being named the next principal of Ottawa High School. As a graduate of the school myself with the class of 1995, I have a great deal of pride in what this position requires, how our school is represented, and most importantly what it means to be an Ottawa Cyclone.

I have been tasked with developing a new, improved face for OHS, as well as with building and re-establishing the greatness of our institution. I feel like we have taken great strides in making OHS one of the best schools in the area and becoming one of the best in the state.

I could not have asked for a better group of students than the graduating class of 2013 to help us move this school into the future. This class contains students who run the gamut of greatness. There is a student in this class who is taking Calculus III — a class that as a mathematics major in college I did not take until my senior year at Ottawa University. We have a student in this class who was recognized by President Obama for her service to our great community. We have a couple of students who are going on to participate in Division 1 athletics, one majoring in premed. With regard to the class as a whole, I could not have hand-chosen a better group of spokespeople for who we are or for where we are going.

A perfect example of what we are capable of doing as a school and a community happened this March. Led by nine seniors, the OHS Cyclone boys basketball team made us the envy of every school we faced. Other schools wanted us to come because of the atmosphere we created because of the traveling support of our students and our community who love their alma mater. I was asked by the Frontier League principals last Thursday how we got our kids to do it. The reality: Our students did it and they represent OHS to the highest of standards. Our improvements as a school this year are simple in their explanations: We have a great senior class that has made OHS a great place for our underclassmen, our staff and our community.

The class of 2013 has the opportunity for greatness, both individually and as a whole. There are three pieces of advice I offered them at Sunday’s graduation ceremony:

• Remain charismatic; it is one of your most endearing traits. Find a way to get into people’s hearts and make them love you. The relationships that you build in your life will follow you forever and may either open or close doors for you. You are loved here at OHS because of your charisma, your friendliness, your willingness to help those around you, and the joy and satisfaction you provide for people by allowing them to be involved in your life.

• See the world if you can. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to travel extensively both during and after my college years. Living in another’s culture provides perspective upon your own. It took me living in a city of more than 400,000 to truly understand the importance of family and community. Visit as many places as you can. Take part in other people’s culture and lives. Make a difference in someone else’s life, and allow them to make a difference in yours.

• Don’t be afraid to fail. Failure is an aspect of life that lends itself to the betterment of yourself, those around you and any organization you might be involved with. Failure breeds innovation. Each and every one of you is talented in your own way. Many of you have talents you are not even aware of yet. Take a chance, put yourself on the line, and see what happens. If you fail, but gave everything you have, gave an effort that you can be proud of, something good will come of it. But think about what could happen if you succeed. Dare to be great. Dare to be different. Dare to be the best.

It has been an honor to spend the past four years with these students. They have made an imprint on our school and our lives that will last for years to come. I wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors and look forward to following their successes.

Dr. Ryan Cobbs is principal at Ottawa High School. Email him at cobbsr@usd290.org or call (785) 229-8020.

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