NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:
I have written this letter in my head several times over the past three years but just have to write and publish it after the Norman High School Cross Country banquet.
Three years ago, our son, Forrest Hair, entered Norman High. It was his first time to enter public school, after growing up in China, and then spending a few years at an exemplary private school in Norman, Veritas Classical Academy.
From the very beginning of our experience at Norman High, we have been very impressed with every level of the atmosphere at this fine school, from the teachers, secretaries, counselors and administration. The coaches of the cross country team, however, have been a “Dream Team.”
These coaches are a parent’s dream. Why? They affirm and reaffirm everything you try and teach your children from toddlerhood on. When head coach Scott Monnard explained the purpose of cross country, he clearly stated, “We are about character.”
That is true. Every practice, every competition, every decision these coaches make reflects this value. They are about investing into the building of these young lives. They have been the mortar to the bricks of our parenting endeavors ... and what remains is something solid.
Suzy Rojas has been a powerful presence in establishing this program at NHS. She sees the gold in each student and seeks to bring it out. She has created a “culture of honor” by placing others before herself, with a healthy dose of self-deprecating humor. Time after time, our son would quote some of these “earthy, wise insights” gleaned from Coach Rojas. His life has been powerfully impacted by her simply because she believed in him (and we appreciate her “no whining” policy).
We are indebted to Coach Bob Byers, who steered us in the direction of NHS cross country when we were considering a sport for our son. If we have the chance to similarly encourage other parents, we will do the same. Thank you, coaches, for embodying all that you teach.