As I begin my second year as Director of Athletics for Vandalia-Butler City Schools, I am thankful for the opportunity to reflect on what I learned about our kids and our community as a new member of the Vandalia-Butler family.
Butler’s students achieve at a high level both in the classroom as well as in athletics. In last year’s graduating class, 7 of the top 10 highest academically ranked students participated in Aviator Athletics. Our students’ athletic achievements span our 14 game winning streak in volleyball, to state bound athletes in golf, cross country, bowling, and track, to both our basketball programs having their most successful season in years, to our wrestling program’s best single season in over a decade, and earning GWOC titles in Boys Golf, Girls Tennis, Boys and Girls Swimming, Boys & Girls Bowling, Wrestling and Baseball. Not only did our student-athletes and coaches find great success in competition, but I truly believe that they represented our school and community in a positive light by consistently displaying great sportsmanship among each other and opponents.
Each day I experience firsthand that our wonderful kids are a reflection the community that we live in. My family and I moved here 14 months ago, and each day I am thankful for the way that my wife, and my kids, and I have been welcomed.
We are blessed in the Athletic Department to have exceptional relationships with our community. Our student-athletes are supported by many community organizations as well. Our shared facility agreement with Vandalia Parks and Recreation provides top-notch athletic facilities for our student-athletes while lessening the tax burden on our citizens. Hundreds of you donated to David & Cheryl Kudla Center for Strength and Fitness, and in just 6 weeks we raised $100,000 dollars to give our students the best training facility in the Miami Valley using zero tax dollars! First Baptist Vandalia provides thousands of free pregame meals for our kids annually. Buea Townsend provides fundraisers for our Athletic Boosters that raise in excess of $10,000 each year. Our kids and community worked together for a Rotary Pancake Dinner at a basketball game, Optimist Club frequently provides our students chances to share successes at their meetings, and the Chamber of Commerce was essential in the success of our first ever “Thursday Night Lights” game against the team across the dam last year, along with countless other community partnerships that foster a better environment for our students.
Butler’s coaches and teachers deserve a great deal of credit for the successes of our student-athlete in the classroom and in competition. This group works tirelessly to help our kids become not just better athletes, but better people and community members. I hope that our community recognizes how much our coaches support our kids in all that they do. In a time where coaches at many schools are pushing for specialization, our coaches are rightly encouraging our kids to play multiple sports. Our coaches are also great at encouraging athletes to support each other. Our football staff plans team outings at soccer and volleyball matches, our basketball and wrestling coaches are grilling out for their teams at baseball games, and we have many selfless coaches who are coaching multiple teams.
The student-athletes and coaches at Butler could not succeed at such a high level without outstanding leadership. I was blessed to work under former Superintendent Brad Neavin for a year and learned a great deal about leadership from him. I am thrilled about our future under the leadership of our new Superintendent, Robert. O’Leary. Butler Principal Tom Luebbe’s passion for students is unmatched by anyone I have worked with in my 9 years of education. He creates a buzz and level of excitement that you can feel in the halls at Butler on a daily basis. This level of leadership provides our students with an opportunity to maximize their potential.
Upon reflecting on an amazing first year, I’m excited to see how our kids and community will continue to grow throughout the upcoming school year. Our fall athletes and coaches have been working since last winter to prepare for this season. I encourage you to find time to offer your support to our student-athletes by attending a few contests this year. I am thankful I have the pleasure of witnessing our community gather together in a special way for home games at Memorial Field. There is no greater pride than seeing our community rally behind our kids. All our teams take great pride in competing and representing our community in their various sports, and I know that they will continue represent our Vandalia-Butler community well.
We Are Aviators!