Tuesday, November 29, 2011

2011 AGG Holiday Newsletter

The Association of Godby Graduates is eight years old!

We exist to foster, recognize and reward outstanding lifetime service and academic excellence, and we raise money for scholarships for outstanding graduating Godby High School seniors. More history is included here

This year, the AGG dispersed a total of $2,250, our largest single-year contribution to date, to William Mueller, LaCrai Mitchell, Haley Garner, Marcus Herring, Olivia Origa, Craig Lightfoot, Sharzay Thomas, Alexis Hale, Cameron Thompson, Jordan Blackwood, Lavontae Brown, Shawndora Jones, Diego Bravo and Alexis Hayes.

We have over 900 members in our AGG Facebook group, and this year set up a single web page with links to all the major Godby social networking groups.  

On April 1 at the Godby Media Center, we held our sixth annual AGG Hall of Fame induction banquet, and biggest alumni event of the year. Our honorees were Mr. Paul Blackburn (1970), Mr. Allen Nobles (1971), Mr. David Jones (1972), Ms. Janet (Bruce) Hinkle (1974), Mr. Mark Kaplan (1985) and PFC Anthony Warren Simmons (2003), Posthumous.

The Springtime Tallahassee Parade was the day after the Hall of Fame banquet, and as we have been welcome to do, alumni and families walked in the parade immediately behind Godby's band. My grandsons Dylan and Gabriel walked with me, and I saw David Jones at the parade.

Absent from the parade this year was Godby's "number one cheerleader" and beloved Principal Jean Ferguson, who stepped down because of her health, but remains active with Godby. Gillian Gregory is Godby's new principal, and Roger and I met her at the Homecoming game. Roger and I were on hand to congratulate Alexis, Godby's 2011 Homecoming Queen.

By the end of the year, I am required to send Principal Gregory a letter of evaluation for AGG Director Manny Joanos, who is responsible for the creation of the AGG, and handles planning and food preparation for the Hall of Fame banquet. I am anticipating a significantly positive review, and this will be the second time that I have had the pleasure of performing this task as President of the AGG.

The AGG grieves with the families of Jimmy Everett (1972), John Dennis Cogdill (1981), and with the families of all those we have lost this year and previously. We said goodbye to Mrs. Darlene Sale in April. A special Godby Cougar Angels Alumni group was set up this year by Michele Alonso (1978) to honor and remember all our deceased alumni.

Early this year, we elected Roger Day (1980) to be the AGG's vice-president in 2012 and made the announcement at the spring Hall of Fame induction banquet. In 2013, he will procedurally become President of the AGG. Godby's yearbook photographer, "Lovebird", and perennial Cougar fan has never stopped taking photos of Godby students, alumni and their families, and I have seen him at every major alumni event for the past few years. I am confident Roger's enthusiasm will serve us well.

Godby is still a fairly young school and we will graduate just our forty-third class in 2012. Most of us are still around. We have three or four well-publicized reunions a year and a few more informal ones thanks to other gatherings and events like Homecoming. The class of 1991 had its twentieth reunion the weekend of July 8. The class of 1981 held its thirtieth reunion the following weekend, and will be making a contribution to the scholarship fund at the spring Hall of Fame banquet. 

A general Godby alumni cruise to the Bahamas was organized and undertaken in September and a portion of each fare was donated to the AGG's scholarship fund, thanks to Teresa Deffenbaugh Featherstone (1978) and Cruises by SEA. Another cruise departs from Jacksonville Florida on Carnival's Fascination on Saturday January 7, 2012. It was on this ship in September 2010 that I decided what I was going to do for Halloween this year.

The nomination period for the 2012 AGG Hall of Fame has been extended to December 17. Criteria and submission form are here. The selection committee will meet after the New Year holiday and a spring banquet date will be selected, which is usually announced before the end of January. Nominations that are not selected for 2012 induction will remain active on file for one more induction period.

The AGG Hall of Fame induction banquet is our largest fundraiser event of the year. All proceeds benefit the AGG Scholarship Fund. Tickets are available at the door. Godby's National Honor Society students serve dinner. We have a good crowd from all years. It's a reunion. We encourage Hall of Fame members and all alumni to come to the party and serve in any way they can. Arrive early and help set up, stick around late and help clean up. Bring money.

The AGG accepts donations of $5 or more at any time, but we especially ask for contributions around this time of year because by the spring Hall of Fame banquet, our scholarship recipients are already quite close to Graduation. Checks and money orders are to be made payable to Godby High School with AGG in the memo line. Send to: Association of Godby Graduates, c/o Godby High School, 1717 West Tharpe Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32303. 

The AGG gratefully acknowledges contributions of $250 or more in perpetuity at our website.

May you all enjoy the happiest of year-end holiday celebrations and a safe, prosperous new year.

Go Cougars!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


The modern American Thanksgiving holiday tradition originates from a Pilgrim celebration of thanksgiving after harvest in 1621 in Plymouth in what is now Massachusetts. In November 1620, the Mayflower landed two hundred miles north of where was intended, and half of the passengers survived the winter to move ashore. The remaining 53 were grateful to be alive, made friends with the natives and thrived.

In what would become known as the second audio recording to be successfully made and played back, Thomas Edison tested his phonograph invention in November 1877, by recording his own voice speaking, "Mary Had a Little Lamb". A hundred years later, I visited his lab in Menlo Park, New Jersey.

Sarah Hale had published "Mary Had a Little Lamb" on May 24, 1830, based upon an actual occurrence when schoolgirl Mary Sawyer brought a lamb to school, and it caused enough of an uproar to inspire the nursery rhyme that remains popular to this day.

Sarah Hale is credited with raising thirty thousand dollars for the completion of the Bunker Hill Monument on Breed's Hill in 1842, and for also petitioning five US presidents for the creation of a national Thanksgiving holiday. President Abraham Lincoln responded by proclamation in 1863, for the first time establishing a single date on which all states would celebrate Thanksgiving, the final Thursday in November. On December 26, 1941, Thanksgiving was moved to the fourth (not final) Thursday in November.

I grew up in a large family, so every dinner was a big production. Our family Thanksgiving dinner was significant in that we could count on roast turkey, and a visit from my Grammy and Gramps on the longest weekend of the year. They lived in Florida and only visited those several days a year while my family lived in New Jersey for more than eight years.

It is around this time every year that I try to remind my grandchildren of how fortunate we all are to be able to see each other every day. I like to think they are old enough to understand me when I say every day is Thanksgiving at my house.

May you and yours have a happy Thanksgiving weekend and safe travels throughout the holiday season!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Halloween 2011 -- Conclusion

(Continued from Halloween 2011)

Halloween 2011 began a month before Halloween 2010 on board the Carnival ship Fascination while Donna and I were sailing to the Bahamas on a Godby High School alumni cruise on the evening that the ship's captain greeted the guests. After dinner, Captain Placido Tumminello appeared at the top of the spiral stairway amid-ship and said, "Hello, Captain," to me, and then addressed the rest of the guests.

My firefighter costume was already complete, and I would win eight costume contests with it only weeks later after the cruise, but at that moment, I knew what I was going to do for Halloween next year.

For the first time, I built a Halloween costume around a hat -- the many reincarnations of Captain's hats I have been wearing ever since I discovered I was balding in a hot shower after a bright sunny afternoon of vigorous volleyball at the 1992 Tallahassee Community College Field Day.

I was making sketches by Halloween last year. I prefer to use graph paper, four rectangles to the inch, which permits me to use an inch of paper scaled to a foot and still usually keep my plan on a single sheet of paper. I utilized the same set of wheels and accompanying seat that I had for my fire truck costume last year.

I began to lay the keel in January, while also constructing the captain's wheel, anchor, life savers and life boats. I framed it using pine lumber no larger than two inches by two inches by a couple of feet. I paid special attention to the trigonometry that allowed me to construct the prow, as I needed two different acute angles for top and bottom. I employed rudimentary calculus to maximize the bow's prominence while reducing its marginal footprint. I carved portholes and built an "Aft Lounge" with roulette table. With full sheet ink jet printer decals, I christened her Pride of the Seas, "Tallahassee's Official Party Boat".

It was my most liberating costume and I danced for many hours more than I have before on Halloween. I didn't notice the time passing and took my time to enjoy every party. Many of the people I met impressed me. Some remembered me from many years earlier; one remembered my first cat Elliott, and another remembered being my neighbor more than twenty years ago. I ran into Dave the Cat's veterinarian Dr. Hall and his family. Our other cats and dogs still visit him. Others didn't know me personally, but they either remembered meeting me wearing different costumes years ago, or they recognized my style of work, saying, "Didn't you also build a 'Lighthouse', 'Pinball Machine', 'Spongebob Squarepants', etc?"   

It was a career year for me. I won prizes at ten costume contests, eight of which were first place victories. I enjoyed two Honorable Mentions, at Southwood, and from the Tallahassee Roller Girls at their website. I won a nice second place prize to "Blue Avatar" at Pockets Pool. I won at El Jalisco at North Monroe Street and hung out with Peter. I won Florida State University's Geek Night 6.0 and met some fun people playing trivia and board games that night. I won Havana's PumpkinFest costume contest. I won the 11th annual Witch's Ball, which I had never won before. I won the Crypt Keeper's Ball, hosted by the people who do the Terror on 12 Haunted House every year. I won the Tallahassee Swing Band costume contest and especially relished being one of the youngest guests. I had a double win on Halloween Day, at the 7th annual Salter Mitchell Chili Cook-off and Costume Contest, and the Midtown Candy Crawl and Monster March at Lake Ella in the evening, where I won an immense floral arrangement from Blossoms Flowers.

I love Halloween, and had the time of my life.
Receiving "Best Costume" award from April Salter at the 7th Annual Salter Mitchell Chili Cook-off and Costume Contest, October 31, 2011
Photo by Colin Hackley

At the Midtown Candy Crawl and Monster March at Lake Ella, October 31, 2011
Photo by passer-by

Grand Prize from Lake Ella, courtesy of Blossoms Flowers

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans Day 2011

The United States began observing Armistice Day on the first anniversary of the truce signed with Germany in 1918 that formally ended hostilities in the first World War, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. A federal act on May 13, 1938 made November 11 a legal holiday, "a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as 'Armistice Day'."

An Emporia, Kansas shoe repair shop owner and World War II American War Dads member named Stephen Riod is credited with beginning a campaign in 1953 to expand Armistice Day to honor all veterans, not just those from World War I. On May 26, 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a national bill into law that was six days later amended by Congress to change Armistice Day to Veterans Day.

I have only participated in Tallahassee's Veterans Day parades with a cat. First with Elliott, and later Dave the Cat, we rode on a bicycle and led parades in the late 1980s, and then on November 11, 2001, my granddaughter Alicia and Dave and I walked with Alicia's Brownie troop in the Veterans Day parade.

Freedom isn't free.

Thank you, to our veterans and all now serving, and families, for your service and sacrifice in defense of our country.

Happy Veterans Day!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Godby High School Homecoming 2011

Tonight at 7:00 pm, the undefeated Godby Cougars face the Wakulla War Eagles for Godby's last 2011 Varsity district football game. This season, Godby has won all eight games and outscored opponents 295-68. This is the final home game for Godby's forty-third graduating class, Class of 2012, and it is Godby's Homecoming at Hurley W. Rudd Field at Gene Cox Stadium at the North Florida Fairgrounds.

Outstanding Head Coach Ronnie Cottrell welcomes all Godby alumni, and has officially authorized a section in the mid-field home bleachers that will be marked with balloons for alumni and families.

On behalf of the Association of Godby Graduates (AGG), thanks to Dr. Furlough for reading the AGG's announcements, and to Godby Band Director Monica Crew Leimer, Class of 1997, for inviting alumni band members to participate in Halftime festivities on the field. This year, we welcome new Godby Principal Gillian Gregory. 

We are expecting our largest group of Godby alumni yet to a Homecoming game. At halftime, we will take a group photograph, and Roger and I will take alumni band photographs on the field.

Bring your families and join us.

Go Cougars!