Catching Ants at Weeks Bay Estuary, AL and Starkville High Graduation

Monday-Wednesday, well, I had a little trip to the Alabama gulf coast with a coworker James Lewis. We were down there to collect ants and put out some aerial traps for the collection of winged reproductive ants (and other flying insects). We stayed and worked at the Weeks Bay Estuarine Research Reserve near Fairhope, AL. Nice place to stay and work. We also got into Mobile County a bit. Although we walked around a bit during this time, it was certainly no workout. Not to mention, we basically ate awesome tasty seafood for every meal, and way too much of it! Good stuff. I don’t know what the other mugs in Starkville were doing, but thats what I was doing. Of course, Joseph took a full 7 days off from basically any physical activity last week. This week he is doing some super easy stuff here and there, but not much really. He will basically start back this coming weekend with some easy running on a daily basis again. I got back early enough on Wednesday to get in some pushups, curls, militaries, pullups, crunches, and bench press. Then, I went outside, shot a few hoops. Hot out! Did some calf hops around the yard. Finished up with a few 400s on my trail. First one was slow, but by the end was hitting 1:17, which is pretty good on this loop with tight corners, a big hill at the end, and various irregularities along the way.

Thursday, I met Joseph, Jorge, Juan, and Lucas for an easy 6 mile run thru town at 6:30 pm. Probably would have been easier if I was as light as those guys. Man, I am in terrible shape. Anyway, it was hot and humid! Managed to do just under 7:30. I finished up about 20-30 seconds behind those guys.

Friday, busy day! Although Joseph finished up with high school this past December, he decided to participate in the graduation ceremony with his classmates. Final closure I suppose. Anyway, we had a lunch deal with his cousin Kayla, who also graduated from SHS today. Ate at the Veranda with his mom, a nephew (Blake) and his wife and kid, Kayla’s aunt and her son, and some other friend of theirs. Nice to see Blake and them, despite having to eat at the Veranda, which is one of my least favorite restaurants here in town. I got blackened fish, which I knew was a big mistake, but I do like fish. Unfortunately, after having just had some amazing blackened fish in southern Alabama a few days earlier, this paled in comparison. Honestly, I would rather eat gas station fried chicken strips than the food here. This is maybe my fifth try with this place, always with a different menu item, but alas, no success. Apparently some people love it though. Not sure why. Graduation! Six PM at Humphrey Coliseum on the MSU campus. Lots of people here. This brought back memories of my own graduation from SHS in 1983. Man, I was so glad to be out of there and the drama that is high school! Apparently, Joseph feels much the same way. Obviously, he did not even stay for his final semester thanks to a block schedule that allowed him to finish early. Lots of other kids could have done the same, but opted to stay. Many of them ended up with various school awards as a result. So, I guess it depends what you want. On awards day, Joseph did not receive any school awards, not even acknowledgment of winning a state title in XC, although other kids that won various state titles did. Oh well. Also, he, not being at the school, did not even get to fill out paperwork for certain awards, medals for club involvement, etc. But, again. Oh well. In 3 months this will all be forgotten. However, at awards day, they also listed scholarships offered to students from various colleges. This included offers not accepted as well as those that were accepted. We looked at quite a few schools, but ultimately, Joseph only applied to a few of them, and they all pretty much offered him something financially be it academic, artistic, or athletic. As it turned out, this little weird art runner dude ended up with considerably more scholarship money offered to him than anyone else. Pretty cool. And, obviously, the awesome offer from SCAD XC was a big one. But, he also had nice offers from Millsaps College here in MS and other places. If we could have listed unofficial offers from schools we talked to, his total would have been even higher. We talked with so many universities, and he starting getting letters from coaches as early as 9th grade. First letter he got was from the Naval Academy, but he is certainly not a military type kid,  so that one was not really even a consideration. That was followed by a letter from Brown University, Pratt Art Institute, and on and on and on with close to 50 letters or and later emails, phone calls, etc. Cool, cool. Based on the overall figure of 4 million dollars plus of total offers given to SHS students, Joseph’s offers totaled somewhere around 10% of that! Why is this? Seems like a lot more people could have got scholarships.  Well, those students don’t know how to get them. Why not? Somebody is not doing their job I think. Bummer. Also, for some reason, many of the super smart kids end up coming to MSU, which is fairly inexpensive compared to a private school. So, even if they get a full 4 year scholarship here, that may only equal a year at a more prestigious school. Crazy, why don’t they want to go elsewhere to broaden their horizons a bit, given their obvious abilities?  Of course, all that is irrelevant, as you can only keep the money to the place you go. But, it was still nice for folks to know that you can get scholarships in art even if you don’t take art, that you can get scholarships in track and XC even if you don’t run track and XC every year, and that you can get academic scholarships even if you aren’t one of the top ten students and only have an average ACT score! We found out many things this past year such as grades, ACT, clubs, extracurricular activities, and athletics are all important in how scholarships are determined, but its more than that. Talking with coaches, department heads, and others, negotiating, and making a case for what you have to offer is also very important too. But, the first step is the initial inquiry to a college to let them know you exist. I know of so many kids who are not in college who could have been if only they had know the way to get there.

Joseph and I, post graduation

Joseph and I, post graduation

Joseph, done with high school!

Joseph, done with high school!

Saturday, Got a few pushups in early to wake up, then headed to the Farmers Market, Lowes  hardware store and then Kroger. Lots happening at the Market with our entomology there selling honey and giving out words of wisdom about insects, some great live music with my boss Richard Brown playing bass and harmonicas with some buds of his, and of course, some fresh produce, breads, salsas, and other healthy foods. I was actually going to Lowes for art supplies, and I bought some nice birch plyw0od and paint. Started working on something when I got home! While I was in Kroger, I got a call from Lucas, who had completed his first triathlon earlier that morn, the Soak Up The Sun Triathlon. It was a short sprint deal with a 200m swim, 8 mile bike, and 2 mile run. Lucas is a good runner, and has been biking pretty well lately too, so he figured if he did ok in the water, he would have a good race. And, boy, did he! He came in 2nd overall less than 30 seconds behind a great competitor from Grenada! Way to go LUCAS!

Lucas coming out of the water

Lucas coming out of the water

At 6:30, headed out to the refuge for a run. Still hot, in the mid 80s, and humid! Basically, this the beginning of a few weeks of steady easy running for Joseph. Jorge and Juan also ran with us. Audrey Sheridan showed up with her bike too. I got in 7 miles at a 7:20 pace. Joseph did a bit more than me at about 7 minute paces. Jorge did a 40 minute run, at pretty much the same pace as Joseph, and Juan only did 20 minutes or so, as he is getting back into it. We all ran together until Juan turned back, and I kept up with the other two more or less, but they gradually got ahead of me. My last 3 miles were the slowest for sure though. It was really humid and man, I was sweating like a mug! Deer flies were a constant companion to all of us to, but they will just an annoyance and did not bite anyone. Saw a couple of snakes crossing the road. Nice.

Sunday, Ran in town at 7  pm with Joseph. Humid still, but at least the sun was not bearing down on us. Five easy miles at 7:40 pace. Town was basically deserted! Nice for running.

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2 Comments

Filed under Running

2 responses to “Catching Ants at Weeks Bay Estuary, AL and Starkville High Graduation

  1. Well done to Joseph. He’s so lucky to have had your support and guidance.

    • Thanks! He is quite excited to be going to the art school in the fall. This school was probably his number one choice of schools originally, but he did not really figure he had a chance due to the cost. But, things fell into place and did what he needed to do to get there.

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