Dave is best known for his bright orange attire. Some days he would be dressed head to toe in orange much to the students’ delight. Other days, when protocol dictated, he might only have a hint of orange in the form of his lapel pin or socks. I think that it is safe to say that Dave reinvigorated school spirit at Hayfield. Yet, to him, it was so much more than that.
1. Wearing your Hayfield t-shirt to school leveled the playing field. You were part of the Hayfield family rather than one particular clique or another. Dave’s mission was to create “one school” where everyone had a place from 7th grade until graduation and beyond. Nothing was more heartbreaking to Dave than when he heard about a teen suicide in the county. We would talk about that child and the whys and what ifs. Dave wanted to create a community that said, “You belong here. You are not alone. Let’s look out for each other.” There is a reason he made efforts to learn as many student names as possible.
2. Dave was known for enthusiastically belting out the fight song over the intercom. More and more students actually learned the words over the years. He offered prizes to students and staff for showing their Hayfield spirit. He wanted to create a place where people took pride in their SCHOOL, in THEMSELVES and in EACH OTHER. He believed that more learning is going to take place when you have confidence in yourself and know that others are there to back you up and not put you down – that more learning can take place when students feel safe.
3. I think the other message that Dave always conveyed is not to take yourself too seriously. He wasn’t afraid to walk around in a giant orange foam hat or orange and white checked overalls. Life is short. Laugh. Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself. You get one go around. You might as well have a good time.