Graduation Is One Of Those Intrinsic Benefits

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Public school teaching and coaching does not yield many financial rewards. In truth, most teachers and coaches find themselves scrambling for second and odd jobs to supplement their meager incomes.

But as unrewarding as teaching and coaching is financially, there are intrinsic benefits that pop up every once in a while that make the professions seem worthwhile.

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Brandon Buckner

Such was the case early this week when I received an invitation to attend Brandon Buckner's upcoming graduation from the Central Arizona Regional Law Officers Training Academy. It will take place Sept. 13 at Central Arizona College

Brandon is a young man who I had the pleasure of teaching and coaching during his school years in the Payson district.

I know all his former teachers and coaches are proud that he will soon be realizing his dream of becoming a law enforcement officer.

We also know he will become one of the finest in his profession.

Brandon graduated from Payson High School in 2006 with a reputation that all coaches enjoy applying to their student-athletes -- "good kid."

You see, it is the highest of coach praise because it means the student-athlete took care of business in school, at home, on the team and in the community.

Coaches can't ask much more than that from their kids.

Upon Brandon's graduation, Mike Loutzenheiser, one of his former coaches, praised him as "a good basketball player, but a much better person."

Both Mike and I remember Brandon as a player who never complained, was unselfish and totally committed to the program.

Whatever needed done, Brandon would do it without a word of disagreement.

He never had a "what's in it for me" attitude that is a strict no-no in most prep sports programs.

On the court he was an all-region first team selection and as a senior led the team in free throw shooting, sinking 82 of 97 attempts (84.5 percent).

While Brandon was in high school, I sometimes good-naturedly teased his about his long locks.

His father, "Buck" tells me during the academy he's had to shear his hair to a bare minimum.

For him, that had to be another of the sacrifices he's made for the good of the team.

Congratulations on your graduation, Brandon. We are all very proud of you and never had any doubts you would attain the goals you've set for yourself.

FAN Club hosts benefits

This comes in from Friends And Neighbors (FAN) Club member Eileen Daniels.

She says, the FAN Club will be selling 50/50 split (raffle) and Spirit Couch tickets at the cheerleader-sponsored Indian fry bread dinner to be held from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 19 at the north-side PHS parking lot.

The 50/50 tickets are $1 each or six for $5. The Spirit Couch tickets are $5 each or three of $10.

For Friday's homecoming game, the Spirit Couch is being sponsored by Aaron's Rentals.

"The couch is being moved to be closer to the fans and the action of the football field," Daniels said. "The winner will be able to have three friends sit with him or her."

The FAN Club is donating all the proceeds to the junior class to help with next spring's prom.

The 50/50 split raffle winner at the last home game won $150.

"We are hoping to split and even bigger pot for this game," Daniels said.

All proceeds will be used to purchase a scorer's table in Wilson Dome.

FAN Club meetings are held 6:30 p.m. the second Wednesday of each month in the Pioneer Title building. New members are always welcome.

Disc golf scheduled

The Payson Parks and Recreation Department and the Arizona Disc Golf Club are set to host the Second Annual Rim Country Open Oct. 4 at Rumsey Park.

Check in is 8:30 a.m. and a players meeting will be held one hour later. Round one begins at 10 a.m. A second round will be held at the conclusion of the first.

A trophy presentation will begin immediately after round two.

For the tournament 18 temporary holes will be set up at the Payson park.

The entry fees are $35 for the open division, $30 for open women and master, $25 for advance and advanced master, $20 for intermediate and intermediate women and $15 for novice.

Last year, the unusual sport fascinated unknowing onlookers who watched as the entrants locked horns in a sport much like golf, but instead of using balls, players used flying discs thrown at baskets or targets.

Although the sport has never been played competitively in the Rim Country, six entrants were from Payson.

Among them was Jerry Novak, who's enjoyed the sport for a decade, playing mostly Valley-area courses.

He predicts disc golf will soon become a popular recreation activity in the Rim Country, "It's fun, it's inexpensive and most everyone can play."

Disc golf was formalized in the 1970s according to the Professional Disc Golf Association's Web site at www.pdga.com.

For more information, call the P&R department at (928) 474-5242, ext. 7.

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