What does education mean to you? The great father of education, Horace Mann (1816) once shared that the highest service we can perform for others is to help them help themselves. John Dewey (1916) another great American educational philosopher added that education, as we understand it, is a process of inviting truth and possibility, of encouraging and giving time to discovery.
I am by no definition any kind of educational philosopher or otherwise, but after 22 years of teaching kindergarten through 12th grade students, education has revealed so, so much to me. Education helps us live our best lives; enlarges our experiences; helps us interact more positively with all others; encourages us to explore our world; teaches us to be insightful; gives us the courage to ask more questions; it is the belief that we can all be more; it is the development of our thinking, emotions, and logic; it is an opportunity to maximize our future; it provides us a chance to present and cultivate a simple idea; and none of these advantages are confined to the classroom alone. I ask this question of you, after reflecting on the most wonderful day I experienced in Van Horn today, October 13, 2021.
I was fortunate enough to spend time with family; visit with and hug old friends; enjoy the best Mexican-American food in the state; and experience a truly rare opportunity to witness Blue Origin’s second human spaceflight on board the New Shepard, the latest of technologies amidst the vast desert of beautiful Culberson County. Wow, what a day it has been! However, I noticed one thing missing today. I wondered if the students of Culberson County-Allamoore ISD were witnessing what most around the world could only watch on television, radio, social media, or other means. As I stood off the shoulder on Highway 54, I thought about how easily the students could have been transported on school buses to see the event unfold with their own eyes. I realized after watching the first launch on television, being out there physically, does not equate to what is seen on live newscasts or YouTube videos. When the event was over, I realized the Van Horn Eagles had not experienced this rare, first-hand occasion and I was truly disheartened.
After arriving back home in El Paso this evening, I listened to the local news stations reporting that the Fort Stockton schools had seized the opportunity and drove a bus load of their schools from 120 miles away to witness the historic event. This realization further saddened me. What a missed opportunity for a truly unique learning experience for the Van Horn students! What other school anywhere has an educational opportunity to see for themselves spaceflight launch from their own backyard? Education has helped me believe that all children need a speck of hope that they too can DREAM BIG and take an idea, like Mr. Bezos and contribute to the body of knowledge and to humanity itself. Thank you, dear editor. I hope you could help me plant a seed to maximize future opportunities for the Eagles. What if the next Mr. Bezos is sitting in the classrooms of CCAISD waiting for an idea? It would be euphoric to see the Great Red and Gray school buses carry the V-Mountain loving Eagles to cheer on the next team of “new astronauts!”
Ex-Van Horn student and teacher, who bleeds red and gray forever.
The city (Town of Van Horn), has assets. One asset is the golf course. A suggestion.
There is no sprinkler system on the course, understandable with the location, the patron population, and the cost of such a system.
Nicklaus spoke of his success at Augusta was due to hitting to level locations. What if certain locations were watered? But how with no sprinkler system? Van Horn has another asset, Fire Trucks. If the loss of water is not too great.
Daniel (Dan) Dagle
Sierra Blanca, Texas