Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Baseball

Colleague, Julie Rice, invited me out to shoot the Kirkwood Jr. Baseball team comprised of North and Nipher grads who will be freshmen next year.  It's a good-looking ball club.  They pitched well, hit often, and made strong defensive plays.  They are well-coached and show great discipline and character.  Things are looking good for the future of Kirkwood High School Baseball.  Keep up the good work, boys!!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Records are Made to be Broken!

As Dr. Holley said, "The last day of the school year was one of the best!"  What a day in Jeff City.  The Girl's 4x800 relay team has been pursuing the school record the entire year. . . a record that has held for 30 years!  Well, congratulations to Lianna Doty, Hannah Richardson, Libby Luciani, and Beth King, for turning in a scorching time of 9:15:33, a NEW SCHOOL RECORD!!  I marveled as I watched these girls push themselves to the limit and battle the Eureka squad.  What courage it must take to run this race.  I was so proud of these kids!  
The day culminated with another wonderful graduation where, I believe, a new tradition was born.  If you haven't seen it yet, check it out. . .

Friday, May 28, 2010

End of an Era

I had the great pleasure of going to Springfield to watch Art Stout coach his final matches as the Kirkwood High School Tennis Coach.  In his 53rd and final season, he guided his team to a 4th place finish in state.  If you ask Coach Stout about this team, he tells you what great people they are.  I saw them compete with great intensity against a very talented Rockhurst team.  At the end, I think they were disappointed that they couldn't send Coach Stout off with a State Championship, but I know that's not the reason Art coached.  All he ever asked for was each players "best", and I think he got that from his team this weekend.  Coach Stout, enjoy your retirement!!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Tearing Up the Track!

Today I had the chance to hang out with and shoot our Girl's Track State Qualifiers.  What an awesome group!  These kids work hard, both in the classroom and on the track and are great representatives of our school.  They wanted to do a poster with the theme "Tearing up the Track", which is a great idea, since our track is being re-done, and they have to practice at other schools.  They practiced for several hours in the stifling heat, then headed down to our track.  They got in some "tough" poses and we went to work.  Then we headed up to my classroom to shoot some other pictures.  I had a great time.  I'm looking forward to heading to Jeff City on Saturday to watch our 4x800 team shatter the school record.  Thanks for letting me hang out with you guys today.  It was an honor. . . do I have the best job or what?!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Paige Boyer

Most people can be made to look attractive in ideal conditions. .  . but you really know you're working with someone special when they look great in miserable conditions.  Well, that's Paige!  We shot these today, around 11:30am.  The temperature was somewhere around 95, with the humidity around 110%.  It felt like we were on the sun, but Paige hung in there, and we got some great shots.  Paige is also a fabulous soccer player and excellent student.  We talked about how fast her 4 years at Kirkwood went.  I was lucky enough to have Paige in class her sophomore year, and loved watching her play soccer.  She's off to college where she'll continue to do amazing things!  Paige, you ROCK!!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Anthony Smith 3-on-3 Tournament

Today was the 2nd Annual "Anthony Smith Memorial 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament played at Concordia Church in Kirkwood.  It had rained for 3 straight weeks, but today it was sunny and warm. . . coincidence? . . . Kudos to Jeremy Jones and Ben Woolf and to all the volunteers that helped make today so special.  For me, it was a thrill to see so many former Kirkwood Basketball Players together again.  I'm really proud of each and every one of these guys and it felt great seeing them.  Crazy how you instantly recall so many things about them. . . how they shoot, their favorite moves, etc . . .  It was also great to see the current KHS kids as well as the youngsters.   Pictured is Anthony's twin brother, Antoine, and his sister Crystal.  I'm so proud of the man that Antoine's become, and know his brother is, too.It's great when you can get a celebrity to show up at your event.  It can be tough, though.  They want a "fee" or only want to sit at a table and sign a few autographs.  Not today.  Today, Kirkwood's own Jeremy Maclin shows up AND GLADLY WORKS!!!  He did a great job refereeing the games and was encouraging to all the kids.  He congratulated each player following each game, then posed for pictures with each team.  (Teams aren't supposed to want to get their picture taken with the REF!!!)  We're proud of all Jeremy has accomplished, and love watching him play for the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles, but we're most proud of his willingness to "come home" and just be a part of the community.  It was also great to see one of Jeremy's older brothers, and former KHS hoopers, Roshon, refereeing.  I watched one of his games, and he made every correct call.  He did a great job of making sure the kids had a chance to play a fair game.  Roshon, GREAT JOB!!!
It was a great tournament, and there was intense competition, but I was impressed at the positive and encouraging coaching that was going on, especially with the younger kids.  Too many times, you hear "coaches" yelling at players, getting upset, and taking the game way too seriously.  Today, the coaches were gentlemen, emphasized sportsmanship, and taught the kids great lessons.  I overheard Cecil Jones tell his players, at the end of their game, "OK, now the game's over, go back to being friends."  Great advice, Cecil!
I realized that there are a couple of things I could watch forever, and never tire of. . . Chris Pirtle's fade away, Chris Pirtle's crossover, (ok, ANYTHING Chris Pirtle does with a basketball) Antoine Smith elevating to grab a rebound, Cody Green's up-and-under move, Natalie Fryrear when she's on fire behind the 3, little kids with a basketball, Jeremy laughing with friends. . . 

What a great day. . .

Friday, May 21, 2010

Blue Plate Specials

I've known Joe since I was in 9th grade.  Back then he was the quarterback on the football team.  Now, he's a funny comedian (the best kind), great dad, and talented musician.  His band is called "Joe Marlotte and the Blue Plate Specials".  Cool name.  Last night, we met up at Westport and shot some publicity pics for their upcoming gigs at The Atomic Cowboy (  We had a good time.  I'm always amazed when I see musicians do their thing, and doubly so when they're friends of mine.  John, the bass player, is Joe's neice's husband, and also good friend of mine.  'Dude can do it all musically .  . . bass, trombone, keyboards, you name it. . .  The drummer, Tom, is a super-nice guy as well, and kept the beat on the port-a-potty while we were shooting, which is, I figure, harder than doing so on some drums, so he's really talented, too.  They are playing every Thursday throughout the summer at the Atomic Cowboy.  You should check them out.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Historic Season

Anyone who knows me, knows I'm not the biggest soccer fan in the world.  I was raised on baseball, basketball, and football, and gravitated towards hoops, because I like games where scoring happens often.  But I gotta tell ya, this Kirkwood team changed my mind.  Soccer was fun to watch when these girls played.  First off, they're great kids, so they've got my attention right off the bat.  But they were also a great soccer team.  Tonight they battled a highly ranked opponent, and took them into overtime.  It was a highly competitive game, but both teams displayed great sportsmanship.  Both teams had chances, and they game really could have gone either way.  Unfortunately, the UA Bears scored in the first overtime, and this dream season came to a crashing end.  That doesn't, in any way, diminish the amazing effort the Pioneers put forth tonight.  So much was accomplished this year. . . the groundwork was laid for seasons of success that will certainly follow.  Though 11 phenomenal seniors leave, a talented group of underclassmen will carry on the tradition.  Coach Cotta and Coach Steinmetz have done a great job, and Kirkwood soccer is in good hands.  Thank you seniors, thank you Pioneers!!  

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pioneers Topple Nerinx

The Pioneers fell behind early, but rallied as Senior Paige Boyer netted two late first-half goals.  Senior goalie, Caroline Fletcher, came up big and stopped a penalty kick to keep the score 2-1 going into halftime.  Early in the 2nd half, Senior Jordan Frick put a bullet into the top right corner to put the Pioneers up 3-1 and they never looked back.  It was a great win for the Pioneers as they are beginning to fulfill the high expectations they entered this season with.  This is a great bunch of kids, and it's a lot of fun to see them rewarded for all of their hard work. The Pioneers will take on the winner of Ursuline vs. Webster.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


Prom . . . Always a great event. Tonight was no exception. If you've read any of my posts, you probably already know that I think I work at the best school in the world, but you'd really understand if you saw our prom. Administrators, teachers, police officers, parents, and students, all together celebrating another outstanding school year. This year, two of our teachers decided to take a special group of kids and make sure they had a great Prom Night experience. Selfless people abound at Kirkwood, and Gina and Julie are two of the best. Thanks for not only making it a great night for these kids, but also for setting an example for the rest of us.

Just an all-around great night. Here are some of my students. You can see why I love my job!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Fundamental Elements

I went to the CD Release Party of the band Fundamental Elements tonight at The Old Rock House.  I know the lead singer, Russ Mohr.  I think this band ROCKS!  Even if I didn't know Russ, I'd think that.  If you ask me, they're as good as any "big name band" you hear on the radio.  If you ever get the chance to see them live, do it.  You won't be disappointed.  I guarantee it.  You can find their music on iTunes.  Check it out!
As you get older, you get to know people who are successful.  Knowing someone like Russ makes life more fun.  I know tons of kids at KHS that will be "big time" when they get older.  I've got the best job in the world.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Pioneer Earns All-State Honors

Kirkwood Senior, Jessica Engelbrecht, was selected to the Missouri All-State Girl's Lacrosse Team this week.  I'm pretty sure Jessica is the first Pioneer to ever receive this honor.  Jessica plays with a fierce determination and relies on her speed and toughness as an attacker to blitz the opponent and rack up goals for the Pioneers.  Not only is Jessica a great lacrosse player, but she's a great student and an awesome kid.  I was lucky enough to have had Jessica as a student, and she brought a great attitude of success to class every single day.  It's no surprise she's had the success she has.  Way to go, Jessica!!!  We're all proud of you!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Hot Fashions

Today we shot Mrs. Obermeier's Fashion Design Class.  It was their chance to "work the runway" and show off their creations.  We had a great time, and I was really impressed both with the kid's work, and their willingness to ham it up in front of the camera.  One girl even added the unicycle.  How cool was that!?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Art Stout is a Legend

Imagine loving something so much, you did it for 53 years. . . well, that's Art Stout and Kirkwood Tennis.  He's retiring this year after 53 years of coaching.  I was fortunate enough to start my teaching career at Kirkwood High School while Art was still there.  In fact, I taught one class in his room my first year.  Today, when I sat and talked with him, I remembered how he could say the simplest things to you, and coming from him, they would somehow mean something more.  I love basketball.  I coached it at Kirkwood High School for 10 years.  It wore me out.  I'm much younger than Art Stout.  My legs work better.  But I could only go 10.  He's on 53!  He's been coaching longer than I've been alive.  I'm amazed.

Drew Morris is in my class this year.  He's a really nice kid.  How 'bout this. . . he had a tumor removed from his neck last year.  Vertebrae were fused together.  He's back playing tennis and playing at a high level.  He's so relaxed for someone who plays with such focus and intensity.  I'm really impressed!

Ben Leible is also in my class.  He's a funny kid.  Makes me laugh every day.  The other students really like him.  He surprised me with his intensity on the tennis court.  I like this picture for a couple of reasons.  I tried to get the sun at this angle, and use the dark background with with yellow and green.  I thought it looked cool against his hat.  What I didn't plan on was his shadow appearing on his racket.  Got lucky there.

Monday, May 10, 2010

KHS Lacrosse Senior Day

Friday afternoon was "Senior Day" for Kirkwood Lacrosse.  The team was fired up to play the #1 ranked Statesmen.  Unfortunately, the Pioneers fell behind early, and were unable to close the gap, ultimately coming up short in this one.  But what can you say about these seniors?  AWESOME!  WONDERFUL!  AMAZING!  It's been a pleasure photographing your exploits over the years.  Thanks for all the great memories!