Pledging to Teach, Promising to Learn

first_img Associate Editor Think Pink Floyd, and “The Wall” is a 1982 film of a troubled rock star plunging into madness.Think West Berlin, and “The Wall” is 96 miles of barbed wire and concrete symbolizing the Cold War’s beginning in 1961 and its end in 1989 when it came tumbling down.Think Miami’s St. Thomas University School of Law, and “The Wall” is a bold, impromptu contract forged between faculty and the Class of 2006 students, in the form of 300-plus signatures in bold markers on freshly painted plaster in the Moot Courtroom.Bob Butterworth, the law school’s new dean and former Florida attorney general, sparked the wall-signing frenzy on the second day of student orientation this fall. In a rousing speech, Butterworth challenged the class of 300 incoming students that he and the faculty were there to teach and coach, but the students were there to learn.Butterworth describes that spontaneous combustion that created “The Wall”:“About the third time I stated, ‘I will teach!’ the students came back with ‘I will learn!’ ‘I will teach!’ ‘I will learn!’ It was this chant thing, and it was unbelievable. I happened to have a marker in my hand, and there was a ladder just outside, so I had someone bring in the ladder. And I wrote on the wall, ‘I will teach and coach. Bob Butterworth, dean.’“I had a couple of professors come right behind me, same thing. Then I said, ‘I want the tallest person out there to come forward.’ This young man about 6 foot 7 gets up on a ladder and writes, ‘I will learn. Class of 2006.’ Everybody went wild. Then we got markers, and within 20 minutes, all 300 students, plus probably 15 or so professors in the room at that time, all wrote on the wall. It blew me away!”Florida Bar President Miles McGrane wanted to get into the action, too, recently adding his signature to The Wall, with the encouraging message: “I’m waiting to swear you in.”“I applaud Bob Butterworth’s passion to inspire his students to reach higher and succeed in even greater numbers. In my own family, I know of the legacy of St. Thomas in producing good lawyers, as my sister-in-law MaryAnne Lukacs was St. Thomas’ first and second bar president. And in my professional family of The Florida Bar, Mark Romance is a St. Thomas alum who has gone on to do great things, including serving as president of the Young Lawyers Division.”Lukacs, who practices in family law and volunteers with Florida Foster Care Review, signed The Wall, too, with this advice: “Enjoy your experience, because it matters. And make us proud.”Lukacs fondly recalls her experiences as a member of the charter class of St. Thomas in 1985, serving as president of the student bar her second and third year. She said she was honored to help shape the school and be part of its history while the young law school was dealing with accreditation issues.“The school took a chance on us, and we took a chance on the school,” Lukacs said.Now, Butterworth is hoping to push the law school forward even further.Back in the day, four decades ago, when Butterworth was a young law student at the University of Miami, he said, the usual motivator was to tell students, “Look to your right, look to your left, and only one of you is going to make it.” But as the new dean of St. Thomas, Butterworth went beyond fear tactics and instilled a positive you-can-do-it message.“We know your GPA. We know your LSAT. We know your shoe size,” Butterworth told the new law students. “We read your essay. In fact, we reviewed well over 1,700 applications, a record number for St. Thomas, and only accepted less than 12 percent. We believe that you will graduate and pass the bar on your first try.”In an interview, Butterworth acknowledged: “Right now, St. Thomas is suffering from a perception problem that our students don’t pass the bar, that we have a low passage rate, which is true. But the second time, St. Thomas students pass in the same numbers of any other school. So I figured if students can pass it the second time, six months later, then they can pass it the first time. That’s what I’m trying to do with the Class of 2006 – to instill an obligation to pass the bar exam the first time.”First-time test takers in July at St. Thomas tied with Nova Southeastern University with only a 60.2 percent passage rate – compared to 85.4 percent for Florida State University, 83.3 percent in a second-place tie for the University of Florida and UM, and Stetson University with 82.6 percent.While Butterworth is pushing students to pass the bar the first time in greater numbers, he acknowledges his school’s unique challenge. Unlike Stetson, that bills itself as “Florida’s First Law School” founded in 1900, St. Thomas has only been graduating students for 17 years. In addition to its relative newness, the Miami school is a model of diversity with 46 percent of the student body minority, not counting women.“We are the largest minority population of any private school in the country,” Butterworth said. “We have a lot of students from foreign countries who maybe have been here only four, five, or six years, and English is their second language. The president of the student bar association was born in Israel and he has to translate from Hebrew to English.”And so, it stands to reason, some students will need help with writing skills and other academic support.Just as he did as attorney general—boosting the image of state employees by encouraging them to seek AV ratings from Martindale-Hubbell, board certification, and become published in legal journals—Butterworth said he is on a mission to change perceptions and promote the quality of St. Thomas graduates among law firm recruiters.“The Wall” has already served as a motivational moment.In mid-October, Butterworth brought the Class of 2006 back into the Moot Courtroom for a refresher lesson.“OK, you made the commitment,” Butterworth reminded the students. “We did, too. We think you may be slipping behind. We owe the obligation, because we promised to teach and coach. You promised to learn. So, therefore, if you are asked to go to academic support, and you don’t go, we will come and see you at The Wall. Your names are on The Wall, and you’ve got six weeks to go. Your professors are there for you. Take advantage of academic support. You paid for it. Your contract is on The Wall.”When a head maintenance worker went looking for his ladder, he turned ashen when he looked up and saw his freshly painted walls strewn with signatures. Not to worry. As St. Thomas President Monsignore Franklyn Casale has promised: “The Wall will not be painted until the Class of 2006 says it should be.” Pledging to Teach, Promising to Learn Pledging to Teach, Promising to Learn December 1, 2003 Jan Pudlow Associate Editor Regular News St. Thomas uses ‘The Wall’ as motivation to set new standardslast_img read more

Wildcats Get EIAC Victory Over Tigers

first_imgFranklin County improved their conference record to 7-4 on Thursday night, beating Lawrenceburg 5-2 to finish off a week of 3 conference games with a 3-0 record. On the mound, FC got another great start, this time from Sophomore Garrett Ertel. Ertel went a complete game, giving up just 3 hits and 1 earned run while not walking anyone.Offensively, after the Tigers got a run in the top of the 1st, FC responded with 4 runs of their own. 7 different Wildcats recorded hits in the game with 8 of the 9 starters reaching base.FC will host Rushville on Monday night for Senior Night. The Wildcats have 3 remaining conference games and are in contention for the conference title.Courtesy of Wildcats Coach Derek Stang.last_img read more

Trojans aim for third straight national title

first_imgDuring the course of their season, the Trojans’ focus has never wandered beyond their immediate opponent. Now that only two additional victories will crown the No. 1 USC men’s water polo team (26-2) NCAA champions for the third consecutive year, however, it is almost surreal to reflect on how far this team has come and how little it has left to prove.Going for goal · Junior driver Peter Kurzeka, whose 35 goals is third highest this year for USC, will lead USC against St. Francis on Saturday for a spot in the national championship against either Cal or Loyola Marymount. – Katelynn Whitaker | Daily Trojan The Trojans will commence their quest to three-peat this weekend at the NCAA tournament hosted by California. In the semifinal round, the Trojans will face a relative unknown No. 4 St. Francis (24-3) on Saturday at 1 p.m. If the tournament unfolds as expected, the Trojans will face No. 2 Cal (23-3), in the championship game the following day at 3 p.m. To make this titanic clash a reality, however, Cal must first handle No. 3 Loyola Marymount (19-8).The peculiar reality of the NCAA tournament is that, on its face, it does not invite the best teams in the country, almost all of which are members of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. Since the Trojans downed the formidable Cardinal ­— arguably their most difficult matchup this season — in the MPSF championship game, the NCAA could not justify giving Stanford the one at-large berth in lieu of Cal, which had a better record and finished first in the MPSF regular season standings. Similarly, there was no space for a potent UCLA squad that finished third in the standings. With those two behemoths looming next year, Cal appears to be the only substantial obstacle remaining between the Trojans and defending their title.“The MPSF tournament is, by far, the most difficult tournament to win. You’re supposed to win three hard games, and many times your first game [in the NCAA tournament] is against a lower-ranked opponent than even your first opponent in the MPSF tournament,” USC coach Jovan Vavic said.True to form, however, Vavic refused to discuss a game plan for Cal, insisting that the team’s sole focus is St. Francis and containing its potent offense.“St. Francis has a lot of big, athletic players from Serbia and Croatia, and they are very good offensively, with a strong goalie,” Vavic said. “We are not preparing for Cal right now. We don’t even know if Cal is going to make it to the finals. LMU is a tough team. You cannot discount LMU.”At the beginning of the season, the program was ostensibly in rebuilding mode, trying to replenish a roster that had lost several standout senior contributors. The thought now seems laughable. Certainly, the preseason pundits who picked the Trojans to finish fourth in their own conference severely underestimated Vavic’s ability to integrate a bevy of new freshmen talent into his proven system. In fact, on Tuesday Vavic earned his combined ninth MPSF Coach of the Year honor between coaching both the USC men’s and women’s water polo teams.Eager to dispel any chances of a letdown, Vavic has drilled into his team that this is no time to ease up. The St. Francis team knows that an upset would instantly become the signature win in its program’s history. Cal and LMU are both talented teams with which the Trojans are well-acquainted. Hopefully, the team’s character and determination will continue to shine through in critical games.“We’ve grown together from all the way back this spring,” junior driver Peter Kurzeka — selected to the 2010 All-MPSF first team — said. “Knowing that we were losing so much talent, we knew we needed to work hard all the way through. The team has bonded and everyone has bought in.”last_img read more

City seal victory over Monaco

first_imgMeanwhile Atlético returned to Madrid with a 4-2 advantage after their first leg against Bayer Leverkusen in Germany. The French League champions went 3-1 up thanks to a brace from former Man United striker Falcao before City fought back. Two goals from Sergio Aguero and one each for Leroy Sané, John Stones and Raheem Sterling gave City a 5-3 lead to take to the second-leg in Monaco. Manager Pep Guardiola says it’s an important win last_img

Celtic and Dundalk in Champions League qualification action

first_imgPhoto: © UEFA.com Both Celtic and Dundalk are looking to book their place in the third qualifying round of the Champions league.The Lillywhites are locked at 1-all with Rosenburg ahead of tonight’s tie in Trondheim while the Hoops take a 2-0 lead into their clash with Linfield at Celtic park.Kick off in Trondheim is at 6.15 while in Glasgow they start at 7.45. Irish Independent football writer Dan Mc Donnell is with the Dundalk squad in Norway and says Stephen Kenny’s side might struggle defensively.last_img read more