Yep Mexico, Missouri

6448270591_1589d559fc_zWell here I am working at Missouri Military Academy (MMA) in Mexico Missouri. In my previous blog I talked about military schools and my first week at MMA. Now let me tell you about my new home.  Well, the town was incorporated in 1857. Mexico is a city in Audrain County, Missouri. The 2010 census estimated the population at 11,543. What was once a booming city in the eighties has tumbled into a poor town. I did some “internet research” and this is what I found:new-miss-missouri

First, I was surprised to find that MMA was the host of the annual Miss Missouri Pageant in mid-June; the winner was the first openly gay contestant in the Miss America pageant early September.

Also that the town was a major source for the nation’s fire brick production since 1910, so much so, that it was called the “Fire Brick Capital of the World”. However, the industry fell on hard times and both major factory plants in the area closed in 2002.







In addition, in the 1980s, Mexico (Mo) was one of six nationwide finalists for Saturn’s new U.S. auto plant. Mexico lost out to winner Spring Hill, Tennessee because Mexico was not served by a four-lane freeway. So as not to lose future development, Mexico officials quickly lobbied state and federal officials to secure funding for a new four-lane divided highway (U.S. Route 54) which now serves the community from Interstate 70. Interestingly the Saturn plant in Spring Hill closed in 2004.

Digging more into the history of the town I found that it was also known as the “Saddle Horse Capital of the World,” now Mexico still hosts Hollywood celebrities and other visitors from around the world who come to purchase riding horses. The Simmons Stables is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.arthur_simmons_stables_mexico_missouri

Mexico was also the home of Hardin College and Conservatory of Music, a Baptist college established in 1873 for young women, an institution founded and endowed by Charles H. Hardin, governor of the state from 1872–1874. Sadly, Hardin College closed during the Great Depression and never re-opened.oldstribling1903

Now here is a little about  the school where I am teaching.  It opened in 1890. In 1896 a fire destroyed the entire MMA campus. Due to the fire the Academy was closed until 1900. In 1957 the school band was appointed by the state of Missouri to march in the parade for the inauguration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower in Washington, D.C.  The band also participated in the Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Carter Inaugurations. In 1985 the U.S. Department of Education announced its selection of Missouri Military Academy as an Exemplary Private School. One of just 65 private schools selected out of 27,000 across the U.S.  Not only that, it was the only military school to be recognized. In 2014 MMA celebrated its 125th Anniversary.

MMA also led the parade for the Annual Soybean Festival.

Now here are some important people with ties to Mexico, Mo:

-Tom Bass, a legendary rider and horse trainer. Bass was born into slavery on 1859 on the Hayden plantation in Boone County, Missouri. After freedom he trained horses for notable people including Buffalo Bill Cody, Theodore Roosevelt, and Will Rogers and is also famous for inventing the Bass bit, a mechanism designed to protect a horse’s mouth during training. It is still widely used today.tom-bass-gravestone1

-Rex McDonald was an American Saddlebred stallion who only lost three shows from 1893 to around 1910. Rex also had an influential career as a sire.He sired over 200 colts.bass03i

-Charles Henry Hardin was a politician and governor from Missouri, and one of the eight founders of Beta Theta Pi fraternity.

-Tyronn Jamar Lue,  the current head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers of the NBA.  Lue led the Cavaliers to their first NBA championship and became one of the few rookie coaches in the NBA to ever lead his team to a


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I’m in the military… school that is.

After teaching at a university, a couple of private schools and a public school, I have accepted a job at a military boarding school. This blog will recount my experiences at a military school.mexmo

In the United States, there are military schools at every level: college preparatory; two-year college; and college and university.  Each offers unique challenges and great opportunities for today’s youth in many ways.

If I ask you what do actor Owen Wilson, author J.D. Salinger (Catcher in the Rye), presidential candidate Donald Trump, George Steinbrenner (former owner of the New York Yankees) and NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. have in common? If you guess they all went to military school, your guess is right.

So let us start with the term, “milmma entranceitary school.” For too long it has been a term that is used to threaten teenagers when they misbehave. I’m going to send you to military school! Though “military school” is meant as a solution in this exclamatory sentence, it definitely sends across the wrong message. Even I had a corrupted idea of a military school.

At Missouri Military Academy, you can see that contrary to popular opinion, this school is not a haven for troubled youth or a “boot camp” with rigid disciplinary systems and hazing.  Rather it is a quality, accredited, highly regarded educational institution that emphasizes academic growth and leadership development within a structured environment, which encourages self-discipline and fosters accountability.mmafor

My first week has been interesting since all cadets salute you and call you sir. After spending 16 years in the south and being called “sir,” the salute stands out. It has a purpose and feels right.
I was a part of our first football game, and our bench had 12 available players for subs while in my previous school there were more than 45 kids in the bench. fb

I also witnessed our first soccer game.
We lost to the Division 4 state champion. We are a Division 2 school that gave a great effort. Another cool thing: I have been given the rank of lieutenant, which is better than private! The dining hall food is great – I am impressed with the quality and taste of food at MMA.

Well that’s all for now. I can be reach at @eldeportologo on twitter if you have any comments.poster

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2014 wrap end of 1st Semester

Well the first semester of the school year is over and winter sports are in full swing. Football made it to the playoffs but had an early departure. Cross Country had personal bests and a couple of great performances in several races. Golf had a run at the state but fell short. Now I have to say the highlight of the fall was the intramurals, to see the participation of students and faculty support of their students was phenomenal.

The School administrators declared Tuesday January 20th as a school holiday to mark the achievement of our FUTBOL (Soccer) team by winning the State Championship, Monday, February 2, 2015 will also be a school holiday thanks to our parents who reached 95% in Parent Participation in the Annual Fund drive !! Parents, thank you for your support and for all you do for CBHS! GO BROTHERS!95

Now other things cool that happened over the first semester included Five students from Brothers on Stage competing in the Tennessee Theatre Association One Act competition this past October against 14 other schools from across the state. Jahdiel Graham received the MVP Award for Love and How to Cure It, Congratulations to teacher Kyle Schnack, Madison Alexander, Jahdiel Graham, Diego Garcia, Luca Conti, and Luisa Schroth for your work! The play was good.

Three students from Brothers of Faith Men’s Chorus made it into the highly competitive and prestigious All State TN Honor Choir. At the All State Competition, sophomore Spencer Germany made 3rd Chair Tenor II, Trevor Brown, sophomore, made 1st Chair Bass I, and senior Christopher Williams made 1st Chair Tenor I.

Cole Perry designed a chalkboard mural that covers the north wall in the Children’s Room at Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis. For these and other charity actions, he received the Keeper of the Dream Award Dec. 2, in conjunction with the National Civil Rights Museum Freedom Awards. Also, Senior Jake Fleming received an American flag from the U.S. Navy that was flown on the USS Constitution in his honor for earning the rank of Eagle Scout.

600600p2184EDNmainCBHSbaseballsigning2014(3) (1)The CBHS band played in several venues including the Memphis Holiday parade the weekend of the 6th in downtown Memphis. Four baseball players committed to play ball after graduation from CBHS: James Muse (pitcher, University of Memphis), Colin Kilgore (pitcher, University of Memphis), Walker Grisanti (catcher/outfielder, Vanderbilt University), and Jeff Goodwin (outfielder, Christian Brothers University).

IMG_1333Brother Joel or better said, Brother Joel William McGraw, for the past 50 years has shined as an example of humility and hope to Christian Brothers High School and the greater Memphis community. He graduated from CBHS in 1963 and has taught at CBHS in the 47 of the 50 years that he has served as a Christian Brother. He received a very well deserved Celebration of his 50 years of service.

undThe Beginning of the winter sports had the basketball team undefeated in 11 games (now 23-0), the points leaders are William Douglas 11 PPG, Shun Alexander 10.2 PPG, & Undra Wilson 7.5 PPG.  Shun Alexander also leds the team in rebounds with 7.2 rebounds PG and playmaker Undra Wilson averaged 4.9 Assists PG. The JV ended 8-0 (now 11-0) and the freshmen at 5-1 (now 12-2). Charlie Crone led the way in scoring while Zach Hamlet led in rebounding and assists.

champThe wrestling team continued their dominance against area teams in the first four tournaments of the season and traveled to Hawaii at the end of 2014. Did you know? that they haven’t lost to a local team since Jan. 15, 2005, a streak of 128 straight victories. The Bowling team was third in the global standings with a 8-5 record. Freshman Kyle Frasure led the Brothers bowlers with a 203 average and in December ranked third in the overall standings. Currently they are at state.

At the end of the semester in the Brothers Cup the Abban House is leading the way with abbathe Schneider House second and the Bernardine house third all very close. Brothers on Stage had two great performances Love and How to Cure It and most recently She Loves Me.  They both were very entertaining.  Hey by the way here comes spring!

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pepWell, September came to an end and we have seen two dances: the victory dance and the home coming dance. The two pep rallies were fun and well planned; school spirit was at its finest.

The football team went 2-2 during the month of September, but started October with a big bang in terms of post season seeding by upsetting the Commercial Appeal’s “Dandy Dozen” #5 MUS in an exciting and heart stopping game.kick

The purple Wave beat the Owls 17-14 on a 42 yard kick by Jacob Richards as time expired.

The Golf team had several successes during the month, starting with two team runner up finishes in the Dragon Invitational and the Ronnie Wenzler Memorial tournaments. alex

Junior Alex Wells competed in the State Golf Championship at Willowbrook Golf Club in Manchester, TN.  Alex finished tied for 17th with a two day total of 157.

The last Saturday of September saw the top cross country runners from Memphis and the surrounding area meet for The Frank Horton Invitational, definitely one of the top events of the Cross Country season. Hosted by Christian Brothers High School, we welcomed more than 40 high school teams and 800 male and female runners. The Brothers came in second in one of the prequels to the state championships in November.xc

Coach Nick Dwyer attributes this year’s success to hard work and smart racing; “The season never ends for a Cross country runner and while they train as a pack – their battle is solely personal. For a cross country runner, there are no time-outs or substitutions”, these runners have been training since June, some mornings even up before the sun came up”.  The next XC meet will be the Shelby County Championships a week from Tuesday, October 14, at Shelby Farms. The gun goes off at 4:45.xc2


In the Brothers Cup race The Abban House leads the pack with 489 points, the Schneider House trails by 42 points and The Bernadine’s are third with 420, anchored by the seniors who have contributed 175 points. GO! Seniors, that’s how you show leadership. click to see the standings.  bros

life_bloodThe Lifeblood drive was a success, with our donation of 72 units of blood we helped to save 216 lives. (Each unit of blood helps save three lives).  Thanks to all the students, faculty and staff who helped this drive be a success.  By the way, the Lifeblood representative said that the “other boys’ school” averages 20 units for their blood drives.  Go Brothers!

As the temperature gets colder the sports get warmer with playoffs and championships Stay Tune and support the Wave… Roll Tide! MOST PHOTOS PROVIDED BY: Lance Sanderson

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2014-2015 NFL Season: Week 1 Predictions (10-6)

Pretty good I went 8-8

Canova’s Corner


NFL Football is back.  Finally.

After a long and eventful summer, America’s Game is finally set to begin, which means Canova’s Corner is back for its weekly NFL predictions.  A year ago, I finished with a record of 167-88-1 for the regular season.  I promise, I will try and do better.  Below are my predictions for Week One.

Green Bay Packers @ Seattle Seahawks:

This will be the first time these two teams meet since the “Fail Mary” a few years back when the replacement referees had jobs.  I see an epic game in the making, but I believe the defending champions will pull it off with the 12th man behind them in Seattle.  Hawks win.

SEA: 23 GB: 20 – W

New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons:

With a healthy Julio Jones and Roddy White, and a much improved offensive line, the Falcons are on track to regain form…

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It’s Time for “GO BROTHERS”

HSName_webSummer ended and classes began at Christian Brothers High School. With the beginning of a new school year a flow of new freshmen, several new teachers, two new brothers Br. Jerry Brocky, and Br. Johnathan Emanuelson, a new associate principal Dr. Durant Fleming (class of 1978) walked the hallways of CBHS.

To think Heffernan Hall once was a “cafeteria” with food dispensing machines,  if you are a senior or junior probably you’re saying “what took you so long?” It is incredible the difference of the food choices and the quality of it.  Not only that the chairs, tables and that great view of Tom Nix stadium is great.

We have a STEM building. Now like me you are probably asking what is stem? The definition of STEM is…stemm

Wikipedia tells us that… STEM is an acronym referring to the academic disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The term is typically used in the USA when addressing education policy and curriculum choices in schools from k-12 through college to improve competitiveness in technology development. It has implications for workforce development, national security concerns and immigration policy.  Simple enough? Now at CBHS our program will be known as STEMM  because we added MEDICINE. Also, I heard that under no circumstance you should called it STEMM, the new building will be known as The McEniry Hall.

The long awaited renovation of the Brothers residence is underway. Now Br. Joel told us few things about it.

“Renovation started the last week of May both downstairs and upstairs of the 1965 section of the house.  Every two contiguous rooms upstairs were made into one room with the addition of a toilet/shower/sink.  The common shower and toilet rooms were changed into a community bookkeeping room and an exercise room.  A community room was also added upstairs.  Downstairs the two parlors had French doors added to the north walls to admit more sunlight into them.  The community room in the center has new book shelves and floor covering.  The guest area in the west section of the first floor was remodeled making a more spacious and self-contained area for the families and guests of the Brothers.  The refectory, kitchen and pantry areas will receive cosmetic renovations.  The 1988 section of the dormitory will receive cosmetic renovations in the Summer of 2015.  And thus the entire residence of the Brothers will be renovated by 2015…and many thanks to Brother Chris for spearheading and allocating funding for this upgrade of the Brothers’ Residence! ”  Thanks Br. Joel for the update.

IMG_1333Speaking of Brother Joel, one of the most important things happening is that this year commemorates the 50th year of Brother Joel William McGraw as a Christian Brother. Br. Joel enrolled at CBHS as a freshman in 1959 and graduated in May of 1963 he attended Memphis State University for a year. Then on June 22, 1964 he joined the Brothers of the Christian Schools as a postulant.  On August 26, 1964 he received the habit and the name “Brother Joel William” and the rest is history. Wow! what a commitment.

The second year of the Coach Scott Vogel era will begin with two home games, Friday August 22 we play Montgomery Bell Academy and August 29th we face Germantown High School.  Also Cross Country and Golf kick off the 2014 season with high expectations._MG_8843

I was fortunate to become one of the first advisors with a group of very interesting juniors (seniors now).  Last year we met briefly daily, and on Tuesdays, advisory periods were extended, so we got to talk about things like current events, football, play games or just chill. Our goal as advisors is to: “form the boys in both the practical and the moral – from school expectations, time management, and academic accountability to the lessons of The Brother’s Call, the responsibilities of brotherhood, building honorable female relationships, and leading a faith-filled life.”  GO BROTHERS!wave

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Monday Finals

Well it’s Monday and that means getting ready for the final and the stage is set for a great one. You have 2 teams that seem to have a destiny in winning the National Championship. My day started by reading all the coaches and players comments. Lots of reading but, tons of fun getting their perspective. Today I am writing newspaper bullets or notes for EL VOCERO in Puerto Rico for everyone to keep up with the atmosphere. I will be a guest on a radio sports talk show later today and I am really looking forward to letting everyone know what it is like here in Dallas.

I want to get to the stadium early so I can get into the interview rooms and look for opportunities to talk with people. Big buzz today is Rex Chapman a radio announcer and former Kentucky player twitted that Cal was going to the Lakers win or lose tonight. Sounds like Cal hyping his pay check.

Everyone here is expecting a great game tonight and Jim Calhoun the former UConn coach is everywhere. Maybe he is looking for a job… just kidding all the players are his recruits.

Game time and lots of celebrities around, Ray Allen, Caron Butler, former President Clinton and Bush which brings excitement to the building. The game was a good one. It began close but UConn went on a run and with 6 minutes to go in the half they got a 30-15 lead. Coach Calipari went into a Zone and brought it down to four as the half ended.

In the second half Kentucky drew first blood by scoring a three to bring the score within one 35-34. UConn went on another run Napier hits a jumper with 11:01 to go and puts the Huskies by 9 48-39. Kentucky down the stretch came within two points with 6:36 in the game but that is as close as they would get. The Final: UConn 60 Kentucky 54.

After the game, went down to the press conferences and here are a couple of interesting post game comments. Coach Cal denied reports that he is going to the Lakers and was real —-off over a question about the similarities between the 2008 Memphis team and what happened to Kentucky at the line. He refused to answer and that’s not like Cal.

The place was crazy between fans, former players and the Secret Service it’s hard to move around. Got some good interviews. Hey what do you think about Napier’s comments after the game when he took the mic from Jim Nantz and called the team the Hungry Huskies and told the NCAA that’s what happens when they got banned for a year.

Overall great Final Four for basketball fans. Other than the distance to the venue, the rain, the cold the games were great like always the Final 4 is special. If you are interested I will share with you the post-game interviews some are really interesting and tells a lot about the coach and his team.

See you at school…

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