Location (and spelling) is everything
I’m Just Sayin’
by SHEILA SMITH
I am a prideful person. However, I also have a self-deprecating sense of humor, which is good, because now I feel the need to publicly acknowledge some major mistakes.
On Feb. 13 I attended a meeting at Elton High School (EHS) with the Jeff Davis Parish School Board Buildings and Grounds Committee. The purpose of the meeting was to allow voters in the area to give their input on whether the Indians’ stadium should be renamed for former coach, educator and superintendent Cleve Beard.
I jotted down everyone’s glowing remarks about Mr. Beard in my handy dandy reporter’s notebook and listened as the committee approved the recommendation. The next day, I ran a nice little story on the fact that the renaming would likely happen.
Unfortunately, I wrongly reported that the EHS gymnasium would be renamed – not the stadium. Even worse, it was the second time in about three months that I wrongly reported the gym – not stadium – was being renamed. A school board member politely and calmly pointed out the mistake to me when I arrived at the full board’s meeting last week.
Apparently I have some deep subconscious connection to the EHS gym.
Now, between the botched story on Feb. 14 and the first EHS mistake in December, I also messed up my story in the latter month regarding Welsh High School’s (WHS) own hopes to rename its field house after former coach and assistant principal Dutton Wall – whom I constantly referred to as Dutton Hall.
I’ve had plenty of printed mistakes in my career – a misspelled named, incorrect date or time or a grammatical error that slips by during proofing. My work is not perfect but still, I hate making a mistake – especially when the mistake is printed for thousands to see and eventually archived online and in bound books we keep at the office.
I do apologize for the mistakes regarding both Mr. Wall and Mr. Beard, two men I personally do not know but realize made lasting impacts on the parish and their communities.
And at this point I’m pretty sure the fine people at the Central Office are thankful they never had me as a student, especially since they had already kindly told me in December that Mr. Hall was actually Mr. Wall and the EHS stadium was up for a name change, not the gym.
I’m also wondering if this column is going to make the Central Office’s “Look Who’s in the News” bulletin board. Or maybe they have a “Wall of Shame” I’ve never seen.
When I find out a mistake has been printed, I usually cringe unless it is a mistake involving a number because numerical values and I are sworn enemies. I describe myself as “remedial math.” When I started college, my ACT English scores were high enough that I was able to skip my first two required English courses.
My math score, however, was so low that I was required to join a remedial math course. However, on the first day of class, everyone was tested to determine if they could instead join a basic college math class.
My score that day was so low that I was called to a dean’s office and informed I was being moved into an even lower remedial math – the lowest remedial math class offered, actually.
I’m okay with that. Numbers are evil and I realized in fifth grade that addition and subtraction were the extent of my math skills – as long as I have a calculator.
Still, I’ve really got to work on this “gymnasium versus stadium” thing.
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