It is not often that parents can say that they have 9 years and counting of experience with one High School. Particularly a public High School. In our case, my wife and I blended our 8 children in October of 2008 and from that date on we have driven to Burke nearly every day. At this point we have had 4 children graduate from Burke (one left prior to his senior year to complete school in NC), we have two enrolled at Burke currently, and one more who will start in the Fall of 2018. By the end of the school year in 2022 we will have had 14 straight years of Burke High School. What is our opinion of Burke H.S.? We've trusted all 8 of our children to Burke.
My wife and I are both full-time realtors (after 13+ years as a college career services administrator, and stay-at-home mother), and routinely find ourselves working with clients who house hunt based on all kinds of criteria. One of the common criteria is that of schools. They pull up every report known to man to judge the best schools for their current or future kids. It is quite common for people to insist on Millard Schools, District 66, or Elkhorn schools. For the families that care deeply about schools, those are the common choices. We then hear their many reasons for choosing those schools. Professionally, our opinion means nothing, so we simply listen and serve. But personally, we have voted by our actions.
We are raising children who can handle life. We want our children to know how to work for what they want. We teach our children that it is their job to go after their goals, make choices, and be responsible for the choices they make. Teenagers never make good choices 100% of the time, so they often stumble along the way. But it is their job to own those choices. As we look at Burke, and the experience our children have had, each has had a different experience. Why is that? Not because the opportunity changed or somehow one of our children was given less of a chance to succeed than another. But rather because teenagers make choices. They know what is right and wrong, and they make choices. Some choices are bad but don't lead to major problems; some choices are good and don't lead to major triumph; some choices are good and lead to exciting opportunities; and some choices are bad and lead to consequences with a real price to pay.
With 8 children, we've seen all these different choices playing out in our children as they walk the path of high school at Burke. And consistently, with each of our children, we are grateful to say that all of our children have been supported, challenged, and held accountable for their choices.
For our children who have completed life at Burke, each is thriving in their own way. Collectively, they are all handling their business and being responsible. We have two children pursuing college; one who is happily married; and two that are living together, working, paying bills, saving money, and living life as they choose. For the 2 children at Burke currently, they have learned the benefits of engaging in the "fun" of high school. Both have found a home in their chosen athletic arena, and have been tremendously blessed by the challenge and support of the coaches they work with. These two boys are thriving and believing in their potential and future, in part, because outstanding coaches took the time to teach, challenge, push, and support our kids. Who knows exactly what these two will do after graduation, but I know they are having opportunities come to them because they have chosen to engage in the "fun" of high school, have some talents that are unique, and have coaches who help them see their own potential and connect them to opportunities.
Our last child has yet to arrive but undoubtedly she will have whatever experience at Burke she chooses to have. The teachers, coaches, staff, and administrators are all there to connect and support the children. Therefore, our daughter will have every opportunity to find her niche, be inspired to explore new things, and hopefully make healthy choices that lead to her likewise being an inspired and responsible adult.
Naturally there is a great deal of teaching going on at home. We set rules, make adjustments for the uniqueness of each of our children, and do all we can to challenge them to discover their talents, develop new ones, take risks, and believe in themselves.
Burke High School has played a key role in helping us accomplish what we hoped for with each of our children. When we were needing to hold our children accountable for their poor choices, Burke did so but also offered support to help them overcome. When a child decided he wanted to quit football as a freshmen since he was smaller than many at the time, a quick phone call to the coach from us, led to the staff reaching out to our son to give him just enough encouragement that he stuck with it (and now will enter his last year as a starting lineman with a chance to play college football if he chooses). Burke gave a home to two children in the Band program that helped them develop lifelong friendships and memories that only band can offer. And for our youngest son, the track and XC coaches have challenged him to see the uniqueness of his talent and the potential he possess, even at the young age of 15, to compete in college at the division 1 level. And with all that support, they always work to hold our children accountable for their academic choices as well.
Burke is a part of our family. For Tammie and I, we are both proud to say that Burke has played a positive and key role in helping us raise our children. But it wasn't the building (I'm a Central Alum, and am a little partial to the look of my high school), it was and is the people who work at Burke and serve our children.
With Gratitude and Respect,
Michael & Tammie Rheiner