A Poland principal’s choice: What would you do?


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by Todd Franko (Contact)   | 340 entries


Debbie Kempers won four tickets to a Cleveland Cavaliers game, and called her husband, Ed, the principal at McKinley Elementary School, to let him know the great news.

To say Ed was excited was an understatement. She won them a week ago Monday and all Ed heard was the game was “Wednesday.” He was so eager for the April 1 game that he immediately began to decide which of his buddies should go, etc.

(Note: The buddy list was after the obligatory invite to his wife, which any guy knows is almost an automatic ‘no.’ But you ask anyway.)

It was only after he began to make plans that his wife corrected him: The tickets were for the Wednesday, April 8 game — last night. And Ed’s happiness quickly turned to anguish.

Last night was also the spring concert for McKinley Elementary School’s fifth- and sixth-grade students. Kempers said it’s an important event for him, too.

I am an observer of lots of community and school events. Let me explain the concert:

It features 40-some fifth-graders playing three songs, followed by 40-some sixth-graders playing three songs. The concert is one of two every year. It’s cute. It’s pleasant. It’s fun as a parent to see your child on stage.   

But it’s not Carnegie Hall. It’s not even Stambaugh. And it’s certainly not “American Idol.”

It takes more time to seat the audience and seat the students than it takes to play the music. The kids actually spend less time on stage than their parents spend waiting in the hallway afterward for their kid to re-appear from backstage.

Heck, the fifth-grade parents don’t even hang for the sixth-graders’ show. And truth be told, the sixth-grade parents would probably miss the fifth-grade gig were it not for the fact that all kids have to arrive at the same time.

So it’s a place a parent such as me has to be and often wants to be. But ...

It’s not the three hours of pure Cavs’ heart-pounding excitement. It’s not LeBron doing the powder thing. It’s not the team demoralizing any out-of-town foe who dares to enter its home court. It’s not 13 sweat-spotting rows up behind the Cavs bench. It’s not “COOLLLLLLD BEER HERE!”

So where was Ed — who has no children in the band, except for his “kids” in his school?

At the concert. He said it’s something he never wants to miss.

He surrendered his Cavs tickets to four friends — who texted him often as he sat listening to the theme from “Star Wars.”

Alas, Ed will get to a Cavs game this week. Months ago, he did get tickets to the Cavs' game this Sunday, when his hometown Boston Celtics visit Cleveland.

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