Kougar Column 12-9-2021

Posted by Robert Lukens on 12/9/2021

As a school, we pride ourselves on educating the whole child.  I have often praised the attributes of our Career and Technical Education, Fine Arts, and fall extracurricular programs.  This week, however, is the start of something new.  Our gymnastics, boys' and girls' basketball, and wrestling programs will start their seasons shortly, and the student body is excited about what’s to come.

The role of sports in education is a unique one.  Sports such as basketball and wrestling force our young students to make instant decisions.  This can happen quickly, like in a game of basketball when a player  steals and must execute a fastbreak with their teammates.  Their coaches will prepare them for that moment; however, the player will have opportunities to implement on their own what they learned from careful instruction during practice.

Similarly to the athletic arena, our students will encounter moments of independent execution throughout their lifetimes.  Many bosses or occupations will provide training on how to execute on the job, but it is up to our students, the future employees, to make those decisions in real-time.  What a privilege it is to watch the investment of our staff come to fruition once one of our graduates secures a job and is able to put their education to practice.

We all enjoy the thrill of a game-winning shot or the drama of a tiebreaker match in the ring. What gets me is when the student-athlete succeeds, the pure joy spread across their face.  The face of a successful student in any area is the product of the work and time they, their family, their teachers, and their coaches have selflessly devoted to them.

The mental training of the game is also quite extensive. In wrestling especially, the best-conditioned student-athlete in the match usually wins.  When Dakota Territory was founded, it had a population near 5,000. This desolate prairie was to provide for the families that lived here year-round. The mental strain of getting through each day to build this great land is a sample of our forefather's strain. The late-night games and coming to school for class push students through a mental struggle, better preparing them for the real world, just like our founders.

Today, I am so proud of our staff and all the effort they put into helping a student to complete the semester and mentally prepare for the future successfully.  I am happy to say that I am a Kadoka Kougar.  The winter sports seasons are a welcome tradition, one we look forward to each year. Best wishes to all of our student-athletes.


In support of the Kougars,


Robert Lukens

MS/HS Principal

Kadoka Area High School