Q & A with Mr. Novak

During the first week of school, we held the annual senior retreat where our 12th grade students went through a rotation of activities intended to help them understand what it means to be a senior. They heard about the college application process from student services, they learned about what it meant to be a leader, and they had a chance to get to know their new principal a bit better.

The Q & A session addressed a variety of topics from homecoming and the Howard student body to my personal favorites for fast food, movies, etc. There were so many questions that students wrote down that I couldn’t answer them all, but I figured I’d entertain a few more of them here on the blog. Here are some of the questions seniors wrote for me to respond to:

Can you name three Lil Wayne Songs?

No, I don’t even think I can name one song by Lil Wayne. Are there any you recommend?

Are we going to have to call you Dr. Novak soon?

I am not currently in a PhD program, but maybe in the future. We’ll see.

When do we find out the dates for the senior activities like the boat trip, etc?

Many senior events are determined once we set a date for graduation. You can follow the senior class SGA on Twitter (@TeamZEGS) for updates on events like Homecoming and the Senior Crab Feast.

Five Guys or Red Robin?

I like the burgers better at Red Robin. The Royal burger with the egg on it is my favorite, but nothing beats the fries from Five Guys.

Can we have more dances besides Homecoming and Prom?

I’m all for more dances as long as a few things can be addressed: 1) the date is available on the school calendar; 2) the sponsoring organization obtains enough chaperones; 3) enough tickets are sold to cover the cost of the DJ, decorations, etc; and 4) student behavior/dancing is appropriate.

Have you ever been arrested?

No, and I hope I never am.

Can we storm the field when we win a playoff game?

I don’t know any college or pro stadiums that allow spectators to rush the field, so why should we do it at high school? It’s important to celebrate a big win, but let’s not put our players or our fans in jeopardy by creating a mob scene.

What is love?

I don’t have a great answer to this question, but it reminded me of the Saturday Night Live skit from years ago with the Haddaway song—“What is love? (Baby Don’t Hurt Me…)

Do you like the other administrators?

I like them a lot. I think we have a strong administrative team with diverse backgrounds and experiences. Everyone brings a different set of strengths to the table and complements each other well. I’m looking forward to a great year with them and all of the Howard staff.

What is your stance on police brutality against African Americans?

Wow, this is a bit more serious than the Five Guys or Red Robin question. I think we’ve seen a disturbing trend in the last few years as the names and the experiences of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Walter Scott, or Freddie Gray have become more the norm than the exception. Police brutality against African Americans or any person for that matter is a serious issue that our governments must contend with. It is clear from not only events like these, but the comments that are posted on social media following high profile deaths, protests, etc that America is a very polarized place right now. Until we can come together as a people, there is much work to be done. It’s the young people at Howard and across the country who need to work for the future they want to see for themselves and their peers. And all the adults in your/their lives are here to help!

I feel like we get a lot of busywork compared to other schools in HoCo—thoughts?

I haven’t seen much busywork for in-class activities yet, so I’m not sure if you’re referring to homework. I can’t really say without seeing what’s going on, but I do think it’s an important issue to address. Students should see and know the value of the assignments they are given and feel like they contribute to their learning. Good conversation for us to explore with the staff.

Didn’t get your question answered? Feel free to stop me in the hall and ask sometime this year!

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