Sep 29, 2006
Tales From The Nance Effect Road Show
Posted in: Visit
Even as I write this I am en-route from the border town of El Paso, TX to Boston, MA. As the old joke goes: "I just flew in from El Paso and boy are my arms tired." (rim shot) But seriously, I have been on the road visiting schools, meeting students and conducting MIT Central Meetings for the better part of September. Here is a quick update of what I saw and who I met.
Tucson, AZ (A.K.A. Wildcats & Mr. Rattlesnake)
"Dry heat" huh... You know what? 99 degrees is 99 degrees. End of conversation!
[SIDEBAR] Why did the flight attendant spend 10 minutes explaining that my seat could be used as a floatation device even though the entire route of the flight (Phoenix to Tucson) was over the desert? Just thought I'd throw that out there.
What a great town. I got a chance to be like Tiger on the links in Tucson. I now understand desert rules for golf. After marveling at a 240+ yard drive (just off the green) I encountered a Tucson native inhabitant; the rattlesnake. There I am in the middle of my back swing when I hear what can only be described as someone shaking beads in an empty soda can. I wish I could tell you what he/she/it looked like but I quickly vacated the area. It was at that moment that I realized why the entrance of the golf course suggested "Desert Rules" and "Beware of Rattlesnakes." I wonder if the snake thought that I might taste like chicken.
The MIT Central Meeting was held at Catalina Foothills High School. I was treated to a pre-game show by the School Marching Band. All I can say is wow! If you happen to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, be sure to keep an eye out for The Catalina Foothills High School Marching Band. Overall I had a blast. There were great students and there was great southwestern food, but no fish tacos.
Phoenix, AZ (A.K.A Sun Devils)
"Dry heat" huh... You know what? 108 degrees is 108 degrees. End of conversation!
I had another spectacular Central Meeting that was held at Phoenix Country Day School. The crowds really turned out for my meeting. We had lots of great conversations and more than a few laughs at my expense. Sorry about the technical difficulties, Phoenix. I know, I'm from MIT so there should be no technology issues with my presentation. In my defense I'll remind you that I only work at MIT.
Oklahoma City, OK (A.K.A. SOONER Country)
Beautiful weather and great students! During my visits in OKC I was able to meet students from Classen HS and Northeast Academy. The prize for the largest student turn-out goes to Oklahoma School for Science and Math who rolled into the library 50+ strong! Talk about a warm welcome!
Norman, OK (A.K.A. BOOMER - SOONER Epicenter)
Everyone who knows me is fully aware that when it comes to sports I L-O-V-E the University of Oklahoma football SOONERS. Hell, I probably would have named my daughter Boomer if I thought I could have gotten away with it. Less I digress. As I drove into Norman it was hard to see the road because of the tears in my eyes. (Yes I was happy, but I ran over a dead skunk on highway OK-77 South). Despite minor setbacks, I pressed on.
I first visited Norman High School where we talked and talked and talked. I left thinking, " what a great group of students." (I must admit that collectively the Norman students had a warped and twisted sense of humor...probably the reason that I enjoyed the visit so much.) They threw lots of tough question at me and hopefully I answered to their satisfaction. Norman HS, let me know how you'd rate The Nance Effect Road Show.
After you visit Norman H.S. there is only one place left to go... that's right, Norman North H.S! This time I was ready. With no dead skunk aroma and a cup of Starbucks Venti Skinny Peppermint Mocha Late (no whipped) I was ready for the Norman North crowd. In a room designed to hold 12 we stuffed 25 students and a video camera for an extra long discussion about MIT. Did I mention that there was no AC in the room and the outside temperature was in the high 80's? Still Norman North, you showed me mad love Sooner style.
After all of that activity, I thought that I would go to the OU bookstore, take a few pictures of the football stadium and call it a night. Ohhhhh no! Not the kid! I was reunited with the great Paul Rocha, Student Recruitment Specialist at OU. (Some years earlier we were a dynamic admissions duo at Cornell.) After an amazing Mexican feast we moved on to Edmond, OK where we conducted a joint college presentation at the Edmond Native American College Program. (Big shout-out to Ms. Baya Sanchez Crynes and Ms. Sydna Yellowfish for the warm welcome and cool Native American print t-shirt!) After a great few days with awesome students and friends - new and old - I was forced to bid farewell to Sooner State. (Still no fish tacos)
El Paso (A.K.A. Miners)
El Paso welcomed me with open arms and mercury readings in the high 90's. Enough with the dry heat references!
Unfortunately, I was not able to make any high school visits, but I finally got my fish tacos! Life is so good to me! After a few hours of sleep and a great meal I was ready for the best and brightest that El Paso had to offer. True to form, I was not disappointed in the number of students and families that came to learn more about MIT. Great questions and conversations from a very knowledgeable crowd. It was a love-fest. I am disappointed that my schedule did not allow me to visit any schools in the El Paso area, but I did get to make my first trip to Mexico. I spent a grand total of 20 minutes south of the border. So much to do, so little time. Alas, there is always next year.
In the coming weeks the The Nance Effect Road Show is headed to New York City and Southern California. If you happened to catch it or you have questions about the application process, drop me a line and we'll tawk.