Ron and Teri

2008 Christmas Letter

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Hello all! Another year has flown by and we can hardly believe it's Christmas time again. This is our favorite time of year as we get to hear from many people we love and cherish. We hope you are well and do look forward to hearing from you!

We've had a light dusting of snow in recent days and it's so pretty around here in Kansas at Christmas time, the way it should be if you ask us. We realize many of you are in nice cozy warm parts of the country so we'll have to post a few pictures for you to see what you're missing (smile). Around this time last year we were digging out from about a foot of snow so what we have now is pretty mild in comparison. It's simply enough to make the ground white in time for Christmas.

Our family is well. Rayna's now a sophomore at Hays High School, Jesse a senior there, Teri's at Hays Medical Center, and Ron is still working at Fort Hays State University.

Rayna played Hays High volleyball this fall. This was only her second season ever being on any organized volleyball team and she made the junior varsity team and saw some good playing time. She might go out for another sport this spring. She continues to love art and especially drawing. She's pretty talented there and you can see some photos of her creations on our website.

Rayna also is a very good student and really likes school. She makes regular appearances on the higher honor rolls and she hopes to go right into one of the larger colleges in our state after she graduates from high school. That might be a little tough to justify financially unless she gets some good scholarships though, because we all get free tuition at FHSU since Ron works there. The plan for both children has always been to go at least a couple years at FHSU and then possibly transfer to a bigger school. Rayna wants to forgo that so we'll see what develops from that.

Now too it appears Jesse won't go to FHSU his first 2 years either. He played golf again in high school last spring instead of baseball as he originally intended. The baseball coach was disappointed but Jesse's friends who golf talked him into that sport instead. He was one of the top junior varsity golfers and his JV team got an honorary invitation to play in the end of season varsity conference tournament. There Jesse shot good enough for top 10 all conference but being an honorary participant his score didn't count.

Afterwards in summer baseball Jesse was the top pitcher and one of the top hitters on his Junior Legion team. At the end of that team's season the Senior Legion coach picked him up to join them in their zone tournament. Jesse surprisingly got to close out a game in that tournament by pitching the final 3 innings and he picked up the win. After taking first in that zone tournament, the Senior Legion team went to state where Jesse was again sent into a game in relief. Our team was getting beaten pretty soundly by the eventual champs at the time and Jesse pitched pretty awesome the final 2 innings. In fact Jesse impressed so well he was invited to play on a fall baseball team of regional high school seniors. On that team he and others from various cities played against area Junior College teams. In so doing those players got scouted by many schools. Jesse was offered a full ride scholarship to Fort Scott Community College in Fort Scott, Kansas. He now plans to play baseball at that school which is located in eastern Kansas, south of Kansas City near Pittsburg.

Jesse will finally go out for high school baseball this year. He should be one of their better pitchers and hopefully help them get to state. Jesse's never had a pitching coach before and the college scouts were intrigued with his size (6'6") and his moving fastball. He has some good potential. Some wanted to see him again after he received some pitcher coaching. Hays High School has a highly respected pitching coach who Jesse is looking forward to working with. High school rules don't allow them to coach Jesse until the season starts though, so this winter Jesse worked out with the FHSU pitching coach who helped him tremendously. After Christmas he worked with some of the Wichita State University pitching staff. He eventually hopes to get a scholarship to a large division 1 university after playing 2 years at junior college. More info on Jesse's summer ball is at our website's baseball blog.

Teri has been at HMC about 29 years now and has worked at their in-patient oncology department for almost 18 years. Hays Medical Center is growing and expanding adding new facilities all the time. Teri recently applied for and has been accepted to the recovery area of the surgical floor and is looking forward to starting new again there. She'll probably be relocating to recovery around March 2009. Among the many new things she'll experience are some different hours with weekends off. Currently she works every other weekend. She's looking forward to working in new surroundings.

Ron is still at the technology center at Fort Hays State University. He helps support both the on campus and on-line courses offered through FHSU's Virtual College, as well as Beloit's North Central Kansas Technical College's on-line courses. The FHSU enrollment has been on the rise mostly due to the increased offerings through their Virtual College. FHSU has grown to 10,000 students, about half on campus and half off campus. Due to the State's budget crunch though, the 2009 FHSU summer session will not meet on campus in a cost cutting move. This summer FHSU will only offer on-line courses. The fall 09 sessions will resume as usual.

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Love always,

The Harts