My Love Letter to West Ranch High School

Dear Mr. Vincent…I just had to write this and get it out.  Please share as you can. I feel the need to share my gratitude with the world, particularly my “blogosphere.”

westranchMarch 10, 2013

Dear West Ranch Educators, Coaches and Administrators:

This is just a short letter to send my (our) deepest gratitude, sentiments and earnest appreciation for your overwhelming acceptance and kindness you have displayed continually toward my son Stevie over the past two years—through both stern discipline when needed, and positive motivation when appropriate.

As some of you know, Stevie transferred to West Ranch from Saugus High School in the winter of 2011. At this time he as was very scared and insecure, transferring from a very dark and problematic situation at SHS. I could go on and on about this troubling scenario though it would provide no point. Let it be said that at the time Stevie needed love, acceptance and some respect—West Ranch provided it to him in abundance.  As a result, my heart overflows with appreciation.

You have all contributed to restoring some semblance of respect toward adult authority figures in his life. At a time when he believed all adult authority concerned themselves only with “looking good” and not “being good” you have all exemplified for him what it means to be a good person; a cheersectionconfident person; a leader. I cannot thank you all enough for this…you, as an institution, have earned my deepest respect and highest regards. Thank you.

As most of you know, Stevie is a very good person though he is also a risk-taker who likes to live life a bit on the edge. As his parent, I have earnestly worked with him to learn the values of wisdom and discernment WITHOUT losing this cutting edge of risk-taking behavior… after all, the world needs risk-takers. Striking this balance is not easy and Stevie has Stevieinhospitalfrequently both reaped the benefit AND paid a hefty price for this risk-taking behavior.  I thank all of you for recognizing this quality in Stevie and not thwarting it out of fear, not threatened by his supreme confidence, rather shaping it out of love. Thank you.

I specifically want to thank coaches Shant Bickaki and Sean Mckillop for taking in Stevie not only as a basketball player, though as a person. Even after he decided to no longer play basketball, they continued to take him out to lunch and send encouraging texts…he shares them with me. I feel Sterbsinplayforever indebted to them both. Administrators Ms. Manfredi, Mr. Necessary (come back!!) and, of course you, Principal Vincent for taking such great care of Stevie and leading not just with the rod, but with the heart as well. In addition I would like to personally thank his counselor Ms. Van Amberg who was always there for him and Ms. Overdevest for accepting Sterbs into West Ranch TV -sight unseen- as she understood the situation from which he was coming from, THANK YOU.

Ms. Banks, Ms. Frame, Mr. Von Busch, Mr. Ippolito, and all of his teachers (please forgive me for not knowing all your names!) you are in the front line trenches of Stevie’s life and he shares with me the stories he learns from all of you.  As an educator myself, please know of the profound effect you are having on these lives and you have all changed Stevie for the better.

Stevie even comes home with wonderful stories from the friendly custodians and front gate workers…the entire culture of West Ranch, top to bottom, is exemplary.

meandsterbswrtvStevie is our youngest child and we are now in the process of saying goodbye to the Hart District. Thank you all so much for sending us, and Stevie, out with such a great taste in our mouths after having a rather dismal one. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Jimmy Urbanovich



  1. Thanks for taking the time to write this. I appreciate every word. West Ranch is an amazing school with phenomenal staff. I wonder how they manage such a positive culture and inspiring climate. Thank you to West Ranch.

  2. It is obvious that a wonderful change has come over our boy! We must agree with all you have stated above in your blog. He has always been great but has become even greater. We are so proud of Stevie and talk so much about his becoming such an incredible person all the way around. He is so loving, caring & respectful, always. We love our boy & all the family. I do believe we are so blessed!

  3. Jimmy,

    Thank you so much for your kind words. I too believe that West Ranch is a very special high school and I am so appreciative for the wonderful teachers and staff members that work here. You son Stevie is a wonderful young man and has left a legacy of positive leadership at West Ranch.

  4. “Bobby V”….you welcomed him with open arms. You actually told him to his face he is welcome. Good for you. It seems the little things translate into making the biggest and best leaders. Thank you.

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