Circumstances alter cases" is an English literature theme. Such was the case for the Hayhurst family recently.
When Chris Hayhurst, who was employed for the last nineteen years by Koch Fertilizer in Brandon, received promotion to Lincoln, Nebraska, as a reliability fertilizer manager, the whole family, Kerri and daughters Halle (16) and Camryn (13) was flown south to study their new opportunity in life. After much thought, they accepted the new challenge Sunday, August 25.
Beautiful Plains School Division was very co-operative as they would be losing a top notch math teacher and a dedicated basketball coach. Kerry Hayhurst has been a key staff member for 17 years at NACI and had just received Jostens Volunteer of the Year Award for Zone 7 from M.H.S.A.A. "Congratulations on being selected as the MHSAA Volunteer of the Year for 2013. You have done an outstanding job for Neepawa student athletes by being a dedicated teacher/coach, and putting hundreds of hours to ensure that your student athletes have the best experience ever! Your energy and enthusiasm is really appreciated and you always "got to the mat" on everything that you do. You are a great asset to both NACI and to MHSAA. Congratulations and thanks," stated Morrie Glimacher, MHSAA executive director.
"Another recognition I received this spring was when one of my former students, Matt Lowry, selected me as a teacher who made an impact in his life," said Kerri, "Mathew graduated with an agriculture degree from the University of Manitoba and was asked to select a teacher who had a positive impact on his career. I joined Matthew, a prominent area athlete, for a special recognition reception at the University."
Kerri was also selected as the first recipient for Neepawa's Sports Person of the Year, five years ago. "That was before they knew I was a Robertson from Hamiota," joked Kerri, "My dad and brothers had several closely contested baseball games with Neepawa over the years.
"We were excited with our new challenge but had very mixed emotions about leaving friends and a very supportive community," continued Kerri.
Oldest daughter, Halle and her close friend, Brooke de Koning, had just returned from a life changing experience in Kenya, Africa, for three weeks July 19 to August 9. "I was part of our NACI Hope Group, who had attended the Me to We Day at the MTS centre in Winnipeg, and had raised $5000 for each of the last two years in Kenya. We wanted to go to help in Kenya and see how our money was used," stated Halle who excels in various sports, soccer, basketball, volleyball, hockey, cross country, and fastball. We travelled by West Jet to Toronto and then via London to Nairobi, by Kenya Airlines. We lived in tents with five cots in each. Kenya is on the equator so it was very hot in the day (35-40°C) and chilly at night (2-5°C). Our responsibilities included building teachers residences and providing leadership in girls secondary and middle schools. "Water walks" involved helping the girls haul water in 20 litre gerry cans resting on their back and foreheads.
Halle was also looking forward to serving as a rural student representative in the 2013-14 board of directors for the Manitoba High Schools Athletic Association. The grade 10 student had to apply for consideration and the top four applicants had to submit an email essay explaining how and why she should be selected. Executive director Morris Glimacher said, "She would have been a good one and we were looking forward to working with her."
Lincoln, Nebraska is a city of 250,000 people and the home of the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers. The girls will attend school in secondary and middle schools with enrollments of 700 versus large high schools of 2500 who have already been in classes since August 14, so they are anxious to get enrolled quickly.
The Norris School fastball and basketball coaches were very prepared to accommodate Halle, who starred with Neepawa Tigers and Westman Magic teams. "I really missed the Western Canada 16U fastball tournament in Winnipeg because of our trip to Kenya, " Halle said.
Halle's school teams reached the provincial finals in varsity girls fastball and junior varsity basketball. Academics is also one of her strengths as she has grades in the 97-98% range.
"We travelled by lorry, a open air bus about five hours from Nairobi to our destination. Our food was mainly vegetables from their farm gardens and pasta. On our trip home we were delayed one day as there had been a fire in the Nairobi Airport. We plan to drive down to Lincoln which is about 12 hours so more clothing can be taken initially," Halle said after spending the Labour Day weekend at their Pelican Lake cabin.
Certainly circumstances do alter cases and we hope the Hayhurst family will be as happy and successful in Lincoln, Nebraska as they have been in Neepawa, Manitoba.