I was lucky enough to call Mr. Larry McDonald a good friend and mentor. “Mac” was a champion of physical education (although he would say that he was a champion of kids). Over the years, Mac shared lessons with me that – to this day – have had a profound impact on who I am as a teacher, a father, and a person.
The most valuable lesson Mac ever shared with me had to do with what he called “the most important word in the English vocabulary”:
It is such a simple word but one that can drastically change the emotion and attitude that we experience as we go about life:
“I can’t do this… yet!”
“I don’t know that… yet!”
“I don’t understand this… yet!”
I took this lesson and decided to share it with my students by encouraging them to be YETis in class. The idea stuck with them to the point where you could hear some students whispering “I can’t do this… yet!” as they went about their learning.
I created the Yeti Poster as a way to remind students of the power of YET that Mac had shared with me. Over the years, it became a central part of our classroom culture and even our school. The “YETI” name even evolved into an acronym for a positive affirmation for my students: “I am a Young, Empowered, Talented Individual (YETI)”.
The Larry McDonald Scholarship
Larry McDonald passed away on December 10, 2020 after a hard-fought battle with cancer. The world has been a little less funny ever since and I miss my friend.
In his honour, the “Larry Gray ‘Mac’ McDonald Scholarship Fund” memorial fund has been established at Western Carolina University. The fund will be used to help Health & Physical Education majors at the university attend the annual NC SHAPE state convention. This was what Mac wanted.
Although I published the original Yeti Poster back in 2016, I’ve been meaning to redesign it for some time now. With Mac’s scholarship set up, I figured this was a perfect time to do so.
All proceeds from The New Yeti Poster will go to the “Larry Gray ‘Mac’ McDonald Scholarship Fund” memorial fund. I will be donating any revenue generated from the poster’s sales on a quarterly or annual basis, depending on how the sales go.
Here are some ways that you can help us honour Mac’s life and legacy:
- If you are in a position to do so, purchase a Yeti poster for your classroom or school.
- Send The New Yeti Poster with fellow teachers (including your classroom teacher friends).
- Share The New Yeti Poster on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn are all great options).
- If you have no interest in The New Yeti Poster but still want to help, you can donate directly to Mac’s fund. Here is a “how-to” guide provided to me by Artie Kamiya:
- Visit the Western Carolina University’s Donation Site
- Once you’re on the page, find the section titled “designation” and click the button there to find “other” at the bottom of the list.
- That will open up a text box directly below where you can type in “Larry McDonald Scholarship” to make sure the gift is designated to the scholarship.
- Know that they do have humans reviewing all these donations, so if the name of the scholarship isn’t an exact match, it’s not going to prevent the donation from getting to the right place.
I hope that your students enjoy The New Yeti Poster and that it brings some of Mac’s positive spirit into your classroom, gym, and/or school. If you do decide to get it, I’d love it if you could post a picture of the poster living in your school on social media. Tag @phys_educator on your Twitter/Instagram post and I will add your photo to this page.
Thanks for reading and for considering supporting this cause.
🥳 Happy Teaching!