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A Bad Day Fishing Is Better Than a Good Day Testing
 Group of fishermen
Photo by Beth Dombrowa
Horace Mann Junior School students and volunteers prepare for a morning of fishing at the Seabrook pier.

A Bad Day Fishing Is Better Than a Good Day Testing 

Horace Mann student fishing
Horace Mann Junior School 8th grader Seth Lawson tried his hand at fishing.

By: Beth Dombrowa

Fishermen are known for their tall tales about “the one that got away.” A group of Horace Mann Junior students recently had the opportunity to create their own fables when they went on a day fishing trip to Seabrook’s Pine Gully Pier. For most, it was their first experience fishing.

Sponsored by, a website devoted to fishing enthusiasts around the world, 10 young men from HMJ, mostly members of a campus organization called Young Men About Change (YMAC), spent a day casting and reeling, and learning about fishing strategies from volunteers who were on hand to share their expertise.

YMAC members have occasional get togethers, primarily on campus where the club sponsor, Assistant Principal Earnest Brooks, invites positive role models to interact with the boys over pizza or a basketball game. One invited guest was so impressed by the organization that he talked about it with an acquaintance, Tommy Bridwell, who happens to be active with

“I saw it is an opportunity to teach some kids about fishing and the love of outdoors,” Bridwell said. He set up a fundraiser via, where other website participants pitched in to cover the expenses of the trip. Each participant received a t-shirt and their own rod and reel to keep. The fundraiser also covered the cost of bait for the day.

“These are the kinds of experiences kids need to show them that there are all kinds of ways to have a good time in a positive, safe manner,” Brooks said. “YMAC is all about changing behavior and learning that it’s possible to be a leader. Through the volunteer guests we have, they see that success comes in many forms. We’re always looking for activities they can enjoy that they might not otherwise have access to.”

Unfortunately, fishing conditions weren’t exactly favorable the day the boys gathered, along with fishing enthusiast volunteers eager to show the mostly first time anglers the basics of baiting and casting. But, as they say, a bad day fishing is better than a good day testing. And, after taking their STAAR exams, the boys were ready to unwind.

“It was a lot of fun to go fishing, thanks to the generous people who set it up for us,” said seventh grader Jasiel Herrerra Diaz, a member of YMAC.


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