Thursday night, Jan. 31, was a special night for Jeff Duncan, principal at Mayer High School, and for all of his supporters. Kim and Igal Blumstein, owners of Flourstone Bakery in Mayer, had a donation jar on their counter through the month of January and sponsored a Jeff Duncan Day – where 10 percent of the profits went to his cancer fund.
Each time a patron got change, they were asked if they would like their change put in the jar for Jeff. Igal said, “Not only single dollars, but 10 and 20 dollar bills were placed in the jar.”
Jeff has been the principal of Mayer High School for the past eight years. He is always ready to support any community event, has been asked to judge parades, be a candidate in the dunk tank, and many other non-school activities. So the entire community from Cordes Lakes to Dewey-Humboldt had heavy hearts when it was learned he had an aggressive form of cancer.
Jeff is very popular in the community, so many of his supporters stepped up to the plate to cover many of the events he usually supported. If he was able, he would attend, but as many know, cancer takes its toll leaving the recipient bed-ridden at times.
And as many know, the financial impact can be devastating. The check from Flourstone was added to other donations and will be given to the Cancer Society, which has been a great supporter throughout Jeff’s illness.
It was a pleasure to see Jeff at the basketball game and to have a chat to find out how he was doing and to reflect on his past years at the high school. When asked about his best accomplishment, he was quick to answer that “test scores have improved about 10 percent.” And while that doesn’t sound like much, keep in mind that they are still going up.
Second is the change in culture at the high school. He said each child matters and is recognized as an individual – not lumped together as a group. Third was better counseling, with better parent-teacher communication.
Jeff was enthused about the athletic programs, including the newly added wrestling program. Darrold Andrist is the coach and even with a small group, they are making their name known through their competitions at Bradshaw Mountain and Camp Verde. Other coaches are Ethan Johnson, a graduate of Mayer High School, Nick Colquitt, and Kevin Campbell, to name a few. Many thanks to them and everyone who stepped in to keep the sports going.
Jeff’s view on cancer is: let’s work together as a community and beat it.
And the community is doing just that.