I live in a small town where the main source of activity and jobs is a local state university. The university just started classes this week for the fall semester which got me to thinking about my time going through school and the friends I had.
I grew up in a small farming village of about 400 people in rural Nebraska. Our lives more or less revolved around the changing seasons, crop prices, church activities, and the local school. Since my town was so small, we actually shared a school with another town about ten miles northwest of us. The school was a big part of our town’s life. It didn’t matter if it was Friday Night football, competitive speech meets, the prom, academic bowls, etc., the town supported all of our activities. I never thought much of it while growing up in the late 1990s, but then most kids don’t think much of their hometowns when their 16 or 17 and are looking to venture out and see what is out there in the world.
I wasn’t Mr. Popular in my high school, but I was far from anonyomous too. I like to think that most of us in my high school who were involved in some kind of extracirricular activitity (which was probably 85% of our student body in my small school) were somehow embraced and noticed by the people in our town one way or another. Years ago when I went through (I’m not sure how it is now), our school was more academically inclined then some because we had some really amazing teachers, so there was no embarassment in being in the band or the school play or speech teams. Though we also had some decent sports teams as our football team did make state finals one year in the mid 1990s.
Even though we didn’t have many advanced placement classes or any accelerated programs, we still recieved a good well-rounded education at our school. Sure it may not produce any Rhodes Scholars or Ivy Leaguers or may not make the list of Top 100 High Schools in America. Sure I had my difficulties because of the beginnings of my mental illness problems, especially late in my academic career. But I won’t trade my four years of classes, friends, experiences, activities, and times I spent at Anselmo-Merna High School in Merna, Nebraska for anything.