A Strong Sense of Place

What does it mean to be connected to “a Place”.  People talk about having roots; feeling at home; knowing their neighbors but what is the feeling that goes with these kinds of statements.

I am currently involved with the USD 500 School Academy. Modeled after the local police academy, those of us in the class with spend about about 30 hours of class time learning about USD 500 from the ground up. We have all been in a classroom at some point in time so we all feel like experts in the field of education.  This class will help us learn about learning in the 21st century.

I have seen this strong sense of place from the instructor in this class as well as from the USD 500 officials we have met so far not to mention from the community members enrolled in this adventure.  This is a school district that recently was rewarded by the community with the passing of a bond issue designed to bring all of the facilities in the district into the modern era.

The instructor was taking us through a discussion about mill levies and how taxes support schools.  And during her description it was obvious to all of us that she has this strong “sense of place” – she loves her community and her school district.

My own family is four generations deep in involvement with White Church Elementary and three generations deep with USD 500 High Schools.  Dad went to White Church as did his Father.  I went there and my niece and nephew both did as well.  We love that school. Mom went to Welborn Elementary.  Both Mom and Dad went to Washington Rural HighSchool where the first four of their daughters graduated as well.  That last daughter got access to Sumner Academy of Arts and Sciences as have both of her children but that is a story for another day.

The bond approval is great news for the district – not so much for the family.  Both White Church and Welborn will be torn down as they are both over 100 years old.  Progress is good but it will be hard to lose our “place” when those structures are demolished.  We love those schools as they are now and I feel sure we will love the new facilities that they become but our sense of “place” will be changed.

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