Deb Hadachek Editor
I was visiting with board member Troy Carlgren, who noted he is the third or fourth generation of his family to take a turn serving on a school board in Republic County.
We talked about the changes in school districts we’ve seen in the last 10 and 20 and 30 years. No original Pike Trail League school exists today from the time that Troy and I were in high school. (Troy’s a tad younger than me, so I remember a few schools prior to consolidations that he doesn’t.)
I suspect, however, his grandfather felt some of the same nostalgia as he watched the country schools that dotted the landscape close one by one. And certainly, whether you are from Kackley or Narka or Republic or Agenda, it is bittersweet to see your school buildings repurposed or razed.
This is why I have a love-hate relationship with high school reunions that traditionally happen Memorial weekend.
Quite frankly, the good work of our schools and communities and citizens and good things happening in Republic County did not end in 1952. Instead of only focusing on what was, I hope our residents are quick to point out what is still terrific about Republic County today.
Invariably at alumni time I run into someone who hasn’t been back in 50 years lamenting that their hometown looks different today than it did then. That’s true whether you drive through downtown Cuba or downtown Chicago.
I want to introduce those alumni to my young friends who got college degrees and chose to return to Republic County because they knew it is a great place to live and raise kids.
I want to introduce them to my retired friends who had careers in other parts of the country and then chose to return to Republic County for the pace of life, easily accessible health care, freedom from traffic, and relative safety of small town living.
And then there’s a huge slice of the population like the Carlgrens who have been here for generations, volunteering their time to make their corners of the world a better place to live. (And usually the ones doing all the work to make alumni homecomings possible.)
A 75-year-study on health and happiness from Harvard University concluded this: “those people who fared the best were the people who leaned in to relationships, with family, with friends, with community.”
Our people and their ideas and their work ethic are a priceless commodity, and of value in today’s society. Republic County has always been a good place to call home.
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