I hope that all of you have had a chance to wander down the west side of Walnut Street in the business district during the past month or two and check out the back-to-school windows that Peabody Main Street design chairman, Susie Schmidt, and her committee installed for your viewing pleasure. One of the best things about small town living is the legacy of our common history and the continuity of our successes.
A couple of weeks ago I was invited to sit on a panel of community folks interested in offering opinions to a specialist hired by the state of Kansas to evaluate the education of Peabody and Burns youngsters. I was not privy to all of the contact groups that visited with this specialist, but I think some of them included administrators, board of education members, community leaders, teachers, and students.
Early in the session I attended, the specialist asked what things about our school system made us want to holler from the roof tops. He then added, with a chuckle, that he assumed it wasn’t our football team. Well, shoot, I thought they gave it their all, didn’t you? And I said, “Well, our sports teams often have loosing years and re-building years. But we also have winning years. Did anyone tell you that Dennis Franchione coached our team to the state play-offs in 1977? ”
“Dennis Franchione?” he queried, as he scribbled on his legal pad. “Dennis Franchione … really?”
And so it goes. Nothing is forever. Coach Fran didn’t hang around long and dozens of other coaches have come and gone since then. So what? There are winning years and loosing years and re-building years. Welcome to our world.
This is our community. People will come and go. Some will contribute, some will not. Our archives play host to hometown kids who have done well in government, science, education, the arts, and, yes, in athletics. However, we also have produced good day care moms, factory workers, receptionists, civil servants, mechanics, and others who do a bang-up job in their chosen field.
We are proud of them all. One of the best things about being a student in a school the size of ours is the opportunity to participate in a number of activities. It is possible to be on a sports team and still be on student council, play first chair clarinet, contribute to the yearbook, and medal in forensics. Talent comes and goes and some years have better teams, better bands, and better student councils than others. But our kids can always learn from their participation. They will carry many of those lessons on into their own careers. They have done so for decades.
Winning years, loosing years, and re-building years all are valuable. The downtown windows with the props and pictures from decades ago to the present brought us the vision of life’s lessons from small-town America.
It was good to be reminded and I hope you took the time to look them over.
— Susan Marshall