During the summer months, especially in the small town of Mason, digging up photos and news stories can be difficult. It's not that we don't have things happening, it's just that we often don't have enough to fill up the paper.
And then school starts up again.
With school comes football, band, cross country and FFA. There's going to be UIL competitions and magazine sales. There will be cheerleader bake sales and sports team playoffs. In short, the availability of news items shoots up considerably when that first class bell rings.
I've had people complain when I run "too much" school stuff. They say they don't know any of the kids anymore and they don't follow any of the sports. But, when the school is your largest employer, and one third of the county is in one place for seven hours a day, you have to admit that it is newsworthy.
I like the beginning of the school year because it feels like everything is back into a routine. Everyone is arriving in town at about the same time, lunch times are predictable, and the kids aren't driving around heading to the river making me envious.
I know that many of the kids dread the beginning of school. They wonder about their teachers, their classmates, their classes... and they wonder if this year will be better than last year. For others, it's a return to the "society" they know and love. School is their world, home the temporary break where they eat and sleep.
The kids at Mason I.S.D. now have access to many things that were unheard of when I was in school more than 30 years ago. There's air conditioning in the elementary and junior high! The library is in its own wing, not out in the hallway! Every room has a phone for emergencies rather than one phone in the office.
And, there are computers.
When I took typing in high school, we had all manual typewriters, and one Smith-Corona Selectric. Everyone took their turn on the humming machine, excited at the modern tools we had in the wild world of 1975! Now, the kids don't take typing. They don't need to. They've been using the computers since they were toddlers. They learned the keyboard early, and then taught their parents how to use the computers.
The kids have become so accustomed to having technology at hand, they sometimes forget where things actually originate. Ask a kid the definition of a word, and he'll most likely Google it rather than using a dictionary. Unfortunately, the internet is not rooted in absolute truth and clarity, so the definition will most likely have a bit of embellishment; but, at least it will be close to accurate.
The kids have cell phones at school; but, they're not supposed to be using them. Yet, parents are texting their children during classes, kids are texting each other, and everyone whips out the newest, most expensive phone at every opportunity to help them in their daily lives. Parents really might want to read the Student Handbook, and pay attention to the costs associated with using a phone at school, and then discuss that prohibition with their kids! Or, they can just wait till its taken up and complain about the school picking on their little one! Whatever!
Welcome back to classes, Mason. We have the best schools in the state, the finest teachers to be found, and the greatest students anywhere. Put all together, it means that the possibilities are endless for what we can achieve. You, and all the myriad activities, are part of our lives and we'll be telling everyone about them.
So, make us proud!
It’s all just my opinion.