It’s a little cold in these parts this week. We’ve been closing schools less for the ice and snow and more for the single digit temperatures. I signed up to receive my county closings and delays by e-mail, and received an odd and amusing list of bus route changes yesterday.
Note: This list is incomplete, but I picked out a few personal favorites.
##### Bus Route Changes ####
- Buses 1118 & 1111 will not run Bufflick Hill; buses will turn at Sweeney Hollow
- Bus 1107 will not run Dodd Hill; will turn at rock quarry
- Buses 602, 620, 631L, 624 & 401L will not run Dry Branch Hollow; students may catch bus at the mouth of the hollow on Cabin Creek
- Buses 1014, 1004, & 1015 will not run Happy Hollow
- Bus 1010 will not go over Mt. Carmel
- Bus 1003 & 1009 will not go into Tate Hollow
- Bus 1012 will not run Holmes Hollow – will pick up at mouth of hollow
- Bus 1003 & 1009 will not cross Buzzard Rock
- Bus 1002, 1004, 1015 will not run Hughart Hollow
Two things come to mind. First, I’m not sure many of us truly appreciate how hard it is to get to school, still. There is a lot of yammering about and criticizing of rural educational attainment rates, parental apathy, and lazy kids. I don’t know about you, but if I missed breakfast (again) so I could stand in the freezing cold and wait for a bus that’s not coming up my road for the privilege of being picked up at “the mouth of the hollow,” I might stay in bed. This is assuming I know the bus route has changed. It is probable my parents don’t have Internet service in my home near Buzzard Rock.
By the way, I’m six years old.
The second thing is that I could have walked to my child’s elementary school yesterday, easily. Some days when school is delayed or closed I feel myself becoming agitated that children are missing a day of instruction “over nothing,” and then I receive an e-mail like the above and I rethink the situation.
If we all can’t be there, no one gets to be there.
This is the beauty, and the frustration, and the agony, and the glory of the public school system. If we can’t figure out a way to pick you up and get you there — you, the one child on at the mouth of X Hollow — we will wait for you. If conditions are so bad that we can’t find a way to get every last young’un to the school house, we will all stay home.
I posted a few of these bus route changes on Facebook and an old friend immediately recounted, “Remember in 1976, when Kenna Elementary lowered ropes down to the foot of the hill to help kids climb up to the school one winter?” This was not my school, but this was my West Virginia growing up. School was important, and grown ups did crazy but wonderful things to make sure we arrived there and that we wanted to be there. It wasn’t perfect, but it was this spirit of we all go together.
We don’t have the system where it should be. There are more than a few things that are not right in terms of policy and process. The energy around we all go together, however, is still there; I remind myself that is a good thing in the Big Picture per the values of our country when I start to fume over inefficiency. We need to keep that spirit, but find a way to not let it keep us at the lowest common denominator of everything all the time. Upgrading our system to year ’round schooling would be a solid launching pad for getting our priorities as well as our values back in sync.
In the meantime, it’s very cold again this morning. God bless the children of the hollows. Amen.
Image credit: I.D. photo show on architecture, lost and found