Wednesday, June 01, 2005


The front cover of the Daily Review Atlas for last evening had, as its top story, "Last class graduates from MHS". They showed (albeit on print copy, in black & white) a photo of two young women wearing the same tacky maroon gown, maroon mortar board, and maroon and gold tassel that I once wore at a comparable ceremony in the gymnasium at Monmouth High School.

Monmouth High School is no more. Beginning this fall, it will be a union of Monmouth and Roseville -- two systems between which there is no historical animosity. The maroon and gold will be replaced by crimson and white, I believe (they didn't seem to like the suggestion my classmates and I offered, back in '78, to make them puce and chartreuse). The mighty Zippers, Snappers and Buttons (as the varsity, jayvee and frosh athletic teams were once known -- only to be abbreviated, from time to time, as the Zips, the Snaps, and... well, you know) will become another "Mighty Titans" (how will THAT be abbreviated? she asked snidely).

Oddly, I am not sorry -- not one whit -- that the school is changing. The nature of education, like the nature of life itself, should always be about growth and adaptation.

Monmouth and Roseville, both having suffered from the common rural community economic wobbles, have seen their young go forth to the cities, leaving an ever-diminishing student population. Some have returned, and Warren County is learning to market itself as a nice bedroom district for the larger cities north (Quad Cities) and south (Peoria and Macomb) of it, as well as for the moderately booming Burlington, IA. But the county, as a whole, is not out of the woods, and it's good to see the two communities recognize the need to co-operate, at least as far as schooling is concerned.

Here's hoping it leads to even better relations within the region. Without each other, communities die, and Monmouth is too special to my heart for me to watch it turn into a ghost of itself.

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