Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Class of One! Valedictorian!

One of my favorite weekend tasks is to read the many local newspapers that I now receive from around the country. Several places that I’ve toured and done talks continue to send me their local newspaper and I read them all. One of my favorites is the Crosby, ND Journal that is published by a local family with a love for their hometown.

Crosby is a town of 1,089 with an average age of 50.5 years (compared to a national average of 35.3) with over 1/3 of the town being over the age of 65. It sits just a stone’s-throw from the Canadian border and 30 miles east of MT in a very rural part of the USA. Crosby has fought its brain drain, recruiting in a high tech company from CA and continuing to try to reinvent itself, but it is an uphill battle and one of the challenges is how to find the kind of opportunities that attract back young grads.

The Journal did a special section on the local high school graduates, just like about every other newspaper that I’ve ever seen. This past week’s edition covered seven area high schools within a fifty mile radius of Crosby, all 86 grads. And, about 80% of them are headed onto college!

Grenora High School has only one graduate this year. Westby High School has three. Burke Central High School four.

A school is a special asset that most towns take for granted. My guess is that it has a more important place in Grenora, Westby and Burke. Losing those schools would be catastrophic but it has to be a special challenge to hold them together for classes of one, three and four.

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