As I was sitting in Kearney Public School’s graduation yesterday, a recent sermon I heard played through my mind. It was of our pastor visiting his alma mater. His story detailed driving by places he had hung out and places he had studied. But as he visited these places, he noticed they weren’t the same. Over the years, these places had changed or were torn down. What he was really looking for was the stories of friendships, study partners, and all the other memories that went along with his college days. It wasn’t about the buildings, but the stories share with people.
So, back to the graduation. One of the students who spoke talked about all the stories these halls could tell. The superintendent spoke of a song lyric containing the words “I’ll remember you, will you remember me?” As I sat there, I couldn’t help but think of the number of school buildings that are abandoned or torn down each year. Of all the students who walked through the halls of these old dilapidated buildings that are getting torn down, sold or repurposed. So many memories. And such emotional attachment.
Emotional attachment to the building? Or to the stories, friendships, hardships, teachers, and such, that made up their education.
I think if this concept were introduced properly, it could have a healing effect on the community who is facing such emotional attachment to the school they attended. Why not open up a forum for student, teachers, administration, alumni, and community members to share their stories. The forum could take several shapes of which I think the easiest would be a written blog with the option to include audio or video podcasts. Each person wishing to share their story could have the opportunity to do so in written form, audio form, or with video. It could even be a project for students to interview alumni and those still in the community to keep these memories for posterity.
If started soon enough, the school/community may have a contest so that when the new building opened, one memory from each category could be shared at the ribbon cutting.