To the editor:
In the last couple of months I have been privileged to attend a Whiteland Community High School Alumni Association dinner and the 50-year reunion of Whiteland High School’s class of 1965 (my wife Brenda’s graduating class). Note, that was the last class to graduate as Whiteland High School. The merger with Clark High School brought the name change.
The classmates truly have a sense of community. Respect for each other — despite differences of politics, religion and lifestyle — is very evident. Even though they are growing older — at the alumni meeting there were folks who graduated in the 1940s — the shared small-town experience is a very important part of their lives now as it was when they were students.
Invitees to both events included longtime principal Mr. Jim Sleighter, assistant principal/guidance counselor Mr. Jerry Ferguson, Mrs. Joyce Duvall, entrée director, and several other teachers and coaches. What I observed was these educators provided not only a strong academic environment but helped develop a sense of community values in their students.
This was accomplished via interpersonal contact and teaching that went beyond curriculum, including discipline. As professionals, they provided the boundaries and expectations needed for their student to grow up healthy. My hat’s off to them as a fellow educator.
At both events, there was also a tribute and acknowledgment for the classmates who served in our military, preserving and protecting the value system of small-town America.
John Mellencamp’s “Little Pink Houses” chorus line, “ain’t that America” is stuck in my head as I reflect on these events. Thank you Brenda, my wife of 46 years, for bringing me along.