This week is by far the most Letters to the Editor I have received since taking the position at the Mountain Home News. In addition, I have been asking for photo submissions since I first became editor as well with a limited amount of engagement from our readership. Boy, has that changed within the last few weeks. A lot of it is because as a community we are so hungry for something besides the Coronavirus, we need to see things that are beautiful and parts of the normal lives we are used to, but I am sincerely hoping that "Through our reader's eyes" is now fully cemented into our paper and that even after this crisis ends our community will continue to share snapshots of their daily lives and the beauty of our coverage area with us.
Right now our readership is engaged and I am loving every moment of it, this is what I dreamed of when I became editor: a community who felt ownership in our local weekly paper. Please, after things slowly return to normal, remember that we are still here willing to help keep you informed, to celebrate your big events and achievements and to help you voice your concerns, grievances and kudos in our Letters to the Editor section.
To the MHHS seniors who decided to use their voice over this past week to voice their feelings about a virtual graduation: I am so proud of you. Over and over again we tell people to use their voice, to ask questions, to speak out when they feel they have something important to say. Many times people gripe, but they do not take that extra step of putting their opinions and their names out there. As young adults on the verge of entering the next stage of your lives, you decided that the "somebody" who should do something was you, and you did it. It is so hard to take ownership of your own opinion and put it out there for everyone to see and criticize, trust me I know exactly how nerve racking it can be, but you swallowed your nerves and sent your letters to me for publication.
Many times I have said how impressed and inspired I am by the youth of Mountain Home. You are smart, compassionate and civic minded individuals. I cannot thank you enough for entrusting me with your voice.
I am going to join these kids and stand beside them in this matter. I too, realize I am "somebody" and I am asking the Mountain Home School District to rethink their decision about a virtual graduation. I dropped out during the fall of my Senior Year of High School because, well frankly, I was an idiot. Luckily I was one who realized my mistake, earned my GED and continued my education fairly quickly. However, whenever the subject comes up part of me mourns the loss of my Senior Year memories. It was completely of my own decisions and actions though! I am the reason I did not have a senior track season, participate in my final year of high school rodeo and FFA and didn't go to prom (okay I'm not going to lie, I would have skipped prom even if I'd been active in school, formal dances just weren't my thing). I lost out on the chance of walking across the stage with the kids I grew up with because of my own accord.
These kids though, they didn't ask for this. There is absolutely nothing they can possibly do to change these events. They feel cheated and they are actively grieving the loss of the last months of their childhood. It is up to the adults of this community to do everything we can to help them create as many of these lifelong memories as we can. No one says coming up with an alternative plan will be easy, but we owe it to them to try to do something to celebrate their graduation. Even if it has to be postponed for the forseeable future, these kids would rather all return to town over the holidays and have a celebration with their classmates then lose out on the opportunity all together. These Seniors deserve our support and they deserve to get the recognition they have worked so hard for over the past 12 years. Citizens of Mountain Home, please join me and the Class of 2020 in asking the Mountain Home School District to come up with an alternate plan that does not involve a virtual graduation. Send us a letter, contact the district office or your School Board Trustee, follow the example set by these amazing kids, use your voice, be "somebody!" #celebratemountainhomeseniors2020