As I was going through my Facebook news feed this morning, I found an unexpected surprise.
No, I didn’t receive a friend request from a girl that liked me when I was in elementary or high school and no, not a request from a Nigerian ambassador telling me that I had inherited a room full of stock in a worthless, non-existent oil company.
It was something much better.
The Roanoke Times published an op-ed piece discussing abandoned schools in Southwest Virginia and what to do with them. At the forefront, Dickenson Memorial and Industrial High School.
Here is the lead open of the piece:
In Dickenson County, the big controversy is over what to do with one of the county’s three unused schools.
It is a controversy complicated by memories, passions and the intentions that now run back nearly a century. One particular building was founded as the “Dickenson County Memorial, Industrial and High School” and was dedicated as a memorial to the 16 men from the county who gave their lives in World War I.
From a distance, we wonder: Why doesn’t this building fall into the same category as the disputed Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville? Virginia has a law that makes it unlawful “to disturb or interfere” with war memorials. Charlottesville has argued that the Lee statue isn’t a war memorial, simply a statue of Lee, but a judge has issued a six-month injunction anyway so the issue can be litigated. There’s no question here about whether this building in Clintwood is a memorial; the General Assembly itself declared it as such in 1920.
We wonder something else: Perhaps this controversy is actually a blessing because it calls our attention to a potential opportunity — not just in Dickenson County, but all across Southwest Virginia.
Somebody gets it and they are NOT from far Southwest Virginia. Read the article for yourself and gather your thoughts and impressions. Right now, I want to give thanks.
Thanks to the editorial staff for writing the article and bringing attention to what is going on here in far Southwest Virginia. Thanks for bringing to light the hurdles we are facing here and providing ideas that could help get us on the road to progress and out of the darkness we’ve been in for what seems like an eternity.
We don’t know where you got your information from about DMHS (we sort of have a feeling) but the way you said it was just great. It gets the point across of our plight, and the need for progressive, forward thinking to solve problems. Something we desperately need here in far Southwest Virginia in order to survive and rebound.
I know at times we have had a rocky relationship when it has come to our portrayal here in far Southwest Virginia but this time, you hit it, spot on. It shows something from you that we here in far Southwest Virginia have failed to acknowledge about you.
You really care about what happens to us.
It brought a smile to our face and a few tears to our eyes that you care.
Thank you, Roanoke Times.
Let’s see what happens from here.