North Mac head coach J.D. Lorton gives directions to his players as they go through drills during their first practice in Virden, Ill., Wednesday, August 11, 2010. Lorton is the first head coach for the newly formed North Mac High School that is the result of the Virden and Girard consolidation. Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register
School soon will come to an end this spring. For some elementary and high school districts, the bell may never ring again.
Austere state budgets and shrinking enrollments have forced many communities across the nation to think about school consolidation. According to a recent article in USA Today, more than 1,800 public elementary and secondary schools closed from 2008-2009. The move arguably may be a lifesaver in the long term, but the immediate effect on the community often results in a loss of town pride, entertainment and identity.
Talk to local superintendents, school board members, principles and teachers to get their feedback on consolidation and what positive and negative results it may have on the community.
Find members of past championship sports teams to discuss their glory days and their thoughts on losing their alma mater, nickname and perhaps even trophy case.
Talk to current students and their families to understand the emotions involved as they watch their school permanently close. Get feedback from students and families living in the community where their school is opening its doors for displaced students.
Ask local politicians, business leaders and residents about the social and economic impact that may be felt from the consolidation.
What would it be like for students to join a school that was their top rival in sports? What would it be like to walk the same hallways? Talk to coaches and players to get their observations.