The ending of a story… the beginning of a new one

All stories come to an end, and this is true for more than just books and movies. The hard fact is that it is also very true for each of the stages in our lives. Yet, I have always believed, a great sign of maturity is the realization and acceptance that such an ending has occurred for oneself. Because, endings happen all of the time, brothers and sisters of Wyoming, yes they do.

Since writing my editorial “The Fall of the Vikings”  (which can be found here) I have heard from a lot of people. (A lot, a lot of people.) And one of the most disappointing things that I have learned over the course of this experience is how many former alumni of both Rogers and Park can’t seem to let go of their past. These fellow alumni are fighting the consolidation, tooth and nail, as if someone is trying to take something away from them in the change.

While my editorial was a personal look back at my experience as a Viking, I do acknowledge the end of that time; as well as the fact that the school, when I saw it again, was only a shadow of the past. In other words, I could see the theater’s curtain in the distance and it was beginning to close on that stage of Wyoming Park.

This story–the story of Vikings vs. Hawks–the story we all took part in at one time or another, is done.

For the kids in Wyoming, a new tale is just beginning. And, I am sorry to say, fellow alumni, it is a story that we are not really part of, nor should we be. They get to create a new history, a new legacy; and they are doing it with a new identity. They have no past to burden them, no other classes to compare to. It’s all fresh and new, and I cannot be more jealous of the adventure ahead of them.

Yes, it was incredibly depressing for me to learn over the last few days that fellow alumni were actually fighting this process; even going so far as to debate school colors and mascots. While at first I had to hold back a laugh that a grown adult would seriously care about that; I then felt sad both for the kids who are excited about designing and choosing their new school’s look being shut down, and for the very adults that can’t seem to move on.

However, I have also learned over all of the comments, e-mails, and messages via Facebook what a good thing this merger is for the future generations in Wyoming and I firmly embrace the change. Here are three points that have stuck with me and I would like to share (and I hope it will help encourage some of those opposed to the process to reconsider their position):

  • Over the past few years, these students attend school together through junior high, and then are divided for high school! Frankly, they never had the foundation for rivalry as we had in the past. Now these friends will not be separated.
  • With the combination you will see an improvement not only in sports, but in arts and education since the pool of talent will be greater. Wyoming will emerge a stronger school system in many ways because of this.
  • Socially, this is better because it increases the diversity in their halls. This will be a school for everyone, and Wyoming will be a stronger community in time because of this change.

Yes, we will all always be Vikings (and Hawks), but that story is over. The last page has been turned; this future generation’s story is beginning without us. Let’s embrace this moment with them, encourage them in staking this new legacy, and show them, through example, how to face change in a healthy manner.

Personally, after everything I have heard and read, if I could suggest one mascot (without looking too lame), it would be a phoenix. Because those kids, no matter what we say, are creating something new out of our history’s dust.

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19 responses

  1. Pingback: The Fall of the Vikings « The Musings & Artful Blunders of Scott D. Southard

  2. Amen and hooray Scott Couldn’t have said it any better. Grads will alway have their memories, reunions will still be WPHS and RHS and the halls will still be there to walk through Hopefully the adults will give these kids a chance to have their own memories of WHS.
    (AS an aside I grew up in a small town with one public high school next to the Catholic high school and across the river from a hated rival ( one of oldest high school rivalries in the US). My younger sister and her classmates have combined the three school reunions as they found that many of them knew each other and theri kids were now going to school together) Maybe the rivals need to get together and find out they have more in common than they think

  3. Thanks for the deep wisdom. I, too, am saddened by the situation. In some ways, with both Park & Newhall seeing its end, I feel like a piece of my past is shutting its doors, also.

    However, I am not gonna lose any sleep over it. I would love to see us alumni from all the years get together and celebrate our history and bid the Vikings a fond farewell. But, as you pointed out, it’s not our present. It’s our past. The future belongs to those kids. We need to let it go.

    Great article, Scott!

    • Thanks! I was definitely hearing from all sides after my last editorial; I thought something like this needed to be said. Please, be sure to share it so more can hear it and hopefully it will help people stand together behind this idea. Really, I think it is great, even though I will miss thinking of Park.

  4. You know, as an alumus and band director of Rogers High School(70-80), I have been working on a new school song for the NEW WYOMING. The first line is: We’re united two into one! After reading your story and comments, I almost feel that I should just let it go and let the kids do their own thing! What do you say?

    Jon VandenBroek

    • Hey JON, you may remember my miscreant sons! I’d say work on the song, not something the kids could do and I think Scott’s right. Would be a welcome positive addition I would think

    • Jon — I think it’s great to create something and pitch it to the current students for their consideration. I also think it’s OK if they choose not to use it. If you approach it with that spirit, as a gift to them that they can accept or not as they are so moved, the project will be worthwhile.

      It strikes me that a song that starts with this idea of two becoming one might be of more value, actually, to the alumni Scott is addressing in this post — something upbeat and forward-looking to help people get right with the new world order. The potential problem I see with a song that starts that way is that in five or ten years, it will be dated, won’t it? In 20 years, this will be the way it’s “always been”, as far as the new freshmen are concerned, and the song won’t resonate with them.

      So I think there’s a lot of value in writing it and using it for a short time — maybe even for a single season or a single event — but not as a permanent school song. does that make sense?

      • I was also wondering as well, if you should talk to some of the writers and musicians at Rogers and Park. Creating a song with your supervision could be a great learning experience for them. Maybe it could be an after school project for students who volunteer? You could help the kids write a few songs and then the students can vote on the one they like the most. What do you think?

  5. Pingback: My March 2012 Update « The Musings & Artful Blunders of Scott D. Southard

  6. Thank you for this article. I hope with all the hope I can muster that this helps some people move forward and embrace the change.

  7. Scott, you lived next door to me on Wyoming ave. I graduated from WPHS in 1972. Our two daughters also went there and graduated in the early 2000’s. I think your comments were a little too negative. Our daughters had an excellent experience at The Park. The band program may not have been as good as when you were there but there were dedicated professional directors and students. There were also band booster parents that put a lot of work into the program. I don’t like your theory of the school going downhill. Things do change but there is still good people there.

  8. Pingback: My April 2012 Update « The Musings & Artful Blunders of Scott D. Southard

  9. Pingback: The Top of the Pile: The Found Blog Editorials « The Musings & Artful Blunders of Scott D. Southard

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