One of the things that progress has left behind is the small school. Small schools were community centers. In the dead of winter, at least in the frozen north, high school basketball is king. Some members of the community never miss a game--even if they have no relatives playing. To a lesser degree, other sports such as baseball, soccer and football [I am talking small town here] also bring a following.
A friend of mine, who is not even from this area, thought that there was a big disconnect between past and present and thoguht that a piece of history was being lost and might be forever gone. He embarked on a project to start a Hall of Fame for local athletes with a focus on the schools that no longer exist or are still open as small schools. 30 athletes, some living and some not, were honored at the Newport Country Club last night. Packed to over capacity, some 175 people attended the event, which should be the first of many.
Our area has 2 regional high schools that absorbed many smaller ones. And the Catholic High Schools of the past have long since closed. History came alive as Orleans High School, Barton Academy, Sacred Heart Academy, North Troy High School, Newport Center High School, Derby Academy, St Mary's, Newport High School, Hardwick Academy, Greensboro High School and Brighton Academy [and Island Pond HS, its predecessor--birthplace of Rudy Vallee] were recognized along with the 2 remaining small schools in our area--Craftsbury Academy [where my grandparents ran a small store in the early 1950s and where I have officiated several times] and Canaan Memorial High School, which is tucked away in the northeast corner of Vermont.
People I know were inducted. Old friends got together as well as old sports rivals. Sons & daughters of those who could not be there got to hear stories about their parents that they may never have heard had it not been for this event. Kudos to Rick Bruce who played a year at Ohio State AFTER serving a hitch in the US Navy and who spent countless hours on this project. He moved to the area about 12 years ago. His impact here will be long lasting.