High School Confidential
It's a;ways fun to visit with high school kids. You've gotta love the humor, the nuttiness, the innocence, the angst.
Overheard a while back buring lunch in the commons of an area school:
High school guy: “What do you think? Should we just be friends?”
High school girl: “Yeah, I guess. That sounds good.”
That seemed to pretty much settle things between the young folks. Took about 10 seconds. The way it should be.
Lots of kids keep to themselves. They tend not to say much. At least not when the media’s snooping around.
But you visit FFA kids in their native habitat at Kasson-Mantorville High School, and here comes a gregarious fellow, ready to shake your hand.
“Hi, I’m Preston Wilson,” he says, and grips your hand firmly.
Preston is a senior, in his fifth year of FFA. He is eager, earnest, genuine and happy. Ready to answer all questions. He instantly restores your faith in young people.
He hopes to accomplish as much as he can during his time in FFA, “and help everyone along the way.”
“It’s nice to get out of school, and we get to go eat and stuff,” he says. “I’ve made a lot of new friends.”
Including this reporter.
Lori Pagel, the FFA advisor for 21 years, is obviously crazy about these kids, too. They learn fast and well, and they’ll volunteer in a second to help your cause.
It must be what makes she and her fellow teachers return, year after year.
“It’s amazing, if they’re willing to take that adventure on, the experiences that they can get, and the amount of growth that happens,” she says. “Some do it for leadership or social skills. Some really have a desire to do this as a career. I think that’s really overwhelming to me, to be able to work with such a dynamic group.”
The same fun story plays out in the music department, the drama department, the shop class area, the front office – pretty much wherever you roam at K-M, and of course in the Triton schools in Dodge Center, and at Hayfield High and Byron High and all around our region.
If you’re lost, a passing teen will point you in the right direction – might even just stop what he or she is doing and take you where you need to be.
They want to make sure you’re OK.
Not to worry: most of these Leaders of Tomorrow will be excellent.
But they’re growing up so fast, we should appreciate the wild teen spirit before it fades in the face of The Real World.
School board meetings tend to center around off-the-charts technical language regarding TAP grants, ACTs, SATs, PSATs, “modalities” (the hot new buzz word), and financial and legal concerns.
In the end, after all that complicated, late-night back-and-forth, it’s all about what’s best for the kids, like Tim Moenning, Preston Wilson’s FFA counterpart at Triton, who is just as kind and earnest and genuine and high-achieving.
Those parents are doing something right.
It’s a rough old world out there, getting really dangerous in spots, but they’re raising kids who’ll weather the storm.
Here’s to our kids, and the folks who help raise them.
May they all be FFA kind, and wise beyond their years.
You go, Preston Wilson.