To continue my “coming home” theme, I came to the realization today how many of the kids this town sends off, actually come back. Shocker, I know. You’d probably think this is the last place a college kid who has spent the past eight months ‘living it up’ in the real world would want to be. And to be honest, you’d probably be right.
However, what many people don’t account for is the loyalty that is instilled in us from a very young age for our community. As I have always said, Monticello is a place to “come back to”. But in order to come back to it, one must first leave it. This is a concept that the past several years of graduates from MHS have come to embrace.
The class of 2012 sent four of its classmates out of state. Two now reside in California, where Josh Beal has been spotted walking a bike around the courtyards of Stanford and interning at one of the world’s leading video calling companies. Dillon Jamison has been seen creating fantastical buildings from scrap wood on the floor of his dorm. Mr. McGreal could be spotted on ESPN in the mass of hunter green and white at almost every home Michigan State basketball game this season and Lindsey Miossi has brought back her new Chicago street smarts for the summer.
The one thing that connects all of us is the common thread that is “home”. Monticello will forever be home to those who have the opportunity to leave it. They see what the world has to offer as well as what truly blessed lives we led here. What I have seen has only solidified my appreciation for this community.
That is why it is such a delight to see everyone back this summer. And not just to kick back and catch some rays. Monticello graduates have returned to lend a hand to their community and former school through their experience. Both the girl’s softball and soccer teams are being assisted by two 2012 graduates this year who were known in their day for their athletic talent.
Wartburg student and basketball player Brooke Stahlberg has stepped off the court for a few months to take to the diamond once again with the softball team she left just a year ago. Stahlberg’s years of summers spent under the hot Iowa sun playing short-stop and her personal ties to the team make her the perfect candidate to assist this year’s players. Having grown up getting nailed by Brooke’s vicious pitches, I can tell you, she knows what she’s doing. Luckily the bruises only brought her and I closer together and it is an honor to call her a dear friend of mine.
Danylle Feuling decided to follow in her father’s footsteps and coach the girl’s soccer team alongside him, taking on responsibility of the JV team for the season. Danylle’s four years of varsity soccer and former captain’s status have helped mold her into a great leader on and off the field. Although I wish I could have come back to coach myself, I am glad to see my former teammate and best friend continue the mission we started.
Despite Monticello’s lack of size and late night delivery pizza, it still has a lot to offer to us 18-25 year-olds. Whether you want to make bank with a 40-hour-a-week job in one of the area’s several factories, toss dough or stuff grocery bags, I don’t think any of us would deny that summer in Jones County is the best time of year.
So go ahead, be surprised to see us “old kids” enjoying an afternoon in town, relaxing on the river, or catching up at a baseball game. One thing that is never a worry here is keeping up with the hustle and bustle, because there is none. And that is often what we kids crave after months in the “big city”, whether we want to admit it or not. That is the beauty of this community. The “breath of fresh air” happens every time you inhale. You never have to go searching for it. It is all around you.