Posted on Leave a comment

Slice of Nostalgia: How Many Do You Remember?

Searching for the band BareNaked Ladies on a school browser and immediately regretting it.

Discovering the face of Jesus in a slice of rectangular-shaped pizza in the school cafeteria.

Purchasing pencils, pens, & paper out of one of these:

Losing more oxen than you care to remember on The Oregon Trail.

Eating a nutritious pack of Gushers to curb your appetite before lunch.

Eating the other pack of Gushers before making it into the lunchroom.

Using your lunch money to buy Fruitopia out of the machine.

Playing Candystand & Nabisco World Mini-Golf in class.

Wearing JNCO jeans you got at Goody’s, because it was absurd not to. (Plugg Jeans were a nice backup.)

Metal choker necklace – check.

Hair glue – double check.

A worn in pair of Airwalk sneakers – always.

Forming a WINDBREAKER club afterschool.




Posted on Leave a comment

When Independent Schools Close.


I LOVE Independent Schools.

From attending one in my K-12 experience to recruiting at them in E. Kentucky 2009-2013, I love everything about them.

Do they have their shortcomings? Yes. They are not perfect.

But, where else can teachers and students co-exist as members of the same community to the same degree that an independent school permits them?

In Kentucky, the ones I’ve had the pleasure to visit had school boards closely connected to students. (The elementary-aged kids knew the high schoolers and vice versa.)

Does this make larger schools evil…no way! But, the “closely-knit community feel” is often lacking in such mega-sized environments.

I remember my college recruitment visits fondly (or, most of them anyways). And, I remember the attentiveness and the inside jokes that classmates shared at schools like Corbin, Somerset, and Pikeville. The meetings held in the media center at Hazard Independent. Prestonsburg, Barbourville, June Buchanan and Jackson Independent all working around my schedule and last-minute alterations. It was a pleasure!

The people are SUPPORTIVE. The students (despite the lack of funding and resources) are resourceful and motivated, too. The sports teams are heartfelt and united. (The small team sizes always sent Independent schools into the Class A (or, 1A) division.)

Today, I found this image on the KHSAA website regarding all-time wins for boy’s basketball programs and had to share:

# School, Years (Won/Lost); 2013-14 Record
1,918 Ashland Blazer, 1921- (1,918-825-1); 22-10
1,854 Paducah Tilghman, 1911- (1,854-770); 15-13
1,578 Central City, 1926-90 (1,578-556); n/a
1,417 Paintsville, 1921- (1,417-1,072-2); 10-14
1,342 Newport Central Catholic, 1943- (1,342-698); 29-4
1,330 Wayne County, 1942- (1,330-803); 31-2
1,308 Lafayette, 1939- (1,308-718); 18-11
1,276 Monticello, 1911-13 (1,276-1,125); n/a
1,256 Paris, 1928- (1,256-1,097); 13-16
1,190 Mason County, 1960- (1,190-465); 21-

Seeing my alma mater’s name gave me a great bit of nostalgia. Yes. It’s been integrated into the school shown 2 rankings above it, and the 1911-2013 notation is painful to see, but I know the experiences that came from this place were once in a lifetime. For me, the staff and support at my Independent experience were second-to-none.

Larger schools are wonderful in their own rights as well. (Please hear me say that.) But, the uniqueness of a smaller school, smaller class sizes, and attention-to-detail made it a blessing. I reflect on MIS and remember the amazing people that made it a welcoming place.

To other alum and WCHS staff, thank you for welcoming this small community into yours since 2013. May the new friendships and memories keep forming.

To other schools that have closed their doors in recent years like Monticello, remember the people and the place and the time that was truly unique.

Posted on 2 Comments

Did we have the same childhood?


I’m a 90s child. Don’t really fit with GenX and don’t quite enjoy the label of Millennial like a lot of my peers. But…I do embrace the pop culture of the 90s and all of its wonderful slices of nostalgia. I’m going to list some of this awesomeness below, and I’d love it if you could join me in a.) reminiscing, b.) realizing what an oddball 90s kids really were, or, c.) embracing a childhood you might’ve never had but now wish you did, as a result of this terrific era.

Here we go! (rolling shirt sleeves back)

You are a 90s kiddo if you–

Watched: Boy Meets World on TV every Friday on ABC (TGIF)

Walked: with a cassette Walkman strapped to your belt loop (my cassette of choice was The Rembrandt’s LP (yes, the band that did the Friends theme song))

Ate: at Pizza Hut for parties, played arcade games, and garnered Land Before Time puppets while devouring The Bigfoot pizza

Read: books because BookIt existed and the prize for reading a lot of books was a free personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut each and every week….EVERY week (see above)

Traveled: with a Game Boy that only offered games in black-n-white colors and only lasted until the Duracells ran out

Sang: the theme song of Reading Rainbow even when there wasn’t a TV anywhere around (didn’t matter) Where is Levar Burton these days?

Believed: “The truth was (really) out there” thanks to Mulder and Scully

Still turn your head: when you hear ducks quacking and think of Coach Gordon Bombay…Emilio!

Don’t: ever want to see a Ring Pop ever again!

Are OK: with “living in a van down by the river”

Paint: with the voice of Bob Ross echoing inside your head

Look: for the Daily Double no matter what board games you might be playing

Still look for: Slime Time as a portion of Nickelodeon’s broadcasting efforts

Legitimately: miss birthday cakes and cookies (the shortbread ones) from McDonald’s earlier years

Perform: all of the Robin Williams voice overs in Aladdin

Saw: Home Alone 1 in a theater and dreamed of coordinating your own attacks against The Wet Bandits

Memorized: Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” just in case it was requested at a rap-off

Wanted: Parachute pants but…never bought parachute pants

Remember: who Sisqo was. what song Sisqo sang.

Had: striking resemblances to Michael Bolton and Billy Ray Cyrus in 3rd – 5th grade. “Don’t touch the hair!”

Know: what Napster is. Was.

Recognize the name: Picabo Street

Still say: “Bo knows”

Took vitamins: to be like the Flintstones

Wore: pants backwards like Kriss Cross

Owned: a fisherman’s hat, not for fishing, but to be legitimate

Favored: R.L. Stine over anything else in the library

Hated: the sound of dial-up Internet but knew it would work most of the time

Screened: phone calls on the ‘home’ phone thanks to No Doubt

Drank Gatorade: like Mike

Drank Surge: because you weren’t supposed to (P.S. it’s back!!)

Heard the words: “Finish him” even in your sleep

Owned: Walkie Talkies to converse in the yard with your buddies

And last, and certainly not least–

Witnessed: Crystal Pepsi and the end of the 90s

If you want, you can join us if you don’t have this terrific decade to call home. If this scares you at all, I recommend sticking with the memories that were made for you elsewhere.

Regardless, we 90s folk know that it was a beautiful marker in this fine country’s history. If only we could latch onto more wonderful (excluding Crystal Pepsi) ideas in the future, we know the next generation will be in good hands as well.

Take some time and reflect on a decade that still feels like it encapsulated so much more than just 10 years. Add some shows on Netflix and relive the awkwardness. I still can’t believe I had as many Super Soakers and Nerf guns as I did.