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The Hawk's Eye

Haybales to City Life

Kaitlyn Shacklett, Co-Editor

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Dear Johnson County Kids,

 

I spent my entire life leading up to the end of my sophomore year in a farming community, the only place familiar to me. Desolate roads covered in gravel and Wednesday chicken nights at a local bar and grill were considered normal to me. Moving to Johnson County, the most populous county in the state of Kansas, turned out to be one drastic change. Some key realizations I had when I moved included:

 

True Silence Can’t Be Found:

My closest neighbor was a half of a mile away, and vehicles rarely came down our road past 9pm, so silence was something I enjoyed. I was also free to be as loud as I wanted while playing outside when I was younger.

 

Everyone Doesn’t Know Everyone Else:

Warsaw High School, my old school, currently has a total of 200 students; therefore, I knew every student whether they were four years older or four years younger than myself. I even knew most of the students from neighboring high schools as well.

 

Every Restaurant and Store is Within a Three-Mile Radius:

A mall was a luxury that we didn’t have. The closest mall, a 45-minute drive, wasn’t even home to a Victoria’s Secret. When it came to grocery shopping and eating out, the answer was 20 minutes one way and included crossing the Mighty Mississippi into Keokuk, Iowa. This big metropolis was where my family went to church and filled our gas tanks.

 

Driving to and From School Isn’t a Hassle:

Even though we didn’t have the inconvenience of the length of stop lights varying the time we got to school, my sister and I drove a little over 15 minutes to get to school on a road with a speed limit of 55 mph. During harvest season, students were urged to leave early enough in the morning in case of delays caused by being stuck behind a tractor or grain truck.

 

You’ll Have to Seek Out Nature Rather Than Finding it in Your Backyard:

I grew up in a brick home built in 1930 on a few acres of land surrounded on three sides by corn fields. Miles after miles of wide open space were available to explore and discover. Here, I’m fortunate to have a walking trail passing through my neighborhood where I take my dog for walks since she can’t roam around outside anymore.

 

Professional Sports Teams Are Actually in the Area:

Growing up a huge sports fan, it was a challenge to ever see my favorite professional sports teams live. That’s why high school sports were so popular; everyone in town attended games for any sport, and traditions lived on.

 

The Possibilities are Endless:

Even though living in a small town has its perks, it felt as though I was living in a box. Class options were limited at school, so getting out of your comfort zone seemed impossible. School newspapers didn’t exist, as neither did broadcasting, leadership, photography; the list goes on. The struggle of obtaining individuality never ceased. Everyone I knew will probably never get out of that area, and I most likely wouldn’t have either if I hadn’t moved. The Kansas City area brings forth opportunities that I didn’t know existed; I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t left my bubble of a world.

 

Therefore, Johnson County kids, next time you complain about nothing to do on the weekend or you have to drive “all the way downtown”, understand that you have it easy. Don’t take school or anything else you have here for granted.

 

Sincerely,

 

Kaitlyn

A Once Small-Town Girl

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