At the 50th reunion of the Kalida High School Class reunion, I told my classmates who had all grown up in the area, “Kalida shaped your lives; it significantly changed my life.” The unexpected summer move was not a traumatic event at all for me. It was a blessing, a re-orientation, and was one of the best things that happened in my formative years.
I went from being a small fish in a big pond to a big fish in a small pond. After several dates with my wife-to-be, Jan, in her freshman year at BGSU, I showed her my high school annual. She read that I was on the varsity basketball and baseball teams, was senior class president, president of the student council, had lead roles in two plays . . . . Wow! She was impressed. Then she counted. “There were only thirty-two in your class!” Maybe not quite as impressed then.
It’s true it was a very small school, with many fewer options than I would have had in Lima. All the classes were small, many with fewer than 15 students. I pretty well knew everyone in the high school. I felt my teachers genuinely cared for me, and I I never saw a single paddle.
From the very first day, my classmates welcomed me. I think they saw me as the “big city kid.” I actually only lived in the Kalida community for three years before leaving for college, but they were the most formative ones of my youth. The supportive environment of teachers, peers, friends, and family allowed me to blossom, take risks, develop some social skills, and feel accepted.
The first day I tried to register for nine classes, though we only had an eight-period schedule (Two were semester classes). Wisely the principal wouldn’t let me. I truly loved going to school every day.