In 1942, Calhoun High graduates were homeless,
after their school burned to the ground, forced to hold classes in
churches and public buildings, shown here a graduating class
marching from the old American Legion Building on Court Street
near Rainbow Hotel in Grantsville following commencement

(Photos from the Max Ward Collection)

By Bob Weaver

Certainly it is a much-changed world since that first class entered old Calhoun County High School in 1924 in the original school at Grantsville.

Several thousand students have now received their diplomas from the school.

The new graduates will have opportunity to achieve in a "global society" and pursue careers and find employment in far away places, rarely available in these hills.

Most Calhoun graduates have left the county since post World War II, many the day after graduation night.

There's not much for them here, but memories.

Many do not return, except the old-timers, not even to grace their old school's alumni get-togethers.

In earlier years, those of us who were rooted in the Calhoun clay, still had a sense of belonging and returning, but marching time has changed the importance of place, extended family and community.

We're told centralizing and merging, "bigger is better," is good for us, promoted by the workings of corporate America and government, competing through "fair trade," free trade and global markets.

Rural communities have shrunk from nearly half of the nation's population to about 18%.

A band member gets ready to play during commencement (L)
while another uses a Brownie camera to capture memories

(Photos from the Max Ward Collection)

Grads are now dependent on 21st Century technology to have their being.

There are still a few who resist the winds of change, who feel that global citizens are really citizens of nowhere, that what matters most is where we plant our feet, the people, the community and life about us.

Where are we going and to what will we attach our values?

Certainly we will not be a people of place.

Hope lies in unanswered questions, knowing that human beings are adaptable creatures.

There is hope in that unknown, hope that our sons and daughters will find what is important in their lives and with each other, and rise to the cause of leadership and volunteerism.

And the Great American Dream will live on.

Grads pose during after graduation party circa early 1940s

Grantsville had a street celebration for
about every occasion, and everyone came

(Photos from the Max Ward Collection)