Paynesville Press - January 23, 2002

Community Perspective

Preparing to leave home

By Scott Thompson

It's that time of year again at Paynesville Area High School, when there are more school days behind the students than in front of them.

It's the time where it becomes harder and harder to listen to the teachers and easier and easier to imagine what you will be doing the following summer. Of course, the answer for most seniors is: a lot of work.

From now until next fall is the busiest time for a senior. Most have to organize their time in order to meet college deadlines, do school work, manage a job, and squeeze in a little time to socialize and have fun with friends. And that's leaving out the possibility of being in a sport or any other extracurricular activity!

It's the point in life where a kid is thrown out into the real world to sink or swim.

I know that there are many who think that Paynesville does not prepare youth for the dog-eat-dog world that exists beyond the city limits, and that may be true to some extent, but that doesn't mean that Paynesville isn't a great place to grow up.

With barely over two thousand people in our city, it's a challenge to find someone you don't know. And just as much of a challenge to find someone you aren't related to!

Most of these people don't realize how lucky they are to live in a community like Paynesville where crime is so low that all the mayor has to worry about are people illegally parking by U-turning over double yellow lines.

I won't deny that Paynesville is changing. We now have one whole stoplight. Total's simple but delicious burgers have been replaced by the larger menu at A & W, and Wally's G & T has been bought out by SuperValu. While some businesses have left our community, others have come to our area to fill their gaps and even provide additional goods and services.

But despite the inevitable changes needed to survive in the developing world, this area has stayed the same in more important respects. Paynesville's citizens still possess outstanding Scandinavian and Germanic work ethics and morals that may be attributed to strong conventionality. Above all, I think that the people of Paynesville have a common respect for the town, its surrounding area, and its people, which makes our community thrive.

My future may not land me a home in Paynesville, but I can only hope, for my children's sake, that I can find another community just like it.

Thompson is a senior at Paynesville Area High School.

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