Considering College

Dear Reader,

This e-book is an effort to capture some of the encounters, beliefs, insights, and aspirations I experienced while visiting 132 schools in and around the Panhandle and South Plains of Texas. The attempt will fall short of truly communicating to you the depth of my journey, but I am enthusiastic about sharing my experiences. What I found in the schools and school systems, ranging from as few as 100 to 1,000’s of students, pre-k through 12, are a constellation of communities that are wholly committed to primary and secondary education for the benefit of their offspring. In some places, especially those smaller systems and distanced by cotton farms, oil patches, or fields of pasture and grain, the school is the last functioning public institution. In many cases, even places of worship have disappeared. The importance of the school to the community is clear, and these communities doggedly pursue a path to meet the needs of their students. They produce students who are determined, gritty, and hard-working, students with aspirations. The school itself models these character traits. Students must participate in numerous activities, and there is a burden of community responsibility in that—a sense of pride. Students feel necessary, mature, part of something larger than self. The people in the communities are tough-minded, hard-working, and engaged, which leads to an enlivened approach to primary and secondary education. One that puts the student at the head of the line, in the center of the equation. What you will read in what follows are perceptions extracted from these visits, often overlooked by the challenges and opportunities of major metropolitan areas, but nonetheless important to the people that call these places home. These ideas help define what a student and family should look for in a university experience and, don't be fooled, countless families and students in more densley populated urban areas share their same aspiration.

I hope you find a few of these insights valuable.

On, On Buffaloes!

Walter V. Wendler President, West Texas A&M University


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