Talking school: The original wasn’t any good; sequel is much better

Staff Writer
Brownwood Bulletin
Steve Nash

Listening to three of the seven Brown County superintendents speak Friday at the Brownwood Country Club, I was reminded of and old saying (mine): my favorite school district in Brown County is the one I happen to be in at the time.

I like all of the Brown County school districts. Each district is unique. Each year I look forward to the start of the school year because it means I’ll be going onto the campuses throughout the year, looking for interesting features and photos of what I call “a slice of life.”

What’s that going to look like this year? I’m hoping I’ll still be able to do this, at least to an extent.

I’m glad none of the three superintendents who spoke Friday — Dr. Joe Young of Brownwood, Dr. Josh Martin of Bangs and Dr. Dewayne Wilkins of Early — used the term “new normal” when talking about the changes forced by covid.

I hate that term. To me it’s the battle cry of surrender. We’re beat, we give up, let’s wave a white flag.


Does this make me think back to my days as a student at Burkburnett Hah Skool? It might, if I actually could remember being there. I think I was. Did I graduate from the orange and black?

Define “graduate.”

I actually quit school my senior year because I wasn’t going to graduate even if I stayed to the end of school. I got a GED and went into the Air Force the summer after leaving school.

I don’t know how in the world I did this, but recently I ran across Burk yearbooks from my junior and senior year online. I was able to arrow my way through all of the pages, and do you know how many times yours truly appeared in the two yearbooks?

Exactly once. That was the class photo of my junior year. As I looked at the pages with all of the various photos a yearbook typically contains, I didn’t see a single person — student or teacher — I remembered.

To say I was invisible would be an understatement.

When I was in the liberry with one of my classes, where we were supposed to be working on a research project, I had atlases of the United States opened up. (Atlases. Do they even still have those?) I would look at maps and visualize myself riding the motorcycle I owned at the time (Kawasaki 175) to the Grand Canyon.

Why the Grand Canyon? Just a place I wanted to see. Realistically, the 175 was too small to make the 1,800-mile round trip from Wichita Falls to the canyon. I guess it could have been done but it would not have been pleasant.

When I’m at a hah skool in today’s era, I think how different it is from my failed days at Burk. Schools today seem to me to be more of a family, and I suspect there is much more of an effort to prevent a failing student from just disappearing. I don’t fault Burk; that’s just the way it was.

I actually attended three hah skools. The first was Woodford County Hah in Versailles, Ky., where I actually started off as a pretty good and eager (but very naive) freshman. What happened that I became so cynical and disillusioned? Who knows.

I attended Hirschi in Wichita Falls my sophomore year, then on to Burk for my junior and senior years.


As a failing senior, I started asking my dad, who was in the Air Force, if I could quit school and go into the service. No, said he, you’re going to finish school.

Finally, as I continued to lose traction, my dad said “you’re never going to finish school at this rate. You might as well quite and join the Air Force.

Ten-HUT! That was the best thing he could have done for me at that time.

Have I mentioned, by the way, that I was in the Air Force?