End of an Era
Farewell to Vermont Division IV?
Joanne Mills of Stockbridge shared a most eloquent post on
Facebook today expressing her sadness regarding the last Whitcomb High School
home basketball game being played tonight. In a lengthy comments section,
numerous other local residents echoed her sentiments. With our small high
schools closing, a wonderful era is going to end, forever.
Just in our valley, Rochester, Whitcomb, and Chelsea will be closing their high schools, and no longer fielding varsity sports teams. Black River in Ludlow is also closing, while others such as Cabot, Craftsbury, Proctor, and West Rutland are among those trying to survive against the odds.
Regardless of whether one supports the rationale behind these changes or not, change is challenging, and the emotional turmoil these communities are undergoing needs to be acknowledged.
At the very least, the interpersonal relationships between the players, coaches, parents, and dedicated fan bases will never be equaled. When Rocket nation could make the Barre Auditorium seem like home court, it brought a community together like nothing else. Half of Rochester’s 2005 baseball championship team consisted of boys who had played together since daycare – that kind of experience just isn’t possible in bigger schools.
Finally, how will the Vermont Principals’ Association manage this lack of small schools going into the future? It’s easy to foresee the elimination of Division IV for the smallest schools altogether.
As we get closer to the final graduation ceremonies and relocation of entire student bodies in June, this is a story that’s going to continue to be a force to be reckoned with.