Letters to the Editor
Calling up memories
Don Rogers’ column, “A Long Overdue Homecoming,” was terriffic. It brought back to me memories of the days when I was principal of Battle Mountain High School.
From the longest losing streak in the state to coming within one point of winning the state championship, we came together as a school and a community. Actually with kids like Jimmy Pyke, starting offensive tackle playing his saxaphone with the band at halftime, and Jeff Campbell, all-state running back stripping his shoulderpads in the locker room at halftime to run out on the field with the rest of the band to play his trumpet, we were just what you described: a small school that cared about every single kid, just as Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley High School do today.
The first night that we finally had the band (about 22 band members) march out on the field in band uniforms (partially paid for by the school board and partially by band member and parent fund raisers), school board member Art Kleimer said to me in a voice as excited as was every single fan in attendance, “Now we are a real school!”
On Friday nights, the thing for the citizens of the east end of the valley to do was to head for the Battle Mountain football game, as those at the west end headed for Eagle Valley High School. You’d have difficulty believing who we saw in the stadium on Friday nights: Even Packy led a cheer or two.
You are absolutely right about small schools versus those mega-schools where kids are too often more of a number than they are a person. Along with our small size, however, is the quality of teachers and administrators that we have at all levels in the Eagle County School District. From the pre-kindergarten programs in the elementary schools to the advance placement, college credit classes at both high schools, we have caring teachers, strong principals, visionary district leadership, communities that care, and most of all, supportive parents.
My years at Battle Mountain High School were without question the most exciting and most rewarding years of my 35-year career in public school education. It is wonderful to hear and feel the excitement you describe during your recent homecoming experience.
Dr. Ronald L. Smith