Summer use is the norm...

Create: 06/20/2017 - 14:13

My recollection about the past isn't always completely accurate but I do recall back in the 70's when you left school on the last day of class, sometime in May, for most, you didn't return to the school until at least mid-August. Our coaches would tell us what we needed to work on, etc...and we would for about a day and a half and then our summers of comparitive leisure (school-wise) would set in, 70's style. I doubt that scenario exists many places any longer. I'm not saying everyone was lazy, the older kids all worked hard at summer jobs and other things, many on area farms, bucking bales, etc. but no one used the schools in the summer like they get used now. It seems schools everywhere have a broader community-type connection throughout all 12 months on the calendar, again at least more so than in the past.

Schools are indeed a big part of any community and are used in a variety of ways. Shutting off the lights and locking the doors was once the norm, now that's done just for overnight until the next mornng, nearly year-round! Wellington has a great facility at WHS and WMS and those 2 facilities and others serve the patrons of the district in many positive ways. 

I spent a little over an hour this morning at the HOME OF THE CRUSADERS and at no time felt like I was the only one in the building believe me. On one end, classrooms were emptied into the hallways so the custodial staff could put a shine on the floors as they do every summer, amongst other projects. At another end, the school secretary answers the phone with regular frequency, school is out but people still have lots of questions to ask about a myriad of things. Go a little farther down the hall and in one gym, a WRC basketball camp for youngsters is being held, in the other gym and weight room and outside on the practice fields, PSQ training is underway 3-4 days a week, for first graders through seniors and a significant number take advantage.

Out in the parking lot, Driver's Education is on-going as Wellington youth learn how to drive and manuever safely through the classroom and road experiences presented daily for about 4 weeks by instructors Jamie Ybarra, Mike Wilmoth and Rick Phelps. This, by the way, is the 25th year these "3" have been driving instructors and worked together towards that end. Mr. Ybarra actually has closer to 30 years in but the "3" together have been doing it for a quarter of a century! That is awesome! (and they all still have hair!!)

I had the opportunity to ask Mr. Phelps some questions and he provided some great insight as to how kids are today compared to kids from the past (with regards to Driver's Ed). Mr. Phelps acknowledges there are many exceptions but he has noticed over the years that the more recent students come to Driver's Ed overall with less actual hands-on driving experience than many of the teens from yesteryear. There's no one reason for that more than likely but we speculated amongst ourselves about the possibilities. Kids spent a lot more time in cars "back in the day", perhaps because gas was cheap or perhaps because they didn't have a zillion electronic devices at home to keep them entertained. Another interesting observation Mr. Phelps made is that in general, athletes or at least students that have participated in instructional/extra curricular type activities seem better able and prepared to follow and implement instructions they are given in the driver's training more efficiently. Again, there are exceptions but thought that was interesting.

I was quite impressed with the "3" young Crusaders that were there during this session - they were practicing the ever-dreaded parallel parking procedure and they did quite well actually! I recall the training myself. For those that have been around a while you'll remember this name, my instructor was Lefty Van Pelt and he had a way of keeping you focused on the tasks at hand. At any rate, WHS is used daily inside and the parking lots outside are used also. Similar types of activities go on at WMS and at least some of the elementary schools. This summer the KRR (Kansas Reading Roadmap) program has gone on daily at Kennedy Elementary with many area students involved. Free breakfast and Free lunches are being provided there throughout June for "any" 1yo- 18yo in the community.

Our community is fortunate to have places like our schools, where positive and healthy activities can be played out and encouraged year-round. It's the 21st century and things just keep a changin' - the old ways were good, the new ways are as well. We know idle time isn't always a good thing though - WHS and WMS and schools in most communities, reduce that idle time every summer and it's gotta be a positive thing overall, it's gotta be!


About Author

Steve Sturgis's picture
Steve Sturgis
Steve graduated from Wellington High School in 1974 and then Wichita State University (with honors) in 1979 with a B.S. Degree in Administration of Justice; his minor was in Sociology. Steve has held several positions ranging from Juvenile Court Service Officer, to District Manager in Circulation at the Wichita Eagle, Q.A. Planner at Boeing, Caregiver, Psychiatric Technician, Limo Driver, Ranch Hand, Photographer, Webmaster and Website Developer and a die hard Crusader Fan since the early 1960's. Contact the ole boy at or on Facebook or at any Crusader and/or Knight event year-round.