It is funny to think that almost a year ago I started penning this entry but with a different title.
"Hoover High School is Not Erick Howard."
Now, nearly one year later, I am picking up where I left off. This time to tell everyone Hoover High School is not Deena Bright.
If you are familiar with North Canton, lived here or went to school at Hoover High School, you know that we are a relatively sleepy suburb. Secrets and rumors spread through word of mouth. Most die as soon as they are spoken. The truly shocking are swept under the rug. Forgotten or ignored.
Until recently we were under the radar when it came to regional and national news.
But this all changed when "Mr. Football" went on trial. Every news source described him as "North Canton Hoover's Erick Howard". As if we owned him. As if somehow the whole city, the whole school district, and our community was guilty by association.
Some may argue that, indeed, we were. We "raised" him. We gave him a sense of entitlement.
But I'm here to say, we are not Erick Howard.
Just as I am here today to say, Hoover High School is not Deena Bright.
As a Hoover alumni and a current educator in the district, it saddens me to see this tarnish our name.
How many alumni, community members, and educators have gone unnoticed for the truly inspiring lives they lead?
We have educators around the world and here in our community who go to work everyday and put their heart and soul into their career, have their students in their best interests, and inspire lifelong learners.
We have community members battling horrible illnesses, fighting, and resisting to give up.
We have engineers on all corners of the continent developing the technologies that will bring us into the future.
We have graduated medical personnel who are working everyday to improve the quality of our lives.
And we have people in our community who, everyday, triumph over the obstacles they encounter.
If you really think about it, we live in a pretty great city with pretty fantastic people.
And I am here to say that people we see in the news, the ones giving us a less than desirable reputation, do not exemplify Hoover High School.
"Schooled" is a trend that has occurred only because of the controversy that surrounds the situation. It is an anecdote. A punchline to a 30 year high school reunion's "remember when?"
Bright will not be remembered as an influential author. The book will not shape American Contemporary Literature. It will be forgotten.
So, let's be optimistic. I'm so tired of the negativity! Let's take a moment to acknowledge, to commemorate, and to recognize those in our community who have made a positive impact here in North Canton.
Please, take some time to post something positive in the comments about North Canton as a community, a citizen, a city, or a school district.
Let's identify those who deserve it. Let them be the faces we celebrate!