Hartselle City Schools is committed to the next generation
By Susan Hayes
Federal Programs Coordinator
Hartselle City Schools
In the last edition of Hartselle Living, I wrote about Hartselle’s legacy teachers. These teachers come from a family of Hartselle teachers are part of our Hartselle tradition. But the number of teachers who come from teachers pales in comparison to the number of Hartselle students who come from Hartselle student-parents – and student-grandparents and student-great-grandparents.
If you have never had the opportunity to speak with Hartselle’s David Burleson about the history of education in Hartselle and about its citizens’ determination to be the home of the first Morgan County High School, you have missed an opportunity to grasp this city’s deeply rooted understanding of the value of education to a small community.
Generations of Hartselle’s children have had parents or grandparents who attended Hartselle schools, and many of those children, once ready to leave the nest, have moved on to other cities to pursue their dreams and careers. But interestingly, quite a few of those little flyers have returned home to raise their own children in an environment where they know those babies will be educated, nurtured and loved.
This speaks to the quality of the education Hartselle’s children receive, but it also speaks to the community and to its ongoing commitment to growing the next generation for the future – no matter where that future may be and where those children may serve. When our little chicks are still in their Hartselle nest, we want their experiences to be rich ones.
No one understands this better than Hartselle native Hesta Atkins Gurney who has written a children’s book entitled The Chicken and the Eggplant. Gurney is among those who attended F.E. Burleson as a child. Her children and grandchildren were also students there. This past fall, FEB invited Hesta to read her book to students, and among those FEB student-listeners was Hesta’s own great-granddaughter.
With a sweet story and beautiful illustrations, The Chicken and the Eggplant follows four curious little chicks as they explore the farm on which they live. Thanks to a little guidance, the chicks learn that appearances can be deceiving and that there is value in real understanding.
There is something uniquely special about learning this lesson through your great-grandmother’s reading of her own story. But there is also something special about learning this lesson and other life lessons under the care of those who also instructed older generations of your own family. Through school, scouting, Sunday School and more, many of us have benefitted from living in this village that so earnestly commits to raising its children.
And to those citizens who have not been with us long enough to have this experience – stick around. Hartselle will commit to you and your little chicks, too.