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Through their eyes

Jeanne Sager - Columnist
Posted 6/1/21

I've developed a strange habit in recent years, one that I can't help but blame on social media.

As I drive through the county, I try to pay more attention to my surroundings than I did in my …

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Through their eyes

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I've developed a strange habit in recent years, one that I can't help but blame on social media.

As I drive through the county, I try to pay more attention to my surroundings than I did in my past, attempting to look at familiar sights not through my own eyes but through the eyes of a Sullivan County visitor.

It's strange, but not unheard of. Sullivan County Visitor Association figures put tourism dollars in 2019 at more than $500 million. Million with an M.

What outsiders think of us matters.

If you've taken a drive through the Sullivan West school district recently, you've likely seen at least a few of the bright blue banners.

Scattered through the various hamlets of the district, each bears the face of a member of the Class of 2021.

As a local, a mom who has watched many of these kids grow up, each banner has made my heart swell. I know what each smile represents - the years of hard work, papers written, games played, songs sung, math problems solved. As a local, a grin can't help but forming as I think about the games I've watched, the songs I've heard, the plays I've taken in, the hopes I have that these talented kids may one day return to us.

As a visitor, the faces seem to melt one into another as I imagine myself not knowing the stories behind them, and yet the appeal remains.

As communities we invest in our school districts as an investment in our future. The kids of today are the adults of tomorrow.

The communities that care for today's kids are the communities building a place for tomorrow's adults.

As a visitor, that's the type of town I'd be drawn to, maybe buy a house in, most likely talk about on social media in glowing ways.

As a native, that's how I want my community to be described.

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