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Toronto's pat on the back today

September 3, 2013 - Paul Giannamore
Students in Toronto head off to a brand-new middle and high school building today.

The bond issue passed back in 2010 with a concerted effort by school board members, school district officials and community leaders, during an election when most other school bond issues statewide failed.


I like to think it’s because people in and around Toronto retain some sense of community pride, that sense of inherent duty to do what we can as citizens to ensure the place is nice, relatively clean and that we pass it on in good condition to the next generation.

I think Toronto isn’t alone in that in the region. I see and sense the same kind of spirit in places such as Wellsburg, Follansbee, Chester, where it seems entire communities get behind efforts at beautification and community support. It’s not just about football or bands (though tossing in a renovated Clarke HInkle Stadium certainly was a nice touch for Toronto). It’s about that intangible spirit. It’s not that every communitiy doesn’t have great people trying very hard. But in some special little towns, one finds folks don’t pick on those who make efforts to do things like bike trails or community flower gardens or town gazebos. They support and thank them.

My kids didn’t even go to the Toronto schools, having attended St. Francis and Catholic Central, nor would they directly benefit from the new school because both were college aged by the time the bond levy came to the ballot box.

But we live in Toronto. Our children’s friends went to Toronto. Our neigbors and friends have kids who went and go there. And it is a centerpiece of the community, as the high school should be in any small town.

Losing it was not an option we wanted to see.

That spirit is easy to lose. I remember that when one of the seemingly endless number of levies in Indian Creek came due when I was a year or two out of high school that my mom and I had one of those wonderful mother-son political dogfight moments. For absolute clarity, we lived in the part of Steubenville’s West End that is in Indian Creek, so we had no Mingo Junction vs. Bloomingdale vs. Wintersville issues at all.

Mom: “My kids are out of school. Why the heck do I need to add on paying another levy?”

Me: “Because what about all the other kids in the neighborhood? What about people after you’re gone?”

Mom: “Easy for you to say, you aren’t paying the taxes.”

Me: “You sound like a Republican.”

At that point, Mom grabbed her handy copy of “Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye” and smacked me upside of the head with it. At which point I yelled, “Liberal!” and she hit me again. See, I always had this centrist thing.

Anyway, The Boss and I pay the taxes now, and I feel just a little bit like the proud ower of a brand-new school today.

Thanks be to the leaders who had the foresight and did all the legwork.

Now all that’s left is actually making sure it’s an educational masterpiece.


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