Welcome to the first installment of this writer’s version of Horizons! I’m excited to be embarking on what should be quite the adventure.

If you’re wondering what to expect from me, well, I’ll get back to you on that one. I’ll do all I can to provide you, the reader, with an interesting column once a month.

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m the son of Dale and Becky Nuss. If you’re in the agriculture world, you’ve probably seen or met my dad, who sells farm equipment, and no matter what world you’re in, you’ve probably seen those pretty red signs with big white stars that advertise my mother’s and grandmother’s real-estate agency.

I am currently a senior at Hillsboro High School, where I’m involved in a wide range of activities-from band, to sports manager, and from FFA to yearbook. If you stick with me long enough, I’m sure you’ll get to hear of at least one of these activities in a column.

This year marks my 13th year of schooling, and my sixth in USD 410. In those six years, I’ve heard a lot of conversations concerning our school and those prominent figures involved with the district.

In my daily wanderings through the hallways of Hillsboro High School, I’ve heard both students and teachers discuss certain issues concerning the school district.

What is most often discussed is the negative issues, such as a player’s opinion of a coach after a tough night of competition, or one faculty member’s grumblings about another faculty member who sees an issue on a completely different page.

The conversations that so often don’t take place are those concerning some of the good things our school administration has done.

The brains of our school district, namely the members of the board of education, have done wonders in dealing with the budget cuts. As a student, I can tell you that if you didn’t hear about the budget cuts, you wouldn’t even know about them.

I know of at least one school district in the area that had to make severe cuts to their athletic programs and in-school activities.

Our athletic teams have been blessed by a school board that has found other places to cut. This may be due to the importance of extra-curricular activities in the Hillsboro community, but it was a smart move because the school-life of the typical student was not effected.

If you’ve been in Robert C. Brown Gymnasium lately, you definitely wouldn’t know of the budget cuts had they not been all over the news.

Speaking of Brown Gymnasium, that’s another great thing our school district has done for its students. Hillsboro High School is a very athletic-oriented school, and the athletes here have been blessed with outstanding facilities. Brown Gymnasium is the only facility I’ve seen that provides athletes with three full-sized courts and 18 basketball goals to use for practice.

Our school board has also given our athletes some of the best coaches in the land, and their overall records show this.

Did I mention the teachers? Since I’ve only lived here for six years, I can’t vouch for the elementary school teachers, but I can tell you that at the high school and middle school, the students are given top-notch education from top-notch teachers.

In my opinion, the thing that separates USD 410 teachers from some other teachers is that our teachers want to build relationships with students.

Yes, they’re getting paid to educate the students, but they go above and beyond their duties to become a student’s friend. Some even choose to be youth sponsors for their churches, thus spending more time around their students, which allows them to see some different sides of students than may be seen in the classroom.

In my opinion, the ability for the teachers to show their students that they care and want to see them succeed is part of what is to blame for our above-average test scores.

The point I’m trying to make through this column is that our school districts deserves more respect-both from its students and its community-than what it is getting.

The easy thing to do with the budget cuts would have been to eliminate some sports and other extracurricular activities, but the members of the USD 410 Board of Education value the education and school experience of their students. The school board has done some great things for the students of the community, and they deserve all the respect in the world.

On a final note, tomorrow is election day. Please do yourself and your government a favor and go vote. It’s one of the free liberties of our country!

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