A town striving for relevance. An area known for its coal production several decades in the past. A community not known for its industrial base-- instead, it is known as a quick stop between Linton and Sullivan on State Road 54. This is the future that may await the community of Dugger, if its soul is ripped out tonight by the Northeast Sullivan School Corporation.
This fate has awaited other communities over the last 50 years. A half-century ago, it was towns with names like Oaktown and Wheatland and Epson and Odon... and Winslow and Ireland, and Celestine and Carlisle, and many others who wondered if they would be reduced to mere dots on a map. Over the time from 1960 to 1980, they-- and many others like them-- would be determined by the State of Indiana to be too small to be feasible. The 1960's saw the emergence of the "directional" school-- like North Knox, or South Adams, or Western Boone, or Eastern Greene-- needed on one hand to give rural kids a better chance at education, but despised on the other as ripping the very soul out of the communities that provided its students.
Recent years have seen a new wave of consolidation. Union Junior and Senior High Schools are in the crosshairs, and may be a few scant months away from joining the ranks of the dearly departed-- another white elephant building tombstone remembering the life that used to exist in a community which may soon become just another dot on the map between Linton and Sullivan.
If the Northeast Sullivan School Corporation closes the doors to Dugger tonight, the students will scatter to the four winds. Round and round the students go-- where they stop, no one will know. Linton? Sullivan? Shakamak? Even North Knox? All four are closer than the other Northeast Sullivan school, North Central. A Terre Haute Tribune-Star survey showed none-- repeat, NONE-- of the Dugger students they talked to plan to head to North Central, 20 miles distant.from Dugger. Where they go, no one knows-- but one thing is for sure, they won't forget the Gold and Black. Tonight, the Northeast Sullivan Schools could take the gold away from Dugger, and all that is left is black-- for Dugger's present, and likely future.
That's my take... I'm Tom Lee.