By Meg Upton
Here at Plumas News, we don’t exactly do ‘My Turn’ columns anymore but every once in awhile, we feel the need for an editorial. Today is such a day. What do I want to discuss with you? That horrific word: resilience. How am I applying it? To our children.
Prior to moving to Plumas County twenty years ago, I did a good deal of traveling in both Europe and Asia. I’ve spent significant time in ‘developing’ countries; in all those places I was amazed at how children make do, how children will find a way to entertain themselves and invent play where there is nothing to play with. I carried that with me when I moved here.
Over this last school year I was constantly reminded of watching kids overseas “make do” as I watched our own children “make do.” If you don’t have kids in the system, you might not see the reality on the ground. You might even think throwing kids back in Greenville next school year so they can spend recess staring out at burnt trees and trauma memories an excellent idea.
I was fortunate this year in that I got to substitute teach and was an artist in the Artists in the Schools program for Plumas County elementary schools. My own daughter is graduating from Quincy High School next week after schlepping from Greenville to Quincy most weekdays for the last four years so I’ve been privy to the experience of commuting through road construction, icy roads, and other random issues of the road.
All this to say, no matter whether this is their senior year and they are graduating or just moving on to the next grade, give those kids a big hug and congratulations for persevering and getting to the end of the school year. It was not easy.
We never knew if the commute was going to be 22 minutes or 90 minutes going to Quincy in the morning. Kids playing sports, like my daughter, could wind up getting home after midnight during game nights, only to get up at the crack of dawn the next day.
Students commuting to Quincy and Chester from Indian Valley also had to contend with cliques and exclusion and the not always welcoming atmosphere of going to school with people as a new student when everyone else has inside jokes from kindergarten on. Some kids got into fights. Some turned once again to underage cannabis use. Some became teen mothers.
The struggle was real. Students from Indian Valley enrolled in other schools dwindled from in person at the beginning of the year and drifted back to independent study.
For high school and junior high students and the elementary students, not being able to rely on a strong Internet connection and with phones getting one or two bars tops for much of Indian Valley during this school year also proved to be problematic both inside and outside the classroom. Kids taking Feather River College dual enrollment classes online last Fall had to leave town to be able to do their classes. Homework from classes that relied on Internet connections simply couldn’t get done.
Finally—and it shouldn’t really even need to be said—all our students were forced back into ‘normalcy’ less than a month after the Dixie Fire burned their homes. They got to live out the trauma of processing in real time, and for our elementary schools in Taylorsville that meant starting the school year some without permanent housing, without their own rooms and living out survival beyond their control.
These kids are resilient. These kids take care of each other. At Greenville Elementary School in Taylorsville at recess or lunch, you can see the older kids taking care of the younger ones. You can see the love and concern of the teachers and staff––some of whom are also facing losses and struggles of housing and rebuilding and trailer living care for each other. These kids and staff have made do all year in an old school building, multiple grades and abilities in each class, with unreliable Internet, all while each processing their own trauma whether they understand that concept or not. Greenville Elementary School didn’t even have a designated counselor with an in-person office on site like other campuses in the district—and still the students persevered.
And now it’s the end of year one and they made it through the gauntlet of recovery. Thanks to the tenacity of some parents in the community, there’s Little League again, and other activities of late spring/early summer are creeping back into the valley. Aaron and Megan Neer arranged a valleywide all schools prom. Judy Dolphin is planning a post graduation brunch for students who would have graduated from Greenville High School this year. Everyone is figuring it out their own way.
So students and parents and teachers of Indian Valley, congratulations. We made it to the end of the school year. We made it through the barely announced traffic stops, the power outages, the telecommunications drops, the extra expense of gas and groceries and for at least part of the year, a lack of either in most of Indian Valley. We made it through COVID and fire. We made it through in trailers, camping, borrowed rooms, moving. No matter what the final GPA is of our students, it feels like they are all valedictorians this year. None of them should have had to go through this gauntlet this year and all of them made it through in one way or another.
These students are the definition of resilient. Big giant hugs all the way around—especially our graduating seniors. Your community loves you and we are behind you all the way. We are proud of you for seeing it through no matter how you had to do it. And parents take a deep breath and exhale. You made it through too. And teachers of Indian Valley of both Indian Valley Academy and Greenville Elementary School mad props and respect—I don’t know how you did it. You’ve got some incredible superpowers and I hope you get some well-deserved rest this summer. May our summer be fire free.
As usual, if you have a notice for Plumas News concerning Indian Valley, you can send it here to [email protected]. I understand there’s some important information coming down the pike soon from the Dixie Fire Collaborative. Stay tuned.
Roundhouse Council is hosting their Greenville Big Time (gathering of the people) this Saturday, June 4. It begins at 1 p.m. adjacent to Greenville High School with traditional California dancers, food booths, crafts, and vendors.
Maidu Summit Consortium
The MSC is hosting a “Big Time” Loggers Jamboree also on Saturday, June 4 at Chester Park. Registration begins at 11 a.m. with events beginning at 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
The Greenville Pop-Up Library is in the process of moving. It will be closed today, Thursday, June 2 and will reopen this Saturday, June 4 at Greenville Junior Senior High School building, room 402. For more information check out www.plumascounty.us/2875.
Plumas Bank has renovated their building and is currently utilizing the Greenville Branch as a conference center. The Greenville Rotary is now holding their meetings there every other Wednesday at 1:30 p.m., the first one occurred yesterday, with Cindi Froggatt, Plumas County Assessor, speaking and answering questions regarding how burnt properties are assessed.
The Indian Valley Chamber of Commerce and its representative, Jeff Titcomb, will be utilizing the space on Saturday afternoons to answer questions and to be a presence back in the valley.
No word yet on a specific date for the ATM to come back on board but it’s said to be soon. The branch manager will also be there setting up with a laptop to work with Plumas Bank clients. The community is oh so happy that Plumas Bank put back its building in this new use way.
New Business and Refurbishing
Welcome, Indian Valley Tires, which is just north of Crescent Mills on Hwy 89.
Region Burger opens on June 6 at The Spot in downtown Greenville.
The Indian Valley Community Services District is getting clean up underway at Greenville Park. The park benches have been fixed up and repainted.
The next Gold Diggers planning meeting is June 14, at 6:30 p.m. at Green Meadows conference room.