Saturday was my 40th Beallsville High School reunion. A little over a dozen classmates showed up for a pot luck lunch and then a banquet with about 200 alums going back to 1941. Prior to the evening meal, we toured the old high school. A new high school is being built and the old one is expected to be torn down.
During the pot luck, I saw a couple of classmates I had not seen since graduation. It was fun to catch up on where people lived, and the number of grandchildren they now have.
Later as a group, the Class of 1971 walked through the hallways and told stories of funny events that happened through their twelve years together. Laughter echoed through the corridors as the stories brought back good memories about teachers, the principal's office, and other classmates.
During my days at Beallsville, my Mom was the principal of the attached grade school. When the high school principal, Mr. Haught, was absent, Mom was in charge of both schools and operated from the high school office. I told the story of the only time I was sent to the principal's office for talking by the study hall monitor who was also the librarian. I arrived at the office and asked to see the principal. I walked into his office and found Mom in charge. She asked me what I was doing there and I replied, "Just stopped by to see how you were doing." I didn't tell her the truth for several years.
A couple members of the Class of 1971 had been in coal mine accidents and still obviously suffered the resulting pain. Others are completing four decades underground. Most of my classmates still live within 50 miles of the school. Some ranged from northern and northwest Ohio and as far as Virginia.
Our class was unusually successful in academics and sports. Several students placed high in the regional tests we took every year. We had the first undefeated season in football in Beallsville's history 10-0, although my freshman season, we also had a perfect season, 0-9. We didn't blemish that season with a win. We were undefeated in regular season track meets for three of our four years and won the sectionals in basketball and the district in baseball. Quite an accomplishment for a class of 63 kids!
A former professor of the University of Colorado created a number of videotapes titled, What You Are Is Where You Were When. I used these tapes repeatedly during teambuilding sessions at BorgWarner Chemicals in the 1980s. Basically, Dr. Massey believed our view of the world was uniquely developed based upon the time period in which we grew up. Massey proposed that we act upon those beliefs and that understanding the world view of others helps us work more effectively with them.
Beallsville was the place where many of my beliefs were put into place. Who I am today came from the school, the teachers, and my fellow students. Each of us mostly acts from honest places within. My place was designed at Beallsville. Different people have had diverse experiences growing up. Leaders who understand this concept can better accept others who don't think the way we do.
R. Glenn Ray, Ph.D., is the president of RayCom Learning. Everyday Leadership appears each Wednesday on the Business page.