Seth Boyes joined the Dickinson County News staff in March of 2017. In his first week at the DCN, he covered a train derailment near Graettinger. The tankers carrying ethanol burst into flames. Seth's photo of the event won first place for Best Breaking News photo at the 2018 Iowa Newspaper Association Convention and Trade Show. Since, Seth has won nearly a dozen awards for writing, photography and multimedia content. Seth graduated from Iowa State University in 2009 with a degree in Integrated Studio Arts. His original cartoons run regularly in the Spencer Daily Reporter and the DCN. Both he and his wife Janet hail from Clear Lake and have come to expect summers to be full of the hustle and bustle of tourists and visitors.
A maroon Members Only jacket hangs in the back of my closet. It is neither warm, nor comfortable nor stylish. It simply exists as continued proof of a plethora of fashion choices society wishes it hadn't made.
Of course, a May is a month know for decisions being made by the young as they graduate - where they will go, what they will do, who they will become. It's a time when the community watches with great interest as the quasi-adults answer those questions for themselves.
But let us not forget they are watching us as well.
May has also been the month in which more and more high school seniors have been sitting in on local government meetings. I've seen them file in at both the county and city level sessions (and believe you me, it's nice to have the company, since the audience is usually devoid of anyone who isn't there for a work related purpose - such as myself). And, like I said, they're watching us. I know this because every session typically ends with an open opportunity to address the local officials.
At a recent meeting, one student took the opportunity.
He told the group (I won't get specific) that the area students had been to several local government meetings recently and this particular student felt some meetings had been argumentative and ineffective. I'll say it again - they're watching.
The upshot here is that, because they're watching, they may not do the same when it's them behind the desk. As they graduates put any their cap and gown and begin working toward their next goal in life, they may be doing so with the intent to be better than what they've seen. On the one hand, it would be embarrassing to think that we have motivated them so. On the other hand, to have young people aiming to be better than what they've seen around them would be paramount to a better world.
But age, experience and a maroon Members Only jacket can make us adults believe we have filled in on the bubbles on life's scantron sheet. So when these young students come back (and let's not forget how desperately this region wants young people to live here) it may feel as though some young whipper snapper in a bow tie is telling us our Members Only jacket isn't that great...and they would be right.
You see, when people young or old watch with intention, they learn. They learn who they want to be, and they often learn they want to be someone better. They want to be someone better who does something better.
And that means change.
It's going to mean new ideas. It may mean greater decorum in local government meetings, it may be different political priorities or it may mean a wider world view than some have considered, but by golly one of these young minds is going to try to make it a reality - try to make things better than they've seen it be.
So, as these young men and women turn their tassels, let's not be the one who insists our Members Only jacket is still totally tubular. Let's let them change the world for the better.