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COLUMN: Going back to school – we need your help

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The 7-year-old version of Shannon Mason (at the time) differs in most ways from the 26-year-old Shannon Brock you see today.
She was blonde, petite, shy and more concerned about finding her favorite My Little Pony than fact-checking a news story.
But there is at least one thing these two versions of me have in common – we’re absolutely crazy about the words “back to school.”
I know, I know – it sounds insane. But I truly have loved school since I was old enough to go, and I always have loved back-to-school shopping.
Sure, I loved picking out new outfits, but I get 10 times more excited about pencils, pens, notepads – the whole nine yards ... or the whole 12-inch ruler.
So imagine my dismay when I realized last week that in all my grown up haste, I had temporarily forgotten about the phenomenon known as back-to-school shopping. It has been four years since I graduated from college, you know.
Luckily, a trusty coworker shared a story about her nephew experiencing this exciting event for the first time. It was like reuniting with an old friend – I suddenly wanted to rush out and purchase some safety scissors, glue and, if I was lucky, markers.
Now, I quelled my urge to blow last week’s paycheck on writing utensils (although, I think my husband would have been right along beside me picking out the best pen available), but we here at The Spencer Magnet have come up with an interesting way to put all that energy to good use.
At the suggestion of our General Manager Lynette Mason, over the next three weeks, we will be examining how the meaning of “back to school” has evolved over the last roughly 50 years.
What were the required school supplies in the 1960s? What types of class projects did students do in the 1980s? And what is going on in the classroom now that we never could have foreseen back then?
Next week, in the July 20 edition, we’ll take a look at back to school from around 1961 to 1986. In the July 27 edition, we’ll examine the next 25 years – up through the 2000s.
In conjunction with our countywide, back-to-school sample on Aug. 3 when we provide parents and students with everything they’ll need to know for the coming school year, we’ll take a look at school today.
Here’s where you come in: if you have gone to school, taught school or volunteered in a school over the last 50 years, we want to hear from you.
Send us your photos or old supply lists or fun memories. Either email me at editor@spencermagnet.com, email Mallory at reporter@spencermagnet.com, call our office at 502-477-2239 or come by for a visit at 100 W. Main St.
We have our archives to comb through, but this project won’t be a success without you, our readers.
Your help will create a buzz around going back to school this year, and trust me, both the 7-year-old and 26-year-old versions of me will be very excited.