Let's work together, do ourselves proudWORTHINGTON — When I graduated from Worthington High School more than a couple decades ago, I planned to leave here and never look back, except maybe for a short visit. I certainly never intended to live here again.
By: Beth Rickers, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — When I graduated from Worthington High School more than a couple decades ago, I planned to leave here and never look back, except maybe for a short visit. I certainly never intended to live here again.
But circumstances brought me back to Worthington, and during my short stint away, I realized that I had grown to appreciate my hometown and the advantages of small-city life. Now, I can’t imagine living anywhere else. (Not that I don’t wish it was warmer come January and February.)
Recently, there has been a barrage of letters to the editor about the changes that have impacted Worthington in recent years, a debate initiated by a letter from another WHS grad who left here and never came back, except for a short visit.
Yes, Worthington has changed, and those changes have left marks on the community — some good, some bad. But I think people need to stop and consider what our city would be like if we hadn’t experienced growth through an influx of immigrant citizens.
The sad reality is that many of our young people graduate from high school and leave here for college, the military, better wages in larger cities and never come back except to visit mom and dad, grandma and grandpa. Consequently, without a new influx of residents who WANT to live here, our population would have severely dwindled.
Without our new immigrants, we would not have at least one of our major industries — one that I must point out has been blamed for many of Worthington’s problems — which would cause even those few young people who want to stay here to look elsewhere to make a living.
Without that major industry, local farmers would have to travel much farther to sell one of their major commodities and maybe there wouldn’t even be a market for that commodity.
With a reduction in population, we would have lost many more of our local businesses. I believe our downtown area would be a ghost town, and we wouldn’t have a mall area at all, because local residents would choose to spend even more of their money in nearby Sioux Falls, S.D., which seems to have so many more options to offer. There would undoubtedly be few restaurants at which to dine, many less gas stations at which to compare prices and certainly no luxuries such as fitness centers, a movie theater, a daily newspaper, radio stations and full-service grocery stores.
Without young people, without young families, there would be far fewer students to fill the halls of our schools and less money coming into those schools. Perhaps our school would have to consider consolidating with another nearby district, as has happened in so many rural towns around us.
Those are all “what-ifs” that may go overboard in portraying a doomsday scenario, but I believe they could be just the tip of the iceberg with many more detrimental repercussions to follow. Yes, without the minority population, Worthington would indeed be a different place. There is no doubt that it would not be the idealized city that people remember from their youth.
“He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery.” That quote is attributed to Prime Minister Harold Wilson in a 1967 speech in Europe, but I believe it is applicable today, right here in southwest Minnesota. Some people may not be able to see the changes in Worthington as progress, but those changes are certainly preferable to the alternative, at least from my viewpoint. Without its influx of recent immigrants, Worthington might not have become a cemetery, but it would certainly be well on its way to being a nursing home.
Instead of looking back at what Worthington once was, I think we all need to look toward the future and what we can do to make this a better place for all our residents — longtime and more recent. Worthington can’t go back to the way it was, so let’s work together to make it a community in which we can all grow and prosper and be proud.More from around the web