Hope for Hamlin: community rallying behind academic and athletic success

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HAMLIN, Texas (KTAB) – Hamlin is like a lot of America’s smaller rural communities. Economic downturns can hit a bit harder than in other places. To give kids a path forward, Hamlin’s schools are changing, and the community is behind them.

Hamlin’s new collegiate form of classes follows the path blazed by Roscoe of not just sending kids to class, but using class to get students ready for their careers. This could be what it takes to reverse a trend of poverty.

Superintendent Dr. Randy Burks explained, “One of the goals of this model is to break the cycle of generational poverty. Rural America, rural Texas is struggling.”

The change may be a big one for the small town school, but kids and teachers are both ready as the change begins, receptive to some new ideas.

“We have to work on the culture”, said Dr. Burks. “We’re working on hope, and aspirations, and grit, and expectations, and rigor, so we can move onto a college-going culture.”

As the school has rallied around the idea, the town is rallying around the school. Part of that support comes from the football field. It’s easy for a school, and a community, to have hope and grit when they see their team having an excellent season.

Dr. Burks, who has a history of coaching himself, gets it. “I know the benefits of having a successful athletic program”, he said. “All those traits we talked about are very easily translated from the football field, to the classroom, to life.”

Current Coach Russell Lucas has seen the support as well. As his team prepared to board the bus to Plainview, he reflected on just how widespread that support is.

“I’ve seen several businesses put on Facebook, and I’ve seen signs on front doors, ‘We’re closing today at 1 o’clock and heading to Plainview’, so there won’t be many folks here after this afternoon.”

Hamlin is left a ghost town, for a day, all because it has found something to be excited about.

“Every community needs good things to happen to them”, said Lucas. “It gives everybody a little hope, something to be happy about. Sometimes times are tough, and if we can bring some joy and some excitement to the community, we’re proud to do that.”

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