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If you could clone one element from another city you’ve visited — a building, a cultural institution, a common street food, etc. — and bring it back to your own hometown, what would it be?

When my husband and I moved to Blandford twenty years ago; it was initially to provide help and support to his mother and grandmother and then we saw the benefits of what a small town could provide our children during their formative years.

We saw a small town with a strong sense of community, a brand new school, a pretty town park, a Historical Society, a Town Hall, a library and an adorable General Store. It seemed to be everything that small town Americana was supposed to be and we embraced it.

Sadly after we bought our house that I love with all of my heart; the school right behind our house was deemed to be superfluous to the district’s needs and was closed. We fought that decision tooth and nail, but in the end we still lost so we decided to take our children to another school district where they flourished because luckily that school and its teachers were amazing.

So if I were to do just one thing to change our town, it would be to clone that amazing other school and put it where Blandford’s old school is, to provide the town’s children a wonderful facility with amazing teachers.

What the regional school district failed to appreciate when they made their decision to close Blandford’s school wasn’t just the harm they did to the children, but the longterm harm they did to the town itself. Our town become much smaller the day it lost its school. Schools represent children, the future and investment in opportunities and by shutting our school we were given the message that the future wasn’t important for Blandford.

So there we are, the one thing needed to be cloned and inserted in my small town is a school; sadly, not an easy thing to accomplish.