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New friends make Chatom summer meaningful

My summer in Washington County was unlike anything I ever imagined. It gave me the opportunity to explore. I had never been to Washington County before so every part of it was a new adventure.

I learned many things while there, including the historical importance of the county and St. Stephens, as well as the value of Native American education.

Still, there were things that I learned that could never have been taught in a classroom such as the importance of getting involved in organizations that support the community.

I witnessed what it looks like when people gather together to work toward common goals as well as what it looks like when opinions differ about what is best for the community and even the county as a whole.

While in Washington County, I was also able to meet wonderful people and have many meaningful conversations. 

Dot Stryker told me a lot about how the town of Chatom was founded and the ways the town has changed since 1904.

Janie Stephens shared various stories with me about her life and work in the county.

Mayor Wilbert Dixon enlightened me on what it has been like to become the first black mayor of McIntosh.

Ricky Chancey of the Hank Williams Jr. Band discussed his journey as a musician and performed songs for me more than once.

Mayor Harold Crouch, of Chatom, gifted me with life lessons that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

Jessica and Spencer Ross and their dog Lola shared their home with me this summer. They made me feel welcomed and helped me meet wonderful people.

The workers at the Washington County Public Library, Robin Goldman, Peyton Deese, Paige Akridge, Moneta Johnsons, Rebecca Chancey and Janet Dixon, were fun to work with, and I’m so happy about the time I spent with them.

My friendship with Inda Lou Schell has greatly impacted me, and I cherish the time we spent talking, eating and playing cards.

These are only a handful of the people who made this summer special. I am thankful to everyone for welcoming me into their communities and helping my ten-week endeavor feel like the experience of a lifetime.