Best Bets

Brace yourselves: the school year is coming.

Gone are the mornings when a Homerite can drive through town on the way to work at his or her leisure. No more are the easy after work commutes. Farewell to streets and sidewalks free of little tykes to watch out for.

As the adults prepare for the busy year ahead, what with field trips to coordinate and sports games to attend, this year’s crop of young learners ought to be preparing for a season chock-full of learning. This shouldn’t be too difficult, as the Betster has observed that, year after year, learning seems to become just a little bit easier. Not the actual act of retaining information, mind you. That will always come easy to some and be a struggle for others.

However, the tools these whipper snappers have at their disposal these days is truly enough to boggle the mind of those who received their education in “the olden days.”

Take the school supply lists. Never in the Betster’s day would one see “earbuds” and “usb drives” included on a list of suggested school materials. Just some bark and a sharp rock with which to etch out the alphabet on.

Ask any old timer around, and the Betster bets they’ll say they never would have believed it had someone come up to them as a student and told them students of the future would be doing their work with iPads.

For those pursuing higher education, online portals for assignments, and supplemental readings posted digitally makes it easy to get a degree from the comfort of their own couch — or, more likely, futon.

And of course every one from an older generation knows the struggle of walking uphill, both ways, through feet of snow no matter the season in order to reach that place of intellectual enlightenment. How lucky are today’s young learners that the terrain and seasons have seemingly bent in order to accommodate their travels to and from school. They can even hitch a ride on these new-fangled contraptions called buses.

Yes, quite a lot has changed since this Betster was a youngster roaming the halls of educational institutes. Yet, many things remain the same.

Assignments and tests, though their form and frequency may change, are still a most dreaded and regular part of getting an education. The Betster encourages students to rest up and eat plenty of brain food in preparation for these feats of mental strength.

The friendships formed, broken and morphed in the halls and classrooms and on the fields of our schools can still be some of the longest and strongest around.

Finally, the curiosity and yearning to learn that rests inside today’s students can still burn just as brightly as it did in students of generations past, when fostered and brought to the surface with care and encouragement. For those of us who still maintain that curiosity into adulthood, maybe that curiosity can be slightly sated by these Best Bets:

BEST YOUTH BET: What better way to celebrate our students than to see some of them in action? Kids have been practicing hard and are displaying their talents this weekend inthe original play “Honor Among Thieves,” written and directed by Lindsay Schneider. It shows at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 17-19.

BEST BOCCE BET: Curious about your community and want to help out? Special Olympics is looking for Bocce Ball partners for Tuesday afternoons and Friday mornings. Call Carol for more information at 399-2500.

BEST TALL TALES BET: One surefire way to quell your curiosity about your fellow Homerites is to hear them tell stories about themselves and their lives. The Homer Storytellers will hold a meeting for anyone who has a story to tell or wants to learn about storytelling. It is open to participants age 12 and up, and will take place at 3 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 19.