2020 has been a year of challenges and changes never before seen; but Ashvillians managed to make it a stellar one.

The students consistently distinguished themselves in athletics, academics, and agriculture. But perhaps the most memorable was Miles for Meals. The Bulldog runners raised nearly three thousand dollars to buy groceries for those in need. They even did the shopping themselves: at Piggly Wiggly when the doors opened.

It is rare to find that kind of generosity of spirit, courage, and determination in those so young. But their hometown is teeming with role models possessing these attributes. Those who delivered hot lunches or offered their shopping services for free to complete strangers on Facebook knowing they would be safer at home.

They took a bad situation and used it to break new ground. The St. Clair County Extension Office taught classes on how to sell food on the internet. Necessity is the mother of invention...and new business ideas.

Ashville Spirit Club made generous donations to high school athletics. The McCains did the same for the Ashville Public Library. The Children's Place got a new playground thanks to donations and volunteers.

This is beyond the old or new normal, this is new and improved!

Perhaps generosity of spirit is what moved the Ashville School System to recognize new teachers every month. There have been too many to mention. But we've learned how much effort coaches put into every game, every athlete. We learned that a math teacher doesn't necessarily just reach math. She might also organize the prom and Homecoming. Well-deserved praise to those in a noble profession.

And they had the courage and determination not to let fear steal their joy or take away their traditions. They went to dances, craft shows, car shows, fall festivals and Sweets on the Square just to name a few.

And, even in the rain, The Christmas Parade marched on. It is a big part of Ashville's identity. And considering the qualities that characterize Ashvillians, it is an identity that deserves a parade.

Happy New Year, Ashville. And good job with the old one!

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