Commonwealth Assets
July 17, 2019

In recent months, Norton, Kansas has been hit with a seemingly endless series of tragedy. A hit and run, the death of a 19-year-old college student with a promising future, the murder of an outspoken community leader, and a farming accident claiming the life of a high school sophomore are just the beginning, and that only includes the past four months. While many people view these events as a “curse” on the community, and conversations with outsiders inevitably turn to the recent events of our little town of three thousand, there is an alternate aspect to these tragedies that foreigners will never be able to see or comprehend. For such a small town, it’s difficult to comprehend “why” it seems everything is hitting at once, but even in the face of tragedy, our little community never fails to come together to provide universal support for those who need it most. Two of the aforementioned tragedies happened within twenty-four hours of one another, causing schools to be closed for a day, and when the students returned, almost nothing was accomplished for over a week. However, this says a lot about Norton’s health, education, and sense of place assets of commonwealth. Our education system is very blessed with countless phenomenal educators who were able to seamlessly switch tactics to simply support students and staff alike when it was needed most. Though it was a gloomy atmosphere, the amount of community support felt throughout these times has spoken deeply to the strengths of our community. The Norton area also displays strength in the soil and mineral cycle, as many of the local farmers have begun to implement no-till farming and various soil conservation techniques, such as growing cover crops to replenish the nutrients in the soil.