School split will be a good thing
During the Sept. 5, DeSoto-Piper soccer game, I noticed something. It didn't strike me as odd at first, but the more I thought about it, the more strange it got. Both Mill Valley and DeSoto fans were cheering for DeSoto.
This being our first year with two high schools, I think we as fans are still used to cheering on DeSoto. I then started to think if the same thing would happen in five years.
Then, I thought about what the entire district would be like in five years. So here are my predictions for DeSoto School District, USD 232.
First, both schools will become more dominant in their sports programs. I think this split is going to work in a way similar to when stocks split.
At first its value goes down, but then it rises back up and is worth more than before.
Underclassmen are going to have more chances to play and get better, now that there are twice as many teams. Before, students from Shawnee had to compete with students from DeSoto for spots on teams. Now, they will have a better chance of making the team, because they don't have to try out against those kids.
Second, the population boom will continue. With subdivisions popping up all over the area, I don't see an end to this.
With the racetrack and Oz amusement park (maybe) coming into town, more money will be coming into the area and people will continue to want to live here.
Third, our rivalry will grow as students who attended high school with each other graduate.
Right now, most students have friends at the other school. As these students start to graduate, the familiarity will wane and we'll be cheering against the other school instead of for it.
Fourth, Shawnee will fall into the same trap that has snared the rest of Johnson County.
We've held off for a while, but I think that more and more strip malls are going to invade the area, making us just like Overland Park, Lenexa and Olathe. Wal-Mart, Home Depot and the like will creep westward, enveloping our community into suburban sprawl.
All in all, I think these are pretty safe predictions. The trends and projections point in this direction. However, anything could happen. The population boom could end just as quickly as it began, and none of these might happen.
Whatever unfolds, these are exciting times for the DeSoto school district.
Nick McQuiston is a senior at Mill Valley High and an editor of the school newspaper. He regularly covers the Mill Valley football beat for the Explorer.