Mr. Kornegay had never developed much of a circle of friends since college and his behavior in his college years had estranged many of his former friends before graduation. In other words, finding free time wasn't an issue. Bored, Mr. Kornegay began to help with the school athletic teams, drama club and other extracurricular activities. He'd often not get home until it was time for him to crawl under the sheets and fall asleep to rest for the next day's activities. Unsurprisingly to our readers, his school suddenly became a hotbed for major university and pro sports scouts, who flocked to games to fight over some of the best prospects in the country. Academic scholarships per capita reached record breaking heights. This poor rural county was at this point home to the country's best and brightest, as well as the fastest and most skilled, and that Venn diagram didn't do much but overlap.
Mr. Kornegay couldn't break the homebody culture of his hometown and he didn't really want to. It's true that many of his students went out into the world to head Fortune 500 Corporations, put up Hall of Fame careers in several sports, create groundbreaking works of art, and design inventions that changed the world for the better, but many of these students came back home after college. Instead of coming home to settle for crappy jobs and pop out babies all too early like their ancestors did, they started businesses, improved the town's infrastructure and created an environment conducive to business and academics.
Farms that had been failing only fifteen years earlier suddenly turned into high-priced housing or cashed in on a sustainable agriculture market that was all of the sudden hot in the region. But unlike many places, this urbanization didn't come at the expense of green space. Brilliant and motivated minds mastered the art of urban development. Green spaces abounded. Dependency on cars was reduced. Within twenty years, this dirty, dying town had suddenly become the hottest small city in the country and was being marketed as a model for sustainable growth.
Perhaps the biggest miracle was that for the first time in known history, progress and growth marched on and the poor weren't forced from their houses and sent packing. The growth here seemed to benefit everyone. Of course it didn't that Mr. Kornegay's work in the schools had broken the circle of poverty here.
The town had grown and swallowed Mr. Kornegay's 200-acre patch of former farmland, but he'd refused to sell. His former students held regular fund raisers to help him pay the property taxes on land that had never been intended to be valued so highly.
By most standards, Mr. Kornegay lived a charmed life. He wasn't wealthy, but he was able to supplement his teacher's salary by leasing out his land to a nearby creamery for grazing. He'd helped turn his depressing hometown into this beautiful, vibrant city, but still he couldn't be moved to smile. That is until one day, middle age quickly approaching, perhaps having already arrived by the standards of some, Mr. Kornegay didn't show up to school. On his desk was left the following resignation letter:
To Whom It May Concern:
For twenty-five years I've dedicated my life to inspiring those who helped make this city a wonderful place to live. Teaching was what I knew, and even as I watched myself become a success in my chosen career, I was never truly happy. I was respected and loved by my students and colleagues and in return I poured myself into my work even further. I'm proud of the work I've done but I'm left unfulfilled and as time passes, I find it harder and harder to bring myself to get up in the mornings and come to work. Please accept my resignation.
To be continued...