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Old 08-17-2007, 08:21 PM
 
9 posts, read 26,198 times
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My family, 2 children, husband, and dog will be moving to Pargagould, AR soon. What I've seen so far on the threads is how well the football or baseball teams do in the schools and not about the academics. My daughter will be in elementary school and just curious as to what the schools are like.
I'm a little nervous about moving there. I've never lived in a small town before with such a homogeneous population. If any one out there can reassure me or direct me to information on the county other than the Chamber of Commerce that would be great! Thanks
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Old 08-29-2007, 07:54 PM
 
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Default Paragould's okay!

The local paper has on online edition at Paragould Daily Press: Serving Greene County, Arkansas. It will give you a little more flavor of the small town scene.

Both of my children attended the Paragould School system and you'll find caring teachers and small class sizes that add up to a nice environment. The teachers in other grades (K-4) tend to get to know the students in the other grades. Their website is http://www.rams.nesd.k12.ar.us (broken link). My daugther is finishing a bachelor's degree at a private college in Vermont, and my son will receive a Master's degree in Accounting in December. So, they did okay.

Besides the Paragould system there is also the Greene County Tech school system which has a brand new school building as well as the same type of environment. Greene County Tech

[color=#008000]Finally, there is Crowley's Ridge Academy. It is a Church of Christ private school that has small classes and a conservative viewpoint that many parents like in this area. It is not a requirement to be C O C for a child to attend, but there is a daily chapel.

The local radio station is Paragould's 107.1 FM The Ridge which has some other community links.

I graduated from college in nearby Jonesboro and moved here in 1978. My wife's famiy has had a family owned business here for 80 years.

It's a nice town, but there's not much to do if you're not heavily into sports. We have a cinema with 8 screens. In Jonesboro, there are 25 screens.The shopping is mainly Walmart. Jonesboro has a new mall with several familiar names. Memphis is 90 miles away, so there is some culture, good restaurants, and good shopping relatively close. By the way, 90 miles on Arkansas roads takes about an hour and a half to an hour and forty five minutes.

If you'd like to be involved in school actitivites or community service there are lots of opportunities. It helps pass the time and is a way to meet a lot of people

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Last edited by Sam I Am; 08-30-2007 at 03:43 AM..
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Old 09-01-2007, 07:53 PM
 
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Thanks for the information rileyvanhorn. I will definitly look up those resources you listed. I'm cautiously nervous but at the same time excited about moving to a state I've never lived in before.
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Old 09-01-2007, 08:01 PM
 
Location: ARK-KIN-SAW
3,434 posts, read 8,799,275 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beboptheflop View Post
Thanks for the information rileyvanhorn. I will definitly look up those resources you listed. I'm cautiously nervous but at the same time excited about moving to a state I've never lived in before.
I have immediate family that work in both GCT and Paragould (PHS). I have known the principal at the elementary school for 25 years, and have lived in paragould for almost 34 years...any questions, concerns..feel free to ask away..Id be happy to help
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Old 09-02-2007, 02:02 PM
 
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I suppose my main concern arguy1973 is the lack of diversity in the population and how that is dealt with in the schools. I know how I would deal with it at home. For example, my daughter, who is 5 and Caucasian, has Black, Korean, Hispanic, Slavic, Eastern Indian and Japanese friends. Where we live now, there is so much diversity that I think it has a positive influence on her education as a whole. At a young age she is very interested in different cultures and countries and the schools where we live now reflect that diversity in their teaching. All the statistics I've read have shown this part of AR as being very Caucasian. In all honesty, I'm worried about outside influences that my childern will encounter living in such a homogeneous society. I don't want sterotypes to cloud my judgement, so I'm honestly asking if NE AR is subject to more blantant forms of racism because of the lack of diversity? I know I truly won't know the answer until I move there myself and I want to keep an open mind because I believe in the inherent goodness of people, but it has been a worry of mine since we found out we were moving there.
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Old 09-02-2007, 07:34 PM
 
Location: ARK-KIN-SAW
3,434 posts, read 8,799,275 times
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Well,you are right, P-gould is probably 98 caucasion, not sure what you mean by how this is dealt with by schools though. IMHO p-gould is not any different that other towns in NEA, I think that students of other nationalities and or minorities arent treated any differently than anyone else. If you are looking for more of a diverse atmspohere in NEA, you might check out Jonesboro, 20 miles south of p-gould.
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Old 09-03-2007, 11:52 AM
 
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As I mentioned in my previous email, there are lots of chances for community service in the Paragould area which can be more regional. Our kids went to scouting, dance, tae-kwon-do and participated in fine arts council programs that gave them some exposure to kids from other cultures. My job gave us the opportunity to travel and we took our children with us a much as possible, so they would have exposure to other people.

That being said, the parents are the key in this area for any culture or exposure to diversity that children receive. It's here, but you have to dig for it.

On the question of racism, well most of it does seem to come from a lack of exposure to other cultures, and opinions are generalized because of that. You'll find people are generally accepting of other people on an individual basis. That is, they may have opinions about a group, but judge members of that group on the basis of their individual character.

There are a number of younger mixed race couples with children in the area and it's no big deal to anyone. Which a few years ago may not have been true. So, we are progressing.

Last edited by rileyvanhorn; 09-03-2007 at 12:03 PM..
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Old 09-03-2007, 12:09 PM
 
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Thank you for your honest answers, and you are right rileyvanhorn it is ultimately the responsibility of the parents to teach and enlighten their children. Right now my daughter participates in gymnastics and soccer. I was waiting until we moved to AR before I got her into Brownies. My son is too young for any of that right now.

Any help on good rec leagues for soccer would be greatly appreciated.
Also, does anyone know anything about the Episcopal Church on Main St. in Paragould?
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Old 09-04-2007, 10:06 AM
 
Location: Roswell, GA
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All due respect to rileyvanhorn, and while I do agree that it's up to parents to offer their kids the opportunity to experience diversity, there's just not that much on offer in NE Arkansas, even if you dig. I was born in eastern Arkansas and lived in Woodruff, Prairie, and Monroe counties until I was 11. All of my family, on both sides, is from that part of the world -- my dad's family are basically Suggins folk from Independence/Jackson counties, my mom's from farther south (from Augusta down to DeWitt). I've learned from some genealogical research done by others that most of my family, on both sides, has been in Arkansas since around 1850. You couldn't be much more of Arkansas culture than I am. I know it, I can enjoy it to a certain point, but I have no desire whatever to live in it.

At 12, we moved to Fayetteville, and I spent the next 5 years there. When we moved back over to Harrisburg, about 20 miles south of Jonesboro, when I was 17, I definitely experienced culture shock -- I'd only been away for five years, but that five years was spent mainly around kids whose parents were faculty or staff at the University, people from all over the country and all over the world. Without ever having traveled outside Arkansas much, I nonetheless had developed a much broader, more diverse outlook, and an awareness of how much the world outside Arkansas had to offer and how very different people outside Arkansas could be -- and that rather than be threatened by that I could enjoy and revel in it. I actually had one girl tell me, a year or so later, after she'd met a foreign exchange student from a nearby school, that I was the closest thing to an exchange student they'd ever had in Harrisburg .

After 20+ years in Atlanta (I came here to go to graduate school after my college years in Arkansas), I find eastern Arkansas to be intimately familiar and yet utterly alien every time I go back to visit family (which I generally do a couple of times a year). I can't even imagine being able to function within the constraints of eastern Arkansas. That's not a knock on the people there or anything, it's just not for me. That's why I left 20 years ago. You will experience culture shock. The idea that you may well have to go to Memphis or Little Rock or St. Louis for some things, after having pretty much anything you could want or need available in Atlanta, will take some adjustment.

Your daughter won't have a diverse group of friends. It's unlikely that anyone she encounters will be anything other than white Southern protestants, unless they're Hispanic Catholics. In a certain sense, your daughter will be better off than if the black population were larger -- in places where the percentage of blacks is lower than 5-6%, the few that are there tend to be better integrated into the whole than when the percentage is higher -- that was true in Fayetteville when I lived there, and in Harrisburg when I lived there (Harrisburg was less liberal, less "englightened" than Fayetteville, and there was a certain amount of mouthing off of racist crap by white kids I knew, but it was almost theoretical in that none of it was directed toward the black kids they knew -- just blacks in the abstract). In towns with a larger percentage of black residents, there's de facto segregation and greater racial tensions/problems -- in places like that where I lived, I saw kids on opposite sides of the racial divide who'd been close friends in third grade become intractable enemies, for that reason only, by the time they were in seventh grade. That probably won't be the case in Paragould since it is so uniformly white.

What you do with and about that is up to you, but there will undoubtedly be times you question the wisdom of your decision (just as there'll no doubt be times you revel in it). If you're going to make the transition effectively, I suspect you'll have to more or less give yourself up to it -- accept that this is where you've chosen to live, and make the best of it. No "it's only for X years" or "we're just waiting until we can move to Y" or whatever. You'll have to find the good in it, decide to do without the stuff it doesn't have, and be able to turn a blind eye to the negatives in order to make yourselves reasonably happy. In other words, you have to not just decide to go there, you have to choose it -- accept responsibility for the fact that you're there, and choose to be at ease with that. This is true anywhere, of course, but you'll be able (unless I miss my guess) to find lots of reasons not to be happy there. Whether you manage to be anyway will be up to you.
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Old 09-05-2007, 04:20 PM
 
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Default diversity in paragould

Props to rackensack because generally he (she) is right about many things about Northeast Arkansas and it is an honest evaluation of experiences that are common to people who have had the opportunity to live in other places.

Please don't consider this negative about Harrisburg, but Paragould is a much larger town (not a city certainly) than Harrisburg. While we're by a large margin a white protestant town, because of the hospital system we have Cuban, Middle-eastern (mainly India and Pakistan) and Asian doctors. Most of these doctors have younger children.

At the beginning of 2007 my daugther moved from Fayetteville after attending U of A and living there since 1999. She moved to Springfield, Missouri and still misses Fayetteville. Rackensack, you were fortunate to have had exposure to the one place in Arkansas that is really the least like Arkansas. It felt like we were going on a vacation when we went to visit her and we have considered the Fayetteville area to retire to.

My work has taken me to cities in 45 states, and the real appeal to small town life (for my family anyway) has been a lack of congestion, and the ability for individuals to be a real contributing part of of their community. If you want to call it "big fish in a small pond", we have an identity that goes beyond what we do for a living and our economic status. We crave the big city lights and all they have to offer on a frequent basis, but our home is a safe haven for our family that we always are ready to return to.
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