To live in Appalachia is to love Appalachia.
The deep ravines, muddy “hollers” and soaring rugged hills are a beauty to behold. Hunting, fishing, hiking, boating and camping are all part of the culture of the people who have lived on the land for generations.
All of this also serves to draw the adventure-seeking tourists who drop in. The tourists call it “wilderness adventure.” The people who live here call it “life.”
And life here, outside the majestic beauty, is hard; poverty always nips at your heels. If you work in the coal industry, you likely go into the mines each day and wonder two things: Will I make it out alive? Will I get laid off tomorrow?
To many outsiders, the people here are rubes, rednecks, hillbillies: uneducated, unsophisticated, stuck in a world that has passed them by; unwilling to allow themselves to move on, move out or move up the ladder.
For the longest time, no one thought stability went along with living in Appalachia — that is, until now.
David Price has lived here in Greene County, Pa., for all of his 20 years and never wanted to leave. He loves his life in a culture that is clannish and steeped in traditions and thrives on being close to his family.
But growing up, his options were slim and his opportunities few.
There were two paths Price likely could have followed, and neither gave his family comfort: Move away, or stay put and work two or three jobs.
Price didn’t think there was another option and certainly never dreamed it would be found in the halls of his high school.
Read the full piece HERE.