I can’t count how many times I’ve made the trek from my hometown of Garden City to Manhattan. Whether it was for State Convention, State CDE’s, K-State’s Ag Ed Speech Contest, or a campus visit—the 4 ½ hour trip never seemed to get any shorter. Now that I’m attending K-State, I’m sure that I will be making that trip more often.
Since I’ve been driving that stretch of road by myself, I’ve noticed a lot more scenery than I used to when I was reading a book or taking a nap in the backseat. A few trips back I noticed that there was a historical marker on the outskirts of a Burdett, a small town that I often passed on my expeditions back and forth. Being the history nerd that I am, I determined to stop there, but just not that day. Most of the time, I’m in a pretty big hurry to either make it home or make it to the good ole MHK.
But, on the way back to Manhattan from a Labor Day weekend spent at home with my family and friends, I decided that I had time to stop. It turns out that the historical marker honored a man named Dr. Clyde Tombaugh, a 1925 graduate of Burdett High School. While many of us may have never heard of Dr. Tombaugh, we’ve all heard of his work. Dr. Tombaugh discovered the planet Pluto in 1930, among a myriad of other things.
I was a little surprised to say the least. You mean to tell me that the guy who discovered Pluto was from Middle-of-Nowhere, Kansas? Who knew?!
Dr. Tombaugh grew up on a small farm in a small Kansas town. Sound familiar? His background probably sounds a lot like many of ours. However, he still made an incredible difference in our understanding of the universe. Dr. Tombaugh literally reached for the stars… and the found them.
Who knows what we are capable of if we constantly strive for excellence—maybe we’ll discover a new planet, develop a more efficient corn hybrid, or create a tractor that drives itself. The possibilities really are endless! It doesn’t matter where we come from, we can still leave our mark.
Kansas FFA, reach for the stars!