Lake County is a big place. It’s roughly the same size as New Jersey with a lot fewer people, about 8,000 in Lake County and 9 million in New Jersey. As big as Lake County is, it only has two “cities” – Lakeview, the county seat, and Paisley, 50 miles north of Lakeview with about 250 residents. In addition to Lakeview and Paisley, there are a handful of unincorporated towns that are the home communities for Lake County ranching families. One of those communities is Adel, about 30 miles to the east of Lakeview.
The town of Adel has a general store, Catholic Church (lots of Irish immigrants in the later 1800’s and early 1900’s), small post office, and a two room school (the Adel School District). These days, the Adel School District teams up with neighboring Plush School District, 30 miles to the north. Together they typically have about a dozen K-8 students. They all go to Plush for Kindergarten to third grade and then to Adel for 4th to 8th grade. From there, most take the long bus ride to Lakeview for high school and, thanks to the Daly Fund, most go on to college.
I caught up with a kid from Adel when I was in North Carolina visiting family last week. Whenever I travel, I check the Daly scholarship recipient list to see if there’s anyone nearby and, as is often the case, there was. At Red Hat Linux headquarters in Raleigh, I met with Luke Dary, a software development manager. Luke went to the Adel two-room K-12 school, then by bus to Lakeview High School (1998 graduate), and with the help of the Daly Scholarship, on to OSU. From there, Luke found his way to North Carolina and Red Hat, the world’s leading provider of open source solutions. While Adel is very remote and hard to get to, it does seems that you can get anywhere from there.
Luke told me he was well prepared during his time in the Adel School where had access to dial-up computers and a couple of very talented teachers. Mr. Tuchscherer taught grades 6-8 while his wife taught grades 3-5 in the room next door. Luke and his classmates (all of his classmates) were on the Adel math team that won the regional math competition by edging out the much bigger Klamath Falls junior high team. Luke did well in math, he went on to take calculus as a junior at Lakeview high school. (Lakeview has a particularly strong math program)
Shortly after I got back from North Carolina I went to Lakeview to attend the annual Daly Fund trustee meeting (more about the trustee meeting in a future post). I got to Lakeview on Friday afternoon, the day before the Saturday meeting so I had time to visit with people. My first stop was to see Will Cahill, the superintendent of the Lake County School District (see note). I knew Will grew up on a ranch in Adel so I told him about meeting Luke (of course, he knew Luke and his family) and I confessed that although I’d been to Lakeview many times, I’d never gone to Adel or to Plush. So after the Saturday trustee meeting, Will took me a tour through Warner Valley, Adel, Plush, and Fort Bidwell, California, just across the state line. Beautiful country. Along the way, Will told me the story of his grandparents coming from Ireland and about many other Irish who came, first as sheep herders, then cattle ranchers. Thanks to the Daly Fund, most of the Lake County ranchers have college degrees and their kids can compete with the best and the brightest anywhere.
Note: Lake County has five school districts: Lake County District (mostly Lakeview), Adel District (grades 4-8), North Lake District (K-12), Paisley (K-12), and Plush (K-3).