I know more than a few people who left the holler and went to the university. After school they moved to Brooklyn. They go home now for holidays and to bring Mom some money.
That’s the myth.

While I understand and respect what you’re saying, I’d also offer this: The government stepped in and mandated western-style education in Inuit parts of Alaska, and destroyed an entire culture and way of life. While I undisputedly value education, the notion that westernized government-sponsored education and healthcare being “offered” to citizens is the answer to all problems, in all circumstances, is simply not the case — whether one “takes” it or not.

As for those who’ve left — that’s a realistic decision that must be made by every individual in Appalachia and is not unique. Whatever their choice — to leave or stay — can only be decided by them as individuals, based on their wants and needs. But I have chose (and will continue to choose) to stay in the holler and work on a grass roots level to create change from within my own community. Money-making Brooklynites who bring mama home some “dough” during holidays is fine, if that’s what works for them. But I value seeing my family more often than just the holidays, so staying closer — even if that means *gasp* less income over my lifetime — is just fine with me. To judge based on whether someone decides to stay or leave seems somewhat unfair, in my humble option.

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