Alex Tobler and Dylan Catalano inspect the library of their middle school, a space that has been refurbished since their move to high school a few years ago.
On an August day, the soon-to-be-seniors talk with confidence about their future plans to make a difference in the community. Dylan sees himself as a politician, helping to enact change. Alex wants to help in a different way, by putting criminals behind bars.
They laugh frequently as they notice the spotless carpet and undamaged book shelves; it’s like a different school.
Although a bit jealous, they are still grinning ear to ear because future students will have the benefit of getting an education in such a nice facility. Besides, they recently received their own good news. Thanks to a recent development, their education will also have a new look of its own.
It’s called the Buchanan Promise. The Promise program is a $10,000 scholarship for graduating Buchanan High School students who have lived and attended school in the district since at least first grade. Students who meet the residential and school attendance requirements for at least four years are still eligible for a portion of the scholarship.
This is a very welcomed gift for a district where students often lack the financial resources to succeed.
“I see kids that I thought had great promise — they were really pretty good students — and then they are working at McDonald’s,” said Karin Falkenstein, the principal at Buchanan’s Ottawa Elementary School and member of the Buchanan school district for more than 40 years. “They didn’t have the means to get themselves going.”

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