There are few things that bring a community together like school schedules and school events — especially in small towns. 

A community often revolves around its school, and vice versa.

That’s true whether you are a student yourself, have children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren or other relatives in school, or even if you don’t seem to have a direct connection to school. 

Because of its importance to the community, the school districts will play a dominant role in what happens in our lives.

In my case, the importance of the school schedule is magnified. After several years working in special education in Temple, my wife will be teaching special ed in Three Rivers. Also, our son will be a fourth-grader at Three Rivers Elementary.

I have been fortunate to meet many of the leaders and staff members for George West, McMullen County and Three Rivers schools, and I am confident that our students are in good hands.

One of the things I have heard from some in the community is that the start of school seems too early. 

I can understand those sentiments, because the summer seems to have flown by (even though it officially won’t be over until Sept. 23, and the heat will likely linger well into October.

Three Rivers began classes yesterday (Aug. 13); McMullen County starts today, and George West students return to school tomorrow (Aug. 15).

The good news is that students will finish the school year by late May. In Central Texas, public schools start later, but they are still in class in early June. I think many people around here enjoy the fact that school is out before June begins.

Some people can’t wait for the start of school. 

That includes eager students ready to start a new adventure and school year, parents who are glad to see some more structure in their children’s lives and, whether they care to admit it or not, probably even quite a few teachers who look forward to welcoming a new group of students and having a chance to make a positive impact on their lives.

Summer vacation is wonderful when you’re a student, but it’s also fun to see old friends and make new ones, to explore interesting subjects — and even to give your brain a workout by tackling those subjects which may not seem quite as easy.

Welcome back to those beginning a new school year this week. Ready or not, school is back in session, so you might as well make the best of it.

Jeff Osborne is the editor of The Progress. A Texan since 1973, he has worked for Texas newspapers for 25 years.