Schoolhouse | Coulee City, WA | 2013

The century-old Highland School sits on the crest of a hill along Highway 2 between Waterville and Coulee City in eastern Washington. Morning light flatters it most, although strong sun tends to highlight the vandalism — graffiti, failed arson attempts, theft of windows and wall boards. More than a few times a year, I’ve stood on the road’s shoulder to ponder the lives of those educated in this one-room schoolhouse. I imagine a solid education of the Three Rs with side helpings of wheat farming, tractor fixing and weather forecasting. Once I thought I heard the ghostly squeals of children at play. But no … it was the squeak of a metal gutter blowing in the breeze. Still, it’s not hard to imagine this old school populated by a reunion of souls gathered where they launched their lives.