1. In the fall you always know you’ll have plans on Friday nights.
Friday nights are for football in most small towns, but in Ithaca it’s an expectation that the stands are filled. The crowd never stays silent, the band brings it at halftime, and the Jackets never seem to disappoint by the time to fourth quarter rolls around.
2. You know you’re almost home when you see the windmills.
People might say all of Gratiot County is the same, but the skyline in Ithaca stands out from the rest. When you come home at night, you see the blinking red lights of the windmills and during the day you see the blades spinning on a windy day.
3. As soon as enough snow hits the ground, it’s time to go sledding at Woodland Park.
The first good snowfall leads to late nights hoping there might be a snow day. When snow days hit, everyone packs up their sleds and puts on their boots and heads to Woodland Park. There’s a rush when your sled takes off and it’s a hike back to the top, but there’s no other way we’d rather spend a snow day.
4. The only traffic jam you’ll be in is behind a tractor.
When you head to work or school during planting or harvest season, you know you have to leave at least 10 minutes earlier than you usually do. Even though you know you should plan ahead, you don’t and you usually end up late. All of the teachers and everyone else understands this typical GC problem.
5. Hearthstone Oven is the best way to start the day.
Nothing tastes better than a fresh cinnamon roll from Hearthstone Oven. Your friends will beg you for a bite at school, and it’s great for a dessert when you need a bit of a pick me up.
6. The community always comes together to help others out.
Whether it’s a family in Ithaca who has lost a loved one, or a family on an opposing football team, we always come through. We pass hats at football games, we wear blue for Hannah, and we consistently go above and beyond for those in need.
7. Weekends are usually spent at bonfires.
Growing up in Ithaca, there isn’t a whole lot to do on the weekends unless you leave town. So most of our time is spent out in the country at bonfires, looking at the stars, and talking about life. It’s a given that as soon as spring hits and fall rolls around, there are bonfires every weekend and you know at least one person having one.
8. Even after you graduate from Ithaca, you still feel passionate about the rivalry with St. Louis.
Shark Week during football season and basketball season were the best. It was a battle of teams and a battle of student sections. Even if you had friends at SLHS, it was put on hold until after the game. Even older people give each other crap if they find out someone went to St. Louis. It’s all in good fun, but the rivalry never dies after you leave the halls of IHS.
9. Your parents and grandparents can figure out who your friend is based on who their relatives are.
Every time you talk to your parents or grandparents about one of your friends, you usually get asked “Who are their parents?” or “What’s the name of their grandma/grandpa?” They can usually figure out their entire family lineage and history based on one family member. It’s ridiculous, but when you live in a small town like Ithaca, everybody knows everybody.
10. No matter where you go, you’re proud to say you’re an Ithaca Yellowjacket.
We’re a city of champions, we bleed blue and gold, and we have a pride like no other school in the state. We come from one of the best schools in the area, and we don’t care what anyone says. While we’re young, we hate the small town atmosphere and we feel trapped. But when you get the chance to look back, you know that you can say that you were born and raised in Ithaca, Michigan and be proud of that part of your identity.