Sunday, December 28, 2008
Olive oil and the brain drain
Spent a lovely evening last night at Luigi's where banker Bart Hill held a private reception to unveil his latest sideline: extra virgin olive oil. Seems Bart, president of San Joaquin Bank, has 13 acres of olive trees near Visalia and is now marketing his own boutique brand, appropriately named "13 Acres." Luigi's is of course a special place and it was packed with Bakersfield business people, along with a lot of their kids home from school. What struck me were the number of bright, articulate youngsters we send off to school who never come back. There's simply few opportunities for them here. Among them were Bart's girls, Paige (University of North Carolina) who is now in grad school at the University of South Carolina, and Elizabeth (also UNC) who is working in Washington, D.C. Also there were Katie Benham (UC Davis), working in Newport Beach, Sam Brandon, a sophomore at Colorado at Boulder, and my own daughter Lauren Beene (UC Berkeley) who is working in New York. "13 Acres" is on sale now at Luigi's but unfortunately we only see these promising young people there on rare occasions.
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the rich get richer
It's sad but true. We lose a lot of talent once they go away to college, but if we can somehow get them involved or reward them prior to their destinations -- college, for instance -- we can get some to return.
I left for college in Fresno. Then moved to San Diego county where my newlywed husband served in the Marines. I then got a job as a bureau reporter for the Press Enterprise in Temecula, a beautiful, young growing city in Riverside County.
But then I returned home with a husband and one son.
At the end of the day, I missed being home and I constantly felt those "voices" of Bakersfield groups who had given me scholarships to pay my way through school.... "Don't thank us. Just come back and help our community succeed. Return the favor."
Maybe it's was the Catholic guilt I had. But I just felt that I needed to be back to make a difference.
I am sure we can capture a lot of these students if we support them while they are here and show them that Bakersfield is a great community to make a difference in.
BTW I will have to check out the olive oil at Luigi's!
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