From 2012-15, Old South High was active covering the life and times of our vibrant city. Though the site remains live, it’s currently in hibernation. Maybe some new material will appear now and then, but don’t count on it!
We started this blog out of our love for Harrisonburg, in the hope 0f enlighten, surprise, empower and entertain readers. We also committed ourselves to authenticity, honesty and fairness – but not objectivity. We had (and still have) opinions. We had (and still have) a stake in this city.
— Jeremiah Jenkins & Andrew Jenner
This is a thoughtful blog about Harrisonburg for thoughtful adults who care about Harrisonburg. Material in this blog might be funny, might be crass, sad, a little harsh, sometimes shamelessly promotional, sometimes detached, sometimes deeply personal, serious, sarcastic, on point, rambling and even a little dirty, but always, at all times, we are guided by our desire to see Harrisonburg flourish and fulfill its destiny as the preeminent city of high fives.
Unfounded personal attacks, off-topic ranting and general internet pettiness, meanness, vulgarity or stupidity do not have a place here. And we’ll be the judge of that.
I first moved to Harrisonburg, from Norfolk, in 1995 to attend JMU. Working and paying my way through, I didn’t actually finish until 2003. After 3 years at Harvard University earning a Masters of Theological Studies, I returned full of vision and determination. I’ve opened and managed restaurants, started my own business downtown, booked lots of music, thrown dance parties, volunteered with quite a few groups, organized and participated in art shows, run skate camps for kids, hosted a radio show, and laid in bed at night thinking of all the things I’d like to do to make Harrisonburg even more awesome. I’m tired of watching our best and brightest move to other cities like Philly and Portland. I want more, here…and now. I want people to see the beauty of this city staring back at them.
I arrived in Harrisonburg in the passenger seat of a U-Haul truck (with dad at the wheel and the Jenner family’s material possessions stuffed in back) sometime around noon on December 11, 1996 – coincidentally, my 14th birthday. Within a few short days, I’d joined the freshman class at Eastern Mennonite High School, and four years later, after applying to a bunch of august liberal arts institutions across the country, I moved 100 yards up the hill to Eastern Mennonite University, where, from my dorm, I could literally see my high school. Yes, tuition was (relatively) cheap since my mom worked there, but the decision, I think, reflected a growing affection for this place, one that took me several more years to fully appreciate.
Apart from a year spent working in Germany immediately after college, I’ve lived in Harrisonburg ever since. And I’ve worked as a writer pretty much ever since. I began with some newspapers in the area; now I’m a freelancer for a bunch of different papers & magazines & such.
One of the things I like least about freelancing over the past few years, though, is that almost everything I write is about, published in and read in other places. I love this city, and I want to write about it more. And thus, Old South High … Enjoy.