Saturday, May 27, 2017

Merger Perspective

May 24 (3 days ago)

How would one describe a penny?  Would you consider it not worth keeping or would you hold onto it?  A penny does not have much value on its own.  Imagine a classroom was filled with pennies.  Almost all were excelling, except a few.  You focus more on the increasing "value" of your pennies as a whole and completely ignore the ones still "stuck" in the same spot.  While some may not understand where this is going, let me explain. 
I am a BRHS Alumni.  I did not excel in Math or English. I barely got by.  I began to hate going to school.  I began to hate feeling inadequate amongst my peers.  I began hating my high school experience and I so desperately wanted out.  I begged my mom to move back to CT where we were originally from.  We were moved here when we were small for a better way of life.  A life away from traffic and over crowding.  My mom talked about how large her class was; how large the school was.  It all sounded perfect.  I was already feeling forgotten here.  The only ones who noticed me, were the bullies!
I began inquiring about going to RHS.  I lived in Rutland County.  My mom worked in Rutland County.  Why wouldn't this be the solution for me?  We couldn't afford to send me to a "private school".  I wanted a different way of life.  I wanted to be happy.  I wasn't "learning" the way my peers were learning. No one seemed to notice.  I was that "stuck penny". 
My senior year I broke out of the curriculum that plagued me and every morning I had to get on an over crowded bus so that I could make a bus to Springfield Technical Center so I could attend the Culinary Arts program.  There I met a teacher who believed in me.  Worked with me and still encourages me today after 17 years.  I am forever grateful to Rick Kimball for nurturing this "stuck penny".  I would not have my career without him.  I would not have been a participant in the JWU High School Recipe Contest in 2000 and received a scholarship without him.  I would not have succeed.
So I have been asking myself this a lot these past few weeks after the news of the potential merger.  Is bigger better?  Or is smaller better?  The fact remains that all "pennies" are worth something.  It has angered me that people seem to be so focused on the majority of students making sure they are given every opportunity to succeed.  But what about me?  Why didn't anyone care?  I wasn't at the top of my class.  I wasn't the jock.  I was a student that was stuck somewhere in the middle.  I am not the result of a high score on a State test or a State Championship.  My success is the result of a teacher who was passionate about what he was doing and that fueled me to learn in a way I was not able to do before.  It was not measured by a test score or a trophy, but an individual achievement.
So with that said...If a child can't learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn - Michael J.Fox.  Comparing one school over the other is like comparing apples to oranges.  If a student doesn't comprehend what is being presented to them, than they aren't going to do well.  Saying that the test scores of students are better at MRUHS is not looking at the bigger picture.  We need to work with our students and not just make them a number on a test that probably wont even help them in the future.  I understand that the financial part of keeping the school open is also part of the issue, but simply saying "close it" and merging is also not the answer.  I hope there is a solution.
Katie Schneider, BRHS Alumni 2000

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