Opinion

SOUNDOFF: Why students need new school

In response to every letter to the newspaper degrading the upcoming high school bond, every “Soundoff” pushing a “no vote,” every citizen who has hung up on me while calling “promised yes voters” in my volunteer time, and every parent of a child in any of the elementary or middle schools in this district who is planning to vote no in the upcoming election: I urge you not to think of yourself, but of the children whom this will benefit.

I am a senior at Oak Harbor High school this year, which means i haven’t experienced any of the remodeling of the schools I attended: Oak Harbor Elementary, Broad View Elementary, Oak Harbor Middle School and Oak Harbor High School. I have experienced, however, the disruption of workmen on the roofs, repairing leaks and heating units during school hours because the problem was too pressing to let it go until the final bell rang.

I have experienced water pouring through the roofs on rainy days of every school I have attended. I have experienced the crowded hallways of the high school and middle school, and I have experienced the lack of hallways at Broad View Elementary. I have been smacked in the face by a door in A-wing at the high school, where the open doors leave only but a few feet of clearance for hundreds of students to pass through in our six-minute passing times.

I have seen tiles fall from the ceiling in the field house. I have seen students knock into the walls, leaving huge holes; holes that should not have been caused by a student’s accidental shoulder. I have seen outlets spark in the science rooms, sinks leak water all over the floor, and fume hoods stop working. I witnessed the testing of the emergency shower in the science department, which poured muddy water into a clogged drain. I have seen and experienced, first hand, every toilet without a stall door, every student who cannot find a seat during lunch, every classroom without windows, and every day that the heaters have not worked in the freezing cold.

I was glad to hear when the middle school bond passed. I knew that no student would have to deal with the problems that my class, and many others, have dealt with. I was ecstatic when the elementary schools were remodeled. Now children can get a first-rate education without the interruption of rain plunking into plastic buckets or the fear that an earthquake could level the entire school.

Now i ask the voters: don’t the students of Oak Harbor High School deserve the same reassurance? Shouldn’t the students of Oak Harbor High School have the opportunity to learn without interruptions, disturbances and danger?

The high school is outdated. I would ask anyone who believes that this issue can wait to tour the high school on a rainy day. Experience first hand what every student deals with every single day. Then think of your nice, warm office building. Think of the place where you spend most of your time, and ask yourself if you’d like it to be in the same condition as the high school. Whether or not you believe that this affects you, it does. The students who pass through the halls of Oak Harbor High School will be prominent leaders one day. The students you are not supporting will be paying your Social Security taxes one day. The students who deserve the utmost regard and a respectable learning environment will one day be running this community.

I believe that this “one day” I speak of is not so far in the future that the community can afford to disregard their students. I am one of those students, and I promote this bond with everything I have. If my peers, the future students, and myself are to change the world, shouldn’t that change start at the basic level: our high school?

Hilary R. Figgs is a senior at Oak Harbor High School

Community Events, April 2014

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