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Football fields: Academics and manners before sports
Tenth graders in Oak Harbor ranked 5 out of 10 comparative schools in WASL Reading and 7 out of 10 in WASL Math. Why would the residents of Oak Harbor be embarrassed about a rickety football stadium when they should be ashamed of the academic standings of our students?
Fourth grade teachers claim that the finer reading and writing skills will be learned in later grades. The parents are told not to worry. Eighth grade teachers point back and say the reason Johnny and Susie are not performing well is that they cannot read.
The citizens of this community have decided that they did not want an $8 million sports complex for the high school. Did the district ask them if they would be welling to refurbish or replace the existing bleachers?
For years my wife and I drove from Oak Harbor to Sultan High School football games and even to some of their away games. We sat on cold bleachers, in the rain, wind and cold, thoroughly enjoying the game and crowd. When my sisters finally graduated from Sultan High we thought that it would be nice to become alumni supporters and to attend football games at OHHS. After all, my wife graduated from OHHS.
The one game we attended, we were absolutely shocked by the vulgarity, crudeness and rudeness of the students sitting around us. No matter where we sat that night, it was the same. That was the one and only game we ever attended in Oak Harbor. About three years ago Joan and I drove all the way to Sultan to watch my nephew play in his senior year homecoming game. The bleachers were still cold and wet, the players, students and families were still warm and friendly after nearly 30 years.
Maybe OHHS students are better off without the stadium for now. Maybe more time and money can be spent improving academic skills and trying to reduce the island school district dropout rate and improving the graduation rate. Maybe this will keep some the students that are lacking in courtesy and manners out of public earshot. Maybe the families that are choosing to live in nearby communities have other motives besides falling down bleachers. Maybe they have sat in those bleachers and didnt like what they were hearing.
George R. Reeves