Your Opinion: Single school unifies opportunities

Dear Editor:

Mr. Coots opposes the new high school for a number of reasons that are simply wrong. Coots insists that a small school gives students more opportunities to participate in extra-curricular activities. This is just silly. I was active in many extra-curriculars at Jefferson City High School, but probably not the handful that someone like Coots deems worthy of saving.

The only advantage in extra-curricular opportunities yielded by two schools is two sets of football teams (though not necessarily two good teams). Mr. Coots, if that’s what you mean then say it.

As someone who held many officer positions in many clubs, leadership experience that was essential to my formative years, I’d like you to admit to how your plan makes those programs unsustainable. Everything that I loved about my high school experience becomes impossible to replicate for future students, should our community elect to divide its resources. To be clear, this applies to athletes as well: two schools will be able to offer a limited number of sports, compared to the number a single school could afford to justify, both in terms of resources and student interest.

Anyone who understands that basic premise can see how this extends beyond extra-curricular activities. My graduate program in global communications offered practicum courses that would teach students to use software that I had known how to use since high school, because of the wide variety of electives our high school was able to offer. Skills that, contrary to Coots’s insistence that this is only about college-readiness, could open doors immediately after high school.

Jefferson City is not an enormous community, but keeping our students in a single school allows us to provide students with courses and opportunities above and beyond what two schools would be able to provide.

Two high schools will fast-track our community into increasing disparity of educational access. In every two high school towns there is always a “have” school and a “have not” school. Maintaining one high school not only enables the district to afford students with more total opportunities, but also guarantees those same opportunities will be extended to all students. Educational advocates should facilitate the most opportunities for the brightest possible future for all students.

That’s what I’ll be voting for when I vote yes on Questions 1 and 2.

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