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Disclaimer: The words that follow do not necessarily reflect the views of my parents or other family members. They only represent my perspective.
Members of the Orchard community received a survey to ask about the future of our district. As an alumnus who no longer lives in Orchard, I wanted to give some thoughts as community members fill out their surveys. I don’t want to focus on the past conflict. I want to focus on the future.
One of the options floating around is for Orchard to go it alone. The argument is we contribute the most money to the Unified District, and we will soon have more kids. Alone, we might even bring back the Orchard Orioles, something I’m sure many would like to see.
Here’s my concern: Too often, these arguments focus on the short term and ignore the “big picture.”
When I was a senior at Orchard, we had 19 kids and were the biggest class. The average class size after us was 10. The academic and athletic opportunities were severely limited. We couldn’t go alone, so we found an equal partner in Clearwater. We didn’t worry about who paid more or got more practices. In fact, students were more upset our high schools would not combine before we graduated.
As we look ahead for Orchard, our best future is not one where we go alone. That future maybe lasts 10-20 years, and then we’re back to my senior year. Only this time, there won’t be a school in a similar situation who’ll join us as equal partners. We’ll be in a weaker position, praying someone will take us on.
A future where Orchard is strong is a future where we work with others. Does that mean we unify, coop, consolidate? I don’t live here anymore. That’s not my choice. I pray that, when filling out their surveys, the Orchard community will take a moment. Think about where we’re going. Do we want a town or school that looks strong now, but is isolated and weak in 20 years? Or do we want Orchard and our students to have the opportunities to thrive, and for our school to be secure and stable for decades to come?
Orchard High School, Class of 2010
Reminder: Letters To The Editor are not the opinion of Pitzer Digital, Antelope County News, The Orchard News or its staff.
Letters To The Editor are not the opinion of Pitzer Digital LLC, Antelope County News, The Orchard News or its staff.