SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska



Keep those school doors open
By Linda Koons Auger


February 26, 2006

Due to safety and property concerns, KHS (Ketchikan High School) will have all students exit the building on school days by 3:15 P.M., if they are not working with a teacher, coach, or other staff member. People in the building after 3:15 P.M. will need to sign in. The front of the door will be open for the public until 4:00 P.M. This change will begin on Monday, February 27, 2006. Parents who are picking up students need to do so by 3:15 P.M. so that students do not have to wait out in the weather.

What is wrong with this statement? Grammatically nothing. Fundamentally everything.

Public monies are spent to build, maintain and staff our schools. Many of Ketchikan's schools are utilized for non-school related activities such as basketball and softball. The Ketchikan High School is often the venue for events held in the commons, swimming pool, gym and auditorium. A healthy portion of our financial support for the Ketchikan Area Arts & Humanities Council is returned to us with the opportunity to experience world- class performers on our stage; local productions provide a venue for performers, set builders, audio technicians, directors, costumers, etc. and ultimately an enjoyable experience for the Ketchikan audience. Students from Ketchikan Theatre Ballet have been performing on the stage at KayHi since the 1960's. McPherson Music holds yearly concerts to showcase the talents of our youth involved in their music programs. Examples of community use of our school facilities are boundless, as they should be. Our schools help provide a venue for all of us to grow to enjoy productive, happy and responsible lives.

Currently, the Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District co-sponsors local adverting efforts of PATCHWORKS, a community-funded organization whose goal is asset building in our youth. Is this new mandate compatible with an asset-building program? If there are safety and property concerns perhaps an old-fashioned gate could be installed in certain wings of the building to limit access; I am sure many other options could be explored before taking such a drastic measures. It is hard to build school pride, school spirit and a sense of belonging when one is told to leave as soon as possible after classes. It is high time that we offer these young adults the opportunity to establish a relationship with their school that can last a lifetime.

Many KayHi alumni have given countless hours volunteering at their time for school-related activities . Russell Cockrum, Lew Williams, Bill Goodale, Russell Thomas, Brandon Nicholas, Christie Williams, Jodi Williams, Abe Cosmos, Angi e Oaksmith, Jaylyn Merrill, Tim Montgomery, Katie Montgomery, John Brown, Steve McDonald, Phil Jackson, Lance O Neil, Ed Elliott, Sonya Westergard, Vickie Chambers, Dale Collins, Clyde Collins, Bob Sivertsen, Norman Skan, Dennis Collins, Tom Craig, Cindy Craig, Chaz Edwards, and so many more! Would these folks be giving of their time to an institution that closed them out as soon as soon as school was out? I think not.

Let 's create an environment that fosters student involvement and ownership. Keep those school doors open as long as possible I for one would much rather have kids sitting in the commons chatting with each other or shooting hoops in the gym, then driving around looking for a party.

If you are concerned about any aspect of our school district, I urge you to please take the time to fill out and return a complaint form now available from any school principal or the district office. It is my understanding that change cannot and will not be affected without written documentation from concerned citizens.

Linda Koons Auger
Ketchikan, AK - USA

About: Linda Koons Auger was raised in Ketchikan and gradutated from KayHi in 1973.


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