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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Ketchikan School Board Cuts
By Frances Gierard


February 04, 2012
Saturday AM

To whom it may concern:

I am an alumnus of Ketchikan High School and am now attending college in Seattle. I have heard that you are considering cutting some elective courses at Kayhi. I am hoping to change your mind otherwise.

I would like to start out by saying that, for the most part, I loved my experience at Kayhi. All of the staff was extremely supportive of my education along with the activities I participated in. I think one of the best parts about Kayhi are the teachers and staff. I have had personal experiences of teachers helping me when they didn't even know me. They still treated me like I was one of their own students and strived to help me succeed. After every event or performance I was involved in, it was the staff that recognized all the hard work and dedication that went into the performance. They were the ones to tell you what a fantastic job you did. During this first year I have met numerous people who were not able to have this sort of relationship with their teachers back in high school. This has made me realize what a privilege the students at Kayhi have.

Since I've been in college, I have many things to be grateful for. A major part of that is the preparation for college courses. I couldn't imagine coming into college without the classes I took. Personally, I believe college would have been quite difficult if it weren't for the advanced classes I was able to take. Not only was the material challenging but they went at a pace of a college level class. I am not trying to say college is not doable without AP classes; however, I know that this experience would be a lot more challenging and stressful without this previous experience. I am not exactly sure why cutting these classes is really even an option. I understand the budget has a lot to do with it, but why should we condense the learning experience of many intelligent students? I do not believe it is fair to cut the advanced classes when the students who take these classes are the ones who are willing to try their hardest to become all they can. I believe that cutting the AP classes will hold a lot of your students back from a superior education. And in cutting many of the more challenging courses these students will, potentially, stop striving to be at the top therefor leading to lower success rates at Kayhi. I thought what we were trying to do is get higher success rates.

Also, I have heard about cutting classes such as art and music classes. For many students, band and art is what kept them in school. This was their one, or maybe two, periods a day where they don't have to really do school work; where they can just express themselves and who they are where they won't be judged. Studies have shown that music helps the brain and actually makes students smarter. Many of the people I know in band are the students who have gone on to be the top math and science students in the school. There are so few elective classes left that students actually look forward to taking, I couldn't imagine not having those options. Kayhi has a set number of electives one must take and if you cut all of the electives how are the students supposed to fill those credits? I had these options when I was there and even I had a hard time choosing any electives that sounded remotely interesting to me.

The main point I am trying to make is that there has to be something else for you to cut. Cutting these AP and elective classes is like cutting all motivation for the students at Kayhi to strive. At the rate Kayhi is going, I personally wouldn't want to send my children there; I would be afraid of the lack of perseverance due to the lack of something to strive for.

Frances Gierard
Seattle, WA

About: "I am a graduate from Ketchikan High School and I don't want to see the band, art, and AP classes cut. They were important to me while I was in school."

Received February 02, 2012 - Published February 04, 2012



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