There was a meeting last night to discuss the fact that Houston ISD is planning to close the high school I went to and merge it with another high school, build a new school and then adopt the mascot and name of the other high school. Folks in the community are upset and rightfully so. Who wants to see their alma mater shut down?? This meeting was supposed to be to gather community “input” but many folks acknowledge that unless a miracle happens, it’s pretty much a done deal.
However, many of the more recent graduates pointed out in comments on the FB meeting invite that the community around my high school is in decay (and to be frank was always low income when I was there 20 years ago), the school itself is bad shape as it was built right after World War II, and the enrollment is less than half (530) of what the capacity can hold (around 1200 students). Test scores are horrible and there has been a revolving door of administrators. Parental and alumni support has been negligible. In fact, many of more recent alumni commented that they welcomed the merger and subsequent building of a new facility as they felt it would benefit the community and future students.
I feel somewhat guilty because I agree with them.
I did not grow up in the community where my high school is located. I got up every morning to catch a 6:20 AM bus crosstown because of the gifted and talented program located there. That was the only reason I went. I enjoyed my time there and the friends that I made, but I don’t really have a strong connection to my high school at all. In 2002, the parents of the students in the gifted and talented program lobbied the district to move the program out of my high school to make it a stand alone one, first at an unused elementary school and finally to a brand new high school located in a gentrifying area right near downtown Houston. When the GT programs moved, the death knell basically sounded for my high school.
I feel bad because I felt like perhaps I should have done more as an alumni, that perhaps I should be more up in arms about this. After all this is a predominately Black and Hispanic community that is about to lose their neighborhood school. On the other hand, my practical side thinks that if the school has basically gone to shit, why shouldn’t the folks in the area, who DO pay school taxes like every other resident of the District get a decent school for their children? Why should their hard earned dollars continue to be used to put lipstick on a pig??? But even worse, why are the people in the community getting outraged NOW? Especially when it’s pretty much too late.
I’ll always cherish the memories, but Myron made a good point when we were talking about it, sometimes growth requires sacrifice.
I wonder if I should have sacrificed a bit more myself.