Teen's perspective: 'Yes' vote good for students, economy, community

Posted: Tuesday, March 23, 2004

I have lived in Homer all my life. During these 17 years, the community has been very generous in supporting students like me. I sincerely thank you all for what you have done for us.

Having said that, I have an appeal to make. I am asking you to vote "yes" on Proposition No. 1, which authorizes the borough assembly to fund Kenai Peninsula Borough School District cocurricular activities. Many of the KPBSD cocurricular activities that are now offered are likely to be cut next year: school clubs, field trips and both intramural and interscholastic sports. Band, choir and drama performances, yearbook and other student publications, and National Honor Society also may be cut.

These activities get most students up in the morning and keep them in school. These activities teach valuable skills, such as discipline, dedication and leadership, which are necessary to succeed in college, jobs and life.

Budget problems are forcing the school district to strip away all of the programs that make education individualized and unique for each student. Without these programs, our schools will produce mediocre, cookie-cutter students who are unprepared for further education, employment and citizenship. Many students will drop out of school or leave the area for other educational opportunities.

My family is looking into opportunities for me to travel or volunteer abroad next year if cocurricular activities are cut. I'm not the only student who feels this way. Many of the best students will leave, and those who stay will be unhappy and unprepared for life after high school. The students who are lucky enough to get out will not return to the area, and the economy and communities of the Kenai Peninsula will fall into a downward spiral.

If this is what you want for the peninsula, then by all means vote "no." However, if you envision economic prosperity, well-educated and satisfied students, and vibrant communities, please vote "yes"!

For those of you who are planning to vote "no" because you feel that it is the state's responsibility to fund education and don 't want to send the wrong message, I have one question: Are you really willing to use students like me as pawns to send the right message?

We cannot afford to wait until the state cleans up its act! We are talking about the future of students and the future of the peninsula.

Katie Gavenus

Homer High School Junior



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