Tribute to team and school

To the Editor:

Kudos to the Caledonian-Record for giving a voice to the Concord Students! The video "Wildcats Forever" was a not only wonderful tribute to the team and school, but also gave the students a sense of pride and shared all that they stand for, not only with the community but the world of internet users. This video has been viewed from as far away as Japan!

For the past two years I have been given the opportunity to coach varsity soccer and basketball at Concord high school. From the middle of August until the end of March I spent the majority of my "free time" with these students. I cannot say enough about this amazing group of kids: caring, courteous, respectful, intelligent, sympathetic, courageous, resilient.. These are just a few things that come to mind.

I would have to agree with many that sports are not everything and academics should be most important in a child's education. The faculty and staff at Concord know how to put academics first. Did you know that all students must maintain a 76% grade average in each class in order to be eligible for sports? As soon as a student's grade in any course slips below a 76% that student is put on Academic Study Hall. Academic Study hall consists of two hours per week after school for the remainder of the semester. Student athletes at Concord have to work very hard in order to be eligible to play sports. It is true that any child can play sports at Concord and there are no cuts... but in order to remain on a team it is a reward earned from excellence in academics! It's important to point out that they have several athletes, that play three sports, that are members of the National Honor Society!

Being part of a team is not only important to students now, but it will be very beneficial as they go on in life. They are learning now what being part of a team means. how to give and take, how to support others, how to recognize their own strengths and weaknesses and those of others, how to put others first, how to work toward a common goal and how to be a great leader. Everything in life is about being part of a team. You work in teams at daily work with co workers and any marriage is about team work. These life skills that students are learning from being part of a team should not be minimized.

As a Lunenburg Resident and School Board Member in a "School Choice" town I would like to remind the tax payers of Concord that by closing your high school you not only lose local control of education, but you also lose control over the cost of education as well. For the coming year the tax rate in Concord would stay the same whether the high school is closed or open. In the future it is important to remember that tuition costs rise year after year. Currently tuition costs for neighboring schools vary from $13,550 to nearly $20,000 per student, per year. The only way to keep up with these costs is to increase your budget each year or make cuts to your k-8 budget. It is a very difficult balancing act and local control is forever lost. Please keep this in mind when you go to the polls.

In closing I urge you to remember to things:

1. If you are concerned about opportunities and achievement at Concord: The students at Concord are very well educated and going on to do many wonderful things whether it be attending college, enlisting in the military or becoming entrepreneurs. Opportunities are not just things handed to you they are a result of hard work.

2. If you are concerned about your taxes please keep in mind that if Concord High School remains open you will retain local control and will not have to be concerned year after year with rising tuition costs. You will also continue to bring in revenue to your town with incoming tuition from area towns. All tuition revenues will be lost once the High School is closed.

Vote No on June 16th - Keep Concord High School Open and Retain Local Control!

Karen Thomas

A Wildcat Forever, Class of 1991

Lunenburg, Vt.

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