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New high school, new problems for activities

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New high school, new problems for activities

Maddy Bergstrom, Staff reporter

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As voting for the proposed second high school for Jefferson City school district approaches in April of 2017, there are many factors the board and community members must take into account. Along with matters concerning tax raises and building cost, they also have to think about the feelings of students and staff here at the already existing school. There are 1,882 students at Jefferson City High School (not counting Simonsen 9th Grade Center) and many of them are involved in various sports, clubs, and activities that they have bonded over with fellow students

 

When asking students about the dynamic within their involved organization, many will say the same as football player Dennis Barnes, that the friends they’ve made are more like a second family, one they are not willing to give up.

 

“Splitting up our team would hurt us as a whole,” Barnes said. “We would lose some key athletes due to the change of schools.”

 

It would be a difficult transition for those attending JCHS. The students who attended Lewis and Clark would most likely still attend the current school and those who attended Thomas Jefferson are likely to go to the new high school. With this split there would be two football teams, two marching bands, two debate teams, and so on, and they are likely to compete against one another. Coach Lerone Briggs believes the second high school would not only to hurt his team, but also the community as a whole.

 

“These guys grow up playing against each other, and when you finally get to high school, it’s special because you’re playing together finally,” Briggs said. “I am [also] concerned with how we are going to pay for two schools when we can barely afford the school we have now. More is not always better.”

 

These transitions will be difficult at first, many will agree, but the community of Jefferson City must also be looking ahead. Perhaps JCHS has the means of educating students now, but the student body will keep growing and in a few years this building may not be sufficient. Activities Director Mark Caballero believes the students here will go on to succeed, no matter the size of the building; however, it is still about educating students in the best environment and giving them the most opportunities to succeed no matter the cost.

 

“Our orchestra room, our band room, our choir room, they are so overcrowded, there’s not enough space for them. But that hasn’t stopped our orchestra from being a great orchestra or our band from being a great band or our choir from being a great choir,” Caballero said. “But sooner or later we’re going to have to get to that point where we build. We want to give our kids better opportunities to be able to learn in an environment that is cutting edge and beneficial.”

 

All great communities have great schools with programs and activities that prepare students for the world they will be entering in four years. At JCHS we have organizations including student council, dance team, marching band, football, wrestling, key club, thespian society, softball, show choir, cheerleading, and many more that students are encouraged to join and love participating in. However, for many of these only a certain number of students can join, which leads to tryouts and cuts. Drama teacher Zachary McKinney wants to see more students get involved in school activities, but also recognizes that our facilities may not allow for it.

 

“I think a second high school will be excellent to have,” McKinney said, “It gives kids more opportunities for a leading role.”

 

All of this needs to be taken into account as the board members and the community decide if the benefits outweigh the cost of a second high school.

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New high school, new problems for activities