Remembering Our History and Embracing Our Future for Durand Area Schools
Many of us walked the halls of Arthur Lucas Junior High while awkwardly navigating adolescence. It felt like a rite of passage for a Durand student for nearly 50 years. I shared that experience with my parents, but I will not share that experience with my children because there came a time to make that building a nostalgic memory and move forward. Our schools easily date back to the early 60s, and while our community has cared for them with love, they are struggling to keep up with changing demands. On Tuesday, Aug. 4, we have an opportunity to move forward.
With additional interest in STEM courses, we need space and technology that meets those needs. This bond addresses those needs in all buildings. We have a robotics team today that didn’t exist when I was a 12-year-old at Arthur Lucas. This is one example of how times change, and how we have a duty to prepare students for their world after school.
As more students participate in performing arts, there is an opportunity to provide a performing arts center that would serve as a pillar of pride for our schools and community, and would set us apart from other districts in our county.
Another pillar of pride could be a turf field at Roundhouse Stadium. Years ago, our band lost its beloved invitational due to a turf requirement. We can bring our Durand Band Invitational back to our home stadium. Last year, youth football had to cancel two weekends of competition due to poor field conditions. They lost thousands of dollars, and Linden hosted a make-up day on their turf. We don’t need to rely on another district if we provide this to our own community.
Robert Kerr, our beloved, successful elementary, has taken good care of our children over the years. It now needs some love in return. Her halls are bursting, her rooms are packed, and her cabinets are falling apart. This bond will add classroom space and refresh existing classrooms. It will add a Railroader Athletic Center that will serve as both elementary gym space, as well as event space for youth, middle, and high school extracurricular events. Bertha Neal will also see a long-overdue facelift, and the middle and high schools will see upgrades, as well.
I take you back to Arthur Lucas because it feels like the essence of community, our connecting root, especially since it now houses senior community members. While my own parents and family were part of the history of Arthur Lucas, they also voted to close its doors because over time, change is necessary.
It takes foresight to realize that old is comfortable and sentimental, but new is good. New is necessary. New means we are moving forward. My hope, the hope of our school family, is that we take advantage of this opportunity to open new doors for our students by voting YES on Tuesday, Aug. 4!
Nicole Carpenter, Academic and Student Services Coordinator/Durand High School