I wanted to make some comments on the Marion Finance Committee article printed in last week’s July 18th edition. I was struck by the comments of committee member Karen Kevelson who stated that the education at ORRHS was “mediocre at best”. Karen does not speak for the whole of this community in her assessment of Old Rochester. Her comments do a disservice to all the hard working teachers who put in more than just an 8 hour day. I have two children who have graduated from ORR and a third currently attending. My Old Rochester graduates had a great high school experience, and I accredit their successes both in and out of the classroom to their high school. Academically, my children have taken 11 AP courses, surely with more to come as my youngest continues to grow. While ORR has great academics that help students to succeed in whatever their endeavor may be after high school, I do not think that academics covers everything that Old Rochester does for our children. In addition to great academics and teachers who go the extra mile to make sure our students do well, there also has to be a look at the child as a whole. ORR not only cultivates their capabilities to learn, but also ensures that each kid has extracurricular activities that they are passionate about. Whether it be outstanding athletic programs, a renowned Drama program, impressive music programs, debate club, AFS, and many more, ORR cultivates the whole person rather than just focusing on the schoolwork. My son greatly benefited from the athletics at Old Rochester, going on to be captain of his favorite sports teams. My daughter participated in as many clubs as she could to make her high school experience all the better for her. That isn’t to say there isn’t room for improvement; but you will not find a high school anywhere in the country that doesn’t have something to better. Additionally, calling the education at Old Rochester ‘mediocre at best’ discredits all the work that our teachers put into these students every day. My kids have always loved their teachers, and still consider them their mentors. Old Rochester opened a world of possibilities for our children. With one attending Georgetown and the other heading to UMASS Amherst Isenberg in the fall, I wouldn’t say the education they received was lacking in the slightest. As my youngest son continues through his high school experience, I hope he continues to succeed and thrive as so many ORR students and graduates have before him. I can’t wait to see what doors his “mediocre” education will open for him.
Jerry Garcia, Marion
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