It is time, and it is the right thing to do!
I graduated from Chowan High School in 1979. For those of you who do not know, there were two high schools in Chowan County at that time.
I was a student representative with others from my senior class and seniors from John A. Holmes on a committee with Superintendent Dr. John Dunn to talk about a new high school for our county, which would consolidate both high schools.
In the end, the two high schools were consolidated, the bond issue vote failed, and my high school was torn down to make way for Chowan Middle School. And you know what? We, the folks “out in the county” lived! It wasn’t what we wanted, but, it was time and it was the right thing to do!
Last year, there was a huge campaign in Edenton that John A. Holmes IS Downtown. I can certainly agree that the high school, being where it is located now, is an economic boost to the downtown merchants. I also feel that if all involved were honest and kept economic motives out of the equation, they would agree that the current site is not ideal. It is landlocked, and there is absolutely nowhere to expand.
A school our size, according to the Department of Public Instruction guidelines, should have at least 10 more acres than we have. However, it was decided that the NEW high school would be built on the current site to benefit our town’s economy.
At the time of that campaign and decision, there was not much kickback from the county residents because, as I see it, as long as we are getting a new high school, we can deal with the current site. It’s called compromise. You see, it is time, and it is the right thing to do!
Both of my sons graduated from John A. Holmes. Both were on multiple sports teams: baseball, football, cross country and swimming, and other extracurricular activities such as Odyssey of the Mind.
I traveled to almost every single game, match or event, and it was very disheartening to go to these other schools and see their new facilities, state-of-the-art classrooms, and then, come back home to what we have. Our kids deserve better! It is time, and it is the right thing to do!
There are some that would like to renovate the old high school building. Yes, we can tear out, put back and patch up, but we all know when it’s time for the old to go, and, it’s time!
We have all been there in our lives. You drive a car until it starts with the small repairs, you fix them, then the repairs get worse … an a/c unit, an alternator, a starter, then you face putting a $3,000 transmission in a car that is worth $2,500. One day we finally decide, it’s time to get a new car!
I have talked to a lot of folks since this new high school project has come about. One businessman in our county told me just a couple weeks ago that his company usually does $25,000-30,000 of repairs and patchwork there, every year. That is just ONE business. We all know when it is time, and it is time, and it is the right thing to do!
I hear a lot of concern about the appearance of the new school. Well, these architects know their business. The new school will be designed to fit right in with the historic, colonial look that this town loves.
Look at other buildings on Broad Street such as Southern Bank, PNC Bank, and the new Courthouse. They all look and feel like what this town desires, and they were all NEW construction.
I also have heard concerns about the green space in front of the current high school. I have been very involved in many activities on that space, whether it be the Farm Heritage Day, Peanut Festival, Back to School Bash, or others.
The architects told us in the Community Meetings that they heard us and would address those concerns. I look forward to seeing how they incorporated our input.
This week, in John Mitchener’s vacant downtown storefront, the architects will have renderings of the new high school displayed. I hope that ALL OF US will take the time to go view them and voice our opinion of which one we like best.
I just turned 60 years old, and I have lived in the same community in this county all my life with the exception of college. I have seen the people of this county rise to the occasion on several different issues.
Now is the time for us to all join together to build the NEW high school for our children and grandchildren, and the faculty and staff that will work there, as they all deserve our support.
Chowan County, it is time, and it is the right thing to do!