The students behind the numbers

While I understand paying taxes is a sacrifice, I kindly ask my neighbors to consider the greater sacrifice [that will have to be] made if Issue 69, the CH-UH school levy, does not pass.

I know it’s easy to make things political, or black and white, but this is not about politics. This is about supporting children—children who aren’t able to vote—and it is those children I beg you to consider when you walk into that voting booth. The ones who love going to choir practice after school as it's the only safe haven from their traumatic home life. The ones who play three sports with dreams of being good enough to go to college for free, as they cannot afford to otherwise. The ones who eat lunch everyday with their favorite art teacher because they love them that much. 

I'm a part of Tiger Nation through and through. The outstanding education—and life experiences—I received from the schools was beyond what anyone could imagine. Whether it be from the security guards, my AMAZING teachers, or the incredible counselors and administrators, I was—as was every single one of my peers—deeply and utterly cared for. I excelled at Heights, not because of myself or my parents. I can, without a doubt in my mind, say it was because of the staff—from my first-grade teacher at Coventry to the art teacher at Boulevard, to my middle-school choir teacher, to my statistics teacher senior year who was with me when I opened my e-mail saying I'd been accepted to my dream college. It was only fitting that one of my Heights teachers was the very first person to know about my acceptance, as these teachers are the very people that got me to where I am today.

Other schools aren’t like Heights, and what makes Heights schools the way they are is at risk of being lost. We've had cuts before, and they're never felt lightly. What feels like “just a couple administrators/counselors/ teachers” is not the way it feels inside the school. I distinctly remember the deep sorrow my peers and I felt when a staff member close to us was let go. 

Issue 69 isn’t about the “numbers.” I know how Heights schools look on the [state] report card. But those numbers, those statistics . . . they don’t show what happens every day. Summarizing an education into numbers just doesn’t make sense. I spent 13 years of life in the schools and while I could break those years down into the everlasting friendships I made, the incredible education that challenged me, the staff members who never gave up on me or my peers, I can’t possibly think of my experience in terms of numbers. I could get into numbers—the number of awards the Vocal Music Department has won, the number of prestigious colleges my peers were accepted to, the number of AP and honors classes, the number of staff members with advanced degrees—but numbers aren’t what’s important. 

What’s important is the value of the education of Heights schools; the memories made daily, the lessons taught, and the bonds built. Although I'm a junior in college now, I will forever be a part of Tiger Nation. I love living in the Heights, too. And you know the number one reason for that? The schools. 

Clare Peppler

Clare Peppler is a 2018 Cleveland Heights High School graduate. She is currently a junior at Syracuse University.

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Volume 13, Issue 11, Posted 3:31 PM, 10.23.2020