Editor’s note: The following guest column was submitted for publication by Keely Burnside, physician’s assistant with the Center for Women’s Health at WVU Medicine/St. Joseph’s Hospital.
Here’s my two cents on the school bond:
First, I have little control of how much or where my tax dollars go to in reality. I pay more taxes each year on state and federal levels. My opinion is that this bond allows me to give my money to something we absolutely need in this county. Our middle school is completely out of date and in disrepair. It was out of date 20-plus years ago when I was there. (Please go and tour it if you do not believe me).
Second, I was a teacher for two years before becoming a Physician’s Assistant, from 2001-2003. I worked in Berkeley County for the first year and returned home to Upshur County for my final year. More than 15 years ago, I could see that the standard of education needed to evolve and pivot for our children. It HAS NOT and I believe one of the biggest reasons is because we do not have the buildings to support this change. Our students deserve a chance to succeed with an education that meets their needs. We should be offering trades and training that allow students to be ready for the workforce as well as higher education.
This is my opinion; I am not writing this to argue or debate.
I have children that will never be in the new high school or updated middle school if this bond passes. But I am tired of seeing generational welfare in our community. All students should have the opportunity to learn in an environment that meets their needs. Traditional learning, sitting in a seat for eight hours, is not working. Waiting until junior year of high school for trade school is not working. We have been trying to pass a bond for a new middle school for 30-plus years (it may be longer).
When will our youth be important enough for our county? Some may be disheartened by experiences they had with teachers or schools in the past, but we cannot change the past; we can only change the future! I believe that I am called to help the greater good, and one way I can do that is with my income. I can give money (that I can’t take with me) to a cause that I believe in and for me, that is the future students of Upshur County.