Weekly Feature

2012-02-22 / Letters to the Editor

Supporting children should be priority

I interviewed for a teaching job at Clarence High School in l956. Dr. Small, principal at the time, convinced me that not only did we have a great school system, but also a great community to live in. I joined the high school teaching staff in 1956 and taught for 39 years until 1995. I continue to work annually as a volunteer for our students on the Mock Trial teams. This will be my 56th year of working with the talented students at the high school.

From the mid-l950s, the school has adjusted with the times and great student population growth. In the ’50s, we had graduating classes of 100 or fewer; this year that number will be nearly 500 graduating. The renovations planned and made for the high school have made this a modern and very functional school.

The Town of Clarence has grown quickly through the years, and I have heard numerous parents say, “I moved to Clarence so my children could attend their schools.”

Over those years, we have maintained a curriculum to fit the varied needs of our students. I feel that the Board of Education has done a thorough job of cutting as much as possible expense wise. I strongly support a badly needed tax increase of at least 4.9 percent. When we cut too much, we hurt the learning process, class size, curricular offerings to provide for the diverse student body and extracurricular activities.

My 30 years with the law team preparing cases against other schools is a good example of extracurricular learning: our mock trial students this year have spent more than 200 out-of-school hours preparing a legal case. They have had a tremendous opportunity to enhance critical thinking, writing skills, teamwork, listening and speaking.

I realize these are difficult times, but for a few extra dollars invested in our youth, we can all stand proud.

William L. Shipengrover
David Road

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