Section: archive

Duty to vote falls on Kenyon students

By Sydney Jill Watnick

Before I came to Kenyon, I had always had to pay to print my papers. By that I mean, my public high school experienced dramatic cuts halfway through my time that led to reduced printer accessibility. Though this may seem like a minor change, and it was, it has stayed with me as a marker of difference between high school and college and allowed me to better understand that at Kenyon, having unrestrained printer access is a privilege. If the school levy initiative is not passed on May 7, I can assure you that the students of Mount Vernon will lose their paper and a whole lot more. Proposed cuts include football, debate, and marching band. I don’t know about you but I can attribute my success in high school, in part, to the work I did outside of the classroom. For me, my time at my alma mater, the Bronx High School of Science, was defined by a plethora of Advanced Placement classes, a special scholarly partnership with a sociology professor at a local university, varsity cross country, and my experience as the chief photo editor of the yearbook. Not only can I attribute developmental growth to these activities, but they definitely helped me to become a well-qualified candidate for Kenyon College. Mount Vernon students deserve the same opportunities, both because of the importance of sports, music and art in our educational development and so they can compete in the overwhelming college admissions court like we all did.

Additionally, in sustaining and continuing our own academic excellence in Gambier, Ohio it is important to support other educational and beneficial endeavors for our community. It is not just the quality of education that is at stake but the overall quality, safety and sustenance of our community. Kenyon needs its strong and beloved faculty to maintain its reputation and rigorous course of study. For many of our professors and administrators, a failure to pass the levy will bear great consequences. Professors will move farther away from Gambier or cut ties with the institution and our community altogether. One of the things that makes Kenyon so special is the close-knit community we have. We see our professors eating dinner at the Village Inn, reading in the bookstore and running on the treadmills at the Kenyon Athletic Center. If professors move away we will lose these “little moments” and the bigger meetings that happen every class. For our academic programs to maintain their rigor and sustain our interest, we need to support our beloved faculty.

I don’t blame teachers and administration who will feel it is their only option to relocate their family outside of the Mount Vernon City School District if the levy does not pass. For me and my family, private education has never been on the menu. Therefore, my education has been shaped by the public education system and how to work best inside of it. My family has moved numerous times across the New York area in search of a better school for me and my sisters and I know my mom (a college professor) would give up her job if the local schools were not up to par for my sisters and me.

I had great public schools that brought me here to the Hill two years ago. But this isn’t just about just me, or my family. We must all do our part to protect the schools around us to allow local students to have the same amazing opportunities that we did. As a Kenyon community, we must all stand up together to preserve the education quality in and around our campus. This is our home, and community. Let’s continue to make it the best one we can, both on and off campus. I hope you will join me in voting a resounding YES for the emergency school levy on May 7 ラ for you, your professors and the children at Wiggin Street Elementary.

ラ Sydney Watnick ’14, is president of the Kenyon Democrats

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