Thursday, January 2, 2014

I am saddened that the decisions of a minority of adults have thwarted the current children's ability to have the same experience that I had ... By Jocelyn Almy-Testa

I have been following what's going on with the NBHS pink slips. My two cents: 

As an alumni, I am very disappointed with the current state of the high school. Maybe that doesn't mean much, but it should. For four years of my life, I gave my all to that institution. I studied hard, I participated in extracurricular activities, I participated in 12 seasons of varsity athletics, I graduated in the top 5% of my class, I have a record as one of the top three runners in my event, had a Class A record in the triple jump relay, and was my class vice president. I was even voted " best smile."

Maybe that doesn't mean anything 22 years later, but maybe it does. You see, when I was there, I was a part of a family. I have fond memories of singing with the track team " We are the Whalers, the mighty mighty whalers. Every where we go, people want to know, who we are , so we tell them, we are the whalers the mighty mighty whalers...."

What happened to the Mighty Whalers? I don't know what happened. I moved away 16 years ago. But I do remember being proud of my school, my classmates, and my city. I am still proud. Our graduating class launched a slew of successful people and families. Every day I have the privilege of seeing my classmates from all over the country post pictures of their beautiful families, their successes, and their undying devotion to each other through their friendships, still going strong, and their city.

The reason I am so strongly upset about the current affairs at the high school is that I worked my tail off, as did my classmates, to give my all to the NBHS community to not only make it in life, but to be a part of the " Mighty Mighty Whaler" Legacy.

As a member of that Legacy, I am saddened that the decisions of a minority of adults have thwarted the current children's ability to have the same experience that I had.

There is more to high school than statistics. By the laws of statistics, being the child of a teenage mother raised by her grandparents under DSS in the New Bedford housing projects through the 70's, 80's and early 90's, I shouldn't have done as well as I did. I should have failed. But I sure as hell didn't. I had some of the best teachers in the country teaching me. I had coaches who pushed me to my best. I had a school where achievement was celebrated and alumni were heralded as heros whose accomplishments I strived to achieve.

To this day, I tell my athletes how great NBHS was. I tell my children about the wonderful teachers and coaches I had. Reunions are some of the best nights of my life. I carry the Legacy torch with pride.

I don't know what happened to my school, but what I do know, is that I owe what I have made of my life in great part to my experiences there. I have carried the lessons I learned there throughout my life, and have lived well. For that, I will be forever grateful.

To the current administration- please, for the love of life, get yourself together and realize that the high school years are more than numbers and test scores. They are also about building character, self discipline, creating a culture of pride in one's city and building a community of citizens who will continue to contribute to their city no matter how far away they roam.

Remember that you are not a singular institution, but the builder of a community and future generations that will carry the legacy of not only your school, but the city of New Bedford, all over the country. Fix this. I Have nieces and nephews heading your way. Give me something to smile about.


Anonymous said...

We are no longer a community of "legacies". We are a transient community in which people have little or no concern with the value they get out of free service. The here today gone tomorrow idea seems to carry more value with our politicians than those of us that have planted roots here. It is those people (politicians) that we need to look to for support. NBHS and NBPS will not turn around without the support of our community. It has become the also ran high school. While the northend high school promises success in both a career choice and college education the number do not reflect the propaganda. Unfortunately some of our politicians sit on the board of both establishments. One would think that it is a conflict. A minority of students see no value in schooling and continually disrupt the learning of others. This administration has decided that a 50% reduction in suspensions is what the HS administration must accomplish to be successful. There was no talk of improved behavior just a reduction of numbers. Teacher assaults happen with the teacher getting blamed for the student's behavior. Fights happen with students being taken to touchy feely support services. I do understand that parents are not punishing their kids for bad behavior. They blame the staff. Students with severe emotional issues are not receiving the supports they need. I can go on. I want my school and my kids (all of them) to be successful at whatever they choose. I will teach them to the very best of my abilities, but they need to want to learn. A college level student is not going to a college of record without support. I've got ideas that will be presented. They will cost money - which we do not have. WHALER PRIDE is what it will take to turn this mess around.

Joe Teacher said...

We had Whaler Pride until Jon Mitchell took over City Hall. The first thing he did was bad mouth New Bedford Public Schools and created the appearance that our schools were failing. His words and actions have caused so much harm to the school system I love that it will be years before we recover from the mess he created.

chris 2011 said...

I agree I am a product of NBHS I graduated in 1984 when we were strong and proud of our school system. As a parent now I am very dismayed that my son who is in the elementary school now will be getting this mess when he is in middle and high school. You can't blame the mayor for it long ago it was failing and everyone just ignored it and now when its become a priority of the mayer you finally wake up. they sat ignorance is Bliss in this case ignorance has ruined a once great school system. so how are we going to work with the current superintendent ( we have had 4 so far )which is a shame in itself,what is the plan and how are the teachers going to Help bring our school system back ,and if they can't see fit to do it for themselves and the kids of the future Then what ??

Wayne Simmons said...

Christine, perhaps the union should boycott Stop and Shop and let the management know why. I've collected all of your anti-teacher rhetoric on Facebook and on this blog and I'm more then happy to share it with your managers. They may respect your freedom of speach but they won't like losing business because of your hatred for teachers.

Anonymous said...

The "crisis" was created by Mayor Jon Mitchell. He is the man who is destroying our schools and turning over our city to gangs and other criminals. Our streets have never been unsafer.

Anonymous said...

Teachers change lives in ways that cannot be measured with numbers. Statisticians will also interpret them to their benefit only. So many individuals lost in the Lie of "NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND". Politicians and business men grabbing for school dollars; FOR PROPHET NOT FOR THE STUDENTS. they don't care how many lives they ruin; students, teachers, families.

Anonymous said...

Chris-please stop your opinionated posts. Teachers have been holding up this district with heart, brains, and their money. I understand you had many special needs growing up (as you have revealed in prior posts)...multiply your challenges by 5 and then throw in tests from profit seeking companies---then you might understand what the students are up against...also-in 1984 the people in this community did not attack teachers and think students like you were "underperforming"...with no future unless you got a certain score on a TEST. Your teachers knew you were a person not a data point. Maybe you should remember that.

Anonymous said... Hate to say it, but you are totally clueless. From your perspective as a parent, maybe part of it you can't help. However, I am a Teacher AND parent in this fair city and you have no clue what I deal with as a Teacher on a daily basis. Believe it or not, our students like us. WE are not the problem. WE have not hired so many superintendents is such a short period of time. HELP is our middle name. The only reason kids in New Bedford even have schools to go to is because of the Teachers who spend their money and pour their hearts and souls into HELPING kids. We are all entitled to our opinions and mine respectfully, is that you and many others like you need to wake up. Teachers have ONE goal in mind, helping students to succeed. Parents should be outraged with what is going on by starting at the TOP. Make your phone calls, get involved. That is what would help.

Anonymous said...

Great post. You are to be commended for your concern about NBPS. You should also be proud of your accomplishments. For the sake of your family members in NBPS I truly hope things change. I teach here, my kids attend here, and it is a mess to say the least. Your points are valid and should be listened to. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

As a member of the class of 1993 I totally agree with Jocelyn. It is sad. Thank you for your posting. Maybe send it to the Standard Times? Then again it might not make the paper.

Anonymous said...

Why is the mayor not held accountable for the increase in crime in NB? Oh, I forgot, that is probably the fault of the teachers as well. I think we are responsible for the price of gas as well. Nice to have scapegoats.

Anonymous said...

Christine, you should be thankful to every teacher who has helped your child become the great student he is today. I find you to be very disrespectful and unappreciative to the educators in this city.