Actually, there are several things, but today I’m just going to focus on one or two. So, here’s one of the big things that I think is wrong with me, and that is that I just seem to see things differently than the rest of… well, everyone. Sometimes, it’s a great advantage, but when I see something one way, and the world seems to not only be heading the other way, but not even taking notice of my deviation, it bugs me.
I went to a high school called Marian High School, in Framingham Massachusetts. I really enjoyed going there, and I wish all the best for the school (this is really important, because I’m about to start sounding like an asshole). Marian, besides being known to our community as a place where a lot of our friends and family, and selves went to school, is known for being the place where Christa McAuliffe went to school, and even though she died when I was still an infant, there were a few staff members who remembered her well, and often. It’s the school’s legacy.
In the last month, it was announced that Marian would be closing, and naturally it was pretty sad for a good portion of current and former students. There’s a little bit of me that does think it’s sad, but I also know that after the church sex abuse scandal, when they were off-loading financial obligations, Marian’s cord was cut, and instead of closing then, they rose to the challenge, and remained open for 14 years. They should all be proud of that.
So why am I an asshole?
Well, it comes in two ways. Marian’s current students and others, are trying to save the school, and they created a GoFundMe campaign, and they’re heavily using the hashtag “#stangsneverdie.”
For the last month, the hashtag has been like a cut on the roof of my mouth, and I hoped it would go away, and I wouldn’t keep thinking about it, but I think it’s kind of a dumb hashtag (as hashtags go), and when I say dumb, I mean it seems to ignore a fact rather callously. Marian is most famous, for an alumnus who herself is at least 50% most famous for dying tragically. You might think I’m nitpicking on this one (and you’re probably right) but it’s been driving me nuts. If this was said as some kind of joke, I might think it was in poor taste, but it wouldn’t be eating at me this way. It’s just so earnest!
Ok, so the second thing. The reason why Marian is closing, is because a lack of students (for all 4 years they currently have 221 students). The GoFundMe page is asking for $5,000,000. Now, I don’t want the school to close, and if there is any reasonable way for it to remain open, I’m all for it, the problem with this $5 mil idea, is that it doesn’t explain how long that keeps the school open. Is it $5 mil going to buy them 10 more years? Because over the course of ten years, with 221 students per year (I know there will be repeaters, so we’ll just count one kid per one year to get an idea of how many student years it will cover) that’s 2,210 students? That’s roughly $2250 a year per student. That’s a completely reasonable amount of money.
But what if the $5 mil only lasts one year? That’s $23,500 per student per year. Now, I’m aware there have been many improvements in Marian’s curriculum, and facilities since I attended 15 years ago, but I cannot imagine it’s worth $23k a year.
Also, the reason that there is no breakdown on how long the money will last, is because they’re not entirely sure this is a reversible decision. So, $5 mil might not even be enough.
This whole thing frustrates me, because while I get what Marian means to a lot of people, I just can’t help but wonder if it’s worth all of that? I mean, look if there were 221 kids who were going to get ZERO education if we didn’t raise $5 mil, I’d be on board, but that’s not the case. They’re still going to have the option of public schools and some of the other private schools.
I know, I sound like a monster. My point is that it’s not worth fighting for, but at this point I wonder what exactly they’re fighting for. Is it just enough money so they can graduate before the school closes? Have they planned anything to prevent this from happening again if they get the $5 million? Because eventually they’ll burn through it.
It’s a relatively big building for 221 kids, and they used to have (I’m not sure if they still do) a small annex building attached. Would the $5 million help them turn it into a K-12 school? That might allow them to have more students in the building to keep the school alive, but not just on life support.
So what is the take away that you, my readers who don’t know what the hell Marian High is? That’s a great question. Honestly, I think it’s just that we should be thinking about how we go about things. I wouldn’t mind donating ten bucks to get a busload of under privileged people to their jobs/doctors/whatever, but if the bus is going to break down once those particular people arrive, I’d be a little skeptical of the situation.
Hope I don’t sound too bitter, because honestly I loved Marian, and still do. I hope something happens that allows them to remain open, I just hope it’s an infusion that will give it new life, and not a crutch until inevitably dies.