2014-03-27 / Opinion


Editor’s Note: These are three of many letters on this subject that have been submitted online or through Facebook. As always, Newport This Week encourages its readers to comment in this way on issues of public concern.

Let Biases Go and Put Kids First

To the Editor:

Regarding the continuing debate over a unified high school for Middletown and Newport, the reason this has struck such a nerve is that those of us with kids in Newport school have been dealing with negative perceptions about our kids and schools for years. It’s offensive but people from other communities and even Newporters who don’t send their kids to public school have grown so accustomed to saying terrible things about our kids and schools that they don’t even realize that what they are saying is hurtful. I have had many conversations about this topic over the years with people who have moved from Newport to Middletown and Portsmouth for this reason and it makes me sad—not for those of us who stayed, but for those who chose to leave.

As for unifying, I think we should all have an open mind and think about ways we can work together to create opportunities for all our kids. Maybe it’s by combining some AP classes that neither school system would be able to offer on its own, or by creating a joint program that would help students who are lagging in a certain subject area.

If we open our minds instead of closing them, maybe we could make things better for kids in both communities. Instead of bashing each other, we should start to really look at what is best for the kids. My sons play on the Rogers- Tiverton Rocky Hill co-op ice hockey team that was formed because the schools did not have the numbers to form teams on their own.

It has been a great experience. The kids from all the schools have bonded amazingly well and consider it one of the best things about their high school years. This experience has taught me that the kids in our schools would have no problem unifying. It’s the parents that would struggle.

It would be great if we could all let our own biases go and put the kids first. I am not sure how I feel about unifying, but I would love to be part of a conversation that is free from negative talk and instead focuses on the positive and what might work to make both Middletown and Newport better places to educate our kids. Change is scary but not always a bad thing.

Mardie Corcoran

Unification Comments Hurtful

To the Editor:

Comments made in the debate over unification of Middletown and Newport schools have hurt me and my fellow students. The thought that a Middletown parent does not want her children to attend school with Newport students has really dug a hole in my self-confidence. It is a hole that is not as easily filled up as dug out.

These remarks overall stated that Middletown students should be placed above Newport pupils. I detest these comments and I don’t believe that any district should be placed above another. We are all a team fighting for the same goal, so why should we have to look at a chart that places other kids in front of us? You don’t realize how emotionally scarring that might be.

As a 13-year-old girl, I know that I am growing up in a happy home with good parents who help me to strive for success. The majority of Newport students work hard every day for success, and to establish our own identity. And now, that has been snatched away from us. Our parents work hard to keep our education thriving, and they are telling us that the comments that were made about Newport students are only going to bring our tight-knit community closer together.

Newport has a great school system. We see ourselves as a whole team. We fight together, we are bonded, and nobody can take that away.

Aubrey Baker
7th grade student
Thompson Middle School

Kids Can Cross Town Lines

To the Editor:

I’d like to make it clear that Lisa Cecchi’s opinion in opposition to a regional high school (as quoted in Newport This Week’s March 20 issue) does not represent that of all Middletown parents. I am part of a blended family living in Middletown but I was born and raised in Newport. My partner and I are both graduates of Rogers High School. He and I both hold college degrees. We both volunteer as coaches and mentors with Middletown Youth Football and Cheerleading.

The Middletown children are combined with Newport children in our program. A Newport child in our program has just been given a full, four-year academic scholarship to Portsmouth Abbey. Our program had 68 All-American scholars. The top fifth-grade scholar for cheering is a Newport child. The top grade scholar for New England is a Newport child. The first team of New England Scholars included four of our kids from Newport and the first team of national scholars included one child from Newport.

Janetta Donovan

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