As a senior at John Adams High School, I have grown and matured greatly throughout my high school years. It saddens me immensely to think that the class of 2012 could be the last graduating class of our school. It is deeply disturbing that my school, along with over 30 other schools, has been classified by New York State as a persistently lowest achieving school. However, over the past few years, our school has accomplished a great deal. Our graduation rates have improved by at least 17 percent, and our attendance has been steadily progressing.
Mayor Bloomberg is forcing these schools to implement the turnaround program in an outrageous attempt to “fix” these schools. The most alarming part of the program is that at least 50 percent of the teachers, staff and administration won’t be allowed to continue teaching at their schools. This ludicrous provision implies that half of the teachers and administration here are not adequately doing their jobs.
My teachers have inspired me to do so much more than I could have ever imagined! As a student, I have been able to do things such as: visit and participate in conferences at the United Nations, engage in peer education with other students at my school, become one of the editors-in-chief of my school newspaper, and so much more. Without my teachers, these things would not have been possible.
Not only will our education be affected, but our identity as well. The possibility of John Adams’ name being changed is also a large issue. Students such as myself have become proud to call ourselves John Adams Spartans, and this should never be taken away from us.
Seven other schools in Queens are on the Department of Education’s turnaround list. The students at these schools are being bullied and victimized by the mayor and his outrageous policies. My peers and I refuse to have to compromise our education. Our school has programs that other public schools, even specialized high schools, don’t have. I have a sister in seventh grade who will soon be getting ready for high school. If my sister were to attend here, she would not be able to meet the amazing teachers I have met.
At a young age, my parents instilled the value of hard work in me. They always told me that if I do the right thing, it will pay off in the end. I have also instilled in myself the conviction to stand up for what is right, and this is the opposite of right.
It does not matter if the building is still here. If you take away 50 percent of our teachers, then 50 percent of the essence of this school will be gone. The comfort of our school will no longer be here, and after all, a house is not a home.
Symone Simon is an editor-in-chief of The Campus, the student newspaper at John Adams High School in Ozone Park.