By Brett Lancaster , Parent of three AHS alumni
An important decision will be upon us on April 3rd. Our community will either vote to approve a new high school in Attleboro, or we will decide to reject the unique opportunity before us and pass our responsibility to a future voter. Debates, forums, letters, campaign events and town council hearings have addressed the economic, logistical, legal and project details for the proposed new high school. To be sure, these are important factors that need to be discussed and considered.
But there is more. We should also explore what is in our hearts and in our history.
In Massachusetts, we have a deep and rich legacy of placing a high value on education; in 1635, Boston Latin opened its doors as the first public secondary school in what was to soon become the United States. John Hancock and Samuel Adams are notable graduates. In fact, the Adams family were particularly vocal advocates for enriching our country, preserving our rights, and elevating our general happiness through education. In 1779, John Adams included these words in the Massachusetts Constitution: ”Wisdom and knowledge, as well as virtue, diffused generally among the body of people [are] necessary for the preservation of their rights and liberties.” (Chapter V, Section II). Adams went on to write that it is the “duty” of government to educate everybody. Further, Adams and his contemporaries realized that ongoing investments in educational infrastructure were vital to the learning experience.
A high school building is more than walls, plumbing, lights, desks, windows, a cafeteria, and a gymnasium. It is an environment designed to inspire young minds; to offer facilities for modern teaching techniques and technologies; to provide spaces to express feelings and thoughts through art and music; to house tools and equipment to advance trade skills; to enrich learning for students with special needs; and to enable children to develop their bodies, minds and skills through sport. It is also a building that must provide for the safety and well being of its inhabitants.
A high school also serves as a special place of pride for our community. A place where people of all ages and backgrounds can come together to learn. A place where we think, laugh, cry, form relationships, create memories, share, and build. A place where we watch future generations prepare to transition to the world beyond Attleboro. A place where we convene for community events and activities. It is the place where the most important work is to be done.
Our decision on April 3rd will reflect on our commitment to uphold the core values of those who sacrificed before us. Our decision will make a clear statement to future generations about whether or not we chose to sacrifice for their interests. Our decision will have consequences for years to come.
I am now proud to have the privilege of voting ‘yes’ on April 3rd in honor of those before me who made their commitment to my children's’ education in Attleboro. My vote - my sacrifice - will be my bond to future generations of Attleboro students and to their success.