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Commentary: Students need new school to explore careers

I am the Industrial Technology instructor at Brandon-Evansville Public Schools. My wife (Kasi), son (Wyatt), and I currently live in a very quiet part of Evansville we enjoy very much. Like many of my fellow colleagues and friends within the community (including Kasi), I am a transplant from not too far down the road.

After growing up in a rural community consisting of Bertha, Hewitt and Wrightstown, I can undoubtedly say that I have once again placed my roots in a similar community in which I'm proud to be a part of. In just over five years, I've met a lot of successful people who have humbly earned a living through a good amount of hard work and perseverance.

To ensure success in tomorrow's 21st century economy, today's kids will need the knowledge and skills necessary to be able to adapt to a number of constantly changing industries. Qualities such as dedication to lifelong learning, developing grit, cultivating curiosity and maintaining sociability are only possible with the following two things working in their favor: 1. A solid education system that serves to the success of the individual and, 2. A caring community of people who are supportive of that education. If education is the structure that houses success, community is the foundation in which that structure sits on. One without the other just simply does not work.

Unfortunately, metaphors alone will not ensure the success of our students and neither will building a new school. The success of our future generations will be determined by the support of the community and educators to see to it that the students of our public education system have the adequate resources necessary to be successful in this 21st century. This is not merely based on a yes or no vote, but rather how we approach the importance of our kids' education.

Currently, our staff at Brandon-Evansville Schools is doing everything within our power to ensure the success of each individual student. I speak only for myself when I say that I am only human and sometimes feel as if I have fallen short of this endeavor. I, along with other staff members, face the daily tribulations of teaching, instructing and motivating students with a very modest mixture of 20th and 21st century methods while being housed in two separate buildings; both of which have 20th century layouts.

In my field, upper elementary and middle school students would benefit greatly if they were able to closely and relevantly explore career interests (and the skills necessary for those careers) at an earlier age. For most, if a spark of interest is not constantly fueled, their passion for that something will most definitely burn out. Creating a learning environment where students of all ages (not just juniors and seniors) can adequately explore and learn the 21st century skills needed to succeed in tomorrow's workforce is just one example of creating potential opportunities within our local economy. Areas such as engineering, manufacturing, construction trades and entrepreneurship are all career fields that have many job opportunities that are local and available. This could be done more efficiently if our vocational staff had more face-to-face contact with the entire student body. Not to mention it would also be beneficial if our core staff was in one location instead of working in two separate buildings away from their counterpart and the rest of the students. To sum up, there is currently a lot of square footage that is doubled up and a lot of unnecessary travel time for staff and students shuttling between buildings. In my opinion, this is a waste of resources. If we as staff and students were in one building, that more meaningful education experience that we all strive to accomplish would become a reality by using our space and time more efficiently.

On August 30, I will vote yes to improve our local education system to strengthen the foundation of our students' education in hope that future generations will grow up to one day strengthen that same foundation. As Benjamin Franklin stated, just before signing the Declaration of Independence, "We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately."

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