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Letter: CMS Student Concerned About Future of Schools

To the Editor,

My name is Riona McKersie. I’m currently in 8th Grade at Central Middle School. At this point in time, many, if not most of you have heard about Central Middle School being closed due to various concerns. However, as I read many opinions, and hear different solutions to what should be done, I realize that no students have spoken up.

I would like to start with last Friday, a day just a little over a week ago, and a snow day as well. When I first found out that Central was “deemed unsafe” to say I was shocked would be a complete understatement. CMS students are clear that this is not the fault of the administration, and I don’t wish to blame anyone, I just want this problem solved. For those of you who have never been told, “Hey guess what? You won’t have a school building!” it’s extremely unsettling. As the weekend went on, I soon found out that not only would I be without a school building, but the teachers, students and staff of Central would be bussed to various locations around Greenwich. Sixth graders would be going to Cos Cob Elementary, seventh grade to Eastern Middle School and eighth to Greenwich High School. I doubt that many of the eighth graders imagined that we would be sitting in the Performing Arts Center (PAC), with our computers on our laps, completing asynchronous lessons on a Monday. And for anyone who thinks that’s not a big deal, try to figure out how to complete your Geometry assignment in an auditorium, attempting to balance a computer, notebook, pens and pencils, and a previous math packet in about a one foot by one foot area. You’d be a genius if you managed to do it. Despite this, we were able to get back to as normal a schedule as possible the rest of the week, all while using various rooms next to the PAC, as well as the PAC itself.

However, it wasn’t sitting in an auditorium all day that bothered me, it was the fact that a town as wealthy as Greenwich has numerous school buildings falling apart. I know towns that have half the money Greenwich has, have workable, safe, school buildings, or they have a logical plan for buildings that are in disrepair. And for the adults who are choosing not to do something drastic about Central, you are failing to set a good example for the younger generations in Greenwich. As leaders that are constantly telling us to plan ahead and how that one action of thinking about the future can impact us positively, you certainly aren’t exhibiting that. Central has had many issues for over 20 years, and yet it’s those of you who are constantly telling us to plan, that failed to plan ahead for Central. You are able to stick over 200 people in an auditorium, and other rooms in other schools, and claim it goes well, but you never experience the result of your actions. It’s the teachers, staff, parents and students that are on the front lines of your poor decision making, the people that are ultimately living out the consequences of your lack of future planning. But it’s not just the Central community you are affecting, you’re affecting the communities of all the host schools, Cos Cob School, Eastern Middle School and Greenwich High School. Those students have to adjust to the changes as well. For one of the host schools, that meant elementary students in one classroom all day with the same 20 kids. In my younger sibling’s classroom of seven year olds, they spent the entire day in one room, because the cafeteria, gym, media center, etc., had to be used by the CMS sixth graders.

I’m not whining and complaining about five days of this, but my classmates and myself are deeply worried that you have no plan to prevent this from happening again. Therefore, to all the leaders in Greenwich, please consider how your planning and actions, not only with making Central safe, affects more than just the immediate future, but the long-term as well as teachers, students, staff and parents.

Riona McKersie
8th Grader at Central Middle School

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