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After closures votes, some important words and letters

Samantha Frazier's picture

[Editor’s note: The Fayette County Board of Education voted Monday night to close four schools. Among them was Fayette Middle School. FMS seventh-grader Samantha Frazier attended the meeting.]

Four schools: FMS, FIS, Tyrone, and Brooks.

Four letters: H-O-P-E.

Four words: Fayette County is STRONG.

Four people who helped to make our county better: Mrs. Marion Key, Dr. Bob Todd, Mr. Leonard Presberg, and Mr. Barry Marchman.

(I know that there is another board member but, in the words of Mr. Presberg, “We have to make our decisions based on the information that you do have, not on what you wish it would be,” and she did not do that.)

Four (more) words: You did your best!

Tonight I hugged my teachers as they cried over the loss of our home, but as they walked out the door, I asked them if they would be okay and they told me they would stay strong just like I said in my last column.

I would like to take a moment to thank these teachers for their amazing work and ask you to do the same.

First, my sixth-grade teachers: Mrs. Taylor, Ms. Lucas, Mrs. Screen, Ms. Lunsford, and Ms. Woodrum for helping me through my first year, teaching me how to love my school and dream.

Next, my seventh-grade (current) teachers: Mrs. Morrow, Mrs. Allgood, Mrs. Wiegman, Ms. Lanford, Ms. Doyal for encouraging me to grow and succeed.

And finally, my connections teachers: Mrs. Gividen (choral director), Mr. Handley (technology), coaches Huttsel, Clark, Carpenter, Paligreco, and Petty, Doctor Mitchell (art), Mr. Kufchak (orchestra), Mrs. Smith (math), and all the other members (who are too many to name) of the Cub family, including all administration, support staff, and my beloved ladies from the cafeteria.

These amazing people truly represent Cub Pride. BLACK and GOLD ALL THE WAY!

I know I should probably mention everybody else in the county who is affected by the school closures, but I am upset so don’t judge me.

During the meeting, whenever they announced that Fayette Middle would be closing, I had the sudden urge to chant “Fayette Middle is Strong!” but I resisted the impulse.

The most painful thing was to watch my FMS posse as they heard that FMS would be closing, but I believe in these teachers. They have believed in me. They will continue to be the best of the best.

They may not have known us forever, but they will always be in our hearts when we go.

I would also like to say thank you to Ms. Petty and Ms. Menke (I believe those were their names) from Bennett’s Mill who made me feel welcome regardless of anything that other “people” have said.

This was a bad situation and we did struggle, but we still came out on top, and Fayette County will continue to be one of the best school districts in the state of Georgia.

Anyone who says otherwise ... well, four (more) words: You are so wrong!

[Samantha Frazier, a FMS seventh-grader, volunteered to write a series of opinion columns for The Citizen about the closing of her school from a student’s viewpoint.]


Mary Kay Bacallao's picture

Dear Samantha,
I am very happy for you that you will be going to a new school. You are very sweet and I appreciate how much you love your teachers. I also have a 12 year old daughter in Fayette County schools. She loves her teachers too. My daughter was not affected by the school closures. As you know, I voted against all the school closures. I am glad that you are happy and I appreciate your positive outlook. There are students, parents, and teachers who are about to go through some changes, and many of them really wanted to keep their schools open. I care about them too. I listened to them plead with the school board to keep their schools open. As a former elementary school teacher (9 years) and a parent of 4 children, I understood what they were going through. I thought that there was a way to make these smaller schools more cost effective and keep them open. My votes were based on what in my humble opinion; I thought would be the best for all the students in the county. Some people disagreed with me, and I was outvoted. Although I am happy for you, I really feel for those who were not happy with the decisions. We have many more important decisions to make so we can balance the budget. All my decisions will be based on what is best for students, teachers and parents. Some people may disagree with the votes I make, and that is OK. We really all want the same thing, great teachers, students, and schools. Let’s give these students, teachers, and parents some time to adjust to the new changes and keep an open heart to the new friends, teachers, and parents at each school.
Thank you for caring about our schools,
Mary Kay Bacallao

angeldawn80's picture

Dear Ms. Bacallao,
I never said that I was "happy" about the schools closing. I was ready to fight anybody and everybody to keep my school open. However, after doing the research and getting the facts, I realized that it would be both foolish and selfish if I did so. The budget had to balance and schools had to close. You have to understand, I had letters from students, parents, teachers...I had even started a Facebook page to SAVE Fayette Middle. I was going to take all of it to the board meeting. However, in my mind, it wouldn't have been right. Then I sat and listened to all of these people get up and say how their school was more important to the county than the others. I had and still do have a problem with anybody who could do that. I still say it is selfish. I say this as a student who IS being effected and is NOT happy with what HAD to happen. I still support the board and I will still be at all of the meetings to support and be a voice for the students who are going through the changes as we speak and so know what is like to struggle.

I am sorry if my comment offended you. However, I was offended when, at the meeting, speeches were given in favor of Brooks and Tyrone but FMS and FIS barely got two sentences each. I have to wonder if Brooks and Tyrone had not been on the chopping block, if you would have made the same decision. You said that you haven't had any problem sleeping at night. I don't feel the same. I have done my best to keep my emotions out of this regardless of how painful it is. Sometimes bad things happen to good people and it sucks. But I'm tired of people in the community acting like their kids or their schools are better than me and mine. I may just be a kid but even I know that is just not right.

Again, I am sorry if I have offended you with what I have said but I was told to say what I felt. I'm not a politician. I don't always know how to say things without being straight forward. For two years I have been in the best school in the county and it is the last one that should have been closed. BLACK and GOLD 4Ever!!!!

Thank you for taking time to respond to my words.
Samantha Frazier

angeldawn80's picture

for everyone to hear, I want to say thank you to my mother for letting me do this and might not want to say it just like that...remember that not everyone talks like not put that...would you want that said to you...and all the other things like that....

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