Uncertain future for Normandy affects everyone

Erica Swanson comments on how Normandy transfers have become an integral part of FHC family.

Erica Swanson, Staff Reporter

When the news came last summer that FHSD would be receiving new students from a failing district, many were skeptical. People were scared. They were scared for the future of our district, concerned for the well-beings of their own kids. There was talk on how the transfers would affect test scores, class sizes, and the climate of FHC. What people failed to realize was that the transfers were coming here for the same reasons that the parents of FHSD were scared of them coming here. The transfers were coming here, because they, too, were concerned about their children. The kids that chose to come and be a part of FHSD are dedicated, and just by choosing to come here they demonstrate a strong desire to learn and get better. They had the choice to stay, to take the easy way out and have little homework, or have to wake up at the crack of dawn to ride a bus to a new school where they might not know anyone, where they will be given a heavier workload and have higher expectations, and they chose the much more challenging latter. They chose to put their education first. And now, nearly a year later, the chance they took to come here to FHC has paid off, not only for the transfer students, but for everyone. Skepticism has turned to acceptance as the transfer students have been transfused into the Francis Howell School District and FHC. They are now a part of us. They are a part of our family.

As fellow Spartans, we have grown because of the Normandy transfers. While the Normandy transfers have been given a better education, we have been given new classmates, new teammates, new friends.  Many of the transfers not only decided to come here just for school, but they also chose to partake in some of FHC’s extracurricular activities. There are many examples of this. Take Justin Andrews, who played a big role in the success of our football team. I know as teammates the football team took in a new friend this year, a new person they could bond with, a new competitor to make them work harder and play better.

Recent legislation and talks by mainly Normandy district makes the future of the Normandy transfers, and with it, the future of FHC uncertain. The busses are costly putting Normandy into major financial issues. But stopping the Normandy transfers is definitely not the answer. There is legislation right now that was passed by the Missouri House of Representatives on April 30 that, if passed, could potentially change the transfer status of the Normandy students. It would give back Normandy’s accreditation because the district’s elementary schools are passing. However, what about the middle and high schoolers? They would be out of luck and have to attend their failing schools. There would be no opportunity to transfer. We would lose our classmates, our teammates, our friends, a part of our family.

I know something has to be done for the many students still attending Normandy School District, but I do not believe that it should be at the expense of the students who chose to make several sacrifices, from their sleep to family time, for a better education. Making them go back is not the answer. It is like giving an excited young child a Christmas gift and taking it away the next day. All the progress, all the growth that they have achieved would be wasted. We would lose a part of our school and school district. Stopping the transfers would be like taking away a sister or brother. It would be devastating for the transfers, for every student in FHC, for the teachers and the staff. It would be devastating for the surrounding community who has come and supported our schools. It would affect not just the transfers, but all of us.

Through it all, I think it is safe to say that one important lesson we all learned is to not make quick judgments. The future is always uncertain and uncertainty brings fear. But some changes and additions are good, as in this case when FHC received new students to make our school even better.