When I came for my interview to teach at Walla Walla High School in the summer of 2000, I was taken on a tour. With the campus style setting, a creek running through it and a recently updated library and front office spaces, I was awed by the beauty that surrounded me and the care that was being taken of the facilities.
I was impressed.
The reality of teaching in that lovely space quickly became evident.
For the past 10 years I have had a classroom in the science building. I am on the northeast corner of the building near the creek, a beautiful location when the weather is cooperative, not so pleasant when the weather is either too hot or too cold.
My room has nine single-pane glass windows. Imagine a classroom of 32 students when the temperature in the room registers 90 degrees plus! It isn't pleasant. I provided bottled water as a participation incentive. There once were shades, but they have been taped up so they don't fall on someone's head.
My room used to be connected to the room next door that has the culinary arts program. A temporary wall was put up. We can hear them and they us. And, when they cook, my room heats up like their ovens.
As you read this you need to know that I love teaching at Wa-Hi. I teach with some of the best teachers you could have for your children. Graduates are doing amazing things because of the foundation that they were given while attending Wa-Hi.
Teachers take continued education seriously and many have achieved National Board Certification. Not an easy task!
There are also new common core standards that need to be met at every level. Yet, at the high school, when students are preparing for careers, technical schools or college, they work in ill-equipped and poorly ventilated classrooms and labs. This seems unfair. You are asking that the children of Walla Walla receive a quality education in a less than quality environment.
This community can be proud that the teachers at Wa-Hi are able to do amazing things with what they have. Imagine what they could do with 21st century technology, labs and classrooms -- the possibilities would be endless.
Do what you can, vote in favor of the Wa-Hi bond! It's been 50 years, it's time!