When I hear and read about community opposition to the modernization of Walla Walla High School, I am convinced that those opposed must not have spent time at the high school in a very long time. A tour of the school would suffice to show that Wa-Hi is badly in need of an update.
I entered my freshman year at Wa-Hi in the fall of 2006. I was enrolled in freshman chemistry, along with approximately 35 other students. The problems with the classroom and labs were immediately evident.
There was hardly enough room for that many students -- we were uncomfortably crammed together and it was a struggle to get in and out of our seats due to the lack of space. One of our "walls" was not actually a wall -- it was a curtain between us and the room next to us, another chemistry classroom. We could hear everything the other teacher and students said. Sometimes this provided us with answers when we took exams -- the other teacher would be lecturing on what we were being tested on.
While the insufficient classroom space was uncomfortable and irritating, the lack of space in the laboratory was downright dangerous. We would all be lighting Bunsen burners with the real possibility of accidentally catching someone else's clothing on fire because there were so many of us shoved into one room.
I tell this story not to criticize my chemistry teacher (who was fantastic despite spatial challenges), but to help the rest of the community understand why Wa-Hi should be modernized. The lack of space at the high school hinders learning and can at times be dangerous.
Another reason to modernize besides spatial issues and safety is that of preparing students for an ever-modernizing world. Technology is always changing, and everyone, including those without children in school, should want the future citizens of Walla Walla to be well prepared for this future.
They will not be able to compete in the job market if they lack skills in new technology, and the best time to begin attaining these skills is high school.
I recognize these are challenging financial times, but if there is one thing we should be spending money on, it is preparing this generation of students for the future. I encourage other recent graduates to weigh in and describe their experiences.