Switching Schools; One Students Perspective

I thought they lost my letter in the mail. I checked my mailbox every single day but still nothing. I was practically on the edge of my seat to hear the response from the school lottery. I had signed up early for the application, applying to Montpelier, U-32, and Harwood. There still was no sign of a response though, and I was getting antsy. It had been two weeks since the letter had been sent out, and when I did my regular check of the mailbox I saw nothing, again. I remember the sense of disappointment I had as I continued the walk down my driveway. Then something caught my eye; a small white envelope lying in the wet grass down the small hill. The letter had been there the whole time. 

This letter led me to where I am now, writing this article for the Common Ground. It gave me the opportunity to restart, to have the type of education and privileges that seemed so far away just ten months ago. My final day at Randolph Union High School was a tear jerker. Seeing all of my friends’ faces, knowing I would never get to see them in the hallways and text them to bring me their Chromebook chargers again. Still I know it was for the better. 

My first day at Harwood Union started with the most insane assembly I have ever attended. When the Scottish music started playing and a teacher was given a large quilt that she had to wear for the rest of the year, I decided becoming a Highlander was one of the best decisions I had ever made. In each class, teachers had us introduce ourselves with our names and pronouns. No laughing or whispers came from my peers like I expected. There was no refusing or telling a teacher that it was stupid. Instead, people  just followed the directions. There was no big scandal over which bathrooms I could use. We could go on walks halfway through class to clear our heads, I could go get tea when I needed it, and I could go to the Wellness Center when things got too much. I finally felt understood and supported. 

Tristan Gottshall, another sophomore that transferred here from Randolph Union told me about the improvements that this school has made in his life; “Well, there’s actually a computer science class where people are interested in learning the material and there are a lot of opportunities to make friends. I’ve made more friends in the first two weeks at Harwood than I did in the whole school at Randolph.” And although Tristan misses the large amount of industrial equipment that Randolph had to offer, he still prefers driving the 40-50 minute drive over the gap to come to Harwood every day, and I have to agree. 

When asking Tristan about the school, the topic of our peers outward negative feelings about the school, Tristan said this: “It’s just kind of funny. Honestly, people say, oh, this is so bad, this is so bad. And, like, I’m guilty of complaining about a certain teacher, but really, over at Randolph all the teachers graded that weird. I mean, it’s just really funny to watch people complain about the school when, when it was so much worse over there.”

 The opportunities Harwood presents for its student body and the support from the staff have been incredible for me, as well as any new student that I have talked to in the past eight months I have attended this school. The support from the staff and easy way to access help in areas you’re not familiar with or struggle with has been a new and incredible experience that I never thought I would be able to have. I feel safe coming to this school and walking through the halls, which is more than I could ever ask for.