Letter to the editor

perspectives

Although the staff member responsible for submitting the op-ed piece entitled, “CHS: There’s no need to apologize for your size” ardently defends Carmel’s unusually large size, the merits of his/her argument focus too much on extra-curricular pursuits and unfortunately not enough on the liberal arts education of which this school was founded.

The columnist in this issue of the HiLite begins his argument by first examining the athletic opportunities offered to students by the size of Carmel High School. Although this is true, Carmel’s size does allow coaches to choose the best athletes to compete in their respective events, this hardly benefits the entire student body.

The columnist stated in his/her article that other schools think “They’re good” in regards to Carmel athletics, but who is actually good? Are “they” good, or was Morgan Newton good? Are “they” good or was Megan Detro good? The fact of the matter remains that a large amount of the school’s resources, contributed by all taxpaying families in the district, are falling among only a few extremely talented individuals. The students who might receive more playing time and thus better opportunities to develop their athletic and leadership skills, at a smaller school instead are swallowed by the elitist appetite of Carmel athletics. Also, the talented individuals previously mentioned above could shine in any environment, big or small. Yes, a large school does bring with it a strong athletic reputation. But let’s face it, who is that really helping?

The columnist continues his discussion by examining how Carmel’s size has allowed for a state-of-the-art communications department. Once again, the columnist states a true fact. What he/she fails to do is justify how a powerful communications department benefits graduating seniors in either the job market or college application process. Every year, both of these critical next steps become more and more competitive at the entrance level. A strong liberal arts education (math, science, writing etc.) which should be the priority of every secondary institution is highly valuable in the years following graduation. Carmel should be instead investing in smaller classes sizes, more teachers, and more learning spaces, rather than fancy camera equipment and high-definition video monitors. Once again the focus should be on educating students, not on trying to make the school more impressive in a brochure or on a Web site.

The article ends with an analysis on how Carmel’s size benefits students in the transition from high school to college. Not only does he/she assume that the entire student body attends four year universities, but he/she also fails to fully understand the collegiate education experience. Although several popular universities contain tens of thousands of students, the difference between those place and Carmel can be summed up in two words, square footage. Large universities, such as Ohio State and Indiana University, span several square miles of campus, giving students plenty of room to facilitate the completion their undergraduate work. Classes that exceed even as little as 60 students meet in small discussions sections on a weekly basis; not to mention mandatory office hours for all professors. Housing life in dorms and Greek systems further break down the large student bodies into comfortable social groups. Some of my most stressful times at Carmel include moving slowly through packed hallways or struggling to get the attention of a teacher in a large classroom. Carmel’s immense student body, and relatively limited real estate resources coupled with overworked teachers creates a learning environment which instead of preparing students for collegiate challenges actually under-prepares them for collegiate academic rigor.

I can agree with the columnist’s final point. It is time to stop complaining about the size of the school. Instead, we should be urging for city legislation and active participation by the community in separating the school into smaller units. With this change, a multitude of academic benefits can be made available to every student and increase this city’s already incredible reputation for producing educated, influential young people.

Nick Cooper ’09

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