SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

October 5, 2012

Column: Salem High is 'where it's at'

Last spring, I asked a student who had transferred to Salem High School for his last two years how his experience had been. He replied, “This school is where it’s at.” When I asked him to elaborate, he smiled as he told me about his teachers, his classes, the friends he had met, and the activities he was part of. He went on to explain how Salem High School is the “real world” and that he felt as if he were living in a “bubble” at his last school. “At Salem High, I received a great education and I feel ready for the challenges that I will be faced within college and in my career,” he stressed.

Salem High School truly is a microcosm of the “real world.” Of the 1,200 students that are enrolled, there is much cultural and socio-economic diversity. Over 30 percent of our students speak a language other than English at home, while almost 60 percent of our families qualify for free or reduced lunch. We have students who will graduate having taken six or seven different Advanced Placement courses before heading off to a top college or university (last year’s valedictorian, Jesus Morales, received a full scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania), while others have disabilities that will forever prevent them from living independently. The same people our students will live and work with across the country and world are right here in their own school.

The Salem High School mission statement stresses that students will build positive relationships while learning to take responsibility. They will graduate being able to communicate, collaborate, think critically, and solve problems. These are skills students will need to succeed in the 21st century world that we live in. We have an incredibly talented and caring staff working with our students. Also, we are fortunate to have a comprehensive public high school here in Salem. Along with strong core academic subjects, Salem High School has a compliment of vocational, technical, and elective classes that compare to any other school. Our music, art, and drama programs have received much recognition for the accomplishments of the students and staff. After school we offer 24 different sports for students along with having 44 extracurricular activities they can get involved in.

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