Philoron A. Wright: Pride in your school and yourself

Published: Monday, March 4, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, March 1, 2013 at 10:34 p.m.

As I look back on my life during my school-age years, there were many times that I considered being memorable and special moments in my life.

Attending school was one of those periods when I relished the opportunity to go to school, particularly my high school years.

Lincoln High School was my high school and it was the hub for all activities in my life outside of my family and church. Lincoln High was truly a community school. It was the place where I established great relationships with my peers and adult mentors. These people became my extended family away from home.

My high school experience was where I developed my own sense of appreciation for a good education that was premium. I was surrounded by friends who were “eager beavers” to learn and excel because they too shared the vision to improve their lives.

Recognizing their passion for learning encouraged me to work hard and develop a thirst for learning. We all desired opportunities to attend college and compete on the world's stage to have a better life.

Going to school for me was the pinnacle of my daily routine. I enjoyed every phase of the learning environment. The school setting was where I wanted to be, schmoozing and rubbing shoulders with my closest friends.

There was so much to offer and enjoy there. I enjoyed the camaraderie of my friends, sports events, working on experiments in the science lab, club affiliations and engaging in conversation with my teachers.

This was all part of a unified educational experience that we welcomed with open arms. The atmosphere was amazingly enticing. Being a member of the band program was my passion. It consumed a lot of my time so there was little time for me to get into trouble or to be indifferent about my purpose for being at a place that I wanted to be.

Throughout the day, teachers were always on a mission to provide the very best opportunities for me and my classmates to learn new and old concepts. These challenging curriculums were exciting and adventurous to most of us. We approached learning as a way of improving ourselves.

Consequently, we took pride in our school. Lincoln High School was our home away from home. We trusted our teachers, administrators and support staff to guide us through the perils of life.

For the seven hours we spent there, all of the adults were our parents and caretakers. It was an honor for me to attend Lincoln. The wonderful memories are indelibly cemented in my mind and heart.

My appreciation for earning a high school diploma at Lincoln was worth more than a “King's ransom.” I could never denigrate the education I received there nor could I impugn the reputation of the Big Red Terriers of Lincoln High School. We were so proud of our school and all facets of it.

For me Lincoln represented a culture of high standards and integrity. Someone once said, “Motivation gets you started and discipline makes you grow.”

Lincoln got me started, and my teachers along with my parents taught me discipline. Every teacher/adult who came in my path taught me something, and I adored them because they were the role models that I tried to emulate.

To all my teachers and role models, I must say thank you for your patience, the sharing of your time, your skill base to impart knowledge to a knucklehead like me, and your commitment to make my life better. Your contributions were so special and invaluable to all of us that you touched.

The message to the students in the Alachua County School District today is very clear in this article. Take pride in your school, become an active member of your school experience in a positive way, and take advantage of the opportunities given to you in this free society to learn and excel.

As I make reference to the embarrassing video at Eastside High School, I was appalled at the content of the misrepresentation. The foul language to describe Eastside High was repulsive and distasteful to say the least.

The sexually vile behavior shown on this video was disturbing and disappointing because sexual demonstrations and gang fighting (violence) have no place in our schools.

Eastside High School is a great school and a wonderful place to get an education. It did not deserve the debasing that was illustrated in the video. Shame on those who thought it was entertaining and appropriate.

This video does not reflect the opinions and behavior of students who are excelling at Eastside High. The majority of the students there are promoting positive images of what occurs at Eastside on a daily basis.

Those students who engaged in the video with their trash behavior need to somehow re-evaluate their value system and question themselves as to why they are there. Such reckless behavior is definitely counterproductive. After watching the video one would assume these students do not possess pride in themselves or their school.

One day these very same students will be parents, and my concern is how they will respond to their own child's behavior if he/she participates in this type of inappropriate behavior. I find it so troubling that our students deliberately made attempts to defame an institution that is making efforts to improve their quality of life.

We can do better than this. Have pride in your school, and have pride in yourself.

Philoron A. Wright Sr. is assistant to the superintendent of community and schools for Alachua County Public Schools.

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