Keep support in Cabot School
Recently reading the arguments for the continuation or the closing of Cabot’s high school, I have contemplated my place in the argument. I attended Cabot Public School from 1978-1991, but more significantly, there has not been a generation of Goulds who have not attended Cabot School since the town and school system were established. While attending Cabot high school, I actually begged to be sent to a boarding school, feeling that the school was not capable of providing me with the cultural, social, academic and global education I demanded. My father, Edwin Gould, who had dedicated money, time, leadership and even land to Cabot School, refused to let me leave, stating my legacy was in Cabot School. I was responsible for what that legacy would be, he stated. After several months of fiery discussions, I agreed to stay and began working to create my own curriculum for my senior year; establishing my own academic goals including state government, career shadowing, rigorous breast cancer research, and an evaluation of the variety of high school education alternatives offered in Vermont. This self-motivated form of education remains to be offered at Cabot’s high school 22 years later.
I ask the community of Cabot and those committed to the education of Cabot youth to not restrict the arguments of saving or dismantling Cabot’s high school solely history or economics. The goal of education is not just to be offered, but have it be relevant and effective. The future of high school is not to be held in a school building, but to be a hybrid of online/distance education learning and traditional classroom. The standard classroom experience is evolving so that teacher-led lectures are replaced with in-depth discussion, application and collaborative learning. As our society has become global, offering students opportunities to take courses online in this global community will be more meaningful to students, with the brick and mortar school being secondary. Which brings me to the question, is discontinuing Cabot high school an effort to provide the youth of Cabot with the most relevant education available or the cheapest?
Cabot’s high school not only provides students with a very individualized public education, but it plays a major role as a societal institution in the small community of Cabot. A healthy society depends upon families, religion, schools, government and economics. With the local church becoming near defunct, the major economic source of the Cabot Creamery expanding and developing outside of Cabot, Cabot public schools play an even more critical role in the health and vitality of the town. There is not a shortage of news stories highlighting the plights of small towns across America, very similar to Cabot. The towns able to thrive are those who are engaging more community members, who are attracting new community members and are developing innovative and sustainable programs and practices to strengthen their towns. These surviving and successful towns are not reducing, they are evolving and expanding.
I do not think the education I received at Cabot School alone to be the critical factor in my academic and career successes. But I will attest to the legacy of Cabot School and its ability to adapt for the best of the student and commitment to fostering critical-thinking skills did play a significant role in my successes, as it did in many alumni. As I enter my 18th year in a career in higher education, I have never encountered a story or a research study that refutes education being one of the most effective catalysts for an individual, group or society.
Sarah Gould Wright
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