June 6, 2007
I have been attending Park City schools since I was three. From the Park City Co-op Preschool to senior year, I am a complete product of the Park City school system.
Guess what? I turned out OK.
I have endured it all, countless construction episodes at three different schools, somewhere around 55 teachers, and plenty of the drama that comes with puberty and girls climbing the social ladder. And, every step of the way there has been a supportive teacher or mentor. Even if it was a teacher from last year, or four years ago, I have never found myself without a kind teacher offering advice or help out of a sticky situation.
This is especially surprising since I have found myself in a few unpleasant situations during my 13-year stint in Park City schools. I have been held in highest regard and fallen from grace.
Despite all this, I am still attending a not-too-shabby college next year and plan on majoring in something besides outdoor recreation.
So why the perseverance and bright outlook?
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Not to discredit the amazing teachers the school board has hired, or the millions spent on airy classrooms, in the end it is the town that has taught me the important lessons.
The teachers made sure I knew the basics, but the people of Park City made sure I knew about life. As long as the town continues to hold onto that feeling of closeness and doesn’t lose its alternative edge, the school district will continue to succeed.
The fact that every time I go to the grocery store I see someone I know, taught me to behave. I learned that someone always knew me and they were not only watching me but they were watching out for me, too.
As to those parents who complain about the lack of physical education, I would remind them of the mountains that surround us. They provide constant recreation. Exercising isn’t meant to happen in a gym, it is meant to take place where a water break blends with a wildflower viewing and where winding trails offer cardio, endurance and strength all in one.
Unlike the movie stereotypes, our lunch tables are usually not segregated by jocks, nerds, and cheerleaders. Though many bridges still need to be built, especially between the Latino and Anglo students, the word "cliques" doesn’t seem to pertain to Park City High School. In fact, the rise from nobody to center of attention is something I have witnessed frequently.
Those opportunities apply to the classroom also. Everyone has the chance to be a valedictorian. Between the free tutoring and eager teachers, I have always felt that I could be, or do, anything. I didn’t take advantage of all the opportunities presented to me, but they were there.
Park City has been my steppingstone, setting its graduating class up for success later in life. Scholarship advisors and top-notch counselors have helped to pave the way to college and once there, students usually find they are more than prepared due to A.P. classes, internships, and teachers who cared.
While Park City may seem small and stifling at times, no matter where I go I am always proud to tell people where I am from. The fact that I am graduating with people who attended preschool with me is something few can claim. I have nothing else to compare this town to, but the fact that people keep coming back tells me something. It is not just the school system that has shaped me and my classmates, but also the community.
Park City has done a great job raising and schooling us. My only hope is that, one day, Park City will be as proud of me as I am of it.
At graduation, most of my classmates won’t be crying due to the fact they are leaving high school, but because they will soon be leaving Park City.
So, from this Park City graduate, to all of you, please continue volunteering in our schools and attending the board meetings. And the next time someone complains about their child’s education, remember how ideal our district is and remind them that Park City’s classroom is not made up of just a cafeteria and desks, but of mountains, ski lifts, and close knit people who all share one common belief; we do not just live in Utah, but in Park City.