Student in the Spotlight: Loretta Sperry
High School students are busy; however, successful and involved students are always busy. Student athletes who are involved in almost every club, like senior student, Loretta Sperry often have an inability to have time to themselves. But, Loretta Sperry breaks that mold, and defies many other norms.
She is a very outspoken senior at Edison Jr./Sr. High School. As an advocate for environmental protection, it makes sense that Sperry is a key part in Edison’s Gardening Club, but that is not all she does.
Sperry is a co-captain of the Edison cheer team, a former cross-country runner, member of Edison’s yearbook club, French club, a cappella choir, and the concert and marching bands of Lake Station. She was the president of Student Council her Junior year and turned the entire program around for the better after most of the student government graduated.
“Being [Student Council] President was probably the hardest and best thing i have done in high school. It taught me much about problem solving and dealing with stressful situations. Overall it inspired me to pursue becoming a better, more productive leader in my school and community.” says Loretta about her year as the president of Edison’s Student Council.
Partly due to the her involvement in Ms. Kelley’s Environmental Science class, but mainly by her own will, Sperry actively tries to do what she can to limit her effect on our fragile environment. She has adopted a vegetarian diet, advocated for increased recycling and has made the conscious effort to purchase products that are environmentally sustainable. Not only does she put effort in the environment, but her life goal is to have career in saving the lives of animals.
She equates her greatest passion in life to learning and in helping fix problems in the environment and animal care across the world. She is on the right track with goals such as those, because Sperry is ranked within the top ten GPA's of Edison’s senior class. She is one of a very successful graduating class this year for Edison Jr./Sr. High school. She has had consistent A’s through her whole academic career. Everything about Loretta screams success; her independence, her passion and her willingness to learn more about what she loves will serve her very well in all of her future endeavors..
What's Happening: Referendum
Funding is a major issue for most schools. Although, a lot have figured out a way to combat this handicap.
The use of a referendum has been utilized. It is now the goal of Lake Station Community Schools to include a vote on the ballot for their own referendum to increase citywide school funding, in the form of increased taxes. These increases rates are based on your current tax rates. At an average payment of $0.54 per day, this investment would bring proper education programs and guidance to all of the Lake Station Schools. With this referendum, the entire extra $0.54 per day will go directly to funds for Lake Station Community Schools.
To ensure the Lake Station School Board uses the money wisely and efficiently, all purchases by the school corporation will be under the scrutiny of the public eye. Also, with the help of the more vocal members of community, a constructive “gameplan” of sorts has been created to map out all the expected expenses and payments from this increase in funding. The school corporation will utilize the district and referendum websites to document exactly how your money will be used to improve the academic life of Lake Station students.
One of the biggest losses for Lake Station came at Edison, in the loss of a guidance counselor. This left one person to act as a counselor to every single student in the school. Guidance counselors work best when they are able to establish a relationship with the students, that is very hard to do when every single student, even in a small school, looks to you for that counseling. Another huge loss for Lake Station over the last few years is the art teacher position at the elementary schools.
“All kids have potential. All kids deserve to showcase it. Some are more academically or athletically inclined. Others are more artistic.” comments Dr. Cripliver, the Lake Station Community School superintendent, “Without an art teacher, many students lose a chance to express themselves. Something like that is so important at a young age.”
Over the past 4 years, Lake Station schools enrollment has dropped significantly. This in turn cost the Lake Station over $800,000 in potential state funding. To defend against this, the Lake Station schools now works on an open enrollment system, but to most people, Lake Station schools have lost much of their prestige and value. This all changes with proper funding and retaining, while also expanding, many of Lake Station’s extra-curricular activities and learning programs.
For those wondering what a referendum for school funding can do, look no further than the cross-town rival, River Forest community schools, who passed a referendum of $0.79 a day, to increase funds for the school. Immediately, many students from Edison have transitioned over to River Forest high school, because River now has such a strong positive aura around them. More students going to the school also increases funding from the state, which lessens a demand for any further expansion upon River’s referendum because they would receive increased funding upon increased enrollment. This is possible in Lake Station as well.
“Nothing is better to invest in than the potential and growth of our children.” states Thomas Coleman, Edison's business and marketing teacher.
Without the support of the community, Lake Station schools will have to close down their oldest elementary school (Carl J. Polk Elementary School), lose busing transportation in the year 2020, increase already large class sizes, and lose many staff members and extra-curricular activities. This certainly would not be good news. Among the most traumatizing effects of these losses is the substantial decrease in home value for retailers in the Lake Station area. The nicest schools all around the area have passed a referendum and have seen nothing but success, including schools such as Valparaiso and the aforementioned River Forest. Don’t take this as the be-all end-all source of evidence to either support or decline a referendum.
Explore all options, and think for yourself. But don’t forget to make your voice heard on May 2nd, by participating in the vote.