By Tommy Young
I am a resident of Duxbury, a teacher at Waitsfield Elementary School and the varsity girls’ coach for Harwood Union. I have two children, one a Harwood graduate, and the other is currently a junior.
I wanted to write a post to address two things about the Harwood bond vote. One is the issue of the gym and why the need is definitely there. The other reason is why I will support the bond and will be voting yes. For the past few years (pre-COVID) and again this year, I have taken on the challenge of scheduling gym time and gym use at Brookside Elementary, Crossett Brook Middle School and Waitsfield Elementary School during the winter and spring seasons. This is a difficult task and takes a lot of time and some creativity. Even doing the best I can, there are some groups that don’t get the time they desire in one of the gyms. This does include some adult as well as student teams and groups.
This winter, we have 175 first- to sixth-grade students playing basketball alone on top of the middle school teams, rock climbing club and several other adult groups. With our current gym space availability, I am trying to figure out which middle and high school teams will practice until 10 at night, which third- and fourth-grade teams will practice until 8:30 p.m., and which adult league teams will need to be told there is no room for the season. I can promise you the need for another gym is real. I have read many posts that suggest there is no need for a gym. I am amazed because none of these people have ever helped with the scheduling, have never seen what groups get left out nor have they really any expertise in the matter. They have emotion and that is what they are arguing with. I get it. It is a lot of money and it’s nothing to scoff at. However, just stating there is no need with no real understanding is not the way to go about this. I ask that this stop. If you want to know why the second gym is needed, please inform yourself with information that is based on fact and not emotion. This can be done by reaching out to me, getting in touch with the athletic director and/or reading the variety of reports that have been submitted (to the board and public) that support the claim of a need for a second gym.
As I stated at the start, I wanted to voice why I am voting yes. Before I do, several on social media have labeled the people who voice support for the bond as trust funders, who don’t understand the average family’s struggles. As a teacher of 25 years who has always maintained at least three jobs during his entire career, I promise you I not only understand but I am one of those average people. I know how hard I work for my money and don’t like throwing it away. I will be voting yes, not because I am a coach. I am one of the only coaches who can take on the first practice slot after school, so my team will not be the one practicing until 10 p.m. I will be voting yes, not because my own children will be benefiting from this (they will both be Harwood graduates by then) but because the next generation of kids will benefit. I am voting yes because I will find a way to cut back on some extra nights out, or other reasonable individual cutbacks that will allow me to absorb the added tax burden. I will do this because I believe in education and making this district a place that supports the needs of its students.
You don’t have to agree with me, and I will not hold it against you if you choose not to support the bond. However, please be honest with yourself. If you don’t know the facts, then educate yourself with the facts first. If you do that and still vote no, I will have nothing but respect for you.