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Redistricted Students Now Feel At Home

Redistricted students - Savannah Kell and Shelby Couzzi are happy to be Parkwood Rebels.

On March 4, 2014, the Union County Board of Education voted in a favor of a much debated and contentious redistricting plan, initially slated to affect almost 6,000 students. The redistricting plan was not well accepted by some of the parents of students required to move to a new school and caused public debates, heated exchanges in various forms of social media, and unfortunately, even some name calling. In the midst of the chaos that surrounded the approved redistricting plan, students in the Parkwood school cluster came together as a strong and unified group, eager to welcome new students and introduce them to what they call “Parkwood Pride.” Some of the students facing redistricting were shocked and disappointed at the decision of the Board of Education. They were unhappy about the impending move to a new school, with many sad to leave their friends and the familiarity of their old school behind. “My mom wanted to move so I wouldn’t have to go to Parkwood.” admitted redistricted student Emma Flanagan.  Another redistricted student, Savannah Kell, said, “My parents were upset that I would be leaving all of my friends behind.”

When school resumed last August, Parkwood High School welcomed more than 200 redistricted students from area schools and everyone seems to have adjusted well. Shelby Couzzi, a freshman who was redistricted from the Cuthbertson cluster, personally appreciates the great lengths that Parkwood students and parents, as well as the administration, have taken in making new students feel welcome and valued. “ I absolutely love being a [Parkwood] Rebel!” says Couzzi.  Kell stated, “Now that I’m at Parkwood, I very much enjoy it here.” She added, “The students are very welcoming and not judgmental.” Kell's sentiments were reiterated by her classmate Flanagan, who said, "The redistricting gave me new friends.” Indeed, many students new to Parkwood now say they enjoy attending Parkwood more than their old school. Participation in school clubs has grown, sports teams are rising to the next level, and lifelong friendships are being cultivated. It is obvious that despite the hiccups that accompanied redistricting, Parkwood has more spirit than ever with the expanded student body.  As Dr. Seuss once said, “Everything stinks ‘till it’s finished.” All those who weren't looking forward to redistricting are now finding that the fears associated with changing schools wasn’t nearly as bad as anticipated, now that it is over. Go Rebels!

Written by: Shelby Couzzi, Student Reporter for the Parkwood Echo, edited by newspaper sponsor Chris Giudice
Posted: Dec 19, 2014 by Lisa Moniz

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