A letter in the Feb. 16, 2010, Tomahawk Leader:
I support and anticipate what the future holds for St. Mary's School. With the purchase of what will soon hopefully be the school's new home, not only are we providing for more room and growth for the students in our faith-based curriculum, we are recognizing the things that have been done right inside that building over the past 80 years. We have come a long way in a short time, overcoming the threat to shut St. Mary's doors. The school is not only surviving, but thriving, increasing enrollment to the point of needing to expand. That is something to be celebrated and embraced!
The kids and staff bring an extra sweater in the winter. They know they will be sweating as the weather warms up outside, as there simply is no appropriate system to control the out-of date-building. St. Mary's School fosters the spiritual growth and education of Catholics, Lutherans and non-denominational students alike. The school does that with or without state-of-the-art plumbing or electrical. For years, our school has "made due,” perfecting the science of it in fact. How wonderful would it be to see St. Mary's staff be able to teach without concerns such as these!
Taxpayers who don't belong to St. Mary's should think of what might have happened to their tax bills had the school closed. Surely we would be hearing about class sizes, new hires, renovations, increased bus service at the public school. St. Mary's "Legacy Campaign" is, like everything we do, presented to our Parish and the Tomahawk community after much prayer, hope and thoughtful consideration, and I guarantee you is nothing remotely "short-sighted.” Plan after plan has been drawn up, scratched and re-drawn. Windows have been added, I assure you. If someone is concerned about "space for movement,” may I suggest you spend a day with students in our current school as they shuffle from cramped quarter to cramped quarter in rooms that have been lovingly patched to limp through another semester, year, graduating class.
Lastly, St. Mary's will always have active children, running up and down stairs, playing outside breathing fresh air, as well as learning about healthy lifestyles in order to combat obesity. While I applaud the naysayers who think of such things, I wonder if you think about the obstacle that is posed of not having an elevator system to the child/adult in a wheelchair? Have you been told of the times the staff were physically responsible for carrying a child with a leg cast on up and down the staircase every time the student had to go to the bathroom/lunchroom/art? Of course the staff did so, and did so lovingly, but if you want to talk safety, start there.
Change can be unwelcomed. It can be scary. It cannot be denied. When changes are made with the best of intentions, for all the right reasons, and to benefit a child's education and faith, it will benefit their entire life, their families, and this town.
Parishioner, Graduate and Proud Supporter of St. Mary's School