Students gathered at the Carver Educational Center on Nov. 7 to testify in front of the Board of Education for a building renovation. Individuals from a variety of Montgomery County schools spoke in an attempt to secure a high spot on the list of renovations and funding.
It was not the teachers but rather the students who spoke to raise awareness to the dangers that come along with a worn-out building. Four representatives spoke about a variety of important issues. Junior Catherine Contreras spoke about the impact that the outdated building has on the SCB and autism program. “In a fire drill the students in the school community-based (SCB) and autism program are expected to walk along the outside of the building and through the parking lot because that is the only wheelchair accessible route. The lack of wheelchair accessibility in the auditorium isolates the students in the back corner making a clear separation between them and the rest of the Wootton community. This goes against the idea of inclusion in the school and can only be changed with a renovation,” Contreras said.
Junior SGA representative Hank Breen spoke about the bus drop off problem. “Wootton is the only school in Montgomery County that has a connected bus lane and teacher parking lot. This makes traffic worse than it already is in the morning and afternoon and is inconvenient to the bus drivers and teachers. There is a reason that every other Montgomery County school has separate lots,” Breen said.
Students did not speak only to raise awareness to the Board of Education but to become a priority for their funding and renovation plan. Wootton was not the only school to testify: a variety of elementary, middle and high schools was there as well.
While representatives spoke, students held photos of the building that showed what needed to be changed, including the stains on ceilings and old sinks that fill each bathroom. “It was really great to see so many people coming together for something we all are passionate about. Wootton is such a good school but the building itself does not match the reputation it has. I think this testimony could really change the future of the building. Every speaker was very convincing and each student that showed up helped us get one step closer to renovations,” junior Zara Chavoshi said.
While the decision may not affect current students, it is important for the future community and their safety. “Even if the building does not get renovated while I am in school it doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t play my part in helping future students and teachers. If nobody advocates for change through events like this, nothing can get done. Thats why its so important to take advantage and put in as much effort as you can when testimonies like this are planned,” sophomore Nicole Jezek said.