Jay Whaley: Picture not so negative | SteamboatToday.com

Jay Whaley: Picture not so negative

As I have read and digested the series of articles called the "State of Soroco," it really set forth a negative connotation and concern for our district.

As longtime locals, our family has seen the district go from one-room schoolhouses, to consolidation of Yampa and Oak Creek schools in the 60s, to the Soroco of today. I am proud to say I am a graduate from Soroco and proud to have had my daughter be a third generation graduate from Soroco High School.

In a positive light, I will confess that Soroco is a great school, and I am proud to have my children attend here. In fact, a few years ago I took a significant pay cut to be part of this school I believe in and want to help make a difference for.

The high school has the same number of students today as when I graduated in 1992. As I look at graduating classes previous, we are similar size from the beginning. We have had increases and decreases in our student population through the years.

However, I can tell you we have fewer teachers and programs today at the secondary campus than at any time in the past 30 years. We previously had programs in vocational business, home economics and industrial arts; these programs no longer exist.

Conversely, today we have more "non-teaching" staff in our district than in the immediate past.

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It seems like we dwell on the lost opportunity of students, whose families for one reason or another, make the choice to attend Steamboat Springs schools. What isn't discussed as often is that we also attract out-of-district students to our school district.

We have students who travel from south of Toponas, out of the Eagle County School District. Furthermore, we have students driving from Steamboat, and students that reside in the Hayden district who have enrolled in South Routt — 21 that I know of off the top of my head. These families too have made a choice — for the South Routt School District.    

We have a staff and teachers who care about our students, who are as a whole, a great group of young people. We have students excelling in our programs, serving in leadership roles across the county and state through various organizations. Students will tell you their teachers care and are willing to go an extra mile for their success.

Every student has the opportunity to participate in athletics and extracurricular activity.  We offer art, music and PE to all students daily. In addition to supporting the average student, we have a support system for all levels of learners.

We, similiar to all schools and organizations, have faults and areas of needed growth, but our school system is not in the  "doom and gloom" state as depicted by Steamboat Today. Our school is part of a unique supportive community. We are not Steamboat nor should we apologize about that or wish to be so, in my opinion.

We are Soroco. Many of us are proud to say that, and many of our students will tell you that as well.

I am highly disappointed with the choice of Soroco coverage from Steamboat Today. The agriculture program alone has had students winning state-level awards, serving as state officers, earning national degrees. This summer when a news release was sent to the paper, nothing was published.

Instead, they choose to relish in negative news. This entire series is contrary to a school board meeting I sat in just last week. Our students, first and foremost, and community deserve better.

Jay Whaley

Oak Creek