I have been reading about the ongoing discussion regarding the merger of Lahser and Andover high schools. As a graduate of Lahser from the early 70s, I remember the beginnings of Lahser and how hard that was for some people to accept. I entered Lahser as a 10th grader (high school back then was a 3 year program — 9th grade was junior high). We were the first class to go all the way through the new high school. The 11th and 12th graders who were already there had been forced to transfer from to this new high school. I remember how hard it was for them. They missed their friends and teachers and coaches from Andover, and most of them did not want to be part of the new school.
On the other hand, my class was excited. We knew that we had a rare opportunity to set the bar for those who came after us. We had the privilege of starting traditions and of establishing a reputation for our school. Our teachers encouraged us to be creative (within reason) and to excel. It is from that era that Lahser began to gain a reputation for quality in sports and in music and theater. The musician I have become was born in those hallways, nurtured under dedicated directors in vocal and instrumental music and supported by a community which cared about its schools.
Times have changed. And, as human beings, we don't take change well. I hear with sadness the concerns of parents, teachers and students who are engaged an educational process such as Lahser offers. And I hear with regret the financial and fiscal issues surrounding such a difficult decision. It is a tough decision made in tough times.
Am I sad that the high school that helped me get such a good start in life will soon close? Sure. Do I wish it could be otherwise? Of course. But I am also here to say that the commitment of the Bloomfield Hills community to supporting its' educational facilities has not diminished, as I see it.
People may be very angry and upset right now at the decision the school board feels they were forced to make. Some may even wish the alternatives had been explored more fully before the decision was made.
But once it is made, I hope that the people of the school district will come to terms with it, and move on. I hope that they will be adult enough to look at the larger picture, the one that asks them to help make Bloomfield Hills Schools excellent in the current setting, despite difficult and unpopular decisions.
I really hope it happens this way. I'm sad to see my high school closing, but I am not going to let that be my only response. How about you?