Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
Hi 26° | Lo 8°

Susan J. Adelson: Sees merit in combining NHS, Smith Vocational

To the editor:

I support Mayor David Narkewicz’ proposal to merge Northampton High School with the Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School. When I was about to be a high school student in the 1960s, no one told me I had a choice of schools to attend. I suspect it was presumed that I would eventually be headed to a liberal arts college and that NHS had the courses to prepare me.

I did, in fact, attend a prestigious college where I got two degrees, and I then had a successful teaching career.

However, I do not know how to change the oil in my car, fix a running toilet, or prepare a balanced meal. I do not intend to minimize the skills taught at Smith Vocational; rather, I’m saying that I would have learned more practical knowledge had I taken at least some of the classes offered there.

I am hoping that, if the high schools are combined, students could select courses brought from both schools in order to get a well-rounded education.

When I was at NHS, I was told that if I took an art class, my G.P.A. would drop significantly, even if I earned an “A.”

My expectation is that, if the merger takes place, grades will be fairly weighted.

Susan J. Adelson


Legacy Comments2

Dear Susan, In the 60s you did have the choice to go to Smith Vocational. Either you ignored it, or your parents did. You also had the opportunity to take basic classes there- just because you don't remember it, doesn't mean the opportunity wasn't there. You say you do not want to minimize what is taught at Smith School, but by insinuating that they simply teach handy-man skills like changing the oil in a car, fixing a running toilet or (this one made me laugh) preparing a balanced meal, you are. Is this what you think is taught at Smith? It is insulting and ignorant. I suggest you take a tour of the school and speak to the students and faculty there. You will be pleasantly surprised at the high level of knowledge and technology present in today's classes. Your letter also insinuates that Smith students don't go to college. Oh my dear, how wrong you are. Do you think all the agriculture department produces are farmers? Why don't you look into how many graduates become veterinarians or biologists. Those health students? They go on to college to become your nurses. Rather than be presumptuous, or gather information from people who have never step foot in the school, I urge you and others who feel the Northampton takeover will be beneficial, to speak to current and former students from Smith Vocational- they are everywhere and will tell you the truth.

I apologize for offending you and, according to you, the students at Smith Voke. That certainly was not my intention. I think you missed my initial point which was that I, personally, was not made aware of any choice I had about which high school to attend. That was the fault of either my guidance counselor or my mother. I was made quite aware of what Smith Voke had to offer when I was on Northampton's School Committee. Years later, my stepson attended Smith Voke and was enrolled in the culinary arts program. I do not challenge your praise of this school, and I appreciate your elaboration of the superlative quality of the education which can be garnered there. Calling me "ignorant," "presumptuous," and "wrong" is a bit harsh and unnecessary.

Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.