Editorials and Opinions

PRO: Opposing Viewpoints – The grass is always greener

By Alex Gershanov
Published: April 2009

I’ve lived in a lot of different places as the years have gone by. Moscow, Boxborough, Shrewsbury, Grafton, Worcester, Newton; you name it, I’ve been there. Having moved around so much, I’ve seen a lot of different neighborhoods, communities, and most importantly, a lot of different schools.

In retrospect, I can conclude that not one of my previous schools can even begin to compare with Newton South. South is a prime example of what a high school should be and is by far the best that I have attended so far.

First, consider the wide range of available courses at South. From upper-level sciences to the extensive arts program, South offers a level of education that few others can match. I’ve seen the kinds of courses that towns like Shrewsbury and Worcester have to offer, and they simply can’t compare.

Aside from its courses, South also has an experienced and knowledgeable staff. The teachers are competent and do their jobs profoundly well. It’s one thing to have the courses; it’s another to deliver them effectively. South has that down flat.

What is even more impressive than its educational offerings, however, is South’s unique student body. I came to Newton as a sophomore this year, barely knowing anyone. Walking through the halls, I expected to find the typical high school scenario: kids sticking to clearly-defined cliques and not venturing an inch out of their comfort zones.

I was surprised to find the complete opposite. Instead of keeping to secluded circles, kids at South, as I see it now, form one cohesive mass of students. They are far more accepting of each other’s differences than I have seen elsewhere.

This system of support and unity allows students to grow and expand to heights they couldn’t reach otherwise. An environment of completely free and open self-expression is by far the best trait any school can have.

Students of Newton South are able to form extremely diverse friendships with relative ease. Visit any other high school, and you would be shocked at how truly segregated the student body can be. The artsy kids in one group, jocks in another, brains in a third. At South, all groups intertwine, regardless of varying interests; there are no cliques or lines of distinction.

The impressive amount of clubs, sports, intramurals, and other extracurricular activities is also worth noting. The long list of possible activities matches the school’s diversity, offering a niche for nearly every interest, hobby, and talent represented in the student population.

Then there are the statistics. 98% of South’s senior class graduated in 2008. Compare this to the average graduation rate of Massachusetts, which is 80.9% of seniors. As well, South ranks, as of 2006, 11th of all Massachusetts public schools and is even recognized among the top schools in the country.

Newton South has an impressive reputation and the credentials to back it up. It has earned its distinctions with phenomenal courses, unified students, and endless extracurricular possibilities. Collectively, they are what make Newton South that much better than the typical American high school.

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