I was filled with sadness as I read the recent front page stories about Mill River Union High School. It seems quite clear that there is some degree of toxic culture there.
During the long and contentious process that eventually resulted in next year’s closing of Black River Middle and High School, Mill River was held up again and again as the answer to our problems, the place where opportunities bloomed, where BR students would get an education not currently available to them. More than once did Superintendent Younce come to Ludlow to extoll its virtues.
While it’s true that Mill River has more extensive programming, many BR educators, myself included, and many community members, believe that BRHSMS is special and worth keeping.
Much of this came down to dollars and cents, no doubt, and the pressures from Act 46 were clearly forcing our hand. But knowing that many BR students will soon wind up in a district with the sort of problems and challenges detailed in these news stories is really disheartening. I’ll put my faith in upcoming principal Tyler Weideman, that he can steady the ship and give my former students something similar to that from which they came: a culture of love, compassion and excellence.
Note: I taught English for 25 years at Black River, and have now taken a new position with the Springfield School District.