North Community Gathers for Discussion on “Dream School”, Painting

After a long day of discussing her dream high school, Natalia Guerreo prepares to paint for a community art project.

Caleb Slater, Editor in Chief

Students, parents, teachers and alumni gathered at North High School for an event discussing what they believed would turn North into their “dream school” Thursday, Jan. 3.

While many discussions were held in a number of different rooms, the overarching points seemed to be very similar: many parents and alumni believed in a stronger focus on trade-based career paths.

“We’ve created this culture where we make kids feel like losers if they don’t go to college,” said Bill Blank, class of ’96. “I think that is the biggest travesty.”

Aneesah Shabazz, a parent present for a discussion, echoed similar sentiments. “College is not for everyone.”

Many others spoke about the importance of elective classes and extracurriculars in an education. Abby Tuttle, English teacher, spoke about important skills that can be learned from taking part in team activities or joining a club. “Even if it only becomes a hobby later, it’s still making those skills,” she said.

Finally, the idea of adequately preparing students for the real world drove some conversations. “We need to educate our students so they’ll be ready for that global economy, because if not, they’ll be left behind,” said Negus Imhotep of Urban Dreams. “We want a safe environment, and a top notch curriculum.”

After the discussions ended, many of the participants met in the art room and ended their day painting. “I did it for fun,” said Juan Carlos Oropeza, a junior who partook in the final activities. “I love art.”

Another concluding conversation was had in the library led by Drake sophomore and North alumnus, Marisela Aguilar. Much of the conversation centered on praising North for helping diverse students feel at home and welcome while in high school, but the lack of understanding that college or post-secondary education is different, especially in Iowa, where much of the population is white. This conversation is ongoing and teachers will unpack this further in various professional developments this year.