Finding the perfect mix at GHS

I’ve been in the Greenwich public school system since I entered kindergarten. Now, as I begin my senior year at Greenwich High School, I realize just how fortunate I am.

My experiences growing up in Greenwich Public Schools have shaped me into the person I am today. The greatness of this district is that it can foster the diverse interests and passions of its students while still maintaining an excellent academic standard.

As anyone who reads this paper knows, the district is not without its difficulties.

The challenges we face were never more evident than this August, when one of our 10th grade students committed suicide on the first day of school.

Greenwich is a deceptively diverse town. Students from widely different economic and social backgrounds all funnel in to the same schools, and naturally, the district sometimes struggles with how to help each individual student maximize his or her performance.

The raw size of Greenwich High tends to intimidate most people who walk through its doors for the first time.

With so many opportunities inside and outside of the classroom, some may lose their place. My grandfather (who had four kids in Greenwich High), proposed an interesting analogy to me. “The high school is like an all-you-can-eat buffet. The students are free to take as much or as little as they can handle.”

I remember one of my first encounters with this occurred before I ever even set foot in a classroom at GHS. Flipping through the course selection book in eighth grade, I wondered how anyone could possibly have the time to take all of the classes offered here. But later I realized the beauty of Greenwich High School is that students are given the opportunity to explore and study their passions and it is ultimately their responsibility to take advantage of these opportunities.

Each student has his own perfect mix and we are fortunate to have teachers and administrators who strive to help us discover what that is.

Teachers shoulder enormous responsibility. It’s a job that requires being flexible and thinking on the fly, constantly adapting and evolving to different situations. Each teacher has a real opportunity to affect the future of many lives. I’ve seen the teachers who teach to inspire children.

I’ve seen the teachers who put passion and heart into their lessons. I’ve seen the teachers who work with students to finally master concepts that they had struggled with for so long.

This genuine interest in students extends beyond the classroom. As a member of student government, I am fortunate to be a part of monthly meetings with Superintendent William McKersie and Headmaster Christopher Winters. We students are privileged to have people who listen and respond to what we have to say.

It is truly a privilege to be a Greenwich public school student. Although we had a tragic start to our year, we are all working together to make the school system a better place.

Few other districts can boast such large graduating classes and still have meaningful connections between students and faculty.

The beauty of the Greenwich Public Schools’ philosophy is that it teaches students the values of responsibility, while enabling them to explore their passions and interests during the most formative period of their life.

 

Henry Ricciardi is a senior at Greenwich High School.

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