GHS student government address field lighting

Dear GHS Community:

In light of the Board of Ed re-opening litigation, the Executive Committee of the GHS Student Government would like to vocalize our perspective and contribute to the conversation.

We first want to say that we understand the legal history behind the field lighting limitations at GHS. It dates back farther than when any of us were students at the High School. However, the existing limitations in accessing and lighting the GHS athletic fields are affecting our educational and athletic experiences directly. Our goal with this letter is to put forth the comments of current GHS students and to advocate for mutually agreed upon, common-sense solutions.

Because our use of lights at Cardinal Stadium is limited to ten contests and six practices per year, and there exists no other lit fields on the GHS campus, GHS student athletes had a difficult time balancing their academic workload, personal lives, and athletic endeavors this fall season.

For state tournament competitions, teams such as soccer and field hockey had the choice between night games on a lighted field, or 2 p.m. contests. Due to our lack of light accessibility, both teams missed a significant amount of school for games scheduled during the school day. The JV football team played a game in almost pitch darkness on November 6th, with parents attempting to light the field with car headlights and flashlights. The Varsity football team tried to work their way around the situation by traveling to New Canaan High School to use their lights and Chelsea Piers to practice indoors.

These “solutions” were time-consuming, eating into the students’ time to spend with their families and complete their homework. We understand that there is more to this issue, especially involving the later school start times. Regardless, increased access to the use of our stadium lights and the addition of lights on other fields would result in a safer, more balanced high school experience for our athletes.

We understand that the litigation will involve a broader discussion of more issues than just our field lighting. However, we hope that by specifically addressing a matter that is important to our student-athletes and directly affects us, we can begin a conversation focused on compromise and common sense steps.

We advocate for agreements that: 1) allow our student-athletes to finish practices and games on lit fields; and, 2) help to rebuild our relationship with our neighbors. It is also our understanding that the Greenwich Public Schools is proposing reduced-glare LED lighting, as a means of accommodating neighbor concerns of excessive light glare. This is one potential solution that the Executive Committee wishes to highlight.

Growing up in Greenwich, we have learned the value of respecting our neighbors. In the end, we are one community and we do have to live next to each other. We only hope to be good neighbors, and believe that the answer to preserving community harmony is compromise and conversation. Hopefully, by publishing this letter, we may enter into discussion with real, long-lasting solutions as the goal. Our goal, as students, is to listen and advocate for common ground.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

The GHS Student Government Executive Committee

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