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STEARNS: Deep clean campus, reputation

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(ZOE STEPHENS/EYE OF THE TIGER)

(ZOE STEPHENS/EYE OF THE TIGER)

(ZOE STEPHENS/EYE OF THE TIGER)

MIKAYLA STEARNS

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As a freshman, I wrote an article for Eye of the Tiger that explored how parents and community leaders around the district viewed Roseville High School. Coming into high school, and all throughout middle school to be quite honest, I was told horrible stories of what my future days at RHS would consist of. Clearly, I am not the only one.

There exists this idea around the district that Roseville is a trashy, “ghetto” school. (Which is a complete abuse of that word and it’s true meaning, but for the sake of the argument let’s ignore all of the ramifications of “ghetto” being used as a derogatory term like that.) Parents reroute their kids away every year from all of their childhood friends and into new schools because of this perception of Roseville High School.

While researching for the article, I found several parents concerned that RHS would not give their students the same opportunity to succeed in post-high school life as the other schools in the district. Roseville is crumbling, they said, and old. From the students, I heard that Roseville was surely full of gang activity.

The people there were mean and the drug activity was high. These all came from people who had never attended RHS or had their student do so, and I was not surprised.

By merely stepping inside RHS’s campus, you are welcomed by a huge dilapidated building known as the small gym, puddles that mutate into lakes because of uneven pavement, gum everywhere, and odd twists and turns in a maze-like campus. This last one is actually just a direct result of starting from a small school one hundred years ago and building on to the campus in whatever space we could find, not sketching out our blueprints all at once like the new schools to make a more cohesive campus.

However, knowing the ins and outs of RHS’s successful programs, graduation rates and sense of community through my work with journalism tells a completely different story. If this is the positive story RJUHSD wants to tell, why just fix up the rose bushes on the outside of the school, you know? There is clearly some money being placed into Roseville High School for aesthetic purposes. If you want to deep clean RHS’ reputation, you need to deep clean RHS, literally. It seems silly, but the crumbliness of this campus deteriorates public perception of our community and academic success. Around the district, RHS is this long-running joke held by all the students. “Oh, look at the trashy kids. They come from that trash school.”

Thank the lord for Measure D funding. At least we can attempt to chip away at this big monstrosity of a reputation sitting on our shoulders. What we need to keep in mind is not to purely cover all of the worn down stuff with shiny new paint, so to speak. A new gym will be great and is definitely needed for function, not just aesthetic, but we can’t forget the smaller and less glamorous projects. Pavements, ADA compliance, leaking roofs – it all matters in changing perceptions. Pick up your trash, for God’s sake, if you care about your community.

Recently some factors have been morphing our reputation that we can’t fix with Measure D funding. We apparently crossed into an alternate timeline where white supremacy at RHS felt safe enough to make itself known on the walls, the Twittersphere, and in the words of our students. Why is this happening now? Beats me. But scrubbing off the graffiti and requiring diversity sensitivity lessons is a first step to picking up that trash.

If you care about your school – and this goes for administrators – faculty and students, push for a deep clean of this campus. We can’t just focus on the glamour of a new gym while people can literally swim in the lakes here and there are still swastikas on walls (or more importantly, still some unsuspended students who like to yell racial slurs). All of these qualities of Roseville will settle into the forefront of people’s’ minds and they will ignore the good parts of this community.

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