In Defense of SJHS

Sometimes it’s our children who provide the greatest insight and honesty.

The article below was submitted as a comment by Proud SJHS Student to one of the boundary threads.  I have forwarded it as a full post because this student’s words say more about the program at SJHS than anything I’ve heard.  If this student is an example of the quality of education the children of Victory Lakes and Sheffield Manor will receive at SJHS, then those parents ought to be thrilled that their children will be attending such a school.

Keep up the good work Proud SJHS Student, and congratulations on your admittance to JMU!!!

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I am a full IB student at Stonewall Jackson. I have been there for 4 years and am graduating June 11th this year. I was scared due to all of the rumors when I first came to Stonewall. It has a very bad reputation however, it is only rumors.

There have been fewer drug busts and fights in our school over the past few years then in OP. I feel that if you are going to talk badly about a school that I as a student have worked hard to better and would proudly support, then you should at least go to the school and talk with the IB coordinator Mrs. Ellis. Our teachers in the IB program are excellent and she is a wonderful coordinator.  I have gone on several trips to Marsteller (the middle school I came from) with her to support the school and to talk with parents of current middle schoolers or rising 9th graders. Many feel much better about the school after talking with an actual student who has been there and knows the ropes.

If you do not, that is your opinion but please do not speak badly about a school unless you have taken the time to visit it and give it a real chance. I promise you that Stonewall is no worse than OP, Osbourn, or any other High school. We are a diverse school, yes, but I feel that people think that just because we are diverse that we are bad. The fact of the matter is, that life is diverse and for those who are trying to protect their children from a diverse culture, are not doing them any favors.

Colleges favor AP and IB not the Cambridge program although I am very sure that it is a good one. However, after visiting JMU, UVA, William and Mary, University of Mary Washington and Christopher Newport, each and every one of their Dens said that they prefer AP and IB students. I will be attending JMU and with my IB scores will be able to opt out of some classes due to taking IB. It also prepares students for the work load in college. I know how to manage my time with full IB and doing 2 sports, being Vice president of out Leadership class. IB challenges students on not just a written testing level. AP has students taking a 1 year course and taking a test at the end of the year. IB however, tests them orally, has a written test, also has students participating the CAS (community service hours) which helps the school and gets kids involved.

We have so many opportunities and it’s upsetting knowing that people judge my school because of its diversity. Also, as a side note, the kids that people see walking in front of our school all the time that look like “bad kids” are not even our kids. The bus for “New Directions” (the G.E.D school down the road) drops them off at the mall and they have to walk in front of our school. That’s not our students skipping.

I know this was a long message, but for the past 3 years I have been trying to make parents understand that we are NOT a bad school. If you do not want to send your child here, that is fine, but please do not try and use rumors as facts here. I go to this school and I can tell you what is, and is not true. I have been given nothing less than the best education there and even though I started out wanting to go to B-vile to be with my friends, I have found that I am glad I did not. If you do not believe me, please visit our school, we allow you to sit in during our classes to watch, Mrs. Ellis will give you a tour and explain everything. At least have enough respect to do that before you continue to say that Stonewall is a terrible school because I can tell you for a fact, that it is not.

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