Class of 2015 wants to graduate at FAST
Dear Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners,
We are writing on behalf of the junior class of Friendship Academy of Science & Technology. We believe our school should remain open in school year 2014-2015.
Thank you in advance for hearing our concerns.
Many of us began our journey in the 6th grade. When we first came here, we felt secure and comfortable because of the warm welcome we got from the staff and administration. At first we were nervous transitioning to a new school, but all that fear disappeared when we first walked into the building because it felt like a home. We didn’t even feel like we were new students when we first got here because we were treated like family and it was a wonderful feeling of love from a staff we had just met. This warm welcoming motivated us to do our best and challenge ourselves academically.
FAST offers unique academic programs such as Cisco, a computer technology program, and Project Lead the Way, a biomedical science program. These are two programs not offered at many other schools. There are currently 79 students enrolled in Project Lead the Way and 142 enrolled in Cisco. Upon graduation, Cisco offers an “A+” certification that will give these students the opportunity to have high-paying work opportunities immediately. Thirty-five members of our junior class are on track to graduate with one of these certifications.
If FAST were to close, traveling to a different school across the city would be very difficult. For example, Project Lead the Way is only offered at three other schools: Vivien T. Thomas Medical Arts Academy, Paul Laurence Dunbar High school, and Western High school. Cisco is only offered at two, Digital Harbor High school and Carver Voc-Tech High school. These schools do not offer both programs, but our school does since we are a science and technology school. Students in those schools are already enrolled into those programs so how are we to be guaranteed a spot in those programs if our school were to close?
In addition to this logistical burden, transferring schools would not only have a negative social impact on us but also a mental and emotional one as well. As we stated before, many of us have been together since the 6th grade here at FAST. The prospect of breaking up this class or, even on a larger level this school, is devastating! One of the most important parts of high school is the community that we build! Breaking up a strong community before our final year of high school is absolutely wrong.
For our junior class especially, transferring to a larger school will cause us to start from scratch resulting in building a new foundation in only one year. We’ve already built strong relationships with our teachers and staff because of FAST’s small-class, close–knit community. We feel that this small environment has given us the upper hand academically and socially.
Ultimately we would love to see FAST stay open as the board originally recommended. However as we’ve explained in this document, closure of FAST would especially have a negative effect on the class of 2015. Even if the whole school can’t be saved, we ask that you please consider the option to allow the FAST Class of 2015 to graduate as FAST students since this is a critical point in our education. We would like to finish where we have started.
Thank you so much for your consideration of this decision that will put a stamp on our lives forever.
Corey Harvey and Fatimata Kane on behalf of the Class of 2015
Friendship Academy of Science and Technology