Letter to the Editor: A call to the community to help keep St. George Academy open

Students participate in a learning experience at St. George Academy, Washington City, Utah, date not specified | Photo by Darren Edwards, St. George News

OPINION — I write to implore the reader to support the survival of St. George Academy. For a little over two years our school has prepared young minds for the rigors of the college experience.

On Thursday, Oct. 10, the Utah State Charter School Board members decided to unilaterally skip steps in their own accountability framework plan by bypassing the warning and probationary periods for our institution. Instead, they voted to recommend the closure of St. George Academy.

I write to remind us what community means and that there are people and places that support those who are different. I write to share my experiences about what makes St. George Academy so amazing, and I write this at a turning point in my life.

What does it mean to be a father? In February, I get to find out when my wife gives birth to our first child. I’m at a point where I get to look back to what made my father so great. I wish I could get advice from him and that he could help me so that I don’t have to make the same mistakes. I wish my wife and unborn child could have met him. I wish I could talk to him about my work as a science teacher. I wish he could meet my coworkers and see what a unique place St. George Academy is. I don’t have this option.

On Oct. 9, 2001, my father, John Popham Anderson, was murdered in his barbershop in downtown St. George. I was 15 and was at the age of many of my students. I remember his smile and his jokes. I remember him helping those who could not help themselves. I remember him constantly pushing me to do and to be better — all lessons I now pass on as a teacher.

I have tried to emulate him for most of my life. I try to be patient with the downtrodden students that come through my classes (and there are many). Some do not have proper father-figures in their own lives. For them, I try and be optimistic in a pessimistic world and help them find the good in others. I think he would be proud of what St. George Academy has accomplished. I think he would be fighting with me to keep this special school open.

At St. George Academy we say, “Be yourself. Be Accepted.” I have seen this in action on a daily basis. I have seen students come back from the brink and find a community that supports them. Parents have told me that their student actually wants to go to school. I have seen an excitement for science unlike any other schools I have taught at. St. George Academy is special, and it is my belief that the Utah State Charter School Board acted prematurely. I ask the reader to contact the board members and implore them to keep St. George Academy open.

Here are their email addresses:

Submitted by TREVOR ANDERSON, St. George.

Letters to the Editor are not the product of St. George News, its editors, staff or news contributors. The matters stated and opinions given are the responsibility of the person submitting them. They do not reflect the product or opinion of St. George News and are given only light edit for technical style and formatting.

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