Sturgis West Pulls Up Stakes and Moves On (Summer 2012)

By Peter Steedman, Principal, Sturgis West

After school finished, I was able to spend two weeks with my parents in Southern Maine.  We were blessed with tremendous weather and my kids were able to run on the beach, eat native corn at the family barbecue and ride their bikes for hours.  Having some down time allowed me the opportunity to reflect on everything the faculty and students accomplished this year at West.  Although they were faced with considerable obstacles, they came together in ways that were unimaginable at the start of school.  Students were provided a rigorous academic curriculum, but time was also allocated for a raucous Spirit Week.  Students spent hours working on their Internal Assessments, but they also joined sports teams in record numbers.  The last few months of school were spent in MCAS exams, but the STAGE production performed to standing-room only crowds and welcomed students to the theatre who had never attempted acting.  Most importantly, students and faculty never let the less-than-ideal structure of the facility stand in the way of teaching and learning.

The friendships that developed last year were often built by overcoming adversity.  In a few weeks, Sturgis West will open its doors at 105 West Main.  Before we leave the past behind, it is important to consider the experiences of the first students at Sturgis West.  During the last few days of school, we asked the students to reflect on the year and to think about what a new facility would mean for their Sturgis experience.  Reading their words, it is hard not to be emotional about leaving Main Street.  Although they are excited about the future, there is evidence that the old Artifacts furniture store brought them together and was an integral part in creating a Sturgis West identity.  I hope that the beautiful weather continues and that students are enjoying their summer reading books.  As you read the comments from the students, recognize that it was a very special year.  I hope you look back fondly on your experience on Main Street but realize that the next chapter of the story of Sturgis West is about to begin.  I can’t wait to write it together!

What will you miss about our first year in the former Artifacts furniture store? 

“Everything: the dungeon, the concrete walls, the pipes in the ceiling and the fact that this is where Sturgis West originated. Sturgis has never been known to be a really nice looking school. The Sturgis experience is more than this building. It doesn’t matter what it looks like because it is not the appearance of the school that makes it amazing – it’s us, the kids.”  Jesse Newcombe

“I will miss the memories and the fact that this is where Sturgis West was born per say. Though a small move, we are leaving the founding place of Sturgis West.” Keith Gonzalez

“I’ll miss the building due to the fact that this is all we know Sturgis to be, a small tight knit community that is accepting no matter who you are.”  Olivia Carr

“The feeling of being in a bomb shelter, because if and/or when the apocalypse happens, Sturgis West students will survive.”  Mia Berger

“The dark cave-like atmosphere and the physical incompleteness of our learning environment. The lack of windows and the mismatched lockers will be dearly missed along with the crowdedness in this clown-car-of-a-building. I will surely miss the “closeness” we all feel in the Artifacts building. Despite the impediments we’ve faced in this building, the memories will travel with us and the uniqueness of this building will be missed.” Caroline Couto

“I have a lot of good memories associated with this building. I think it is a safe beacon to many of the sophomores – we tried out other high schools but something made us decide to change – we got a second chance, and this building sort of represents that.” Carly Wilkinson

“I’ll miss small classrooms because I like being close to people…I’ll miss how we have advisory in the teacher’s lounge surrounded by heating vents; how my math room has a section where you can crawl under the stairs (which I have done) and how in history class, I can hear the rain from a hole in the corner of the floor. All of these things bring up interesting conversations.” Alex Cassell

“How familiar everything is to me: the carpet, the curved staircase, the awkward dark corners and how none of the lockers match. And since the building is so small, it feels more like a home than a school. Everyone is so close, and this is partially because this building seems to close us in, like a big group hug.” Rachel Wu

“Being able to say ‘it’s not the building that makes the school; it’s the people who make the school.’” Julia Marquette

“The close proximity of all my friends; the Main Street restaurants; the homey (slightly ghetto) feel after we decorated it and made it our own; all the memories we’ve made here during the year and the teachers who are leaving.  I’m afraid I’ll forget how amazing this year is.”  Bailey Soderberg

“The memories that go along with this building: all the makeshift classrooms, bad smells, and ripped and stained carpets that make this school what it is. It’s a small space but I think it made us all that much closer. I will never forget my first year of high school in a makeshift school, where I was given a chance for a Sturgis education.”  Emma Miller

“The small/close environment. I feel like we were excited to get to the school because it was a new adventure every day. I will also miss being on Main Street and being able to choose where to eat from a variety of stores.” Claire Gilliland

“The character. This building really proved that you don’t need fancy equipment or even windows to have a successful school. You just need kids who love where they are and love who they’re with.” Scott Glynn

What are you looking forward to at the new campus on West Main Street? 

“The cool new layout and location.”  Evan Hilley

“Windows and having real science labs and class specific rooms. I’m looking forward to having an outdoor area and a little more space.” Elizabeth Mahoney

“I am looking forward to being able to look outside through a window. I am also looking forward to open hallways, clean, new classrooms, tile flooring and new opportunities.” Mia Berger

“Having windows and natural light in the classrooms. An actual art room!” Maggie Carty

“I am looking forward to having a new building that includes more space for desks in classrooms, better white boards and heat! I also hope the community built in the previous building carries over to the next.” Olivia Carr

“I look forward to having our own “Green” and going to new restaurants for lunch down a new street. Change is good; it keeps things new and exciting rather than repetitive. Although I may miss the close quarters, I look forward to having more room to breathe in the new building.” Christina Wahle

“I’m looking forward to being in a somewhat large school because I’ve never been in one.  My middle school was in an underground mini plaza. Hopefully, I can find my locker and classes. It will be a workout compared to what I’m used to! I’m definitely excited about not having to battle through the temperature extremes because now we’ll have heat and AC! .” Alex Cassell

“I look forward to a new and great beginning in the new building where we will face new challenges. The new school will be different but I will challenge myself to not follow a path given but make a new path of my own and thrive.” Thaina DeAndrade

“A more eco-friendly environment.”  Ann-Drea Morris

“It’s gonna be really exciting to be one of the first classes to break in the new building.” Rebecca Rowe

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

%d bloggers like this: