Students are to be commended

On May 13, I attended a meeting of the Nashua Board of Education, where a larger than normal turnout was expected following the board’s recent vote to allow a JROTC marksmanship course to be held on the Nashua High School North campus. As a resident of Nashua, a graduate of Nashua schools, and a father, I have a considerable interest in the outcome of this debate, but I did not attend this meeting with the intent to speak. Instead, I had the opportunity to sit and intently listen to numerous points to be made on either side of the matter, many of them coming from students currently enrolled in the Nashua high schools.

Rather than utilize this platform to insert my perspective into the debate, I wanted, instead, to commend the students of Nashua who came out on a Monday night amid the waning days of the school year to voice an opinion on either side of the matter. One by one, students from numerous walks of life stepped up to the podium Monday night and offered articulate, impassioned, reasonable, and well thought out points. These students have been thrown into the middle of a hotly contested topic, with equally passionate supporters and opponents on either side of the debate. This is subject matter unlike anything else those of us that came before them have faced in our own academic careers. For many people, it is a preeminent issue that is often chiefly instrumental in shaping one’s political ideals.

Coming before any public board to voice an opinion or concern takes a certain degree of courage. Most routine city board meetings do not draw attendance in excess of one hundred. For these students to come forward at all, to say nothing of the impressive manner in which they conducted themselves all throughout the evening, deserves our collective praise as a city. Regardless of what the final outcome of the matter at hand may ultimately be, these students have each taken giant leaps toward becoming more civically minded, engaged citizens. In doing so, they’ve done their parents, their teachers, their administrators, and all of us immensely proud.

Well done.