Try saying that five times fast, hard right? At first glance Nashua may seem like a “monied ‘burb” (as defined by the Patchwork Nation project) but if you ask any student attending Nashua High School South (NHSS) they may beg to differ. Coming from a student’s perspective, I know for a fact that at times Nashua feels like anything but.
I started school a few days ago, and spent the previous week holed up in a room laying out the NHSS newspaper, Panther Prints. When my advisor told the newspaper staff about the opportunity to blog about the economy from a local perspective, I knew it was something I’d love to do. In high school it feels like you’re stuck in this awkward place where you’re not yet an adult but not a child— a.k.a, a teenager. You think too fast and assume even faster, but most importantly you form opinions regarding anything and everything. Everyone’s opinion is important and I look at Patchwork Nation Project as the perfect outlet for me to express mine. This sweet opportunity will help me gain the experience I need to grow and learn and hopefully make an influence on someone.
I am starting the 2009-2010 school year as a junior who holds a mighty plate of responsibility. As Editor-in-Chief of the school newspaper, Recycling Chair of the Green Team, Treasurer of National Art Honor Society, and Vice President of the Citizens Around the World you can see I leave little time for daydreaming. I’m that unusual teenager that gets excited about school a month in advance and takes extreme pleasure in buying school supplies. I take pride in my color coordinated binders as well as my colored pens. I know it’s hard to believe, but sometimes I actually enjoy the whole learning process. Of course I kick myself for saying that a week into school. I find it exhilarating when I do well in my classes; I believe personal achievement is the best kind out there. I’ve been told, “I’m 13 going on 30”, except I’m 16.
During the middle of our so called summer (the weather really was awful), I received the usual bus pass information via mail. This time around I came across a new change; they had increased the price for a yearly pass by $15. It now costs $65 to buy a bus pass for a year. This was of course easily overlooked by many parents, including mine. Not many people realize what $15 can buy, not only necessary items but things like jewelry or a new scarf, things sorely needed in my wardrobe.
Free education my foot, public education costs more than you would think. Even before I can get to what I want, fulfilling needs becomes a struggle. I mean forget a new backpack or new Sharpie pens, we’re talking about lunch. I realize these prices have forever been here, but right now they seem to be staring at us in bright bold red lettering. Two weeks ago I started shopping for back to school supplies, vowing that I wasn’t going to buy the unnecessary pack of mechanical pencils or hole punch. At the checkout the total was at least $50 and I hadn’t even bought my backpack or printer ink. I spend money like water at times.
Let’s do the math out. Buying lunch costs $2.50 minimum, most people like a sweet treat along with lunch so let’s make it $3. For a full school year a student spends at least $540 on lunch. Add the $65 dollars for the bus pass or $100 for a parking pass and you are over $600. If you have a passion for art than chances are you’re paying a minimum studio fee between $15-25 to take an art class. If you play on a sports team then any additional sportswear must be bought through the school at a not so cheap price. As you can see just covering the basics makes a sizable hole in parents’ pockets.
I spent a morning at the Nashua Soup Kitchen in August and heard about the “Backpacks for Back to School” event. This drive is for backpacks as well as any school supplies that can fill up a backpack. This year they distributed more than 2,100 backpacks to children in Nashua and surrounding communities. You can find out more information at www.nsks.org. Honestly, I’m amazed at how many kids needed the supplies and were helped. I feel lucky knowing I can get things I need and want.
School shouldn’t be as expensive as it is but really we’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. The school can’t help us out any more than we can help ourselves. It’s going to be interesting to see how the school year plays out. Please feel free to ask questions and/or comment on anything, I’d love to hear what you have to say about my perspective on Nashua.