Why would anyone move to Ledyard? For the schools ... and specifically LHS

To the Sports Editor:

Having read Day columnist Mike DiMauro's piece "Ledyard Leaders Have No Shame" published in Friday's sports section, we feel compelled to respond.

It is tempting to expand upon Mr. DiMauro's mention of the social contract implicit in any democracy or to debate the value of universal altruism, but we won't. Nor will we venture where others have, attempting to arbitrarily dictate the compensation due to those we entrust to do the near-sacred work of educating, coaching, and mentoring the children of our communities.

Instead, we will answer the question with which you ended the column: Why would anyone move to Ledyard?

It is our opinion that they will move to Ledyard for much the same reason they always have. They will come for the schools. And specifically, they will come for Ledyard High School, much like students from across southeastern Connecticut choose to do.

The constant in an ever-changing society is the fundamental desire of parents to secure a competitive education for their children. Families who move to Ledyard can be certain of doing precisely that.

In the era of school choice, we are confident that there is no better choice than Ledyard. We are one of only 19 AgriScience centers in the state. As such, we draw applicants from 12 sending towns and have nearly a quarter of our student body - both residents and non-residents - enrolled in Ag courses, engaged full-time in a hands-on, career-oriented brand of education that is entirely unique in this area to LHS.

We offer dual enrollment, giving students five different ways to earn college credits while completing high school courses, through both traditional means such as our 10 AP courses, but also through partnerships with UConn, the University of New Haven, Conn College, and Three Rivers Community College.

We offer STEM education. Our engineering program affords students the opportunity to take five courses in UNH's Project Lead the Way program. We offer four AP science courses, six ECE science courses, including five in AgriScience, and two AP math courses. We have an active FIRST robotics team, a math team that for two years running has counted among its members two of the top 50 math students in the state, and an Ocean Bowl team that has become a perennial power not just in state competition but also at the national level.

Nearly half of the student body participates in our nationally recognized music program; our journalism students produce a yearbook acclaimed by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association; our tech ed students mass produce wooden chairs, pens, and games. At least 90 percent of LHS students score at or above the state required proficiency level on all four segments of the CAPT, and we were named an AP Honor Roll school last year by the College Board.

We offer 26 interscholastic sports programs as well as Unified Sports, and 55 percent of our students participate in athletics. Recently, Ledyard teams have claimed four state championships and 21 ECC divisional championships, Players of the Year in your publication and literally dozens with all-ECC, All-Area and All-State recognition. The CIAC has honored us for two consecutive years with the Michael's Cup award for exemplary athletic programs.

What's special, to echo Mr. DiMauro, is the kids. And as we face a sixth consecutive year of reductions (because, let's be clear, a zero percent increase requires reductions to maintain), and as we acknowledge the fact that the high school faculty has been reduced by 20 percent in the past decade, we face the nearly impossible task of finding ways to save money while preserving the opportunities our students, artists and athletes deserve.

We respectfully decline to have Ledyard High School and the opportunities therein be defined by an aging building, an athletic cut that impacts as small a number of students as possible, and a decision to take The Colonel digital in a move that reflects the shift in news media across the globe. We choose, instead, to be defined by the work ethic of our teachers, coaches, and staff, the support and partnership of our parents, and above all, by the talents and resilience of our students.

Why would anyone move to Ledyard or choose to attend Ledyard High, Mr. DiMauro? To be a Colonel.

Amanda O. Fagan, Principal

James Buonocore, AD


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