Budget cuts, arson, eliminated electives, new vending machines, juniors winning Sing! and a glaring neon sign. These are just some of the events that come to mind when looking back on the past school year, which has clearly set itself apart.
Many students, and the occasional faculty member, have voiced the opinion that this past year has represented a general decline in the quality of life at Stuyvesant. Yet despite the number of problems Stuyvesant has faced this year, it’s not quite fair to say that the school is reaching its all time low. However, the problems we’re bound to face next year don’t exactly inspire confidence, either.
One of the most prominent issues Stuyvesant has faced this year is the slew of budget cuts it experienced. As the recession took its toll throughout the country, the school was not immune. Forced to cut down on classes, sections of electives have been combined, some have been done away with completely, and consequently, class sizes have swelled. The greatest concern of a number of parents, students and administration officials has been how Stuyvesant will be affected when it is hit by the actual brunt of the budget cuts in 2010. But, in reality, it’s hard to imagine that much will change. As many can remember, the primary concern of the student body and the faculty at this time last year was how the budget cuts would affect Stuyvesant in the current school year, yet the effects have not been nearly as severe as were first imagined. While the 5 percent budget cuts won’t be enacted until next year, Stuyvesant’s recent qualification for Title I funding may be able to fill the gap, or at least cushion the blow.
Aside from the more depressing aspects of the past year, there have been a number of memorable events that have not been as depressing. Of these events, by far the most memorable was the first junior Sing! victory in 10 years. While not exactly the happiest of events for the entire student body (ask any senior and their opinion won’t be so charitable), it was an exciting change and somewhat of an uplifting to what had already begun to seem like an unpromising year.
Nothing positive can be said about the fires set throughout the school earlier this year, but the arson is an issue that Stuyvesant has been able to overcome. Despite the gravity of the issue at the time, as this winter’s fires thankfully had little effect; they have become nothing more than a memory, and it is safe to say that the school will remain unaffected by them in the years to come. In fact, in the 1998-1999 school year, several fires were set in garbage cans throughout the building as well, providing precedent to the otherwise appalling fires of this year. And while the astounding intelligence shown by those who set the fires both then and now cast a bleak image for the future of firebugs of Stuyvesant, the school will be just as equipped to deal with it then as it has shown itself to be in the past.
As this year comes to a close, it’s hard to say what the next will bring. The past school year has brought along a number of issues that indicate how uncertain the next may be. Perhaps class sizes might be further compressed, maybe, fires will be set in places other than trashcans or maybe we’ll be forced to pay exorbitant sums for our commute to school. Conditions both in and out of the school’s control are bound to shape our experience at Stuyvesant in ways that we most likely can’t anticipate. And while it may be much easier and cathartic even, to sit back and claim that things will never be as good as they once were, we will still have to face these changes. Regardless, Stuyvesant won’t degrade into that dystopia that seems to be imagined by so many. Not yet, anyways.