This Is What It’s Like To Go To A School In 'Fiscal Distress'

What we lack in funds and resources we make up for with heart

I grew up glued to the television. Thanks to obsessively watching Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide, High School Musical, and Daria, I had some pretty high expectations for high school. I went in thinking that students could take whatever classes they wanted, meet many new people, and go to big school dances. I quickly found out that this wasn't exactly the case.

My school is located in Guy, Arkansas — a town with a whopping total population of around 700. The school district recently declared itself in fiscal distress, which means it lacks funding as well as a significant student body population (our school is a 1A school, which is the smallest categorization).

This declaration was, of course, a wakeup call for concerned parents, many of whom decided to move their children to two better-budgeted schools that are each no more than 15 minutes away from Guy. But 24 of my fellow classmates and I decided to stay.

We didn't stay for the courses or teachers: We have to take online courses or travel 30 minutes by bus to other schools for some of our courses. Our school band lacks an entire clarinet section and our full-size gym was left half-empty. We weren't deterred by the lack of certain extracurricular activities, including the most popular sport at surrounding schools: football. So what exactly keeps us from leaving?

From the outside, Guy Perkins High School might seem like an unviable option for one's child. But those on the inside looking out never want to be anywhere else. Our small, close-knit community has made us all a family. Whether it’s helping each other run for district offices or cheering on our 39-1 state-qualifying boys' basketball team, we depend on and support each other. What we lack in funds and resources, we make up for with heart.

So while our school may have been ruled unstable, I would argue that we're quite the opposite. So what if we don’t have all the classes we want and only 50 people show up to our prom? These limitations don’t bring us down or make us feel insecure. They don’t make us undereducated, and they definitely don’t make us want to leave for bigger and better schools. These limitations bring us all together in a way that other schools can just never fully understand: If anything, our limitations make us stronger.

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