Last week a consultant recommended the closing of West Elementary School in Grand Forks. And while no formal decisions have been made, the news hits close to home for the parents and the teachers in that part of town. And the students. Especially a first grader named Carter.
Yesterday, Carter held a a one-man protest outside the school. What could a first grader possibly say about such a complex situation? Plenty. And Carter said it very well. In my years at WDAZ, we’ve attempted to interview probably a couple hundred elementary-aged kids on various topics. It’s usually quite a struggle. Yesterday, in ten minutes, Carter said more than all of them combined. He bravely stood in front of the TV camera and made several compelling and eloquent arguments as to why the school should remain open. I was in awe. A few feet away stood his grandfather, beaming. He sidled up to me, gave me a knowing nod, and whispered, "He’s going to be a politician." I resisted the urge to say "He should aim higher" and listened as Carter went on to make another point: "West Elementary is the best school I’ve known in my life." He was so passionate I wanted to go stand behind him and join in.
I don’t know what will happen with West Elementary. I wish schools would never have to close. But I do know that with Carter in their corner, they’ve got a pretty strong voice.
Carter, third from the right, green shirt. To check out the story, go to www.wdaz.com