A friend of a friend opened his stupid facehole the other day and the garbagewater that spilled out was, “Ugh, you live in Gloucester? The schools are so SHITTY there.” It took a lot of effort to not just throw myself on the floor and roll around yelling insults.
The schools aren’t shitty here. They’re not even CLOSE to shitty. Can we just stop with this dumb myth? I admit, that when I first had a baby and knew no one here, I’d heard that the schools were a mess. I believed it because I didn’t really know any better – and I was pregnant during the “pregnancy pact” bullshit. But oh my sweet crap on a cracker, was I wrong.
The singular data point you need to believe me on this was this weekend’s Gloucester Educational Fund arts festival downtown. Lured in by the promise of robotics and my kid’s art, I showed up – and was BLOWN AWAY. I’m a huge supporter of GEF, although my grinding, ceaseless near-poverty precludes me from donating to them all the money I wish I could.
Although it had a ton of amazing arts turnout (including a multitude of bands, and the EGS Ukulele concert!) what really took the cake for me (because nerd) was the robotics program. As you may know, we here at the Clam were a part of the Great 3D Printer Build last year, where the GEF purchased almost 30 3D printers and we all spent a weekend assembling them and then went delirious at the end from lack of sleep and that fucking clearly stoned guy trying to explain the assembly in a series of aggravating Youtube videos.
Anyway, the HS robotics club had some amazing interactive exhibits that truly showed how above average our Engineering program is. Like, with remote control tanks.
One of the things Maggie Rosa tracked me down to make sure I saw was the sand installation. “A sandbox with stuff projected on it – interesting!” I thought. UNTIL I SAW IT. The sandbox is two 3d cameras that take real-time height information from the kids making hills and valleys in the sand, sends that info to a laptop, that turns it into a real-live topographical map that is projected back onto the sand via overhead projector. High school students made this! HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS MADE THIS.
The presentation by the robotics kids and teacher Kurt Lichtenwald was pretty dang impressive. It had ping pong balls, homemade guitars, and of course, drones.
Turns out Gloucester High has one of the top engineering departments in the goddamn state. Kids are getting into WPI with no problems because they’re involved in our engineering programs.
Gloucester’s future is technology. The Clam wholeheartedly believes this (and not just because we’re epic super nerds). We’re doing amazing things, and our kids are going to be rock stars if we play this right. GEF is a huge part of this, as well as handfuls of amazing, dedicated, forward-thinking people. Our kids? They’re gonna be just fine.
And the schools are great. So STFU and enjoy it, instead of complaining.