Though the school year might be finished, the Hopewell Township Board of Education made sure to recognize its student’s achievements at its June 18 meeting.
The small room of the Administration Building was packed with proud parents, coaches, and, of course, distinguished students. The Board recognized the Unified State Championship track team, the Penn Relay Championship track team, and a group of Hopewell students and staff who had made an impact in Kenya on a recent service trip.
David Angwenyi, a teacher at CHS who is also from Kenya, described the impact that students and faculty make when they travel across the globe. He explained that some people in the village of Nyanchonori need to walk five miles a day for fresh water, but the group wanted to work to change that. So, they installed a 250-foot borehole to provide fresh water for the villagers to eliminate the the long trek every day to get water.
“I think Dr. Angweny’s presentation and the presentations before you demonstrate our efforts to create a well-rounded institution and, as Dr. Angwenyi said, we pride ourselves with academic rigor but I think it’s the opportunities that we provide our students that really set us apart,” said Superintendent Thomas A. Smith. “I think every student I’ve spoken to said their life had profoundly changed from participating in that trip.”
Angwenyi invited the Board to consider volunteering for the next trip planned for 2020. “It’s kind of unique, in a sense that I was born there, but this [Hopewell] is my home. And the idea is that we want Hopewell to permanently have that link with my village. And I am inviting you to be part of that,” he said.
The meeting shifted shortly following the presentation, in which Hopewell residents, parents, and workers shared their thoughts and concerns. Some included the concern of holiday pay for bus drivers and opinions against the random drug testing decision approved by the Board.
Parent Neil McGrath believes it is a violation of a student’s Fourth Amendment right to be randomly drug tested.
“Your job is to educate our children,” McGrath said, “not to police them — there’s a police force for that –and most certainly not to parent them. I am my child’s parent, if I wish my child to be subjected to a drug test, I will do it.”
Dr. Smith defended the Board’s decision to move forward with the initiative, stating that it would be beneficial to the District since students have reached out to the Board about the issue.
“I have not been sugarcoating this issue since the beginning,” Smith said. “We do have a problem in our high school. Plain and simple. Whether you agree that it is our role whether or not to address those issues is something we have taken on as a school district in trying to support our students.”
The Board’s next meeting is scheduled for July 16.