June 2, 2013
How often have we heard the story? Professional families with school age children lack faith in city schools. They may enroll their kids in city elementary schools, but all too soon they leave for the suburbs or private schools.
One family, the Gabbeys, made a permanent commitment to the RCSD. And look at the result. This week, junior Owen Gabbey of Wilson was named RCAC player of the year for the second straight time. When he won in 2012, he hit .360. This year Owen improved to a .571 average with 46 RBI. As a pitcher, he went 7-2 with a 1.81 ERA. He also led Wilson to the city tournament championship. So, next year Owen will be going for the three-peat. Already some college coaches, including from the University of Rochester, have contacted him.
Fundamentally, Owen’s story is about parents believing in the RCSD. Owen’s father, Paul, who teaches social studies at Penfield High School, says the family made a conscious choice to send Owen and his sister Zoe to city schools. While he loves Penfield, Paul feels that suburban schools are sometimes not a true representation of what America looks like anymore. Paul sees great programs in the city—Wilson’s International Baccalaureate [Owen is an IB student] being one them—and great teachers. He does say he has to work hard as a parent advocate, but the challenges have been worth it. Paul believes the diversity in city schools only helps prepare its students for our 21st century multi-cultural world.
Playing baseball in the suburbs and knowing a lot of suburban kids, I see often how other people perceive city schools. I hear kids talk about how they think I see fights every day, I’ve had kids ask how many kids bring weapons to school. Theses stereotypes and fallacies are one of the main reasons I like going to a city school. I get a unique educational opportunity with the IB Program to be challenged and be among an elite group of students. But I also like the social aspect of being a city student. I enjoy that a lot of the kids around have changed how I think and have become good friends. These people are the proof that city schools have so much to offer. And this doesn’t just come from the students. The teachers have often been able to teach and inspire and continue the cycle in the city; not of negativity, but of excellence. That’s why we’ve never wavered from the city schools.
Quite an endorsement. (Oh, Owen is in the top ten in his class academically at Wilson.)
Next season catch Owen on the city school diamonds. He knows a three-peat won’t be easy. There is that kid Kenny Cruz from SOTA who has what it takes. I’ll keep you posted.