Top of the class |

Top of the class

Dear Editor:

U.S. News and World Report has just ranked Aspen High School as the No. 1 public high school in Colorado.

Even more amazing is that our high school has been ranked No. 59 in the country out of more than 21,000 public schools. We follow No. 58 Stuyvesant High School, ranked the best school in all of New York City. Stuyvesant has entrance exams and accepts only the very brightest 3,000 students from the five boroughs.

We accept 530 students with no entrance exams and yet match academic achievement in many areas. We must all be very proud of our school board, our administration, our teachers/coaches, our alumni, our parents and our sons and daughters. This achievement comes among severe budget cuts to an already dismally low national ranking of 43rd in per-pupil funding.

As parents of an AHS son, we witness every day the excellence of all stakeholders in the education process. Our college counseling is second to none. If factored into the report, Aspen Elementary School’s campus, outdoor education programs, sports/extracurricular programs and the beauty of this valley would surely propel our ranking in educational experience well beyond 16th Street in NYC.

Parent involvement and the support of your contributions to the Aspen Education Foundation have taken just some small edge off budget cuts – but not nearly enough yet. The board, the superintendent and others each day face the excruciating task of crafting budgets that have some modicum of fairness to our wonderful staff and teachers while carefully balancing the needs of Aspen’s children.

Everyone in Aspen should take note that we receive the same low per-pupil funding as Front Range and rural school districts yet face the much higher cost of living in our valley. Support our schools, and contribute to the Aspen Education Foundation – and find a way to volunteer.

Tonight, I will have the great honor of awarding small scholarships to AHS’ top 10 students in academics. They and many other award and scholarship recipients will be honored at the Wheeler Opera House. Our community’s generosity will be evident with donations to assist our college-bound graduates.

I think that all of our hearts and prayers will be with Basalt’s Hector Morales Jr., the outstanding Basalt High School senior just awarded a scholarship to Duke University to study engineering. Hector’s mother, Norma, was detained and removed for potential deportation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement to Denver as an allegedly undocumented person who with her husband has raised two boys.

While we celebrate the ranking and our graduating class, we must all remember how blessed most of us are and hope that Hector’s mom can attend his graduation. Class of 2012, we are proud of you. Kiss your mothers!

Matt and Kris Ferguson

Snowmass Village

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