The new JNPSD High School has generated an abundant amount of hype in the community of Jacksonville and surrounding areas. I’m proud to say that I too, have caught a case of this contagious energy flowing around.

“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead” (Philippians 3:13).

The new facility we are striving to attain is all about the future and looking ahead. Since the sixth grade, I’ve had to pursue my education, along with the other students, in conditions that are not really considered an ideal learning environment.

The outside corridors prove to be a nuisance during the bitterly cold winter months as students transfer from class to class, while the lack of windows prevents natural light from coming through causing dim lighting which creates a feeling of being on lockdown. In other words, the current atmosphere can be quite depressing. A teacher once told me that her little daughter was scared to attend Jacksonville High School because it looks like a prison. A school should never be compared to a prison. Looks matter!

As new facilities are built in Sylvan Hills and Maumelle, many parents pull their kids out of our school to send them there. This has created a chain reaction that is bad for our community because families move out of Jacksonville in order to be closer to those schools. This takes away funding that could be used to improve our schools.

I cannot change my story. My high school story is coming to an end, but a new book can be written for the next generation. It is up to us to make the old school a thing of the past by voting to move forward. This new facility will mean the world to the future students who will reap the benefits of new and improved learning environments. They are the ones who will get a chance to live my dream. I believe the new high school will serve as a motivational tool for students and will renew everyone’s interest in using education to pave the way for a better life.

New things seem to create a spark and we take care of them. You don’t drive a new car looking to crash but instead you drive as safely as possible to avoid as much as a scratch. The same philosophy applies to new school facilities. In my opinion, students will be proud of what they have and will not view their school as the leftovers anymore. New facilities will encourage students to take care of what they have and will rebuild the pride and school spirit that is fading as we speak.

Not only will the school make the kids excited, but now the kids will want to tell their family and friends to come to JNPSD High School. Now they can spend their time together creating good memories with loved ones inside a brand new facility. This will cause an influx of parents moving back to bring their kids to attend school.

New businesses will make Jacksonville the spot to do business. Business owners will be eager to do everything they can to improve our new school district. Jacksonville will enter a golden age and will thrive like never before. The new district has so much potential that I cannot imagine or count all of the good things that will come out of it.  It is a huge project and will require a ton of work and support from the community. I know that we have what it takes as a community, because we have plenty of big hearts here.

I am ready to see my community come together for the greater cause, which is the future of our kids, family and friends and put behind our own selfish reasons, because we know that there is nothing we can do to alter the past, but it is not too late shape our future.

This summer I will leave to attend college, but I promise I will come back to Jacksonville because I want to be a part of what Jacksonville is destined to become. So, let us all open our eyes because this is no longer a dream. It almost sounds too good to be true, because the truth is everyone has been waiting for a very long time to move forward.

Please vote “FOR” to move forward on Feb. 9.

Brandon Hawkins
Jacksonville High School, Class of 2016