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Clarke Smith, CVHS, Class of 2017
The following is a Hearing of the Citizens speech that was delivered at the HISD Board Meeting on 11/12/15. If you’d like to learn more, click here and here for Houston Chronicle articles on the issue.
“Hello, my name is Clarke Smith and I’m a junior at Carnegie Vanguard High School as well as co-captain of the baseball team.
Recently it has been brought to our attention at Carnegie that the existence of our UIL sports program is in jeopardy due to zoning and funding issues. There are many reasons why this move would not make sense, but I’ll start with my own personal story.
In 2013 when I began high school, I undoubtedly didn’t have the skill set to make another varsity baseball team, namely that of my home school, Lamar. However, Carnegie gave me a golden opportunity. Rather than having an hour or so to make myself stand out of a sea of hopeful tryouts at Lamar, I was able to join Carnegie’s team outright. This turned out to be a major blessing for me, as I feel that I’ve developed not only the tools of a varsity player, but friendships that have lasted almost three years.
If the UIL baseball program was taken away, most of the players at Carnegie would be forced to quit baseball forever. This also holds true for volleyball, tennis and cross country. In simple terms, HISD would be ending dozens of athletic careers and robbing these athletes of a crucial outlet for stress relief by cutting UIL sports.
I stand before you here today to say that it’s not as simple as playing for a home school. Whether it’s an issue of skill, transportation, or even safety, most of our students cannot reasonably expect to play for their respective zoned schools. We are no threat to those schools’ success in athletics, either. Carnegie Vanguard will never attract the MLB-bound pitcher or the All-American quarterback. The athletes at our school are simply a group of kids that are ready to capitalize on a great gift: the opportunity to play.
Please don’t shut the door on that opportunity. Keep UIL sports at Carnegie. Thank you.”