Letter: Stifling student development for financial reasons isn’t fair

To the Editor:

I’m writing to express my extreme disappointment at the recent interest shown by Dr. Baldwin in downsizing the English department and eliminating one-on-one writing conferences.

I cannot stress enough the difference that English teachers, and more specifically many of the experiences I had in writing conferences, have had on my young life. When I arrived at RHS as a freshman in 2012 I was awkward, gangly, and basically unconvinced of everything. That first writing conference in Mrs. Kilbourn’s Honors English revealed a literary talent to which I had been completely oblivious. The conferences I had over the next four years not only gave me opportunity to hone a burgeoning ability, but to connect with some absolutely outstanding individuals. My writing hasn’t been the same since I left Kathleen Wassall’s class. Kevin Higgins perfected the essay that got me into Boston College. I consider those relationships, forged in conferences, to be the only meaningful student-teacher relationships I made during all of high school. I’m writing this email because of those relationships.

When I left as a senior I was still a bit thin, but firm in my ambition to pursue an English major at college. My studies have gone well.

I haven’t looked back since that first writing conference.

Joan Didion said, “I firmly believe that the ability to think for one’s self depends upon one’s mastery of the language.”

Please do not stifle the intellectual development of future RHS graduates out of a narrow financial motivation.

Don’t deprive the next and each subsequent generation of these opportunities.

Brendan Ruberry

Ridgefield High School, Class of 2016