Sean Swope commentary: Levy passage an investment in future leaders, thinkers and citizens
By Sean Swope, Lewis County commissioner
As a parent of children who receive their education through homeschooling and private schooling, my vocal support for the upcoming Centralia School District replacement levy might come as a surprise to many.
Why would someone whose children are not directly part of the public school system advocate for this replacement levy?
The answer lies in a broader vision of community and the undeniable value of public education, a vision that transcends personal choices and speaks to the heart of what makes Centralia a great place to live.
My educational journey in Centralia was profoundly shaped by dedicated teachers who were much more than educators; they were mentors, role models and community builders. The impact of figures such as Mr. Weeks, my football coach and biology teacher, and the late Mrs. Althauser, my English teacher, extends far beyond academic lessons. They imparted life skills, a sense of responsibility and community spirit. Similarly, Mr. Warren, our vice principal, and Mr. Gilmore, a teacher known for his genuine care for students, played significant roles in shaping the lives of many, including mine.
The legacy of these educators continues today in individuals such as Coach Austin, who heads the girls’ varsity team and volunteers her time with younger teams. Such dedication exemplifies the spirit of the Centralia School District and its commitment to nurturing future generations.
Supporting the school replacement levy is an acknowledgment of the crucial role that public education plays in our community. It’s about ensuring that every child in Centralia, regardless of their background, has access to quality education and the opportunity to succeed. This is not just an investment in schools; it’s an investment in our future leaders, thinkers and citizens.
The benefits of a well-funded public school system extend far beyond the classroom. Research has shown that strong schools correlate with lower drug use among youth, a critical public health benefit. Additionally, quality education is a cornerstone of economic development, leading to a more skilled workforce and, consequently, local economic growth. This is an investment that benefits every member of our community.
The impact of well-funded schools on public safety and community wellbeing is profound. Strong educational institutions contribute to lower crime rates and better overall public health, making Centralia a safer and healthier place for everyone.
In advocating for the school replacement levy, we are not merely supporting an educational institution; we are fostering a thriving, dynamic and prosperous community. This replacement levy represents a collective commitment to the well-being and future of Centralia. It’s a statement that we value education, not just for our children but for our community as a whole.
As we consider the future of Centralia, let’s remember that the strength of our community lies in the education and development of our youth. The school replacement levy is an opportunity for us to unite in support of a cause that benefits us all. It’s a chance to invest in a stronger, more vibrant Centralia, where every child has the opportunity to thrive and contribute to our community’s growth.
The Centralia School District replacement levy is more than just a financial decision; it’s a choice about the kind of community we want to build and the values we want to uphold. Let’s come together to support this important replacement levy, for the sake of our children, our community and our future.
Sean Swope is a Lewis County commissioner.