Nathan Ostrowski is an eighth grade student at Mt. Mourne IB School. His letter appeared this week in local newspapers. 

Falling-down Schools are Failing Students

I’m thankful to attend Mount Mourne IB, a school that’s outstanding in many ways. It’s one of the few schools I’ve ever attended where we have a principal who is a great leader, teachers and staff members who go the extra mile, and students who enjoy being there. We also have some of the top test scores in N.C.

One area, however, is in glaring contrast to everything else you will find at Mount Mourne—our building.

The 520 students who attend Mount Mourne go to class every day in an aging, outdated elementary school built in 1950 that my grandfather could have attended.

If you walk down our halls on a rainy day, you will see buckets in many places to catch leaks from our roof and several parts of our building have a strong musty odor. Because our school was built to be an elementary school, not a middle school, our hallways are too narrow for lockers. We carry everything, from lunches to band instruments to heavy backpacks (with eight classes of homework), with us all day. We only have band and PE equipment because of hand-me-downs from other schools or parent fundraising. Our gym has had insulation falling down, dimmed lighting that buzzes, and air ducts that don’t work properly.

The staff at Mount Mourne has done its best to take the gloom away from our building, but it’s hard to disguise the true condition. Every year, costly repairs keep our building in use, which I’m sure is a huge financial drain for the district. There’s no money for textbooks at our school, much less thousands of dollars to make necessary repairs.

Mount Mourne is not the only school trying to operate in a deteriorating building. At Cool Spring Elementary, I’ve heard students had to wear hats and gloves in class sometimes last winter because of a broken-down heating system. At Mooresville High School, the gym is in danger of being condemned because of structural problems.

I tell you all of this because I want you, the adults of Iredell County, to know the conditions of many of our schools. You are the only ones who can really make a change.

On November 4, our community has the chance to do something about our aging schools by voting YES for school bonds on the ballot. These bonds will help all the schools across Iredell County and quality schools are good for everyone.

If I had the opportunity to vote, I know what my choice would be. But the reality is that I won’t be old enough to vote for another five years. I’m asking you to vote YES to give us schools that don’t have leaky roofs or faulty heating systems, musty classrooms or security issues. You can help give us schools that are safe, healthy environments for us to learn and develop our full potential.

Students don’t have a voice or a vote. We need you, the adults of our community, to speak for us. Therefore, I ask you to cast your vote in favor of school bonds.


Don’t leave until you check this out:

Here’s a map of schools affected by the school bonds

We need your help. Volunteer with Our Schools First

James Hogan: It’s Not Okay to Vote No

Check out this video detailing changes to Mt. Mourne IB and Brawley Middle