Wellington residents with first-hand knowledge say there are big benefits to getting kids off the long bus ride to high school in Fort Collins

Carolyn Reed grew up out on the Nunn Road east of Wellington and went to elementary and junior high school in Wellington. “I was really active in junior high — in sports and in student council but that changed when I went to Poudre High School in Fort Collins,” said Reed, now a member of the Poudre School District board.

“I was the first person on the school bus, at 6 a.m. and the last one to be deposited at home,” she said. The ride took one-and-a-half hours. There was no way that Reed could participate in after school activities. By the time she was a junior, she had saved enough money to buy a car, but then found she needed a job to cover the cost of gas and maintenance. She worked retail at Sears in Fort Collins from noon until 9 p.m. five days a week.

When her own children were in elementary and junior high school, Reed moved back to Wellington. “They loved the small-school atmosphere,” she said. They didn’t do as well at the much larger Poudre High.

Reed likes the idea of an “in-between” high school that includes a middle school and is small enough to provide local kids with a small-town atmosphere.

Beet farmer Richard Seaworth grew up in Wellington and was one of the first Wellington kids to attend the new Poudre High. While his experience there was a positive one and he became student council president during his senior year, he is enthusiastic about the prospect of a high school in Wellington. “It would give us a better feeling of togetherness and result in a more bonded community,” he said.

Long-time Wellington resident Gail Meisner’s older brother Gene Meisner, graduated from the old Wellington High School. “I saw how the Wellington High School brought the town together,” she said. “People participated. They went to the football and basketball games. Wellington was very competitive, especially in basketball.”

All that changed for Gail. By the time she was high school age, the Wellington school had closed. She rode the bus three hours a day to get to Poudre and back, and, like Reed, wasn’t able to participate in after school activities. Only a few Wellington people attended a 50th reunion for Poudre High School that she helped to organize. “Some of those who didn’t come told me those were the worst three years of their lives,” she said. “We should commend the school board and administration for finally recognizing the need for a high school in Wellington. It will bring the town together.”

“A high school is a gathering place for people of all ages and promotes community spirit,” said Ashley Macdonald, mother of two school-age kids and member of the Wellington Board of Trustees.

“Fort Collins and Wellington schools are overcrowded. Building a school in the Wellington community will be a win-win for Fort Collins and Wellington students, taking pressure off Fort Collins schools and allowing Wellington area students to receive one-on-one attention close to home,” she said.The old mill levy is expiring. In my opinion, the new mill levy will have little negative impact and beneficial results for all the communities within the Poudre School District.”

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