Student body president questions NISD’s recognition for graduates

Published 12:28 am Wednesday, May 20, 2020

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NEDERLAND — Nederland Independent School District’s class of 2020 student body President Will Denson submitted a letter to the NISD Board of Trustees regarding senior acknowledgement efforts.

Denson said while the letter was not intended to bash the school district, he did want to understand what ideas and actions were taking place for the hard working graduates.

“I decided to write this letter because I saw how other schools have been going above and beyond for their students and I felt we honestly weren’t getting the same treatment,” Denson said. “Our school has done a couple things for us and I know many of us are very grateful, but it does hurt to see how other schools are doing things compared to us.”

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The letter read:

“In the past few weeks, I have been thinking a lot about how our school district has reacted towards the seniors during this time. Many of you (the board) probably can go back in time and remember exactly how you felt going to your senior prom and doing the end-of-the-year activities. The class of 2020 really hasn’t gotten to experience those last few memories that many of us would cherish such as yourselves.

“I have noticed many other school districts go above and beyond during this time to honor their students and I feel we have not be given the same courtesy by our school district and our city.”

Denson’s letter references surrounding school districts and cities that joined to put up signs along school grounds or marquees displaying the names and faces of graduating seniors.

School districts such as Port Neches-Groves, Bob Hope Charter School and neighboring Little Cypress-Mauriceville are examples.

“I understand the cities played a part in (those recognitions) taking place, but why could we not have that same treatment?“ Denson’s letter continues. “I know many students who have done a lot for the school and the district and feel they aren’t getting the recognition they deserve.”

The letter wraps up with one question — “what is being done to recognize these seniors?”

Nederland School Board President Micah Mosley said he thought the letter was well written and came from the heart.

“I hate that seniors are getting robbed of their traditional senior experience,” he said. “Seniors (and their families) want to rightfully experience all the recognition and celebration that comes with being a senior and graduating. Unfortunately, as we all are aware, normal traditions and celebrations have been dramatically modified or cancelled altogether due to the coronavirus restrictions. We absolutely want to support anything we can so our senior students receive what they deserve for all of their hard work.”

Mosley said the NISD administration has been working tirelessly to plan a live, outdoor graduation ceremony to serve all students and their families in the safest way possible.

In response to Denson’s letter, Mosley said better communication is key.

“I understand that everyone is under a lot of stress, which causes a lot of frustration,” he said. “I reached out to Will to thank him for his letter and better understand the senior recognition gaps.

“A lot of his frustration and questions would be addressed with better communication. As a district, we need to do a better job of opening up communication and letting people understand the plan as it is being made, rather than waiting until we have all the details lined out, especially in times like these.”

Currently, the city and district is working on adding senior photos to the rolling marquee screen outside city hall, senior portraits are being posted on social media along with the Facebook page “Bless a Bulldog,” where community members can gift a senior with handwritten notes and gifts.