Riverview Gardens students talk about decision to stay put

6:45 PM, Aug 8, 2013   |    comments
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By Tracy Clemons

ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - A group that has not been heard from in the transfer story that has gone on since early July is the students who are staying put. Thursday, we found kids who made the choice to stay at Riverview Gardens despite the chance for a free bus ride to another district.

Patrick Townes is a senior at Riverview Gardens High. He says he wouldn't want to go to any other school.

"I've always switched schools ever since fourth grade, or so. But I figured why leave now," Townes said.

He joined with other students who are sticking with the district, along with parents, alumni, and Riverview Gardens staff Thursday to make the high school a little more beautiful for the first day of school. A day that will see fewer students thanks to several hundred from the unaccredited district transferring to accredited ones.

"I know a couple of people who have tried {to transfer}, but it didn't exactly work as they planned. But I've encouraged them to...this is a good school. There's no point in leaving."

"Going to a different school will just make another school look good when I need to make my own school look good, because this is where I came from," added Melvin Jones.

Jones is a senior.

"I chose to stay because I feel like the teachers here gave me all the opportunities I ever asked for. I'm a 4.1 student, so if I've been doing that good all this time, why do I need another school to still do as good?" he said.

In the last three years, Riverview grads have gotten more than $9 million in scholarships. Melvin Jones hopes to keep that going.

"When I go to college I want to be able to come back and say 'Hey I didn't need to go to a different school to go to college because I did it from where I came from,'" said Jones.

They say the district has gotten a bad rap over the years, and especially through this process.

"You can always look at a book and tell that it's bad until you actually read it," Townes said. "If you actually come here and see how we all work together, you'll find out that it's really a pretty good school."

As they work their way back to accreditation, Patrick has one message for everyone: "It's changing."

A school official says several schools are working with new administrations and there are things in the works to get the accreditation back quickly.


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