Should BRHS require uniforms?

Fri, 10/23/2015 - 5:30am

    Teacher Mark Gorey brought two of students to present their “Champions of Change” projects from last year at the Oct. 14 CSD School Committee meeting.

    Each year, students in Gorey's class are required to create an iMovie, crafting a persuasive argument about something they feel needs changing. Gorey's goal with this assignment is to help his students become informed citizens. The subjects can involve the school, the community, or the world.

    The two movies shown at the meeting were by Ellie Demmons and Gretchen Elder.

    Elder's movie was entitled “Dress for Success” and suggested that either Boothbay Region High School should require uniforms or give a major update to the dress code.

    She talked about visiting a school in Ireland during her sophomore year where uniforms were required. Though at first she wasn't happy about it, she found the uniforms acted as an equalizer among students.

    “I would notice a person first, and not their clothes,” Elder said.

    Elder also spoke to teachers about enforcement. She quoted teacher Carol McKenna, who stated that in 20 years she had seen enforcement of the dress code lessen each year.

    “There is no specific section in the student handbook that addresses the dress code, only a small section in the code of conduct,” Elder said. “And nothing about enforcement. A clear system of enforcement is just as important as the code itself.”

    Elder stated that though she felt uniforms were the best choice, she felt it might be too drastic a change and her survey results showed the students were against the idea. Out of 127 respondents, 83 were against the idea of uniforms, while 27 felt it was a good idea; and 17 had no opinion. When asked whether they preferred uniforms or a formal, “business casual” dress code, 91 responded they would prefer a formal dress code.

    “There is still a chance for self-expression in either one,” Elder said.

    Demmons’ movie was about the resurrection of the BRHS golf team. She stressed in the movie that golf teaches students valuable skills such as perseverance, leadership, and manners, which will help them through life. She spoke about the improved Boothbay Harbor Country Club course available in the region, and cited a survey she in December 2014 that showed out of 127 students, 35 percent would be interested in joining a golf team (BRHS has a total of 217 students).

    Demmons also spoke about Melissa “Missy” Williams, a BRHS graduate who is now a Class B member of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA).

    Between 1984 and 1997, Williams was the Boothbay Country Club Ladies Club Champion and has continued her achievements in golf her entire life. In 1999 she passed the PGA Player Ability Test, and in 2006 she became a Class A golf professional for the PGA of America.

    Most recently in 2015, she tied for 13th place in the LPGA National Stroke Play Championship.

    Demmons spoke with Williams, who offered her support and assistance in the resurrection of the program.

    After the movies, several members of the school committee asked questions of the girls and praised the work they had done.

    “You both chose subjects that provoke discussion and thought,” School committee member Brian Blethen said.

    Many videos done by students for “Champions of Change,” including those by both Elder and Demmons, can be seen at