EDITORIAL: 'Patriot Pride' Effort Needs Wide Support
The grassroots effort called "Patriot Pride," intended to build broad local support for Pinecrest High School, is a significant undertaking -- and a long overdue one.
Since the consolidated high school opened in 1969, the communities it serves have never truly rallied around it. Pinecrest is the largest of the county's three high schools. Its nearly 2,000 students come from the Southern Pines, Pinehurst, Aberdeen and West End areas. It is part of all of the communities, but it belongs to none. Changing that attitude won't be easy, but it needs to happen.
By contrast, go to Vass or Carthage or Robbins and take note of the palpable pride that people in those areas feel for North Moore or Union Pines. Pinecrest needs just such a bond with its community and alumni.
Though Pinecrest has produced some superior students, the sad fact is that it has long suffered from image problems, some deserved and some perhaps not. While many of Pinecrest's troubles could be blamed on a lack of leadership, ultimately it is the community's responsibility to step up to the plate and take ownership of this all-important institution.
"It's such a big job that we've got to have a much broader attack," said civic leader Dr. David Bruton, who heads the Patriot Pride effort. "We've got to get a larger commitment. ... The whole community has got to come together."
Earlier this fall, the school nearly took the demoralizing step of suspending its varsity football program. What a shame that it took something that drastic to bring the school itself into the forefront of community consciousness. A number of parents and others rallied around the team as it fought to finish the season. If nothing else, the episode showed that there are still many who do care about Pinecrest.
The school system, at the urging of parents and others, is now trying to address the root causes of that particular problem and seek ways to build up the football programs at all three high schools. But Patriot Pride goes way beyond athletics. This effort is also intended to generate community support and involvement for the school's academic and arts programs as well. It is a total effort.
We applaud all those behind the Patriot Pride movement in their determination to foster wider and deeper support for the school. This is a commendable public service and something we should all wholeheartedly embrace. These are the right folks, and this is the right time to act. To succeed, this movement will also need support and involvement by school leaders -- everyone from Principal Joel County to Superintendent Susan Purser to the Moore County Board of Education.
So far, the Patriot Pride initiative is mostly image and inspiration. We eagerly await more specifics about what the group plans to do. In the end, the success of this campaign will depend on the involvement of everyone, not just those who have children attending Pinecrest. Our community as a whole will be judged by how effectively and enthusiastically we rally to this worthy cause.
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