PA staff shares opinions on school rebuild

Olivia Guy and Emma Halman

AP and MYP biology teacher Jason Tomik has been a member of the Princess Anne community both as a student and a teacher. He was a part of the first IB graduating class of 2000 and has been teaching here for 13 years. Indeed, all of this time spent as a Cavalier makes him even more eager for the school to be rebuilt. 

Tomik said enthusiastically, “I wish that they rebuilt the school sooner!” However, he still is somewhat apprehensive that the process will continue to be delayed. “I feel like we have always been about five years away from a new Princess Anne High School for 20 years now. It always feels like it’s just beyond the horizon. My biggest concern is that there’ll be something else that will happen that will push it back another five years.”

Spanish teacher Tina Garfield shares Tomik’s opinion, explaining, “I am excited for a new school, but we’ve been promised [one] since the ’90s, so I am a little skeptical.” 

Garfield graduated from PA in 1986 and is “slated to retire in 2028.” So, she wonders if she will ever be able to teach at the new building. Tomik also hopes to still be teaching at PA by the time the new school has finished being rebuilt. 

IB biology teacher Camilla Walck is more certain that she will teach at the new building, as she has been a part of the PA staff for 26 years. Walck explains that teachers have been told they will be able to voice their opinions about the new building’s design. She hopes that “they take into consideration better parking.” Although, she is looking forward to the “science stuff, equipment, and the rooms [that] will be better suited” the most. According to Walck, “This room’s ancient.”

Like Walck, Tomik feels that “There are nice parts of the school that were rebuilt in the ’90s, but for those of us that teach in the older portions, especially the science wing, it would be nice to be able to have some newer facilities.” 

Garfield acknowledged that two years ago the school underwent a series of renovations. Still, the building was originally built for when classrooms were smaller, and are not as suitable for the school’s now much larger class sizes. 

2007 PA graduate and first-year English teacher Rachel Bly has more mixed emotions about the idea of the school being rebuilt. This is especially because the main reason she wanted to return to her former high school is that she recalls her time spent here as a student so fondly: “I would be really sad to see the building go just because I personally have so many memories here, but I’m also excited to get a new building.” 

Tomik agrees that “It will be nostalgic and we will all be sad to see the old building go, but I definitely think that the excitement of a new building exceeds how much I will miss the old building.” 

Also, Bly feels that if “this were to happen when I was back in high school I know I would really hate it just because being displaced for a few years probably isn’t the best feeling for a teenager.” 

The majority of teachers have also considered this potential downside. Walck’s initial reaction to the idea of the temporary school was “It’s farther away!” 

Similarly, Tomik explains, “I definitely think a lot of students who are zoned for PA will definitely have a longer commute. It’s not too bad but it will be inconvenient for things like sports events and things where you want to get a lot of parents and community out there.” 

But as most simply noted by Walck, “The character comes from the students and the programs and what we do with the building. I think that is going to be the same.” 

*Staff writers Delaney Brenner, Gabi Altinok, Jana Isern, and Samantha Lee contributed to the formation of this story.