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Ceremony brings another challenge to center stage



She described it perfectly, although few could hear her.

“Everybody’s worst nightmare,” was the way Principal Ronanda Liberty pegged the experience she was having in front of a gymnasium full of people anxiously waiting to see and hear the names of their sons, daughters, friends, relatives at a key life passage — high school graduation.

Liberty had stepped up to the microphone, ready for the happy event, only to discover the sound system didn’t work.

Batteries were changed. Nothing. Switches and settings checked. Nothing. It had worked earlier when tested. Heads were scratched. Solutions improvised.

Liberty tried to speak over the din of coolers and babies crying, children fussing and programs turned into handheld fans rustling in the heat. No good. The school’s vice principal (and new district superintendent next month) produced a bull horn, just to get something going. Not loud enough either.

If any class could handle it, this one could, Liberty said. They are some of the best innovators she’s seen.

A high-tech punt was kicked: two cell phones bridged the gap between those speaking and the pubic address system. Nice try, but no.

Finally, a lapel mic saved the day, but the bank of lights that had spotted the speakers were off, as were the giant swamp coolers that some would regard as safety equipment in a gym full of people on a high heat day.

By Tuesday, no one was yet sure what had happened.

Lake Roosevelt arguably needs a new gym, true. But in the meantime, it would be wise for this community to step up and fix the problems with the gym we have, starting with the sound system and including the roof ventilation.

The investment would pay off not only at graduation, but every time a school assembly speaker is heard clearly, or an athlete’s accomplishment is announced to a cheering crowd, seated comfortably in a non-sweltering gym (especially during volleyball).

The problem on hot days can likely be laid at the feet of modernization. The gym originally featured large, openable vents at either end and a cupola in the crown of the roof that would siphon out rising hot air, leaving a cool area beneath. Not good for energy conservation in the winter, possibly — a problem that likely can be solved.

It’s not perfect, but the old “barn,” as some have called it, could be made much better.

Let’s find a way.

Scott Hunter

editor and publisher

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