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The Cub

The news site of Ludlow High School

The Cub

The news site of Ludlow High School

The Cub

Juniors’ Parking Predicament: The Phantom that is Veteran’s Park Elementary School

Juniors Parking Predicament: The Phantom that is Veterans Park Elementary School

Every day juniors are haunted by the glimpse they catch of the now abandoned Veteran’s Park Elementary School as they arrive and leave school in passenger seats of cars.

This year’s class of juniors is unable to enjoy one of the many coveted benefits of being upperclassmen: driving themselves to school. Most years, a couple of juniors get lucky and can park at the senior-filled back parking lot of the high school, but typically juniors park at the old, nearby elementary school.

This parking formula changed, however, on Thursday, August 3rd, when students from the class of 2025 received an email with the subject line “Junior Student Parking Postponed” from Principal Nemeth. She announced that the Town of Ludlow will be demolishing the old elementary school behind our building. She added that the demolition team will need to use the entire Vet’s parking lot for machines and workers, and hence it will be fenced off.

  Students were still hopeful they would receive a parking spot in the back of the high school until they read a few lines down in the email: “currently [there are] 28 staff members that park at Veteran’s Elementary School and those staff parking spaces will be moved to the student parking lot.” 

Mrs. Nemeth planned to send out another email later in August about whether or not there would be any parking spots left for juniors after the staff and seniors got first dibs. However, her suspicions led her to predict there would not be. She closed her email saying “carpooling or taking the bus to school is always an option” and optimistically shared the approximate date of November 1st for the project to commence and simultaneously for junior parking to open up.

Student’s fears were confirmed when they received the expected email from Mrs. Nemeth a couple weeks later with the subject “No student parking for Juniors at this time.”

Juniors responded in an outrage and were extremely upset. Some worked all summer just to pay for a car, or squeezed in driving lessons to take their license test before school started. Many students were left wondering why they could not have taken down the building during the summer months and are instead doing it now. 

While angry, students also had many unanswered questions. I decided to talk to Principal Nemeth to get an update on the current situation. She said that she “spoke with the Town Administrator and it appears the demolition is a little behind. The timeline for opening up parking lots is now mid November…hopefully.” Mrs. Nemeth went on to explain that once student parking eventually becomes available to juniors, “Juniors will submit all their needed paperwork and then it will be a lottery, if needed.”

I also brought up to her how many students, including myself, have reported seeing the same spots empty day after day, wondering if they are allowed to park there. She explained that the empty spots are most likely for staff from the ground floor programming, and that the school needs to keep them open in case a special needs student joins the program and consequently more staff will need to join.

While Mrs. Nemeth’s response is reasonable and understandable, students are still complaining about the situation weeks into the school year. Some have even tried to get around the problem by parking their cars a few streets away and walking to school each morning. For soccer player Calleigh Foley, her idea backfired: “I parked in front of my aunt’s house one street away from the school and received a ticket for parking on the street during school hours.” 

Others are annoyed with the situation because it is difficult to find rides home if they decide to stay after school and get dropped off in the mornings. Ludlow High School stresses becoming involved in clubs and sports outside of the classroom, but juniors specifically may now be less likely to if they can’t find rides home. “I stay after for multiple clubs. Finding rides home is so stressful and annoying. I have to know which club I have a meeting for, who else is in the club, ask friends who are in the club if I can get a ride…it’s a huge stressor.” said Caitlyn Day, a junior class representative.

Students have suggested either opening up half of the Vet’s parking lot to juniors as the building is farther back, or parking at the farther away Ludlow Boys and Girls Club and having a shuttle system with buses.

Most students have begrudgingly decided to continue taking the bus, get dropped off by parents, or ride with a senior friend. The mid-November date does not seem promising, and at this rate we could be waiting until next year for parking spots. Whatever the case may be, students are upset at the unpromised progress of the demolition. The town and administration need to find a solution before the minds of students are stained forever with nightmares of the forsaken school.

 

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About the Contributor
Jack Favata, Staff Writer
Jack Favata is a part of the Class of 2025 at Ludlow High School. He is passionately devoted to philanthropy, and actively involved in aligned extracurricular activities. Jack serves on several notable boards and councils, including the Alumni Leadership Council of Project 351, the Hampden County District Attorney’s Youth Advisory Board, and the Ludlow CARES Coalition’s Student Advisory Board. Within LHS, Jack enjoys being involved in both sports and clubs, including the ski team and student council, where he serves as the President of the Class of 2025. Post high school, Jack aspires to major in a business or communication field at a four-year college and is considering law school after graduation. He looks forward to contributing to The Cub and engaging with its readers!  

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