DUDLEY - After awaiting feedback from the Town of Dudley for a number of months regarding her high school attendance choice, Elizabeth Leclaire will begin her freshman year at Norfolk County Agricultural High School (NCAHS) in Walpole MA on September 6. Her mom, Gail Leclaire, said she is proud of her daughter as she begins her education focused on large animal veterinary science. (Large animal veterinarians are scarce due to greater income potential realized for small animal vets and, therefore, many college students adjust their studies to focus on the small animal field.) Both Elizabeth and her older sister have been involved with their local 4H organization for eight years, and they show horses, beef cows, and other livestock. They absolutely love the activities and the animals, said Mrs. Leclaire.
Elizabeth has become a lightning rod for school choice in Dudley, however, as she exercised her state-mandated right to attend a high school offering agricultural-based animal science. But she is not alone. Another young lady from Lancaster recently became that town’s new student at NCAHS and Charlton also has students who attend there.
On Saturday, August 18, the Massachusetts Department of Education Commissioner advised Elizabeth’s mom that Dudley’s denial of her school choice had been overturned. Mass. General Laws Chapter 74, Section 7, states “residents of towns not maintaining/offering the type of education desired, may, upon the approval of the commissioner under the direction of the state board, be admitted to a school in another town.”
The cost to the town will be $22,000 per year plus transportation.
Elizabeth has been through a long process for her beginning steps to large animal vet science. She and her family had researched high schools offering the classes she needed in Bristol, Walpole (where NCAHS is located), Northampton, and Essex. She applied to NCAHS in early 2012 and was accepted through the faculty interview process. Of 400 applicants there are only 150 openings. On March 27 she filled out her section of the non-resident application and awaited School Superintendent Sean Gilrein’s signature as well as the Town of Dudley’s approval/disapproval, with ten days being the customary response time. On August 2 she received a courtesy phone call from Mr. Gilrein advising her that, due to financial constraints, the Town was disapproving her school choice. An appeal was made to the State Education Commissioner, and his decision was rendered last week.
Elizabeth will now pursue her strengths in science and apply that knowledge to achieve her goal of veterinary science, and one day she may be addressed as Elizabeth Leclaire, DVM (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine).
- Thursday, 23 August 2012
- Posted in Categories: : News