When I graduated from Roseburg High School in 2002, I remember people telling my class to “Go out into the world and make us proud.” I think we’ve done that. And now, many of us are turning around and asking the same thing of Roseburg: Make us proud. Change the “Indians” mascot that is known to promote discrimination in schools. It is time.
But many residents seem to think that alumni voices are unwelcome on this issue, if our current address is not in Roseburg. They call us outsiders. Meddlers.
It is true that many who find academic success at Roseburg High leave the area — for college and beyond. But for my age demographic and younger, moving away from our hometown did not mean severing those ties. We left Roseburg armed with our classmates’ instant messenger handles — or even cell phone numbers. My peer group then invented Facebook. We’ve had the option to maintain seamless connections to one another and this town, in ways that prior generations simply couldn’t.
The fact that we’re even aware of this discussion proves that we are actively connected to the community. If we are engaging in this issue, it is because we care about current and future Roseburg High students, because we were once in their shoes. Most of us have family in Roseburg. I have a sibling who is a current student at Roseburg High, so this issue is personally relevant for me. My Portland address does not change my present or historical connection to Roseburg.
We are not meddling outsiders. We were your children! We are success stories of the Roseburg Public Schools system. And we are getting involved because we believe that this system can and should continue to progress, for the benefit of all its students.
Megan (Imogen) Bentley
Roseburg High School Class of 2002