Those of you who followed OKC Central for any length of time probably realize that I’ve got a soft spot for the kids who are enrolled at Emerson High School. It’s an alternative education school at NW 7 and Walker where kids with some of the biggest challenges (teen pregnancy, not fitting in) are trying to overcome great odds and obtain a high school diploma.
I was first drawn to the plight of this school when I learned it was possible that those horrible (and they are horrible) run-down metal trailers outside the historic building could be left standing and in use as classrooms AFTER it undergoes its MAPS for Kids renovation.
A “ground-breaking” took place back in October. I’m not sure why that hasn’t translated into the ground actually being “broken” and construction taking place. But such delays happen – we’ve seen a similar silence with the Kevin Durant restaurant in Lower Bricktown.
Believe it or not, there is no clinic for the teenage moms at Emerson. A trailer clinic was provided several years ago, but support for it shriveled up with a loss of funding and/or interest.
Andrew Rice gets it. And as director of Variety Health Care, he’s seeking to have his organization operate a pre-natal/pediatric clinic at the school. The catch is the Oklahoma City Public School Board must approve a memorandum of understanding that would allow for the renovation of the century-old building’s boiler room to be used for the clinic. The school board will meet at 5:30 p.m. Monday at 900 N Klein Avenue.
Emerson is downtown’s only school at the moment. Not everyone may appreciate it being an “alternative school,” but it is making a difference for kids. And I’ve met some of these kids. I’ve participated in tutoring at the school. They’re good kids who either struggled in the normal flow or messed up without the safety net many of us had when we were younger. They simply need to see, to benefit, from a community that cares about them. With a lot of the kids coming and going from the school, I won’t lie – helping isn’t easy. But nothing extraordinary is accomplished without an extraordinary effort.