On Feb. 26, the Pajaro Valley Unified School District celebrated, in a safe manner, the official opening of the athletic field at Pajaro Valley High School in a virtual, live-streamed ribbon-cutting ceremony.
For students at Pajaro Valley High School, which opened in 2004, this was a historic moment, giving young athletes — the Grizzlies — a field for soccer, football and track and a place for families to see graduation ceremonies — just like their counterparts at other high schools around the county.
The school’s location at 500 Harkins Slough Road, Watsonville, led to conflict with the Watsonville Pilots Association, which contended the initial plans put the athletic field in the path of a runway at nearby Watsonville Municipal Airport. Choosing another location on the campus resolved that matter, but three environmental impact reports were required by the California Coastal Commission as the site is next to wetlands habitat.
For those who participated, the ribbon-cutting was an emotional event, one to get a bit teary-eyed. A recording is posted at: https://youtu.be/ftpTyQr2oOA?t=852
The project was funded by Measure L, a $150 million bond measure Pajaro Valley Unified voters approved in 2012.
“It’s beautiful,” wrote Felicia Davidson, a 2015 PVHS alumna now an outreach coordinator for CASA, in a long post on Facebook.
“In seeing the completed field, I’m proud, first and foremost, of the students and parents and teachers, community members and everyone else who kept pushing for this to happen. I’m excited for the students who will finally be able to go to a complete school, run on their own track, stop running in a parking lot for PE or having to choose between homework help and waiting an hour for the bus to get to practice.
“I am a still a bit frustrated and saddened by the sheer amount of continued effort and time that it took just to provide students at Pájaro Valley High with the basic infrastructure that they deserve. The disparities in opportunities and supplies for students of color and students in low income areas is stark and shameful and the experience of fighting for the completion of Pájaro Valley High made it all too clear how difficult it can be to even begin to bridge those gaps.
“The opening of the field is a time to celebrate — to celebrate the students, staff, and community members of the past who worked tirelessly for this to occur as well as the students of the future who will run, play, and graduate on this field.
“Over a decade and a half after its opening, the students of PV will finally be getting the completed school that they deserve. This is something worth celebrating. Still, we must continue to address the disparities that exist within our education system and provide every student with an equitable chance to succeed and thrive.”
Images Courtesy of PVUSD Live Stream