I love Skyline High School. I cherish the learning, relationships and life lessons from Skyline that still enrich me every day.
Like the lesson from Ken Schmidt one afternoon when I lay sprawled on the practice field.
“Howell,” the coach said, “you’re going to get hit again. So you better learn to get up!”
I learned enough to earn a football scholarship. More important, I learned resilience.
Inside the classroom, Madge Sylvester stood up for the merits of Skyline debate.
“Young man,” she said, “someday this class will mean more to you than football or all your sports.”
She ignited in me a passion for public policy.
On another day at Skyline, history teacher Ted Wilson recruited a young candidate to explain to our class how somebody runs for Congress. Wilson piqued our interest by saying that if this guy Wayne Owens were elected, he could decide whether America went to war.
So, I credit Skyline for nudging me toward politics as well as for imprinting the music in my heart:
“Cheer and sing together we’re from Skyline,
Shout her praises loudly to the sky!”
Yes, we’ll praise Skyline for generations. But now, let’s tear the old building down!
Voters’ decision last week to approve a $238 million bond heralds a bright future for the entire Granite School District, with a long-range plan to rebuild 17 schools and renovate a dozen more.
The welcome promise of a brand new Skyline gets a tepid reception from certain boosters who feel the rebuild will be a loss of heritage. But none of the heritage we alumni carry is embedded in old mortar or bricks. Our heritage won’t be diminished by a modern building.
Skyline’s leaky roof has bedeviled repair for more than 50 years as a result of architecture not designed for snow. Structural heritage has its limitations.
Skyline was built when the latest learning technology consisted of slide rules, blackboards and chalk.
Even after decades of incremental upgrades, Skyline is not designed for learning in the digital age, or for modern standards of seismic safety, or for the world of global competition.
A clean-sheet rebuild of Skyline can offer enormous advantages to students and the community. It can be a center of learning based on models of collaboration and invention that drive the Googles and the Apples of the world — the world in which today’s students compete.
The new infrastructure of Skyline 2.0 can fully support the components of a 21st Century STEAM [science, technology, engineering, arts and math] education.
I look forward to a campus designed from the bottom up for teaching the thinking skills and manual skills that match the work of the future. Future work includes robotics and artificial intelligence. The future is not an old building.
Part of the future lies in modern facilities that support seamless transitions to rewarding jobs in the trades.
Part of the future lies in the tools of technology that sustain scientific and academic research.
And yes, so much of the future lies in the kind of dedicated Skyline teachers who made such a difference in my life.
There are even more possibilities: A forward-thinking partnership with the city of Millcreek could let new Skyline facilities double as a community center for the performing arts.
So, join me in welcoming the bright future of the new Skyline that will keep its old music alive.
We are proud to say that we’re from Skyline,
As our voices we all raise in one.
We will cheer and sing together,
Make the rafters ring as never,
Blue and gold of Skyline in the sun.
Scott N. Howell, Salt Lake City, is a former Utah State Senate minority leader and Skyline Eagle.