MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) - "We Are Sparkman." That's the rally cry among students, faculty, and many in the Madison County community. They are speaking out against a new Monrovia High School, and speaking up for their school.
Friday, WHNT News 19 spoke with students in Sparkman High School's journalism class where they are working on their next issue of the Crimson Crier. Within its pages, students are speaking out against the negativity expressed about their school.
Outside the walls of Sparkman High School, the community is divided.
But inside, in Erin Coggin's journalism class, the students speak glowingly of their school.
"If we divide up the schools, we're not only ripping up the family we have now, we're setting other people up to not get the same experience they all ultimately deserve," said Savannah Bullard.
Sparkman has a nationally recognized journalism program, athletic teams bringing home state titles, and the best test scores among county schools. However, the students know the district struggles financially, and believe these programs will be on the line if the school is split with a new Monrovia High School.
"I think it would be a bad idea because it would split us socio-economically and effectively wipe away a lot of the diversity that we have," said senior Beryl Kessio. "The plan that's in place right now -- it would not provide for the strength of the programs that we have here."
"They're wanting to spend millions of millions of dollars at a new school when we have to pay for our own toilet paper at basketball games," said Bullard.
Kessio has launched a Change.org petition titled 'We Are Sparkman" so their voices and those in the community can be heard.
"It's not just about me, and while I'm here. It's about keeping the strength of this community and having it flourish, instead of split apart," said Kessio.
"Instead of dividing it, let's come together and really make this special," said teacher Erin Coggins. "When we go off to competitions around the country, when we walk in Sparkman is respected. It's time for our own community to respect us."
The comments and signatures have been flooding in from people who hope to see a better Sparkman.