LISTEN: Five Austin Students Describe What It's Like To Not Know Whether Their School Will Close

Jan 9, 2020

The Austin Independent School District put off a decision last fall on whether to close eight schools as part of its districtwide overhaul. Since then, students, staff and parents at those schools have been waiting in a sort of limbo, and it could be months before they learn their schools' fates. 

Five students at Bertha Sadler Means Young Women’s Leadership Academy – one of the schools on the to-be-determined list – share their experience about waiting for a decision and why the school in Northeast Austin is important to them. 

Iyana Hardaway, 8th Grade

Credit Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

“Something that I like about coming to Bertha is that I found out that people actually care about your education, unlike other schools. They take time and effort in helping you with stuff. One of our security people, he helps with algebra during his breaks.”

Rhiana Hardaway, 6th Grade
Credit Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

“Not knowing if my school is going to close or not is very confusing and it makes me worried. You never know when it’s going to happen, and it could set all the people back.”

"I didn't want to go to an all-girls school [at first] because I thought it was going to be like, 'Let's paint nails or something.'"

“At this school you actually take time to realize who you want to be and who you want to grow up to be.”

Karina Mondragon, 8th Grade
Credit Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

“Not knowing if my school is going to close today or tomorrow makes me feel really nervous and scared because you never know when it’s gonna happen.” 

“When I was little I used to move a lot because of my dad’s job. We used to move back and forth [between Mexico and the U.S.] ... Back in my elementary, my teachers were great and all, but they had a lot of students and I didn’t understand what they were teaching me. When I came here, I actually learned more than what I used to learn over there.” 

“No necesariamente tienes que ir a una escuela de puros niños y niñas para ser como quieres ser.” ("You don't necessarily need to go to a boys and girls school to be whoever you want to be.")

Yamilet DeLeon, 7th Grade
Credit Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

“I applied to Ann Richards twice for my sixth and seventh, and they didn’t accept me, so I came to this school and I’m glad I came to this school. It has changed my life. All the teachers and the principal are great, and they help me out a lot with my studying and they make time for us.”

Kimberly Guevara, 6th Grade
Credit Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

"There are some girls that are like really insecure ... and they come to a girls' school to kind of like open up a little bit more, and now taking that away they might feel more insecure." 

"There's no boys here and – not trying to be mean – but we could find a boy at H-E-B, like literally."

“They might close the school but they might not close our hearts from liking this school. ... For us to be called dragons, because we’ve been here, even though we haven’t been here so long, we are still part of this school.”