Missing solar panels proof of broken promises

y website, I cannot help but notice one of the pictures that fade by on the home page.
The picture of the solar panels put there by former Solar Energy teacher Wafa Khalil’s classes and of the yellow bell and chamber that used to greet us every morning when walking in to school.
This picture really stood out to me because those treasured items aren’t there anymore to admire or to learn from. Why? Construction.
I remember when I first set foot on the MAST Academy campus in May of 2011, just an eighth grader at the time, excited to be joining the MAST family that upcoming fall.
One of the first things I noticed about the school was the pond, the solar panels, and the bell and chamber located in the front. I had never seen anything like it before.
It fascinated me that a high school would have these amazing structures on their front lawn. After attending school at MAST, I learned more about these unique Mako landmarks and their significant impact on the school’s history and environment.
We were promised by the school board that these MAST treasures would be preserved, or at the very least moved to a secure location away from the construction site. None of this happened.
In August 2012, when the construction started to take place, these structures were either destroyed like the solar pond and native plants and trees, or thrown to the side to gather construction dust like the bell and chamber and solar panels.
I cannot help but think how these artifacts cannot be replaced. Students, teachers, and parents helped install, fund, and maintain the solar pond and the native vegetation that surrounded it.
They grew to embody the very spirit of MAST Academy, and with their destruction only memories remain of these cherished MAST symbols.
Class of 2002 MAST alum Sara Klieger helped build the solar pond.
“It is rare for a school to be okay with a group of students digging a giant hole in its front yard. That really speaks to the amount of trust MAST has in its students and how much autonomy they’re given. That’s a big part of why the students are so successful. People crave autonomy. It was a beautiful fountain and we were proud of it. I’m sad to see it go, the same way I’m sad to see MAST change so much that it won’t be recognizable. At the same time, MAST is still a young school and things evolve over time,” Klieger said.
To think that these precious parts of MAST’s history could be so blatantly mistreated is disgusting.
Even after construction is done, which will be long after I have graduated, the bell and chamber and solar panels will hopefully be dusted off and put back on display in the new building.
But my last impression of these is of junk thrown to the side by the construction project and not treated properly.
Every morning I walk by the “improvement” to our school, I watch for a few seconds and try to picture what it was like when I first walked by as an excited, prospective student. That is the MAST I want to remember.

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