Friday, May 19, 2006

Member of First Class Remembers RHS

No longer a Sarasota resident, I am now a "snowbird," spending my winters there and loving it. I was a member of the first class of graduates at Riverview, and president of the junior class that first traumatic year when we had only undergrads. We survived the stressful completion of the construction of Riverview and the establishment of many of the icons that would remain. It is with pride that I point out to my children (and now my first grandchild) beautiful pictures of the Riverview building in that first yearbook. I love driving my visiting friends past the building and showing it off as part of the Sarasota tour of beautiful places. I'm not aware of other high schools anywhere that are quite like Riverview. It is much more than an educational institution; it is a landmark. We knew there were problems with the structure, even in that first year.

Water flooded the walkways, air-conditioning was non-existent, and cracks appeared in the library walls (Doesn't all new construction come with problems?). However, there were then, as there are now, greater considerations. The uniqueness of the design of the building made us think of ourselves as unique. I feel privileged to have been a student in that special, unparalleled environment. A school building that is also a work of art is a rarity. The original building symbolizes Sarasota's appreciation of history, artistic design, and quality of education. Can there be any greater reason for its restoration? Please let the Riverview building stand.

Susan Sampey Wertz
RHS Class of 1960

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