DHS Population Skyrockets

A sudden burst in student enrollment

Photo by: Taryn Holmes

Photo by: Taryn Holmes

Taryn Holmes, Staff Writer

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Students probably noticed that after the summer of 2017, the halls shrank. Rather than walking freely throughout the campus, movement now involves shoulder to shoulder contact. Students began taking a seat on the floor due to a lack of desks, and teachers became overwhelmed with how to handle so many kids at one time. No hall dimensions actually altered, however the class sizes grew.

From the school year of 2015-2016 to 2016-2017, the number of students attending the high school increased by almost one hundred. Over the years, students come and go, but Decatur experienced an increase in large additions this year compared to previous school terms. All schools receive new or transfer students, but the increase here at DHS demonstrates a larger example of this growth. Needless to say, the increase in student population definitely affected life at DHS.

With a multitude of reasons, students flooded into the Decatur ISD community. Why Decatur though?

“I moved to DHS because I wanted a quality agricultural and FFA experience. I also have previous experience with one of the Ag science teachers in the Ag department who used to work at the school I transferred from,” new senior, Madison Staab said.

Other students replied with stories of escaping the city, moving due to family changes, and traveling to live near family. Some of the programs at Decatur provide a more inviting and overall higher educational experience. Students who moved during a previous year revealed that a certain opportunity or class convinced them to attend DHS, just like Staab explained.

In a resident’s opinion, Decatur reaches the furthest compared to neighboring cities. Although technically true, most cities throughout Texas easily dominate compared to the size of Decatur. Many families find peace in the idea of moving to a rather rural area to escape the hustle and bustle of larger areas. Some people simply prefer the environment at Decatur and transfer their students out of a different school. But, not all reasons apply directly to the high school.

One freshman, Makenzie Murphy, reveals that her grandparents already lived in Decatur and that she visited them all the time. By the time her family moved to a house in Decatur, it felt like she already lived there.

Extreme cases still surface in new students, another new student explains that family problems in a different state forced her to move back to Texas.

DHS welcomes every incoming student, however it possesses limited resources. Texas represents friendship, and Decatur certainly tries to embody this attitude, but limited resources continue to strain that closely held conviction.

“I am absolutely satisfied with my experience here. Everyone here has been very welcoming, which was really nice with a senior transfer and the adjustment has been very smooth.” Staab said.

Sophomores Milly Rowden and Claire Mallory, who transferred in together a couple years ago, confirm that same welcoming feeling.

As a school, Decatur positively influences all those who attend it. However, its ability to handle this many students remains unknown. Who exactly determines the school’s capacity? Many students and educators feel enough becomes enough when space becomes nonexistent.

“From my experience here so far, I have not felt overly crowded or as though there are too many people,” Staab said.

Transfers officially ceased availability in DHS during the middle of the first six weeks. However, nobody knows whether or not this condition remains a permanent decision. Sports teams present another issue with expanding the student population too much. Competition against larger 5A schools would constrict the progress of Decatur teams. This problem, along with other aspects encourage blocking further transfers. This year, DHS chose the best option for the school, but what about the well-being of the students?

Inviting more students brings forth an equal amount of pros and cons. Although personal space disappears and quiet resonates as a foreign word, the right choice concerning transfer students who wish to attend DHS forces a difficult decision in the future.

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