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Another Voice: Fight OSAA decision for the sake of the kids

By KATHY NISHIMOTO

Special to the News

There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about the OSAA ruling to place Hood River in the Intermountain Conference (IMC). My worries are not just about my own kids, but I worry about all the kids in Hood River who this decision affects. They want to play sports but now they probably will not be able to because of the move. I worry about the kids in other schools that make up the IMC. They have to be worried about some of the same issues that we are-except the difference for them, they don't have a another option like we do. My thoughts always drift back to the nights I stood at the gates at the high school, collecting signatures for our petition that asked the OSAA NOT to move us. I had to turn away many times because of the emotions the kids would have when they read the petition. Often they would beg me to make sure that this IMC didn't happen. Like I had that power! The girls would be more emotional then the boys-but the message was the same. Not one of the 200-plus kids that I talked with said "Oh please Mrs. Nishimoto -- please stop getting signatures -- let Hood River make the move to the IMC -- I would rather be on the road-get out of school earlier -- get away from my family on weekends -- so just let the decision stand." Instead it was "Pleaseeeeeeee Mrs. Nishimoto, please don't let them move us -- I am away from my studies enough already as it is, I can't take more time away," or "Mrs. Nishimoto -- I have to work on the weekends, I don't have a choice. My Mom and Dad can't afford things right now, I help them by working on Saturdays and Sundays." And then, "Mrs. Nishimoto, I won't be able to play football or basketball if we move, what will I do now?" These are just a few of the pleas that I heard and continue to hear.

As a community, we have pulled together on many different issues before. The kids need us now, they need us to fight this battle for them. Please Hood River let's stand up and holler! We owe it to these kids, they look to us for help and guidance. Please write your letters to OSAA, Margie Boule, Steve Duin, Governor Kitzhaber and we might even get Dateline or 20/20 to help make our plight more public. At least the kids will see that we care about each and everyone of them and we at least tried as a community to stop the move. Isn't it worth a try -- for our kids?

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Kathy Nishimoto of Hood River helped initiate a petition to Oregon School Activities Association last spring in favor of keeping Hood River Valley High School in the Mt. Hood Conference.

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