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One parent’s perspective on uniting for Dublin High and our community

March 5, 2010

by Michael Utsumi – Dublin resident and parent


If you are reading this post, it demonstrates that you are curious about the proposed charter high school.  Perhaps you are still trying to make up your mind on this issue.  Or, perhaps, you already know how you feel about it.  As citizens of Dublin, it is imperative to at least become educated on this proposal.  My goal in this piece is to help provide a bridge between where we were as a community and to where we are in 2010.  Whether you have sent children through Dublin High School or if you’ve never stepped foot on campus, the success of the school can have a direct impact upon our community. 


This April will mark my 20-year anniversary of when I chose to move to Dublin from the peninsula.  Dublin was a very different town at that time.  There was a Pak-N-Save market where the new Tralee housing development sits.  Dougherty Road was a “country road” and served as a backdoor way of getting to Blackhawk.  There was not a single ethnic market in town and certainly no movie theater.  The closest BART station was in Castro Valley.  Well, needless to say, Dublin has blossomed into a vibrant community and is nestled in the center of the Tri-Valley corridor – one of the most desirable places to live in the Bay Area. 


Where my family and I currently reside could have been called east Dublin at the time.  Honestly, I never gave it much thought as I am a native of San Francisco.  There are no geographical distinctions in the City, just districts.  The Mission, the Sunset, the Castro and Diamond Heights, to name just a few.  Today, I traverse back and forth across Dublin at least three times a week.  I particularly like the shopping and dining options between Arnold and Tassajara Roads.  I can run into Barnes & Noble or Best Buy to see what’s new.  I can also be found roaming the aisles of Target and 99 Ranch Market.  I never would have dreamed that we would someday have our own golf course in this community.  So, no need to run to Livermore or San Ramon to spend my golf money.  And, consider that the Mayor of Dublin is a native and also a graduate of Dublin High School.  Chew on that – that just doesn’t happen elsewhere.  All of these points speak to the overall charm of our fair city. 


When we moved about a ¼ mile from our original residence to our current home, we had not yet started a family.  However, we came to know our neighbors and their families.  Almost all of the children were of school age and were migrating through both the middle and high schools.  In the ensuing years, we watched these kids become young adults and many moved directly onto college.  In less than a 100 yard radius, we are surrounded by graduates from Saint Mary’s College, Cal State East Bay, Santa Clara, and San Diego State.  Also within that radius are those that chose to enter into the trades, some started families and others are aspiring musicians and artists.  It’s an accurate mix of what has been occurring in society for decades.  Every year during Homecoming Week many of them consistently return from wherever they are to spend time with their fellow alums.  In an age of texting, Facebook and Twitter, nothing can replace personal interaction.  You can’t get a hug on the internet.  When I engage with these DHS grads, they speak with great fondness about their years at Dublin High.  More specifically, many of them cite specific teachers that inspired them to pursue certain academic areas and/or careers.  They also mention their experiences outside of the classroom – club activities and athletics. 


As a parent of a fifth grader, it sometimes feels as if high school might as well be Mars.  However, I know that it is only about four years away.  Judging by how quickly elementary school went by, it will feel like about half of that time.  I made an earlier statement about how the success of Dublin High School is important to the community.  This is supported by the fact that Dublin High serves as a tremendous source of pride for the city.  You may have read in an earlier post that Newsweek Magazine will be recognizing DHS as one of the top high schools in America.  Only about 6% of high schools are eligible for this designation and it’s a tremendous accomplishment.  As our family gets closer to high school, it’s been refreshing to learn so much about what Dublin High has to offer.  What will Dublin look like in 2013?  Well, the second BART station will be open, someone will have leased out the Mervyn’s site and our daughter will be taking her first set of classes at Dublin High School.


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