We recently attended a “lights” meeting in the library at OPRF High School. We came away from that meeting quite dismayed, as some of the statements seemed almost ridiculous. Like the photo taken from the child’s window?#34;we certainly would have bought our child a shade even if we didn’t live by the field. The speeding cars?#34;unfortunately, some teens speed day or night, letterman jacket or not. This has nothing to do with lights at the stadium. And then the innuendoes of lawsuits.
We have lived 1 blocks north of the high school for the last 30 years. My wife and I are graduates of OPRF and are lifelong Oak Parkers. We have three daughters, all whom have attended OPRF and have seven grandsons that are fifth generation Oak Parkers. Three of our grandsons have graduated from OPRF and are in college, and one is currently a senior at OPRF. All have played football and some have participated in wrestling, basketball and lacrosse as well. Within the next couple of years the rest of our grandsons will be attending OPRF, and we couldn’t be more proud. OPRF High School has given our children and grandchildren an incredible education along with an equally rewarding athletic experience.
We just wanted to share a couple of things that we have observed living near the high school for the last 30 years. In the ’70s, the marching band marched up and down our street, practicing about 7 a.m. No one complained because we knew there was a high school there. Each time there is a major event at the high school, we cannot park anywhere near the front of our house, but again, we knew there was a high school there. On the 4th of July, people come from Oak Park, River Forest and every surrounding suburb to see the fireworks in Oak Park, and the streets are congested for blocks. Yep, we knew there was a high school there. Instead of complaining, we embrace the event and have many friends and family over (I’ll bet most of those neighbors who complained about this at the meeting have people over also).
People have always been distressed over proposed changes at the high school. There were complaints when the houses were removed at the south end of Scoville Avenue to make a grass field. People complained when the high school wanted the car dealership property where the south field currently exists. Then they complained when they built the parking garage. If my memory serves me, I think people even complained when OPRF wanted to replace the dangerous pothole-filled grass stadium with turf.
With the passage of Title IX in 1972, this finally allowed our girls to have equal opportunities to participate in sports. In 1976, the only turf sport played by girls at OPRF was field hockey. Fortunately, today girls of all ages in our community have the opportunity to play a variety of turf sports. With growing numbers of teams and growing numbers of youth participating, in our land-locked community, changes have to occur. The needs of this community have changed and grown. There is a viable need for lights in the stadium. Change is hard, but all too often it is necessary.
Ron and Collene Kucera