The following Guest Commentary was published in the Belmont Citizen Herald online February 23, 2021 and also in the February 25 print edition.
We are writing as mother and daughter who want to preserve for our children and grandchildren the promise that Belmont held when our families moved here. Our family has chosen Belmont — twice. One generation chose it in 1993, and the next generation, after traveling the world, chose it again in 2019. We are invested in the belief that our town is the best place to raise our children and grandchildren.
In 1993, Chris moved to Belmont with a husband and three children in tow, including her eldest child Caitlin (BHS ’01), after doing extensive research on the schools and extracurricular programs. Well-roundedness was an important value to us, and we were grateful to find a community that promoted academics, music, theater, and sports in equal measure. Our kids did all of it. They thrived in the schools, despite the disruption resulting from the burning of the Chenery Middle School following Caitlin’s sixth-grade year.
Now Caitlin has returned to Belmont from years living abroad, and in other parts of the U.S., with her husband to raise their children. The schools, extracurriculars and the sense of community were again a big draw. Arriving several months before the pandemic, we all enjoyed going, with the youngest members of our family now 4 and 6, to the children’s programs at the library and to other activities in town. We cannot wait to resume a return to normalcy, but also have been impressed by the resilience and resourcefulness of the library staff in providing resources to patrons throughout the pandemic. While so many people around the country have been separated from their loved ones by the public health crisis, we have been grateful to have each other during this difficult time.
Now the essential elements that define what we love about Belmont seem in jeopardy. If the override question on the April 6 ballot does not pass, library programs may be cut, class sizes may grow, and the music, theater and sports programs that first drew our families to this town are at risk for major cutbacks. If we think this year’s negotiations over schooltime have been difficult, we shudder to think what they will be like, with even fewer teachers available, should the override fail to pass. On April 7, we would prefer not to have to debate about which should be cut first — music or sports? Or what kind of music and which sort of sport? That’s not the Belmont the older generation chose in 1993, and it’s not the Belmont the younger generation of our family chose in 2019.
A community is like a multi-generational family; it requires nurturing across many ages. We are pledging to the next generation to live up to the promises of what drew our family here, twice. And that is why we, as a family, are voting “yes” for Belmont on April 6. We hope you’ll join us. We owe it to the next generation to invest in their future.