There was an article in the Redstone Gazette the other day about Ryersen Gas Stations donating $1,000,000 to St Matthews. Redstone is the blue collar town where I substitute teach. Ryersen is a very large chain of gas stations in the region that has its corporate HQ in Redstone. St Matthews is the local catholic school.
The whole thing left a rather bad taste in my mouth. Some of it is pure partisanship. I substitute at Redstone High School, St Matthew’s public alternative. And my thought on reading the headline was that St Matthews doesn’t need that money, and Redstone schools can use it! St Matthews is where the rich kids go (and select others) while most of the town is struggling to get by. Even setting aside my biases (I don’t substitute at the high school all that much anyway and wouldn’t expect the money to go towards my getting a raise), this raises some class-hackles.
But, no doubt, Ken Ryersen went to St Matthews. Because most people of note in Redstone went to St Matthews. The city’s leaders (most of whom aren’t ethnically from Catholic countries, despite most of the town itself being so) tend to have gone there. So of course that’s where a lot of the emphasis is going to be. Notably, St Matthews’s football team gets to play at a district stadium, free of charge (this has been a point of contention with some).
Anyhow, it’s natural that Ryersen would want to support the school that he went to. It does create a genuine problem, however, when this school soaks up a lot of the kids that could otherwise be lifting Redstone’s district up. And it does seem to create a wall of sorts.