Opinion: 'It made me upset going to another school that's considered a rival.'

Hey, my name is Demontae. This is my story. Can you hear me out?

Change just arrived at the Tuscaloosa City School System (TCSS). After eight years of seemingly endless controversy and too little concern for its students, the TCSS has finally decided to rezone.

Many students like myself resent that our lives will be disrupted in such a prominent manner. The rezoning affects racial diversity and the burden of overcrowding is all too uncertain. It upsets my friends and me that the system, and not the students, is being granted the power of choice over the school.

Rezoning directly affects current high school students, and not rising freshmen. I’ve spent two years at Northridge High School making friends, and now this fall I will be enrolled at Paul W. Bryant High School. The school board should have listened to students and gauged their opinions because we are the ones affected. We should have been given a choice in the matter.

Moving approximately 500 students will be a difficult process for all that are involved. Students must adjust to their new environment. Faculty and administrators should allow students an average of two school months to become comfortable in their new environment.

Most importantly, this rezoning negatively affects athletes. The atmosphere intensifies when Bryant and Northridge play against each other in any sport; their rivalry is the one of the most fierce in the state of Alabama. Now that they will be rezoning, most players that were on Northridge’s football team last season won’t be returning in the same uniform.

Roughly 40 of the 60 players will move to a different school for the 2016-2017 season. The hardest part for athletes are tryouts for a new school team. Some players have grown a relationship with their coaches like I did with my track coach. My coach knew he could always get the most out of me during practice every day. When I was only a freshman, Coach Jeff Sparks awarded my hard work ethic by allowing me to run alongside the seniors on our team. For a freshman to run with seniors is rare because most freshmen will run on the freshmen team, but for me to run on the varsity made me feel accomplished.

During my indoor season as a sophomore, we finished as state runner-up. It was an emotional day; it was the school's first boys state runner-up trophy. During our track banquet at the end of the season, my coach and I had what would later be our final talk.

“I want you to go over to Bryant and continue to be great no matter what uniform you will be in. I will miss coaching you.

Show Tim Martin [Bryant’s track coach] what kind of athlete you are. I will see you at some of the meets. I love you,” he said.

After he told me that I broke down and started to think about all the good times I had with him being my coach. The rezoning will separate our team as a whole, with seniors leaving and freshmen and sophomores staying behind. It made me upset going to another school that’s considered a rival to us. Going up against my old coach will be a hard time. There will be lots of emotional hugs when I see him during the upcoming track season.

It will be a bumpy process. I hope I will be able to get over the emotions from the rezoning.