[July 11, 2018] My name is Joe Lupo. I am a resident of Ferndale, a parent of two high school students and I support Ferndale Schools. I was born in Whatcom County and moved to Ferndale at the age of 5. I attended Custer Elementary, Vista Middle School and Ferndale High School. I started working during high school doing odd jobs for business owners in Ferndale and this carried me into my career path, which is construction. After high school I started working for a contractor based here in Ferndale and continued working for him for 20+ years until I started my own business. I learned a lot owning my own small construction company for 7 years, and through that I was given the opportunity to get out of the field and into a supervisory role working for a much larger contractor where I take on multi-million-dollar projects.
I support this bond for multiple reasons, one being the strong personal draw I have to ensure thriving and up-to-date vocational development programs for young people. I was guided toward college classes in high school; for me this was a mistake. Because of my age and lack of understanding for the opportunities available in the trades, I didn’t take the opportunity to explore building, understanding and creating things with my hands, which I was best suited for. That’s why I feel access to vocational programs is very important for all kids going through Ferndale High School. During a tour of the high school, I was very energized to learn about the amazing complexity of what is currently offered through CAD classes, wood shop (working with a CNC Router), metal shop, aquaculture, and agriculture greenhouse operations. I am excited about what we as a community can provide in this commitment to our kids. The opportunity for students to explore various career paths through a state-of-the-art vocational department is promising for the economy of our town, county and state. In the trades industries, it is getting harder and harder to find young people interested in construction, agriculture and automotive careers. It is important that kids get the best opportunity to explore these fields early and maybe find their calling.
Another reason for my continued support of a passing bond for the Ferndale School District is the performing arts. Both my kids have been in performances on the Performing Arts Center (PAC) stage since they were 6 and 8 years of age and they haven’t quit. This opportunity to perform on stage has given them both the confidence I only dreamed of in high school. The PAC is very well constructed but is in dire need of some major renovations. The youth committing to theater and various musical passions deserve a place that has modern amenities and a space where they can feel like the community truly appreciates and wholly supports their passions. Ferndale’s PAC is used by a lot of other groups in our community and the importance of providing community support shows them how much we care about their passions as well.
Finally, I have a spouse that has dedicated her life to teaching the young people that attend Ferndale High School. We both graduated in the early 90’s and once she finished a 4-year degree from WSU and a master’s from WWU, she applied for and accepted a position at Ferndale High School. She has many stories throughout the 20 years she has taught there, both good and bad. By getting involved in the Bond Task Force, I have already had the opportunity to hear the little things that I know will be changed and improved with a new high school. It has helped me over the last 8 months really understand the why and how this bond will benefit every income level of student that comes through Ferndale High School.
Thank you to all who take the time to read the stories of several Bond Task Force members. I hope the grass-roots, nonpartisan, community approach we have chosen resonates with you and I hope come November you can vote YES for our kids and our community. A modern high school that everyone can be proud of really does help a community feel good about the future of not only the children but also a town the size of Ferndale. We don’t have a lot but what we do have (I think I can safely say) we are all pretty proud of and we only want the best for our little community.