We moved into the Westerville City Schools district in 2002. My oldest started kindergarten at Cherrington in the fall of 2007, followed by her sisters two years later.

From that first year, I heard people talking about how they were "products of the district." It was such a strange phrase and it stuck with me. I worked on the 2012 levy campaign and I heard that phrase all the time. It was everywhere. Sometimes it drove me crazy. I continued to hear that phrase when they went to Walnut Springs and then North.

I've had a lot of time to think about it.

This year, my oldest is a senior at North and I'm starting to understand that phrase. When she graduates, she will be a "product of the district." When someone talks about being a "product of the district," it's because they are proud of the education they received here. They are saying these schools made them who they are now. They remember their schools and teachers with great love in their hearts and with great appreciation for this community for supporting their education. Many of those students have come back to make their own homes here, so their children can also benefit from this school district.

People don't say it to exclude those, like me, who didn't go to school here. They say it because we are all part of what makes this district great. The teachers and staff, parents and students, the business community and the taxpayers -- we are all part of that success and have a role to play in helping young people grow, learn and succeed.

We need to safeguard our school district's reputation by ensuring it can grow to accommodate increasing enrollment, updating historic buildings, maintaining access to educational programs and keeping our students safer in schools with security upgrades.

To ensure the next generation of students is just as proud of coming from our schools, I will be voting "yes" on Issue 8 in November.

Amy Raubenolt

Westerville