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home : archive : archive May 22, 2018


5/10/2018 1:44:00 PM
Letters/OPINIONS
Feeling Appreciative?
Have a teacher or school staff compliment you'd like to share during Teacher Appreciation Month? Send it to editor@nwobserver.com and to goodnews@gcsnc.com.


Teacher's small gestures make big difference


I would like to commend my kindergartner's teacher, Darien Bynum, at Summerfield Elementary. In the fall, she watched one of my daughter's recreational basketball games. In April, Ms. Bynum drove all the way to the GAC on a Friday evening to watch my daughter swim one 50-meter race. She had to wait over an hour just to watch one swim. I know she has better things to do on a Friday evening, but this gesture truly made a difference in my 5-year-old's life. She tells everyone she knows, "My teacher came to my swim meet!"


Christy Teague, SUMMERFIELD




Stokesdale is no Mayberry (and never will be)


Not too long ago in Stokesdale, there were three women who worked hard for ROADS (Revitalizing our Ancestors Dreams in Stokesdale) and the SBA (Stokesdale Business Association). These ladies had a vision: that Stokesdale, a small, quaint town with a dedicated downtown, could become more vibrant because it was connected by sidewalks, beautiful buildings, thriving small businesses and lush landscaping.


Little did they know that what Stokesdale had - which Mayberry didn't - was some folks who didn't like others that weren't born there and who were intent on keeping Stokesdale unchanged, no matter what it cost the community.


There is no illusion of Mayberry in Stokesdale, as Councilman Tim Jones remarked at the April 12 council meeting.


Mayberry was a vibrant town connected by sidewalks. It had no drug problem (although they did have Otis, the town drunk). It didn't have litter on the streets, rundown buildings in the core, or fear of change or outsiders.


Mayberry citizens didn't think you needed to be born there to be a valued citizen or have the idea we all would have been better off if the South had won the war.


Elected officials in Mayberry taught morality instead of spreading misleading ideas. They had a sheriff who probably didn't support the NRA. He definitely didn't carry a gun (least of all expect teachers to do so).


Because of lack of vision, Stokesdale lost thousands of dollars for the Mountains-to-Sea Trail and built a town hall outside the town core, making grants and assistance from the award-winning NC Main Street program impossible.


So no matter what the ladies did to beautify and strengthen Stokesdale, all was lost because of a small but powerful group of citizens and leaders who didn't see any value in what they did or wanted Stokesdale to achieve.


The end result? No more ROADS, no more SBA, and the three ladies have all moved to other towns that embraced their love for strong and vibrant communities.


Citizens of Stokesdale, this is your loss! Most of your elected officials have let you down because Stokesdale ain't no Mayberry (and never will be)!


Pam Lemmons, Sue Lukens and Melissa Bocci, former STOKESDALE residents





Book selection is inappropriate for rising ninth-graders


I am a student going into ninth grade at Northwest High School next year and I am highly concerned about the choice of this year's summer reading book, "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" by Sherman Alexie. I have not read this book, but from what I have heard I am baffled as to why this would be chosen as a summer reading book for rising ninth-graders.


The book addresses a variety of topics that are either inappropriate or controversial and do not have any place in a book assigned by the school. While I feel that cultural diversity is an important topic for schools to support, I also feel there are many other books that would have been a better choice for our age group. I have read many other books that all manage to depict the realities of other cultures without using inappropriate language or sexual references. Some good examples are "Return to Sender" by Julia Alvarez, "Tangerine" by Edward Bloor, "Under the Mesquite" by Guadalupe Garcia McCall and "Outcasts United" by Warren St. John.


Teachers wanted to provide a book whose characters we could relate to, but the characters in this book behave in ways that would not be tolerated at school. Kids at school get in trouble for cursing and making sexual jokes, yet we are assigned to read a book that presents these behaviors as acceptable and funny. Isn't this sending a mixed message to us? Also, not all teenagers talk like this and personally, it makes the characters less relatable to me.


It is not just the parents who are concerned about the assigned summer reading book this year. I have no desire to read "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" and will be reading the alternate book instead.


NWHS RISING NINTH-GRADER


The writer's identity is known to us, but because he/she is a 14-year-old, we made an exception to our editorial policy and honored the request to withhold his/her name.




Benefits of greenways, trails are abundant


On a recent Saturday morning two friends and I enjoyed hiking the Piedmont Trail, a meandering dirt path that hugs the lake near Bur-Mil Park. We discovered a handful of turtles sunning themselves on a once-towering tree that long ago had come to rest in the water.


We discussed the verdant beauty of the unfurling foliage and how we wished the pollen season would end.


We accessed the Piedmont from the A&Y Greenway's Anna Long Marshall Wayside in Summerfield.


Other folks were out enjoying the Greenway and the Piedmont too! We bumped into a young family out birding, encountered a dog walker exercising two lively pups, and shared the path with a slew of runners logging their miles.


Additionally, we met a middle-aged couple chatting about their day's schedule as they ambled, an older gentleman who sat at a picnic table surveying the lake, and a cyclist who passed us on his way toward the city. This weekend the A&Y definitely lived up to its multi-use description.


As an avid trail user, I've experienced how linear parks like the A&Y enhance communities. Now we have data from the North Carolina Department of Transportation, "Greenways Providing Positive Economic Benefits to North Carolina" dated April 2, 2018, to support the positive effects we see and enjoy. NCDOT sponsored a multi-year study of four separate greenways in our state and determined major economic impacts in sales tax generation, construction and business revenues, and an additional significant impact in estimated savings related to health, congestion and pollution. In all, these greenways contribute many tens of millions of dollars to the economies of their surrounding communities.


As a resident of Guilford County, I look forward to the expansion of the A&Y for access to our beautiful landscape, the opportunities to build community and neighborliness, and the economic benefits it will bring to all of us.


Jennie Hodge, SUMMERFIELD


The writer is a member of the Town of Summerfield's Trails and Open Space Committee.




Why I will participate
in 'Day of Advocacy'


You may have heard about the "Day of Advocacy" rally taking place in Raleigh on May 16. I wanted to take a moment to explain why I have decided to participate.


It is no secret that teachers do not get paid a lot, but honestly, I knew that when I entered the profession 15 years ago. That is not why I am attending.


North Carolina per-pupil spending is deplorable. This money is the money that we should be using to maintain the school buildings, buy supplies, improve security, etc.... but we aren't getting it. Laws that dictate class size, for example, are made without providing funding for such endeavors (unsubsidized legislation in fancy terms). This practice cannot continue.


I am attending the rally on May 16 to show that as an educator, I have had enough. Our students deserve better. I should not have to turn to "Donor's Choose" to get notecards to make vocabulary cards for my classroom. I should not have textbooks copyrighted in 2005 that are in disrepair and are outdated.


I have put in for a sub on May 16, but at this point, there is talk that there are not enough subs in the county to cover the more than 1,800 teachers who plan to be out. These teachers have all taken personal days, which means we are taking the day off without pay and coming out-of-pocket to cover the cost of our subs. That is how passionately we feel about this cause.


My first priority, always, is my students. I would never take the day if I were not able to continue their preparation for the EOC as we head toward finals. Please know that they will continue the preparation and will not be impacted negatively by my absence on the 16th. The media will say that this rally is about a bunch of teachers complaining about how little we are paid. They will say we are not "professionals." They will say that we only work nine months a year.


I wanted to make sure you knew the truth.


Jennifer Linden, OAK RIDGE






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