Schedule article off-base
From: Tina Beerman
As I read Mr. [Gary] Lambrecht's article in the June 14 issue [Howard County Sun, "Winter schedule shake-up reaches an uneasy compromise"] which addressed the winter sports schedule for the high school sports program, I was struck by the blatancy of his misunderstandings on several points outlined in these changes.
First, in these tough economic times, it is sensible to save $40,000 by eliminating the need for security at night games when those games can be played during daytime hours.
Second, it is a valid concern that evenings be left for studying whenever possible. As the parent of a freshman and a 1992 graduate of Hammond High, I see minimal value to weeknight social outings to a basketball game.
Third, as for the statement that principals have grown tired of the occasional 15-hour days, let us remind ourselves that high school administrators attend other school functions besides sports games. They must be present for music department programs, for booster club meetings and a range of other activities that take place in the evenings. The "occasional 15-hour day" is a myth. Just ask any high school administrator.
Another myth is that principals just want to go home early. I would suggest that Mr. Lambrecht do his homework on this topic. High school administrators can always be found at school in the afternoons whenever there are students present for school-sanctioned activities. I have been witness to this fact for four years. Ask any administrator when was the last time that they "went home early."
Fourth, whatever the implications of the statement about Jackie French, it seems to have a derogatory connotation that these changes have occurred since she has become the supervisor of physical education. Perhaps Mr. Lambrecht would care to elaborate on this statement and explain just what it meant.
Fifth, the controversy about attendance at basketball games really rattles my cage. My daughter played four years of field hockey, three as a varsity player. She also played softball and lacrosse. My son played a spring sport this year as well. All of these sports are played in the afternoon. They deserve as much spectator support as basketball and football. Yet no one is concerned about attendance at these afternoon games. Anyone who wants to watch a basketball game will find a way to do so. Gate receipts notwithstanding, I do not think the games will suffer that much from the afternoon tip-off time.
Last, the statement that boys play a faster, more athletic game is another direct insult to the skill and athletic ability of the girls basketball players. Do you say these things on purpose just to get a rise out of your readers?
I do not see much responsible journalism taking place in the sports section of the Howard County Sun. I would suggest that Mr. Lambrecht find a way to be supportive of all sports, both boys and girls programs, in the county. Title IX supports equality for both sexes in high school sports. I say it is about time it was implemented in Howard County.
Coach will be missed
From: Mike Maughan
I have experienced a great deal of personal growth during my years as a high school student at Oakland Mills High School. I attribute much of this growth to the personal interest taken in me by Coach Dan Ricker.
When I entered high school, I found myself dealing with the stress of transition common to many ninth-graders. It was strange to have to make new friends, classes were more difficult and life was more complicated.
In December of my freshman year, Ricker, my JV football coach, approached me in the hallway and encouraged me to come out for wrestling. I was very unsure about his suggestion. I did not know how to wrestle, I was not particularly strong and I weighed only 108 pounds. Worst of all, it was already the middle of the season. I told him all my excuses, but somehow he convinced me to give it a try.
I have never experienced anything like that first day of wrestling. It was the hardest practice I had ever been to and it left me sore for weeks.
Before long, I learned that not only did I like wrestling, but I was good at it.
During the first practice of the 1990-1991 season, I broke a vertebrae in my back and was required to spend several weeks in a brace. Coach Ricker stuck with me and taught me that even when you face great odds, you can come out a winner. I was able to go on that year and win the Howard County championship.
Wrestling has had a profound impact on my life. I learned that in the sport of wrestling, as in life, I must learn to depend upon myself. By being forced to deal with difficult situations independently, I have learned to handle real life dilemmas more easily. I have also learned to get enjoyment from seeing others succeed without forgetting the goals I must strive to reach for myself.
I owe so many of these learnings to the coaching, mentoring and personal caring given to me by Coach Ricker. He has changed my life, and the lives of my teammates, in such positive ways.
I will miss him, and have deep regrets that I will not be able to come home from college and watch my old team do their thing "Ricker style."
Editor's note: Ricker was fired as wrestling coach last month.
Corporate aid to schools
From: Linda Johnston
I was very pleased to hear J. P. Bolduc's comments on education in America, the value of educational partnerships, and the direction to which we should move in Howard County.
I did not attend the Educational Partnerships Program Fifth Anniversary Luncheon, where the president of W. R. Grace, J. P. Bolduc, gave the keynote address. However, I did receive an audio cassette of his outstanding address from the W. R. Grace Public Relations Office.
I feel very strongly in times of budgetary constraints that we look at alternative ways of funding beneficial to school system projects. Since our businesses are customers of the school system, we need to reach out to them!
As J. P. Bolduc said, make what we have better and "hit the home run."
My favorite quote is: "You can't steal second base with your foot still on first."
We are losing in the competitive marketplace. We have a need in our country and county for skilled people. Not all high school graduates enter college immediately upon graduation.
J. P. Bolduc mentioned that "we in the U.S. are losing the race in productivity, export, technology, quality and we are about to lose the race in education."
We need to provide our students with wisdom and understanding. This reminded me of the following comments by Dr. Thomas Brown, management consultant, who states: "Today's careers bubble or burst, personal fortunes flower or decay, National destinies buoy or burst because of the kinetic force of the American marketplace. Education needs to focus upon the difference between making money and making value, making a living and making life, between competing over football and making an entire country competitive."
I believe a truly educated person has wisdom and understanding. I believe the role of educators is more than providing information.
Education should prepare students for society -- a toolbox of things to use as functioning, productive adults. Let us prepare them to to meet the needs of American businesses, particularly small businesses.
We need to reach out to our students at a young age and tell them of the many opportunities available for future career choices.
We need to include all careers, from education, medicine, engineering, computer technology, assembly line jobs, physical sciences, physical therapists.
The list is endless, but most essential is to focus upon our needs and to work together through apprenticeships and cooperative ventures with our own Howard County businesses in order to educate our students on all opportunities available to them upon graduation.