Readers Respond

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Letters to the Pilot

Supporting local education

To The Editor,

With all the government reform of education currently taking place, it is really nice to know that the community is supporting the education taking place in this town.

My family moved to Storm Lake when I was in third grade. When I began in the school system there were a few non-white faces. As the years went by there were more and more shades within my class, and I embraced them! I wouldn't trade my educational experiences in the Storm Lake District for anything. I learned so much from the diversity that surrounded me.

I ended up enrolling at Buena Vista University. I received a degree in Biology after just three years (partly due to the dual-credit options available at SLHS, as well as an ambitious course load). After weighing my opportunities, I elected to return to BVU for one more year and obtain my certification to teach secondary science. I landed a good job in the Newell-Fonda district the following fall and taught there for two years, gaining valuable experience (thank you Newell-Fonda). A position at SLHS opened up, and I applied, interviewed, and was offered the job. Of course, I accepted. It has always been my career goal to come back to that same educational system that helped me grow so much as an individual.

I am a young teacher, but I am learning quickly how to motivate my students and empower them with knowledge. It is sad, but I don't see many students at SLHS that really appreciate all that this educational system is (or could be) providing them. I do know one thing for sure: the Storm Lake Community School District is pioneering education for ELLs (English Language Learners), as well as other students.

A supporting role is being played by others in our community as well. Namely, I would like to publicly thank Dr. James Hampton and a number of his students who made it possible for my class to complete a laboratory technique known as gel electrophoresis, which makes DNA visible. At the end of the lab, each of my students was able to take with them a picture of their DNA.

Earlier this semester, Taco John's donated some plastic cups to my classroom, thereby allowing eighty-five Human Anatomy students to complete an activity on blood transfusions (don't worry, it's only food coloring in water). It may not seem like much to Taco John's, but my students were ecstatic to have had that experience.

In conclusion, I would just like to reiterate how fantastic our schools are. In large part, it is due to the great teachers we employ, who are willing to put forth the extra effort to help every student learn, but this system is also supported by individuals and organizations in our community too numerous to mention. Thank you to all who support the educational efforts in this town.

- Robyn Hogrefe, Albert City

(SLHS Biology Teacher)

This war is no farce to me

To The Editor,

Tom Ellis recently presented his opinion about our war in Iraq, concluding that it is a farce. He came to this conclusion based on many statements with which I am not in agreement.

Personally, my conclusion about our war in Iraq is very different from Tom's. I don't know how many will agree with me, but here are some of my ideas.

To take down a tyrant who was torturing and murdering tens of thousands of innocent civilians each year is no farce in my book.

To take down a tyrant who, on the basis of widespread, international intelligence, had weapons of mass destruction at his fingertips, is no farce to me, even if afterwards the weapons were not found.

To force the terrorists to fight against our soldiers abroad instead of murdering our civilians at home, is no farce to me.

To try to help the Sunnis, the Shiites and the Kurds to get along and try to create a new democracy, though a hugely difficult task, is no farce to me. If strong, anti-terrorist democracies can be established in Afghanistan and Iraq, the advantages will be great for them, for us and for the world.

In my book, this war is no farce. I consider it to be a valid and honorable war.

We need to remember that no matter which political party is in control, we are at war. No matter which political party is in control, the Islamic terrorists will continue to be formidable and vicious opponents. No matter which political party is in control, it's going to be a long and difficult war, and many more of our soldiers and even citizens may die. In this war, I believe that it is very important that we remain united and not grow weary.

- Bo Brink, Storm Lake

Free to give the gift of life

To The Editor,

I gave blood Tuesday, April 4th for the first time.

Somewhere, someone's life might be saved by my donation. I work at Buena Vista Regional Medical Center and have seen blood used to bring color to someone's granny's cheeks, to help a new mom recover from a difficult childbirth and to give a young man with cancer a higher count so that he can receive chemotherapy and continue his fight. As well, a donated unit of blood is used to make vaccinations, medications and other "fractions", which are used to benefit the people who need them. This is something that I'm happy and proud to be a part of.

At one time in my life, I did not have the freedom of giving blood because of religious reasons. However, after much research and thought, my conscience could no longer allow letting misinterpreted scriptures and life-threatening doctrines come between me and doing the right thing for those in my community.

The Siouxland Community Bloodbank's mobile unit is at BVRMC the first Tuesday of the month. I encourage everyone to donate if they're able and become a part of saving someone's life.

- Rachel Evans, Storm Lake

BVRMC lab employee