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Letters to the editor 9/12

September 12, 2002

Support county school foundation



To the editor:


We suspect that many of our fellow Washington County citizens have never heard of the Washington County Public Schools Foundation, Inc. (WCPSF). We intend to change that fact because we believe that the foundation will play a vital role in helping our community create a world-class school system strong enough to serve as a model in the state and across the nation.

What is the WCPSF? More than five years ago, visionary community leaders, in collaboration with the Board of Education saw the need to marshal the resources of the business community and other advocates for education in order to create a nonprofit corporation to "do the right thing for children." The result was the formation of the WCPSF.

Last year, with the support of the School Board and the new superintendent, the foundation experienced a renaissance. It began soliciting and receiving funds that would be earmarked for supporting creative and enriched educational programs.

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What does the WCPSF do? The foundation is able to receive charitable contributions from philanthropic organizations, government agencies, corporations, businesses and individuals. It uses those funds to support a wide range of programs and activities in our schools that directly benefit students. This year, five teachers received mini-grants from the foundation for innovative projects that will be implemented in their classrooms and schools.

Why do we need the WCPSF? Despite a committed School Board, superintendent, and county government, only limited funds are available from local, state and federal sources. While we have used this revenue wisely and efficiently to create a strong school system, it is not sufficient to take our schools to the next level - world-class status. As foundation funds grow, they will be available for initiatives such as specialized and enriched programs, advanced-study programs and infusion of technology throughout our schools to benefit and challenge every student.

What can citizens and stakeholders do to help the WCPSF? First, get the word out about the foundation to neighbors, friends, colleagues, and business associates. Second, consider making a donation to the foundation. More than 100 school system employees are currently donating to the WCPSF through payroll deductions. Businesses and private donors have made contributions as word has spread about the valuable work of the foundation. As stated in its bylaws, the WCPSF "operates exclusively for receiving charitable contributions for the funding of educational programs that benefit students in Washington County Public Schools."

For more information, to get involved, or to make a donation, contact Michael J. Schaefer, President of WCPSF, c/o Office of the Board/Public Information, P.O. Box 730, 820 Commonwealth Avenue, Hagerstown, MD 21740. The phone number is 301-766-2994 or 2996.

Together we can realize our vision of a world-class school system.

Roxanne R. Ober

School Board Member

Michael J. Schaefer

President of the Washington County Public Schools Foundation




Remember the soldiers



To the editor:


I would just like to ask the organizers of so many memorial events held around the town one question. "What about our soldiers?" It seems that in Sunday's edition of The Herald-Mail, the listings for 9/11 memorial services described how they would recognize those who perished, and the police and fire departments.

I think that is great, and those people deserve the remembrance and recognition, but what about our soldiers who are still out there fighting to keep our country from being attacked again?

What about those soldiers who have already given their lives so that we may enjoy the freedoms we have today? What about the families of those soldiers who are grieving for a lost loved one, or a loved one who is overseas for a very long time?

As an Army wife, someone once told me, "Being an Army wife is the hardest job in the Army," (The same is true of Army husbands). That sentence rings true so many times throughout the year in my home. With possible impending attacks on Iraq, I think that in all the remembrance of the ones we lost, and the ones who helped on that fated day last year, we need to also remember those who are still out there fighting.

A. Griffiths

Hagerstown




Beware of the Chicken Hawks



To the editor:


President Richard Nixon famously said: "Watch what I do, not what I say." If the United States attacks Iraq, other nations will surely watch what we do.

If the United States can attack Iraq on the speculation that it might one day acquire weapons of mass destruction, why can't India attack Pakistan, which has nuclear weapons today? The U.S. government estimates that nuclear war between India and Pakistan would immediately kill 12 million people - and many more as the long-term radiological effects took their toll.

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