Letters to the Editor - April 1

April 01, 2012

Student Service Learning serves valuable purpose

To the editor:

In regard to the article questioning the purpose of Student Service Learning as a graduation requirement, I am writing to explain from a recent graduate’s perspective why it is so valuable. Although School Board member Edward Forrest, who was quoted in Saturday’s article, may not be attempting to belittle Student Service Learning as a requirement, he is. Saying that we should, “set the bar a little higher,” does not make any sense considering the fact an attempt is being made to remove an important part of a student’s learning process. There is only so much one can learn in a classroom alone. SSL provides an opportunity to get hands-on experience in an area a student may be interested in pursuing as a career.

I agree, the State of Maryland has regulations on just about everything, and it can get a bit ridiculous. But in my opinion, this is one of the most valuable requirements public schools have. Maryland is one of very few states that require SSL hours to graduate. Why would we backtrack and return to a school year of little to no promotion of service for our community?

I speak from personal experience when I say this requirement has a multitude of benefits. It moved me to visit some of the local middle schools and speak to eighth graders and encourage them to get out there at the onset of high school and begin this worthwhile experience.  If students actually take it seriously, they will become more aware of the needs around them, beautify their community, build self-confidence, meet a multitude of people in Washington County and make a true difference. I was even inspired to continue to serve until I earned over 520 hours of service by the end of my senior year. And it wasn’t only me! At the annual ceremony for students who earned over double the graduation requirement of hours, I met a few students who had earned over 1,000 SSL hours. The interest is out there, we just need to promote and encourage it.

Let’s ask ourselves, should we really take away something so incredibly valuable to the future of our local students? We should want Maryland to be known for its high standards for students. If anything, let’s add Algebra II as a requirement for graduation, not take away SSL in the process. We should seriously consider enhancing this program to help students determine what exactly they want to do as a career.

Students should look at SSL as something they want to do rather than something they have to do. Let’s ignite excitement throughout Washington County Public Schools so that every student would be proud of what they’ve learned through SSL.

Mary Teal Mulligan
Miss Washington County 2012

Sen. Rich Alloway a dedicated servant

To the editor:

I met Sen. Rich Alloway several years ago during his first election campaign. Since then I have come to know him considerably better and spent some time with him both as a constituent and as a friend. I have found Senator Alloway to be a man of his word and someone you can rely on to carry through with his promises. In my opinion, he has won the confidence and admiration of the residents of Adams County. He has done a very good job representing all of his district.

Three years ago I invited Senator Alloway to attend the annual National Wreath Project, here in Gettysburg, sponsored by the Sgt. Mac Foundation. Every December we place wreaths on the graves at Gettysburg’s Soldiers National Cemetery and Quantico National Cemetery where United States Marine Sgt. Eric McColley is interred. Eric was killed in a helicopter accident in 2006 in Djibouti while on counter-terrorism operations.

The senator had heard about this annual ceremony and inquired about it. He has attended the wreath laying ceremony each year since then. I must point out that he has no official or public role in this activity other than to come and pay respect to our deceased and fallen veterans. He has also been active in several legislative items that benefit our Armed Forces and National Guard personnel. I believe him to be a stalwart friend of our veterans and military members.

In my opinion Senator Alloway is an honorable and sincere person. He speaks his mind and is not afraid to give you his complete opinion on any subject. I have complete trust and confidence in his knowledge and judgment of matters concerning the 33rd District. I wholeheartedly support Senator Alloway’s re-election campaign and encourage you to support him as well.

Stan Clark
Gettysburg, Pa.

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