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Importance of high school

Letter to the Editor | Friday, April 18, 2008

In the April 15 column titled “Let’s talk about alcohol, baby,” Greg Yatarola stated that binge drinking and related behaviors are more associated with high school students. This is probably true. It is not about the topic of his column that I have concern.

Rather, he wrote: “High school’s largely a waste anyway, needlessly long and hardly challenging (I say this as a high school teacher).” I find such a statement not only degrading to the profession of teaching but also to Greg himself.

As a former high school teacher I know that high school can be made very challenging for every student. It can be the place where a student develops a vision of the world and his/her place in it. It can be the opening of minds to conflicting ideas. It is a time to learn to read with criticism, write with persuasion and participate in the visual and performing arts. It is where the initial knowledge base for a scientific career is acquired. It is the place to find one’s passion.

Who sets the expectations and tasks for the students? This is the job of the teacher! If Greg finds high school needlessly long and hardly challenging for his students, may I suggest that he look for a different profession, or at least get some assistance from someone in the field.

Not only high school students but all students at every level need to be challenged. They need teachers who are willing and able to do it.

Mary Lou Derwent


Class of 1962

April 16