The Good Old Boys Club is alive and well in Harrisburg.
I enjoyed the insightful Jan. 18 article on the Civil Rights Movement in Washington and Southwestern Pennsylvania more generally. I was somewhere in the photo that was published of the demonstration in Washington and still recall composing our letters and marching down Main Street. I also recall comments made by white bystanders who were astonished that “there were so many colored people in Washington.”
The article mentions the role of some guidance counselors in thwarting ambitions. Even though I made A’s and A+’s in virtually every class I took in my 12 years of study in the Washington public school system, consistently scored in the 99th percentile on all standardized tests, was in the “accelerated” program, which allowed me to take college-level biology and math, and graduated with high honors, my primary guidance counselor told me to forget about going to a university. She urged me to find a job and try to attend a local junior college. Fortunately, I had the benefit of another, more supportive counselor, and a number of very supportive teachers who urged me to strive for the best and pledged their continued support.
I especially recall the efforts of Washington High School math teacher Vincent DiBello, who was both an exceptional instructor and an incredibly supportive mentor. I eventually went to the University of Chicago, one of the most selective universities in the country, and was able to pass out of my first year of math, due largely, I believe, to DiBello’s instruction.
Due also to the efforts of my family – my parents taught me to read and write long before I entered school – the strong educational values promoted by Washington’s African-American community and the support of the community at Nazareth Baptist Church, I went on to obtain a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. I eventually became a professor at UCLA and am also now a vice provost there. Many of my fellow African American graduates from Wash High (and there weren’t very many of us then) also went on to very successful careers.
Of course, none of this would have been possible without the Civil Rights Movement and the activists on all levels – including our own local movement – that contributed to the cause. Thank you for highlighting these individuals and the significance of the movement.
M. Belinda Tucker
Editor’s note: M. Belinda Tucker is the vice provost for UCLA’s Institute of American Cultures.
The so-called brainiacs, when making plans for Southpointe, didn’t include something Washington County could have surely used – a community college of its own.
Now, we have Beaver County Community College with a branch at Southpointe.
Many of the high school graduates in the county, I am sure, would have taken advantage of a community college if it had been located nearby.
With all due respect to Sally Brown-Pawlosky, her Jan. 18 letter showed that she missed the message of the photo to which she referred.
The photo on the front of the Jan. 15 sports section perfectly represented the battle on the court the night before. The match-up between the girls basketball teams of McGuffey and Trinity high schools had quite a bit riding on it. McGuffey’s victory placed them in a second place tie with Trinity in their section. Furthermore, it gave the Highlanders the opportunity to “silence the critics,” as the headline said, who doubted the team’s ability to adequately compete in Class Triple A.
Finally, it provided what could be the most important opportunity for any teenager – bragging rights.
Some of these student athletes, while playing on opposing teams, are friends off the court. Friendships are put on the sidelines until the game ends. One team’s victory affords them to chance to gloat a little within their circles of friends or on social media. The Trinity and McGuffey girls demonstrated love for the game, good sportsmanship, and respect for one another on the court. Additionally, all of the spectators treated one another with respect and kindness. It was a great game.
If one looks long and hard enough, he or she can find something to be offended about in anything. Sexism, ageism, racism, any kind of “ism” can be found if you want to find it. Apparently, Brown-Pawlosky made that choice.
I looked long and hard at this photo in the Observer-Reporter. I chose to see a memory of a hard-fought battle on the basketball court. I was pleased that I had been there to watch it.
I found reading the Jan. 13 Observer-Reporter editorial, “Community college plan a conversation starter” rather interesting.
We were enlightened paragraph after paragraph about all the doom and gloom Georgia experienced with one of the highest rates of unemployment in the country. It told us President Obama’s plan to make a two-year, community college education tuition-free to all students could aid in fixing Georgia and other states’ problems with unemployment.
What I did not read is, since its inception, the state lottery in Georgia has already been investing lottery revenues into their youth’s continued education, unlike Pennsylvania that doles it out to senior citizens.
Georgia has spent $15.7 billion on, according to the lottery website, “one of the most successful education initiatives in Georgia history, the lottery-funded HOPE (Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally) Scholarship Program currently provides Georgia students with financial assistance for attendance at eligible Georgia colleges, universities, or technical colleges. Students may be eligible for the Zell Miller Scholarship, the HOPE Scholarship, or the HOPE Grant.”
I, therefore, view the editorial’s use of the information from The Atlantic magazine article on Georgia’s unemployment problem as a moot point when it speaks approvingly of handing out tuition-free education as a solution to Georgia’s unemployment crisis. According to the data cited in the editorial, Georgia’s support and effort towards educating their high school graduates would appear to have been proven unsuccessful if we are to believe an undereducated workforce is the main cause of the unemployment rates in Georgia and across our country.
Instead, why not offer to teach community college, two-year courses during the junior and senior years of a student’s high school education?
Most school districts already have vo-tech schools in place that could expand, offering additional courses of study.
To present our children with an opportunity to attain a solid career upon high school graduation, the conversation should be about revamping our state’s 12-year education program requirements in order to meet the demands of our 21st century workforce through offering our high school students additional individual educational choices.
Since we, the taxpayers, already pay for that education, the students could then be graduating with certifications qualifying them with the skills required to meet the demands of the jobs that are now being created.
Rebecca L. Simpson
After reading the letter by Carla Miller published Jan. 15 about what she described as poor sportsmanship displayed by Trinity High School students, parents and administrators at a basketball game against McGuffey High School, I was appalled. I am a senior at Trinity and was a member of the student......
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I had the displeasure of being at the boys varsity basketball game between Trinity and McGuffey high schools Tuesday and was appalled by the lack of sportsmanship projected by Trinity’s student spectators, parents, the referees that the school district hired for that particular game, the......
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