Pursuit of excellence must be encouragedI was astonished...

Letters

June 02, 1996

Pursuit of excellence must be encouraged

I was astonished to read about the specter of unrewarded achievement currently rearing its ugly head at local high school graduation ceremonies ("No single star, but an 'A' team" by Mike Bowler, The Sun, May 27). Fifteen valedictorians at South Carroll High School? Nine at Howard High School? No valedictorians at Pikesville High School or the Park School?

I guess they will just award gold medals to everyone who shows up at the Olympics this summer. If teachers are so concerned about "unseemly competition" among students, why don't they eliminate all varsity sports from the curriculum? The unavoidable truth is that out in the real world, competition is the law of the land. Competition is good. Competition brings out the best in people. Competition selects employees, promotions and awards.

When competition is abolished, it sends a chilling message to students. "Don't do your best. Achievement is not valued." Down, down, down into the maelstrom of mediocrity we go.

Elisa Koehler

Westminster

Where political integrity begins

We found Patricia Holbert's response to your May 1 editorial on abortion and the GOP completely missing the point.

The GOP does not make abortion the issue. The Democrats and the media bring it up every time there is a major election or government appointment.

However, all of the social problems identified by Ms. Holbert that she feels deserve more attention by the GOP have a root cause: abortion.

Those of us who are pro-life (not the religious right, as everyone likes to make us out to be) realize that respect for life, and thus society, begins with respect for the most innocent and most precious of human life, the pre-born. We want elected officials and a president to have integrity on all issues, including social issues; however, we cannot take any candidate seriously on these issues when he/she cannot defend the most innocent and defenseless of human life.

As a society, we wonder why fathers/mothers shirk their responsibilities toward their children. We are shocked with stories such as the Susan Smith case. We wonder why there is domestic violence and child abuse. We wonder why teen pregnancy and abortion continues to escalate. It all started with abortion. Is it the pre-born child's fault? No.

Abortion is a quick fix for deeper issues that should be dealt with, like simple respect for one another or the return of the nuclear family.

Those who favor keeping abortion legal like to say now that the government should stay out of their lives on this issue when it was the government intervening 23 years ago that allowed this spurious and unconstitutional right to exist in the first place.

We cannot expect to solve the bigger social issues until the main issue is resolved. The only way the government can do anything about abortion is to undo the monumental wrong of Jan. 22, 1973, by overturning Roe v. Wade.

Mary and Chuck Zaepfel

Eldersburg

Art in our lives

I had the honor of attending the ceremony at which Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke awarded this year's City Arts grants. This grant money, coming from the city and state Arts Council budgets as well as a generous donation by the Abell Foundation, will assist 51 artists and arts organizations in taking the arts to the wider community through free events (performances, classes, publications, exhibits).

It was heartening to see that so many people, in spite of the gloom and doom around us, continue to believe that the arts can make a difference. We artists know that the quality of life for all -- from the smallest child in Sandtown-Winchester to the weary senior at the Greater New Hope Tower to the listening audience to Pro Musica rara -- is improved when we have available to us dance, music, theater, literature, sculpture, painting, concerts in parks, murals on walls, etc.

We as a community must never lose sight of this fact, for so much of what we become as individuals and as a community rests on the intangible uplift we obtain by having art in our lives.

Stephanie Panos Link

Hampstead

The writer is secretary of the Baltimore International Rhythm and Drumming Society, Inc.

Unions and the Mafia: Bartlett, foe speak out

To illustrate the absurd and baseless logic underlying a scurrilous implication by my opponent, I used the following analogy: My opponent "has gotten about $40,000 from organized labor and labor organizations have been linked with the Mafia. Am I to imply by that that (my opponent) supports the Mafia? It's a ridiculous thing."

On May 21, despite the fact that my remarks had been accurately and widely reported by among others, the Associated Press, the Frederick News-Post and the Carroll County Times, The Sun editorial writers misquoted my statement and then chastised me for these "remarks."

In the future, I expect if The Sun takes issue with my words, it will accurately quote them so its readers will not be misinformed or question its journalistic standards and ethics.

Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett

Washington

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