Message for today's youth: Value education

Regarding "Veterans cross stage of history - to diplomas" (April 20): I was in the class of '43, watched my male classmates go off to war, and wondered why the fate of gender left me home to pursue an education.

Early this century my father, eldest of seven, had to drop out of high school to support himself and his family. He took some night classes and passed entrance exams for the School of Engineering, University of California, Berkeley. However, he was told that, without a high school diploma, he would be admitted as a "special student," with no hope of earning a diploma. He took all the required courses for a degree in mechanical engineering, paying for it himself with no financial aid or scholarships. After four years he had to watch his classmates, some with lesser records than his, walk across the platform to receive the diploma which was denied him. On the strength of an excellent grade transcript and some faculty recommendations, Mare Island shipyard employed him as a marine engineer. In 1917 he was drafted into the Army Engineers and was discharged in 1919 as a second lieutenant. He returned to San Francisco and learned that some rules had been changed, and that veterans like him would receive their diplomas.

My father framed that diploma, and hung it in a place of honor in our home. Fifty years later we learned the dean of the college had been so impressed by my father's work and determination that he had gone to the state legislature and urged them to change the requirements. I hope that today's students may value their education as highly.

Bernice L. Youtz Olympia, Wash.

A heartfelt thanks

Regarding your series "The Heart of a High School" (April 20, 21, 24, 25): I am a freshman in college and happen to be from Colorado near Littleton. In fact, last year Columbine High School ended up playing its spring concert at my school.As the anniversary of the Columbine shooting drew near, I was reminded of the shock and suspicion that erupted in my area.

I found the articles in the series refreshing and calming.Like Naperville North, my high school has similar demographics to Columbine High School, and because of its close proximity to the event, there was fear of a repeat.

Accolades to you and your reporters for a job well done.Thank you for sending a message of calm hope to the world.Young people need a voice that praises their courage and responsibility instead of labeling them as troublemakers.

Evonne Pratt-Nafie Elsah, Ill.

Don't blame loggers for deforestation

Regarding the April 19 editorial cartoon: After more than 20 years as a forester, I am still amazed at how loggers are depicted as evil men doing evil things. I am appalled by Clay Bennett's portrayal of these hard-working men and somewhat surprised he is suggesting that loggers are the cause of deforestation. Loggers are only doing what the consumers have indirectly asked them to do. They make their living harvesting trees, not causing deforestation.

The cartoon would have served a better purpose if it had shown the quintessential American family (the best consumers in the world) chopping down the tree. That would have painted a better truth in the deforestation debate.

The fact is, we all consume wood products almost every single day of our lives. We need to be mindful of that and how that effects this natural resource. We also need to be mindful of pointing fingers at groups and affixing blame, when it is ourselves we should be looking at.

Todd Merritt Olympia, Wash.

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