Shen endured its tragedy with help from an entire region
Just over one week ago, the Shenendehowa High School community suffered a terrible loss with the untimely deaths of Deanna Rivers and Christopher Stewart, both seniors and actively involved in our school.
Together with the injuries to Matt Hardy, a junior at Shenendehowa and Bailey Wind from Shaker High School, this accident, tragic in its impact on the families and friends of these students, helped create an outpouring of love, compassion and support not only for them, but the entire Shenendehowa school district and greater Clifton Park-Halfmoon communities.
I have heard from dozens of schools, health care facilities, and nonprofit organizations around the region and beyond, offering their resources to assist our students and staff. I have received inquiries from numerous small businesses and individuals in the community who want to assist with scholarship efforts to recognize these young people. Local churches and their parishioners have prayed for our healing. The Roman Catholic community has comforted us in our grief and allowed for the types of tributes and remembrances befitting these outstanding youth.
The members of the state police, including the officers who assisted at the scene of the accident, along with the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Department, have allowed us to safely organize a moving tribute to our fallen students and attend two wakes and funerals in four days.
The high school Parent-Teacher-Student Association (PTSA) and the Shen PTA Council, along with our sister schools and the district office, supported us all week with resources, food, materials for memorials and their positive thoughts and energy. It has been overwhelming and inspiring to say the least.
Perhaps most impressive to me has been the way our high school students, faculty and staff have rallied around one another to assist in the healing process. The resiliency, empathy and character of our students have been tested in the cruelest of ways. In education, we often speak of student and staff accountability; they have passed the most important of all tests. They have come to the aid and support of others, and they have done so in such a way that Deanna’s and Chris’ legacy and the healing spirit necessary for Matt’s and Bailey’s speedy recovery will never be forgotten.
The young people of our school, and their peers from other districts, have inspired us by their ability to respond in ways that have helped us understand the power of shared concern and the impact of social media used appropriately. They have defined themselves as people who care deeply for one another and who can rise to the occasion, even in the darkest of situations.
Clearly the Shenendehowa Class of 2013 will never be the same, having lost Deanna and Chris; surely they are better off for having known them, even for such a brief time. These seniors are now challenged with using the example of their departed classmates to become more serious students, more committed athletes and teammates, more loyal friends, and more loving individuals, since Deanna and Chris demonstrated these traits every day for us.
The Shenendehowa family will recover with time and the continued support of our families, friends, colleagues and community.
I offer all who helped by their support, thoughts and prayers my sincere appreciation, and I ask for your continued care and concern for the Rivers, Stewart, Hardy, and Wind families. It is a privilege to be associated with this school district and the surrounding communities.
We are Shen!
The writer is the high school’s principal.
Did congressional GOP miss election results?
The “fiscal cliff” is a package of automatic spending cuts specified in the Budget Control Act (BCA) of August 2011. Under the BCA, these cuts will become effective Jan. 1, 2013, since the “bipartisan supercommittee” failed to agree on a $1.2 trillion deficit-reduction package last year.
These cuts, in both defense and non-defense spending, can be averted if the president and Congress come to agreement on a deficit-reduction plan before the end of this year.
The major stumbling block in the supercommittee’s deliberations was how to deal with the Bush-era tax cuts. Republicans insisted that all cuts be extended, while Democrats wanted to extend all cuts except for the wealthiest 2 percent of taxpayers. In this context, Republicans were following the lead of conservative activist Grover Norquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform, who authored the GOP campaign pledge never to raise taxes.
GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney promised not to raise taxes if elected. Thus the Republican position on taxes was very clear going into the elections.
During the election campaign, President Obama emphasized repeatedly his plan to increase taxes on the wealthiest taxpayers if re-elected. Thus the Democratic position on taxes was also very clear. President Obama won re-election.
Nevertheless, when Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner presented to Congress the president’s initial deficit-reduction plan, which included tax increases for the wealthiest Americans, Republican congressional leaders responded with surprise and derision. House Speaker John Boehner said: “I was flabbergasted.” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that he “burst into laughter.”
Why are the Republican leaders “flabbergasted” and “laughing” when the president did exactly what he said he would do? A majority of Americans endorsed the president’s tax plan and rejected the Norquist tax plan.
The Republicans should acknowledge the results of the presidential election, abandon their strategy of posturing and adopt a strategy of negotiation.
Unthinkable to abandon dog on busy highway
To the woman who dropped off a dark brindle female pit bull Dec. 5 on Route 67 in the town of Amsterdam: I and many people have stopped along this busy road because your dog was standing on same spot along the road where you abandoned her. I tried for three days to get her to come to me, and brought food and treats, hoping she would trust me enough so I could get her on a leash so she would not get hit by heavy traffic on the roadway.
The farmer saw you get out of your car and just thought you were letting your dog out for a potty break. But as your dog did what dogs do, you jumped back in the car and left her, stranded in unfamiliar territory.
I tried so hard to get her to come to me, but she was scared and shaking.
As of Dec. 11, there is no sign of the dog. Calls to the sheriff’s department and the Montgomery County SPCA were made, but no luck.
Hope your Christmas is a happy one.
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