Close one elementary school in Niskayuna, but leave middles alone
As a Niskayuna High School senior, I would like to share my thoughts and feelings about the possible closure of one of the district’s schools [Dec. 4 Gazette].
Although it would be ideal to keep them all open, that option is not viable. I think the best option would be to close one of the elementary schools, but also leaving the middle schools as they are.
The district’s current set-up breaks the students out of their shells a little at a time, and I think it works well. By going to middle school with only students from one or two different elementary schools makes the transition easy; it is not that many new people.
It makes the big step to high school much easier already knowing half the students. I think it is important to know most of your classmates, especially when our graduation class size is not all that large.
Both of two other proposed options include combining the entire district into middle school together, starting at either Grade 5 or 6. To me this just does not seem fair, but rather overwhelming to these young students.
Although it has not been stated which school they would close, my best guess would be Birchwood, due to its being at only 58 percent of enrollment capacity. While as a Birchwood graduate this is hard, it would also be a wise decision.
With only 263 students, making it by far the smallest, it would [affect] the fewest number of students.
The building would also be very [marketable], to help bring in revenue.
Faith and prayer can help overcome tragedy
When a loved one is lost through an unexpected tragedy, we are devastated. Still, from that tragedy, there is something to be gained.
Having lost my younger brother, Randy Eugene Miller, gunned down in Harlem in 1996, I have experienced what others globally are going through having to face the death of a loved one.
Drunk with anger, words of destruction were all I could say. I was unwilling to forgive. Unable to open my arms to extend a warm welcome or fond embrace, my shoulders became frail as century-old guitar strings.
Music of dark, sad content became my trumpeter. I awoke daily with it as it led me through the days of gray skies; lonely, sleepless nights I rested upon its melodies. I spiraled into a rage of illogical thinking, fueled by the idea of retribution. Motivated by hatred, I wanted to find the killer and execute her myself.
With loved ones praying for me, a higher power intervened. I could achieve no retaliation for the loss of my brother. Depression found its home in me for awhile, but time allowed for greater intervention in my life. Time does not heal all wounds, but prayer does.
My brother’s death made me reflect on my own life. And in that period of reflection, I began to pray and found forgiveness in my heart. Mercy for people who do wrong sets an example beyond measure; I encountered people who faced the death of loved ones just as I had. Untimely tragedies can bring about a replenished respect for human life. All of these things I have grown to understand and live my life teaching others.
We all have gifts within us to inspire others to change for the better. I utilize my gift as an artist through painting and writing. My creative abilities are driven by my understanding and acceptance to teach unity by living that example in my life. I get angry at times, but I don’t take action on my bad thoughts.
As a young boy years ago, my grandmother shared the story of the death of her husband. A drunk driver killed him, and it took her many years to forgive the convicted. But praying repaired her broken heart. She explained to me why people must forgive. She told me that a state of retribution leaves one without life’s electricity, love.
Because of my grandmother’s testimony, I had a coping mechanism within me that was activated years later as I, too, faced tragedy of a loved one.
I live my life praying for change in myself, and people worldwide every day. Mourn for a while, but know that a higher power has all the answers, some of which we are not yet ready to bear. He knows the right season for which the precious fruit of closure is ripe enough for us to digest.
I pray we all are blessed enough to grow and understand that the things of this earth that bring us pain should be given up in prayer. Remember, peace is a spiritual rest from within us, an unexplainable feeling far from our own conscious.
Kurtis L. Miller
Success for girls, with a little help from friends
“I am I can” would like to thank Price Chopper and Stewart’s Shops for their generous donations to support our workshop series.
This series focuses on life skills for our students, including healthy relationships, safe social networking, college planning/resources, and how to find a part-time job. It is through their generosity that we continue to make a difference in our communities.
“I am I can” is an organization filled with everyday heroes. It selectively partners mentors and high school girls who enrich each other’s lives and learn from one another; by doing so, it enhances the quality of life in our community. We are a not-for-profit, 501(c)3 that provides encouragement, direction and guidance to young women in grades 9-12.
If you would like to learn more about “I am I can,” including how to become a mentor or make a donations, please visit our site, www.iamicanachieve.org, or contact our founder, Avon Scherff at 688-3010, ext. 102.
The writer is a board member.
No to Gettysburg, yes to Mandela?
Funny how Obama could not find the time to take a 25-minute ride to Gettysburg to attend the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address [Dec. 6 Gazette].
Yet, somehow, an eight-hour plane trip to attend the funeral of a Marxist terrorist was not a problem!
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