Recently in the OBSERVER there was a picture of a white owl. I remembered my experience with a white owl. One morning I went to the bread box which was by the kitchen window. Outside the window was a tree. I happened to look out and there in the tree was a beautiful white owl. I was shocked! I didn't know there was such a thing.
I remember when I was a little kid we used to believe if an owl hooted in a tree in front of the house, that meant someone in that house was going to die. At that time, it was pretty scary, but now I don't give a hoot.
Now today I'd like to discuss our educational systems. We have public schools, private schools, and we don't have vouchers. We do have tuition schools in Fredonia. If there are students outside of our districts who want to attend our schools and they are willing to pay the required tuition, they are allowed to come in.
In public schools, all students are accepted regardless if they are prepared to enter. Some students don't know English very well, but they catch up. In a way, that isn't fair to the public schools because grades from 3-8 are tested and those with little educational background bring down the average of the grades. Teachers are forced to teach with those scores in mind. They lose some freedoms because of this system.
Let's consider how we prepare our children for school. Parents, your jobs are never over. We have to give our children good manners. This covers language (no swearing), good grammar and friendliness. Teach them that diversity is good. We learn from each other. I think I'm going to include dress codes in this section. Our styles these days don't leave much to the imagination. If you don't feel comfortable in a style, don't wear it. I wonder if there has been more sickness in schools this year. Between the severe cold weather and the short, short skirts, I would expect more sickness. And the boys don't get off scot-free. Some of them look like they are going to lose their pants. Use discretion and keep healthy. And dress for the occasion. You don't play ball in your best clothes or go to a dance in dungarees. Parents are going to have to teach their children to use common sense.
When you look at all the births that are taking place without marriages, parents really have their work cut out for them. Besides monetary worries, there are dangers of disease and lost educational advantages.
Parents have their work cut out for them and the schools must reinforce the parents. Society must reward good habits and frown upon bad habits.
I must compliment the Fredonia and Dunkirk schools on their yearly performances. I've had the good fortune of seeing both and the talent has been outstanding. I've seen Broadway plays and some of our local talent has been worthy of Broadway. When you consider how all the talent, wardrobes and backgrounds are all fitted together, it's amazing. The students do all of it.
Now I'd like to say something about the Christian Academy on Central Avenue. I'm familiar with that school because I go to that church. Pastor Gage remains independent. He doesn't believe in getting help from the government because then it has a hold on you. This independence gives them a lot of freedom and it has paid off. Four years ago, Business First claimed the Academy was the best school in the area. The school's policy is to take the children where they are. If they are behind in their class, they are given a chance to catch up to be where they should be. If they are ahead of where they have to be, they are allowed to go as far as they can. Many students are two years ahead of the public schools. Pastor Gage says they concentrate on the basics - reading, writing and arithmetic.
I saw something very sweet recently. I was in the kindergarten room talking to a teacher who was sitting in a chair. A kindergartner came running up and threw himself in her lap. She calmed him down, put her arms around him and kept him in her lap. I guess if the action originates with the child it is accepted in all schools, but public schools have to be more careful.
Most of the parents of the students do not belong to our church, but they like the school. And when I compare the wages of these teachers with other teachers, I can really say it's a labor of love. They have my utmost respect. Many professional parents send their children there.
Before I quit, I have a confession to make. I am just as guilty as others about feeling territorial about the Fredonia schools. We've got to get over that. With the economy being what it is, we're going to have to share space and programs.
Let's be good sports. New programs will probably be good for us. Keep an open mind. I know I'm going to help Dunkirk when they need help raising money. I'm going to work with Skeeter Tower. She's great and deserves our support.
Have a great life!