End of the year school events add thrill to education
To the Editor:
I know the newspaper will cover these events with superb aplomb, but I wanted to add a few words about three school events I attended last week.
The first is Madison’s annual “Flying Is Fun Day” for Kindergartners. Cathy Lewan has been organizing this great event for many years now. It’s a real thrill to watch these youngster’s eyes as they watch planes and biplanes “buzz” the runway and come in for their landings. I was in my Air Force Blues, talking to kids about my years in the military and telling stories about flying. What a wonderful way to get children interested in math and science!
The 4th Annual Mock Congress was another resounding success. The students passed twice as many “bills” into “law” as last year, proving that they’re getting even better at creating legislation than before.
The bills had a surprisingly Libertarian flair, including legalizing fireworks and gambling. But they also raised the penalty for rape and child molestation, and banned all abortions (by a surprisingly large margin!)
I firmly believe your kids know a lot more about politics than you did at your age. Jordan Chinouth, District Chair for US Congressman Paul Broun, was there, and he said he’d never seen anything like it. Special thanks to Representative Doug Holt who opened the proceedings with some very poignant remarks.
Kudos to Patrick Vernon and Courtney Perry who won best debaters in the Senate. Best Senate bill was by President of the Senate Katherine Key, and best House bill was by Avery Culp. Houa Yang did a great job as Speaker of the House.
Special kudos to House Majority Leader Trent Conn who expertly and persistently roamed the aisles of the House ensuring he had the votes to pass his legislation. I’ve seen three of these now, and I’ve never seen a more effective legislator. And please allow me a moment of parental pride, but he and my own daughter, Caitlin Belton, won best debaters in the 208 member House.
Finally, the annual Baccalaureate Service was amazing. Organized by Class President Gary Walker and his class officers, it was an awesome blend of classical, country, and African-American “gospel” music. There were Hindu blessings, liturgical dancing, and words of Scripture. Reverend Hoke L. Smith gave an outstanding and wise address, introduced very lovingly by his able daughter, Sarita.
The diversity of the Mock Congress and the Baccalaureate was inspiring. African Americans, Asians, Indians, and Whites all played important leadership roles in these two events. It gives me hope that my children’s generation will obliterate the barriers that have plagued our nation for so many years.
Printed in the May 21, 2009 edition.