New respect for Sheriff's Office
In November, I graduated from the Pasco Sheriff's Citizens Academy. This is a six-week, two-days-a-week, four-hour each day class. It takes the participants through each unit of the Sheriff's Office.
School resource officer, SWAT, posse, detention, marine and crisis were just a few of the units that presented to the class an overall description of their duties. I was so impressed by their mannerisms. They deal with the dark side of society and yet have the most outstanding attitudes and persona, something that encouraged me.
I have criticized Sheriff Bob White before and I may not always agree with him. One thing I do forcefully agree with now is that he must be doing something right to have the support of these men and women. The financial presentation changed my mind. Yes, I did some verification. This academy was a pleasure and so informative, far more than I anticipated.
Cpl. Alan Wilkett led us through the various segments. He was professional, yet has a sense of humor and was lauded by all who attended. If these men and women are a sampling of the Sheriff's Office, we are very lucky. They need and deserve the extra money to protect this county.
Maybe the County Commission needs to attend this class. They are willing to throw money into parks when money for employees to cover them is nonexistent. Yet, they see no need to add additional safety measures for the public by having more deputies. The areas for which the sheriff is requesting more deputies seem to be in the newspaper every edition with some serious crime. Maybe if we moved the County Commission office to these areas, they will see the need for more deputies.
Christina Ennist, New Port Richey
Ridgewood High has many pluses
I wish people around here would give respect where it is due and stop trashing things that do not deserve to get trashed. Ridgewood High School is known as one of the worst schools in the area. Granted there is some merit to this claim, but many people overlook the plus side of Ridgewood.
Ridgewood boasts the top Advanced Placement program in the county, has a graduation rate better than the state average and a variety of teachers who work hard with students to ensure their eventual success in life.
Ridgewood's Advanced Placement passing rate was 60 percent in 2009 and 59 percent in 2010, both taking top marks in the county. Both of these beat the district average of 48 percent in 2009 and 43 percent in 2010. Ridgewood also surpassed the national passing rate of 57 percent in both years. How this can be twisted to look as if it is a bad thing, I do not know.
Ridgewood's graduation rate might not be spectacular but it still eclipses the state rate of 78.6 percent. At 80.2 percent, Ridgewood lies just below the county average but still appears in the middle of the pack when compared with other schools throughout the area.
While attending this school, I have had some amazing teachers who got points across to me that I previously could not understand. There are numerous teachers who will go out of their way just to help a child with his or her homework after school, even if that means the teachers will be late to dinner with their family, as long as the child grasps the concept fully. To me, this gives a sense of determination to the students because they know that there are people there who care about them.
As my U.S. government teacher always says, "You only hurt the ones you love." If a family member or a teacher invests time to help a student succeed but this student decides he has better things to do, those who helped will be disappointed the most.
Teachers and students have proven time and time again that Ridgewood High School is a respectable school where learning is at its finest.
Richard Anderson, Port Richey, Ridgewood High School senior