Editor: Today is graduation day for my son, Joe Witte, at Clearwater High School. His sisters, Jennifer and Michelle, graduated in 1987 and 1988. It is with the deepest sense of gratitude that I wish to thank principal Ed Evans and all the staff at Clearwater for caring so much to provide my children with such a fine education and life experience. I found all the teachers and staff to be consistently interested and sensitive to the individual needs of students.
Even though the school is large, the atmosphere is personal, like a hometown school.
A very special thanks to Mrs. Mary Cummings, guidance counselor, for her personalized advice and warm and friendly attitude.
Clearwater families can be assured that the very best of educations is available right here because of the genuine concern and dedication that starts with Mr. Evans and radiates down throughout the school.
Again, I publicly thank you for taking such good care of my children! It was fun, and I'll miss it! God bless you all.
Barbara Traum, Clearwater
28 charges of child abuse?
Editor: Once upon a time, a pregnant woman smoked some crack. The state tried to prosecute, claiming child abuse. The result _ a baby born addicted to crack even before it reached the age of one minute.
The mother went uncharged. "Unconstitutional," they said. "You just can't do it."
Now let me introduce you to another scenario. High school students prepare for weeks for what will be one of their most cherished memories _ their prom.
The students listen to the hundreds of ads and many, more importantly, listen to their parents, renting a "party bus" rather than getting behind the wheel. (Yes, people below the age of 30 are able to make decisions.)
Now here's the shocker, especially for all you perfect people out there in perfect land. They brought alcohol onto the bus! The result many of you already know. Sen. McCarthy (in the form of a school official) stormed the ship and found 14 beers, four wine coolers and a bottle of wine. (Keep in mind that there were 28 students.)
For many of you who do not know, the driver is being charged with 28 _ yep, count 'em, folks, 28 _ charges of child abuse. Yes, in a day where our children are found in garbage dumps and HRS is backed up beyond belief, our legal system finds it necessary to charge a limo driver with 28 charges of child abuse.
I sympathize with those kids. Four years ago, I graduated from Tarpon Springs High School. In a month I celebrate my 22nd birthday.
I also would like to inform all the perfect people of our beloved community that I drank in high school. Furthermore, my parents were aware of my actions, unlike the many ostriches who reside in our towns.
But let me share another tidbit with you. My parents communicated with me and recognized the choices with which I might be faced. Instead of burying their heads in the sand, they understood and instilled in me a sense of responsibility _ the single most effective tool a parent can use.
I pray to God that I will never forget what it is like to be 16, 17, 18, and am able to recognize the importance of education both inside the walls and out.
On behalf of the youth of America, I have become increasingly offended with the "real" adults' perception of our generation. And, contrary to some views, we are able to lend our thought process to something that exceeds the average length of an MTV video.
Give the kids back their experiences, their memories, and hand it to them with responsibility. You'd be surprised in some of the choices that can be made when given your support.
We're all scared of losing another son, daughter or friend. But to ignore this part of growing up is absurd.
Shannon L. Broadbent
Yes, prayers are answered
Editor: This is in response to Mr. Brent Yaciw, who lambasted you for mentioning answered prayers on the front page of the Clearwater Times.
"Reporting should be restricted to documenting the verifiable facts," he says. "Leave opinion, innuendo and proselytizing to the religion or editorial sections."
In the first place, it wasn't a "religion" story. People who pray are involved in a relationship, not a religion. I read that story _ and it was beautiful. Satan's work is spread all over the front page of almost every newspaper daily. Why not an occasional mention of God's work?
Mr. Yaciw is like the person who doesn't believe that airplanes will really stay in the air, that they really can't fly even though the evidence that they do so is all around him. Because he doesn't believe that airplanes can fly, he stays on the ground and misses out on so much. No one can convince him they fly because he hasn't tried it for himself.
Just because this gentleman has obviously not "tried" prayer and found how wonderfully God answers it, he has decided it is "innuendo and opinion." The other 92.5 percent of us who have experienced answered prayer and know how real it is have the right to read stories about it on the front page of any newspaper.
History books tell us that people once thought the Earth was flat. That didn't keep it from being round. The fact that some people don't believe in answered prayer doesn't make it any less real for those of us who regularly experience it. Take it from all 92.5 percent of us, Mr. Yaciw, answered prayer is real. We suggest you try it. You'll like it!
Anne M. Garris, Clearwater.