Letters to the editor

Culminating project

I read, with interest, the Reporter’s story on the MIHS culminating project debacle. I am a parent of a senior “guinea pig.” Unfortunately, the author of the article missed the real story.

The legislative mandate for the culminating project left it to each school district to design the parameters of the project, which would then be a requirement for graduation beginning with the class of 2008. Our school district had the discretion to make the project a 40-hour project (instead of 80), to give the project course credit, or to have the students work on the project during classroom hours.

The intentions of the committee members who designed the project were sincere, and no one doubts the effort they put into it. However, parental input (from those of us who have had MIHS seniors before) was consistently ignored. Commonsense suggests that the first year of this project should have been designed with more conservative parameters, so that the lessons learned by students, faculty and administrators were not so harsh. My guess is that changes will be implemented for next year, now that the district has the benefit of 20/20 hindsight. It’s too bad that the school district chose to ignore parental wisdom; we may not possess a degree in education, but we know a thing or two about educating young people.

Lauren Schweet

Thank you, neighbors!

I am a staff member for the local council of Camp Fire USA, a youth development organization. We serve roughly 17,500 children and families in King, Kitsap and North Mason counties. We’re beginning to register youth, ages 6-18, for our day and resident camps this summer. That’s why you see the lawn signs popping up here and there.

Recently, the A-board sign that I put up on the Island Crest Way exit off of I-90 was blown down by a passing truck (along with another sign there). I couldn’t stop on my way to work to put it back up, but “magically” it was standing proud when I returned home later that evening. Thank you, Good Samaritan, for helping me with that. While I know lawn signs and A-boards irritate some, we do try and be mindful of not leaving them up too long, and it’s a very inexpensive way for us to invite children to come and experience camp at our facility on Vashon Island.

Our donors (like many other organizations’ donors) prefer that their contributions go directly to the programs, but getting the word out is a vital and necessary part of that as well, and we need to be frugal when we can, so I appreciate the community’s tolerance.

Mercer Island residents have been wonderful supporters of Camp Fire over its 98-year history in the Seattle area and this is just one small example of that. Three of our board members live on Mercer Island, and I know they appreciate your patience with our recruitment efforts as well.

Again, many thanks!


Jackie Peterson

Camp Fire USA, Central Puget Sound Council

Mercer Island resident

Pedestrian safety

I’m not certain if it’s the increase in our city’s population or just a general trend in our society, but I have a very serious concern that affects all of us. My 15-year-old daughter now regularly walks home from MIHS through the Town Center. She reports at least twice a week of a near-miss being hit by cars. A car left a 30-yard skid on Island Crest as he managed to miss her by a few feet as she crossed in the clearly marked crosswalk mid-hill. The driver was on his cell phone and had the audacity to show her his finger as if she were at fault. She has been nearly clipped seven times in the crosswalks by Starbucks, Walgreens and Countrywide. Young and old, she reports, seem to have forgotten that pedestrians have the right-of-way.

So, Island residents, I realize we’re all busy, trying to get places so very quickly, but could you do me a favor? Slow down, watch those intersections and wait for the pedestrian to cross the street before you proceed.

My child is more precious than your time.

Santiago is a great place to visit

Whoa, Morton! Santiago, Chile — “Travelers, avoid it.” Do so and you may be missing a surprisingly rewarding travel experience. Having enjoyed a delightful four-day visit in Santiago before, during and after Christmas 2007, we found that Santiago has everything that Paris has to offer except not so much of it.

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