Forum, Oct. 12: Stevens Students Are Raising Their Voices

Friday, October 12, 2018
Stevens Students Are Raising Their Voices

In recent months, student voices throughout the Upper Valley have increased in multiple ways. Whether through the March For Our Lives walkouts or the overall participation in the legislative process, high school students have been active in making the change they want to see in the world. This new leap in activity includes the creation of a High School Democrats of America chapter at Stevens High School, where 15 students come together weekly to debate and take action on items they are passionate about.

One of our projects is supporting Jenn Alford-Teaster, one of the candidates to represent District 8 in the New Hampshire Senate. Our school’s district includes portions of both District 5 and District 8, so we’ve been working with Sen. Martha Hennessey on her campaign, as well. But we have an immense level of interest in seeing Alford-Teaster elected to the state Senate.

From the time she donated to our club so a student could attend the national summit of High School Democrats of America in Washington, D.C., to when she invited us to her work at Dartmouth College to give students interested in the medical field a perspective on her work, Alford-Teaster has shown that she supports students becoming involved in the political process.

She is also passionate about supporting public schools because of her own childhood. She didn't have a lot of resources at her disposal, but she was lucky enough to be in a well-funded school district, so her public education cultivated a strong work ethic, a deep love of learning and a sense of wonder.

Those have all been crucial as she built her career over the past 20 years, from working in a coffee shop to studying rural access to health care at Dartmouth. 

Jenn Alford-Tester is a tireless supporter of education and will continue that when serving in the state Senate.

We will be helping her get there by canvassing and turning out first-time high school voters on Nov. 6.

Prescott Herzog


Second-Graders Learn Lots About Bats

The Ottauquechee School’s second-grade students are learning about bats, why they’re important, why their population is declining and how we can help protect them.

We would like to thank the Vermont Bat Center and Hartford Area Career and Technology Center for their help with our learning goal.

Barry Genzlinger, one of the founders of the Vermont Bat Center, came to our school to share his passion, knowledge and experience with bats.

The center’s mission is to provide educational programs and to rescue, rehabilitate and release bats throughout Vermont. We learned that one way to protect bats is to provide bat houses, and Genzlinger shared with us his bat house design.

Then the career and technology center’s staff, Doug Heavysides, Aron Tomlinson and Lance Johnson, enthusiastically made a plan to help build bat houses. The building trades seniors learned how to make bat houses and made 19 bat house kits.

Then 36 second-graders arrived at the center and each senior was paired with two second-graders to put the bat houses together. The second-graders also got a tour of the center to see students in other programs.

Then one of the seniors explained the tools they used, and Johnson told us about the house they’re currently building in Wilder. It was quite a morning.

Thank you HACTC staff and students for your enthusiasm, expertise, time and kits.

After painting the bat houses, some of them will be put up at the Ottauquechee School and we are dedicating one to the building trades students and staff when we visit them at their house project.

To further help bats, we are raising money with the remaining bat houses so we can make a donation to the Vermont Bat Center from the Hartford School District. (For more information, visit www.vermontbatcenter.org.)

Jen Parker and Nicki Connolly


The writers are second-grade teachers at the Ottauquechee School.

First Lady Shows Her Bad Social Skills

I hope others noted the body language of Melania Trump hugging an unwilling young girl in Accra, Ghana (“Melania Trump Tours Africa,” Oct. 3).

Trump obviously does not understand proper protocol, especially in other countries. The young girl who greeted her obviously did not want to be hugged with such intimacy, and appeared to freeze when the first lady was too “up close and personal.”

Sadly, Trump must not have learned anything about proper protocol or the country she was visiting.

Like her husband, she wants the spotlight with complete disregard for the way to act when visiting other countries. She should be ashamed of herself. She is representing our country, and not in a positive light. She and her husband could use a good course in proper protocol and courtesy. God help us all.

Lorraine Zigman


Tax Fraud Is Not a Victimless Crime

It is not especially noteworthy that President Donald Trump’s family may have engaged in tax fraud as The New York Times alleges in its recent extensive investigation. What is depressing is the scale of what they have gotten away with. People need to realize that these are not victimless crimes. That money is key to good schools and services, which ultimately make the economy grow.

Most tax planning is reasonable, especially when performed by qualified and ethical professionals. However, tax fraud is all too often the preferred way to maintain family wealth and ensure the perpetuation of privilege of the elites. This type of abuse needs to be taken seriously.

Paul Meaney


Column Reveals That The Red Scare Is Back

This in response to Steve Nelson’s opinion column “GOP Slander, Misogyny, Suffocating Hypocrisy,” published Sept. 23. I belatedly read the column after I pulled the newspaper out of the post office junk bin. I should not have bothered. I want to congratulate Nelson for the irony of his column. He demonstrated his own personal “slander, misogyny and suffocating hypocrisy” throughout his screed. A psychologist would note his “projection” of his own faults therein.

I am old enough to have lived through another sad period of American political history, which Nelson and the radical left mimic. Sen. Joseph McCarthy and his minions also slandered the reputations of the innocent, lying and hectoring witnesses in the belief it was justified for the greater political good, as is happening today.

To Nelson I ask: Have you no shame?

Robert E. LaGassa


Stay Out of Toxic Stew

While our nation is embroiled in chaos, you may feel there is nothing you can do. There are at least two positive things you can do:

■ Find your oasis — that place of calm and peace.

■ Volunteer at agencies that work for the common good.

These may seem like small ways to rein in the chaos, but by doing them you will not be an ingredient in the toxic stew.

Dianne Rochford