Bragging rights

Thursday, June 24, 2010

From time to time, I get asked the question, "why do you have so many stories and photos about kids?" I am always surprised by this question, because I personally enjoy reading about the accomplishments of our area young people, but obviously some people may not. And while there are a few who might object to our school coverage, it's something that we aren't going to change any time soon in the pages of the Cassville Democrat.

As in any community, small or large, young people represent the life blood, the future and often times the energy of our towns and cities. Stories of their accomplishments and achievements are inspiring and serve to remind us of the potential that lies within all of us. It is an honor for this newspaper to chronicle the events that involve our children and teenagers from sports to choir performances to FFA projects.

And for all you cynics out there, beware. It's hard to remain negative and hopeless when you read the stories of what our young people are doing these days. For example, take the story of Jeremy Casper that ran in last week's issue of the Cassville Democrat. Jeremy is a graduate of Purdy High School and the Kansas City Art Institute whose short animated film was chosen to receive a Student Academy Award. Jeremy had the opportunity to travel to Hollywood and accept his student "Oscar" and rub shoulders with leaders in the movie industry. To put Jeremy's accomplishments in perspective, it's important to realize that other young filmmakers who have received this honor include Spike Lee and Robert Nemekis. Jeremy's film was also one of only 13 student films chosen from across the nation. In interviewing Jeremy for the story, it was interesting to note that Jeremy's early exposure to art and his decision to pursue his passion as a career was nurtured by a Purdy Elementary School teacher who now teaches at Cassville and Jeremy's parents who continue to call Purdy their home. Now that's what I call homegrown talent.

In today's issue of the Cassville Democrat, you'll find a story about a recent Cassville High School graduate who used her dancing and cheerleading abilities to earn trips to London, England, and Rome, Italy. Natalie is a refreshing and delightful young woman who has overcome great obstacles in her life. The young woman has lost a sister and a father yet continues to have one of the most positive outlooks on life of anyone I know. If you've ever met Natalie or her twin sister, Olivia, you'll never forget their smiles that can brighten up any day. The pair is motivated and talented and headed toward a very bright future. The Cline girls have taught me a lot about life and it has been a true joy to publish stories about their achievements during their years at Cassville School.

I, for one, love being around young people. Their ideas and their outlooks on life are intriguing and their vitality and energy challenges me to re-evaluate what I am doing with the life God has given me. Barry Countians have a lot to brag about and our young people are at the very top of that long list.

Lisa Schlichtman