It can be pretty tough being a kid these days.
Not only do you have to deal with all the trappings of adolescence, be it acne, homework or social awkwardness, you also have public perception to contend with.
It’s easy to see in the headlines, both locally and nationally. The stories that get the most play are about drugs, school closures and the general dumbing down of the American educational system. Seems hard to get ahead, huh?
Here at Spotlight Newspapers, we’re not going to lie and say we don’t take part in reporting these types of stories — they are, after all, important and of public interest for good reason. This week, for example, we have an interview with South Colonie Superintendent about Joe Buhner about his district’s $3.8 million budget gap and what’s going to be done about it (we doubt it will be pretty).
So we’re not all sunshine and flowers, but we sometimes wish there was more we could do to shine the light on the good in our communities. In this week’s edition alone, you’ll read about a Bethlehem Central student who’s competing with other talented youngsters in reading Shakespeare’s works; students at Sand Creek Middle School who are jumping rope to raise money for the American Heart Association; a young man who despite being struck with leukemia made every effort to live his life and enrich those of the people around him; and a class of Guilderland students who were so impacted by Elie Wiesel’s account of the Holocaust they reached out to the writer themselves and brainstormed ways to bring a ray of hope into this world.
These stories aren’t the ones young journalists think about when they get into this business, they aren’t going to generate 100 online comments in 24 hours and they aren’t what you’d call sensational or “top 10” worthy. But we think the stories of success and of young people doing good are just as important as the latest debate about low graduation rates.
So what’s the parting message here? There really isn’t one. We’re not saying anything that folks in this area don’t already know. We just ask that the next time you stand up to the microphone at a school board meeting, pen a letter or drop a comment onto a website, take the whole picture into account — take the good with the bad.