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Roses and thorns: 8/5/12




A rose to Denise Todd of the Red Cross. Eleven years ago, Todd lost her daughter and granddaughter in a house fire. A Red Cross volunteer's compassion for Todd during the immediate aftermath of that tragedy, not only helped Todd endure the crisis, it eventually guided her to her own association with the Red Cross. Today, Todd is volunteer coordinator and captain of the Disaster Action Team for the Northeast Mississippi chapter of the American Red Cross. Todd turned tragedy into service. "If time heals all wounds, who not use that time to help someone else to heal,'' she explained.  




A thorn to the former Lowndes County School District Board for its wrongful firing of Lynn Wright from his position as Principal at New Hope High School. This week, the full extent of the damage done by the Board, which voted to terminate Wright in May of 2010, was revealed. Wright, who now serves as the LCSD Superintendent, was awarded $175,043.95 in back pay. That's a costly error in judgment -- and a lesson for those whose zeal is inclined to overwhelm their judgment. 




A rose to Dr. Lewis Holloway, the new Starkville School District Superintendent, for his thoughtful, well-reasoned response to the subject of merit pay for teachers. It is particularly encouraging to hear Holloway's obvious appreciation for teachers. All too often, teachers are viewed somehow as the enemies. They have been portrayed as lazy, indifferent, selfish. You won't hear any of that talk from Holloway. There is no doubt that he has earned the respect and admiration of the teachers now in his charge -- mainly because he has shown them respect and admiration. That's leadership. We expect very good things from the Starkville schools under Holloway's direction. 




A rose to The Last House on the Block, a sober living organization that recently opened its second home for adult men who are committed to breaking the cycle of despair that comes with alcohol and drug addiction. The new home, located at 206 Tuscaloosa Road in what used to be a Masonic Lodge, will accommodate 12 to 15 residents. It takes an heroic struggle to emerge from the hellish clutches of addiction. Each addict must start on his own, but he cannot succeed on his own. Support systems such as Last House on the Block meet that need. They do a service to the men they serve, and to the community as well. 




A rose to the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science as it celebrates its 25th year in Columbus. Mayor Robert Smith called the students at MSMS "treasures"' and "assets to the city." We agree. In fact, we believe the students are an asset not only to Columbus but to the state and nation. The United States has lost its preeminence in math and science. Schools such as MSMS represent our nation's best response to that decline. 
















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