LETTERS: Series missed chance to highlight success

To the editor:

For three days, I read the series of articles about James “Bubba” Dukes in the hopes that it would be a story of redemption and hope (“Chaparral senior fights to keep dream of diploma,” July 8 Review-Journal). Now that the series is concluded, I have to question why this young man was the focus of the series.

It is obvious from the articles that Mr. Dukes is a common statistic at Chaparral High School. So why did the Review-Journal choose this young man as the focal point, when mentioned in the last article was perhaps a shining example of the determination of not only a school community, but of a young lady, Jessica Suarez?

Almost every adult listed, interviewed and even mentioned in the series indicated a strong desire by Mr. Dukes to succeed at graduating from high school. They also almost all mentioned a lack of initiative on his part to accomplish this task. Graduating is not an easy task, even without the obstacles placed in Mr. Dukes’ path. Mr. Dukes was provided with a plethora of opportunities to turn his academic career around, from adult mentorship to basic supplies and necessities for his young family. Yet he was not able to graduate.

Ms. Suarez was covered in a brief synopsis of a difficult path as well. In an almost throw-away fashion, her accomplishments of helping to care for younger brothers, graduating from high school and getting accepted into college were mentioned. Her determination and the choices she made allowed her to be successful, despite hardships. Would it not have been better to focus the series on Ms. Suarez as an example of determination and success? Would it have been better to show how community support and adult mentorship can assist students at Chaparral?

As a former educator, I was constantly asked how I would reach students similar to Mr. Dukes. I never had a good enough or clear answer, because in reality the answer lies with Mr. Dukes. I could only do so much encouraging and conferencing with a student. When a student does not have the determination or initiative, there is very little a teacher or adult can do to help. The large grants and donations that helped to staff additional adult support at Chaparral High School did not help Mr. Dukes to earn his diploma. Perhaps it was that same money that did help Ms. Suarez.

By focusing the attention on Mr. Dukes, the money spent looked like an apparent waste of funds. If the Review-Journal had instead turned the attention toward Ms. Suarez, maybe the funding would have looked like a good investment and possibly earned the school more donations and positive returns.

I hope that Mr. Dukes will no longer be a statistic. Perhaps the attention these articles have generated forces him to grow up and start to work toward something greater. But more so, I hope that Ms. Suarez is congratulated for staying on a path toward success without making excuses.



Washington Greenskins?

To the editor:

A vocal minority of people are offended by the name and logo of the Washington Redskins, and for political reasons, their concern has been elevated to a national partisan issue. On June 18, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board of the U.S. Patent Office canceled the Redskins trademark in a 2-1 ruling, stating that the name and logos were disparaging, although the ruling is under appeal.

The whole thing seems a bit trivial considering the other challenges our country faces, but I have an easy solution: See if team owner Dan Snyder would consider changing the name of the team to the “Washington Greenskins,” while changing the face coloring on the logo accordingly. Since we currently have no green minorities, no constituency can get offended. Everyone wins. Let’s play football.



Hillary’s speaking fee

To the editor:

In answer to Ruth Baker’s letter, I have no issue with Hillary Clinton charging whatever the market will bear for her speaking engagements (“Clinton under no obligation to donate UNLV speaking fee,” July 5 Review-Journal). That’s capitalism and the American way.

What I have a problem with is Mrs. Clinton’s hypocrisy. She’s currently on a book tour trying to claim poverty, saying that she and her husband were flat broke after leaving the White House and trying to claim that they had to work hard to pay their mortgages. In the tax year of 2001, the year President Bill Clinton left office, the Clintons reported an adjusted gross income of more than $16 million. I wish I was that broke.

That same year, the Clintons bought two mansions — one in New York to facilitate Mrs. Clinton’s run for the U.S. Senate, and the other in the Georgetown area of Washington, D.C., so she would have a place to live once she won. The Clintons then registered, much like newlywed couples, so their rich friends could buy gifts for them to furnish these two new homes.

My hope is that the American people wise up to Mrs. Clinton’s silly claims of poverty. Mrs. Clinton can make as much money as she desires, and I’d never try to prevent her from doing so, but don’t stand there and tell me you’re poor as you rake in millions. That’s just a bald-faced lie.




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