Letters to the Editor week of 2-17-11

355

Conditions improving

To the Editor:

Thank you for the front page story in the February 3rd edition of the Vevay Reveille-Enterprise, featuring local businessman Mohamed Moussa and his personal concern regarding the situation in Egypt.

Mr. Moussa’s explanation of the recent deplorable conditions in Cairo, Alexandria and other areas of Egypt made very clear the problems people of that country have been suffering.

I believe I speak for the many friends and acquaintances of the Moussa family in assuring them that our thoughts and prayers are with them and their loved ones, in anticipation of a positive resolution in this dreadful situation.

While it appears conditions are somewhat improved, let us be vigilant in prayer and hope, for continued progress.

Betty League

Vevay

Tolerance

To the Editor:

Today I received my February 10th issue of the Vevay Reveille-Enterprise. As is my routine, I immediately checked the “Letters to the Editor” and the “Obituaries.” One of the letters was titled, “Questions”. The author wanted to know who made the following statement and what it means: “The highest result of education is tolerance.” She asked if this is politically correct or progressive propaganda.

This statement was made by Helen Keller in 1903. The meaning of these profound words lies in the area of open mindedness. Philosophically, education teaches us to be more tolerant of new, different, and transformative ideas which eventually lead us to a better society. Tolerance allows us to appreciate opposing thoughts, theories, and lifestyles. When we are tolerant of those who think differently than we do, we open our minds to the broader world; we are able to see more of the “big picture”. 

Tolerance teaches us to be flexible and adaptable. These qualities go far in making all of us more responsible citizens. If we are to give our children the advantage of a good education, then a very strong component of that education is the exposure to ideas that are different from their own family and community culture. We do not want to rear children who grow up to be one sided only . . . we want to expose them to the varied world around them and in the process, teach them to think, problem solve, and to ask questions; to ask who, what, why, and where. When we do this, we are teaching tolerance in its highest form.

 Thank you.

 Anne Kinman-Menese

Atlanta, Georgia

Schenck scholarship

To the Editor:

Since 1984, Switzerland County graduates have been awarded over $75,000 from the U.P. Schenck Memorial Scholarship.

Mrs. Celestine Dahman Elliot established the U.P. Schenck Memorial Scholarship in 1980 to honor her great-grandfather who headquartered his shipping empire on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers in Vevay. This scholarship trust, which was funded upon her death, is for students from Switzerland County who want to pursue a career in the field of business at an Indiana school. She asked me to serve as Trustee of the scholarship which I have gladly done for over 25 years.

In May 2010, I arranged to turn over the assets of the trust to the Community Foundation of Switzerland County, Inc., with the hope and desire that they will continue to award scholarships from the U.P. Schenck Memorial Scholarship Trust to worthy students from Switzerland County.

I want to thank the staff of Switzerland County High School as well as business people: Jim Cole, Karen Miller, and Lou Ann Green who have served with me on the scholarship committee over the past 25 years.

Switzerland County should know a brief history of a woman whose love for Switzerland County caused her to bequeath so generously to the community.

I had contacted Mrs. Celestine Dahman Elliot about research I was doing about her great-grandfather, U.P. Schenck, for my Master’s Degree at Indiana University. She and I visited on the phone several times regarding her relatives: the Schenck, Von Buren and Thiebaud families who immigrated to “New Switzerland,” Indiana in 1817.

In 1974, I had the privilege and pleasure of personally meeting Mrs. Elliot of Laugua Beach, California when my husband and I went to California on business. We spent the morning reminiscing about her life growing up in Vevay as the granddaughter of Benjamin Franklin Schenck who built the Schenck Chateau “Mansion” on the hill in Vevay. Although she spent half of each year in Europe with her parents, she always considered the chateau, as she called it, to be her home and Vevay to be her hometown. She had wonderful memories of the times she spent in Vevay. She recalled rolling down the hill in front of the “chateau” and playing with local children when staying with her grandmother. We spent the afternoon going through family papers that she had collected from family members in the U.S. as well as those in Switzerland. She loaded me with two suitcases: one that contained research material, and one that contained memorabilia that she wanted to give to the Switzerland County Historical Society.

Because of Mrs. Elliot’s love of Switzerland County, she wanted to return not only memorabilia to Switzerland County but also monies that she had inherited through her family’s business success in Vevay. Thus, she not only established the scholarship, but also gave generous donations to the Switzerland County Historical Society and to the Switzerland Baptist Church where her family had worshiped and helped finance the present structure built in 1873.

Switzerland County has become richer, not only through the monies that Mrs. Elliott gave to the community, but also by the students that have benefited from her generosity.

Carolyn Danner Beach

Kokomo

Choral festival

To the Editor:

The choir students of Switzerland County High School recently received news that the opportunity to partake in the 2011 Ohio Valley Choral Festival has been revoked. We respect Dr. Jones’ concerns and appreciate that our director’s health was taken into consideration, but we feel that her decision will negatively impact both the students and our school.

We were told that one of the reasons we are unable to attend stems from the fact that we received a new choral director. It is our belief that this assessment is invalid when taking into consideration that Mrs. Beitzel has been a director for over 22 years. We would like to compare our situation to that of the boys’ basketball team. Mr. McAllister has been coaching for approximately six years and has taken on our basketball team with complete responsibility without any restriction. Mrs. Beitzel should have the same privileges, especially when taking into consideration her many years of directing and teaching. We appreciate that Dr. Jones has considered her health as well, but Mrs. Beitzel has verified that her health is not something that will interfere with her ability to conduct our choir at this performance.

The other justification involved student productivity the following school day, due to the time we would arrive home. Yes, the time would be approximately 11, but sports teams average a return of approximately 10:30. This is just a generalization and excludes sectionals and bigger meets or games. Another example entails the Switzerland County girls swim team, which arrived at the school at midnight on February 3rd.

This festival is a learning experience with participants learning all types of skills from foreign languages and people skills, to self confidence. Last year and also beginning this year, we have learned languages such as Portuguese, Brazilian, Latin, Italian, Spanish, French, and new this year, African. This festival has opened up doors into languages that our school system is not able to provide. We all have learned to push ourselves to new learning abilities that have given every person in the choir a sense of pride. Also, this experience enables us to break out of our shells and be everything that we can be and more. When we go to this festival, we meet hundreds of aspiring artists who share the same love of music that we do. We all connect on a level that few teens get to experience. We also get to perform and connect with highly regarded directors that are always present at this event. Throughout the day, we thrive off of the amazing abilities of the guest conductor. They all teach us something new and exciting. It can be anything from a new warm up that makes everyone laugh to a deeper meaning of a song that can touch everyone and bring tears to his or her eyes.

We would like to point out that we have all worked hard to be a part of this choir and deeply desire the opportunity to participate in this historic event, which has become a Switzerland County tradition. Choir is an elective that requires every member to keep passing grades in all of his or her classes. We all work hard to make sure that we can continue to be in choir, but most importantly, participate in the Ohio Valley Choral Festival. It is the highlight of the choir season, just as sectionals are important to every sport that our school offers. The seniors in the class have all been looking forward to this trip, especially since this would be their last year to be a part of the school’s history.

Our last and definitely most important point involving this issue is the fact that this festival is part of our school’s history. We are one of the founding schools of this festival. It would be an embarrassment not to support a tradition that we have been a part of for 73 years. Madison Consolidated High School and Switzerland County High School are the two main founding schools for this festival. We do not want that proud distinction marred.

We, as well as our entire choir family, feel strongly about our inability to participate in this tradition for 2011. Each and every choral student that has ever walked into our choir room knows what this program means to us. They have all felt the same way and for those who have yet to experience it, they feed off of the experienced members’ thrill. Every person that has ever been associated with the Switzerland County High School Choir has looked at the Ohio Valley Choral Festival as the highlight of the year.

With the efforts of this letter and the ones who stand behind it, we would like to ask the community to help us in our quest to participate in the 2011 Ohio Valley Choral Festival.

We also would like to point out that Mrs. Beitzel has had no involvement since her meeting with Dr. Jones. She respectfully is not getting involved to protect her job and her choir.

We would like to thank the community in advance for taking the time to read and hopefully consider supporting the Switzerland County High School Choir.

 Jennifer Johnson,

Mary Edwards,

And the SCHS Choir