Mt Pleasant News
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Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 7, 2016

April's random thoughts

By Brooks Taylor

By BROOKS TAYLOR

Mt. Pleasant News

With the calendar about to turn to May, the graduation month and host of Memorial Day, it is time for some random thoughts.

Iowa Wesleyan College prides itself on its community-service program. At IWC, performing community service is a graduation requirement. Recently, I visited the college campus to take some photos during Green Fest, one of the programs during Earth Week activities at the college.

There were demonstrations on numerous topics — ecology, recycling, organic farming and tree planting. Attentively participating were all fourth-grade students (with the exception of Lincoln Elementary School) in the Mt. Pleasant Community School District (which included Salem Elementary School pupils).

Today, IWC students joined with area youth in planting the new community garden, located across from the fire station at 211 S. Jackson St. in Mt. Pleasant. The service project celebrated Global Youth Service Day, the world’s largest and longest-running service event.

It also was the culmination of a semester of work for IWC students. During that time, the students worked with participants in the after-school programs at the Rec Center (Healthy U!) to nurture vegetables from seedlings.

Alisha Vincent is director of service learning at IWC. She and other college staff and students are to be commended for providing a top-notch community service program. Not only does it help integrate students into the community, but it serves community needs. I don’t know of many other college community-service projects but would have to think IWC’s would be second to none.

Having covered WACO School Board meetings for nearly two years, I get the impression that the board would love to implement the 1:1 initiative (computers for all high school students) but is unable to do so because of finances.

With New London joining Winfield-Mt. Union in the 1:1 game next year and if WACO were to do it, that would leave Mt. Pleasant, the largest district in the county, as the only county school without it. Frankly, there has been little discussion at Mt. Pleasant School Board meetings regarding computers for students. Hmmm.

The Washington Community School District also will have computers for high school students next year.

My daughter, who attends school in northwest Iowa, has been with a computer for three years. One of her neighboring school districts is in the fifth year of the program.

We’re told that Mt. Pleasant wants to analyze the benefits of the 1:1 initiative. A friend terms that analysis “analysis by paralysis.” An eastern state (New Hampshire, I think) has a state law requiring it.

If so many school districts have seen the benefits of computers for students, what is there to analyze? There is plenty of statistics regarding the program’s benefits. I have sat through three presentations when facts supporting 1:1 were presented.

Prior to the start of the baseball season, I thought the Cubs had a legitimate chance to lose 100 games this season. Twelve games into the season, I may have to revise my prediction downward. The Cubs are sporting a glossy 3-9 mark, which translates into roughly a 41-121 season mark.

While even the most ardent Cub fan knew wins would be hard to come by, most were hoping for a competitive team on the diamond. Whether or not they are competitive depends on who is doing the defining. Certainly winning 25 percent of your games does not meet the definition in my mind.

If fans want to deliver a message, perhaps they should do it by avoiding Clark and Addison. Money talks, they say, and so does a lack of it.

They say things will get better, the same thing they’ve been saying for over a century. Most of us will believe it when we see it.