Letter to the Editor

Proud of school

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Dear Editor,

I believe the community needs to know how well the McCook schools responded to the death of Ron Coleman. First of all is the need to give thanks for inviting the Ministerial Association to assist in working with students and staff.

But most of all notice should be given to Dennis Berry and the School Crisis Response Committee. I was fortunate enough to attend two meetings in which the team planned and coordinated how to respond and then reviewed what actually occurred and how to meet continuing needs.

It was gratifying to watch how the group worked together. Especially noteworthy was how Dennis Berry insured that everyone had the opportunity to contribute and how he built a consensus.

The members of the Ministerial Association were assigned to various schools. My assignment was Central Elementary. What I observed was well-behaved students who gave every sign of paying attention to teachers and doing the work assigned.

My observations were of course limited, but I would like to point out two teachers whose conduct really im-pressed me. The first was Dee Friehe. The way she talked with her students about Ron Coleman was moving and appropriate. I don't think anyone could have done better.

The second teacher was Bev Talkington, who was filling in to take Ron Coleman's PE classes at Central. Two things need to be noted. First was how well organized the classes were and how enthusiastically the students participated.

That is surely a tribute to Ron Coleman. Secondly, Bev Talkington's handling of the classes, with which she was unfamiliar, was noteworthy. She very skillfully got the students to help her fill in the blanks in the knowledge of what was customarily done. Equally impressive was how she talked about honoring Ron Coleman by living out the lessons he taught. The apparent ease with which Bev Talkington gave directions and maintained control was testimony to her experience and the generally well-behaved demeanor of the students.

It should be noted that Dee Friehe and Bev Talkington were singled out because I happened to observe them more than others. The general impression I received speaks volumes about the rest of the staff and the parents of the students.

We should be thankful for the quality programs we have in the McCook schools. The schools are a tribute to dedicated teachers and staff like Ron Coleman.

The Rev. Sam Williams

St. Alban's Church


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